How To Create Your Virtual Assistant Packages

How To Create Your Virtual Assistant Packages

Creating Your Virtual Assistant Packages:
what you need to know

By offering Virtual Assistant packages you are paid for your expertise and NOT your time.

First, let’s start with the differences between a retainer and a package.

Do you know the difference?

One of the things that drives me crazy about the VA Industry is there are no standard definitions and terms. And… coming from both the IT and Project Management worlds, I love standards.

I see the use of retainers and packages being mixed and I believe it starts to cause some confusion, especially for those new to the industry.

So… Since I get asked frequently, “What’s the difference between a retainer, a package and a project?” I decided to do a blog post all about it.

Here are my definitions for all of them – the same ones I used in my business.

Retainers:

  • Are buckets of hours.
  • Are billed prior to the work being started.
  • Can be used for any tasks (they’re getting a blended rate… keep reading for more on this.)
  • Must track your time.
  • Has an expiration date.
  • The client pays for your time.

A Retainer is a pre-paid bucket of hours that can be used for any tasks your clients need. The client dictates what the hours are used for and are paying for your time vs. your expertise.

Retainers are normally billed at the beginning of the month and have an expiration date of anywhere from 30 to 90 days from invoice date.

Time is tracked on all the tasks completed against the retainer and the client is given a report showing how the hours were used.

Well… sometimes clients may question why it took so long to complete a specific task when they see your monthly report (especially if you do a number of different things for them).

It’s because they:

  • Don’t understand how long it takes to do a specific task.
  • Don’t know all the steps involved.
  • Are looking at the time involved instead of the expertise.
  • Bought your time, not your expertise.

And… for some reason time seems to be worth less than expertise. It’s a perception.

Now, retainers are great if you’re just getting started. They allow you to get a feel for how long it takes to do the work plus all the tasks involved.

They’re also great if you only do one type of work for a client (using only one expertise).

But… If you’re doing more than one thing, then you’re getting paid one flat rate for doing multiple types of work that could include several different types of expertise. This is known as a blended rate.

I know I don’t want to be paid the same rate I would charge for data entry if I were setting up campaigns in Infusionsoft. They require vastly different skills.

Infusionsoft is a beast and takes time to master… data entry is fairly simple and almost anyone can do it.

So… if you’re doing a variety of skills for clients and only charging them one rate, say $40 an hour, you’re leaving money on the table.

Sure you could charge different hourly rates for different skills but that’s a nightmare to track and manage.

A much easier way is to offer packages based on the expertise provided. This takes the time element out of it and clients have a much better understanding of what they’re getting for their money.

To recap, if you’re selling your time then it’s NOT a package, it’s a retainer and you’re tracking billable hours.

So, if you’re still reading, I’m guessing you’re interested in learning more about packages.

Let’s talk packages!

Virtual Assistant Packages:

  • Deliver a specific set of items or deliverables.
  • Have a fixed price.
  • Have a specific deadline.
  • Don’t require you to track your time.
  • Are invoiced 50% upfront and 50% on delivery (or you could invoice for the whole package upfront – your business so it’s your choice).
  • The client pays for your expertise NOT your time.

A Package is a set of deliverables (tasks) based on expertise such as creating a WordPress website, implementing 1ShoppingCart, or sending out a monthly e-zine. Clients are paying you for a specific expertise.

Packages are billed either all upfront or 50% prior to the start and then the remaining 50% on delivery.

They are for a fixed price and have a specific deadline.

Clients understand exactly what they’re getting and what they’re paying for.

Virtual Assistant Packages are based on expertise.

For some reason, there is a perception that people who charge by the hour get paid less than those that work with packages. I believe it’s because time seems less valuable than a specific expertise (even though we all know time is extremely valuable). Again… it’s a perception.

The beauty of packages is you can define them by your expertise AND control exactly what is included. If you have several different types of expertise, you can offer several different packages showcasing each and every one.

Or you can take one expertise and create several different packages for different audiences.

Voila… You now have multiple income streams!

Packages are the way to go if you want to work less and earn more!

Keep in mind you can package anything as long as you quantify all the pieces.

What do I mean?

Let’s say you want to create a package for email management.

You’d want to quantify the number of emails you would respond to in a specific amount of time.

For example…

  • Up to 50 emails per day for $25.00 (example rate).
  • Up to 100 emails a week for $75.00 (example rate).
  • Up to 1,000 emails per month for $150.00 (example rate).

