Executive Checklist

Are you charging what you are worth? 5 Lessons from a Supermodel

I was recently asked to speak at an event sharing my experience with changing exactly what I am worth. And it gave me pause to think – am I actually charging what I am worth? How do I even calculate that? Where to start?

I am a time management specialist, best selling author of 4 books, a global speaker, coach and consultant and I work with high performing teams and individuals to help them maximise their productivity so that they can take their success to the next level. I have a reputation for helping my clients find 30 hours of lost time a month. In my experience, the moment you start maximising your productivity, you will have all the freedom and time you need to create a life you absolutely love.

But what has any of this got to do with charging what you are worth?

Everything. Because your time is money.

So, let’s take a little inspiration from 1990s Supermodel, Linda Evangalista who in 1990 famously (and perhaps a little shamelessly) stated to Vogue Magazine that she and her fellow model Christy Turlington “don’t wake up for less than $10,000 a day.”

For mine, this comment has stood the test of time and there are 5 lessons we can take from it:

  • One: Linda recognised that she was unique, and that there is enormous value in being unique. Linda was uniquely beautiful and she charged accordingly.
    The lesson: You need to get very, very clear on how you are unique – what is your point of differentiation? What can you charge for that differentiation?
  • Two: Linda clearly understood that time is money. She was not prepared to trade her time for anything less than what she felt she was worth – she would rather stay in bed.
    The lesson: to own your worth you need to stop thinking about your time as something that can be ‘managed’. Instead, you need to start thinking about your time as something that must be ‘invested’. Just like your money, your time is an enormously precious, valuable and limited resource which needs to be invested for the greatest possible return.
    Until you start valuing your time the way you value your money – you can never really charge what you are worth. If you kill time, or squander time, or lose time procrastinating over where to invest your time – you are killing, squandering and losing money.
  • Three: Linda’s rate of $10,000 a day was based on years of honing her craft. She started modelling in 1977 at the age of 12, was signed to an agency at 19, and by 1990 (13 years after she started modelling) she was named as one of the world’s top 5 Supermodels.
    The lesson: to own your worth, you need to figuratively calculate the amount of time you have invested over the years in honing your skills, your services and your products.
    Another, and perhaps more judicious way of putting this than Linda’s $10,000 ‘bed’ boast, comes from Davy Greenberg, the radical environmentalist, who tweeted in 2019: “If I do a job in 30 minutes it’s because I spent 10 years learning how to do that in 30 minutes. You owe me for the years, not the minutes.”
  • Four: Linda understood the power of partnerships and she leveraged this by associating herself with 4 other Supermodels including Christy Turlington.
    The lesson: you don’t have to be a lone star – cultivate your own posse and work with them to leverage and hone your individual worth.
  • Five: Linda appreciated that her true value lay not in charging herself out by the ‘hour’, but by charging herself out by the ‘outcome’.
    The lesson: while it’s good to have a sense of your hourly rate for your own internal calculation of your worth, don’t advertise this rate or charge your clients by the hour. Your worth is better calculated by the outcomes you achieve: the value of your 5 step program or the level to which you inspire your clients to change/ move forward/ and to implement.

Ultimately, while you (like me) may not be a Supermodel, there are lessons to be learned from Linda about charging what you are worth.

Do you?

Kate Christie
Kate Christie is a time management specialist, best selling author, global speaker and the founder and CEO of Time Stylers. Her fourth book, Me First: The Guilt-Free Guide to Prioritising You (published by Wiley), is available in all good book stores. Kate Christie is an opinion columnist for the CEOWORLD magazine. Follow her on LinkedIn.
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