Why focusing on this is bad for your virtual assistant business
All these lies that they have been feeding you!
I’m so tired of seeing aspiring and new virtual assistants being spoon-fed bad advice about how to gets started. Almost every single new virtual assistant I meet thinks they need to create a website and quickly move onto pricing their services before doing the really hard, unsexy work of REALLY building a solid foundation.
It hurts me to see so many people stumble when it comes to starting a virtual assistant business because of all these lies being spread in the industry.
It all ends today. I will uncover some of the biggest lies I have observed being repeatedly told in this industry, with the biggest lie at the end of this post!
Lie 1: Get a website
This is a terrible one. They tell you that you need to highlight your skills and services by creating a website that costs you lots of time to create or worse, money that you don’t have.
I teach differently.
I believe that the first thing any new virtual assistant needs to do is identify what their game plan is.
Think about it, imagine a football coach sending his players onto the field without an offensive or defensive game plan.
It doesn’t happen.
Any good coach gives his/her players a good plan to act on. Before you spend time and money on things that you don’t need now (i.e. a website) think more about WHAT you’re offering and whom you’re offering it to.
Think more about WHY you want to become a virtual assistant and HOW you are going to offer your services to business owners.
Consider how much you will need to charge in order to be viable and how many hours a week you really and truly can work.
Most new and a lot of not-so-new VAs didn’t start with a proper foundation and I can bet you a thousand dollars that they all had to go back and fix things that were not built correctly.
Things like, updating a website that wasn’t relevant in the first place.
I want you to know that I was able to build a multi-virtual assistant business in one year without a website. I used my LinkedIn profile and was extremely profitable. Once I was had money in the bank, I went ahead and hired someone to build a website for me. If you think you have to have a website in order to market yourself, you’re wrong. You can get started today with a Facebook business page and a LinkedIn profile and that’s it!
Lie 2: Pick a dollar amount for your hourly rate and start there
This advice makes me cringe. I’m going to come out and say that MATH is critically important when you start a business.
In fact, it’s all that matters when it comes to actually succeed. Picking an hourly rate based on a gut feeling is not only a bad idea, it’s worse, it can make you lose money.
Do yourself a favor and base your decision on what your hourly rate needs to be based on hard data.
That means taking out a rate calculator and doing the math in order to arrive at a number that will ensure you are earning enough money to sustain your livelihood. Never guess about money. Your clients don’t and as a business owner, you shouldn’t either.
A common approach to figuring out an hourly rate is to divide the salary you want by the number of hours worked each year:
40 hours/week × 52 weeks/year = 2,080 hours $100,000 desired salary ÷ 2,080 hours = roughly $50 per hour
The above math makes perfect sense but if you go by this math, you’ll find yourself in deep trouble.
This miscalculation is exactly why we see people talking about how they make six-figures when in reality, they are scraping by in secret and I see this ALL THE TIME. You probably have to. You know, the gurus online who say they make six or seven figures when in reality, they make less than me after all their expenses.
Taking home 100,000 a year (net) is a WHOLE lot different than $100,000 (gross).
You have to take into account your expenses including taxes plus the cost of doing business. This infographic and blog post is one I find myself sending out to just about any new freelancer who is struggling to figure out their hourly rate.
Pricing your services correctly is about the quality of life you want for yourself and your family.
Lie 3: Charging a high rate will repel clients and make them seek cheaper VAs
I saved the biggest lie for the last one. This is one that I personally hate seeing because it is so incredibly toxic and misleading.
At some point, we’ve all needed to search for an expert to repair SOMETHING, right? Be it our AC or our car brakes or a broken washing machine. There are usually significant ranges in price for their services.
I’ll be the first to admit that I have tried to find the most reasonably priced service provider, because why overpay when you can get the same service for less?
Over the years, I’ve learned a thing or two about the quality of people’s workmanship and what I’ve learned is this:
Buy cheap, buy twice.
And what usually happens is the second time you pay, you pay a higher price because you’re hiring the expert that can actually solve the problem that the “cheap” one couldn’t.
Business owners need to work with virtual assistants who can execute and get the job done right the first time with little or no supervision.
The last thing we want or need is to have to go back and forth multiple times because of errors or lack of knowledge on how to execute.
When I give a VA (or any service provider for that matter) a project to work on, I expect them to review their work with a fine-toothed comb before they submit it back to me and say “it’s ready”. That’s just what exceptional virtual assistants do whether they live in India or the UK.
Business owners need virtual assistants that can give them back the most important and sacred resource on this earth…..time.
Time to spend with their loved ones, time to work on that project that’s been on the back burner. Time to create more offerings so they can sell more of their services.
Focus on giving superior customer service and turning overwork that is impeccable. If you can do this, your clients will be happy to pay you a high hourly rate because you’re saving them time and money and a huge headache of managing a cheaper virtual assistant that can never seem to get the job done right.
In the long run, virtual assistants that charge low hourly rates will cost business owners more, not less.
And to all the virtual assistants of the world reading this that are charging low hourly rates based on your geography, it’s time to uplevel. If your work is impeccable and your customer service is superior, you could and should be charging more for your services.
I don’t care where in the world virtual assistants live, all I care about is that you save me time and energy. I’ll pay you whatever you ask for if you can make my life easier. That’s money well spent.
The truth has come to light!
I hope that you now see the light! These lies are all so incredibly toxic… bid them goodbye and your journey to becoming a successful virtual assistant will be so filled with less pain and frustration.
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