You may have noticed that I said “up to” instead of just a number. It just makes it easier if you only do say 40 in a week, it all works out in the averages.

Here’s another example…

  • Say you create a package for monthly blog posts.
  • Up to 4 blog posts per month (content provided by client):
  • Proofing of each post
  • Adding up to 2 images provided by the client
  • Adding up to 5 keywords provided by the client
  • Scheduling each post
  • Sharing on 3 social media platforms using Buffer App
  • Package Price is $300.00.

Your clients understand what they’re getting and for how much. It’s clear what expertise they’re paying for.

It’s very important to be as detailed as possible when putting together your packages. You don’t want any grey areas.

Oh and… You can’t package something you’ve never done before. You need to know all the tasks involved and how long it takes to complete it.

It’s essential for pricing and delivering your packages.

So…what about package pricing?

First… you need to know:

  • All the tasks involved in the package.
  • How long it takes to complete the package.

That’s why I mentioned you couldn’t package something you’ve never done.

Second, pricing is an art and a science.

It’s not about taking your hourly rate and multiplying it by the time it takes to complete the package. This is what many people teach.

That’s incorrect!!

The problem with that method is most Virtual Assistants don’t charge enough and it’s not about time, it’s about delivering expertise and value.

I can’t tell you what to charge… that’s why I say it’s an art and a science.

But… you can start with the hourly rate x amount of time and then add 25% to it.

For example – $30 x 45 hours = $1,350 + 25% = $1,687.50

Why 25%… it’s a place to start to add the value and expertise your package delivers.

But… you have to believe you’re worth and what you’re charging which is a whole different conversation.

Before you can put a price on any package you need to know how much you need to earn. That is the baseline number you should be starting with. (If you don’t know your baseline rate or are unsure of how to figure it out, I’d like to invite you to watch my video series on setting your rates. You can watch it at http://bit.ly/2OqsKAS.)

I used both retainers and packages in my business. Remember, your business – your choice. Do what works best for you and your clients.

Last but not least are projects.

Projects are very similar to packages but the major difference is who determines the scope (what’s included).

When you create a service package, you determine the scope or what is included in the package your client is buying.

For a project, the client determines the scope with your help. This is what Project Managers do – they work with their clients to determine what is included in the project and create the project scope.

That’s the biggest difference.

Packages you define the scope – Projects the clients define the scope.

The beauty of this industry is you can offer all three in your business – I did at one time!

Are you ready to create your Virtual Assistant Packages?

I’ve created a simple checklist that summarizes everything I talk about in this blog – feel free to download a copy if you’re interested. Just click the button below.

I’d love to hear from you.

Feel free to post below and let me know what action you’re taking today to create your service packages.

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.

Oh and if you prefer to watch + listen I’ve got an entire YouTube video series on Packaging too. You can watch it at http://bit.ly/2wUbU8Q.

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

  1. 5 Ways To Get Clients For Your VA Biz
  2. What Do I Charge For My Services 
  3. Tips On Managing Your Time

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. You’ll get instant access to 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!

Be a VA Matchmaker + Scale Your Business

Be a VA Matchmaker + Scale Your Business

Be a VA Matchmaker + Scale Your VA Business

What you need to know + how to get started!

Let’s talk about VA Matchmaking!

VA Matchmaking is a great way to either scale your current VA business or add another revenue stream to it!

Today we are deep diving VA Matchmaking – the what, the why + the benefits!

This blog is part of the series I’m doing on 7 different ways to scale your business. Here is the link to the original blog in case you missed it.

7 Ways To Scale Your Virtual Assistant Business

So let’s dive in!

First… what is a VA Matchmaker?

My definition is someone who matches qualified clients with qualified Virtual Assistants.

It could be the sole income source of their business (the business model) or a revenue stream that brings in extra income.

At it’s most basic – you’re someone who connects people.

If you’ve been in this industry for any amount of time, you know it’s a struggle for both Virtual Assistants to find clients AND for clients to find qualified Virtual Assistants.

This need – this problem is how the VA Matchmaker business was born.

It was created to solve a need.

This is a great alternative to building your own team! (You don’t have to manage a team and all the complexities that go with it!)

How does being a VA Matchmaker work?

You match qualified Virtual Assistants with qualified clients looking for their services.

There are a couple of different ways that you can approach this.

