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Building A Business Plan For Your Virtual Assistant Business

I wanted to do a quick video for you today about  building a business plan for your Virtual Assistant business. 

If you do not have a business plan, and this is something that a lot of Virtual Assistants are starting out or who are having a little bit of difficulty growing their business really often don't have in place.

When you write anything down it really helps to reinforce it in your brain.

So when VAs ask me if they need a business plan, my short answer is always: yes.

Because if you want to have any success in your business, you have to have a plan.

You have to know certain things and doing your business plan is what is going to be one of the easiest things for you to do.

One of the reasons that people don't like to do them is they get really scared of massive documents and that kind of thing. So I've got a business plan template that for my clients that I think just fits enough stuff into it.

It's not overwhelming. Well, it is overwhelming if you don't know the answers to things, but it helps you to look at what you don't know yet, what you need to figure out.

It helps you to put strategies in place but it also helps you to make decisions and that's the big thing.

If you have a big gaping hole in your business plan because you haven't figured out what your rate is, or who your ideal clients are, or  what services you're actually going to offer, or how your money's going to look, then that's a really key thing that you need to look into.

So the components of your business plan that I provide to my students are:

Your Business Model

How is your business going to be structured? Are you going to work by the hour?  By the project? By package of services? 

When you look at your business model, you can bring revenue into your business in a lot of different ways.

Are you going to work on retainer?

Are you going to work with a team?

Do you plan to have subcontractors?

Do you have part-time work?

Are you earning commissions?

How is your business going to work? There are lots of different ways.

You don't just have to work one-to-one with clients. That's obviously going to be the main way that you earn income, particularly in the first few years of your business, but there are lots of ways that you can supplement that income.

So you want to look at that and figure out how you can really make the amount of money you want to make. And the business model is a really big piece of that.

Finance and Revenue Forecasting

Because this is a really challenging area for a lot of people, I often suggest to just get help with it. Learn what you don't know.

So if you don't know how to do the finance part of it to figure out what your startup costs are, what you're going to have to pay on a regular basis, what you need to earn pre-tax, and and what you're going to bring into your household, what you need to earn in any particular month, that's what you need to look at.

You need to figure it out.

If I need to bring in $2,000 a month, and my billable rate is going to be around here ("$XX"), how does that actually convert -  how does that make sense for you in terms of client number of clients, or what those clients need to pay you?

Do you need to have two big clients at $1,000 a month? Or can you have eight smaller clients  who pay you $250 a month (is my math right?). So less commitment - it is a lot easier to get clients at a lower level, but you need more of them, obviously.

And then how does that work into how your business is going to be set up? 

So finance and revenue forecasting is really important to learn how to do.

That's something I teach, so I can definitely help!

Services and Rates

When you know what your revenue levels are going to be, then you can break that out into services.

If you need to make $500 per client (or whatever that looks like for you), how does that look and what services can you provide for clients to get them to that level? Determine what your rate is and and how much you'll do.

Services and rates always go hand in hand, so I quite often teach them together.

Clients

Big question! Who are your clients going to be?

A lot of VAs think they can serve anybody - that they can work with anybody - and although that's not false (it's actually quite true!), it really makes it hard to run a business, whenever you are sort of 'everything to everybody'.

If you target a particular industry for your marketing, in any given time you can determine the markets that you would like to work with.

I settled quite early on, on business coaches because they were often solopreneurs. There weren't a ton of people around. They were the decision-maker in their business. We could develop a one-to-one relationship. They wanted somebody long-term. They needed someone to do the things that I could do, like client care. There was always ongoing business. They did launches every few months, so I could take my marketing stuff and work into that.

So there are lots of different things that you can look at in terms of who your clients will be, and where they'll be.

Sometimes you want local clients. Sometimes you don't want local clients. That's a really big piece of your business plan as well.

Competitive Analysis

A competitive analysis is not about looking at your competitors or other VAs as competition to you. In fact, the VA industry is really really collaborative, and people who are in the industry and doing well, know there's more than enough work for everybody - really good clients!

There are tons of really good clients right now that simply don't have any help, because we're just still a growing industry ourselves.

So doing a competitive analysis (I really hate that word!),  is what it is you need. To look and see what the market will bear for the services that you want to offer.

You can't just sort of fix a price to it and go. I wouldn't suggest it, anyway.

