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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.

How to Work With a Virtual Assistant When You’re a Control Freak

virtual assistantAh, control freaks. I am one. I want to run and manage my own business, doing everything myself, including my own work and my clients’ work. I know one of these days I’m going to have to give in and hire someone to work for me. I want to… and yet I don’t!
I completely understand what you’re going through. It’s hard to let go and trust someone else to do something right. While we think it’s faster and easier to do everything ourselves, we are limiting our growth because there are only so many hours in a day and we are probably not focusing as much time on revenue generating activities as we should be.
While I completely understand what it’s like to be a control freak, I also understand what it’s like from a virtual assistant’s point of view.
Micromanaging
One of many things that drives a virtual assistant nuts is a control freak. Why? Because you tend to micromanage everything! Pretty much to the point where you might as well just do it yourself. It’s great to know what you want and to have a good understanding of how everything is done, but you have to develop some trust between you and your virtual assistant.
Your VA needs some room to breathe, some room to be creative, some room to offer suggestions or perhaps a better way to do something, and to feel that you have some amount of trust in him/her and his/her abilities. If you just plain don’t trust them and things aren’t going well, then they aren’t the right VA for you. That trust is important.
Micromanaging isn’t going to save you any time. The purpose of delegating is to hand it off to someone else to be done.
Do you continually check in on something being worked on, critiquing and testing processes before it’s even ready for you to look at?
That drives me batty! I’m not done yet! Of course it looks funky. Of course the opt-in isn’t fully functional yet. Of course you didn’t receive the autoresponder message. Of course the payment button isn’t hooked up yet. I’m still working on it. Of course the email layout looks funny or there are errors in the TEST email. I’m testing it. Go have a coffee and take a chill pill. I’ll let you know when I’m done working on it and it’s ready for your feedback! 🙂
What if you can’t just let go and you need to make sure things are done in a very specific way?
Well, there are some things you can do. You can create step-by-step processes for everything routine that needs to be done. These could either be written documents or screencast videos showing exactly how to do the task, step-by-step. While this may not be applicable to everything you are delegating, this is useful for teaching the VA something new, something routine that you want done in a very specific way, or for something that is specific to your business.
Even better would be to organize these into an Operations and Procedures Manual. This could be a large document that contains all of the instructions for every process in your business. If you have created screencast videos instead of documents for processes, you can include the link to the videos in the appropriate place.
Alternatively, you can have an Operations and Procedures folder in Dropbox or Google Drive that you can both access. Each process could have its own document, folder, or video (if you have lots of storage) within that main folder.
It takes a little bit of time to do, but you only have to do the documentation of each process once (unless the procedure changes). Then if something happens to your VA, another one can step in and more easily pick up where the previous one left off. This is a real timesaver for you in the long run. You can tell the VA what you need done and refer to the specific document/video.
Now that that’s done, you need to be able to trust your virtual assistant to be able to follow instructions and complete the tasks. At first, when the relationship is still new, you’ll certainly want to check up on the work afterward to make sure that everything was done correctly. But at some point you need to trust your virtual assistant to do the work.
Also, when your relationship is new, have your virtual assistant test everything thoroughly and wait for your approval before proceeding. This may be a newsletter or email broadcast, or perhaps a sales page. If they are writing social media content or blog posts for you, have them send you the material first and then publish it once you approve. This will allow you to see if there are any mistakes that need to be corrected, and hopefully in time you will feel confident enough in your VA to allow them to just go ahead and send or publish the material on their own, without having to go through you first.
Your VA wants to please you but also wants to feel that you trust him/her and his/her skills. It can sometimes take a few months in a new VA/client relationship to work out the kinks, for the two of you to get into a good rhythm and develop trust between the two of you, and for the VA to gain a good understanding of your likes, dislikes, and preferences. Give it a good chance to succeed but, at the same time, if it’s just not working, it might not be the right pairing for you.

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

money
“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!

Mindset for Coaches: Transforming Your Thoughts, Beliefs, Habits, and Decisions

I recently spent three days in Toronto at Pat Mussieux’s Wealth Makers Toronto event. I had a great time and took lots of notes. I’m going to talk about the mindset portion of it first and how it may relate to you, as a coach. Many of these points I had heard numerous times before, but it’s always helpful to have them reinforced or explained in a new way. I thought I would share some of my notes with you.

