Decide How Much Money to Earn

Jul 28, 2019
The Virtual Assistant Connection: Decide How Much Money to Earn

Although it might not seem like it, as Virtual Assistants, we really do get to decide how much money we can earn each year. We do this by deciding how much to charge, when we’ll get paid, whom we’ll work with, and how many hours we want to be billable.

And while it’s difficult to believe this at times – especially when you’re just starting out or when you feel pinched for money – once you make the transition and take charge of these decisions, it’s amazing what can happen.

Here are the steps:

  1. Choose your hourly rate. Virtual Assistants shouldn’t work for less than $25 an hour – and many work for considerably more. There are plenty of potential clients who will say that they can’t afford you and that’s ok. They’re not a good fit.  Nothing personal. I’ve been asked if I have a non-profit rate – I don’t. I’ve been asked if they pay cash can they get a discount – they can’t. And I’ve been asked if they guarantee a certain number of hours can they get a break. I did that once – BIG mistake – don’t do it. Your hourly rate isn’t negotiable – any more than the price of a flashlight at Target is. Remember that. 

  2. Decide when you’ll get paid. I get paid upfront – my clients either buy 5 or 10 hours of my time. I don’t consider them a client until they buy hours. If they tell me they’re going to buy hours and start sending me pieces of the project – I don’t read them, think about them, and certainly don’t start the work. However, I will send them an email saying “Thanks for all the info. As soon as you buy some time, I’ll get started. Here’s the link…” My best clients respect this policy and make sure that they always have hours in my “bank.” Early on I made exceptions to this and that was also a BIG mistake. 

  3. Pay attention to who you let hire you. I have a 30-minute consultation with every client before I invite them to hire me. Yes – I said invite them to hire me. Everyone isn’t a good fit and I’ve turned people away. During the initial conversation, I use phrases like “Yes, if we decide to work together, I can certainly help you with X,” which lets them know that I’m part of the decision, too. I also pay attention to who referred them to me. It’s surprising how much a referral is similar to the person who referred them. 

  4. Determine your schedule and how many hours you want to work. There’s some important Math involved here. If you want to make $50,000 a year and you charge $25 an hour, that means that you’ll need to bill 2,000 hours a year or 166 a month or 41 hours a week. Figure this out ahead of time so you can adjust your hourly rate, the number of hours you work, and your expectations.

This all sounds easy, but I know it’s not. It’s very scary. One thing I did on a regular basis initially was to practice talking about my pricing out loud so I would feel more comfortable. I don’t mean to repeat it just a couple of times, either. I mean practice in the car, practice on a walk, practice in the shower … practice it everywhere until you can say it with confidence. That’s when the magic will happen!




If you’re not already a member of our Facebook Group, The Virtual Assistant Connection, and would like to join, here’s the link: