HOW TO SET YOUR SELLING PRICE
An Expense and Time Worksheet to Help Determine Billing Rate
By Nina Feldman & Marlene McCall
Wondering about the overall costs and time involved in running a VA or Office Support practice? Here is a worksheet researched and put together by two experienced business owners for the Pricing Roundtable at the IVAA 2nd Annual Summit, October 24, 2003. Free!
STARTUP AND PROFIT CENTERS
Virtual Assistant – The Series: Become a Highly Successful, Sought After VA
By Diana Ennen and Kelly Poelker
A complete reference guide to starting a profitable virtual assistant business. Virtual assistants provide business support services to a broad range of clientele worldwide, specializing in web and graphic design, word processing, transcription, Internet research, event planning, coaching, editing/writing, meeting planning, concierge services, real estate transaction coordination, and more. This detailed book covers the how-tos of starting a business, including determining rates, specialty services, and how and where to find clients. Still working full time? They show how to ease into a VA practice while working full-time and continuing to care for your family. Along with the authors’ personal experience over over 20 years, they include advice from VAs worldwide-the real pros. Cited as the book of choice for the VA industry, Up Close and Virtual is currently used as training material for VA courses, as the primary textbook for Red Deer College’s VA Certification Program and required reading for students of Virtual Assistance U.
- S602H – $29.95 / S602P(PDF) – $27.95
- S603H(Book and Financial Template) – $41.90 / S603P(PDF and Financial Template) – $31.95
- S604H(Book and Workbook) – $49.00
Quickbooks allows you to download a trial version for 60 days with no risk. (If you have access to more than one e-mail address, you could probably do this several times.)
- Lynda.com has excellent tutorials. You can get unlimited lessons on any program for just $25/month, with no long term commitment.
- Intuit/Quickbooks community can answer your sticky questions about Quickbooks:
- Searchable ProAdvisor Support Articles (you do not need to be a QB Pro Advisor to use this)
- Ask Your Peers for Answers Ideal for Accounting and Best Practice Questions.
- They also offer the opportunity to download QB for free and various tutorials
- The College of Alameda offers online QB classes. Search “Quickbooks.”
- SBA Entrepreneur Center at San Francisco City College offers introductory and intermediate QB: or http://sf.norcalsbdc.org/ and go to “Workshops”
- QB and remote bookkeeping tips
- FREE and inexpensive bookkeeping tutorials
- QB Video Training Tutorials for $31.99
- Free tutorials, articles, newsletters, and message boards where you can ask questions about QB are available at QuickbooksGroup.com
- QB is available fairly affordably at Amazon.com (often with a rebate if you have used Quicken or Quickbooks before).
Newsgroups and forums:
- Quickbooks Google Group
- Accounting Google Group (accounting newsgroup, but a lot of discussion of QuickBooks)
- QuickBooks Customer Advisory Council This website is focused on QB. The site owner is a QB expert and will answer all sorts of questions. He also covers bug issues and has add-ons available.
- Quickbooks Support Center These people give online classes on Quickbooks
- Here’s a San Francisco Bay Area QB trainer I like a lot who has a newsletter for QB users: Bonnie Carroll / Certified QuickBooks® ProAdvisor / Free QuickBooks® Newsletter, “Ten Things Every QuickBooks User Should Know.”
- Book It!
in california: 415-661-8903, toll free: 888-386-2029
912 Cole Street #367, San Francisco CA 94117
* Two sources for people interested in non-profit accounting and QB, as follows:
- Not-for-Profit Accounting Made Easy, by Warren Ruppel, CPA, is a 240-page reference book on accounting principles and reporting standards. It is useful to non-profit board members, managers, and bookkeeper/accountants. Topics include the accrual basis, fund accounting, basic financial statements, contribution accounting, investments, indirect cost allocation, pension and benefit accounting, lease accounting, financial management, and GAAP developments. The publisher is John Wiley and Sons. A new edition (#2) just became available in April. (See Amazon.com.)
