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How to Decide If You Should Respond to a Virtual Assistant RFP

Do you read job postings for Virtual Assistants and don’t submit a proposal, even if you think you could do the work?

We post a good number of RFPs here at CAVA, and sometimes the clients tell us that they did not get a lot of responses.

Sometimes they don’t get any responses at all – like a recent screened RFP we posted.

If you read them and don’t respond, why is that?

An RFP (Request for Proposal) is a job posting from a client who needs help. Now.

Like, they are looking to pay someone to do work for them. Now.

If you see one that you think you could do, and you don’t respond to it, you are essentially turning down the client.

If you do respond, your odds of getting the work are VERY high. Yes, okay, some RFPs get a lot of responses – depending on the work the client is looking to get done. You definitely can’t get the work if you don’t submit a proposal.

And if you do respond and you don’t get the work, you can get feedback from the client as to why they went with someone else, so you can improve your proposal for the next client.

So how do you know if you should respond?

Here is my biggest tip to help you decide:

If you think you could help them … like, at all … Send. Them. A. Proposal.

There are many details in most RFPs, but if you find one that you have some experience and/or training with, and you think you might be able to do it, put a proposal together.

Clients May Not Know What They Need

Clients often don’t really know what they are looking for. Look to any discovery call you do with a client and you know how much conversation you have to have about the client’s needs to see if you can help them.

Sometimes filling in an RFP form makes it hard for the client to concisely communicate their needs.

Sometimes the client puts in a lot of tasks – some you can do, some you can’t.

Sometimes they don’t put in enough details for you. (We do try to make sure to clarify vague RFP postings with the clients before we post them).

The Client is Not a VA

You must remember that the client is NOT a VA. They might never have worked with a VA before. They aren’t sure what they should be asking of you.

But if you think that you can help the client with the most important pieces of their needs, send in a proposal.

Explain in your cover letter what you can do and what you might need training or procedures for.

Send a Cover Letter and PDF Proposal

And yes, we do suggest that you send both a cover letter and a proposal (PDF).

The cover letter can be the email you send letting the client know that you are submitting a proposal (it serves the same purpose). But the proposal definitely should be a downloadable document for the client – not an email, not a shared file.

Why? The client is probably collecting a lot of proposals and it is easiest if they can download them all and then look through them at the same time. When you make a client go from email, to Google or Dropbox, to their download folder, it can get really difficult to keep track of the proposals sent in. Yours might get missed if it’s not an actual document. (Hot tip: put your own name in the filename!)

Use a Proposal Template

Also, when you use a proposal template, it makes it SUPER simple (and quick) to send a proposal to a client. Imagine you see an RFP posted, you go into your template – add in the client details, their scope of work, and send it off. You are the first to respond. Do you know how impressive that is to a client? I’ll tell you, VERY. We provide a proposal template in the CAVA member area and our members have told us that they were not successful in getting clients until they started using this template – and now they are winning RFPs.

Make Your Proposal About The Client

Last point, and it’s absolutely essential – make your proposal all about the client. What do they need? That’s what your proposal should showcase. If you want to put a short blurb about yourself or your company in it, do so after you have covered all of their information. The proposal is in response to their job posting. That’s what our proposal template does – puts the client front and center.

Clients Only Want to Know Two Things

I say this all the time. Clients only want to know two things: what you can do for them, and how much it will cost them. Do not leave these things out of your proposal. Tell them what you can do, the related experience and/or training you have, and how much it will cost them.

Leave Out Stuff They Don’t Need

Do not put anything in your proposal about services they are not asking about. This is not your website, it’s a direct response to their job posting. It needs to be specific enough so that they can see what they asked for, and how you are proposing to look after that for them. That’s all.

At CAVA we have an RFP training that is also invaluable. If you are submitting proposals and not hearing back from the client, your membership fee is worth its weight in gold to get the template and the training. Because they work.

When you do everything above, you will find yourself responding to more proposals than ever before. And the clients WILL call you, because you put their needs at the forefront, which is what it’s all about.

And when you are honest about what you can and can’t do, the client can make an informed decision about whether you are the right person to invest in – and you will start your VA-client relationship off on such a good foot. Try it with the next RFP you see!

If you need help with responding to proposals, look no further than your VA community! An annual membership in CAVA is the answer. CAVA is a professional association for Virtual Assistants in Canada. We provide community, visibility, resources, connections, training, client opportunities and so much more. Check out our full list of benefits here: https://canadianava.org/join-cava/

About the Author: Tracey D’Aviero is a Virtual Assistant Coach, Trainer, Speaker and Author. After operating a busy VA business of her own since 1996, Tracey began teaching others to run their VA businesses in 2010 through Your VA Mentor. Tracey owns CAVA VA association and teaches and coaches VAs exclusively. She has a vast amount of experience working in many different industries which helps her to offer her students and coaching clients a unique perspective and sound advice. She is a proud advocate of the Virtual Assistant industry. Learn more about Tracey’s journey in the VA industry here.

