The argument that “my client won’t pay me for strategy and someone else to execute” usually means one of two things:
- They don’t value your specific expertise independent of who executes—they just want someone with a decent set of hands to get stuff done. This is fixed with vertical and/or horizontal specialization, by the way.
- You can’t imagine doing only the strategy and referring the implementation work to someone else—usually for confidence reasons but also because it feels like you’re giving away money to someone else.
The reality is, if you do all the work, you get all the money. And that’s good!
But the problem is, the more implementing you do, the less you’ll ultimately be able to earn as a soloist. And the more things you do, the more your work suffers.
There are only so many hours in a day and people will pay only so much for execution.
My effective hourly rate—time spent on calls or replying to emails—is about $400-500/hour depending on the week. Some clients and projects average a lot higher.
Do you think someone would pay me that much to write their blog posts or update their website?
Nope. Not happening. But they gladly pay me a few grand a month to facilitate the outcomes with a combination of strategy, partners, and resources.
If you want to make the most money for your time without becoming an agency, find ways to sell strategy and leave the deadlines, deliverables, and cognitive stress for the specialists.
You’ll get paid more, your clients will be happier, and you’ll enjoy your work more, too.
P.S. If you want help making that transition, there’s a distinct process that works. You know where to find me.