Design a customer experience that you can repeat again and again. #vatip Gotta Tweet!
Just because you have the time doesn’t mean you should spend all of it working. #vatipGotta Tweet!
Stop comparing yourself to others. You have no idea what’s going on behind the scenes. #vatip Gotta Tweet!
Hello, hello, virtual assistants. You are listening to episode number 31. Today we’re going to talk about respecting the process of building your virtual assistant business. Now, respect is an acronym, so in this case R.E.S.P.E.C.T. R.E.S.P.E.C.T. the process of building your virtual assistant business.
What exactly is that? What is this process?
In coming up with the topic for today, I tell you, so many things going on, wrapping up the end of summer. By the time this recording goes live, school will have started, and that’s always important to me because my husband is a high school teacher and so the summer our schedule has been pretty much we kind of fly as we go every single day. He’s also the youth minister at our church so different things come up with that. So the summer has been unpredictable to say the least, and so I’m excited that school is back in very, very soon and I can get back to a regular schedule as will he, but I’m not sure he’s as excited about school being back in as I am.
So I was just brainstorming different topics and the whole thing about scheduling came up as an idea. What to do when you’re feeling stuck in VA business. All these things just totally brainstorming, and then it hit me about R.E.S.P.E.C.T. and how there’s a process to building your business. It doesn’t matter if you’re at the starting gate, you’re in the middle, you’ve got a nice stride, you like how things are going, or you’re at a point where you know something has to change or you’re going to walk away.
Let’s talk about that. The R in our R.E.S.P.E.C.T. acronym:
Routine – create a regular routine for yourself that you’ll follow, one that is flexible.
Routine is not meant to be monotonous. It’s something that can be changed. I mean, this is something that you’re creating for yourself, so make sure it’s flexible, that it’s reasonable, and it makes sense for you. It’s going to look different for all of us. It could be as simple as structuring your days around a particular theme based on what you want to accomplish for that day.
Let’s say you could have a social media day or video day or recording day or meeting day where that’s the time where you schedule potential customers, appointments, and things like that. Routine is excluding the work that you would be doing for clients. This is specifically for your virtual assistant business. So shaping that routine so that it’s a theme based on certain days. That’s one way to do it.
Another way is really breaking it down from one hour to the next. This week I saw an article about how to schedule your day when you’re unemployed, and really the full title: How to schedule your day for maximum productivity when you’re unemployed. Now, the reason why I pulled up this article is because I’ve been unemployed before and there are so many varied emotions and it is very similar to building a virtual assistant business because now you’re totally responsible for your schedule.
I thought this information was good if you’re in transition. Say you’re in transition from your full-time job working to building your virtual assistant business full-time, going from that part-time building to full-time building for your virtual assistant business. I’ll link this article that I’m referring to in the show notes, but it breaks it down from one part of the day to another based on time, like from the time you wake up, to the time you shower, to the time you eat, until the time you search.
In this case, it’s related to unemployment so it’s talking about searching for jobs. But for us, this would be our marketing. So where you see in the article searching for long-term and short-term jobs, this would be our customers. This would be marketing opportunities for us in our new business. It even talks about learning skills and networking and on and on.
You can, in setting up your routine, base it on hours. It just depends on how detailed you want to be around it, but the key is to create that routine for yourself so that when Monday comes you know exactly what you’re to be doing. Every single day you know exactly what you’re to be doing.
I would even schedule a day where you’re off. You’re not doing anything, you are enjoying the day or having a self-improvement day, a personal development day, where you’re taking time to read and to learn. If it’s not a bit of every day, you may just need to have a set day for it. This routine doesn’t have to be stuck to a weekday. You know, there are seven days in a week. You decide what that looks like for you.
Experience – what do you want customers to experience when they work with you?
This is something that would totally set you apart from anyone else because it would be specific to you. A good way to think about what you want this experience to look like is to think about the best service you’ve ever received. How did it make you feel? What did it look like? What was it about the service that you liked the most? From that, draw what you can use for your virtual assistant business.
If a customer sends you an email and they are inquiring, interested in working with you, what do you want them to experience at that first encounter? Whether that first encounter is your website or social media or on a call or in an email or a networking event or a meetup, what do you want that experience to be? You want it to be something you can repeat again and again, so something that is genuinely you, a part of you, something that is an extension of you and who you are, what you want that experience to be.
What do you want the on boarding process to be for new customers that come on? When they sign up and they pay for a monthly package so you know they’re going to be a regular customer, it’s not going to be a one-off project, what do you want the next steps for them to be? What do you want them to experience from the moment they pay to the moment of experiencing your business every week, every month, whatever the case may be? Experience – what do you want customers to experience when they work with you?
Systems – everything we have discussed up to this point contributes to your systems for your business – the routine, the customer experience.
What systems are you putting in place now that can be used on a regular basis for your business? If you don’t have any, it’s time to create some.
You want to have something in place so that it ends up being your regular structure for your business. It could be helpful as a contingency plan. If you were unable to work your business for whatever amount of time, it’s something that someone else could easily learn and pick up and do things for you, especially if you’re looking to grow your virtual assistant business as a virtual assistant firm where you’re building your own virtual team and have other people working with you.
Or if you’re looking to remove yourself from the day-to-day task of actually doing client work to focusing more on marketing and interviewing customers and getting people signed up and then having a team that actually does the work, by having a system you could easily train your team on how to do everything so it all runs smoothly.
Packaging – package your services so there is little room for negotiation.
Now, when you first start you are most likely starting out on the job boards or taking on hourly clients and that is fine. Once you’ve gotten, let’s say, five or six under your belt, you’ve experienced it, you know what it’s like, and it’s time to take it up to the next level and package those services so now you no longer are trading hours for dollars, to where you’ve got a flat rate.
