How Not to Feel Guilty about Charging For Your Time

August 7, 2013 - Get free updates of new posts here
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While down under, I had a drink in Brisbane a few nights ago. I was chatting with a guy who’ll go by “Australian Dude.”

He told me he generally prefers NOT to charge for any of the work he does.

“WHAT, but how are you going to pay for all the drinks?,” I shouted at him.

It dawned on me at that moment he is not alone and many people, including myself, struggle with this.

Sound familiar?

When Mint hired me, they paid me $100,000 for being the director of marketing. I thought to myself how STOOOOOPID these guys were for giving a 24 year old all of that money.

Then with AppSumo we put my time up as a deal where you could talk to me for $250 for an hour.

Sold out in a few hours. Fuck. Okay, double the price. $500

Sold out in another few hours. Fine. You guys wanna play tough. Let’s play hard!

$1,000 (Dr. Evil expression here)

WHAT THE F. Sold out in a few hours????

Why do these people want to talk to me?

And now I feel a lot of pressure to make sure these people get $1,000+++ worth of value just from talking with me.

Noah Kagan An Hour for 1000

Where does that guilty feeling come from? Why do we feel guilty charging for our time, services or products?

1. We don’t feel worthy of ourselves or realize the value of our skills in relation to other people. This is where you have a bad ass talent and just look at that skill as common sense. Others see it as very unique, special and something they’ll pay to learn or utilize.

2. We don’t feel qualified as an expert since we haven’t really done much to earn it.

Compare this to my brother who’s a doctor. He has NO QUALMS about charging a LOT for his time since he had to put in an additional 8 years of schooling.

3. We are concerned that money (specifically asking for it) will change the relationship with the other person.

 

So what the frick can you do to get out of that way of thinking.

Here are 5 simple ways to overcome feeling guilty charging for your time:

1- Understand the amount of MONEY you are helping make for the person.

For the work you are doing, look at how much revenue that new stuff will actually be created. If it doesn’t happen instantly then look it at over a 1 year time-frame.

For example:

You buy the $300 How to Make Your First Dollar Course today. Yay, #sale-madeYou start a business. Makes $100 / month over a year. That’s $1,200.

So you pay $300 and get $1,200. Sign me up for that shit!

Real point to re-iterate is recognizing that you are only charging a percentage of what the other person is gaining from your time.

Try to charge 1/10th of whatever money you WANT the person to be making.  I expect people to create businesses for life. Asking for $300 is a small percentage for that person to have the lifestyle and profitable business they want. It is a fricking steal.

 

2- RECOGNIZE YOU CAN NEVER GET THAT TIME BACK.

Why do I charge so much for consulting (which I never do)? Read what I wrote in parenthesis. I don’t want to do it SO I charge a lot so people won’t want to hire me.
 

3- People VALUE what they pay for

A while ago I gave a good friend some Free AppSumo products expecting him to use it. 3 weeks later I hit him up to see what he learned and implemented in his business.

NOTHING.

Money is a truth-teller. It’s a trade of your time for things you value.

If a person really values what you are doing for them then you should charge them otherwise they’ll value you less.

For yourself, think about an ebook you got for free vs a book you paid for. Which did you read first? Which did you find more valuable?

Bonus: When I’ve paid a lot of money for things ($3,000 weekend seminar with David Deida) I value it a lot more and focus harder on making sure I get MY money’s worth.

 

4- Give it away for free.

Don’t feel guilty and just keep doing that. See how well not feeling guilty pays the bills. But seriously keep doing it until you don’t have time from your over-abundance of clients and then start charging something.

This is a helpful way to build up your confidence and validation that what you are providing people want so you can progress to start charging people.

 

5- START SUPER small.

With AppSumo I used to just do a price mark-up of 10% until my good friends Andrew / Ramit both kept saying to charge more and stop being a bitch. As an EXPERIMENT I tried marking up 100%. Guess what??

a) same conversion rate on sales

b) higher positive reviews of the product

c) less refunds

If you are unsure, just start small and experiment.

———–

As it happened at Mint, my marketing helped them eventually sell for $170,000,000 so was that worth the $100,000 they paid?* :)

Leave a comment below and share how much you charge per hour and why. One lucky winner will get got an hour (worth $1,000) with me to consult on your her business.

