Consulting through the rearview mirror

In the business world, the rearview mirror is always clearer than the windshield.
– Warren Buffett

He’s not kidding. It’s always easier to see what’s behind you than what’s ahead. We all make mistakes and, in retrospect, it can seem like we should have done something different.

When I think back to my early days in consulting, I remember a client who wanted me to work for $15 an hour, a fraction of my regular consulting rate. I had a day job, so I didn’t feel desperate for money. And it sounded like such a great opportunity. Ugh. I ended up working till late at night — for very little money. And ,as time went on, I realized that I didn’t want to do any more work for the guy. All I got out of the deal was a bit of money and a lot of exhaustion.

Well, I got more than that. I realized that I needed to stick to my guns when it came to consulting fees. I never, ever cut my rate again. I realized that clients who nickel and dime you are clients you don’t want. If they don’t respect your rates, they don’t respect you.

So, looking back, the money I didn’t earn was worth it. I learned never to work for such a paltry amount again. And I learned that I’m a business, so I set my rates. I’m not a wage slave.