Time is Money

Thanks to Wikimedia for the picture of a friend, a mistress and Picasso!

How much is your time worth?  

It’s a question many freelancers (1099ers) are asked.

I charge $40 an hour or will negotiate a total project price.  WHOA!! Forty bucks! Geez, that’s a lot of money.

Well, no – not really.  When you consider the amount of experience I have, it’s frankly not enough.  However, my rate is comparable for the area I live in.

We are often asked to give of our time and expertise – for a good cause, for a non-profit, for a friend – and it puts us in a touchy place.  It’s hard to say “I charge for that” to a friend.  However, in order to become the smart businessperson you are destined to be, you’ll need to get better at sharing your worth.

I started out by saying “Let me take a look at my calendar, I’m pretty busy.” However, that never stops anyone!  You’ll get a response like “Great! We are so happy you’ll do it!

Next I tried saying “We could probably work something out.”  Turns out, that doesn’t work either.  To me, it sounds like I’ll adjust my rate.  To the other person, it sounds like I’ll do it for free.

Finally, with the coaching of Becky McCray I now say “I’d love to help you.  My rates are $40 an hour.  Would you like me to find some time to work you in?”  That works well.  And you know what? I’m often surprised when I hear “Great, we really want your help.”

There’s a story that illustrates my point very well.

A woman in Paris spots Picasso in a cafe. She begs and pleads him to sketch her…he finally relents, whips out his pad and draws a sketch of her.
She’s delighted. “How much do I owe you?” she asks.
“$5,000,” he replies.
“$5,000!” she exclaims. “But it only took you 2 minutes!”
“No madam,” he replies. “It took me my life”
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