Why You Need Referral Partners In Your Virtual Assistant Business

Why You Need Referral Partners In Your Virtual Assistant Business

Why You Need referral partners in your VA business

Referral partners are a great way to help a fellow business owner + earn some extra money.

This blog post goes over what a Referral Partner is, why you need them, the systems you need + how to find them.

Read on if you want to learn how to add Referral Partners to your business to help you earn some extra income!

So… let’s get started.

#1 What are referral partners?

Well, a Referral Partner is a trusted colleague that you refer business to. It’s usually either a service you don’t like or want to do or it could be you can’t meet their deadline. There are a number of reasons to have Referral Partners, these are the most common.

Let me give you a quick example of how you can use a Referral Partner.

Let’s say you design + build WordPress websites as part of your business. But, you don’t offer graphics or copywriting. Well, many of your clients will either need help with graphics or copy for their new and improved website.

So… instead of turning your clients away to find a graphics person or a copywriter (or both), you would refer them to one of your Referral Partners that specializes in either graphics or copywriting.

This way you’re not leaving it up to your clients to find the help they need – you’re helping them find what they need.

Plus… you get a referral fee for referring your clients to them + the Referral Partner gets the business.

It’s a Win-Win for everyone!

#2 Why you need them?

It’s simple – to be of service to your clients.

Instead of saying that you don’t offer a particular skill or service, send them to your Referral Partner instead.

Your clients will appreciate the higher level of service and to be referred to someone you know and trust. You’re saving them time, money and possible frustration too!

Plus… you’re not turning away business.

Referral Partners are a source of income. That’s right, they’re an additional revenue stream for your business.

When you refer business to one of your Referral Partners you earn a referral fee.

On a side note – if you’re considering starting a team or agency of your own, having Referral Partners will give you valuable experience when it comes to working with a team.

#3 What systems do you need?

Well… you’ll need to track:

  1. Referral Partners.
  2. The services they offer.
  3. Their rates.
  4. The referral fee.
  5. How you make client introductions.
  6. How + when you get paid the referral fee.
  7. Follow up with your client.
  8. Follow up with your Referral Partner.

Now, that’s a rough list of the things you’ll need to create a system for. Start by asking yourself each question and how you would like it handled – then write it down.

Each of the items listed above is important to you, your clients and your Referral Partners and need to be part of your overall Referral Partner process.

I would recommend adding the completed process to your Operations System since it’s part of running your business.

Quick Note – be sure you and your Referral Partners are in agreement on the fee amount + when it’s paid to you. This is so important!

#4 How to find them?

Start with colleagues you already know.  People you’ve met in online groups or training programs. It could be someone you’ve worked with before.

One of my Referral Partners was a team member of a mutual client.

Reach out to them + find out more about them.

  • What services do they offer?
  • Ask them if they’re interested in being a Referral Partner?
  • What type of fee do they want?
  • Do they already have a process for referrals?

Check out their website, look at samples of their work and do a test project together to see how you work together.

Since you’re trusting them to take care of your clients, it’s important that you trust them and the quality of their work.

That’s it!

Remember, it’s a relationship between you + your clients + your Referral Partners. Be sure it works for all of you.

Are you ready to add Referral Partners to your business?

Feel free to post below and let me know what action you’re taking today to start looking for Referral Partners.

I’d love to hear from you.

All comments + questions are welcome.

If you know someone who might benefit from this information, please share. You can use the share buttons below the post.

HERE ARE A FEW RELATED BLOG POSTS THAT MIGHT BE OF INTEREST:

  1. VA Systems: The Key Systems You Need
  2. Why Have Trusted Partners

If you’re looking for more details on how to start or scale your VA business including how to specialize by learning in-demand skills, join my FREE VA Training Vault. It’s over 8 hours of how-to video training for Virtual Assistants that want to create a successful business.

Thanks for reading – Susan

Don’t forget to leave a comment if you found this information useful – I’d love to hear from you!

What To Watch Out For When Starting a Virtual Assistant Business

What To Watch Out For When Starting a Virtual Assistant Business

What to watch out for if you’re starting a virtual assistant business.

What I call Bad Advice!

Seems like I’ve been on my soapbox a lot lately… and I guess I have because I’ve seen such a change in the VA Industry in the last year.

I’ve seen so many pieces of what I call “bad advice” given to new Virtual Assistants; I wanted to write a blog post that covers them all!

