How much should I charge for my service?

As I embark on the task of creating landing pages to showcase my service and pricing, I’m exploring a few cost-effective and time-efficient solutions. These include ready-made templates and website builders that require minimal coding. However, while these options are relatively quick and cheap, they still demand a certain amount of time and effort. This brings to mind the first law of pretotyping (yes, pre, not prototyping): How can you try out something with the least amount of resources? Creating a landing page is not exactly that… But more on this in another post.

I am currently looking for new assignments, but what exactly remains unclear. I am interested in almost everything in IT, but lately, I have been drawn to information security, along with another passion of mine, business development, which I don’t often discuss.

I recently had a first-round interview, which did not go as expected. Of course, I know that in the first round, you should not, according to some, even discuss how much and how you would like to work. But what do you do if they insist?

In the past, I was approached to help

  • implement a company’s web firewall. (AWS WAF is a good start… it’s just not under your control. This is quite a serious issue during times of constantly changing attack attempts.) One hundred euros per hour, o.O
  • others have approached me to introduce security policies, 75 euros per hour,
  • and others for implementing an internal training system, 50 euros per hour.
  • Platform Engineering 35-45 euros per hour…

So, what should I charge for my “services”? That’s why I really do not know how much to ask for. Even more so because what do you need? And for how long?

In the first round of a project fit interview, setting a price should not be the decisive factor but rather a direction for further cooperation. But what do I know? I have never been good at interviewing. But this conversation made me think, especially seeing the confusion in the other person’s eyes when I responded with 50 euros plus VAT per hour.

  • But how? We cannot pay in euros.
  • (Of course, you can :) ) That was just a guide.
  • So you have an Estonian company. We are actually looking for an employee.
  • (We are all contractors, just under different contracts.) I just wanted to demonstrate how flexible I am.

But is that really true? Am I really that flexible regarding assignments?

Mind your own business!

This story started when I looked at my whiteboard. It’s filled with to-dos and a few earlier idea sketches. But among my emails, nothing is sensible in terms of assignments. As if the market is silent. Or am I just advertising myself poorly? Or am I in the wrong place? Am I not good enough to get assignments? Not good enough in general?

That’s why I erased the board, moved the ideas to the backlog, and wrote down just one thing on it.

!!! Mind Your Business !!!

This was a call to my subconscious not to focus on what doesn’t work. Mind your own business… In English, that phrase means something else, too. You should work on your own actual business. The Mind could easily be thought through on a mind map. And since it was all on a whiteboard, I had the opportunity to look for connections in that context.

First, like many, I started thinking about what service I could provide to potential clients.

  • Technical security consulting?
  • Software development? What language? What code?
  • Architecture? Cloud or on-prem? Or maybe a website?
  • Perhaps software packaging? How to make the client’s software products more robust in terms of distribution?
  • DevOps pipelines? Enhanced with security practices?
  • Security Architect? Security policies? ISO 27001 or NIST 800-53? Maybe NIST CSF?
  • DevRel? Community builder? Or perhaps something else?

Of course, I did not get very far. I have tried this many times. I know… many say. Choose one thing and specialize. But I would go crazy if I had to deal only with one role. What I love is solving problems. So, it’s not about what I want to work on but about what you, as a client struggling with a problem, need help with.

So, this line of thought did not lead to any results. Thus, I tried to approach the question differently. What would I like to wake up to every day? I would like small and medium businesses to operate more successfully and securely.

I know… I speak Hunglish a mixture of Hungarian and English. Bear with it. :)

How much would be the amount that would help me achieve this? No, no. I’m not thinking about investment, contractual amounts, and other business nonsense. How much would be the gross amount per month that, if it showed up in my account, I could comfortably carry out this activity?

The calculation results will be at the end of the post, along with my contact information… if you’re tired of all this text :) (However, if you’re curious about the thought process, feel free to keep reading)

The monthly goal

I thought of a number… Let the game begin. :D But it was almost like that. Currently, I need a monthly gross revenue of 2500 euros. That’s 30,000 euros annually, or 15 euros per hour, to make it more understandable. This doesn’t sound like much. Why this much? That’s really my business, but if you want to know, I have an apartment, I’ve automated much of my life, which is tied to my current location, and of course, my loved ones are here. There are always unexpected expenses and long-term plans as well. Thus, at this place, in these living conditions, a monthly need of 2500 euros amply meets my requirements.

How can I achieve 2500 euros in revenue? It could be in another currency. E.g., USD, pounds, etc. The essence is a stable currency. One that’s easily convertible, if necessary, for current expenses. The simplest answer to this is a permanent job. Have you looked around the world lately? There’s no such thing as a permanent, stable job anymore. And the point now is acquiring a stable 2500 gross income.

So, jobs are out of the question. Employers wouldn’t pay more if I mentioned this amount. So, it remains to find contracts. But what kind of contract should I look for? And for how much?

