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Getting clear, automated & visible… in just 5 days

Join the Challenge: https://thevirtualsolution.com/5-day-challenge
 

A recap of the video:

I sent out a survey recently, and the results were very interesting. It reminds me that people aren’t always thinking what I think they are and they aren’t necessarily struggling with what I think they are. That’s why it’s important to do some occasional market research with your target market and actually ask them questions.

With my online audience and those who participated in my survey, there is a bit of a divide. Some of you are in different places in your business. Some of you admitted you really haven’t started to make money in your business yet, and some of you are doing very well, consistently making 4-5 figures per month. Some of you have been in business for a very short period of time, while others have been in business for more than 5 or 10 years. This means your needs may be different; however, even though you may be successful, you still might not have all of your marketing and technology pieces in place for running your business online, and you still may not be clear and concise in your marketing message.

I wanted to put together a 5-day challenge so I could share some of my knowledge with you and help you get some clarity and take some steps forward instead of getting stuck in confusion, overwhelm, fear, or procrastination, and I know that’s what’s been happening with some of you. I’ve talked to some of you more than once and you’re still in the same place you were two years ago, in a place of non-action. Taking little steps forward consistently can make a big difference in your business. It tells the universe that you are taking action and you are ready to attract more clients.

I wanted to try to find the common ground with what many of you are struggling with and what’s holding you back when it comes to technology and marketing your business.

There are certain things you ALL need to have in place to be able to attract your target market to you, build your email list of prospects, and make sales. You need to clearly know who your target market is, you need to know what they struggle with the most, you need to have a clear and concise elevator pitch that doesn’t cause a blank or confused look, that allows you to stand out from the crowd and make an impact; you need a compelling free gift set up on your website so you can collect your prospects’ email addresses, and you need to build the Know, Like and Trust Factor with your prospects online.

This isn’t going to be a heavy-duty challenge that is going to take up a huge amount of your time every day, and it certainly is not going to be tech-heavy. Although I may touch on some systems you may need, for example with setting up a free gift for listbuilding, it will be more of an overview of the steps involved, not a step-by-step tutorial of systems. The idea is to clarify the process, help you come up with ideas that will work for you, and help you make a decision to implement.

If you need things set up for you or you want some one-on-one guidance to do it yourself, you can email me and we can discuss that.

One thing you likely all have in common is you get overwhelmed by something related to your business.

For those of you making consistent money from month-to-month, whether you have a VA or not, you probably have quite a busy schedule working with clients, possibly speaking events, workshops, marketing, program and product creation, and more. The last thing you want is to sit down each day and watch an hour-long video and go through a list of time-consuming exercises.

For those of you who are newer to business and you have virtually nothing set up, you likely get overwhelmed by too much information, too many action steps, and not knowing what to do next.

I’m inviting you to “Get clear, get automated and get visible… in just 5 days!” So you can build your email list and attract more clients. It’s a free 5-day challenge designed particularly for coaches, speakers and consultants, although it really applies to any entrepreneur. It starts July 17th. You can go to https://thevirtualsolution.com/5-day-challenge.

This is the first time I’ve offered this type of online event, so I have no idea how many people will decide to join us. I’m going to set up a private Facebook group where I’ll do a short Facebook Live broadcast each day. I’ll also send an email out with the details of the challenge each day.

I’m going to try to keep the daily Facebook Live videos fairly short and generally focused on one subject, and I’m going to try my best to pack as much into that time as I can without making it too confusing or overwhelming. If you can’t make it live for the broadcast, you can watch it later at your convenience.

I hope you’ll find the exercises fairly simple, although some of you will breeze through them faster than others, depending on where you are in your business. Some days it will just be one exercise, and other days there might be a multi-part exercise.

You can make so much progress in your business by taking even one baby step or micro action step each day. It’s all in the action.

The free “Get Clear, Get Automated and Get Visible… in just 5 Days” Challenge starts July 17th.

Learn more here: https://thevirtualsolution.com/5-day-challenge

 

It’s the Holidays… They Won’t Buy My Services

Holidays

It’s that time of year. The holidays. The end of the year. The end of many business owners’ fourth quarter. Quickly heading toward the new year. Understandably, you would think this is when many businesses slow down and possibly stop, with the exception of retail businesses, that is. With Christmas presents bought or still to buy, it would be easy for me to think that business owners have no money or budget left for extras and projects, and no time to focus on growing their business.

This couldn’t be further from the truth, at least not for the successful business owners. That’s not to say they don’t take time off to enjoy the holidays and spend time with their families, but it seems to be a common time of year when they have been reflecting on everything they haven’t gotten done this year, and they want to get a jump on it for the start of the New Year so they can come into the New Year swinging and ready to catapult their business growth.

