Can you ‘get right’ with $100? How to understand what charging more for your time really means

What’s the value of a buck? Or, better yet, what’s the value of $100?

It wasn’t until I started charging $100 an hour for my time that I “got right” with myself in my business. Until then, I felt nervous & unsure. I often felt resentful of my clients to whom I gave my all. Most disappointingly, because the investment was so low, I found my clients often did nothing with what I suggested.

Bumping up my price to $100 solved a lot of problems and helped me to “get right” with money.

But my prices didn’t stay there long, by January of this year, I had decided to double those prices to $200 per hour with a minimum 2 hour commitment.

What would someone pay you $100 per hour to talk to you about?
– Danielle LaPorte, author of The Fire Starter Sessions

I’ve talked before about how my family had very little money growing up. I’ve also talked about how somehow my mom never managed to say “that’s too expensive” to me.

The value of a dollar has been very real to me throughout my life. The idea of one hundred of them lined up neatly representing an hour of my time seemed entirely unreasonable.

Besides, my previous employer made it quite clear that my time was worth much less than $13 per hour.

I suspect that this is true for many people. If having $100 left over at the end of the week or even the end of the month seems like freedom, I’m talking to you. This isn’t reflective so much of how much you, your partner, or your parents make – it’s reflective of how you use money.

How you understand the value of $100 is reflective of the relationship you have with money.

And you can’t truly know what people would pay you $100 per hour to talk to them about until you come to terms with your relationship to that $100.

When $100 represents feeding your family or not, or having cable or not, or making the full mortgage payment or not, it is near impossible to assign that value to your time. However, when you cross the line into service provider, business owner, maker, or artist, you begin to realize that “or nots” are not the name of the game.

There simply is no “or not” associated with your time. Your time represents possibilities: more clarity, more time, more beauty, more travel, more pride, more space, more organization, more strategy. Instead of being a choice between having or not having, there is the possibility of so much more than what is paid for.

$100 becomes a gateway to greater things.

What “greater things” will someone gain from talking to you for an hour?

Do you see how [those things] are worth a Benjamin Franklin?

Want to get right by that $100? Here are two ideas:

1.) Invest in something for your business (coaching, an ebook, a course, a service, etc…) that is $100 or analyze a previous investment. Keep track of how that investment improves your work.

Does it help you get your work done faster?
Does it make you $500 in one month?
Does is improve your customer service?
Does it reduce your stress?

Analyze that true transactional value of that $100. Was it worth the money you gave up? Was it worth the investment?

2.) Buy a $100 dress or sweater or pair of shoes. Wear it constantly for 6 weeks. Consider the difference between that purchase and a $15 Target version.

What’s the wear & tear like?
How’s the comfort level?
What’s the style quotient?
Would you wear it 3 years from now?

Analyze the true transaction value here. Would you rather have this $100 piece or 7 Target pieces?

Neither of these experiences are fool proof. The value of your time isn’t either. But extending these examples over time, the value of $100 becomes more & more clear.

There is often a greater exponential benefit in spending $100 than in spending considerably less.

That’s why $100 has to be the minimum. On top of all the cost-of-living, cost-of-doing-business equations, I think you’ll find that charging $100 per hour for your service (or labor) is the bare minimum others expect for good results.

Charge less and you signal that you offer inferior results.

Now free is a different story.

Charging nothing is disengaging. People don’t know what to expect. They’re caught off guard.

Offering your service for free gives you a chance to find your $100 offer. You can practice with the idea of delivering superior results. You can see the value of your service (or labor) reflected back to you.



So how comfortable are you with 100 big ones? Please share your experience with money & time by leaving a response below.

Continue the conversation...

53 comments on “Can you ‘get right’ with $100? How to understand what charging more for your time really means

  1. Marie Noelle says:

    I use to have a big job paying me big money for crazy hours… for me, 100$ was nothing… it meant having one more Lululemon hoodie… Now it’s different. If I spend 100$ on something, I expect it worths it.

