Ten Ways to Improve Your Website Credibility and Why It Matters

Ten Ways to Improve Your Website Credibility and Why It Matters

Credibility matters. Your website is one of the only connections your prospects have to you. They don’t know if you are trustworthy. They don’t know if you know what you’re talking about. Yet, when you can establish that you’re a credible company and resource, then you’re golden. Why? Because people buy from companies they trust. They recommend them to others. They become loyal customers and visitors.

Here are ten ways to improve your website credibility:

1. Facts and data - Demonstrate your credibility by backing up the claims you make with hard evidence. Cite statistics and data that support your statements.

2. Let your customers do the talking - Testimonials, reviews and endorsements go a long way toward convincing others of your credibility. In addition to strategically placing testimonials, reviews and endorsements on your landing page, consider creating a separate page, too. That way, visitors can click on the ‘testimonials’ page and read all the wonderful things people have to say about you.

3. Simple navigation - If a website is confusing to navigate we tend not to trust the source. However, if your website is streamlined and designed to enhance the visitor’s experience, then prospects can tell you’ve put them first.

4. Clean look - Have you ever landed on a web page that was so cluttered you didn’t know which way to turn? These pages are often littered with advertisements. It seems the only goal is to get you to click on something so they can earn a nickel in PPC revenue. Make sure your website doesn’t give off this vibe, even if your primary source of income is PPC. There are better ways to earn the trust of your prospects and thus earn a click.

5. Quality information - One of the best ways to earn a reputation for credibility is to consistently provide quality content. Share information that matters to your prospects and visitors. Show them why they can trust you. Be a source of information.

6. Quality companies - Represent or endorse companies that make you proud. Whether it’s an affiliate relationship, a partnership or you’re simply trying to provide a benefit, make sure you’re sending customers and prospects to websites and companies that you respect.

7. Organizations and affiliations - Join organizations that have earned credibility and respect. For example, become a member of the Chamber of Commerce. Join DMA if you’re a marketer. When visitors see logos and know you’re a member of a reputable organization, you earn credibility.

8. Win awards - Awards provide instant credibility. Find awards in your industry to apply for and make sure to post any wins and logos on your website.

9. Contact information - Make sure that your contact information is easy to find. In fact, consider placing it in the footer of every web page. Then also create a separate contact information page. IF a prospect or visitor cannot contact you, they'll wonder why you’re hiding.

10. Policies and procedures - State your policies and procedures up front. Make sure your statements are easy to find. Communicate your policies whenever appropriate. For example, mention your privacy policy and link to it when people sign up for your email list. Include a page or link on your site where visitors can find your policies. Consider a privacy policy and a guarantee or return policy if you sell products.

Bonus Tip: Finally, make it easy for visitors to find the answers to their questions. Provide a FAQ page and a contact form or customer service system. When you’re completely transparent and up-front about your business, you earn credibility.

 

The Benefits of Being A VA

A VA, if you’re unfamiliar with the acronym, is a virtual assistant. It’s an administrative assistant that works virtually or online. It’s a fantastic career choice for many. Here are just a few of the many benefits to being a VA.

1. Ability to work from home

The choice to become a VA is a great one for many. If you’re a parent or caregiver, it enables you to stay home and earn your pay. Being a virtual assistant means you can work from your computer. You don’t have to go into a formal office. Your clients are managed all online.

Additionally, you can work from anywhere. If you’re heading to the beach for spring break, you can take your work with you. You can work from a coffee shop. You can work from the poolside. You can work while you’re waiting at your child’s dentist office.

2. It’s interesting

There really is no end to the type of work you can do as a virtual assistant. You can offer a broad base of services or a specialty service like transcription. This variety can help keep the job interesting. You won’t suffer from burnout. Likewise you can manage a number of different clients. This provides the ability to learn about a lot of industries and topics.

3. Demand

Virtual administration is a growing industry. As more and more people go into business online there’s an increasing need. Additionally, both individuals and companies are realizing the benefits of outsourcing. It puts you in a prime position to create a business and a career.