- QuickBooks For Not-for-Profit Organizations is an excellent workbook written in cooperation with Intuit and CompassPoint (SF) by Christine Manor, CPA. It uses p.c.-based sample company templates and transaction files for instruction in the adaptation of QB to not-for-profit use. The publisher is a Pleasanton company, The Sleeter Group www.sleeter.com, that specializes in add-on software for QB. An easy way to find this workbook on the Sleeter website is to perform a search on “nonprofit QuickBooks”, and then page down to “QB workbook template”.
Professional Virtual Assistant Coaching and Consulting with Nina Feldman
Need a critique of your brochure, website, or sales letter? Having a problem with a client and don’t know what to do? Establishing or modifying your overall pricing strategy? Trying to promote to a particular target market? Wondering if you’ve covered everything in a complicated estimate? Having an ethical dilemma? I can help! Consultation is available by prior appointment. Please email us send me an e-mail and we’ll work out an appointment time for you to call.
C901L One hour sessions – $60.00
Successful Sales Letters, Proposals, and Literature
By Michael C. Thomsett, published by ABSSI, Inc.
If you want to start a marketing campaign but don’t know where to begin, this steps you through the entire process, from designing the marketing plan to writing effective sales letters that sell your business support services. Also included are dozens of sample sales-letter paragraphs written in businesslike, industry-specific language; guidelines for what to include in other sales literature such as brochures and business cards; how to create a sales proposal; and other ways, such as press releases and ads, to get your name in front of potential clients. This manual has great samples to use for attracting new business.
M401H – $39.95
Marketing Your VA Practice: It’s Not About Money, It’s About Having the Right Strategy
By Sharon B. Williams
A thought-provoking guide to developing creative virtual assistant marketing strategies. It offers viable marketing and promotional choices that aspiring and experienced VAs can implement to enhance overall marketing and promotion strategies. Written in a plain-speaking and down-to-earth style, this publication invites readers to “think outside the box” and consider traditional and nontraditional ways of reaching their ideal client. Experienced and successful Virtual Assistants, coaches, and industry marketing gurus share their experiences and offer solutions to your marketing dilemmas. Their practical recommendations are timely, effective and inexpensive.
M402H – $29.95
SAMPLE CONTRACTS ONLINE
Using Contracts with Clients – Where to Find Contracts Online
Q: “I have a hard time with handing contracts to my clients. I don’t want them to feel I don’t trust them. Any suggestions?”
A: I used to feel that way when I first started my business, but when I found that at the end of a job some clients would say, “You never told me that!” or “I didn’t know that!” I steeled myself to put things in writing. I put a simple one-page document called “General Customer Information” on the back of my fee sheet, with a signature line at the bottom, and made sure every client signed before we worked together.
To my surprise, people were not only not insulted, they seemed pleased that I was making things clear for them. I try to emphasize that my putting things in writing is for their benefit, so we both know exactly how things will work, what the charges are, etc.
I found, too, that new clients, when they saw my information sheet, seemed more likely to think, “Oh, she must really be professional and experienced; she has everything in writing!” It actually helped them feel more confident in the quality of the service they were getting from me.
You can find forms and contracts on the IVAA site and also at the following websites:
- Make a contract to order from boilerplate clauses
- Work for hire agreement and more
- Sample independent contractor agreement and more
- Sample collection letters and more
- Agreement for professional services and more
- Microsoft Template Gallery – forms and customer letters galore, including billing template
- Final overdue notices and more
BECOME A VIRTUAL ASSISTANT / TRAINING
There are countless educators offering their services, and as a result, it’s difficult to distinguish between them. I’ve explored many of their offerings and have found that two of the best are Susan Mershon (The Techie Mentor)’s VA Starter Kit Group Coaching Program and Tawyna Sutherland (of VA Networking)’s Virtual Assistant in a Box .
You may find in both of these cases that their promotional material makes their training sound too good to be true, but I can assure you it’s not. As a seasoned VA (for over 30 years), I have attended their workshops and found them vitally useful and relevant. I wish I’d had the advantage of this kind of information when I started my business; I would have been making money a lot sooner. Without this knowledge it’s very difficult to earn a living in the highly competitive virtual assistant industry.
Susan and Tawnya can help you earn what you’re worth by establishing a high level of professionalism and know-how. VA’s who want to make a good living at what they do are lucky that these VA’s are so generous about sharing how they got to that point and how you can, too.
