The Freelancers' Show 097 - Weekly Billing

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The panelists discuss the benefits of weekly billing.

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[Hosting and bandwidth provided by the Blue Box Group. Check them out at BlueBox.net.]  [You're fantastic at coding, but do you have an action plan to take it to the next level? The upcoming book, Next Level Freelance will help you optimize your freelance business for happiness. The book is packed with actionable steps to make more money, case studies, tips to find more clients and exercises for you to establish your desired lifestyle. Extras include nine interviews of freelancers who make great money while enjoying great work-life balance, videos on strategies to find quality subcontractors, and videos on making more free time by outsourcing your daily tasks. Check it out today, nextlevelfreelance.com.] [This episode is sponsored by Planscope. Planscope is a project management and collaboration app built for freelancers and the way they work with clients. It makes it easy to price up new estimates, and once you're underway, helps answer the question, “Will this get done on time and under budget?” I've been using Planscope to do my estimates and manage my projects, and I really, really like it. It makes it really easy to keep things in order and understand when things will get done. You can go check it out at planscope.io.__] CHUCK: Hey everybody and welcome to episode 97 of the Freelancers’ Show. This week on our panel we have Curtis McHale. CURTIS: Good day! CHUCK: Reuven Lerner. REUVEN: Hi everyone! CHUCK: I'm Charles Max Wood from DevChat.tv and this week we’re gonna be talking about weekly pricing. It was kind of interesting, I think, last week Brennan kept talking about how he ran his consultancy off of weekly pricing. And Curtis, you mentioned that you're doing weekly pricing as well. I wanna start off just by asking a question and this is the thing that I think will really hang up my clients doing weekly pricing and that is, “Is it weekly pricing for when you do a little bit of work, or a lot of work? How do I know I'm gonna get my money’s worth of value for a week of work?” CURTIS: I guess that depends. I still do half-weeks sometimes, so if I'm, say on a three-week project and Thursday, our last day, we’re tying up some loose ends and there's a couple of loose ends to finish off – also a half-week, normally, but I don’t go any smaller than that most often. I have a couple of long-term clients that have stayed with me as I've raised prices, and I've had for five or six years, and I actually bill them hourly still, but they are,percentage-wise, like 2-3% of my overall income. I like working with them, it’s easy, and I like them so I keep that around. REUVEN: Yeah I just wanna know – the things is, when I go talk to potential clients their first question is, “How much do you charge?” and they always mean “How much do you charge per hour?” So I'm sort of wondering how do you change that conversation even from the beginning when you first meet with people to say, “This is how I bill”? CURTIS: I’d just say, “I don’t charge hourly” when they ask. That’s what I tell them. I’d say, “I don’t charge hourly.” All that does is incentivize me to charge you as much as possible and take as long as I can for everything, and you to drive me down on everything to make sure it takes less time. I don’t wanna fight with you about it so I don’t bill like that. CHUCK: How is that different from weekly then? Aren’t you then incentivized to take more weeks? CURTIS: Yeah, I think it’s how you approach it as well though, right? You wanna provide value. As Brennan said in last week’s CEO he charged $10,000 a week and he said that what was the value he got out of that? And so that’s how I'm trying to position it or working to position it now. And I find that my weekly pricing lines up pretty well with other I freelancers that are charging, say, flat rate on things kind of on the higher end. So when I say my current weekly rate is $3000 a week and when I say a theme is gonna cost $3000 and would take a week to build, that’s 1.) half or less than most of the people say they’ll do it in the same cost, because I'm only working on one thing and not juggling four projects. REUVEN: So that’s another thing with weekly pricing that I guess, that you are saying to yourself and to the client, “This week I'm dedicating solely to work on project x” and everything else will basically need to stand in line. CURTIS: Yeah, more or less. And I book all calls for new clients on Tuesday mornings; I have to keep my pipeline full, right? So I've been on call since, 8 o’clock for me; it’s now 11:34 and I'm recording this. And I tell them that I have to do it every Tuesday. When I'm talking to them initially, I am currently typically on a weekly project and not working on this exact second. And then Fridays, I use it for business admin; that still lets me give the client 20-25 hours a week of useful time. CHUCK: Now do you actually track how much time you spend or do you just say, “I spent about 20 hours this week”? CURTIS: I track it, but they never know. CHUCK: Right. So you are verifying, kind of giving them approximately the value that you promised? CURTIS: Absolutely. Just before Christmas I had a project that was – something came up and I was waiting on stuff for them anyways, and another client had a major emergency for a large e-commerce site selling $10,000 items and I worked for them all day, because I was waiting for stuff anyway. So I told the clients on that week, I said, “I've got about 4 or 5 hours that I can still work for you after Christmas to tidy this one portion up.” I explained why and they said, “Well okay, that’s great.” I want to provide value for you, and this is how I feel I provided value. And It worked out well for me because I have a baby coming at some point soon so I'm not really booking anything weekly right now, I'm just cleaning up things here and there for clients and waiting for this new bundle of joy to make its appearance and throw hell into our life for at least three or four days, so. REUVEN: 30, 40 years. CURTIS: Yeah, that too but I mean, half of that is more predictable, right? [Laughter] CURTIS: I don’t know when it’s coming; once it’s here well it’s occupying that space over there, and costing me that much money. REUVEN: Yeah, you're welcome to talk to my teenage daughters about predictability. [Chuckles] So when you talk to people about billing weekly, you're not telling them whatever you do, that you expect to spend 20, 25 hours working with them, or do you just say, “I work on this on a weekly basis and I’ll provide a solid week of value to you”? and you'll let this sort of hourly thing stay unsaid? CURTIS: That’s right. REUVEN: Okay. CURTIS: And occasionally the hours, [inaudible] one large client what we are able to accomplish in a week was – well, less an hour – provided monetarily huge values so they were totally happy. Right? At that time I was charging, I think it was actually still $3000 – my first $3000 client last year – and I think in the one week we were able to take them from not selling $10,000 items to selling $10,000 items. And they sold two. REUVEN: Oh, nice. CURTIS: That was a pretty useful week for them, right? Even going from “Okay, this is totally messed up. The last guy has no idea, can you fix this?” and I said, “Yep, let’s do it.” REUVEN: And did they ever challenge you and say, “Well obviously this did not take very long.” Or on the other hand, do they ever challenge you when you come and say, “Listen, I thought this would take a week, but it’s actually gonna take two weeks”? CURTIS: No, I haven’t had challenges on that. I think, if this is gonna work for the barber shop down the street who wants their steam built, in my case, or want something easy done, this isn’t pricing that necessarily works for them. For them I’ll just say, “It’s $3000 and I’ll build you a theme and I’ll give it to you at the end of the week and you can launch it whenever you want.” When you're dealing with a large enough client – so the one client I was talking