Calculating Your VA Rates Properly is Critical To Your Success

Calculating Your VA Rates Properly is Critical To Your Success

Do you know how much you need to charge to keep your VA business operational, profitable and sustainable? If you haven’t taken the time to do the math yet, it’s time!

If you are working with clients right now but you are still struggling with making money, you need to look at what you are charging clients.

I was extremely discouraged this week to witness a conversation taking place in a VA group.

A VA reached out for some advice around what she called logistics.

She has two clients that she is working for 20 hours a week each – a total of 40 billable hours a week. Great, eh? I think that’s wonderful to have a full VA business with just two clients!

Her concern was that she didn’t have time to add another 20 hour/week client, but she needs to because the 2 current clients are not earning her enough to pay her bills.

The logical answer for this response is that her rates are too low and she needs to raise them. If you are billing 40 hours a week and you can not pay your bills, it’s completely obvious (to me) that you are not charging what you need to charge.

She said that she was charging the going rate for VA work in her area, because her clients would not pay more (and yes, her rate is MUCH too low to operate a business).

Some VAs stated that perhaps her bills were too high (not that her rates are too low). Ummm … here’s the thing … if you know how much you need to earn in your business, then you must set your billable rate accordingly.

You can’t just pick a number out of the air.

You can’t just work for whatever a client says they will pay you.

And you can’t work 60 hours a week just to make ends meet.

If you are running a business, you get to make the decision about how much you charge.

I was not discouraged by her request for advice. I was discouraged by the fact that she thought that the answer was to add another client.

And don’t get me wrong, I am not criticizing this VA at all. She is absolutely not the only one with this mindset. I am so happy that she reached out to get advice, because many VAs just never do.

I was also annoyed by the absolutely awful advice she was getting from the other VAs in the group – to get subcontractors. When you can not pay your own bills, you NEVER bring someone else in to your business.

And if your rate is too low to begin with, you can NOT pay someone else even less per hour to do the same work.

The only logical solution in this situation is to raise your rates.

Yes, that might mean that you lose clients. But you will burn out and lose your business entirely if you don’t.

Clients are everywhere. We are virtual – we do not have to settle for clients who do not see our value, or who tell us what they will pay us.

Clients are allowed to have a budget, of course, but it is NOT their right to tell us what we can charge. They can only tell us if they agree to pay it.

Calculating what you need to charge to make your business sustainable is your right as a business owner.

In fact, it’s your responsibility as a business owner.

Do it properly, and then craft service offerings that provide value and support for your clients.

Then go out and find those clients. I promise you they are out there, and you and your business will be in better shape because of the math you do!

If you need to figure out how much your billable rate should be, download my free Rate Calculation Package and figure it out! It will show you the variety of ways you can bring revenue into your VA business so you can make sure you are charging the right amount starting now!

About the Author: Tracey D’Aviero is a Virtual Assistant Coach, Trainer, Speaker and Author. After operating a busy VA business of her own since 1996, Tracey began teaching others to run their VA businesses in 2010 through Your VA Mentor. In 2016 she purchased the CAVA and GAVA VA associations and now teaches and coaches VAs exclusively. She has a vast amount of experience working in a many different industries which helps her to offer her students and coaching clients a unique perspective and sound advice. She is a proud advocate of the Virtual Assistant industry. Learn more about Tracey’s journey in the VA industry here.

3 Simple Ways to Get Clients for Your VA Business

If you are struggling to find Virtual Assistant clients, this article is for you!

When we start our Virtual Assistant business, most of us don't realize the work involved to get clients.

We meticulously launch our website, get business cards printed, and expect the clients to start calling. Or we expect to join job boards and fill our client roster easily.

That's not always the way it works. In fact, most of the time it's very different.

While writing blog posts and posting to social media is an important part of your marketing, it's not enough to get clients easily. Your posts need to have an audience - and that takes work to build.