You want to make sure that that the industry that you are going to be working with is able to support the rate that you want to charge. You want to know that you're somewhere in line with what other people are doing.

You can also get some really good ideas about how to package your services, or maybe who to market to, by doing a little bit of kind of competitive analysis for your clients.

Research is always going to be your friend here, but you have to use that research then to make some decisions.

Marketing Plan

You need to really put things down on paper. 

Set your end goal - this is always the way I do goal setting - set your end goal, and then you break it down into the steps that will take you to get there.

You break things down into actionable pieces, and then you can take those action steps and you can break those down into smaller daily activities, so that you can actually get things done.

Looking at marketing in terms of that perspective, what do you want to get? It's probably clients, right?

How do you do that? You need to write it all down. You need to  make sure that you do what you need to do.

When you put these things into your business plan, you can look at them.

You can see where the gaps are, and you can see what it is that you need to get support with, or you just need to make some decisions around.

If it's your rate, you know sometimes it's just set a rate and get going. It's not about looking around, and asking a million other people.

If you don't know how to do some pieces of the marketing, maybe that's where you need to get some support or some training.

So ... it's really important to get your business plan written down.

You can see exactly what it is that you need to work on, and then you can just get working.

There's a really great quote that I love:

Benjamin Franklin says "Failing to plan is planning to fail "

When you put things in place you can see what you need to work on.

You can see what needs to happen next, and it's really going to help your business.

For more Virtual Assistant training, visit our YouTube channel here or click the image below!


 

Skyrocket Your Success as a VA with a Specialty

3 Questions to Answer Before Choosing Your Niche

Are you considering choosing a specialty for your Virtual Assistant business?

Choosing a specialty is a great thing to do in your business for a few reasons.

Working with specific clients help you to:

  • Get your business in front of a bigger pool of potential clients who need the same services
  • Develop specific service packages that you can charge higher rates for
  • Manage multiple clients more easily because you are doing similar tasks every day

But you can’t just pick a specialty out of the air.

To make the right selection, you need to ask yourself some important questions.

Question #1: What am I really great at?

Look at your service offerings. Choose a service (or a combination of services) that you do really well. Starting with what you are really good at is key. One of my coaches told me once: ‘What comes the easiest to you, you should be charging the most for. ‘ and this is so true in business. If you have an amazing skill – organizing, delegating, project management, bookkeeping, business communication – you should consider providing this to your clients. Even if you don’t realize the value behind it, they will.

So what are you good at? Bookkeeping? Client care? Social media?  Start there.

Next question.

Question #2: What do I love to do?

The second question is so important. If you do not love the skills or services that you listed from Question #1, you need to go back to the drawing board!

To make your business happy and healthy for the long term, you need to provide services that you really enjoy. I know how to do bookkeeping, but I don’t like it. Just because you know how to do something doesn’t mean you have to do it.

You really do have to remember that your business is yours and you need drive to keep it going every day. Doing stuff you don’t like to do is not going to do you any favours.

Once you have a list of things you do really well, and that you love, there is one last question to ask yourself.

Question #3: Will people pay me to do this?

Again, take the answers from Questions #1 and 2, and now ask yourself the third question.

Are there people who will pay you to do this? You have to offer viable services to a viable audience.

For instance, I hear a lot of VAs say they love to do proofreading. And while that’s a really important skill, I’m not sure that you could build a business on it alone.

If you can’t think of people who will pay you to do what you do well and love, then you are back to square one again.

To find the best specialty for your business, you need to have services you are great at, that you love to do, and that you can get paid to do. Lots and lots of clients need to be able to pay you to do this!

 


 

Choosing a great specialty is just one of the important steps to building a profitable and sustainable business. For more great tips and information about how to build your amazing VA business, join our free Getting Started as a Virtual Assistant Facebook group here.

3 Great Reasons to Specialize Your Services In Your Virtual Assistant Business

Virtual Assistants who are just getting started in their business often get frustrated by veterans who tell them they need to specialize their services to succeed.

When you get started, anxiety can often set in as you try to find clients.

It can be tempting to say yes to any client, for anything they ask you to do.

But the problem is that soon you will probably realize you are either unhappy with what you are doing, or with what you are getting paid to do it.

When you start your business, you are the one who gets to make the decisions.

You get to decide what you do. You get to decide what you charge. You get to decide who you work with.