    Services industry such as coaching or graphic design worth a high hourly rate. People working in this industry are not paid for 40 hours a week but most of them work more than that… They think about their strategies or designs, they dream about them at night… They pretty much work all the time but they don’t bill all that time.

    When my fiance started his graphic design business, he wasn’t sure how much he should charge… in that industry, if you work for a big company, you are paid something like 10-15$ an hour and he was used to that… but he was working 40hours at that rate… so he started at something like 25-30… but then, he realized he couldn’t pay the bills!!

    If you don’t charge enough to feel right about it, you won’t offer your best, you’ll be way too stressed about money to be good at your work.

    • tara gentile says:

      “If you don’t charge enough to feel right about it, you won’t offer your best, you’ll be way too stressed about money to be good at your work.”

      Amen!

  2. Ellie Di says:

    You’re in my braaaaaaaaain! I’ve got all these lofty ideas about what I want to do with my business, but the instant I start thinking about pricing, I freak out. I’ve never been good at pricing, and the idea of charging for something I’ve always done is daunting, especially because I’m living a very hand-to-mouth kind of existence in terms of finances these days. It’s hard to get out of that scarcity mindset. Using tricks like, “What would *I* pay for this service?” don’t help because I can’t afford $100 an hour to talk to someone about anything. But I think the way you’re framing the idea will help bust me out of the rut. I’m scribbling down your suggestions for later contemplation.

    • tara gentile says:

      I try!

      Please let me know if you come to any conclusions, revelations, or a ha moments while contemplating those examples. I realize it’s not realistic for everyone to actually DO those things but I think it’s really important to start to see what $100 means OUTSIDE of your own work.

      Cause, really, that’s still crazy talk ;)

      Have a great day!

      • Ellie Di says:

        It all feels like a quality over quantity thing, which I suppose is the point. I’ve noticed in my own market research that I have a knee-jerk reaction to under-$100 coaching prices that says, “Well, that can’t be very good if it’s that cheap.” The idea of paying for better service/quality is definitely an important one.

        I think what might be holding me back is more of that ingrained consumer mentality that’s been mentioned here a few times a la Walmart – if you buy cheap, you can buy a new one easily when it dies. To translate that into service – if you pay low rates and it doesn’t work, you can afford to pay someone else later. I definitely want to avoid that mentality in my client base, so keeping prices in the “good quality” range would be a much better move for both me and my clients.

  3. Kelly Watson says:

    I agree wholeheartedly.

    Have you read Geneen Roth’s newest book, “Lost and Found: Unexpected Revelations about Food and Money?” Sounds like it’s going to be good. I was just reading a preview on Amazon and she expressed a similar sentiment.

  4. Mic says:

    Thanks Tara! I don’t have a healthy relationship w/ money and it shows when I think of pricing (when you’re used to underselling your services or volunteering, it’s sometimes hard to make that mindshift). Also..since I’m starting out w/ my art business, I feel like I need to start low then work myself up to that $100/hr. So grateful for your posts!

  5. Caroline says:

    Great post.

    Thing is I do understand about quality vs quantity, ect. But I was almost “drilled” ,growing up, about how (little) much people are willing to pay for stuff. And I do see it all around at Walmarts and Dollarama stores type. On top of that, I am a crafter who really likes to take her time to make things the right way. So it’s very hard for me to wrap my brain around the idea of being able to produce something that people are going to spend money on. Not because they don’t like it, but because: taking my time x hourly rate that feels right = too expensive.

    • tara gentile says:

      A ha! This is important. So if you understand quality vs quantity, how many other people do? I do. The people who read this blog do.

      Walmart types (die-hards, that is) won’t buy your stuff. That’s not your market. But there a LOT of other people out there who are willing to drop $2,000 on a coat or $500 on a pair of shoes.

      They’ll buy your stuff if you let them.

  6. Jillian says:

    Tara,

    I really love this post, as always. How do you feel that this translates into valuing your time for producing a physical product – like hand bags or jewelry? When I asked myself that question, it reminded me of the 10,000 hours discussion on Scoutie Girl and being an artisan vs. a crafter. Maybe the $100 per hour comes when I’m truly at the artisan level that I want to reach.

