Category Archives for How to Start a Virtual Assistant Business

How to Brand Your Virtual Assistant or “Virtual Service” Business?

How to Brand Your Virtual Assistant or “Virtual Service” Business?

When you’re first starting a Virtual Assistant or Your “Virtual Service” Business, your brand is going to be pretty simple and basic. You may or may not have the money to hire a professional at this point, and that is ok. We all start somewhere with our businesses, right? Steve Jobs did not start out famous =-)

It is very important to remember that your brand is your first impression of your company. Especially when potential clients are coming to you from online traffic. And you have heard it before but I am going to say it yet again, 1st impressions are lasting impressions.

Your potential clients for your “virtual service business” will observe and relate to your brand. It is part of the connection process. The branding for your virtual service business relates to several different elements, including the traditional thinking of your logo, colors, fonts, design to your social element…the message you portray to your audience. It also includes how you speak within your blog post, and your videos and webinars as well.

1. Identify Your Business Vision and Mission.
Your vision and your mission must be true to who you are, yet be able to provide a clear understanding of the services you offer in your virtual service business. What do you envision for your company? What is your company’s soul purpose?

2. Identify Your “Perfect” Client.
If you could work with anyone, who would that be? What does your ideal client do for a business? How does their type of business impact the world? What are their interests, their hobbies, what do they do when they are not working? More importantly, what is their personality type? Are they “fun and loving” and like to joke or are they “all about business”? Are they mompreneurs or are they business men? Do they offer a product, or do they offer a service?

3. Identify the Services You Will Provide
What type of things do you enjoy working on? What do you excel at? What skills do you currently have? How would you provide value or service to the “perfect client”?

4. Choose a Business Name that is easy to remember =-)
Easy to remember and spell helps it stick in the potential client’s head. It is best to choose a business name that also has a domain name available as you will be working virtually. You do not need to include “Virtual Assistant” in your business name; that is entirely up to you…but in my opinion the shorter the better so that you don’t have to worry about someone mistyping or misspelling the domain name.

5. Choose colors that represent who you are and what you want to portray.
What colors represent your personality? What colors represent you, your business and your brand.

6. Get a Logo Designed.
I really recommend that you have a professional logo designed from the beginning even though it is more costly. But there are services that are fairly economical. Check out Swiftly.com when you are getting started out. When having your logo designed remember you will need a icon that can be used across all social media outlets. Make sure the icon represents your brand and your colors effectively.

7. Create a Brand that makes you different from your competition.
The fact is, no matter what business you are in…someone else offers the same “service” or product. So what makes you different? Know what makes you different. Understand why your potential client wants to work with you over Jane. Market that within your Brand.

8. What is your “Brand Promise”?
Do your potential clients clearly see and understand what they will get by working with you? What will the end result be? More time? A New Website Design?

Your brand is a representation of who you are and your business. Be true to yourself and your potential clients. Spend time creating your business brand, make sure your message is clear and that your perfect clients will not be able to resist you.

Make sure you share your brand on your website, your email signature, social media profiles and even your voicemail.

Your brand will evolve over time; it will change as you adapt to the perfect business model for you. It does not have to be perfect right from the start, that is ok. But it is important that you give it some time and focus as you begin to setup your business.

Virtually yours,

laura-beth-bastion

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Who is Your Ideal Client for Your Virtual Assistant Business?

Who is Your Ideal Client for Your Virtual Assistant Business?

It takes all type of clients to make the world go ‘round….seriously!

The clients you have will influence how well you like your virtual assistant business on a day to day basis.

So choose carefully!

I have worked with clients that I dreaded to get on the phone with! I have worked with clients that I can’t wait to work on their projects, and I am excited to talk with them.

It makes a difference.

If you have the dreaded client…they are not your idea client

Once you have established your business, DO NOT take on clients that you dread working with, trust me when I say this to you.

You will eventually regret it!

In the beginning, you might be learning who that “ideal client” is, and that is ok.

Just be sure you have an exit plan for clients that are not ideal.

This is your virtual assistant business. If you clash with someone, you do not have to work with them.

Do you have a good idea of who your ideal clients are?

Look at people you have worked for in the past. Take their pros and cons and keep the pros and form a profile of the perfect client! Who did you like to work for and why? Who did you NOT like to work for? And why not? These will help you immensely.