One is through an RFP System, which allows clients to complete a form/questionnaire that sends their details directly to qualified Virtual Assistants. (Similar to what IVAA does).

Another option is to be more hands-on and interview potential clients and then help them find the right Virtual Assistant.

There is no one size fits all formula to this.

Remember my motto, your business – your choice.

Do what works for you.

But… keep in mind if you are the middleman you can become the bottleneck in the entire process.

Being a matchmaker could be another revenue stream to your current business, or you could totally flip the script and have it be your business model.

That means that is how you make money – by matching clients to Virtual Assistants.

There are people who do just that.

One is the VA Collaborative and there is another one called the VA Matchmaker, so if you’re interested in what this whole thing looks like, feel free to check out their websites.

Things to consider…

Do you want to have a matchmaking business or just another revenue stream?

Your answer to this question determines everything else that follows. Be sure to take the time to decide what whats for you right now.

Then there is the question of the systems and tools you need to have in place to help automate the entire process.

Some people have a membership program where they charge monthly fees for anyone that wants access to their RFP’s or qualified clients.

Another option is to be more of a white glove service where you interview both the potential clients and Virtual Assistants and build a database of names to refer people to.

If you’re considering this option, stop and think how that fits into your dream business or lifestyle.

  • Do you really want to be in the middle?
  • Does it tie you down to “office hours”?
  • Does it restrict your freedom + flexibilty?

Really take the time to understand the systems you need to have in place and how much time you will be involved in the entire process of matchmaking.

Another more hands-off option is to focus on Referral Partners.

It works like this… you refer clients to qualified Virtual Assistants and get paid either a flat free or even a percentage of the work they do for say the first 6 months with the client you referred.

You’re referring people and getting paid for it.

There are several different ways you can approach being a matchmaker, it’s not one size fits all!

Let’s talk systems…

Now, one of the most important things need to figure out, is if this is going to be your entire business (business model) or another revenue stream for your existing business. If you’re really good at connecting people you might consider this as your business – if not then consider adding it as additional revenue. Once you make the decision you need to look at the systems you’ll need to support all the moving pieces you’re going to have.

For instance:

  • how do you find qualified people (clients or VAs)
  • who is your market
  • how do you get paid

It’s important that you get really clear on who your market is for this. Like I said, there are lots of people who have issues finding qualified VA’s, but not everyone’s your client. Are you going to go after creatives, course creators? You’re going to go after business coaches or finance coaches? You need to be very clear who your market is for this particular type of business.

A few more important things….

How you vet VAs to be sure that they are qualified? It’s your reputation so you want to make sure that you have qualified individuals to present to clients that are looking for them, and vice versa.

What services are you offering?

Are you going to be offering everything under the sun?  Or are you going to really specialize?

If I were you, I would specialize. I would move away from the admin-type skills, because the industry is saturated with admin-type skills, and really go for more specialists or consultants on the technology or strategic side of things. They are going to be a higher-paying services and they’re also more in-demand than anything in the admin space.

Are you location specific? In other words, you only have U.S. VAs or North American VAs, or are they from somewhere else?

How are you going to market this? Because you’re now a networker.

Whew… I know that I’ve given you a lot to think about here.

If you’re someone who is really good at connecting people or at networking being a matchmaker might be for you. You could add it as another revenue stream and test it out to see if it’s something you enjoy before diving into it full time.

It’s another great way to scale your Virtual Assistant business.

I’d love to know what you think.

Feel free to post below and let me know if you’re considering becoming a VA Matchmaker!

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. Why You Need Referral Partners
  2. Passive Income With Affiliate Marketing
  3. Want More $$ – Become a Specialist

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. You’ll get instant access to 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!

Want More Money + Clients? Become a Specialist or Consultant

Want More Money + Clients? Become a Specialist or Consultant

Virtual Assistant Consultants + Specialists
Get More Clients + Earn More $$

What you need to know to make the switch from generalist or admin to specialist!

The VA Industry is changing!

Clients are looking for skilled professionals who are specialists not generalists.

What’s the difference?

Well to me a generalist is someone who does a lot of different things well but is not great at anything.

Now, that may sound harsh but it’s the perception many people have, including potential clients.

When you offer everything under the sun + the kitchen sink it’s hard to understand what you’re really good at.

People look at your website or LinkedIn profile and are confused.

They don’t know what you do because of the number of different skills or services listed.

I know when I first started my VA business almost 11 years ago, I offered absolutely everything I was capable of doing because I thought that is what I was supposed to do.