I have 3 tips for you as the New Year approaches:

1. Don’t stop marketing your business just because you assume people are busy and have no money in December. Not true! People are reflecting on what they haven’t done this year in their life and in their business, and they find money for the things they want. If you’re a life or wellness coach, your ideal clients are starting to think about their New Year’s resolutions, how they’re going to deal with falling off their diets during the holidays, what they want to improve or change in the coming year, and they’ll need support, guidance and accountability. Provide the solution to their problems.

2. It’s not too late to add onto your fourth quarter income. It ain’t over ‘til it’s over. There’s still time before the end of the year to make some sales and get some contracts signed. Get cracking! Focus on those revenue-generating activities.

3. It’s the perfect time to invest in your business. Many are strategically investing in their business at the end of the year for tax purposes so they can get better tax deductions and refunds. Talk to your accountant to see how additional fourth quarter business-related purchases can benefit you come tax time.

The same as last year, I’ve had so many coaches and consultants contact me this month about different projects they want done and systems they want set up, particularly for a landing page package for their free gift so they can grow their email list, they’re ready to set up a new product or program, or they want to get their website done so prospects can find them online. This is great, I love getting these things set up and done so they can get their marketing plan implemented and running on schedule for the first of the year.

Once your systems are in order, I also have a Boost Your Online Visibility package to help you with that once you have the basics set up, and there are also in-depth strategy and consulting sessions to clear confusion or create a marketing plan.

I am always upgrading my education and skills in the industry, so I have chosen to invest in my business, once again. I signed up for a speaker training course for virtual assistants so I can better serve clients and potential clients who speak or want to get into speaking. I hadn’t planned it ahead of time and I hadn’t specifically budgeted for it, but the opportunity came along and I knew it would benefit both me and my clients, so I jumped on it.

Do I have the time to spend on it? Not really. I’m not sitting around doing nothing this time of year, like I half expected to be, but I’ll find the time. I only just started the course, so I’ll tell you more about this early in 2017, but if you’re a speaker or want to be a speaker, I’ll be better able to help you research and find gigs, pitch you, help you create a speaker kit, help you create a contract that you can have reviewed by your lawyer, help market your speaking services, and more. Feel free to reach out in the meantime if you have any questions.

Did you complete everything you had hoped to in 2016? Are your systems set up and is your marketing plan ready for you to leap into 2017? I have opened up a few spots in my calendar for a Complimentary Discovery Session before the end of the year and after the New Year if you want to chat about systems you need set up or what kind of marketing strategy you may need created. Click HERE to schedule a time.

Coaches

Sorry, Coaches. If You Build it, They Won’t Come!

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As coaches and entrepreneurs, many of you have probably heard this many times, and it’s true. If you build it, they won’t come.

You build your website. It’s awesome! You create your IFO (irresistible free offer) to build your email list, build a landing page for it and put an opt-in box on your website. You know it offers high value. You create products and add them to your website. You create your social media profiles and pages.

And then crickets. Nothing. You might get some followers on social media, but most of them are probably friends and family.

Now what? Who cares, except you?

You have a gift and talent to help people, and nobody even knows you exist.

Honestly, it takes time, patience, perseverance and consistency to become the go-to expert that potential clients flock to. It’s not going to happen overnight. You have to make it happen.

How? There’s no one specific thing, although you may find that some methods work better for you and your target market than others. But generally, it’s a number of different factors and strategic activities that all send people back to your website and lure them into your sales funnel with your IFO, including the following:

  • Networking
  • Speaking events
  • Blog posts
  • Search engine optimization (your website and blog posts must be optimized for Google)
  • Social media activity
  • Advertising
  • Free teleseminars/webinars
  • Joint venture activities

So, no, if you build it and do nothing with it, they won’t come. You need to build the “Know, Like and Trust Factor” and drive the traffic to your site. You need to set up the aspects of your Client Attraction, Relationship and Sales Systems that will work together to help you reach your goals. If you want an online business with no limits and endless possibilities for growth, then sit in the driver’s seat and make it happen. Honestly, this is what separates the 6 and 7-figure coaches (and even the upper 5-figure coaches) with a successful online business from the hobby owners.

Ready to learn more?
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The Only 3 Systems You Need to Have a Successful Online Coaching Business

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What Do Entrepreneurs, Pokémon Go, and Your Target Market Have in Common?

Pokémon Go

Just one or two days into all the Pokémon Go hoopla, and I was asking when the novelty would wear off because I was tired of hearing about it. I’ll be honest that it doesn’t interest me at all, even though I think I’ve finally figured out what it’s all about.

