Archive for the ‘Business Categories’ Category

Convo with a Colleague: Finding Clients Starts with This

Convo with a Colleague: Finding Clients Starts with This

A new colleague who was having trouble finding her first client reached out to me the other day.

Many of you coming up have the same questions and challenges so I thought it would be helpful to share our conversation. (I’ll call this colleague “Jane” to protect her anonymity.)

JANE: Do you have any posts on marketing. Specifically article marketing?

ME: Not per se, because it’s really not the most productive effort if you’re doing it in a general way. Writing articles specifically for your target market is more what I talk about. What are you trying to do or looking for with article marketing? If you can elaborate, I may be able to give you some better direction. PS: You can find all my blog categories on the right sidebar of my blog.

JANE: Target market… well I am pretty diverse in my administrative tasks that I don’t really have a target market. I suppose that currently I am a generalized admin. Would love to have a target market, just not sure what that might be right now. I am geared toward graphic design/web building, but… again that can be for anyone. 🙂

ME: Graphic design and web design are different professions/businesses. Are we talking about the administrative support business or the design business (because they aren’t the same thing)? You probably first want to get clear about what business you mean to be in. Until you do that, you’re going to struggle with finding clients. That’s because if you don’t know intentionally/consciously what business you intend to be in, you can’t expect clients to understand what you do either, and there’s no way for them to see or hear you. It also sounds like you haven’t downloaded my free guide on How to Choose Your Target Market. Deciding on a target market is one of the most important first steps in a business.

JANE: (Downloads free target market guide and comes back a little while later.) Well, let me clarify. Those are my interests, but after briefly looking at your guide, it has settled that I would like to work with realtors. Reason being, for one they can afford me. And I can still do the other computer stuff I like: working with websites and designing stuff. However, I have no experience in the field other than I know a realtor who is really successful. Any suggestions on how to break the ice on a field I am not totally familiar with?

ME: That’s great! Doesn’t matter if you have experience with them or not. You can research and learn. In fact, I always tell people, make it your goal to always be learning your chosen target market and what their business is all about and what work is involved in running it almost as if you were going into that business yourself. Because the more you know and understand them, the more you will know what their common needs, goals and challenges are, how you can best support them and how to craft your solutions and offerings geared specifically to their needs and interests.

It also doesn’t matter what your administrative skills are. General is a misnomer. Don’t use that term or terms like boring and mundane and the like in describing what you do. Words like that devalue the very vital and important work we do and in turn makes clients devalue it as well. Administrative skill and sensibility can be applied to any target market. Plus we’re all always growing and improving our skills. So that’s the the angle you want to be looking at things from. The more you learn your target market, the more you’ll know which skills will be need to be applied, honed or acquired. I have blog posts that answer all of your questions. I invite you to explore the blog and settle in for some reading. I think you’ll find it quite illuminating and helpful. Here are a few to start with:

On words to avoid in your marketing, read this category of blog posts:
Don’t Use These Words

On the difference between administrative SUPPORT and project work:
Do You Understand the Difference Between a Project-Based vs. Ongoing Administrative Support Business?

On how to research a target market you have no experience with:
Dear Danielle: How Do I Market to a Target Audience I have No Experience With Yet?

Hope this helps!

JANE: Has anyone told you how AMAZING YOU ARE!!! You are like God-sent. Thanks sooo much. I will be sure to read these.

ME: Aw, thanks. I’m glad to help. 🙂

YOU Are the Captain of Your Ship

YOU Are the Captain of Your Ship

You have to decide — specifically and clearly — what you’re in business to do.

If you fall to pieces and think you have to start over the second one uninformed client doesn’t get it or looks at you cross-eyed…

If you blow with the wind every time a client thinks you should be doing this and doing that…

If you bend over backward twisting yourself into pretzels to be anything and everything for anyone and everyone…

You are never going to get anywhere, and your life and business will be anything but your own.

You can’t please everyone.

