Tag Archives: virtual assistant

Goal setting is an important step in your business success. But sometimes our best intentions to accomplish a goal is met with interference, or lack of planning.

Now is a great time to set attainable goals to kick start the New Year. Short-term goals can be just as important as long term goals. Accomplishing goals gives you immediate gratification and will help you maintain motivation with future goal setting.

Here are a few easy goals you can implement, or you can choose your own. Just make sure you write them down, put them on your electronic notes or calendar and/or tell someone about them, who will hold you accountable.

  1. Clean out your email inbox or computer desktop – start off the year with less digital clutter. It will help you feel much more organized!
  2. Set your daily schedule – what time you will get up every day and what time you will try and go to bed.
  3. Reconnect with your clients -drop them an email, or pick up the phone to call them. Don’t try and sell them anything, just call to say hello and see how they are doing.
  4. Invest in new technology -decide if upgrading software or hardware, is beneficial to your business success. Figure out if newer technology can save you time, or allow you to work faster.
  5. Delegate work -determine if your budget allows you to hire someone that can help you and your business. Figure out the tasks you would love to delegate and see if hiring someone makes financial sense. A virtual assistant can be hired on a project or as-needed basis. It may be great to have someone to outsource work to in 2018.

See our blog post – Tips to Clean Up Your Digital Clutter

 

You know your stuff, you have a comprehensive website, marketing materials and customers who depend on your services, but can you do more to earn money by sharing your expertise? Absolutely!
A targeted or niche business retreat may be the missing link in your business plan. Hosting a business retreat can not only help your current customers get to know you in a different genre, it may open the door to new customers who are looking for a more intimate approach to learning about your expertise and what services you can offer them.
When creating a plan for your retreat, there are many elements to think about and execute to make the experience enjoyable for both you and your participants.
As with all events, the success of the retreat largely depends on the preparation. Get this right and the retreat will not only give amazing value, but it will be an unforgettable experience for all involved.  Working with someone familiar with retreat planning is always advisable to help ensure success.  Many virtual assistants are skilled in planning, executing and providing follow-up assistance at the end of the retreat

Here are 5 important starter steps when planning a business retreat.

  1. When should you hold the retreat?
    Take into consideration holidays, and give yourself plenty of time to market your retreat.  Decide what months make the most sense for not only you, but your customer base.  There is no magic solution to picking the date, and it may take some trial and error, but think about if a weekend retreat would work better, or if doing it during the week will get better traction.
  2. How long will the retreat last?
    This is where preparation is key.  Think about your ability to sustain your energy level throughout the day, and ensure that the retreat duration is enough for the material you plan to teach.  You may also want to make sure your retreat location has other activities your guests can enjoy during any downtime.  This could include quiet sitting areas, hiking trails, a health and wellness spa, or workout room.
  3. Where will it be held?
    What ever location you choose, be sure to visit  it in person. Decide if you want a formal or informal setting.  A retreat is usually meant to generate ideas and mastermind discussions, so make sure the environment is appropriate.  Talk to the event coordinator and be sure you get everything in writing.  Be clear on lodging expectations, pricing, and food accommodations.  Nothing is worse than having unexpected surprises when your retreat customers arrive.
  4. How will you market your retreat?
    This is where a virtual assistant can be a huge asset to you.  Have them place Facebook ads, create email marketing campaigns, tweet about it using an appropriate #hashtag.  Advertise the retreat in popular online retreat directories such as http://www.retreatfinder.com and http://www.retreatsonline.com, create a video series that can be shared on social media, offer partial scholarship opportunities.
  5. Create a retreat program
    Determine your daily objective. Use graphics, charts and graphs if appropriate.  Be sure your branding and contact information is clear and included on the program.  Have this printed program available to all guests.  Make sure your powerpoint presentation (if you are using one) matches this program so that your presentation is cohesive.

Working with a virtual assistant is a great option for a busy entrepreneur. Working with anyone – real or virtual – is a dynamic situation where adjustments need to be made as the working relationship evolves.

We have worked with hundreds of VA and clients, and find that the key to success with any working relationship is having good communication and setting realistic goals.

Today, interacting with your virtual assistant is done using various electronic technologies. Setting up a virtual workspace for communicating with your VA is essential.

