It seems like more and more people are hopping on the entrepreneurial bandwagon and becoming their own boss—and it makes sense! The 9-to-5 business model doesn’t work for everyone. In fact, most people find when they shift away from this full-time format they’re able to work less and make more money than they were making in their previous position.
But to get there you have to follow a few best practices. Luckily, you’re not alone in the desire to find a balance that frees you from the standard corporate work model. Thankfully, there are dozens of others who have successfully put this to practice, so you can learn the ropes and work the career of your dreams, with less time wasted and more profits.
Avoid time-sucking “scope creep”
Ever worked on a project that ended up taking much longer than you originally planned out? That’s what “scope creep” is: when project deliverables expand beyond their original scope. It leads to unmet deadlines, too many revisions, and simply, unplanned hours spent, both on your end and often on your client’s end.
Before starting new projects, take a look at the scope of the request and be honest with yourself and your client. Even small requests add up! Framing your proposals using these replies can help you be more upfront and scope out the proper time frame for you and your clients:
- “(The new request) is going to have (this specific) impact on time/budget.”
- “Let’s take a look at the priorities… Can we replace (this priority) with (that priority)?”
These will help you stay on track and prioritize what’s necessary so you don’t spend exorbitant amounts of time on a project you only planned out a few hours for, for example.
Package your skills and outline your work appropriately
First, make sure you’ve taken the time to tailor your skills to create clear packages that match up your ideal client’s needs. Put together a pricing model that factors in costs for time, meetings, taxes, insurance, and any required equipment. Then figure out how much money you want to make after paying all that, and be sure to consider whether your clients can afford it and if your desired pricing will work in the market.
Once you’ve packaged your skills and defined your offerings, it’s important to have a detailed outline of what you offer your clients before you send them any kind of pricing quotes. This helps you and your clients know exactly what you’re offering at the price point you’re offering it at. To avoid unexpected tasks, lay out everything that’s involved in a project (and define what’s NOT included) in a statement of work. The more transparent you are with your client in the beginning, the more equipped you’ll be later.
Raise your rates
When you find yourself turning away work because you have reached max capacity, it is time to up your rates. It’s pretty normal for businesses and individuals to raise their prices every 6 months or so. You don’t want your passion to turn into resentment because you’re overwhelmed with work and not making enough money to justify the scramble.
You can start charging more money per hour until you reach your desired income and the ceiling of maximum hours you’re willing to work. You can expand your service offerings to give your clients more package options to purchase from you. You can also create digital downloads or other digital offerings for your clients that give you hands-off offerings to generate some passive income. All three of these things will help you to make more money while ultimately spending less time on work.
Make sure your mindset supports your goals
Your mind is incredibly powerful. And one of the many ways it becomes so powerful is that it translates reality however you allow it to. So if you only allow your brain to think that you can work a full-time, corporate job to maintain security—that’s probably all you’ll be able to do. But the minute you shift your perspective to realize that you can work however you want to, your world becomes more open to possibilities.
Sometimes your internal voice tells you, “You can’t do this” or “You are only worth X-amount” or “You can’t charge that much,” all of which can harm your confidence and impede your success. Work on telling yourself that you CAN. It sounds silly and simple, but the first step in acting confidently in your business and your life is to believe in yourself!
So to make a full-time income without working full time, you have to first allow yourself to believe—maybe even KNOW—that it’s possible, and you can do it with one incremental change at a time.
This guest post was authored by Esther Inman
Esther Inman is the CEO and founder of Virtual Assistant Internship and the host of Help Me Work Online, Esther. Over the years, Esther has helped thousands of women from all walks of life across the world work online as virtual assistants, creating virtual careers they love. Esther has been a guest on Her Life by Design, and featured on Future Sharks, Career Shifters and Growth Lab among other outlets. Connect with her on Instagram @esther_inman.