Love,

Noah

 

*Not saying I’m the only reason they sold for that much at all. Instead it puts a $100k salary in perspective next to a great ROI for Mint.

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63 responses to “How Not to Feel Guilty about Charging For Your Time

  1. Jake Reply

    I run a guitar studio and charge $75 for an hour long lesson. Most other guitar teachers charge half that. I was hesitant at first and I started with a lower rate (to test and validate) and progressively raised my rates (and will likely continue to do so). Noah (and Ramit) are right: as my rates increase I have fewer customer issues and I feel an incredibly strong obligation to provide the absolute most awesome guitar lessons in the universe. I also believe that by charging my current rate I attract (and retain) serious and committed (and totally kick-ass) students (who are obviously the most fun to work with).

  2. Ben Reply

    I was planning to give my ebook away for free but now I’m gonna charge for it.

    thanks for planting ideas into my mind.

    #Inception.

  3. Cyril Reply

    I charge €75/hour for IT consulting because that’s what a weeklong supply of burritos cost in my country and also, so that I can beat Tim Ferriss and live the “1-hour workweek” and still have food on my table.

  4. Henry Reply

    Same here, I was feeling guilty for charging so I was doing free self defense seminars in Central Park.

    The people in the seminar then asked about private lessons with me, now I’m charging people for privates.

    Spanks,

    :)

  5. Nicole Reply

    It definitely depends. I teach Pilates, So I charge more of a “going rate” for that. $35-50 for the hour for a group class, $95/hr for a private. However, the 2 businesses I own are another story! CABARRET (www.cabarretfit.com) I charge up to $100 an hour for a class and up to $500 for a 2 hour event. My public speaking coaching service (www.publicpersonallc.com) has group classes, which are a lower rate, but private sessions are $125.

    I don’t feel guilty about these. I know that not only am I providing services, they are services that I created! The client is paying for the time and creativity that went into that creation. As well as the exclusivity of working with the creator, the mastermind, the boss.

  6. Paul @ Padorec Reply

    I love the story of Dr. Deming. He is one of the fathers of the efficiency movement and lean manufacturing philosophy. When the American Manufacturers ignored him after the war he went to Japan and built Toyota into a lean powerhouse. Eventually, Detroit took notice.

    My Dad got to work with him on a few occasions, and the man charged up to $10,000 per hour. That’s right – and he would deliver many times that multiple in value. Here’s the kicker – if Dr. Deming came back and you had implemented the things you had discussed previously, he typically didn’t send an invoice for that session. If you hadn’t done a thing though, you were getting an invoice for a full $10,000/hr.

    As long as he felt that you valued what he brought to the table, he was happy to just help. When you ignored him and wasted his time, however, then you would have to pay for that. Interesting man, Dr. Deming.

  7. Hoo Kang Reply

    I work as an IT Coordinator, but I’m evolving into entrepreneur-mon.

    I work with a highly specialized student information system and charge $250 an hour and a retainer.

    I also like to charge a lot, because I like to spend my free time with my family (2 daughters and my wife.)

    Working 40-50 hours a week, plus church events, and family take up all my time.

    If I want to do consulting work – which I normally don’t want to do, but will help if they pay me and really want me to do it.

  8. Jessie Reply

    I manage projects, and I charge £50 per hour, with a day rate of £450. I’ve only ever got to use the day rate once so far.

    Sometimes people are shocked at £50 p/hr (?!). They say, but that’s more than I make (in my high-powered job, etc). But it’s not like I charge every waking hour! If I’m lucky I charge a couple of hours a day.

  9. Matteo Reply

    Hey Noah,

    I charge ZERO to friends, because I just want them to succeed and i am happy to help. Besides, not charging makes it more fun for me. I always ask them though “Help the next guy, instead of giving me anything”

    I guess guilt comes from the question “Can I really help them this much?” So one way I tough to do it, when I start charging one day, is to first try to access if I CAN help them, and only consult those I think I can bring real value to.

