A lot of times long-term client relationships start out as project-to-project. #vatip Gotta Tweet!
When you’re running a VA business, you’re not working eight hours a day. #vatipGotta Tweet!
We have to brush out these negative thoughts that come to us. #vatip Gotta Tweet!
At some point in your business growth you will have a virtual assistant job. When you first start, it will be a job. It won’t be a full-blown business like what I’m going to share with you today. We grow to that business level.
What does it look like when you have the VA job?
This is when you’re just getting started. When you’re looking for your first client. When you’re starting out on Elance. VA job looks like project-to-project, hourly rates. You’re working by the clock or working by the project.
A VA job is hard to show where you’re going to be three months from now in regards to revenue for your business because you’re going from one project to the next, one hour to the next. Let me not mix those two.
Let’s talk about project-by-project.
As you’re submitting your proposal, you know you’re getting this project. You’re getting that project. But if I was to ask you what does that look like in August of 2015, you don’t know because it’s dependent on the project. It’s dependent on the client being on the other end and saying, “Yes, I want you to do this project.”
It’s almost like living paycheck-to-paycheck. No banked savings. No ongoing client. Okay. That is all right. I don’t want you to think I’m saying that in a negative way or bad way because that’s how we all get started. We go project-to-project because we’re learning what skills we want to provide clients. We’re building our portfolio, building our reputation, building a client base.
A lot of times long-term client relationships start out as a project-to-project.
It could be that your client is just getting started and so their business is growing, and as their business grows they can send you more work. That’s just a part of this whole process of building your virtual assistant business.
Another way to know if you’re in a VA job is if you’re working by the hour.
If you bill clients by the hour, in this scenario let’s say the client is month-to-month. Let’s say they have a 5-hour retainer with you every month, or a 25-hour retainer with you every month. It doesn’t matter. But you’re working on the clock. You have to document how long it takes you to do whatever tasks the client has hired you to do. So that’s the hourly.
It’s not a situation where if it takes you 15 minutes, you get the same amount that was for the 5-hour retainer. No. You have to exhaust the five hours based on the work they provided. Of course, if the client doesn’t give you enough work to fill the five hours, then it wouldn’t matter, you know, they’ve already paid for that 30-day retainer. That’s in the case where you’re not rolling over hours.
I wouldn’t recommend if a client has a retainer for five hours, that you rollover unused time. Five hours is not a lot of time for a full month.
I remember in the early days taking on a client and it was a project-by-project basis, and I think we did just a couple projects. But it ended up being like eight hours left and it seemed like it took six months to exhaust the eight hours that he had paid, and part of that was because he didn’t have enough work. The other part was the work that I was given didn’t require a lot of time.
So I don’t recommend you rollover a little bit of hours. If you’re talking about 80 hours for the month, you could roll that over. But five, eight, ten…I wouldn’t recommend you do that.
Those two things give you a glimpse of what a VA job looks like, when you’re going from one project to another project and when you’re working hourly. How do we transition that format into a virtual assistant business?
What does a virtual assistant business look like?
A virtual assistant business means that now you’re charging flat rates. It doesn’t matter how long it takes you, there’s a flat rate. It could take you two hours. It could take you ten. It’s a flat rate that you determine before the project.
Or you have set packages, and when I’m talking about packages, I’m not talking about retainer. A retainer is still based on the hour. Packages would be if let’s say you’re doing blog content management and your client blogs twice a week, so that’s eight blog posts for the month. You have a flat rate for eight blog posts. Whether they write all eight blog posts, they pay for that package. It’s a flat eight.
If they don’t meet the eight for the month, you don’t rollover. Oh, you only wrote six so we’ll rollover two. No. Eight blog posts is the package and there would be like a monthly membership where they’re paying for that each month, a recurring payment for that blog content management for the eight blog posts.
Same thing if you’re doing social media. If you’re doing social media, they have a set amount of posts that they want you to put on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, wherever. You find out what that set amount is up front, what the set number of social networks they want you to go to. Create a flat rate for that.
If they want you to create the content for that, that’s another element to the package, create a rate for that whole package with no carryover. The carryover is a membership for that package. Let’s say they pay $800 for the month in April, and May it would be another $800, so on and so forth. So you’re working off of flat rates and packages.
A virtual assistant business looks like you now are in a position that if you got sick, if you wanted to take some time off, when you go on vacation, you can remove your hands from the daily work of posting blog posts or posting social media and hand that off to someone on your virtual team, a subcontractor VA.
If you started out doing that, let’s say you tested it out. Not when you’re on vacation, but let’s say you want to test it out and start doing that the next time you get a social media client. You do that and subcontract it to a VA. You’re able to take your hands off. You’re able to still communicate with your client. You do all the interaction, but the actual work, that could go to a subcontractor VA.
A virtual assistant business makes it so that you’re now growing a virtual assistant firm and you are just monitoring and maintaining the project management, the marketing, and interaction with the client.
In the very early stages of my business, I can remember I would do a lot of brainstorming and writing and different journal books about what I wanted this to look like. I didn’t have a full idea. I just had a general glimpse of what working from home would look like and what I wanted to be.
