Freelancer handing business card to potential client.

What Do You Call Yourself? It Could Be Costing You Thousands Each Year!

earning more money engagement contracts for freelancers getting clients job titles for va virtual assistant (va) what you call yourself Apr 06, 2023

Starting a new business is wildly exciting! First, there’s the flexibility to work when and with whom you choose. You are no longer just an “Employee ID Number,” but rather someone who is appreciated for your skills. You wake up each morning, ready to be the BEST you can be. You look in the mirror and then, for most new independent businesspeople, a teeny, tiny mental twinge occurs in the form of a universal question.

“Hey. How am I going to FIND, GET and KEEP clients?”

Then, that little voice in your brain, has a perfectly logical follow-up question.

“And, oh by the way, what am I going to charge these clients?”

Fear not. There is excellent training available for learning how to answer the first question, and the answer to the second question may very well be what you choose to call yourself. It’s true what you’ve heard: “Words matter.” So, it’s not surprising that the way you describe your service affects the perception of value of the services offered to clients. How freelancers and virtual assistants describe themselves with their job titles and value propositions can dramatically affect the fees they can charge.

Ready to Earn More Money? 

In the world of self-employment, there are many seemingly small factors that can make a huge difference to financial success. The founder and CEO of Virtual Experts® training, Kathy Goughenour, has pretty much seen them all and has been sharing them with freelancers, virtual assistants, and Virtual Experts for several years.

“The primary ‘problem’ for freelancers and virtual assistants is they are not earning enough to live on,” she said. “In fact, 80% of freelancers and virtual assistants earn less than $10,000 annually and go out of business in 3 years. Why? Because they have not learned how to find and get high-paying clients. And I say ‘learned’ because it is something that can be learned.

“If you are READY to earn more money, here are 3 actionable tips to find, get, and keep high-paying clients, and they involve positioning your service better:

  1. Compete on high price not low price. Everyone loses when you compete on a lower price.
  2.   You are a professional, like doctors and lawyers, and like them, you earn a premium price when you narrow your niche. 
  3. Upgrade your title. Using the titles ‘virtual assistant’ or ‘freelancer’ lowers your perceived value. For years, I have spoken and written about this phenomenon while trying to change the business owners' minds. As a former virtual assistant (VA), and someone who has trained hundreds of outstanding VAs, I know their true value. News Flash: It's a lot more than $15 to $25 per hour, which is the perceived value by many of their clients. There's a simple solution: upgrade your title to something that describes your area of specialization.

As somebody famous (probably from the UK) once said, “The proof is in the pudding.” Here are examples of people—clients with whom I have worked—who made the shift in their positioning.

  •  Edie Clarke went from VA to Remote Video Producer.
  • Carrie Wulf went from VA to Operations Manager.
  • Dan Rondeau went from VA to Graphic Designer.
  • Cindy Winslow went from VA to Copywriter.
  • Lisa Johns went from VA to Bookkeeper.
  • Leslie Martinez went from VA to Virtual Business Manager.
  • Kate Wiley went from VA to WordPress Website Designer.

If You’re an Expert, Say So

“These entrepreneurs changed EVERYTHING when they changed their job title and description of their service. Plus, there are many others who have participated in my program and have the license to use the term Virtual Expert®,” Kathy said.  

“I trademarked that term when I discovered the low value clients put on the terms ‘VA’ and ‘freelancer.’ Instead of continuing to do the same and get the same results (the definition of insanity, right?) I decided to simply change the job title to something with an automatically perceived higher value. When polled across the board, in every industry, people who said $15 to $25 was appropriate to pay for VAs and freelancers said $45 and greater was an appropriate fee for Virtual Experts! 

“This is without knowing anything about the person other than that title change. It's amazing how a title can make such a huge difference,” she concluded.

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