I didn’t fully grasp that I got to choose what I wanted to offer.

That I didn’t have to offer services I didn’t like or want to.

I remember I had potential clients ask me what I was really good at and I couldn’t quite understand why they were asking.

That was until I had one that said they wanted a “WordPress Specialist” and not someone who dabbled in it from time to time.

The thing is I really was a WordPress Specialist, I just wasn’t presenting myself that way to the world.

To this person I was a generalist because of the sheer number of services I offered.

Needless to say, that conversation was an eye opener for me. I went back to the drawing board and removed ALL the services I didn’t enjoy or was just “dabbling” in.

I dwindled my list down to only 4 services. The ones that I was great at and loved doing.

Those 4 services were:

  1. WordPress
  2. Infusionsoft
  3. 1ShoppingCart
  4. Project Management

You don’t have to specialize in just one thing – you can specialize in as many as want.

Just as long as it’s clear you’re a “specialist”.

If you’re offering a ton of admin services, such as:

  • Data entry
  • Research
  • Inbox Management
  • Calendar Management
  • Customer Service
  • Resume Writing

Then you’re considered a “generalist”.

Right or wrong, that is the perception.

Now… if you were to specialize in one or two of the above listed services, you would be a specialist.

If you’re looking to build a long term successful business you need to specialize – simple as that.

You can choose what you specialize in – like I did.

There are several benefits to becoming a specialist including:

  1. earning more money.
  2. multiple revenue streams.
  3.  being the go to person in your market.

The first one is simple.

Specialists make more money than generalists or assistants.

People believe right or wrong that generalists or assistants are paid less than a specialist or consultant. It’s all in their perception.

The second one is my absolute favorite benefit!

Let me explain what I mean.

Let’s say you’re a WordPress Specialist (I was and still am). You can take your WordPress expertise and offer it in a variety of different ways to create multiple offerings.

Here are the different WordPress services I offered in my VA business:

  • Website Design
  • Website Audits
  • Monthly Management
  • Migrations

For website design packages I offered a one page website, a full professional website, a membership site and an e-commerce site.  Four different website design packages – four different revenue streams.

I took one skill set (WordPress) and divided it in multiple different ways to appeal to multiple different customers and created multiple revenue streams.

With my WordPress knowledge I’m able to demand a higher rate, create multiple revenue streams and set myself up for recurring revenue!

Woot! I love that!

So… what expertise can you specialize in to create multiple revenue streams in your business? I’d love to know – please comment and share!

The third benefit is all about being the “go to” person in your market.

For example, one of your client’s colleagues could say “I need a WordPress website.”  And, your client will say “Oh, you’ve got to go see Susan. She built my website and it’s great. She even manages it for me.”

You got a referral from a client just like that!

This also works if you share value with your market on a consistent basis.

What do I mean by share value?

Show up in Facebook or LinkedIn groups full of your dream clients and answer their questions. Share your expertise.

People will remember how you helped them and reach out when they need your help.

How exciting is that!

You start attracting clients instead of chasing after them.

If you need help creating “value” to share, check out my Content Creation Workbook. That’s what it’s all about – walking you through how to create value that showcases your expertise and then sharing it.

You can find out more about it at https://www.techiementortraining.com/content-workbook-sales.

And… one more benefit for those of you that specialize in back-end skills such as systems + techie tools.

You gain the freedom and flexibility you wanted when you left your soul sucking job. You’re no longer tied to your computer during so called business hours.

Back-end skills let you work when and where you want!

So… bottom line is you need to specialize if you want to earn more $$ and attract your dream clients.

The first step is deciding what you want to specialize in.

Is it something you already know?

Or… maybe it’s something you want to learn.

Either work, just make a decision and start letting the world know you’re a specialist.

Remove all the things you don’t enjoy or don’t want to do from your services.

Keep it simple and trust me things will start to shift in your business.

Once you have clarity everything seems to fall into place.

Now… if you’re someone who is interested in specializing in back-end skills I invite you to take a look at my Techie VA Training Vault. It’s an affordable alternative to those monster courses that costs hundreds of dollars and leave you hanging after a few months to figure things out on your own. You can try it for 7 days for only $1. When you join you get access to all the Techie Training programs including WordPress + Mail Chimp.

I teach you not only the skills but what to do with them. Many courses teach you the how of the program but not the next step. In other words how to implement what you’ve learned and start working with clients. I focus on the skills + the implementation of them.

