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Aug. 14, 2019

How To Start A Virtual Assistant Business

How To Start A Virtual Assistant Business

In this episode of She’s Crafted To Thrive, our guest is Kristi Monte, owner of Coffee With Kristi. She's a serial entrepreneur, who loves cats, music, and helping creative entrepreneurs create profitable systems. If you are a service-based business or thinking of starting a virtual assistant business this episode is for you. We dive right into talking about how to run multiple businesses, 3 things you need to do first when thinking about starting a virtual assistant business, and some tools to get you started.

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Transcript
Speaker 1:

On this episode of she's crafted to thrive. Our guest is Christie Montay . She is a serial entrepreneur who is living out of Nashville, Tennessee. She has a virtual assistant and I want it to have her on the show because she knows her stuff, right? She knows her stuff about creating business. She has over five instances they're doing successful and you guys, she is only 23 we've had another really young entrepreneur on the show and I got, I've gotten so much feedback , um , about how just how amazing it is to hear these young ladies like doing the thing and their business. And so I just wanted to have her on because she really does share her expertise in starting a virtual assistant business. She has experienced and helping other people and service based businesses run their business, be profitable and she is going to share some of those tips with us here on the show. So whether you are thinking about starting a side hustle or you have a virtual assistant business or whatever your deal is as starting as an entrepreneur, this is a great episode to stay tuned in because we're going to talk about things like fear. We're going to talk about things like how to niche down, why it's important to understand your ideal client pricing and all of the jazz. So be sure to stay tuned and let me know what you think. Welcome to she's crafter to thrive. I'm your host, Nikita Williams, and this show is for all the ladies who are making and creating things that they love. You will hear conversations about the real, everyday struggles. Oh , juggling life and business while trying to maintain passion and harmony as women. We have the skill of getting things done, but sometimes get in our own way is here. We'll you'll see that you're now alone. You'll discover that success does not mean perfection. Fear and negative thoughts and challenges are all a part of the journey. And on this podcast, to find the inspiration and tools you need to have a life and business that thrives.

Speaker 2:

Oh , okay .

Speaker 3:

You guys. I'm super excited to have Christie on coffee with Chrissy . I just loved the name. Her business is super fun. Um, um, we're in the same group together on , um, Instagram and we're obviously J star fan , so we all know this, but she's also , uh , in a quartet. It's a quartet. Is that what you call it? Achy. Yeah, Tomball . Okay. But anyway, she plays the strings and you guys know I love violin. I kind of grew up around that. She loves cats. Like she's just overall fun . I love her. So thank you so much for being on this show. Thank you so much for having me. That was such a cute intro. Yeah, I try to keep the interest a little fun and like not boring and stuffy. Yeah, no, I love it. It's not like, Oh, she does this, this, listen as, it's like she likes cats. I mean, that's me. So I love it. Well, tell us a little bit more about who you are, what you do and all jazz . Yes,

Speaker 4:

absolutely. Okay, so my name is Christy . I live in Nashville, Tennessee with my boyfriend and our two cats who are the loves of our lives. Um, but yeah, I am a violinist. I started out as a music education major in college. I went to James Madison university in Virginia and I was a music education major and while I was there I just, I was a violinist that wanted to quote unquote get more gigs and um, I started a string ensemble business called got strings, which within just a couple of years went from being just me and my college friends playing for random weddings to one of the biggest wedding and special event businesses in the Shenandoah Valley. So. Wow. Thank you. So we are now , uh , we , we do almost 50 weddings every year and so I have actually like stopped. I'm sorry, my face, I did not realize, I was just like, Oh my God , there's a lot of wedding. Yeah, yeah, it is. Um, we do think do weddings, but I don't play them anymore because when running a business, you know, you're constantly doing, you know, all of the other things that are as is that's involved in running a business. So I transitioned, got strings, I transitioned it to kind of having a twofold mission, which is really providing obviously elegant, exceptional string and solid music in the Shenandoah Valley, but it's also providing , um , a job for college students. So all of the musicians that I'm sending out are college music majors and I've taken on more of a CEO rule role in the business. I'm helping brides choose their music and booking the events and talking to wedding planners and all that fun stuff that goes on in the wedding industry. So that's kind of where I started my entrepreneurship journey when I was at school. Um, I did have a couple other ventures in college , um, like I was in direct sales and things like that. Um, when I graduated last year, when I graduated college last year in may, I moved to Nashville and I , it was just me and my boyfriend and we didn't know anyone moved there. Um, people always say like, why Nashville? And we're like, God , I dunno , I'm from New Jersey and he was from Virginia. It was just like somewhere different. Um , we're both musicians, so obviously we liked the music scene in Nashville, but um, yeah, we went to Nashville, Tennessee and we started a business together , um, and K podcast services. We also, I also started a virtual assistant business that is now my most profitable venture. U m, but as you can tell, I have like four or five businesses that I run consistently, which sounds crazy. And Nikita shaking her head no, but that's, that's me. That's my story. So I am a five t ime CEO at 23 and I'm just, I'm just loving life. That is so awesome. You know what, I have

