Transcription: Today, this blog was inspired by a young lady who wrote to me who is a virtual assistant and has been doing it actually for a number of years but has felt that she’s degrading herself with the rate that she is charging and would like to raise it. She doesn’t want to raise it a little. She wants to raise it a lot, a significant amount of money, per hour. She’s asking my advice. She’s also said that she’s been aware that her services haven’t been quite up to scratch recently and it’s probably why she’s a little bit hesitant. Thank you for sending that question in and I’d be happy to help you.
The first thing I want you to do, if you’re a VA or a freelancer and you’re out there and you are charging an hourly rate (I want you think now. I’m going to ask you a question and I want you think about the answer), “What would be your most ideal hourly rate that you would like to charge?” Have you got it? So, you’ve got your most ideal hourly rate. Ideal, as in not just now but it’s going to be ideal in a couple of years’ time too for you. So, I mean just don’t just think about the here and now. Think long-term because this is what your business is. It’s going to be a long-term thing. Think about what you’d really like to charge in the long-term that you’re going to be really comfortable and happy with. Got it? I want you to immediately now go and change your websites to that rate. Don’t think about it, just do it and I will explain why in a second.
The reason why it’s vitally important that you go and change your website now and do it is because one day you will be charging that rate. It may be not today. It may be not in the next three months. It may be not in the next year. It all depends on how things go for you. But, one day, if you work hard at your Virtual Assistant business you will be able to charge that rate, providing it’s obviously within reason.
Okay, so you’ve gone and raised your rate on your website. I want you now to sit there and be creative and think about all the ways that you could offer value for money to your clients. This could be retaining packages and promotions, which people can purchase a set number of hours and they get a reduced rate. Offers on that rate, if it’s a dramatic increase on what you’re charging at the moment, you can offer a 50% reduction or something like that or a 25% reduction for the next 3-6 months. Anything which is going to give people real, real good value for money and that way you’re still not making a huge massive leap into charging a mega-high rate, which you haven’t been charging. It’s going to be modest because you are going to offer certain things to your clients where they are able to gain discounts and things like that, which will make the rate maybe a little bit more affordable and a little bit more where your clientèle is at the moment. The thing about this is, if you keep your standard hourly rate as it is oftentimes you will find that one client, if you can get one client at that rate, it might compensate for 3 at your much lower rate. So really you want to be going for the good quality clients but you also want to give people lots of different options and the ability to be able to use your services at a much more discounted rate and make sure that you make that very clear on your website that your hourly rate is this amount of money, especially if you’re at the moment looking for clients and desperate to find clients, then you need to go out and you need to offer promotions and offers. Psychologically, people are going to be thinking to themselves, say for example your ideal rate is £35 an hour, if you’re offering £25 an hour for the next 6 months guaranteed, people are going to see that as a massive discount, huge value for money and they’re more likely to jump on it instead as if you were just offering £25 an hour and that was your rate. So, this is my logic behind what you should be doing. Also as well you might expand very quickly and it’s going to be a hassle for you if you have to keep changing your rates every time you decide that you want to expand because the more clients you take on the higher the rate you’re going to have to charge. It’s just how it works because you’re only able to take on a certain amount of clients and when you can’t really take on any more clients you need to raise your rates a little bit to maybe dissuade certain people from contacting you and then that’s when you really sort out the real good quality clients who are able to pay and will pay your ideal rate because that’s what you should be shooting for. That’s what you should be aiming for, always. That’s why you need to go and change your website right now. I don’t care whether you’ve been a VA for one day, one year, or your entire life. It’s got to be your most ideal rate that’s displayed on your website and then you need to offer people options.
Another thing I want to say to you, even though you’ve displayed your much higher rate on your website don’t raise it for your existing clients because you need to keep their loyalty. By raising the rate, you will probably secure their loyalty even more so it’s going to be even better for you with your existing clients because they’ll feel, “Right, wow, I’ve got a topnotch VA now. She’s really increased her rate. She must be doing extremely well. I better keep this VA where she is because I don’t want to end up paying this rate later on.” You’re more likely to secure and keep the clients you’ve already got by keeping them loyal, keeping them on the same rate that they’re charging and only really change it if financially it’s really not viable for you anymore. That’s the only time I would suggest that you change the rates of your existing clients because they’re really the bread and butter of your business. I would also as well, if you’re friendly and familiar with your existing clients, I would actually ask them what they think of your services. Perhaps do a survey. Ask them for a testimonial. Ask them really what kind of value they would put on your services. I would only really do this with the clients who I’m very familiar with or more friendly with on a more sort of personal basis, on a more personal term. I wouldn’t ask from the more newer clients that I’ve just taken on. I started my VA business some years ago. I got my first client after 3 weeks of having my business live and functional and they’re still with me today. I’m very lucky and I’m able to speak to them pretty much about anything and I’m able to go and say, “I’m thinking about raising my rate to this much. What do you think? Do you think that’s a good rate? Would you feel happy if you were paying that rate for this service?” They’re really the people who are going to be able to give you honest feedback about your rates and your services and how you’re doing. How you’re doing as a VA? Are you reliable? Are you reasonable with what you charge them at the moment? Would they have perhaps paid you more and that type of thing. Get some feedback from your existing clients. The reason you absolutely need to go and raise your rate right now is because it’s going to be less hassle for you in the future. You’re going to have a better loyalty from your existing clients because they’re going to see that you’re doing really really well and you’ve raised your rates. You also got the opportunity to offer much much more value for money to new clients coming on board because you’re going to be able to do some phenomenal discounts and that type of thing. You will find that the more you respect yourself, the more you respect your own rate and what you charge and the closer you are to the ideal, the more confidence you’re going to have in your business. That’s going to come across and that’s how you’re going to get new clients paying this ideal rate.
So that’s my 2 cents because she asked me for my 2 cents.