Author Archives: Michele

A well-functioning team can’t function well if what’s important isn’t established.   As a business owner, it is important to relay the goals that you want to meet in the New Year with your virtual assistant or your virtual team.

Clear communication is the key to having a successful virtual team.  Schedule a conference call or Skype with them this month.  This kind of strategic communication allows your virtual assistant to fully understand your expectations and can alleviate any unnecessary confusion about your virtual assistant’s role in your plans.  You want to be clear about tasks you need help with and ask them for input on where they feel they can help you. Don’t forget that a virtual assistant’s role is to support you by accomplishing tasks that will help move your business forward.  If you VA isn’t privy to your business goals, than their professional input will be limited.

So,  schedule an hour  to talk with your virtual assistant or virtual team and let them know the goals, and the expectations that you have for making 2014 a prosperous year.

It is hard to believe that December is here and we will be welcoming in the New Year very soon.  Many of you still have a list of things to do before changing the calendar to 2014 that can be outsourced to a virtual assistant.

Here are 5 things to outsource for the end of the year push.

  1. Website Review.  Make sure all the information on your website is updated with new business testimonials and photos, so that the website is refreshed and ready for visitors in the new year.
  2. Email Organization.  Many of you should start the new year with an inbox that isn’t cluttered.  With proper guidance from you, have your virtual assistant purge both your active or reference-only emails and create folders to stay organized.
  3. Follow-Up Help. The end of the year is the perfect time for you to have your VA check on any open proposals, invoices and projects that you are working on, and make sure there is a plan in place for revisiting them after the holidays.
  4. Tax Preparation.  A VA with expertise in this area, can organize receipts, research end of the year charitable donations, or just look over business expenses.
  5. Marketing.  Make sure you have a plan in place for the new year.  Have your VA create an editorial calendar for blog posts, social media and print ads to help keep you organized and accountable.

 

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“I have a small budget – how can I decide what to have a VA do for me?” I hear that question all the time. My answer is “whatever will be the biggest bang for the buck”.

For some people it could be having the VA help with things that will bring revenue into the company.

That could include:

  • Helping with marketing.
  • Finalizing an informational product that you will sell.
  • Doing customer service tasks.
  • Adding items to an online shopping cart so customers can purchase more from you.

For others it’s freeing up time so THEY can make more money for the company.

Those tasks are usually admin related and include:

  • Research
  • Scheduling appointments
  • Bookkeeping
  • Phone calls
  • Emails
  • Formatting documents
  • Data entry

Whatever it is that you decide to delegate to a VA be sure and let us know if we can help you find the right VA that will give you the best bang for your buck.

 

We are on the cusp of the holiday season.  Orders may be coming in, schedules are filling up fast and your time is being pulled in many different directions.

A virtual assistant can be a huge asset to not only your sanity but more importantly, to your bottom line during this busy time of the year.  Give yourself a gift and get a virtual assistant to help you make it through the season.

Below are a 5 ways to utilize a virtual assistant during the holidays.

  1. Don’t forget that your customers appreciate hearing from you this time of the year.  Everyone is in the giving spirit, so have a virtual assistant prep holiday cards, or purchase a gift for those customers that have supported your vision and refer people to you anytime they can.
  2. This may be the time of year to capture the spirit of the holiday with a sale or promotion .  A virtual assistant can help with email marketing, a social media campaign or updating your website.
  3. Networking is another important opportunity to be a part of during the festive time of the year.  You may ask a virtual assistant to research all the upcoming events in your area so that you can decide the best ones to attend.
  4. Responding to or monitoring incoming emails is also a task you can delegate to a virtual assistant to help you stay on top of your inbox during the busy holiday months.
  5. Personal assistance is also an option if you are laser focused on your business.  Ordering presents online, taking care of your family holiday cards, scheduling grocery delivery, or even researching and booking holiday travel can be done by a virtual assistant.

Do you want to enjoy this time of the year?   A virtual assistant can take a big layer of stress off your holiday plate and handle a lot of the details that you never want to slip through the cracks.

I recently read an article published on Entrepreneur.com that was titled 10 Things to Outsource to a Virtual Assistant written in December 2012.

