Five Steps to Maximize your Earnings!
So, you’ve decided to charge an hourly rate as a VBO (Virtual Business Owner). The question is: How much should you charge?
For VBOs that are early to the game, that seems to be a fairly simple question. “At my old job I made twenty bucks an hour, so that is what I will charge my new clients.”
Whoa, big spender… Wrong answer!
There are a few things you need to keep in mind before you decide how much to charge.
- As a VBO, nobody is going to provide you vacation pay or sick pay
- You are going to have to pay taxes on your net income
- There is a certain amount of time that will be non-revenue producing time (business development, website updates, interviewing for new gigs, etc.)
You will likely come up with a “desired rate” and then work your way toward that goal. Let’s be serious, as a new VBO, your two biggest goals should be to get work and do a good job. This will help to build out your skills, your portfolio of work, and your references.
To maximize your income, you will need to set yourself apart from other VBOs. Essentially,you should create a competitive advantage. Here are five steps you can take to ensure you maximize your rates…
- Find Your Superpower – Yes, you have one. Figure out that one thing you can offer that you truly enjoy and is in demand. Use that superpower to create your niche. As an example, maybe you are a writer. Instead of just looking for gigs writing for clients, try to specialize in one area- perhaps writing web copy. Creating high converting emails is in big demand right now. Being known as an “expert” in one area will allow you to charge more.
- Build Your Brand – Create a website that communicates your superpower. Going back to the example in #1, create a website that focuses on high converting emails. Get some testimonials. Show people who view your website that you are serious about your niche AND talented at it.
- Be Easy to Work With – Keep in mind, the only thing clients really care about is solving a problem they have. If you continually help them solve those problems, they will continually load you up with more work. A perfect example of this is to track all the projects on which you are working in a Google Sheet. Share that sheet with your client. Have a project name, start date, due date and status column. Explain to your client that they can quickly see exactly where you are on every project they’ve provided you with.
- Leverage Supply and Demand – When you first get started as a VBO, demand (paying clients) is low and supply (your time) is plentiful. Set your rates low enough to create demand. As you start to build a name for yourself, you will get busier and busier. With each new client, you will also be a little better at your niche (superpower). As such, give yourself a raise with each new client.
- Prune Your Clients – You mean fire existing clients? Well, sort of. Which clients are a royal pain? Which ones take a bunch of time that you can’t charge for? This might just be the biggest way you can maximize your earnings. Always be looking for ways to prune the “trouble clients” (bottom 20%) and bring on new “ideal clients”.
There you are. Follow these five steps and you will continually see your rates and your earnings go up. Be that VBO everyone loves to work with. Have a good positive attitude and deliver on time.