Speaker 3:

um , another young CEO of her business on the show, one of my first episodes, and everyone's still to this day is like, I don't know how she has her stuff together. Like she sounds like she's like 30. And the fact that you have had five businesses, you're still currently doing them. They're all making money. Like Whoa, like can we all be,

Speaker 4:

you know, it's not as glamorous as it sounds though because a lot of times people are like, Oh my gosh, how do you like not go crazy? I'm like, I do go crazy. Like I do go crazy. And you know, people will also say to me like, how do you build five businesses at once? And this is actually really important. I'm technically not on the subject we're talking about today, but because we're talking about multiple businesses, people will say, how do you build five businesses at once? And I'm like, I don't, I build them and then I let it coast and then I build another one and then I let it coast. I didn't start another venture until after God strings had a great reputation. It was kind of running on autopilot. I had auditioned all the musicians, I had trained them all and then I could let it coast. Right now I'm focusing on building VA for a day , which is my project based virtual assistant service. And, but I didn't start building that until after all of my other businesses were stable and ready and I had hired stuff out and I had , um, you know , interns and I had employees and some contractors doing a lot of the day to day stuff. Um, yeah, that's, that's actually like a really big thing that I want people to know about, about me is that they , they see this five times CEO and they feel bad about themselves. They're like, Oh my gosh, like she's running five businesses. I can hardly run one. And I'm like, nah, I am not doing it alone. No one is doing it alone, you know? Yeah, no. Well,

Speaker 3:

doing it alone. One business five, even not doing it alone with five businesses, it's still huge. So , um, that's pretty amazing. Um , alone. Like that's just amazing. So what I want to talk to you about today is being a virtual assistant since Hey, that's what you're building right now with your CEO business right now that you're working on. So, so many of my listeners have, you know, thought this is a great way for me to start a business. Should I be a virtual assistant? And it's a very popular right now, it's very kind of buzzy. Um, lots of, you know, small businesses are looking to hire virtual assistants. So how would one person begin to even venture into becoming a virtual assistant?

Speaker 4:

Yes. Okay. So you're right, a lot of people are really interested, interested in becoming virtual assistants right now. And I am so happy that people are recognizing the importance of this because every business needs a virtual assistant typically, you know, not necessarily, not necessarily a startup. Um , a lot of times it's people who are in business for two to three years. They, they're looking for someone to kinda just pass some mundane tasks off to . Um, but if you want to become a virtual assistant, the first step for me like that I always recommend to like my virtual assistant mentorship students is really to think about what are you good at like that. It sounds kind of silly, but seriously, what are you good at? You know, people will say, well organized. Okay, well what are you good at? Organizing? Like be really specific and people will say, I'm really good writer. Okay, well what are you good at writing? Are you good at writing emails? Are you going to writing blogs or all the above . I mean it's good to know what your strengths and weaknesses are. I may be able to write blog posts, but I'm not really good with email correspondence. You know, and what I don't like to recommend to people who want to become a virtual assistant, and I think that a lot of VA mentors actually teach this, is to go out and learn a bunch of systems and skills and gather a bunch of, you know, softwares and I have all of these things on your resume. What I teach my students is honestly to have a specialized skill of preexisting skills that you are offering to someone. So instead of going out and being like, I need to learn doves , auto and a sauna and I have to learn how to use Calendly and all these different things, like whatever it is, just think about, okay, what do I know how to do now? R ight now, right in the second, right in the second. I know that I was in AP classes in high school for English, right? Like I am a good writer. I know I'm a good writer. Start being a writer. I mean be a verge , a copywriting virtual assistant. You don't necessarily need to be like this major copywriter who's charging thousands and thousands of dollars for a sales page, but your virtual assistant special skill could literally be, I will help you with your email correspondence and managing your inbox and trying to reduce the overwhelm when it comes to responding to inquiries and answering client questions and things like that. In that case, you're going to be targeting business owners who, like I said, are between like two and three years in business who are looking for some help to kind of reduce the overwhelm when they go into their inbox. Maybe you know you're not a good writer though. Like recently I had a girl say to me, I want to be a VA, but I hate writing. Good. That's fine. A lot of people think that they have to be a good writer to be a VA. I don't write, I don't write at all. I don't write , I mean I write for myself, but I don't write for other people like that is not what a thing that I do. You could actually be a VA that's managing somebody's inbox, but you have a bunch of templates that they've written out for you beforehand and you're not writing anything. Or maybe your skill is organizing projects and tasks so you can use a sauna or you can use Trello or your own system in Google docs or however you want to organize it. You can help a photographer organize how they send out galleries. You can help somebody. Like I've VA for day, I make a living helping people automate their client experience in dubsado. So people will come to me and they'll say, I am dropping balls all the time. You know, I don't know how to get a client from point a to point B. Like I'm , I'm forgetting to answer them. I'm forgetting to send them questionnaires that I'm taking too much time. So what I do is I help them map out their client experience from the moment someone hears their name to the, you know, six months later when you're following up with that client and map every single step of that client experience and then automate everything you can. And then I basically map out a project for them and say, all right, every single client you have, these are the things that are going to be automated. And these are the things that you have to do manually. Like that's what VA for a day is. That's not a typical virtual assistant. Right? But the beautiful thing about VA work is that it's remote work helping business owners. That's it. It doesn't need to be much more complicated. It doesn't have to be boxed in and saying, okay, VA's do general admin stuff. They do bookkeeping, they do emails, they do product management. Some VA's do that, a lot of VA's do that, but you don't have to be a traditional VA that is just doing whatever someone says and answering emails. You can just pick whatever skills that you're good at and package it up in something that would be appealing to a business owner. So that's kind of where I always recommend people starting looking at what you're good at and what you can offer as a virtual service to someone else. I love that

