Saturday, January 19, 2008

Work at Home Successs


Part of my New Year's Resolution this year was to "blog" more and also to learn more. It's amazing the amount of information that is out there today for free. You can get free seminars, podcasts, teleclasses, etc. And they are chock full of great information. Yes, most of the places want you to sign up for their newsletters and the free information is bait to do that, but when the information is valuable and going to help my business, that's a newsletter that I want to be subscribed to.

My biggest concern has always been time. How can I listen to these free "seminars" or podcasts and still get it all done. What I've discovered is that it's easy to do. Here's what I've been doing and I wanted to pass it on to others. Save the podcast and listen to it while clearing off your desk or exercising. I normally wake up 45 minutes early and do some exercise tapes. I've discovered I can save those podcasts or webinars for this time and not only am I exercising, but I'm learning at the same time. I often will have to stop to take notes, but what a great way to learn more.

There's so many changes going on today in marketing in the Work-at-Home Industry. You need to stay on top of these all. For example, you need to get involved now with social marketing and social networking. The sooner you learn how to use these effectively for your business, the better. This is my goal this year. When you see the potential it has, you just know that you need to do it!

What other work at home success tips do you have? Please do let us know. I always try and put articles here for you that are helpful, so here's one! Hope you enjoy! And please do send me yours so I can post as well. Send to or post on my sites at or

Home Based Business Success – Start Yours Today

So many today want to start their own business and fortunately businesses are constantly looking for guidance. One home based business I recommend is starting a word processing or virtual assisting business. It can make a great work-at-home career and the potential just keeps getting better and better. You will now find many famous authors, actors, businesses, and even political candidates beaming about how a virtual assistant is a must have for business success. In fact, in many books now, some are citing that having a virtual assistant is one of your most important keys to success.

Getting started is easy. Fortunately, it’s not expensive either. First of all you need a complete plan of action set out in advance. This ensures that you don't leave any vital steps unaddressed and will have a solid plan of action to succeed. You don’t need anything technical, just how you plan to operate your business including advertising methods, pricing, business hours, equipment and supplies needed, goals, etc.

You want to clearly define your business. There are so many different areas you can go into as a home based word processor or virtual assistant so you need to decide with your skills and your experience what is the best for you. For example, do you want to do strictly word processing or do you want to do marketing too. How about transcription? I highly recommend considering that. Most businesses today do dictate their work and now virtual assistants can transcribe dictation from anywhere in the world. You’d be amazed how easy it is to learn too.

Now, that you have your business plan you need to decide on the name of your business. One thing you need to make sure of is that you can legally have that name. Often I’ve seen word processors start their business and just grab a name and call it their own. That doesn’t work well when someone else has already chosen that name, registered it, perhaps trademarked it, and has been using it for years. First check and make sure that no one already has it, then test it out. Is it easy to pronounce when you answer the phone? Does it sell you well? Does it limit you? Five years from now will you still feel proud of that name? Try it out on friends and ask their honest feedback. Also, go to the various boards and mention it too. For such an important decision it’s worth the effort.

To operate a business you are required by law to have the appropriate licenses. This is your permit to do business locally. It's a simple procedure that doesn't require a considerable amount of time. Contact your city and county officials under occupational licenses for complete details or go online. Most VAs start out initially as a sole proprietorship and then might change later into either an LLC or S Corporation.

Now it's time to set up your bookkeeping. You will want to keep track of all your income and expenses. Save all receipts and pay all your expenses out of your business checking account. A software program such as Quickbooks is ideal for our type of business. Not only does it allow you to keep accurate records, but it also enables you to track exactly where the most money is coming from. This enables you to target your marketing efforts more in that area.

Now you must decide how much to charge. Don't undercharge your services. The Virtual Assisting Industry is a very proud bunch and we want our clients and others to know that when you hire us, you are getting a professional and one capable of making your business better. Clients will pay well for making their business succeed. Determine what is being charged in your area, but also take into account what you are bringing to the table. When you offer specialty services such as web design or say expert proofing or publicity, you can charge more.

It is also important to have an impressive marketing piece. Your brochures, letterhead, flyers, business cards, etc., should look sensational. I personally love VistaPrints at I can afford to get matching business cards, mailing labels, magnets, and even postcards cheap. This makes me look more professional as I have everything the same layout and because it’s so reasonable, I even have different styles for different clients.

Now you need to get those clients. The key to successful marketing is to tell clients what benefits they will receive by answering their main question, "What's in it for me?" Keep in mind, you're not selling your services, you're selling the benefits of your services. What can you offer them that would make their business run more successfully? An example of this would be accurate dependable service done on an “as needed” basis.

One of the most important things is to get a professional website. This will enable you not only to get clients through your SEO efforts, but also to show your clients your services and everything about your business. Look around at other word processing or virtual assisting websites and get some tips. Don’t copy-just get ideas.

Now that you’ve got the clients, you need to keep them. The best way to do this is to always provide them with more than they ask for. Go the extra mile on all assignments. Let them know that you value their business and are eager to help them succeed.

Wasn’t that easy? If you’d like additional information on starting a business, e-mail me or stop by my website at I have free information available, such as a sample chapter of Virtual Assistant the Series, and marketing letters to send to clients, and also excellent books that can help you succeed quickly.

