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How much is your time and expertise worth? Its the age old challenge for consultants: how much do I bill my clients? Sadly, there is no set in stone answer, however, here are some tips that will help you establish your rates.

How Much Are You Worth: Consulting Fees

How Much Are You Worth: Consulting FeesHow much is your time and expertise worth? Its the age old challenge for consultants: how much do I bill my clients? Sadly, there is no set in stone answer, however, here are some tips that will help you establish your rates.First, lets look at your client's needs. Why are they hiring an outside consultant, when they have employees? There are several reasons why your client is interested in hiring you as a consultant:a) third party opinion - employees know where their bread is buttered, so they are less inclined to go against the current direction of the company. As an outsider, there is no concern with offering a different opinion. Your independent opinion can provide a much needed, focused perspective your client's company needs.b) you are cheaper - this is what is normally the hardest for new consultants to understand. How can you command $75/hr when your client has reps working for $20/hr. It normally ends up with the consultant charging a lower rates. No more!The employee:$20.00 Hourly rate$ 7.00 Fringe Benefits @ 35% $10.00 Overhead rate at 50% (computers, office space etc)$37.00 Total effective pay rateHours per year: 2080... Annual salary $76960The contractor:$75.00 Hourly rateHours per year: 480 (12 weeks, 3 months worth of work).... Cost of completing the project: $36000Your client gets the project completed quicker, and you end up saving them over 50%.c) expertise in a specific area - you clearly can bring something that no other person on their team can. That's why they called you. As the expert in your chosen field, you can meet your clients needs with quickness and efficiency. d) motivated to get job done on time, and likely, on budget - your work becomes your reputation. If you take too long, or go over budget, you wont see any future business from your client. However, provide the customer with what they need, under promise and over deliver, and not only will you retain your client for future business, you will get referrals. That's motivation that no employee has.Now that you know what is motivating your client, you have the groundwork to start to establish your rates. As show in the second reason for hiring a consultant, while your hourly rate may appear to be more than their employees, it actually works out to be less expensive. Any fears or unease that you have in commanding a hire rate than their employees should now be eased. However, how much more can you charge?Who is your competition?Establish what their rates are, and then confirm what can they offer. Can you honestly provide more services, better customer service and come under budget or on time? If your competitors can provide more than you, you'll find that you may only be able to compete with a lower rate. However, if you can offer more, and have the proven results to back up that claim, you can justify a higher rate.One key factor to remember is that if you charge a lower rate than your customer, you open yourself up to clients who will demand more of your time (it doesn't cost them as much as your competition). This may lead to finishing projects past due and scheduling conflicts with other clients. So while you may be able to charge an extra $40 per hour for example, you may end up losing clients, and worse, having client demands cut into your personal time. If you bill a higher rate, you may surprisingly find that you get better clients, and more referrals. If you can justify a higher rate, your clients will be very specific with you in terms of what their needs are (saving you time). Clients who are willing to pay a higher rate, will referral other clients who are willing to pay a higher rate.Your rate will impact the amount of business you receive. One term successful consultants learn very early is to understand the concept of value billing. Instead of billing by the hour (which many of your clients will be leery of), consider billing by the project. By negotiating an amount the client will pay based on the project, you can establish milestones at which payments will be made, and provide added motivation to get the job done and the client signed off quicker. If the project is going to take you 10 hours, consider negotiating an amount for 1.5 to 2x your normal hourly rate. If you get the job done in 5 hours, you get paid the full amount, not for 5 hours. The client is happy because they know what the cost ceiling is, and most importantly, the project is delivered early.Another benefit of value billing is that you can set up milestones whereby you can get paid. If you advise your client that the project will be completed in say, 6 weeks, and comprise of 3 phases, you can receive payment from them when each phase is complete. Finish early, you get paid early and your client is happy. Finish behind schedule and your client isnt paying for work that isn't complete yet.This method helps to improve your cash flow. This is key for any self employed consultant.So, how much are you worth now?

IT Consulting Career: Making the Leap to Full-Time

IT Consulting Career: Making the Leap to Full-Time

How do you know its a good time to leave your current full time employment and launch into a full-time IT consulting career? Start now.We have broken down the process into 21 steps that will take you over about 90 days, or 3months, to do. You'll need to understand what your utilization rates is and how much youre able to bill out consistently on a regular basis.Understand your ExpensesKnow what your living expenses are before you leave your full time job. You need to understand whats in your sales funnel, or pipeline.Prepare for The UnexpectedYou need to know and be a little prepared to know what to do if all of a sudden the launch that you were planning on happening 6 months from now all of a sudden gets moved up. You may wake up and find you have been laid off of your current job. What was going to be slow and gradual has now thrusted you into your "IT consulting career" .Focus on Getting Steady ClientsHow can you give up your steady check the benefits, the vacation, the lifestyle, the perks, the sick time and still have a lifestyle that is a good lifestyle? What is extremely important in your IT consulting career is that you have steady clients and steady income with some regularity in your business.Charge Appropriate RatesDont undercharge your clients. You need to charge rates that are close to the top of the market. You cant afford to be messing around with cheapskates and tightwads. And you cant afford to be messing around with people that arent serious.Finding steady clients and charging the right rates for your services and not cheating yourself is so very, very important for a successful IT consulting career. Consider MoonlightingWe have a 21-step checklist that will take you through your first 90 days. We also can help you adapt to a sudden launch of your IT consulting career. But in the meantime, you should make the most of your moonlighting opportunities to make it build toward something. Copyright MMI-MMVI, Computer Consulting 101. All Worldwide Rights Reserved. {Attention Publishers: Live hyperlink in author resource box required for copyright compliance}