4. Low startup requirements

There’s not much required to get started as a VA. You’ll need a computer, a website and the means to market and grow your business. All of this can be managed for just a few hundred dollars. You also don’t need any special degree or certification. While administrative certification is available, if you have the skills you’re ready to get started.

5. You’re the boss

In addition to being able to work from home there are also many other freedoms. For example, you can set your own work hours. If you’re a night owl this means you can work at night when you’re awake and alert. You can also take time off whenever you need to. No more asking the boss for a vacation day or worrying about sick leave. Finally, you also get to choose who you work with. You choose the clients and the projects you’ll take on.

If you’re looking for a full time career or just a little extra money consider becoming a VA. Virtual Assistants are in high demand. You can create the lifestyle you need and want.

 

5 Powerful Mind Success Strategies

Building a business is a fantastic and challenging experience. You can wake up exhilarated to begin your day and go to bed feeling overwhelmed and frustrated. The key to success is to maintain a positive, yes you can do it, mindset.

Easier said than done, right? Here are 5 keys to help you create and sustain a positive mindset so you attain the success you desire.

1. Surround yourself with successful and positive people. The influence people have over our own personal energy is amazing. Moods and attitudes are so easily spread – think about how much of a difference a simple smile from a stranger can make for your day and then magnify it 1000 times to demonstrate the power of positive and successful friends, family and associates. When you have people around you who inspire you, believe in you and want you to succeed, there’s no room for doubts and even when they creep up, they’re quickly swept away.

2. Create a mantra or an affirmation. Repeating positive affirmations has been shown to get people through tough times and to actually help them truly believe what they’re saying.

For example, “I am building a powerful and profitable business.” Many of the most esteemed business professionals have used the same affirmation strategy to attain their success. To find the right affirmations for you, consider writing a quick list of your doubts, insecurities and complaints. These can then be quickly turned into affirmations.

For example, if you write that you’re always feeling disorganized then your affirmation would be, “I am organized and in control.” Repeat your affirmations several times a day and feel the power of positive thinking.

3. Capture negative thoughts. We all have negative thoughts from time to time, however, negative thoughts and emotions can derail us and prevent us from achieving all we desire. Of course catching those negative thoughts takes practice and persistence. When you find yourself thinking negative thoughts or having negative emotions, find a trigger to turn them around. The affirmations mentioned above are a great way to turn the negative into the positive. You can also find quick pick me ups like a favorite song, a walk outside in the fresh air, or some exercise to help improve your mood.

4. Set goals/intentions and then be willing to let it go. The law of attraction says that we attract what we focus on the most. However, desperation, needing your business to be a success, sends mixed messages and a lot of negativity into the universe. Set your goals and intentions and then let them go. A certain amount of faith in yourself and in the power of attraction is necessary. Give it a try.

5. Be grateful. Gratitude is perhaps the single most powerful and positive tool for success. When you’re grateful for all of the wonderful things and people in your life the challenges you face seem significantly less important and are more easily dealt with.

Consider keeping a gratitude journal and make a practice of entering into it daily. That way, when you’re facing challenges a quick peek at all the amazing things in your life will make you feel as if you can tackle anything. Additionally, an attitude of gratitude helps you maintain a positive perspective and to face challenges as opportunities rather than obstacles.

Success is within your reach and with the right attitude you can accomplish anything you set your sights on. Embrace these five powerful mind success strategies and you’ll build a better business and live a happier, more satisfying life.

Three Challenges of Being A VA and How to Avoid Them

There’s little that compares with being your own boss. As a VA you have a lot of freedom. You choose your working hours. You choose your clients. You even set your fees and grow your business as you see fit. However, this freedom also means challenges. Owning your own VA business can be tricky. Let’s explore some common challenges of being a VA and how you can avoid them.

#1 Time Management

One of the great things about being a VA is that you get to set your own working hours. However, if you’re not good at managing your time, you could end up working around the clock. In addition to your client projects, you have a business to run. That means tasks like invoicing and email are on your daily to do list. Couple that with the normal responsibilities of life and you have a very full schedule. It’s then easy to see why some VAs never seem to sleep.