To get clients for your business, you need to do outreach. You need to find your clients and connect with them.

Here are 3 simple ways you can reach out to people about your VA business:

Contact 100 People You Know

When you start talking to people about your business, the first place to begin is with who you know. Make a list of 100 people you know (it's okay if this list starts with your mom - mine does too!). Maybe not all of these people will be your clients, but they can certainly help to spread the word about what you are doing - provided that they understand what you do. You will see quickly that you know a lot of people. Once you have your list, start reaching out to them by email or by phone. Introduce your business, tell them exactly what kind of clients you offer services for, and ask them if they know anyone who might need your services.

Attend A Networking Event

Going to a networking event is a great place to find potential clients. Everyone is there for the same reason - to network with other business owners. Make sure when you choose an event to go to, you always have a goal of how many people you want to connect with. Often the local networking groups have Facebook groups where you can connect with the attendees before and after the event. When you network with a goal in mind, you will have much better results.

Find Strategic Partners

The connections you will make in your business are not always going to become your clients. Some of the best people you can connect with are strategic partners. These are people who can potentially refer business to you. Usually they are in contact with your audience or market, but they are not providing the same services as you. Your VA colleagues can be great strategic partners. If you don't provide the same services as a colleague, you can refer business back and forth to each other. When you make your list above, identify potential strategic partners on it and reach out to them as such.

Getting comfortable with outreach is going to be one of the best things you can do for your VA business. The more conversations you have with other business owners, the better you will get at it. And the more connections you make, the more potential clients and referrals you will have.

What are you doing for outreach in your business? If you are struggling to find clients and you are still hiding behind your computer, I challenge you to do these three simple things to see how it impacts your VA business.

For some more ideas on how to get clients for your VA business so that you get clients, read this blog post: Where Do I Find Clients for My VA Business?

About the Author: Tracey D’Aviero is a Virtual Assistant Coach, Trainer, Speaker and Author. After operating a busy VA business of her own since 1996, Tracey began teaching others to run their VA businesses in 2010 through Your VA Mentor. In 2016 she purchased the CAVA and GAVA VA associations and now teaches and coaches VAs exclusively. She has a vast amount of experience working in a many different industries which helps her to offer her students and coaching clients a unique perspective and sound advice. She is a proud advocate of the Virtual Assistant industry. Learn more about Tracey’s journey in the VA industry here

Improve Your Marketing Strategy To Get More Virtual Assistant Clients

How do you feel about marketing? Does it make you feel stressed or anxious?

If it does, it's probably because you aren't getting clients easily from it.

As a VA, we need to do many types of marketing every day. The most important thing in our business is getting clients, and we need to put ourselves out there to do it.

In a perfect world, we would have clients find us and hire us, but that’s not how it works most of the time.

We need to show up in front of them when they need us.

Thankfully, it’s not as difficult as it sounds – all you need a is a good strategy that you implement consistently.

Here are a few simple tips to help you improve your marketing strategy:

1. Set up a marketing plan.

A marketing plan seems like a daunting task for some Virtual Assistants – because often planning ahead comes with insecurity. Forecasting is something that isn’t natural to us so it sometimes can be difficult to put stretch goals on paper.

But if you dial it back to just doing a marketing plan for the coming month that can bring it into a more manageable frame of mind. Short term marketing planning is a great thing to do, because it makes you think about it more often, and you can stay very close to the goal at hand. Decide what you what to do, and what the steps are that will get you to that goal. Then make sure everything you do points in the direction of that goal.

2. Be very clear on your client’s problems.

Many VAs talk about being a Virtual Assistant – in their networking and also in the marketing copy. While it’s very exciting for YOU to know how being a VA works, your clients are not really all that excited about it. What they need to hear you talk about is what you can do to help them in their business.

If you provide bookkeeping services, talk about common problems clients have, why they should work with someone to get their books done, and how you have helped other clients. Clients who are struggling with their bookkeeping will notice that message in your marketing far more than anything about being a VA. Focus on what their problems are and you will be putting the right message out there – and your clients will hear it loud and clear.

