The Upside

Here’s How to Shift Your Mindset on Hourly Rates

If you’ve ever quoted a client for a project and their response was:

“How many hours does that get me?”


“How many hours will it take you to do that?”


“Why so expensive? Doesn’t it just take you a few hours do to that for us?”

…then this is some very important piece of wisdom to read today.

One of my favorite stories of all time is the one about the electrician coming to fix a potential fire hazard behind the kitchen wall. 

The electrician takes a look at the situation, evaluates the electrical panel, takes out a few tools, cuts a wire, and within 10 minutes the problem is fixed.

He hands the homeowner an invoice for $1,000 and the homeowner scoffs, “$1,000!! But you were only here for 10 minutes!”

The electrician responds, “It cost you $100 to fix your electrical panel. But it cost you another $900 for me to know which one of the 20 wires was about to set your house on fire.”

Here are two pieces of wisdom I want you to remember:

Wisdom #1: Whether it takes you 5 minutes or 5 weeks to deliver the scope of work, what should matter is the client getting the end result they wanted. Don’t penalize yourself for being an efficient expert.

Wisdom #2: The value you bring to clients isn’t in the speed in which you deliver the scope of work, but rather in the years of accumulated experience that leads to you delivering quality work that gets big results.

So anytime a client questions how many hours a deliverable will take, remember that your fee is well EARNED and clients are paying for your:

E – Experience

A – Access

R – Relationships

N – Niche & know-how

E – Efficiency

D – Decisiveness

…and none of this can be fully captured by counting hours.

My goal is for you to make the most amount of money with the most amount of ease in the least amount of time.

Let’s keep building a business that values your years of expertise and the impact you make on clients. You’ve got this!

Erin Halper

About the Author

Erin Halper is the founder and CEO of The Upside and the leading authority on independent consulting. Since launching The Upside in 2017, Erin has helped thousands of professionals transition from corporate life into consulting to achieve flexibility, autonomy, and a renewed sense of purpose in their careers.

Erin has been a frequent speaker at Columbia, NYU, Harvard, and Brown and has been featured as a leading future of work expert on dozens of podcasts as well as in Forbes, Business Insider, Nasdaq, Crunchbase and many more.

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