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5 Reasons Thought Leaders Should Never Charge for Their Time

5 Reasons Why Thought Leaders Should Never Charge for Their Time

If you’re an author, speaker or thought leader you probably get asked to do lots of things that only you can do, things that consume your time.  Most folks tend to default to figuring out some formula that assigns a value to their time.  For example if you do a 60 minute keynote you’ll charge X but a 2 hour break out session you’d charge Y.

Please stop doing this.  Immediately.  And here’s why.

  1. You are not a plumber or an hourly employee. You are someone that has spent years if not decades developing, refining and perfecting your content.  Your content is what you should be assigning a value to.
  2. You have zero upside. If you quote a rate based on time the best that you can hope for is someone will accept your rate.  All downside risk, nominal upside. That doesn’t sound like a good thing, does it?
  3. You’ve created a baseline that in all likelihood undervalues your content with respect to the impact it can have across an enterprise client.
  4. It reduces the likelihood in your clients’ mind that they can work with you at scale across a variety of modalities.
  5. Every other author, speaker and thought leader does it so here’s yet another opportunity to de-commoditize yourself and your work.
5 Reasons Thought Leaders Should Never Charge for Their Time

So I’ve given you several reasons why you shouldn’t charge for your time.  Hopefully they make sense to you.  If so, what you’re probably thinking is:

“How the heck do I charge for my content?”

Great question.  This will take a bit of retraining.

 Rethink the way you currently respond to an inquiry.

Come up with a strategy that enables you to land the same or greater fee than you would have if you just charged for your time.

More importantly, get your client to think from the very beginning that the value in working with you is in your content.

Talk about your work with them and all that’s gone into it. Cite the academic research you’ve used to validate it. Give specific examples of the outcomes and relative value others have gotten from it.

You need to separate you, the creator, father or mother of the content from the content itself.  In far too many instances authors, speakers and thought leaders don’t do this and the result is that their clients aren’t sure if they are paying for you and your time or the value of your work.  Make it a priority to help them understand where the value is derived and why.

Peter Winick has deep expertise in helping those with deep expertise. He is the CEO of Thought Leadership Leverage. Visit Peter on Twitter!

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