However, scrolling through my Facebook news feed, a video caught my attention. It was posted by NowThis and the caption was, “This Uber driver is taking riders on Pokémon Go expeditions.”

(Looking into it further, I found that the caption was wrong and he is not an Uber driver. I don’t know the specific details or legalities of his business.)

Pokémon Go was released and everybody went crazy over it. Tom Larkin saw a business opportunity to help people catch Pokémon. He and his guide take them to Pokémon Hotspots for $10/hour. I’m sure he could easily charge more and he probably should be, considering gas, upkeep, and his time. He said within an hour his inbox was full of requests to take people to find certain types of Pokémon and to go to Poké stops to get Poké balls.

This is genius. This is entrepreneurship and total marketing genius!

He saw the new obsession, and he saw the desire for people to travel to catch Pokémon and get Poké balls. He was open to creative ideas, thinking outside of the box. They had a need; he had a solution for that need.

Of course, he’s not the only one. Ads are popping up on Craigslist, offering Pokémon chauffeur services to dedicated players. According to Polygon.com, “One driver says they’ll pick up drivers at a requested location and drive them around the city… This particular driver is charging $30 for the first hour and $20 for every hour after that. They will not, however, do anything illegal like stop in the middle of the highway, users must wear seat belts, and they’re not speeding.”

They also state, “One driver is offering free Wi-Fi so players don’t have to burn through their data plan while hunting Pokémon. They tout themselves as an experienced delivery driver and Pokémon trainer who knows all of the best local locations and can take players to gyms they didn’t even know existed. This driver is also charging $30 an hour…”

Obviously it’s much safer to hire a chauffeur than for them to drive themselves around, causing an accident while trying to capture a Pokémon (using a phone while driving is illegal in most places), but are these Pokémon fans foolish to pay money to have someone drive them around so they can catch Pokémon and get Poké balls for a game? Well, probably, but that’s not really for us to decide. People will find money for things that they want and for things that motivate them, and it’s up to them how they decide to spend that money.

These drivers saw an opportunity arise and quickly took action. They are very clear on who their target market is, what their needs are, what solution (service) they can provide to them for that need, they knew where to find them, and they clearly marketed their services to them.

Apparently, we can learn something useful from this Pokémon Go craze after all, as well as gain inspiration.

As a coach, how can you be creative and think outside the box in your business? Are you clear on your target market, what their needs and pain points are, and how you help them or fill that need?

Do you consistently relay that clarity to your target market in your marketing – your elevator pitch, your website, your blog posts, your social media profiles/pages AND activity, your videos, your free gifts or lead magnets, your emails and newsletters, your landing pages, your sales pages, and your teleseminars and webinars?

Be clear. Be consistent with your messaging and marketing activities. Think outside the box. Look for new opportunities. Be clear. Be consistent.

Canadian Virtual Assistant

Are You Slacking Off? Can Your Business Run Without You?

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As I write this, it’s summer. The sun is shining, the weather is warm and, if you’re like me, you just want to spend time outside doing the activities you love! You probably want to spend the summer vacationing, and rightly so. You should—BUT only if your business can run without you. Just because you’re vacationing doesn’t mean you should close down your business during that time. That’s the WORST thing you could do.

So come clean. Are you slacking off in your business right now? Why are you slacking off?! How is this beneficial to your business in the long run?

Your business finances reflect your activities of the past 60-90 days.

If you close your business down for the summer or part of the summer because you want to vacation and you assume nobody works during the summer months anyway (which is wrong), you’re going to be in for a big disappointment come fourth quarter when you look at your income totals!

How can you take the much needed and desired time off without taking a nosedive in the fourth quarter? You plan for it. You design it. Just like you schedule your coaching calls, programs, and launches around your vacation schedule, you make sure you have a team in place to keep your business running for you while you’re relaxing on the beach or camping. Depending on where you are in your business, your team could be one virtual assistant, or it could be an online business manager and several virtual assistants.

You make sure the marketing doesn’t stop.

Your team can continue to send out your newsletters and emails, they will keep your social media accounts active, they will keep promoting your products and services, they can prepare the set up and promotions for the upcoming teleseminar/webinar you may be hosting when you return (or that you may “pop in” and host during your vacation), and they can address customer service issues and questions in your absence.

If your team is smart and savvy, they can automate most of the marketing, scheduling it ahead of time, and they will be able to take off some much needed time as well.

You don’t stop marketing just because you’re vacationing. If anything, it should increase so you can ensure growth continues and you can finish the year with a strong fourth quarter, meeting or surpassing your income goals for the year.

What are you doing this summer? Have you properly prepared your business for summer vacations and a strong fourth quarter? Tell me in the comments below.


