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!

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 and a package?” I decided to do a blog post all about it.

Here are my definitions for retainers and packages – 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 more than expertise. It’s a perception.

Now, retainers are 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.

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% up front 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.

A Package is a set of deliverables (tasks) based on an 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 up front 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.

Voila… You now have multiple income streams!

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 client
  • Adding up to 5 keywords provided by 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.

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.

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

Are you ready to create your Virtual Assistant Packages?

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

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. 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 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!

7 Tips to Grow Your Online Following AKA List!

7 Tips to Grow Your Online Following AKA List!

Tips To Grow Your List

Did you know that most Virtual Assistants (really ALL Solopreneurs) do not spend enough time generating leads + building a quality list?

It is crucial to spend time DAILY marketing your business to grow your list!

What’s a list?

It’s a list of both clients + prospects that are interested in you and your business.

Did you know that it’s easier to drive prospects to a “Free Offer” than drive them directly to a sale.  

Do you have a free offer on your website? Something showcases your expertise and solves a problem for your target?

If not – it’s time!!  

Almost ALL of your marketing efforts to any prospective client should be to get them on your list, and what better way than to have a Fabulous Free Offer!

Why is your “list” so important you ask?  

It’s simple….your list provides:

  • Future long-term income
  • Life & health for your business
  • Prospects the benefit of getting to know, like & trust you

No list…no pipeline!! – No pipeline…no future business!!

If you don’t have a list – it’s time to get started.  Here are 7 tips to help you start and grow your online following:

  1. Free Offer – Create a fabulous free offer that shares your expertise and passion.  Most importantly give them a taste of what you offer and leave them wanting more.
  2. Teleseminar/Telesummit/Webinar – Hold a monthly teleseminar or webinar and post it on social media, forums and anywhere else your ideal client hangs out.  This is a great way to build your list quickly!
  3. Blogging – Blog at least once a week and share your blog on social media, forums and anywhere else your ideal client hangs out!
  4. Social Media – Join Linked In and Facebook Groups and start a conversation, share your expertise, give advice, offer support.
  5. Speaking – Stand up and be heard!  Find a local club or networking group and volunteer to speak at one of their events.  This is a great way to build credibility and your list!
  6. Live Events – Go to live events such as networking meetings, seminars and conferences.  Be bold and get yourself noticed.  Participate!
  7. Testimonials – Give testimonials for your clients and include your name and a link to your website!

Take time each day to market yourself and grow your online following. Start NOW.

Block out at least 15 minutes a day on your calendar and before you know it you’ll have a list of growing fans!

Have a “freebie” is the first step in your Sales Funnel.

Make it a great one!

What do you think?

Feel free to post below and let me know what action your taking today to start growing your list.

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. Sales Funnels + The What & Why
  2. Are They Aware + Does Your Target Know You Exist
  3. 5 Awesome Ideas For Your Freebie
  4. Don’t Call Yourself a “VA”

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 Awesome Ideas For Your Freebie

5 Awesome Ideas For Your Freebie

Here Are Some Ideas For Your Freebie

Virtual Assistants often ask me, “Do I really need to have a Free Offer aka Lead Magnet on my website“?

And, my answer is always the same, “Yes you do“.

Why?

Because you need a method to attract prospects.

Yes, even a Virtual Assistant business needs a sales pipeline!

Then the next question comes… “Well, what should I create“?

The whole idea of having to create something scares many people – I know it did me when I first started out.

I’m a chronic over-thinker (anyone else have this problem) so, I ended up researching too much (another problem of mine – love to do research), and ended up overwhelmed and confused.

Does it really have to be this hard to create something, I thought.

Turns out, I was making it much harder than it needed to be. Once I stopped thinking about it, I realized I just needed a simple way to share my expertise.

The beauty of a freebie, is in it’s simplicity.

It doesn’t have to be hard to create or share.

It can be simple, even just a one page checklist.

Remember… it’s all about the VALUE.

What can you show, teach or give that will give your potential subscribers incredible value?

What to Create?

Create a freebie that showcases your expertise to your Target Market.

What is one of their biggest issues or pain points?

Not sure, ask them.

Do a survey and share it with your clients.

Don’t have any clients, find your Target Market online and ask them to fill out a simple survey.

Then take action on the results. How can you solve it? Pick a topic and get started.

Here are 5 awesome ideas for creating a freebie.

Simply, take your topic and create one of these items. Go with what suits you. Don’t be afraid to share your brilliance!

  1. A Simple Checklist – people love checklists! Take your topic and create a one page checklist on how to use it or why it’s important.
  2. An Infographic – perfect for those of us who are visual. Take your topic and create a graphic or flow chart of the steps in a process or instructions. You can even compare items.
  3. A Video or Audio Series – great for teaching and how to’s. You could break down the steps into individual videos or audios of “how to’s”. Deliver them over a series of days or weeks via an Auto-Responder or Sequence.
  4. A Resource List – similar to a checklist but this gives a list of handy tools, short cuts, etc. What tools does your Target Industry use or need to know more about?
  5. A How To Ebook, Guide or PDF – expand your simple checklist into a “How To” Ebook, PDF or Guide. These are also great for expanding on your expertise and the solutions you provide.

Remember, your Freebie isn’t about you – it’s about what you do for your clients.

The problems you solve, the solutions you provide, the transformation that happens to your client’s business when they work with you.

Oh, and a quick note. You’ll need to have an Email Marketing program to capture the names of the people who sign up. Mail Chimp or Mad Mimi are two great options when just starting out. But, you’ll need to create your Freebie first.

Do you have a Freebie?

Please add a link in the Comments below to share it!

Feel free to post below and let me know what action your taking today to create your awesome freebie.

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. Sales Funnels – The What + Why
  2. How Is Your Focus
  3. Tips To Build Your List

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 You Have A Trusted Partner™

Do You Have A Trusted Partner™

You Need a Trusted Partner

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

So, what is 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?

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 may have tasks or deadlines that need to be handled. Do you have someone who can step in and assist your clients?

I remember when I got a nasty bug that laid me up for a week. I was worried about the looming deadlines and my client’s needs. I actually lost a client during that time because she had a product launch and I was unavailable. She needed someone to help her so, she found another Virtual Assistant to fill in and complete the tasks.

After I got back to work, I decided I needed to find a partner who could step in and handle my business when I was unavailable.

And the Trusted Partner™ was born!

Where do you find one?

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.

How do you use them?

Once you’ve found your partners, be sure to let your client’s know about them and how you are using them in your business.

I introduced my “Trusted Partners™” to my clients and explained how the entire process worked. My “Trusted Partners™” were only for filling in for me when I was unavailable for extended periods of time (3 days or more) – not for any other reason.

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.

Having a Trusted Partner™ gives your clients peace of mind knowing they have someone they can reach out to if they need anything while you are unavailable. 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.

When was the last time you truly unplugged from your business? 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

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

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