Originally Posted by leedrozak
Great article Lisa, what a conversation starter. I do advertise that you do not need to pay for office space, vacation, etc. however I list them under costs savings to you the client and then again in the FAQ section of my site so that if you are new to working with a VA then here are some benefits.
I too was guilty of these things when I first started. The industry was new and the items needed to be explained. That does not mean that it could not be worded in such a way as to devalue my services so I decided to rework that information. Lets face it people do want to hire us to do "mundane" tasks that they cannot do efficiently or effectively. So let us let them know that we can do those but in a way that does not sound so bad.
I loath the one hour for free. If you want people to give you a try out then offer them a discounted package. I offer a getting to know you package where you get 5 hours for the price of 4 and no contract required however I do have a basic agreement that outlines the terms without all the legal jargon. If you offer one hour for free then people are just going to use you for one hour and move on to the next one hour free deal.
I also agree about the doctor, lawyer comparison however I feel that this is pitting apples against oranges. Those professions are long established while virtual assistance as office and business support is still new in the game. Thankfully it has been pushed to the forefront over the last couple years but people equate the profession with office help and support so you need to let them know the reasoning that it just makes sense to get the help you need without all the headaches of traditional employees.
I am all for holding our profession in the highest esteem possible but I believe that sometimes we try to justify our rates with the profession instead of justifying our rates based on quality and experience. Some people think VA is now a dirty word. I refer to myself as a business and administrative consultant as well as a VA. Not because I do not want to be called a VA but because much of my business is working with clients to set in place process and procedures and streamlining functions beforehand.
Lee, I like the idea of getting x amount of hours for the price of y. Do you mind if I come up with something similar? I have been to websites of (or worked with) a lot of VAs in Australia and I know it's not something we typically offer though I see a lot of merit in it.
I like the reference of a Business and Administrative COnsultant too. Yes I am a VA, I do help with the day to day tasks but a majority of my clients want me to help them streamline their processes so their business can run more efficiently. That can be anything from creating a welcome pack or an operations manual or a survey for new clients to fillout to brainstorming and implementing marketing and advertising ideas. Sometimes it's even researching and reviewing their pricing. I feel like I am more a consultant so while I want to educate people on Virtual Assistance I feel 'Consultant' fits me more.
Also, I am going to take the advice and 'play down' the 'cost effective' and 'mundane tasks' because lets face it EVERYONE says that. It's tired. It's boring and it really does make us seem like we are underselling ourselves.
My site is getting a complete overhaul. I'm going to mention it in passing (the cost comparison) but what I am really going to selling is my skills, diverse as they are, the quality of my work, my availability (as I can be available outside of business hours with prior arrangement) and things like that. I'm going to start seeing myself more as an 'investment' than 'hired administrative help'. I am worthy of the price I charge so I need to start acting like it I guess!