to today when I said, “Here’s the [inaudible], oh I'm not sure if it’s gonna be until we dug into it.” The point is communicating with them a lot, a lot, a lot. There’s the one client I worked for before Christmas, and I told him right from the beginning, “This is three or four weeks.” We got to three weeks and I said, “You have all these things on the list; which ones do you wanna cut? Or which ones are not –“ and he cut like tons of stuff and said, “Okay.” We communicated multiple times a day about features like “Hey, there's a new feature. There's a new feature today.” We tweak, tell this works; I deployed three or four times in a day, sometimes, and he would get a chance to look at it and we’d tweak it, and we’d tweak it, so he was involved in everything all the time and knew what was happening. His biggest pushback, I guess, was on one bug where it took me a day to find the bug. He said, “Hey, what's up?” I said, “Listen, software is like that. Sometimes there's a bug and you think you’ve got it solved, and that’s what happens. That is the cost. If you would like to use something that’s already pre-built and has only known bugs, and you can buy this off-the-shelf system that does nothing that you want it to do, that’s your choice.” And he was like, “Yeah, I guess you're right. I need this custom stuff. I need it to work in this way, so you are correct. It sucks.” And I was like, “I agree, it sucks; I don’t like spending a day finding a bug either, but that’s what you have to do sometimes.” REUVEN: Did you have any clients whom you transitioned from hourly to weekly pricing, or do you really need to start fresh when you changed that system? CURTIS: I've transitioned one client whom I would say was my longest client around, and I don’t – “Yeah, I decided to do weekly pricing now so that means I’ll do this on this week.” And they said, “Okay.” I said everything. I started with $50 an hour and when I raised it up to like $100, they were like, “Sure.” Like, not a sweat through any of the thing I went – any of the reasons I went through there. So maybe that’s just the right client? CHUCK: Well, it depends. I mean, I've found that some clients – you're the first freelancer they’ve worked with, they really don’t have a good gauge of what you're worth to them, and so when you raise your rates, they kind of freak out. And then I've had other clients where they’ve struggled with several, they’ve come to me, they’ve had a terrific experience with me, and so I raise my rate and they're just like, “Is that all?” I really think it just depends on what their outlook is and how aware they are of what kind of value they're getting and what it’s really worth to them to be able to work with you. CURTIS: You need to help them establish that too, right? CHUCK: Yeah. CURTIS: That’s part of your job. You're saying, “Oh, the client doesn’t know how much I'm worth” – well, did you ever explain it to them? No. How are they supposed to know then? CHUCK: Yeah. REUVEN: So how do you explain to them? Do you go through, in your case, you're doing a lot of e-commerce sites, so do you say, do you point out, “Well after I've done this week’s worth of work, look at your sales and how they’ve improved”? CURTIS: Yeah, we’ve done that. It depends, right? I've done that with one client who had no email follow-up on [inaudible] and so we did that and we doubled the revenue. Doubled – no. I don’t know, we made actually like 30 or 40% is what we made in the one month, and they're like, “Okay, that was like three times what you made us.” Or another one I did earlier this year that was paying for a $50,000 external tool, we rebuilt it for $20,000 in four weeks, but that external tool would get crushed under the API calls, so 10,000 users on the membership site, and so they had users saying, “I can’t even use your system, please cancel. I'm a lifetime user; we’re worth” – what was it? Users paying $299 a month, so it’s not cheap when you drop a couple hundred users and plus they're paying for an external tool, so when I rebuilt it for $20,000 in four weeks, they were like, “Awesome! Great, I saved 30.” Their member [inaudible] went back to normal levels, as opposed to double or triple that they were losing before. CHUCK: Yeah, I think some of those cases are really easy to quantify. It’s like, “Look, the work I did made you this much money.” I think in other cases, like for example, a WordPress theme or some internal app or things like that where they're not necessarily tracking the numbers that would give them that information – it’s kinda hard to point out. I mean, I've built a few internal apps that replaced spreadsheets, which is actually one of my favorite things to do: give me your spreadsheet and I’ll make your life better. But they don’t track those hours; they don’t track the time that it takes them to put things into the spreadsheet and pass it around and get it back and fix what somebody else messed up, and whatever. CURTIS: Yeah, but is the employee metric there – employee satisfaction, employee happiness? CHUCK: Like, “Oh, I don’t find spreadsheets to be a pain in the ass.” CURTIS: So there are valid metrics, and lots of people aren’t tracking them. CHUCK: Yeah, I'm just saying, people don’t measure them so they don’t know. CURTIS: Yeah. When I asked – I dealt with a membership site today and I asked them a ton of different questions and they had no idea what their lifetime members were, or how many members they had. I know, it’s quite a successful, I guess, online magazine for a science fiction and they do well with it – they pay good rates to the writers and proper professional rates, but they didn’t have a lot of other information. They knew from experience that once they had a user, they usually stayed because it was a very hardcore group – like, goes to conferences and dresses up in groups and stuff, like most of people show up and dress up when they come. Most people have been to more than one conference, so they knew that they had some stuff like that, but [inaudible] even a survey. I haven’t actually started working with them yet, but came up with a survey that they could do for the users to start tracking a lot more stuff and have more information. Sometimes it’s even, the first aspect, the first week of the project, let’s figure out how we can have metrics properly and implementing that for them. Okay, now we have some metrics and we can go on to a proper estimate and start going through on this and see if it is any value. ‘Cause you may find out, once you estimate, that it’s not “you don’t provide the value that matches their project.” CHUCK: Yeah, or the pain that, once they start measuring it, there's no way that you're gonna get paid enough because it really doesn’t add up to enough dollars or pain or whatever. CURTIS: Yeah, and that’s a risk on your part too, right? If you find out, Chuck, that the survey or the spreadsheets were better for everyone, well that’s not great, is it? CHUCK: No, not really, but –. REUVEN: You don’t sound so remorseful. CHUCK: No, it’s not that. It’s just I really hate spreadsheets, so even if – I mean, you measure it and yeah, we’ll just deal with it, I still feel bad for you. That’s what I'm saying. REUVEN: Spreadsheets are, I think, wonderful, amazing things that I've seen people do amazing stuff with them. I can’t remember who it was, someone once said, it was [inaudible], that wherever there is a spreadsheet, there's probably an application waiting to be unveiled or unleashed. I've definitely seen that. Just today I spoke with an organization where they talked about migrating their database. I said, “Well, can you show me your database?” And they said, “Well actually, it’s an Excel file.” [Chuckles] CHUCK: Noo –. REUVEN: Right. And this is for audio and video and word documents, and all sorts of other crazy stuff. So yeah, my first thought was, “Aha. I think you need a serious database.” CHUCK: Yeah, I mean, I got a spreadsheet – I went to New Media Expo, he said, “Hey, tweet me and I’ll send this to you.” I got this spreadsheet and it was really just a way to plan your year. But I got it, and I was like, “Oh, this is pain.” And so I built