5 Steps to Productive Meetings with Your VA Clients

Do you find yourself spending (or losing?) a lot of time in meetings with your Virtual Assistant clients?

A lot of VAs I talk to get trapped in a corporate type of working relationship with their clients. What I mean by that is that clients get into the habit of wanting meetings for every little thing they need.

This might seem innocent, but it’s a really bad habit that can get out of hand easily if you don’t handle it correctly.

When a client asks you for a meeting, the very first thing you need to figure out is if it needs to be a meeting at all.

It’s up to you as an independent contractor to put policies and boundaries in place for how clients request work to be done, and how they should communicate with you about it.

Not all work requests need to be meetings. In fact, most of them don’t.

In the event that you do need to meet with a client, here are 5 tips to help you make your meeting as productive as possible:

1. Schedule the Meeting

Make sure that you always slot meetings into your schedule when it’s convenient for you. Don’t do last minute meetings with clients – it’s a hard habit to break once you start it. When a client wants to meet with you, put it on the calendar. Set a start and stop time for your meeting - the shorter the better.

2. Take Charge

When you let the client take charge of a meeting, you run the risk of wasting more time than necessary. For all meetings, make sure you are the one leading the meeting. Come prepared with your objectives and run the meeting.

3. Follow an Agenda

Most meetings run longer than they need to. With every single meeting you host, create and follow a simple agenda. A meeting should be held for a specific reason. If it’s about one topic, cover that topic and then end the meeting. If it’s a weekly meeting and you have a number of things to discuss, continue to hold to the agenda and time limits as necessary.

4. Stop at your Designated Time

Always end a meeting on time. When you allow a client to ramble on for hours, it’s a waste of everyone’s time. Be clear about the objectives of the meeting at the top of the call, and stick to the agenda you created, and the time you allotted.

5. Charge the Client for the Meeting

I can not tell you how many VAs tell me that they do not charge the client for meeting time. It’s billable! Anything the client needs you to do for them – including the communication between the two of you – is billable to them. They have to pay you for your time. When you charge the client, not only are you more aware of how much the meeting time is costing them, but they are too.

As I said, not all conversations need to be meetings. To keep your VA business productive and efficient, use the steps above to run faster, more efficient meetings when necessary.

You may need to adjust your other communication methods to make shorter meetings work in your business, but once you do, you’ll wonder why you ever spent hours in meetings with your clients to begin with.

Your VA clients are paying you to get their work done. So don’t spend it in meetings, spend it doing their work!

If you need help with procedures, boundaries, or improving communication with your clients, look no further than your VA community! An annual membership in CAVA is the answer. CAVA is a professional association for Virtual Assistants in Canada. We provide community, visibility, resources, connections, training, client opportunities and so much more. Check out our full list of benefits here: https://canadianava.org/join-cava/

About the Author: Tracey D’Aviero is a Virtual Assistant Coach, Trainer, Speaker and Author. After operating a busy VA business of her own since 1996, Tracey began teaching others to run their VA businesses in 2010 through Your VA Mentor. In 2016 she purchased the CAVA and GAVA VA associations and now teaches and coaches VAs exclusively. She has a vast amount of experience working in many different industries which helps her to offer her students and coaching clients a unique perspective and sound advice. She is a proud advocate of the Virtual Assistant industry. Learn more about Tracey’s journey in the VA industry here.

How to Get Things Done In Your VA Business

Does your to-do list seem to be never-ending in your Virtual Assistant business?

Whether you are trying to get your VA business off the ground, full with great clients, or somewhere in between, the task list sometimes just seems to get bigger.

One of the things that many VAs I know struggle with is setting goals.

I remember when someone taught me to set goals ‘way back when’. They taught me to have a 10 year goal, a 5 year goal and so on. I found it totally overwhelming to set a goal that far away – let alone figuring out what I needed to do to reach it.

I started setting short-term goals instead. Of course they are connected to the long term vision I have for my business, but I find that setting short-term goals helps keep things much more in focus for me. And maybe it can for you too.

Because you can get so many more things done in your VA business when you set a goal, and then put the action steps in place to do it. Here’s how:

We’ll use the example of finishing your website (it’s a big thing with so many VAs, that it keeps them stuck!)

1. Define the big goal.

Write down what it is you want to accomplish. Launch website. That’s it. Step 1 done!