    Jillian

  7. My says:

    Great post Tara. We raised our prices last year and it definitely weeds out some of the tire kickers. And I like you would feel very resentful towards some of my clients because I was putting in way more time and effort versus what I was being paid. Thanks again for the great post.

  8. Tracy says:

    So interesting to think about! For several years I worked as a freelance writer and communications consultant. When I stopped doing that work 5 years ago I was charging $75/hour, and that felt low! Now that I’m making art I’ve really not been sure what to set as an hourly rate, and several friends have told me my prices are too low. I think it partly has to do with my confidence level, as well as a change in my relationship to money, which occurred when I lost my home (which included my office and studio) to fire. Your recent posts are getting me thinking about all this, so thank you for that!

    On another note…I don’t seem to be able to access your Spacious Goals guide – and I’ve tried on a couple of different days. Just thought I’d let you know that the link seems to be broken.

  9. I was JUST struggling with pricing. I want to do a tweaky (my own) kickstarter project/funding promotion and I’m struggling with myself on balancing the idea of asking for pledges, giving a gift reward that is worthwhile vs what I think is ‘worthy’. Doubt monsters yelling: no one wants to pay for something they can’t see!
    but you’re right, I’m not thinking of the true value + possibilities and focusing too much on the dollar amount.
    Plus this makes me think of the dishwasher we bought. It was considered a ‘luxury’ item, but the time savings + sanity savings and fights we now no longer have, made that ‘luxury’ into an investment that was worth every cent.

  10. gwyn says:

    I am really struggling with this.

    I know I have a bad money mind set but what if I don’t want to sell to the $500 shoe people? What if it appalls me that people spend $500 on shoes? I don’t shop at Walmart but my impression is that most diehards shop there not because they love it but because that is what they can afford.

    That said I know Walmart customers are not my customers. They will buy a $100 dress before a $100 print, but that is not my point.

    I actually can wrap my brain around $100 an hour for my time and yours, but I think you lose me at $200. Help me understand that.

    I mean no offense here, you know I adore you! I am just trying to get right with it :)

    • tara gentile says:

      No offense taken, of course, Gwyn.

      Let’s say you pay me for 5 hours – $1000 – and, because of the work we do together, you create a $70,000 per year business. How much is that $1000 investment worth then… really, it’s worth $70,000 times at least a few years. Also, keep in mind I don’t “make $200 per hour” – that’s what I charge for the time that’s billable. There are some weeks I don’t do a single coaching session, at most I might do 5 or 6 hours worth.

      Not so scary then, right? Kind of a necessity.

      And you certainly don’t have to sell to the $500 shoe people, my point is that there are more out there than you think. And more than $500 shoes, there are people who know that price tags often signify the value/quality of something.

      Sadly, I know a lot of people who choose to shop at Walmart. They don’t have to but they haven’t really been taught that they don’t have to… that something “better” exists. They believe the hype. And they also have been taught to believe that they are only WORTH what Walmart sells.

      What I found SO SO SO difficult in pricing for myself is understanding how my time & production was worth anything to people, let alone $100. But when I broke down money barriers I realized that people do pay for time, value, substance, and meaning.

      And, of course, art falls into that category.

  11. Katie Fink says:

    I had a “ask for what you want” formula given to me a long long time ago and it went something like this….

    How much are your bills
    How much is your rent/mortgage
    How much is food, gas, etc,,,
    How much do you spend, will you spend to enrich yourself, take classes, etc…how much did you spend learning your craft….etc…

    Add this up.

    NOW
    how much do you want to work….either days per year, or hours…..

    this is where I think I might have something wrong BUT, my understanding is,

    You start pluggin in how much you are worth per hour…..IF you want to work 20 hours a week doing something you love, 10 months out of the year at $100 an hour equals roughly 80,000. MINUS your taxes, expenses….

    IF something isn’t balancing, you know you need to work more, spend less, or raise your pricing!!!!!!

    • Marie Noelle says:

      I love the way you sees it Katie!

