The Upside

If You’re Still Charging by the Hour, Read This.

I want to inject even more confidence around the value you bring to clients beyond the time it takes you to deliver the work.

This is not to knock anyone who charges hourly for their time. Every consultant has different circumstances and a different path, so there is no judgment here.

Instead, I want you to soak in this quick story about Paula Scher so that you can start gaining even more confidence about the immense wisdom, value and expertise you bring to clients and the many years of experience that allow you to do what you do with efficiency and decisiveness.

Paula Scher is the million-dollar branding expert who redesigned the Citigroup logo in…

5 minutes.

That’s correct. Back in 1998, Citigroup famously paid an agency $1.5 million to redesign their global logo and it took Paula all of 5 minutes to come up with the initial concept (on the back of a napkin, no less!) which ended up being the final design.

The way Paula was able to channel decades of brand identity expertise into a matter of minutes, and have the confidence to charge the full value for that deliverable, is what I want you to take away from this story.

She knew with confidence and conviction that her agency’s fee was well EARNED as a result of her:

E – Experience

A – Access

R – Relationships

N – Niche & know-how

E – Efficiency

D – Decisiveness

So next time you’re pricing your services, think about how your many years of experience play into the expertise and skill you bring to your clients.

And when a client pushes back on your pricing and demands to know how many hours that includes, you can simply say:

“You’re paying for my many years of training, experience, leadership and relationships, not the hours it takes to deliver the project.”


“It may take me 1 hour or 100 hours to deliver the results you’re asking for. You’re not going to pay for those hours. You’re paying for my years of experience so that the final deliverable is exactly what you want, regardless of how long it takes.”

Remember, no one is you and that is your superpower.

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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