it into a spreadsheet and you know, I'm gonna probably tweet it out to him today and say, “I got this application built, but the thing is, for me it’s nice to be able to just click-click-click, go-go-go –“ REUVEN: So when it comes to this sort of providing value on a weekly basis, if they're [inaudible], maybe it’s, at the end of the day, really better for them. But if they feel it’s better, if they feel like their workflow is better, then you can go to them and say, “Okay, well I put in my week and you see your life has improved.” And what happens? Curtis, has it ever happened where you come to them and say, “Well, I don’t really think it would improve that much. Or maybe you could just add this or just add this, or just add this.” Do you ever find them sort of trying to cut corners or add a few hours here and there? CURTIS: Clients try to cut corners and everything, don’t they? REUVEN: [Laughs] Oh, I thought weekly pricing was a magical elixir for that? CURTIS: Well, one of the big selling points I found for weekly pricing is that the ABC argument, right? You'd start the project, you wanna do ABC and C is five weeks so you have no idea whether it’s gonna really be a good idea. It just sounds good right now and when you get to it, you think, “This is the stupidest idea we ever had. We have no scoping to talk about, we just say ‘let’s do D instead.’” And we do it. I have found that and when I set up a Trello board, I usually set up a future list, and anything that doesn’t fit in these current sets of weeks, we just move to future. Future, future, future. And then we can start deciding how long these will take, and we can bring them in into our to-do list or our kind of ‘next up’ list. Yeah, there's always, “Hey, let’s just add this one thing” and I’ll say, “Well it’s gonna take this long, so if you want to do it, that’s fine. It’s just gonna take this long to do, which is gonna take, say, another half week or another week, so.” REUVEN: It’s almost like – it’s not even ‘almost like’ – it is like, it is the client being involved in, you could call it “week-long sprints” where “this is what we’re gonna try to accomplish this week and you're gonna pay me for this sprint and next week we’ll start a new one, and if we didn’t finish something, that’s okay; we’ll just put on [inaudible] for next week.” CURTIS: Yup. Yeah, and like I said, smaller clients are not gonna be good with that. But, say, most of my projects weekly are – honestly, three weeks is probably a little one for weekly pricing. REUVEN: Does it ever happen that – well I guess you did say that you sometimes charge by the half-week, so if you got just a tiny bit of [inaudible]. CURTIS: I've done that once, maybe. REUVEN: Okay. CURTIS: Weekly is nice because when you're talking hourly, they drill you down, but weekly is a big-enough time unit that it can be value-based as opposed to “how many hours did you put in this week?” Right? And that’s why I find the biggest transition is going from hourly to that. Now I still track hours; I still have an effective hourly rate. My effective hourly rate is $150 an hour, which is however much I charge, divided by how many hours I put in, so. That’s what I use as the number; if we didn’t get the stuff, I’d look at how many hours I worked and I made $300 an hour, but if there's a bunch of stuff that we didn’t finish – that is a prime candidate for me saying, “I did not provide enough value this week.” CHUCK: Yeah, but then you do run into those instances where you spend an entire day working on one bug, right? CURTIS: Yeah, but that, I still track all the hours and say, “We didn’t get the stuff, we had a bug in the middle of the week” and so my effective hourly rate was right around $150. CHUCK: Right. CURTIS: Right? And I say, “Well, that’s how it goes sometimes.” CHUCK: Yeah. REUVEN: Right. Now, if you do any of these – if you're working hourly, then almost by definition it means that you can’t be working on more than one project at a time, except for maybe a little clean up here and there outside of those weekly hours. So what happens if someone comes to you and says, “Curtis, we really want to work with you.” Do you say to them, “Well, I have time in another month, time in another three months”? CURTIS: Yup. REUVEN: Okay, that’s a good solution. That’s a good problem to have. CURTIS: And I have a client right now that I've worked with – awesome agency, I very much respect them, I enjoy working with them. They call me in for specifically e-commerce stuff; we did phase one just before Christmas and I said, “Okay, how about phase two?” and I booked the weeks out. They said, “Okay, that doesn’t work for us.” “Sorry, that’s when I next have time.” It’s about providing value: if I say yes to you, then I have to half-work on yours and half-work on someone else’s, and then am I providing value to either of you? The owner said, “No, you're not.” “That’s right.” So yeah, they just have to wait. Once I get booked that far enough, it is likely I’ll start looking for another contractor to also – so we have two people booking weekly. But at this point, it’s just, “Wait.” That’s your choices. And I've had people say, “I can’t wait that long.” Just before Christmas, I had two projects possibly taking that three-week space and the one basically didn’t jump on it fast enough and they said, “Oh, we’re ready for a deposit today” and I said, “I was just emailing you to say it’s already been taken.” “But what are we supposed to do?” “Find someone else, I guess.” I can’t help that, right? I have done my best, and I advised you that I was talking to two other people. The first person that gives me cash for the first week gets the slot. And then you have to wait. And most of my projects are three weeks or more, so. REUVEN: So I wanted to ask you about that in terms of billing, because what I typically do now is, and I do hourly billing, and so at the end of the month – last day of the month, more or less – I add up all the hours for different clients I work for and send them all invoices. My contract, the famous phrase, the standard contract says that they should pay me within a week of that by check or by direct deposit. In reality there's always debt, plus 30, and then plus 60, hair pulling out, and so forth. But if it’s on a weekly basis, and I think I get from what you're saying – first of all you ask for a deposit upfront, and then are you billing them weekly as well or is it also billing them at the end of the month? CURTIS: I bill weekly, so to hold, say, even an 8-week project, I bill one week. To get week 2, you pay me before Monday for week 2. If you do not pay me – I've had a client drop two days because he didn’t pay me. “We’ll get to it, we’ll get to it,” and I said, “Okay, great.” And then they paid me and like, “Oh, what do we do?” I was like, “You guys didn’t pay me for the week, right? I have no room to push this out, so if you don’t pay me, I am not doing it.” I've also had – we know very good, long-term clients who I've worked many projects on, who were behind and they said, “Our accountant is gone today, and I can’t – the way our system works, I can’t really do anything about it for today, is that okay?” And I said, “You paid me 50 times totally on time, we can let that one week slide; we’re okay.” If we started getting through that whole week, and I say, “Okay, here’s week 2” and they're like, “The accountant is still not around” you need to make arrangements for your business so that you can handle these things. REUVEN: So does this mean that you're always getting paid in advance for the week? CURTIS: Yes. The tradeoff for that though is I have no caveat for if you say you wanna cancel any project after week 1, that’s okay. So they don’t have to say after week 1, “You're a hack, how am I gonna get all this extra money back from you?” They’ll say, “We’re done one week. I don’t wanna use you anymore.” And I’ll say, “Okay.” REUVEN: But it also means, in terms of your peace of mind and accounting, you're getting paid upfront, so you don’t have to worry about chasing people down for money? CURTIS: That’s right. I just don’t. Like I said, I've had the client and I’d say, “Hey, it’s