I was 2 years in to my virtual assistant career when I first built a website of my own and needed to put pen to paper (then fingers to keyboard) in describing what it is I do.
Prior to that, whenever a new potential client contacted me or I reached out to them, I’d share my LinkedIn profile along with specific software tool names and a list of tasks that I could help with, written out in the body of an email.
If I was to start again now, I would absolutely prioritize a full website of my own long before that 2-year mark, but I’d still get those first runs on the board – my first few paying clients – using a LinkedIn profile as my initial online presence. I’d start to gather my ideas, practise my skills and work out which services I really enjoyed, as I was gaining hands-on experience.
Whether you’d like to start your virtual assistant career with a simple online profile like I did, a one-page website, a fully-featured multi-page website or just well-written outreach emails, you’ll need to put together some words to help business owners understand exactly what it is you have to offer.
Now, here’s the thing…
Describing your services, starting with a blank page, when you’ve never had any experience actually providing the service in the first place can be a fairly tricky thing to do. So just like many creative processes, you might need to absorb a little inspiration first in order to find your own style.
You of course never-never-ever want to copy even a single sentence that another freelancer has written on their own website, but… reading through the client service descriptions of successful freelancers can absolutely help you to:
- get unstuck.
- start to see the similarities and differences in the way VAs and freelancers categorize and/or package up their services.
- start to see the similarities and difference in the various role titles and business tag lines used to summarize their services in a phrase.
- pick and choose your own starting services.
- pull together your own way of describing what you have to offer.
- review the various website page layouts for service descriptions, picking out examples that resonate with you that you might be able to model. (eg. Should your services be written in standard paragraphs, bulleted lists, featured boxes, two columns, a full sales page, in a downloadable PDF guide? So, so many options!)
This inspiration collecting exercise is something I personally undertook myself. I’ve taken a peek into my Evernote archives just now and I see a list I’d put together in January of 2013 when I started working on the first version of my website. The note is titled ‘VA Websites to Get Ideas From’ and on the page I had a shortlist of 10 or so URL links under these two headings:
- Service lists to take a look at.
- Good VA websites for blog post ideas.
When you’re new to the industry, you might not have a stack of successful online service providers on your mind to go tracking down their websites. So in this post what I’d like to do is point you in the direction of a variety of different client service descriptions and the experienced freelancers behind them.
Okay, let’s go…
Maria Carras Creative
Creative Copywriting + Virtual Assistant Services
Maria is a passionate virtual assistant who is doing something I think is so, so smart – pairing up her ongoing virtual assistant services with a project-based creative service, copywriting.
If you’re interested in supporting clients with a creative talent you already have, like writing or design, you’ll naturally have an opportunity to do that in your day-to-day work as VA. But you may also choose to highlight that creative skill to position yourself with a specialization, thereby increasing the overall value you have to offer clients, without creating the perception that you only work project-to-project.
On her website, Maria has separated out the two areas of client support:
- One services page for virtual assistance, available with a pre-booked block of hours, and
- A separate page describing her copywriting services, including a selection of writing portfolio items and a call-to-action for potential clients to get in touch for a project assessment.
Sister Act Media
Public Relations and New Media Strategy
Sisters Chelsey and Rochelle Veturis help business owners to strategize and implement their content marketing, with a focus on helping their clients to generate more leads and sales. They have put together a results-focused consulting service, and this is one option you have available to extend your virtual assistant services, if you choose to, as you start to gain experience working inside multiple clients’ businesses.
Chelsey and Rochelle describe their services as being contained within an integrated package, the five-part Content Development Process, comprising.
- Story Discovery + Content Curation
- Valuable Content for Your Blog
- Content Upgrades + Lead Generation
- Social Media Sharing + Community Nurturing
- Facebook Ads to Increase Exposure
Rather than a simple bulleted list of task phrases, their copy goes into quite a bit of descriptive detail with their experience and personality very apparent throughout.
Could you take inspiration from the list of service ideas, but simplify down or ‘newbie-fy’ the way you describe it?
Yes, for sure!
As you gain your own hands-on client work experience, you’ll start to have your own unique way of describing things and you’ll be able to extend and revise your service descriptions any time you have your sights set on leveling up.
Note: There is a sensational video about how you can embrace being a newbie, down at the bottom of this post. If you’re short on time, be sure to check that out!
Smart To Finish Office Solutions
Virtual Assistance and Online Business Support Services for Coaches, Consultants and Entrepreneurs.
Amber Miller began her business back in 2004. That is some serious VA history right there and the Smart To Finish team are very well established in providing ongoing professional client support.
One of the things you’ll notice on their services page, and throughout the site as a whole, is the focus on highlighting the range of software system names that herself and the team are skilled up in. The services descriptions are short, direct phrases, collated into the following set of categories:
- Ecommerce and Infusionsoft Virtual Assistant Services
- WordPress and HTML Support
- Teleseminar and Webinar Management Support
- Client/Customer Concierge and Administrative Support
- Content and Transcribing
- Graphic DesignMembership Sites Virtual Assistance
- Online Business Management and Virtual Operations Manager
- SEO Optimization
They also include an announcement about a service that they don’t personally provide:
“NOTE: we do not do copywriting but can work with a copywriter for you.”
