Give your website a revamp. Is all the information up to date? Does it show a good photograph of you? This is your virtual shop window and the first impression most potential clients will see.
Build your newsletter or Ezine subscriber list, put a sign up box on your web site, include a link to your sign up page in your Twitter updates, Facebook posts, blog posts, etc.
Set up a newsletter or Ezine to keep in touch with both clients, prospects and visitors to your website. Start by sending out simple tips that are useful to your target market.
Send your existing clients a questionnaire. Ask them what they like about your service and what they would like to see added. If they are happy clients, ask them for referrals to other potential clients.
Join at least one online networking site, which can be a strictly business site like LinkedIn or more social site (but often equally effective) such as Facebook and Twitter. Don’t forget as a ‘virtual’ worker you can work with anyone, anywhere!
You know how it is, you’ve been in business for a few years, you’ve got a few clients on your books, but things are feeling a bit stale.
You feel that your business needs a Gok Wan style make over, but where do you start?
Virtual Assistant Business Make-Over Tip 1
If you’re not already doing it, create pre-paid packages to entice clients to pay in advance for blocks of time. They benefit from a small discount, you benefit from not having to chase overdue invoices and increased budgeting capacity.
As a small business owner it is easy to become frozen in place trying to keep up with all the day-to-day tasks associated with running your business. You cant possibly be proficient in every skill required to effectively run your business so lot of time can be taken up with trying to perform even the “smallest” of tasks. Trying to learn how to do everything can literally take hours of your week away from you. Hours better spent on developing relationships with your prospects or clients, updating your web site content, creating new products, and just being there to respond to new enquiries. Unless you are willing to give up some control, the grind of trying to do everything in your business too often takes priority over the human approach to being there for your customers. Do your initial digging online with a directory such as The UK Association of Virtual Assistants then pick up a phone and call or send email enquiries to those that appear to have the skill set you require. Make sure your questions are addressed intelligently and at a level of understanding that you feel most comfortable with. Look for a company that is interested in what goals you are trying to achieve by outsourcing and how you like to work. The conversation should be an effective two-way open communication and you should come away with a feeling of trust and confidence. By weeding out any company that is vague in their explanations of how they can achieve what you want them to do and you should easily find the best Virtual Assistant company to work with for your business needs. In Summary, don’t try to do everything yourself. You may have many fine strong points, but running your business single-handily should not be one of them. Learn when and delegating responsibility can actually make your business grow by leaps and bounds. Then find an outsourcing service you can work with – one with a complete understanding of your business and one that is proactive and willing to go the extra mile to make your business a success.
To make any outsourcing relationship work effectively, the business owner must be able to step back and make an honest evaluation of his or her talents. We are not all created equal. We all have different strengths. One thing is certain; to ensure business success a business owner must cultivate the ability to delegate responsibility through the use of outsourcing. That’s how a well-run, profit-pulling online business accomplishes its goals.Today’s businesses – large and small – gain immense benefits by finding other companies outside their own arena who possess the technological know how to analyse, plan, and implement target objectives. In the case of the smaller business owner finding an outsourcing service to handle tasks such as marketing, diary management, bookkeeping, and word processing is one such effective strategic move.To discuss the best way to outsource your administration tasks, why not speak to one of the professional virtual assistants listed in the UK Association of Virtual Assistants Directory.
Today sees the first in a new 3 part series – Why Outsourcing Takes Your Business To A Higher Level.
Outsourcing is a term often used in business and it is gaining popularity on the Internet as millions of web site owners discover they do not have all the tools and skills necessary to handle each and every function necessary to the efficient running of their businesses. Unlike having to recruit, interview, and take on an employee – and thus incur the tax and NI liability of a new employee, not to mention the additional costs incurred such as holiday pay, sick pay, maternity leave, etc – savvy business owners often turn to outside companies. Outsourcing services take on the tasks underlying a business leaving the owner more free time to pursue the front-end of his or her business.Wikipedia states:”Outsourcing” involves transferring or sharing management control and/or decision-making of a business function to an outside supplier, which involves a degree of two-way information exchange, coordination and trust between the outsourcer and its client.”Doesn’t that sound like the perfect client/virtual assistant relationship? Outsourcing, therefore, becomes an integrated part of your business. The importance is to determine what should be outsourced, why it should be outsourced, and who will provide your outsourcing services. If you would like to discuss the benefits of outsourcing a whole range of administration and business support tasks, why not speak to one of the professional virtual assistants listed on the UK Association of Virtual Assistants Directory.
So we’ve already established that getting quality inbound links to your web site from industry related web sites is brilliant way to leapfrog your way up the search engines rankings. But how can you also get noticed specifically by potential clients within your target industries?
Testimonials. How does it work? Simple.
As an example lets say that you have chosen to work with aromatherapists. Have a chat with your aromatherapist client (or potential client!) and explain that you are intending to write a testimonial about them that they can add to their web site. Customer testimonials on a web site improve the credibility of any business and they will be glad to include your unsolicited one. Book yourself an aromatherapy massage and then write a testimonial saying how great the experience was. Don’t forget to include at the end of it your name, business name and WEB SITE ADDRESS. Send it in an email to your client so that they can easily cut and paste the testimonial onto their web site.