3. Market your business consistently.

If you are only thinking about your marketing when you are trying to find new clients, and you don’t do any when you are not, you will probably not do very well when you are in need of clients. It can be difficult to fit it in when you are busy – but it’s necessary to keep your name out there consistently.

Even if you aren’t looking for a client right now, what if your dream client comes along that is better than someone you are currently working with (maybe they pay more, or they work in an industry you love, or they have more consistent work)? You don’t want to miss working with them because you weren’t out there.

Figure out what you can do regularly and consistently and make a plan for the next 30 days to implement it.

Make sure your messaging is clear and focused entirely on your client’s problems – and your solutions for them.

That’s a marketing plan!

For more great info about marketing your VA business, check out this article on Getting Clients.

About the Author: Tracey D’Aviero is a Virtual Assistant Coach, Trainer, Speaker and Author. After operating a busy VA business of her own since 1996, Tracey began teaching others to run their VA businesses in 2010 through Your VA Mentor. In 2016 she purchased the CAVA and GAVA VA associations and now teaches and coaches VAs exclusively. She has a vast amount of experience working in a many different industries which helps her to offer her students and coaching clients a unique perspective and sound advice. She is a proud advocate of the Virtual Assistant industry. Learn more about Tracey’s journey in the VA industry here

How Many Virtual Assistant Clients Do You Actually Need?

Getting clients can seem overwhelming until you look at the numbers.

The idea of getting clients is often the most daunting part of your Virtual Assistant business.

As support professionals, the thought of selling ourselves comes up in conversations as not a very pleasant task. And it often seems like something that will be never-ending.

It’s something that many Virtual Assistants don’t do well as a result.

When I ask VAs how many clients they need, they often don’t even know the answer to that question.

Or they get flustered and say, ‘One!’ and don’t think much farther than that.

But when you stop to think about just how many clients you need, it might make things just a bit easier.

How does that work?

Well let’s change hats here. Take off the ‘I’m not sure’ VA hat and put on your CEO hat for a few minutes.

Consider the revenue you need to earn in your VA business. Then consider how many clients you need to work with to make up that revenue. It’s simple math.

If you need to earn $2000 per month, how many clients does that translate to?
If you need to earn $5000, how many clients is that?

You need to just change the way you are thinking about earning. When we look at revenue from an open end, it is much more daunting.

Often we look for one client, then we look for another, and we bill them according to their needs.

But when you are proactive about it, you can plan better, and even be strategic about it. I promise, you will have less anxiety when the numbers are clearer.

For instance, if you know you need to earn $2000 per month, and you offer a package of services (or a suite of services) that is in the $500 range, that means you only need to find 4 clients to reach your revenue goal.

Or, if you offer a $1000 service, you only need 2 clients. For a $250 service, you need 8 clients. But a lower budget is often much easier to sell.

It seems less daunting when you look at the actual clients you need when you are planning how and where to find them.

Starting with your end goal and using your numbers to figure out what you need to do to fill your practice is the simplest way to manage your mindset around it.

If you realize you are only looking for 2 or 3 clients, how much easier does that sound than looking for an endless supply of clients?

It sounds a lot better to me!

And if you don’t have a solid idea of what your service offerings are valued at right now, then that’s where you need to do a little bit of work first.

Knowing how much you charge your clients is a key part of forecasting your revenue.

Look at the services you offer. How can you build a package of services that falls into that $250 or $500 range? Whether you charge by the hour or just by the package, identifying specifically what you can do for your clients and how much it will cost them is an excellent way to level yourself up.

Clients love clarity and all they want to know is what you can do for them and how much it will cost.

When you know that, you can figure out how many clients you are looking for.

And then go and find them!

Numbers are your friend in your business – use them in situations like this to map out your strategy, and your practice will be full in no time!