Need help and guidance in putting those systems in place? Are you ready for The Virtual Solution? Schedule a 30-Minute Complimentary Discovery Session Below:

Click here to schedule a Virtual Assistance call if you are just getting started with delegating and/or you’re making six figures or less.

Click here to schedule an Online Business Management session if you already have a team in place and/or you’re making six figures or more.

How to Market Your Business Online to Find More Clients – Pt. 3: Social Media

Social Media Virtual Assistant

In part 3 of How to Market Your Business Online to Find More Clients, we’re going to cover social media.

These are some older stats, so you can be sure that the numbers have increased significantly since then.

In 2012, Yola reported that 69% of consumers were more likely to use a local business if it has information available on a social media site. I know this is true for me. I check out most businesses online before I visit them. If they don’t have an active social media account, and especially if they don’t have one at all, I may feel like they aren’t up with the times and don’t care about their customers. This may be a really unfair judgement, but I’m sure I’m not the only one who has had those thoughts cross their minds.

In fact, Small Business Can said that 59% of social media users think companies who use or are active in social media seem to be more approachable.

The truth is, we’re not only living in an online world, we’re living in a social media world, and according to Vocus, 85% of customers expect businesses to be active in social media.

In 2011, it was reported on Hubspot that 41% of B2B companies and 67% of B2C companies have acquired a customer through Facebook. I wish I had found a more up-to-date statistic to compare because I am sure those percentages are much higher now. I have acquired many clients through Facebook.

As of 2011, the number of marketers who said Facebook is “critical” or “important” to their business had increased 83% in just 2 years. (Source) That is huge – 83% in just 2 years!

In 2012, State of Inbound Marketing said that 80% of US social network users prefer to connect to brands through Facebook. This is true for me, but I spend a lot of time on Facebook.

However, InboundWriter.com found that LinkedIn generates more leads for B2B companies than Facebook, Twitter or blogs individually. Yet only 47% of B2B marketers say they are actively using LinkedIn vs. 90% on Facebook.

What social media platforms you focus on for your business really depends on who your target market is and where they hang out. You really need to know this to make sure you’re spending time and money in the right places. You can’t just go by what works for somebody else or some other business. You might love Facebook or Twitter, but if your target market isn’t spending time there, you’re not going to reach those people and see results from your efforts.

For my business, I find I get the best results from Facebook and LinkedIn. Depending on your business, you might get the best results from Twitter or Pinterest.

You need to optimize your social media accounts to reach and connect with your ideal clients, offer value (ex. tips, blog posts that link back to your blog, etc.), build the ‘know, like trust factor’, and be social with them so they consider you a friend and trusted resource.

Not only can you create a trusted relationship with potential clients and customers through social media, but SEO.com revealed that 70% of small businesses are using social media to improve their search engine optimization.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with that term, this means how easily you are found in the search results when somebody Googles (or searches) for any terms that are related to your business. If somebody is specifically looking for a product you sell, if they have a question about a problem that you can solve, if they want to learn about something you teach, or even if they are searching specifically for your business but they don’t know your website, you want those people to be able to find your website easily, without having to scroll though pages of search results.

How can social media help you rank higher or more often?

  • Your Facebook page, your Twitter profile, your LinkedIn profile, your Pinterest account, your YouTube account, etc. are all searchable, both on the actual social media sites and through the search engines. Your accounts will register in the search engines, which should also link back to your website.
  • If you’re sharing blog posts and videos that link back to your website, you are specifically sending people back to your website and creating more of those quality links. If people share your social media posts containing these blog posts and videos, you will reach more people and send more people back to your website. This content may also show up in the search engines.
  • If you have social media share buttons available on your website’s blog posts, people have the opportunity to share what they like on their favorite social media sites. This gives you more exposure, but it also tells search engines such as Google that you have quality content that people want to see.

Don’t forget that you can also use social media to grow your email list! You can promote your free gift and events to your audience both for free and through paid advertising that is targeted to the exact people you want to reach. This means that you have increased access to these people and you can contact them directly by email, as you continue to educate them and invite them to work with you or take action on your offers.

Conclusion

In conclusion, find out what social media sites your target market is spending the most time on. Those social networks are where you may want to consider focusing most of your efforts on. Share quality content that educates and links back to your website, make sure your social media networks are linked to your website, make sure your blog posts have social media share buttons so your readers can easily share with their friends, and use social media to strategically grow your email list.