Speaker 3:

she just said that because you, you're right, there are a lot of people out there teaching that you have to do all the things versus niching down and doing. And I think it's partly of a, a fear. Yeah, and I think we feed into that fear, right? Like a lot of people or whether you're a small business doing a virtual assistant or your creative entrepreneur in some way, shape or form. We we like are afraid of niching down to that one little thing because we're like, well, who's gonna find me? Right? Where like who's gonna f.

:

ind me? But to your point, like there are so many tools, there are so many different things that you, how could, you know all the things like how could you be good at all the things a master, what is the saying? I know if all trades master of none.

Speaker 3:

Exactly. So like it's such a good point that you're bringing out because um , know what you're good at . And I think I just was shocked talking to another girl about this. Like we need to identify with that is and then own it and then do other things that help you know further that along like robe, that unique thing about you grow that don't go out and start trying to learn something brand new that you don't know. I mean , you know, that's a lot of time and effort and money a lot of times. So I love that you just brought that out.

Speaker 4:

Absolutely. And the thing is when you have a specialized skill you can charge more for it. Like the only thing, I mean anybody can do the math on my business like my, so for VA for day , my model is project based, right and not hourly and that's, that's kind of step two I guess for trying to determine whether or not, um, you know, how to build up your virtual assistant business is how are you going to work? Are you looking for somebody that you want to work project for? You literally work for one client and then they leave and it's project-based. Your, for example, your creating their logo are designing their website, your answer, you know, you're creating some PDFs for them to make them their freebies. You're setting up their email list and then you know one and done, they leave or are you looking for a more consistent client? Right. Like more looking for more consistent client every single week I work 10 hours per week, it's $25 an hour, you know, whatever. What kind of, you know, how, what is the model that you're working? But regardless, I think it's important to kind of know that if you're working hourly, a lot of times people are not able to charge as much as they want to because it's more consistent work. And it's like, yeah, okay, $25 an hour for 10 hours a week, right? That's $1,000 a month. Good. So if you want to make a, you know, if you want to make $40,000 a year, you need approximately four of those people and you're working 40 hour weeks. Very simple, right? It's not hard. It's a really easy model. And that's, there's plenty of people who go through my mentorship program and that's exactly what they want. You know, that's exactly what they want to do. They want four consistent clients at $25 an hour for 10 hours a week. Great. And I'll help you get there. But for me personally, I work way less than 40 hours a week, but I'll still make that 40 K because here's the thing, I am charging for a special skill for one off business owners that come to me one time and they'd pay me a flat fee to do something for their business. Might absolvo set up clients and my client experience like a , you know, clients, those people who have me map out their client experience and then automate it and dubs Oddo and teach them exactly how to keep track of their tasks for every single client. Those people, depending on what they need, we'll spend anywhere between 500 and $1,200 with me and I take two per week, 50 weeks a year, so anyone can do on math on my business. I know how much I'm making. Right? But you know how much it takes me to do that. I hate to even admit this on the air, but I charge, you know, minimum 500 bucks. It taken me like three hours. It's a specialized skill and now I'm not doing 25 bucks an hour. That's over a hundred dollars an hour, right? Because it's something that I have honed and it's, you know, it's something that I am really good at and it's something that they can't do themselves and they need me and it's not consistent. So they're more willing to shell out $850 to have a one and done project rather than paying somebody consistently for an indefinite amount of time. That's kind of the next step of really just a certain, you know, determining what you want for your business. If you want to keep going out and finding new clients and you know, finding one off clients. There's hard stuff about that. You know, half of, I know that right now that like most of your listeners are like, that sounds great. I want to work project based. But you know, you're constantly having to market yourself. You're constantly having to network. You're getting Facebook groups, you're on Instagram, you're on your Instagram stories, you're talking about your business, you're selling your business. I mean this is stuff that is, you're doing tutorials, you're making videos, you're on HGTV. You have a YouTube channel. I mean you have to keep going out and constantly finding clients. Sometimes that's not necessarily practical, right? Sometimes people just, you just want to get those four clients for 10 hours a week and $25 an hour. Like that's all you want and make more K a month. It's easy. So the next kind of step is really determining what you, you know, what kind of model you want your VA business to fall under. Um, but just consider the fact that if you have a specialized skill, you can charge way more for it than if you're the Jack of all trades and you're doing everything that they, that they need you for. You can't charge, sorry, I'm like going off on this, but you can't charge, you can't charge like 30 bucks an hour to answer people's emails. Like, I'm going , you just can't, like, it's , it's , you're answering emails, like it's just not, it's none a $30. You can have a high school student do that. Right? Yeah. He asked me, she was like, I'm hiring , um , somebody to answer my emails. How much should I pay them? She was like, I know that most VA's charge around 25 bucks an hour. I was like, well most of you guys charge 25 bucks an hour. If they're doing like a lot of stuff in your business, answering emails for 10 minutes a day is not a $25 an hour tasks . It's like 15 you know? So that's something to consider as well. Like what type of, you know, how, what type of caliber you're going to be delivering for your clients, what type of packages you have and um , how much you're able to charge based on the skills that you're presenting as well.