Mindset2

Thoughts and Beliefs

Beliefs are formed by the way we speak to ourselves and from what we internalize when we listen to what others say about us. Some examples might be, “I’m not smart enough, I’m such an idiot, I’m so stupid, I can’t do it, I’m too fat, I’ll never be able to…” What other people think of you is none of your business. Your value doesn’t decrease by someone’s inability to see your worth. You change yourself and your life by changing the way you think and how you talk to others.

Challenge your beliefs about what you are and are not, what you can and cannot do, what you do and do not deserve. What do you want for your life? What would it look like without the negative beliefs you hold?

You need to learn how to select your thoughts because you become what you believe. You have the power to choose your thoughts and, if it’s something you’re not used to doing, it may take some practice to make this a new habit.

Worry is negative goal-setting. If you’re familiar with The Law of Attraction, you attract what you focus on. Energy goes where your attention flows. If you are worrying about what might happen and what-ifs, you are setting yourself up for those exact things to happen, and you will allow them to happen to complete your belief that they will (or that they could) happen.

Failure is everywhere. At some point you are going to fail, and you have to fail to learn and make progress. Learn from your mistakes and failures, and move on. Courage is being afraid and doing it anyway.

Habits

Habits move you away from what you want or closer to what you want. Are your habits setting you up for success or failure? What are you doing every day, in both your life and your business, that is moving you toward your goals?

Example #1: Are you spending all day watching soap operas or playing on social media? These are my favorite time-wasters. Of course, save these favorite time-wasters for your much-needed down time. Don’t let these time-wasting activities take over your day. You’re not going to grow your business and make money that way.

Example #2: Are you making yourself busy on work-related activities, convincing yourself that you are working, but you’re not getting paid for those hours and they are not even moving you closer to getting paid or signing a contract with new clients?

For coaches, this may look like struggling with your website, newsletter, setting up your shopping cart system, or any administrative work, etc., when this is not something you are skilled at. It is probably taking you at least two-to-three times as long as it would take a me, a virtual assistant, to do these things. You are not getting paid for these hours and you are not any closer to enrolling clients or signing contracts. It’s what my coach often calls “busy work.” You need to delegate the busy work to a virtual assistant while you do the revenue-generating activities.

So, how do you deal with these habits that aren’t moving you closer to what you want, closer to reaching your goals and making more money? If you want a different life, you need to make some different choices. You either change the goal or change the habit.

Decisions

Are you making decisions based on emotion or on business? Watch where emotion is getting in the way of making decisions, charging what you’re worth, etc.

Those who want success badly enough don’t make excuses. When you make the decision that you want to succeed and that you will succeed, you set that in motion and nothing can stop you. You will find a way, no matter what. Success occurs when your dreams get bigger than your excuses.

Okay, so which of these impacted you the most and what are you going to do about it? What changes are you going to start to implement when it comes to your mindset? How do you see this benefiting your life and your business? Add your comments below!

Are you tired of struggling with your technology and systems? Schedule a Complimentary Discovery Session to discover how outsourcing to a virtual assistant can reduce your stress and free up your time.

Business Growth Doesn’t Happen Without Investing

piggy-bankBecause I’ve worked with business coaches a lot in my business, I have frequently heard how important it is to invest in your own business, but what does this actually mean? How do you invest in your own business? Why would you spend more money on your business when you need it for something else, like bills?

There are many ways you can invest in your business. You can invest in training courses to update or gain new skills. You can invest in new equipment to replace your old, dated or broken equipment that is limiting you. You can invest in business coaching so you can create goals and a plan to grow your business. You can hire a virtual assistant and/or personal assistant.

It’s important for me to have fairly up-to-date equipment that works well, and I’ve always been willing to invest in training courses because I could see the benefit of developing skills that my ideal clients are looking for, but that’s pretty much where I stopped. I did pay for some sporadic coaching and 4-week or 6-week group coaching programs, and those group coaching programs are really great for learning, but they are also limited in helping you succeed, especially if you don’t implement and take action.

The last couple of years I’ve been strongly suggesting, and in some cases insisting, that my clients and potential clients have a business coach because I was getting frustrated in seeing clients not follow through with their ideas, get distracted with bright shiny object syndrome, or just give up on their business because they’re not making enough money.