Here are a few things that all ideal clients should have

  • Ability to pay you on time: Nothing is more stressful than clients consistently paying their invoices late. If they cannot afford your services, they are not the perfect client.
  • Treats you with respect: They show respect to your skills and treat you as such. They will treat you as an equal.
  • Will give you projects in a timely manner: They won’t give you the information at 8:00 am and expect results by 9:00 am.
  • They are familiar and comfortable with having someone work virtually: They have to understand that even if you are not there physically, the job will still be done by the deadline and done right.
  • Understand technology: If they expect to communicate via email or chat, they must understand how those platforms work.
  • Communicate easily: They will tell you exactly what they want and by when they want it. You don’t have to try and read their minds. And they will give you constructive criticism if needed.

It sounds harder than it is to find an ideal client. There are thousands of people starting businesses online every day, not counting the entrepreneurs that are more established!

Here are other things to consider

  • Do you prefer to work with males or female entrepreneurs
  • Do you prefer to work in a particular type of business model, or industry ( Are they in real estate, are they a business coach, health coach, e-commerce?)
  • Where are they located? I personally prefer in the US, I have worked with clients in Australia, and London)
  • Do you prefer to work with clients who communicate via email, phone or instant messenger
  • Do you prefer project clients or long term clients?
  • What services will they require from you?
  • Do they require you be available during certain hours?
  • What task do you prefer to do?

Your perfect, ideal client will want the kind of services you offer.

You need to know what services you enjoy doing before you start choosing clients. Your Virtual Assistant business is about choosing to do what you love; it is not supposed to ever feel like the “JOB”. You should be excited to wake up and work!

Creating a client profile is very valuable. Eventually, you’ll know just by visiting with them for 10-15 minutes whether they are your ideal client or not. You need to feel good about going to work with them. You want to have a relationship that is strong and only gets stronger.

By taking the time to do a client profile and finding a client you feel good about, you will start building a virtual service business you truly love.

Now I would love to hear from you….who is your ideal client?

Virtually Yours,

laura-beth-bastion

 

 

 

 

P.S. If you are looking for more support, make sure you join our private facebook group!

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Are you running your virtual assistant services like a business or a hobby?

Are you running your virtual assistant services like a business or a hobby?

Are you running your virtual assistant services like a business or a hobby?

You can look up the law within your state/country on what the government considers a hobby or a business…

But here in the United States with the laws of the IRS, you do not want your business to be a hobby. Because you cannot take advantage of the “tax deductions” if it is a hobby

Of course, you want tax deductions for a business

BUT let’s face the facts what you really want …

Is to be able to always operate in profit mode, right?

If you’re running your virtual assistant business in profit…you’re definitely not a hobby and you do not have to worry about the IRS

Here are a few questions to ask yourself right now, no matter where you are at in your business, or what your business is:

  1. Are you totally invested in making your virtual assistant/ virtual service business a success?
    Or are you just going through the motions? Sleeping late, no business schedule, working too few of hours, and when you’re working focusing on the non-essentials…and wasting to much time on things like social media?
  2. Are you partially committed?
    What I mean by that is do you want a virtual assistant business to be a success, but yet you’re not willing to try new things outside your comfort zone. Including things like investing in products, or services that are essential to growing your business?
  3. Do you depend on the income from your virtual assistant business? 
    Most Virtual Assistants and entrepreneurs I see fail always have a cushion….meaning they have someone/ or something to fall back on if their business does not take off. Those who succeed usually have to! So set yourself a goal right now. Maybe that goal is $500 per month to pay a car payment. Make that car payment dependent on you making money. I promise you; you will work harder to achieve that goal. As you reach each goal, make a new goal and strive for that.
  4. Do you know your bottom line?
    You might know the purpose of your virtual assistant business is profit, but have you taken a serious look at your prices and finances?. Do you know what your true cost of doing business is? (IE Hourly Rate should include your expenses like insurance, tools, etc.) Do you know your value? Are you charging what you’re worth?
  5. Do you run it like a business in all legal aspects? Have you registered your business name?
    Have you checked into all the legalities of the area you live? Have you fulfilled that list of requirements? Have you set up a business checking account, business credit card, and merchant accounts? DO not mix the accounts, pay business expenses out of your business account and then pay yourself! Setup a method of accounting that works for you.
  6. Have you set realistic financial goals? Or any goals at all?
    Obviously, if you’re just starting out your business, it is probably not the size you want, or be bringing in the money that gives you the freedom you want. But have you set your goals? Do you know what is achievable at the rates you have set? Have you researched others in the field you are working? Do you know what the going rates are, or are you undercutting, just get clients? Can you do the work that is required in the time you have available, at the prices you have set to reach your personal financial goals? Have you set long-term financial goals?
  7. Are you continuing to improve your service, and skills to be more profitable?
    Are you continuing to grow your client base? Do you look for ways to add to the bottom line?It’s ok if you’re not starting out with a lot of skills, there are A LOT of great resources out there to help you. But spend the time and knowledge to get those skills. Do not think you can become a virtual assistant with no skills at all. Invest in yourself, and invest in your knowledge, GROW your skills.
  8. Do you have a professional brand/appearance in your business?
    Does your logo look amateur? Have you printed your business cards yourself? Does your business scream “homemade”, or “inconsistent”? Do you have an email address that is dedicated to your business? Do you have a domain name that you have registered or purchased?
  9. Do you have a dedicated place to do business?
    Online you should have a website where you can send people to learn more about you, your services and purchase from you. Offline, you should have a dedicated spot within your home to do business. Even if it is corner in your kitchen, set-up a dedicated place where you can keep all your business tools and go to during “business hours.
  10. Are you marketing, and promoting your virtual assistant business on a regular basis?
    Does your business exist only because of word of mouth advertising from your friends, or do you have a marketing plan to promote and advertising your business?  Or do you promote your business on a consistent basis online and offline, in networking groups