    Cheers

    Matteo

  10. Tom Reply

    Hello Mr. Kagan,

    I split time between freelance behavioural economist and starting up a biz. For the consultancy work I charge £300-400 per day ($466-621). Why? Could come up with some fluff but, as with all pricing, it’s pretty arbitrary.

    Two good books for anyone wanting to understand more about the psychology of pricing (ie: to work out how they can charge more for their product/service whilst still giving the buyer a great experience) are:

    The Psychology of Price – Leigh Caldwell
    http://www.amazon.co.uk/The-Psychology-Price-increase-satisfaction/dp/1780590075

    and

    Priceless: The Hidden Psychology of Value – William Poundstone
    http://www.amazon.co.uk/Priceless-The-Hidden-Psychology-Value/dp/1851688293/ref=pd_sim_b_1

    Happy Friday,

    Tom

  11. Jamie Wilson @ Jelly Bean Quilts Reply

    I charge $40-50/hour for my baby clothes quilts… minimum of $475 for the smallest size.

    It charge almost double what my competitors charge. And I have a backlog of 35 quilts to do, so I guess I’m doing something right! I know how much work it is & I know how awesome my quilts are (how else are you going to create a cool heirloom art piece out of those baby clothes your kid has grown out of?) so I feel pretty comfortable with my prices.

    But I do think it’s harder for people like me in the art/craft/semi-luxury purchase areas to charge what we are “worth.” Because I’m not making people more money. That would be easy to justify, of course! Sometimes I feel like the only people making real money are consultants that tell other people how to make money, which seems a little ironic actually, or people who can create a virtual product & sell it a million times. Maybe I need consulting on becoming a consultant.

  12. Michael Reply

    I charge $100 per hour. Usually I do 30 minute sessions.
    I help people find a great partner and keep a great relationship.

    Why do I charge that? Im really good at what I do, and its all from life experience and study and some self development courses. Im not certified in anything. (Happening soon). And I have several clients who have amazing results. Its a fair industry standard and Im okay with it. For some its high, for some its not.

  13. Kate Huyett Reply

    I charge $20 per person for a class on how to transition from finance to tech and have also taught it in person for a similar rate which backs out to ~$100-200 per hour typically.

    One of the other reasons I struggle with charging for stuff is social proof – how many people do you give free stuff to as an initial distribution tactic vs when/how much do you start charging later.

  14. Yael Grauer Reply

    Great post. I like the focus on the hard (ROI for the client) and soft (why we feel guilty asking for money in the first place).

    I charge $100/hour for writing and editing. I try to break down work that pays per word into that rate as well, though it’s hard to tell how long something will take.

    I’d honestly rather someone ask me to do something for free than offer me some of the rates they sometimes do. ($5 per post is insulting.)

    I do feel guilty from time to time, so here’s what I do if someone can’t afford me.

    -I set aside a half hour twice a week to help people who can pay my hourly, but can’t pay a minimum. People who want me to proofread something that’ll literally take me two to three minutes. It’s worth it for me for the exchange of ideas from scrappy entrepreneurs, without cutting into my time.

    -I do a pay-what-you-can sale once or twice a year, where people can tell me what they want and name a price. I usually get only three or four grateful people. Most of these freeloaders, for some reason, don’t even subscribe to my blog or pay attention to my Facebook feed.

    -I teach workshops/classes at very reasonable rates. My workshop on breaking into freelance writing is four hours long and only costs $66…and I bring fruit and chocolate and handouts. :) There is also a low-income rate that the place works in and I always make sure people can apply for a scholarship.

    -Although I usu. charge $100/hour for consulting, I take free 10-minute calls on Fridays between 3 and 4PM. I do ask that people read everything on my blog about the topic they’re asking about ahead of time, so that I can answer their question in 10 minutes.

    -I’ll take on free work now and again, usually for a non-profit organization (like writing for Spezzatino, a magazine which raises money for the Healthy Food Bank), but also every once in a while as a way to say thank you for someone who’s gone above and beyond to help me…or for a friend of a friend. I just make sure to know my limits.

    -I’ll mentor students for free…but only 1-2 at a time, and they have to have drive and talent and follow-through and show up to our meetings on time or it’s over. Meetings are once or twice a month and we’ll follow up weekly via email. Even though they actively seek me out to meet, I still feel like I pick them; they don’t really pick me.

