5 Strategic Moves to Get Paid What You're Worth
Not all accounting and bookkeeping practices experience profit. Opening your doors to announce that you’re in business is not enough. Clarity about how you want to grow your business and why the work you do matters is more important than you may realize. Answering these two questions keeps you from compromising your ideals.
Many accounting professionals undercharge for their services. Basically, they don’t fully understand what their clients value. However, there’s a blueprint to get paid what you’re worth.
Jordan, an enrolled tax agent, finally quit her job to go out on her own. She disagreed with some of the practices at her agency. She’s determined to do a better job for her clients. She experienced overwhelm and excitement about her new business.
Jordan recently celebrated her third year in business when we met. That’s when Jordan realized she had created a job for herself. Her work, however, lacked the security of a steady paycheck or a benefits package. The long hours, especially during tax season, take a toll on her where some days feel like a grind.
Similar to the other accounting professionals in my mastermind group, money is not Jordan’s primary motivator. Making a difference for her clients, without someone micromanaging her, keeps her going day in and day out.
Winging is Not a Growth Strategy
Jordan is a highly skilled enrolled agent. Like many professionals, her technical skills exceed her business acumen. Winging it is not a sustainable growth strategy.
The leap from steady paycheck to business owner includes inherent risk. Currently, Jordan is overworked and underpaid. Her business is currently in the growth phase, but she’s already at capacity.
Jordan declared, “I’m willing to work hard, but I can’t work any more hours. My family has already sacrificed enough. How do I make more money without having to give up more of my personal time?”
Yes, Jordan faced an income ceiling with her current fees and business structure. Because she didn’t know what her clients really value, her fees don’t reflect her expertise. Because Jordan doesn’t know how to explain her strengths to potential clients, they’re unable to fully grasp what she has to offer.
The Strategy to Increase Your Revenue
The possibility of earning more without working more intrigued her.
Right now, Jordan’s clients view her as a skilled laborer and technician who keeps them compliant. She craves to make a more significant contribution that extends beyond compliance work.
Several parts of her business model require change. We outlined the plan with her fee schedule first on the list.
Pricing your services for value instead of time typically brings up other issues. So, it requires inner and outer work. Yes, Jordan deals with money and numbers for a profession. However, beliefs around money and self worth surfaced as we discussed her new pricing. There are 5 strategic moves that help accounting professionals and bookkeepers increase their rates.
These 5 strategic moves will help you get paid what you’re worth:
- Start with your strengths. Clients value specialists over generalists. My business coaching clients affectionately refer to their strengths as their superpower. Jordan chose an ideal client. Then, she gradually narrowed the scope of her services. This differentiated her from other enrolled tax agents.
- Separate fees from time. Nobody wants a client who watches the clock. Tying her fees to time categorizes her as an expense in her client’s mind. Partnering with her clients for a result, instead of time, is a game changer.
- Success is messy. The thought of doubling or tripling her rates was uncomfortable at first. Who would pay for this? How could she justify this? Would she meet their expectations? Yes, mistakes are made along the way. Jordan’s conviction about her value strengthened as she figured out the process.
- Stand out as the go-to expert. There are tons of accounting professionals seeking new clients. The options increase when you consider offshore help. Jordan is now known for her 5-step process, which improves the financial health for her clients. This strategically positions her as the “go-to” expert.
- Solve a need. This is the #1 action that separates her from the competition. Her consultation focuses on the client and their needs, not on her. Jordan’s new business model solves a need. No longer does she compete on price.
She asks specific questions that uncover the client’s core concerns. Now, her discovery sessions offer value beyond the obvious. Her ideal clients recognize her value, asking “How can I work with you?”
Jordan upleveled her business. Although she continues to prepare taxes, her clients know she is a business resource. She fixes specific problems that improve their financial health.
She doubled and then tripled her fees within one year. This model emphasizes value and being effective. Jordan continuously modifies her systems, strategy and mindset.
Here’s the critical shift: because she emphasizes her clients’ growth, her business steadily grows. She’s not interested in working with everyone. Instead, she chooses to only work with her ideal clients. Jordan now works with less clients and makes more money.
The Possibilities are Limitless
Getting past limiting beliefs regarding self worth and money blocks is the first step. We needed to clear the clutter before she could recognize her value. Once she knew her value, Jordan was ready to raise her rates.
Yes, stating her new rates and educating others about her value was uncomfortable in the beginning. Successful entrepreneurs, however, consistently stretch beyond their current abilities. So, she was willing to do something new.
Charging by the hour is a faulty billing model. Value pricing positions her services as an investment instead of a commodity. Jordan raised her level of service when she decided to raise her fees.
While in the mastermind program, Jordan learned about her value and how she gave away too much. Jordan admits she had many sleepless nights worrying about the consequences of raising her fees. Her worst nightmares about how her clients would respond when she told them about her new rates never happened. It was easier than she imagined.
In fact, she admits relief when some of her older, non-ideal clients chose to move on. It took courage for Jordan to shift her business model and separate herself from the competition. What would you have to let go of to get paid what you’re worth?