How much is your time really worth?

“We have this expression, Christy and I: We don’t wake up for less than $10,000 a day.”
Linda Evangelista, supermodel, spoken in Vogue (1990) to Jonathan Van Meter.

While we WISH we could even contemplate uttering a statement like that, most entrepreneurs are not as in demand as Linda Evangelista was in her heyday in the 1990’s. The statement is extremely bombastic (cue the Shaggy, it’s a real word), but sometimes that’s how we need to think about how we value our time.

Of course, there is the simple accounting principle of Cost of Goods Sold, that dictates how much something (product or service) costs. You add your markup and then that’s it right? But how much should that markup be? You’re essentially valuing, after covering your costs, how much it’s worth for you to be in business. In general, consumer demand dictates how high your markup, and therefore, your price will be. No one will pay more than what other similar quality, competing products or services in the market cost.

But we know that entrepreneurship is more complicated. You are also charging for YOUR brain power, an ambiguous and hard to value item. What does it cost for you, to create a new concept for your client? The time spent on the phone solving that problem, training staff, brainstorming a new product?

This is where we go back to Ms. Evangelista’s quote which in its bombastic way (there’s that word again) teaches us three important things.

1. Talk about your value
What are you providing? Be as factual as possible, in measurable terms. Savings, increased sales, social media engagement. Track what it is you do with case studies and share that information (getting clients’ permission of course).
Say the number! If it’s $10,000, don’t hide it (‘nuff said).
Discuss concerns with your client. Don’t immediately discount, sometimes it’s important to stand your ground.

2. Don’t charge a standard price if your product or service isn’t standard
Linda Evangelista was a supermodel, maybe your business is too. If you’re creating something custom, then you need to charge accordingly.

3. What dollar amount supports your lifestyle?
Clearly Linda knew what that was for her. It’s important to be pragmatic about the fact that we need money to cover not just our basic living expenses, but also enjoy the fruits of our labour. Entrepreneurs must be able to support themselves while remaining in the realms of what their clients will pay. Figure out what you need to live and work to create a business that can support that.

Sometimes, we need to think about what is the amount it takes for us to ‘wake up’ for work. Channel some of that supermodel confidence to support yourself financially.