I used to do free consultations.
Or discovery sessions.
Or whatever you want to call them.

I used to do them all the time. I have nothing against free sessions because I used to offer them, but I don’t anymore. I can’t. I won’t. I refuse. I mean, I am so adamant about it sometimes, I think it triggers people who want to sit down and have “coffee with me.” So you see, there is a reason why I charge $225 for a discovery session. And you should, too.

{why you should charge}

why you should charge for a discovery sessionA short while ago I was at an incredible event in Syracuse where nationally renowned speaker and activist Nell Merlino was our guest speaker. She’s cool. I dig her. She talked about lots of things, including the primary thing entrepreneurs are challenged with:

Charging our worth

I know this song and I sing it all the time, so I was the infamous head-nodder in the audience as she drove this point home.

I’m happy to chortle that I’m one of the entrepreneurs out there that has no problem with charging what I’m worth. I tell you my fee and you either pay it or you don’t. There is no in between. I don’t haggle.

If you are a speaker, you know that negotiation is often part of the game when it comes to securing paid speaking engagements, but when it comes to your service, coaching or consulting fees, uh-uh. No.


{how to pull it off}

charge for discover sessionSo during this event, I was talking to a very nice woman with me when she said my most favorite line in all of the land: “We should sit down together and have coffee. I’d love to learn more about what you do and how it can help me.”

“Absolutely,” I said. “It would be my pleasure. You’re looking for a discovery session so you can see if what I can teach you fits your needs and to see if we are a match. I charge $225 for a discovery session.”

She stared at me for a moment. Then she proposed collaborating or sharing information. Considering her work didn’t remotely match mine, I didn’t have any interest. So I said, “I can appreciate what you’re offering, but I am not in a space for trade or collaboration right now. So my fee still stands.”

She tried again. I give her tons of credit for that, but I still stood firm. She said, “Why don’t you think about what I’m proposing and get back to me?”

“I don’t have to think about it,” I told her. “You have a need and desire to learn more and I think I can help you. If you want to explore how I can best serve you, we would do that during a discovery session.”

I think she hated that I wouldn’t cave. She smiled and told me she would think about it and politely excused herself. And you know what? That’s okay with me because SHE’S NOT MY CLIENT. What she will think about is how outrageous my fee is and how she would never pay that in a million years and that so-and-so doesn’t charge so why does Joleene and no way and blah, blah blah. I’m okay with that. She won’t pay it, but those that value my service will. And do. All the time.


{charge what you’re worth}

cafeI am keenly aware that this subject comes up over and over again in blogs, videos, conference rooms, and in your sleep. But here it is again. And it’s showing up in front of you again for a reason:

So you can step into the same space and stand up for what you are worth.

I don’t care if you want to talk about shoes, my time is worth $225 for that discussion. If you want to talk about how to begin as a speaker, $225. If you want to talk sales and coaching and mean people that charge a fee for a consultation, that will be $225.

No matter how people say they want to come to the table, they always end up asking questions that my paid clients pay for. This work isn’t fly by night, either. It took me years to figure out how to get properly paid as a speaker and I am STILL figuring it out. I can’t give that time, knowledge and expertise away. Not anymore.

{now it’s your turn}

So here it is….Consider charging a fee. Don’t be afraid. It doesn’t have to be $225. It can be $100. Or $50. Or $150. If you are resistant to doing this, you likely already tell yourself a story like, “I don’t want to charge because I want everyone to afford it.” That’s really a great thing to want. Very honorable.

But you can only do it for so long before you discover that not ‘everyone’ will appreciate your donation.

Not everyone will show up for the call or meeting.
Not everyone will see your value and do the work.
And really, I don’t think you want everyone to.

You just want those who are ready, driven, and respect and see your value. When they see your value, they can start to see their own value. So you see? Charging serves them. I know I’m talking to the right person when I tell them I charge a discovery fee and they say, “I would hope so. I would be worried if you didn’t.”

So give this a shot. Why not? Evolve. Show up for you.


Joleene Moody is a former television reporter and anchor turned freelance writer, blogger, and speaker, based in Central New York.
(No, not New York City. Not even close. 🙂
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