157: The artificial ceiling on your income - with Jonathan Stark

About Jonathan Stark

Jonathan Stark is a former software developer who is now on a mission to rid the world of hourly billing. He is the author of Hourly Billing Is Nuts, the host of Ditching Hourly, and writes a daily newsletter on pricing for independent professionals.


What’s really so bad about hourly billing?

“from a self-interest standpoint, the big problem with it is that it puts an artificial ceiling on your income. So especially if you are a soloist there are only so many hours in the year and if you want to break through the ceiling most people find themselves at…”


What are the alternatives to hourly billing?

“well, a productized service is something that is relatively fixed scope no matter who buys it from you. And that’s a great way to do it, I think that’s probably the easiest way to do it when you are getting started…”


Is there a way for me to transition my hourly billing to a better pricing model?

“what I would say is, if you are already doing hourly work then you should probably keep doing that to keep the lights on, keep the lights on money is what I like to call it. But try to limit it to twenty hours a week so that you have time and energy left over to attract clients in a different kind of way…”


Can you share with me your most successful or favorite networking story/experience that you’ve had?

“…my first book for O'Reilly, which is a big software publisher, came about because I was at sort of a meetup… and I had an idea for a book and low and behold I accidentally ran into a senior editor at O'Reilly. We just struck up a conversation and you know I said I had an idea for a book and…”


How do you stay in front of, or best nurture your network community?

“definitely my mailing list is my number one community that I interact with. Email is very interesting because it allows you to broadcast out to thousands and thousands of people, in a sort of public way. And then they can hit reply and instantly take the conversation private…”


What advice do you have for the professional on growing their network?

“…help someone every day. Find someone to help every single day. And I’m not necessarily talking about helping the old lady across the street. But especially if you are into a particular thing and that’s what you are building your business around, it’s your passion its what you like to think about…”


Digital networking or traditional networking?

“I got to say digital. But like you said I’m biased. Cause I’m a fish in water there. I’m not an introvert really, I'm in sort of in the middle I think between introvert and extrovert…”


If you could go back 20 years, what would you tell yourself to do more or less of regarding your career?

“well when I was 20, I was living in a van with a rock band so, it was before the internet, I turned 50 at the end of last year. So, going back to my twenties I don’t know if I can answer that, but going back to maybe my 30s, I would say, I would have definitely started a mailing list….”


We’ve all heard of the 6 degrees of separation… Now, who would be the one person you’d love to connect with, and do you think you could do it within the 6th degree? How would you start that journey?

“it’s kind of cliché but maybe Elon Musk or something. Just because I think he’d be interesting to chat with. But it would have to be someone so famous and insulated that they would have walls around them…Maybe Brene Brown, I absolutely love her whole mission and whole story.”


Any final words of advice for our listeners?

“you want to help somebody every day, maybe that’s every weekday if you are thinking about it in a business sense.”


You can get in contact with Jonathan at:

Website: https://jonathanstark.com/vpb