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“How do I FIND clients as a Virtual Assistant?”

I am asked this question all the time so thought I’d share my 20+ years of experience in this area working as a Virtual Assistant…

When I first started out it was feast or famine for me as I had 3 kids to provide for and personally I preferred feast! That meant I really had to work long, hard hours to get my client base full in the beginning. (I’m talking 50-80 hours a week). It was not easy!

First off, you’ll want to sit down and write out a few marketing campaigns for ways to find clients. Write out each marketing strategy and then break it down into easy to handle tasks that you can check off and complete. Develop and implement different marketing campaigns every season to help you maintain your blueprint for success.

Example of a marketing campaign: Set up a newsletter
  • Research email marketing programs like Aweber, Active Campaign, MailchimpConstant ContactGet Response , etc.
  • Sign up to an email marketing program (I use ActiveCampaign because through my research I found it was the best program for me as I am an affiliate marketer and some programs like Mailchimp frown upon affiliate links. Make sure you do your due diligence researching the right program for your business needs.
  • Decide on a name/description for your newsletter list and set it up
  • Think up an enticing lead generator you can give away for free if a person signs up like a tip sheet, handy checklist, planner (these are hot right now) or ebook to entice your peeps to sign up. Everyone loves freebies so put your best foot forward to bribe your user for their email address.
  • Develop this lead generator giveaway (you’ll have steps to that too)!
  • Develop your autoresponders that your peeps will receive once they sign up
  • Put a form on your website, with a graphic image and call to action to collect emails.
  • Add this call to action to your email signature ie) P.S. Download my new ebook for FREE by clicking here
  • Start marketing your newsletter signup landing page on your social networks, in your blog posts, on your business cards, email, etc.

This is an example of just ONE marketing campaign broken down step by step for you. You’ll want to implement MANY of these types of marketing campaigns if you want a consistent full client base.

10 ideas for marketing campaigns to develop:
  1. Set up a newsletter
  2. Start blogging
  3. Set yourself up on a social network (Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, etc.) and start networking through it
  4. Join some online groups/forums where your market hangs out and start networking online.
  5. Make videos to attract clients
  6. Develop your website
  7. Optimize your website for SEO
  8. Advertise locally in print (business cards, flyers, newspapers, etc.)
  9. Join networking groups locally
  10. Attend and/or get a booth at Tradeshows and conferences your market hangs out at.

NOTE: I did a ton of networking both offline and online but found that it takes some time (usually months) to see results. Forming a relationship (which is what netWORKing is all about) doesn’t happen overnight.

As you can see, getting clients is HARD WORK and takes up a ton of your time!

It didn’t take me long to learn that my time was worth money in my hands. Just 40 hours of me marketing myself @ $50/hr (my hourly rate at the time) was costing me $2,000!

I wanted an easier (and cheaper) way to find clients!

So I did some research and found out there were job boards where prospecting clients came to hire Virtual Assistants. HOW COOL IS THAT? These websites did all the marketing for me (saving me all kinds of time) and all I had to do was pay a small fee and I’d have access to their job board to easily fill up my client base.

As much as I didn’t think I had the money to part with (being that I had no clients yet LOL), I also knew that starting up a new business wasn’t going to come without spending a bit of money on it. I don’t know one business out there that doesn’t have overhead expenses so why should my VA business not have them?

I had to immediately switch my mindset from “I can’t afford this” to “I need to invest in my business”. Plus it was just common sense to spend a bit of money to make a lot more money in a shorter amount of time.

Just landing one of the jobs on these boards would pay for my membership! The rest of the jobs I got on it would be money in my pocket.

So my advice on how to get a full client base in your Virtual Assistant business? INVEST IN YOUR BUSINESS!

Next question you probably have:

“I’ve joined some job boards like Freelancer, Upwork, etc. but I’m finding it very competitive not to mention the jobs aren’t even paying minimum wage???”

Yep, you are right, stay away from those freelancer job boards as your business will not stay afloat for long working at or below minimum wage. If you want the hourly rate that you know you are worth ($40-$60/hour) then you need to join reputable, well known, Virtual Assistant organizations online (like our VAinsiders.com) that have quality job boards that pay what a VA is actually worth. At VAinsiders.com we actually market our website globally to find potential clients for our paid members.

