Knowing what to charge and then asking for it is one of the hardest aspects of freelancing. Not only is the subject of pricing unfamiliar to new business owners, but the whole idea of talking about money seems to make most women uncomfortable. But in order to become a successful (i.e. wealthy) VA, you will need to nail your pricing strategy otherwise you will end up with a hobby and not a business.
To help you work out what to charge in order to have a flourishing business (you most certainly did not go freelance to just “get by”) and to make you feel comfortable talking to clients about your rates, I’d like to share an interview I recently held with a pricing specialist.
Pricing strategies from business coach and author Julia Chanteray
Julia Chanteray is a top business coach, ex-President of the Brighton and Hove Chamber of Commerce and author of Sweetspot Pricing; which is probably the best book on pricing I’ve ever read.
Because I know Julia personally and have always been a big admirer of both her attitude and her coaching, I asked if she would consider taking part in a live interview and Q&A session with some of the VAs in my (now cancelled) All-Stars membership group.
And incredibly (Julia charges top whack for her services), she said yes!
Watch the interview and discover:
- Why everyone has issues about money but why it’s mainly women who undercharge.
- Why you shouldn’t compare your freelance rate with what you earn in your ‘proper’ job.
- Why you should never listen to your Mother!
- The three different levels of income (survival, reasonable and success) and how to achieve the last one.
- How much money you need to earn in order to be happy.
- The small things you can do to make a big difference to your income.
- Why VAs are in the ideal position to make more money for their clients and why they’re not taking advantage of this.
- Why you’re doing something wrong if every sales meeting ends in a “yes”.
- How to use the “Tesco Test” to determine if you’re undercharging.
Mentioned a few times in the interview, Julia has a book called Sweetspot Pricing which she wrote based on her many years of experience helping business owners set and achieve next-level income goals.
Frankly, what Julia doesn’t know about pricing isn’t worth knowing!
What I love about Julia’s book
- There are a billion ideas in it.
- The strategies aren’t just for freelance businesses but for other business models as well. This means you can pass ideas on to your clients and help them make more money.
- You learn why people buy from us and how to ensure they buy from you.
- It covers how to find out what your clients consider ‘adding value’ so you can ensure you deliver it.
- It’s full of case studies – one is even on a Virtual Assistant!
- There are exercises to complete that show you how to work out your three levels of income and what your rates should be.
- You learn why people might be hesitant to invest in a freelancer and how you can overcome those objectives.
- It also covers tax planning and how to work out what you realistically need to earn to cover all your outgoings and still grow your business.
- Julia shows you how to set measurable income targets instead of just conjuring figures out of thin air.
- It was really easy to read and the ideas were immediately actionable.
However, this post is just the start of developing a healthy mindset with regards to pricing your services and the way you think about money. It’s a continuous journey and you should swot up on as many different pricing strategies and techniques as you can.
You may feel a little uncomfortable charging more money but you probably found networking and many other aspects of running a business difficult at first too. But that was only because they were new and unfamiliar.
You soon got used to them – and it’s exactly the same with pricing.
- Grab a coffee/tea/gin and watch the video.
- Consider investing in Julia’s book. It will not only give you a plethora of ideas that will improve your own income, but you can also pass on what you’ve read to your clients and help them achieve their income goals as well. Which means they’ll love you AND have more money to reinvest in you!
- Implement at least one of the actions outlined by Julia at the end of the video and in her book.
- Read my blog post on how to set your rates and please do not charge less than £25 an hour because that’s the industry standard and if you charge less then you’ll soon be out of business.
- Consider investing in my pricing course and learn how to make more money without working more hours. I show you how to break through the hourly rate trap by charging project and package rates.
- Read my post on how to raise your hourly rate. I even provide a customisable email template you can send your clients!
- Download my free hourly rate calculator to work out what to charge. Julia also has other calculators and exercises in her book.
- Decide what sort of income level you want to achieve, set some targets and go make some money!