Not everyone is going to get it.

And you can’t be in business to do everything that everyone wants.

(Originally posted July 13, 2010)

Wearing a Stethoscope Doesn’t Make You a Doctor

Wearing a Stethoscope Doesn't Make You a Doctor

So I see this question come across my Google Alerts:

“I have a client who wants to get more calls with potential clients and she wants me to create a plan for this. Any ideas?”

I find these kind of questions irritating when they come from people who are supposedly in the administrative support business.

Why are you even entertaining this kind of request? Oh, are you a marketing consultant/lead generation expert now, too?

It’s exactly like if a customer were to ask their plumber to fix their car.

Plumbers don’t fix cars. That’s not their expertise or the business they’re in. If someone needs their car repaired, they need to go to an auto mechanic.

Just because a client requests something doesn’t mean you are the proper professional for them to be asking or that you need to accommodate it.

This person doesn’t know what business she’s in or where to draw the line.

Her client needs to be informed that this is not administrative work and they need to consult with the correct professional who is actually qualified and in that kind of business (which in this instance, as mentioned, would be some kind of marketing consultant and/or lead generation expert).

(And this client very likely knows this; he/she is just trying to take advantage of someone who doesn’t know any better than to let cheapskate clients who don’t want to pay proper professionals lead her around by the nose on wild goose chases.)

You are needlessly complicating and muddying the waters of your business scope and distracting yourself from that focus.

And contrary to popular belief, trying to be anything and everything, taking on anything and everything, actually keeps you from earning better in your business. (It’s also the dead give-away of a rank amateur. Experts focus.)

Likewise, if you are asking your colleagues for their “ideas” on how to do something, that’s the first clue you don’t have the proper knowledge, background or qualifications, and have no business taking on that work. It’s unethical.

Just because you own Illustrator doesn’t make you a designer any more than owning a camera makes you a professional photographer or wearing a stethoscope makes you a doctor.

There is industry-specific knowledge, education and training, experience and talent that qualify someone for a specific expertise, which is also what defines and distinguishes industries/professions from each other.

Stop wasting clients’ time and money.

You do them a far better service by clearly educating them about what you ARE in business to provide and informing them that they need to consult with the proper professionals in X industry when they need something that is not what you are in business (nor qualified) to do.

And PS: doing so will garner you infinitely more trust, credibility and respect when you do.

Dear Danielle: What Bookkeeping Software Do I Use?

Dear Danielle:

I would like to offer basic accounting services through my administrative business. I want to offer accounts payable/receivable, payroll, maintaining vendor and customer files, cash management, reconciling bank statements, generating financial reports, etc.  I would like to know if you think it is acceptable to gain knowledge in the above areas utilizing free software and simply offer to learn a prospective client’s accounting software since not all businesses use Quickbooks or Quicken. I really want to make my company marketable in this area, and, thus, the reason I am seeking your professional opinion. Thank you in advance for any assistance you can offer me! P.S. Love your FB posts and your attitude toward life!! ~ : ) —GM

Hi, GM 🙂

Glad to have you with us!

Bookkeeping is an entirely different/separate profession from Administrative Consulting.

And because it is a business that comes with even more legal liabilities and pitfalls (because you’re dealing with clients’ finances and their reporting, filing, budgeting, etc., relies on your expert knowledge and accuracy in recording things properly), it’s important to direct those questions to that industry and their communities for the very best, most knowledgeable and authoritative advice.

Several years ago, I used to have a bookkeeping division to my business.

It grew too fast and wasn’t work I ever really intended to be in the business of doing anyway so I eventually got out.

I only ever got into it because I thought it would be a good additional service to provide to clients.

What I didn’t fully grasp at the time is that bookkeeping is a business in and of itself, and trying to run too many businesses at the same time is a recipe for failure and overwhelm.

When you divide your time and distract your attention amongst too many diverse things, you become effective and expert at none of them.