But when you are starting to struggle finding clients, it is really easy to give up those decisions when someone says they need you to help them do something.

So getting really specific with what you do and who you do it for from the start is a good business decision.

Here are a few reasons that you want to set up a specialty, or work towards one:

Reason #1: Be Seen By A Bigger Audience

When you make a decision to focus on a particular industry or a specific group of people that need a similar service, you expose your business to a larger, common audience.

Instead of hunting and pecking with every business owner you meet, you can find people in larger groups that are seeking the kind of support you offer.

Reason #2: Improve Your Daily Work Flow

If you offer varied services, you will find yourself jumping from one task to another a lot of the time. When you narrow down the services you offer to a specific niche, you will do fewer tasks every day, and they will probably be tasks that are related to each other.

Your daily work flow will naturally improve when you work on similar tasks, or linear tasks.

Reason #3: Develop Custom Service Packages

As you connect with your niche or target industry, you will learn more about what types of service they need. You can stay on top of trends they are seeing.

You can build packages that really speak to their needs. When you are connecting with the right people, you can build your business any way you want. And you can become the go-to person for your particular service offerings.

Bonus Reason: Charge Higher Rates

When you specialize your services, you can often charge higher rates. Expertise is value, and clients will pay for it when you position it properly.

You might even develop package pricing, which is always good to do because it gets you away from charging by the hour, which can make it difficult to raise your rates.

 


 

Choosing a great specialty is just one of the important steps to building a profitable and sustainable business. For more great tips and information about how to build your amazing VA business, join our free Getting Started as a Virtual Assistant Facebook group here.

I Hate Selling - How Do I Get Clients for my Virtual Assistant Business?

Do you get uncomfortable selling your VA services?

If you do, don't worry you're not alone.

This is one of the most common issues for Virtual Assistants who are just getting started (or who are trying to grow).

Here's the reason: we have usually not had any sales training in the corporate world. It's really as simple as that. We don't know how!

When I talk to VAs who are struggling with this, and I ask them what they say to people when they are networking, the result is almost always the same.

The trip over their words.

They try to educate the client about the VA industry.

They leave the conversation frustrated, and the potential client confused.

But did you know that the most effective sales conversations are simply that ... conversations?

 What are you saying to potential clients?

If this is you, it's a really simple fix!

All you have to do is make all of your conversations about the client.

Not you. The client.

Ask them questions.

  • What do they do for their business?
  • Do they have support?
  • What keeps them busy?
  • How do they find clients?
  • What systems do they use to run their business?

The answers to the questions will help you tell them more about your own business - believe it or not!

And everyone LOVES to talk about their own business (trust me on this one!). Once you start asking them questions, you will be much more at ease because they will end up doing most of the talking.

You will also learn quickly whether you can help them or not.

If you can, great - you can tell them how. It's just a conversation. 

If you can't, then you move on.

No selling involved.

Try it in your next networking conversation.

When someone says to you, 'What do you do?' respond with, 'I'm a Virtual Assistant. What do you do?'

... and watch the conversation develop from there.

There is no need to fear sales - because when you offer support, either you can help someone or you can't.

Sure, you still have to talk about logistics and pricing and all that good stuff, but the general conversation doesn't have to paralyze you.

Leave the infomercial out of it.

Many VAs I know avoid in person networking for this reason alone.  They think they have to start every conversation with their awkward one-minute infomercial. 

Don't do that. It's not natural and it usually falls completely flat.

Just talk. Ask questions. Answer questions.

Your services will naturally come up. 

No sales necessary. And I guarantee you that you will get clients!

 

 

What You Need to Know About the GDPR (and Why!)

Is your business GDPR compliant?

Unless you've been hiding under a rock lately, you have probably heard about the GDPR.

The GDPR is the General Data Protection Regulations that are coming into effect for people living in the European Union (EU) beginning Friday, May 25, 2018.

Here is what you need to know*:

What is the GDPR?

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is regulation in EU law on data protection and privacy for anyone living in the European Union. (Which countries make up the European Union? Click here). The regulation also addresses the export of personal data outside the EU - so, wherever you live.  The GDPR gives control of their personal data to the citizens of the EU. They have the right  to know who has their data, why they have it, what they are doing with it, who they are sharing it with, and how to access it and delete it.

The GDPR actually came into being in April 2016, but there has been a two-year transition period in place. It becomes enforceable on May 25, 2018.

