How much are you worth then?

Following on from my blog on Tuesday, I had many positive responses so obviously there is a whole lotta people out there asking for business tips and services for nothing (and it annoying the askee) the asker at this stage has not weighed in. I have had no one come and ‘defend’ their position of if you do it for free it’s good advertising for you.. hmm

So then what are you worth or I should say what is your time worth? How does one calculate their worth in dollars per hour? What is reasonable in order to get people to ‘hire’ you? In setting your goal of income and expenditure do you start with a figure in mind and work backwards? Calculating how much you need to cover bills, living expenses and carrying other people’s debts? or do you pluck a figure out of the air based on what you would like to earn and work out a rate from there? How does one put a figure on their skill and then ask people to ‘buy’ into it?

I do laser hair removal on a Wednesday (I am a Laser Certified Registered Nurse) and I do need to calculate how much per treatment I get. I travel over 100km’s (return trip) to the place I work out of – small distance in the country and then I have my over heads, so I have to cover these. I use to give out price lists but I found this puts people off, they look at a price and never contact you or speak to you again. As I am in a customer service business I now ask them to come in so I can access things such as skin colour, medical history past & present and then do a patch test. Then I assess how much I would like them to pay and then work out what that realistic figure is. As I explained to one person yesterday who came in and struggling to get her business up and running, we talk price point and I told her I barely have 10 minutes for lunch as I am so busy, she asked if I was going to get a second day and I said no. I had a shop where I was available 6 days per week and people didn’t come, so being available all of the time wasn’t good for my business, now it’s my time, my terms and I am busier than ever. I also told her that I look at the cost of living and calculate that telling someone $90 per treatment is better than $100 and it is just a figure. People can justify $90 over $100, for some reason I can say $100 and people say no where I can say $90 and I get bookings.

So as an independent consultant actively engaged in your own business is that figure $50 per hour or $45 that gets you over the line. Most people when they engage you are probably happier with $45 and that person who comes in at that will get work versus $50 is it the gst loading that make the difference? I have no idea, I just see and know a lot of talented, self-educated people struggling to get buy in from businesses that call them up and ask for ‘free information”. I have also seen that ‘free no obligation 1/2 hr consultation” used by a potential employer and then there’s no buy in after that. Should as independent consultants this time be better used with the potential consultant asking all of the questions instead of giving answers? I think so but not everybody has sales skills. Would you look at this time like you would a job interview?

It is nerve-wracking ‘selling oneself and one’s abilities” as the “proof is always in the pudding.” People who do not know you haven’t seen this proof, perhaps you should have a bio with you for these consultations, recommendations and thank you letters from people and companies you have worked for and offer these to your future ‘business’ or at least have a list of names that you could hand over that they can call to see if what you are saying and selling is what they want.

I don’t know the answers but any tip is better than going blind and waiting for a call that may never come or worse still, giving someone all of the answers and they go back to work and give YOUR information to the junior office clerk to do. This means your hourly rate has gone from $45 to $16.80, but this is what some employers do, they scope the market and ‘use’ their connections to find you, call you, pretend they will hire you and go and not look back.

So here’s the shoe on the other foot , turn the tables find your price point, develop a plan and make sure the information you give even in an interview leaves the listener with more questions than answers. Stick with what you know for that will make you more successful and happier. I go away from interviews and job prospects writing down all of the questions, mine & theirs, then put in the answers and work out next time better answers so that I appear a better proposition than the junior clerk and more value for money. What do you do? I would love to hear from some independent consultants as to their tricks to get hired.