Lifestyle and Marketing
If you think you need to live large to attract business, think again. What attracts business is a valuable offer delivered to the right prospect with confidence, integrity, and consistency. On the other hand, it is almost impossible to attract business when you are desperate for work.
Your lifestyle choices can underscore your commitment to an authentic and connected life, one lived in awareness and respect of the well-being of others and of the planet. Living these choices and letting them inform how you show up in the world can be a compelling aspect of your personal marketing formula. They can distinguish the offer you are in your chosen market niche.
Insurance, Taxes, Retirement, and More
Other considerations for the self-employed are medical, dental, life, and disability insurance. In addition, you may need professional liability insurance, insurance on your equipment and records, and insurance to protect you in the event of accidents on your premises.
Self-employment taxes can take the unwary by surprise. Check with your accountant (you do have one, don’t you?) and find out what your tax liabilities are likely to be.
How do you plan to fund your retirement? There may be tax-advantaged plans available to you as a small business owner. Again, check with your accountant. (Have you noticed that one of the expenses you will need to plan for is accounting?)
It is easy to overlook hidden costs such as depreciation. Think about the furnishings and equipment you use and how often you will need to repair or replace them. Where will you get the money for these expenses? How will you pay for software upgrades or for a technician to debug your computer?
The following outline can help you understand how to set your own rates and why there is no “one size fits all” formula.
How Much Do You Want to Take Home? Net Income Versus Gross Income
Here’s a partial list of expenses you may incur in your business.
Depreciation (it’s not theoretical!)
25-50% of your time to manage and market your business
Vacation, Holiday, and Sick Pay
Where Does the Time Go?
Hint: Keep a running list of everything you do for thirty days. Not a “to do” list, but an “I did” list. This will help you to understand where your time goes.
Sales and marketing
Service (email, phone, troubleshooting)
Administration (bookkeeping, correspondence, contracts, reports)
Variables Affecting Prices
Client capacity to pay/realize value from your work
Cost of delivering services
Is It Time to Raise Your Fees?
Reputation as leader or expert
Turning away work
Recognized author or speaker
Prestigious affiliations or awards
Strategies for Raising Prices
Annual incremental increases
Business cycle increases
“Going rate” increases
Be sure the going rate is set by going concerns!
Do going rates reflect your costs and services?
More work to justify rate increases of more than 10%
Keep clients informed of how great you are
Training and skill development
Concern for their well-being
Improvements in service and capacity
How you saved them time or money
How you made them money
How you solved problems for them or for others
How much you are in demand
Create a mood that supports your declaration of value
The body of confidence
What Clients Want to Know When You Raise Prices
What are the new rates?
When do they go into effect?
Give reasonable notice
Consider giving current clients a grace period to adjust
Why are they going up?
What value will the client receive for the higher fees?
Adjust Prices to Manage Work Type and Work Flow
Projects you don’t really want
Profit is commensurate with risk (and distaste!)