Below is the Entrepeneur.com List:

  1. Online Research
  2. Bookkeeping
  3. Database Entries
  4. Data Presentations
  5. Managing Emails
  6. Holiday Cards
  7. Travel Research
  8. Scheduling
  9. Chasing Business
  10. Industry Knowledge Research

While I completely agree with the premise of this article about how using a virtual assistant can shave hours from your work week,  I think there are a lot more than 10 tasks that can be outsourced to a virtual assistant.  The outsourcing options are almost limitless.  A professional virtual assistant can perform general to advanced administrative tasks but there are many professional virtual assistants with expertise in a more specialized field.  The skill level of today’s virtual assistants is extremely impressive.

I am going to add to the list published on Entreprenuer.com  with 10 MORE options for outsourcing work to a virtual assistant.  And honestly, there are even more options than this, but these are the areas that many clients are seeking help with on a growing basis.

  1. Social Media Management
  2. Newsletter maintenance or management
  3. Website updates
  4. Blogging
  5. Event planning
  6. Graphic design
  7. Article distribution
  8. Customer Service
  9. SalesForce or E-commerce updates
  10. Personal Assistance

 

Every business owner knows that decisions affecting your business have to be made pretty much every day.  There are easy decisions, and then there are those harder decisions that show up and create sleepless nights, stressful days and self doubt.  These are usually the decisions that are necessary to keep your business moving in the right direction.

For many business owners,  the biggest challenge isn’t making the right decision, it is doing or implementing it.  I love the quote by Tony Robbins, “ A real decision is measured by the fact that you have taken a new action. If there in no action then you haven’t truly decided”.

Think about how much time is wasted or lost making decisions that don’t ever come to fruition.

So, what are the main causes of decisions not being implemented?

  • Lack of Time?
  • Lack of Resources?
  • Lack of Motivation?
  • Lack of Finances?

Every business is different and every person handles decision-making differently. If you’re finding that more decisions are being made than are getting done, it’s time to pause, reflect, reorganize, and re-evaluate your processes  your resources and your time-management skills.

Let me know if you struggle with getting your business decisions moving from an idea to an action.

Keeping up with social media can get difficult, especially if you have a lot of accounts to deal with at the same time. Outsourcing your social media marketing can be the best way to keep your accounts active, engaging and relevant.

Here are 3 tasks a virtual assistant can help you with to maintain a strong social strategy:

  1. Pre-Writing and Scheduling Posts
    With the right direction and maybe a few examples, a professional virtual assistant can write posts or link to relevant articles that can be pre-scheduled using a social media management tool like Hootsuite,Tweet Deck, or Buffer.  This will ensure that your social reach stays active and your brand stays top of mind to your followers or fans.
  2. Researching Topics for Blogs
    Having someone research topics for your blogs posts can be the perfect task for a virtual assistant.  Most blogs posts can then be shared or linked through your social reach, which in turn can help drive traffic to your website.
  3. Monitoring Social Engagement, and Reputation Management
    If you are actively using social media or digital advertising to market yourself or your business, it is important to monitor your digital footprint.  A virtual assistant can take on that role, and respond to questions or comments, or let you know that a response is needed.   Having someone monitoring Yelp or other review websites can help you establish and protect your company’s reputation.

If you have reached the point where you no longer have the time to do it all and you are spending a lot of your business hours doing online marketing tasks then it’s time to work with a virtual assistant.

It’s our pleasure to introduce you to Marissa Levin.  We love having Marissa as a client of Assistant Match and we encourage you to connect with Marissa on her website or through social media if you would like to learn more about her business services.

1. What is the name of your business?
I actually have two businesses:

  • -Information Experts
  • Successful Culture

2. Where are you located?

I am located in Reston, VA

3.Describe your business and what you do:

Information Experts is the leader in integrated strategic communications, online learning, and human capital services.
Mission: To help our clients achieve their strategic objectives through the creation of compelling, transformative, and highly efficient communications and online learning solutions.
Values: Efficient. Reliable. Business-Focused. Solutions-Focused. Innovative. Committed to Responsible Flexibility.
Information Experts is an award-winning strategic communications and education firm. Our core areas of expertise include instructional design/elearning, strategic communications, human capital, and marketing communications & outreach.
We work with government agencies across all sectors, including civilian, defense, and intelligence. We also support numerous vertical markets in the commercial sector. We have won more than 90 awards for our creativity and leadership.