However, with a good time management system, everything gets done. You get to sleep. It’s about scheduling your day. It’s about prioritizing. And you must make the most of your work time. Be productive! Eliminate distractions.

#2 Clients

Without clients you don’t have a business. Yet there will definitely be clients you wish you didn’t have. It’s okay. You don’t have to like, get along with or work with everyone. If you find that you’ve gained a client you just don’t want to work with there’s a solution. Honor your commitment and then refer them to someone else.

When setting up your business you can avoid problematic clients by taking a few steps. The first is to identify the type of clients you do want to work with. Create an “ideal” client. Write down all of the characteristics they have. What makes them ideal? When you’re searching for new clients, keep that “ideal” client in your mind.

Also make sure your systems support a good client relationship. Make sure you have established policies and procedures. Make sure communication is easy and straight forward. This will help ensure your client relationships are positive ones.

#3 Cash flow

As a service provider you only make money when you have client projects to work on. This can make cash flow a real challenge. No cash flow and you may have to take on a part time job or borrow. That’s not the goal here. The goal is to have a successful VA business. There are a few strategies to help.

First, create a savings account that can support you during the slow times. There will be slow times. Even very successful businesses have them. When you have savings to turn to, the slow times can be stress free.

Create systems that support consistent cash flow. For example, consider finding regular, longer term clients instead of project work. program. Have your clients pay in advance each month and be sure to always be marketing to bring in new clients when needed.

Finally, look for supplemental income. Become an affiliate for a product or service that your audience might be interested in. Sell advertising space on your website. Create an information product and sell it. Partner with another business owner and earn referral income. When you have multiple streams of passive income coming into your business, cash flow management becomes much easier.

There are challenges to being a VA. However, the rewards can offset them. With a plan in place, you can overcome these challenges with ease. To your success!

5 Email Systems

There are so many different newsletter services out there, how do you choose one to use for your newsletter? How can you be sure it’s the right one for you?

Here is a list of a few features of five very popular services, to help you make your decision easier:

1ShoppingCart – 1SC is a great all in one solution for all of the things you will need as a VA, but it has levels of service for different prices that make it affordable before you need everything they offer. For just $29 per month you can get a basic email service that allows you to send HTML newsletters and set up auto responders (messages that are sent automatically when someone signs up for something that you have them opt in to). It’s easy to use, and allows you to set up templates to make sending emails a breeze.
You can also set up multiple lists with 1SC so you can keep your marketing projects separate when necessary. I always recommend 1SC when you start out simply because you can grow with it as your business grows – and then you can use the shopping cart and the affiliate software make up the professional package for $99/month, when you start selling things and working with partners and joint ventures.

Aweber – another very simple and popular email and autoresponder service, Aweber also allows you to set up separate lists for different events. Their templates for newsletters and opt in boxes are just great, and easy to customize. Aweber’s basic price is $19 per month, and I know many of my clients and colleagues like it because it is so simple to use. it doesn’t require a whole lot of technical expertise to send your own newsletter and that’s a big selling feature! It also integrates with your Facebook and Twitter easily, so you can reach your whole audience when you send out your newsletter.

Vertical Response – Vertical response is another good newsletter service that has an interesting feature – you can pay for it monthly or you can pay per email sent. It also offers great templates to build your email and is very easy to use. It supports multiple lists as well which is helpful if you work with events or if you work with partners. You also have the option to run surveys through Vertical Response, and it integrates with Facebook and Twitter as well. Vertical Response pricing starts at $10 per month or around a penny an email if you choose that option.

Constant Contact – many of my clients and colleagues started off using Constant Contact as their email provider. Some still use it and some have moved on to other systems (usually to a shopping cart system). Constant Contact is famous for being user friendly and they now allow you to set up autoresponders with your basic email marketing service. They also have optional add on services for online surveys and event marketing as well, which look very interesting. There is great functionality in using these services as they are designed precisely for what you need to use them for. They have a huge inventory of templates for each of their platforms and they really require very little technical skill to set up professional looking correspondence. Pricing starts at $15 a month for their basic services.