I have also seen how my clients who do have coaches are motivated, they have structured goals and plans, they are held accountable, and they are pushed past their fears and out of their comfort zones. They are also instructed by their coach to hire a virtual assistant, if they have not already. Why? Because they need somebody who is capable to help implement the plan that has been created and make sure all of the systems are in place, and it is not you, the coach, who should be spending time doing this and trying to figure out how all of the technology works. Your time is better spent elsewhere, especially when I can likely do the work in a fraction of the time.

When you, your business coach, and I work together to create and implement a plan, we really can do wonders in propelling your business forward and achieving financial growth for you at a much faster rate. It’s really exciting and satisfying for me to see the results.

I finally decided to walk my talk and invest in a business coaching and mastermind program. I enjoy the ongoing learning, the accountability, the networking, and support.

As summer winds down and we head back into fall, what steps are you taking and what commitments are you making to ensure your business growth and success? I want to hear about it! Have you updated your business equipment? Are you going to upgrade your skills? Have you purchased a new program or tool? Have you hired a coach? Have you hired a virtual assistant? Be sure to comment below!

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Are You Compliant With the New CASL Anti-Spam Email Marketing Law?

If you’re Canadian and you’ve been trying to comply with the CAN-SPAM email marketing federal law in the USA, then you’re on the right track, but there’s a new law in town that came into effect on July 1, 2014. This law also applies to anyone in another country sending mail to Canadians, so pay attention!

It’s the CRTC CASL anti-spam legislation, and if you’re participating in email marketing activities, you’re expected to be compliant. And no, ignorance will not save you. If you commit a violation under any sections of six to nine, you may find yourself facing an administrative monetary penalty (AMP). The maximum penalty (AMP) per violation for an individual is $1 million! But wait, for a business the maximum penalty is $10 million. Yikes! Don’t mess with the CASL. Make sure your email marketing is compliant.

Requirements

I’m not going to go through all of the aspects of the CASL, but I will highlight a few important requirements.

The three main requirements are:

  1. Obtain consent
  2. Provide identification information (on all of your emails). You must provide your mailing address. If you have a home business, it does not have to be a home address if you have a post office box number.
  3. Provide an unsubscribe mechanism

There are two types of consent: express and implied.

Implied Consent

Don’t rely on implied consent to send commercial electronic messages (CEMs). There is a transitional period of 36 months for implied consent beginning July 1, 2014 where there is an existing business or non-business relationship that includes the communication through commercial electronic messages. During this time, you will want to aim to get expressed consent from these people. The transitional period ends at the end of 36 months or when the recipient indicates that they no longer consent to receiving your commercial electronic messages – whichever comes first.

[Edit – this transitional period has now ended]

Express Consent

Express consent does not expire. You may obtain express consent in writing or orally, but the responsibility is on the person sending the message to prove they have obtained consent to send the message. CRTC suggests keeping track of whether consent was obtained orally or in writing, when it was obtained, why it was obtained, and the manner in which it was obtained.

The recordkeeping can be done to a certain extent by setting up your email marketing system with different campaigns/email lists for each method of opting in (recommended method) or being added to your system. Most email marketing companies strive to keep their systems in compliance with spam laws, but it is up to you to make sure your methods and emails are in compliance. Most systems track the date of opting in and confirming, and most require you to use double opt-ins, which is where people must click on a link they receive via email after opting in on your website to confirm they want to be added to your list. If you’re using a system that allows you to use single opt-ins, you are putting yourself at an increased risk of fines if you start receiving spam complaints.

I also recommend using double-opt-in to achieve this. As of 2017, I have added the double-opt-in process back onto all of my opt-ins. Another benefit to this is it helps prevent spammer signups and helps to maintain a higher quality list of prospects.

Pre-Checked Boxes

You cannot presume consent on the part of the end user by using a pre-checked box on a website contact form or purchase form, for example. According to the CRTC, ” Silence or inaction on the part of the end-user also cannot be construed as providing express consent. For example, a pre-checked box cannot be used, as it assumes consent. Rather, express consent must be obtained through an opt-in mechanism, as opposed to opt-out.”

In other words, you may use a blank check box that the user can actively check to opt in, but you may not use a pre-checked box that they have to opt out of.