If you have answered “yes” to any of these questions, take a hard look at your virtual assistant business. There’s nothing wrong with a hobby unless you’re expecting it to pay your car payment each month.

But if you need to be able to pay the bills and have a business you love, and it is not happening for you, then start to look for outside help. If you already had what you needed you would be already getting the results you want!

Be honest with yourself, and find a way to fill in the holes, rather that be a mentor, a training course, a consultant, whatever you need, even if it is out of your comfort zone. And if you’re not ready to do this..then maybe it is time to reevaluate your “business.”

Are you struggling with running your virtual assistant services like a business?

I would love to hear from you!

Virtually Yours,

laura-beth-bastion

 

 

 

Disclaimer: I am not a tax expert, nor do I claim to be, check with your own government /CPA for the rules governing where you live.

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Are you still dreaming of starting your Virtual Assistant Business?

Are you still dreaming of starting your Virtual Assistant Business?

Just can’t find the push or motivation to get started?

Are you stuck deciding what to do and where to start? I bet you might even be wondering if you can do this, and you questioning your skills and abilities. You might even be wondering if you can make enough money to survive.

Even though I know you are good enough and you have what it takes….all you need to is START!

If you do not take the first step, nothing is going to change and tomorrow you are going to be in the same place that you are today.

I used to think procrastination is what stopped people from starting their Virtual Assistant Businesses. After several long conversations, I started to realize…it was not procrastination stopping them from starting the Virtual Service business.

Lets see if any of these reasons hit home…

#1 I don’t have any money… (How much does it really cost to start a Virtual Assistant Business anyways?)

Well you’re not looking at starting a retail chain. You’re looking at starting a virtual service business from home.

And …I bet you have almost everything you need right now. I said ….WHAT? Yep! I bet you have almost everything you need right now, your just not using it for business. And guess what? When you start building a business, these things are called “Tax Deductions”.

The world of the internet has made starting a business soooo much easier and less expensive than it used to be.

Most families already have a computer, internet and a telephone. They are just not using them to make money. Instead they are being used to waste time on Facebook and useless entertainment (not saying Facebook is bad …it is actually a great marketing tool!)

You WILL have expenses. It is a called a business for a reason. You might have to chalk up a few hundred bucks for some software or training, but the return on investment will be well worth it! A bonus is that in the virtual service world, the ROI is usually pretty fast!

Look at the facts…

EVEN if you have a JOB you have expenses. Do you pay to put gas in your car to go to work? What about the clothes you wear for work??

#2 My spouse/family/friends don’t think I can make money with a virtual service business.

What rock are they living under?

There is sooo much money to made online in the “Virtual Services Industry! I can tell you story after story of entrepreneurs I have helped be successful over the years…It is crazy.

