Lessons from a Digital Marketing Virtual Assistant who actually does the work:
If you’re just getting started in the digital business world, there’s an overwhelming amount of options when it comes to getting paid online.
Something tells me you’d like to get paid … quickly and in a way that is easiest for you to track and account for.
Mailed checks just aren’t going to cut it in 2021!
Whether you’re selling digital products or services, here is what you need to know to get paid online and how to take payments for physical products, digital products, subscriptions and services to your customer.
How to Get Paid Online — The Techie Stuff
I recently did a live training about payment gateways, tech stacks, invoicing software and the need-to-knows about how to get paid online. Watch it here.
I started my freelance business back in 2010 and know how to set it up easier, and some better bells and whistles when it comes to the fancy platforms. I’ve also helped my clients: biz coaches, service providers, course creators and membership site owners set up their businesses and tech stacks so they can get paid.
In other words, I’ve been around the block and got paid for it.
What is a Tech Stack?
The tech stack is a suite of tools and platforms for landing pages, emails, taking payments, and delivering products and services that help you achieve your business goals. Unfortunately, there’s not always just one solution.
Here’s my tech stack:
What is a Payment Processor/Gateway?
To make the tech stack work and get the money flowing to your account, you’ll need a couple important tools called a payment processor and payment gateway.
A payment processor is the company that handles the credit card and debit card transactions for a business. It facilitates the transfer of funds form one account to another. So think: Square, PayPal, Stripe, etc.
A payment gateway is the secure tool or “middle man” that proves or declines the transactions. Sometimes processors, like PayPal, will include both in an all-in-one solution. Businesses that take payments online or over the phone need a payment gateway. Think: Stripe, Authorize.net, Stripe, Amazon Payments, etc.
Best Tools to Get Paid Online
- PayPal – Fees: 2.9% + 30¢, Easy buttons and “pay me” links
- Square – Fees: 2.9% + 30¢, Great for in-person sales
- Stripe – Fees: 2.9% + 30¢, integrates well with other tools
Web-based Checkout Systems
- SamCart – $49-99/month
- ThriveCart – $600/lifetime
Let’s discuss a few tactics tat these web-based checkout programs let you do. All of these can be offered with digital creators, membership site and services. Think VIP offers, ebooks, and other special perks.
What’s an order bump?
A check-out tactic that adds another product or service while in the cart with the intent of getting more sales at the time of purchase and increasing AOV, average order value. It’s a low-dollar offer on the checkout page. For example: You’ll see product warranties typically as an order bump.
What’s an upsell?
A check-out tactic that brings up another product as a pop-up during the checkout process. It’s usually a high-value offer. For example: In my last live launch of the Unicorn Digital Marketing Assistant School, I offered a seat in a copywriting class partner program just for virtual assistants. This offer was extra, but not required to have success in my program. I knew it was something half my students would want to purse next so why not offer it then and there.
What’s a one-click upsell?
Offers that appear after the buyer has purchased and before the thank you page. It occurs after the credit card payment has been secure.
Client-Management Systems – Perfect for the Service Provider to send Invoices & Get Paid
These bookkeeping, systems let you collect money and invoice. Some have added perks of writing proposals, sending contracts and managing the client work. Some of these require adding additional payment processors and gateways.
*This is my partner affiliate link because I use and recommend this program.
Which one do I need?
It all depends on your tech stack: your website, your email service provider or customer relationship management (CRM) platform.
What if my bank is not in USD?^
This is mainly for my Canadian freelancers: If your clients are in the U.S. and paying is United States dollars, I suggest charging in USD. (Hello! Your clients are probably assuming you are charging in USD anyway.) It would be ideal to have a USD bank account and then use Transferwise or another tool to transfer your money to your currency when the exchange rate is good. You can always charge your Canadian clients in CDN. Do keep track of where your Canadian clients are from so you can pay the appropriate HST/GST tax to the Canadian Revenue Agency. ^Definitely seek advice from your tax accountant because this is by no means legal tax advice.
What is the simplest way to get started (and paid!)?
I’m giving you permission to start simple: just use PayPal. It’s very common, trustworthy, secure and SIMPLE. You can collect money easily by:
1. sending invoices
2. adding buttons to a landing page on your website
3. sharring your own “pay me” page link
You don’t need a website. If you’re a freelancer you will book out with clients and down the road you’ll want to consider one of the client management systems that let you invoice, manage workflows and send proposals. To get started right now, you do not need that.
If your client is in same boat, crossing over from in-person client work and services to online offers, you can use Paypal in the same fashion. It even allows you to do recurring payments, just like a membership subscription fee!
Keep it simple. Keep those overhead costs down. You’ll know when it’s time to up level and then you can revisit the other tools I brought up in this blog.