Benchmarking and Best Practice - Utilization Rates

Benchmarking and Best Practice - Utilization Rates

Benchmarking and best practice is a way for you to measure your success against others who have made the leap into computer consulting before you. By measuring your own performance against industry benchmarks you get an idea of what you need to work on to be successful. A key element in your benchmarking and best practice is to look at utilization rates. Your utilization rate is the ratio of how many hours you bill clients compared to how many hours you work in a given period.Utilization Rate = Hours Billed / Hours WorkedThe typical benchmarking and best practice comparison is based on a 40 hour work week. If you work 40 hours in a week but only work with clients for 10 billable hours, your utilization rate is 25%.Utilization Rate BenchmarksBenchmarking and best practice in the computer consulting industry suggests using a utilization rate of 50% as a minimum tolerance level. This may not be realistic for the first few months of start-up though. What you want to monitor is whether your utilization rate is showing an upward trend toward the benchmarking and best practice standard. A 50% utilization rate is a good place to be within six to nine months of launching your business. By the time your business matures, a utilization rate of 75% (30 billable hours per week) is a benchmarking and best practice ideal. Once you get higher than that your quality of life begins to suffer. The huge invoice payments coming in are great but the resulting burnout and stress are not worth it. The Bottom Line on Benchmarking and Best Practice Utilization RatesIt is important to measure your performance against others in the industry. A benchmarking and best practice comparison, particularly with utilization rates, is a great place to start. Your ideal rate will vary depending on the phase your business is in, but remaining within the benchmarking and best practices range is a good indicator of sustainable business operations.Copyright MMI-MMVI, PC Support Tips .com. All Worldwide Rights Reserved. {Attention Publishers: Live hyperlink in author resource box required for copyright compliance}

Types of employee issues in a Small business

Types of employee issues in a Small business

When you are running a small business, you should be prepared for various kinds of obstacles. Employees are a major part of the obstacles that you face in a small business. Some of the employee issues that you might face in a small business are described briefly below. Work Over Load:Some employees have problems when it comes to work load responsibility. These employees may be those that simply do not want to do more than they are supposed to do within the stipulated daily work time. However, as an employer you would need to ass whether this is a real condition or if the employee has genuine problems handling a particular work load. Employees that are overloaded feel that they are either not getting paid enough for their work or that they simply can not handle all the work that they are given even if they were to get an increase in salary.In cases of overload, where an employee feels that s/he has been working more than the compensation offered overtime payment may arise. As an employer you may want to pay your employee extra to make sure that s/he continues to perform well. Sometimes it is just the matter of being paid more that helps an employee work more and take on a greater load. Remember, more money can do wonders. Naturally, employees that put in greater efforts and a greater number of work hours also need to be compensated. So, you justifiably need to pay an employee extra if s/he is willing to work on assignments that take more than the stipulated work-time.