If you hate social media, you don’t understand it, or you just don’t have time to be bothered with it, you really need to consider hiring a social media manager or virtual assistant to get you set up, create the content for you, and help create that ‘Know, Like, Trust Factor’ on your behalf. In this age of social media, if you continue to ignore your target market on social media, you may be losing out on significant business growth and profit, while your target market is drawn to your competitors who are reaching out to them, communicating with them, educating them, and making them feel special.

If you need help getting set up on social media, you would like to create a consistent social media presence, and you would like help to grow your email list, CLICK HERE to set up a Complimentary 30-Minute Discovery Session with me and we’ll come up with a plan for your social media success.

Canadian Virtual Assistant

How to Afford a Virtual Assistant When You Have No Money – Simple Formula!

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“I need a Virtual Assistant SO badly, but I just can’t afford one right now.”
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I hear this frequently. Here’s the thing. If you keep using that as an excuse, you will likely never be able to afford one. Why? Because there is only so much you can do to grow your business alone. There are not enough hours in the day for you to complete all of the “busy work” and focus enough time on revenue-generating activities.

By making a few tweaks in your daily habits and activities, and choosing to use your time wisely, you can easily afford a virtual assistant. Unless you already have a booming business and you don’t need or necessarily want more income, you can’t just delegate work to a virtual assistant and then sit back and do nothing. You have to step up your game and put in the effort to connect with more ideal clients. The desire to succeed and the commitment to taking action is all that’s needed.

I’ll explain exactly how you can afford a virtual assistant in just a moment, but first I want to ask you something. How much stuff do you have on your to-do list or your wish list that is just not getting done?

What are the consequences of not getting these tasks completed? What opportunities are you missing out on?

Which Situation Describes You?

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  • Are you overwhelmed because there are not enough hours in the day to do everything yourself and do it well?
  • Do you procrastinate on projects and tasks because you don’t know what to do or where to start?
  • Do you focus so much time on trying to get administrative and techie tasks done that you spend no time on revenue-generating activities that bring in or lead to more money?

If any of those situations sound familiar… well, how is that working out for you so far?

If you completed the exercises in my last article How to Delegate to a Virtual Assistant, look at your list of tasks that can be delegated and the list of tasks/projects you procrastinate on, that just never get done.

Are you an expert in all of these areas? Do you enjoy doing all of these tasks? Are these tasks that you can bill clients for or that will directly lead to you making more money? For most of you, probably not! Even if you do enjoy those tasks, it doesn’t mean it’s a wise use of your time to do them.

The Simple Formula for Affording a Virtual Assistant

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There are probably tasks that you are spending 3-4 hours on that a virtual assistant could get done in 1-2 hours. You can’t bill clients for those 3-4 hours, so you aren’t making any money at all during this time.

Get out your pen and a piece of paper. How much do you value your time at on an hourly basis? Write it down.

As an example, let’s say you value your time at $100/hour (although as a coach it should be MUCH, MUCH higher than that). If you are wasting 3 hours on administrative or techie tasks, you are losing $300 because that’s 3 hours that you can’t bill clients for.

If it takes a Virtual Assistant 1 hour to complete those same tasks and she charges $50/hour, you could be paying the Virtual Assistant $50 for that work while you are spending your 3 hours on revenue-generating activities and working with clients, billing for $300 or more.

Let’s pause for a moment while you work that out for yourself, because you may not believe me yet.

 

Your value per hour $_____

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Typically, how much of your day do you spend on administration and techie work? ____ hours.

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Your value per hour $_____  x  _____ hours (the number of hours you are spending on non-billable tasks such as administration and techie work) = $______.

 

That is how much more you could be making per day if you choose to spend that time on revenue-generating activities instead. Is this starting to make sense yet? Do you see the potential here?

Tell me again, how exactly is this costing you more money to hire a virtual assistant? Using my example of $100 per hour (low rate) for a coach/consultant and $50 per hour for a virtual assistant, by hiring a virtual assistant for those tasks that are tying up 3 hours of your precious time and choosing to use your time wisely to find and sign on new leads, you are actually making $250 ($300 – $50 = $250) instead of nothing.

What Exactly Are Revenue-Generating Activities?

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Revenue-generating activities are any activities that lead to you getting a new client or directly bringing in income. Here are some examples:

  • Calling leads
  • Scheduling speaking engagements /opportunities
  • Scheduling workshops
  • Networking
  • Following up with past clients, potential clients, people you met at networking events, etc.
  • Scheduling consultations/discovery sessions/strategy sessions
  • Asking for referrals
  • Launching a new product or offer (if you have an established list to market to)
  • Initiating or developing a joint venture relationship
  • Sending a warm letter

It is often recommended by business coaches to do 1-3 revenue-generating activities first thing every day, before you do anything else, before you check your email, before you go anywhere near social media, before you get sucked in by the “busy” work that you allow to distract you from doing the activities that you would prefer to avoid. (I get it. It happens to me too!)