Find VA organizations who are out there educating potential clients about the benefits of hiring a Virtual Assistant and what to expect when hiring one. Clients that post RFPs at these job boards understand the value of working side by side in a long-term relationship with their VA and will pay a high price for these services.

AND that is how I had a full client base within the first month I started my VA business. I joined every (not just one, but EVERY) reputable VA organization out there that had a job board for VAs. Don’t know who they are? Just ask your fellow VAs and they will tell you.

I’d love others to share their comments too so that new VAs can get this question finally answered for them.

With that being said, I wish every Virtual Assistant reading this post success and a full client base next month in your business. Achieve this by joining our VAinsiders.com and getting access to our busy, high-quality job board.  We are cheering you on here! If you have any questions, just ask below in the comments.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in January 2018 and has been completely revamped and updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.

 

The post How to Find Clients as a Virtual Assistant appeared first on Virtual Assistant Networking Organization.

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For those of you working full-time while in the startup phase of your VA business, you can work full-time and manage clients. With a solid plan in place, you can manage your clients the same as a full-time virtual assistant.

1. When you consider the work you want to offer a potential client, project work is rated higher than on-going tasks, if you’re working full-time. Projects usually have a time period to be completed, which can be finished after normal business hours.

2. When you offer services, only provide the services you can fulfill while working full-time. You can consider subcontracting services, you do not offer to other VAs, but always advise your client when you plan to subcontract out any work.

3. Obtain clients in a different time zone to accommodate your clients’ business hours. You can manage work for your clients by gaining an extra hour.

4. Create a schedule to maintain the workload to keep all your projects and tasks on time. Review the project prior to accepting the work to ensure yourself and the client you have ample time to complete the project.

5. Communication is a key factor in any business. You can communicate with your clients during off times such as, breaks, your lunch hour, or after working hours.

6. Always keep your clients’ projects or tasks with you at all times. When a client needs a project ahead of the scheduled due date, you will be able to deliver the finished project or task at any time of the day.

7. Determine the best time to contact your clients and the best method of communication prior to starting a project or task. This information will assist you when you have to discuss any details and you can reach your clients without losing any time.

8. Set up a daily routine to respond or send emails. When you take the time to concentrate on the information your clients sent you or the scope of your initial email, you eliminate mistakes by not rushing yourself to respond or when sending information to clients.

9. When you receive phone calls during working hours at your current job, let your voice mail take the calls and schedule time to return any calls to your clients.

10. As a part-time virtual assistant, your time and your clients’ time is valuable. By thoroughly checking your finished project or tasks for errors prior to sending the work to your client, you will save valuable time.

Contributed By VAnetworking.com member Dusty Warren

Please share your tips on how you manage to work full-time and part-time in your VA business.

Don’t forget to download our Virtual Assistant Startup Checklist. 

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in April 2013 and has been completely revamped and updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.

The post 10 Ways to Work Full-Time While Managing Your Virtual Assistant Business Part-Time appeared first on Virtual Assistant Networking Organization.

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There are different reasons to create a business or mission statement for your service based Virtual Assistant business. Sometimes you are creating it to motivate yourself, your business partners and/or your stakeholders like your family. Other times you create a business mission and vision to help you understand how to better market to and provide value to your audience/clients. You can actually create a business mission and vision that aligns all your functions, hopes, and dreams into one.

STEP 1: First, Answer These Questions to Create Your Business Mission

1.     Why do I exist?

2.     What do I do?

3.     How do I do it?

4.     Who do I do it for?

5.     What value do I add?

6.     What promises do I make?

7.     Who has a stake in what I do?

8.     What makes my product or service different?

9.     What is my main priority?

10.  How am I to provide it?

STEP 2: Write Down Your Dreams for Your Business

Using the information gathered from the answers to the above questions, write a short statement in 25 words or less that encompasses the end results and how you see your business in five or ten years. This part of the business mission is the vision that you want the world to see.

STEP 3: Put It All Together

Putting your business mission and your business vision together should give you a good idea of where you’ve been and where you’re going. Now, write everything out in about 50 words or less, putting it all together.