Monday morning. I know you guys are pretty busy; I've re-sent the invoice –” and I usually send them Thursdays for the next week that’s coming up. Yeah, I don’t chase them; I have no provision for if you decide to leave, which is I guess, the trade off for not having a bunch of money upfront and locking them in. And honestly, I have no time to lock people in; if you don’t think I'm right for you, then go find someone else. and if you're that skeezy person who just want to get a little bit of work and find someone cheaper, at least you figured that out on week one as opposed to later. CHUCK: Yup. That makes sense. CURTIS: And I have had projects take less weeks, and I'm okay with that too. Every time I've had a project take less weeks, you usually know. Say, if you're on a 4-week project and in week 4, or say in week 3, you say, “Okay, we are totally getting way ahead on this; call the next client ahead and say, ‘Hey, it looks like I can start a week early. Is that good?’” And they’ll say yes.Typically, they’ll say yes, and we just start a week early. I've never had a problem filling that extra week if I wanted to. REUVEN: Do you work at all with large companies? Because I mean, I'm thinking of the large companies I deal with in Israel or internationally, and they are totally not equipped, as far as I know, to do any sort of pre-payment. CURTIS: Yup. Credit card. If you're dealing with an executive, their credit card usually handles easily $3000, for me. I have heard of other people that do it that are billing ahead and they're getting that 30, but they’ll say, “Okay, so we’re gonna start this project in two weeks; I'm billing you this week for the first week, next week for the second week. By the time you're into week 3, you're getting paid for week 1 already, even though it’s not 30, right? So you start billing well in advance one week, one week, one week, one week. I think I've actually put some podcast links in the chat here, but for Unfinished Business, he talks about that in the first 10-ish episodes; episodes two and nine are the ones I pulled out where it talks about weekly pricing. And he deals with that; he works with international – I wanna say the international web community, but it’s totally not it. It’s like a large international body doing standards or for copyright protection, I think, and that’s how I believe how he bills them. CHUCK: So how do you make that transition? Do you just start telling people, “Look, I wanna move to a weekly billing and here’s what we’re gonna do”? CURTIS: That’s certainly how I tried to start it, and then it didn’t happen. And then Eric said, “Hey man, what are you doing? Just tell them that’s your pricing.” And I said, “Okay.” And I became a weekly-price person. CHUCK: So do you do this with new clients then? You just go to them and say, “Hey, I'm on weekly pricing”? CURTIS: Yup. “So how much is it?”I say, “Well I bill weekly based on if we’re gonna build a theme, it’s one week; if we’re gonna build a theme and this, it’s two weeks. If I do this, and this, and this, it’s usually three or four weeks.” [Inaudible] cleans up your estimating process I find quite nicely, so I spend less time on estimates, and I was not a huge “here’s your 9-page proposal” when clients have asked for it, I say I just don’t do that. Right? I don’t respond to RFPs ‘cause you get so few of them that it’s just not even worth it for me. In my opinion, it’s not worth it, and so I’ll say – I talked to one person today and we were talking about the project and again, this is another agency needing WordPress-specific stuff and they only do Rails, and we had a good chat and they said, “We’re probably looking at 4-5 weeks for this but I’ll have to get on some nitty-gritty and we’ll hop on the Trello board together. I’ll block out some tickets and some things and we can start a thorough, kind of a broad brush, at how many weeks it’s gonna take. Anything over three weeks, I leave a blank week too.” So anything three weeks or more, I leave a blank week, so four weeks. CHUCK: That makes sense. CURTIS: And I've had one project just for Christmas, I looked at it on Day 1 and everything on their Trello board and laughed and booked it at six weeks even though they only wanted 2. CHUCK: [Laughs] CURTIS: And by the end of the six weeks, they were like, “Are you available next week?” I'm like, “No, man. I'm not available. I booked six weeks for you; you only wanted two.” And he’s like, “Yeah, I guess you're right.” Like, if you had said you wanted eight weeks, I would have booked you at eight weeks [inaudible] and maybe left one. So that means, that if I'm booking like a six-week project, I leave two weeks blank at the end, and that gives us wiggle room in the project. And I setup, I guess I bill appropriately so that I get $3000 a week, times three weeks, is enough that I make kind of the minimal I wanna make per month. So I don’t have to worry about – I could theoretically work three out of every four weeks all year and be totally happy with my income. CHUCK: Yup, makes sense. REUVEN: How do you deal with people who come to you and say, “Well this is your weekly rate, but can we negotiate on that?” [Inaudible] you were being pretty firm on you don’t negotiate on rates. CURTIS: I say I'm always willing to get paid more. [Laughter] REUVEN: I gotta use that. CURTIS: Say, we’re talking about a four-week project, and that’s a $12,000 project for me at a $3000 weekly rate. And they say, “We’d like to negotiate, because we only have about $10,000.” I'm like, “Sure, we can cut whatever you'd like.” Right? Or in my space, maybe they had some – let’s say, a magazine site; that’s a good one. A magazine site and they want to be able to publish issues and they have all these articles that are linked to them and I say, “Okay, well, this is what it’s gonna take to build a custom,” because they have some custom things that they want, and they say, “Well that makes it way too expensive.” “Well there's this plugin called issuem – you could use that. And then we’d cut out a couple of weeks of building. How does that work?” Or even in the e-commerce site – originally they started about custom design; they started talking about mobile responsiveness, and then they started talking about all these other things and that made me come up with an 18 or $20,000 price tag for that. Between design and implementation, I said, that’s way too much. [Inaudible] about $10,000 is probably like my upper, upper limit, and I say, “Well let’s find a good theme from Woo Themes that suits most of what you want and we can do it on a two to three week project.” That’s why I think anything should fall if you're negotiating with any project and they say, “Let’s take that cheaper.” If it’s because they just think that they can get it cheaper, well then, that’s probably not a client that we’ll work with number 1. If it’s because their budget is lower and they just didn’t expect it, that’s a totally different scenario; let’s see how we can accommodate that budget. If I am willing to accommodate a budget, it’s probably a project I want to work on anyway, or I think will be cool. Or that I like the client enough that I just like to work on their stuff, and I would love to accommodate someone that’s cool to work with [inaudible] cool people. REUVEN: Right. Do they ever come to you and try to give an apples-apples comparison between someone who’s billing hourly and you as billing weekly, since they're presumably interviewing more than one person? CURTIS: What do you mean? What type of questions do you think they'd be asking me? REUVEN: Well I mean, not necessarily – well, so and so is cheaper than you, ‘cause that’s a standard thing. But maybe they’ll say something like, “Well, so and so charge us an hourly basis, you charge us weekly; can we just sort of convert that to hourly to understand how much you're charging us? [Inaudible] CURTIS: If you can figure out the math, by all means, figure it out. And they say, “Well, how many hours do you work?” I say, “Do you care how many hours I work? You have this product you want built, right? Is what I said I’d charge within your budget or within the prices you