I typically charge a project rate unless the client is uncertain and just wants to hire by the hour.
When I work with a new customer I typically ask about the obstacle keeping them from moving forward. I tend to work backwards from there.
I have a custom-made Undergraduate degree from American University in Multimedia Design and Development. It's the only one of its kind and I invented it after changing it from a Bachelor of Arts to a Bachelor of Science degree. It took 13 months to get it approved and I rolled the dice and took classes towards it without a guarantee it would ever be approved. It was, and now I have the only one.