  15. Paul Reply

    I landed a consulting gig a month or so ago, and am being paid a small amount each time a product is sold. This structure has the potential to be very valuable for me ($20k+ for a few dozen hours of my time), and a good chance of being at least somewhat valuable.

    I like this structure because it aligns me nicely with the goals of the client, but waiting for the money to come in I definitely sometimes wish I was getting something for my time upfront.

    We’ll see how it pans out in the long run …

  16. Brandon Reply

    I host and produce a podcast about the New Mexico startup community. I have had requests for help with setting up or improving podcasts. This ‘free’ service was my opportunity to learn how to coach and encourage others.

    I am about to speak a few local business events, and I anticipate some additional interest in producing regular audio/video content. I plan on offering a setup/production service for this type of content for $400/month for weekly content production. That will come out to about $50/hour.

  17. Lenny Reply

    I have tried different rates. Many people want cheap, it’s depressing, and then complain. Free has’t got me anywhere yet but I’m putting the effort on selling cuz I can do more.

  18. Lain Ehmann Reply

    Fabulous question. When quoting a job, I try to picture the looks on my kids’ faces when I tell them I have to work instead of hanging out with them. Then I get a number in my brain – and increase to 150% of my original quote.

    Right now I would say I’m pricing my time around $100 an hour. I know I’m worth more than that.

  19. Brad Reply

    Great email Noah. I always struggle with this charging guilt but I am getting better about it. Charging $200/hour for consulting at the moment but feel like it should be more factoring the value we’re creating for the client. I’m noticing a direct correlation with the amount that I charge and the respect and behavior of the clients, like you say.

    Hope you enjoyed yourself in Australia!

  20. Alf Reply

    Hi buddy!

    I realised this after a Landmark seminar that I attended, that I hate asking for things because I make assumptions about what others are thinking of my asking, so I just end up giving my services for free or giving in to the possibility of no possibility. That is a downward spiral mentality.

    Since then, I’m committed to being a powerful, unconstrained, and confident businessman, and I’ve upped my freelance rate to $100/hr. When you take your rates seriously, you give people permission to trust that what you are doing is valuable, and there is no chance to low-ball when referrals come around.

    There are of course the coveted friends and family discounts, and through that I’m very fortunate to work with some awesome people like Noah and Neville.

    Thanks Noah! xoxo

  21. Abraham Reply

    I charge $107.38/hr. Because its slightly higher than my competitors and its weird enough to make an impression (I get asked about my rate more than anything else which is a great lead-in to what I offer :).

  22. Helen Reply

    I charge $250 an hour for wedding photography.

    Even I think that’s a crazy amount – but there are so many reasons why it makes sense.

    Why? Simple…

    That price tag is a filter – it brings us special weddings and couples that actually care about what we produce. The work you accept only ever brings you more of the same kind of work. Get known for low cost gigs and it’s hard to break out of that.

    We can limit the number of bookings we have in a year, pour 10x attention and creativity to each booking & still make the same revenue.

    Less stress as we’re not continually marketing.

    More fun as couples are responsive and give great feedback which then leads on to more great bookings.

    My aim is to get to a similar level with tech consulting and offering entrepreneurship advice, yet strangely that’s where the guilt kicks in.

    Help me Noah!

  23. Sherman Reply

    Hey what’s up Noah? Great post on providing insight into the psychology of selling to a customer.

    I charge what works out to be $1,000/hr as a developer in SF. The work I do typically increases sales by ~10%. I help them implement a content marketing strategy to drive an audience to submit their email. Then email is used to build trust and eventually funnels them into a landing page for some product. Of course I look at the metrics, run a/b tests, and optimize those conversion rates.

    It’s a tough sell for a client who doesn’t understand the huge value in that. But when I have clients that understand, I only need to work a few hours a week delivering them that.

    I’m trying to replace that income with products.

  24. Clay Hebert Reply

    For short-term consulting for big companies, I charge $1,000 per hour.

    For paid speaking, $5,000 in-town – $10-15K out-of-town.