Even if you are selling a bulk of time, and I would even so much as to say instead of selling that bulk of time, sell a bulk of services. So if your services are client care, email support, social media management, make it so that it’s centered around the service versus how long it’ll take you because centering it around that service packaging things together represents a certain value that can’t even be matched by how long it takes.
It might take you 15 minutes to put someone’s newsletter together, but the value it brings for their customer is way more than what you would charge if you’re charging by the hour and it only took you 15 minutes, even if you were doing it in 30 minute increments or a minimum of 1 hour. So package around those services making it so you’re not swapping time for money.
You’re putting that package in place so that, again, it’s easy when it’s time to build a team because things are centered around the package versus how long it took. If you have a team and they’re doing the social media scheduling, they’re creating graphics for Instagram, you can have that flat package rate and a team does the work. You pay your team and the client is happy, everybody is happy, and you move forward by having the packaging.
As a side note, when working with a virtual team, I recommend you do subcontracting where everybody’s 1099. That way you’re not worried about payroll on a monthly basis. You don’t have worry about vacation, benefits, and all that stuff. But subcontracting, working with other virtual assistants, because you’re a virtual assistant, you know what it’s like to be a VA and you will probably be the best client for another virtual assistant because you know what it’s like to be on the other side.
So packaging services so that there’s little negotiation, so things run smoothly and you can focus on services needed versus how long it’s going to take and how much this and that is. You’ve already got that set in place, no room for a negotiation.
Expectancy – let me read to you expectancy, and I’ve heard different things, you know, some people say you shouldn’t expect much or it’s almost like saying don’t get your hopes up high and all this stuff. But expectancy is something pleasant that you foresee happening at a point in time.
What pleasant thing do you foresee as a result of building a virtual assistant business?
This is the fun part. You want to set your expectations high for your business. Where do you see it going? Dream big on this one. High expectations.
Now, I’ve got three quotes from three different motivational speakers and let me tell you the first one. Grant Cardone, I enjoy listening to him. I have a few of his books. He trains on selling and all of us sell whether we like to sell or not.
Grant Cardone is a motivation speaker and author and here’s what he says, “Better to be disappointed because you set your expectations too high and came up short, than to have no expectations and be assured of absolute and abject failure and disappointment in your life!”
Les Brown says, “No one rises to low expectations.”
Ralph Marston of The Daily Motivator says, “Don’t lower your expectations to meet your performance. Raise your level of performance to meet your expectations. Expect the best of yourself, and then do what is necessary to make it a reality.”
What pleasant thing do you foresee as a result of your business? What do you expect as a result of having a virtual assistant business? What are your expectations? Raise them high.
Clarity – get clear on what you want your business to look like as life changes occur.
I can easily say, you know, get clear on how you want your business to look in three months, six months, a year, five years, or ten years. But to make it simple and real for us in getting clear, what do you want your business to look like when different life changes occur?
For example, what do you want your business to look like if things change for you like getting married? If you’re single and starting a virtual assistant business, let’s say you get married, how do you want that business to look now that you’ve gotten married?
When I was single, I overworked myself. I did. I loved what I did. I had all the time. I had days, nights, and weekends. I had all this time. But just because you have all this time doesn’t mean it should be spent doing work – work, work, work, work, work. No. There has to be a harmony between work and life.
So if you were to get married, what do you want that to look like? You have to get clear on what do I want my virtual assistant business to look like if I were to get married? Now, you’re sharing your life. You can’t work, work, work, work, work because there’s someone else now.
Or, say you’re already married but you don’t have any children, like me, what do you want your virtual assistant to look like once you start having children? Just the thought of that, the way things are set up today for your business, would that work if you had children? So get clear on what you want your business to look like as life changes occur.
Let’s say you move into a new city or a new state or a new country, what do you want that business to look like? Or on the other end, say that, you know, things happen, if you got sick or your parent got sick or your child got sick, how would you want things to look?
We don’t like to think about this, but when I was growing up, my dad, he owned a funeral home business, so death was very much a part of our home life, like we talked about it because he had a funeral home business. When he passed away in 2010 he had everything laid out for how it was to be, you know, for his planning, his obituary, his funeral, and all that stuff. It’s not that he was planning to die, but he had it all prepared because that was his business. That’s what he did.
So when looking at your virtual assistant business, if something were to happen to you, what do you want that business to look like? This whole thing about respecting the process, all of that makes it better for planning and getting clear on what you want it to look like when life changes happen.
We like to focus on the positive life changes, so I’m going to take it back up. When you want to take some time away, how does the virtual assistant business look? Do you take it with you? Do you put everybody on hold? What do you do? Get clear on that.
Time – it takes time to get where you want to go when you’re consistent in the building process.
You don’t want to compare yourself to what someone else is doing and then look at yourself and think I failed or I’m not working enough or why isn’t this taking off like it should. It’s funny how we end up comparing ourselves and we end up with, you know, they’re doing great but we’re not. It’s rarely the flip side.
Stop comparing yourself to others. Give yourself time. You have no idea what’s going on behind the scenes in that comparison, so it’s not a fair comparison. You’re just looking at a piece of what’s going on with them and their business. So give yourself time to accomplish what you want for your business and for things to get moving and to take off where you want it to go.
R.E.S.P.E.C.T. the process of building your virtual assistant business.
Thanks so much for tuning in. If you like what you heard, stay tuned. We’ll be back. Tell me what’s going on with you. Come on over the Facebook page: facebook.com/tiffanyparsonbiz, or if you prefer a little shorter message, come on over to Twitter: @tiffanydparson.
See you next time.