Managing Your Time – How to Create the Gaps You Need Part 2

Managing your time well can be one of the greatest challenges and the busier you get, the harder it becomes. Or does it?

When I set my first Saturday morning meeting recently I realized that this meant I would be crunched for time. “Why,” you ask? I had been working every saturday to get work done for one of my clients and I didn’t want this hanging over my head while I was out trying to relax and enjoy a conversation with someone. I am no stranger to early mornings so I got up at 4 and got the work done before heading out. Still I found myself thinking that I could be doing work I really enjoyed, like writing blog posts and producing videos. Then it hit me.

I was working 7 days per week because of one particular client I took on. This was my first real big test of the idea of “Value Billing.” I set a monthly rate based on the “value” of what I was providing and attempted to ignore the amount of time it took. It takes what it takes right? Problem was I ran into the very problem I was trying to solve. Why was I so busy? The fees weren’t enough to hire someone else to do the work and the work was very detailed and involved. Apparently I grossly undervalued the services I was providing. Bottom line was I found the real source of my problem. I was spending way too much time on this one client. Now what?

The Universe has a funny way of delivering exactly what we need when we need it regardless of what we think. Or is it? I started really focusing on ways that I could reclaim my time. Next thing I know over something that I still think was pretty trivial said client calls me up in a rage and wouldn’t let me get a word in. I won’t bore you with the details. Suffices to say I got exactly what I wanted. An out. Client says, “I’m lowering your fee.” My reply. “Then it’s time for us to part company and work on a 30 day transition.

I am writing this post on the very first Saturday that I now have “back.” I can’t express enough how happy I am that I am now free once again. Free to work on the things I love and WANT to work on instead of things I HAVE to work on. This is how it should be. Always!

Value Billing is a farce. You can’t ignore time because at the beginning of the day that is all we have. At the end of the day there’s none left and either you accomplished everything you needed to or you have to find the time to get it done. For me the only way to make that work was to give up my saturdays. Stay tuned for a series of videos showing exactly why I think Value Billing is nothing more than a fad people like to talk about because it’s the new buzz word, but it won’t last because you can’t ignore time. In my next post I am going to show you exactly how and why value billing completely fails my 1:1 private software training business model.

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3 Comments on “Managing Your Time – How to Create the Gaps You Need Part 2”

  1. I donno Seth. Value Billing does have it’s place. For tasks that are guaranteed repetitive, I’d give a value price. If all I have to do it reconcile the bank account and print monthly reports with a little write up each month, I have no problem doing that at a flat rate. But, I have to know the client’s business to make sure I won’t get screwed down the road. (I’d hate to find out they do 2000 more transactions during the holidays if I made the quote when they do 50 transactions during the summer.) What I really like about the value billing clients or tasks is that I block out X amount of time for them, and if I set my price right, I should end up with time left over.

    The times it won’t work is when what you are doing for a client results in questions. If you are doing something that could involve “why did you do this” or “why is it done this way” or my favorite “what happened”, then I’d never value bill. For you, in a training environment, value billing will never work. There is always too much follow up and you just can’t plan for that. (I was a teacher for 8 years…I know of what I speak…it amazes me what people hear and what they remember!)

    I just listed to a ABBO hangout from a few weeks ago and someone brought up the point that when they value bill they factor in time for phone calls and emails this is a great strategy and one I need to learn to employ, too!

  2. Very good points! Remind me what the difference is between flat rate billing and value billing? I know there is a difference, but I don’t remember.

  3. Seth said:
    “I have never seen a case where the client was fair about the scope of work they give you once you’ve agreed to a flat or value billed rate”

    Dang…that’s a good line. You are a wise man. 🙂

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