“It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.”

Charles Darwin

Imagine this: You’ve built a thriving business. Your reputation’s on the rise, and so is your to-do list. Days are stretching out, nights are shrinking down. You’re zipping from task to task, like a bee lost in a field of sunflowers, too caught up in the hustle to even pause. Sound familiar?

Here’s the kicker: Is all this hustle a badge of honor or a sign of trouble? It’s simpler to figure out than you might think. It’s all about timing and strategy.

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Picture your packed schedule as the tide rolling in. You’re on the shore, watching waves creep up. Exciting, yes, but isn’t there a hint of fear? What’s it going to be—a gentle wash over your toes or a tsunami?

Design expert Kelly Goto throws down a gauntlet when she says: “Charge what you can.” Sounds straightforward, right? But the real question is, how do you know what you can charge?

It’s all about the rhythm of your business, the pulse of demand for what you do.

Think of your business as a theater show. When you’re in the spotlight, working, billing—that’s your stage time. Offstage? That’s all the unseen work—the emails, the planning, the grind.

Spending over 70% of your time in the spotlight? That’s your standing ovation moment. Your talents are in hot demand. It’s your signal to bump up your rates, much like a star actor’s fee climbs with each hit show.

But if the spotlight finds you less than 50% of the time, it’s a different story. Maybe your ticket prices are scaring off the crowd. Time to adjust, draw in a bigger audience, and watch your theater fill up.

But here’s a hard truth: adjusting your rates inevitably leads to a delicate dance with your legacy clients. These folks are your original fan club, your early believers when your business was just sprouting wings. They’ve been your rock. But now, they might be holding you back. Tough as it is, sometimes you have to let go to grow.

Cutting these cords frees you to take your business higher. And the truth is that it’s a win-win. Your early supporters get the focus they deserve, and you get the opportunity to do your best work.

So, as you ride the waves of your bustling life, think of your rates not just as figures but as a reflection of your worth, a measure of demand, and your tool for keeping your business in harmony. It’s about making bold adjustments, seizing opportunities, and sailing forth with confidence—ready to turn the tides in your favor.

Stephen Boudreau serves as VP of Brand & Community at Virtuous Software. For over two decades, he has helped nonprofits leverage the digital space to grow their impact. To that end, Stephen co-founded RaiseDonors, a platform that provides nonprofits with technology and experiences that remove barriers to successful online fundraising. He is an avid (but aging) soccer player, audiobook enthusiast, and the heavily-disputed UNO champion of his household.

Copyright ©2024 Stephen Boudreau.