At some point, you have to consciously decide where your true interests lie and focus your energies in developing excellence there.

All that said, when it comes to bookkeeping, I would never, ever take shortcuts with your software. Using the right professional tools is paramount.

For a professional business providing bookkeeping services, Quickbooks Pro is an industry standard and the only option in my book.

Quicken is a shortcut tool more suited for simple, personal accounting, not providing professional bookkeeping services to clients as a business. It doesn’t have the level of capabilities you will need to provide the bookkeeping functions you mention.

Same thing pretty much with Quickbooks Simple Start.

Quickbooks Pro is full-featured, professional-standard software that provides all the capabilities to professionally provide bookkeeping services to clients with all the bells and whistles, including extensive reporting, costing, budgeting and forecasting tools.

Plus, you can’t dumb down your business for clients who insist on working in the dark ages (don’t work with them). They aren’t bookkeepers. They don’t necessarily know what the right software is to use or how to use it properly.

Your job is to work with the right clients who want you to empower their businesses to grow up, not down.

When they come to you for those services, you need tell them what software they need to be using, not changing your tools for each client to suit them.

(Think about it. We hire professionals for their expertise and to do a proper job. Is a contractor going to let clients tell him what tools to use and allow his reputation to be sullied because he used ineffective, sub-par tools that elicited shoddy workmanship? Of course not! He’s going to use the proper tools to do the best job.)

If you don’t, you’ll be dooming your business to ineffective, unproductive, unprofitable operations and forever chasing your tail and pulling your hair out.

Just my six cents. 😉

Are You Working in Ways that Support Your Commitment to Your Business and Clients?

How you set things up in your business and the ways in which you work with clients have everything to do with how long you continue to enjoy and stay committed to the work you do and the clients you serve.

This is vital because your quality of work and service to clients is directly and immediately impacted by your joy and happiness in your work, and how easy or difficult you make it. Done without forethought, understanding and conciousness, you can easily set yourself—and your business and clients—up for for failure.

A stressed, burned-out service provider is no good to anyone, much less themselves or their business.

That’s why it’s so important to visualize what your best business looks like and what policies, procedures and practices you need to establish and how they work in actual practice to support you in creating your dream business.

So, how have you set things up to support your joy and commitment to being in business?