Contract pricing

From experience, although I know a lot, it’s not easy to switch from one position to another. I need to improve my CV. I have to browse different job listings for days just to find one that slightly piques my interest. Then, if they happen to call back, comes the 2-x rounds interview hell. During this time, I don’t want to starve. Nor sell the many things I’ve invested in my current lifestyle. So, I initially figured out a multiplier… which should be 2.5 times the monthly gross requirement.

This raised an interesting question. What if I get a contract elsewhere? The 2.5 times multiplier would still apply. So, this offer is only valid if I can stay at my place. Optionally, meeting the team is a bonus. However, having to move somewhere else wouldn’t be worth it, or rather, it would change the pricing. How much? By 2.5 times the monthly need. And what’s the base? That’s influenced by many factors. So, this is a remote-first option.

Thus, I came up with the calculation: 75,000 euros annually plus VAT, plus possible expenses. For better calculability, that’s 37 euros per hour, or 6250 per month, or about 300 per day. This is the bidding price. If someone wants to sign an exclusive contract with me, this is roughly where the price starts.

Wait a second… exclusive contract? What would that entail? The contracting company would set the terms. What equipment should we use, what confidentiality should we maintain, etc., as we work together. Because, of course, in this case, I’m almost certain I couldn’t work with anyone else. So, I risk missing out on a potentially better opportunity. Plus, I wouldn’t be able to participate in some community events that might be organized by other companies/solutions.

Could there be a non-exclusive contract then? Why hadn’t I thought of that before? But how much would I ask for that? Hmm… there could be a bidding price for that, too. Say, 2500 per company. Such a contract could cover my needs. But how many could I manage? One? Maybe two? Possibly three? And what would I provide them? Doesn’t it matter? Whatever is needed.

This would require about 2 hours of my attention per day toward each company. This is enough for project planning. Supervising a task, or perhaps some training or similar activities. Or maybe… participation in community life? o.O

(Isn’t it more productive not to rack our brains over what exactly to provide but instead to think about how we can achieve our goals? :D)

What else could bring in that much revenue?

Alright… This is all well and good. But it’s still not stable enough. Since one… I assume that, hopefully, I will receive a substantial permanent, exclusive contract. Or, experimentally, rely on the goodwill of several companies. And their understanding that if a more significant contract comes in, unfortunately, I will have to neglect them. I cannot guarantee a daily minimum of 2 hours of attention. Perhaps for months. What else could bring in this much revenue?

Of course, we could think about a SaaS solution or another kind of side job… But these are unpredictable. Content creation? And what’s the goal?… How long would it take for this to be a suitable alternative source of income… Oh, my head hurts again. Let’s find something simpler. Passive income is needed… truly passive, not something I have to work on daily. Oh, got it. Of course, an investment portfolio is needed. But how big?

I’ve read a lot of investment advice and books. Most of it talks about how much money we’d like to have by the time we retire. I’ve never liked this concept because I’ll never be retired. Two reasons for this. One, I don’t think I’ll live that long. Two, my brain surely won’t let me be idle. I’ll always do something useful. So the question is not how much I set aside to have a peaceful retirement… but rather how much I need now so that the monthly interest reaches 2500 euros.

What to invest in? Does it matter? Let it be something certain… And even more importantly, automatic. This is just an estimate, anyway. Let it be the S&P 500… it yields about 7-10% annually on average. So, if we calculate, then that’s 420-430… The heck. Let it be 400,000 euros. So now there’s a nice final sum. If I had such a sum from somewhere, I would do what I love. And I would still do this even if they didn’t pay me for it… Of course, I would not refuse it, but I would probably just support others with it.

So, there’s the final goal. 400,000 euros. We’re not even talking about millions here. Now, I just need to gather that up. And it would be even better not to touch it. What would be the amount in liquid form to ensure this? Let’s say 30,000 annually? Let it be something more specific. Suppose (I usually avoid this for security reasons, but I’ll write it down anyway.) there were 60,000 euros in my Wise investment jar. That’s still two years' worth of necessary savings. And it’s still accruing interest but still liquid.

That’s a nice round number. This could be my dividend or, possibly, a target goal for what I’d like to achieve with content production or other revenue sources.

Content production

What’s wrong with content production? At least for me, it was a misleading goal. Through it, we can become rich… Eh, no. I’m thinking about how much I’ve already spent on it, financially, from my own time and countless research… And the revenue? Up to now, one euro cent.

Yes… I’m doing something wrong. First, I still don’t have enough content. How many blog posts and YouTube videos are needed for us to feel successful? Or did I pose this question wrong to myself again?

What would be the amount that, if earned as revenue, I would consider myself a successful content creator? A billion dollars! Here comes the Dr. Evil meme…:D


Oh, no… wrong thinking again. How much do I need? And would I still create content then? The answer is now simple. Monthly 2500… or rather annually 30,000. But this market is quite unpredictable. So let it be annually 60,000. So, there’s the amount. If I can reach an annual 60,000, then I can certainly call myself successful. That means 30,000 covers the necessities, and 30,000 helps build the portfolio.

