“I have a Computer problem.” my new acupuncture doctor told me. “Perhaps you could help with it.”
I smiled. This is often what you are asked when you tell people you work with computers. They expect free technical support. I usually stop people and tell them that I charge $40 an hour and we can make an appointment if they want. I didn’t get a chance because another customer interrupted our conversation so I didn’t have to respond.
I know that many professionals have to deal with these kinds of questions. I see this frequently with doctors, lawyers or other important people. So when I am asked, it is a compliment that they think I am a valuable resource to ask. However I also like having time off of work, so that’s why I ask for an appointment and share my price.
I don’t argue or defend my fee. If someone has a problem with it, I say that they are not the right customer for me and move on. I used to explain the education and time I took to learn this, but I realized I don’t need to do that. Someone either values what you do or they don’t, and you can’t change their mind with evidence.
Often customers have said that my fee is too low, and they give me a big tip. I appreciate that, but I don’t do it for the money. I enjoy helping people, and most people can afford my fee given how I know I can make their life easier and cheaper with technology.
This is not an advertisement, but just to share what part of my life is like. I would say that I get free requests to help at least once a week as I meet people. I do help non profits for free, so that is my donation in the world. I think you have to help people who can’t afford it, but when you can afford it, you should easily and gladly give money to people who help you.
For example, I once went to a doctor that I wasn’t convinced if she could help me or not. It was for a treatment that I never had, or ever heard of. I did research and lots of testimonials said it helped them, so there was a possibility. Still it didn’t make much sense how it worked to me, but I thought “well she is only charging $60 – what is the harm?” Honestly I have wasted more than that on stupid things that didn’t help me, so why would I have a problem with something that has a chance to help me?
I did the treatment, and the next day I felt better. It confused and thrilled me. I didn’t understand how, but the important thing was I felt better physically. I don’t understand how my mechanic fixes my car, yet I know that it works, and that is the bottom line for me. I wish I understood everything, but sometimes its more important to be open-minded and give things a chance.
Also, sometimes a smile is the best answer.
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