    For individual hustlers and entrepreneurs spending their own money, I charge much less, $250 / hour, billed at $4.17 per minute and all donated to charity: water, done through Dan Martell’s Clarity.fm.

    Clarity has become my perfect filter for dealing with one-off requests for advice and random “coffee meetings”. More on my thought process around that here -> http://spnd.ws/newwaytosayno

    (Noah – not trying to drop a link in the comments, but I thought it was relevant to the “charge for your time” discussion. Feel free to delete.)

  25. Kevin Reply

    I’m like your brother–we don’t charge by the hour. We send in forms that are then reimbursed by others at rates that have really no connection to whatever ‘value’ may or may not have been provided (time/teaching/education… high value/low pay. Cut, poke, ram a person into a big magnet…. low value/high pay).

    Why? No idea. The system is crazy.

    Love your points in this though–particularly #3.

    Skin in the game keeps people motivated.

    Thanks for the post!

  26. Tim Reply

    $100/hr for strangers with money. Just got some ITC consulting work for high value biotech (if you knew where I lived you would be amazed at that rate, not a high tech or high socio economic area).

    $50-$60 for strangers with less money. This is because $50/hr is better than $0/hour and I don’t do work for free, especially web dev/website builds as you’re then on the hook for support which means WHERE WOULD I HAVE TIME TO GO SURFING AND CYCLING.

    For family: $35/hr, just coz. Working with mum’s partner on education based iPad, the 35 is a cut rate because there will be profit sharing. Plus she’s given us so much (we moved away from the big bucks of Melbourne for a lifestyle change and they’ve helped with expenses and stuff whilst we got on our feet/got jobs.)

    [My business - coffee subscription biz in Oz, needs work, would delight in unflinching red hot magma scrutiny of yours.]

  27. Tony T Reply

    I was trying to charge $80-$100 for software consulting (focusing on data analytics/machine learning) three years back.

    I felt uneasy about advertising myself and taking money from people since I was fresh out of school (albeit graduate school), so I ended up not taking offers and worked on stuff for free. I guess it stemmed from a fear of failure which I’m coming to realize from your “How to make your first $1 course” :).

    Thanks for this post. It’s always inspiring to read your stuff.

  28. Scott Britton Reply

    I charge $200 an hour for short term business development consulting. I don’t open my rolodex unless I would have without a consulting engagement in place.

    Honestly, I don’t have an amazing reason why this is my number. A few friends paid someone I know this and I was like “hey I’m better than that guy” and settled on that.

    Where I struggle is who to charge. There’s a ton of people who are at the periphery of acquaintance who I want to help, but it’s just not scalable to help everyone and I want to make sure they actually value my time vs. just yes me to death and continue to do the same shit they’re doing that doesn’t work. Would love some ideas on a framework who to charge and who not to charge.

  29. Briana Cavanaugh Reply

    I’ve been moving towards financial bliss coaching and away from the bookkeeping work I have been doing because I love it and I’m great at it. It turns out to be helping people love and really see their genius themselves so that they can do things like track their money and get clear about what they need to charge as well as things like save them on taxes and have strategies for saving that really work.

    This issue of charging what you’re worth is an interesting one. I have about 20 years of experience doing various things that lead me here. On the one hand I charge $150 an hour for coaching, which is about $100 less than my nearest competitor. I’ve been doing that because I am afraid that my client will vanish and that I won’t be able to feed my kid and also because people accepted any number I gave them until I got to this one. So I raise my prices to find a place that it seemed like the market would bear.

    I know what I do changes lives and there must be something stuck in there (in my head), but the $250/hour feels like a big number and I’m just not sure that I’d have any work at all if I went there. My clients love me, but it still feels like a big number.

    Also the idea of getting and hour with you seems like an awesome thing – I’d love a report back from who ever does get that time with you!

  30. Ville Reply

    I charge – (minus) 50€ / day. WHAT? Yes, I pay for my work. Here in scandinavia we have free education but while the universities fail to offer suitable education for what i want to be (rockatar startup marketer) i had no other choice than push myself into a startup and learn the hard way. Data is my passion and if they wont hire me once i show them the results, I have a pretty good feeling that someone else will.

