You Want How Much?
There was a period in time where I thought someone charging hundreds of dollars an hour was insane. I thought they were the modern-day horse-riding bandits from the wild west. That’s is until I utilized the service of one and then I became one.
Consultants, Coaches, Mentors, Independent Contractors, Freelancers; are today’s version of the Jedi Master. These individuals have stepped away from the “rat race”, their schedule is no longer dictated to them of when and where to arrive, they have created their own realm of existence and success, which is not controlled by a standardized system. From the “employee” perspective, these independent contractors are living the dream funded by the monies of another business person. The dream of being “unavailable” at certain hours, traveling, or adamant about their opinions with little room for adjustment.
However, there are multiple reasons why they appear to be these magic producing creatures. There are reasons why companies and individuals will not think twice about the fees, no matter what their bank account balance says. Below are my top 9 reasons why they are worth it:
1. They have failed more times than you have tried
Whenever I tell someone this they say, “well why would I want to work with a failure?” My response: Thomas Edison failed nine hundred and ninety-nine times in his attempt at creating the lightbulb. Thanks to his ONE THOUSANDTH attempt we have lightbulbs. Modern day inventory, contractors, freelance workers are individuals who have tried, a number of ways, hard ways and the easy ways to cultivate the most efficient, cost friendly method for other individuals and businesses to benefit from. Instead of someone spending hours to formulate and attempt a few different methods these independent workers look at the situation, access their knowledge banks and “go for the kill”. Thus, saving others countless hours which then equates to saved dollars.
2. They are responsible for their own overhead
When someone is independent they are responsible for EVERYTHING. As an employee, you get used to knowing you will receive a wage just for showing up at work. Materials, tools, and resources are all supplied for you. Independent workers don’t have that guarantee. They must supply their own materials and have up-to-date resources to remain competitive. The pens, computers, marketing, tech support, office space, advertising and more is all their responsibility. If something breaks or more efficient technology comes out it is their responsibility to purchase so they can ensure their clients are working with the best of the best.
(I don’t know if you noticed but everything seems to get upgraded at least twice a year now).
They are also responsible for their own personal care. Employees don’t normally see the additional costs to employer. For example, if an employee’s wage is $20/hr and they are receiving vacation pay, health benefits, paid sick days, Christmas parties, retreats, etc. they are actually being paid more an hour (up to 30% more). Individuals who charge higher amounts are removing the cost and paperwork associated to employers. They mitigate the potential to increased expenses that employers can incur when multiple claims are made on any of the benefits they supply. Independent workers manage all these expenses while consistently researching them to ensure they are receiving the best products at the best prices.
3. They are working before you arrive at work and after you leave
I once worked with a mentor who was only available between 3–7pm. In the beginning, I thought, “Oh must be nice to work those hours”. What I didn’t realize is that mentor was working obscene hours in addition to their available hours. That mentor would send me informative emails at midnight, their media would show them at business in the morning, and more. It is easy to forget that contracted individuals are not just working a 9–5. Even if they are specialists, they are juggling multiple balls. They know the value of time past the wage as there are a variety of individuals who require their service. By blocking off hours they ensure that whoever qualifies in that time slot is receiving superior service. When they are not engaging with individuals during that time they are doing prep before the meeting and follow up after. This work does not occur during normal 9–5 hours as that would mean they are not providing service during revenue hours. Individuals at a job can be awarded a new task and their employee will normally adjust their workload so they can get the new skills or complete the project. Whereas an individual contractor needs to be with their “employer” during those hours. They cannot say,“I know this is our time slot, but I need to prepare beforehand”. They cannot say, “I know this is your time but I need to work on my social media, technological research, etc”.
4. Personal and Professional Development are their hobbies
In the United States 1/3 of high school graduates never read a book after leaving high school. 42% of university graduates never read a book after leaving university. 80% of households did not purchase a book last year. Those who charge higher rates spend copious amounts of time researching and seeking out development in their business field and personal lives. They develop their leadership, management, communication, and other skills. They analyze the trends in their perspective fields and know how to best handle recessions, outsourcing trends, technological trends, and more. Although some may have designations that require additional development they go above and beyond that. Their cars, phones, and laptops are filled with educational audio content. Between networking events with educational components, courses, and releases they are enhancing their minds at least twice a month. Their minds are always creating new pathways thus making them smarter.