Nikita:

Yeah, I love that too. That step is just deciding what kind of model you want to be in your business. You know, it's something that you just said too , that I could imagine that there are specialized skills that you could still charge on a weekly basis that isn't a monthly or one off kind of thing. It's like something they need. For example, like bookkeeping. If you're really good at a particular type of bookkeeping that's a monthly, weekly way that's consistent. Like, you need someone to do that versus you know, a CPA which you have them come in every, you know , quarter or something like that.

Speaker 4:

So I can imagine if you are in a business or thinking about creating a virtual assistant business or it's very unique, it can still be something that is done. Like you were just saying, just not one offs.

Kristi:

Yeah. Or it could be like a monthly bookkeeping, you know, like I have a girl who does monthly bookkeeping, so she signs people who sign a contract for a three month minimum. I think it is. She's got like a three, six, nine and 12 month commitment kind of thing. And it's, they get a little bit of a discount the longer they sign the contract for, you know, and it's say it's $100 a month for three months and then it's like $90 a month for six months or it's $80 a month for nine months, whatever. And she just goes in and she inputs all of their transactions into QuickBooks.

Speaker 4:

Um, you know, they've given her like their bank statements and then she's going to go and manually put it into QuickBooks. Yeah. I mean that's a monthly service, but it's not necessarily weekly, but it is a specialized skill. So she's able to charge a decent amount for it, but she's still getting that consistent work. Consistent work is the best way to do VA work. My model is, is harder, you know, quote unquote because of the fact that it's project based and you're finding new clients all the time. And I'm finding two clients per week all year. But I mean, it's worth it cause I can charge a lot to me, but a lot of times people don't want to do that. They don't wanna be marketing themselves all the time. They just, they just want, it's fun and it's consistent clients so that it really is the way to go. Especially if you don't feel super comfortable marketing and selling yourself. Um, really all you need to do is just work on finding a few consistent clients, make them sign a contract that they're going to have, you know, that they're going to give you a 30 day notice or something like that. So you know that you're going to have this income. Um, that's , that's really the way to do it. And it gives you that sense of security that a lot of us wish we had as entrepreneurs. Yeah. Honestly, that's security. But you know, it's still an entrepreneurship journey. Like , yes , you can have that consistent client and they can be like, no, after a week. Like I would just, Oh yeah . Oh yeah . Um, so what is like, okay , so that was step two, like, so step one was, you know, find out what you're good at. Step two is decide what kind of model that you need for your, you know, your lifestyle, your business, and then what's step three packages and pricing. [inaudible] pricing. My friend, this is like my favorite thing. So when you're just turning like what kind of packages that you want to put together for your clients, you need to figure out exactly who your ideal client is. The more niche, the better. If you are targeting, you can't just target everybody who owns a business, not a good move, not a good move. And I'm sure you've talked about it on your podcast before, like the importance of niching down. It really, really, really is very crucial. And now for me, like I'll just say creatives, right? Creative entrepreneurs that are two to three years at girl boss is two to three years in business. I mean that's, it's a pretty niche group. I'm not boxing myself into saying I only serve photographers. However, I could do that. And you'd say there's plenty of photographers who need help a lot of times for virtual assistance . Um, when you're not sure who you're supposed to be targeting creatives isn't a very good like blanket statement that is, you know, that a lot of people identify with. But it's not boxing you into much. But it's also isolate. It is like getting rid of like half the population. But creative entrepreneurs are a very good niche to target as far as when you're creating your packages. Because a lot of times creative entrepreneurs, like they just want to take pictures. They just want to create logos. They just want to paint. They just want to, et cetera , et cetera . Right? They just want them to do the thing that they're really good at, their talent, their , their passion. And they don't want to deal with the other parts that have to do with the business right there. How many photographers do we know? They're dropping the ball, they just want to take pictures. Like they're not, they're not wanting to book and answer emails and send out contracts and invoices and questionnaires and blah, blah, blah, blah. No, they don't wanna do that. So if you're targeting creative entrepreneurs, it's a pretty good niche. So once you've identified that, it's now time to put together packages of what you're going to be offering to these types of people. So it's important to really know who you're targeting in order to put together packages, the packages. Go back to of course what you're good at. Um, and I always recommend like putting together a package, like two to three different packages that people can choose from. But the first one is very minimal. The second one is going to be the perfect package, the one that you actually want to be, you want everybody to choose. And then the last one is like everything in the kitchen sink. And I hate to keep on bringing photographers, but they do this so well. Every time you answer , you ask if Dwayne photographer with their prices are, they're going to say I have three different packages. The first one is four hours of coverage and you get 40 photos. Like no one wants that, right? And in the second package, you know, and that's say $2,000 second package is $3,000 and you get eight hours of color coverage and you know, X amount of 400 photos, whatever it is. And that's $3,000 and then an a compliment or engagement shoot. And then you've got that bigger package that's $4,000 and it's, you know, unlimited coverage and you think plus birdwatcher and you know, whatever. Right? So photographers do this very well. I like to replicate this in the VA world. You have the middle package that you actually want them to pick and 90% of people are going to pick that middle package. So you just really, that's what you're going to really perfect. And then you can have two on the other side. You just kind of get people and make them feel like they're , they have an option, right? So creating your packages , uh , based on what you're really good at and then pricing those packages. This is the hardest part, hands down that virtual assistants run into is pricing their packages. And I kind of , I have this whole like pricing formula and sometimes it's a little bit easier to like visually see it, but, and we can present the show notes if you have show notes . Um, but , um, the pricing formula really just comes down to knowing your ideal client and knowing how long it would take them to complete the work that you're gonna be doing for them. When people are hiring virtual assistants, they're not paying you for your time. No one is paying a virtual assistant for their time. They're paying you to get back theirs.

