The three reasons I'm not going to address
Maybe your billings are low because you're not tracking your time. If that's the case, do what my friend Syed suggests, and track every bit of your time. Don't just wait until the end of a week or a month.
Maybe your billings are low because you're charging by the hour, and getting better every month. So your efficiency is costing you money, like my friend Curtis explains.
Or maybe your billings are low because you're not charging the right rate for your hours. If that's the case, my friend Morton has an approach that I think is interesting.
Each of these guys are smart dudes and it will help you to pay close attention to what they're saying.
Especially because I'm not saying what they're saying. They've covered it well enough.
I want to talk about a different potential reason.
Is this the reason your billings are low?
To get into it, I will use an illustration from my own life. Are you surprised I decided a story might help here? Didn't think so.
The other day I walked onto a stage to give a talk to about 350 people. Now, to be clear, I've been speaking on stages since my late teens. I've spoken for 5 minutes and for an hour. I've spoken in front of 5 people and 500.
Do you know how I felt right before going on stage to present?
With twenty five years of public speaking experience, I still get butterflies.
- Will they like the message?
- Will they laugh at the right moments?
- Will they have an “a-ha” moment?
- Will they reject me?
Here is something that I know how to do, that I've practiced doing for years, and that I am comfortable doing (while I'm doing it), and yet, I still get nervous before it starts.
Why am I telling you this?
I'm telling you this because it illustrates the core of the principle I want to address.
People presume I have no fear when it comes to public speaking. They presume that there is no worry in me – and they couldn't be more incorrect.
You can watch my talks – they don't look like I was worried or stressed, but I was.
I'm human. So guess what? I fear rejection, just like everyone else.
And what I've noticed among a group (not all) of young freelancers is that they have some fear about telling the client the total number of hours it's really going to take for them to get something done.
And because of that fear, they prefer to charge less.
They fear a confrontation. They fear having to justify themselves and hearing a client debate them. They fear rejection.
The Presence of Fear
Again, this isn't the only reason you may not be billing well. It may not be something you have to deal with.
But if you're starting to sense that you're like this, you know exactly what I'm talking about.
You've been working under the assumption that your gut and the fear you feel should be a sign you trust.
You've been thinking that the presence of fear suggests you'll be doing something wrong by being up front with how much work you'll have to do – and what it will cost.
You've been trusting that gut, but an untrained gut is dangerous.
And here's the worst part of this presence of fear – the assumption that once the fear goes away, you'll charge more – more money or more hours.
But this is my point – the fear of a confrontation, or the fear of rejection or the fear of losing a client – that may never go away.
And if that's the case, it's ok. What will change is that you'll learn to push thru it. Push past it. Deal with it.
But not if you sit on the sidelines waiting for fear to leave.
Learn to embrace and move thru the fear – and your billings may seriously increase.