5 Steps to Making 30% More As A VBO
So, I am a VBO (Virtual Business Owner)/Freelancer.
I also run a company that hires a lot of other VBOs. We have people working with us from across the United States and around the world.
The first thing you need to keep in mind is people are hiring you to get something done. They have something on their plate that needs to be completed. A box that needs to be checked. Whatever you can do to make that process easier, will increase your value to them and in turn, you will make more money as a freelancer.
Here are five things you can EASILY DO to put yourself in front of the competition and be the first choice even though you charge more.
Step #1 - Go Fortune 50
What do I mean by this? The first thing prospects are going to do when they are considering hiring you as a VBO will be to check your website and your LinkedIn profile.
You want those two things to ooze professionalism. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel here.
Think about what websites have the biggest budgets and take a look at them. Examples might be Apple, Verizon, and Samsung. You’ll quickly see there aren’t too many words. People don’t want to see a wall of words on your website.
They want to see that you are real, and that you have a cred factor.
My younger sister’s passion is caring for the elderly. Take a look at her website (keizercare.com) It is simple, professional, and has plenty of testimonials. Very few single operators in her space have a website at all. She stays booked and has a waiting list.
If you were to convert this into your freelancing career, having a professional portfolio readily available for potential clients to view will not only increase your credibility and justify your asking price, but you will be able to charge more. Want to make more money as a freelancer? Show your clients how you can help them.
Step #2 - Make Testimonials Part of Your Business
There is a good chance when hiring a VBO I’ll never meet them face-to-face.
If I have a conversation with them and they proactively offer to send me testimonials and references it automatically puts my mind at ease. There is a good chance I’ll never call their references, but knowing they have them increases their cred factor and value to me.
PRO TIP: If you hire other VBOs and they do a good job, offer to give them a testimonial and be a reference if needed. It’s the right thing to do.
Step #3 - Proactively Update Your Clients
This is key.
We have VBOs that proactively send us a report every week that shows exactly what they’ve completed and what is still in progress.
This can be a simple, branded, Google Document Template. Start using one immediately and watch your client satisfaction soar.
Communication is huge with clients and is one of the major gripes they have about hiring freelancers. Utilize technology to overcome this and it will increase your chances of not only getting repeat business, but referrals as well.
Once you start getting referrals, your time of prospecting for clients will soon be at an end. You can charge more and make more money as a freelancer by increasing your prices and cherry-picking the best clients to work with.
Step #4 - Become a Solution, Not just a Freelancer
This step will do three very positive things:
- Make You More Valuable
- Make You More Money
- Promote Return Business
When I hire VBOs it is typically to get a specific thing done.
Let’s say I need a white paper created. I may be talking to a writer, however also need a graphic designer, maybe a researcher, and someone to proof the document. If the VBO I’m working with offers to handle the entire process and deliver a finished product it saves me a ton of brain damage.
If I can just forget about the whole process and a week later I get a white paper in final draft form - I’m in heaven.
You’ve just made yourself the go-to solution provider for this client. They are likely willing to pay you a fair amount more, AND you can make a margin on the other VBOs you enlist.
Step #5 - Prune Your Clients
If you provide professional services in any form, you are going to eventually bring on one of those “trouble clients”. They are forever trying to get stuff for free. They habitually pay late. And worst of all, they don’t respect your work.
As a rule at MarketSense (my marketing company) we prune our clients once every three months. It’s actually easier than it sounds. Don't worry, it’s not like you storm into their office and make a big scene - not at all.
Actually, what we do is to manage them in or out of being a trouble client. By doing this, one of two outcomes will happen (and both are great):
- The first outcome is to manage them into being a good client.
Charge full price for everything you do. Invoice them on a scheduled basis and expect payment based on your terms.
Client will often treat you based on the expectations you set. If they come around and play nice in the sandbox - great.
You’ve now turned a trouble client into a good one and you are making more money as a freelancer.
- On the flip side, let’s say they don’t change.
On top of that, they complain even more because you are asking to be treated with respect and paid what you are worth.
Most of the time, they will end up quitting you. And that’s fine. Do it professionally and never be rude or difficult.
Make sure you get paid before you pass over any files.
That’s it, you're done.
In the case the client quits you, you are now open to bring in a new client.
There is a good chance you’ve grown professionally during the time you had that engagement and you can give yourself an automatic raise. I promise, it is that easy. I will also tell you that we almost never go for the low cost provider. We would rather pay a premium and work with true professionals. If you treat your freelance business as a business, then you'll be able to charge like a business and reap the financial rewards and freedom that goes along with it.
Remember, more than provide services, you are there to deliver solutions that make your clients' life easier.
Making more money as a freelancer is a process that requires diligence and dedication to your craft. You can be the absolute best freelancer within your niche, but without structure and a process, your earning potential is going to fluctuate wildly.
If you follow these very simple steps, you are going to see your revenue increase. And when you do, remember the Profit Formula - PLEASE! All the best my friend.
Let us know what we can do to help you reach your dreams!Tom Poole
Founder, VBO Nation