Speaker 3:

Whoa, wait, wait, I'm sorry. That just mind blown me. Like I'm mind blown. Like, Whoa , Whoa , Whoa , Whoa, wait a minute. That is such, Oh my gosh , just so much. Whoa. Let me use words. That is a really huge mind shift for people who are, I mean, seriously, seriously, like my time is my time, but that's not what you want. You want your time back. Yup . And I'm giving it to you. I love that.

Speaker 4:

Yes. No one hires a virtual assistant for their to to pay them for their time. That's why I always kind of, I don't like to like bash the hourly model because I do think that there is some benefit to ha to it, but for the most part it's like your hourly rate is irrelevant. It doesn't matter what your hourly rate is. A lot of times, for example, a lot of times people say, okay, I want to be a social media manager. Right. This is a really good example out of my VA's. We'll go through the program. By the end of it, they're like, I want to be a social media manager. And they will say, okay, be a social media manager. I'm going to do, you know, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. I had a post for this business owner. They're going to create five posts per week on each platform. They're gonna write the copy, pick out the photos from their galleries or other galleries , um, you know, do some hashtag research location, blah, blah, blah. That's their package, right? Once they have put that package together, when we get into pricing, almost every single one of them will do this. And it's like the biggest mistake that I see VA's do, they look at their package and they go, okay, it's going to take me about, I don't know , two hours per week to do Instagram, and then I'm just going to take the same posts and put them on Instagram and link on Facebook and LinkedIn and Twitter and they're just going to be modified. So that's only going to take me like maybe an hour each per platform. So that's takes be like, I don't know, five hours. So my hourly rate is $25 so I'll give him a little bit of a discount. I'll turn to a hundred dollars a week. No [inaudible] that is so many people do. And I'm like, okay, all right , that sounds great. It's going to take you five hours. So you think you know around a hundred bucks is fair for five hours of your time, but that's irrelevant. I'm like throw that away. That has nothing to do with anything because it doesn't matter how long it's gonna take you, your client is hiring you so that they don't have to do it. How much does your ideal client charge for their time? Let's say your charge, you are targeting web designers, web designers who are super, super busy and they are booked out all the time and they don't have time to do their social media. The web designers are one off people, so they need to be constantly marketing their services, right? So they need a social media manager, but they're also spending, you know like 40 plus hours per week working at websites. So when these web designers are looking for social media manager, how much do they charge their clients for? Their time? Website can be upwards of $6,000 right? But let's make it easy. Let's say it's $5,000 what designers say charge $5,000 for a website's custom website. And I don't know , I mean I've talked to a lot of web designers. It probably takes them between around 10 hours, like honestly, probably around 10 hours to do a full custom website. Some of them will take 20 hours, but a really good web designer will charge like $5,000 and they're , it's taken him about 10 hours worth of work and they'll do , um, and they'll do like one per week, right? Same with like my window items, auto kind of my clients. So how much is that? Well, that means that they're charging around $500 per hour. Right? So you being a social media manager and charging them $100 per hour on something that would take them twice as long as it would take you when they're valuing their time at $500 an hour is really, really important to know. Right? So if you're looking at them and you're like, okay, it's going to take me five hours to do their social media, but I am an expert at this. I'm really good at social media. It comes natural to me. I'm really good at pairing pictures together. I can always, I can research the hashtag hashtags and you know, two minutes flat. That's because you're really good at it and it's a specialized skill. Somebody is hiring you because they're not good at it. They're good at designing websites. They don't have that specialized skill. So they're hiring you for your specialized skill and you need to charge what that would be, what the time that you're saving them. So if it's taking you five hours, you have to assume it's going to take them twice as long because they don't have the skills that you do. So if it's taking them twice as long, it's going to be 10 hours and they chart and they value their time. We've already decided around 500 bucks an hour, that's a $5,000 service, my friend. All right? As a buyer does know our service because you just took what they value their time at and how much time it would take them. That's how you price your services. It has nothing to do with how much time it's going to take you and what you value your time at. So that's why it's so important to know who you're targeting and how much they value their time at when you're pricing your services. Now, do I think that every social media manager should charge $5,000 per month? Maybe not. But you know what ? You can say $5,000 value. Yes, it's a $5,000 value. It comes with all of this stuff, but you know what? You're getting it for 2,500 boom. You just got a half off discount and you're making $2,400 more than what you were about to charge before. So that's what I always recommend to people when they're pointing either their packages and their pricing is that people are not paying you for your time. They're paying you for theirs.