Give the Techie VA Training Vault a try if you want to specialize in the skills that give you the freedom to work when + where you want.

You can find out more at https://www.technicalvirtualassistant.com/join.

Specialization is the way to go to earn more $$ and attract clients.

What are you waiting for?

Feel free to post below and let me know what action you’re taking today to become a specialist.

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. The Difference Between Front End + Back End Services
  2. 7 Ways to Scale Your VA Busines
  3. Skills to be a Professional VA
  4. What’s in Your Success Jar?

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. You’ll get instant access to 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!

You Need a Trusted Parter in Your VA Business To Keep From Losing Clients

You Need a Trusted Parter in Your VA Business To Keep From Losing Clients

If you are a solo Virtual Assistant, having a trusted partner or partners is a must.

First… a little bit of background on what they are and why you need one (Trusted Partners).

If you’re a service provider and you’re a solopreneur… you are the business.

You’re a one-person shop so to speak.

Nobody else in your business does what you do or can do what you do.

Now, maybe you have a team that supports you, but they’re not the ones that go out and make the money for the business.

If you’re a Virtual Assistant, chances are you’re a solopreneur.

You’re the one that does the work and delivers the services.

If you have a team of Virtual Assistants or Freelancers that work with your clients – you’re not a solopreneur!

Even coaches are considered solopreneurs!

So… What’s a Trusted Partner?

A Trusted Partner is someone who can step into your business and essentially be you when you want or need to take time away from your business.

Why do you need one?

To help your clients when you are unavailable.

What happens when you get sick or have an emergency and need to be out of the office for more than a day or two?

Your clients business doesn’t stop because you do.

They have tasks that need to be done + delivered even when you’re out of the office.

Do you currently have someone who can step in and assist your clients while your away?

I didn’t… and this is what happened to me and how the Trusted Partner was born.

I had all these wonderful clients.

I was always busy, always had a lot on my plate, always had a lot of to-dos.

Then… I got sick.

In fact, I got pneumonia, and I wasn’t able to complete my daily to-dos or meet my deadlines.

And… you probably can guess what happened next.

Because I didn’t have anyone who I trusted and had similar skills as myself to do the work, I lost a few clients.

They had to go elsewhere to get their stuff done. And, I totally get it!

(Some of my other clients could wait until I got back to work but several of them were in the midst of a launch and couldn’t afford to wait).

I couldn’t work… I was just that sick.

And… on another note I don’t advocate for working when you’re sick or on vacation or need to be present for a family member.

You need time OFF – it’s that simple.

I didn’t take a vacation for the first three years of my business, which is not healthy.

I realized that I needed to have somebody who could back me up when I was unavailable and that is how the Trusted Partner was born.

Essentially a Trusted Partner becomes you when you’re unavailable for any reason.

So… what if you have a family emergency or you just need a mental health day, or, you get really sick?

How will you provide coverage for your clients?

A quick side note for those of you that are brand new to the VA Industry, this is something that you should start looking into as soon as possible. You want to take care of your clients, even when you’re out of the office.

It gives them a sense of comfort, plus this is something that not everybody does – have a Trusted Partner.

How do you find one?

In order for them to become you while you’re away, they need to have similar skill sets as you so they can do the work that needs to get done.

That way you can truly relax or get healthy while your business is in good hands.

They should be someone you know and trust.

You can find them through colleagues and even Facebook groups.

Facebook groups are a great place to start, but you have to build a relationship with someone, because you are trusting these people to run your business while you’re unavailable.

So you want to make sure that they’re a good fit for you and understand how your business works.

Bottom line is it takes TIME to find the right person.

As I mentioned they need to have similar skills, but they also need to understand how your business is run since this is NOT a cookie cutter industry.

Every business is different.

I reached out to a few colleagues that I had worked with in the past and asked them if they would be interested in being each others Trusted Partner.

These were Virtual Assistants that I had worked with on a team or who had done sub-contractor work for me.

The most important thing is to find someone you know and trust who has similar skills to you.

That way they can handle any of the tasks that may come their way.

Look at your friends, at colleagues, at people that are in groups with you, whether it’s a paid group or a free one.

Reach out to people and say, “Hey, I need a Trusted Partner and I need somebody that does X,Y, Z.”

You have to make sure you’re really zoned in on what type of skills you want. They may not have the depth of knowledge, but they should be able to do the work that needs to get done while you’re away.