You can also ask for reciprocal testimonials. If your web site could do with a few more client testimonials, ask your clients for a reciprocal one in an “I’ll write one for you if you write one for me” fashion. If they are too busy, ask if you can write both, yours and theirs, and send them back to the client for approval before publishing “their” testimonial to your web site. This is great as you can highlight any service or industry you want to focus on within the text, and the client can just approve the content and their quote before you add it to your web site.
Inbound links to your web site keep the search engines happy and testimonials are great for establishing credibility with any potential clients visiting your web site so using testimonials for inbound links is a real win-win.
Any virtual assistant who has a little inside information on how the Internet search engines work will tell you that the most effective way to get your web site picked up and listed high within the search engines listings, and particularly in Google, is to have lots of high quality inbound links.
So what is an “inbound link” and what makes one high quality?
An inbound link is simply a link from someone else’s web site to yours. But the key is what makes that link high quality? Now I could bore you for hours with the intricacies of how a search engine spider reads and interprets the detailed visible and background information contained on a web page then decides, in its robot wisdom, the theme of what the page is about. The key is it will then leave that page by following one of the links it includes. That could be a link to your web site. If it has decided that the page it has just visited is all about the Virtual Assistant industry and then it ends up following a link to your web site and it sees that your web site is about the same subject, it will deem that your site is an important resource in this area as the first web site has effectively “voted” for yours by linking to it and therefore list it higher in the results it returns for associated searches. Have I lost you yet?
The crux of it is this, the more links you can get to your web site from web sites within the same field so much the better. Now this article could be seen as self-serving because an obvious connection here is the UK Association of Virtual Assistants web site. Become a Full member and your web site will be linked to from our Directory, thus making your web site look “important” to Google and the like. Of course becoming a Featured member puts you on the front page of the UKAVA website so the search engines will see you as even more of an authority.
More information about how to be listed in our Directory can be found here: UKAVA – Choose A Listing Plan
But think a little further on; who are your target clients and what industries are they in? How could you get them to link from their web site to your web site? Answers on a postcard!
Seriously, we will cover this neat little trick next time so stay tuned.
Savvy entrepreneur, 24, claims she makes £10,000 a MONTH working 30 hours a week from home as a virtual assistant – and reveals how YOU can do it too
- EXCLUSIVE: Jemma Broadstock, of Derbyshire, started business in March 2019
- Was fully booked in six months and says clients are increasing during lockdown
- Jemma, 24, has paid off £4,000 debt and is saving to buy a house with money.
To read the full article in the Daily Mail click here.
We all know that in order to work virtually, we need to have an online presence, a web site. But it’s amazing how many virtual assistants don’t have one. There can be many reasons, or should I say excuses, including “a web site’s too expensive”, “I want to see if I get any interest before I spend a lot of money on a web site”, “it’s too hard to get someone to update it”, “I don’t know anyone who can build me one”, “my brother/cousin/friend said they’d make me one, but they haven’t done it yet”, the list of reasons why a web site is missing from your armoury is endless. It’s also absurd when getting your web site up and running is as easy and inexpensive as this.
You need to have a web site to run a “virtual” business; it’s as simple as that. And now it’s just a simple to build one yourself, quickly and inexpensively. We recommend Create. as you can build your own web site, add your own images and text and be up and running in minutes. It’s simple and from £8.49 per month including hosting what more could you ask for? Once built you can update your pages whenever you want to, and if you want to add additional features later on, such as a shopping cart or additional password protected pages for your clients, you can upgrade when and if you want to.
What is more, Create. offers a thirty-day free trial so you can see what the package has to offer before spending a penny. Genius!
For more information and to claim you free trail, click the link below:
Our latest time saving tip is a simple one – Limit the amount of time you spend checking email and switch off email alerts. If you are constantly checking your inbox or are responding immediately to email alerts you could be wasting hours every week, not to mention finding it very difficult to concentrate. Limit email checking to 3 to 4 times a day and stick to it. Your email will still be answered within a reasonable time but you will be able to concentrate on more involved projects without constant distractions or interruptions.
Alternatively, let your virtual assistant handle and filter your email for you. They can pick up your email on your behalf, filter out the junk and spam, answer requests for information as you instruct and only forward on to you the handful of messages you actually need to deal with yourself. How many hours would that free up each week to work on the more important things?
To find a virtual assistant to help you in your business, browse the Virtual Assistant Directory at the UK Association of Virtual Assistants.
The UK Association of Virtual Assistants was formed to fill a void in the virtual assistant market. Virtual assistants and virtual personal assistants were becoming more and more in demand as small businesses and sole traders began to flourish but there was no real association where prospective clients or existing and new virtual assistants could go for information, advice and recommendations. What the industry needed was a one-stop shop for both potential clients and virtual assistants alike. The UK Association of Virtual Assistants was born.