Speaker 3:

Yeah. That is some gold money right there. Nobody seriously like I'm you guys have , you could see my face. I'm still like my head is still trying to catch up with that. Like, you know, it's , it's such a good point and I don't think I've ever heard anyone say it like that, you know, and that kind of way in which I love, I mean so many women and I'm listening to so many women , um, and their business, but I've never heard anyone bring it to that. And I think especially when you're starting a virtual assistant business or any service based business, that is something you should be thinking about. Like what you just said. Like I think we do, we just automatically think about how much time is this gonna take me? Right? Like how much time is this going to take me? For example, like we were just talking about before the show. I'm like, I'm getting tired of editing my own podcast . How much time? Like my husband was like, how much time do you think you'd spend on editing and all of that stuff. I'm like, probably about 10 hours. Like each podcast. And he's like, wow. I'm like, yeah, will you tell him? Um , I don't like to hear myself talk that much. Like, you know what I'm saying? Like I'm getting like, I'm ready to have someone to do it for me. So just that thought process of like, okay, so when I hire someone, that's what I need to be even thinking about too. That shifts my mindset. You know? Like if I'm looking to hire someone to do that for me, look, I'm wanting 10 hours back.

Speaker 4:

Right, right. You're gaining 10 hours and what can you do with that? I've done hours. I mean, you can pick up another client. You could , I mean, there's a million things you can do with that extra time and that has something that we don't consider when you're selling your services, you don't consider the amount of time that people are saving. And that was something that really, really shifted everything in my business when I realized that it had nothing to do with me and it had everything to do with them.

Speaker 3:

Yeah. Wow. So if someone is thinking

Speaker 4:

