Episode 12. How Freelancers Can Ditch The Hourly Billing Model and Earn More by Working Less

A Deep Dive into the World of Value-Based Pricing and Productized Services with Jonathan Stark

The world of freelancing is in a state of flux, with an increasing number of independent workers shifting away from the traditional hourly billing model towards more flexible and rewarding alternatives. In this enlightening episode of Unemployable, we had the opportunity to speak with Jonathan Stark, a former software developer turned consultant who has successfully transitioned to value-based pricing.

The Constraints of Hourly Billing

Hourly billing has long been the standard for freelancers. It’s straightforward and easy to understand. However, as Jonathan Stark points out, it comes with significant limitations.

“Hourly billing puts an artificial ceiling on your income. You’re essentially trading time for money, which means you can only earn as much as the number of hours you can work.” – Jonathan Stark

This approach makes it challenging to increase your earnings without working more hours, leading to burnout and limiting the potential growth of your freelance business.

The Freedom of Value-Based Fee Structures

Value-based fee structures offer a liberating alternative. This innovative approach focuses on the value that you deliver to your clients, rather than the hours you put into a project.

“It’s about understanding your client’s desired outcomes, their motivations, and measures of success,” says Stark. “With this knowledge, you can propose pricing options that align with the value you’ll deliver.”

By shifting the focus from hours worked to value delivered, you can earn more without necessarily working more hours.

The Power of Productized Services

Transitioning to value-based billing is a process. It requires practice, experience, and a robust pipeline of leads. One effective strategy is to offer productized services. These are fixed-scope services packaged and sold like products, providing a clear path towards value-based pricing.

“Productized services streamline the sales process, provide transparency to clients, and allow you to scale your business without increasing your workload,” Stark explains.

They’re also a great way to transition away from hourly billing and provide a clear value proposition to clients.

Overcoming Imposter Syndrome and Adopting a Value Mindset

For many freelancers, the transition to value-based pricing can be daunting. Imposter syndrome can rear its ugly head, leading you to undervalue your services and expertise.

“You’re not just selling your time; you’re selling results,” Stark emphasizes. “You’re providing solutions to your clients’ problems, and that’s invaluable.”

By recognizing the value of your expertise and the results you deliver, you can overcome imposter syndrome and confidently charge prices that reflect your worth.

Actionable Steps for Freelancers

If you’re ready to ditch hourly billing and embrace value-based pricing, here are some actionable steps:

  • Understand the concept of value-based fee structures: Read “How to Measure Anything” by Douglas Hubbard, recommended by Stark as a resource for understanding how to measure intangibles in business.
  • Learn from experts: Enroll in Jonathan Stark’s free email course “Value Pricing Bootcamp” or Seth Godin’s marketing seminar.
  • Offer productized services: Develop fixed-scope services with clear deliverables and prices.
  • Join a supportive community: Consider joining the Ditching Hourly membership community for resources and support.


Ditching the hourly billing model and embracing value-based pricing can revolutionize your freelance business. It’s a powerful step towards professional security, allowing you to increase your earnings without increasing your workload. Experts like Jonathan Stark provide invaluable insights to help freelancers navigate this transition and unlock their true earning potential.

Meet the Guest: Jonathan Stark

Discover more about Jonathan and his expertise in value-based pricing on his website. His extensive knowledge provides crucial support for independent workers grappling with the transition from hourly billing to value-based pricing.

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