Self Employed? How to Effectively Increase Your Hourly Rate

If you work for yourself, your income naturally depends on your hourly rate. Of course, you’d love to make a better hourly wage. But how do you know if you’re being fairly paid?

Here are some tips on when you should (and shouldn’t!) raise your rate.

When You Should Raise Your Rates

  1. Your skills or service have improved. If you can provide more value, raising your rates to reflect that is reasonable.
  2. Supply and demand have changed for your service. If you’re booking yourself solid and turning away new clients, then you’re in an excellent position to charge more. Simply raise your rate until you’re getting the number of clients you want without having to decline new business.
  3. You’re testing a new rate to gain information. Just be sure you have a plan if the higher fees don’t pan out.
  4. If you want to reposition yourself. There’s nothing wrong with positioning yourself as a high-end consultant, but be sure you can deliver that type of service. You won’t last long if the quality of your work doesn’t match the prices you’re charging.

When Not to Raise Your Rates

There should always be a legitimate business reason for raising your rates. You might just want to earn more money, but that’s usually not justification for charging your clients more. Before making any rate changes, always look at your skills as well as supply and demand.

Frequently Made Mistakes

  1. Never raising your rates. If you never raise your rates, then you’ll eventually be undercharging. Over time, that’s a lot of money that’s not making its way into your pocket.

  2. Not testing. New clients are the best place to try out new rates. Keep your old clients at the old rates while you’re testing; you can always bump them up later. If the new hourly charge doesn’t work out, you’ll still have your old clients to fall back on.

  3. Raising rates beyond what’s reasonable. If you’re just starting out, you can’t expect to charge the same as an expert. You’ll generally be more effective if you start at the lower end with your price until your client base is sufficient. Then you can start testing higher rates.

  4. Changing too frequently. Your clients can’t plan your services into their budget if you’re always changing your rates around.

How to Increase Your Rates

  1. Improve your services. You should constantly be trying to add value without significantly increasing your costs. The better your service, the more you should be able to charge.

  2. Always over-deliver. Not only do you get great word-of-mouth advertising, you’ll have a much easier time raising your rates when the time comes.

  3. Get testimonials. Anytime a client is obviously happy, ask for a testimonial. Put those testimonials on your marketing materials.

  4. Truly care about your clients. When your clients can tell how much you care, you’re much more likely to keep their business and get referrals. Their referrals can bring plenty of new clients to test out your new rates.

Ultimately, rates are determined by the marketplace. Your job is to position yourself appropriately within that marketplace and then test higher rates when the time is right.

However, within what the marketplace will bear, the sky is the limit when setting your own rates. This is one of the best parts about working for yourself. Use these tips to raise your income as your expertise becomes more valuable. You deserve it!

Entrepreneurial Success: Top 5 Secrets for Building an Empire

Entrepreneurship is the way of the future! It may be the answer to the personal success that you’ve been looking for all along. Becoming an entrepreneur is the most effective path to building an empire. And building an empire is a surefire way to achieve your dreams.

If that’s what you want, you have to start somewhere. Becoming an entrepreneur requires a lot of effort on your part. But you’ll be beyond happy when you’re at the end of the road.

If you have limited entrepreneurial know-how, use this checklist to get on the correct path:

  1. Buy into a business idea. Commit wholeheartedly, and for the long haul. This doesn’t necessarily mean putting down financial capital. Make an emotional and educated investment into whatever the business concept may be.

    • Researching your business idea is crucial to success. Is anybody else doing it? What’s the usual market response to similar ideas?

  2. Identify a target audience. Who wants your product or service? Naturally, you’ll need to be able to identify them. It’s safe to say that a business without a target audience may not do very well!

    • When you determine your target audience upfront, you can focus on building a marketing plan.

  3. Find ways to start small. It’s exciting to have big ideas for your business. But it’s also wise to start small. Start researching and designing launch plans, financing, and other key elements to get it going, with plans for expanding as profits allow.

    • Some of today’s biggest businesses started as tiny “hole-in-the-wall” operations. For example, Steve Jobs built computers in his garage. This may be the approach for you since it’s your first entrepreneurship.

    • Your bank might be offering you impressive financing. But do you really need all that startup capital? Keep your head on and only take what you really need. The less debt you have at the onset, the easier it is to see profits.

  4. Think evolution. The businesses with the greatest success are the ones that constantly reinvent themselves. You’ll need to have that eye of longevity in order to build a good business model.