STEP 4: Ask Others for Their Opinions on Your Draft

Send your draft to associates, business colleagues, friends, family and others who might be able to give you some good feedback about your business mission and vision. Be open to hearing the feedback so that you can narrow down your business and mission statement to a succinct statement that you can put on paper and frame to put on your wall to motivate you as you work on your business each day.

TIP: Login to our free Virtual Assistant forum and post your draft there to get opinions from other Virtual Assistants.

STEP 5: Perfect It with the Feedback

As you get feedback you can change the word usage, add to it, take away from it and make it clearer as you go along. Remember the point is to make it short, meaningful and succinct. Answer the most pressing questions of what, who, when, where, why and how and don’t forget to make a promise.

STEP 6: Add It to Your Website, Marketing Materials and Elsewhere

A good business mission and vision is something you are proud to show the world. Put it on your marketing materials. You can write shorter and more succinct versions down to slogan-like statements (tag lines) to help your market recognize what you do at a glance.

Having a mission and vision for your virtual assistant business is as important as having a business plan, and in fact, you can use the mission and vision to help create your business plan, marketing efforts and so much more. The process of creating it will answer so many questions and help you relate better to your audience and your business.

Want more tips and strategies on how to create a business or mission statement for your VA Business? Join our FREE Virtual Assistant Networking Forum.  CLICK HERE to JOIN for FREE!

The post How to Create Your VA Business Mission and Vision appeared first on Virtual Assistant Networking Organization.

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You’re a Virtual Assistant and you live and breathe by your clients, right? That makes getting and keeping more clients paramount to your success right?

Here are six quick tips for getting and keeping more clients.

1.  Ask your clients for referrals.

There’s nothing wrong with doing this. In fact, clients are often happy to refer you to others, they just need to be reminded to do so. And, if you can create a referral program where your current clients receive a discount or credit for your services, then all the better.

2. Be a consummate professional.

If you’re an excellent person to work with, you’ll keep your clients – even if your rates are a bit higher or your timeline a little bit longer than other virtual assistants and freelancers. The truth is, we place a high value on our business relationships, at least the clients you want to work with do. And if you can build a strong relationship with your clients, you’ll keep them for the long haul. They’ll also talk about you, and word of mouth is a great, and free, marketing tool.

3.  Communicate with your clients on a regular basis.

If you don’t an opt-in list and/or an email marketing campaign yet I recommend you work on putting this together ASAP. You want to email your clients regularly to connect with them, stay in the front of their mind when they have a need or when someone asks them if they know of a good virtual assistant they will think of you.

There are two approaches to regular client communication and you can combine the two approaches as you see fit which are:

  • Send your client list an email once a month, or more often if you like, highlighting a promotion. For example, “10% off any orders of $100 or more for the month of January.”
  • Send your client a note or greeting card when you’re thinking of them. For example, “I saw this article in the Wall Street Journal and thought of you.” This helps build a relationship with them and it’s a great way to stay connected. I use Send Out Cards to keep in touch with our clients. It is an online greeting card system that simple to use, convenient and very personable. Try Send Out Cards for free by clicking here.
4. Get out there and get noticed!

Participate in social networking, blog and be a guest blogger. Generate awareness about you and your services. One new client can turn into thousands of dollars over the course of a year and they can refer other clients.

5. Be helpful.

Be willing to help and inform others in your community even when there isn’t any apparent reward.

Whether you believe in the law of attraction or not, when you give to others, they give back. This doesn’t mean you give away your services; what it means is that you’re willing to help others by providing insight, information, and a listening ear when they need it without expecting anything in return.

If your client is trying to resolve an issue and you can help them with your experience, help them. They’ll appreciate it and you never know when they’ll be able to return the favor.

Much of the art of keeping clients has to do with building relationships, and it’s also intricately linked with getting new clients. Word of mouth from satisfied clients is a wonderful way to fill your schedule with your ideal clients and projects. Connect!

6.  Keep your VAinsider Club Membership up to date.

Many don’t realize it but when you are a VAinsider Club member you have access to one of the most prominent and busiest job boards out there for Virtual Assistants with new jobs coming in each and every day. We also provide you with extensive training and resources to help any Virtual Assistant business grow.