2. Identify the action steps to reach the big goal.

Here’s where the work happens. Write down every single thing you need to do to reach that big goal. There are lots of steps for this goal – make sure you write down all of them – domain name, host, theme, pages, content, images, graphics/logo, etc.

3. Break those steps into actionable tasks that you can do every day.

By breaking your activities into small tasks, you can fit something in every single day to help you reach your goal. Choosing your domain name can be one. Buying it can be another. Choosing a theme. Deciding on pages. Creating an image. Calling graphics contact about logo. Small activities that take 15 to 20 minutes a day.

4. Create a checklist with your daily tasks.

Putting things together in a checklist can help you organize the order in which you need to get things done. And it helps you to assign deadlines to the things that you need to do. And of course, you get to check things off as you do them – is there any better sense of accomplishment?

5. Assign the daily tasks into your calendar.

When you have broken down your tasks to a small chunk of time, you can do a little bit every single day – instead of trying to work on it for 2 hours on a Sunday night, you can do 15 minutes every single day, and accomplish much more in less time.

6. Complete your small daily task every day.

You will find yourself moving closer to your goal every single day when you are focusing on it daily. And if you do miss one day, you are only 15 minutes ‘behind’. Not like if you miss that 2 hour block on a Sunday night!

7. Reach your goal!

It really is that simple. The easier you make things for yourself, the easier it will be to set and reach goals.

And I promise you when you take this approach of task and time management, you will get more done.

Whatever you need to do, use these steps and see just how well it can work for you!

If you need help with time management and other business tips, look no further than your VA community! An annual membership in CAVA is the answer. CAVA is a professional association for Virtual Assistants in Canada. We provide community, visibility, resources, connections, training, client opportunities and so much more. Check out our full list of benefits here: https://canadianava.org/join-cava/

About the Author: Tracey D’Aviero is a Virtual Assistant Coach, Trainer, Speaker and Author. After operating a busy VA business of her own since 1996, Tracey began teaching others to run their VA businesses in 2010 through Your VA Mentor. In 2016 she purchased the CAVA and GAVA VA associations and now teaches and coaches VAs exclusively. She has a vast amount of experience working in many different industries which helps her to offer her students and coaching clients a unique perspective and sound advice. She is a proud advocate of the Virtual Assistant industry. Learn more about Tracey’s journey in the VA industry here.

3 Things for Virtual Assistants to Consider Before Taking New Training

When starting their business, many Virtual Assistants think that taking training for an in-demand service is the first thing they need to do before they can get clients.

But you should always start with what you know first.

Selling yourself to clients is a challenge to a lot of new VAs, and trying to sell a service you actually have no experience in providing to other clients, makes it even more challenging.

Most VAs start their own business because they have administrative experience of some kind. And that’s what you should be starting with.

That doesn’t mean that you should not take new training – it just means there is a good time to do it – and before you start your business usually is not the best time.

Start your business using the skills that you already have – that you have experience providing, either for clients or for a former employer.

Then once you have money coming in, make a plan to shift to a new service offering, or upgrade your current ones.

Professional development is a good idea for any business owner – including VAs.

Putting a plan in place to continuously improve your skills is the best way to go about getting new training.

Here are a few things to consider when thinking about getting new training:

Timing

Timing is one of the most important things to consider when thinking about taking new training.

First, do you have the time to complete the lessons and homework assignments? So many people purchase self study programs and then never complete them. You need to make sure you have the time to complete the course content.

Timing also comes into it when you think about the level of program you are taking. Does it fit with where your business is at the moment? Don’t get ahead of yourself by taking courses that are too far ahead of where you are right now.

Content

What is the content of the program? Whether it’s a paid program or a free webinar, consider whether the content is applicable to your business right now.

While it can be tempting to enroll in a Facebook Ads webinar, if it’s not something you need in your business right now, it’s not a good idea to sign up.

Make sure anything you decide to take part in is a good use of your time in your business. There will always be another social media webinar (and honestly, things change so quickly, that what you learn today will probably change long before you need to use it!)

Implementation

Can you implement what you learn easily? It is very important to implement anything you learn as quickly as you can.

If you don’t, you will lose the momentum and knowledge from the program.

No matter whether you attend a free FB Live or a webinar, find a way to implement at least one thing in your business right away. Or at the very least, get a plan in place to implement it within 30 to 60 days. Otherwise, you are likely wasting your time.

Taking training – free or paid – is a great idea for your VA business.

But you need to be strategic and focused, so that you are using it properly, and managing your time well.

We all have the same amount of time.

Most of your time should be used finding clients, and doing the work they pay you to do.

Of course you want to grow your VA business – and training is one of the best ways you can do that. So use the tips above to make sure you are doing it the smart way!

