Thursday, November 21, 2013

Three Tips to Propel in Your Virtual Assistant Business

Looking for ways to propel your home-based virtual assistant business?  Whether you are just starting out or have a full practice of clients, here are tips to help you get the word out and help you to become the go to virtual assistant for your specialty.

1.    Attend networking events
Attend networking events regularly where your target audience might be.  It works!  For example, at a recent event the host and main speaker recommended attendees partner with a virtual assistant to help grow their business. You could almost hear gasps in the audience as many had heard of a virtual assistant before, but were surprised to hear it so highly recommended by this very successful speaker. The speaker then outlined the various tasks virtual assistants can do for their business.  Over and over throughout the event the speaker shared how their own virtual assistant had been a godsend to them. Needless to say, at networking time, if you were a VA in the audience you got the full attention of attendees when you told them you were a virtual assistant and what the speaker outlined is exactly what you do—and then some!

That’s why we highly recommend attending networking events. And don’t be shy, be proud to say, “Yes I am a virtual assistant and I can be the partner you so desperately need.”

Be armed with business cards and on those cards use that critical back-side to include many of your services.  Be especially mindful of the needs of that audience and before the event, know what services you feel would be most important to them.  Yes, you can have multiple business cards with different specialties. (Cool, isn’t it?)

More importantly, collect cards from prospective clients who have a true interest in working with you. Take notes about your discussion, preferably on there, and as soon as you get back to the office send a follow up email with specifics. Ask for a meeting to discuss next steps.

2.    Get known by your specialty
Trying to be all things to all people is one of the biggest hurdles for virtual assistants to get over. It can’t be done—at least, not effectively. The fear is you will miss out on that one magic client who might not know you do XYZ because you only say you do ABC. Right?

We’re here to tell you this is not entirely true. The way we see it, and have personally experienced it, is if you specialize in a particular industry or a few select types of services then your marketing efforts will be more focused on just the right target audience. What happens is, you will get more ideal clients who will ultimately need other types of services. It’s up to you to let your clients know what other services you can offer.

Conversely, if you’re all over the place knowing you can do 100 different things for just about any client who walks in the door, that’s great. However, it’s pretty difficult to focus your unique selling proposition and make yourself stand out in the crowd if you’re trying to reach every single business owner who might need any one of those 100 services. Make sense? Narrow the focus, narrow the target, and get to the right client. Simple.

Now, in your marketing efforts you’ll be able to hone in on better keywords and keyword phrases based on the needs of the potential clients. In your copywriting you’ll be able to speak directly to your audience and they will see how well you understand their business pains—and you offer a solution!

3.    Know You’re Worth
You excel best in your business when you charge what you are worth.  And don’t worry about what Susie in India is charging.  You know what you offer and you know just how beneficial you can be to clients, so be proud, be confident, and charge accordingly. 

But just as important as charging what you are worth, is realizing what that worth is.  You need to be clear on the value you offer clients. It’s more than just saying, “I’m really good at this.”  It helps to have examples.  For instance, how much better does this sound?  “I’m really good at this and here is just one of the things I accomplished for a client.” And then include an example of how you rocked it.  

It’s also okay to test your rates.  If you raised your rates substantially and all of a sudden you see everyone exiting the building, you might have gone too far.  You can then adjust accordingly. Before adjusting downward though, be sure you have conveyed the value you bring to their business. Learn to sell yourself and your worth—and be confident! If you don’t believe you’re worth it, neither will the client.

These are just a few tips on how you can propel your business. It’s all a matter of knowing what you do, how you do it, and why you are so good at it.

Diana Ennen and Kelly Poelker are the co-authors of numerous books including Virtual Assistant - The Series: Become a Highly Successful, Sought After VA and accompanying Virtual Assistant - The Series Workbook Edition. Stop by their site for complete information on starting your own VA business  Connect with them online at @learntobeava or

Monday, October 21, 2013

We were thrilled with our latest review of Virtual Assistant the Series … Check it out!


    Get your Virtual Assistant the Series Here!

5.0 out of 5 stars 

The information that is included in this book is phenomenal for ANYONE that is beginning a career as a Virtual Assistant. It takes you from the very beginning (basics), progressing to more in-depth information. This book is LOADED with resources, examples and links to numerous websites so you can take your education, as a Virtual Assistant, to the next level (i.e. networking, education, etcetera). I am so INCREDIBLY PLEASED and SATISFIED. Thank you for providing such excellent customer service and such an amazing product!! Five Stars++++

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

Master Your Virtual Assistant Business—Choose the Right Niche

To niche or not to niche? That is the question weighing heavily on the minds of most new VAs.

