Knowing what to charge is a hot topic for any business owner. For VAs especially, charging your worth is something we all struggle with, especially when we’re first starting out. We’re new to the business, trying to get our first set of clients and are unsure of our own capabilities – and this leads us to doubting ourselves and our prices.

However, knowing what to charge is something that affects us all, even the most experienced of VAs. If you’ve been in business for a while, you may have kept to the same pricing for several years. You worry your existing clients may not be able to afford an increase in rates, you’re not sure how to implement a price rise and you start to question whether it’s worth even implementing one at all.

Yes, pricing and charging your worth are hot topics for everyone!

I believe, in order to charge your worth, you need to look at more than just the financial figure – you need to look at your mindset, associated feelings and your values too. Here’s my six top tips to make that easier.

Tip #1: Knowing what you’re worth

This is an important starting point for many of us and is broken down into two parts – knowing the industry average and knowing what YOU’RE worth. For example, you might decide to price yourself at £25-£35 per hour. However, if you have specialist skills, offer more niche services or have years of experience in a specific niche, you know you can charge a higher hourly rate.

Another area to look at is how much you’ve invested in yourself to get this far. How many years of study and/or work have you put into yourself and your business? What professional qualifications do you have? These will have an impact on how much you can comfortably charge.

Tip #2: Believing your own worth

And that leads me to my second tip. If you want to be comfortable with your pricing, you need to believe your own worth. Do you believe you have the skills to provide what you do? Can you do a great job for your clients? Do you believe in your own abilities?

Tip #3: Confidently asking for your worth

Once you know and believe your worth, you’ll be more confident asking for that rate. Get comfortable saying your rates – practice in front of a mirror, in front of your family or friends and just get used to saying your prices, without wavering or hesitating.  If you struggle with saying the prices out loud, also have them written at the front or back of your notebook, on a clean page with no other text and then if while talking to the client, you are struggling to say the numbers confidently – you can point and say “Well, as you can see my adhoc rate is this, but if you want to buy 10 hours up front, you will pay x, 20 hours y etc.”  It gives full transparency of your pricing structure then – they can see that you are not doing back of fag packet – guess work!

See the VACT blog “How to have the confidence to charge your true worth” – https://www.vact.co.uk/confidence-charge-true-worth/

Tip #4: Feeling the need to justify your worth

Not only will saying them out loud get you comfortable with saying them, it gets you believing in them. If you believe in your pricing, you’ll not need to justify them to anyone. If you doubt you’re worth your fees or struggle to believe in your own abilities, you’ll find yourself justifying them on every discovery call. So, get used to comfortably saying your prices and nothing else!

Tip #5: Questioning what others can afford

Another sneaky way we doubt our own worth is by questioning what others can afford. You have no idea how well someone else’s business is doing, so you really need to leave that decision to them. This is a sneaky one, as it looks like we’re worrying about the other person’s finances – but what we’re really worrying about is whether they’re seeing our value and worth. Why? Because we’re possibly doubting it ourselves and worrying that we haven’t done enough to justify our prices etc.

Tip #6: Handling free and discounted fee requests

You cannot have a discussion on pricing and worth, without the topic of free and discounted fees cropping up. Again, this can arise when we feel the need to justify our own pricing, but it can also crop up when talking about new VAs finding their first clients. There will also be times when others ask about discounts too.

My advice? Discounted is always better than free. Free is seldom valued by the recipient and it also changes your mindset around the work you’re doing. If you want to discount your fees, look at doing it in a mutually beneficial way. For example, if a client bulk books time with you, then you could discount your hourly rate if they’re opting for 10 or 20 hours, paid for in advance. You could also offer a discount in exchange for a case study or testimonial, especially if you’re just starting out and need to build your portfolio.

Finally, if someone asks you to discount your fees over and above your discounted packages, unless it’s a cause close to your heart (such as a non-profit or charity), I’d be wary of working with them. Why? Because it could just be that they’re not seeing the value of what you do – and that can lead to an unhappy and unbalanced client-VA relationship.

Knowing what to charge is a hot topic for any business owner. As VAs, we can struggle with pricing, but I hope these tips have helped. Why not share your big a-ha moments and your thoughts, on today’s topic by leaving a comment below – let’s have an honest conversation about pricing and charging our worth!