If you need help with prioritizing training opportunities and other business tips, look no further than your VA community! An annual membership in CAVA is the answer. CAVA is a professional association for Virtual Assistants in Canada. We provide community, visibility, resources, connections, training, client opportunities and so much more. Check out our full list of benefits here: https://canadianava.org/join-cava/

About the Author: Tracey D’Aviero is a Virtual Assistant Coach, Trainer, Speaker and Author. After operating a busy VA business of her own since 1996, Tracey began teaching others to run their VA businesses in 2010 through Your VA Mentor. In 2016 she purchased the CAVA and GAVA VA associations and now teaches and coaches VAs exclusively. She has a vast amount of experience working in many different industries which helps her to offer her students and coaching clients a unique perspective and sound advice. She is a proud advocate of the Virtual Assistant industry. Learn more about Tracey’s journey in the VA industry here.

How Many People Is Your VA Business Helping?

How many people do you help in your Virtual Assistant business? I’m not talking about how many clients you support. It’s a bigger question than that.

I was recently at a networking event and I spoke with a fellow who is in MLM. I’ll call him Bob, though that wasn’t his actual name.

Bob was a nice enough guy. I don’t buy any MLM stuff at this point in my life so I wasn’t quite sure what we could possibly have to talk about, but he engaged me at my vendor booth so I obliged him.

We talked about what each of us did. Bob told me that the reason he was involved with the company he works with, is that he has philanthropic interests that are very important to him, and that the business he runs helps him to support those interests.

Hmm. That made me think for a moment.

I often talk about working hard at your business because THAT’s the thing you love.

I never really thought of it as using your business to fund something else that you love. Very interesting perspective.

We chatted more.

Bob asked me what my bigger vision was.

I am in a growth period in my business, and my big vision, although coming near, is not established yet.

My mandate in my VA training business has always been that I want to help people to build and grow successful businesses. I don’t have a specific number of people I want to help do that, so that’s where the big vision is not quite in focus, but I do know that I love what I do.

I love having the impact on other’s lives that I am able to have, by teaching them, by helping them to do better with their business.

The impact of that is spiritual of course, but it’s also economic.

You’ve heard the saying, ‘When you buy local, you are helping to support a kid’s piano lessons or dance lessons.’ And other sayings to that effect.

It’s really true.

And this is where my conversation with my friend Bob went – what is the impact that we, as VAs, have on our client’s businesses?

Well, there are many.

We can help them free up their admin time so that they can go and find more clients to work with. That means more money for them.

We can help them to bring in new processes so that their existing clients can become repeat or long-term clients. That also means more money for them.

But looking past the financial pieces, what else do those things do for them?

It helps them to live a better life. It helps them to sit down at the dinner table with their family or friends and feel less stressed.

They may even be excited to have the details handled so they can free up much-needed brain space to do some planning for their business.

And if they work with their own clients, that also means the work we do also impacts those clients, who might get better energy from our clients. Or maybe better service offerings, or better products.

Sounds a bit like an MLM after all, doesn’t it?

Think about how many people YOU are helping - impacting - by doing good work in your business.

You are affecting your clients – their families and friends – and their clients. And it goes beyond that, in a web effect. It’s quite amazing when you sit and think about it.

And of course, the more work we do for them, the more money we make. And the more money we make, the better it is for our family and friends to be around us, and it’s better for our clients too.

I suggest getting really invested in your clients’ businesses – figuratively, of course – so that the work you do really helps them to grow.

When their business grows, yours does too.

If you ever need to lift your attitude or your outlook on why it is you do what you do, look no further than this quick little synopsis.

You are important, you are valuable, you are impactful. Every single day!

If you need help with getting mindset boosts and shifts like this, look no further than your VA community! An annual membership in CAVA is the answer. CAVA is a professional association for Virtual Assistants in Canada. We provide community, visibility, resources, connections, training, client opportunities and so much more. Check out our full list of benefits here: https://canadianava.org/join-cava/

About the Author: Tracey D’Aviero is a Virtual Assistant Coach, Trainer, Speaker and Author. After operating a busy VA business of her own since 1996, Tracey began teaching others to run their VA businesses in 2010 through Your VA Mentor. In 2016 she purchased the CAVA and GAVA VA associations and now teaches and coaches VAs exclusively. She has a vast amount of experience working in many different industries which helps her to offer her students and coaching clients a unique perspective and sound advice. She is a proud advocate of the Virtual Assistant industry. Learn more about Tracey’s journey in the VA industry here.

5 Smart Ways to Specialize Your Virtual Assistant Services

When you are deciding what Virtual Assistant services you can offer clients, how do you start that brainstorming or thinking process?

Often we think about the things we know how to do based on our last job, or VA services we are currently offering clients.

We come up with a list of services that we can confidently do, and then we piece those together as the client needs them or asks about them.

