Why Aren’t You Charging for The Most Valuable Expertise in Your Business?


Why Aren’t You Charging for The Most Valuable Expertise in Your Business?

Sometimes our valuable business contribution is the one we don’t charge for.

Hopefully when you are working, you are enjoying it. You have skills that are of value and you love helping people. You send out invoices and you mostly get paid.

That’s business and you get by.

Do you ever stop to think about that part of the process that you actually quite enjoy and just do anyway, but sometimes don’t charge for it? It’s probably part of why you got into business in the first place. It’s where you lose yourself and don’t watch the clock.

It is most likely also where you add the most value to the client and what they’d be prepared to pay for.

I have a friend who is a video editor. He’s very good at it. He’s creative and he loves doing it. I’m always blown away by the quality of his work. It looks amazing and it’s world class.

My biggest problem with working with him is I have to chase him to invoice me. This is an extreme scenario, but I literally have to send multiple emails asking for his invoice. Sometimes I have to get angry with him so he will invoice me.

In spite of the great work he does, this actually makes it difficult to work with him. Crazy huh? Like I said, this is an extreme scenario.

But what do you do, that you don’t charge for?

Charge what you’re worth

Although I put a token price on it, I don’t really charge for my creativity. Sometimes I come up with some brilliant concepts that lift the video productions we are making to a whole new level. The ideas set the production apart from any other production. It makes it an exciting project for the client and for us.

The thing is, I might have conceived the idea while in the shower, or during the first meeting with the client.

So while it was relatively easy for me to do, it adds considerable value to the project. I enjoyed bringing those creative pieces of the puzzle together. The thing is, I struggle to charge for it and I certainly don’t place a price on it that matches the value it brings to the project.

It’s a mindset

Why is that?

Is there some sense of guilt of charging for what we would be happy to do for free?

Is there a disconnect as we think “well it didn’t take me long to do so how can I charge for it”?

It’s funny isn’t it? How we undervalue ourselves so often. Thinking “it didn’t take me long to do” totally discounts the 25 years of knowledge, experience, mistakes and understanding that makes such concepts the right solution for the situation.

I know when I work with some people, I can see them thinking they are adding minimal value and yet I can see the decades of experience flowing through their decisions. While it comes easy to them, I am in awe of their grasp of the complexities of the situation.

And I am prepared to pay for that expertise regardless of how simple it is appears to be for them.

Do you have to charge for that value that you love to provide? No, but if you are in business so that you can make money, you are doing yourself a disservice not to charge for it.

The thing is, your clients would probably be happy to pay you for it. Certainly your ideal clients would be willing to. So think about what do you love to do that you should be charging for?

The next step then is to work out what price to put on it. That can be tricky but if you have a trusted advisor or friend they might be able to help you see the true worth that you might be underestimating.

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  • Rosemary

    Thanks Geoff. A great reminder, and one I’m taking into my mentoring session today. The big challenge is to work out what that thing is that I’m not charging for, and notice when I do it.

  • Geoff Anderson

    Thanks Rosemary. Think about what part of your work you love doing. Also check in with your clients. Ask them what they most love about working with you or where they get the most value. It’s surprisingly often not what we think.

  • Cate Scolnik

    Hey Geoff,
    This is so true! I do the same thing with writing in that I get great ideas while I’m incubating them (putting washing on the line or doing other menial things). For some reason it doesn’t seem ‘right’ to charge for that thinking time – yet it’s integral to producing a top-class piece. I really need to come to terms with this!

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