Author Archives: Michele

Are you going “batty” over all that you still have to accomplish this month, or are you “treating” yourself to a little break with a business that can maintain it’s success without your full-time involvement?

I love this time of the year, because I can enjoy the excitement of dressing up in costumes with my family and friends and watching the kids have fun trick-or-treating.

My business is structured with virtual assistants that all have a very specific role, so it allows me to have the flexibility to enjoy this time of the year. But, I know many of you are doing most of the work in your business by yourself. Taking the next step to do anything different in your business can be a little “spooky” or scary.

Watch my video this month and try not to get SPOOKED by success and change. I promise, finding a way to implement assistance will not only help your business succeed, but it can change the amount of time you get to enjoy your life.

With a remote team spread across the country, it isn’t unusual to have some of my team members starting or ending their day before or after me.

This got me thinking: I’ve written and talked a lot about how to hire for a remote team and how to collaborate as a remote team, but I haven’t shared much about how we deal with the fact that we’re scattered over different time zones.

My video message this month discusses that exact topic. I hope you will watch it and see how working in different time zones really doesn’t disrupt a team if you prioritize tasks, and everyone understands deadlines and expectations regardless of the time.

This may be hard for you to believe, but you really don’t need to do everything in your business. Outsourcing work to a VA can scale your business in tremendous ways and help you generate income quickly. It can be a game changer in your business success.

I know some of you are wondering: “how can I afford this”? 

Working with a VA can:

  • Free up your time from administrative tasks
  • Allow you to work with more clients
  • Provide you with the freedom to create more content
  • Help you generate income quickly

I meet and work with business owners just like you every day who are juggling a million things in their work day. It can be frustrating and overwhelming to do everything on your own.  So, the question isn’t “how can I afford this?”, it really should be “what do I need to do to be able to afford this?”.

I love to remind the business owners that I work with to take communication with their virtual assistants (VA) very seriously and to hold themselves accountable for providing their VA with on-going feedback throughout the year.

While this may seem obvious, be sure to always tell your VA what is expected of them.  It is a simple conversation that should always happen when asking them to do work for you.  It is also important to let them know it is ok to ask you questions when they may be confused, or unsure of any expectation or work task.   Just be sure to let your VA know if you prefer to have him or her email, text or call you with questions, so that it is less likely they will do job that doesn’t meet your expectations.

Regular feedback is such an important part of team development and seamless workflows. Try and schedule time to provide your VA with both constructive and positive feedback each week and your relationship with your VA will be exactly what you want it to be!

Balancing

Life can be unpredictable and throw you curveballs. An illness, a move, emotional issues, challenging relationships, and financial burdens can all be disruptive and stressful on both your business and personal life. How can you keep your business running smoothly when life happens? Here are some questions you can ask yourself to ensure a healthy work-life balance:

  • How much time can you actually dedicate to your businesss?
  • Can you delegate some or all of the work? Don’t be afraid to rely on your team to support you.
  • What can be postponed until your return to work?
  • Are there systems that can be automated? Develop strategies in your business now so it can run without you efficiently and smoothly. 

Being honest with yourself and having realistic expectations and goals can result in positive outcomes for you and for your business now and in the future.

Watch my video about my recent move and how I handled it.

When you’re trying to give maximum effort at work and at home, it’s easy to fall into the trap of second-guessing your own decisions. Overcome that what-if syndrome today

Summer

While it may be summer time for students, now is a great time for entrepreneurs and consultants to continue educating themselves and learning new things to improve or help their businesses. It’s also a great time to try something creative to keep yourself challenged. Strengthening you creative talents, can do wonders for your career and overall well-being.

Summer is the perfect time to:

  1. Focus on building on your skills.
  2. Learn about industry trends.
  3. Figure out what you need to do to become a better team leader.

There are so many online options to help you learn a new skill or sharpen one you may already have. But, if an online course isn’t appealing to you, check out the local junior colleges, or adult education programs in your area. You can also join a networking or meetup group and form new relationships with people inside or outside your industry.  You will be amazed at how many resources those groups can provide to you.

Be sure to hear about what I do to help myself stay educated and connected to beneficial business trends in this month’s video.

Learning something new is just one of the ways to your business moves forward. Incorporate these key tips and watch your business grow and prosper.

The world of outsourcing work to a virtual assistant is a very broad landscape.  There are so many options for a small business owner, and knowing what is right for you may be confusing.

Are you looking for a long-term relationship with a virtual assistant who you can outsource work to on a consistent basis?  Or, do you need a concierge-type virtual assistant to do small one-time projects like ordering lunch for a meeting, making dinner reservations or sending out thank you cards?

Does time-zone availability matter to you? Will you be outsourcing any writing or correspondence for your business? Is it important to have your virtual assistant understand grammar, and punctuation?

Once you determine what makes sense for you and your business, then you will need to figure out how much time you want to invest in finding, interviewing and working with your new virtual assistant. This is also a good time to consider if having your work sent overseas will cause any potential problems for you or your business.

A full service virtual assistant company, like Assistant Match, will do the following for you:
•    help you assess your outsourcing needs
•    write the job description that will be used to screen candidates
•    pre-screen US-based virtual assistant candidates
•    present you with the top 3 candidates

Many other virtual assistant companies will require you to do all of that, which is a huge time commitment and often something outside your area of expertise.