It’s the good, bad + ugly things you need to watch out for when you’re starting your VA business.

Oh… some of this stuff is actually taught by so-called experts in their training + coaching programs and used in their marketing.

This will be one of those posts that grows – as I find more bad advice I’ll be sure to add it to the list.

So… let’s dive in.

#1 The Fake It Until You Make It Strategy – I wrote an entire blog post on this one but I’m going to summarize it here. (You can read the full post here).

I understand taking an opportunity to learn something new but you need to be honest with your clients. Let them know you’re willing to learn – don’t fake it.

Faking means you’re not really sure what you’re doing. Like saying you know Infusionsoft but you’ve never seen it before.

Lack of confidence means you have the skills and know what you’re doing, you’ve just not done it enough to be confident yet. For example, you’ve taken classes to learn WordPress but you’ve not offered it as a service yet. Do you really want to fake it with your clients? You’re working in their business – their baby.

They trust you can do what you say. Remember, it’s your business and reputation on the line.

#2 Work For Free – Why would you work for free? Your knowledge, skills + expertise are valuable and you should be paid for them. When you work for free you’re not valuing the work you do or yourself. Not to mention, people who want things for free can turn out to be nightmare clients.

I see lots of people saying work for free for a testimonial, but you’re still giving away your time + knowledge. And… they’re worth something, right? Yes, they are!

Instead of working for free, offer a discounted rate and then ask them for a testimonial after you’ve completed the work. They get a break on the rate and you get paid for your time, expertise and knowledge.

#3 It’s Easy Anyone Can Do It (Be a Virtual Assistant). Nope, not true. It’s not easy and not everyone is cut out to be a VA. Take the time to really understand what it takes to be successful.

Learn all you can about the day in the life of a Virtual Assistant so you can make the right decision for you. Just know that it’s a lot of work when starting out but it’s worth it for the freedom and flexibility you get.

Remember… it’s a Business NOT a JOB. 

It’s a tremendous amount of work to set up a business and learn all you need to know about being a business owner + a Virtual Assistant. If it’s not for you – that’s OK. Just realize it’s not easy.

#4 You Can Make $5k In Your First 30 Days. No one can guarantee how much you’ll make in any timeframe… period.

There are so many factors that go into being successful as a VA. Is it possible? Sure but it’s the exception NOT the rule.

Don’t fall for this marketing ploy.

#5 Get a VA Certification. I wrote a blog post on this one too! I’ll summarize it here but if you want to read the whole thing click here.

There are no true “Virtual Assistant Certifications”. There is no Industry wide approved certification.

Now, I know there are a few organizations that offer certifications, just be aware of what they mean by certified.

Ask questions like “What do you need to do to obtain the certification and what do you get from it?“

There’s a big difference between completion and certification.

Bottom line is you don’t need to be certified to be a successful Virtual Assistant and be sure you understand what you’re getting for your investment of both time and money.

#6 Get Your First Client Then Figure Out What To Do Next. Not a good way to start a successful business. A business is a system. You need to set up your business systems BEFORE you work with clients.

I’ve seen people who followed this advice and ended up posting for help on what to do next in a Facebook Group and guess what? The client that just hired them was in the group and saw the post. Not a good way to start a relationship.

If you’re looking to build a successful business and give your clients a first-class experience, do yourself and them a favor, don’t follow this bad piece of advice.

Take the time to have your business set up before you land your first client.

#7 How To Start Your VA Business With NO Money. You can definitely bootstrap starting a VA business BUT you will need some money. You have to register your business and the fees vary based on where you live.

Just realize that there is an investment in starting any business – it’s not free.

#8 How To Start a VA Business With NO Experience. You don’t need experience as a VA to start a VA business. But… you need to have experience working with clients. If you don’t, it will be a much harder journey.

#9 If You’re Confused or Don’t Know What To Charge Start at $25 an Hour. Please if you don’t know what rates to charge, do your homework!

I’d hate to see you undercharging for your expertise and having a hard time paying your bills because you followed advise from someone saying if you’re confused or don’t know what to charge start at $25 an hour!

Really? Everyone has a baseline number that they need to make to pay their bills! I can tell you mine was NOT $25 an hour it was $50 an hour.

You didn’t start your business to struggle to pay your bills – be sure you are charging enough FOR YOU. This is not a cookie cutter industry – everyone’s needs are different.

