Tag Archives: Rates

RESEARCH VERSUS WEB RESEARCH

As a virtual business assistant, I do research on almost everything I work on. For my own business, I research my competition, rates, offers, services, and many more things. I like doing research, because it’s a learning tool. I always learn new information and ideas, when I’m researching.

I always research with a purpose.

Because researching is fun and interesting, I could spend many hours just looking up and reading, but that doesn’t get me where I need to go. I always research with a purpose – a clear purpose. That keeps me focused on what information I need to find and prevents me from wasting time reading information that I don’t really need to know.

Blog Search Engine

Web research is the most expedient way to find information.

 It’s fast and links to other pertinent information. It’s better than reading a book or magazine to extract information. Web research has all if not most of the information at the push of a button and the copy and paste feature ensures that I’ve captured the source and quote correctly.

Researching for my clients helps me to understand their businesses, products and services, and what makes them unique or stand out from the rest. I put myself in their shoes and look at their business offerings. Then I try to find the differences between the businesses themselves, the products and services, and their target markets. All of this factors into the way I research, the depth of research, and the type of research I perform.

Man posstive negative

For comparison research, the method and time involved is minimal, but for research that compares other businesses with my clients business. It is a long and tedious process. I have to not only find the information, but also verify that it is real and true. Many website today post information about other companies, but is it true? Maybe yes, maybe no.

time-and-money

It falls to me to provide accurate and honest information to my clients. They depend on me to site my sources and to provide multiple accounts of the same information. Businesses that take the easy way of researching or failing to verify the information, run the risk of losing their credibility and over time, the business usually dissolves for lack of trust and honesty.

global-education

Researching also provides me with an education. I may not always have an interest in the topic I’m researching for a client, but I will learn about it anyway. Who knows, somewhere down the road, I may need to use this new information for another client. I have to put myself in my client’s shoes, so I immerse myself in the research needed to provide reliable information for marketing and blogging purposes. When it’s an interesting topic, the time flies by, and I’m entertained. When it’s a little more intricate or technical, I have to put my full concentration on it and look up any words or terms I’m not familiar with.

Virtual Colleague LLC 4

Contact me at Virtual Colleague, LLC for a free consultation on how I can research for your business and products/services.

 Toll Free #: 401-384-0257

Local #: 401-595-0087

Email: JPlante@VirtualColleagueLLC.com

 

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Why Your Rates need to be What Your Client Expects Them to Be

Recently I took on a new client. I find it a “best practice” to discuss rates after I know what type of work the client wants, the software programs involved, the research needed, and the deadlines. Although I have a rate chart and stick to those rates, there are times when I need to deviate from those guidelines.

My new client was referred to me by one of business associates. He contacted me by phone and laid out what he wanted me to do. He didn’t know that much about me, except that the person that referred me raved about how knowledgeable I was in several areas and I was a virtual assistant.

If I have to reach out to get clients, I stick to my rate schedule, but in this case, I gave him a discount, because he contacted me. I enjoyed our initial consultation, which is always free. He knew what he wanted, when he wanted it; he just didn’t know how to do it. That’s where I come in.

After speaking with him, I told him I would draw up a contract and outline what I could do for him, my fees, and state the deadline in the contract. He liked that idea and I got to work on the contract right away. He seemed eager to begin.

I emailed the contract to him. He signed it and returned it to me almost immediately. He emailed me some of the documents he wanted me to work on, but he also made a comment. He told me that he had contacted several virtual assistants prior to contacting me. He said a few were unprofessional and didn’t follow up with him as I did with a contract. He felt very comfortable signing a contract, because each of us knew the expectations and limitations of the project.

He also told me that my rates were very reasonable. To tell you the truth, I really hated to give him a discount, because I could really use the money, but he did contact me. He was straight-forward about the work to be done and the deadlines.

Dollar Sign

I don’t regret giving him the discount. He has given me more work and promises to give me more work in the future. My rule of thumb is to have a new contract signed for every new project. It keeps things simple and in order and there is no confusion.

Many times in internet groups, I’ve seen posts about what to charge for rates, how to determine your rate, and are your rates comparable to other virtual assistants in your area. I think honesty is the best policy and if someone reaches out to you, they should be rewarded with a discount. You should have a rate schedule for services, but there should be room for discretion.

If I had not given him a discount, he probably would have only given me the one project. Because I showed him my professional demeanor, treated him to a special discount, and then got the project done correctly, on time, and within his budget, he felt valued and told me he would like to do business with me in the future.

Rates can be a sticking point. You have to determine the amount of time it takes to complete the work, what’s involved with the assignment, and then determine how much to charge. Setting your rates is a comprehensive process, because a new client can become a retainer client, if the rate is right. If not, you run the risk of losing a client and future business.

You may believe your rates are fair, it’s really your client that judges your business by your rates. That’s

 

Why Your Rates need to be What Your Client Expects Them to Be

For more information on my virtual assistant business, click on Virtual Colleague, LLC.

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