    • Your business idea might be for bottled water today. But who says it can’t evolve to other bottled beverages tomorrow? This is the kind of thought to put into your startup business.

  5. Get involved in the process. Getting involved in the process can mean a lot of things, depending on the type of entrepreneurship.

    • Understand the numbers. The dollars and cents are the main determining factors in how well the business is doing.
    • Stay on top of every aspect of the startup project. It’s great to have experts on board, but it’s an even better idea to know what they’re doing!

At this point, you’re probably already starting to feel excited! Getting your business idea off the ground is a challenging, but rewarding, experience. Once you stick to this general planning sequence, you’ll likely pull it off successfully.

Nobody dreams bigger dreams for you than you do! Live those dreams out and create the empire you always wanted. It’s yours for the taking.

7 Strategies to Increase Cash Flow in Your Small Business

Would your small business benefit from a higher rate of cash flow? It’s possible to increase it through several business strategies.

Try these strategies to increase your cash flow:

  1. Reduce your spending. Decreasing your spending is one way to increase your small business cash flow.
  • The first step to implementing this strategy is to carefully analyze all of your business spending. How much do your office supplies and electrical bills cost every month? How much do you pay for insurance, employee salaries, and other bills?
  • After analyzing your spending, look for areas that can be reduced. However, it’s important to approach spending cuts carefully because pay cuts can drive away employees. In addition, if you try new services to save money, the quality may not be the same.

  1. Extend discounts for fast payments. If you’re trying to encourage your customers to pay faster to increase your cash flow, then discounts for fast payments may help.
  • The discount doesn’t have to be large, but customers may appreciate a small amount of savings. Try several payment plans with different discount levels to reach more clients.

  1. Watch your inventory. Are you investing a large portion of your cash into inventory?
  • Inventory may be the lifeline of your small business, but you don’t want it to destroy your cash flow. The boxes of shirts, candles, or other items you sell shouldn’t sit in warehouses for decades.
  • Find a balance between having enough inventory to satisfy customer needs and having too much.

  1. Raise your prices. Are you keeping up with inflation? You might be able to raise prices on your products and services to keep up with the market.
  • Higher prices can lead to more cash flow, but they may also scare away customers. Find a balance that works for your business and your customers.

  1. Consider collection agencies. Do you have a large number of customers who haven’t paid their bills?  
  • Collection agencies can help you recover a portion of the unpaid bills. They charge a fee and take a percentage of the money. However, you may not have the time to pursue the customers who haven’t paid.

  1. Consider court. For larger amounts, you may have to get a lawyer and take your customers to court for unpaid bills. This is one way to make your cash flow higher because it can force them to pay their overdue bills.
  1. Offer prepayment rewards. You can offer a variety of rewards ranging from discounts to extra products. You can make a special rewards program with gift cards or other items.
  • Customers who prepay for large packages, services, or multiple items could receive extra rewards. These rewards can encourage them to stay and keep buying your products or services.

Your small business may benefit from more cash flow. Creating a customer rewards program with sales, discounts, and other special rewards is always a good idea to expand your customer base and gain loyalty to your business. Incorporate several of these strategies into your business operations to discover what works best for you.

Where to Find Financial Support for Your Brilliant Startup Idea

Your amazing business idea may need funds to be successful. However, it’s not easy to finance a startup in a sea of competitors.

Consider many sources for your startup funds:

  1. Use your own finances. Instead of getting a loan or borrowing from others, see if you can finance your startup with funds you save or gather.  
  • Do you have savings that can be used to fund your new business?
  • Do you have items or services you can sell to raise money? This may take awhile, but you might feel more comfortable delaying the launch of your company a bit while you earn the money to get it started.

  1. Ask friends and family to help. Do your family and friends think that the startup idea is a good investment that will bring high returns? If you have support from these sources, they might be interested in loaning you the startup funds or investing in your new business.
  • Your friends or family members can become lenders, partners, or investors in the startup.
  • They can contribute to the financial side, but they may also want to be involved in other areas. It’s important to negotiate an arrangement that you feel comfortable with.

  1. Use crowdfunding. There are multiple online crowdfunding platforms, such as Peerbackers, Kickstarter, Indiegogo, RocketHub, and others, that can help you raise money. These websites let you share your startup idea with the public. Then, the public can donate money in return for items, services, or a share in the company,
  • One key to success on a crowdfunding platform is to have a unique story.
  • You can raise money for your startup and introduce your product or service at the same time.
  • Keep in mind that these platforms are filled with competitors, and it’s not easy to get all the funding you need. A successful campaign on these platforms usually includes social media and marketing efforts.