With that said, I do understand what your going through. When I started online in 2000 (yep dial-up internet days), no-one believed in me. They didn’t think it was possible. They thought I was wasting time. I didn’t have the resources to learn from the “been there befores.” So I did lose money in the beginning. But I would not trade those life lessons for anything!

You are soo lucky to be starting now…all you need to do is, follow the path of those who have been successful.

My answer to this problem is PROVE them wrong…that is what what I did!

Surround yourself with others who support your dreams, and ideas, and can help you get there (Join our Facebook Group for Support)

#3 I don’t know if I have the skills to start a virtual assistant business.

Well, unless you were born under a money tree…I guarantee you have some skills! Take a quick inventory of the skills you have learned and used in your JOB or previous JOBS.

On top of that , we live in a world that knowledge is literally at our fingertips. Even when my kids ask me a question my answer is “Google It”. Develop the skills you need. Invest in your learning. Online training courses and support cost much less than a college degree and can be FAR more valuable.

Do something! Action=ACTION! Keep the wheels going and it will get you to your destination.

Start with your current skills and NEVER stop learning. Grow your knowledge and you become more valuable!

You may be saying yeah..but what do I do first…

The answer is the same thing….do something! Anything!

Buy a domain name, set up your website, go bid on some jobs on Guru or Upwork…Build Your Linkedin Profile…JUST do something!

#4 I don’t have the time to start my virtual assistant business.

I am a mom and I KNOW that time is a valuable asset. And I get it your working 40 hour a week and wonder how much more you can fit in your schedule.
But I also know how easy it is today to waste time with today’s technology. Seriously a Netflix Binge can make you lose 20 hours plus.

Time is an asset that you can’t buy. But we find time in our lives for things that are important.

Soooo how important is it for you to start your business? How important is it for you to control your schedule? How important is it for you to control how much income you make each year?

Look for a way that you can fit 2 hours a day into your schedule. Can you wake up an hour earlier? Can you go to bed an hour later? Can you fit some time in on Saturday morning? You can start small, there is no time limit on how long it takes you to get the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow

#5 I don’t want to risk my job, what if I fail?

YEP starting your own business is always risky…no doubt about it. And I can’t guarantee you won’t fail because there are so many variables in your own efforts.

But let’s look at the other side of the coin. Do you want to wonder for the rest of your life…what could have happened if you had tried? Do you want to wonder forever what your life could have been like ?

Do you want to miss out on your child’s first steps?

Or the dance recital, because your boss made you work late yet again?

Plan smart, start small , plan for growth.

Before quitting the day job have 2 -3 months wages saved for emergencies.

Another thing I have learned over the years…is never let 1 client control 50% or more of your income…because than it hurts when you lose that client. It is better to have 4 clients at 10 hours a week each than it is to have 2 clients at 20 hours a week each. It will not hurt so bad if you lose a client.

#6 I don’t think I can find enough clients for my Virtual Assistant business. There is too much competition.

As I sit and type that reason, I am laughing out loud! The Virtual Assistant/Virtual Service industry is BOOMING. There is a HUGE need for more qualified virtual assistant/virtual service professionals. And the need is not going away.

As more and more online businesses start , small business owners cannot always afford to bring in employees. They need to contract the work out.

The types of businesses you can work with is endless. I know a fellow Virtual Assistant that I helped get started that works with Local business owners because it is cheaper for them to hire her than bring someone on staff. the possibilities are endless.

Ecommerce, Business Coaches, Real Estate, Authors…. and more NEED you!

They need your expertise! They can’t do it all on their own.

You don’t need any. Seriously. And once you actually start your business you will naturally make connections. The truth is, starting a small web-based business is usually a solo venture. That’s not to say meeting people won’t help. It will. Tremendously. What I mean is, if you can’t make things happen yourself, then by involving other people you’ll just waste everyone’s time.

AND the biggest reason you are not starting your virtual assistant business….

Wait for it…

Are you ready?

#7 FEAR of the Unknown

Fear of the unknown is the biggest reason you are holding off on starting your virtual assistant/virtual service business.

Almost everyone is afraid when they start a business, heck when they start anything new. Most just will never admit to it.

It is okay to be afraid. If you’re not smart about it, you could fail. If you give up, you could fail.

But what if none of that happens?

What if you build the business that your dreaming of and you’re able to work from home, around your schedule, living the life you want?

