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You Charge How Much?

yellowandgreendollarsignHas anyone ever said something like that to you? They have to me. Once, I had talked to a local Internet “guru” who wanted me to actually come in to his office to work.

I had no intention of doing that, but I thought it would be interesting to go meet him for coffee or something anyway. You never know how we might be able to work together. Right?

Well, we met. He sat there for a good 45 minutes bragging about the million dollar house he was building and why he moved from California to Alabama.

Cheap Labor. Cheap Real Estate. He had seen some of my work and was impressed and wanted me to come work with him.


Here was his offer:

You’ll get your very own office, and I’ll pay you 11 dollars an hour, full time. You come up with all the product ideas (information products) and our writers, graphic designers and so forth will make them come true with your help.

Now, I’m not going to lie, the idea of getting to work with so many staff and contractors sounded nice, sure, but the hourly pay, and having to get up and get dressed and drive to work (especially in the winter) did not appeal to me at all.

Plus, I knew that I’d have to give up my clients because it was a full time position. A J.O.B.

But, I wanted to see how far I could push him. I mean, you’re dang right, I’d do that job for the right amount of money, under the right conditions.

So I made a counter offer.

I told him that I wanted $22.00 an hour, benefits, four weeks paid vacation every year, and 5% of revenue into perpetuity for any product I helped create and 1% of everything while I worked there. I also wanted to get to work out of my home office 30% of the time. If my percentage amounted to more than 60K a year he could stop paying me the hourly rate.

He almost fell out of his chair.

I told him that this was substantially lower than my normal hourly rate, by a little more than half. Plus, I had to get out of bed and get to an office that was over 30 minutes from my home most of the time. I had seen his work thus far, and I knew I could increase his revenue and improve his product development many times over given the right budget.

I was willing to “get out of bed” for my offer.

He proceeded to tell me that he had a virtual assistant in Texas who worked for only $5.00 per hour. Why in the world would he pay me that much. I told him, “I can create all those products you want me to create myself, and make 100 percent of the profit. You want to use my knowledge, not my administrative skills.” He was very insulted and acted like an ass, frankly, and the meeting was soon over.

I felt really good about myself when I left.

I knew what I told him was right. I can make those products myself, and I can do amazing things for my clients who let me. Plus, I thought, I have a great thing going just how it is.

Well, two months later he called me and accepted my offer with a few changes, but nothing I couldn’t actually live with when it came down to it, if it was only about money. But, I was so outraged that he paid someone $5.00 per hour in Texas, and his attitude about it, that I told him I didn’t think we could work together. I told him that I didn’t think we could work together because our values did not align.

That felt really good.

You have to get to a place in your business where you know from talking to someone that they’re either the right person to work with, or not the right person to work with. You must create a screening process for your clients so that you can pick the right people to work with.

The right person to work with respects you as more than someone who does administrative tasks. They respect you as someone with expertise and knowledge, and that is what they’re paying you for.

The right person to work with realizes that you are not an employee, and that you have your own business, and are to be treated as a colleague and not an employee.

The right person to work with doesn’t bat an eye at your fees because you’ve made sure that you are attracting the right clients to you. You’re not competing for the $5.00 per hour job.

The right person to work with shares your values in some way. They don’t have to be the same religion or political party or anything, but they need to have some sort of moral code that matches your own in most ways.

The right person to work with just feels really good. You can’t wait to get out of bed in the morning and do your work with the person.

Remember, by saying no to the wrong person, you leave room to say YES to the right person!

I’m so thankful that I didn’t let my¬† eyes get turned and go for that job.

That was in 2009, and I was doing okay but not as good as I do today. Had I taken that position I don’t think I would be doing as good. That so called guru is no where to be found today. I never see anything about him on the Internet. It would have been a failure because he was too interested in getting cheap labor instead of expertise. He wanted to just churn out products that were substandard instead of providing excellence to his customers.

I provide excellence to my customers. What do you provide? Have you ever said yes to the wrong person? How about saying no? Do you ever say no?

About Stephanie Watson

Mom | Wife | Virtual Assistant | Content Strategist
Stephanie has been working from home for over 20 years as a virtual assistant, template bender, and content writer. She's currently transitioning to business coach. You can learn more about her at her website

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