packages

How To Price Your Virtual Assistant Services

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One thing that I talk about over and over with virtual assistants and my private coaching clients is the issue of rates or pricing.

Pricing your VA services takes a lot of thought. You have to take a holistic look at your entire life experience, not just your work experience. You also need to understand your market.

We've all wracked our brains at one point or another regarding how much we should charge for our services. There is no shortage of advice out there. Ask 10 different people, you’ll get 10 different answers.

 

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You wouldn't just slap a name on your business so don’t just slap a price on your services.

Before you figure out how much you should charge you need to ask yourself this: "Are the services that I am providing services that I am well versed in?"

In other words, are these services things that you are known for being awesome at?  Don't offer presentation creation if you've only created 3 presentations in your life and they were so-so or worse, you've never created one from start to finish having only dabbled in PowerPoint.

Don't offer copywriting if your own copy sucks. That just doesn't make any sense. And you certainly shouldn't offer design services if you don’t have any design work to showcase.  One of my biggest pet peeves are VAs who offer design work but their website ain't nothing to write home about. Don’t do that.

Back when I was an EA (executive assistant) I was a black belt calendar ninja (swords and all). I managed calendars for so many people and managed so many logistics that it would make most assistants heads spin.

Once I became a virtual assistant I focused on the areas I was an “expert”. There were plenty of skills (not just calendar management) I was damn good at, so those skills got the focus.

I wasn't good at creating presentations and I went down that rabbit hole and got screwed. So take it from me, don't say you know how to do something and charge good money for it only to produce less than stellar results. It will only bite you in the ass and hard. I wrote a post about that here. Read it.

Don’t let the word expert freak you out, either. When you know more about a subject than someone else, some might call you an expert. Funny how that works, isn’t it?

So let’s fast forward and assume you have the services that you’re going to market and you’re ready to price those bad boys.

Here are my two tried and true ways for getting to that magic number.

Feeling it out

Grab a piece of paper and draw a line graph.  On one side of the linegraph write down the lowest rate you would offer for your services. At the other end of the line graph write down the highest rate you would offer. This high number makes you nervous, because you’re saying, hell, I’d never be able to charge anyone THIS much.

Then pick a low ball number, something that feels way too low.

Now, pick a number between the low and the high that feels right to you. The one rate that you feel in your gut as the one that makes the most sense.

THAT is you’re your magic number.

Start with the end in mind

When you start with the end in mind it means you can’t afford to play with your income. You need to know each and every month how much is coming in because your livelihood depends on it.

Start with the end in mind and work backwards.  Do a monthly budget and see how much money you have to have each month to live. Then break that number down like this:

Monthly cost of living = $3k

What I've got to earn each day (we’ll take an average of 22 days per month) 3k / 22 = $136.36 per day

$136.36 per day / 8 hours a day = $17/hour.

This is just an example. You’re personal situation is different so you’ll need to do this breakdown according to your situation and charge accordingly.

That’s the pricing method for when you’re trying to figure out what to charge by the hour. But what if you’re ready to start charging by the package?

Let me start by saying that if you’re a new virtual assistant I don’t encourage you to charge by the package until you have worked as a VA with several clients and have gained some solid experience.

Then you can start thinking about packaging up your services into packages.  Services packages work well for virtual assistants who know exactly what they do and what they don’t do. They know without a shadow of a doubt how long it will take them to do the job.

Let me give you an example. I always use a graphic designer as an example because it’s a real world example that we can all relate to. Graphic designers charge by the project. Either you’re getting a website or some design work. They quote a price and do the work. If it takes them more time than they expected because of something they didn't think of, tough. The client doesn't have to pay more because they didn't create a project quote that made sense.

The same thing applies with the VA industry. When you give a quote for a project you've got to be able to quote a price that makes sense. That means you know how long it's going to take to get it done. You'll get there with experience. That’s why you should hold off with packages or project work until you’re ready to offer something you know how to do with your hands tied behind your back standing on one leg.

Here's a great quote to  remember as you work through what to charge, "price is what you pay, value is what you get" - Warren Buffet

Talk to me below in the comments. How do you feel about your current prices? Do you think they make sense or do you feel like you need to adjust?

Let me know below.

Rock on,

Reese

How To Create Virtual Assistant Service Packages That Sell

How To Create Virtual Assistant Service Packages That Sell

Are you ready to create virtual assistant service packages that sell? It's all in the packaging. Perceived value. Let's talk about how to create your very own virtual assistant services package(s).

First it's important that I mention that most virtual assistants trade their time for $$$. This isn't a bad business model but it does make it hard to scale your business. Your earning potential will be directly related to how much time you can work during the day.

Imagine this.  You hire a graphic designer to create a website. Would you expect your graphic designer to say "I will work on your site for 30 hours and I will charge you $3,000 for your site."?

This scenario would never happen.   Graphic designers quote you a price for a product, your website.  Whether it takes them 3 hours or 30 hours, that's their business, not yours.  You are paying for a finished product....results.

It's up the graphic designer to know how to price his websites so that he can run a successful business that won't end up owning him.

We don't go into business for ourselves to become a slave to our desk.  We don't go into business for ourselves to stress out over our work on the weekends when we should be relaxing.

We go into business so we can create the kind of lifestyle that we want.  That's why it's important to recognize as early on as possible that trading hours for cash isn't going to be a scaleable business.  The sooner you try to figure out how to package up your offerings, the better.

Because once you start selling a package for your virtual assistant services, you can actually start scaling your business.

But creating packages isn't always so easy.  You need to know how much time it will take you to complete the services within in package. This way you can say, "if someone purchase package x, it will take me roughly 10 hours to complete, no more, no less".

Some VAs do this very well while others struggle to understand how to create packages to market to their prospects. That's why I firmly believe that you shouldn't create service packages until you've got a lot of experience as a virtual assistant.

It's important to remember that people don't buy virtual assistance, they buy solutions. I'm going to show you some great examples of how virtual assistants are packaging their services by highlighting the solutions they offer.

But how do you sell solutions?  Ask yourself these questions.

What problem does my ideal client have?

What does my ideal client want?

How am I going to help them solve their problem or get what they want?

Don’t just think about the questions. Write out your answers. Brainstorm what your ideal clients really want and look at the world from their perspective.

To help you out, take a look below at some rock stars who started out as VAs but now market themselves using a different title (because titles really don't matter).

Jamie DuBose of ZenplicityNow has it all figured out. She started out as a VA that exchanged hours for dollars and now Jamie works on a flat rate only and has plenty of package options to offer her clients. Well done.

New Services   ZenplicityZenplicity
New Services ZenplicityZenplicity

Next up is Amy Hall who is a WordPress and MailChimp specialist. Amy has some amazing packages focusing on MailChimp from creating a newsletter template to weekly or month newsletter management. This is a great way to package up a service.

Amy Hall MailChimp Package
Amy Hall MailChimp Package

Last but certainly not least is Tonya Darlington, a virtual assistant business that supports business leaders. Check out how Tonya has put together some awesome packages.  I couldn't add all of them in this screen shot, so make sure to click over to her site to see all the packages she offers.

Now that you have a little bit more knowledge about how others are packaging up their services I'd love to see what you come up with.

What services would you like to create a package for? Leave me a comment below. 

Rock on, Reese