How to Set Your Virtual Assistant Business Fees – Part 1

Setting your fees is something that you should think through thoroughly before you start your business. It is difficult to lower your rates once you have set them. You need to consider a number of factors to come up with a pricing structure that is right for you and your circumstances.

Some of these include:

How many hours do you want to work?
When deciding how many hours you want to work, you need to remember that your time will include chargeable client work, and your non-chargeable, but nonetheless essential, administration and marketing work. When setting up your business, much of your time will be taken up with this non-chargeable work as you build up your client base. However, the ratio of non-chargeable to chargeable time will diminish as your client base grows. It is important that you factor this in when working out the figures for your business plan.

What is the maximum number of clients with which you can work?
This may seem a strange question to consider when you are just starting out. But, it is a very important that you know your working capacity. You are in trouble if you calculate that you need 20 clients to break even, when you have time to fit only 15 into your schedule?

How much do you want to earn each year?
This is the most important question of all. Once you know the answer to this, you can work backwards and calculate how much you will earn each month, each week, or even each day. You can then draw up an action plan to show how you are going to achieve these targets.

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The Procedures You Need for Your Virtual Assistant Business

Having procedures in place is essential in a virtual assistant business, even if you currently work alone in your business. In the future, as your business expands, you may decide to take on associate VAs or employees, who need to know how you operate.

Once you have decided how you want to run your business, it is sensible to write a procedures manual. You should also think about whom you would call upon to help out if you have to take a break from the business for any reason.

Here are a few procedures to consider:

Disaster recovery
What would you do if your computer stopped working, or you lost internet connection? In addition to my business computer, I have a laptop and separate non-business broadband access, so I would be able to use my laptop and access my home broadband until the problem was fixed.

You need to consider the problems you might face and come up with appropriate solutions for each. Having contingency plans in place will help alleviate the stress as and when these problems arise.

Client intake
What happens when you sign up a client? Think about sending a ‘welcome pack’ outlining how you operate, detailing your procedures, and including any other information you deem appropriate.

Complaints
In the unlikely event that you receive a complaint, you need to have a procedure in place to deal with it. Think about how long it will take to investigate complaints thoroughly, and to respond to them appropriately.

Corporate style
What is your ‘house’ font going to be? What email signature should you use? Whatever the size of your business, having a consistent and recognisable corporate identity creates a good impression with everyone with whom you interact.

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How Virtual Assistants Can Avoid Fatal Website Mistakes

Mistake 6: Not mentioning what makes you different, your USP.
When I’m doing online research for a particular product or service, I want to know right away what makes any company unique or different from their competition. Most virtual assistant websites just display a whole list of services they provide. While I agree that you do need to let your prospects know all the bases you can cover, if you love designing databases or have a passion for project management, tell the world about it on your website.

The beauty of this is that you will then tend to attract clients that need those services so you will be doing more of what you love. How great is that?

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Use the Power of Blogging to Raise Your Profile

Oct 23Blogging is a fantastic way to promote your virtual assistant business by demonstrating your expertise on different topics.

This free guide, 10 Steps for Successful Blogging To Raise Your Profile, offers 10 simple steps to help you start promoting your VA business effectively.

Download your free guide at: http://vasuccessgroup.co.uk/virtual-assistant-freebies/10-step-downloads/

How Virtual Assistants Can Avoid Fatal Website Mistakes

Mistake 4: Not Turning Your Website Visitors Into Prospects.
Lots of virtual assistants complain that they get a lot of visitors to their website, but few of them convert into customers. Most marketing texts will tell you that it takes approximately 7 ‘touches’ for a prospect to decide to buy something from you. A visit to your website is just one touch. If you don’t have a system in place for capturing information about your website visitors so you can keep in touch with them, when they are ready to buy they will simply purchase from someone else they have got to know, like, and trust online.

The best tool you can have in place for this purpose is an email newsletter. You can create a regular publishing schedule to be in touch with your contact database, and you can easily demonstrate your expertise via the articles you write and resources your provide.

For a whole selection of free tips and advice, visit: http://vasuccessgroup.co.uk/virtual-assistant-freebies/10-step-downloads/

Top Tips for Working with Associates in Your VA Business

Oct 19Eventually, one of the main problems that virtual assistants face is reaching the limit on the number of hours that can be billed to clients. After all, there are only have 24 hours in every day, and we do need to sleep! We also have to do the administration for our own businesses, as well as continuing our marketing activities to ensure a steady stream of new clients.

So, how can you earn more money? One way is to bring on board associates to undertake some of the client work, so that you can take on additional work. There are two ways that this could work:

1. You act as project manager, dealing directly with all your clients. You then delegate their work to an associate, who returns the completed work to you to check before sending it back to the client. This is a very ‘hands-on’ role, which takes up a fair amount of time. Also, the associate’s contract is with you and, as such, their work cannot be charged to the client.

2. Give your clients direct access to your associates to communicate requests and receive completed work. This means that you can still undertake chargeable work without having to get too involved.

Once you make the decision to start working with associates, think about the people you can bring on board to compliment your skills and even offer new services. For example, think about social media management, bookkeeping, SEO, website design, IT helpdesk, telephone answering, copywriting, audio typing, shopping-cart management and graphic design. The services you offer do not have to be traditional virtual assistant services. Think about the services that might be useful to your customers and offer them. Being seen as a ‘one-stop shop’ for all clients’ requirements will increase your earning potential.

Do you want help with the documents you need to start working with associates? Check out our Associate Templates Pack available to download immediately.

The Common Business Models for Virtual Assistants

Businesswoman working at homeWhen setting up your virtual assistant business, there are a few different business models from which you can choose.

Solo Virtual Assistant
This is by far the most popular model most virtual assistant chooses to begin with. You set up your business to work as a ‘one-man band’ and charge clients for your time.

Obviously, there are only a certain number of hours you can work, so you need to consider what you will do when you are reach full capacity. Plus, you need to make contingency plans for times when you are ill, or are on holiday, or when emergencies arise.

Partnership
This is two or more people working together to run one virtual assistant business. It is a great option, as it allows you to offer different skills and experiences to create a full-service company for your clients.

You are also covered in emergencies, as there is more than one of you. But, there may be differences of opinion when it comes to running the company, short- and long-term goals, vision, direction, etc.

Sub-contracting
This is a great option for both the solo virtual assistant and partnership models, as you can sub-contract work to other experienced virtual assistants.

You can build a team of professionals that you can call upon when you have too much work or if you are asked to quote for work for which you do not have the necessary skills.

VA Business Licence/Franchise
This is where you buy into an existing Virtual Assistant business and benefit from the hard work they have put in when building their brand. This is a great option if you do not want to build your own business from scratch, but do want to be your own boss.

So, which option is right for you?

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