October 11, 2018

Oh the irony!

One of the insidious things about hourly billing is that encourages you to think in a particular way. Or to be more precise, it encourages you NOT to think about certain things.

For example:

Imagine that Alice has been doing web development for 15 years. She’s an amazing Rails developer, knows AWS inside out, and wrote a book on the care and feeding of relational databases.

With all of that experience, Alice is fully capable of:

If asked, Alice would say she was completely confident about her ability to execute any one of these services. She would probably consider them to be fairly easy. She might even privately think, “Of course I can do that. How could any tech person not know how to do that?”

But here’s the thing...

If Alice bills by the hour, it probably would never even occur to her to offer any of these things as discrete services.


Because none of these things would take very long; maybe a week or two at the most. They’re short projects. And short projects are not as good as long projects when you bill by the hour.

On the other hand, short projects - especially ones that you consider to be “easy” - can be extremely profitable if you value price them.

The irony here is that these types of services are exactly what you need to offer if you want to escape from the hourly trap, but... you’ll never even think to create them while you’re still billing by the hour.

It’s nuts.