For potential clients looking for a part-time home based secretary, a virtual assistant, personal assistant or even a full blown virtual office, our Virtual Assistants Directory provides an online source of contacts listed by location and skills. Each listing provides details of the services offered by each assistant, their contact details and links to their web site where appropriate. There is also the added assurance that each virtual assistant listed agrees to adhere to the associations CODE OF CONDUCT. To find a virtual assistant to suit your needs, visit our DIRECTORY OF UK VIRTUAL ASSISTANTS.
For virtual assistants, the Association gives the opportunity to become part of a virtual team, to share ideas and experiences. It also gives you the opportunity to be recognised as a professional in your field by becoming an accredited member of the Association and adhering to our CODE OF CONDUCT. If you would like to become a part of our professional team and have you details listed within our DIRECTORY why not JOIN US today?
Anyone how knows me well will tell you that I spend quite a bit of time and money various treatments to ease my aching back and correct my appalling posture. There’s nothing particularly wrong with my back as such, it’s just that I sit at a desk for many hours a day working at a computer and as you will know, as a VA there’s nothing unusual about that. This month details of a new product landed in my inbox and as it struck a chord with me, I thought I’d give it a try. Boy, has it changed the way I work.
PostureMinder is a piece of software you download onto your computer that works in conjunction with your web cam. Once installed it takes you through a series of set up steps to help you sit in the best position possible and then captures the image of you sitting correctly on the web cam. Then the fun begins. Every time you hunch, slump or lean a witty little pop up appears to let you know you’ve slipped and immediately reminds you to sit properly. There are many, many features including break reminders that remind you to take a short break, which help to relieve eyestrain, reduce the risk of headaches and even RSI. You can set the intervals to suit you and during the breaks a window opens to reveal a series of exercises, all demonstrated by real people, that you can do in your chair to relieve aches and pains associated with working all day at a computer.
I’ve become an addict and with a fantastic 14-day free trial and a 15% discount for UKAVA blog readers, what could be better. Go on; treat yourself, your back will thank you for it!
For more information, visit: http://www.posturemindershop.co.uk
As a virtual assistant, we deal with many different customers, using varying systems and programmes to complete all sorts of tasks. If you offer book keeping services you will have come across everything from basic spreadsheets, to complex systems such as Sage, we’ve seen it all. My personal favourite has become Kashflow. It’s incredibly simple and designed specifically for small businesses.
Kashflow is an online system which has several overriding benefits, firstly your accounts are held online so you can access them from any computer with a browser (after entering your secure login details). This means several things; if your computer should crash you haven’t lost everything, you can give live access to your client and you can give access to your clients accountant to compile their required information. As there is one live copy of the accounts, the changes are available instantly to everyone given access so you don’t have multiple out of date copies everywhere.
Secondly, as you pay a monthly subscription for Kashflow, rather than a large upfront software cost, it is easier to budget as a small monthly fee. Critically within this fee the software upgrades are included. Anyone who has purchased accountancy software in the past will know that purchasing upgrades is necessary when you have several people updating your accounts at different locations. Generally the software is not backwardly compatible so as soon as one person upgrades, you all have to and upgrades can be very costly.
What is more, you get to try before you buy. You don’t even have to give a credit card number that you might later forget to cancel should you decide to use an alternative program.
Does you have sufficient insurance cover you for your business activities? It’s important to consider if your household insurance covers you for public liability, particularly if you allow clients to visit your home.
In addition you should look at profession indemnity insurance to protect yourself and your business in the event that a client should have cause to take you to court.
For lots of advice and free tips, check out the FREEBIES page at the VA Success Group
Also consider your household. What’s the normal routine? Does the postman always knock the door around 10am or do the kids come home mid afternoon?
Working for yourself means that you can be flexible enough to schedule your day around your most effective times. If your concentration is better in the mornings, use that time to work on projects that require concentration. If you know you will be interrupted at certain times, use those times to complete low concentration or quick tasks.
When you work from home make sure you don?t get drawn in to doing all the household chores when you should be working. Now I?m not saying leave a pile of dirty dishes in the sink, or damp washing in the machine but fit it in around your working day.
Going to put the kettle on for a cup of tea? While it?s boiling do the dishes. Stopping for lunch? While it?s on the cooker or in the microwave, hand out the laundry.
If you start each working day running through the chores before you start work, it?s very easy to become sidetracked and not get any work done before lunchtime!
Although one of the joys of working from home in your own business is that you can work whenever you choose, unless you set specific work times, one of two things will happen. You’ll either spend all day dipping in and out of work and end up achieving very little, or, you’ll find yourself working all the time.
Set specific hours of work and concentrate on work only during that time. Make sure your family and friends know you’re working during those times so that you are not disturbed. Also make sure that your clients know your hours of work so that they contact you when appropriate. If you have different working hours to the standard 9-5 that’s fine, just make sure your clients are aware so you are not constantly interrupted outside of your work time, or they are frustrated if they can’t get hold of you.