  1. Enter startup contests. Big brands and investors sometimes have contests for startups. These contests put you in front of big names who are interested in investing.
  • They help you get recognition while you learn from other startups. You also have the chance to fine-tune your ideas to make them more appealing to investors.

  1. Seek angel investors. Angel investors want to help new companies and make a profit in the long term. They have large sources of money, so your startup may be able to get all of its funding in one area.  
  • Angel investors tend to ask for a portion of your company or shares. They may ask to be partners or have control over startup decisions.
  • Because of their financial commitment, they have a vested interest in your success and want to ensure that your new business brings in high returns.
  1. Consider financial institution loans. Banks, credit unions, and other sources may offer you a business or personal loan to fund your idea. They may require collateral and ask detailed financial records and other information about the startup.
  • Small business loans are a popular choice among startups.
  • Before you get a loan, consider the fees and interest on the loan.
  • What if your business doesn’t bring in enough profit to repay the loan? How will you repay it? It’s important to have a Plan B.

Launching a startup is an exciting time! Follow a profitable business plan and keep your eye on the profits so your new business can repay the startup funds as soon as possible and move on to providing you the returns you deserve.

6 Tips for Becoming an Entrepreneur After 40

Entrepreneurs aren’t limited by age, and you can start a successful business at any stage of your life. However, becoming an entrepreneur later in life has its own unique challenges.

Consider these tips for starting a business as a senior:

  1. Avoid allowing others to limit your goals. As you get older, you may have more people in your life who try to persuade you away from the entrepreneur lifestyle.  
  • Your family and friends may have good intentions, but they can also limit your dreams.
  • They may remind you that it’s more difficult to start a new business as you get older because you have other responsibilities. Children, aging parents, and others can take up a lot of your time and present challenges when starting a business. However, knowing that these challenges exist can also help you make contingency plans for when time is tight. 

  1. Ignore your age. Dreams don’t have expiration dates, and entrepreneurs don’t have age limits. As they say, “you’re only as old as you feel.” So if you feel like taking on the rigors of starting a new business, let your age be the last thing on your mind as you move forward with your business plans.
  1. Be open to learning from others. The most successful entrepreneurs are open to learning new ideas.
    • Stay up to date on new advancements in your field, either by keeping in the loop yourself or by hiring employees or contractors that incorporate this into their tasks.
    • Finding a mentor with successful business experience in your field can help your new business see profits quickly and plan for successful growth.
  1. Get your family involved. Successful entrepreneurs often have their family members involved in the business.  
  • Do your children want to help you build a business? Does your spouse have interesting ideas and want to collaborate with you? Your family can help you make your dream come true.
  1. Consider the impact of the business on your personal life. How will the business affect your family and ability to continue working your regular day job?  
  • A new business venture may be exciting, but it has consequences.
  • It’s important to consider the full impact of the new business on your personal life. Will you be able to spend time with your children and spouse as you launch the business?
  • Your personal finances are another area that can be deeply affected by a new business. How do you plan to pay for the business? If your plan involves draining personal finances or getting new loans, then this can affect your entire family. It’s important to discuss the changes with them before you take action.

  1. Consider the impact of your parents on the business. As your parents age, they may become dependent on you. Can you handle the complexities of being an entrepreneur and caring for your parents?
  • Younger entrepreneurs may have decades before they have to worry about caring for their aging parents. However, as an older entrepreneur, you don’t have this luxury.
  • You may have to handle multiple roles at the same time. How will you balance your lifestyle and finances to manage everything? Can you afford to start a new business if your parents need your help?
  • Your parents can have a serious accident or health issue that makes you responsible for taking care of them. The expense of this situation can be detrimental to your efforts with your new business.

You can become a successful entrepreneur and build a strong business at any age. However, it’s important to stay aware of the challenges that come with being an entrepreneur and make plans that will help you overcome these challenges.


If you enjoyed this post, I invite you to take a moment and sign up to receive the BusyGal Bi-Weekly Affirmation Inspiration in Your Inbox.

Affirmations are simply statements that are designed to create self-change in the individual using them. They can serve as inspiration, as well as simple reminders. They also can serve to focus you attention onto your goals throughout the day, which, in and of itself, has the potential to promote positive and sustained self-change.

People use affirmations for a variety of purposes. Generally speaking, affirmations are used to reprogram the subconscious mind, to encourage us to believe certain things about ourselves or about the world and our place within it. They are also used to help us create the reality we want—often in terms of making (or attracting) wealth, love, beauty, and happiness.

