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24. What’s my time worth?

One thing is certain. It’s completely subjective. Sometimes I cost 3.000€ pr day. Sometimes I cost a tenth of that. Sometimes I do stuff for free. And of course, I often pay to do stuff. It’s all about context.

Do I need the money?

About ten years ago, my larp career started taking off. Until then, I’d lived very hand-to-mouth, and had borrowed money from my parents when there wasn’t enough in the hand. When people asked me how expensive I was to hire, I often compromised on my initial offer, since it was better doing stuff for 15€/hour than NOT doing stuff at 20€/hour. And though that’s a lot of money in many countries, in Denmark it really isn’t.

2. Is it going to be interesting?

I’m willing to cut my rates a lot if something seems interesting. I’ve done massive amounts of volunteer work since I was 16, and it rubs off on my way of thinking about money. If I’d do it for free, I’ll usually also do it at a 50% discount, if the money simply isn’t there.

3. Is it going to be boring?

I don’t necessarily charge more for hard or challenging work. But boring work? My life is too interesting for that, unless there’s solid compensation of some kind involved. I can copy-paste in excel at an impressive place, but if I can help it, I don’t do it. Not unless it’ll bring in big money or big favors.

4. Is it risky?

It doesn’t have to be physically risky. It can be reputationally risky or socially risky. Being s pioneer in a tiny-but-growing-industry means facing a lot of fire for doing things that aren’t accepted or normal. Getting paid well makes it easier to risk the scorn of your friends.

5. What else am I doing at the time?

I’ve just flown from Copenhagen to Helsinki. My plane was delayed a little over 1.5 hours, which was annoying, but not critical. I didn’t have anything time-sensitive in Helsinki, so I shrugged and bore it with a smile.

6. There are more variables!

Do I owe someone a favor? Did I promise? Do people expect it of me? Will it help make the world a better place? Is there a good war story to be had? Can I actually do this? There are plenty of reasons that can justify either raising or lowering your “price”. I’ll keep it to these five for now, though, and go out into Helsinki!

Written by

Director, The College of Extraordinary Experiences & Coach at McKinsey

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