The VAinsider Club is made up of both new and veteran VAs that truly care about the success of their business and the VA industry, as a whole. VAinsiders understand that creating a solid and successful business takes the support of others and the VAinsider Club is providing that support for them. The VAinsider club has become a place where members can get answers to their questions, celebrate their successes and just “hang out” with like-minded business owners in a fun, collaborative and exciting way.

Check out our VAinsider Club by clicking here or invest in our Virtual Assistant Career program which includes VAinsiders Club for a full year.

The post Quick Tips For Getting and Keeping More Clients appeared first on Virtual Assistant Networking Organization.

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Tawnya’s Tip: If you haven’t read this post yet on where to actually find new clients read it first.

1. Understand your clients, be an opinionated expert

Laser focus on exactly who your ideal client is by getting to know your audience better. When there are a lot of Virtual Assistants doing what you do, the best way to set yourself apart is to become an expert.

With your current clients, don’t forget to be free with your opinion. The worst thing you can do is NOT give your client your opinion. You want to work with people who value your opinion, so be sure to give it. Always state that it’s your opinion with some facts to back it up. Make it clear that they can go in whatever direction they want, but this is your expert opinion.

2. Create a cohesive brand via your online presence

You need to create a cohesive online presence so that when someone sees your picture, your name, or your words they know exactly who you are and who they are dealing with. Investing in your business automatically creates a professional appearance that can’t be matched by cheap armature looking websites and logos.

Tawnya’s TIP: Check out a blog post on building your brand with your website by our #VAforum Moderator Mark Hunter

3. Blog regularly, establish an active email list

Content can help you become known in your niche and it needs to be put out there on a regular basis. Entice people to sign up for your email list, add clients to a special insider’s list, and remember to market to them on a regular basis.

Tawnya’s TIP: If you need an email marketing program to set up autoresponders and also to email your list, we recommend what we use: ActiveCampaign

4. Be a problem solver, differentiate yourself

Become proactive! Remember the TV series “Macgyver?” His problem-solving skills made him a celebrity and you need to work on being a movie star in your clients’ eyes. Why? Because not only will they love you and keep paying you money but they will also recommend your services freely to their business colleagues which mean more like-minded clients for you! Whoever your ideal client is, has problems. You need to let them know you have those answers!

Be proactive with your clients and when you see a problem that they have that you can solve, or you know who can solve it, share that with them. Clients want their problems solved and even if they don’t take your advice, they’ll appreciate your knowledge and expertise.

In fact, 9/10 times they will take your advice and hire you for more hours to solve this problem for them 

Tawnya’s TIP: We have a 3-hour long training series in our VAinsiders Club on being proactive in your business. Become a VAinsider today!

5. Customer service! Under promise and over deliver

Customer retention is imperative for Virtual Assistants. Monthly retained clients always make a VA smile. Acquiring a new client is costly while keeping a client in your product funnel long term is very cost effective. Whatever you can do to ensure the happiness of a good paying client needs to be considered. Providing good customer service can be the differentiator that you need.

You’ve likely heard the phrase, “under promise and over deliver”. It’s excellent advice and something you should focus on doing. The more you can do that, the more your clients will perceive your work as top-notch and excellent – no matter the price.

Each month that you work with your client, always figure out a way to do a little something extra that you didn’t list in your duties just to give them that wow factor.

Freely give of yourself to your clients (and prospects) and they will remember you.

6. Don’t just communicate, listen too.

Communication is the key to success with your client but often times we need to remember to listen more than talk to your clients. You’ve heard the saying, “You have two ears and one mouth for a reason”? Well, it’s true. Use this as your guide to listen twice as much as you talk. Sometimes talking too much is a sign of nervousness; if you can focus more on what people are saying than what you want to say, you can also calm your nervousness.

Taking some time each year to review past communications with clients, analyze how you could do better, and working on improving their business will go far in helping you become an even bigger success. You may even want to set up weekly or monthly meetings with your clients to get on the phone with them and strategize, clients love this!

7. Focus on building a relationship with your client.

Remember that every client is more than a paycheck. Every client is also a human being who likely values relationships over the work. It’s up to you to figure out how to build that relationship so that they want to call on you every time they have a problem or project within your niche to complete, and where they trust your advice enough to have ongoing projects and retainers for you on a regular basis.