Business Cards

This is a grey area. You are not allowed to collect business cards and just add the email to your email marketing list and spam them. If someone hands you their business card and tells you that you can add them to your email list or send them newsletters, that is still considered implied consent and you still need to be careful. I used to recommend, at the very least, specifically asking them for permission to add them to your email list. However, with how strict the spam laws have become, now instead of just adding them, I recommend one of the following:

  • You could send them a personal email (not adding them to your email marketing list – use your regular email). Don’t spam them, but remind them of how you met and how you enjoyed talking to them, and ask them if they would be interested in receiving your newsletter and/or promotions. This gives you written proof. If you’re using double opt-in, then you should be safe because they’ll have to confirm their email before they’re added.
  • You could send them a personal email (not adding them to your email marketing list – use your regular email). Don’t spam them, but remind them of how you met and how you enjoyed talking to them, and offer them your irresistible free offer that you have on your website, including a link to your landing page on your website. This, in my opinion, is the best and safest method because you are offering them a gift and you are encouraging them to opt themselves in, and their IP address will be automatically recorded in the email marketing system. I recommend double opt-in.

Sending to Foreign Countries

Also be aware that if you are sending email marketing messages from Canada to another country (for example, the United States), you must be in compliance with the foreign law for that country (ex. CANSPAM).

To learn more about the CASL anti-spam legislation, click here: http://www.crtc.gc.ca/eng/casl-lcap.htm

To learn more about the CAN-SPAM act, click here:
http://www.business.ftc.gov/documents/bus61-can-spam-act-compliance-guide-business

As a Virtual Assistant, I always try to be conscientious about anti-spam laws, and if you are one of my clients, you may have heard some of my warnings before. I will work with you to make sure you are following the rules and that your emails contain all of the requirements.

If you are a business coach or life coach who needs some virtual assistance help in the area of email marketing, I do have several packages available for you, including set-up and newsletter broadcasts. You can set up a Complimentary 30-minute Discovery Session to see if we are a good fit for working together.

 

 

How Joint Ventures Benefit Coaches & What’s Required

Coaches & Joint VenturesMany coaches get involved in joint venture partnerships, and as a virtual assistant who is familiar with the technical processes involved, I often have newer coaches asking why they would want to do joint ventures and what would be required.

In case you’re not really familiar with what I mean by a joint venture partner, it’s simply someone you can team up with to help sell your products or services. Coaches will often choose to enter a joint venture partnership to share strengths, grow their email lists, and increase their exposure to a targeted audience of potential clients in their niche. JV partners may help each other to make more sales through the increased exposure to each other’s community and email list, and both of you benefit from this through affiliate commissions.

The partnerships and activities may take a number of different forms. Some common examples for coaches are: 

  • Guest blog posts
  • Cross promotion in newsletters
  • Giveaway events (you donate an information product for free to help grow your email list)
  • Joint teleseminars or podcasts (you may be a guest being interviewed or you may interview your partner, giving them exposure to your online community)
  • Telesummits
  • Joint webinars
  • Joint coaching and/or online training programs, etc.

If the idea of doing these activities intimidates you but you still wish you could, you need to work with a business coach who has clients successfully doing these activities. I feel this is very important for my clients who are new to JV partnerships and are nervous about it, yet still interested. You need that kind of support, guidance, and accountability. You know you are limiting your business growth if you never step outside of your comfort zone.

So, you’re interested in doing joint ventures, you’ve found a coach to help you set goals and an achievable plan of action, now what? Before you make a firm commitment to be a JV partner, you have to know what systems you want and need set up to support your activities.

If you’re only looking to do activities to increase your list size, you may only need an account set up with an email marketing system, which you should already have, and a free gift. If it’s a giveaway event, the free gift may need to be something different than your regular freebie offered on your website, and with a higher value.

However, if you’re looking to have others promote and sell your products or programs for you, you need to have a reliable affiliate system. There are various options, but 1ShoppingCart (and private label systems) and Infusionsoft are two of the most commonly used systems that my clients use. If you plan to host teleseminars, webinars, or telesummits, you also need to decide what conferencing system you’re going to use. There are many to choose from, depending on what you need the system to do for you.

Most importantly, when choosing someone to partner with, you want to make sure that their message and offering is in alignment with your business and that it will be valuable to your contacts, but also that what you are offering will be of great value to your partner’s contacts. 

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Four Reasons Why You Need to Hire a Virtual Assistant Today

By Intuitive Business Coach, Michael Mapes:

Virtual AssistantOne thing I get asked all the time is, “When is the right time to hire a virtual assistant?” And my answer is always the same: no matter where you’re at in your business, if you want to be able to grow your business quickly, right now is the time to hire a virtual assistant.