Mailchimp – I have not used Mailchimp in a very long time, but they have become very popular again lately due to their new list of features. I have heard great reports lately from people who are using it. It is also very simple to use, provides many templates, has a great deliverability rate (!) and also has some great ‘power features’ that you will want to check out. One of the features I would love to look at is the Google Analytics integration (I’m a Google gal, after all!). The coolest thing about Mailchimp… it’s free for up to 500 subscribers. Sounds like a pretty easy decision to me!

Whichever email service you decide to go with, be sure to try out a free trial. Most services offer a 30 to 60 day free trial along with tutorials so you can learn how their features work, and if they are the right fit for you.

Be Honest About Deadlines

We all know what it’s like to have a deadline looming over our heads.  We spend most of our time feeling like we’re being pushed, often unwillingly, toward the goal line of one project or another.  We also all know what it’s like to miss a deadline.  However, with time and effort you can reduce your stress and meet deadlines more efficiently.

The first part of meeting goals is setting them.  This part is far more important than it seems.  When setting goals, you need to be realistic.  Not only with whether or not you can meet a timeline, but also with whether or not you have the ability to get the job done - period.  Once you have an overall goal, set smaller goals and a calendar for achieving them.  Assign specific goals and duties and make sure everyone not only knows their part, but everyone else’s as well.  

Even if you’re setting realistic goals and deadlines, that doesn’t mean you’ll always meet them.  When setting up your plan of attack, it is important to realize that sometimes things go wrong.  One of your co-workers may call in sick, the copier might break down in the middle of a large print job, or bad weather might trap your supplier out of town.

You can’t prepare for every eventuality, but you can set up a Plan B in case of common problems.  This is often as simple as having alternate companies’ phone numbers on hand or making sure someone knows how to do a task if someone else is sick.  Occasionally, something is going to happen and you won’t meet a deadline, but you can still make this a rare occasion.

When managing a team, always set their deadlines well before the deadline for the final project.  Even if someone does exceptional work, you may end up with a bad final product because you were in a rush to get everything together.  If the people you work with spend a lot of time procrastinating, you may just want to set a deadline they need to have it done by and leave it at that.  If they don’t know the final project deadline, it may get their part to you sooner.  

For a team to meet a deadline, the leader needs to be involved in the entire process.  No, they don’t need to check up on everyone every step of the way, but they do need to see if everyone is on schedule and if they have any problems.  Often people will try to handle it themselves when they hit a snag, delaying their part and possibly the whole project.

When you’ve met a big deadline, reward yourself and your team with some kind of treat.  Depending on your options and on the importance of the deadline, it could be something big, like a group outing, or something small liking bringing in bagels one morning.  If you have something to look forward to, you’ll be more likely to get things done on time.  Plus, this will give everyone the energy boost to get started on your next big project.

Just Do It!

Steps to your Goals

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Do you have a wish list of things you want to get done in your business?

If you don’t, you should. You should have a list of short term and long term goals, and an even bigger strategy for your wish list.

If you do have a list, stop now and have a look at it.

How are you doing with developing or implementing the things you need to get done?

If you’re like me, you probably have a lot of things on the list. Maybe you don’t even know where to start.

I say, start at the beginning!

Just pick something … anything (something small would be best to start!) and get it
done.

Maybe you want to set up a blog.

Maybe you want to start a newsletter.

Maybe you want to update the content on your website.

Maybe you want to sign 3 new clients over the next month.

Whatever it is, just do it!

Set a workable plan in place. Give yourself deadlines and then make a list of what you will need to do to get it done.

If you’re not sure what you need to do, get help from someone who knows.

You will not believe the excitement (and relief!) that you will get by finishing something
that will make your business better.

And once you do one little thing, and bring it to completion, you can move onto the next
thing.

Here’s a little checklist for you:

1. Decide what you want to do.

2. Decide when you need to have it done.

3. Put that date on your calendar.

4. Determine the steps you need to complete your goal.

5. Determine when you need to complete each step so that you can do it in the proper order, or in the proper stages.

6. Put those dates on your calendar.

7. Look at your deadline dates and make sure that they are reasonable and logical, and that you have time to do the pieces you need to do.