I guarantee every small business owner at one time faces these same fears…and honestly when you look hard at the excuses…they are kind of lame..yep I said it…LAME!

So you continue to go down the same path your in, day after day, and you start to resent the life you have because you give control to a JOB and you remain broke and your spirit remains broken.

Sooo…..What is stopping you from starting your Virtual Assistant Business?

Need more support and training? Join Us on Facebook

As always feel free to leave a comment below! I would love to help you succeed in your career, let my experience help you!

 

Virtually Yours,

laura-beth-bastion

 

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10 Time Management Tips for Virtual Assistants

Working from home in the “Virtual Service” Industry, at times, can be a blessing and a curse. There are sooo many awesome things. But there are some downsides as well. For instance, have you ever heard yourself saying these things?

EEEEEK I am out of time!

I am past the deadline

How am I going to get it all done?

OR maybe you’re saying “ feel like all I do is work”…”I am working 16-18 hours a day plus and on the weekends, and I have turned into a hermit living at my desk. I never leave my house.

As a mom and entrepreneur, I totally get where you are at!

I have experienced both scenarios over the years of my career as a Virtual Assistant.

That is why I have found it very important to implement some time management into my day.

10 Time Management Tips for Virtual Assistants

1. Have a Dedicated Work Space

Some of you might be saying, but that is why I work from home, so I can work out by the pool or out on the deck. I am not saying to walk away from those things at all.

But your brain needs to switch between work mode and personal time. When you work from home, that line can get pretty blurry at times. By having a dedicated space to work, this will allow that transition to happen naturally. One of the best things I have done for my business is setting up an office that I love going in to, gets lots of sunlight and fresh air (well in the summer time at least…I do live in Michigan).

I still will work out on the deck. I might take a client call and walk around when I don’t need to be on the computer. But when I am project focused, I am in my office.

2. SET Dedicated Hours.

Sad to say, this is where most entrepreneurs fail! It is easy to get distracted. It is easy to put off work as well. It is very easy to start slacking because you have no supervision. It is easy to say, oh I will do this later, and I will sleep in today…

But later eventually becomes never and tasks start to pile up.

Your client is no longer happy with you because you have missed too many deadlines.

That is why it is uber important that you set designated work hours. It is going to help you be more profitable in the long run. For some of you, these hours might be while your baby is sleeping. For others, it might be when your kids are in school. And then there is a handful of you night owls that will set the time at night. Find what works for you. Work during the hours you have the most energy and FOCUS!!!

3. Do One thing at Time….Devote Your Focus to That ONE Thing!

Facebook Chatting, Skyping, and endless Google research do not count (well I guess that kinda depends on what your tasks entail)

Focus on closing down all distractions. Turn your phones to silent mode and focus on the task at hand.

Do not focus on everything on your todo list, instead focus on the one thing you are working on.

When you shut everything down, and you concentrate on your work in an efficient manner, you will get it done faster! Even though sometimes it doesn’t seem like it, you will actually accomplish more when you are not multitasking. You will be amazed at how many things you can get done when you focus on one thing at a time.

4. Block Your Time

Schedule Your day in blocks of time, and plan for breaks. How long are you most productive for? For some of you, that might be an hour, for others that will be 4 hours. But schedule your breaks.

I have a bad habit of sitting at the computer until something is complete. For me, this bad habit started to cost me my health; my blood pressure got to dangerously high levels. Our bodies are not made to sit for 8 to 10 hours at a time.

So get up and MOVE!  Even if it is only for 10 minutes…get up and move!

I block time on my calendar and set alarms, to remind me to get up and take a break.

If that does not work for you, try an  oven timer =)

My break might be a shower, or it might be a walk to the mailbox or 10 minutes on the treadmill…But it is so important to get up and move.

5. Set up Priorities

It used to be that I would not leave my desk until all tasks were done for the day…even if that meant 3 am in the morning.

But with years of experience, I have come to the realization that I need to set priorities for the day for the task. As much heart and soul, I pour into my client’s work, I am the one who ultimately determines my schedule and design the life I want.

Each morning I review my task at hand. In my project management software, I set deadlines and priorities. Every morning I review the task at hand along with my team’s to evaluate how we are doing with deadlines,

I than take that list and complete or assign out the most important task. Which tasks are most crucial to complete.

With that said, I also know my health and family are a priority

Sooo client work does not get in the way of my gym time. Client work does not get in the way of my family time. Even if that means, I need to extend a deadline.

