Your Virtual Assistant Business Plan

Your Virtual Assistant Business Plan

Your Virtual Assistant Business Plan:
What You Need In yours

Are you ready to create your Virtual Assistant Business Plan?

Welcome to the second blog post in the Setting up a Virtual Assistant Business series.

This post is all about your plan.

The plan to set up your Virtual Assistant business.

If you haven’t read the first blog post in this series, I invite you to do so before jumping into this one.

You can read it HERE.

Ok, back to your plan.

I know I mentioned in the previous blog post that the first thing you need to do is have a plan. A plan for how and when you’re going to do the work needed to make it happen.

But to be honest… the first thing you should do is make a decision.

A decision to either find out more about becoming a virtual assistant or going for it and starting your own business.

So… step number two is the actual plan.

Your plan of action.

That’s what this post is all about – your Virtual Assistant Business Plan.

We’re going to cover 9 essential things you need to know when planning your VA business.

So, let’s start with the actual business plan. The business plan I’m talking about here is not the same as a typical business plan. We don’t need a plan written for banks or investors (typical business plans).

What we need is a plan that walks us through the steps we need to set up our business.

So, let’s dive into the plan.

But, before we do, be sure to download my free Virtual Assistant Business Plan template that walks you through the process we’re talking about here.

Ok, let’s get started.

I’d like to ask you a few questions.

  • What do you know about being a Virtual Assistant?
  • Have you done the research?

I think it’s important to have a clear understanding of what you’re getting into. Not to scare you – but so you know what to expect. (Stay tuned for my next series of blog posts about being a Virtual Assistant).

This is step number one.

Do the research – understand what being a Virtual Assistant is all about.

Step #2 is your why.

In other words, why do you want to be a Virtual Assistant? To start your own business?

Your why is what keeps you focused and motivated during hard times. And, my friend there will be hard times. Knowing why you’re doing what you’re doing helps you weather those hard times.

Take a moment and write down your why.

Feel free to share in the comment section below, I would love to know.

Mine, is freedom – in every sense of the word.

And… be sure to post your why where you can see it every day to remind you why your on this journey.

Step #3 is investing.

How much money do you have to invest in your new business? Because, let’s be honest, it’s hard to set up a business for free. There is an investment of either time or money or both.

It’s all about working with what you’ve got.

This business is your future right? It’s your dream.

If you’re currently working, my best advice is to set aside money to invest in equipment or training. How much money can you put away each paycheck towards your dream?

Even if you’re not working, there are other things you can give up like eating out or your morning Starbucks.

Take that money and invest it in yourself – because you are your business.

Please take a moment and figure out what works for you. Something is better than nothing.

We’re going to talk more about what to invest in, in the next blog post.

Step #4 is your schedule.

How much time can you invest in getting your business off the ground? What’s your current schedule look like?

I know it can be challenging to find extra time when you’re working and trying to build your business on the side.

I’ve been there, done that and got the tee shirt to prove it.

I had a full time corporate career, plus an infant at home when I started my Virtual Assistant business over 10 years ago. I remember what a struggle it was to figure out how to juggle it all and stay sane!

Can you get up two hours early in the morning to work on your business? What about setting aside two hours later in the evening?

I gave up watching TV at night. Instead, I used that time to work on my business.

How about working during lunch?

The most important thing is to find the time.

The question is, where can you find even one hour a day to work on your business? Every little bit makes a big difference.

Step #5 is how much you need to earn.

This is a BIG one.

And… another step that many people neglect to do. I know I did (neglect this step).

I was so focused on getting out of my job, I estimated what I thought I needed to earn in my new business, instead of actually doing the math.

Boy was I wrong – I WAY underpriced myself.

You need to know how much you need to earn. This number is your baseline number – the amount you must earn in order to keep the lights on.

I have a YouTube video series on pricing and setting your rates.

You can find it here.

I recommend watching at least the first two videos, as it goes thru the exercise of figuring out how much you need to earn using my Rate Calculation sheet.

You can download the sheet by clicking on the image below.

Be sure to make a note of how much you need to earn and how much you want to earn. Both of these numbers are important.

Step #6 is your service offerings.

Do you know what services you want to offer in your Virtual Assistant business? What skills do you have today that you can offer?

It’s time to start thinking about what services you’d like to offer.

