One of the biggest traps self-employed service providers fall into is charging an hourly rate.
This time for money trap will cap your earnings and stilt your business, unless you look to make changes that take you onto a more profitable route. Here’s how you can get out of the time for money trap and start focusing on profitably doing what you love.
Get out of the time for money trap – rethink how you charge
When you’re charging an hourly rate, you’re forever putting yourself under a self-imposed glass ceiling, as you’re always limited to the number of hours you can physically work. If you want to up your earnings, you’re going to need to increase your hours. That’s great, if you’re currently part-time, as you can opt to go fulltime instead – but what about when you’re already working the maximum number of hours you can work?
This is why it’s a really smart idea to move from using an hourly rate to that of a project rate. When you charge on a project basis, you’re not limiting yourself to a certain number of hours – only you know how many hours the project will take. Clients are notoriously good at underestimating how much time a project will take, so this way, they’re just happy knowing the exact financial amount they’re being charged for the project.
Look to grow a team, if you want to get out of the time for money trap
Growing a team is another smart move for any Virtual Assistant. Why? Because it enables you to access more specialised skills you may not already have. There’s also the added bonus that you can outsource the jobs you’re not so keen on as well. You can then offer more services on a per-project basis, meaning higher income for you and your team.
It also means you can have a support network in place. Not only do you get access to additional skills, but you can also help other Virtual Assistants that may be starting out, by outsourcing some of the easier jobs to them – especially if they’re charging a lower rate than you currently are. It helps you out, as you can still charge your usual rate to clients, plus it frees up your time and it enables a newer Virtual Assistant to get some experience under their belt.
Get out of the time for money trap, by creating passive income streams
Creating your own passive income streams is a great way to move forward as, once they’re set up, they can be left to pull in additional income. Anything that’s set up in this way will have an initial amount of work (and possibly money) that needs to be invested up front, prior to them being in a position to go live and making money for you.
Typical passive income streams include things such as eBooks and paperbacks, online courses, evergreen webinars and training. This means the usual upfront work involves things like writing, recording videos or audios, uploading content, setting up funnels and utilising the available platforms. However, once you’ve put in that initial work, you have a product that can be consistently making you income, for years to come.
Productivity soars when you are doing what you love!
Finally, never underestimate the power of doing what you love. If you’re doing the work you truly enjoy, the time goes faster and you’ll actually enjoy being at work! This is why it’s so important to outsource those jobs you’re not so keen on, as well as building a team of associate Virtual Assistants, so you can focus on each other’s strengths and utilise those key skills.
If you’re doing what you love, you’re also building yourself a reputation as the go-to person for that niche too. This means you can start charging a premium rate for your services, as your experience and knowledge grows. You also have the experience to know exactly how best to package your services, so you’re out of the time for money trap, are focusing on your strengths and enjoying what you do, whilst building a profitable business that suits you.
About the author
Charlotte Wibberley, Founder, VIP VA
I am a business success coach and strategist who supports, empowers and champions women with children to create and grow flexible online businesses on their terms. I am passionate about collaboration, authenticity and believe that women can build successful businesses without compromising on their roles as mothers.
I set up my award-winning VA business after leaving a long blue chip corporate career following the birth of my son in 2012. I then went on to launch my online business management and strategy consultancy in early 2015.
I passionately support businesses and split my time between working with female entrepreneurs on effective online business strategy, coaching new and existing business owners and spearheading a new and collaborative movement with VIP VA.
I launched VIP VA in January 2016 keen to support, nurture and champion the VA industry, and to create a safe space for high performing VA businesses to collaborate, knowledge share and continue their professional development. I support aspiring and existing VAs as their coach, mentor and chief-cheerleader for their goals and ambitions. As Founder and CEO of VIP VA, I’m on a mission to improve industry standards and engage with VAs and business owners alike around the true value of the VA and worth that they bring. I am currently leading the #timetoeleVAte campaign to redefine the VA profession, change perceptions and improve how the industry is seen both by those inside and outside.
I have also been quoted around the subject of women in self-employment on a number of occasions and was one of the key case studies for Dame Julie Deane’s Self-Employment Review early last year.
Outside of work I am lucky enough to be wife to fellow entrepreneur Andrew, and mum to Alex, 4 and Evie, 2 who keep me busy and out of trouble! My children and family are my big why and I feel honoured that through my business I am now able to support other women to follow the same journey as me.