So next time you spin your story about how you can’t afford a virtual assistant, remember it’s up to you – and no one but you – to change that.

If you’re ready to get out of that overwhelm and start making more money, click here to set up a Complimentary Discovery Session. I currently have openings for 2 motivated clients.

What is your biggest takeaway from this article? How much money do you think you may be losing per day by doing all of the “busy work” yourself? Please share below!

Virtual Assistant

How to Start Delegating to a Virtual Assistant So You Can Find More Time and Make More Money

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“Lisa, I’m in front of my computer all the time. How can I have more time and use my time for revenue-generating activities when there is so much work to do?”

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It takes a lot of work to run a business online. There is administrative work, bookkeeping, email marketing and newsletters, social media marketing, website and blog upkeep, product and program creation, product launches, phone calls, and other forms of online and offline marketing, and you need time to work with clients.

If you try to do all of these things yourself, you will drive yourself crazy. There are not enough hours in the day. Not only that, but you will be focusing so much time on trying to get the administrative and techie tasks done that you will be spending no time on revenue-generating activities, and you will not be making very much money. You will be complaining about how busy and broke you are. That doesn’t sound like a very successful plan, does it?

Are you an expert in all of these areas? For most of you, probably not. Do you enjoy doing all of these tasks? For most of you, probably not. Even if you do enjoy doing all of these things, should you be doing them? What is it that you want to do? Do you want to be a coach or do you want to be a Virtual Assistant? If you want to be a coach, you should not be doing the work of a Virtual Assistant.

There are probably tasks that you are spending three-to-four hours on that a Virtual Assistant could get done in one-to-two hours. You can’t bill clients for those three-to-four hours, so you aren’t making any money. Not good.

List #1 – Your Daily Schedule

What are you doing on a daily basis? Where are you spending your time? You need to know this before you can make changes.

1. First, for a minimum of one week, write down everything you do on your computer every day that’s business-related. Keep a list by your computer and write down every task.

2. At the end of the week, go through that list and identify everything that you’re doing that doesn’t HAVE to be done specifically by you. Those are tasks that can be outsourced.

3. Prioritize that list in the order of most important to least important, and make note of which tasks take up larger amounts of your time.

4. Start by delegating the most important and most time-consuming tasks on your list. That gives you a place to start, and you can continue adding the other tasks over time.

List #2 – Your Procrastination List

What tasks have you been putting off, that are just not getting done? Either you don’t want to do them or you don’t know how to do them, and the procrastination is stunting your business growth in some way.

1. Make a list of all the things that you have been putting off or that just aren’t getting done.

2. Identify the tasks that don’t have to be done specifically by you or that you don’t know how to do.

3. Prioritize the list from most important to least important.

4. Pick a reasonable deadline for the top three items on the list. When would you ideally like to see these completed by?

5. Start by delegating the most important tasks on the list and work on getting them checked off or implemented, one at a time.

Choosing the Right Virtual Assistant

Once you know exactly what you need help with, then you can start looking for the right Virtual Assistant for your business. Not all Virtual Assistants have the same experience, not all Virtual Assistants offer the same services, not all Virtual Assistants will have a passion for your particular business niche, and not all Virtual Assistants will be a good fit personality-wise.

Do you need help primarily in bookkeeping, administrative, or techie work? These are just a few general categories that I’m using as an example (you can also break them down more – social media manager, website, etc.). This is important to know. If you need help in all three areas, you may be able to find a competent and knowledgeable Virtual Assistant who offers services in all of these areas. Perfect.

In some cases, you may find that it’s a better option to hire separate Virtual Assistants who specialize in administrative or techie work (or whatever the categories might be), as well as a virtual or local bookkeeper. You don’t have to hire everybody at once. Look at the priorities on your lists and decide where you need the most help first. Start there and add to your team over time. Having a team will take a little bit more time to manage on your part (unless you also hire an online business manager to take on that role of managing, organizing, strategizing, and delegating).

If you’re new to the idea of hiring a Virtual Assistant, keep things as simple as possible starting out. This will make it an easier transition for you. Know what it is you need help with and what items you want to start with. Be prepared to do some research to find the right Virtual Assistant, and don’t be afraid to ask others for referrals.

Most importantly, once you begin to free up your own time, don’t waste it! Get strict with yourself, dedicate that time to revenue-generating activities, and watch your business grow!

Are you ready to get started? Schedule your Complimentary 30-minute Discovery Session to discover if we would work well together:

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Virtual Assistant in Canada for Coaches

Do You Struggle Financially as a Coach? Here’s What to Do!