Like all other industries, the VA industry has specific skill sets that are in high demand. Anything techie or digital marketing are hot.

What do I mean by “techie” or “digital marketing”? Well… any of the dozens of techie tools clients use to run their business.

Such as:

  • Mail Chimp
  • Mailerlite
  • Active Campaign
  • WordPress
  • Buffer

Digital marketing includes skills such as:

  • Email Marketing
  • Video Marketing
  • Content Marketing
  • Digital Ads (Facebook, YouTube)
  • Social Media Marketing.

It really pays to specialize when it comes to being a Virtual Assistant.

Specializing makes it easier to sell your expertise instead of your time. You can package up your expertise into service packages. It makes marketing + sales so much easier!

I recommend that all Virtual Assistants learn WordPress + Mail Chimp. They are two in demand skills that clients are always asking for.

If you want to learn more about offering WordPress services, check out my free webinar 3 Secrets To Offering WordPress Services. You can watch it here.

The most important thing is to only offer what you love to do.

Take a look at the skills you have right now – I bet you have something you can offer.

  • Customer service
  • Project management
  • Event planning
  • Inbox or calendar management

All of these skills are needed and can get you started as a Virtual Assistant.

Take a few minutes to list out the skills you have and anything that you’d like to learn more about.

Step #7 is your target market (lucky seven).

This is where you’re going to target your marketing efforts.

Not everyone is your customer – you have to focus your attention on a specific market.

Now I know many people think that targeting their marketing means they’ll have less business. Or… that they’ll have to turn away business away that is not in their market. Neither of these are true.

In fact, what you focus on expands. You end up with more clients when you focus then when you don’t.

It’s easier to get clients too because you know who to get in front of to share your expertise.

Take a moment and answer these questions:

  1. What industries are you passionate about?
  2. What do you love to do?
  3. Who do you want to help?

These questions will help you to figure out who you want to work with.

Remember, it’s your business, your choice. You get to choose everything including who you work with.

We’ll be deep diving this topic a bit more in a future blog post.

Step #8 is your perfect day.

This one might seem a bit strange but I’d love you to just go with it.

I want you to design your perfect day, your perfect business.

  • What does it look like to you?
  • How many hours do you work? (4 hours a day, 3 days a week, etc.)
  • Where do you work? (RV, park, cabin, home, etc.)
  • What is your perfect business? (living where you want, working when you want, etc.)

Do this exercise like money is NO object.

Really take some time to imagine what your perfect day would be. And, what would your perfect business allow you to do?

My perfect day is a mix of creative and client work plus time for family & all my hobbies.

My perfect business allows me to give back to others and to make a difference.

Oh and I don’t work on Fridays!

What’s yours?

Finally, step #9 is what do you need.

What do you need to set up your virtual assistant business?

Well, since a business is a system, you need to set up your systems first. Your systems are the foundation of your business. This is a step TOO many people skip over.

Shaky systems = shaky business.

Do you really want a shaky business?

You should always implement your business systems BEFORE working with clients.

Don’t fall for the scam, get a client then figure it out! That’s not a great way to start a relationship.

We’re going to deep dive each of the four key business systems and what you need to implement in the next five blog posts. These are the systems that run and support your business.

In the next post in this series, we are going to talk about the key virtual assistant systems you need to succeed.

Whew… you made it to the end!

Now, it’s time for action.

If you haven’t downloaded the free Virtual Assistant Business Plan template, then I recommend clicking the button below to grab it.

It walks you through the 9 questions covered in this blog post and it will help you take the action you need to plan your future.

You have to do the work <grin>.

If you’re looking for a step by step guide that walks you through setting up your VA business (including everything covered in this blog post), be sure to check out my affordable VA Action Plan. It’s a workbook that walks you through the basic must haves in an easy to follow step-by-step system. For all the details go to http://bit.ly/vaactionplan

It’s time to get busy creating your Virtual Assistant Business Plan.

Download the template below:

Be sure to keep your VA Business Plan handy, as we’ll be using it again!

The next blog post in this series is all about the virtual assistant systems you need to design, create & implement. You can read it here.

What do you think?

Feel free to post below and let me know what action your taking today to complete your VA business plan.