about starting this, what are some fears you have typically heard and what do you have to say to those? All right . Well, the first fear that I can really think of is that they're not gonna be able to find clients. I mean, that's the biggest thing. How am I going to find people to buy my services? And the biggest thing I say to that is, again, going back to knowing your ideal client, I find everyone, I've never, I've never paid for an ad for VA for a day. I've never paid for an ad. I find every single one of my clients on Facebook groups like Facebook groups, seriously Facebook groups where female entrepreneurs are hanging out. I know that most of them are hanging out in like podcasts , Facebook groups, like we're all a part of some of the big ones, the big ones. And there are people constantly posting and saying, you know, hi, I'm looking for a VA that does this, this, this and this. The biggest thing that I can say once you're in the Facebook groups is not to be super salesy. Like you don't necessarily want to sit there all day and being like, hi , I'm a VA and I want to help you. My biggest thing is when people are , uh, you know, asking a question in a Facebook group that is related to your area of expertise, commenting and giving them a helpful piece of advice, giving them healthy people's advice. People will say, Oh my gosh guys, I don't know. Um, I don't know how to get my client from point a to point B. I can't figure out exactly what I need to do in order to make sure that everything is streamlined in my client experience. Right? People will say something like that in a Facebook group and I don't comment and I'm like, hi, I can help you automate that and blah, blah, blah. Sign up for a free consultation call here. I could, it wouldn't work. I tried it, didn't work. Instead I'll comment and say, Hey girl, this is such a great question and something that's so many of my clients go through. My piece of advice to you is to start with a, B, and C. hopefully this helps, right? I don't even ask them for anything. I don't even say like, you know, if you want to chat more DME, blah, blah, blah. I see that time . I don't even really say anything else. I'm just like, hopefully this helps you. Yeah, guaranteed. If it helped them, they will seek you out and that's what happens all the time. People messaged me and they're like, Hey, that was such great advice. What do you do? How did you, you know, what clients were you referring to? Or even better yet if your Facebook profile is like optimized, they know they'll just click on your face and you know those click on your name, they go to your Facebook page and they can see that your cover photo is like a beautifully branded photo of you sitting at your, you know, sitting, drinking coffee with your laptop and it says via her day, you know what I mean? Like, you know, automating and perfecting your client experience. And then in your bio on the left hand side of your Facebook profile, it says learn more coffee, greasy or accomplish via everyday , right? Like that's, it's going to be an optimized so people know where to go so that they can find it and more about your services and then reach out to you. So yeah, people always say, I'm so afraid about not being able to find clients. And I'm like, just hang out in Facebook groups. Go on Instagram. Like show your real personality. Um , a lot of times VA's are afraid to like show their faces because they don't think that they're like a personal brand. But I think the biggest thing that's made being for a day successful is the fact that it is a personal brand. And then I get on there and I show my cats and I'm, you know , like just, I mean I am like, if people know who I am, they feel they like me. They, they feel like they know me, they can trust me. I show that stuff on my Instagram to build relationships with people so that they feel comfortable inviting me into their business. That's a really, really big thing that a lot of people don't realize when it's, when you're advertising VA services people, your business is your baby, right? Like people don't just hand over any, any Willy nilly and things in their business to like random people. Like that is just not a thing. Right? So people , um, yeah, people forget about that. They think that , um, that they just need to post about their services and they don't need to show their face. But like, ah , no, no one is going to hire you if they don't. They don't see your bright and smiling face, you know? So show your cutie face under website. Like the first thing that I want to see on your website is a picture of you smiling and enjoying what you do like with your laptop or something. So that's the first myth. Um, the next one is actually, I think that the, the, the next fear is really like competing with people who are on like Fiverr and Upwork and they're like in like the Philippines charging $4 an hour and stuff and there's nothing wrong with them. Um, but they're like, how can I stand out in a sea of all of these people who are doing exactly what I do and they're charging half or a third of what I do? And my answer to that is the way you, honestly, the way you stick out is for you to be you. Those people who are, who hardly speak English and another countries like they're for someone, they are totally for someone, but they're not for your ideal client. Your ideal client is looking for you. They're looking for a team member. They're looking for somebody that they can talk to. Uh , I was, I, I do do a couple of random like consistent work for some, for some special clients that my VIP clients were all like , um , like Jasmine stars . One of them. And then one of my , um , clients is Meredith and unfortunately her father just passed away and I am somebody who literally like checks her email. It's a very basic thing. Um, I've had her since I started my business and I just really liked her and even though I was working PR fricking product project-based , I was just like, I want to work for you more. Um, and unfortunately your father passed away, but she knew without it , without a shadow of the doubt that she could count on me to handle her whole business for two weeks while she just took time to be with her family, you know, organize a funeral, all of those things to call up her, the brides that, you know, she's a wedding photographer to call it the brides and tell them that we found a cover and that unfortunately she's not going to be there, but she'll be editing them and you know, handling all of those things. She knew that she could trust me. She's my ideal client. She's probably your ideal client, right? She is somebody who knows who wants somebody that is going to be an integral part of their business that they're welcoming into their business and trusting them with their livelihood. Especially if you're doing like email correspondence and things like that, like emails make or break your business. So if you are selling an email marketing or just an email management service, like you are a very integral part of this person's business. So if you're worried about, you know, competing with all these other people who are on Viber and Upwork and charging ridiculous amounts of, you know, dollar amounts per hour, those are not the people who your ideal client is looking for. You know, that's not what they want. They want you to be a part of their business and the only way that you can really stick out and show them that is for you to show your face and build that trust through social media primarily. And just meeting people that way. Yeah, I love those. I love all those

Speaker 3:

fierce and dispelling them like whatever, like, you know, and I love what, what's common between all three of those ? It's all three of those that you have to be you. Like you have to be, you, you have to bring yourself to the game. Like you can't just take your services and throw them out there. You have to bring yourself to the game. Like I love that, that you know, and that might take some work for you. Just be honest. I might take some work for you to get comfortable with that. Especially if you are so used to being like behind the scenes of something or if you're working for someone right now and you know, that's it. Like, you know, for you any business nowadays, in order for you to really cut the noise and be different, you have to bring yourself to the game like you have to. It's absolutely necessary. And so I love that you broke those fears down. So what are some tools that they could use starting to get started into being a virtual assistant that you have or that you know of that would be helpful for them?