expected? Are you gonna get all the features you want? Yes or no? If you are, then who cares how many hours I put into it? Do you get the value and the product you wanted out in the end? That is the important part. What if I'm gonna spend three times the hours, because I'm really slow, but I like working on your project, should I just bill you for three times the hours then?” REUVEN: That’s good. I like that. CHUCK: I think I just asked this, at least in my brain I just asked this – how do you make the transition? You just tell them you're switching, right? CURTIS: Just any new project, I said, is weekly. This is how I bill, this is how many weeks it’s gonna take; I’ll only work on your project. And I have a blog post that I wrote which we can put in the show notes; it talks about why I like weekly pricing. I say, “Here’s a much longer thing to talk about it, or much longer post to talk about why,” and I refer clients to that who have a lot of questions. I'm quite happy to talk with them about it too if you wanna talk about what it’s gonna take and why do I do weekly. The other things is, the cost of context switching is so ridiculously high, right? Dan Miller, who we had on a few weeks ago, when we listened to his podcast, he always cites a study that says it takes you, if you were doing the same task and get a phone call, getting back to that same task, it gives you 18 minutes to get back on track properly. So if you're switching to different projects all the time, it takes way longer than 18 minutes. I sit down at the end of the day and say, I'm working on A, B and C for the client tomorrow, and I sit down that morning and start on A, B and C, except for my time blocks, like some of my Tuesday morning call times. I had a client, even today, last week they're saying, “Oh I can’t –” “Tuesday at 10, that’s the only time I have.” “Well can you do this another time?” “No, that is the only time I have, because I bill weekly, I block everything out. These are the times.” So to provide value for clients, I only take calls on this time so I can put them all in before the Freelancers Show, stay on Skype all day basically, and then if I don’t have calls, I'm absolutely just working on your project. REUVEN: I understand the whole context switching overhead issue, both, which is sort of not good for the developer and not good for the client, and that’s one of the reasons I'm interested in switching to weekly pricing. At the same time, I do find that the variety of clients, the variety of work that I do is – I don’t even wanna say stimulating and interesting, but it’s useful, that I'm constantly finding things with client A that would then help me with client B. I feel almost worried that if I only work on one project at a time, that I'm going to lose that diversity and sort of lose that intellectual stimulation that then also helps my clients. Do you find that, and if so, how do you overcome it? CURTIS: I don’t so much. My biggest issue is context switching. Once I get off-track, it’s hard to get back on track sometimes. And sometimes it’s very hard; I would literally kill a whole day, because I can’t get back on track and can’t get focused, which is why I time block, which is why Skype is shut off most of the time and I come back to 300 messages in our chat room [inaudible]. [Laughter] CURTIS: Because I just know I will. My phone only notifies for text messages and phone call – nothing else beeps; I have no notifications on anything. But no, I don’t find that there's an issue with that. I remember reading enough ‘literature’ – you know, technical blog posts I suppose, is better than ‘literature’ – in my field to know about it. I'm occasionally jumping in to help someone I mentor with things, which at least lets me think about more often basic topics for myself, but lets me think about them in a new way. And then even though I'm working mainly on weekly projects like the last e-commerce one or even one coming up is like API’s interfacing with an external service and JSON objects and then we have two different user types that we’re gonna look at; add menus that have a certain set of capabilities and another set of users that have a certain set of capabilities, and so my next project, I'm gonna have all this other knowledge on top of it. I find that cost of context switching is way too high to make it really worthwhile, even in these last few weeks as I'm kind of jumping around on things before the baby comes, the context switching is high and my hourly billing – the hours I [inaudible] is easy. I probably put in 10-15% less hours right now, and I'm trying to work every day, all day, until the baby comes. So I'm really telling you if I'm gonna bill you hourly, you probably don’t want that, because you're not getting a lot of value. CHUCK: Right. The other question I guess I have as far as transitioning goes is that I'm currently working on a couple of different client projects, and some of them are subcontracted and some of them aren’t, and so I'm trying to figure out how I would move to that just on those. I guess I could just talk to my clients and move them over to weekly billing and –. CURTIS: Yeah, and that’s what you could do. You could say, “As of March 1st, I'm moving over to weekly billing. Here it is: it includes basically everything – all the project management time, everything.” And this is how it’s gonna work, so my contractor, if you're a contractor, is only working on yours, I’ll be in and out with project management. If he’s not working on anything else – now you have to find contractors that are gonna do that as well, so I'm not sure how your contractors do things, but you kinda have to trickle it down, which makes it kind of a bigger leap because when you have a contractor, you say, “I kinda expect you to be working on my stuff all the time.” Right? CHUCK: Yeah, that’s true. Or at least so many hours. CURTIS: Or you need to say like, if they're only gonna do a certain number of hours but you need more than you have to make sure that you have the time to kind of in and out on those couple weekly projects. But yeah, it includes everything. If I was transitioning longer-term clients that are many months ongoing contracts, I would – I guess you have two choices: you have to say it once this contract comes up, when you’re renegotiating the next set, “This is how I bill now” or you say, “I wanna transition in the middle,” and that depends on each client. [Inaudble] very few people in my space billing weekly does seem to me like in other spaces, like in Rails or – there's still a lot more people talking about it, at least, like Brennan or Mellarki – that’s his twitter handle, he does design, the Unfinished Business podcast. I don’t remember his name right now, but they’ve been talking about it and doing it. Mellarki has for years, and that’s the best thing he said for cash flow, and absolutely the best thing for cash flow in my business too. I had more cash, projects didn’t drag on because the client is also on the spot to get you that content back, right? Or else, the week is gone. And I've had that happen once where they said, “Well, the week’s done. I was waiting on this for three days.” “Well, I didn’t have time. I told you at the beginning that if I'm gonna be working weekly, you'll need to make sure that you have time to block out response times appropriately to get me the stuff I need. I will do my best to let you know as soon as possible when I need things. But if you don’t think that’s not gonna work with your schedule, then you should find someone else to work with.” CHUCK: It would’ve also – on a couple of other projects that I've worked on, I think it would have worked out well because it would have been, “Look, you're blowing your week because you're not giving me the information I need.” CURTIS: Yeah, and that’s a really good thing to say to clients. Like, “I wanna do this, but I'm waiting on this. I can’t really do anything. I'm tinkering on a couple of other things, but if we’re gonna kill the week and we’re not gonna meet our objectives for the week –” then that’s a good way to do it upfront. So I usually am at least in project manager with my