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Could You Raise Your Rates?

Could You Raise Your Rates?

money-lifehack

    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.

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    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.

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    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.

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    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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    Last Updated on April 8, 2019

    22 Tips for Effective Deadlines

    22 Tips for Effective Deadlines

    Unless you’re infinitely rich or prepared to rack up major debt, you need to budget your income. Setting limits on how much you are willing to spend helps control expenses. But what about your time? Do you budget your time or spend it carelessly?

    Deadlines are the chronological equivalent of a budget. By setting aside a portion of time to complete a task, goal or project in advance you avoid over-spending. Deadlines can be helpful but they can also be a source of frustration if set improperly. Here are some tips for making deadlines work:

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    1. Use Parkinson’s Law – Parkinson’s Law states that tasks expand to fill the time given to them. By setting a strict deadline in advance you can cut off this expansion and focus on what is most important.
    2. Timebox – Set small deadlines of 60-90 minutes to work on a specific task. After the time is up you finish. This cuts procrastinating and forces you to use your time wisely.
    3. 80/20 – The Pareto Principle suggests that 80% of the value is contained in 20% of the input. Apply this rule to projects to focus on that critical 20% first and fill out the other 80% if you still have time.
    4. Project VS Deadline – The more flexible your project, the stricter your deadline. If a task has relatively little flexibility in completion a softer deadline will keep you sane. If the task can grow easily, keep a tight deadline to prevent waste.
    5. Break it Down – Any deadline over one day should be broken down into smaller units. Long deadlines fail to motivate if they aren’t applied to manageable units.
    6. Hofstadter’s Law – Basically this law states that it always takes longer than you think. A rule I’ve heard in software development is to double the time you think you need. Then add six months. Be patient and give yourself ample time for complex projects.
    7. Backwards Planning – Set the deadline first and then decide how you will achieve it. This approach is great when choices are abundant and projects could go on indefinitely.
    8. Prototype – If you are attempting something new, test out smaller versions of a project to help you decide on a final deadline. Write a 10 page e-book before your 300 page novel or try to increase your income by 10% before aiming to double it.
    9. Find the Weak Link – Figure out what could ruin your plans and accomplish it first. Knowing the unknown can help you format your deadlines.
    10. No Robot Deadlines – Robots can work without sleep, relaxation or distractions. You aren’t a robot. Don’t schedule your deadline with the expectation you can work sixteen hour days to complete it. Deathmarches aren’t healthy.
    11. Get Feedback – Get a realistic picture from people working with you. Giving impossible deadlines to contractors or employees will only build resentment.
    12. Continuous Planning – If you use a backwards planning model, you need to constantly be updating plans to fit your deadline. This means making cuts, additions or refinements so the project will fit into the expected timeframe.
    13. Mark Excess Baggage – Identify areas of a task or project that will be ignored if time grows short. What e-mails will you have to delete if it takes too long to empty your inbox? What features will your product lack if you need a rapid finish?
    14. Review – For deadlines over a month long take a weekly review to track your progress. This will help you identify methods you can use to speed up work and help you plan more efficiently for the future.
    15. Find Shortcuts – Almost any task or project has shortcuts you can use to save time. Is there a premade library you can use instead of building your own functions? An autoresponder to answer similar e-mails? An expert you can call to help solve a problem?
    16. Churn then Polish – Set a strict deadline for basic completion and then set a more comfortable deadline to enhance and polish afterwards. Often churning out the basics of a task quickly will require no more polishing afterwards than doing it slowly.
    17. Reminders – Post reminders of your deadlines everywhere. Creating a sense of urgency with your deadlines is necessary to keep them from getting pushed aside by distractions.
    18. Forward Planning – Not mutually exclusive with backwards planning, this involves planning the details of a project out before setting a deadline. Great for achieving clarity about what you are trying to accomplish before making arbitrary time limits.
    19. Set a Timer – Get one that beeps. Somehow the countdown of a timer appears more realistic for a ninety minute timebox than just glancing at your clock.
    20. Write them Down – Any deadline over a few hours needs to be written down. Otherwise it is an inclination not a goal. Having written deadlines makes them more tangible than internal decisions alone.
    21. Cheap/Fast/Good – Ben Casnocha in My Start Up Life mentions that you can have only have two of the three. Pick two of the cheap/fast/good dimensions before starting a project to help you prioritize.
    22. Be Patient – Using a deadline may seem to be the complete opposite of patience. But being patient with inflexible tasks is necessary to focus on their completion. The paradox is that the more patient you are, the more you can focus. The more you can focus the quicker the results will come!

    Featured photo credit: Estée Janssens via unsplash.com

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