Susan Mershon’s 6 month VA STARTER KIT GROUP COACHING PROGRAM is for VA’s who struggle with:
- Analysis Paralysis : Too much time researching and not enough time taking action!
- Finding & Getting Clients: Once you find them, do you close them?
- Getting Started: You’ve been in startup mode for over a year and you’re not progressing!
- Marketing – Where do I go? What do I say?
- Determining Rates: How can I compete with others who advertise $3.00/hr?
New 6 month programs have been starting every few months and are extremely affordable at only $49.00 PER MONTH. That is a total investment of only $234 in YOURSELF AND YOUR SUCCESS. That breaks down to about $1.30 PER DAY; less than a Starbucks coffee.
The input you get from Susan herself and the encouragement you get from other newbie VA’s on a private Facebook page will help you:
- GET CLIENTS
- BE CONFIDENT
- STOP ANALYSIS PARALYSIS
- BUILD A SUCCESSFUL VA BUSINESS
VISIT TO GET THE FULL DETAILS OF THIS UNIQUE AND AFFORDABLE GROUP PROGRAM.
• 6 Month Coaching Program
- 2 60-minute Live Training Webinars – hands on so you can follow along and learn as you go!
- 1 90-minute Q&A Call with Hot Seat (15 minute 1-1 with me) – open Q&A call and the opportunity to be on the Hot Seat!
- Each webinar comes with its own templates/worksheets/best practices – take what you’ve learned and implement it quickly to start seeing the benefits (more money, time, freedom, etc.)
- Private Facebook Page – for members only! Ask questions, share successes, stay motivated!
- Monthly Accountability Worksheets – accountability partners to keep you accountable and implementing!
Month 1: Establishing a Foundation: Creating the foundation for a successful & profitable business
- Systems & Processes
- Operations Manual
- Start-up Costs
- Business Naming
Month 2: Whom do you serve?
- Ideal Clients
- Target Markets
- Service Offerings
Month 3: Building Your Online Presence
- Branding (Logo, Colors, Designs)
- Domain Names & Website Hosting
- Websites (Word Press Themes, Plug-ins)
- Website Content (Layout)
- Tools & Technology (Email, Time Tracking, etc.)
- Free Offer
Months 4 & 5: Getting Clients
- Internet & Email Marketing
- Social Media
- VA Organizations
- Teleseminars & Webinars
- Building your business while employed
Month 6: Running Your Business
- Managing Multiple Clients
- Time Management
- Customer Service
- Conflict Management
- Life Balance
Susan also hosts a free “Techie Talk” session available to the public each month. When you contact her through this link, ask to get on the mailing list for that—I try to attend it every month and always learn a lot!
Tawnya’s “Virtual Assistant in a Box” program teaches you how to:
- Set up the operations of your Virtual Assistant business easily and with confidence.
- Write a business plan from scratch that will help you reach your business goals.
- Show your potential clients what you can really do for them.
- Establish yourself as a guru in your field so as to attract new and better-qualified clients.
- Find your service niche in the Virtual Assistant industry and hone into your target market.
- Keep your name at the top of your prospects’ and clients’ minds and help you to sell more of your services, online and offline.
- Build a loyal base of “admirers” who are ready to hire you and retain your services month after month.
- Effortlessly spread the word about your business via “e-marketing.”
- Save thousands of dollars by developing your own marketing kit, from logos and brochureware to tradeshow presentations and press releases for additional exposure and traffic directed towards your business.
- Capture the internet market by developing a business website online to create new revenue streams online.
- Work with contracts that will ensure you have all your ducks in a row.
- Develop a procedural manual in the event you get sick or want to just take a holiday and know that your business will run smoothly while you’re away.
- Gain loyal clients through social networks like Twitter, Facebook and Linkedin.
Tawnya also provides a number of valuable documents, including a CD-ROM with 125 business templates, e-books, tutorials, charts, articles, coupons and even Virtual Assistant business contracts.
Don’t try to reinvent the wheel! You will save enormous amounts of time and money by learning from one or both of these VA’s how and where to get started working as a VA.