6. Set Boundaries

This was a tough one for me, personally. But as a business owner and growing into your power it is sooo important

You need to set boundaries with family and friends. For instance, you’re not going to watch your neighbors kids during your work hours. Or those long conversations with your mom, they need to be set for when your not suppose to be working.

AND professionally set boundaries with your clients. Set times that you take phone calls, set times that you take emails. You do not have to answer them every time they call or email, and doing so really puts you in a bad situation and at their mercy when you don’t respond and they get used to the 60 second response time.

Along with that, it is ok to say no to clients. If you do not have the time for a project, and can not honestly fit it in your schedule than say so. They will respect you more for your honesty and up-frontness than if you turn the project out late!

7. Set Up Regular Tasks into Habits

Do you have some of the same tasks each week? Maybe it is a newsletter and blog post that you do weekly…or maybe some social media post

Whatever those regular tasks are it should be a habit to do them at a certain time each week

8. Create Organizational Systems

You are going to save yourself much time and frustration if you slow down at the beginning of your business and set up organizational systems that work for you and your business. Set up a system for documents, so you can easily find what you need, set up a project management system. These systems do not need to be overly complicated, but putting them in place now, rather than later, will make it easier for your business to grow!

9. EMAIL MADNESS

I really, really could spend all day just working out of my email box. I LOVE to study marketing….so yes i do have things not sooo work related

But I took control of my email box by a couple of different things.

  • I apply filters and ALL those marketing emails I love to study go into a folder and never see my inbox.
  • I only check my email box twice a day, unless I am expecting something important for a project I am working on and I need it to complete the project.
  • If an email can be deleted, I delete the stinking thing.
  • If an email needs a quick response, I respond immediately.
  • If I need a response back from an email I use Boomerang.
  • If an email can be handled by someone else on the team, I forward it to them.
  • If it is something, I need to research or do….I tag the Email TODO and come back to when it is on my task list.

10. Don’t be afraid to work on the weekend

I know to some of you this sounds terrible. But to be honest, weekends and holidays are some of my favorite times to work, because there are no distractions. If I get up early, I can bang out a task rather quickly and concentrate. I don’t work the whole day away, but I usually try to focus on 2 hours on Saturday morning before the family is awake, and 2 hours on Sunday night to plan and setup for the week.

Now I would love to hear from you! What has to help you with your time management in your virtual assistant business?

Virtually Yours,

laura-beth-bastion

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Customer Service Vital for Growing Virtual Assistant Business

Customer Service Vital for Growing Virtual Assistant Business

The best way to ensure growth for your virtual assistant business is to focus on your customer service.

Yep it is true…

Do you need to continue to market to grow your business?

Yes….BUT

There will come a time in your business, if you are doing a stellar job, that you will have more business than you can handle all based on referrals.

Today it seems customer service is going downhill…and sooo many virtual assistants forget they are business owners.  A true business owner shows up for their business every day!

I had a conversation with a colleague the other day and we discussed how many people who have virtual assistant businesses can go days without checking their emails. Or only want to work when they “feel” like it.  They forget to realize that their client’s businesses depend on their services.

If you  do not fulfill their end of the services, then their client’s business suffers as well…and guess what? If their business suffers, yours will suffer as well, because you will eventually lose that client as they will not be able to pay for your services.

But the opposite is true as well….

When you do an amazing job with customer service, I can assure you that you will have an overflow of referrals and clients coming your way!

It actually surprises me when someone says they have to “sell” a client their services.  Because the truth be told….your services should be soo good that your client tells EVERYONE about them, and others can see the value easily and want to hire you as well!

So how can you ensure quality customer service?

