Comms business advice: change how you charge for your services

If you are freelance or a consultant, you might need to change how you charge for your services.

The worst advice I ever got was from someone who showed me how to calculate my day rate.
After a few years of charging a day rate for my skills and advice, I realised – this doesn’t make sense.

First off – what I can do in a day, is massively different to what someone else can do. 

So if a client was comparing me with another comms pro, they’d have no idea about what they get for their investment.

Also, with a day rate – if I want to earn more, I’ll have to take on more work – until I’m at capacity.
‘Is my value really so closely related to my time?’ I thought.
I’ve got a chronic health condition, I don’t want to work all the days in the year, driving myself into an early grave.
I like offering value and incredible results to my clients.
But I don’t have to work myself ragged to do it.

I have learned that charging what the work is worth, is a better strategy than charging how much time I take to do work.


Here’s a story.

Image credit: Wikipedia

A man approached Picasso in a restaurant in Spain and insistently asked for a sketch on a napkin.

“Fine,” said Picasso, and taking a charcoal from his pocket, he made a rapid sketch of a goat.

It took only a few lines and smudges, yet was unmistakably a Picasso.

The man reached out for the napkin, but Picasso didn’t hand it over.

“You owe me $100,000,” he said.

This man was outraged. “But took you no more than 30 seconds to draw!”

Picasso said, “No, it took me 40 years.”

It’s an apocryphal anecdote, but the message is true enough:

  • Mastery takes time and effort

  • Creativity is not just about what you do when you create, it involves everything we have learned to this day

  • Value isn’t always related to time

Think about charging clients a cost based on the value of the outcomes they get from your work. Not how much time it takes.

ALSO READ: Comms business advice – stop looking for permission

ALSO READ: Money spend is an investment, not a cost

If you want to join a group of comms professionals who run their own business, and get all the advice and support you need to thrive, take a look at the Comms Entrepreneurs Business Club.

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