8. Be an asset, not a liability.

Identify what you can do to fill future needs for your client so that they can make more money in their business. By coming up with ideas like “Lets set you up with a Facebook business page to increase your exposure online” you’ll become more like a business partner to your client, someone they can’t run their business without 

Clients may be too busy running their business or not on top of all the technology available to them to increase revenue in their business. By being proactive and helping them in this area, you become an asset to them that they respect and need.

Please share with us your ideas on how to retain clients, let’s learn together 

The post 8 Ways to Find and Retain Clients appeared first on Virtual Assistant Networking Organization.

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Finding a Virtual Assistant is not as hard as you might think. One thing you want to avoid are the huge VA companies that pay their contractors pennies while taking dollars from you. Instead, find an independent VA who either works alone or has a team who works under them. If you can find someone in your own country, or who speaks your language, that’s much better.

To find the right Virtual Assistant for you, do the following:

Write Out Your Tasks

It’s important to make a list of all the tasks that you need a Virtual Assistant to do. The VA you hire will need to know what’s involved, and you can’t hire someone until you can make a list of all the things you need them to do. You may discover you need more than one VA if your list comprises a lot of different business areas.

Write a Request for Proposal (RFP)

Using the task list, write an RFP. An RFP lists all the things you want the VA to do, as well as the compensation range and other expectations you will have of the VA. Remember not to expect too much in different business areas of your VA; most VAs specialize in 1-3 areas.

Submit Your RFP to VAnetworking.com

VAnetworking has high quality paying members who are serious about building their VA business. If you post your RFP to VAnetworking, you’re more likely to receive some very good bids from proactive virtual assistants. Post your RFP for free here.

Announce in Groups and Organizations

If you are part of any group or organization, you can post your needs for a VA there. They will likely have plenty of recommendations and even recommend their own VA for you.

Use Social Media

You can post your RFP on Facebook, LinkedIn and other social media, and you’ll get applicants as well as recommendations from others about who to hire.

Tell Colleagues and Contacts

Send a notification to your circle of influence, mentioning what you need done and that you want to hire a VA. They’ll likely then recommend people to you, or send out the notice to their circle too.

If you’re careful, know what you want and stay proactive with your VA, you’ll end up having a great experience, improve your business, and make more money.

By bringing “the best of the best” of Virtual Assistants to the VAnetworking Community, we make it easy for clients to partner with successful VAs.


Stop by our network and find the Virtual Assistant that you’ve been looking for. They are waiting, ready to assist you with all your business needs and it costs nothing to post a job.

The post How to Find a Virtual Assistant appeared first on Virtual Assistant Networking Organization.

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Figuring out how you will charge your clients is one area most Virtual Assistants come to a standstill when they first start up their service-business. Most start out with hourly and/or retainers until they get a bit of experience behind their belt and know how long tasks take to do and then they can put together packages/projects if their prospecting clients want these payment options.

In anticipation of putting together packages in the future start putting together your “Company Menu” as you start doing individual tasks for your clients. Every time forthwith that you do a task for a client make sure you keep track of the time it took you to complete that task. As you add these tasks to your Company Menu try to categorize them by skillsets to keep it organized just like a chef keeps their dishes on a menu organized under Appetizers, Main Dinner, Dessert and Drinks. Your menu might have Email Marketing, Social Media, Writing and WordPress categories on it.

For example, if you created a Pinterest image in Canva for your client then keep track of the time it took to create this image and then record this in your “Company Menu”. After a while, you’ll have a whole list of timed tasks on your “Company Menu” that you can then start adding prices to using this equation: Menu Price = Time X Hourly Rate

Download this handy template to help you create your Company Menu (instant download, no email required).

1. Hourly Rate

Pay as you go – This is perhaps the most common and easiest pricing method at the beginning for service-based businesses. You’ll need to know your hourly rate no matter which way you choose to charge your clients so it’s important to figure this out first.

Download here for FREE our handy Pricing Formula Worksheet to help you figure out your hourly rate. All you have to do is fill in the blanks (like your yearly salary goal, your operational costs and your billable hours) and our worksheet does the rest. VOILA! This excel worksheet will automatically calculate the hourly rate you need to charge to keep your business afloat!

The only problem with hourly pricing is that you are limited by the number of available billable hours in a day. It also does not account for the speed you have developed over time and as a result of this, you must increase your hourly rate to account for expertise and experience.