Financial
This is part three of my recap on Pat Mussieux’s Wealth Makers Toronto event, and this article is all about money!

Recent Statistics Canada data shows that over two-thirds of micro-sized firms (less than five employees) and almost half of small sized firms (5-99) fail within five years of start-up. That’s a little scary, isn’t it?

Businesses fail because of:

  • Poor general management
  • Poor financial management
  • Under capitalization
  • Poor record keeping
  • Poor forecasting
  • Shortage of cash flow

I’m around that five-year mark from when I first started freelancing (before I officially called myself a virtual assistant), but I’m determined to be successful and to continue to grow my business to a point where it is completely sustainable. It’s not easy. It takes work, and investing in yourself and your business, and I’ll be darned if I’ve done all this work and spent all this money for nothing! I’m pleased with how I’ve been able to grow my business slowly but steadily each year with very little help, but there is a certain point where you either plateau or you realize your business just isn’t growing fast enough and you need some kind of help.

Invest in Your Business

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It takes money to grow a business. Invest in yourself and in your business. This may look like marketing training programs, a business coach, a bookkeeper, a virtual assistant. Pat suggests getting the support you need right out of the gate.

If you have chosen your mentors wisely and follow the advice given, you will make your investments back quickly, and so much more.

Hiring a bookkeeper and a virtual assistant will be a no-brainer because, think about it for a minute… how many hours per day do you spend on administrative and technological work? You aren’t getting paid for those hours. What is the average value of your time on an hourly basis? What if you spent that time on revenue-generating activities instead? How much more would you make? Probably more than you would be paying bookkeepers and virtual assistants for that time.

Stating Your Fees and Closing the Sale

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When you are in business, you do not barter. If there is no cash transaction, there is no business. Business is all about money transactions, and 80% of sales are made on the fifth to twelfth contact (email, phone call, etc.)

Stop assuming, “My clients won’t pay.” It’s none of your business how much other people can afford and it’s not your place to decide what they can afford. People have money. You’ll see people who are unemployed or on a very low income going out and buying big, wide-screen TVs. They want it and they find the money for it. People have money for the things they want. If people see the value in your product or service, they will find the money for it.

However, a confused mind will not buy. When having the sales conversation, make one recommendation based on who you’re speaking to and their pain points. Have options at hand in case you need them.

Be clear about your fee for service. If you’re not confident about it, walk around the house saying, “My fee is.” When you tell someone your fee (confidently), shut up and let them internalize it. Wait for them to speak.

To close the sale, get the commitment and repeat back what you’ve agreed on. Then get the credit card information right then and there. Get two credit cards on file when possible. Then explain the next steps. Keep it simple.

Here Is Your To-Do List

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  • Raise your fees. Many of you are giving away too much!
  • Track your leads and your income daily.
  • Create a stretch money goal for the month and for the year. Post it where you will see it daily.
  • Remember it’s none of your business how much other people can afford.
  • Practice stating your fees until you can say it confidently.
  • Hire a business coach. You need the guidance and accountability.
  • Hire a bookkeeper and a virtual assistant.
  • Focus your time on revenue-generating activities, not on administration and technology.

Don’t Procrastinate

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Don’t wait until the New Year to start thinking about the changes you are going to make and what you are going to implement. At the very least, get the plan in place and make the necessary arrangements now so you can hit the ground running at the first of the year, if not before.

If you don’t already have a business coach, figure out who you relate to best and who can help you double or triple your revenue in the next year.

If you don’t have a virtual assistant, make a list of all of the non-revenue-generating activities you need to delegate and what items you want to start with. Research, ask for referrals, and choose the virtual assistant who specializes in tasks that you need help with and that you feel a connection with. Keep in mind that some virtual assistants may only have one opening, so if you know you need help, make your decision and move forward with it.

If you wait until you have all of your ducks in a row to make decisions and commitments, it will never happen and the next year will look the same as the last, financially. It’s about progress, not perfection. 

Some Questions to Ponder…

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If money were no object, what would your business look like? What one point in this article made you step back and think? What are you going to commit to doing? Add your comments below!

Coaching Business Canadian Virtual Assistant

Is Your Marketing Attracting More Clients to Your Coaching Business?

This is part two of my recap from Pat Mussieux‘s Wealth Makers Toronto 2014 event, focusing this time on the Marketing section. This information is compiled from my notes and from some points stated in the Wealth Makers Workbook.

networking-and-marketing

As a virtual assistant, improving my marketing interests me not only for my own business, but also because I handle many online marketing activities for my clients. However, there are some things I just cannot do for you. You have to be clear on your message and your target market, you have to do the networking yourself, and you should do the actual follow-up yourself.

