You Charge How Much?

Those of us who primarily sell services and not things often feel frustrated by the limitations of time. There are only so many hours in the day (and only so many we want to spend on work-related, billable projects).

The difficulty in choosing the right Image: "Are your ideal prospects unable to find you because you haven't defined and marketed your services well?"price point for your services depends upon multiple factors: skill, experience, expertise and competition. But the biggest factor is most likely your personal sense of worth versus your time.

This absolutely fantastic Inc. Magazine article for solo-preneurs and small business owners is must-read material. Instead of the usual price rate charts, or “find out what the competition is charging” advice, Marla Tabaka’s You Don’t Charge Enough. Here’s How to Fix That advises asking yourself some hard and very intelligent questions about your results, your beliefs and your dreams.

One of my favorite examples she offers is along the line of thinking that perhaps your business strategy execution has been lacking: “Are your ideal prospects unable to find you because you haven’t defined and marketed your services well?” If your volume of prospects is simply too low, it may be because you’re simply not on folks’ radar. (You know who to call to fix that! Hint! Hint!)

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Much has changed in the last few weeks for online marketing, some of which may be of great interest to you. First, the folks at Pinterest just introduced Business Accounts. If you’ve been lamenting the difficulty of marrying together your business identity with your personal interests (dachshunds, anyone?), now’s the time to jump onto the Pinboard (per se) to use this social media tool effectively for your business.

Where do you start? I’ve only begun investigating the steps myself, but you can convert your personal Pinterest account to a business account. You’ll find the instructions under the About button on the Pinterest menu bar when you login. (And if you’re new to Pinterest, simply follow the instructions for setting up a new business account.)

Another new feature recently added to Pinterest is Secret Pinboards. Why would you want a secret pinboard if you’re trying to reach the masses online? Simple: Perhaps you’ve got some great ideas you’d like to share with a prospective client. Create a board accessible only to you and your prospect to view.

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Have you added a Company Page to your LinkedIn account? If so, have you used the enhanced features (such as banner images) to maximize your reach? Check out Social Media Examiner’s 5 Tips for Optimizing Your LinkedIn Company Pageto learn more about these changes.

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Do you have a Twitter account but aren’t sure what to tweet about? Then these 10 Things Entrepreneurs Should Be Tweeting Aboutfrom Entrepreneur Magazine may give you a few excellent ideas to jumpstart your Twitter presence.

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Blog? What blog?! You may have heard from me that blogging can be a powerful tool to grow your customer base, demonstrate your expertise, and simply add revenue to your bottom line (not directly via blogging but through the subsequent sales you may make by being remembered by someone who reads your posts and remembers you when your services are finally needed). If you’re still debating about whether or not blogging is right for your business, read Grant Griffiths’ Why Blog? – Beginner Bloggerto help you make the decision.

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If your head is spinning from all these changes you need to catch up on, take a little breather with these 36 Rules of Social Media. It’s an easy-on-the-eyes infographic that may help you refine your social media strategy.

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Moving beyond online marketing tools and tactics, here are some interesting lessons for running your business. Do you offer a “50% Bonus” to your customers or is “35% Off” more attractive to clients? Math isn’t my strong suit. So I have to think twice about exactly how much stuff is being added or subtracted from the original price. Roger Dooley reports interesting results in customer perception about “the deal” in his post, What Pricing Strategy Beats Discounts?

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Have you got a killer business idea or invention? Should you jump into patenting it right away? You may be surprised to learn Why Patents Won’t Protect You, a terrific video that explains what you may have to deal with if you opt to spend the funds to patent your product.

Are these online changes new to you, or have you been keeping up? Let me know your thoughts by clicking on one of the below buttons.

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