      By getting an hourly rate with your way, we are sure we won’t starve (because hungry freelancers and artists are not fun to work with!) and we won’t feel guilty about an high rate since we need it to pay our bills.

      That’s really smart! I love it!!

    • Digging this formula!

  12. gwyn says:

    Bless you Tara. I came back here to rescind my comment but you beat me.

    That explanation does help as well as your reminding me of the people that have more money but still live with scarcity mindset. The funny thing is I am by nature very optimistic, but this money piece is really tough for me.

    I am realizing I am not making any money because I am not trying. I mean I am working every day and going through many motions, but I am avoiding some fundamental things I know will help. Looks like the “resistance” has me by the….

    If I can see it I can fight it!

    Thanks

  13. Kristin says:

    Great post, as always… I agree with your principles but they seem to apply so much more easily to service-oriented businesses and fine arts, whereas my market is more along the craft lines (scrapbookers).

    My challenge has been figuring out how to make my time translate into its true value when I sell a physical product (books) to a market that is accustomed to a certain price level (too low). Does that mean I have to change my target market? What do I do if that original market is the one I understand better and want to serve?

    I suspect I need to add additional products or services to target a different or high-income market but I haven’t figured out how to do that… any feedback would be greatly appreciated. :)

    • tara gentile says:

      They certainly do. However, I think the $100 per hour benchmark is still an important one. As a self-employed person, it’s sort of a “living wage” if you don’t want to working 80 hours a week.

      I think “makers” of physical products make a lot of assumptions about what prices people are accustomed to paying for similar (or not so similar products). Growing quickly through several income brackets in the last 12 months, I’ve seen people spend lots of money on ALL sorts of things I wouldn’t have been able to imagine 5 years ago.

      And that’s not to say those people were wealthy. It’s just that different people have different priorities and priority determines what people are willing to spend.

      If people aren’t making your products a priority, you need to either find new people, as you said, or make decisions to reduce the price. That’s going to mean manufacturing, outsourcing, and investing in infrastructure.

      If that’s not the route you want to take, you need to find the people you prioritize your products above all others. When you focus on your passion & purpose, that’s not as difficult as it sounds.

      • Kristin says:

        Thanks Tara…

        I’m assuming the “manufacturing, outsourcing, investing” route is along the lines of “it takes money to make money,” with the goal of reducing overall costs per unit for the long term, right? The manufacturing & infrastructure I get, but outsourcing is a little less obvious to me … it seems like adding expense, rather than reducing.

        I know my time is worth money and hiring some things done reduces my workload and allows me to focus on key areas, but it also adds costs that at least in the short-term, make it harder to justify in the short-term when the $$ is super tight. I’m familiar with your scarcity ideas… I’m just not very good at translating that into real, everyday situations. Am I just letting resistance take over?

        • tara gentile says:

          Well, yes, sort of. But what I really mean is “Made in China.”

          Sure, there’s investment up front – but the decision is made to maximize the bottom line.

          If you are limited to me, myself, and I, you’ve got to price yourself to keep yourself afloat. Staying in a price range you can’t sustain will ruin you.

          ***

          Also, it’s fine & good to WANT to serve a certain market. But if that market doesn’t need you, they’re not your market.

  14. Thanks Tara, great advice. I always tell people, artists especially, they need to value their work and price it with value. I am not always so great at heeding my own advice.

    Thank you for the great reminder.

    xo
    lisa

  15. Lynnette says:

    Lots of thought-provoking ideas here today. Especially loving this:

    “You need to find the people who prioritize your products above all others. ”

    In theory the $100 per hour mark makes a lot of sense to me, especially when you consider all the behind the scenes cost of your time.

    But what I’m struggling with is how do you go about valuing your own time at that rate in an industry where everyone else undervalues their time? It’s easy to say the bargain shoppers aren’t your customers but how do you get to that point of knowing you can raise your prices to that $100 level without worrying you’ll lose all your clients? Were there signs that led you to that point?

    • tara gentile says:

      Lynette – that’s a phenomenal question.

      I find the “middle of the pack” the hardest place to be when it comes to pricing, value, & quality. There’s just too much competition! That’s one of the reasons the race to the bottom is so fast.

