What are you worth? It’s the most loaded question you’ll ever need to ask yourself in your business. After all, in the professional services industry, so-called experts run the gamut from PhDs to stay-at-home-moms. What qualifies one individual more than another to charge more?
In reality, we are each procuring previously researched data, results & outcomes from others in order to create our own programs. There is very little new research taking center stage these days.
You, my friend, are you-nique. You’ve got a distinct set of offers to make to the world. And I’d like nothing more than to help you sort out how to charge for your services.
What do others in your industry niche charge
Before you start pulling prices out of the air, take a look at your top competitors. See what kind of rates they’re charging. For VAs, copywriters, designers, etc. you’ll begin to see a range or market value.
For coaches or professional services (i.e. health, nutrition, life, business and executive), you’ll note that there are probably a few products from hour long webinars to 6 month long masterminds ranging in price from the low end to the high end.
You have to start somewhere.
As you build your portfolio in the first few years, before you’ve landed big-name clients, you may need to fall at the bottom of the accepted market value.Â Â Just like an entry-level job, you’ve got to put in your time showing why you’re clearly worth the prices you’re asking clients to pay you.
Second, starting at more reasonable rates lets you cut your teeth. You can get a feel for all the things you like, and don’t like about your business. Modify your business model based on what you learn (including an increase in prices.)
How are your services different (your UVP)
A huge indicator of your worth is what only you can give to your clients. For example, medical and financial writers will always be paid more than generalist copywriters.
Think about how you can differentiate your services. This can mean embracing a niche directly, or simply using your unique journey to attract others who need to connect with someone who has been there, done that.
In the coaching industry, specifically, working for a corporation might not be enough of a UVP. You need to come up with an experience only you have. Sara Shaw from The Entreprenette is one of my favorite examples.
She set out on a journey to sell her handbags to the masses. What she learned makes her the perfect coach for women looking to break into fashion and retail areas of expertise.
Are you in a position of authority right now
When your colleagues begin to see you as an expert, you have arrived. And that means connecting with the right people. Perception of your authority will allow you to double your rates. But first you have to earn it.
This might mean speaking gigs, attending conferences, or simply using your online presence to gain access to affiliates that rock your niche.
Another excellent way to gain authority is by writing a book or performing specialized research. Sally Hogshead is one of my favorite examples of this method in business.
She paid a research company to help her determine what it was that people found “fascinating” in general. After applying these principles to business & marketing, she hit the speaker circuit, writing a book in the process…and gaining instant authority…even though she had very little experience previously in the business field.
Don’t try to get fancy with your pricing offers
There are a lot of ways you can bill your time. Some of us prefer project rates (a lump sum for a set of work), others bill hourly, and some prefer multi-month engagements.
Whatever method you choose, you absolutely cannot get fancy with your pricing. No one likes to be slapped with up charges and no one likes to be confused about how much money they are spending.
For example, don’t try to bill by the minute (a recent coaching concept I adamantly refuse to stand behind). However, you might consider selling your time in one hour blocks (like I do for my copywriting.)
Make your sales copy totally transparent: For X dollars, you get Y. And make payments super easy to make with a PayPal button or other online programs. If you prefer to accept checks, create a standard email template that tells users exactly how to proceed:
“Please mail a check for <amount> to <address.> As soon as this check is received you will be directed to my calendar to schedule your first appointment.”
Higher prices mean a longer sales cycle
Remember that if you want to charge higher rates, it will take you longer to attract those perfect clients into your world. It’s easier to spend $47 on a program than it is to invest $470.
Your perception (the liar in your head you call an ego, dear) of yourself may be that you are not as successful when only get a few folks to engage in your program. Especially if you see a colleague commenting on how full their client roster is. Ouch.
The reality is that your one client at $470 has 4x the value, right? Therefore, whichever business model you choose, stand confidently behind it. There is no right or wrong answer; you must charge the rates you feel are in line with your value & self worth.Â
Another trick is to regularly pitch your list until you find a sweet spot. You may start with an offer of $500 for (5) hours of coaching or creative services and not get a single taker. Alter this to $97 for (1) hour of <insert offer here> and 10 people might jump forward to check you out.
Elspeth Misiaszek is the innovator behind eMarketing Copywriter. She believes you deserve to profit from your passions & has dedicated her business to mentoring others to do what they love & love what they do. Grab your 10 Free Email Marketing Templates to really rock your writing.