You don’t necessarily need to call this out on the front end of your website, but it’s a very useful style of phrasing to have in mind for email correspondence, Skype consults or job applications. You can use this type of phrasing to help your clients to perceive you as their go-to business support person without needing to be personally competent with every single creative, marketing and tech service your clients could possibly need.
Left Brain Online Marketing
Supporting online businesses to grow and scale.
Louise Griffiths – owner and principal Project Manager at Left Brain Online Marketing – takes a really cool approach with her services page by including three core service offerings, each with a painted-picture description that helps potential clients visualize what it might be like to have that tailored support:
- Online Business Momentum Package
- Online Product Launch Package
- Paid Advertising
Below the service details, there’s a separate sub-section titled “What Exactly Can We Implement?” – a bulleted and categorized list of every single software system her team is skilled up in. It’s a lot! And that ‘all-rounder’ tech specialization is a key part of their positioning.
So what’s the takeaway there? Depending on your VA business model, focus and personal preference, you may choose to list the software tool names separately but nearby the actual service description, or as was the case with Smart-to-Finish above, you may choose to blend the tool names in with your service descriptions where they fit.
And there are another two approaches to consider here as well – in the next two businesses down the list you’ll see examples of displaying the recognizable logos of software tools you work with, or omitting reference to any software names altogether.
Sarah Noked OBM
Online Business Management Services.
Sarah Noked has undertaken specialist training and specifically positioned herself and her team as providing Online Business Management, Project Management and Systems Building Services. The team’s services are broken down into three Online Business Management Packages:
- Online Business Management & Strategy
- Tech Setup & Management
- Content Creation & Management
Each package option includes a list of short phrases describing the services, followed by a prompt for potential clients to set up a discovery call where the inclusions can be customized to suit to the business owner’s goals. Right near that call-to-action, you’ll see a collection of software tool logos designed to give an at-a-glance indication of the team’s specific competencies. (I won’t place a screenshot of it here as I’m sure Sarah will be wanting to update that over time, so click through here to get a visual idea of what I mean.)
Now as a side note, if you’re not familiar with the key term here – Online Business Manager – consider that just like an experienced virtual assistant who is providing essentially the same core skill set in supporting business owners but with a very proactive, integrated, results-focused, big picture approach.
If this type of role resonates with you, you could set a goal to step into an Online Business Manager role within a business owner’s ‘in-house’ team of freelancers, or you could position yourself as an independent Online Business Manager who co-ordinates your own team in support of your client’s business, similar to how an ‘agency’ might work, but often perceived as a closer, collaborative relationship.
Remember, the term you choose to use to describe your role online is nowhere near as relevant as the experience you create for your clients – the terms can just help you to communicate with clarity to potential clients you don’t yet have a relationship with.
Boutique marketing agency focusing on branding & design.
When you click through to scan Solamar’s awesome service descriptions on the link above, what you’ll notice is that they lead with their unique creative strength – branding and design – followed by short painted-picture descriptions of the other services they provide:
- Online Marketing Support
- Business Support (that comprises technical, administrative and customer service details)
- Strategic Consulting
- Relationship Management
Each service description has a super clear title, a descriptive sub-heading, a short paragraph of text and a fun personality-filled original photo.
You’ll see that they completely omit references to any specific software tool names. They’re very much positioning themselves as taking the lead in their client relationships and want to assure clients that “No, you don’t have to learn all of the latest tools and tricks – we’ve got it covered!”
Here is something that comes to mind reading the copy and scanning the images on the Solamar site…
When you see reference to a team, an agency or branding & design, and as a new virtual assistant you think to yourself “well, that’s nothing like what I plan to do, I’m going to be a virtual assistant”… start to notice that it’s all pretty much the same underlying services, the infrastructure of online commerce – marketing support, strategy, tech, tools, design, customer service, administrative support – just with variations in focus, description and experience.
If you’re inspired by a particular freelancer or agency, you’ll find little clues and ideas to help you move forward on your own virtual assistant career path, regardless of the differences in business model and experience level.
My Bliss Publishing
Digital project management + design studio for online coaches and creative entrepreneurs.
My Bliss Publishing is the duo of Shay Brown, the Founder and CEO, and Cassie Torrecillas, the Branding + Design Director. They’ve packaged up creative, marketing and virtual assistance services for their clients in three core service offerings:
- The Blissful Biz Package
- The Blissful Product Launch
- The Blissful Biz Management (their virtual assistance service offering on an hourly rate, reserved for clients that have come on board through their fixed-price primary package.)
Similar to Solamar Agency, they lead in with their branding & design offering (in order to launch or uplevel a new client’s business) but in this case they have packaged the creative services up with content marketing strategy and business systems setup, laid out in detail on a stunning sales page complete with timeline breakdown and frequently asked questions. Now how about that for taking the lead?!
Embrace Being a Newbie
After scanning through the successful businesses above, I think you’re going to find this awesome video below very, very helpful if you’re in the early stages, or still considering, a virtual assistant career.
Chase Reeves, Fizzle.co‘s Creative Director, shares some practical, real-world advice for embracing your newbie-ness. He says:
“If you think more like a newbie, it’s going to make it easier for you to be successful over time.”
From my experience building a VA career and observing the growth of others in the same field, oh boy, this is so, so true. Watch the short video for the full picture and let me know what you think in the comments below.
Are you new to this world of online work? Get started with our free training series here to get clued up on how these online business support skills all fit together.