Net Advantage? What’s that?

Take Steps to your Net Advantage

When starting out in business it can be tempting to focus on income – or revenue. But you also have to take care of the outgoings – or expenditure. Because what really counts is how much you have left once you’ve done the sums. That’s your net income. This may sound really basic and obvious but even the most established VA can take their eye off the ball with this. You are not just a service provider. You are running a business. It’s important to know where you are with your money. There’s a saying ‘Cashflow is King’.

It’s a well-known saying for a reason.

Many companies, even well-known brands, are experiencing the angst of not having the money coming in to cover their costs. Around the world, it has led to redundancies and a threat to thousands and thousands of jobs. You’re not a corporate or famous High Street name. But as a VA you are in business – whether you’re a limited company, or you call yourself self-employed or freelance.

There are two ways to maximise your net income.

Earn more. Spend less. The greater the gap between the two, the bigger your net income. It’s really easy to fall into the trap of getting a little excited when money comes in – and then instantly thinking how you’re going to spend it. (We’ve probably all been there). To generate more income, you can do one, more or all of the following three steps:

  • Get more clients or customers
  • Get clients paying more for your services
  • Get clients buying more often

Step #1 is about marketing – knowing your audience (or audiences), finding them and sharing the right kind of messages with them. Step #2 is about reviewing your prices – and charging more for what you do. The more you can demonstrate your value, the more you can charge. Step #3 is about coming up with new offers, developing packages and creating more profitable ways of working. If you are doing regular work for a client, you could propose a monthly retainer. Let’s say you do 30 hours a week, just as an example, and you charge £20 per hour. What if you raised your fees to £22 per hour? That’s an extra £60 per week or £240 to £300 per month. Push it to £25 per hour and that’s an additional £150 per week, or £600 to £750 extra each month. You might be work more hours than in the example above. You might be working less. Your rate may be higher or lower. Whatever the case, it’s a simple way for you to generate some extra income.

When was the last time you put your prices up?

Take Steps to your Net Advantage

Think about how you can make more each month, giving yourself more stability or the means to take on your own assistant (to help with client work, your own admin or to assist with your marketing). And there are plenty of ways to reign in what you spend and save on those outgoings.

Here are some suggestions.

Have one less coffee out a week and you could have an extra £100-150 in your pocket within a year. Is there a newspaper or magazine you receive but barely read? It might be time to review or cancel the subscription. Many people have a gym membership yet never or rarely visit the gym. If that’s you, think about other ways you could exercise and save yourself hundreds a year in the process. It’s also amazing how the weekly food shopping all adds up over time. If you could save £5 or £10 a week, that gifts you between £250 and £500 in a year. In five years, that could amount to a £2,500 nest egg – for a nice holiday or home improvements, or towards a new kitchen or car.

And let’s not forget.

You could even use some or all of that saving to invest in growing your business. A new website, marketing or taking on an assistant so you can focus on your priorities more. An online course to develop your skills. Even more reason to look for opportunities to improve that net income. Some savings will be easier. Some you will have to fight for. There seems to be little or no reward for loyalty when it comes to your household energy, broadband or mobile phone bills. That was certainly the case from my time in the UK and it may be the same where you are. It pays to shop around, compare offers and negotiate better deals. It shouldn’t have to be that way, of course, but it seems to be the way these kinds of companies operate. Do the same with car insurance, household insurance and other premiums where you have a choice.

It all adds up.

When you really go for it, annual savings could be in the hundreds or higher. Over several years it can tot up to thousands of pounds. That is, for most people, a significant sum of money. It’s why everyone should be looking at opportunities, not just for a new business but also to streamline those outgoings. As an IT trainer and trainer in MS Office and Microsoft 365, naturally, I’m going to share a specific word of advice.

Check your tech.

Give some thought to any subscriptions you pay for software, tech tools and applications. If you already have Microsoft Teams, do you really need to be paying for Zoom Pro, Business or Enterprise? You can hold video calls, virtual meetings and training sessions just with Teams. Paying for Survey Monkey? You can run surveys, quizzes and polls through Microsoft Teams. Quit both Zoom and Survey Monkey and you save at least £35 a month. That’s £420 over the year, each year. If what’s stopping you from using Microsoft Teams to the full is not knowing how to do stuff in it, then it’s time to learn and build your ‘how-to’ confidence. That’s where somebody like me can help you in a number of ways. Learn in your own time and at your own pace with my online courses in Microsoft Teams. Ask questions and make use of the personalised support offered in my flexible, high-value yet very affordable Trainer in Your Pocket membership. Need more focused or deeper 1:1 training? We can work together on whatever aspect of MS Office or Microsoft 365 you want. As more and more training, mentoring, coaching and presentations are being conducted online, many people are turning to Teams. But they want to ensure their events and sessions are not jeopardised by naivety with the tech side. It’s why I created a Teams course specifically for trainers, speakers and coaches. Whether you’re just starting out, well established or advanced in your VA career or business – you have to be business-like.

Keep an eye on your numbers.

What’s coming in? What’s going out? How is it flowing now? What’s the forecast ahead? Remember, you’re looking to earn more and save more. If things are a bit flat, in limbo or a struggle right now – take a look at your outgoings and see where savings can be made. Stay connected with your existing clients. How can you help them? What else can you offer them? Do they know anyone else who might value your services? Have they given you a wonderful testimonial or would they be willing to be a case study? If your business is strong right now, how will you keep it that way? How will you develop and grow it further? You may be in a good position to raise your fees or negotiate a better package. Alternatively, you may want to explore how you can incorporate support for a charity into your income model.

