Category Archives for Marketing Your Virtual Assistant Business

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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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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