How do you use them?

Once you’ve found your partner(s), be sure to let your clients know about them and how they work.

This should be part of your Business Policies and Client Kick Off call process – to introduce the concept and how they work with your Trusted Partner.

I introduced my Trusted Partners to my clients and explained that they were only available when I was unavailable for extended periods of time (3 days or more) and not for any other reason.

They’re not for emergencies when they can’t reach you for some reason.

Unavailable means you’re out of the office, on vacation, you have a family emergency, you’re sick.

That’s when the Trusted Partner would step in.

You would let your clients know the situation – that you’re on vacation, sick or otherwise unavailable and remind them about your Trusted Partners and how to connect with them.

Be sure to add the exact process for working with your Trusted Partners to your business policies document and discuss it with your clients. This way they are clear on how and when to use them. Also, add your Trusted Partners contact information and skills to your business policies document.

How do you pay them (Trusted Partner)?

That’s something that you have to figure out – but they should be paid for any work they do for you.

Remember, they are providing a valuable service for you and your clients.

It gives you peace of mind and time to unplug while you’re unavailable AND it gives your clients peace of mind knowing they have help.

My Trusted Partners and I kept it simple.

We decided to be subcontractors for each other and charge a lesser rate for the work that we did while acting as a Trusted Partner.

Since we were each others, this kept the whole thing simple.

One more quick thing…

I would set up a business email for them at your company.

For instance, [email protected].

That will keep it simple for them and your clients when reaching out to them.

So by having a trusted partner in your business, you have somebody that can step in and help them do what they need to do while you’re unavailable. It’s going to give you peace of mind while you’re out of the office, and give your clients peace of mind that they know if you’re unavailable, they have someone they can go to that can help them. And so that’s a trusted partner.

Having a Trusted Partner gives you and your clients peace of mind.

Your clients have someone they can reach out to if they need anything while you are unavailable.

And you can unplug, recharge, get healthy or tend to whatever you need while you’re away.

It makes a huge difference between keeping and losing clients.

Here is a quick checklist to help you get started finding your Trusted Partners!

Trusted Partner™ Checklist

  1. Reach out to people you trust. These can be people you have worked with on a team, met on social media or were in a course together. I recommend finding two or more.
  2. Be sure they have similar skills as you. Remember, they are going to be stepping into your business and acting as you while you are unavailable. This means that they need to understand how you run your business.
  3. Decide on whether or not you are going to pay your partners. Sometimes we paid each other, other times we just bartered for each other’s services. This is something you need to work out together. And, be sure to get it all in writing!
  4. Work with your trusted partners to create the process you use when an emergency happens and you have to be out of the office.
  5. Train your trusted partners in how you work with clients and the tools that you use (great time to have an operations manual). 
  6. Add the trusted partner process to your business policies document and share it with your clients.
  7. Make an introduction to your clients and make sure they understand the process for working with your trusted partners.
  8. Create an email for them at your company to help keep it easy for everyone involved.
  9. Decide how much and when to pay your Trusted Partners for providing this invaluable service to you and your clients.

When was the last time you truly unplugged from your business without panicking or worrying about everything that wasn’t getting done? I’d love to know.

Do you have a Trusted Partner?

I’d love to know!

All comments + questions are welcome.

Feel free to post below and let me know what action you’re taking today to find a Trusted Partner for your business.

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. Getting Organized
  2. Changing Your Employee Mindset
  3. Start Working With Clients

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. You’ll get instant access to 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’s The Difference Between Front-End Services + Back-End Services

What’s The Difference Between Front-End Services + Back-End Services

Front End vs. Back End Services

What You Need to know! 

Believe it or not there is a difference in the type of services you offer in your VA business.

I call them Front End Services + Back End Services and I want to take you through what they are in this blog post.

Now… this post is actually related to a post I wrote on why you want to stop calling yourself a Virtual Assistant.

If you haven’t read it yet, you can do so here.

The main point of that post was to point out that SO many people get hung up on what they call themselves instead of focusing on how they help their clients.

When you call yourself a Virtual Assistant people assume (right or wrong) that you’re an admin.

But what if you’re not?

I wasn’t an admin and I didn’t offer any type of administrative skills.

It’s not that I couldn’t – I didn’t want to because admin skills keep you tied to your desk or computer during certain hours of the day.

I started my business because I wanted FREEDOM an admin skills would not give me that.

