This book paid for itself in less than ten minutes.
I do consulting work on the side, and like many consultants, I’m never sure if I’m quoting the right billable rate. When I picked up this book several months ago, the first thing I did was turn to chapter 12, “Putting a Price on Your Head.” Gerald Weinberg explains several simple points with stories, including:
- The more they pay you, the more they respect you
- The less they pay you, the less they respect you
- The money is usually the smallest part of the price
- Set the price so you won’t regret it either way
Reading just those four sections alone took me less than ten minutes, and they convinced me to double my hourly rate for new clients. Much to my surprise, people are still asking, “Okay, when can you start?” Granted, not everybody says yes – but then again, not everybody said yes at the lower rate, either. And whether they say yes or no, I’m fine with it, because I’ve set the price so that I don’t regret it either way. If they say yes, it means more work for me, but I’m delighted to do it because of the rate. Before reading this book, I used to focus on setting the price in order to win the deal – not to make myself content. As a result, I had more work than I could handle, but I cringed whenever I went to do it. Now, I get excited at the chance to do work for clients, because I know all of us are getting value out of it.
To say the book’s advice worked is a massive understatement. The Secrets of Consulting confirmed a few things I’d learned the hard way, and taught me several more before I got burned. I’ve also drawn a few new conclusions by piecing things together from the book; for example, what I’m really selling is advice, not execution, and I shouldn’t be so quick to take control of the keyboard during meetings. Instead, I should grab the whiteboard markers, illustrate why something needs to be done, and then walk the company’s own staff through doing it – no matter how small it is or how fast I can do it. Even the smallest tasks can become teachable moments.
Gerald uses friendly, casual language that’s easy to read. You can pick up the book, turn to any chapter, and dive in without reading prior chapters. Each page holds its own set of valuable lessons illustrated with enjoyable stories.
Note: I’m on a cruise ship this week and won’t be responding to comments until Monday, January 11th. If you post a comment that requires moderation, don’t fret – I’ll approve it when I get back.