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How to value your time

Education, experience and efficiency

You’ve finally figured out what you want to offer and sell, and it comes to that final question. How much should you charge?

When you have a product, you do a bit of research, looking in shops and online, to see what other people are charging. You then adjust this a little, as you figure out where you want to position yourself. You take into account all the other costs that you’ve already paid during production.

At this point you might be blown away at how much or how little profit you’re going to make. In any case, generally speaking, people have an easier time when it comes to charging for a product.

On the other hand, you might have a service, and as an annex we could also put bespoke products since they are often more labour intensive and thus your service. The main shift now is that they’re not only paying for material goods, but your time.

This is where the problem starts — how do you value your own time? Here we look at three factors you should take into consideration before making a decision.

Value of Education

The majority of us go to primary and secondary school. Depending on where we live, around 50% of the population also head to university. Then there’s all the education you may have attended in the private sphere, courses, workshops and on-the-job training.

There was a huge investment into all of these systems, paid over the years through tax or directly. Just with any investment, you should be looking for some kind of return. Where better to see that return that in the service you’re selling.

When you take your education into account, you should still make that comparison with other people in your industry. But is there something that you have done that puts you above the rest or makes you a specialist in a certain area? Are you one of a few in that town, region or country who has that skill and qualification?

Value of Experience

It’s not just the formal and official education though, it’s also all that learning you have done through doing. It’s all those different experiences you have been through that ultimately amount to your customers getting more from you than from others.

Experience can be split into many areas, it could be direct experience in that sector, country or niche. It could be experience that you’ve brought from another sector than is now applicable to the new field where you are working.

More often than not, it’s the fact that you’ve done something time and time again. You’ve improved yourself and that process when doing it, and therefore you have become an expert in your field.

For example, if you’re a qualified accountant, great. Yet if you’ve been working in that industry for 10 years, and have a way to keep on top of all changes, and have your own databases and formulae set up that you can deliver this expertise better, thanks to your experience, then you should be charging a premium for this.

Value of Efficiency

The above two values contribute to this final one. When you are learning your trade or service, you’re not likely going to be very efficient. You have to figure out your way of doing it that ensures customer satisfaction and high quality.

As you study more and qualify, you have a better idea, and as you work and gain experience, you have hopefully met others doing what you do and have been able to benchmark and continuous improve.

Questions that used to take an hour to answer, you can now answer in minutes. Documents or processes you had to put together no longer take days, but hours. Training courses and workshops don’t require all that prep and research from before, because you have all the material and research, but that doesn’t mean you don’t charge for that time.

You’re now just more efficient at doing these things.

How long would it take you to edit a video? Or write a funding bid? Or put together financial projections? Or source an individual that meets your requirement?

The answer is a lot longer than someone with both the education and experience to do so, and this applies to you too.

So next time you’re thinking about your value, and what people should pay you, take into account these different value areas.

Think about how much time you are going to save them, because of this added value you bring. Look at your competitors and figure out your price based on them, and ultimately the price that is paid is one that suits you and your customers.

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