This was before I knew virtual meant totally offline. I don’t know, for some reason I was thinking locally and I would have regions and VAs would be assigned to certain regions and that’s how I would manage which VA would be sent what. I even had it down to where I would provide them with their laptops and different things like that.
That’s all written down, and like I said, this was probably the very first year. I’m just getting in it good the full first six months being at home, just getting ideas of how this could work. It wasn’t something I had seen, but just getting a feel because I knew there are eight working hours in the day.
But when you’re running a VA business, you’re not working eight hours a day. When you’re working a VA job and you’re filled to capacity, you may be working eight hours a day. But when you’re in a VA business, you’re no longer working eight hours a day.
For those of you that have read that book, The Four Hour Work Week by Tim Ferriss, then you’re pretty familiar with that whole concept. I don’t think there will ever be a time where you’re going to work four hours in a week unless it’s a vacation and you’ve planned it all out, because even if you’re not doing client work, you’ve got your business work to do.
You’ve got content to create for your own social media, your own blog posts. You’ve got ads to write if you’re marketing yourself online or locally, however it may be. That’s a fun idea to think of it, but on a regular basis it’s not happening.
The biggest difference between the VA job and a VA business is being able to remove yourself from the actual work and easily place someone in that spot.
I say easily in bold because you’ve created a strategy, a system. You’ve got instructions. You’ve got a system of process already set up for someone to come right in and make it easy for you to train a new VA that’s just getting started or that’s not as experienced but looking for an opportunity.
I love being able to add people to my virtual team because someone helps me. That’s how I got my client, and to be able to extend that to someone else is just a really great thing. So my goal is to build it to where it is a full-fledged firm where I’m totally hands off, and I also have a full clientele so that everybody’s working to their capacity and we’re growing like crazy. So that is the difference between the VA job and the VA business.
The question for you is where do you want to go?
It’s great to be in a VA job because that lets you know you’re on the way to a VA business. Most people aren’t going from never having done this type of work, never had a business or a VA business, to boom, VA business, I’m hiring out.
Because what would happen is if you’ve never done it before, you’ve never worked with virtual clients, and you give someone else that work, you won’t know all the ins and outs of what your team needs because you’ve never done it. You won’t know all the details and the importance of communicating up front, asking the right questions of your client, because you haven’t been through it.
So to go, oh, I’m just going to skip over the VA job and do the VA business, not a possibility. You could do it, but I would imagine you’d crash and burn because of the inexperience.
If you’ve been building your VA business, meaning you’ve started, you’ve got clients, whether they’re hourly, flat rate, retainer package, doesn’t matter. You’ve been building. You’ve got clientele. You’re on your way to a VA business, whether that’s building a virtual team, creating systems and structure so that you’re not working yourself around the clock, which is very easy to do because we’re home. We’re feeling good. We’re enjoying our work.
But at some point if you do that, you could experience burnout and start resenting your work and resenting your clients and nobody wants that. Nobody wants that.
I am introducing an opportunity for you to work with me one-on-one where we can look at your business and where you want to go, and get you to that point.
It’s a 90-Day Virtual Assistant Business Owner Mentorship/Coaching Program. I just introduced it last night to a group of awesome virtual assistants and they were able to go through a free training before that. But I introduced it to them first, so it’s hot off the press.
But here is the thing: I can only take 15 VAs at a time. Only 15, so it’s a first come, first serve. You can get more information on that on my website and I will make sure in the show notes that the link is there. If you do tiffanyparson.com/90-day, it will come up, and again, I’ll make sure that it’s posted on the website.
I noticed in past episodes I’ve been saying go to the show notes. I’ll put the link in the show notes. But I forget to tell you where to find the show notes. So I call it in words because it is a complete transcription of this entire podcast and every episode prior and going forward. You can find them at tiffanyparson.com/podcast. You’ll see all the episodes that I’ve done up until this point.
If you would do me a huge favor and post a review of the podcast on iTunes that would be great.
What happens is when you post your reviews on iTunes and/or Stitcher – I love Stitcher. That’s where I listen to most of my podcasts, but we know iTunes is more highly used over Stitcher. So post your reviews there – iTunes or both Stitcher and iTunes.
What it does is it helps me in the ranking, and when other virtual assistants are searching for podcasts related to being a VA, it lets them know that other people are listening. It lets them know whether or not this is worth listening to. So your feedback is so important to me. I love hearing from you. I love getting the emails. In fact, I’m going to pull some of the emails and post that on the website as testimonials.
I’m going to let you know every single time you send an email to me, it’s always at the right time. I do sometimes wonder is someone listening? Is this helpful? And when I get those emails, it’s like right when that comes to my mind and, you know, we have to brush out these negative thoughts that come to us. As soon as it comes, we have to take it away.
It seems like an email will come through to let me know, and I tell you it just absolutely makes my day. I respond to those personally and will continue to do so. Whether I’m getting one email a day or a hundred, I will be the one to respond to those because I value your time. I appreciate you so much as a listener of the podcast.
It would be my absolute honor and privilege to be able to work with you one-on-one to help you grow your business.
You can find out more information, again, on the website at tiffanyparson.com/90-day.
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.