Speaker 4:

Absolutely. Well, my biggest tool that I use every single day in all of my businesses as well as recommend to everyone is to use a client management system called dubs auto, which I mentioned , um , a little bit, you know, when I was talking about my services, cause that's what I do. I help people set it up. Um, but I mean I've used every client management system under the sun and I've never seen what dubs auto can do. So Deb's auto really is going, that's D U B S a D O in case you're taking notes. Um, but does auto is a really good place for you to store all of your client's information, send contracts and emails and questionnaires. Um, send invoices, take payments. I mean, it's an appointment schedulers like a lot of times three VA's will start off and well, service based businesses in general, they'll start off and they are sending emails through Gmail. They're sending their questionnaires through Google forms, they're setting up appointments through Calendly, they're sending emails , they're sending contracts through hello sign, they're sending invoices, they're PayPal. I mean they literally are using like five different methods for one client and then their clients like, Hey, can you send me a copy of your contract? And you're like, God, I don't even know where that is. Digging through email correspondence isn't , it's a mess. So I always recommend to when you're , um, you know, starting out as a VA or really any service based business to get the [inaudible] and to use it for managing your clients so that you can actually keep all of their information in one place. So you can learn about that on coffee with christi.com/dubs auto. Um , I just have like free resources on there like a does auto set up checklist and um, how to automate your client experience using the [inaudible] , um, things like that. And also my discount codes so you can get a little bit of a discount on there as well.

Speaker 3:

I loved them . Sato you guys. If , um, I've the same thing with Kristy ever use tons of different CRMs. I mean there are some really cool ones out there, but for me I just felt like Deb Sato was such a nice , um, it's user friendly to like, I just feel like it's very easy to kind of pick up, but then there are some really cool things that you need someone you might need someone to kind of help you with. But it is a really great tool that I really liked . So I definitely recommend you guys checking it out too.

Speaker 4:

Yeah. And you don't have to get like super involved when you first get it. Like it can just be literally like putting it in a client and having their contract and their invoice in there . Like you can get really detailed with workflows and tasks and to do's and all these different things later. But for now just have a place where you have all of their information in one place and you put notes about them and call logs and it's really helpful. Um, the next resource that I personally have for you is called , um , my pricing guide. So it's kind of all about like what we just chatted about a little bit more in depth. Also talking about like setting goals and um, setting basically like income based goals based on your prices and uh, putting together your prices based on your packages and all the things that we talked about in more depth and also just a visual for it as well. Cause I know that I talk, I talk fast, I'm from Jersey. So if you go to coffee and chrissy.com/shop , you'll see my pricing guide there and hopefully that will help you as well when you're, when you're setting your prices. Um, Fiverr and Upwork are a good place for you to go on if you are really worried about not finding clients, that is a good tool for you to use. But I just, I caution you there because it's definitely , um, there's a , there's thousands and thousands and thousands of VA's and you're really not going to stick out, but it's free to put your profile up there and get like Thumbtack. That's a good one as well. I've gotten some leads off Thumbtack. It's a little bit smaller and less competition. Um, but yeah, I mean Thumbtack is good. It's free to put it up there, but don't rely on that. I would , uh , I would definitely go on Instagram and Facebook and [inaudible] try and make connections that way before, before you really rely on, on those freelancing sites. And the lastly, I do have a virtual assistant mentorship program that I run a couple of times a year. Um , the next one is in September, so I'll be starting to talk about it on my social media and the email list and all the things , uh, at the end of August. So if you would like to get on the wait list for that , um, you would just go to coffee with christi.com/waitlist and you can be the first to know about my VA mentorship program opening up, which is three months and it's just, it's called booked out VA. It's literally like from the moment that you decide you want to be a virtual assistant to three months later when you have consistent paying clients. We have guests that are speaking and group calls and one-on-ones and it's super fun.

Speaker 3:

It sounds awesome. That sounds great. I can't wait to put it out there and let you know, share it with the audience. I know we have quite a few. I would almost imagine that maybe even if you have a service based business it would be a good fit for you too if you're just trying to figure out that pricing model and all of those kind of things to find that consistent income and that's what all we all need. Right? Like even if you just want to like start it as a side hustle. Yeah, yeah. I love it. Okay, great. Well thank you so much Christie for being on and sharing all of your tips and your, I mean I , I'm still getting over that whole thought about the money, like the time and the money. That's just a awesome thought and I think so many gyms and in this episode and I'm sure everyone will love, love, love to put this one on replay. So thank you so much. Thank you for having me. This has been so much fun.

Speaker 1:

All right ladies, that's a wrap for this episode of she's crafted to thrive. Thank you so much for joining me. Please share with your friends and be sure to like and subscribe and leave us a review on iTunes. In the meantime, check us out at, she's crafted that, come to check out the show notes for all the goodies and things that we talked about, and there'll be links there for you guys. So in the meantime, just remember, you are crafted to thrive.