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As a virtual assistant looking to raise your hourly rate, there’s a good chance you’re very frustrated.

Yes, you put in the hours, diligently working through your billable hours – and you deliver quality work each time.

But, when your payment comes through, it is meager.

Needless to say, your earnings don’t fully cover your expenses. And you resent not being adequately compensated for the virtual assistant services you offer.

What happened to your dreams of a lucrative online career, you may wonder?

So what are you going to do about it?

  • Quit?
  • Grudgingly endure working on a pitiful lowly hourly rate?
  • Put our foot down, say enough is enough, and raise your hourly rate without apologizing?

If you’ve picked the option to raise your hourly rate, that’s a good choice.

Keep reading and we’ll show you how.

Why it is Important to Raise Your Hourly Rate

As a skilled virtual assistant, your time is worth more than what you are currently charging.

And you know it.

So why are you still charging a low hourly rate year in year out?

Keep doing that and at some point, you’ll reach an income plateau. Which by the way, is a bad place to find yourself as a professional virtual assistant.

To avoid such a predicament, it is important to raise your hourly rate from time to time.

In case you are sitting on the fence, here are some reasons why you should raise your hourly rate.

1. You Work Long Hours

eight hour rest and work routine
Image from: Actu Worksite

Since we all have 24 hours in a day, there is only so much you can accomplish within those 24 hours. And by the way, no one works around the clock.

You need:

  • 8 hours of sleep
  • 8 hours of work
  • 8 hours of leisure

Therefore, if you have to work for more than 8 hours in a day (in an effort to put in more hours to earn more), then you need to consider raising your hourly rate.

Eventually, you need to find a sweet spot whereby you work less and earn more – work towards that.

2. You Are a Specialist

virtual assistant skill set description
Image from: Chris Ducker

In the medicine field, specialist doctors charge premium rates for their services.

For example, Orthopedic surgeons in the USA make an average of $443,000 per year.

Why?

You guessed it: they are specialists.

Don’t you think you should apply the same concept to your virtual assistant business?

If you have highly-sought after skills that are rare to find, then you should charge premium rates.

Good clients understand that quality services come at a price.

3. You Are Experienced

success motivational quote
Image from: Brainy Quote

You’ll agree with us that as you keep working, you are perfecting your work skills.

Unlike when you started out, you are now more knowledgeable and efficient in your area of specialization.

Therefore, you need to charge competitive rates. Rates that compensate you well as a professional virtual assistant.

4. You’ve Made the Company Money

“Every successful individual knows that his or her achievement depends on a community of persons working together” Paul Ryan

Your virtual assistant services have an impact on the company.

Let’s say you are a copywriter. And you’ve written amazing content that has managed to convert many prospects into loyal customers.

Don’t you think you deserve to earn more now that the company is making some good money from your efforts?

5. Your Hourly Rate Is Not Keeping up With Inflation

US consumer price chart
Image from: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Will life ever get cheaper by the day?

The fact is: the cost of living is continually going up. There is inflation in food prices, fuel prices, medical costs, among other daily expenses.

Tell you what, trying to survive in such an economy with the same lowly hourly rate will only leave you feeling very (very!) frustrated.

What’s Keeping You from Raising Your Hourly Rate?

“I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.” Nelson Mandela

Isn’t fear the number one reason as to why you aren’t raising your rates?

You are afraid that once you raise your hourly rate, you may lose some of your clients, right?

Get this: fear will cripple you from getting ahead.

So instead of sitting back afraid to raise your hourly rate, go ahead and conquer your fear.

If you want more money, you have to ask for it. Period.

Hints That Your Hourly Rate Needs to Go Up

self worth motivational quote
Image from: Red Shoe Movement

You Are Worth It

Are you an indispensable asset in that company?

Do you deliver excellent virtual assistant services?

If your answer is a resounding YES, then your worth in that company is high.

Here’s your to-do list as you plan to raise your hourly rate:

  • Prepare a running list of all your accomplishments
  • Research salaries for positions below and above your own
  • Know your strengths and values within the company

Ask yourself these questions:

  • What do I bring to the table?
  • What is my experience?
  • What is my worth?

Client’s Feedback

Virtual Assistant Checklist
Download your free cheatsheet of Virtual Assistant Freelancer

How your client(s) feel about your work is a good indicator of the quality of your services.

If you keep receiving positive feedback and glowing testimonials of your work, then you are worth much more.

Another indicator: when you quote your hourly rate to your clients, what is their reaction?

If a client is surprised by how cheap your hourly rate is, then take it as a tell-tale sign – you are undercharging for your services.

In that case, it is a no-brainer that you need to revise your rates upwards and charge what you are worth.

You’ve Built a Strong Foundation For Your Virtual Assistant Business

When you started out as a virtual assistant, you may have had minimum experience and a thin portfolio.