clients, sometimes on a Skype call almost every day. So if I'm working for you for the week, we can book a Skype call. I usually book them at 9 and 1, beginning of blocks of work so that we could do it and have the rest of the block totally free of any distraction; I could really get down to work. But I know Mellarki - [inaudible] his twitter handle again – runs stuff in [inaudible]. He’ll get on a Skype call every morning with his clients, or in a call with his clients every morning to talk about the day’s work: what went good yesterday, what didn’t, so basically a little scrum meeting, right? So under 15 minutes. Usually the first week out of a longer project is figuring out like, “Hey, let’s have a chat. We’ll make sure we’re scoped out properly; make sure we’re good on our weeks,” and so on a four-week project we could look at the first week and by day two go, “Okay, this isn’t gonna work. We need to make some adjustments right away to it.” So when I use a contract, that makes it fairly clear. We all know that a fixed contract really benefits on either side, because I'm always fighting you on scope, and I'm always fighting you on hours about, “Hey this isn’t scope.” I'm saying, “No, it’s not. We never talked about that before.” Right? Instead, let’s just agree to basically be adults and know that things change, and now we need to be dynamic with it. We all want to serve your customers the best, so let’s do that. CHUCK: Yup. REUVEN: Right, but the key thing here – one of the key things here seems to be the constant communication. So if I understood correctly, you said that you speak to these clients twice a day, like you have Skype calls with them twice a day, to keep them updated on what you’ve done. CURTIS: No, no. I book them at two options in the day depending on the client. REUVEN: Oh. CURTIS: It depends on the client. I worked with one client who’s heavily into IRC and I am in that IRC channel all day. And I ping them, and I ask questions in the middle of the day and I say, “Hey, I found this bug in the software elsewhere. What do you want me to do with it?” we report it on GitHub, and so they are very – I'm in that all day. Or I had one client who preferred Skype and so we use Skype [inaudible] back and forth all day, and I’ll ask a question right in Skype for them right away. If we wanna jump on for that five minutes, we will and if not, we don’t. So, it depends. I usually bring everything back to a Trello board for myself and clients use that sometimes – or not. It just depends on the client, their activity in it. REUVEN: But it definitely means – it means, as you’ve been saying, there's a commitment from the client also that they're gonna be responsive, they're gonna be available, they're gonna be communicative, so that you can work as rapidly as possible, and I see that – I see that as just benefitting the project, but also benefitting your relationship, that suddenly they realize that you're really trying to get stuff done for them and when you're stuck, you're gonna tell them. You're not gonna show up at the end of the week and say, “Ah, well, starting on Tuesday, I had this problem and I didn’t resolve it until now.” Because if it’s Tuesday, if you started having a problem on Tuesday – it’s now Friday and you're reporting that – they’ll be right to be very upset. CURTIS: Oh absolutely. I think that throughout the week they're trying to be – their skin in the game is trying to make sure that they're not holding me up so they're getting value, and my skin of the game is by the end of the week they need to go, “I got lots of value this week.” Right? Because they didn’t get lots of value, they need to have a chat with me about it, and we’ll figure out why we didn’t get it, and what we can do to make sure it happens, or they need to find someone else that’s gonna give them the value they expect. That’s why I say there's no penalty for leaving. Just leave them. I get paid for what I did and you're done. You paid me upfront so we can just be done. CHUCK: I was just gonna say they paid you for the week, so, that’s all there is. CURTIS: I’ll give them everything; I’ll give them everything – I’ll give them all their code – everything. I have no, like, I don’t care; I don’t want it. If we’re really not a good fit, you should find someone else and I’ll even make myself available via email to help the next developer if they have any questions – no charge. CHUCK: Do you get pushed back for charging upfront? CURTIS: No. They normally say, “Hey, what do you mean? Isn’t it 50%?” “Yeah, but do you wanna owe me $10,000 and then decide after week 1 I'm a tack and you don’t wanna work with me?” And they say, “No. How long is it gonna take you to get that extra money back with most people?” I say, “Well, you never know. It could be long. Do you only wanna take that risk, or do you just wanna pay me for one week?” And they said, “I'm hack, and you're done.” And they say, “I guess you're probably right.” CHUCK: Yeah. CURTIS: I've had people say, “That’s really weird.” And I explain it to them and they say, “Ah, I understand. That is great – that makes a lot of sense why you do that way.” CHUCK: Right. CURTIS: Some people say, “That makes a lot of sense, why it’s good for you; I just don’t like it.” “Okay, then don’t do it. That’s totally fine.” CHUCK: It makes sense to me in the sense that you're not stuck, “They paid me 10 grand, I gotta figure out how to pay them back or whatever.” CURTIS: And that’s a pain in the butt, right? CHUCK: That’s a pain in the neck, so, the flipside being, okay, well you pay upfront and then yeah, “I'm not happy with what happened this week.” “Okay, don’t buy another week.” REUVEN: Right. It’s not a percentage of the project. So if it’s a $20,000 project and they have to pay you 50% and you get through week 1 and they decide you're hacked, then it gets messy. Because it’s just one week – they're basically buying a product as it were – it’s a black box. They put money in, they get working code out that suits their needs. CURTIS: Yeah, and I've had longer projects before where a client wants to hold that last 10% back, right? So they pay you 50%, 40%, and they’ll hold that 10% to see if you launch. But by the time you're done many weeks and provided value all the time, and they can see it coming through and you're like, “Okay, this is the last week; we’re gonna launch this week” and they're just, “Okay.” They just pay the bill. I've never had a client question that then in that scenario where I've had, many times, “Well what if you don’t launch it? What if you just ‘I pay you most of it and you walk away?’” Number one, I'm an ass and you shouldn’t work with me anymore and number two, I really have way better things to do with my time than screw clients over, because that just kills my reputation. Like I can go massage my beard and that’ll be way more useful for me, business-wise, to massage my beard than to ruin my reputation. But you don’t have to have that, right? When a client asks, “Hey, what about launch?” Well, you only have one week left; you just pay me the week and we’ll launch it. By that time, if you're gonna launch next week you should be like, almost looking for those few things to finish up most of the time, I would say. Although, timelines often are more compressed than that. REUVEN: So it looks to me, I can see your blog post that you put in the show notes – your announcement of going to weekly-priced development, that’s from late May of last year. So it’s about six months now you’ve been doing this. CURTIS: Well, I said it in May and I said I'm going to do this to clients. I gave them options on how to pay and August is when I just said, “Nah.” When Eric said, “Why are you giving them any option?” I said, “That is a good question, sir.” And they no longer had options. So August was when I really started digging into it. Although I say I was thinking about it from the October prior, which is my daughter second birthday, till I convinced my wife – that was my first hurdle – convince my wife it was a good way to price. REUVEN: Okay and so you just sort of told your clients, “Here’s what I'm doing” and it worked out? Were there any