These technologies should include the following:
Email – let your VA know if you will be setting them up with a specific email address for your business, or if they will use their own email address to communicate with you. Determine a response time that is acceptable to you and your VA.
Live Chat– Skype or Facetime once a week or once a month if that will help you stay connected.
Document Sharing –Dropbox, Basecamp, and Trello are some options where you can share work and give instructions that can be accessed remotely.

Your VA’s output is greatly dependent on your initial orientation, and the systems that you have already set up, along with some training provided by you.

As your working relationship develops with your VA, you may need to be tolerant and allow for a learning curve. If you remember to communicate, give appropriate feedback, and provide the tools and the training necessary for the job, your VA should become a great asset to your team.

The idea of working with someone that is not physically by your side can be challenging. Just like any business, you must have a structured business plan that keeps your daily operations running smoothly. When hiring a virtual assistant, the same thought process applies.

Here are some important factor to consider when you are interviewing potential virtual assistants (VA) to work with.

Hourly Expectations: Your business may have specific hours of operation, so it is important that the VA you work with is available when you need them to be. If time-zone compatibility is important to you, then be sure to communicate that when you are looking for someone. Don’t bother interviewing a VA on the East Coast if you really need them to work during West Coast hours.

Response Notifications:  If you are the type of business owner that wants immediate email response to your requests, or will require fast turn around times on the work being assigned to your VA, then make sure the VA you work with is fully aware and agreeable to those expectations. A virtual assistant who will only commit to giving you a 24-48 hour response time may not be the right fit for your personality, and would probably not be the right VA choice for you to work with. Be sure to be direct and honest about what kind of response time you will require, so that expectations are clear at the beginning of your working relationship. This will help avoid confusion or frustration for both you and your VA as you start working together.

Knowledge Expectations: When selecting your virtual assistant, be clear about  what programs and software you need your VA to use. Let them know if you are an expert on these programs or if you are looking to the VA to take the lead on working with them.

By having a structured plan in place, you can eliminate the problem of hiring the wrong virtual assistants. Being very clear about your expectations and what you need your VA to do, is very important when forming a trusted and successful virtual business relationship.

Virtual assistants (VAs) continue to be in-demand and the role of a VA is varied depending on a business owner’s business needs and budget.

Below are 3 in-demand services a virtual assistant can help you with that you may not have considered .

Blog Services has been a popular VA niche for the past few years. We do not see a decline occurring soon. Not only are more businesses coming online and looking at blogs for marketing their products or services, but blog posts come up in Google search results and can help you attract new customers, just by having a blog.

Blog services can include:

  • WordPress installation and set-up
  • Blog marketing
  • Writing and scheduling content
  • Guest posting services (content creation, submission, engagement with readers)
  • Commenting services

Social Media Marketing is another in-demand service that VA’s offer. Social networking continues to grow, and new social platforms are introduced every year. It is no longer just about Twitter and Facebook. You also have to worry about updating LinkedIn, Pinterest and Instagram..

Social Media Marketing services can include:

  • Business page or profile set-up
  • Updates and engagement
  • Creating private groups
  • Researching content
  • Video marketing
  • Forum marketing
  • Local social engagement (Yelp, Foursquare, Meetup)

Author/Publishing Services are also quite popular. More and more authors are turning to self-publishing, which puts many of the details that would otherwise be handled by a publishing company in the hands of the author.

Author/publishing services may include:

  • Landing page or website setup
  • Social Media set-up, updates and engagement for book launch
  • Editing, formatting and submission of e- Book versions to online selling platforms such as Amazon, e-Bay or other appropriate websites
  • Assisting with virtual book tours
  • Preparing marketing materials

The possibilities are endless when it comes to the services a Virtual Assistant can offer to a business owner.  To see even more services offered, click here.

 

 