Do what works best for you.

Consider your values and what’s important to you in the world – or your local community. Could you set aside a small percentage of your sales or net profit to help a cause that’s deep to your heart? Yes, of course, income and earning money is important – to pay the bills and allow us to lead the life we want. But business is also a way for you to share your values, connect or reconnect with what’s important to you, and give something back. The greater your net income, the more choices you have. What will you do in the month ahead to save and earn?        

Shelley Fishel

The session was well structured and the explanation was very clear. It was amazing how Shelley managed to squeeze so much info in just one hour and a half! Colin’s support and contributions were also very valuable, and so were “Virtual Veronica”‘s. Thank you for a most interesting and useful training session at the Miss Jones Virtual Summit!

Laura Carizzo- Royal Norwegian Embassy in Argentina

I haven’t used PowerPoint in 20 years, this has really boosted my confidence.

Lyn Parker

Course is packed with so much valuable information in a easy-to-understand and follow language, even for a complete beginner. I can respect the fact that sometimes it’s very hard for an expert to break the information down to basics. but Shelley has done it brilliantly. I was sure that I knew quite a bit but Shelley has proven me wrong even at the very beginning of the basics of PowerPoint. Lessons are short and precise which allowed me to easily transfer the new skill into practice without being overwhelmed and to carry on adding on more with each lesson. I had so many ‘Aha!’ moments and for most of them I couldn’t believe I used to pay graphic designer to do it for me, now, thanks to Shelley, I am looking forward to creating, designing, converting my presentations all by myself!

Iva Freeman – Vertex Human Capital

Shelley was very thorough and knew a lot of tip’s for using Teams, thank you 🙂

James O’Connor – Cavannah Homes

Very informative, constantly getting everyone in the meeting involved, loved every bit of it!

Dylan Teal Hopkins – Cavannah Homes
Fantastic and informative training and great to see all of the exciting functions with Microsoft Teams.
Laura Rigby – The Apprenticeship College
Shelley was really clear in her teaching and went at a pace that was helpful to us. We covered all we needed to know to get us started, as a small team, using MS Teams. She was also very helpful in the run up to the session, with check in calls and ensuring our platform was set up correctly. I would highly recommend Shelley to anyone wanting to learn to navigate their way around MS Teams.
Leigh Dowling – Innuous

Microsoft Teams One to One Training Session

Shelley was approachable, easy to work with, and agile with answering questions to apply the session to my specific needs

Melissa Marshall – Present Your Science

A course on Outlook had been on the top of my list when Shelley asked VA’s what they wanted to learn.

It was a real case of ‘so that’s how you do it’ or ‘I never knew that’. I have to say that I learnt so many great tips it has definitely improved the way I work in Outlook and my inbox is looking colourful and organised and I can’t wait to share this knowledge with my clients.

Jacqueline Leake – JLeake VA Services – Outlook

A great course with lots of examples and step by step instructions. I can now confidently create infographics and as a bonus, I learnt a lot of new PowerPoint functionality that will enhance all my PowerPoint work and save me so much time.

Jessica Bailey – Integral Resource

I really like Shelley’s courses. She has a clear and easy to follow teaching style. In ‘How to Create Fillable Forms’ I’ve learned about the functions of the Developer ribbon which will mean I’ll be able to create a bespoke Returns Form for a client who has an online shop

Freya Henderson – Virtual Office Orkney

Shelley was really clear in her teaching and went at a pace that was helpful to us. We covered all we needed to know to get us started, as a small team, using MS Teams. She was also very helpful in the run up to the session, with check in calls and ensuring our platform was set up correctly. I would highly recommend Shelley to anyone wanting to learn to navigate their way around MS Teams.

Sarah Clements – Inuous

Absolutely superb course, easy to follow and to refer back whilst putting it all into practice! I was unaware of the extent you can customise a presentation and it’s just made me want to know more – what’s next Shelley?

Denise Williams

I thought I had a pretty good grasp of Outlook until I did this course! In her videos, Shelley is clear and concise, and the language she uses is straightforward and jargon-free. Each module is broken down into manageable chunks, which helps keep your attention and means the course is easy to fit in around other commitments. I’ve created email templates and implemented rules that are already saving me time, and as all the other things I’ve learnt start to become second nature, the positive impact on my efficiency is fast becoming clear. This course has been incredibly beneficial and I would highly recommend it to anyone looking to strengthen their skills and boost productivity.

Pip Doleman VA

I thought I knew Powerpoint really well, but I wanted to specifically learn how to use Powerpoint to create better infographics, easily and quickly. Shelley explains everything in a very logical and clear way, so I understood everything the first time I heard it. The most useful thing I learnt was that Powerpoint can do so much more than I thought it could. By also using the short cuts that Shelley showed me I am much quicker than I have ever been and I thought I was already quick!

Susan Marot

Shelley Fishel of Tomorrow’s VA has a wealth of experience in Microsoft Office. I met her in person 2 years ago at the PA Show in London. I also saw her in action in a fab workshop and knew she was the whizz that everyone had told me she was. I have since bought a lifetime access to her HUB and all the courses in there are a MUST if you are a VA on a mission. The courses will give you confidence in all the Office 365 components and will catapult you to dizzy heights

Alex Hughes