Writing Effective Copy for your Virtual Assistant Website

Initially writing the text copy for your website seems quite simple. You just tell them who you are, what you do and how to contact you, right? Err, no actually.

Many business websites drone on and on about when they started, what their “mission statement” is, what technology they use, blah, blah, blah. I hate to be the one to tell you this, but nobody cares. All that prospects and customers care about is “What’s in it for me”.

So the very first thing you need to do is put yourself in the shoes of your potential customer. What problem do they have that they are looking for a solution to by searching around the internet? If they have arrived at your website as part of their search they will look for confirmation that they have come to the right place. What solutions are you providing that solves their problem?

If you were the customer, what questions would you want answers to before parting with your cash? Make sure you answer those questions in your copy.

If you are selling an intangible or unknown service such as administration and business support services, how have you displayed your credibility? Have you shown testimonials or feedback from previous customers, or can you show case studies where you have made a real tangible difference to a former client?

If you are selling information, how have you established to them that you are the expert that they should listen to? Do you have any samples of the type of information you provide such as free downloads of tips?

How easy is it to contact you? Is there a telephone number for enquires? Have you got a proper mail address on your website or just a PO Box? Do you have a guarantee that will allow them to purchase a product or service without reservation?

Lastly, give them a compelling reason to buy from you now. Or if your product or service has a longer sales cycle, get them on your list by offering something in exchange for their name and email address.

Website Mistake 10: A website that is “me” focused.

While back in part 1 of this series we talked about personalising your website, but don’t spend all of it talking about yourself and how wonderful you are! Although your visitors need to know a bit about you, what holds their interest is the knowledge that you understand their problems and issues and have ready-made solutions that resolve those problems. Your visitor will always ask, “WIIFM?” (What’s In It For Me). Answer that question by making your web site about your visitor, not about you.

If you are not sure how to WIIFM your text, hire a professional sales copy writer if you can afford it or try the following format:
Do you struggle with getting your VAT return in on time, we offer a full book keeping service which means that your VAT return will never be late again and you will save expensive fines and a whole lot of stress.

Replace the italics with their pain followed by your solution and the bold italics are your WIIFM.

In summary: Your web site can function as an attractive online brochure, or it can be a client-generating tool to help you grow your business. As a virtual assistant, you need to generate clients from your website in order for your business to be successful, make the necessary changes and you will get more clients online.

Website Mistake 9: No testimonials or case studies to demonstrate your expertise.

One of the easiest ways you can create customer confidence in you and your business is to post testimonials on your web site. Don’t even think of writing these yourself (I’m sure you wouldn’t) but ask your clients to write something that clearly states what you do for your client and how working with you has improved their business or life, etc.

If you are new to virtual assisting and don’t yet have clients you can ask for testimonials, prepare some case studies outlining a problem and how your service helped solve it. These case studies are also very powerful in convincing a potential client that you can do what you claim.

Website Mistake 8: Lack of additional resources and links.

One way to gauge the usefulness and helpfulness of a business is to have a look at their websites resources and links section. For example, the Resources and Links section of the UKAVA website lists a whole range of resources to help new and established virtual assistants and they are often featured in our email newsletter. In many cases the Association receives no compensation for the resource I recommend—I just know that it’s the best product or service to do a particular task.

Your clients want the same help and advice from you. The more you know about your industry, its problems, and how to find solutions – whether you offer the solution or not – the greater the perception of your expertise and, consequently, the greater value you offer your client.

Website Mistake 7: Copying every other virtual assistant web site.

As part of vetting the websites that we list on the UKAVA Directory, I have the job of personally checking every potential members website before it is added. It is quite obvious in a lot of cases that virtual assistants have simply visited the websites of their competition and formatted their own site in a similar fashion, but with their own information. I have found elements of my own VA website and articles on many of them, one time even finding a whole website that contained nothing but my website text added to a different design. The designer was blamed for this and it was soon changed, but you see my point.

Don’t fall victim to such behaviour and make sure you pique your readers interest by injecting your personality throughout your site. Give visitors a great experience of “you” when they visit. And, flagrantly flaunt your Unique Selling Proposition (USP), so that your visitor instantly realises why they should do business with you instead of your competitor.

Website Mistake 5: Missing or hidden contact information.

Have you ever visited a web site that you think offers the ideal solution to your problem, but you’ve got one question to ask before making your purchasing decision? You go to the Contact Us page to look for the phone number or an email address, and all you find is a contact form to send your question. How annoying is that. There you were, credit card in hand, and already to buy and now you have to fill out a form and wait…

Web site owners are often reluctant to have their contact info readily available on the web site, as they fear having their email address harvested by spammers or having their phone number added to a telemarketing list. There are ways to lessen the likelihood of either issue by using an email spam filter on your computer and, if you use a residential line for business, registering the number with the Telephone Preference Service.

Website Mistake 4: Not Turning Your Website Visitors Into Prospects.