2. Retainer Pricing

Retainer pricing is based on your hourly pricing. Most people that have retainer pricing provide a discount as an enticement for people to “sign up” for more hours.

For example, your hourly price may be $40 and you may set up retainers as follows:

  • A – 5 hours – 5% discount $190.00
  • B – 10 hours – 10% discount $360.00
  • C – 25 hours – 15% discount $850.00
Hopefully, you get the idea here but in a nutshell, you are basing your retainer packages off your hourly rate and giving your clients a bigger discount the more hours they buy. Also, the client should pay upfront and the discount encourages them to do this.
Now, if you determine you will provide retainer pricing there are a few other things to consider as well.
  • How quickly must the retainers be used?
  • Do the hours expire?
  • Will you provide a refund?
  • Must retainers be paid in advance?
  • Do extra hours revert to old rate or does this guarantee the new rate?

This will vary depending upon each Virtual Assistant’s business protocols as each business is unique.

3. Package Pricing
Package pricing determination is based on services rather than time. Keep in mind that when you tell someone your price they are thinking like this …

It takes me 10 hours per month which is $400 per month – I can’t afford that.

They do not realize that these same tasks would take you only 5 hours to complete. This is when your “Company Menu” will come in handy that you have been creating since day 1 in your business.

When providing package pricing you simply provide a list of products you will provide within that package and the price it will cost. You determine this price by estimating the time to complete these services each month and multiplying it by your hourly rate.

An example of package pricing might look like this:

Article writing – $XX per article

OR

Monthly social marketing package – $XXX per month

  • includes 12 blog entries
  • includes 3 daily tweets
  • maintenance of a Facebook page

Even though these packages are based on how long you think it will take to do these services and is still based on your hourly price, your client simply sees the bottom line and what they will get for those services. The client is not left guessing how many hours they may need – they simply know what services they want and how much it will cost. It is great for them for budgeting purposes. It also allows you to make more money as you develop speed without having to increase your package pricing.

Keep in mind that as you learn your client’s business and their needs you will undoubtedly get faster. Hourly pricing does not allow you to benefit from this … package pricing does.

TIP: On your website tell your potential client that you can customize a package to fit their needs and their budget.

4. Project (One Time)

So often I am asked the question…

I have a potential client that needs me to do XYZ, has anyone ever priced something like this?

Some examples of things you might find a request for project-based pricing include one-time customer projects, mass mailings, calling projects, database entry, etc..

Project pricing works similarly to package pricing. In essence, the client is simply looking to be able to budget how much a particular project will cost.

Next time you are asked to provide a project price, here are 3 quick and simple ways to determine the price:

  1. Industry Standards – Research what the industry standards are. For example, transcriptions are based on a 1:4 or 1:6 ratio. You can usually do 100 letters of a mass mailing per hour including addressing and stuffing. These standards are available if you do the research online or ask at our #VAforum.
  2. The “test” –  Take a small sample of the project and then multiply your results
  3. Company Menu – This is where having that Company Menu comes in handy in determining the project price.

The biggest problem with project pricing is that until you become familiar with how long something actually takes it can be hard to come up with a fair price. Many VAs tend to underestimate the amount of time something takes, especially when it is something they enjoy doing. If I was to ask you how long it would take to type 40 handwritten pages what would your answer be? For each person the answer is different. For this reason, you can see why project pricing can be very difficult.

TIP: Don’t be afraid to overquote a project if you are asked to quote a project. I will often say that I will set a $300.00 budget for the project and track my time. I let the client know that I will track my time and charge them my hourly rate but not go over the set budget of $300.

Project pricing is a great way again to allow yourself to be paid for your speed and expertise. As with package pricing, the client is simply looking at the total cost the project will be and whether they think that is a feasible amount to pay to outsource the project.

Keep in mind, as I have stated, that hours to complete a project are subjective … often times those that are not in our industry haven’t a clue how long something will take. If, for example, you were to have someone build a house for you and they said they charge $100 per hour including costs … what on earth would this mean to you? Do you know how many hours it would take them? Probably not.

Pricing is very simple once you breathe and work through the numbers. I hope this helps you figure out your pricing in your Virtual Assistant business.