      Being at the top echelon of pricing is difficult to get your head around & sure to piss some people off – but it’s very easy to identify what’s luxurious, above & beyond, and just plain awesome. And with those identifiers comes that high price tag.

      Yes, it easy to say “bargain shoppers” aren’t your customers. When you try to work with bargain shoppers, you not only have to compromise price but everything else. And nothing is ever good enough for them. Your price is your price – customers see the value in it or they don’t.

      What we don’t realize is that for every person you turn away because of a “too high” price, you’re turning off a different kind of customer because the price is “too low.” It’s true. Really truly.

      So you might as well set a price that represents you true value, quality, and the way you want to experience the world and then work to find the people who want to pay that price.

      • Lynnette says:

        You know, you’re absolutely right. I hadn’t really thought about the middle of the pack in that way but it’s totally true. And the default response to that level of competition seems to be to compete on price thru sales and coupons, essentially devaluing their work in the process so no one sees the need to pay full price anymore.

        I think the hardest part for me to wrap my head around is this:

        “What we don’t realize is that for every person you turn away because of a “too high” price, you’re turning off a different kind of customer because the price is “too low.” It’s true. Really truly.”

        Because while I so want to believe it’s true, there’s still that little voice in my head saying “what if those people DON’T exist?” But I’m guessing that’s more due to fear than maybe reality.

        Anyway, thanks so much for answering my question! The wheels are definitely turning over here…

  16. Kate says:

    “When $100 represents feeding your family or not, or having cable or not, or making the full mortgage payment or not, it is near impossible to assign that value to your time.

    However, when you cross the line into service provider, business owner, maker, or artist, you begin to realize that “or nots” are not the name of the game.”

    It is very difficult, right now, for me to read that as anything other than ‘you’re not going to be able to charge wads of money until you’re already making wads of money and don’t have to worry about money any more’.

    Not a criticism. It’s just where I am right now.

    • tara gentile says:

      Ah! I appreciate your perspective on that line.

      That is truly not what I mean at all. I’ve been at that place where $100 seems like an enormous investment, as it is for very many people. But when $100 is that “on the line” for you, you are in no position to question whether your work/time/effort is worth that or not. You’ll never be able to live up to that $100 in your own mind.

      So you have to get an outside perspective (test clients/customers, family, friends, old professors…) who can give you an idea, not just of the dollar value you’re worth, but of the actual results or GAINS they experience by purchasing from you.

      You are not objective about your own value. You can’t be. So you need someone like me to tell you that $100 per hour is where it’s at.

      And also, charging $100 per hour doesn’t mean you’re making wads – far far far from it. It means you’re respecting the potential of your time and energy.

  17. After just getting off the phone with another web designer, I thought of this most amazing ‘get right – $100′ post by Tara.

    I knew that it needed to be re-read and this time slowly to take it and all your comments ‘in’.

    …The call came from a web designer who had been approached by a ‘recently-not-renewed-contract’ and former client of mine. The new prospective web designer learned all that I did for that former client on a monthly basis.

    When she asked why I hadn’t renewed his contract, I let her know my rates had increased greatly enough that I didn’t even bother approaching him on those new rates. She bluntly told me (she’s French so it came over even better! lol) that my new rates were still too low for all that I had done for him on a monthly basis. AND that she got my contact details to assist their firm when they are in a jam at rates that were certainly more ‘my’ style.

    Huh. Hmm. It was wonderful experience listening to this other web designer. After I hung up, I said out loud how grateful I was and am to be validated by this large media firm, that my new rates were still a bit too low even though I had raised them. And that my time, experience and work were absolutely worth every dollar if not more.

    Now that’s what I call a T.G.I.F.!

    • tara gentile says:

      Yes!!!! Experiences like this are EXACTLY what we need to reaffirm the financial worth of our time & expertise. Thanks for this great example, Leah!

  18. Mmm, hmm!
    As my prices have increased (started at $150), I have noticed a clear result: my clients use the SAME advice, the SAME smarts and do SO. MUCH. MORE with it.

