You know that feeling of walking past a bakery and it just smells AMAZING? That smell of freshly baked goods… there’s just something irresistible about it!
What if you could do the same with our virtual assistant packages? What if you KNEW they would sell like hotcakes before you began offering them as your freelance service?
I like the idea of offering VA services as a freelance business as you are starting out.
It’s easy to get started and if you know how to make processes more efficient or how to do things like Facebook ads, it’s easy to get more work because it’s convenient for your clients to work with just one person.
It will help you earn money on the side and quit your job or travel if that’s what you dream of, and you can always upgrade to a more specialized service later if you want to.
The most important thing when you begin is getting over the hurdle of landing your first paying clients.
There is plenty of advice out there about the technicalities of creating your packages when you already have clients and know them well. But what if you’ve never had a freelance project?
The advice we usually hear is missing something
Common advice often skips the work and insights that come before.
How do you know that the packages you see will be attractive to YOUR clients? Or that the example packages other show as examples will work for YOUR clients instead of theirs?
Many of us start out by thinking we should do offer our services by the hour, as a monthly retainer where the client pays a fixed fee each month or project-based packages where you handle a project for them and are paid when it is completed.
Others argue that we should figure out what we need to earn each month, including taxes and other costs, and find our hourly rate and package based on that.
Popular advice tells us to pick a niche that is unique, one we can dominate. But if we have to do that, how can we sell the same packages and expect it to work?
Well… sometimes we just get lucky, of course. Other times, it just doesn’t work. Neither is a solid strategy long-term.
To be honest with you, most of the technical advice works. But it isn’t the best approach for everyone. Experienced freelancers face different challenges than professionals that haven’t even begun freelancing yet.
If you are working to land your first clients, it doesn’t make sense to follow advice meant for someone who has twenty clients under their belt. That’s why I’d like to do it a little differently.
The reality is that if the packages we offer potential clients don’t solve their challenges, they won’t buy them and we won’t earn any money. On the other hand, if they are tailored well to your clients it will be a no-brainer for them to work with you.
We love immediately planning out our rates and tasks because it gives us a sexy idea about what our life will be like.
Because we know most people approach freelancing this way, we can win by doing the opposite. Where everyone else is planning out solutions and packages like Minority Report only to give up when no one is buying, you’ll be enjoying the cold hard cash you earned.
We benefit from understanding the exact challenges we are solving for the client and what it means to their lives. When we do, the answer to which packages you should create for your future clients becomes obvious.
It’s the difference between someone haggling for you to lower your rates vs. saying “take my money!”. If we do a good job of understanding our clients, their challenges, and find the right solution, price becomes more of a triviality (within reason).
Another challenge we shouldn’t ignore is that many of us feel a lot of emotions when we think about our rates.
Sometimes we feel that a rate is too cheap and we shouldn’t even bother. In other situations, we might feel like a fraud because the rate is so high that no one would ever pay us that.
I’ve noticed that often the problem isn’t if we pick the perfect packages and rates right off the bat. Instead, it’s not getting any clients and losing motivation.
Next, let’s look at how we can avoid that while virtually guaranteeing that our packages will sell. I say virtually because nothing is ever guaranteed in life but this is pretty close.
How to create virtual assistant packages that sell themselves
The very first step is to brainstorm who you’d like to help. And I don’t mean that you want to help entrepreneurs or professionals. We need to get specific. Are these ambitious professionals in the finance world? Is it CEOs from funded startups? You get to pick.
When you’ve picked one, go ahead and ask ten people, that are similar to your dream client about their problems. You might find them on LinkedIn or in Facebook groups, you might email them directly or you might even be able to meet them in person.
It’s entirely up to you. When you’ve found ten it’s time to ask them a few questions. It’s best to meet them in person where possible, the next best option is phone calls and last are emails.
Hearing their tone of voice or seeing them interact can help you get insights about a certain topic that you might not be able to catch via written messages.
Reach out to them, introduce yourself, and ask if they would be open to a quick chat about their experience. It might feel strange at first but think of it as a casual coffee-meeting. It becomes easier the more you do it.
You could base your message off of this script:
I’m Y and I do (freelance service). I don’t have anything to sell but I’m researching businesses like yours and I’d love the opportunity to ask you a couple of quick questions.
I imagine you are busy, so it doesn’t have to take more than 10 mins and I can work around your schedule.
If this is OK for you, I promise to be respectful of your time. Would it be OK if I send you a few different times that might work for a call?
You’ll want to prepare your own questions but here are some examples that you can use to get started:
- Have you worked with a virtual assistant before? How was your experience?
- Is there anything you are struggling with?
- What have you tried to solve it? How did it go?
- If you could make that problem go away, what would it look like? Please describe it as detailed as possible
If you already have an idea, you can even ask them if it would be attractive to them. If they give you a brief answer like “yes, that sounds good”, they are probably just being polite and not really interested.
If you hear a longer, more emotional, reaction you are probably on to something. Compare your notes from each of the ten calls and I bet you’ll notice a pattern.
For example, you might notice that having that they keep mentioning that they spend all they answering emails and never get any real work done. Or it might be that they want to go home at 5PM every day so they can hang out with their newborn child.
This will be music to your ears because you know that several of the clients you want are struggling with this. By using their own phrases and words, you can create a package around that and I bet you they will be excited to hear more.
And because you understand what the clients REALLY want (e.g. going home early to spend time with their newborn), you can show them how you can help them do exactly that instead of creating documents or answering emails. You’ll also better understand how to price it.
With this approach, you can almost bulletproof that your packages will earn you good money before you even begin. It’s the difference between getting answers like “that’s ok, what’s your price?” and “please take my money!!!”.
In fact, by offering your services based on your client’s challenges, you do them a favor because it’s easier for them to understand how it helps compared to other virtual assistants.
- Tactics like how to create virtual assistant packages and set the right rates are good but in order to sell packages like hotcakes, we need to understand the clients well first.
- Speaking to clients BEFORE you create your packages will help you make sure that you are offering something they’d love to buy.