According to Walter E. Jacobson, M.D., there is value in affirmations of this nature, because our subconscious mind plays a major role in the actualization of our lives and the manifestation of our desires. What we believe about ourselves at a subconscious level, he says, can have a significant impact on the outcome of events.

At the simplest level, when we feel good about ourselves and have a positive attitude, our lives tend to run smoothly. Proponents of the “law of attraction” often refer to this as raising our vibration such that when our vibration is positive, positive things—such as financial abundance, love, and renewed health—are magnetically drawn to us.

You can sign up HERE to receive the BusyGal Bi-Weekly Affirmation Inspiration in Your Inbox.

Turning Your Hobby Into An Income Stream

If you’re like most people, you probably dream of having a job that’s enjoyable and fulfilling. Maybe the solution is to turn something you love into a way to pay the bills.

You may be thinking, “There’s no way I can make money from my hobby.” But you might be surprised!

Just think how great it would be if you could make money from the one thing that you actually choose to do when you have free time. What could possibly be better than that?

You might not be able to fully replace your regular job right away. However, you could earn a few hundred dollars a month or more for something you would be doing anyway. And that can make a big difference.

The two basic routes to making money from your hobby are:

  1. Teach Online. Someone out there would like to learn what you know. Don’t make the mistake of believing that you have to be one of the world’s top ten leading experts on something in order to make money at it. Nothing can be further from the truth! If you know more about something than anyone on your street, you can certainly make money teaching others.
  • Some ways to teach include:
    • Giving seminars (online or in person)
    • Selling articles related to your hobby
    • Writing and selling a book or e-book
    • One-on-one coaching
    • Setting up a website that provides educational information and sells related products and services.
  1. Sell a related product or service. Hobbies require supplies. Other people may as well be purchasing those supplies from you. If your hobby is collecting something, you can buy and sell whatever it is you collect. Or think of businesses related to your hobby. For example:
  • If you love animals, you could sell your services as a dog sitter.

  • If you love boats, you could sell boat plans or rent boats to vacationers.

  • Do you love design and interior decorating? Do you like to watch design shows on TV? You might not be on television anytime soon, but you probably know more about decorating a house than the average family does. Certainly you could charge a few hundred dollars for a consultation.

  • What if fishing is your passion? How about owning a bait and tackle shop? You could be a fishing guide. You could sell fishing lures online.

  • Do you love to travel? Take lots of pictures and write about your adventures. Travel magazines and websites are always looking for good content. You could also start your own travel website.

The real key is to take time to think about all the ways you could possibly make money related to you hobby. Then you can choose to do so in the most enjoyable way possible.

The hardest part of getting started for most people is marketing; you must market yourself and your business to get clients or customers. So be bold. Tell your neighbors and family members about your plans. Post an ad on Craigslist.com. Make a website. People have to know you’re out there so they can hire you or purchase from you.

Imagine the excitement you’ll feel the first time you cash that check for doing something you used to do for free! Once you make a little money from your hobby, the wheels will really start turning, and you’ll be surprised at all the other ideas that come to mind.

Start today by making a list of all the ways you could possibly make money at your hobby. Have fun, and good luck!


If you enjoyed this post, I invite you to take a moment and sign up to receive the BusyGal Bi-Weekly Affirmation Inspiration in Your Inbox.

Affirmations are simply statements that are designed to create self-change in the individual using them. They can serve as inspiration, as well as simple reminders. They also can serve to focus you attention onto your goals throughout the day, which, in and of itself, has the potential to promote positive and sustained self-change.

People use affirmations for a variety of purposes. Generally speaking, affirmations are used to reprogram the subconscious mind, to encourage us to believe certain things about ourselves or about the world and our place within it. They are also used to help us create the reality we want—often in terms of making (or attracting) wealth, love, beauty, and happiness.

According to Walter E. Jacobson, M.D., there is value in affirmations of this nature, because our subconscious mind plays a major role in the actualization of our lives and the manifestation of our desires. What we believe about ourselves at a subconscious level, he says, can have a significant impact on the outcome of events.

At the simplest level, when we feel good about ourselves and have a positive attitude, our lives tend to run smoothly. Proponents of the “law of attraction” often refer to this as raising our vibration such that when our vibration is positive, positive things—such as financial abundance, love, and renewed health—are magnetically drawn to us.

You can sign up HERE to receive the BusyGal Bi-Weekly Affirmation Inspiration in Your Inbox.