One of the most common questions we receive at OnFrontiers regards setting hourly rates. Engaging with an expert network can be an exciting freelance endeavor, but knowing how to value your hard-earned knowledge can be intimidating.
What Should My Hourly Rate be for an Expert Network?
We often see our experts divide their base annual salary into hourly rates. While this may be a straightforward calculation, you may also short-change yourself out of additional earnings. Engaging with an OnFrontiers client allows you to bring more concentrated value than you may in a typical full-time role. For this reason, it’s not uncommon for experts to be paid several multiples of their standard hourly rate. Rather than basing your hourly rate on current compensation, we advise you to think about how your expertise can help a customer achieve their business goals and solve mission-critical problems.
How do I know the Value of my Knowledge?
When thinking about the contribution you are making to a client, you should consider the following factors:
- Experience. How many years of relevant experience do you have? Do you have the depth of experience to speak for more than 30 minutes about a specific topic, project, or initiative?
- Qualifications. Do you have credentials or certifications that qualify you as an expert? Do you have authority and/or a strong reputation in your field?
- Specialization. Are there areas in your industry that require a higher skill set—and price? Do you have “trendy” or in-demand expertise on a newsworthy topic?
- Recency. Are you in a field that changes often? How long has it been since you have direct experience with the topic?
The more these are reflected in your expert profile, the more in-demand you will be as an expert when a relevant consultation arises.
How Much is my Competition Charging?
We realize the importance of transparency and want to provide general guidelines based on what we typically see on our platform. While your independent rate can vary, it’s useful to understand what your competition typically charges so you can benchmark accordingly.
|Individual Contributors and New Entrants to Expert Networks||$100 – $200 / hour|
|Upper Management and Decision Makers||$250 – 500 / hour|
|Notable Senior Executives and Thought Leaders||$600+ / hour|
It is generally a good idea to research the competition, but you should not make the mistake of strictly adhering to market rates above — or worse, pricing yourself lower than your competition – if you think you bring specialized knowledge to the table. Setting lower rates may attract more potential clients, but it could backfire. By simply charging as little as possible, you are undermining the value of your work, which doesn’t send a positive message to potential clients.
On the flip side, if you are frequently approached for a consultation and have the client back out, it may be because your rates are too high. If this is a common challenge for you, we suggest a marginal hourly rate reduction.
Finding Your Niche to Increase Your Value
The biggest mistake you could make as an OnFrontiers expert is to be too broad in your expert profile. For example, there are thousands of project management experts in our system. You could set yourself apart by specializing in projects around network analysis or cybersecurity infrastructure.
Remember that firms are not paying you for your eagerness and problem-solving ability but rather what you already know about a highly specialized field – they want the experts that can bring the most value to the call. We’ve found time and time again that if you’re specialized, you can be approached for more consultations and charge higher rates.
In short: don’t be generic! Figure out what you’re best at—then get even better at it. The more specialized you are, the less competition you’ll have, and the more valuable your services will be. Be the only person who can do what you do. You’ll find it much more beneficial to be well-known among a small group of loyal clients than invisible to a large group of indifferent ones.
Offer Your Expertise through OnFrontiers
All in all, setting your hourly rate comes down to how much do you think you’re worth. Once you’ve determined the value you bring to a customer, you’re ready to put your services out there! Become an OnFrontiers expert and let us connect you with businesses around the globe.