  31. Ben Reply

    If you knew you were going to die in X amount of years, you’d dramatically change the per-hour rate at which you’d charge for your time, especially if you’re already well-off.

    I bet an already wealthy person would refuse ALL requests to consult on a paid per-hour rate if he/she knew with absolutely certainly he/she only had like 5 years left.

    P.S. I’m re-commenting so as to turn off that ‘Notify me of followup…” setting.

    -Ben

  32. Zoli Reply

    I was thinking about this topic in the last 2 weeks really – you’re a mind-reader Noah!

    I found an awesome solution: called the Strategy of Preeminence from Jay Abraham (Youtube it!)

    It has 3 main components.

    1. and most importantly:

    You have the obsessed attitude and decide you’re not going to wait for money to change hands before you start contributing, guiding, advising and proteecting them.

    PRetty much the same as your 4th point.

    Secondly:

    POSITION yourself from the beginning as the ONLY VIABLE SOLUTION, to a pain or problem or a great opportunity in their life.

    Then and only then you never let your client buy for less, less quantity or quality or less fruequetly or smaller package what he or she should buy.

    Allowing them to do that – is againt your moral obligation (!) as their trusted advisor.

    For me this idea and what you told in Sales Workshop killed every last fear againt selling.

    If I KNOW that’s the perfect solution for someone I HAVE TO sell it – no doubt.

    I studied something very similar from Highvalue sales course from Appsumo :) and it also helped a TONE!

    Just 1 more thing:

    you had 2 extremely HUGE freebie which were life-changer for me.

    Yesterday’s Biz Idea Validation and 2 free email from Neville which taught me how to create an inforpduct with Gumroad in 4 days.

    Sometimes I was not 110% satisfied what I bought on Appsumo. But since I already recieved greater value for free – I never wanted and refund or complain.

    Which makes VALUEABLE freebies incredibly useful.

  33. Matt E Reply

    I usually try to get people to pay flat rates for particular projects, because my “hourly” rate is typically higher that way. That said, when prompted for an hourly rate I typically get $50 an hour.

  34. James Reply

    I never quote or charge by the hour because if you look at professions people hate (rip off mechanics, lawyers) they always bill per hour. Instead, I just charge monthly retainers and then send detailed service reports and monthly results so that the client sees work being done and progress. Now give me my consulting. In exchange, I will rewrite one of email promos in an A/B test. If I lose against your control, I will buy you a very expensive bottle of scotch.

  35. defiantoli Reply

    At the moment I charge 10,000 per year to my company because I kinda fell badly into the role and that was a step up from 0. If you take into consideration the fact that I get in most days after 12, and the other days later, i am usually gone by 6, I take an hour for break, spend a good amount of time on reddit and most of the rest of the time doing jack shit. I realise this job is costing me a fortune because I am wasting so much god damn time at a shit hole where i think i am undervalued and I am probably regressing from all the demotivation and the generally caustic environment I figure I am earning about a good negative -$100 per hour and all because I am to spineless to do anything about it.

  36. Alex Prandecki Reply

    HEY NOAH,

    ! Great stuff man !

    Enjoyed paying for your email templates, or maybe I’m enjoying the thought of making ten times over what I paid for them even more.

    I sing at senior homes. $65-$75/hour. I love those people. But “taking on the world with business” is calling me.

    Had a show on the strip in Vegas and you know what I learned?
    I don’t want to have a show on the strip.

    Let’s talk for less than 3.14 minutes, so that I don’t take more of your time than that number has to offer.

    I opened a company (GetWithIt!) with a couple friends that I believe will interest you. It’s got pre-traction of 20k per week on FB and over 4,000 likes in just a few months.

    Get with it,
    Alex

  37. Ella Reply

    I charge $80/hour, but I’m in the infancy stages of my blog consulting business. I definitely add a bunch of value to any blogger or freelancer, but you are right about pricing and self worth.

    When I worked for a corporation they charged double the hours of what I could actually do (programming software) at their rate… why? Because I did such a great job efficiently. I was stunned, but it did help me secure the raise I asked for. My time and skill were valuable and they were making much more than they were ever going to pay me.

    Thanks for this!