Let's take a look at some of the specialties, or virtual assistant niches, where one might find their particular skills and experience fit perfectly. From bookkeeping to publicity and everything in between the opportunities are endless.

Here are some of the more popular virtual assistant niches:

Bookkeeping VAs - Businesses totally need support in this area and what better way to stay on top of it than to hand it over to their virtual assistant. A VA can take care of invoicing, bill paying, accounts payable, bank reconciliation, and much more. Helping a client stay on top of bookkeeping activities throughout the year can make tax time a little less stressful and time consuming.

Real Estate VAs - The real estate industry is making a major comeback these days. What does that mean for VAs? It means if you have an interest or experience in real estate there can be tremendous opportunities for gaining clients. You can be a valuable asset in helping realtors, brokers, and even mortgage companies throughout the entire buying and selling process. From helping to market new properties to collecting all the paperwork required, a real estate virtual assistant could be a vital partner to a real estate team. Additionally, you can assist with all the technical aspects such as helping clients get their website up and running, writing blog content, and more.

Social Media Virtual Assistant - With all the constant changes in social media today, a social media virtual assistant can be so instrumental. Just think how beneficial it can be to clients if every time Facebook changes their policy, they can just call on you to manage any updates and keep them abreast of changes. A social media VA can also make sure that posts get the most attention by finding the appropriate hashtags. Plus, they can develop tweets and status updates for clients to highlight their accomplishments, list upcoming events, update photos, and much more. And don't forget about those blog postings. Best yet, a VA who specializes in social media can create an entire social media campaign. Now we are talking!

Author Assistant Virtual Assistants - Authors are an excellent source of work for VAs. There are so many things you can do for authors to help them throughout the entire book process. A VA can help with things such as: editing, proofreading, typing of manuscripts, PR and marketing, ebook creation, social media, securing speaking opportunities and more! You name it, a VA can help.

(Plus, there is a tremendous sense of accomplishment when you finally see that book on Amazon and start seeing it sell and know that you had a huge part in its success.)

Event Planning Virtual Assistants - If you have ever been involved in planning a meeting, then you know it is not as easy as it looks. Whether online or in person, the key to a successful meeting is planning and careful attention to every detail. From concept to execution, a VA can be instrumental in eliminating unexpected challenges resulting in a flawless event. That's why businesses need the support of an event planning VA. They can take the stress away and make sure everything is done to perfection.

Transcription Virtual Assistants - Transcription is not only confined to the legal and medical fields these days. Although these are great to do, many businesses, today, need to have their seminars and podcasts transcribed as well. Those can then be turned into ebooks and more. Plus, what is even better is you can not only offer to transcribe their material, but combine a little social media with it and write up tweets and postings about the material as well.

Publicity Virtual Assistants - Businesses need the assistance of professionals to help them get more exposure for all they do. From writing and sending out press releases and articles to helping with book promotions and more, a VA specializing in PR can be a valuable asset. Just some of the other tasks they can handle include: book promotions, product launches, helping businesses land more clients, etc.

There are numerous other VA niches that you can specialize in. The most important thing is to find one that fits you, and do all you can to let your clients know that this is what you do and how you can help them.

Looking for additional help? Register for the next VA the Series chat with Kelly Poelker and Diana Ennen on the last Wednesday of every month.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Entrepreneurship Highest in Decades –One Industry, Virtual Assistant Industry Leads the Way

According to a recent study by Babson College and Baruch College, U.S. entrepreneurship rates have climbed to their highest level in more than a decade. Some attribute this to the fact that after the financial crisis of 2007, hundreds of corporations went belly-up and workers either lost their jobs or realized there was no longer financial security.  Others feel it’s because so many are realizing the huge potential of self-employment.  No matter the reason, one thing is clear, more and more are becoming entrepreneurs. And one industry that continues to lead the way is the Virtual Assistant Industry, which was voted as one of the most popular businesses to start, according to a recent article in Home Business magazine.  In fact according to Google Trends, since 2004 the number of individuals searching for “virtual assistants” has risen 650%.

So what is a virtual assistant?  A virtual assistant or VA is a highly skilled professional who provides administrative support and other specialized services to businesses, entrepreneurs, executives, and others who have more work to do than time to do it.