  1. Have the right tools and equipment. Obsolete tools and technology will slow you down and drive you crazy. You don’t need to keep up with the Joneses. Slavishly buying top-of-the-line for no other reason than for appearances sake is just immature silliness. But you DO need state-of-the-art because it is what will allow you to do your work as quickly and effectively as possible without unnecessary snafus. That doesn’t necessarily mean the most expensive, but you also don’t want to be penny-wise and pound-foolish by going the cheapest route. That’s as equally dumb and short-sighted. Do your homework and look for sturdiness and long-life. This is an investment in your joy and happiness and you don’t want to be constantly frustrated and slowed down by tools that just don’t work well. They’ll end up costing you and your clients far more in the long-run.
  2. What exactly ARE you? Jack-of-all-trades (master of none) is not a profession or expertise. People do not value gophers, much less consider them experts in anything, which is why you’ll never make any real money trying to be and do anything and everything. The fastest path to burnout is keeping yourself on a hamster wheel of constantly scrambling for chump change. Make a clear and conscious decision about what you are in business to do and then only seek clients who need and value that expertise. You’ll be able to command higher fees and the work will be more specific, thus easier, to do.
  3. Lead your own business. If you are a parent, are you going to let your kids choose the meals your family eats? They know what they like and you definitely take that into consideration, but heck, they’d eat snacks and sweets for every meal if you let them. As the head of your household, it’s up to you to decide what is best for the long-term health and habits of your family. Same thing in business. You are a business owner with an expertise, not a slave or indentured servant. And as a business owner and professional service provider, you simply can’t allow yourself to be sent running in all directions like a chicken with its head cut off. It’s not up to clients to decide when, where or how you work and you simply can’t be a slave to their every whim, wish or demand because that actually isn’t good for you or your business. If you want to stay in business and continue serving clients you care about, doing the work you love, YOU–not your clients–need to set the rules, policies and procedures that are best for you and the long-term health of your business. Because these are the things that allow you to do great work and give great service to all your clients consisistently, all the time and every time.
  4. Say “no” to say “yes.” YOU get to say what you do and what you don’t do in your business. Having a clear definition/identity of what you are and what you do in business is important because it helps set expectations and align understandings with clients. You also want to operate your business and work with clients in ways that give you plenty of “space” around the work and don’t require you to work at a frantic, unsustainable pace. Say “no” to requests that don’t fall under your category of expertise. Say “no” to work that requires you to work on-demand and check-in daily with clients as if you were their assistant (you’re not!). Say “no” to unrealistic demands and turn-around times. Saying “no” to these things allows you to say “yes” to more fufilling, valuable and profitable work and clients and gives you more space to do fantabulous–not merely sufficient–work.
  5. Choose a target market and define your ideal (and unideal) client. Not everyone needs what you are in business to do. Nor does what you do make sense for every kind of business. You will drive yourself nuts and keep yourself in the poorhouse if you keep trying to fit square pegs into round holes. You need your thinking cap, not wishful thinking, for this. Figure out who really has the most need (and, thus, will value it most highly) for what you are in business to do and then focus your efforts on that market. It’s going to make all your marketing infinitely easier and “easy” in this respect is insurance against frustration and giving up. Likewise, get clear about who is and who isn’t an ideal client for you. Ill-fitting clients take up double, even triple, the space in your practice and require an even greater amount of energy and hand-holding. If you have clients you don’t enjoy working with, you will dread contact with them, procrastinate on their work and avoid them like the plague, sometimes without even realizing it’s happening. There is absolutely no good that comes from working with anyone you simply don’t like and enjoy. Avoid taking them on as clients and graciously let them go the minute you realize there isn’t a fit.These two steps are what will allow you to make more money, working with fewer clients, and go a long way toward keeping you happy, joyful and committed in your work and business.
  6. Don’t try to be an island. One of the biggest misconceptions I see in business is this idea that a solopreneur is someone who works completely alone and does everything themself. Nothing could be further from the truth. EVERYONE needs the help of others to be successful–in life and business. Being a solopreneur simply means that you are the craftsperson, the artisan, the expert that clients hire and expect to work with. But that doesn’t mean you don’t need your own support. Hire a bookkeeper to take care of your financial recordkeeping. Find a business attorney you can turn to when you have legal questions and need advice. Partner with an Administrative Consultant to take on some or all of your administrative tasks, functions and roles so you can focus on working with your clients doing whatever it is you do. Join professional organizations and participate in industry forums so you can cultivate relationships with colleagues and others and have a network you can turn to for ideas, advice and additional help when you need it.

No one has perfect vision and we all make missteps along the way. But every day you are given a new opportunity to do things over, to improve and make them better for you and your clients.

Administrative Support IS a Speciality All Its Own

Guess what, people?

Administrative support IS a specialty in and of itself.

You CAN specialize in just administrative support and do as well as any other kind of specialized service professional.

The problem, the reason why clients don’t get it much of the time and why we as an industry are not earning well, is because people continue to call anything and everything “virtual assistance” and lump everything under the sun under the “virtual assistant” umbrella.

When something doesn’t have any definition like that, then it isn’t anything at all, least of all a profession.

And clients don’t pay well for something that is nothing. They view it as merely gopher work.

If people would simply stop trying to call everything virtual assistance and learn to identify, define and separate business categories for themselves (and not let clients define that for them), they could begin to earn better. They could charge one retainer for administrative support and then charge separately for work and projects that fall under different business categories entirely.

A good example of this is the argument I hear new people put forth constantly: “Well, when I was an executive assistant, I also did bookkeeping and web design and copyrighting and this and that and the other.”