Why is it important?

The GDPR is important to residents of the EU because of the rights they will now have regarding their own personal data worldwide. It is important to those outside the EU because if you are collecting, processing or holding the data of someone in the EU and they have not consented for you to have it or use it, you could face stiff fines (up to $20 million pounds or 4% of your company's worldwide income). This is a law, and it is enforceable, so that is what makes it so important to understand. 

What kind of data is included?

The regulations include what is called "Personal Data". Basically, the main purpose of the GDPR is to protect the personal data of EU citizens. Personal data is anything that is identifiable to a specific person. It's not just about email addresses. It's about IP addresses of computers, names, addresses, credit card information, and more.

How will it affect my business?

If you are not connecting with or marketing to residents of the EU, you could be safe. However, this doesn't mean that you have EU customers. This includes your customers, your email subscribers, your website and blog visitors, anywhere you have contact with EU citizens is affected. If you are using custom audiences for your Facebook Ads, you will need to be sure your mailing list knows. And if you are using Google Analytics or Facebook pixels on your website, you are collecting cookies and that needs to be made compliant (for EU citizens) as well. 

The GDPR regulations are for data processors and data controllers. , etc. the basis of the GDPR is that it includes data processors and data controllers. The official definitions of these two are:

Data controller:  Article 4 (7) ‘controller’ means the natural or legal person, public authority, agency or other body which, alone or jointly with others, determines the purposes and means of the processing of personal data; where the purposes and means of such processing are determined by Union or Member State law, the controller or the specific criteria for its nomination may be provided for by Union or Member State law;

Data processor: Article 4 (8) ‘processor’ means a natural or legal person, public authority, agency or other body which processes personal data on behalf of the controller;

Data controllers are you, and anyone else who works within your company who has access to the data that is being collected. 

Data processors are the businesses or services you might use to process the data that is being collected.

Simple example: If you have an opt in on your website, and you use Aweber as your email service, and you have Google Analytics activated on your website, YOU are the data controller. Aweber and Google Analytics are the data processors. Make sense? So your data processors are your ecommerce/bookkeeping systems (or services), your email system, etc. 

What do I need to do to comply with GDPR?

Review your processes and update as necessary:

  • Maintain records of the data you are collecting and processing (or having processed on your company's behalf). 
  • Make a list of those who are processing your company data for analytics, mailing lists, marketing, payment processing, online storage systems, web hosts, website, etc.
  • Ensure that you have proof of consent for personal email data (ie mailing list). If you can't prove consent, obtain fresh consent.
  • Implement a system for people to choose the way you can use their data (ie allow them to opt out of any and all forms of retargeting, marketing, segmentation, and communication).
  • Develop a plan to remove stale data from your company's records.
  • Be certain that your business's data processors are GDPR compliant.
  • Educate your employees, subcontractors and partners on your procedures if they are handling your data in any way, or provide a Code of Conduct for them to adhere to.
  • Update your Privacy Policy on your website to include GDPR compliant language (or add a special GDPR addendum to your existing Privacy Policy if you prefer and link it to your existing policy). Add a link to this page on every page of your website, and on your data collection forms (order forms, email opt ins).
  • Update your Terms of Service on your website to include GDPR compliant language. Link your terms page to your Privacy Policy page.
  • If you do use analytics or a Facebook pixel, install a notification (pop up) to tell people their data is being collected when they visit your site.
  • Ensure that your contacts are able to contact you easily if they have they questions about their data that you may be in possession of, or request for their data to be deleted from your possession ('the right to be forgotten').
  • Develop a system to handle a data breach, should it occur.

Get more information:

If you want the whole shebang in plain English, this is the best article we have found to explain it clearly: Varonis (Michael Buckbee): GDP Requirements in Plain English

Suzanne Dibble is a UK lawyer who provides excellent information about GDPR compliance. She has a free checklist here: http://globalava.org/gdpr . She also runs an excellent GDPR specific Facebook group (download her checklist to get an invitation to join it), where you can get specific help.  She also sells a GDPR Compliance Pack that provides all the forms you might need to become compliant, if you want a handy little package (the webinar is very helpful too!) 