8. Make sure your deadline dates are short enough to create some urgency, but not so much that you are working intensely (or you may find that you will drop the ball if you miss one!)

9. Tell someone what you are doing, and ask them to help you stay accountable to complete it.

10. Hang your calendar where you can see it, and work towards your goal,

Getting things done is just a matter of making them a priority on your calendar, and then knowing the steps you need to go through to get them completed.

It’s a process each time, and once you go through it once, you will find that it’s easy, and you will be able to implement the same procedure for everything you do. Just do it!

Fear Is Good ... Here's Why.

Guest Post by Tina Forsyth
www.OnlineBusinessManager.com

Fear is getting a bad rap.

Fear is often the reason a virtual support professional does NOT do something … versus the reason for them TO DO something.

Would you agree? As a Virtual Assistant, freelancer or other virtual support professional, you likely experienced some fear when you decided to officially open your business doors.

For me, fear is a big indicator that I need to do something. If I’m scared, it means I most likely need to go in that direction.

My personal believe is, that as human beings, we are meant to grow. We are meant to take on new stuff. Learning new things, supporting clients in new roles and new challenges – it’s natural to feel fear when you step into these areas – especially when you haven’t explored them before.

Fear itself can take many different forms, and will vary by individual and situation. Here are a few fears that many virtual support professionals face”: 

  • fear of looking like a fool 
  • fear of losing money 
  • fear of not making money 
  • fear of upsetting people close to you 
  • fear of not knowing if you can do what you want to do… etc.

Which of these can you relate to?

My previous mentor David Neagle calls this the “terror barrier”. The “terror barrier” is a natural part of life and growth.

We all come up against our own terror barriers – especially in business. And we have to decide whether we want to work through them or run away.

A word of caution - even if you run away from those terror barriers, they will follow you. And the longer they follow you, the bigger they get – darn them!

So, you may as well face the fear … right?

I’ve done my fair share of having to ‘stare fear in the eye’ and put plainly, it can suck at times.

For example, a few years ago when I decided to sign up to work with a mentor, that was a HUGE fear moment for me. I was terrified to take that step, as I knew it was a commitment to me and my business to play a bigger game. Quite honestly I didn’t know if I could do it.

Want to know what thoughts crossed my mind? You might be able to relate

  • Who am I to create a super cool and thriving biz?
  • What if I fail and lose oodles of money?
  • What if I suck at it and people point and laugh at me?
  • And many more other crazy thoughts

Here’s what I believe: Fear is an invitation. It’s an invitation for us to learn a lesson.

Whatever it is that we fear, there’s a gift waiting for you on the other side … but only if you’re willing to step into it. If you don’t step into it, you don’t get the gift. It’s as simple as that.

Facing fear is like building a muscle, the more we do it the more we are able to do it.

Fear doesn’t always get easier as there is always a s-t-r-e-t-c-h required when facing fear (and it can be uncomfortable!). However, I do believe that half the battle is actually resisting our fear – running away takes a lot of energy! If you stop resisting fear and instead step into it then the entire process could be much less painful in the long run.

Fear acronym positiveNow, when I reach that that “eek!” moment – that nauseous feeling in the pit of my stomach – I know it’s something that I need to do. This is the main indicator for me of what I need to do next in my business.

When was the last time you did something that scared the pants off of you?

What is it that you are most afraid of doing right now, in this moment, for you and your business? Please share your comments … I really would love to know.

How To Prove You Are the *Right* Person For the Job

Guest Post By Tina Forsyth www.OnlineBusinessManager.com

Over the last years I’ve spoken with a lot of business owners who are searching for a new virtual team member. One of the questions I get asked all the time is “Tina, how do I know if the person I’m hiring can actually do the job.”

Young Woman Working at Home, Small OfficeToo often, business owners jump into a relationship with a new virtual support professional after just two brief conversations. After a few short weeks, things start to crumble – leaving the business owner (1) unsure of how and why things started to crumble and (2) feeling a little ‘gun shy’ about working with virtual support professionals moving forward.