For more great info about getting clients for your VA business, check out my free getting clients video playlist for Virtual Assistants on my Youtube channel.

About the Author: Tracey D’Aviero is a Virtual Assistant Coach, Trainer, Speaker and Author. After operating a busy VA business of her own since 1996, Tracey began teaching others to run their VA businesses in 2010 through Your VA Mentor. In 2016 she purchased the CAVA and GAVA VA associations and now teaches and coaches VAs exclusively. She has a vast amount of experience working in a many different industries which helps her to offer her students and coaching clients a unique perspective and sound advice. She is a proud advocate of the Virtual Assistant industry. Learn more about Tracey’s journey in the VA industry here

Where Do I Find Clients for my Virtual Assistant Business?

Are you struggling to find clients for your Virtual Assistant business?

Many VAs struggle with this, not only at the beginning of their business, but all the way through it.

Why? Because they don't have a plan or a strategy to get clients.

Some of us start our business with our old boss as our first client (I did!). Or a husband, a neighbour, a friend.

So we don't get used to doing any marketing.

For marketing to work properly, you need to have a plan and do it consistently.

Getting clients is not difficult if you use a system that works for you.

But how do you figure out what works for you?

Think about the clients you have now.

If it's your old boss/friend/husband/neighbour, what made them hire you? How did that conversation go?

Who else do you know who has a business like theirs that you might be able to offer support for?

That's the beginning of your plan, and it's a great way to start thinking about who you can support.

Ask yourself these questions:

What services do I offer?

When you are trying to get clients, you need to be crystal clear on what you offer people. If you offer a laundry list of services, you aren't speaking specifically enough to anyone - and your message will fall flat on (almost) everyone you tell it to - whether that's in person, in your social media, or on your website.

Your message needs to talk about the services you provide - so that your client will know you can help them.

Do you provide general admin services? Awesome. Every single business owner out there needs admin help. 

But, if you target real estate agents, for example, you can tell them you will update their online listings, you can help schedule appointments with clients, do their follow up after open houses, and so on.

It's far more specific and it speaks to the client in language that could move them into action to work with you.

How do I help my clients?

What is that you allow your clients to be, do or have, by doing the work you do for them?

For instance if you do social media work - how does that help them in their business?

It gives them more exposure (so more people can learn about their business).

It can help them bring in new prospects (who can become their clients).

It showcases their expertise (when you post about what they do, their clients get to know them better).

It gives them back time (if they are doing the social media creation & posting themselves now).

and so on...

Knowing how your services help your clients on a tangible level will help you with your own marketing message, and in your networking situations.

Where are my clients hanging out?

When you are seeking out places to get clients, go where they already are.

That might be on Linked In, it might be in a Facebook group, it might be at a local event, or you might have to travel to an event.

The key is to go and seek them out where they already are. Why? Because chances are they are hanging out with their colleagues (like we do in the VA groups). And wherever they are, they are probably talking about their business - what they love about it, what they are struggling with, and what they need help with.

Professionals usually spend more time on Linked In for their business. Creatives might be in Facebook groups. Small business owners might be at local business event gatherings. Business coaches or speakers might gather at larger events.

The point is, think about who they are and where there are a large group of them. After all, we don't just ever want one client. We want lots of clients!

Then you just have to put it all together.

To find clients, you just need the answers to these three questions.

What do you do, how does it help them, and how you can get in front of them?

When you go where they are and build relationships with them, you learn more about what they need and you are in a better position to build service packages that are easy to sell and make sense to them.

If you are struggling, ask yourself these questions.

If you don't know the answers, that's the problem.

But with the answers, you are already more than halfway to new clients!