The question now is, what content would help generate this? Are you, dear readers who have suffered through my ramblings so far, interested in my opinion on business development, security technology, gadgets, mental health, or whatever else I might want to write about, make videos about, or give presentations about?

Presenting? Wait a minute. Education? Maybe conferences? Maybe specific methodologies… which I’ve already mentioned so many times and really can talk about for hours?

Now, this is a more clearly defined number or activity. But what could I teach? I’ve wandered off again. I listed a bunch of things earlier. The question is, how much?

Since this is an unpredictable income and could be monthly, yearly… or maybe never, let the calculation basis be the exclusive contract hourly rate. That’s 37 euros… not round. 30? Why do I want to round down? 40! Oooh, why would that be worth it to me? Let it then be 80 per hour! I like that. That’s 640 for a day… That’s not round again. 650? I’d be happy to talk for a day about that. And a smaller company might be willing to pay that amount.

My goal is to support my activities with the Curious Minds Collective, where I try to share content for free (or pay what you can) that may help individuals or organizations with less than 20 people. The (cyber)security-first business model starts with you.


So, I now have a starting “advisory” hourly rate… Good joke. Me, as an advisor. But when I think about it, I never got my salary for what I was hired in the first place. It was always for the knowledge that relates to other areas.

  • We need a DevOps. No, they needed a Developer.
  • We need a Security professional. No, they need someone to teach them how to document processes.
  • We need an Observability guru. No, they need someone who knows access control.
  • We need someone experienced in access control. No, they need to learn architectural design.

But first, I had to get hired. That is, I had to prove to the client that I am experienced in my field. How do I achieve this?

Anyway, I strive to build my professional relationships. Every day, I dedicate an hour to meeting new people. Although this is hard to get going. Another problem is that I’m also more introverted. Or maybe this counts as support? And in this case, is my patience surcharged? Let’s assume the latter.

Alright, then I can use the one-hour daily meeting for free networking. Let’s discuss how I can help with the consultation. Then we can discuss the eight-hour training or whatever is needed.

It would be good to advertise this somehow. But how? Guerrilla marketing! The second hour is free, provided I get a good recommendation, reference, review, or other word-of-mouth advertising before that. Of course, this does not come out of the 650. Don’t even dream about it; this is not negotiable.

What’s the next step

What’s the next step… I keep getting this question. Does it even matter? Let’s take the step and see from the result whether it makes sense to proceed. I have many small steps already planned. Including a few landing pages. Gather and categorize the knowledge material that might interest smaller companies. It could be useful for larger ones, too. :)

How will I achieve this? I hope with guerrilla marketing. I produce free content that counts as a reference. Then we’ll see.

  • You’re still whining here. Of course, you’ve written down the ridiculous idea. These hit-and-miss prices… No one will be interested!

I hope you don’t think that now, dear reader. :) But if you do, then you weren’t paying close enough attention.

I just showed you what a pretotype is. What alternative thinking looks like. What it means to set precisely definable goals. What the basis of business development is. How to form prices, and what categories these labels correspond to. What is upsale and how to achieve it. And of course, what guerrilla marketing is… Why do you think this article is available for free? :D

If you want to know more, this article will tell you how to reach me. You’ll also know precisely what to expect and how much it will cost. (Well, at least what is the bidding price)


Preferred cooperation through B2B contract. All prices are in euros, without VAT, but I accept other currencies based on agreement.

Hourly consultation: 80 euros for every started hour. The first hour is free. In this call, we should talk about how we could help each other. The second hour can be free in exchange for recommendations.

Training, coaching, and short-term sessions: 650 euros for a day. Let’s talk about what you need to improve. One of my favorite topics is security first business development, just for food for thought.

Non-exclusive contracts: 2500 euros per month. Max 3 companies or organizations. I can join your communication channels, and we can discuss what we should do to be more successful. You pay for my attention, not for doing to-dos. For that, you may need an exclusive contract.

Exclusive long-term contract:

Period Price Monthly Daily Hourly
1 months 6500 6500 ~310 39
3 months 19500 6500 ~310 39
6 months 37500 6250 ~300 37
12 months 75000 6250 ~300 37

Long-term employment: It is negotiable, but the price calculation would be different, and it would probably be much more expensive. (For both of us)

(BTW, this is upsale :) )


Reflecting on the confusion around the price I was asking, I’m pretty sure I’m flexible. We are all contractors, just our prices and our contracts differ. What do you think? Are you flexible enough to be successful in our modern digital world?

Do you want to know more? Then don’t hesitate! Book a one-on-one call with me on Calendly: You can also connect with me on LinkedIn:

The new landing page will be available on, but it’s under development(2024-04-20). If you want, you can support my work and follow me on Patreon: Curious Minds Collective