I’d love to here 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 + What You Need To Know
  2.  Virtual Assistant Is NOT A Title
  3. Creating Your Virtual Assistant Service Packages
  4. Tips For Starting Your VA Business While Still Working

If you’re looking for more details on how to set up and launch your own VA business, join my FREE VA Training Library at http://bit.ly/trainvas. It’s over 7 hours of how to training specifically for Virtual Assistants looking to build 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!

Setting Up a Virtual Assistant Business

Setting Up a Virtual Assistant Business

Setting up a Virtual Assistant Business:
What You Need to Know

It’s overwhelming isn’t it?

All the information on the web about setting up a virtual assistant business.

There are pages and pages of it!

It can be overwhelming and confusing.

It’s hard to know what to do first or where to start.

I remember what it was like when I started out way back in 2009.

I found tons of helpful information.

But the problem was… it was not a complete system or process.

I had to try and put all the information together myself and hope I had it right.

Sometimes I did and sometimes I didn’t.

It took lots of trial and error AND time to figure out what I needed and in what order.

To help you avoid the same mistakes that I made, I thought I would share my system.

Because it’s all about systems.

A business is after all just a series of systems working together.

I’m creating a series of blog posts on how to set up a virtual assistant business.

Everything you need to know laid out in a simple, step-by-step system. (Something I wish I had when I first started).

In this first blog post, I’ll be sharing an overview of the steps & processes you need to get your VA business up and running.

So, let’s get started.

First, you need a plan.

A plan for how and when you’re going to do the work needed to make it happen.

I have a step by step action plan that walks you through everything you need to set up your VA business and it’s super affordable.

You can find out more about it by going to http://bit.ly/vaactionplan

Second, you need to know what it takes.

It takes hard work to set up and launch a VA business.

You can do it in 5 days, 14 days or 90 days, if you have a system.

The timeline is up to you.

And, you need to have skills that clients want.

Just like in the job world, it’s all about the skills and expertise you have.

You need to look at your current skill set and how you can use it to your advantage.

You don’t need any special Certification to be successful.

And, third you need to take action.

You need to implement your key business systems.

These systems are the foundation of your business.

Without them, your business is on shaky ground.

Remember… a business is a system.

Here are the 4 key business systems you need to implement:

  • Business
  • Marketing
  • Sales
  • Delivery

We will be diving into each one of these key systems, along with planning and understanding what it takes to set up a successful Virtual Assistant business in this blog series.

For the next blog post, we are focusing on creating a plan for how and when you’re going to do the work needed to get your VA business off the ground. You can read it by clicking here.

Do you have plan for setting up a Virtual Assistant Business?

I’d love to know if you do!

If not, be sure to check out my VA Action Plan at http://bit.ly/vaactionplan

Feel free to post below and let me know what action you’re taking today to set up your VA biz.

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 Certifications + Why You Don’t Need One
  2. VA Coaching & Training 101 + What You Need To Watch Out For
  3. Virtual Assistant Systems + What You Need To Know
  4. Virtual Assistant Business Plan + What You Need In Your Plan

If you’re looking for more details on how to set up and launch your own VA business, join my FREE VA Training Library at http://bit.ly/trainvas. It’s over 7 hours of how to training specifically for Virtual Assistants looking to build 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!

The Fake It Until You Make It Strategy

The Fake It Until You Make It Strategy

Don’t Use The Fake It Until You Make It Strategy

Lately I’ve seen lots of posts and ads about “Fake it until you make it” and I have a serious problem with this so called strategy.

So Friends, this is going to be a “soapbox” post – you’ve been warned  ;-).

Not to mention there are people teaching this strategy to new Virtual Assistants…. it’s just wrong.

If you’re not familiar with it… it means fake like you know what you’re doing until you do!

That’s no way to do business!

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.

I’ve heard WAY too many horror stories about Virtual Assistants saying they know how to do something just to get the client.

Then, when it comes time to deliver, they disappear leaving the client high and dry.

This damages our industry. Clients have trust issues (rightfully so) because they’ve been burned.

The VA Industry is a service based industry, similar to lawyers, CPA’s, doctors, dentists, plumbers and many more.

Would you want your attorney or doctor to fake it on you until they learn what they need to make it?

I know I would not.

Now I know that’s not a straight comparison, but you get the idea. Professionals such as attorneys or doctors spend years in school learning their professions plus pass a test before they can even begin working with clients.