No matter what stage you’re at, whether you’re a super-newbie or you’ve been at it for a while, you need at least 5 hours of VA support every month. As you grow, you will need additional hours of support.

Here are four reasons it’s essential that you get at least 5 hours of VA support in your business right now.

First, I constantly see business owners throwing their head against the wall when it comes to things like:

  • uploading copy
  • setting up their email marketing sequences
  • formatting their blogs
  • proofreading their modules
  • dealing with technology
  • finding time to respond to emails

This becomes such a huge time suck, and more importantly it takes you away from your three essential tasks as an entrepreneur

  • Seeing clients
  • Enrolling clients; and
  • Creating content for their programs/products/services.

In other words, without a VA you are being taken away from your NUMBER ONE role as an entrepreneur: being the creative force behind your business.

Second, people wait until it’s too late and make their job way harder. This is what I did, and I completely regret it. I waited until I was already close to booked solid to get help. And then had to take time out to train my team, versus having a VA in place as I grew that I could simply bring on for more hours, and that could help me train other team members.

Third, not hiring a VA is often a form of avoidance.

  • Are you changing your website around instead of making phone calls to potential clients?
  • Are you avoiding going to a networking event because you’re doing administrative work?
  • Are your fears getting in the way of high-value activities? So instead you focus on back-end administrative work?

Remember 80% of your time should be spent either seeing clients or marketing directly to clients (setting up strategy sessions, networking events, self-hosted intro workshops, webinars, emailing contacts etc.) and 20% (or less) should be spent on administration. Most entrepreneurs that are struggling have the 80-20 reversed!

Fourth, there are tasks that you can have a VA take care of that will directly increase the amount of money you bring in.

Tasks like:

  • Reaching out to people you’ve done strategy sessions with that didn’t buy to see if they want to hop on the phone and talk enrollment.
  • Re-purposing content and submitting it to magazines and article submission sites to drive more traffic to your opt-in.
  • Contacting various venues to see if they accept speakers.
  • Reaching out to potential JV’s and affiliates

Hiring a virtual assistant is a great way to increase your productivity, help you make more money, and get more clients. And the time is now!

As a special Thank-You to Lisa and her amazing readers I’d like to invite you to take advantage of my Get Clients Now Success Kit valued at over $300 at zero charge. You’ll receive tons of action strategies that you can use right now to make more money, get more clients, and help way more people. Get your copy at http://www.michaelmapes.org/lisa

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Why Coaches Need a Virtual Assistant

Small business owners, business coaches and life coaches are busy and, at some point, they often come to the conclusion that they can’t do it all and be successful at the same time. Their own business coaches will often tell them they need a virtual assistant.

CoachDoes any of the following sound familiar to you?

You get overwhelmed with trying to keep up with your online presence and trying to figure out technology. You may be struggling to keep up with your social media accounts and blog. You are trying to figure out how to make changes to your website and add sales/squeeze pages. You are collecting emails on your website, and trying to send out regular newsletters and email marketing campaigns.

You are trying to sort through the hundreds of emails in your inbox (often sending out the same answers to questions over and over again). You are trying to manage selling products and services in a shopping cart and on your website, as well as develop new products and services. You are trying to launch new products and promote them through joint ventures.

You are trying to schedule appointments and send the contacts the appropriate information. You are trying to provide customer service and refunds. You are trying to do copywriting for sales pages and maybe writing for an e-book or physical book. You are trying to place ads and listings online. You are trying to research new technology that you need. You are trying to manage online membership sites.

You are trying to set up virtual events (teleseminars or webinars), and send out the appropriate information and reminders at the right times, hoping there will be no glitches, and then you have to make sure the replay is available afterward and reminders sent out. Don’t forget to make sure all of the links and corresponding download pages or sales pages are set up and all working properly! You may have promised to have the call transcribed and made available to participants, so don’t forget about that or they’ll be hounding your for it!

Are you tired yet? I’m exhausted just writing about it! How much time does this leave you to work with clients and actually make money? What about a personal life? No wonder so many entrepreneurs are overwhelmed and stressed out!

Because you are handling your website yourself, you may not have the best security measures in place and… crap, your website just got hacked. Maybe your website and blog posts haven’t been optimized for SEO (search engine optimization), so no one can easily find you in a Google search anyway.