downsides? Have you found there to be any downsides in the whole process? CURTIS: Not really. Aside from those times which I've already talked about when I don’t think I provided value and that were kind of dragged me through [inaudible] things, so the agency that I've worked for, I had to tell them yesterday I just don’t have the time. I'm kind of reaching back to you and providing you value because I think you're awesome, and so that was kind of a downside if I was on weekly right now, it would be harder to do that and justify value to my current client. So you have to put your foot down. I told them that, I said, “I'm not really doing anything big right now; I got the kid coming soon, so I do have that extra time to assist you.” REUVEN: And what happens if you wanna go to a conference or something, or take a vacation for two days out of the week? Would you just not do that? CURTIS: Well they can book a half-week. And so I have that; I teach at the local college and it ends partway through the week and so my client I was talking to this morning, I said, “We’d bill a half-week that week, probably, but we could even [inaudible] get closer and maybe we’d just find that’s not awesome. Not optimal for us, right, if I'm – then we decide I'm not in the right headspace to work for a couple of days, in which case, we’d start the week after. If I come down and sit down and have a little bit of time, yeah I might do a little bit of extra work for them, starting early. I just view that as part of the value, right? At the end of a project, I want a client to be like, “Wow, I don’t know how I found anyone else to work with because they're just awesome. Curtis was just – he provided value, he went extra, he wasn’t even gonna do this, but he said, ‘Hey, don’t think that I didn’t provide enough value this week. I'm gonna work some extra for you. You get a free day in that next week.’ I've never had a contractor say that. And they're off working for me for free because they don’t feel that they provided value, and now they do, that’s awesome.” CHUCK: Yup. So when you give them a free day, do you just take it out of what you bill them for that next week? CURTIS: Well, it depends. The times I've had it has actually been the last week, of all the project that I have had to do it, so I've had like a blank week next and I just take it out. CHUCK: Oh, I see. So you just work an extra day –. CURTIS: Just work for a free day and don’t worry about it, yeah. And so you know, [inaudible] today was just a terrible day and if all reasons don’t apply to you at all, reasons with me not getting enough sleep and the kid being doing this, but ultimately I didn’t provide enough value so you have a free day at the end of the project anyways. And I have a blank week there to give you that free day and only be on you, and not give poor value to another client. And I was lucky, I guess a week and a half out he was like, “Oh, awesome. That sounds great! I've never had anyone tell me that before.” CHUCK:  I think this is something I'm gonna have to think deeply about, because it –. CURTIS: It took me a year – it took me a year of thinking and talking and like I said, hurdling, getting the hurdle with my wife, and then really dedicating myself to it and saying, “This is how I bill.” CHUCK: Well, I don’t think my wife will mind one way or the other but –. CURTIS: My wife had a lot of the same questions you guys are asking now, and I didn’t have good answers for them at first. Right? Like, what would you do if a client’s server goes down and you have to help out? I work four-day weeks, so I don’t do Fridays for that client anyway, I have business admin and Mastermind in the morning. If a client server goes down and I have to take time and view your project to help out, I drop my business and meeting for the day; my receipts can wait. I do my Mastermind, which runs till about 10:30 and I’ll work for you for the rest of the day. I don’t go for the bike ride and I work. REUVEN: Right. CHUCK: You give them the bike ride? Oh man. CURTIS: That’s it. If it’s a ‘get off the bike ride scenario,’ I have issues with that. Honestly, I gave up probably 10% of my bike rides last year. I do not – I give them up very rarely because I just know that if I give them up too much, my overall productivity and life happiness sucks, and that I'm not providing value for anyone. My wife doesn’t like me, and I'm angry with my kid, and clients are not getting the best of me either, so that’s why I stick to it very hard. REUVEN: How do you bill for those emergency situations? CURTIS: Oh the emergencies usually end up hourly. So, at my standard rate, which is $150 an hour right now, so they just get billed hourly for that. Emergencies happen right? The first time in forever I had a client who had to let someone else go under bad circumstances, so they needed help changing all the passwords because the owner had no idea. CHUCK: Oh, right. CURTIS: And so I had to change the database passwords; change everything so that this person couldn’t access things externally. And I worked on Sunday this week – that is so rare. My daughter was like, “You don’t work on Sundays, daddy.” And she’s three. CHUCK: [Chuckles] CURTIS: Right? I may have done it a handful of times; my wife is like, “You almost never do this. I'm tired today, but this is part of your job sometimes.” CHUCK: Yeah. [Crosstalk] CURTIS: And other clients understand that; if your server is down and I'm working on something else weekly, do you want me to tell you you gotta wait six weeks? Do you want me to work on it for one day and make up some extra time on this? “Oh no, you're right. You have to do stuff like that sometimes.” If it ends up taking a day and a half, I will let you know what's happening and what that means and we can regroup and figure out what that means. Occasionally it might mean that when a client says their server goes down, we start to fix it, and I say, “This is a lot of work and here’s what we’re gonna have to do, and we need to block a time, and here’s someone that I think can help you best with it, because I can’t, because I'm providing value to my other clients.” REUVEN: Right. CURTIS: And you'd have to do that anyways. Like you're just gonna work – I don’t know. You only work so many hours in a week. I know I'm pretty much dead after 5 o’clock, I just don’t do client work – or very rarely do any client work – after that, because I'm just dead. I'm useless to you. You want useless time, then you won’t get time. So I read and do other personal things after that point, or other business things. CHUCK: That’s the other thing that really appeals to me about the weekly billing is just that then I don’t feel like I have to scramble for something. Because sometimes I overbook myself, ‘cause I have, you know, two or three projects going, and so yeah, I feel like I have to stay up late and push, and get the stuff done and then I'm crediting them some time because I was half asleep half the time, but I did get their crap done and I still have to go re-factor it –. CURTIS: Yeah, but that’s a big cycle, right? Like, it’s so hard to climb out of that and just saying, “This is what I’ll work on this week,” and other clients, if they have something that’s significant, so you have to wait this long. It’s not unlimited time; I'm not an agency. If you want someone I can jump on anything at anytime – and I've said this, if you want me to be able to jump at anything every time, then you basically have to pay me all the time to keep hours free for you whether or not they get used. And they’ll say, “Well, we’re not really at that scale yet.” And I say, “Well, that’s what it takes. If you want me to be around on weekends, that’s $3000 for a weekend – whether or not we use it.” REUVEN: [Chuckles] CURTIS: So that means I gotta keep my laptop with me; I gotta make sure my phone – I gotta make sure that I'm not really leaving cell reception, and they’ll just say, “I guess you're right.” That’s what my hours are worth; I gotta make sure I can drop things with my family immediately, right? CHUCK: Yup. CURTIS: That type of cost – that’s what it’s worth to me. So I usually tell clients, if