Why do people expect VAs to work for almost nothing

amyswinningways

New Member
To get my foot in the door when I first started on Elance several years ago, I charged $4 an hour. FOR ONE PROJECT! After that first project, it went up as that was ridiculous. It continued to go up to cover my "opportunity cost"(ie time spent with my family, that additional hour of sleep, time at the gym, etc) and I now either get what I expect to make(what my time is worth to ME) or I won't accept the client. I am willing to work with most of them within their budgets but I will not work for $4 an hour ever again! I don't care what offshore person with bad English and no awareness of grammar charges! AmysWinningWays is now billing almost 7 figures so I see no point changing anything about what I charge. And some of those clients that went the "cheap" route have gotten what they paid for and then come back to me so that I could clean up the mess that "saving" them money created. As I remind many, if you pay $50 for a $200 project, you are going to get $50 worth of work...and if often costs them $250. :)
 

caroline_flourish

New Member
I'm so sorry you had to experience this. But I'm happy you see your own value and future clients will too. I say forget about this prospect and focus on marketing yourself to an audience who does see your value. If you respect yourself, respecting clients will come. Hang in there!
 

caroline_flourish

New Member
I too started with a similar website. I am appalled by what even offshore companies charge. It's degrading to us all...I understand why you worked for so little at first to build your portfolio but am so happy you no longer do! Valuable services that will help increase profits shouldn't come at the same price as a latte...
 
I'm just getting started myself and was thinking that to get started I would try for those $4-5/hour jobs, just to get some experience. Do you think that's a good idea? I know I won't make any money at it, but it would give me a chance to wade in without jumping into the deep end. I was also thinking that I would stipulate a 4 hour minimum. You know, work for $5/hour, but bill for at least 4 hours. Thoughts?
 

amyswinningways

New Member
I wouldn't say it's the most logical route, but it worked for me. You might see about choosing a relatively small project or 2, give them 100% quality and get that valuable feedback if using Elance. BUT, many prospective clients are willing to give you a shot just based on what you have to say in your proposal. Use good grammar, give them a "play by play" so that they see the value in what you are offering and then set your proposal somewhere between the lowest and the average. Be sure your English and grammar are above reproach and do not submit a proposal with some generic information. Be personable and write your proposal based on the facts! I would also advise asking GOOD questions. Not some nonsense that is pretty much given, but a valid question. It makes you more visible to them, makes them see that you are taking the time to learn more and gives you the outlet to start growing that relationship. Even if they don't choose you for that project, they will remember you and you are more likely to get invites to the next. The time you take in submitting your proposal is HUGE. So many offshore teams submit some copy and pasted proposal or "see pmb"(major no-no) and then harass the buyer via email/skype/private message on Elance and that is just not good business. As a buyer and a provider on Elance, I think I have pretty much seen it all and a lot of it is annoying.
 

katbliss

New Member
Define your rates and stick to it. Haggling with a potential client demeans both of your worth. Send him on his way and he will most likely get what he pays for.
 
Hi Paulette, yes I offer my time in bundles and have an offer that if a client 'banks' five hours I will give an hour free - I thought this was a brilliant incentive but not to this client I guess
 
This thread is so encouraging to me. I feel that I am already charging too low for what I am offering but as the company is new I'm scared of pricing myself out of the market. Where I live and work people seem to expect to pay less for everything, which is strange for me because I am originally for a city and I know that city rates would be so much higher. Anyway, thank you all for your wonderful contributions to this thread and I am looking forward to hearing more experiences and contributions - this is obviously a big problem for us VAs
 
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