In today’s post, I get asked if you need to be incorporated to accept client projects and how to determine your rate.
I love hearing from you. If you’ve got a question for me, please send it to me here.
This one is from Tawana. Here’s what she wrote:
First of all, I would like to say thank you so much for providing an open forum to discuss all things virtual assisting. I have entertained the thought of starting my own virtual assistant business and now, I have finally taken action. With regards to developing a profile and submitting proposal on sites such as Odesk or Guru, is it recommended to have a business entity established prior to accepting clients? I am currently working on submitting my application to the Secretary of State to become a LLC and was unsure if the formalities should be in place prior to working as a freelancer.
Lastly, is there a particular book or training course that you would recommend that would aid in providing guidance regarding appropriately pricing the services in which I will offer? I did see on your site that you offer a course in writing winning proposals, but I can’t recall seeing a course in pricing. Although, I could have overlooked it. 🙂
Any information that you can provide would be great appreciated!
I love this question! Absolutely NOT! You don’t need a business entity established prior to accepting clients on Odesk, Guru, or Elance. In fact, you don’t need one to have your first local client.
When you’re first starting out it’s the discovery period. You’re testing the waters to see if you want to be a virtual assistant. And then deciding if you want to go beyond just you in your business.
Imagine getting incorporated, registering for a business license, buying business cards, and setting up a website only to realize, you don’t like the business.
I started two businesses previous to Virtual Hired Hand and they both flopped before the ink was dry on our incorporation papers.
The thought of having a business is really cool. But the work involved requires it be something you’re willing to do paid or not.
No point in getting caught up with planning and protecting, when you don’t have a business.
No clients = No business
And, you have no business protecting something that doesn’t exist.
At the beginning, focus on getting one client. Then two, three…
At that point you have experience working with clients. You can start making decisions about what you want your business to look like.
Will you just take a project here and there? Or will you seek long term clients, those who are ready to make a monthly commitment.
Get started with your business first.
If you already have the one, two or three clients, consult with a certified public accountant in your area. I used Dave Ramsey’s website to find a reputable one. Beth does an amazing job and even was able to detangle some things early on when we first started working together. Because she had passed Dave’s test, I was confident in giving her my business.
In regards to setting your rate, my course includes how to set your bid amount. It’s based on a mix of things like your time, tools, experience, etc.
When you’re using job boards to get started your rate is a ‘Right Now Rate’. It will be lower than the rate you’ll charge in the future and it will not be what you’re worth.
The point of the ‘Right Now Rate’ is to fill your portfolio and gain experience based on the skills you enjoy and plan to provide to clients. –> (click to tweet) <--
As you gain more experience increase your rate. Virtual Assistants charge anywhere from $15 – $75 depending on what their offering.
Here’s a quick exercise to give you a starting point! Click here
Your goal is to get clients and build your portfolio. If your rate is too high, it may be hard to attract clients until you have more experience. If your rate is too low, your clients may not see the value in what you provide.