When clients have come to us in the past after going through some of the low cost VA companies, the main complaints they share with us are;
•    having to write their own job description
•    having to screen too many responses
•    not knowing how to work successfully with someone virtually
•    miscommunication between them and an overseas VA
•    no real business relationship

A full service virtual assistant company will provide you with more than just a virtual assistant.  Assistant Match offers a team of professional US-based placement specialists who provide an on-going relationship with both our clients and our team of US-based virtual assistants. This ensures the working relationship is as successful as possible.  But, in the event the VA/Client relationship doesn’t work out, than we find someone new and transition that person in as smooth as possible. The low cost VA companies do not help with that, which then puts the business owner back at square one and contacting us for help after lots of frustration and lost time.

We know that a small business owner puts their heart and soul into creating their company, building a professional reputation, and attracting clients.  Your business is generally a reflection of who you are and what you value. Professionalism, quality, and dedication is how a you want your business to be perceived by clients, investors, and the general public.  So risking your hard earned reputation is not worth saving a few bucks, is it?

No matter who you are, there are only 24 hours in a day to get things accomplished.  For a small business owner, most of those hours are spent working to keep their business running, growing, and staying competitive.  It is not an easy thing to do, and a smart business owner will usually realize that they can not (and should not) try to do everything  by themselves.

When the time comes to find help and delegate some of the daily job duties to an assistant, the first thing a business owner should consider iswhat are my expectations and are they realistic”.
Here are 4 things to consider about job duty expectations when delegating work to a new  virtual assistant.

  1. It is important that you have an idea of how long it would take you to do the same task, so you can have a reasonable expectation for the VA.
  2. If the delegated task would take you an hour to do, you should expect it to take longer for a VA to do the same task (until they understand your business and processes).
  3. An unreasonable expectation on a new VA will frustrate them (and you) and cause the initial relationship to go south even before it has a chance to develop.
  4. With some patience, time and reasonable expectations a virtual assistant can become a great asset to you and your company.

The world of marketing has changed drastically over the past decade, but one thing is certain, getting your message or offer in front of your customer, potential customer, or past customer is still the basis of a strong marketing campaign. But what is the best platform to do that on? There are many choices, but the email inbox is still a very personal way to communicate with them.

Email marketing is generally subscription based, meaning the recipient has given you or your company permission to email them. This list needs to be treated like gold, because what is given can be taken away, meaning there is usually an UNSUBSCRIBE option on all the emails sent to your list. Unsubscribe is often clicked on when you are sending out too many emails that are not providing value or relevant information to your subscriber list. Can you hit a “home-run” every time you send an email out? Not likely, but if you are strategic in your email marketing campaigns an provide useful information or exclusive offers your emails subscribers should grow and not shrink.

When you offer an opt-in box on your website for a visitor to be added to your email list, you need to have a welcome email setup in an auto-responder through your emailing marketing or e-commerce service. Some popular services are Constant Contact, MailChimp, Aweber, 1ShoppingCart, Infusionsoft and Shopify. Marketers have a huge opportunity with welcome emails. According to Skyline Technologies, welcome emails have an average open rate of 50-60%. With a high open rate you can see the importance of the welcome email to new subscribers.

According to Hubspot, a typical welcome email content should include:
• A link to confirm the subscriber did indeed subscribe to the email list
• A message of thanks for subscribing to the email list
• A request to mark you as a safe sender, or save you to their address book
• Some information about what content future emails will contain
• Your privacy policy to ensure their information will be used properly

The welcome email is also a great time to introduce your subscribers to your blog, with a direct link and description, ask them to join you on social media, again with easy links to your accounts, and give them the opportunity to contact you directly about your product or services.

After the initial welcome letter, be sure to have your email marketing plan in place so that your subscribers continue to receive your emails on a regular schedule. Managing your email marketing can be a lot of work, but you can’t ignore a list of people who have asked to receive updates from you. If you can’t handle it yourself, find someone who can help you with managing it. Don’t let your subscriber pot of gold turn into dust!

It’s not always a good feeling to know that your business needs help with digital marketing.  It can cause a lot of different emotions — hopefulness, excitement, dread, or even anxiety, but you know that doing nothing is no longer an option.

A website is not just a business card anymore. Everything you put on your website, along with your social media channels and digital activity, educates your visitors and contributes to your public image.  So making sure this part of your business is managed is important.

Unfortunately, writing and publishing takes time and not everyone is a born writer or social media enthusiast.

Here are a few suggestion to help you.

  1. Outsource the Work:
    There are many virtual marketing assistants that can do an excellent job either ghost writing for you, or taking content already created and repurposing it for online use.  They are also usually skilled in researching topics, or your competitors.  A lot of these virtual assistants have held traditional marketing positions, but have branched out into the digital marketing profession, so they often offer a broad range of marketing skills that can be utilized.
  2. Invite Client Contributions:
    Why not ask your clients to write for you occasionally? Ask clients for marketing tips, advice on how they built their company, leadership tips, etc. They’ll get a plug on your website and social channels, and you’ll get expert resources for your website.

If you plan to write your own website content, good for you!  But you can’t forget that web content needs to be linked on social media and then social engagement, commenting and moderation are vital in keeping your digital presence attractive to the search engines. The content writing is just the first step to having success with your digital marketing.