Projects aren’t getting completed because you’re overwhelmed. You either don’t have the time or you don’t know how to use the technology to put all the pieces together.

Emails are getting overlooked or response time is slow. Same goes for responding to voice mail and customer service inquiries.

Email marketing newsletters and broadcasts get sent out occasionally, and sometimes with typos or display errors (images in the wrong place because of email/browser incompatibility and lack of testing before sending).

Instead of having a consistent social media presence with a social media strategy and marketing plan, you disappear for days or weeks at a time, you market too much (buy from me, buy from me, buy from me), and/or your profiles may not be completely filled out and optimized. Or you may be wasting too much time on social media and not getting results. We all know how easy that is to do!

Then what happens if you get sick, go on vacation, go to a networking event, or host or attend a live coaching event? Will everything continue to run smoothly, or will everything pile up or fall apart because there is no plan and there are no systems in place?

Does all of this leave you any time to work with more clients and come up with creative new ideas for products and programs?

You need to focus your time on activities that:

  • Bring in the most money
  • You love to do
  • You are strongest in (your talents)

Everything else may need to be done, but does it need to be done specifically by you? Delegating does mean giving up some degree of control, but you always have input and the final say. If you already know exactly how everything works and the exact steps you need to have things done, you can always develop a procedures manual for a virtual assistant to follow. Otherwise, a virtual assistant with experience in specific areas can step in and get everything working for you. Depending on the help you need, this may require one virtual assistant or a few. Not all VAs are alike due to specialization and services offered.

If you would like to set up a Complimentary 30-minute Discovery Session to determine if we would work well together, you can schedule your preferred time in my calendar below:


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What the Heck is a Virtual Assistant?

Virtual AssistantI get asked this question all the time, “What is a Virtual Assistant? I’ve never heard of that before.”

Although virtual assistance has been around for a while, it’s still a fairly new concept, but it’s becoming more and more popular as successful businesses and entrepreneurs are almost required to have an online presence these days.

A Virtual Assistant is a highly-skilled, independent professional who remotely provides administrative, technical and/or creative business support services. A VA is not an employee, but a career partner with a multi-client business.

Virtual Assistants may have many titles (depending on experience level and services offered), including virtual business assistant, virtual administrative assistant, virtual receptionist, virtual office assistant, executive virtual assistant, real estate virtual assistant, virtual author’s assistant, virtual bookkeeper, virtual wedding planner assistant, social media manager, website designer, online business manager, etc.

Here is only a partial list of possible services:

  • Desktop publishing
  • Realtor support
  • Author support
  • Coach support
  • Executive support
  • Bookkeeping
  • Social media
  • Transcription
  • Research
  • Editing
  • Search engine optimization
  • Internet marketing
  • Backlinks
  • Keyword research
  • Website design
  • WordPress design and/or maintenance
  • E-book design
  • E-book publishing
  • Membership sites
  • Affiliate programs
  • Email marketing and list management
  • E-commerce
  • Customer service
  • Answering phone calls
  • Making phone calls
  • Data Entry
  • Advertising
  • Copywriting
  • Article/blog post writing
  • Article posting
  • E-zines and newsletters
  • Power Points
  • Press releases
  • Forum posting
  • Sorting emails
  • Replying to emails
  • Event planning
  • Virtual event planning
  • Product launch
  • Scheduling
  • Travel plans
  • Personal tasks

Many entrepreneurs who, in the past, would work with clients one-on-one and in person, have found that because of the evolution of the internet, they are no longer restricted to geographic location and the amount of money they can make per hour. Now, they can work with clients anywhere in the world and they can easily work with multiple clients at one time via Skype, conference calls, teleseminars and webinars. For those who sell products, they have found it extremely important to offer their products online because e-commerce is now a big industry. Entrepreneurs and small businesses also recognize the importance of having a strong social media presence. With so much to do and limited time to do it, many recognize that they just can’t do it all.

Some entrepreneurs have a small home business and they desperately need help, but they just can’t hire a full-time employee or they don’t have the space to hire an in-office assistant. Fortunately, a virtual assistant can be hired for certain projects and services, they are only paid for the time they actually work, and most services can actually be done virtually!

What do I do? I help Coaches, Trainers and Consultants with online technology and marketing so that they can have less stress, more time, and they can focus on making money. I do this through virtual assistance and online business management. You can click these links to learn more about my services.

What questions do you have about virtual assistants?