Why You Need to Consider Hours for Dollars as Part of Your Strategy

Alright, let’s talk a little bit about trading hours for dollars.

When did trading hours for dollars all of a sudden become so taboo? It’s like people think that working one on one with your customers is a bad thing. “Oh my God! I’m doing too many hours for dollars!”

Can you imagine if every single hairdresser on the planet decided to move to a leverage model and the only way that you could get your hair done is if you took their online program and learned how to cut your own hair?

You’ll never, ever, ever eliminate hours for dollars.

Hours for dollars is what makes the service industry go around and although I think it’s great that you aspire to leverage your time, you don’t want to be stuck in that belief that hours for dollars work, working one on one with another human being, is a bad thing.

So Why Do You Need to Consider Hours for Dollars as Part of Your Strategy

I have a significant chunk of my business that is dedicated to trading hours for dollars. I work with a maximum number of private coaching clients at any given time and I work with them one-on-one. I also work with a maximum number of group coaching clients at any given time. It very much depends on which of my coaching programs is right for the client, but either way it’s still one-on-one, trading hours for dollars type of work. And, in addition to those, I also work with some of my consulting clients.

In all of those scenarios, I get something more than just trading hours for dollars back – I learn a lot from working one-on-one with my clients. I’ve put some of that learning into my first book, Pilot To Profit: Navigating Modern Entrepreneurship to Build Your Business Using Online Marketing, Social Media, Content Marketing and Sales. Of course, you might apply what you learn from trading hours for dollars by writing your own book or creating a programs like the Online Marketing Quick Start Bundle or the Pilot To Profit Program – but you need to learn from that one-on-one experience with your clients to potentially grow that learning into something more!

There are 3 things that stand-out for me the most when trading hours for dollars…

#1: You Get to Perfect Your Methodology In-Person

You can’t just all of a sudden roll out the carpet and roll out a program and think that you’re all that when you haven’t taken your methodology and applied it and used it and worked with other people and have actually seen the outcomes that they get from the work that you do.

Part of building your business is working side by side with people and ensuring that what it is you’re teaching – I don’t care if you’re a health coach, a life coach, a speaking coach, a writing coach, a book coach you name it, a business coach, you need to actually do the work with your clients in order to perfect what it is that you do.

#2: You Can Identify the Best System for You and Your Clients

When you identify your system, it becomes the framework of your great work. Share on X

Whenever I work privately with people we always start at the same spot: business strategy. Within that business strategy, we figure out who the people are that they want to do business with. We also strategize around the following topics:

▪ What are the objectives that they have for their business?

▪ What is the overarching strategy for the business?

▪ What are the tactics that they need?

▪ What information and technology do they need in order to be successful?

So, you need to be able to figure out what your system is before you can actually roll it out in a leveraged model.

#3: You Can Easily Identify Your Client’s Needs

One of the things that I have found in working with hundreds of people one on one is that I get asked a lot of the same questions over and over again and I see people getting stuck in the same places over and over again.

Through experiencing client challenges, and understanding their individual needs, it allows me the time and space to know exactly what I need to incorporate into my system to help people. Once these trouble areas are identified, I can be sure that my group programs, coaching programs and other offers reflect the solutions to these challenges.

What Do You Think?

Do you currently trade hours for dollars in your business? How do you find that has helped you achieve some of your business goals? Leave me a comment below! And, if you’d like to read more about what I’ve learned as an entrepreneur, get your copy of Pilot To Profit: Navigating Modern Entrepreneurship to Build Your Business Using Online Marketing, Social Media, Content Marketing and Sales.

Pilot To Profit: Navigating Modern Entrepreneurship to Build Your Business Using Online Marketing, Social Media, Content Marketing and Sales


12 thoughts on “Why You Need to Consider Hours for Dollars as Part of Your Strategy”

  1. I cannot agree with you more around the idea of working “offline” with people one on one (directly) and gaining experience, credibitlity, and just all around “chops” in your expertise AND THEN offering to a group or an online version.