  38. Rhonda Reply

    I recently began charging a $50 fee to consult with aspiring authors. They want information about the publishing experience as well as writing tips and I think most of the people I consult with feel like this is some sort of short cut to doing the actual work and going through the process of publishing a book. I definitely feel like I should be charging more and now that I’ve read your article, I will be doing that as soon as my website is up and running. I’m going to double the fee for my one-hour consultation. I will fold that fee into the total for services rendered should the client decide to use my company to edit their completed book or better yet, use me as their ghostwriter. Sounds like a grand deal, if you ask me!

    Thanks for this inspiration!

  39. Candace Reply

    I charge $100 an hour for consultation, but measuring my outputs & client results I’m totally undercharging. My performance and value are worth more! I am restructuring my pricing model. Lastly, on occasion I’ve performed free work on some products that I offer (in this case number one on your reasons of guilt association would apply). It’s not difficult for me to perform a mini project so, I have no problem with taking 5-10 minutes out of my busy day and performing the task for a friend who should hire me.

    Thank you for this post, two resolves for me: restructuring price/value model asap no more free work regardless to the size of project.

  40. Sarah Reply

    I charge about $12/hour for event production. I started working for free and after two years all my clients were paying, but because most of them are non-profits and small businesses I feel guilty or scared that I will lose them if I ask for more.

    I need the money, even if it’s only $12, and I am struggling to transition to a higher price point. I’m definitely overqualified for the job (I am a licensed attorney too) but I feel as though I’m small potatoes compared to most production companies.

  41. Martin Reply

    I will save you 20minutes of life. I read all comments. Pick Helen as a winner, she makes sense and is not blabing about shit nobody cares about. and now pick me….

  42. Stephen Reply

    About 10 years ago an attorney called me to testify in court on a case. My fixed overhead was 70K per month excluding my salary so using simple math I told him 2k per hour. He told me that the most he had ever paid was 200$ per hour and said no-I also said no. 3 months later a check came from him for 2K I called him and said I wanted something extra from his client-a picture of my great-great grand father that she had in her store. I testified in the case , his client got 500,000$ and sent me the picture . I’m not always that good , but once is pretty good.

  43. Clay Reply

    Working up the audacity to charge for teaching new sport bike riders how to survive their first few thousand miles riding on the streets… The potential valuation is huge! And I have a hella gift for helping these guys. There is still this huge internal roadblock I’m facing in regards to charging. I also plan to give away a huge helping of the ‘necessary’ stuff… But there is this block. Working to he through it as I read this awesome article!

    Thank you!!!

  44. Mark Reply

    I charge $75 / hour for design work. I used to charge less, but I didn’t like the type of clients I was getting so I raised the rates to get a better quality of client. I will probably raise it later in the year since I have more than enough work right now. Basically, the busier I get, the more I charge, and the more I charge the busier I seem to get. Psychology is funny. :-)

  45. Gabby Reply

    Yes, # 1 has crossed my mind a lot lately.

    I make clients a lot of money! I only get $125 per SEO report to do it and it takes me about 3 hours to finish a report. I do all the planning for the month for all clients and manage communication with them through phone and email. This is all covered under that $125 per report/per month. They’ve started to ask for my advice on different website/blog SEO related topics often, maybe once every two months from different clients. It takes me about 30 min to 1 hour or so to research and write them back with the info, depending on the topic and if it is a recent algorithm update.

    Recently the blog posts I’ve written for them have gotten them on page 1 of Google in about 3 spots and more on pages after that. They’ve reported making sales from the blog posts because they’re coming up for the keywords and the content is audience specific information.

    They’re telling me they’re signing clients from what I’m doing. I’m getting them leads to their landing pages through AdWords and increasing their conversions every week.

    I’ve taken NLP courses, copywriting courses, and have taken so many other courses and have case studies I can write from client feedback and analytics information. I’m starting to think that the $125 per report for about 5 + hours on each client, possibly more for creating the schedule is not as much as I want to make now. I am working about 12 hour days and feel like I don’t get to spend as much time with my family as I’d like to.

    I have a lot of business ideas and have clients that ask for my business advice, business structuring and organizational advice, marketing advice, community management advice, social media advice, all the way to spiritual advice…

    … and yet, I do feel guilty charging for time, but feel angry when someone asks me something I know is going to take awhile to answer and I maybe get $25 for my time, if that.