You know how important marketing is to your business. If you don’t have any clients, you don’t have any cash transactions. “If you don’t have any cash transactions, you have no business.” There are many aspects to marketing, including clarifying your message, utilizing social media, networking, and following up. 

Who do you want to help and why do you want to help them?

A confused mind will not buy. Are you a parenting coach or a relationship coach? Are you a career coach or a life coach? Pick one. Are you a Walmart or a Nordstrom? One is not better than the other, it’s just that the demographics are totally different and you need to know who you are marketing to.

If you’re having trouble with this, work with 100 people and then zero down on the main thing you are helping them with. Then you can create your marketing message and go get those people.

What motivates people to buy?

There are four main things people want, and you need to take these into consideration when deciding what your potential clients want and what you are going to help them with:

  1. More time
  2. More money
  3. Improved health
  4. Better relationships

What is the cost of them staying stuck? The external reasons might be loss of money, poor health, lack of time, lack of fun, not being able to take vacations or act on other opportunities. Internal reasons may be embarrassment, or feeling lonely, depleted, and unsatisfied. Be detached from those who don’t want to become unstuck. They need to make a decision, yes or no, whether or not they want your help.

Qualities of an ideal client

  • They are able and willing to pay what you’re worth
  • They have problems and challenges you love solving and working with
  • They know you can help them and are motivated
  • You actually like them and you wouldn’t mind if they were your next door neighbor.
  • They respect your time, skills, staff and space.

Social Media

I love this quote: “If you are not proactive enough to make sure that your business has an amazing online presence, then you are taking your business in the wrong direction.” – Ali Salman

Here are just a few of the social media stats and tips mentioned at the event or taken from the Wealth Makers workbook:

  • 91% of US consumers who use social media to search for local businesses do so with Facebook. (I know I quite often do.)
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  • 95% of US consumers have a Facebook account, compared to 62% on Twitter.
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  • 30 million businesses now have a Facebook Fan Page.
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  • Use Twitter to get the attention of media and higher level people.
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  • LinkedIn is the best social networking site for lead generation. (Watch for a future article on optimizing your LinkedIn profile.)
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  • LinkedIn is ideal for those of you who want to deal business-to-business, connect with industry/topic specific groups, and develop relationships for potential speaking opportunities.
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  • YouTube has passed Facebook as the largest social media site, with more than 1 billion unique users visiting YouTube each month and over 6 billion hours of video watched each month.

Social media doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Once you know what your goals are, what your promotional schedule will look like, and how much time you want to contribute yourself, your virtual assistant (me) can step in and create a regular presence for you by creating your social media content from blog posts and promotional material, scheduling it, and managing your profiles, if you wish.

Networking

Networking is like dating. Have respect, but also expect others to have respect.

Don’t go spreading your business cards around tables and under people’s noses. It’s tacky. Have a conversation and wait for someone to offer their business card before you offer yours.

Be genuine and sincere. Don’t be pushy and don’t stalk people!

Guard your business cards and be choosy about who you give them to. Don’t collect or accept business cards when they are not a fit and you’re not interested, and don’t give someone else hope you will contact them when you won’t. Don’t give your business card to someone you are not truly interested in developing a business relationship with.

Do not automatically add people’s email addresses to your email list just because they hand you their business card! Not only do people consider it rude, but it violates anti-spam laws. If they give you explicit permission to add them, then add them. Otherwise, if you have a free gift on your website, send them an email from your direct email account and offer the gift to them, providing them with the link to opt in. Let them sign up themselves if they want to. You can also add an image of your free gift and a link to the landing page on the back of your business card to encourage people to sign up.

Which reminds me of another important point that was brought up… don’t use emails like Hotmail, AOL, Yahoo for business! It’s very unprofessional looking and people will not take you seriously as a business owner. I started out with a Gmail address and a free blog site when I started my virtual assistant business, so I really do understand. If you’re starting out and cash flow is tight, as soon as you possibly can, get your own domain name and accompanying email address. It’s really important for your overall business image.

The Follow-up

Put the follow-up appointment(s) in your calendar before you go to the event, so you have that time blocked off. The follow-up is where many of us leave the money on the table. Apparently only 10% of people typically do any follow-up at all. Wow.

Some ways that you can follow-up:

  • Phone call
  • Email
  • Send-Out-Cards
  • Send a personal note and include an article of interest

These are just a few of the points that were covered on the marketing day. I could have added so much more, but I didn’t want to turn this into a plagiarized e-book! Next, I’ll be recapping the Money portion of the event. Of all of these marketing tips, what is your biggest insight or ah-ha? What got you thinking? What are you going to change or implement?

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