The first step to getting paid $10k to think

Can you imagine getting paid $10,000 for your creative ideas and thinking? I remember Chris Do telling me that the first time he got paid for his thinking (strategy) he charged $10,000.

I was blown away and immediately wanted to know more. $10k alone to think and not design? YES PLEASE.

As much as I like to design, I like to think more. So the very thought of this got me excited.

After learning a bit about what brand strategy was and how it can be used at the beginning of a brand identity project (and many other projects) and sold on its own, I was in. I decided right then and there that that’s what I wanted to do. I was absolutely determined that I would learn, start offering, and charge $10k for brand strategy. I never knew how I could quantify my thinking into a process that I could charge for, but brand strategy was the answer I was looking for all along.

So what’s the first step if you’ve decided that you, too, want to charge $10k for strategy?

You need to initiate a point of no return.

I was watching this TED talk the other day titled “The 100 percent rule that will change your life” where the speaker talked about how to make a big change in your life. He shared what differentiates successful entrepreneurs from wannabe entrepreneurs. The major difference? Successful entrepreneurs have always had a point of no return. In most cases, that point of no return consisted of them investing money they couldn’t get back. Points of no return are situations where you have no choice but to move forward—like “burning all the ships” and not having a plan B. You go 100 percent in and don’t look back. Points of no return can be a monetary investment but they could also be some kind of accountability. I knew that my growth in business would be on display for the world to see on The Futur, so I had better make an effort to do everything I can to grow.

If you’re going from not charging for your thinking to wanting to charge anything, let alone $10k for it, you need to view this as a massive change, not just a dream that you’ll pursue half-heartedly. It will require an unwavering decision to take action, learn, and overcome the inevitable obstacles that will come your way—clients not seeing the value in it, not knowing how to describe what you do, self doubt, imposter syndrome, and difficulty getting anyone to actually pay you for it. There are SO many obstacles on the way $10k (and beyond) that are only reserved for those who are 100 percent in.

As my mom has always said: “you can do anything you put your mind to.”

Are you ready to make that decision and not look back? What’s your point of no return? What will force you to take action?


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About the author:

Melinda Livsey is a brand strategist, designer, and educator based in sunny Southern California. She’s the founder of Marks and Maker, co-founder of Pre-lance, and co-host on the Futur. Find her hanging out on Instagram and say hello!