A couple days ago I made the mistake of telling a client what my internal hourly rate was. And as soon as the words left my mouth I regretted it!

I had been working non-stop all that morning and even skipped lunch so I could cram some more copywriting time in. So by the time I left my home office at 3:00 to go meet this client, I was starving!

But I figured I would just order some food when I got to the coffee shop where I was meeting my client to discuss his project… But as I was on my way to the meeting I realized I forgot my wallet!

And when I get really hungry my brain just doesn’t seem to fire on all cylinders. Combine that with the fact that I was super busy that day and it was a recipe for me to make a stupid mistake like I ended up doing.

“I do have a $1,000 minimum project fee,” I reminded the client.

“Ok, so you must have some sort of way you calculate your rates internally based off hours or something…” he said.

And before he even finished his sentence I, for some reason, blurted out, “Yes, my hourly rate is $X/hour.”

As soon as I said it I cringed. Why did I just say that? That was dumb!

After this the dynamic changed. Everything seemed to go back to the “high cost” of my copywriting services. And the next day when I emailed a summary of the deliverables to the client he responded by saying, “Man, Josh this is really expensive for me. But let’s do it.”

I don’t like getting off on that foot. So I told the client if it’s too expensive that maybe we’re not a good fit. But he insisted that he wanted to do this project (an outbound email prospecting campaign) right and he wanted my help.

So I still got the job. But I really feel like the whole “hourly rate” thing put a damper on things. I feel like that number is planted in his head and he may never be able to shake it.

If I just would have stuck to the project-based pricing like I normally do then I could have avoided this whole awkward dance. But such is life!

And so I’m writing this as much as a reminder to my future self as it is to you.

Whenever possible stick to project based pricing and keep your internal hourly rate to yourself.