Individuals who charge “outlandish” rates rarely have social lives or know what is happening in entertainment due to the majority of their spare time going to development. Don’t worry they’re still “human” though and if you ask them, they have at least one entertainment vice. For example, mine is Marvel Movies. Although I will not participate in a Walking Dead or Game of Throne conversation I will know an outstanding amount of the social impact of Marvel.
5. They face more rejection than you know
Although they are always positive and operate in particular hours they are criticized and rejected more than you can imagine. An employee may pitch an idea and since they are on payroll they will get a polite no or help to perfect it. Contracted individual needs to be perfect from the beginning and not just because of their rate, but because many people are not ready for change/criticism/feedback from another source. They know something needs to change but they are not ready to admit they need outside help because they do not have the answer.
Their proposals are faced with more criticism than the average because of this. They need to ensure they are researching the clients/business needs right from the beginning to accurately prepare for the initial meeting. They can often spend hours just preparing an action plan that is accurate to the individuals/business’s goals and budget. They are questioned about their credentials (hence all the personal development) and although the person questioning usually has about half the amount it is still countless hours of proving their worth, and individuals wanting just one more thing. For example, although I am working towards my masters I have had individuals state that because I do not carry a PhD, my opinions on mental health would not be considered. Or because I do not have a degree in writing, my publishing experience is not credible. However, my results say the opposite and I know to walk away from those individuals, but it does not mean the sting of their words does not hurt.
6. They have won at more than you know
Even when they are bragging about an accomplishment or showcasing their skills for a presentation they are being modest. For the independent worker, the pursuit of knowledge and seeing someone else win is their reward. The “wins” or “results” they demonstrate are minimal because to them it is just doing their job. They work to maintain a client’s privacy at all times. A such, their client may take the credit for the results of the work. The clients they do highlight are the ones that want to share their success and see their new friend’s business continue to grow. Those clients are few and far between.
7. Their network is HUGE
Due to them always being out learning they are constantly meeting new people. They meet individuals from different industries, with different goals, different products, and different tactics. More times than not they learn more from the individual they sat beside than the information presented at the event. They can then use their new contacts information to bring in different tactics not normally talked about by that industry. They then also have a bat signal, so to speak, when coming across those once in a blue moon situations. There are very few times that a contracted individual cannot solve a problem by dialing a number or direct messaging a contact.
I always like to use the mafia analogy when individuals ask if I can help them. I will say if I cannot get it done I know someone who can or they know someone who can. (Please note I am not the mafia due to the idea of jail scaring the crap out of me). For example, I know very little about coffee except for the fact that I consume just a little bit too much. I took a course earlier this year and met a fellow who grew and imported raw coffee beans from an uncommon part of Africa. This area is one of the most dangerous as rebels are always trying to access that land. The land is amazing, especially as it can produce beans that provide long lasting caffeine. I found his story intriguing and learned all about the different areas of coffee beans. I personally love a good story and random facts. I placed it in my brain, pondering how I could one day help him succeed. A month later I was at an event for social media and met an individual who owned a roaster looking to secure African coffee beans. I was able to use my new relationships to connect them and now they are developing a working relationship. Although these two individuals may have eventually crossed paths at a large event directed to the coffee industry, since they were not utilizing media at the time, my connecting skills allowed me the opportunity to connect them to grow their businesses in ways they did not anticipate arriving so soon.
8.They want and need you to win
As a consultant, you don’t have a large company budget filled to hire lawyers and rebrand if someone does something wrong. Think of it this way — someone was racist at Starbucks and they did a large PR campaign to show they were about equality. One of the largest YouTubers recently made racist comments and has lost all their contracts. Big businesses can handle the hit to their shares and come back swinging.
If a consultant gets a bad review they are still working to get new business, deal with current clients, and fix the situation at hand. Fixing someone’s negative experience can take all of their resources instead of them helping others. Thus, they need you to win so their business can prosper. They also need you to be their testimonial, so they can build their brand. You are their business for life so your success is theirs.
If you have met someone who consults or offers a service outside of a company it is because they are the best. They knew they were amazing and no company could challenge their daily skill set. They know the rules and work to maximize time so they could help others work their way around them for their personal development.
So, next time you meet someone who charges for their knowledge and can provide a helpful service stop and think “can I utilize what they are offering?” Don’t be the individual who says, “that’s on YouTube for free”. The hours of learning their skill that you are about to embark on is a challenge you are not expecting and they will save you more time, which is money, than you will realize.