Become A Super Affiliate With Clickbank

Making money through affiliate marketing is one of the most rewarding careers one could ever have. Whats good about this business is that anyone can join and make their way to success. Affiliate marketing has been known to be cost-efficient, assessable method of conveying long-term results. In fact, you can start even with a shoe string budget. And with "affiliate marketing" , you can have the benefit of working from home and enjoying the freedom and flexibility of working for yourself.But there are also some people who failed in this kind of business. It could be because they lack knowledge and tactics. If you are a web site owner and you want to join in an affiliate marketing business, you should know where to get good affiliate programs.Clickbank is an ideal place to start. Here, you can find one of the largest affiliate marketing programs in the industry. You just need to visit their site, http://www.clickbank.com and secure a clickbank ID. From the Clickbanks home page, proceed to Earn Commissions and look for the products and services that perfectly fit you and your site. These products are typically ranked according to their popularity.Clickbank is one of the affiliate networks that serve as a 3rd party between the web merchants and the associated affiliates. It is responsible in providing the technology to deliver the merchants offers and campaigns. The affiliate network also do the job of collecting commission fees from the merchant and giving it to the affiliates involved in the program.Clickbank provides you a large and increasing network of publishers or affiliates to tap into. To be more specific, clickbank has more than 100,000 affiliates who are experts in finding potential customers for your affiliate program. The reason why more and more affiliates are joining Clickbank is obvious the process of gaining commissions in this network is absolutely fair and transparent. For web merchants, joining Clickbank is so easy. You just need to sign up in their site for free and allow them to sell your products. Keep up a promotional web site that gives your potential customers detailed information about your offered product or services. At your website, you must also maintain a comprehensive technical support pages for your product. In return, Clickbank will promote and sell your product, give customer service for your product, allow their affiliates to pass on traffic to your web site, enable you to encourage new affiliates to advertise your web site, furnish real-time sales reporting for you and the affiliates and send you and all affiliates a paycheck twice a month. If youre a Clickbank affiliate wannabe, you surely wont find it hard to be a part of this network. First, you are required to place their link on your website and if you dont have a Clickbank account, you need to complete the Clickbank affiliate form and create your own account. Then, if you already have a Clickbank username, you are free to choose whatever marketing tools you want to use bring in more clicks and generate more sales. After selecting marketing tools, you can now get your affiliate link.Thats how simple it is to join Clickbank. But being a Clickbank super affiliate is no minor achievement. It means you need to possess the ability to sell lots of affiliate products. You also need to have expertise in search engine optimization, email marketing, newsletter marketing, reciprocal linkage, link exchanges and other methods of promoting your merchants goods and services. Among the secrets to become successful in affiliate marketing is to come up with good content based website and put your affiliate links in all your content. Your main purpose here is to give your visitors good quality content about the things they are interested in. Set aside the job of selling. It must be done by the sales letter page you are transferring them to.Promote multiple "affiliate programs" in your website but dont promote everything the world has to offer. Just choose the affiliate programs that fit your site and focus on it. Then, it is advisable to automate the whole process, giving you more time for other ventures. Yes, youve read it right! Automation is another key to become a super affiliate. Of course, you have to spend more time in reading, learning and taking up the changes in affiliate marketing business. Through this, youll remain on top of the trends. If you are knowledgeable with online marketing, youll understand how important it is to stay up-to-date. In this kind of business, what worked and what was accepted few months ago may not work at present. So always see to it that you know whats new in affiliate marketing everyday.Its really hard to be a Clickbank super affiliate, but you shouldnt say NO to the thought of giving up. Bear in mind that in affiliate marketing business, you need to develop persistence, patience and knowledge. These traits will teach you to carry on no matter how tough the job is. Also, check your statistics. This will help you find out what is working and what is not. Make necessary changes if needed but do it one at a time and be patient. Dont forget that in affiliate marketing, everything wont take place overnight. And it will not happen without blood, sweat and hefty time commitment. Again, just encompass patience, persistence and knowledge; then do above mentioned tactics. Before you recognize it, you will start gaining profits. Believe me, the fruits of all your efforts here in affiliate programs will be way too sweet.

Become a More Valuable Virtual Assistant

Being of value to your client or your boss is invaluably important to job security. But how does one go about creating value? You become more knowledgeable and indispensable. Learn as much as you can about what your boss/client does. Ask questions. Most people are flattered to know that you care enough to ask how they do what they do and why they do it. By learning more and asking more, you will be able to answer questions about the client/boss to his or her potential clients. If you can help him or her along this is way, you will inevitably become indispensable. Make suggestions. If you see ways to improve a particular process or task - whether it creates greater efficiency or saves money - you'll look like the hero. Offer to save the client/boss money. Everyone - I don't care how rich or poor they are - likes to save money. Don't recommend something you know to be a waste. Instead, offer a better, cheaper, more efficient option. Practice good will. It goes a long way. A good example: This week a client asked about finding a particular list for him. No problem, I'd researched something similar for another client. I gave him the contact information so he could check it out and perhaps buy the list (from another vendor). He asked,"Well, how are you going to make money on this?"My response?"I won't and I don't need to - all I did was refer you to someone who could help you out."He would have gladly paid me $100 for the referral - even offered to. But, my offer of good will in not accepting that $100 will net me a lot more in future business than just $100 one-time. I don't want him to think that every time I do a favor he owes me money. I want to build up that favor bank so he owes me favors and has no other option but to pay those favors back in the way of referrals and/or future business. And, because he now knows I'm not going to rip him off, he'll keep coming back forever! Let the client/boss know what else you can do. Listen to him rattle on about his thoughts, ideas, and business philosophies. When you hear some little tidbit that you can help with - mention it! You'll get more work and he'll have more faith in your abilities. Be willing to accept suggestions. Of course, this one's a no-brainer. Don't whine! When a client/boss asks for something, don't whine about it - just do it. If they think they have a whiner on their hands they won't want anything to do with you. If you work as an admin or assistant of any kind, you need to be able to enjoy serving other people. That's the basis of your job - realize that use a corresponding attitude Improve your skills. If you're so-so at using Excel, being a whiz will carry you far. Most software programs have tutorials build right in. Use it! In your own time, run through the tutorials and practice, practice, practice. Join a chat group if you need to learn more of the software's functions. Then let the client/boss know what you can do. It's always impressive when someone says,"I know how to do this now, and may I help you?"A good share of being a good admin is putting yourself in the other person's shoes. Ask yourself on a regular basis,"How would I want this done and what response would I expect from someone working for me?"Your answer to that question is exactly how you should handle the situation/request.

Summary

How much is your time and expertise worth? Its the age old challenge for consultants: how much do I bill my clients? Sadly, there is no set in stone answer, however, here are some tips that will help you establish your rates.