Virtual Assistants do not.

It’s all about ethics and being transparent with your clients. If you don’t know something, say so.

You might be surprised… many clients are willing to work with you to help you learn things.

And… there is a big difference between faking it and lack of confidence.

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.

There are so many ways you can learn the skills you need to be successful. Take a class, intern, sub-contract, or find a mentor.

I sub-contracted for several people when I was getting started to gain confidence and understand how this whole business works.

Go with what you already know – offer that.

But please, stop faking it.

What do you think?

Feel free to post below and share your thoughts on this strategy.

I’d love to here 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. Tips For Sub-Contracting Your Services
  2. Changing Your Employee Mindset

Oh… and each week I host an Open Mic Session in my VA Tips & Tricks Facebook Group where I deep dive specific topics & answer your questions, be sure to join us for the next one – it’s FREE! Go to http://bit.ly/vatipstricks.

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 Certification – Why You Don’t Need One

Virtual Assistant Certification – Why You Don’t Need One

You Don’t Need a Certification!

I’ve noticed a lot of new Virtual Assistant Certification training programs on the market lately and just wanted to point something out that you may not be aware of.

The Virtual Assistant Industry is
not a standardized industry.

It does not have a committee or governing body that has certified specific standards that Virtual Assistants must meet to be considered certified.

There are no true “Virtual Assistant Certification”.

There is NO Industry Approved Accreditation.

It’s not like the Project Management or IT Industries where there are governing bodies and true certification programs.

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.

A completion certificate shows that you succesfully completed a training program.

A certification means you’ve passed a test given by an accredited body. There isn’t one for the VA Industry.

It’s a marketing ploy – don’t fall for it.

Do your research before investing in any programs.

Find out how long they’ve been in the industry, how long they’ve been in business and if they’re selling their own stuff or if they bought it from someone else (PLR) and are just putting their name on it.

Ask around about their programs or ask for testimonials.

Do they have a refund policy? If so, what is it?

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.

I’d love to here 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. Setting Up Your VA Business + What You Need To Know
  2. 5 Must Haves When Starting a VA Business
  3. Starting a VA Business – Where Do I Start
  4. VA Training + Coaching What To Watch Out For

Oh… and each week I host an Open Mic Session in my VA Tips & Tricks Facebook Group where I deep dive specific topics & answer your questions, be sure to join us for the next one – it’s FREE! Go to http://bit.ly/vatipstricks.

Thanks for reading – Susan

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

5 Ways To Find Clients For Your VA Business

5 Ways To Find Clients For Your VA Business

Do you struggle to find clients for your Virtual Assistant Biz?

I see this question almost daily on Social Media – “How Do I Find Clients?

And, I’ve been where you are – I remember desperately wanting to land that first or second client but clueless how to go about it. I didn’t know anything about marketing or sales other than that it made me feel kinda icky and nervous when I thought about selling anything!

This is the blog consists of mostly questions you need to ask yourself. Remember, don’t overthink it, go with the answers that come to you first.

There are NO wrong answers here <grin>.

Let’s get started!

In this blog post I want to give you 5 tips that I wish I had when I was first starting out.

Why?

Because they really do make a HUGE difference when it comes to finding clients and being successful.

First… Two things you need to remember…

  1. Marketing is the key to success.
  2. It’s all about awareness.

Actually, these two go hand in hand and are at the core of how to be successful in any business.

Marketing = Awareness

Marketing Does Not = Sales

In order to find clients they have to know you exist (awareness) and you need to share (marketing) your brilliance with them.

You can’t be everything to everyone – you have to choose who you want to work with.

And, this can be scary for many (it was for me) since when you have a job you really don’t get to choose.

Tip #1 – Who are they? Ask yourself the following:

  • Who do you want to help or work with?
  • Is there an industry or profession you are naturally drawn to?
  • What are your passions?
  • It does not have to be where your expertise is – you can learn what you need!

Once you figure out who, it’s all about finding them. They can’t be aware of you if they don’t know about you.

Tip #2 – Where are they? Ask yourself the following:

  • Where can you find them online?
  • Where can you find them offline?
  • Do you already know people who can help you find “them”?

Everyone has a problem they need solved and they are willing to pay for it. This is why businesses exist ;-).