How to Sell Digital Products (for beginners)
If you or your client is ready to sell an ebook, recipes, templates, workbooks, one-off trainings, tutorials and workshops, you may want to keep things simple with your stack and make it easy to get paid and deliver the digital product. Here’s what I recommend.
E-commerce plug-ins to your current WordPress website
Standalone selling programs:
Down the road, you may want to go all in with a robust platform to deliver a digital course or membership site. Click here to read about 4 of the most popular Learning Managemant systems to sell your course.
⚡️ Related Podcast Alert: 3 BIG things to have in your contract
The next question you have when working with clients probably has to do with contracts. I got your back. In a recent Unicorns Unite podcast I covered contracts. There’s not a one-size fits all contract because the scope of your work as a B2B service provider varies. But once you get the bones down, you’ll be able to improve and refine your contracts.
Then go ahead and download my free contract checklist to help you get started: emilyr30.sg-host.com/contract
For Biz Owners: How to Hire a Virtual Assistant who will help you with your Tech Stacks & Invoicing
As your business grows, you will need help. You can’t do all of the things and keep up with the 1:1 client work.
You can also submit a form here and I’ll share your job position with my students who have taken my Unicorn Digital Marketing Assistant School. The course graduates will be a solid bet because they’ll be able to grow with your business as they already know so much more than just basic social media dos and don’ts. Some of my students are on the creative track, others have vast experiences in corporate and/or project management, running their own businesses or education that makes them suitable for OBM/DOO level. They can step into the role in your business and grow up with you.
The truth is many business owners are looking for a teammate who is more than just a VA who can cross the lines of implementor/strategist and help them do the work and have ideas. Their first hire is a “Unicorn”…. from there as the team grows and becomes successful, you can hire to your unicorn’s weakness and promote based on their strengths.
It’s all about team growth.
How to get started in the Digital Economy
If you’re new to the online world and want to work in the digital economy, you have to start somewhere. You can’t just jump in without online business and marketing knowledge or experience.
I got lucky because I started my freelance digital business 10 years ago right when this world was exploding. With my implementation and tech skills, strategy knowledge, and background in public relations & marketing, I quickly booked out. I started teaching my friends to help me with the client load.
Without any online marketing knowledge, these friends have been able to secure work in the online space as virtual assistants, project managers and OBMs.
The gateway into working online is through my Unicorn Digital Marketing Assistant School. It’s a 5-week online program that teaches everything you need to know to start working ASAP as an online marketing virtual assistant, plus gives you plenty of job opportunities.
Once you begin working and getting the hands on experience, you can niche down your services toward one of the freelance paths I showed you in the graphic at the beginning of the blog.
The key is: you gotta learn what biz owners need and expect.
Or get some immediate skills in my next live workshop class!
Curious about starting your own service-based business from home?
This list is for you!
Grab my list of digital marketing-related tasks and services that online business owners are outsourcing and always need help with.
This is a goldmine of services you could be offering to your clients in your digital marketing VA business.
Stay posted for my next insider tips!
-Emily, Digital Media Consultant (and Virtual Assistant …)
Maybe it’s time you learn the Digital Marketing Skills to get hired?
1. Invoicing and helping clients get paid is one of the many things I’ve done for work over the years as a unicorn digital media virtual assistant. In fact, I have a list of 10 different virtual job tasks for you right here so you can see what working online from home is all about!
This is a 15-video tutorial series that will walk you through behind-the-scenes tasks of a digital media VA, including Kajabi, ConvertKit and graphic design, so you can go above and beyond social media
Go check it out to get started in the online space, and I’ll let you in on exactly what clients need right now. They’re coming to me asking for help for these specific tasks, and if you get those skills, you’ll be ready to jump right in with clients of your own.
3. Consider doubling down on your Facebook knowledge and adding Facebook community management skills. I have a 2-hour workshop that will teach you everything you need to know to get hired as a Community Manager and help digital course creators, business coaches, membership site owners and influencer manage, engage and grow their free and paid Facebook groups. Click here to learn more.
This is a crucial role to many six-, seven-, and eight-figure teams that taps into your social media talents and gets you more billable hours with a single client. For many social media virtual assistants this is the next step!
Further Related Reading
Connect with Me!
Did you know? I have a Facebook community for digital media VAs. Come join us! –> https://www.facebook.com/groups/digitalmediava
“I help smart women learn the in-demand digital marketing strategies and tech skills to get hired as a unicorn virtual assistant.“
>>Click here to Join the Free Facebook Community for Social Media VAs and Digital Marketing Assistants.
This is a free Facebook group for freelancers, service providers and contractors. Weekly interveiws with other freelancers, techie tricks and how-tos and free trainings. See you inside!
Take the Quiz: What Kind of Digital Service Business Is Best Suited for YOU?
I created a quiz to help you decide which of the VA Tracks you should look into based on your strengths and personality. There are FOUR different results, one which is clearly best suited for the VA to OBM/DOO track.