A friend of mind, a great artist, posted his latest challenge in Facebook. He had presented a product idea to his client. It was visually very simple and the copy was short. The client loved it and wanted to buy it as he thought it would sell and make him lots of money. However, he then said that, because it was so simple and so clever, and despite the fact that it would sell perhaps better than a complex idea or complex artwork, he wouldn’t pay my friend’s usual rate because ‘the artwork would take no time at all’. He wanted a huge reduction. Naturally my friend had a stream of friends commenting on his post, full of sympathy and with lots of outrage. Many comments were approaching the limit of etiquette!
I felt very bad for my friend. He was naturally troubled by the sense of injustice. I rushed to post: Never sell your time. Nobody can afford it. Sell a product, an outcome, and idea. Not your time. Never your time! Declare your time unaffordable.
Time is man’s last asset. Sell time, you will be depleted soon. It’s a finite asset. As a consultant I have professional fees, but not daily or hourly rates. I never charge per days or per hours. I respect others to do so. Some do, from psychoanalysts and lawyers, to plumbers and locksmiths. Other people don’t. Executive search firms usually charge a percentage of the salary of the appointee. Private schools don’t charge by the number of hours the kids are in the place. Brand and advertising companies don’t charge by the number of creative directors or principles or assistants involved, or the number of days taken until the concept is created.
In my Consulting and Speaking engagements, I provide value and I am paid for it. My advice, thought leadership, speech, consultation, collaboration, or hands-on-deck project execution has a value and a fee. My time is unaffordable.