“How do I price my virtual assistant services?”
“What is the hourly rate for a virtual assistant in Nigeria?”
“Am I not getting clients because I am over charging?”
“How do I price my services as a new virtual assistant without cheating myself?”
“How much do virtual assistants in Nigeria earn?”
“Should I charge in naira or in dollars?”
“Hourly, packages, monthly salary, retainer, project based, value based pricing. What’s the best for me?”
If you’ve ever asked any of those questions, you’ll want to pay close attention to this blog post. I’ll answer all your questions about pricing your services as a virtual assistant in Nigeria.
Pricing is a very important part of setting up your virtual assistant business. It’s one of the things I talk about the most in my one hour strategy calls and private coaching for new and aspiring virtual assistants in Nigeria.
Before I get into the meat of this post, I must say that one of the worst things you can do for yourself, is copy what other people are charging.
Even if they are your mentors.
I say this because what you want your business (and life) to look like, could be completely different from someone else’s.
I might want to work 1 hour a day, 4 days a month and charge more (in fact this is my dream).
Someone else might want to work 8 hours for 6 days a week, charge less and totally love it.
You might like 6 hours a day for 5 days a week.
And we can all earn the same at the end of the month. Or I might work less and earn more.
If you’re like me, you want to make money but don’t want to be tied to your work all the time. That means that your pricing has to reflect your own personal needs and desires. You have to take a holistic look at your life, your skills, experience, and expertise.
And most importantly, your target client.
If you still don’t know who your target clients are you should not be reading this post. You can’t build a house without a foundation.
Even if you take all the right steps to price your services, you’ll still hit a brick wall when it comes to getting clients who’ll pay your rates. So you can’t be setting up your prices when you have no idea about the kind of client that will pay you that price.
There are many ways to determine your price as a virtual assistant.
In fact, if you ask 5 coaches you’ll get 10 different answers from them. And they’ll be likely great answers. But you don’t want “great” answers. You want to know the best way to price your services as a virtual assistant in Nigeria.
2 Easy Steps To Take Before Pricing Your Virtual Assistant Services
1.) Start With What You Know
Don’t go offering copywriting services just because you heard you can make $10,000 monthly even as a new copywriter. Start with what you know and grow from there.
I remember when I just started using Canva. Someone needed a graphic designer and since I was posing as an “expert”, I got the job. I still cringe when I see the flier I designed for the brand. Needless to say, it wasn’t accepted.
Thank God it wasn’t. The godfathers of graphic design were turning in their graves (for sure!). While I wasn’t good at graphic design, I was great at writing SEO blog posts. I had experience writing on two blogs before I wrote my first paid blog post for a client. So things picked up really fast when I focused on what I knew. Now my canva skills are much, much, better and I design fliers, ebook, social media graphics etc for clients but it was a skill I needed to hone.
When you’re just starting out, start with what you know. You’ll price more confidently and know for sure that your work is not what is scaring clients away.
Yes. Your work might be scaring clients away even if you get your price right.
They may be able to afford your rates (and maybe more), but they won’t work with you because you’re not good at what you do.
2.) Understand That Low Doesn’t Always Equal More
If your strategy is to look at what your competitors or mentors are charging and charge the same or a little lower, you are shooting yourself in the foot.
Some VAs lower their rates in an effort to take all the clients from competitors.
If you charge too low, you’ll scare some deep pocket clients away. Some clients would not want to work with you because they think cheap equals low standard. And that’s only the bad part.
The worst part is that you will attract the annoying category of clients.
The ones that will nickel and dime you till you go crazy. You probably know them. They’re the ones who’ll second guess you all the time, call you at 2am and stress you out.
Is that what you want?
No? I thought so
Now that we’ve agreed you don’t want to offer services you’re not good at. Or copy prices from your competitors/mentors, let’s get into 3 practical ways to price your services as a virtual assistant in Nigeria.
3 Practical Ways To Price Your Services As A Virtual Assistant In Nigeria.
1.) Start With The End In Mind And Work Backwards
How much do you want to end in a month?
This isn’t a chance for you to write $1,000,000.
I want to earn $1,000,000 monthly too but we’ll get there some day.
Look, when you start with the end in mind, you know your livelihood depends on it and it will keep you grounded. So let’s say you need NGN 100,000 every month
Then break that number down like this:
Monthly cost of living = NGN100,000
What I have to earn each day to cover my living cost (we’ll take an average of 22 business days per month) 100k / 22 = NGN 4,545 per day
If you are working for 6 hours
4,545 per day / 6 hours a day = NGN 757.5/hour.