If you don’t how much you need to charge, please take a few minutes to watch my YouTube series on setting your rates and walking you through how to find your baseline rate. It’s FREE and includes a link to download my rate calculation sheet too!

I don’t want people to have to struggle to pay their bills based on bad advice.

Here’s the YouTube series on setting your rates – watch it to find out what your baseline rate is BEFORE you set your rates.

Whew… ok that’s it for now. I hope you found these of value.

As I find more, I’ll be sure to add them to the list.

If you’ve got one to share, please do!

I’d love to hear from you.

All comments + questions are welcome.

Be sure to use the share buttons to share this post with anyone who might benefit from this information.

If you’re looking for more details on how to start or scale your VA business including how to specialize by learning in-demand skills, join my FREE VA Training Vault. It’s over 8 hours of how-to video training for Virtual Assistants that want to create a successful business.

Thanks for reading – Susan

Don’t forget to leave a comment if you found this information useful – I’d love to hear from you!

Interviewing Potential Clients: Why You Need A System

Interviewing Potential Clients: Why You Need A System

Interviewing Potential Clients: Why You Need A System

What’s your system for interviewing potential clients and then closing the deal?

Do you have one?

It’s SO important to have your systems in place BEFORE you start working with clients.  A system that includes interviewing potential clients and closing the sale.

You see, it’s not enough to interview clients to find out if they’re a good fit, you need to know what kind of information you should ask plus how to overcome common sales objections to close the deal.

So… What kind of system do you need?

One that gets results, is simple and is rinse + repeat.

I call my system of interviewing potential clients “Discovery Sessions”.

I’m discovering what the client is all about and how I can help them. I’m also discovering if it’s a good fit for both of us. Because I’m not just selling a service, I’m starting a relationship with this person and it needs to be right for all involved.

Have you ever taken on a client that you know you shouldn’t have?

Maybe you saw the signs that they were not a good fit for you but chose to ignore it.

Yes, I have! I’m raising my hand here!

I did it a few times before I learned to trust myself and say NO to potential clients that weren’t a good fit.

Being the right fit for you and them is the most important thing no matter how long the relationship.

There are a few so-called “red-flags” that you should watch out for.

When it comes to red flags everyone is different (you’re likely to have your own list, I do). But there are a few common ones I recommend you watch out for.

  1. Too many Virtual Assistants in a short period of time. For instance, they’ve been through several Virtual Assistants in the last few months. This is usually an indication that the person may not be easiest to work with.
  2. They’re negotiators… They want to negotiate everything. You’re rate, the deadline, your boundaries, how you run your own business, etc. These can be the type of people that question everything and can be a drain on your energy.

Like me, you probably have your own list of Red Flags.

If you don’t, I suggest you create one that you can refer to when you’re interviewing clients. You’re looking for traits that you know you don’t work well with.

My main red flags are:

  • micro-managers
  • firefighters (everything is always an emergency and on fire)
  • negotiators

If during the interview you find out they have something on your Red Flag list, then you know it’s a “no”. Trust yourself – you know what’s best for you.

Ok, now let’s discuss the “standard” questions you should ask during the interview.

For me it’s simple, I just ask a couple of simple questions to get the conversation started and then let it flow.

These are the questions I always ask:

  1. Have you worked with a VA before?
  2. How can I help you?

That’s it.

The questions I ask after these depend on the conversation.

It’s what works best for me.

Everyone is different and has specific needs, so I just let the conversation go where it needs to go. I don’t follow a specific script or questionnaire.

Why these specific questions?

Well, for one I want to know if they’ve worked with a Virtual Assistant for two reasons.

One, if they have, I want to know how it went. Have they been burned by a VA before? If they have, I know there is a potential for trust issues right up front and I know how to deal with it.

Two, I want to know what problems they have that I can solve for them. That is why they reached out to me.

I’m all about simplicity and it works for me.

Remember, my motto is Your Business – Your Choice. Do what works for you.

If you like more structure or want a list of questions to help you get started, feel free to download my sample questionnaire to give you some ideas of what to ask.

Your Discovery Session system can be simple and tailored to fit your exact needs.

It doesn’t need to be difficult or complex.

It just needs to work!

Ok… one last thing. That one thing most people dread about interviewing potential clients.

It’s that part of the conversation where you have to start the “close“.

You know, where you have to start talking about your rates and how you work with clients.