Diana Ennen is the author of numerous books including Virtual Assistant: the Series, Become a Highly Successful, Sought After VA and accompanying Workbook,, Corel Word Perfect Office Ready, Virtual Assistant Solution Pack, and is president of Virtual Word Publishing and Free to reprint article as long as the bio remains intact. Email us for free Virtual Assistant Information Package.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Whatcha Waiting For? Appoint Yourself the Expert


I thought you enjoy this fabulous article from Alexandria Brown. It clearly shows the importance of believing in yourself and letting others know that. You want to be an EXPERT. Clients definitely want to work with experts. But, I'll be quiet now, she says it so much better than I do. -- Diana Ennen

"Whatchya Waiting For? Appoint Yourself the Expert!"by Alexandria K. Brown

There's one marketing condition I see over and over with my clients, and it's called "but-I'm-not-an-expert-yet-itis". These people are afraid to play bigger because they think it's not their time yet. (The important words there being "they think".) They're waiting for something to happen - a degree, a certification, a blessing from the gods in their industry, a recognitional nod from their respected peers. Please listen carefully: This attitude will kill your business and take years off your life! It's VERY important to position yourself from the get-go as an expert in what you do.

Why do you want to be seen as an expert? Experts are more respected, get media attention, can market more easily and inexpensively, get paid more, and receive less price resistance (meaning people are happier to pay what you ask). So, instead of waiting for someone to invite you to the top of the mountain, I urge you to simply "leap frog" your way over everyone else at the bottom.

Hear me loud and clear: You do not need anybody's permission to believe you're the best at what you do and share that fact! In fact, here are a few points I make to my clients if they are expressing doubt about their "qualifications" to sell information, programs, or services and charge well for them.In the eyes of your prospects, clients, customers, and the media, you're seen as an expert if...

1. You Know More About Your Topic Than Your Target Market Does. When I first created my Boost Business With Your Own Ezine system, I wouldn't say I was an expert on ezines by far. But by studying the topic in depth to create my own ezine, I'd weeded through all the junky information to get to the good stuff, and I wanted to share it. You'll find you can make quite a good living just teaching people how to get started in something. (You don't have to be the end-all wizard of the topic.)

2. You've Done What You're Teaching Others to Do. One client of mine, whom I'll call "Pat", teaches real estate investing. She wanted to create a high priced mentorship program of her own, but was nervous about it. She didn't feel right charging a lot of money for her personal time and advice, which meant deep down she wasn't confident in what she was teaching. I asked her, "Did you make a million dollars investing in real estate?" She said yes. "Then just show them what you did," I replied. "Are you confident in that?" Her answer was a resounding "YES!" Once she realized she'd simply be teaching what she herself had already done, it eliminated her nervousness, made her sales much easier, and she was comfortable charging a hefty (and well deserved) fee.

3. You've Been Quoted on Your Topic in the MediaSometimes the cart comes before the horse, and a brush with the media IS what makes you seen as an expert. A cosmetic surgeon friend of mine was recently a guest on a Los Angeles television show, and he now proudly promotes that fact in his ads, brochures, and office displays. When I was interviewed by The Wall Street Journal on the subject of small business email marketing, you can be sure I added that to my bio as soon as I got off the phone!

4. You've Written a Book or Articles on the SubjectNothing says "expert" like writing a book or by getting your name "out there" via articles. When you put a pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) and simply share what you know, no matter how simple the information seems to you, people instantly view you as an authority figure. All you have to do is put yourself out there.A friend of mine recently chose a financial planner based on the fact that he was a published author. "After all, he wrote the book on it!" she said. In her eyes, that sealed the deal, and she was happy to pay more for his services without question.

5. You SAY You Are the Expert! I dubbed myself "The Ezine Queen" several years ago, simply because it had a ring to it. I had no idea at the time how much that would help me get famous and be remembered. Did you know that Muhammad Ali became known as "The Greatest" because Ali himself said it? Yep -- he just kept saying it, and then eventually so did the media! So if you have a good moniker in mind, go for it.The Bottom Line... It's up to YOU.Remember this: Your prospects, clients, and customers will virtually always accept the positioning that YOU choose for yourself and present to others. So, whatchya waiting for? : )

© 2005-2008 Alexandria K. Brown

Online entrepreneur Alexandria K. Brown, "The E-zine Queen," publishes the award-winning 'Straight Shooter Marketing' weekly ezine with 22,000+ subscribers. If you're ready to jump-start your marketing, make more money, and have more fun in your small business, get your FREE tips now at

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Work At Home Fashion Tips


As many of you know, I've been working at home since 1985. I love it! Can't imagine doing anything else. However, I discovered recently I'm in a "work at home" fashion rut. I live in South Florida so most days it's capris and short sleeve tops or on Fridays shorts and a tank top (oh my!). Of course, when I go out and visit clients or network it's more professional, but with Virtual Networking, that's getting less and less.

When I took on a client last year, Jamie Yasko-Mangum, author of Look Speak and Behave, I was reminded how fun it was to dressed up. I started implementing changes to my wardrobe and to my daily routine then. What an amazing difference. I'm so much more productive. So much more creative.

This week, I have a big seminar coming up that I am attending at the end of the month, so off to shop I went. Several pairs of gorgeous heeled shoes later, I stopped. Once again I discovered, what a difference. Even walking around the house working with heels on, I am more productive. I feel awesome! Top of the world. I do publicity and writing, so I need to be creative and this helped give me that edge. Of course, it might be just in my head. But if it produces better work, that's AOK with me. And I'm sure my clients don't mind one bit either.

For those of you working at home in a work-at-home fashion rut, I encourage you to take the challenge. Get dressed up daily. Wear those heels. Put on that make-up. And see what a difference it can make.

I'd love to hear your thoughts!


Diana Ennen
Author: Virtual Assistant the Series