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The surprising insights going from $20/hr to $3,000/hr

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I used to get really weird reactions when I would quote my hourly consulting rate — and it was only $20 back then.

Fast forward to the last time I did consulting, when I quoted my hourly rate of $3,000, and I got barely a raised eyebrow.

How did I go from $20 to $3,000/hour in a few years?

People always think it’s some fancy script on raising rates. I’m actually going to give you a word-for-word script you can use right here in this post.

But it’s actually much deeper than that.

This is what the GIMME THE CRUNCHY TACTICS!!! people miss. They genuinely believe if they discover the “right” words, they can “convince” someone to part with their money. But they miss a much deeper strategy.

(Btw, candidly, most people will not be able to charge this amount. It is a ridiculous amount and we all know it. It just happens that I have a few esoteric skills that are highly valued by business people. In truth, I wish they would pay me the same for my extensive knowledge of ironing shirts and habanero salsa, but the market is the market.)

More importantly, it’s about a deeper strategy of being an ADVISOR rather than trying to extract every little bit of money from the people you’re trying to serve.

See, you can go from $20 to $50/hour with a little work. It’s actually not that hard.

But to really move into the next level — into the $100/hour, or $250/hour, or even $1,000/hour stratosphere — you have to take an entirely different approach.

Many of my students have begun this ascent. The best part is, as they move their rates up, they’re forced to deliver increasing value to their clients. Win win.

Today’s question is from Stephanie, a tutor who wants to know how to raise her rates, even when it may mean saying “no” to parents of a struggling child. I’ll give you the word-for-word script, but I’ll show you a deeper strategy that helps put your client at the center of your world — instead of trying to make a quick buck.

Take a look:

LEAVE A COMMENT: Share an example where you COULD give someone advice that would hurt you in the short term…but benefit you BOTH in the long term. It could be with money, relationships, health, whatever.

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  1. The new IWT version of the Marie Forleo video!

  2. Here is an example of my current supervisor, an academic, who recently did this and I guarantee it will pay off for him in the end.

    He has some funds for having me stay with him, but not enough for me to make a sustainable living. It just so happens, that a company that I applied for a position at, asked him to come in and consult for them. He said, “Yes” but only if I could come along, which allowed me to meet more people within the organization in a role which allowed me to highlight my talents and qualifications in the role of an experienced adviser which can only help the application process if I decide it is a good opportunity.

    Regardless, I will never forget how my supervisor put my needs above trying to extract another 6 months of work out of me. Regardless of what position I take, my supervisor has guaranteed that he will have access to a highly qualified professional for life.

  3. Ramit,

    just as a general ‘CreativeLive’ comment. THANK YOU for this wonderful surprise. When you first sent the notification a week or two about this CreativeLive event, I thought it would be just a 20 minute live interview. I was confused why it was Wed – Fri. When I saw that it was 9am – 4pm, and was an entire 3 full day seminars of Ramit’s top stuff. I was FLOORED at the opportunity to hear for FREE 21 hours of Ramit’s talks. This was such a rare opportunity given your hourly rate, the fact that you rarely do seminars and to have this amazing access was such a gift. I have followed you for years. Read the IWT book and finally you earned my $ when I purchased the no stress negotiation technique. I am in the process of it now and hearing this 3 day class, while some of it is repetition to your long term readers, is still fresh and unique to see in a full day seminar format.

    THANK YOU. And w00t on hotel in-mirror televisions!

    Tyler Huff
    San Diego, CA

  4. I just had to laugh at this phrase in your newsletter, “My goal is to earn my way into your inbox every day by making my free stuff better than anyone else’s paid stuff.” LMAO! Uh, my (virtual) friend, you did that a YEAR AGO!

    I can’t even bring myself to delete your emails that are irrelevant to me (about jobs/raises/salary negotiation….because I am self employed already). I save EVERYTHING you send, even if I can’t read it at the time, because if I ever want to learn something new/original/different, it is probably in one of your letters. Plus, your writing is so darn GREAT, your thinking is so ORIGINAL, and your video presentation is simply riveting. You make me laugh and think all at the same time. THAT is your gift!

    Only 2 people have this status in my inbox (the “I am afraid NOT to read this” status. You and Derek. The rest come and go. Most go.

    So, thank you! You have earned your way into my inbox forever.


  5. I WISH that I had given my friend the advice not to marry the woman he was engaged to… She was the type of girl you date (if you’re into that sort of stuff) but not the type of girl you marry.

    I balked at the chance… and before they’d gotten two years in, they were already divorced.

    That advice could have certainly strained our friendship for the short-term but it also could have potentially prevented him from making a decision that is still haunting him 4 years later and has made him a much more jaded person.

    • It is great to give people specific advice, but I also think it is important not to try to control the person’s decisions. Present the information in the most logical way possible (be honest about what you see), and then let the other person make their decision. Even if that person ends up doing their own thing anyway, it’s nothing personal. Every man has to make their own decision.

  6. I have been watching you on Creative Live the past few days and LOVE the info you are giving us! Thank You! Straight forward and I am looking forward to putting it into action! I will give you the reviews…….


  7. Hey Ramit!
    I truly love your writing style. It cuts like a knife but even feels alright. There is only Derek sivers whose writing i keep on waiting like yours. Others come and go. Like you say, Yes! your free stuffs are much worthy than other peoples paid stuff. Keep up the good job and rock the world that cares about you.

  8. Any situation where you point out that the Emperor’s New Clothes…aren’t…is probably a prime example of taking action which hurts you in the short term, but helps all parties involved immensely in the long term.

    It could be explaining, politely but frankly, to a colleague or manager that a given idea might not work quite as its currently set up; it could be a (good) career counselor explaining that based on previous academic performance and ability that for a student to choose Career X might set him or herself up for failure (unless their performance changes dramatically and tangibly in the near future), etc.

    All these situations could result in (very) bad blood in the near term, but represent an act of tremendous courage, honesty, and moral integrity on the part of the observer to undertake, and ultimately give the receiving party an invaluable piece of constructive criticism which could benefit their personal development significantly down the road.

  9. Great post. I have been with a client for more than a year and I would like to ask for an increase. I would also like to try your suggested script. I hope that it will also work for me. Thanks for sharing!

  10. I had a situation years ago where i was considering having someone take over the payments of my mortgage in a ‘deed-in-lieu’ arrangement with a complete stranger. I didn’t want the house anymore and I was tempted to sign over the deed or some contract that did some kind of quick claim deed for the property. I told my father this and be went all out to talk me OUT of the deal. He insisted that no one, even your best friend, would pay my mortage before they pay their own house payments; the risk was too high. I finally agreed and instead gave the house back to the bank in exchange for mortgage cancellation and no late payments on my credit report. That worked out quite well and it was completely transparent.

    Ramit wrote an article about the pitfalls of buying real estate as a primary residence, especially at a young age.