About the Author: Tracey D’Aviero is a Virtual Assistant Coach, Trainer, Speaker and Author. After operating a busy VA business of her own since 1996, Tracey began teaching others to run their VA businesses in 2010 through Your VA Mentor. In 2016 she purchased the CAVA and GAVA VA associations and now teaches and coaches VAs exclusively. She has a vast amount of experience working in a many different industries which helps her to offer her students and coaching clients a unique perspective and sound advice. She is a proud advocate of the Virtual Assistant industry. Learn more about Tracey’s journey in the VA industry here

3 Tips to Help You Find More Virtual Assistant Clients

Are you looking for Virtual Assistant clients and coming up empty?

The first thing I would ask is where (exactly) are you looking for them?

I come across this problem often – and VAs tell me they are looking ‘everywhere’.

I’m here to tell you that ‘everywhere’ is the wrong answer if you are asking yourself that question.

When you are in business, you always need to be on the lookout for prospective clients. That’s a given!

But looking 'everywhere' is a waste of time and not the same thing at all.

These are some of the responses I've gotten:

“I’m networking all day long and there are no good clients out there.”

“I spend all of my time looking for clients but I don’t have any.”

“I am ready to give up. All clients want to pay a VA peanuts.”

Have you ever said any of those things … or anything like them?

I have. I know exactly what it feels like to think those things. All three of them as a matter of fact.

But do you know what the problem was? ME!

If you are networking all day long and can’t find good prospective clients, you are looking in the wrong places.

If you are spending all of your time looking for clients but you don’t have any, you are not connecting in the right way.

If you are ready to give up because the people you are in contact with are cheap, you are speaking with the wrong people.

These are FACTS. 

New VAs often lack the ability to network and market their business properly. It is so worth getting some training or guidance on this part of your business. It will save you so much time when you know how to do it right!

If you have heard yourself saying or doing any of the above items, here is how to change gears:

Look in the right places.

Where are you looking? If you are constantly coming up empty, you could be looking in the wrong place.

The best plan is to determine who you can best support, and then figure out where they are and go there to connect with them. In the marketing world this is called finding where they ‘hang out’. Why? Because they are being themselves. They are asking for help or getting advice from colleagues and others in a public forum, whether that’s online or offline.

Look in the right places and you’ll find better prospects, guaranteed.

Connect with people.

Are you actually connecting with people when you are ‘out and about’?

If you are a lurker who is waiting for someone to come up and ask you if you want to help them, you will not get clients. You must speak and actually connect with them.

You have to learn the art of conversation – and practice it – a lot.

It's really just simple math - the more people you talk to, the more clients you will get.

When you have conversations with people about how you can help them, you develop really good skills in this area. Do more of what works for you, and do less of what doesn’t.

Talk to the right people.

Are you even speaking to the right people? If you find yourself educating people about what a VA is, you have your work cut out for you. I would cut bait and run from a group like that. It’s too much effort.

You have to find industries that are already working with VAs so all you have to talk to them about is specifically how you can help them. Trust me on this one, you will see success much faster when you do this.

I spent years trying to let people know how great hiring a VA was and I suffered low income as a result. I know what I speak of here! Focus on a great market that already uses Virtual Assistants. 

Struggling to Find Clients for Your Virtual Assistant Business?Correct these mistakes and you'll get clients.

Getting clients – good clients – takes strategy and action. If you know what you are doing wrong, take steps to correct it.

You can actually find clients by networking for just 15 minutes a day, if you are talking to right people, in the right place, and saying the right things.

If you need some help putting this into action, I invite you to watch this free training I did through Your VA Mentor: Goal Setting to Get Clients.

About the Author: Tracey D’Aviero is a Virtual Assistant Coach, Trainer, Speaker and Author. After operating a busy VA business of her own since 1996, Tracey began teaching others to run their VA businesses in 2010 through Your VA Mentor. In 2016 she purchased the CAVA and GAVA VA associations and now teaches and coaches VAs exclusively. She has a vast amount of experience working in a many different industries which helps her to offer her students and coaching clients a unique perspective and sound advice. She is a proud advocate of the Virtual Assistant industry. Learn more about Tracey’s journey in the VA industry here