How to value your worth when starting a business

It's Work at Home Wednesday, which means it's time to talk about starting and building a business from home.

I feel like one of the hardest parts of starting a business is decidinghow much to charge for your services or products.

Too much or too little?

Some people err on the side of charging too much or too little. Personally I can tell you that it is better to start off with high rates and then lower them. I know first hand how awkward it can be to raise your rates on long-term clients.

Here are some rules I used to establish how much I wanted to charge. I determined the amount I needed to make. Then I divided that number by the amount of hours I wanted to work in a month.

So for example if you want to earn $1,000 a month (or about $231 a week based on a 52 week calendar). If you're only wanting to work about 10 hours a week, then you would charge about $23 - $24 an hour.

Consider your experience.

We talked about this a couple weeks ago, but when you launch a virtual assistant business or a blog you bring whatever experience you have with you.

If you've spent years running marketing for your employer and you want to translate that into your own business, you bring with you a skill set. So don't decide that you have to charge very little just to break into the market. You bring with you a wealth of knowledge so don't let that hold you back.

Don't apologize.

As women we sometimes have this bad habit of asking for things in the form of an apology.

The first time I got a freelance job was way back in 2008. I was writing copy for a small medical equipment sales firm's website.

I was so fortunate to be working with some awesome women who very much wanted to encourage me in my business.

At one point I said "I am going to charge $150 to write this copy, is that okay?"

One of the women stopped the conversation and said "don't ever apologize for charging what you're worth."

It really challenged me to change the way I thought about getting paid.

Don't work for free.

I cannot tell you the number of times I have been approached to work for "exposure." Basically companies will ask me to write copy or run a blog post or make a video for free.

Many of these companies will say "we will share your post on our social media and you will get tons of exposure."

But exposure doesn't pay your bills. And I have found the blogging community to be wonderful and so many bloggers have shared my posts on their social media just because they wanted to, and of course I have done the same with them. So any exposure I've gotten, I feel like I've earned just by producing great content for my readers. 

It might be tempting to work for free to get your foot in the door, but trust me. There are many people who will gladly pay for your quality work.

So what about you? What tips do you have for measuring the value of your work?