So, you’re saying that because employers piled a load of other work onto the shoulders of administrative staff because they were trying to save a buck at your expense, that means as a business owner you should lump everything you know how to do under one banner and offer it as all one and the same?

As an employee, you had no say in the matter and trooped along like a good soldier. And hey, learning new skills and tinkering with new programs can be just plain fun.

But it is neither smart nor profitable to carry that kind of employee mindset over into your business.

If you do, I guarantee sooner or later you will realize the consequences of this and the wisdom of the advice I give you today.

Just as a doctor is different from an attorney, there are different classifications of work and business.

For example, Web design, a separate profession in its own right, is inherently project-oriented work. It immediately differs from administrative support in that respect.

More importantly, it is something that requires entirely different skills, processes, knowledge and talents from administrative support.

For this reason, it is a completely separate category of business and expertise for which you can charge separately as an additional income stream.

No one is saying that you can’t be in business to do more than one thing (e.g., administrative support and web design and bookkeeping, etc.). But that doesn’t make them all the same thing.

You can be in the administrative support business and also be a web designer (or bookkeeper or copywriter, etc.) if that’s what you want to do. It’s just that they are not all one and the same thing.

Once you start grasping this, you’ll begin to gain more clarity about which business you intend to be in and what to more appropriately call yourself.

By making these distinctions clear, it will start you on the path to better earning because you’ll be able to see and think more clearly about what should fall under your administrative support umbrella and what falls under another business category altogether (you can call these “divisions” in your business) and should be charged for separately.

And it’s YOU who needs to make these distinctions and classifications in your business. Don’t let clients dictate these things.

Because that’s the other part of the problem–people in our industry doing (and giving away) all this other work beyond administrative support because clients keep trying to pile everything on without paying extra for it. And it’s keeping you in the poor house.

Of course, this is happening with your consent if you refuse to get conscious about these things. It’s not a partnership if you are being taken advantage of.

By the same token, you aren’t being taken advantage if you are allowing it. If you keep lumping everything under the administrative support umbrella, you will continue to deprive yourself of opportunities to earn better and grow your business in more profitable, sustainable ways.

Do You Understand the Difference?

Sometimes I’ll read things from other people in our industry, and I have to wonder whether they understand the difference between a project and providing support.

In case you’re confused, I thought I’d talk about it here…

A project is something that is basically one-off, one-time work. It has a start and a finish.

Web design is a good example of project work. It’s a one-time gig where you are hired specifically to do that one thing and that one thing isn’t ongoing because there is an end date, which is the completion of the site design.

Support, on the other hand, is something that is ongoing.

In the case of administrative support, it’s a body — a package — of any number of administrative tasks, roles and functions in a business that are recurring and continuous throughout the life of that business.

For example, you don’t just return one customer’s call and that’s it, you never have to call another customer in your life, right? Of course not.

So customer service is just one aspect, one area in a business in which you will have to engage in any number and kind of tasks and actions throughout the life of the business. There is no beginning and ending like with project work. It is ongoing.

When you understand the differences clearly, you can begin to better distinguish categories of work and services in your business so that you can create more revenue streams and make more money.

That means you can group all kinds of administrative support into retainer packages and then charge separately for specific projects and other work unrelated to administrative support.

Adding to that Thought

In our group last week, I shared a fun story from the blog of one of my favorite marketing guys — Mark Merenda — about the cost that do-it-yourselfers and micromanagers incur in their businesses.

A sign his auto mechanic keeps in his shop illustrates the light-hearted point perfectly:

Labor — $95 per hour
If you watch — $125
If you offer advice — $150
If you worked on it already — $175

How many clients have we all known who need a little sign like this from us?

I took this idea a step further and added my own twist:

If you want me to show you how to do it yourself — $5,000 tuition and $500/hr after that.

This is sort of related to my post last Friday (That Is Not Your Client’s Burden) where I was talking about the real reasons your fee is your fee and why what it costs you to be in business shouldn’t be part of your conversation with clients.

