Monday, December 10, 2007

How much is your time worth?

Last week a gentleman that had taken part in one of my 16 week marathon programs a few years ago emailed me and told me that he wanted to be trained for NYCM '08. I sent him the two standard documents: a questionaire and my price list. He took a while to get back to me, but when he did the first line of his email was "you're outrageously expensive!". Then he went on to say that for the same price he could sign up at a gym near his house for a whole year. I didn't write him back right away, I sort of wanted to sit with that for a day, which I did. I wasn't offended or taken back by his statement, I was actually sort of amused. How much is my time worth?

I've been working freelance for myself since 1997. I remember when I used to undersell myself, asking for a lot less than I thought I was worth. Then I'd do whatever job it was with an edge of begrudgement and feel cheated when I was finally paid. I'm sure that also came out in my work in some sort of shape or form. When I started personal training I naturally looked at what the other trainers were asking. I also looked at what I offered and what kind of customer I wanted to attract. Besides writing the actual schedule out, I spend most of my time either on the phone or answering emails on anything related to their training schedules. It sucks up a lot of time. Some clients never bother me except to understand an exercise. Others will email me from their Blackberry five times a day. I settled on a price that I felt was equivalent to the quality of service that I give. I know that I am more expensive than others. I also know that I give the most personal service, much better than my competitors.

So I wrote the guy back and told him that he should definately sign up for the gym if it really costs so little. I wished him luck in his preparation for the marathon. I felt really good about the interaction because it made me realize how far I've come professionally. Not being afraid of your own worth is a good thing. Last week four new clients signed up with me so I know I'm on the right track.

4 comments:

Nancy Toby said...

Good for you!! I would have been tempted to tell him to kiss my *ss, but that probably would have been unprofessional....

And whatever the numbers were that you quoted, I'm sure you're worth that and more! He was rude.

Roam2Rome said...

This post speaks to me since I'm a freelancer, too. I remember a year ago, it felt so scary to be on my own that I ended up underselling myself... Not anymore. You know what? Instead of loosing work, I actually attracted better clients because of it!

It's definitely best to not be afraid of your own worth...

Will we have to deal with Trolls now and again? Yes. It's the stuff of life. But our day to day work with good clients is reassuring and rewarding, isn't it?

anji said...

Amen, I totally get you!
I haven't had anyone say my prices are too high. I actually underprice myself but - that was becauase (at the time!) I was just doing it for fun. But - now I can't afford to do it for fun. The clients I've had for a few years I still charge the 'usual' but - for new people I charge a bit more -- more of what a real designer would charge. Most don't even flinch because I still charge slightly under the others... but - I know mine isn't outrageously overpriced.... but, I go by word of mouth too so I don't worry too much about trying to attract people because I've never advertised and know that if I really wanted to, I could have enough to live on, if I really wanted to. I'm not at that point yet where I would feel confident enough to do it. Maybe at a point later when I feel better about things... mostly about myself!

Glad you're at that point! I'm not sure if you pointed out your personal service but maybe once he gets to that gym, he'll realise he won't be getting that service and no one will help him. You'll have to let us know if he comes back to you at some point! That'd be interesting!

sognatrice said...

Excellent, excellent advice from a fellow freelancer in Italy :)