The sales conversation!

For so many people they dread having to talk about their rates… it can make them nervous or sick to their stomach (that was me).

But… in order to close the deal, you have to talk about your rates.

You have to understand that you are the sales + marketing department.

It’s up to you to get more comfortable with talking about what you charge because you’re worth it.

Remember, they came to you for help and they know you’re a business owner and you don’t work for FREE!

Go into each sales conversation confident that you can help them and you are worth whatever you are charging.

Here’s a little mindset tip to help you if you’re nervous about quoting your rates.

Double your current rate and then recite it to yourself in the mirror for 7 days.

It really works!

For example, let’s say your current hourly rate is $25 an hour. So double it and then stand in front of the mirror and say “My hourly rate is $50 an hour”.

If you sell packages then do the same thing – double it and recite it to yourself in the mirror.

You may think I’m nuts but it works.

Next time you’re having that sales conversation and it’s time to talk rates, it will be easier!

Are you ready to create your own Discovery Session System?

Feel free to post below and let me know what action you’re taking today to create your own system for interviewing clients.

I’d love to hear from you.

All comments + questions are welcome.

If you know someone who might benefit from this information, please share. You can use the share buttons below the post.

And… if you’re looking for step-by-step training on my Discovery Sesssion System that helps you close more sales go to https://thetechiementor.teachable.com/p/discovery-session-system/ and sign up!

HERE ARE A FEW RELATED BLOG POSTS THAT MIGHT BE OF INTEREST:

  1. Setting Your Rates
  2. Virtual Assistant Systems

If you’re looking for more details on how to start or scale your VA business including how to specialize by learning in-demand skills, join my FREE VA Training Vault. It’s over 8 hours of how-to video training for Virtual Assistants that want to create a successful business.

Thanks for reading – Susan

Don’t forget to leave a comment if you found this information useful – I’d love to hear from you!

Virtual Assistant Training + Coaching What You Need To Watch Out For

Virtual Assistant Training + Coaching What You Need To Watch Out For

 

What You Need To Watch Out For When It Comes to Virtual Assistant Training + Coaching

Don’t be afraid to ask questions – it’s your time + money that you’re investing.

This isn’t my standard blog post, it’s more of a rant.

Thought I’d warn you now <grin>.

Seems that everyone is now either a Virtual Assistant Coach or Trainer. I think it’s great that the industry is growing BUT, do these new Coaches + Trainers have the experience to really teach others how to be successful?

There are so many newbies jumping on the Virtual Assistant Coaching + Training bandwagon when many of them haven’t been in business long enough to be considered successful. I’m sorry but you’re not qualified to be a coach or trainer if you’ve not run a successful VA business for at least 3 years (the bare minimum in my opinion).

According to the Small Business Association (SBA) and many others, 80% of all small businesses fail in the first year alone. After the first year, the number falls but only about 50% of businesses make it to five years.

Those are some pretty sobering statistics huh?

Here’s the thing, how can someone who has been in business less than a year really understand what it takes to run a successful business?

They’ve not been in business long enough to know!

Not only that, they’re teaching people stuff that is just plain wrong.

Like a contract is not necessary – WRONG. They are very necessary; in fact, don’t work without a signed contract. It’s protection for both you and your clients.

I’ve seen things like:

  1. You don’t really need any experience… except know how to use the Internet. You’ll have a hard time finding clients if you don’t have the skills they want.
  2. People guaranteeing that you’ll make 5k or 10k a month if you buy their coaching or training. Sorry folks, no one can guarantee how much anyone else will make. It’s just a marketing ploy.
  3. If you read or hear something saying that it’s easy to be a Virtual Assistant, that you can make thousands of dollars only working 4 hours a day… it’s hogwash.

You have to put in the time and effort especially when you’re just starting out.

On a side note – it’s definitely possible to make 10k a month but there is a whole lot more to it than just being a Virtual Assistant.

I’m passionate about this industry and I’m seeing more and more people who are new to the industry get taken advantage of by slick marketing.

Some of these newbies are teaching crappy methods, and it brings down the entire VA industry.

I know when I first started I didn’t know what to ask or to look for when thinking about investing in training and/or coaching.

And… I ended up buying a LOT of crap.

You don’t know what you don’t know.

Please, I ask you to do your homework when it comes to hiring a coach or buying a course.