You can’t put a price tag on all your years of unique talent, experience, training, continuing education, etc., that went into (and continues to go into) you being great and smart and expert at what you do.

And, for me at least, I’m not in the business of training.

If that’s what I wanted to be doing, that’s what I’d be offering in the first place. ;)

Dear Danielle: What Is Your Start-Up Advice?

Dear Danielle:

I am starting a Virtual Assistant business to augment my income. I have a full-time job that I am intending to keep. I’ve been working remotely with a client for more than a year (limited hours; I have a lot more on my hands). I consider that as a Virtual Assistant client. I want to expand. I want to have a couple more clients. I do tech stuff (web/blog set-up, SQL server database, report development, computer upgrades, etc). Is there any advice you can give me? —RM

The first thing I’d advise you to do is get clear about what category of business you are in.

Just because you work “remotely” doesn’t mean you are Virtual Assistant.

The kind of work you just listed is not Virtual Assistance. Virtual Assistance is administrative support. The things you listed are more IT/tech support.

Here’s what I mean:  If someone needs a plumber, they aren’t going to go looking for one in the Yellow Pages under “lawyer,” are they? Of course not.

You have to use the proper terminology so people will understand instantly what you do and where/how to find you.

Also, consider how much of a commitment you have to offer clients if you are working part-time. Their business is important to them. How much time and energy for them are you really going to have after working all day? How long do you think you can keep up a pace like that?

I’m not saying it’s impossible, but it can be really difficult, not to mention stressful and exhausting, to provide a professional level of service and delivery to clients if you are still working a part-time job.

I will tell you that if IT stuff is what you do, one of the biggest advantages you could have over other IT freelancers is starting an actual, real live committed business.

One of the HUGEST frustrations I’ve had in business is trying to find and work with IT pros on a freelance basis. They were so flaky and inconsistent most of the time. And because they weren’t in actual committed businesses, they didn’t have business-like policies and procedures in place and their service was really spotty and it took them a long time to get things done.

And if their priorities or interests changed, I was left holding the bag when they decided to move on to other things.  I’d have to start all over again with someone new (after pulling my hair out once again just trying to find someone else).

(Knock on wood–I’ve got a FABULOUS, WONDERFUL programmer and IT pro now.)

As an IT pro, you would give your would-be customers so much more trust and peace of mind if you offered them a committed business, one that wasn’t just working for some extra side money and they could rely on being there today and later down the road whenever they needed you.

Dear Danielle: How Much Can I Expect to Earn in this Business?

Dear Danielle:

I’m still in the market research phase of starting my administrative support practice. Recently, a colleague and I were discussing yearly salary and work hours with her practice, and I was wondering if your experience has been similar to what she’s explained, before you got into training and from what you know of others in this business. Here’s what she said:

“I consider myself well established now. Despite this, I work between 15-25 billable hours a week and another 20-40 non-billable hours each week (on marketing, accounting, non-billable matter, etc.).”

My research suggests that someone who’s been in business for five years could anticipate gross earnings of approximately $30,000 per year. However, very specialized people make far more (in the range of $40,000 to $55,000).” –RD

If after 5 years someone is still only making $30,000 a year, there is a something seriously wrong in their business. They haven’t done proper business planning, are not charging appropriately and most like are charging hourly rates (selling hours/time) instead of setting fees based on value and results.

If you base your income on how many hours you have to sell, you will always limit your earning potential. I teach people how to use value-based pricing methodologies instead. Once you increase your business knowledge around pricing and how to price, package and present your fees and support plans, your earning ability goes up dramatically. In fact, you can earn more working with fewer clients that way.

Before we talk about what you can expect to make, I want to first make sure we are on the same page about what this business is about. This is important because your understanding of this will directly impact the profitability of your practice.

You mention the word “specialize.” What this usually indicates is a fundamental lack of understanding about what administrative support is.