So how can you, the Virtual Assistant, freelancer, virtual support professional of any kind, prove that you are the BEST person for the ‘job’ and are worth hiring? If you feel confident in your skills and abilities, you know you’re great at what you do AND you can clearly and concisely communicate this – you will make it super easy for clients to make a decision to hire you.

Here are three things you can do that will help you prove that you’re “the one”:

Get Testimonials

Most virtual support professionals don’t do this enough. When you do great work for your clients, ask them for a testimonial that you can post on your website and use in other marketing materials.

Here’s a tip to make it super easy: Draft the testimonial on behalf of your client and give it to them to edit. Business owners will often have a tough time coming up with a testimonial from scratch … but if they have something to edit, they will realize what they really want to share.

Keep Track of Your Own Successes

What successes have you helped your clients create? Those are your own successes as well, and are proof of your contribution to the business.
Keep track of these successes so that you can share these stories/examples when talking to new clients. If you offer visual/graphic services, create a portfolio of your work so people can see what you do.

This exercise is also a great confidence builder for YOU. You will likely be surprised (and very proud) to see how much you actually contribute to the success of your clients.

Date Your Clients First

There is no better way to prove yourself then to actually jump in and do some work for the client.

Offer to help out with a project before you commit to a longer working relationship -- I call this ‘dating’ the client. Make it clear that in the dating stage there are no strings attached – either you or the client can decide to discontinue at any time during the dating stage without any hard feelings.

If things go well, you can both jump into a longer term relationship with confidence.

By implementing these three simple steps, you will not only boost your own confidence, but also the confidence of the business owners you want to work with.

I’d love to hear from you – what else can you do or have you done to prove that you are great at what you do and are worth hiring? Please share your thoughts.

Ten Ways to Balance Work and Family

stressedBalancing a work life and a home life can be difficult, but with a little knowledge and planning, you can make it work for you.  Here are ten tips that will help you balance your work life and home life.

1.  Set realistic goals.  It's pretty much a given fact that if you want to achieve something big, you have to make some sacrifices.  While the select few can manage, most people can't become a CEO and run a successful household.  When setting your goals, be realistic and don't stretch yourself too thin.

2.  Make schedules.  Keeping track of work and your family can be difficult to plan.  Try to keep a set schedule from day to day and week to week if you can.  Always remember to make a written schedule and give everyone a copy.

3.  Take time for yourself.  It's a natural instinct of mothers to sacrifice themselves for the good of their family.  However, it's important to remember that if you don't take care of yourself, you can't take care of anyone else.  Try to schedule in at least a few minutes of "you time", whether it be going for a run, watching your favorite TV show, or just sitting in a room by yourself to relax for a few minutes.   

4.  Work from home.  If you can do your work over the Internet or phone, you may be able to swing working at least part of the time from home, giving you more time to spend with your family.  Just remember that there are a lot more things at home to distract you from getting your work done.

5.  Get some exercise.  Working out is not only a great way to stay healthy and gain energy, it's also a great way to spend time with your kids.  Instead of hitting the gym, go play ball in the park or take them for a walk.

6.  Take advantage of leave.  Most jobs allow you a certain amount of leave, but a lot of us end up not using it.  Make sure you know how much time you have and take it, whether you go on a vacation with your family or just use it to take a well-deserved rest day every so often.  

7.  Prioritize.  When making your to-do lists, figure out the things that are most important for you to do and get them done first.  If there isn't enough time to do everything, you won't feel as bad about what you have to cut.

8.  Take classes.  As many people will tell you, there's no manual on how to be a good parent and have a successful career.  But if you search around your community, you can find classes and seminars from people that have been where you are and managed to do well.  They can give you inspiration along with helpful tips and tidbits to get through your day.

9.  Watch for burn out.  Even if you schedule everything, take breaks, and do everything else above, what you're doing may just be too much for you.  Watch yourself for changes in mood or physical problems.  They could be a sign that you're burnt out and need to make some changes to your plans.  Remember, your health is important too.

10.  Learn to say no.  If you want to have a successful career and family life, you will have to learn to say no occasionally.  If you try to do everything, you're going to burn yourself out and not be able to take care of anyone.  Being a good employee and a good parent doesn't mean you need to do everything you're asked.