Knowing how much to charge for your services is something every new VA struggles with. And even those who have been operating for awhile. It often comes down to confidence in your own abilities and the confidence instilled in you by your clients as your business develops.
I saw a great quote recently that I thought I’d share with you that may help put things into perspective as you work out rates that are right for you.
From Harry Beckwith’s great book ‘Selling The Invisible.’
A woman was strolling along a street in Paris when she spotted Picasso sketching at a sidewalk cafÃ©. Not so thrilled that she could not be slightly presumptuous, the woman asked Picasso if he might sketch her, and charge accordingly.
In just minutes, there she was: an original Picasso.
“And what do I owe you?” she asked.
“Five thousand francs”, he answered.
“But it only took 3 minutes”, she politely reminded him.
“No”, Picasso said. “It took me all my life”.
MORAL: Don’t charge by the hour: Charge by the years.
Whilst it is important that we don’t overcharge for our services, it is equally important that we don’t undersell our services. Many (new) VAs lower their rates just to get the work and this particularly happens if they register with some of the freelance listings on the web. But this causes two problems: 1. clients get a false idea of what the service is really worth, and 2. it devalues our industry and causes strife for many VAs.
Don’t do it – don’t undervalue your work and your worth in your anxiety to get work. It will happen but you need to maintain a professionalism and keep your dignity. Raising your rates later because you realise that you’ve been charging too low is not an easy thing to do as you’ve established an expectation with every client who has already had contact with you. Further, if you later get so busy that you need to outsource to other VAs you’ll find this difficult to do as there is no margin to work with and it will be hard to find others who will agree to work at the rate you’d already set. KMT