For some people, asking for money can be the hardest part of their business.

There could be one or more reasons for that.

It might be they are not confident in their ability. It might be they are a start-up or new as a VA and feel it’s ‘not right’ to charge ‘too much’.

It could be that they struggle with the idea of selling (even though they know that to run a business successfully you have to sell a product or service).

Perhaps they don’t have an idea of their own worth or know the going rate for what they do.

As a VA you might have an hourly rate, a daily rate and even a retainer rate for more regular work. You may also be asked about a project rate – as that’s how many executives, leaders and managers are asked to operate and budget.

Whatever you set that at, ensure that prospects and clients understand that they are paying for the value of what you do – not a price like they’d pay for a commodity in a shop. Price vs Value

On the face of it, your clients are paying you to do a piece of work. They’re paying you to carry out a series of tasks.

But they are not just getting your time.

Your clients are buying your knowledge, your experience and your expertise.

Your clients are buying time (when you do it for them, you save them time).

Your clients are buying peace of mind or an easier life (when it’s left in your capable hands it removes the hassle for them).

Your work has a value beyond the time you spend on it. You may want to consider that next time you review your pricing.

Obviously, you have to consider market forces and what the market is prepared to pay. But, as in other fields of professional work, fees can vary quite a bit.

Some maths to start with

Let’s say a VA works a 35-hour week and charges £25 per hour. That’s £875 per week (before any taxes).

If they gave themselves an eight per cent pay rise, that would take them up to £27 per hour. For the same working week, that would give them £945.

That’s an extra £70 per week. Assuming they take four weeks of annual holiday, that’s an additional gross income of £3,360 a year.

You see how a small increase can add up over time.

It’s easier to charge more when you are an expert, highly productive and ‘indispensable’ to clients. When they see your value, they are more willing to pay a higher going rate.

Before you start raising your prices, it’s a smart move to consider a few things.

It pays to see what’s happening in the marketplace and what your competitors are doing. If everyone in your field, niche or industry have been putting up their prices, it’s easier for you to do the same. If you’re the exception to the rule, you may want to consider offering something unique or different that others do not.

Be upfront about any price rises. Tell people in advance. It can be a useful way to retain clients and extend contracts, especially if you offer a renewal incentive.

And, of course, when there is a change people usually want to know why. So, tell them. If you can demonstrate that the change is because of a better service or you can highlight an additional or fresh service you offer, that’s reassuring for the client.

Demonstrate the value. Explain the price rise. Don’t apologise. If you’re worth it, you are worth it.

Of course, not everyone may be happy with paying more. If a client is solely driven by the price they may drop out. That may appear to be a downside but if it creates room to attract a better kind of client, who understands the difference between value and price, it can work out better in the longer term.

You’re in charge.

Price vs ValueTo make it easier for clients to accept, there are different ways you can approach increasing your prices.

You could freeze your fees for existing clients (say for the next 12 months) and only apply the increase to new clients. That way your current clients feel valued and rewarded for their loyalty. If there’s a set date for your price increase, prospects know that unless they act before that time, they’ll end up paying more. There’s an incentive for them to act fast.

If you’re really unsure about how people will react, you could test the price rise with a small group of clients first. If that goes well, you can expand the change to all your client base.

It might be that circumstances add significant costs to the running of your business. In this case, you could add some fees temporarily and explain why the increase is required. Once circumstances change for the better, you can end the additional fees and show that you’re a person of your word.

Another way to increase your fees is to offer extra services or a bundle of services. You don’t want to make it onerous for yourself but if you have specialist skills and understand the challenges your client’s face, this is a smart way to go.

Remember, as a VA – whether you have a limited company or are a sole trader – you are running a business.

A business requires time and money. The higher your rates, the fewer hours you have to work to make the same amount each month.

Just a £2-per-hour increase can give you an extra £3,360 before tax – every year.

It’s worth thinking about your value – and much you value yourself.

Shelley Fishel

The session was well structured and the explanation was very clear. It was amazing how Shelley managed to squeeze so much info in just one hour and a half! Colin’s support and contributions were also very valuable, and so were “Virtual Veronica”‘s. Thank you for a most interesting and useful training session at the Miss Jones Virtual Summit!

Laura Carizzo- Royal Norwegian Embassy in Argentina

I haven’t used PowerPoint in 20 years, this has really boosted my confidence.