A=Allocate
Allocate time to enjoy your summer.  What does that mean exactly?  It means all work and no play will make you a dull “boy” or “girl”.  Plus, everyone needs to recharge their batteries and summer is a great time to do that.  If you are thinking, “sounds great, but how could I do that, when my weekly business calendar is full?”  Start by scheduling down time on your calendar.  Just like you schedule meetings with clients, schedule time in your calendar just for YOU!  If the thought of that scares you, try and start off slowly with just an hour per week, and then move up to a couple hours per week until you can see the benefits.  What you do with that hour is up to you, but extra time in the gym, reading a book, watching a movie, or just relaxing away from the computer can be extremely beneficial to helping you recharge your spirit and your stamina, which in turn will benefit your business.
B = Basics
Getting back to basics this summer can also help your business.  Try and remember why you started your business in the first place, and how excited you were to get it off the ground.  Are your emotions today the same as they were when you made the big decision to move forward with starting your own business?  If not, try and figure out what about it is different.  Are you overwhelmed? Are you unable to do the things you need to do to make it exciting? Are you too busy with the minutia involved with running your business that every day seems like a blur?  Basic human nature is to try and do everything ourselves, but consider enlisting some help where it makes sense.  Try and think about what you can take off your plate,  and what you can realistically delegate. The goal is to get you back to that place where your excitement level outweighs the stress of running your own business.
C = Commitment
Sometimes making a commitment to yourself is harder than making one to someone else.  Isn’t summer a great time to commit to making a few changes in your life?  With longer days and more sunshine it is easy to put in longer work hours, but why not commit to using those few extra hours to reconnect with family and friends this summer.  Having positive relationships in your life will help you be more positive and energized.  It is easy to sabotage yourself if you start to feel guilty when you choose to miss out on things like family parties, dinner with friends, youth sporting events, or even grilling with the neighbors.  Commit to participating in a few if not all the summer activities you can with family and friends.  You will see that making a conscience effort to enjoy the people around you can be the best use of your time in the long run.

If you need help trying to figure out what you can delegate or who you can work with to give you a few extra hours in your day, we have a team of amazing placement specialist that would be happy to assist you. https://assistantmatch.com.

It’s the time of year when resolutions are made and goals are set.  We evaluate our past wins and re-evaluate our losses.  We determine what worked and what didn’t work in previous years, who helped us and who didn’t, and we review budgets and schedules to help us make intelligent decisions moving forward.

The goals and resolutions, the wins and losses, and the budgets and schedules involve ALL aspects of our lives -both business and personal.  You can’t effectively be happy in one area, if the other is out of balance.  Many people try but most do not succeed to have a REAL work/life balance.  It is hard to do.  We all have so many responsibilities, we are pulled in a million different directions, and everyone seems to be after a portion of our money and wants a large portion of our time.  So, what can you do differently this year to help get that balance that most of us want and need?  One simple solution would be to hire a virtual assistant to help you move towards that goal of a work/life balance.
Here are the top 3 reasons to work with a VA this year.

    1. You can’t afford not to.  If time is money and you are stuck doing non-revenue producing tasks, then you need to outsource that work immediately!  Find a VA that can do some of those tasks for you.  The investment you make hiring a part-time VA (you can offer minimal hours to start) will give you back time that can be spent working on revenue generating activities or spending quality time with your family.
    2. Project completion.  Look around your life and see how many “great ideas” were started but never finished because you didn’t have TIME to complete them.  If any of these can be outsourced for completion, do it!  Or again, outsource the activities that may be keeping you from completing your million dollar idea.
    3. Peace of mind.  It would be hard to place a dollar amount on peace of mind.  Hiring a VA could be that missing link that helps to lower your stress level and increase your productivity this year.  Wouldn’t it be great to know that when you pass a project off to your VA, it will get done in a timely manner, with professional results?  You can give a deadline and have it done when you need it, without having to do it yourself.  Peace of mind can help you have better clarity which is essential for success in 2015 and getting you to live a more balanced life.

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?

Don’t get SPOOKED by the holiday rush this year! Halloween is creeping up on us and then the countdown clock begins. Plan on being proactive and get some virtual help to delegate tasks to.  Wouldn’t it be a nice treat to really enjoy the holidays, instead of being rushed and stressed out about them?

Here are 5 ways to utilize a virtual assistant right now:

  1. Get current with your book-keeping. End the year with your accounting in order. Make it a goal to enter the tax season organized and confident.
  2. Prepare you holiday cards.  A virtual assistant can order custom cards, setup client address lists, print labels or even set-up e-cards to be sent on your behalf.
  3. Do an end of the year marketing/sales push.  Give your ideas to a marketing virtual assistant and let them create an email marketing campaign, setup 1ShoppingCart, prepare creative graphics, etc…
  4. Attend Holiday networking events.  This is a great time of year to mingle and spread good cheer while reminding people who you are and what you can do for them   Have your virtual assistant research local networking events and put them on your calendar.
  5. Prepare a sale if your product/services are especially useful at the end of the year.  A virtual assistant can promote your products or sale through your social media accounts, prepare marketing materials and help you write and send out email blasts.

Be sure to plan early for some holiday help, because it will be here in a blink of an eye.

 

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.