Maybe you are good at doing data entry or bookkeeping or social media updates.

And maybe you love doing those things every day.

But maybe you also wish you could raise you rates and do something different. Something that gets you excited to start work most days.

If you change the way you think about your service offerings, you can actually create a specialized list of services for clients that you love to work with.

I’m not talking about packages, though that certainly could come into the conversation at this point.

I’m talking about focusing your services for a particular industry or service so that you can level up your expertise, and help your clients get more value from working with you.

Here are a few smart ways to level up your virtual assistant services for your clients:

1. Social Media

Social media is a really popular service offering for VAs. Many VAs, however, provide ‘just the posting’ type of service.

What if you could expand your offerings to include reporting insights for your clients, or creating images, or even curating content from others? It’s a means of increasing your expertise in this area and bringing more value to your clients.

By taking a bigger role in your client’s social media activity you become more invested in their business and you actually help them more than just publishing their weekly content.

Lots of business owners don’t even look at their analytics. It’s a great place to add value for them – and increase your level of expertise at the same time!

2. Customer Service

Customer service is very much an in-demand service required by business owners. Every business needs clients, and every business needs to look after those clients.

So maybe right now you are handling customer service emails for your clients. What if you could also help your client with the onboarding procedures, run reports for the payments or membership numbers, and help them maintain their follow up systems or nurture those clients?

Once again, it’s about offering more value for a line of services that you are already providing for your clients. You will also bill more time with each client, and become more invested in their business – which builds solid, long-term VA-client relationships.

3. Event Management

If your clients organize online or in person events, this is a great area to level up your virtual assistant service offerings.

Instead of just setting up and managing the registration lists, consider helping with checklists for all event details, liaising with event staff, and follow up for the attendees. If the events are online, you could do the same thing – checklists, liaise with the event guests or guest speaker, manage follow up.

Growing your responsibilities if you like doing event management is a great way to help business owners with the pieces of the admin that they often don’t do well (or take too much time to do on their own).

4. Speaker Support

When you think of services, it’s not always just about what you are doing. It could be who you are doing it for.

Consider a speaker. What kinds of VA services do they need? Research for speaking gigs, connection and follow up with event planners, speaker one sheet preparation, audio or video transcripts and editings, and so on.

So sometimes if you choose who you want to work with, your specialization goes there. Imagine only having to network with one type of entrepreneur. You could become the go-to person for something like speaker support easily.

5. Project Management

Project management takes a level of skill that not all VAs have. If you do it well, you could explore offering it as a service.

Even VAs who run teams need project managers. If you use a particular system like Asana very well, this could be the service that you offer your clients. You also have the option of running one-off projects or ongoing ones.

Maybe these examples speak to you. Maybe they don’t quite. It’s about reframing how you think about specializing.

It’s not always about building packages for clients. It’s about doing tasks that you do well, and that your clients need (especially if they are not doing them now!)

Specializing doesn’t always mean moving to packages. It’s about grouping tasks that are related to a project together to create new work, and better work flow.

Think about the services you are currently offering your clients.

Are there areas that you can add more value and more responsibility to take more off their plate for them? Have a look at yours and see where you can specialize!

For help with your services, consider registering for my Getting Started as a Virtual Assistant self study program. It walks you through step by step all of the things you need to have in place to open or grow your business properly – including your rates and services! www.GetStartedVA.com

About the Author: Tracey D’Aviero is a Virtual Assistant Coach, Trainer, Speaker and Author. After operating a busy VA business of her own since 1996, Tracey began teaching others to run their VA businesses in 2010 through Your VA Mentor. In 2016 she purchased the CAVA and GAVA VA associations and now teaches and coaches VAs exclusively. She has a vast amount of experience working in many different industries which helps her to offer her students and coaching clients a unique perspective and sound advice. She is a proud advocate of the Virtual Assistant industry. Learn more about Tracey’s journey in the VA industry here.

5 Things to Consider When Setting Your Virtual Assistant Rates

How much money can you make as a Virtual Assistant?

This is a very popular question among new VAs. The answer is very simple. You can make whatever you want.

I know that sounds like a really basic answer but it’s the truth!

When you are a VA, you are a business owner. You can set your own rates and your clients can choose to pay them (or not!).

But make no mistake - no one gets to set your VA rates but you.

Here are 5 things that you need to consider when setting your VA rates:

1. Your Level of Expertise

It goes without saying that the higher skill level you have for any task, the higher your rate can be. When VAs set their rates, they often undervalue themselves because they think they don’t have enough VA experience.

Even if you don’t have a lot of experience as a VA yet, it is your experience as an administrative professional that counts. Let me say that again: VA experience is NOT required to start your business, or to set your rates. ADMIN experience is what is important.

