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Let’s get real: when you work on an hourly basis, there are two ways to increase income: raise your rates or increase the number of working hours. I’m assuming you don’t really want to spend more time working, so let’s talk about something that a lot of people don’t like talking about: raising your rates. Raising your rates is a way to increase your business income that is often difficult for people to face, and there are many reasons why.

First of all, let’s get over the biggest issue business owners face when raising their rates. I’m just going to lay it out there bluntly. The number one reason solo professionals don’t raise their rates is self-worth issues. In all my years of working with clients, I have yet to run across a single entrepreneur who hasn’t balked at raising his or her rates, saying some version of either “I don’t need that much!” or “My clients would never pay that much!”

But when we get down to it, eventually they have all realized that these aren’t the real reasons they aren’t raising their rates. More often than not, keeping your rates “low” or “reasonable” is a function of one thing: fear. And believe me, I get it. I really do. There was a time several years ago when I was scared to raise my rates. I was scared that I would lose clients and that I wouldn’t be able to get new ones. But my fears were unwarranted, and while at the time I firmly believed it wasn’t about self-worth, when I started to get really real and dig deep about what was holding me back, I realized that indeed that’s exactly what was at the heart of it.

So how can you get past that? Well, first of all, you need to do some soul-searching. Dig deep and find out why you think you’re not worth earning more. Hint: If you start saying, “I just love what I do and I’d do it for free if I could afford to,” dig deeper. There’s a lot more going on there than you may initially think.

Second, stop charging by the hour. Instead, create packages with a lot of value built in.  Make sure you are really offering something great, something that will produce a high return on your clients’ investment in working with you.

Third, start talking more about that value that your bringing to the table, instead of what people will get from working with you. When I talk with prospective clients, I do cover the features (like how many sessions are in each package, for example), but I focus more on the benefit of working with me. I talk about the value I’m bringing to their business, and show them how working with me will help their businesses grow.

Once you figure out what’s at the heart of how you’ve set your rates and made these slight shifts, you’ll be amazed at how fast your income will grow.

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