    No one likes to think of it, but a high enough price filters out the people who think “eh, what’s $50? It’s not like I have to commit, or anything” and those people will bog you down with projects that aren’t your highest work!

    Thanks so much for writing this, Tara, and putting it so clearly!

    • tara gentile says:

      I’m just repeating this for dramatic effect!

      “As my prices have increased (started at $150), I have noticed a clear result: my clients use the SAME advice, the SAME smarts and do SO. MUCH. MORE with it.”

  19. Jess says:

    You really got me thinking today.

    http://www.sweeteventide.com/2011/05/breathe.html

    I have been swamped with ridiculous things, drained from my petty day job, just worn out to the core and missing my son who I stayed home with for 7.5 years at great financial sacrifice. I had to get a day job but 6 months into it, I am pretty damn sure it’s not worth what I’m making. I’ve been neglecting my blog, my photography, and all that is important to Jess (not the wife or the mama or the school volunteer or the worker bee but ME). I don’t have all the answers yet but you do have me thinking. I’m 40 years old now. When will I start believing in me, in a serious way, in a $100 per hour way? It is not enough for others to tell me I am worth a lot more than I am earning now. I need to get it in my own bones.

  20. Matt Lucas says:

    “They’ll buy your stuff if you let them.”

    Tara … This nailed it for me! “… if YOU let them”

  21. I think in creative industries there is a real tendency to undervalue work because it’s so competitive so your article isn’t necessarily a one size fits all – a graduate with no experience in a competitive industry like say, graphic design, will fail if she doesn’t price according to the market – arbitrarily choosing $100 as an hourly fee is a nice analogy but not necessarily a realistic idea. When I was starting out, I was lucky to get $20 per hour and that was pretty good – because as a copywriter I was competing with cheap foreign labour. I’ve come a long way from that but I think that I have also earned my hourly rate :)

  22. Kelly Exeter says:

    I think one of the biggest things I have learned about working for myself and charging by the hour is … the value of OTHER service providers’ time.

    I used to be one of those people who would go to the mechanic and say “huh? $100 in part and $500 in labour – are you serious?”!

    Now I don’t even blink when the plumber charges a $100 call out fee and of course I value my OWN time much more highly and charge accordingly. And I agree with Tara … rather than charging peanuts (and having people waste your time) charge either NOTHING or SOMETHING WORTHWHILE. Not somewhere in the middle.

    If you’re just starting your business and feel you have to charge somewhere in the middle … at some stage you are going to have to try and re-educate your (probably loyal) client base, and this is painful (been there done that!).

  23. Jen says:

    I sat with this post all day yesterday. I love it! I recently began reframing my thinking of money. For a number of reasons, I began to think of $100 as sooooo much and didn’t spend it on myself and certainly didn’t expect anyone to spend it on me. Something interesting happened…I compromised on quality for myself (or didn’t take care of me needs at all), and that really is more expensive in the long run. In terms of selling things (when I was selling handmade) I was working my tail off, taking time from my family and self, with little to show for it. I eventually started selling handmade choc. covered cookies and charged more what I thought they were worth…and people bought them — that was exciting and healing in a way.

    I learned that my penny pinching (way beyond frugality) and underpricing revealed that I placed a high value on working too much and to an extent self-deprivation (ahem, a li’l martyr action goin’ on)…and deeper still, these were issues of self-worth and seeking validation, being manifest through my self-care and business, ack!

    With that learning, I started doing things like making myself a good healthy breakfast every day. I refused to worry if we’d have enough eggs anymore…and we haven’t run out yet! I’ve taken time to get to the gym…I haven’t run out of time yet. I have my eye on some items that hit that $100 and that is the next step. I’ve learned that $100 can be a lot in your budget, that doesn’t mean it has to be a lot to you…if that means saving a while, it’s worth it. Likewise, as we charge what we’re worth, there are those who’ll drop it (I saw it when people paid me $30 +$10 shipping for a dozen chocolate covered cookies) and then there are those who will see our value and save up.

    Thanks for a great soul-stirring & uplifting, keep-it-movin’ post :)

  24. on. fire.

    challenge accepted.

    my worth changes today.

  25. So true! When I raised my rates my clients and I both benefited!

  26. Rita says:

    Over the past 3 years my rates have gone from free to $15, $25, $50, $75 and now $100 an hour. There are times when people have suggested I charge more, but I’m feeling comfortable with that figure. What ever amount I charge I feel it important that I line up with it for it to work for both parties.

    I’m curious what makes folks go above $100 an hour (I’m a spiritual “coach”/teacher for women).

    • tara gentile says:

      Hi Rita! Thanks for the comment!

      For me it was 3 things:

      1) Demand on my time. At $100 per hour, there was too much demand. I’d prefer to work less “live” and work more on my own projects.

      2) I could make more than that developing passive income. I want to make sure my “work” and my passive income remain at a certain balance. Sure, I love selling products but I do want to work one-on-one with people. So my one-on-one time needs to have a certain correlation to the $$ I can make with creating a new product.

      3) I objectively weighed the outcomes I was creating for my clients with the amount I was charging while ALSO objectively looking at other coach/strategists in my area of expertise. With that knowledge, I think I could actually charge more – but I’m very comfortable with my rates right now.

      Thanks again!

  27. Wow, reading through the post and all the comments has really got me thinking. Just discussing with my artist group how hard pricing is and how it’s tough to get it right.

    Many of us had the view of “what would I pay for this?” and that leads us and now I am realizing (albeit slowly realizing) that maybe this isn’t the best strategy, lol. I have always calculated my materials and made sure to cover them adequately but, the time and energy and creation is so much harder to pinpoint. And this just sparked for me – How can I truly look at my work as a graphic designer and crafter and measure it against what I would pay for it? That doesn’t make any sense! Clearly I wouldn’t pay much for it because I KNOW HOW TO DO IT – it’s the stuff that I don’t know how to do, that stuff I admire and the stuff that I value that I pay for, not the stuff I know how to do. So really I’m the worst person to charge according to what I would pay. Major aha! moment. Now that doesn’t leave me with the right answer just yet, but I a feel a new perspective and that is amazing, thanks Tara.

  28. Andrea says:

    YES, YES, YES!

    In addition, when you’re comfortable with your worth and you declare that worth you will attract your best buying customers.

    This is a make or break component of owing a small business–there is nothing glamorous or self assuring about being a “starving artist”!

    When I work with someone on their niche and determining their expertise I show them that the farther and deeper they can get in their specific (very specific) industry they get to charge for their expertise–and there will always be a customer or client who only want the best!

    Dan Kennedy has a great chapter in “No B.S. Sales Strategies” where he mentions how quickly sellers will turn a customer towards their sale section or cheaper options. He goes on to point out that shouldn’t we want our best customers to have our best products?! <–I love this point :) Standing up for your worth is liberating for you AND your customers.

    Thanks Tara!

    -Andrea, Brand & Bloom

  29. Shelley says:

    I’ve been struggling with this, a lot. We equate quality with price. I know this & I’ve been (slowly, in most cases) to reflect more of the work & thought involved with creating my pieces, but I still find myself, maybe, in the middle of the pack, with few to no sales. I know I need to find my market & I don’t want to market to bargain hunters or the “I can do that” crowd (they can’t or they won’t or they do, but they undersell me & themselves with their prices & they still don’t buy) but I’m floundering with finding who I should be marketing to. I’ve tried the opposite, sales & prices that are too low, both ineffective to non existent in terms of sales. The bargain hunters don’t get what I do or won’t pay for it & I haven’t found those that will. Very frustrating, I’m in some sort of limbo & need to find the way out, that market that’s willing to pay quality & design (or $100 an hour to chat about something). Part of me & maybe it’s the same for many others, still feels a little unworthy, so I have yet to come to terms with that $100.