Administrative support is already a specialty in and of itself. An Administrative Consultant is someone who specializes in providing ongoing, right-hand, across-the-board style administrative support. That’s an important distinction to understand for a few reasons.

For one thing, it’s a completely different business model from, say, a secretarial service, which is in the business of providing individual, transactional, project-based secretarial services.

They’re the Kinko’s, so to speak, of the administrative world. And the reason it’s important to understand the difference in these business models is because the businesses earn money in very different ways, they operate very differently, they have very different labor and administration needs, expenses and operating costs, and they market very differently and attract a completely different kind of clientele.

However, the very most important reason to understand the distinction is that these two business models deliver completely different solutions.

Administrative support is a relationship, one where you’re providing a long-term, more impactful and integral solution that supports the client’s business as a whole and where the focus is the ongoing dynamic and evolving work relationship.

A secretarial service is more like a one-night stand, where what is provided is a quick transaction where the focus and sole purpose is the completion of a single project or task at hand.

As you can see, then, administration is a specialized function already. It’s also work that is inherently ongoing. So going back to what it means to specialize, we already have a specialty: ongoing administrative support for clients we work with in continuous, collaborative relationship.

If someone specializes in some other function, then they are something else completely. For example:

  • If someone specializes in marketing, they are a marketing professional.
  • If they specialize in web design/development, they are a web designer/developer.
  • If they specialize in bookkeeping or accounting, they are a bookkeeper or accountant.

Your colleague is confusing specialization with categories of business. What you specialize in IS the business. If you specialize in administrative support, you’re an Administrative Consultant.

People in our industry also commonly confuse specializing with the tasks involved.

When we talk about specialization, what that really refers to is not the work or tasks, but rather a target market.

Those who specialize in a target market (which is simply a field/industry/profession you cater your administrative support to) have a much easier, quicker time getting started and gaining clients. That’s because it provides them with greater focus and direction.

Now, that’s not to say that you can’t offer additional related services and support. The point I’m making is just because you offer something else doesn’t make it all administrative support. Web design is web design. Bookkeeping is bookkeeping. Marketing is marketing, and so on. These are each their own separate and distinct professions and categories of business.

There are lots of folks who offer creative and technical services in addition to their administrative support. But that doesn’t make those additional services or divisions or specialties in their practice the same things as administrative support.

They are still distinct from one another.

This is all very important because your understanding of these distinctions will directly impact how you structure and charge your fees to earn well.

Is this becoming clearer to you?

If so, you can begin to see that your ability to charge well doesn’t have to do with specializing in any one task.

As an Administrative Consultant, you already have a specialty (that of ongoing administrative support).

What earning well in this industry has to do with is your view and understanding of your value and the solution you are in business to provide, how you frame and portray yourself as a professional,  how you effectively articulate your value to your desired clientele in the context of their needs, goals and challenges, and the pricing strategies you employ to focus them on the value and benefits rather than hours.

Earning well also doesn’t have to do with how long you’ve been in business or how many billable hours you have at their disposal.

(And if after five years someone is still only earning $30,000 a year, there is something seriously wrong and need to get the help of someone like me).

Those who intimately and more deeply understand the solution they provide and its value to their target market have much more confidence.

This understanding, in turn, allows them to have more effective, resonate, compelling conversations with clients and command professional fees.

Those fees can earn them well into six figures, but you only get there by doing things smartly and strategically. It will require some shifts in thinking about the pricing you offer clients. People who are still stuck selling hours in their retainers don’t commonly earn into six figures.

I really recommend you get my marketing guide. It will walk you through a systematic, step-by-step process of understanding more deeply and clearly the solution and value you provide to clients, choosing a target market, profiling your ideal client, and then putting it all together to come up with your own unique value proposition.

You can also get off the hourly rate merry-go-round (which drastically limits your earning potential) by learning how to implement value-based pricing and how to focus clients on value and results rather than selling hours.