Starting your own Virtual Assistant business involves a huge learning curve, one that warrants a lot of questions. But of all the questions I get asked, how to get paid is right up there! And is it any wonder? After all, there are a lot of options available to you, and you want to make sure you’re not being charged a considerable fee for the money you’ve earnt.
So to help answer the questions around payment, here’s a breakdown of some of the common different payment options a Virtual Assistant can use to get paid for their services.
But before we get onto the payment methods, there’s one crucial thing to remember…
Have a separate bank account for your business!
When you’re first starting out as a sole trader or limited company, it’s easy to just go with the bank account you have. But start as you mean to go on and set up a separate bank account for your business. Keeping it separate from your personal account will not only help you reconcile your accounts, but it will also stop you spending funds that belong to your business (and vice versa!).
Get paid via bank transfer
One of the easiest ways to get paid is to simply request a bank transfer from your clients. You just have to add your bank account details to your invoice and let them know this is your preferred method of payment. Retainer and contracted clients can then set up a standing order to automatically pay you each month.
However, unless you can set up notifications in your banking app, you’ll need to check when and if clients have paid you manually. Also, a standing order is controllable by your clients – they can cancel it with a simple button click. From a client perspective, it can be a bit of a hassle to have to log into their bank account to pay you each time they receive an invoice.
If you have retainer and contracted clients, it may be easier to go with GoCardless. It enables clients to set up a Direct Debit for your services. Not only is a Direct Debit seen as a trusted method of payment, but it’s also easy for you to monitor and change amounts as needed. The only downside is you will have a ‘per-transaction’ fee to pay for each payment. You can find out more about GoCardless here. The fee’s are not huge and you can invoice in multiple currencies.
Another option designed to help you get paid is Stripe. Stripe is easy to set up, and it enables your clients to pay by credit or debit card. Often, you’ll be able to put a ‘buy now’ button on your invoices, to make it really easy for clients to instantly pay their invoices. Be aware though that Stripe does charge a small fee for each transaction – and they will keep your money for approximately 7 days before paying you, in case you have any refund requests. You can find out more about Stripe, here.
PayPal is known and used by so many businesses, but it’s a payment option that I’d recommend you be incredibly wary of and personally I would rather you not use it. You can easily get paid but clients can easily cancel their subscription payments and even worse, can request refunds up to 60 days after payment has been sent. If they decide to raise a complaint in PayPal, you have the right to work on resolving the issue – but PayPal will often favour the buyer and refund anyway. PayPal fees are also a little higher than Stripe too. But if you want to check out PayPal, you’ll find all the details, here.
Starting your own Virtual Assistant business will inevitably mean you have a lot of questions to ask. I hope the above blog gives you the answers you need around how you get paid and the available options. But ultimately, it boils down to what suits you best. Go with what works for you and keep it simple – you can always switch options or add extras, once you’ve settled into your new business.
And if you’re looking for affordable, practical support and expert help, as you grow your VA business, check out our monthly VA Membership. You’ll find a supportive community, accountability and access to an expert who can answer your questions and help you grow your business successfully. So why not check it out and give it a try – you’re free to cancel at any time, so you have nothing to lose!