Why Picasso Charged an Admirer $5,000 for One Minute of His Time

The Story

There’s a famous story that talks about Pablo Picasso’s surprising response to an admirer.
She approached him in a cafe and said, “Mr. Picasso, would you draw something for me?”

He smiled, grabbed her napkin and drew a quick, beautiful sketch in less than a minute. He gave it to her and said, “That will be $5,000.”

The woman was shocked!

“But you only spent a minute drawing this. It’s hardly worth $5,000!”

To this, Picasso said: “It may have only taken me a minute to draw this for you — but it took me a lifetime to become a master.”

My Thoughts:

When I finally left my 9-5 and started my first business, I opened up an SAT test prep company. My rates where HIGH! In many cases, over $100/hour.

Lots of people on the outside thought this was crazy.

How could I get away with charging so much?

Two reasons:

1. If you’re an expert in a subject area, you’re not just charging for the time it takes you to complete something — you’re charging for all the time you had to spend mastering your craft. Your client gets the benefit of working with someone who has cut down 99% of the learning curve for them. That’s taken time and they are paying for that time you’ve invested…not just the time you spend with them.

2. Clients are paying for results. If you can get the results, your rates are directly tied to that. In my case, if people gave me pushback on my rates, I’d always remind them that while they might think “tutoring” wasn’t worth $100/hr, their kid getting into Yale certainly was. That always seemed to snap them back to reality.

Just some food for thought today.

The quickest way to speed to the top of your field (and make the most money) is to become an expert. And the quickest way to become an expert is to start your journey now.

Right now.

Leave a Comment Below:

I really value the concept of honing a craft or building an expertise. Dedicating your time to something that you enjoy — then getting really good at it — is one of the most exciting things I can think of spending my life doing.

What craft or area of expertise are you looking to develop. Leave a comment below and let me know — I’m super curious what type of weird stuff everybody is into!

Daniel DiPiazza

Daniel is the founder and CEO of Rich20Something. A millennial business mastermind, he has successfully started three consecutive freelance businesses and scaled them to over $100K in revenue with zero startup capital. His work is regularly featured in Time Magazine, Fortune, Entrepreneur, Business Insider, Fox News, and Yahoo! Business. His debut book, Rich20Something, publishes on May 2, 2017.