The post How to Price Your Virtual Assistant Services appeared first on Virtual Assistant Networking Organization.

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Figuring out how you will charge your clients is one area most Virtual Assistants come to a standstill when they first start up their service-business. Most start out with hourly and/or retainers until they get a bit of experience behind their belt and know how long tasks take to do and then they can put together packages/projects if their prospecting clients want these payment options.

In anticipation of putting together packages in the future start putting together your “Company Menu” as you start doing individual tasks for your clients. Every time forthwith that you do a task for a client make sure you keep track of the time it took you to complete that task. As you add these tasks to your Company Menu try to categorize them by skillsets to keep it organized just like a chef keeps their dishes on a menu organized under Appetizers, Main Dinner, Dessert and Drinks. Your menu might have Email Marketing, Social Media, Writing and WordPress categories on it.

For example, if you created a Pinterest image in Canva for your client then keep track of the time it took to create this image and then record this in your “Company Menu”. After a while, you’ll have a whole list of timed tasks on your “Company Menu” that you can then start adding prices to using this equation: Menu Price = Time X Hourly Rate

Download this handy template to help you create your Company Menu (instant download, no email required).

1. Hourly Rate

Pay as you go – This is perhaps the most common and easiest pricing method at the beginning for service-based businesses. You’ll need to know your hourly rate no matter which way you choose to charge your clients so it’s important to figure this out first.

Download here for FREE our handy Pricing Formula Worksheet to help you figure out your hourly rate. All you have to do is fill in the blanks (like your yearly salary goal, your operational costs and your billable hours) and our worksheet does the rest. VOILA! This excel worksheet will automatically calculate the hourly rate you need to charge to keep your business afloat!

The only problem with hourly pricing is that you are limited by the number of available billable hours in a day. It also does not account for the speed you have developed over time and as a result of this, you must increase your hourly rate to account for expertise and experience.

2. Retainer Pricing

Retainer pricing is based on your hourly pricing. Most people that have retainer pricing provide a discount as an enticement for people to “sign up” for more hours.

For example, your hourly price may be $40 and you may set up retainers as follows:

  • A – 5 hours – 5% discount $190.00
  • B – 10 hours – 10% discount $360.00
  • C – 25 hours – 15% discount $850.00
Hopefully, you get the idea here but in a nutshell, you are basing your retainer packages off your hourly rate and giving your clients a bigger discount the more hours they buy. Also, the client should pay upfront and the discount encourages them to do this.
Now, if you determine you will provide retainer pricing there are a few other things to consider as well.
  • How quickly must the retainers be used?
  • Do the hours expire?
  • Will you provide a refund?
  • Must retainers be paid in advance?
  • Do extra hours revert to old rate or does this guarantee the new rate?

This will vary depending upon each Virtual Assistant’s business protocols as each business is unique.

3. Package Pricing
Package pricing determination is based on services rather than time. Keep in mind that when you tell someone your price they are thinking like this …

It takes me 10 hours per month which is $400 per month – I can’t afford that.

They do not realize that these same tasks would take you only 5 hours to complete. This is when your “Company Menu” will come in handy that you have been creating since day 1 in your business.

When providing package pricing you simply provide a list of products you will provide within that package and the price it will cost. You determine this price by estimating the time to complete these services each month and multiplying it by your hourly rate.

An example of package pricing might look like this:

Article writing – $XX per article

OR

Monthly social marketing package – $XXX per month

  • includes 12 blog entries
  • includes 3 daily tweets
  • maintenance of a Facebook page

Even though these packages are based on how long you think it will take to do these services and is still based on your hourly price, your client simply sees the bottom line and what they will get for those services. The client is not left guessing how many hours they may need – they simply know what services they want and how much it will cost. It is great for them for budgeting purposes. It also allows you to make more money as you develop speed without having to increase your package pricing.

Keep in mind that as you learn your client’s business and their needs you will undoubtedly get faster. Hourly pricing does not allow you to benefit from this … package pricing does.

TIP: On your website tell your potential client that you can customize a package to fit their needs and their budget.

4. Project (One Time)

So often I am asked the question…

I have a potential client that needs me to do XYZ, has anyone ever priced something like this?

Some examples of things you might find a request for project-based pricing include one-time customer projects, mass mailings, calling projects, database entry, etc..

