Stop getting paid by the hour!

Christopher Johnston
2 min readOct 3, 2023


Man’s hand with an analog watch showing a time of 10:08
Photo by Marius Mann on

One of the worst things we learn from years of working is that we should be paid by the hour.

Now, before you call me crazy, let me give you an example:

If I were to do an SEO website audit as a brand new person, depending on the site size and complexity, it could take me a week or more. After a few years of doing it and learning a few tools that can simplify the practice, I may be able to complete it in two days or less.

I’ve become better at my job and more efficient, but because I get paid by the hour, I’m penalized.

I’m thinking about this because I’m thinking about freelancing again. I don’t really want to, but I need to eat and pay the bills, so we all make sacrifices.

I’m also considering requiring a retainer, like a lawyer. I recently read about another SEO with a client who owes her six figures. A non-refundable retainer helps ensure that if you are efficient with your time, you get paid, the client receives their deliverable, and everybody is happy.

If you currently freelance or have in the past, how do you feel about this?

Would you do it, yes or no?

Leave your thoughts in the comments!



Christopher Johnston

SEO pro turned coder, blending tech with marketing. 🔍🖥️ Passion for programming, firearms, and the written word. 📚🔫 #SoftwareDeveloper