    I do have some clients that I charge a literal hourly rate (typically after they have purchased a started package of some sort that isn’t just time), which I would consider dollars for hours. And then there are some things that I could add on to a number of sessions as value added… email access, maybe some tools specific to my framework, some configuration work that isn’t “timed” etc… but in the end, whether it’s a session or it’s “an hour” it is still time for money.

    I find the trick is in describing what they are getting… the results. Some “packages” with the way you’ve described above fit your dollar for hours description, don’t come across as a literal dollar for a literal hour. I think it helps when the client doesn’t see themselves buying your hour, but buying the result of that hour ;-)

    The project pricing idea is so frought with peril for me and so dependant on how interactive the client is, how much effort they put in, how much capacity they have etc. It’s also prone to scope creep. I find charging an hourly rate at times can encourage them not to “waste my time”… they end of doing what they need to do to use it more effectively…

    1. Stacey, I agree, and I also agree with the time wasting problem. There needs to be a container of time in order for people to respect the level of access they get. If you choose to give more, that is up to you.

  2. Lisa, I’m so glad someone said this. There’s a lot of pressure from marketing experts recommending that we all ‘leap’ over this step and create big programs to leverage. I’ve spend thousands of dollars working with these same experts and well, their system works because I paid them. :) There is proof to the leveraged model….and…the one on one work needs it’s fair representation. Not only is it a foundation builder, especially when offering new programs or services, some of us love it. I just plain old love it. And that’s okay for us to love what we do and if that’s one on one, yay for us! Everything I’ve just launched this year requires one on one TLC. Sometimes when we work with experts, we learn what we want to do, and just as importantly, we often learn what we don’t want to do. I don’t want to leap over the one on one and I bet others out there feel the same. It’s good to have this discussion, sit back, take it in, breathe deeply and be happy with the choices we make to build our businesses aligned with what we do best and what we love to do.

  3. As a musician and entrepreneur coach, it’s a daily reminder to me that there needs to be balance between one-on-one time (rehearsals, coaching, etc) and leveraged time. If you think about a lever, it doesn’t do ALL the work, it just makes the heavy lifting lighter. You still gotta put in some effort to make the lever work. Whether that lever is a program, a concert that’s live streamed, or something else, the principle is still the same – someone’s got to show up to do the work the first time and THEN the lever can assist in making the workload lighter.

  4. I LOVE working one on one (yes, dollars for hours)! It puts the spark back into the day to day stuff I need to do for my business! It reminds me why I do this work and what my clients really need.
    Great article, Lisa!

  5. I love working with my clients 1:1 and I would also like to work with groups too. What I don’t like is the fee for service model that means that if I have a cancelation or I am out of the office, I am not earning anything or losing money. What would be nice is the “package” approach but I find that a tough sell thus far. I think I really need to believe in my ability to present it successfully and then go from there :) Great article by the way. And very true. Everyone wants to teach you how to do things yourself…so it then becomes hard to find people who actually just want to do the work! I have no interest in learning how to do everything (especially not cutting my own hair!!). I just want to do what I do best…and keep getting better at it and have others shine at what is their brilliance :)

    1. It’s tough to try and combine the two as a package, Samantha. An easier approach would be to sell the one on one time as a package. For example, the person buying the time would buy a block of say 10 hours and those are scheduled in advance. It is pre-paid so you aren’t losing out if they don’t show for an appointment.

  6. Great article. I love working one on one, it the foundation of my current business. However I don’t charge on a hourly rate unless it is a corporate client. My one on one programs are normally a packaged for 3 months with additional value. It gives me flexibility of how I help my clients.

    I do want to do more group work and some type of leveraged model to add more to my business but I will always keep 1 on 1 time.

    Great topic.

    1. Thanks Heather. Many entrepreneurs use a similar model and it can be very successful. I’ve found recently through the Profit Pods that I really love group work as well and I hope to offer more along those lines in the future.

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Lisa Larter Bio Image of Lisa x400

Lisa Larter

Founder and CEO of the Lisa Larter Group, master strategist, author, speaker, podcast host, social media expert, consultant, and business coach. Lisa inspires entrepreneurs and business owners to see the possibilities for their organizations when it comes to strategy. She uncomplicates modern marketing and creates (and implements) strategies for businesses that are guaranteed to increase visibility, inbound leads, and revenue.

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