Project pricing works similarly to package pricing. In essence, the client is simply looking to be able to budget how much a particular project will cost.

Next time you are asked to provide a project price, here are 3 quick and simple ways to determine the price:

  1. Industry Standards – Research what the industry standards are. For example, transcriptions are based on a 1:4 or 1:6 ratio. You can usually do 100 letters of a mass mailing per hour including addressing and stuffing. These standards are available if you do the research online or ask at our #VAforum.
  2. The “test” –  Take a small sample of the project and then multiply your results
  3. Company Menu – This is where having that Company Menu comes in handy in determining the project price.

The biggest problem with project pricing is that until you become familiar with how long something actually takes it can be hard to come up with a fair price. Many VAs tend to underestimate the amount of time something takes, especially when it is something they enjoy doing. If I was to ask you how long it would take to type 40 handwritten pages what would your answer be? For each person the answer is different. For this reason, you can see why project pricing can be very difficult.

TIP: Don’t be afraid to overquote a project if you are asked to quote a project. I will often say that I will set a $300.00 budget for the project and track my time. I let the client know that I will track my time and charge them my hourly rate but not go over the set budget of $300.

Project pricing is a great way again to allow yourself to be paid for your speed and expertise. As with package pricing, the client is simply looking at the total cost the project will be and whether they think that is a feasible amount to pay to outsource the project.

Keep in mind, as I have stated, that hours to complete a project are subjective … often times those that are not in our industry haven’t a clue how long something will take. If, for example, you were to have someone build a house for you and they said they charge $100 per hour including costs … what on earth would this mean to you? Do you know how many hours it would take them? Probably not.

Pricing is very simple once you breathe and work through the numbers. I hope this helps you figure out your pricing in your Virtual Assistant business.

The post How Do I Charge Clients as a Virtual Assistant? appeared first on Virtual Assistant Networking Organization.

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Contributed by Alica Jay from NewVAAdvice.com

When I first officially published my virtual assistant website, I was so nervous. Did I forget to add any information? Will they understand what I do? Did I spell everything right? Did I make it easy for them to contact me?

The reason that I was so worried is because I felt like having a live website meant that, instantly, there was the potential for thousands of people to see my site out there in the big wide internet world.

I had the whole “build it and they will come mentality” when it came to creating a website.

But you know what really happened when I went live with my site?

A whole lot of nothing. And I thought, “What gives?”

That’s when I learned an important lesson.

It’s not just about having a website out there. Potential clients aren’t just going to stumble upon your site and immediately contact you to work with them.

Instead, you need to get yourself out there–let them get to know you.

And that’s where content marketing comes in.

It doesn’t have to be complicated and overwhelming.

When you break it down, content marketing is really about how you’re presenting yourself to potential clients, letting them get to know you, what you do, and how you solve their problems.

Don’t just wait for them to come to you. Show them what you’ve got.

Here are my top content marketing tips:
  1. Know your market and how your services help them. Get clear on this first.
  2. Don’t think of it as selling. Instead, be helpful.
  3. When it comes to the type of content that you create, think about what your potential clients want to know. Consider sharing things like quick tips, how-to posts, and industry news.
  4. You don’t need to be on EVERY social media platform. Start by focusing on two where you find your potential clients, and really connect with them there.
  5. Figure out the medium for your content that works best for you. Not everyone is a writer. You can use PLR, videos, audio and graphics. Consider which would be easiest for you to get started with, and try it!

Want to learn more about content marketing and how you can make it work for your VA business?

Then join me at Season 17 of #VAVS (VA Virtuosos Online Seminars)!

My session is all about how to rock your content and get clients. You’ll learn:
  • Mistakes VAs make with content marketing—what not to do
  • How to automate and organize content marketing
  • How to NOT spend 20 hours a day creating and sharing content
  • Real life examples of VAs doing content marketing right

And that’s not all you’ll learn at #VAVS. Join me and 19 other speakers for 5 action-packed days with sessions that are sure to help propel your VA business forward.

#VAVS Season 17 runs from November 5-9, 2018.

Get your ticket today!

The post Content Equals Clients: How to Simplify Your Content Marketing Efforts appeared first on Virtual Assistant Networking Organization.

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