Many virtual assistants start out in business charging a low rate. This works great to help them get those first few clients in the door. After a few months, however, the virtual assistant may find that she is having trouble making ends meet. She is probably already working a full schedule and she really doesn't want to cut into her family time since that's the reason she started her business in the first place. Sound familiar?
This is when the virtual assistant needs to think about raising her rates. Of course, her first concern will be about losing her favorite clients. This is a valid and common concern, but she has to remember why she's in business in the first place. To make money while serving her clients, right?
Here's what she should do...
Go In With a Positive Attitude
The first thing she should do is approach the price increase from a positive frame of mind. She can set the tone and clients will pick up on it if you are raising rates but you’re not actually expecting them to pay that much.
Give Advance Notice
Virtual Assistants worry that their clients would be angry about the price increase. Many of us are people pleasers and we don't want to lose our favorite clients.
So pick a date 6-8 weeks in the future for the rate increase to go into effect. When you give clients advance notice, they’re less likely to complain. In fact, your best clients will simply adjust their budget going forward.
Focus On the Value You Bring
Next, think about the increased value you will be bringing to your clients now that you've been working as a virtual assistant for a few months. Maybe since your business has started, you've been taking classes on web design or worked an internship.
Sometimes how we best serve our clients changes over time. For example, maybe you originally focused on helping your clients with their websites, but you found that they kept coming back to you for branding advice and guidance.
Communicate this value to your clients in your email or meeting. You want to explain that you’re offering in-depth branding guidance now. You’ve expanded your services and you’ve had to adjust your rates.
Don't Debate With Your Clients
Don’t engage in a debate over your new rate. If a client tries to bully or manipulate you into a lower rate, stand firm and let them walk.
If a client is not willing to pay the new rate, let them know that you understand their concerns. Then ask them if they'd like you to recommend another virtual assistant who may fit their budget.