Well we all know how to USE money, right? This channel is a discussion group about money and finances.Β 

How you earn it, how you manage it, taxes, and even how you spend it. Any question related to money can be shared here.

This space is intended to be free-flowing, so share away! No need to overthink.
I've been using YNAB since 2010. It is a different way of thinking about money. There's a great app with links to accounts, but the real magic is in the four rules around money. The goal is to "budget" which really is just decide what's important to you and put the money you have towards those priorities. You only budget money you have, not design a theoretical budget for a "normal" month - as those never ever happen.
I could talk about YNAB and budgeting for HOURS. Let me know if you want to banter on it. It's very different from Mint and Personal Capital due to the focus on the four rules, not on aggregating and reporting.
They have free workshops most days, engaging art (like Creative Elements) and a YouTube channel.
Referral link

I'm also a fan of YNAB and heartily recommend it!Β 
Kristine in the tax workshop recommended both Chase and Relay. As I tried to signup for Relay tonight it told me it's invitation only.Β 
Does anyone have an invitation to share for Relay (if that's how it works)? Or recommend another no interest, no fee, no/low balance requirement business checking account?Β 
I'd appreciate your suggestions.
Check with your local bank! My local bank offers no fee, no balance, free business checking accounts with online banking (that should be standard), a business debit card (that should also be standard), and free checks.Β 
Hey Cynthia Jones! I had no idea it was invite only. I'll shoot Kristine a note.

Another option is Ally Bank – that's what I use currently for similar reasons to why Kristine recommended Relay.
Jay Clouse replied
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I'm used to charging per hour, but I've gotten MUCH better and faster at designing websites in the last couple of months, which means that my hourly rate should either ~double, or I need to move towards a more value-based approach (which I don't know how to do consistently).

For example, right now, I take the time I expect it to take and multiply it by my hourly rate. But oftentimes, with what my clients are asking for, that comes out to a number in the low thousands.

How do you charge for your projects?Β 
In a perfect scenario, I sell a roadmapping session/workshop and use that to really develop a plan and measure value. Then I do the value pricing magic.

Typically, I do an hourly estimate based on the required functions. Then I add 25% for project management. Then I add 85% because it's a fixed scope project and I'm eating all of the risks.

Lately, I've bidding like that, but adding in more bells and whistles. What ends up happening is that gets me the real, disappointingly low budget and then I drop the bells and whistles and everyone is happy-ish.
Nathan Minns replied
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I charge project fees, in part because the value-based pricing model has never quite resonated with me. As a writer, I'm fortunate because the AWAI publishes a price survey every year that includes about 75 types of content. I use that as a guideline and modify based on my gut instinct and knowledge of my clients and their expectations of the content.

LikeΒ Josh Robbs, in my ideal world, I sell a content marketing strategy session and use that to develop a comprehensive plan. The strategy session is also a project fee, but that fee is based on an estimate of hours.
Nothing wrong with charging in the low thousands if that's the type of time you're putting into it, and it's commensurate with the value the client is receiving!

I prefer to bill on a project basis. And throwing math and science out the window, the first question I askΒ myselfΒ is, "What would make me excited to take this project on and work on it?"

Sometimes I don't like a project much. I'll price it higher so that I can get excited about it, or I won't do it.

But in any case, I don't want to everΒ dreadΒ doing the project because it's not funΒ andΒ I don't feel like I'm earning enough from it.

So, I start there and then dig deeper into my expected "input" of time and effort, and often I multiply that by the value I typically put on my own hours. I sent an email recently to our challenge group – I made a little spreadsheet to do an estimate of hours on the high end, low end, and average as a way of estimating.
Nathan Minns replied
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TL;DR Figuring out what you should charge is a mix of accepting other's feedback and being courageous enough to push your boundaries. Here are a couple of specifics on how to do that.

Got fired up by a recent post from someone asking what she should charge for sponsorship in her newsletter.

She got $125/an email

But could she have gotten more?

Patt Flynn Mentioned in his early days, he charged $25 a month for ad space that cost the company $250 elsewhere.

The whole "what should I charge/charge what your worth" conversation comes up all the time, my 2 cents (for what it's worth, pun intended):

The "you're a valuable human being and we all have imposter syndrome" sentiment behind "charge what you're worth" is great and needed.

But at the end of the day, part of what makes dollars and cents a valuable tool is that they create a very clear line.

