When you’re in business for yourself, it can sometimes be difficult to price your work.

There’s an old joke that makes this easy for me.

A man with a toothache goes to a dentist.  The dentist looks at the tooth and says that it needs to come out, and he can pull it in just 5 minutes.

The man asks how much it will cost, and the dentist replies that the price is just $100.

$100 for just 5 minutes?  That’s outrageous!” the man says.  To which the dentist replies, “I can take as much time as you’d like.  How soon do you want the pain to end?

This exchange makes it clear that the value in the dentist’s service isn’t in how much time it takes to perform the service, but in how quickly he/she is able to solve the patient’s problem.

As a photographer, I sometimes run into the same situation.  A headshot for business use is worth a certain amount to the client.  How much time I take to create a good image doesn’t matter.

For some, time spent in front of a camera is just as painful as time in the dentist’s chair.  For others, it’s quite the opposite.

Here’s another way to look at this idea.

You’re looking for information.  Would you rather read a book of 1000 pages, or would you prefer a book answer your questions in just 10 pages?

Most publishers price their books at roughly 10 cents per page, but this doesn’t take into consideration the value of the information within.

A single page that gives you the winning numbers for TOMORROW’S lottery (and which lottery to play) can be worth millions.

If you expect prices to be “by the pound” or “by the hour”, you may be missing a prime opportunity to be much more profitable in your business.

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