You see… when you offer administrative type services (aka Front End Services) you usually need to be available during specific business hours for your clients or their clients.

You’re basically like the front desk for their office – you’re just virtual.

I didn’t want that – I wanted to do the work on my schedule.

I wanted flexibility and that is what Back End Services gives you.

The ability to work when you want, on your own schedule.

You just need to meet your deadlines.

Besides… when I started my business I wasn’t available during so-called business hours because I had a full time job.

So… the only work I could do, needed to be deadline driven and around my schedule.

Besides, I’m a systems junkie + techie and those are the type of services I wanted to offer – what I call Back-End Services.

So… just to recap the differences between Front-End + Back-End Services…

  • Front end services are administrative type services where you need to have “office hours” or availability during the work day for your clients or their clients.
    • Services such as answering phones or email, scheduling appointments, anything customer service related would be a front-end service.
  • Back end services are the techie + system type services where you can work when you want and just meet your deadlines.
    • Services such as WordPress, Mail Chimp, Email Marketing, Social Media Marketing or really anything under the Digital Marketing umbrella.
    • Anything technology or systems based.

My focus is on teaching the back-end systems and skills which is different from most other VA Trainers + Coaches in the VA Industry.

I do this for a couple of reasons:

  1. It’s my passion – I love it!
  2. It’s what online business owners aka clients need.

I would estimate that somewhere between 75 – 80% of the people starting a VA business have an administrative background of some sort. Like a PA or EA for instance.

While those skills are valuable, clients are looking for MORE than admin skills.

They are looking for people that can set up the tools, technology and systems that run + automate their business.

Clients can do their own admin work (answering their phone, schedule appointments, take care of their own customers) but they don’t know how to work the tools or systems that run their business.

Now, I’m not saying clients should do their own admin work – they shouldn’t – they should focus on what they do best.

But… push comes to shove and they don’t have the budget to hire help, they can do those things themselves.

What they can’t do is log into the back of their WordPress site, or send out an email using Mail Chimp or edit a video.

These are back-end skills that most clients don’t know how to do or are afraid to.

There is a much larger demand for back-end skills and they pay more!

Plus… it’s much easier to specialize in a specific skill or system which makes it easier to market your service and get clients.

One other difference between offering front-end + back-end services is how some of your clients might view you.

They may look at you as more of a consultant, someone they can brainstorm with as they grow their business.

It’s just a perception – I’m not saying that admins aren’t consultants.

But for some reason the word “assistant” has less value than “consultant” – especially to those of us from the corporate cube farm.

Oh… one other quick thing, just to clear up any confusion.

I’m sure you’ve heard the term OBM – it stands for Online Business Manager and they are NOT the same as Virtual Assistants.

They’re more what I call an Operations Manager – they help run a client’s business, focusing on the day to day stuff.

Many of them focus on back end services + skills but they don’t usually do admin type tasks.

You can find out more about OBM’s at onlinebusinessmanager.com.

I hope you now have a better understanding of front-end and back-end services and the differences between them.

Keep in mind, that these are my definitions or categories.

So… if you’re looking for skills that will give you the freedom to work when you want from where you want, then I’d recommend specializing in back-end services.

If you’re not sure what is considered a back-end service, feel free to comment and I’ll be happy to help.

Thank you for reading my story!

All comments + questions are welcome.

I’d love to hear from you.

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. What Skills Are Needed To Be A Virtual Assistant
  2. Setting Up A Virtual Assistant Business
  3. Your Virtual Assistant Business Plan
  4. Virtual Assistant is NOT a Title

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. You’ll get instant access to how-to video training for Virtual Assistants that want to create a successful business.

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

Virtual Assistant is NOT a Title…

Virtual Assistant is NOT a Title…

Why You Need To Stop Calling Yourself a Virtual Assistant.

It’s an Industry.

Like many of us, when we’re first starting out, we become part of the VA industry and we take on the title of Virtual Assistant.

Which, is really not a good thing.

First off, titles don’t mean as much in the entrepreneurial world or the solo-preneurial world as they do in corporate America.

For instance, when I was in corporate America, my title was Senior IT Project Manager.

Well, a lot of stuff hung from that title, like what I did, who I worked for, which department, how much money I made, and so much more was actually rolled up into my title.

Now when you become your own boss, titles really don’t matter. They don’t carry the same amount of weight as they did when you were an employee.