The Bottom Line:

Whether you are actively marketing to EU citizens or not, these are good changes to make to your business. It probably won't be long before something like this is rolled out by other countries as well. Data protection is a huge topic of discussion in all areas of business. Don't avoid the whole thing and hope you don't get caught. Do what you need to, to become compliant. Know what data you are collecting, develop good procedures to handle, process and store it, and make sure your connections know that too, and you'll be just fine. 


Disclaimer: The Canadian Assocation of Virtual Assistants (CAVA) is not an official GDPR resource. CAVA is a educational website and blog, and the information contained within this site in no way constitutes legal advice. Any person who intends to rely upon or use the information contained herein in any way is solely responsible for independently verifying the information and obtaining independent expert advice as required to become GDPR compliant.

*Article sources: Suzanne Dibble (UK Lawyer), Information Commissioners Office (ICO), Varonis Systems Inside Out Security, Europa EU, Wikipedia (definitions), 

The Decision Making Process in the Human Brain

This is a guest post from Josh Wardini from 16 Best about how the decision making process affects how consumers shop. Though it is not specific to Virtual Assistants, I found the infographic very interesting and was amazed by many of the statistics (there are a lot in this infographic!!) and thought you might like to check it out too! Enjoy!

 

Shoppers Psychology Infographic 16 Best Josh Wardini

(Click the image or here to view the full amazing infographic!)

Shopping can be quite a psychological affair, whether we know it or not. Businesses, whether selling goods or services, have a few tricks up their sleeve when it comes to encouraging customers to make a purchase. Elements such as the color of wording on signs, the music that is playing, and the smell in the air can all have an influence on the shopping buying decisions.

Many people would assume there is a difference when it comes to the psychology of purchasing a service compared to the psychology of buying a product, but often this is not the case at all. For example, color can also be used when one sells services, as color increases brand recognition by 80%. Different colours have the power to change consumer behavior. Advertise a service in red, for example, and you could attract impulse shoppers, or use blue hues and shoppers on a budget may be interested.

The possibility of getting a discount is also a major influence for shoppers, and brands around the world have been using this strategy for years. A good example is Budget, a car rental company from New Jersey that utilizes a Best Price Guarantee to offer discounts to their clientele, and this tactic has proven very efficient at keeping customers, acquiring new ones and developing brand loyalty.

The wording used to advertise and describe a product can also affect consumer behaviour. 60 percent of customers are more likely to buy a product or service that has the word ‘guaranteed’ used to describe it. Additionally, 68% of consumers have also said that a stored signage reflects the quality of its products or services.

If consumers are buying online, then different things may affect the purchasing decision. Features that are likely to have an influence are discounts and offers, trustworthy reviews, a mobile friendly webpage, and the brand’s reputation as a whole, to name just a few.

Guest post by Josh Wardini: Josh Wardini, Editorial Contributor and Community Manager at 16best.net. With a preliminary background in communication and expertise in community development, Josh works day-to-day to reshape the human resource management of digitally based companies. When his focus trails outside of community engagement, Josh enjoys the indulgences of writing amidst the nature conservations of Portland, Oregon.

5 Ways a Solid Content Planning Strategy Helps You Get More Clients

Many Virtual Assistants do not realize the impact that content planning can have on their business.

There are a lot of mental barriers that come up for VAs when it comes to what to put out there, where to put it, and what it’s all for.

That can lead to a lot of time wasted thinking about all of these things.

And often, it means that Virtual Assistants put the wrong kind of content out for their audience to see.

Or worse, they don’t put anything out at all.

How many inspirational quote graphics do you post in your social media channels?

If they are not relevant to the services you offer your clients, they are not working for you in the way that they can be.

The bottom line is that we use content as a means to get clients.

If you don’t take the time to plan your content strategy, you can waste a lot of time and effort and see no results whatsoever.

Here are 5 way a solid content strategy helps you get more clients:

1 - Strategic planning saves you time.

If you have ever done any business planning, you know that the better prepared you are, the easier it is to execute your plan. We do this every day for our clients, but sometimes we forget to do it for ourselves. When you have a strategy, you know where you are going to focus your marketing – and that give you more time to spend interacting with potential clients. Tip: If you find yourself spending endless hours trying to put content together, take a half hour now to plan your content for the coming week. What you want to post, and where. You’ll see how much time you’ll save! (then do the next week, and the one after that!)

2 - Content goals become clearer.