  1. Set Clear Expectations for Your Clients — I will be honest, sometimes this is really hard to do! You fall in love with a client, and you bend your rules.  But from the very beginning, you need to set the expectations. 
  2. This includes things like turn around times, reasonable time frames for a project to be completed, payments, etc., communication methods, email response times, etc.   And when a project is going to take longer than expected to let them know.  Sometimes you will need to remind your clients of these things, and they will appreciate that you do. 
  3. Go above and beyond what is expected. That does not mean you are doing work for free!  It means that you’re doing an exceptional job!  It means that, hey, you noticed a few things misspelled in the newsletter they sent you, ask them if it is ok that you fix those errors. Or maybe you noticed a broken link on their website and you fix it without being asked.   ALWAYS do quality work, and anticipate their needs before they even see it. 
  4. Ask your clients for feedback.  Everyone appreciates their opinions being valued.  Ask your clients for feedback on a regular basis, make sure you are living up to their expectations. Find out how you can help them better!  Take responsibility when things are not right and figure out a solution to fix it! 
  5. Take the time to really know your client’s business.  You need to slow  down and learn what it is that they do, who they help…and you actually can even dig deeper by really understanding who their ideal client is, and how to communicate with them. When you really get to know your client’s business, you’re going to be able to understand and see ways that you will be able to help the client grow their business and they will be appreciative of the suggestions and help you offer along the way. 
  6. Send a Card or Small Gift for any Occasion.  It does not have to be a holiday or birthday (though it could be) .  But take the time to send a thank you card.  I know, personally, I love surprise gifts and cards in the mail, and nothing makes you feel more appreciated.  Make sure you take the time to do this for your clients, show them that you value their business and you value their part in your life.  It does not have to be something expensive…it could be as simple as a handwritten card.  But show you care

How can you, personally, do better with customer service in your business?

Share it with us below, and I dare you to start implementing it in your business today =-)

Virtually Yours,

laura-beth-bastion

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5 Ways to Market Your Virtual Assistant Business Offline

You might be asking yourself right now, why would I market my virtual assistant business offline? Doesn’t it defeat the purpose of building an online business from home?

NOPE!

It is kinda crazy, but marketing offline can you bring you a lot of clients, if you know who your ideal client is

The cool thing about marketing offline is that some of your clients, you will be able to meet face to face, which helps build connections easier as you can build the like and trust factor

To prepare yourself to building your business offline, you will want to develop what is known as your “Elevator Speech” Your elevator speech should be 30 seconds or less, and in those 30 seconds, you should be able to clearly explain what you do, and how it can benefit them (or maybe someone they know). So if you’re fumbling with what you do, right now is the time to get clear. Grab a pencil and paper and write it down, memorize it so that it can be natural to you. Don’t worry if it is not perfect yet; I guarantee it will evolve over time!

Here are a few ideas to help you get started with finding clients offline:

  1. Let ALL of Your Personal Connections know you’re in business.

    Family, Friends, Bosses, Colleagues, Old Classmates. If they don’t know, they will never use your services or refer anyone else. So make it a priority to let everyone you know, know what you do, and how you can help.

  2. Join Your Local Chamber of Commerce.

    The chamber of commerce is filled with business owners, and most of those business owners could probably use your services! Don’t join to sell to them specifically, but join to network with other business owners and get to know them. Let them know what you do, and eventually, they will reach out to you! Make sure you have business cards when attending this event, and dress for success

  3. Join meetup groups.

    There are literally thousands of meetup groups nowadays. Find Meetup groups that are specifically for business owners, or you can find meetup groups that are specific to a topic that interests you. Again, join them to network and to learn. Share and participate in the groups. There will be a time to talk about what you do. But be an active and helpful participant. You can always volunteer to help with a project that shows off your skills

  4. Attend Events that target your “Ideal Client ” / Entrepreneurs 

    There are 1000s of events where entrepreneurs meet up just about anywhere on any given day. If you know who your ideal client is, you can google search on Facebook search for upcoming events. You might already be following someone that holds events. I found that these events provide a great opportunity to network with my ideal clients who need my services. Again, you don’t go to these events just to sell your “services”, but to meet people who need your services. It will come up naturally in the conversation when they ask what you do. Make sure you connect with them on Facebook, and get their email address, so you can check in with them later to see how they are doing. I have found some amazing clients this way! And just one client can pay for the cost of the event and travel costs within the 1st month.

  5. Sponsor an Event

    Please note that when you sponsor an event, you will be paying. There are over a dozen ways to sponsor an event. But it’s a great way to get your ideal client’s attention to specifically looking at your business. You can sponsor an event by giving something away in a swag bag, run a booth or even speak from stage and become known as the go to  Virtual Assistant. Clients will flock to you in droves. But be very clear that the audience will be your target audience and be very clear on what your offer will be. Make sure to count all of the costs.

I am sure you have heard the old saying, it is not what you know, it is who you know? By consistently building your network you will ensure business growth for years to come!

Now I would love to hear from you! What ways have you found clients offline?

