When navigating the jungles of the Virtual Assistant world there is one common trap that many a great Virtual Assistant falls into. It is a trap that I myself have found myself in and had to claw my way out. And I want to be sure that YOU avoid it. Want to know what it is?
The idea that you will start low and raise your rates later.
Most of us start our businesses in a desperate search for clients. We instinctively feel that if we offer low rates and deep discounts, we can attract those first few clients and then raise our rates later on, as we get more experienced and confident in our own abilities. I promise you, it doesn’t work, and I’ll tell you why:
- It’s super hard to raise your rates with existing clients. Once you’ve signed a client at your deeply discounted super-cheap rate…it’s almost impossible to raise it. While you might be able to give yourself a small standard raise at the end of each year, you will probably never be able to say “Hey Client, Guess what? I started you off at a ridiculously low rate and now I’m going to double it”. It ain’t gonna happen.
- Most of your business will come from referrals. Yup – those first few clients you took on (at your impossibly low bargain rate) are going to tell ALL their friends about you. And of course they are going to mention how affordable you are! So before you know it, all of THOSE people will be calling you up – expecting the same rate that you gave to their buddies. Hmmmm…Can you see where this is headed? Suddenly you have a full practice. A full practice that barely pays the bills!
- Lastly – a very low rate will usually attract very cheap clients. That sounds a bit harsh, but it’s true. Good clients are willing to pay more money for a good VA (like yourself). Cheap clients are always looking for a bargain. Or perhaps they don’t really have the money to afford a VA. They are the ones who will nickel-and-dime you throughout your working relationship, or pay you late, or sometimes not at all.
Do you really want to fill your practice with bargain-hunters? Avoid the low-rate trap and price yourself for what you are worth! You became a VA because you have the SKILLS or the TRAINING or the EXPERIENCE to help others. Don’t end up with a full business that keeps you busy 40 hours a week and pays you peanuts. Avoid the low price trap and build a prosperous business.