What do you want your audience to do when they see your content online? Knowing your end goal is very important whether you are writing a blog article, recording a video, or creating graphics to post on social media. What do you want them to do? You want them to work with you, that’s for sure. While it’s nice to see email opens and blog comments, you really want them to take action. Tip: Instead of just writing any article for a blog post, plan what you want your people to do and work back from there. Your message will come through much more clearly, and they will know the next step.

3 - Measurable results help you improve what you put out there.

When you use content marketing as a means to build your business, you need to make sure that your business is, in fact, building. Using SEO properly in your content helps it get seen better, which is the point of content in the first place. When you build content using keywords and relevant hashtags, you are putting more eyes on it. Are you getting more signups to your list? Are you getting consultations? Are you having conversations with potential clients? If not, your content could use some work. Tip: Choose some keywords that will be the foundation for your marketing message. Don’t underestimate the power of Google and search functions. People want to find what they are looking for. When you choose your SEO pieces effectively, you will be seen.

4 - Consistent messaging positions your expertise.

Is your marketing message consistent through all of your marketing? If it’s not, your audience could be confused by your content, making it less effective. Planning helps you to figure out how to sprinkle your main marketing message throughout all of your marketing platforms so your message is the same everywhere. Tip: Use your content plan to select some broad topics and some categories, and develop your content around those.

5 - Reach your audience in a way that makes them respond.

Your audience doesn’t always like to consume their content in the same way. Some people prefer short posts, some like video or audio. If you make a plan of what you want to post, you can also plan to produce content in different formats that might be more appealing to some of your audience. Tip: Repurpose blog posts into social media graphics or videos. The more your potential clients hear about your expertise, the more effective it becomes.

Remember the whole idea behind sharing content is to get clients.

Marketing is all about putting your message in front of your potential clients so that you are top of mind when they need help.

Make your content work better for you by making a plan and developing your content around the plan.

You will make better use of your time, your audience gets a clearer message, and you can position yourself as the expert in your field.

Content Planning Masterclass for VAsWant to learn more about content planning?

If you want to learn more about content planning and see a demo of a really cool tool to help you manage yours, join us for this Content Planning Masterclass on Thursday May 17th at 1 pm Eastern.

Andy Lambert from Content Cal is my special guest for this training class.

Read more about the session and register here!

 

5 Tips to Manage Multiple Virtual Assistant Clients

 

How do you handle more than one client’s work at a time?

Virtual Assistants often work with many clients at the same. It’s a more common model to have many clients than it is to just work with two or three clients (once your business is established of course!).

How do you handle it when everyone needs something at once?

As much as you are your own boss in your business, the clients are really the ones who fill your time on a daily basis.

So how do you handle more than one ‘boss’ at a time?

Simple ... scheduling, clarity and good communication are the three most important things to get right in your VA business, so you can get your clients’ work done, and keep your sanity!

I have often warned VAs of being ‘at the ready’ with their clients – it’s easy to form an employer-employee relationship with someone that you work closely with, and it’s important to guard those boundaries as a partnership instead.

When you work with a lot of different people, they all have different requirements and different schedules and different deadlines.

Here are 5 tips on how to manage multiple clients better in your virtual assistant business:

 

1. Block time in your schedule to work on a client’s work. 

Gather projects that need doing for the same client, and do several of them at once. This way you can concentrate on (and bill) their work during one time period. It’s not necessary to tell a client when you are working on their pieces, ie ‘Thursday from 10 to 11 am’, but you should let them know when you will deliver the completed task/work to them.

2. Be clear with lead time and deadlines.

It’s up to you to make sure that your clients know how much lead time you need for tasks and projects. Once you do, you must hold them to those deadlines and lead times as much as possible, in order to honor the relationships you have with all of your clients. If you have a client who often sends you last minute requests, it can throw off your schedule for all of your other clients, who may be respecting your deadlines. The more prepared your clients are, the better you can manage your whole workload.

3. Schedule production calls weekly.

It’s important to have regular communication with your clients for the ongoing tasks you have in your schedule for them. By having a quick weekly phone call you can work out any details for the upcoming week, and everyone is on the same page. The remainder of communication can take place through email as required, but that personal touch is really important when you work virtually.

4. Protect your boundaries.

Boundaries are very important when you are working as a virtual assistant. You have to be sure that everyone around you (including you!) protects those boundaries, so that you can get the things done that you need to get done, when they need to get done. If you are like me, your time is precious and you want to maximize it. So be sure to set your boundaries for turnaround times, deadlines, phone calls, or whatever else, and stick to them.