  30. Lynn says:

    Beautiful site. I have to agree that you would be better off working for free than charging a low amount. Think of yourself like a lawyer. A lawyer either charges a few hundred per hour to their normal clientele or they do pro bono work to “do good” and network. I’ve never heard of a lawyer advertising a 29.95 an hour special. It cheapens the image. Would you ever think of going back to that lawyer at regular rates knowing they gave someone else such a deal? You’d be a sucker not to wait for their next “special” or to not try and negotiate a better deal. After all, you know they will work for less. I’m not saying to give up marketing, but use it to gain 1 new high-paying client than 4 low paying customers.

  31. Andreea says:

    Tara, I completely agree with you on this one! And I’ve noticed that when I charge more for my ebooks or my coaching or my online courses, I tend to attract people who are a lot more serious about investing in and growing their business. If someone is going to spend $47 on an ebook, I know that they really want to make use of it and make the most out of it.

  32. nathalie says:

    I feel the bottom line is believing in yourself. If you charge $500 per hour, you have to feel you are worth $500 per hour. I have long stopped undermining my natural talent as a designer. True, I am still not in the monthly numbers I want to be but this detail is changing. There is competition in every field; teachers, firemen, doctors, whoever!! Money is energy and there is enough out there for everyone and believe me, I figured this out the hard way. I was raised in a family who had a lack and work hard mentality. Yet I saw those who were work horses who earned peanuts and those who did not work at all with abundance. This was the first time I understood how I felt about the subject of money played an important role as to whether or not I received it.

    Today money comes in so easily. Funny thing is, it is not through my designs. Somehow I am still a long cry from attracting money through my passion. What is it about me, my beliefs, my self-talk, etc. that disallows this? I had a trunk show this week-end where I caught myself saying, ” I do not sell. No one is buying my designs.” Now that was a HUGE revelation for me because now I will tweak this old and useless belief out of my head and therefore, out of my heart. I did not even realize I was telling myself this, it was soooo automatic and subliminal.

    I know for a fact high end, luxury items are making a killing even with this so-called economic crisis. I am in the fashion field and I see it here in Paris where I live. The luxury boutiques are always crowded. Good for them because it shows to me there is money out there. As I attract money in other fun ways, I release pressure to make it through hard work and struggle. Soon I will have money come through my impeccable business vision and what a hoot this will be.

    Tara, I find your articles to be pivotal for me. It allows me to peel another layer of me. Money is out there. We know it and more importantly, we deserve it. All the great things we do when we have money; hire someone else, buy things keeping businesses alive, traveling, etc. I am a generous person and the more money I make, the more it keeps the world going. So, let us bring it on in…..!!!

    One more thing, like Tracy, I was not able to access your Spacious Goal offer. Hmmmmm?

  33. Sole says:

    It’s all about perceived value. I’m a psychotherapist (in Argentina, so excuse my english :)

    I have a private practice since two years ago. I’m relatively new and without experience. So, I’m used to think I need to charge low. But, the funny thing is that I’m charging $50 per hour session, but people are choosing other therapists (and not because their experience!).

    I do a lot of aditional research for every patient I have. I come up with the best alternatives for treatment. I have a constant contact with them between sesions by e-mail, I send them resources, books, audios to complement the therapy… still, I’m charging $50.

    But when I think about $100/hour is… Will I have clients next month (at this new fee)?? Or must I rise my fees at $70 – $85 first?? (Most therapist charge $85… and there is a lot of competition in my city).

    But I know some of them charge $120, $150 per session.

  34. Nathara says:

    What a great post! My family is appalled at what I’m charging for an hour session – $100 on the button – but they don’t understand what all I’m charging for. I’m charging for 20 years of experience, a multi-disciplinary approach, skills and talents that I’ve trained hard and continue to train, preparation time for my consultations, all sorts of things.

    • tara gentile says:

      Exactly. Earning $100 is not for 40 hours per week. It’s for 20 billable hours (at most!) that have to cover the rest of the time you spend work – many more than 40 in most cases.

      It’s a completely different mindset and one that took me quite a while to come to so I try to spread the word. Keep up the good work!

  35. Laura Ribas says:

    Hola Tara,
    This post is really changing the way I want to focuss my business.
    Thanks a lot!
    You inspire me! :)