If you have taken some skills training, you can also charge more than someone who has just picked up the skills on their own (think social media services).

2. Your Revenue Target

How much do you need to earn every month? This is a key place to start when you are setting your rates. You need to set rates that will allow you to earn what you need to sustain your business.

Rather than picking a number out of thin air (that’s what I did -- cringe!), or a number that you feel comfortable selling to clients (I did this too -- ack!), you need to base your rates on actual numbers.

Use this rate calculator to figure out what you need to earn, and how that can break down into an actual hourly billable rate for you. When you know how much you need to bring in every month, and how many clients you can work with, you will be able to set a solid rate for your services.

3. Billable Versus Non-Billable Time

Calculating your rates sometimes also brings up the question of billable time versus non-billable time.

What is the difference? Simple…

Billable time is the time that you spend working on client work – the time that they are actually paying you for.

Non-billable time is your own admin time - doing your billing, seeking out new business, onboarding new clients – these are all things that are not billable in your business, but your time has to be accounted for (and covered) by your client rates.

Some business folks call this overhead, and it is, but it is often a variable expense that changes, the more clients you have.

But make no mistake – whenever you are doing work for a client, that is billable time, and you should be charging them for it.

4. Your Business Setup

Do you work on your own or do you have subcontractors (or do you intend to have them at some point?). If you have subcontractors, your rate needs to be able to cover that expense. Don’t start your business and then try to accommodate subcontractors – you need to plan for it and charge accordingly.

What about your expenses – do you anticipate a spike in your expenses any time soon? Many VAs go into business not thinking about what they might put out – or worse, then they start to panic over normal business expenses (like credit card fees), because they haven’t accounted for them when setting their rates.

Your rate needs to be able to cover your overhead and your plans and still leave you some profit. After all, you are in business to make money, so be cautious not to send back out everything that comes in.

5. Your Target Market’s Budget

How much can your clients afford to pay you? You need to take this into account when you are considering who your clients will be – and this is where their budget comes into your planning.

For instance, if you work with non-profits, your rates might differ from someone who works with lawyers. Sometimes this is also related to your expertise, but for sure there are certain clients that are accustomed to paying more than others.

If you are setting up rate packages, consider this point in particular. Create different levels of client service packages that can accommodate different budgets.

Setting your rates is one of the most important things you need to do well in your business (other than the actual VA work!). If you don’t set them high enough to start, you won’t be able to maintain your business well.

Do it right from the start and you will be able to get clients, build your business, and be happy!

For help with getting your business foundation in place, consider registering for my Getting Started as a Virtual Assistant self study program. It walks you through step by step all of the things you need to have in place to open or grow your business properly – including your rates and services! www.GetStartedVA.com

About the Author: Tracey D’Aviero is a Virtual Assistant Coach, Trainer, Speaker and Author. After operating a busy VA business of her own since 1996, Tracey began teaching others to run their VA businesses in 2010 through Your VA Mentor. In 2016 she purchased the CAVA and GAVA VA associations and now teaches and coaches VAs exclusively. She has a vast amount of experience working in many different industries which helps her to offer her students and coaching clients a unique perspective and sound advice. She is a proud advocate of the Virtual Assistant industry. Learn more about Tracey’s journey in the VA industry here.

10 Steps to Creating Content Your Potential Virtual Assistant Clients Will Love (Part Two)

Marketing content has to be all about your clients, and their needs. Virtual Assistants sometimes misunderstand marketing, and think they have to blog about their work and their VA business.

This article is the second part of a two-part series about creating content that your potential clients will love.

Last time we talked about how to choose what to write about, and coming up with a few actual article titles. Writing about things that your audience is interested in is the first part to getting their attention.

Check out Part One to get your first 16 content ideas pulled together. (That’s where points 1 to 4 are!)

Here we go with Part Two.

Once you have your article ideas, it’s time to plan your strategy.

5. Plan your content calendar.

Start with a simple Google calendar to plan out what you want to post, and where. Using your content matrix/spreadsheet, drop in each of your article titles into the calendar – once a week is great for blog posts or videos. You can rotate through your categories so that you are creating interesting content week after week.

I call my Google calendar an editorial calendar, but it reminds me not only of what I want to publish on each date, but then you can also plan time a few days or a week before to actually do the writing or recording so that you are ready on publishing day.

6. Use media you are comfortable with for your content.

In order to make sure you don’t procrastinate around producing content, choose media that you are comfortable with and actually enjoy.

If you don’t like to write, blog posts might be challenging for you to pump out (although I always say once you have the article titles in your content matrix, it is much easier to write a 400 or 500 word blog post). And blog posts can be repurposed into many other types of content.

