The prostitute business model

I thought I’d get your attention first by talking about one of the most common models – the billable hours or prostitute business model. 

What is the prostitute business model?

billable hours business model or prostitute business model

Well, it’s probably not what you think. This is one of the models I use myself and it doesn’t involve selling sex.

The prostitute business model is the one where you sell an hour of your time for a fee. It’s also called the billable hours model. The gas engineer I used to fix my boiler, my virtual assistant and many lawyers use this model. You pay an hourly rate, and they do something for you.


What’s good about the billable hours model?

The billable hours business model is great for its simplicity. Someone turns up at my office at 1 pm, we talk about what they need to resolve, and I send them a bill for however long they were here. Less the time I spent putting the kettle on and getting the caramel wafers out

billable hours business model

What’s the downfall of the prostitute business model?

The main problem with the prostitute or billable hours business model is that you don’t have any recurring income. You’re just doing a job, and then it’s over. Maybe that client will come back for more, but maybe they won’t. You have to work all the time to get more clients in if the first ones are not going to come back.

It can also be difficult because people tend to go “oh, my god, £60 per hour, for fixing my boiler, I’m not paying that”.

Your clients compare your rates with what they earn in their proper job. Which, even for people in good jobs, is not £60 per hour, and they forget all about their holidays, sick pay and the fact that they get paid for all the time that they’re at the office, including putting the kettle on.

So you look expensive using the billable hours business model/prostitute model, even if you’re not actually charging that much

What else can I do?

When I get a business advice client using the prostitute business model, I often try to steer them away from it.

Maybe they can move to the recurring income business model. Or start developing products based on all their expertise. Sometimes we start thinking about the productivised services model. All these are coming up next.

Better business strategies for small businesses

Over the years I’ve worked with hundreds of business owners to develop the right strategy for them. I have developed my favourite business strategy for small businesses.

And, yes, you guessed it. Selling your time at an hourly rate, even if you’ve used my Sweetspot Pricing methodology to maximise your hourly rate, is not my favourite business strategy. My business advice is not to be a prostitute.

More of this, please

Every week I sent out some ideas, thoughts and tips on how to run a more successful small business. They’re usually in the form of a little story about something I’ve learnt. Here’s how to get your exclusive ideas, tips and thoughts every week…

Much more, please

If this has got you thinking “That’s me, I’m a prostitute, with my billable hours model, always searching for the next client”, then maybe you need some help to transform your business into something which brings in more money and more regular money.

Let’s talk about how I can help your business – this is how it works.

Photo credit –  Jason Taellious, Julia Chanteray, and Rachael Crowe