Either yes, you've earned that amount or no, you haven't.

Either yes, someone else thinks you offer them enough value to pay that amount or no, they don't.

Have you gotten paid $10/hour to do web design? Yes? Great, your time is worth at least that much to some people.

Have you gotten paid $1000 an hour to coach entrepreneurs on mindset? No?

Well, then I definitely think you should go for it. Set that goal. Have that vision.

But don't let yourself fall into the ego/pride/self-delusion trap of believing that, just because you feel good thinking you're time is worth $1000/hr, that it truly is.

That's a recipe for massive disappointment and ultimate failure. It's for the people you want to deliver value to to decide whether or not they find your time that valuable (and thus are willing to trade their hard-earned cash for it).

Also, try to separate your sense of "I'm a valuable, worthwhile human being" from your income

I know. This is *very* hard sometimes. But the fact is, there's more to you as a person than your income and no, money cannot buy happiness. :)

But building businesses/earning income can be a fun part of life - as can finding your answer to the "how much should I charge" question!

So how do we close the gap if we know we can earn $10 but want to earn $1000?

The strategy I've used (as a freelancer/consultant, though the principles apply to other businesses): Pick a starting point and set triggers for when to move up

For me, this was aiming to get 20 hours of client work a week, starting at $20 an hour; once I got to that point, I made the next person pay $30 an hour.

Did some people decide that was too much for them/what I was offering?

Yep, and that's fine, they're right. For them, their business and what I'm offering them, in this time, my work is not worth $30/hr.

Also, was fine. Still a worthwhile human being. And I had the work I needed so this was the perfect time to risk the loss.

In another case, for someone I was talking with about with his monthly membership program, I suggested he charge his first 10 members $5 a month, then his next 100 $10/month and so on similar to how Kickstarter campaigns have limited reward tiers.

This way he can get to income fast with an "easy to say yes to" price point, but can also increase his rate until he finds out just how much people are willing to pay.

A tactic I haven't used yet but am definitely keen to: Ackerman Bargaining.

The basic idea comes from a negotiating book I highly recommend, Never Split the Difference.

The basic idea is to pitch a rate that's much higher than you really want to earn (135% to be specific), then back down at certain intervals until you arrive at the number you actually want to earn.

This way, you can give yourself a clear goal for how you'll do price negotiations so you can say to your imposter syndrome self "I know, this feels like too much, but it's part of the plan."

While also, potentially, learning that your time is actually worth more than you think it is.

Rant over. Questions/comments/snide remarks welcome :)
I charge by the project and not by the hour, so my calculations are a bit different but definitely build on some ofΒ Alex Bell's comments above. My project fees are based on two pieces of information: An estimate of the amount of time the project will take multiplied by an hourly rate (based on the income I need to make each year with plenty of time built-in for business development), and a great resource put out by AWAI that gives a range of fees for about 75 different writing projects. I take that information, whirl it around in my head, add a dash of gut instinct, and come up with a range that feels right. I have a copy of my project fees printed out and on my desk so I don't suddenly under-value my work when I'm talking to a client.

If you're interested, here's the link to the AWAI page where you can download a copy of their pricing guide (it's free): awai.com/copywriter-rates/.Β 
Alex Bell replied
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You're missing a variable.

You have mindset. You have skill. You have pitch methodology.

You're missing the client.

There is surprisingly little difference between a 5k website and a 20k website. The biggest single difference is the buyer.

I think a lot of us would do better if we found better clients. It's like we're trying to use pro football tactics but we're playing with high schoolers. It looks good on paper but doesn't work.
Erica Holthausen replied
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Wow! Really helpful. Thank you everyone for good advice

I've heard a lot of people jump on the Personal Capital train.

Has anyone used Personal Captial and Mint? Which do you like better and why?Β 
I use Personal Capital lightly for budgeting and easily tracking my expenses; lately and quickbooks self employed has made strides in personal expense reporting though so I’ve been using that more since I use it for my business anyway!
Jamie Richards replied
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Does anyone here have any experience using Profit First? I'm working to implement it into my own business now...would love to hear what's worked for you!
Are you referring to the book or is there a software/program called Profit First?
Matthew Gattozzi The book, but really the system that the book outlines. I opened an Ally Bank account to create separate bank accounts, and I'm curious if other people have implemented this successfully.