If you prefer images or video, then use those. And definitely consider how your clients like to consume their advice and interesting content.

I didn’t like doing video, and it took me a long time to get started with it, but now I find it one of the easiest ways to create content quickly.

7. Focus on one or two platforms and do them well.

Another mistake VAs make is thinking they have to use every social media platform out there (plus a blog). But you can’t do everything well if you divide your attention, and you will also spend way too much time marketing. Focus on one, master it, and then add another. You’ll do a much better job of consistently posting valuable stuff for your audience without spending all of your time marketing.

8. Publish regularly and consistently.

Strive for interaction from your audience. Post content consistently and respond to people who interact with you. Be aware of algorithms. The more you post, the more people will see (once a day or once a week is often far too little).

9. Simple is best.

Don’t try to write 1,000 word articles, or record 1 hour long videos. Keep things as short and to the point as you can, to hold someone’s attention. If you have a topic that has many tips, consider breaking it into more than one blog post (like I did with this one!) or video. With my videos, I stick to 3 main points to hold the audience’s interest.

10. Showcase your personality.

Our clients hire a person to help them with their business. Your personality is a big part of that. You want to create content that is interesting, and shows your expertise, but don’t forget to leave YOU out of it. You will discover your ‘voice’ the more you do. Use that. It’s yours alone, and no one else can be you!

Creating content is easy once you get into the swing of things – and follow your calendar. Plan your content, write or record it, schedule it, and be consistent.

You will soon see what your audience reacts to, and get into a routine to put yourself out there in a way that feels natural, and yes … even fun!

If you need help marketing your VA business and finding clients, a CAVA Full Membership might be exactly what you are missing. CAVA is a professional association for Virtual Assistants in Canada. We provide community, visibility, resources, connections, training, client opportunities and so much more. Check out our full list of benefits here: https://canadianava.org/join-cava/

About the Author: Tracey D’Aviero is a Virtual Assistant Coach, Trainer, Speaker and Author. After operating a busy VA business of her own since 1996, Tracey began teaching others to run their VA businesses in 2010 through Your VA Mentor. In 2016 she purchased the CAVA and GAVA VA associations and now teaches and coaches VAs exclusively. She has a vast amount of experience working in many different industries which helps her to offer her students and coaching clients a unique perspective and sound advice. She is a proud advocate of the Virtual Assistant industry. Learn more about Tracey’s journey in the VA industry here.

10 Steps to Creating Content Virtual Assistant Clients Will Love (Part One)

Virtual Assistants often tell me that they have no idea what to put out in terms of content – often this means they just don’t post anything.

What do you talk about or write about when it comes to your VA business?

Are you talking about how great it is to be a VA? Or actually about being a VA?

That might be interesting to you, but it’s not what your audience wants to hear.

They don’t have any interest in the daily life of being a VA.

Clients want to know two things: They want to know how you can help them, and how much it will cost them.

That’s it!

Being a Virtual Assistant is very important for your business, but it is not important for your marketing.

Marketing content has to be all about your clients, and their needs.

How you got started and what your day looks like does not belong in your marketing.

With your marketing content, you are trying to do two things:
• Educate your audience about your ability to help them with THEIR business
• Move them into action to work with you

Your clients (and their businesses) are the most important piece of your content strategy.

I’m going to cover 10 steps to creating marketing content that your (potential) clients will love. We’ll do this in two parts. Here are the first 4 steps for you:

1. Select Content Categories

Determine what your audience wants to learn about. Choose some categories to create content around. Four categories to start is perfect. For example if you offer Bookkeeping services, your categories might be: Organizing expenses, Timing/dates, Taxes, and Tips and resources (all VAs should have a Tips and resources category!). Be decisive so you can move to the next step. You can always expand this later, don’t worry about leaving things out.

2. Determine Article Ideas/Angles

Next, choose four ideas (or angles) that you can provide education or information about. This will help you focus very specifically on what your content will be about. Angles are things like strategy, mindset, numbers, habits, support, tips, resources, and so on. Choose four of these, again keeping in mind that you can add more later. The idea is to get moving forward, so four is a good start.

3. Create Your Content Matrix.

Next you come up with an article title for each combination of Category + Angle. It helps to put your ideas together into what I call a Content Matrix, a simple spreadsheet with the categories listed across the top columns and the ideas along the left hand side rows. This leaves you with 16 cells in your spreadsheet to do the next step.

4. Come Up With Article Titles

Your article title will come from combining the category and the angle. So in the corresponding spreadsheet cell, you put your article title. So for our example above, find the box that connects Organizing Expenses + Strategy = and put in an article title like “Tracking Expenses Monthly Helps You Better Manage Your Cashflow”. Get as specific as you can. This is an actual blog post title/topic or video topic. Fill in the rest of the other 15 spots by matching up the category and the angle.

