Getting paid. Probably one of the best feelings in the world as an independent consultant. But why has it become so tricky to assign a value to what you do? Besides, you took the decision to leave a (probably) well-earned job in order to work independently, and on your own terms. So why does one feel cheated when under-charging, or guilty when over-charging, for services?
Assigning a value to the service you offer as a consultant is probably one of the most important decisions you’ll make. You may have a complex mathematical equation by which you calculate your consulting rate, or you may simply take what you used to earn, divide it by the number of hours in a day, double it, and set that as your rate. Whichever method you choose, we are sure, deciding on your value as an independent consultant has been no easy task.
First rule in Consulting – Stay Flexible.
When it comes to consulting, the first rule of thumb is to remain flexible. What works for one client, may not work for another. You may opt for an hourly rate, where you calculate a project cost based on the number of hours you expect to work on it, or you may prefer to work on a retainer basis whereby you agree a set monthly rate for a set period of hours of service that you provide. There are a number of tools that could help you understand the average value of services provided in your industry, and in your area, like this one in the UK.
Remember your network
As an independent consultant, you’ve taken an active decision to become a master of your own fate, captain of your own soul. But there may come a time when independence, too, requires a little help from its friends. As an experienced professional, you’ve most likely had the fortunate opportunity to develop a strong supporting network of likeminded individuals, mentors and partners that have formed the foundation of your own methodology, today. When it comes to assigning a value to the services you offer, there’s no better way than to consult with those who know and understand your worth already. Set your rate based on your own calculations and research, and then test that against a carefully selected group of trustworthy contacts in your network.
Don’t underestimate your value
Wait. We are still talking about money here, right? Yes. But we’re also talking about the value of the service that you offer, that nobody else does. Stop for a minute, and think back on that moment that you decided to springboard your career into a new way of working by choosing independence. What was the one deciding factor that gave you the assurance that this was the right decision? It was most likely the fact that you are an expert in your field. You have the experience, knowledge and most of all skill, to deliver something that few others can. You have the one thing that people will pay for. And matching that desirable asset to a monetary, chargeable rate has become one of the most talked-about subjects within the consulting industry.