02. Setting Up Your Business
Deciding what services to offer can be one of the hardest parts of getting started for some people. Many virtual assistants start off with very specific tasks, such as bookkeeping, social media scheduling, editing blog posts, etc. However, it's really best to put your talents into different categories and offer 2-3 at a time.
For example, when I was getting started I had my own website, blog and social media. So I created a package called "content management" where I helped business owners schedule their content. Start out by making a massive list of what you can do - It'll be longer than you think. I recommend doing this step on sticky notes, or something movable, we'll be re-ordering them later.
Write everything down, no matter how small or irrelevant they may seem. Here's a piece of on of my coaching client's list, she ended up with 97 ideas total.
- Researching online
- Sewing with a machine
- Image optimization for SEO
- Keyword Research
- Facebook Ad Campaigns
Just start writing down everything you know how to do. Even if you're not an expert. It's okay. You can always take a short ecourse before you offer the service officially. Once you have your list done, go through it and cross off (or throw out) anything you don't want to offer or anything you hate doing. Now we're going to put them into categories. Start looking for tasks that could be packaged together. Photo editing and Instagram post scheduling for example. Or blog post revisions and keyword research. Find talents that would compliment each other well. Some tasks might be able to go in multiple categories, which is great!
Now that you have your categories, you have your services planned out. You have tasks that you know you can do and you've packaged them nicely into packages that your clients can purchase together. If your services seem like they don't go together, you can also offer a sort of "a la carte" option. Just list everything you can do and let your clients build their own package. However, I recommend doing one or the other. If you give your clients too many choices it can be overwhelming and they won't buy. You want to guide people toward the package that will work best for their needs.
You have to understand what your offering and you have to communicate that with your clients. Most businesses could benefit from a virtual assistant, but most people don't know exactly what they need. It's your job to show them based on the skills you have. If you love social media, you might be a good website designer, or understand SEO, but you don't have to offer all three. KNOW what you're best off, and offer that.
There will be clients who love what you do and love your style, but they don't know exactly what they need. You need to understand your skills and offerings enough to tell them exactly what you can do for them and how it'll benefit them.
Here's an example:
Last year I had a referral come to me, she had been following my site for awhile and loved my tips and website. She had heard I offered VA services and she'd been feeling overwhelmed, so she needed help. I asked her what she needed help with, and her response was "everything". She was drowning in work and didn't know how to start getting back on track. I told her my specialty was in social media. I would help her build a social marketing plan, establish a library of content to pull from and then schedule weeks of social media posts ahead of time.
She didn't know it at the time, but social media was taking her between 3-6 hours every week. Not only that but she wasn't great at social media. She had no schedule, no plan, and no consistency. Her branding was not established on her accounts and her posts often were more personal than business related. After working with her for just 3 weeks, she was happy. She was posting blog posts again, taking on more clients and felt under control. I could've helped her in the same way if I was a content creator or a bookkeeper. Your job is to take some weight off their workload - it doesn't matter what weight that is, as long as you can hold your own.
This takes me to the second step in planning your services; what will your workflow look like. We'll dig more into this a bit later in the course, but you should have a rough idea in mind. Will you offer free video consultations? Are you offering your services locally and online? How do you want people to contact you? And how many clients can you take on at one time? Start thinking about these questions as we move through the next few modules.
Grab your favorite notebook, login to Evernote or open your go-to software. Brain dump everything you know how to do. Don't worry about if it's marketable or how many people need the service, just write your ideas for 10 minutes.
When the 10 minutes are up, find connections. Look at your list and start to build packages based on what you love to do and if you'd like to make money doing it. Build 2 packages and write out what's included.