Approximately NGN 760/hour.
You can do the break down according to your figures.
This immediately gives you an idea of how much you must earn each day (and hour) to meet up with your living costs.
However, the above method doesn’t consider your sick days.
What if you go on an impromptu trip or fall sick or have a family emergency?
In addition, it stresses you to do it every month because it changes as your needs for the month changes.
So if you want to remove the stress of figuring out what to charge every single month because of an unstable hourly rate (which your clients will HATE)
Get FREE Access To My Hourly Rate Calculator For Virtual Assistants
Enter your figures and it will automatically calculate your hourly rate in one second.
2.) Decide On A Pricing Method
“Hourly, packages, monthly salary, retainer, project based, value based pricing. What’s the best for me?”
A lot of experienced VAs would say you should price your virtual assistant services using the hourly rate when you’re just starting.
It is good advice but as a virtual assistant in Nigeria, my advice to you would this.
It depends on the location of your clients.
If your clients are Nigerian based, sorry o.
99.99% of Nigerian clients do not pay per hour.
If you like, take 7 red candles to your village river naked to pray
E no go work
So what works instead?
Project based, value based or salary.
I’ve used all three methods so I’ll explain. But first let’s talk about hourly rate and why you should not work hourly after your first few projects as a virtual assistant.
Your hourly rate largely depends on the type of service you provide as a virtual assistant. The hourly rate of a VA providing web design services is much higher than that of a VA offering data entry services.
Why I don’t recommend charging by the hour is because you get penalized for being an expert. When you’re just starting out, designing a graphic might take you 5 hours, but over time you might start doing it in 1 hour or even 30 minutes.
The client will pay you less than a rookie VA who is 5 times slower than you are.
But what if my clients are not based in Nigeria?
Then you’re in luck. Because you can not only afford to charge in dollars but also charge hourly (when you’re just starting out).
The odds are in your favor because of the exchange rate. Even if you charge as low as $5/hr and work for 6hrs a day you’ll be making as high as NGN 330,000 a month (if you work for 22days).
This is when a client pays you for an entire project that may take a few hours, days or weeks. You’d look at the time it’d take, software you’ll use and other tools and the skills it requires before giving lump sum. This is usually charged at least 50% before the project starts and the balance after the project is completed.
This is when you price your services based on the perceived value. For instance you ghost wrote an ebook for a client. This positions the client as an authority in that subject so the client is not only getting monetary benefits by selling the book, but also the recognition as an author that knows her onions. When you factor in what the client stands to gain, your pricing will be different.
Another example is when you write a sales letter for a client and the client sells a product worth NGN10,000.000 while you charged only NGN20,000. Value based pricing looks at the value your service will bring the client and charge based on that. Regardless of if it took you only one hour to complete and nothing else.
Some virtual assistants are paid monthly. So the client enrolls you into their pay roll and you get paid X amount of money at the end of every month. I’ve been paid this way and don’t recommend this. Instead take at least 50% of your money at the beginning of the month (if it’s a recurring fee).
3.) Package Your Services
Before you even think about packaging, you have to have worked for a while. You need to know exactly what you do for clients (and what you DON’T do).
You need to know for sure how long it will take you to complete a task and the cost implications (if you’ll be paying for software to work with).
Because things could go south really fast. When you give a quote for a project, you have to be absolutely sure because if it ends up taking more time than anticipated or cost more, the client won’t pay you more.
So experience is what will help you set the right prices and know what goes into a package and what doesn’t. That why an hourly rate is recommended for when you’re jut starting.
You might have already learned the basics about pricing but you still want to know specific details like:
- How to design a package that clients love (what goes in and what doesn’t) + sample packages to get your creative juices flowing even if you’re new
- The only time you should negotiate on price and how to turn things to your advantage
- Mistakes a lot of VAs make when pricing
- Hidden expenses that keep a lot of VA businesses stagnant (most VAs don’t even know they are losing money)
- Scripts to increase your prices if you realize you’ve been undercharging (if you’re just starting, you’ll still need this for later)
- How to deal with scope creep and use it to increase your income
- How to determine the exact amount to charge for your specific VA service(s)….even if your service is finding photos of poisonous spiders
- The MPFN pricing framework that makes everything pricing make sense and will leave you saying omo × 1000 (you can’t even Google it because I created it)
- The only time to factor in what other VAs are charging and what to do with the info
If that is you, then you absolutely need my pricing 101 for VAs mini course. You can join the waitlist to get first hand details and early bird price when it launches this September.
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