Tip #3 – What problem(s) do you solve for them? Ask yourself the following:

  • Do they have a specific problem unique to their industry?
  • Does your expertise solve a specific problem?
  • What keeps them up at night?

Marketing is all about benefits and solutions NOT you or your resume. It’s all about what you do for your clients, NOT what you do or who you are.

Tip #4 – How do you solve them? Ask yourself the following:

  • What skills do you have that will help solve their problem(s)?
  • Do you have an expertise that they need?

Now you know who, where & what, it’s all about Awareness & Value.

Time to share your brilliance.

Show them how working with you will solve their problems and make a difference. Provide lots of value!

Tip #5 – How are you making them aware of you? Ask yourself the following:

  • Are you blogging about the problems you solve?
  • Are you showing up online and/or offline where “they” are?
  • How are you providing value?
  • How are you proving you can help them?

Whew…. you made it! Congratulations.

The beauty of marketing and awareness is once you figure it out all, you can implement a plan to rinse and repeat!

Did you complete the questions? 

Feel free to post below and let me know what action your taking today to make your clients aware of you + your business.

I’d love to here 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. Are You Ready To Work With Clients
  2. You’re Not Marketing – You’re Sharing
  3. Tips For Interviewing Potential Clients

Oh… and each week I host an Open Mic Session in my VA Tips & Tricks Facebook Group where I deep dive specific topics & answer your questions, be sure to join us for the next one – it’s FREE! Go to http://bit.ly/vatipstricks.

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 Do I Charge For My Services?

What Do I Charge For My Services?

What do I charge for my services?

I get this question weekly from people either thinking of starting a Virtual Assistant business or someone who has landed their first client and has no idea what to charge.

Now, in my honest opinion you should know what you are charging for your services BEFORE you get your first client.

The problem with waiting until after you’ve landed them is they can see you scrambling around trying to figure it out or they can sense that you don’t quite have it all together yet. Not a great way to start a relationship.

This is why I’m always saying you need to have your business foundation in place before you start taking on clients.

Sorry… getting off my soap box <grin>.

Back to what do you charge for your services.

First, what you charge is directly related to your skills & the services you offer.

Regardless of what you may have been told, it takes more than administrative skills to be successful as a Virtual Assistant.

The more technology you know, the more you can charge and the easier it is to get clients.

The more experienced you are, the more you can charge!

Second, you need to know your numbers.

What numbers you ask?

How much you NEED to earn & how much you WANT to earn. (These numbers should be different, in some cases vastly different.)

Do you know yours?

This number is your baseline number – the amount you must earn in order to keep the lights on.

I create a YouTube video series on pricing and setting your rates. It goes into detail about how to find your baseline rate using my Rate Calculation Sheet Template.

You can find it here.

I recommend watching at least the first two videos, as it goes thru the exercise of figuring out how much you need to earn using my Rate Calculation sheet.

You can download the Rate Calculation sheet by clicking on the image below.

Also… stay away from asking people on Social Media how much you should charge. They don’t know your numbers – you are the best person to decide what you should charge.

Third, what services are you offering?

What is the market willing to pay for those skills?

Here are average rates by type of service in US Dollars. Please note these rates are NOT guaranteed, and are to be used as a guideline. (The more experienced you are in an area, the more you can charge.)

  • Administrative Skills – $25+
    • Data Entry
    • Calendar Management
    • Email Management
  • Technical Skills – $35+
    • MailChimp
    • 1ShoppingCart
    • LeadPages
  • Specialized Skills – $50+
    • Email Marketing
    • Project Management
    • Operations

What services are you offering?

Once you’ve completed these exercises (how much you need to charge & your services), it’s time to create your Action Plan for getting clients & getting busy.

What do you think?

Feel free to post below and let me know what action your taking today to figure out how much you need + want to earn.

I’d love to here 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. Setting Up A Virtual Assistant Business
  2. Day to Day Operations + Systems
  3. How Many Clients Do I Need
  4. Interviewing Potential Clients
  5. Video Series on Setting Rates

Oh… and each week I host an Open Mic Session in my VA Tips & Tricks Facebook Group where I deep dive specific topics & answer your questions, be sure to join us for the next one – it’s FREE! Go to http://bit.ly/vatipstricks.

Thanks for reading – Susan

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

Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This