But now…  nobody really cares what you call yourself (no disrespect).

What clients want is somebody who can solve their problems. You could call yourself Queen of Sheba as long as you solved your client’s problems.

The point is titles don’t really matter to your clients.

Now back to why you need to stop calling yourself a Virtual Assistant.

When you’re talking to people, whether it be family, friends or even prospective clients at a networking event and they ask you – “What do you do?”.

And, you answer – “I’m a Virtual Assistant”.

You’ll most likely get one of two responses.

One – you get the deer in the headlights look. In other words they really have no idea what that means.

Two – they assume you’re and Admin in one way, shape or form.

I didn’t want to be known as an Admin – because I wasn’t one.

I was not offering admin type services  – I was offering backend systems + techie services.

The types of services that gave my the freedom I wanted and didn’t keep me tied to my desk certain hours a day like admin work does.

So… when I talk to somebody and they’re like, “Oh, Virtual Assistant. You can answer my phone or you manage my email.”

I’m like, “Uh, no. That’s not what I do.”

I quickly realized that using VA as a title or as a business owner wasn’t working for me.

I had to spend too much time trying to explain what the heck it was that I did. So, I changed my strategy to thinking about Virtual Assistant as an industry NOT a title.

And… really that is what it is, it’s not a title, but I know for most of us who’ve come out of corporate American or any JOB with a title, that’s what we kind of glob onto.

We want to call ourself a Virtual Assistant.

But… it’s time to move on and away from being a “VA”.

Remember people, don’t know what it is, they assume you’re an admin.

Start looking at VA as an industry and focus on what you do for your clients. How you help them – that is where you need to shift your focus.

If you need a title for your business card or an event, use something related to the services you offer. For example Email Marketing Manager, Transcriptionist, Social Media Specialist, etc.

Oh and before I forget… stop spending money on business cards.

They don’t work!

Instead use a Benefits Flyer™. It’s something I came up with myself many years ago because when I handed someone my business card (especially if it said VA on it), we had the same old conversation. “Well, what is it that you do? Can you explain that to me?”

So… I dropped both the business card + the title of VA and went with a flyer that says, “Here’s how I can help you.

I’ve included a link to “How to create a Benefits Flyer™” at the end of this post just in case you want to know more.

Going forward you want to focus on how you help people and the results they get and not on a title.

For instance, let’s say that I am a social media manager and my focus is the travel industry.

So when someone asks, “Hey Susan, what do you do?”

I answer, “Well, I help family-owned travel agencies manage their social media.”  Then people immediately understand what I do.

Use this simple formula: I help, WHO (who do you help – your target audience) RESULTS (what results do they get) + HOW (how do you help them – what do you do).

A few more examples to help you are…

I help Business Coaches (WHO) get in front of their audience (RESULTS) by managing their social media (HOW).

I help Yoga Studios (WHO) get more clients (RESULTS) by writing great copy (HOW).

I help Virtual Assistants (WHO) launch a successful business (RESULTS) by teaching them how to create and implement systems (HOW).

I know it takes time for many people to come up with these – to summarize them in one sentence.

It took me a long time – it’s part of getting clear on who you help and how.

Be patient and practice – it will come.

Play around with it.

It may not roll off your tongue immediately but it’s really something that you want to start focusing on.

Oh and on a side note… I know many people think that the VA industry is made up of nothing but administrative assistants and that couldn’t be further from the truth.

As I mentioned, I’m not an admin, never wanted to be, never was one. I’m not knocking admins they have great skills but it just wasn’t something that I wanted to do.

The VA industry is very, very diverse just like a business. There’s people here from HR, IT, like myself, people who do sales and marketing, systems and technology and many more.

So…  don’t think that you have to be an admin if you don’t want to be.

You can learn the skills and the systems that you need to make a difference and that help you quit your soul-sucking job or do whatever it is that you want to do.

Remember… clients are more interested in results NOT what you’re called. Focus on that!

What’s your title?

I’d love to know!

All comments + questions are welcome.

Here is another article talking about why you need to ditch titles and switch to talking to what you do and how you help your clients.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbescoachescouncil/2019/08/13/the-law-of-specialization-in-personal-branding/#33295d0e1951

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 Certifications: Why You Don’t Need One
  2. 5 Ways to Find Clients For Your VA Biz
  3. Creating Your Virtual Assistant Business Plan
  4. Creating Your Benefits Flyer.

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. You’ll get instant access to 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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