Here are just a few reasons virtual assistants are in high demand today:

•    Not only are small businesses appearing in record numbers, but they are growing at record rates and as these businesses grow, they need support. A virtual assistant is the ideal source for that support because they come to the table with the knowledge, skills and expertise needed to provide critical services.
•    Social media is an important element of any business success today and most business owners do not have the time or skills to do it properly, thus losing time and money.  VAs can be instrumental in this area, which can lead to greater exposure and increased profitability for those businesses.  From keeping up with the latest Facebook additions to offering tips on what to post to continue to build a brand, VAs excel in this area.  Because of that, virtual assistants now can add the social media niche to the other niches they can specialize in.
•    Technology is advancing and improving faster now than ever before and small businesses often find it difficult to keep up. As more and more are utilizing tablets, smartphones, and many other devices, a business needs to be set up properly for this mobile marketing and a virtual assistant can provide those tools.  From helping to get a website mobile friendly to assisting with mobile marketing, virtual assistants and virtual assistant teams bring businesses into the 21st century plus providing great opportunities for tech savvy virtual assistants.
•    Because VAs typically work on a contract basis from their home offices, they are less expensive and less cumbersome than having to hire an employee and provide office space, equipment, benefits, salary, etc. In today’s economy, these aspects of working with a VA are becoming more and more attractive to small business owners and entrepreneurs. So the potential for virtual assistants continues to rise.

The growth of small business combined with the massive increase in people using technology and the internet creates an atmosphere that’s perfect for those who wish to become a virtual assistant regardless of the stage of career they are in. For young workers it can be the one and only career they have. For seasoned professionals it can be the result of a re-invention of themselves; and it works well for military families, families with small children or empty-nesters.

The good news is that there is training available to help anyone who has the desire and the commitment to make it happen. Plus leaders in the virtual assistant industry continue to offer advice on how you too can become successful.  In fact, you can join the authors of VA the Series: Become a Highly Successful Sought After VA, for monthly chats on how to succeed in your virtual assistant business. You can do it.

Diana Ennen and Kelly Poelker are the co-authors of numerous books including Virtual Assistant - The Series: Become a Highly Successful, Sought After VA and accompanying Virtual Assistant - The Series Workbook. Stop by their site for complete information on starting your own VA business  Connect with them online at @dianaennen and @kellypoelker or  Article is free to be reprinted as long as bio remains.

Friday, March 01, 2013

5 Tips to Grow Your Business Beyond Your Wildest Dreams

There’s nothing like owning your own business. There is the thrill of landing new clients; the joy of getting emails from those you work with who love the results they are getting. And then, there’s that rush you get when you look at your bank account balance and for once it doesn’t make you want to run back to bed and cry.  Owning your own business truly rocks!

A key component of building a successful business is continually working on it. We aren’t talking about doing everything it takes to keep the business operational—that’s working “in” your business. We’re talking about working “on” your business – planning, marketing, customer relations, selling, etc – focusing on the things you need to do whether you have zero customers or a million customers. You need to have a good handle on all aspects of your business and continually do more of the right things to keep it thriving. That doesn’t mean you have to do it all yourself either. It seems like a tall order, but it’s not.

Here are our top 5 tips for growing your successful business:

1)    Market – Market - Market and then Market some more. Even when you have a full client base, don’t stop your PR and marketing efforts. So many businesses make this mistake. They market, get clients, stop marketing, lose clients, and then market again to regain those clients. This leads to the constant feeling of starting over. You have to look at what you did in the past and review it.  If it worked, then do it again. If it didn’t work, come up with something new, and implement that plan. Exhausting, isn’t it? Plus, people tend to forget about you if you aren’t always front and center. So develop a marketing plan that works for your business and continually keep it going. Every week add your marketing tasks to your to do list just as you do for your client work. Continually market your business and the results will absolutely come.
2)    Market correctly. Not only do you need to be marketing consistently, you also need to be doing it correctly so you reach your audience and they are compelled to contact you. One of the first things you need to do is ensure that you are marketing to your target audience. What is that, you say? What about this target audience? Exactly! You have no idea how many business owners we see that just market with no direction in mind. You absolutely have to know whom you want to focus on in your marketing. Those are the ones who will be buying from you and also will understand your value because they are looking for assistance in that area. So know exactly who your target audience is and market to them in the language they will best understand.
3)    Check your stats and measure your results. It’s important to know what marketing activities are working and what aren’t so you can do more of the right things.  How can you tell what’s working? Easy, ask clients where they found you. Check out your website stats and see where those potential clients are coming from. Or, simply add in verbiage to your marketing efforts so that when it comes back to you, you know exactly where it came from. For example, you do article marketing, in the bio include an email address that is specific to these articles. Then when someone contacts you, you know exactly where they found you.  (Yes, it’s that easy!) It’s not enough just to collect this information. You have to analyze it and take the necessary steps to adjust when things aren’t working. Or, maybe add a little more to an area that is working.
4)    Do More and Be More – When you give clients more than they ask for on a consistent basis, they continue to not only send you more work, but they tell others about you.  That’s how your business continues to thrive. Always do more and be more than your clients could ever imagine. In return, they will want to help you succeed, because you are always looking out for them.
5)    Hire Help.  Don’t do it alone. You never see the CEO of a company doing everything in their business, so why would you believe that you should be doing it all in your business.  Even though you can probably do the work, why do it? You should be focusing on what you do best. That’s the mark of a successful entrepreneur. They know to achieve top success they have to put the right team in place and have confidence in their team.