5. Be proactive.

When you are not working on a client’s work, you should still be thinking about them. Be sure to let them know this. The production call is great, but be sure to check in with your clients to see if there are other things they need done. It can be a great way to increase your billable time with them, and build a better client relationship. Working with the same types of clients makes this piece easier – what you are doing for one you can also be doing for others.

Good communication, clarity and scheduling will help you to achieve a smooth schedule and you will be able to handle many happy clients every day. And of course, that will make your ‘boss’ (you!) happy too!

While you need to do all of these things, you also have to find great clients to work with. Get a few ideas about how to do that here.  

 

Marketing Activities You Need to Schedule

Scheduling your marketing activities is key to ensuring you are consistently and successfully getting the word out about you and your company and all the great services and products you have to share with people.

There are several formats that people use to schedule things – to- do lists, activity lists, calendar items, list of projects, sticky notes all over their desk, and so on. It doesn't really matter how you do it as long as it works for you.

There are going to be three general types of marketing activities that you'll want to put into your schedule:

Ongoing everyday marketing activities include those that you do regularly.

Some examples are:

1. writing your ezine

2. adding new auto-responders to your email series

3. writing blog posts

4. contributing to online forums and blogs

5. networking events

6. writing content for your monthly teleseminar

7. adding content to your website

8. writing articles for submission

9. checking your website analytics

10. communicating with your affiliates

11. sending out press releases

12. networking on social media sites such as Facebook and Linked In

Specific one-time projects would be marketing tactics that occur as a special or one-time opportunity. For example:

1. a workshop you're putting on

2. creating a new product

3. setting up a referral program

4. a joint venture with another company

5. flushing out the specifics of a new service you're going to offer

6. a speaker series you've been invited to share at

7. setting up your affiliate program

8. running a special promotion

9. writing a book

10. a new website

11. setting up a blog

Time set aside for idea generation is important. You need to schedule this in just like any other marketing activity. Things you'll "think" about during this time can include:

1. researching possible joint venture partners

2. thinking about ideas for a new product, service or book

3. taking a look at some colleagues websites and blogs to see what they are up to

4. daydreaming about the direction you'd like your company to go

5. brainstorming about your professional and personal goals

Write down a list of all the different marketing activities you currently do and start scheduling them into your calendar and to-do lists. Make sure you look at your schedule first thing in the morning and different times throughout the day to make sure that you're staying on course.

Commit to your marketing by having a schedule and you'll see your business grow and attract new and old clients on a consistent basis.

How to Make Time for Marketing

To start getting business and success, you must make time for marketing. Most small business owners and solopreneurs know this…let's face it, they've heard it over and over again.

Virtual assistants are no different. We are often so busy doing client work that we run out of time to do our own marketing.

People insist that they don't have enough time to do everything, and certainly not to do marketing!

I know that it's tough – believe me it's the same for me sometimes. But I have seen the results when I do make time to market and so that keeps me finding time, even when it seems impossible.

I have also seen the results that other successful business owners get…and it's because they make marketing their #1 priority.

If you've made marketing a low priority, here are some things for you to do TODAY to start to change that:

• go to your calendar, make a 30 minute block every second day, for the next month and label it: Do Marketing!

• turn off your email/phone/social media and work uninterrupted for 20 minutes on making simple connections on social media, or on follow up
from an event you have recently attended.

• make a list of your time-wasters during the day (internet surfing, computer games, yakking with friends, surfing Facebook) and the next time you
start to do one of these activities, stop and do a marketing task instead: call a client, jot down 5 ideas for new articles, write a blog post, research a
guest for your next teleseminar, write a special email to your list, etc.

• take a look at all the ezines you get and ruthlessly start unsubscribing – keep only the ones you actually open, read and take action on.

Marketing is an ongoing process for you for the lifetime of your business. The sooner you start cultivating consistent marketing habits, the sooner you'll start reaping the rewards you want.

Try taking these small steps...they may seem big, but they are doable. With consistent effort you will see consistent results – attracting more clients and prospects than you think!

You will also feel really good about your ability to market effectively and this increased confidence will show throughout all areas of your business and personal life.

So what are you waiting for?! Get going on those steps….