When you plan for 4 categories, and 4 ideas for each, you will have 16 main content ideas. If you are only creating one main piece of content a week (like a video or a blog post that you can repurpose into smaller pieces of content), you will have enough content ideas for 4 months!

See how easy content production is when you plan ahead?

Everything is decided way ahead of when you need it.

And when you know what you will be writing about, you can search for things like statistics or quotes or look for image ideas that you can model for your own content, that all support your categories and ideas.

Your writing will be better because:

a) You have planned ahead which helps your writing appear more polished,

b) You will be consistently creating content that is very relevant to your clients,

c) You will be able to research or gather enhancements for your content that will help make you look even smarter!

Creating content is easy once you get into the swing of things. Develop a good strategy and use a system to brainstorm ideas, and then just do it!

In Part Two of this post, we’ll talk about where to publish your content and what to be aware of when you do. Continue reading steps 5-10 here: "10 Steps to Creating Content Your Potential Virtual Assistant Clients Will Love (Part Two)"

If you need help creating your marketing content so you can get clients, join me for my free 5 Day Get Clients! Challenge for VAs. Over 5 days starting July 10th, I’ll teach you how to strategize your messaging, you will do a daily homework exercise to help you implement what you learn, and you’ll be on your way to getting new clients more easily than you ever have before! Register here: www.YourVAMentor.com/getclients

About the Author: Tracey D’Aviero is a Virtual Assistant Coach, Trainer, Speaker and Author. After operating a busy VA business of her own since 1996, Tracey began teaching others to run their VA businesses in 2010 through Your VA Mentor. In 2016 she purchased the CAVA and GAVA VA associations and now teaches and coaches VAs exclusively. She has a vast amount of experience working in many different industries which helps her to offer her students and coaching clients a unique perspective and sound advice. She is a proud advocate of the Virtual Assistant industry. Learn more about Tracey’s journey in the VA industry here.

4 Numbers to Track To Build Your VA Business

Do you track any analytics or other numbers in your business? A lot of Virtual Assistants do this for their clients, but not for themselves.

It is important to look at what is happening in your VA business so you can make adjustments to what you are doing.

Basically, you want to do more of what IS working, and less of what is NOT working.

How do you know what’s working? You track it and analyze it!

Here are some important things to keep an eye on in your business.

Website Numbers

It is important to know what is happening when people are visiting your website. You should be looking at how many visitors you get each month (is it increasing?), where they are coming from, and what they are looking at. Google Analytics is very easy to set up and attach to your website, and it gives you the answers to all of these things and more. Look at which of your blog posts is the most popular so you can create more content that your audience will enjoy.

Email Numbers

When you send an email to your audience, it is important to have a look at what happens with it – how many people open it, how many click on the links you provide, and how many unsubscribe. If you are going to use email marketing as a strategy in your business, these numbers will tell you what your people respond to - so you can do more of it. Most email programs will provide reporting that helps you easily track these numbers for each email you send.

Audience Numbers

How many people are you reaching every day? It’s true that the more connections you make, the more clients you will get. Tracking how many people are in your audience is important. Quantity is not always better than quality, but you can’t stay small and expect to get noticed. Keep track of your email list and your social media followers – and make sure those numbers are growing consistently each month. A simple spreadsheet can help you monitor these numbers in one place (pull the numbers from the social media platform reporting areas).

Consults and Conversion Numbers

How many people do you talk to every month about your VA business? Success is in the numbers, and the more conversations you have with people, the more clients you will get. If you aren’t doing at least 4 consultations a month, you have room for improvement. You never know where your next great client will come from! Use a simple tracking spreadsheet to track who you talked to and what the next follow up action should be.

Tracking your analytics is just one part of being a successful Virtual Assistant. As you start to get busier with client work, your own admin often falls by the wayside. But to keep your pipeline of potential clients full, managing your time doing these things is important so you can maximize the results.

If you are setting up your Virtual Assistant business and want more information about what you need to have in place to do it right, download our free Start Your VA Business checklist here. You will also get a complimentary Community membership in CAVA so you can see what we are all about.

About the Author: Tracey D’Aviero is a Virtual Assistant Coach, Trainer, Speaker and Author. After operating a busy VA business of her own since 1996, Tracey began teaching others to run their VA businesses in 2010 through Your VA Mentor. In 2016 she purchased the CAVA and GAVA VA associations and now teaches and coaches VAs exclusively. She has a vast amount of experience working in many different industries which helps her to offer her students and coaching clients a unique perspective and sound advice. She is a proud advocate of the Virtual Assistant industry. Learn more about Tracey’s journey in the VA industry here.