Virtually Yours,

laura-beth-bastion

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Finding Your First Client for Your Virtual Assistant Business

This is probably the #1 question I get from new virtual assistants.

How do you find your first client for your virtual assistant business?

I have to say the possibilities of clients are endless, there is no shortage, and even though you might be feeling like, eek there is so much competition.

Nope

That is, False…

The fact is, in the digital age we live in and the uprising of new small business owners.

The need of quality virtual assistants is HUGE….

There is a BIG market…

And then when you factor in the fact that not all virtual assistants offer the same services or quality…What that needs is even bigger…

So, let’s focus today on getting you some new clients, ok?

If your focus is getting clients, you should be spending 80% of your time doing just that. I hate when someone complains that they could have a great virtual assistant business if they could just get clients.

Well, guess what clients are not going to fall from the sky when you are starting out

And guess what…all businesses want/need clients..

To get clients, you need to do the work!

So, 80% of your time should be looking for clients, networking on social media sites with your idea clients, and bidding on freelance sites.

Yep, I am saying it…. instead of playing Candy Crush and watching NetFlix, get out there and do the work.

 

“There is no substitute for hard work.”

Thomas Edison

When I first started out, I did not land my first client, by only placing 1 bid….

Nope…

I placed 100s of bids,

I daily placed bids,

I spent hours daily improving my RFPs,

I spent hours daily improving my profiles,

And finally after what seemed forever …but really it was only 2 weeks I landed my first client.

And from there…things have spiraled…

Now, today things have changed a bit… with Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn (which are great places to find clients too)…. But, contrary to many Virtual Assistant Trainers and Mentors I believe that Freelance Sites are still a VERY good place to get started.

My favorite freelance sites to get started on are:

And there is a lot more then that out there now…depending on the services you are offering. Just do a “google search”

A matter of fact of the virtual assistants I have mentored have started there…and have been able to build substantial businesses within a short period of time. Eventually leaving those sites like I did. It is a great starting place!

The reason I prefer these sites is because there are people actively looking for your services on a daily basis. They are established freelance-sites, and lots of GREAT opportunities.

Will you make as much money using Freelance sites as you will without them?

Well, no, the fact is most freelance sites will collect a fee…But think of it as a safety net to get you out there… It helps many business owners feel more comfortable about hiring you for your services. I do not think you should view freelance sites as a long term option. But it helps you get established.

Will you be competing with others on these sites?

Yep that is what its all about. And you might be a little uneasy as you might see bids as low as $1 an hour, and wonder how you might compete with that. They are out there…and I laugh every time I see one. But if you place your bid based on your experience and your skills and sell yourself properly that will not a be a problem =-)

I always explain that even though others are bidding $1 an hour they are actually going to save money by working with me because I will be able to do the work in a more timely matter because of my skill level…and guess what it works

Do not give up after one bid, keep bidding and keep improving your proposals eventually something will come up that works for you.

Are Freelance sites just for project work?

True freelance sites tend to have a lot of project work. I have picked up a lot of clients from freelance sites, and some we worked together for years. Bid on the projects if within your skillset. This will help you build your skills and your online reputation.

What to watch out for on Freelance Sites…

Even though sites like Guru and Upwork are normally pretty good about making sure scams do not slip through…it does happen from time to time.

So, be leery when things don’t feel right, guess what they are probably not.

If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

Always research a company before agreeing to work with them, Google is your best friend in this case. Google their website, google their business name and the word “scam”. Check out the Better Business Bureau. I even go as far as checking their phone numbers they have listed as well.

Then, of course, there are common sense things, like if someone asks you for a bank account number….RUN….. LiterallyRun and … Actually, I just block them from ever contacting me again

When you are starting your virtual assistant business out by using freelance sites you need to remember the following things:

  1. Do an amazing job, so they will hire you again and again, eventually developing a long term relationship.
  2. Ask for a Review!!!! This will help you build credibility in the industry
  3. Ask for Referrals! When you do a stellar job, let them know you enjoyed working with them and if they know anyone who could benefit from your services you would love a connection.

If you follow these 3 things, within a short period of time, you will have established your business, and your funnel will be full of prospective clients.

Now, I would love to hear from you, have you used freelance job sites for finding clients?

What has been your experience? What has worked for you? What has not?

Virtually Yours,

laura-beth-bastion

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