But with months of hard work and sheer resilience you have managed to build a strong foundation for your business.

You now have:

  • An impressive portfolio showcasing your skills
  • Consistent clients
  • And a reliable income

Take advantage of that consistency to raise your rates with the new clients that you take on.

How to Raise Your Hourly Rate With Existing Clients

Raise Your Rates Around the Same Time Each Year

Don’t be that virtual assistant who changes her rates every season.

Because…

When you keep changing your hourly rate unsystematically, your prices will make it hard for your clients to see how your services might fit into their budgets.

Or worse still, don’t wake up one morning and email all your clients telling them that you are raising your hourly rate by say, 100%.

Raising your pay rates is a process that may take a few months. Take it slow. Have a plan in mind.

Tip: Re-assess and raise your hourly rate around the same time each year.

Email Your Client and Ask How You Are Doing

A month prior to increasing your hourly rate, email your client.

Ask:

  • How do they feel working with you?
  • If there’s anything that you need to improve on?

Your client will either have praise or complaints – some of which you may know about already, others which might be more of a surprise.

Don’t get intimidated by negative feedback. Instead, be happy that you have them out in the open.

And fix whatever needs to be fixed.

Own the Process

It is up to you to convince your client that you deserve to raise your hourly rate. But sometimes, a client may say ‘no’.

Some of their reasons may be:

  • The client feels your request is unfair
  • The client can’t see the ROI
  • The client simply can’t afford it or they are cheapskates
  • You only recently put your rates up
  • The price increase was too steep
  • Your services are below their expectations – they don’t see the value for their money.

What to do?

There is nothing much you can do about clients who don’t have the money or aren’t willing to invest in their business.

Therefore, you are better off replacing such clients with those that can and will.

As much as it may seem counterintuitive to let a client go, remember that there are plenty of business owners in the world. If some are happy to pay your higher rate, it’s proof that others will too.

Don’t Increase Your Rates Too Sharply

hourly rate computation
Image from: The Virtual Savvy

With a steady flow of work, you can increase your hourly rate based on a reasonable percentage.

It is advisable to avoid sharp increases in your hourly rate. Instead, you can plan for gradual rate increases over a set period of time.

Inform Your Client Well in Advance

Giving notice to your existing clients is prudent. A one month or two months’ notice is a reasonable amount of time for your client.

Remember, they are a business and may have to factor your pay changes into their budget. Therefore, always give ample notice.

Email Template: Hourly Rate Raise

Writing an hourly rate raise email is the first step towards actualizing your intentions for better pay. Chances are, procrastination may creep in if you don’t know how to word your email.

And that’s why we have crafted an email template to help you along. All you have to do is tweak a few sections to make the email feel personal. And then hit the send button.

Dear [Client Name]

It’s been a pleasure working with you at (insert company name) over the past (x) years. I have learned a lot from you and my fellow teammates.

On the same note, I also feel that I have contributed a great deal to the ongoing success of the team and the company.

Here’s a quick overview of what I’ve managed to achieve over the past year:

  • [write about your own achievements here]
  • [write about your own achievements here]
  • [write about your own achievements here]

Moreover, I now have additional responsibilities including:

  • [add these here, focusing on how they help the business]
  • [add these here, focusing on how they help the business]
  • [add these here, focusing on how they help the business]

Given the added value I bring to your business; I no longer feel that the hourly rate I am working with reflects the contribution I am making to (insert company name/ or department).

I believe that my hourly rate is below what can generally be expected for someone in my position. Therefore, I’d like to bring my current hourly rate into line with the industry average.

I am letting you know about my upcoming rate change. As of (date), my hourly rate will go from ($x) to ($xx).

Please note that for you, I will still work at the old rate until (when you want to start). That’s because we have a long-standing work relationship. And I sincerely appreciate your business. Otherwise, my new rate is effective immediately for new clients.

I believe this will also give you ample time to adjust your budget if necessary. If you have any questions regarding my hourly rate raise, don’t hesitate to let me know.

I really enjoy working with you and supporting the success of your business. And I hope our working relationship continues for a very long time to come. (or another parting sentence that fits this particular client relationship].

Yours sincerely,

[Your name]

Over to You

Michael Jordan motivational quote
Image from: brainyquote

With these guidelines on how to raise your hourly rate plus an email template, you are ready to charge what you are worth for your virtual assistant services. Go ahead, get a better hourly rate and don’t apologize for it.

For more tips on working online as a virtual assistant, check out Small Revolution.

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Katrina
Author

I'm Katrina McKinnon, creator of eCommerce University, founder of McKinnon Group and Small Revolution. I'm using my 20 years' experience in building and operating online businesses to create engaging educational materials that helps others become successful online workers. Find me on LinkedIn and Twitter.

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