they call me on the weekend about the color or stuff, then it’s my normal rate times however annoyed I am and I'm already probably pretty annoyed. [Chuckling] CURTIS: “ My server crashed; it’s totally down. My server crashed; it’s totally down.” Or with the thing and the password thing this weekend – that is a valid reason to call me, please call me, I would love to talk to you and make sure that you are served properly. CHUCK: Yeah. Well people are trying to buy stuff and they can’t –. CURTIS: Yeah, and establishing it that way like my hourly rate times however annoyed I am and I'm very annoyed, usually gets the laugh like you guys said, but makes the point nicely. CHUCK: Yup. CURTIS: Right? They get the point – I don’t care about the color, and that’s the exact line I use, or very similar to that, every single time. I don’t care what you want on weekends, I don’t care what the color you decide is, I'm spending time with my family, my hourly rate is my normal rate times however annoyed I am and I'm already pretty annoyed. CHUCK: Right. REUVEN: Don’t make me angry, you won’t like me when I'm angry. CURTIS: Yup. REUVEN: I think my only hesitation with weekly billing is I do all this training, and typically companies don’t wanna do a full block of training – they don’t want 4-5 days in a row, even 3 days in a row. They want to do it two days a week, or one day per week, so it might wreak some havoc with that, but my guess is I can probably do two weeks a month of weekly and two weeks a month of training. And that’ll solve that problem [inaudible]. CURTIS: And like you said, if it’s two, one day a week, that’s essentially your business  admin day if you wanna take it like that like I use it, and then you saw it four days a week for the other weekly stuff, right? REUVEN: Right, true. CURTIS: And it’s providing value. If you find that you can provide value in three days a week and you really feel like at the end of this I am absolutely worth this weekly rate and I feel I provided lots of value and my client can see it, who cares if it takes you one day, right? CHUCK: Yeah, that makes sense. REUVEN: Right, right. Very true. CURTIS: And we were talking about – I don’t remember his name, but I think Brennan mentioned him in our last episode about the Rails guy that was charging $30,000 a week? REUVEN: Patrick, yeah. CURTIS: Yeah, he was not making sure he got in six hours, or 20-30 hours a week, was he? REUVEN: I don’t know. CURTIS: He provided value, right? CHUCK: Yeah. CURTIS: Because if anyone said, “Hey, you only worked 30 hours for $30,000; I'm not so sure I like that.” No. No one was saying that. They were saying, “Did I get more than $30,000 of value this week?” That was their only question. CHUCK: At that point, that’s what you have to do. CURTIS: Yeah, but even at going to weekly pricing, right? I could certainly see myself as we go farther up into the $5000 range as a weekly rate. As we move forward, as I get other employees around maybe, or other contractors, and it’s a question of value. But I think even at the $3000, $4000 a week range, you're excluding – I'm excluding the barber shop locally. I'm excluding lots of businesses locally that I just don’t wanna work with, that I used to work with a year ago. CHUCK: Right. CURTIS: So I'm looking for clients who are highly invested, who want me to go through, say, wire framing stages, who want me to go and really make sure we’re analyzing the users and we’re doing testing and we’re doing all these other things that I'm excluding a lot of clients who just say, “Nah, just give me something so I could go off with it and say, ‘I have a website.’” REUVEN: So it sounds like you're – by switching to weekly pricing – you’ve also moved up one or two notches in the quality of clients you deal with? CURTIS: I would say so. One of my clients – my first weekly pricing client was, I found it a couple of days ahead. They got a $50 million evaluation and investment round. So I went up into that caliber when I started changing my pricing, or building apps that are, you know, their projections. And I suppose some of them may or may not happen, but are looking at solid data for [inaudible] $10,000 and so they can start showing it off and looking at investing, and if investing comes through, we’re going into – I would probably be working for them for a couple of months to get everything up in exactly how they want it. CHUCK: Cool. Well I need to start wrapping this up ‘cause I have another podcast in half an hour. CURTIS: Yeah, and my wife told me lunch is ready, so I got a cold sandwich downstairs. CHUCK: I'm so sorry. CURTIS: Oh, that’s okay. I’ll let you go this time, Chuck. Reuven probably needs to go to bed, right? REUVEN: Oh please. No, I got two more conference calls this evening. It’s only 10:30pm, the night is young. CHUCK: I was gonna say, he keeps saying that he’s been doing this for 20 odd years, so he’s used to not sleeping. REUVEN: It’s like the old joke of the lawyer who dies and goes to heaven. He says, “I don’t understand; I'm only 35! How could I have died?” And they said, “Really? According to you billing, you should be 75!” [Laughter] CHUCK: So good. Alright, well let’s get to the picks. Curtis, you wanna start us off with picks? CURTIS: Sure. I wanna pick a book on pricing called The Price is Right. It is a short read, probably a weekend read, probably even an afternoon read, with lots of value in it. $7.99 on the Kindle store, and it is by my buddy Chris Lema. It talks about price anchoring, what we talked about with Brennan last week a bit as well, and how to price your products. I’d say it’s a little more product-focused, but excellent for freelancers as well, and lots of good stuff you'll learn and have to reread so you can accomplish it later. CHUCK: Awesome. Reuven, what are your picks? REUVEN: I got two picks for this week. One is a blog post – not so new, I would think, but if you're interested about building value in the Web Design Sales Process. This is someone who talks about how you can get a client to pay you much more by – surprise, surprise – talking to them and giving them a good feeling. So it’s not just a matter of meeting with them for half an hour, an hour and sending them a proposal, but rather talking to them, multiple meetings, really understanding their business, and by the time you understand their business, not only do you understand what needs to be done, but they trust you. They trust that you understand what needs to be done. And the second link is a fun one that I mentioned already in our back channel – I think both of you guys have seen it before. It’s called Ask a Slave, where this re-enactor, this re-enactress, I guess, could be called, this actress who worked on a – basically it was George Washington’s plantation as a slave. So she recounts on Youtube videos all the crazy, stupid questions that visitors to the re-enactment ask. And this time she gets to actually answer them the way they should be answered. So fun for anyone who likes history or who just likes to see how dumb people can be when they visit places. CHUCK: [Laughs] Alright. I've got a couple of picks. The first one is one that I use when I have to put in filler text somewhere. Most people use a Lorem Ipsum generator, and my favorite – it’s called Bacon Ipsum. It starts out Bacon Ipsum, blah-blah-blah, like the regular Lorem Ipsum generator  would do, and then it just starts putting different meat words in there, it’s awesome. It’s not a kosher one, but it’s definitely funny. REUVEN: It’s okay; it’s virtual – it’s okay for me to [chuckles]. CHUCK: [Chuckles] Oh, okay. One other thing: I'm gonna have the spreadsheet replacement that I built for the Christ Tucker spreadsheet app, and that will be at yourscheduler.com. It’s not up yet, but it will be by the time this goes live. So, that’s just terrific. Finally, if you wanna sponsor this show, I would really appreciate you getting a hold of me. I do have information as far as traffic and stuff for you, and you can email me at chuck@devchat.tv. Alright, well let’s go ahead and wrap this up. Catch everybody next week.

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