Do you know what the best part of each month is for me? Processing that invoice and getting paid on time! There is no greater feeling than having the trust and authority from my coaches to process their payments. That level of trust comes from the standards set at the beginning of the relationship. Plus, coaches understand the concept of paying in advance for services; that’s how most of them process payments. If your family relies on you as the breadwinner, you can’t afford not to have a standard around getting paid on time. Let me share a few tips with you.
Be sure to have convenient and secure systems in place so your coaches can pay you on time. When I have the ‘money’ conversation with prospects, I explain my payment system which includes processing their payment up front and credit card authorization. Depending on the service being purchased, I offer a one-time payment for a 30-day project or multiple payments over time for a 90-day project. When I first started out I used an hourly rate and offered hourly packages.
Want to add some credibility to your relationship? Just think – if you have a secure and reliable system for getting paid on time, you could help your coach do the same if she struggles with getting payments on time. You may notice that she keeps talking about waiting for client payments before she can pay you. That could be an opportunity to help her tighten up her standards and policies. You could share what you’ve done with your business, the benefits you’ve gained, and how you can help her do the same. By giving her permission to do something different and then being available to get it done will increase your value and relationship with your coach.
I get asked this next question a lot: What is the best way to explain your retainer agreement to a coach?
When I started out, I used a retainer agreement. My retainer agreement was for my convenience and peace of mind. I explained that it was from month to month, and meant that my coach had my commitment of support for a minimum number of hours per month. I further explained that if the retainer ran out before the month ended, I would need authorization before any additional work was done. In these instances, I also explained how the work would stop and what was still pending to be completed. That way, my coach could make an informed decision whether to stop the work for the remainder of the month or not.
I found it better to go ahead and have my coach pay for additional hours as needed rather than carrying hours forward. In my retainer agreement, I also let my coach know that any rollover was at my discretion and would not result in refunding monies.
Some VAs ask for a three- to six-month commitment in order to lock in the price, but a termination can happen at any time. There are no guarantees, and it doesn’t mean that you have to continue to work together if it’s not working out. So, if you have ever been in this situation, you know how hard it can be to work with a troublesome client until the time runs out. Be sure to have an exit plan ready if you see red flags surfacing and address any issues immediately. Include in your agreement how you’d like to resolve any issues and terminate the agreement if necessary.
Today, I use a project-based model which allows me to set realistic goals and produce tangible outcomes with my coach. One of the benefits of this model is that I can set a reasonable monthly fee that my market will support. Another is that my coach gets to work on projects with me that helps her generate new business, create passive income, or increase her confidence when marketing and meeting new people. I still get my payments upfront, but now I can even offer a discount for a full payment. No minutes or hours to count! We just get busy and get to work.
My last tip for you is this – know how much time it takes for payments to be deposited into your account. I know that my payments take 3 business days to hit my account, so I charge my clients on the 27th of the month. This transaction is explained and stated in my client agreement, so be sure to include it in yours and pay day will be the best part of each month for you too.