Lyn Parker

Course is packed with so much valuable information in a easy-to-understand and follow language, even for a complete beginner. I can respect the fact that sometimes it’s very hard for an expert to break the information down to basics. but Shelley has done it brilliantly. I was sure that I knew quite a bit but Shelley has proven me wrong even at the very beginning of the basics of PowerPoint. Lessons are short and precise which allowed me to easily transfer the new skill into practice without being overwhelmed and to carry on adding on more with each lesson. I had so many ‘Aha!’ moments and for most of them I couldn’t believe I used to pay graphic designer to do it for me, now, thanks to Shelley, I am looking forward to creating, designing, converting my presentations all by myself!

Iva Freeman – Vertex Human Capital

Shelley was very thorough and knew a lot of tip’s for using Teams, thank you 🙂

James O’Connor – Cavannah Homes

Very informative, constantly getting everyone in the meeting involved, loved every bit of it!

Dylan Teal Hopkins – Cavannah Homes
Fantastic and informative training and great to see all of the exciting functions with Microsoft Teams.
Laura Rigby – The Apprenticeship College
Shelley was really clear in her teaching and went at a pace that was helpful to us. We covered all we needed to know to get us started, as a small team, using MS Teams. She was also very helpful in the run up to the session, with check in calls and ensuring our platform was set up correctly. I would highly recommend Shelley to anyone wanting to learn to navigate their way around MS Teams.
Leigh Dowling – Innuous

Microsoft Teams One to One Training Session

Shelley was approachable, easy to work with, and agile with answering questions to apply the session to my specific needs

Melissa Marshall – Present Your Science

A course on Outlook had been on the top of my list when Shelley asked VA’s what they wanted to learn.

It was a real case of ‘so that’s how you do it’ or ‘I never knew that’. I have to say that I learnt so many great tips it has definitely improved the way I work in Outlook and my inbox is looking colourful and organised and I can’t wait to share this knowledge with my clients.

Jacqueline Leake – JLeake VA Services – Outlook

A great course with lots of examples and step by step instructions. I can now confidently create infographics and as a bonus, I learnt a lot of new PowerPoint functionality that will enhance all my PowerPoint work and save me so much time.

Jessica Bailey – Integral Resource

I really like Shelley’s courses. She has a clear and easy to follow teaching style. In ‘How to Create Fillable Forms’ I’ve learned about the functions of the Developer ribbon which will mean I’ll be able to create a bespoke Returns Form for a client who has an online shop

Freya Henderson – Virtual Office Orkney

Shelley was really clear in her teaching and went at a pace that was helpful to us. We covered all we needed to know to get us started, as a small team, using MS Teams. She was also very helpful in the run up to the session, with check in calls and ensuring our platform was set up correctly. I would highly recommend Shelley to anyone wanting to learn to navigate their way around MS Teams.

Sarah Clements – Inuous

Absolutely superb course, easy to follow and to refer back whilst putting it all into practice! I was unaware of the extent you can customise a presentation and it’s just made me want to know more – what’s next Shelley?

Denise Williams

I thought I had a pretty good grasp of Outlook until I did this course! In her videos, Shelley is clear and concise, and the language she uses is straightforward and jargon-free. Each module is broken down into manageable chunks, which helps keep your attention and means the course is easy to fit in around other commitments. I’ve created email templates and implemented rules that are already saving me time, and as all the other things I’ve learnt start to become second nature, the positive impact on my efficiency is fast becoming clear. This course has been incredibly beneficial and I would highly recommend it to anyone looking to strengthen their skills and boost productivity.

Pip Doleman VA

I thought I knew Powerpoint really well, but I wanted to specifically learn how to use Powerpoint to create better infographics, easily and quickly. Shelley explains everything in a very logical and clear way, so I understood everything the first time I heard it. The most useful thing I learnt was that Powerpoint can do so much more than I thought it could. By also using the short cuts that Shelley showed me I am much quicker than I have ever been and I thought I was already quick!

Susan Marot

Shelley Fishel of Tomorrow’s VA has a wealth of experience in Microsoft Office. I met her in person 2 years ago at the PA Show in London. I also saw her in action in a fab workshop and knew she was the whizz that everyone had told me she was. I have since bought a lifetime access to her HUB and all the courses in there are a MUST if you are a VA on a mission. The courses will give you confidence in all the Office 365 components and will catapult you to dizzy heights

Alex Hughes