Do These 3 Things Before You Create Virtual Assistant Packages

Do These 3 Things Before You Create Virtual Assistant Packages

Creating packages for your VA services is a frequent topic in the VA forums. But if you don’t have a few things in place to start, you will have trouble developing packages that work for you.

I hear VAs talk a lot about creating packages. But there is often confusion around what that actually means.

The first thing you should consider is why you want to create a package to begin with.

If you think it’s because you can make more money than charging hourly, you are not technically wrong, but that’s not really the best reason to create packages.

The way to make more money in your VA business is to get better at delivering awesome services to your clients, so you can get more work from your existing clients, and you can get more clients, period.

But packaging your services is a great way to do a few things, such as:
• Control the profit in your business by setting rates that are fixed, with profit included
• Avoid scope creep by defining exactly what it is you do for your clients
• Clearly communicate to your clients what you will do for them, and how much it will cost them
• Earn more money per hour by getting faster / better / more efficient – instead of less money because you stop billing by the hour.

Packaging your services takes a lot of grunt work to begin with (if you do it correctly!), but it can be a great way to start to build and grow your business.

You must know (or have) 3 things before you offer your clients package pricing:

  1. A complete list of services you will provide for your clients.
  2. Procedures for each task that is included in those service offerings.
  3. An accurate estimate of time that it takes you to do each task.

Talk about grunt work!

If you don’t have these things in place right now, then you are not ready to create service packages.

But the good news is, you can start getting these things ready right away – by tackling one task at a time, you can start to create the list and the procedures, and add to it every time you do something new.

List of Services

To put together a package for your clients, you have to define specifically what you are going to do for them. This is usually a combination of things that go together, usually by category (ie communication, or marketing tasks) or by specific task (ie client care – handling contracts, payments, emails, scheduling, etc).

Do it now: Start to make your list. You must define exactly what you can do for clients, before you can build a package from it.

Procedures

Yes, this is the grunt work! But really it’s just writing down what you do and when you do it. Doing a newsletter for someone in Mailchimp? Write down the steps to do it. Step 1, Step 2, Step 3. Don’t leave anything out. Procedure documents help you to free up brain space when you go back to do a task a second time – to make sure that you do it the same way, every time, and that you don’t leave out any steps. Procedures are very important when you are bringing in subcontractors – and if your business grows quickly, you won’t have time to do it then.

Do it now: Start with the next task you complete. One at a time – slow and steady wins the race! You’ll be surprised how much brain space you free up, and also you can build a procedures file pretty quickly!

Time It All

The most important part of creating packages is to get the pricing right. To do that, you must calculate the time it takes you to do every single task in your business. That sounds daunting I know, and it should be! You probably do a lot! But it’s essential. So take those procedure documents and add up the time it takes you to do each step, to get your billable task time. It’s also a good idea to add in 20-25% of extra time to allow for tech issues, or other problems. Speed is not the key – consistency is!

Do it now: Time out everything you do. Be sure to eliminate distractions when you work so that you are focused on the task at hand. Multiply your time for each task by your billable rate to get your ‘per task rate’.

Creating packages is a great way to grow your VA business and provide clear services to your clients for a fixed amount.

Everyone loves clarity, and packages – done right – gives both of you that clarity.

If you need help with creating packages for your VA business, look no further than your VA community! An annual membership in CAVA is the answer. CAVA is a professional association for Virtual Assistants in Canada. We provide community, visibility, resources, connections, training, client opportunities and so much more. Check out our full list of benefits here: https://canadianava.org/join-cava/

About the Author: Tracey D’Aviero is a Virtual Assistant Coach, Trainer, Speaker and Author. After operating a busy VA business of her own since 1996, Tracey began teaching others to run their VA businesses in 2010 through Your VA Mentor. She also owns CAVA VA association and now teaches and coaches VAs exclusively. She has a vast amount of experience working in many different industries which helps her to offer her students and coaching clients a unique perspective and sound advice. She is a proud advocate of the Virtual Assistant industry. Learn more about Tracey’s journey in the VA industry here.

How to Build a Virtual Assistant Service Package

Do you get stuck trying to create service packages for your Virtual Assistant business? You are not alone.

This is one of the questions I get asked most often – how to package your services.

Virtual assistants know that when we charge clients for a package of services, we all benefit.

Trading hours for dollars is not a bad business model, but there are downfalls to it.

One of those downfalls is that you max out how much money you can actually earn. Because it is based solely on your time, and you only have so much time, you hit an earnings ceiling, and sometimes that happens very quickly.

Or, if you choose to work 60 to 80 hour weeks to earn more money (which some VAs do!), you will soon suffer from burnout. And then you will lose clients, and your income will go to ZERO!

Sounds dramatic, I know, but it really is true.

Any VA who has charged by the hour before knows that this is exactly what happens.

So. We talk about packages.

But there seems to be a lot of mystery around how to do it. Or at least how to do it properly.

I moved my clients to packages so long ago that I sometimes forget that someone taught me how to do it!

So now I’ll teach you!

Here is how you start to build a service package:

1. Write down all of the things you do for your clients. 

All of them. Go back as far as you need to in your records to figure out what services you offer. The list should be comprehensive.

2. Write down all of the services you offer on your website.

These are the services that you tell people you offer. Why the extra step? Because sometimes there are things on your website that you are not doing for clients. It's a double-check!

3. Go through both lists and start to categorize the tasks that are on them. 

Think of categories like organization, business correspondence, marketing, networking, list building, client communication, payment processing, wherever you find a common thread – that’s a category. Some services offerings/tasks can be in multiple categories.

4. Next, go through your client list.

Write down their business info: what they do, who their clients are, and what types of things they need support with (whether you are doing those things for them presently or not).

5. Categorize your clients as well. 

Who do you really love to work with? What do you love about them? Who do you prefer not to work with? Why not?

6. Finally, have a look at the lists of things that you created that your clients need support with.

Are there other things you could be doing for them that you are not currently doing? (Keep in mind this is not a wish list, but an actual ‘I have experience doing this and I could offer it to them right away’ list).

Now you have your pieces!

Take your categorized service listings and apply them to your favourite clients.

Build Your Packages

To build the packages, start with basic items (ie a regular newsletter) and then add on other complementary services (services that build on one another – ie social media posting of the newsletter, article marketing, blog post, etc.)

Voila! You have basically created a service package for a client that you love to work with.

Don’t worry if those examples aren’t on your lists.

Types of Packages

You can build a client care package, a list building package, a social media package, a graphics and web package, a bookkeeping package, a general admin package, a calendar management/follow up package … any service you provide can be packaged if you just think about what you can put with it to enhance it.

Set Your Prices

Now, from there, you need to decide what your prices look like. I suggest starting with a basic package price and then adding on additional services to come up with premium package prices as well.

For now, start with building some packages and in another blog post we will talk about how to price them.

I have a system that will help you understand what your billable rate should be, and how to build great pricing structure from that.

And certainly if you need help to get yours on paper (or post its!), have a look at my self study program How to Package Your Virtual Assistant Services  which will walk you through the steps to do it for yourself.