After spending almost 3 decades in the consulting world and charging a ridiculously high hourly and per diem fee, a lot of people who approach me for guidance and mentorship are usually afraid of seeing the bill. But since my early planned retirement, I decided to follow through with a different method because I don’t think great information should cost anything, and I don’t think anyone should pay for a rehab until they’ve seen how good life can be.
I wouldn’t buy a new kitchen by paying all the money down up front and hoping I’ll have a nice kitchen in 4 weeks. That’s not how contracting works. In my old “real job”, I sometimes didn’t get paid for 2-3 years after I did the work, and I got paid better than my competition because I allowed my customers to see the difference I meant to their profit line.
Compliance, Adherence, Follow-through
The most important thing I want to see is that my time isn’t wasted. I’m a one-chance kind of guy — if you waste my time and don’t stick to what I’m telling you to do, then you won’t get access again. Ever. Period. There’s no excuse for a sloppy life, and there’s zero excuse for wasting the time of someone who is practically volunteering my time to help you declutter and start producing.
For me, watching someone comply with the guidance and adhere to it long term is more important than money. My goal isn’t to get rich in life, my goal is to get more people to spend time with, but I sure am not going to take a moment of my life to hang out with someone acting like a teenager even though they’re twice that age (or older). Changing the world happens one person at a time.
Follow-through is just as important. As long as someone I’m mentoring to keeps following up and following through, I’m content. It’s not necessary for me to “share my secrets” to get paid, it’s necessary for me to share them with the right people, who are committed to making their lives better so that they can pass on the old tricks and the new tricks to others down the road.
The Money Spot
Naturally I can’t work for free day in and day out even though I’m retired: I still have ongoing costs to pay and I still want to get some financial incentive for what I do.
Instead of picking a price to value what my services are, though, I’ve worked out a better system — don’t give me a dime until the day comes that you realize I made a difference in your life in some way. Maybe it won’t occur to you until you stumble across me or my site in 5 years, but historically speaking, most of those I mentored to over the years found themselves in significantly better physical, mental, emotional or financial shape and years later flipped me a check or a Paypal donation.
What amount makes sense? That’s up to you. I’ve seen donations for $5 from people who just appreciate my humor on Facebook over the years, to mid-4 figure checks from the guys who realized I helped them reduce spending by 5 figures. There’s no magic number, there’s no demand, and there’s no expectation. I like the surprises and I like knowing that I made a difference years later.
Modern online media is about corrupting someone’s brain in 30 seconds and for only a minute or two. I’m about the long game.
Private Online Access
I do offer some benefits to becoming a patron of my work — mostly in the form of access to private groups and Q&A sessions that others don’t. I don’t put a price on it, and in fact I will be allowing people to actually offer $0 for a month of access, but over time I will let the market be the judge of my value. My plan for 2017 is to set up a pay-what-you-want system, but if I hit the maximum number of members and all of them happen to be paying $1 a month, no one is going to bump a member off by offering $0.
Over time, I hope to make it competitive in nature — if no one wants to pay $1, then everyone can pay $0 until some folks realize they can get bumped randomly by the one guy paying $1 for a month.
Let the market decide my value, and let people not get caught up in ridiculously high costs up front when they don’t know if it’ll change them.