Successful Culture is the leading authority on building extraordinary organizational cultures to attract and keep extraordinary people.

Mission: To help every small business owner build high-growth, people-centric organizational cultures through CEO-to-CEO strategic consulting, enabling all employees and organizations to fulfill their potential.

Values: Integrity. Authenticity. Accountability. Connection. Experience. Transformation. Growth.

4. How has working with a virtual assistant helped you overcome daily challenges associated with being a business owner?

My virtual assistant is an expert with my email marketing tool, which is an absolutely essential part of my growth strategy.  It would take me 4 times as long to do what she does, and I would do a poor job. I dislike this type of work, and she loves it. A CEO needs to evaluate what they don’t like and what they are not good at, and delegate it to someone who loves that work, so that they are then free to do what a CEO does best, which is executing on their strategy and vision.

5. What advice would you give to anyone thinking about working with a virtual assistant?

Call Assistant Match!  If they need further convincing, they should draw a quadrant with these titles on the boxes:   1: Love/Good at it;  2: Love/Not good at it  3: Don’t like/good at it 4: Don’t like/not good at it. Anything not in Box #1 should be delegated/outsourced to an expert. Skip the entry-level route and go right to the expert for dependable results, lower stress, and a strong ROI.

6. How do you market your business and which methods have proven most successful?

Word of mouth, face-to-face networking, outreach through my blog

7. What do you enjoying doing when you are not working?
Working out, spending time with my family, reading, going to concerts

8. What is your Business Website URLs:

www.informationexperts.com

www.successfulculture.com

9.  What is your Business Facebook Page URL

www.facebook.com/InformationExperts

10. What is your Twitter username?
@marissalevin

How would you like to reduce your daily workload and increase your annual business revenues?
I am sure the first question you are asking is , “how can I really work less and earn more”?

You need to do more productive work using less hours in your day and make more money with less effort. This can be accomplished when you…outsource…share your work load….delegate to a virtual assistant!

Here are 5 ways a VA can help reduce your daily workload which will allow YOU to do the work needed to increase your annual business revenues:

  1. Determine the core functions of your business and delegate those tasks that are less productive. Don’t get caught in the “busy-work” track.
  2.  Hire a virtual assistant to assist in tasks like organizing your travel plans or planning your events and presentations. This simplifies your efforts, giving you more time to concentrate on effective business tasks.
  3.  Instead of trying to handle the entire blogging process yourself, focus only on content creation, delegate the rest to a Virtual Assistant. Formatting, editing, tagging, SEO optimizing can all be done by a VA.
  4. By letting go of some tasks and handing them over to someone else, you’ll be doing your business a huge favor. Concentrate on the creative parts of your business. Find a VA with the right skills and attitude to get the job done.
  5. If you don’t know how to get started with marketing and promoting your business on Social Media sites like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and so on, get a VA who has prior experience with Social Media Marketing to help you out.

Can you think of more ways a virtual assistant could help you and your business?  I bet you can!

Is your life centered around family, work, and play (FWP), not necessarily in that order?

I am pretty sure the common denominator to ensuring a balanced life is TIME.  Spending quality time with your family, putting in enough hours at work, and having some downtime to enjoy the things in life that give you pleasure and lets you recharge your mental battery.

Many of us struggle with balancing what I will call the FWP cycle.  Work is required to earn enough money to take care of our families, and a discretionary fund is needed to pay for our “play” time, so most of us put more emphasis on the work part of our lives.   I have asked many business owners (both men and women) what an ideal day would look like to them and the universal answer seems to be having more TIME. As we get older, we realize how fast TIME goes by and there is no slowing it down.

So, how do you overcome that lack of TIME to balance FWP?  As a business owner, it is important to constantly be aware of your efforts.  Are you dedicating your time wisely or are you wasting valuable time doing things that may not be generating revenue, building business relationships, or are even within your area of expertise?  Think strategically when you are worried about managing your time.  Do not waste precious time doing the things that can be outsourced.  This quote by Jack Canfield is very relevant, “When you are able to maximize your potential by focusing on your core genius, you become more productive and effective”.

ACTION ITEM: Record every single task, project or activity you do for one week, noting which line items are income producers, core genius or something that was a time waster and should have been outsourced.
Share your list in our comments and let’s talk strategy and outcomes.