Lastly, if you ask most entrepreneurs what makes them a success, you most often hear, “I truly love what I do.”  That passion is what sets them apart.  Be passionate and follow the above steps. In doing so, we think you will start to see good things come your way. We can’t promise it will always be easy, but the knowledge you’ll gain about your business while using these tips to grow your business will give you a new sense of pride and much more confidence going forward. To your success!

Diana Ennen and Kelly Poelker are the co-authors of numerous books including Virtual Assistant - The Series: Become a Highly Successful, Sought After VA and accompanying Virtual Assistant - The Series Workbook, and Virtual Assistant - The Series: Working Virtually, A Guide to Working Remotely as an Employee.  Stop by their site for complete information on starting your own VA business  Article is free to be reprinted as long as the author’s bio remains intact.

7 Mistakes Virtual Assistants Make In Doing PR

A Publicity VA is a virtual assistant who adds the niche “Publicity” to their VA business. It’s basically working to get more press for your clients. It can be as simple as sending out articles and press releases, to providing more complex services such as creating entire media campaigns and pitching the media. It’s effectively promoting a business, a book, a speaker or coaching program, whatever your clients need that will get them more exposure in the media. To be most effective for your clients, a Publicity Virtual Assistant needs to know how to do it right. 

Here are 7 common mistakes Virtual Assistants make in doing PR:

Mistake #1: Not getting enough traction with the releases you write.

•    Don’t be a one-pitch wonder. Know that PR takes time and if you only write one release and send it out to one or two places, you won’t see results.  Plan an aggressive PR campaign.
•    Repurpose your material.  Your press release can be made into an article, blog posting, added to a media kit, sent to clients, added to your website, newsletter, Twitter, etc.  Social bookmark it as well. Get the most exposure you can. 

Mistake #2: Your media is not interesting enough.

•    Your release or article needs to address an audience problem. It should be attention grabbing, create curiosity and finally it should entice the reader with a strong reason to continue to read further.

•    Make it newsworthy.  Talk about why this release would benefit your audience.  Make sure to provide value and a solution to your reader, and why your expert information will make their business run better or make their life easier.

Mistake # 3: Not using social media.

•    It’s important to do as much as you can with all media you send out. Add all media coverage to your blog, site, newsletter, etc.  Also, add a share button so that you can share all the media.  Ask friends to Digg it, Tweet it, Facebook it, etc. 

•    Share other articles and press releases that you find on the industry. This also adds to your rankings and expertise.  People will want to read what you find interesting.

Mistake #4: Not doing a keyword search analysis and not using the right keywords.

•    Before you send out any releases or articles, do an SEO search first; Google Adwords, Word Tracker, etc.  Also look for search topics in Twitter.

•    Now see how you can incorporate those keywords into your release, title and summary. Even add keywords to image links when possible.

Mistake #5: Not submitting at the appropriate time.

•    Timing is critical. You don’t want to be pitching a business lead when the media is experiencing an influx of other news. Pitch during the slow news spells.

•    Be familiar with editorial calendars.  Publications routinely write on topics months ahead and often talk about the same topics during the same time frames. Also, know the lead times for magazines and other media.

Mistake #6: Pitching in the wrong format.

•    Most media will tell you how they want their material to be sent to them, as an email pitch, a completed form or some other method. The most important thing is to know the different methods and submit the release using correct one.

•    Follow the accepted guidelines for writing an article or press release: including overall word count, punctuation, newsworthiness, etc. Using improper format can cause your work to be rejected.

Mistake #7: Not checking the status and rankings

•    It’s important to know your client’s Google Status as well as Amazon Page Rankings, etc.  This allows you to follow results of the media you submit for your client.

•    Also, make sure to check stats when submitting articles and press releases.  Have the articles been approved recently? How many hits did they get?  This tells you whether you want to do more.

Adding publicity as a niche can be exciting and rewarding for a virtual assistant. The key is to learn as much as you can about the field so you can offer top-notch services. Understanding these common mistakes will help you to fine-tune your expertise and allow you to provide your clients with the quality of service they need to promote their business or products.

Diana Ennen and Kelly Poelker are the co-authors of numerous books including Virtual Assistant - The Series: Become a Highly Successful, Sought After VA and accompanying Virtual Assistant - The Series Workbook, and Virtual Assistant - The Series: Working Virtually, A Guide to Working Remotely as an Employee.  Stop by their site for complete information on starting your own VA business  Article is free to be reprinted as long as the author’s bio remains intact.