Find out:

  • If the person really is/was successful.
  • If they’ve been in business for more than a couple of years.
  • If they have a refund policy.

Ask for testimonials, ask for proof of success – it’s important since you’re trusting this person with your potential livelihood + business + your hard earned $$.

The VA Industry is NOT standardized which means there is no certification for trainers or coaches like in other industries.

Here are a few more tips that you might find helpful:

  1. You can use a program like WhoIs.Net to see how long they’ve owned their domain name. It can give you an idea of how long they’ve been in business. For example, if you go to this website and type in thetechiementor.com you’ll see when I first registered this domain back in 2011. (I would still ask this question directly to the coach or trainer – they could have re-branded and changed their business name).
  2. Award Winning Virtual Assistant or Best VA Trainer, what does that even mean? Who voted for them? How many people voted? Is it even a real award?
  3. If you’re in the UK, check to see if they’re VAT registered (you have to be VAT registered if you earn £85k+). Anyone who isn’t is definitely not earning 6 figures, whatever their marketing says.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions – it’s your time + money that you’re investing.

Oh and one more thing.

Yes, I know… I’m what you would call a VA Coach or Trainer. But I’m starting my 10th year in this industry and ran a successful VA business for 5 years before I started The Techie Mentor. I’m not asking you to buy my stuff or hire me unless we’re a good fit.

Ok… rant over.

What do you think?

I’d love to hear from you.

All comments + questions are welcome.

HERE ARE A FEW RELATED BLOG POSTS THAT MIGHT BE OF INTEREST:

  1. Virtual Assistant Certifications + Why You Don’t Need One
  2. The Fake It Until You Make It Strategy
  3. What Is A Virtual Assistant
  4. Tips On Sub-Contracting

If you’re looking for more details on how to start or scale your VA business including how to specialize by learning in-demand skills, join my FREE VA Training Vault. It’s over 8 hours of how-to video training for Virtual Assistants that want to create a successful business.

Thanks for reading – Susan

Don’t forget to leave a comment if you found this information useful – I’d love to hear from you!

Sales Funnels – The What & Why

Sales Funnels – The What & Why

Have you heard all the buzz around sales funnels lately?

They’re all the rage.

Why?

Because they work.

What is a sales funnel?

Well… it’s a system that automates both marketing and sales.

Automation = Freedom.

A sales funnel combines strategy + technology to get in front of your audience, share your expertise and get clients on autopilot.

There are people looking for exactly what you offer every minute of every day.

Whether it’s through a Google search or perusing Facebook or LinkedIn Groups.

Your clients are looking for you.

And, you need to make it easy for them to find you 24x7.

What are you doing today to make it easy for your potential clients to:

  1. Find you
  2. Learn more about who you are and what you offer
  3. Share your expertise with them

This is what a sales funnel can do for you on autopilot.

But first, you need to create some great content to share with them.

Remember, all of your content should be focused on how you solve your client’s problems using your expertise.

Share your expertise by:

  • Writing a blog
  • Creating videos and sharing them on YouTube.
  • Doing Facebook Live sessions from your Facebook Page.
  • Running paid ads

Getting their attention is the first step or stage in your sales funnel.

The next step is to get them on the phone with you for a free “Discovery Session”.

It’s a free 15-minute call to find out more about them and if they’re your ideal client.

If they are, great.

Now you need to close the deal.

If they’re not, then you can move on to the next person.

The most important part of your funnel is to make your audience aware of you and your services.

Then it’s getting them on the phone and closing the sale.

So… what can you do today to create great content that will get your potential client’s attention?

Feel free to post below and let me know what action you’re taking today to automate your marketing + getting clients.

I’d love to hear from you.

All comments + questions are welcome.

If you know someone who might benefit from this information, please share. You can use the share buttons below the post.

HERE ARE A FEW RELATED BLOG POSTS THAT MIGHT BE OF INTEREST:

  1. Virtual Assistant Systems – The Key Systems You Need
  2. The Day to Day Systems In Your VA Business
  3. Is Your Target Aware Of You + Your Services
  4. Tips To Grow Your Online Following AKA Your List

If you’re looking for more details on how to start or scale your VA business including how to specialize by learning in-demand skills, join my FREE VA Training Vault. It’s over 8 hours of how-to video training for Virtual Assistants that want to create a successful business.

Thanks for reading – Susan

Don’t forget to leave a comment if you found this information useful – I’d love to hear from you!

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