    I think it is time I start taking my business seriously and not stuck at $125 per report as contract work for a client. I am signing up for your course, How to Make a $1000 a Month Business. There, I made a decision.

  46. Perjan Reply

    Thanks for sharing Noah.
    Just today i stumbled into your blog, and i blame you for being unproductive today :P…

    I have a question.

    When do you know when it’s time to charge more, and what if you have worked before with lower prices for the same people?

    Best,
    Perjan

  47. Joe Reply

    Great post!

    I am going to charge for my time.

    Often, I volunteer in sense of being charitable working with non-profit organizations. Little I realized they don’t really value my expertise or my time.

    Often they would tell me, “I wish I took your recommendation in first place.”

    I want to be respected. Therefore, forth on, I am going to charge for my time.

  48. l Reply

    I LOVE and really appreciate this post. I have failed to charge for my services-precisely because i felt guilty. I find this to be especially true with family and friends. This article gave me a lot of food for thought and a completely different perspective.

    Thank you Noah!

  49. Flynn Reply

    Excellent points here! I also think putting your fee’s can help you weed out the clients that don’t appreciate what you do for them and aren’t willing to invest in their business.

  50. Kesler Reply

    I make a ridiculous amount of money when I do iOS app development and I used to worry about it being ethical. Then I realized that I didn’t want to spend my time developing apps for someone else with the few hours I had for personal projects, and if someone wanted those hours for their projects, it was going to factor into the cost. Since having that thought, I’ve realized that I can set my price at what I feel my time is worth and if people want it bad enough they will hire me. If not, well then I get to do what I want with my time :).

  51. Raicheal Reply

    Loved this article. We are a small but very experienced family business. We went from charging £25ph to £75ph. Logically you’d think it would become harder but actually it was easier as we seemed to have more crediability. The more (unique) value we bring to a client the easier it is to charge higher premiums. Some projects now start at £10K. We can provide a better service, to clients we prefer to work with as we are less pressured. Its learning to have the confidence in yourself.

  52. Marie Youngblood-Krebs Reply

    Noah, I love your style, though it was hard to take at first. I write blogs and create marketing materials for real estate professionals, after 16 years active in the industry myself. I charge $40 per blog, which includes providing graphics and posting it. Creative stuff is per piece, usually averaging about $25 per hour. I love what I do now, so I don’t feel like I’m too cheap, or too expensive, because I provide a quality service and product. You asked, there ya go!
    ps
    I love, love, love the apps of yours I use on my website! I’m NO techie, and they were easy to install and set up – THANK YOU!!!!!!

  53. Abby Reply

    i was just thinking about this yesterday, as i’ve been asked by some potential new clients and returning old clients for proposals on various projects. i charge $125/hour for freelance writing/marketing for financial services. but i usually quote per-project rates so that they don’t feel like they can’t call me whenever they want. honestly though, they’re so price insensitive that i could charge twice my hourly, rack up the hours, deliver the same value i do now, and they’d probably never blink. Points 2-5 are nice, but it’s Point 1 that i really have to work on.

  54. Jordan Reply

    Hey Noah!

    Your in Aus! Are you doing any seminars or something like that of the sort? Hoping to a hear a “yes”, also hoping to hear a “yes, in Sydney”.

    Would love to go to something like this!

    Big fan,

    Jordan

  55. David Reply

    This hits me with spooky precision.
    Thank you.
    I have a gift for counseling, people tend to open up and confide in me with ease. I have counseled married couples striving to save their marriage, businessmen that needed a place to cry, and loners that thought no one could love them if the truth about them were known.
    It’s always been an energizing experience to be part of. But I’ve never felt good about charging people for my time.
    I always wanted to start some “muse” business so that it would find my lifestyle and allow me to counsel for free.
    Anybody want to get some free counsel from me and suggest a fair price?

  56. Kimanzi Constable Reply

    Great post Noah! I charge $166 an hour. For the value I provide (the results I get my clients) and my time I feel it’s a good trade off. I am completely booked so I know you would tell me that I need to raise my prices!