Lots of virtual assistants complain that they get a lot of visitors to their website, but few of them convert into customers. Most marketing texts will tell you that it takes approximately 7 ‘touches’ for a prospect to decide to buy something from you. A visit to your website is just one touch. If you don’t have a system in place for capturing information about your website visitors so you can keep in touch with them, when they are ready to buy they will simply purchase from someone else they have got to know, like, and trust online.

The best tool you can have in place for this purpose is an email newsletter. You can create a regular publishing schedule to be in touch with your contact database, and you can easily demonstrate your expertise via the articles you write and resources your provide.

Website Mistake 3: Nothing to demonstrates your expertise.

Virtual Assistant websites often boast about how proficient they are at solving their clients problems and I’m sure that they do, but where’s the proof?

If you’ve been in business for a while, you’ve got a good idea of the many problems your customers face, so providing relevant content that addresses these problems moves you into “expert” status. If you are an expert prove it by publishing articles, free downloads and resources for your prospects and clients.

Don’t think of it as giving away your expertise for free – think of it as developing a better educated consumer for your services and products. Will you lose customers because they read your information and implemented the solution without hiring you? It’s possible but unlikely because most prospective customers are unable to do it on their own and will need your expert assistance to help them solve their issues.

Website Mistake 2: A Lack of a clear call to action on each website page.

Have you ever been to a web site and been completely overwhelmed with all the directions you can go from the home page? There’s navigation buttons left and right and so many options you don’t know where to go next? Then in frustration you click back to the search results and go on to another website. Sound familiar?
Or perhaps you have found a website that had some interesting content or answered some of your questions but you weren’t ready to buy what you were researching just yet. You want to remember the site for future reference but you’re not sure if you’d find it again. You may bookmark it but if it had a newsletter or a free download of some kind you’d sign up just so that you know they’d contact you from time to time and you wouldn’t have to go looking for them next time.

The most effective call to action you can have on your home page and every other page of your website is to offer something for free, whether it’s an eBook, Newsletter, White Paper or Report, but something useful that’s attractive to your target market so that they’ll be eager give you their name and email address to receive your offer.

Many times the call to action is to telephone or email the business for a free consultation. That call to action is effective to some degree, especially if someone is shopping for an immediate solution to their problem. Overall, however, people want more time to make a decision about doing business with you. They want to determine your credibility and make a decision about whether or not they trust you before deciding to have a personal conversation with you. Expecting someone to call you upon first meeting you (viewing your web site) is not very realistic.

However, if they’ve seen enough on your site to want to know a little more, there’s a greater likelihood they will part with a tiny bit of personal info (first name and email address) to get a better sense of who you are while staying anonymous…and without making a commitment. Once you have their contact information, they then become a prospective client, and you can market to them as you would to any other prospect in your business.

How to Avoid Fatal Virtual Assistant Website Mistakes

As part of running the UK Association of Virtual Assistants I spend a lot of time researching online and checking other virtual assistant’s website. Occasionally I see an outstanding website, but what I usually see is a whole range of similar sites, each one fairly indistinguishable from anther.

When a potential client is shopping around online to find a virtual assistant they want to work with, the last thing you want is for that person to be bored in their search from continually reading the same thing over and over again and leafing through the same old format as virtual assistant’s ‘borrow’ from each others websites! If you want to get more clients from your web site, what follows in this series are 10 common mistakes to avoid:

Mistake 1: The business appears as a nameless, faceless corporate entity.
People do business with people, not websites. This is particularly true when working virtually as your potential client may never meet you in person but will always benefit from ‘putting a face to a name’. Before doing business with you a prospect will want know, like, respect, and trust you in order to let you lose within their business.

I become very frustrated when I can’t find any information on the virtual assistant behind a company name, and it often leaves me wondering what they have to hide. Are they actually a full time VA or are they hiding behind a website so their employer won’t find them? I realise many VA firms employ this strategy to appear bigger than they actually are, but don’t you prefer being able to pick up the phone or drop an email to someone you can identify within a company, rather than trying to penetrate a faceless corporate facade. Guess what, so do your prospects.
Put a photograph and a bio about yourself on the website and if you still want to maintain the illusion of size, put yourself as the Founder or Managing Director of the company and use ‘we’ instead of ‘I’ in your text.

Online Book Keeping With Kashflow – Accounts Made Easy!

As a virtual assistant, we deal with many different customers, using varying systems and programs 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.

Try it today completely free here

Successful Small Businesses Keep a Close Eye on Cash Flow

Business advisors will tell you that one of the main reasons small businesses fail is cash flow. That is either they are not financed correctly in the first place, with sufficient funds to see them through the start-up phase, or that slow paying, or worse non-paying customers are destroying the financial health of the business.

When running a solo or small business there are two main reasons given as to why collecting payments from your clients can become an issue. Firstly it may be that you are so busy doing whatever it is that you do in order to make money, that you simply lose track of who has paid and which payments are late. Secondly, particularly if you are a solo business, there can be a level of embarrassment when the only person that can call the customer asking for the invoice to be paid, is the same person who provided the service.

Whatever the reason, it is imperative that you manage your cash flow effectively or you will soon be out of business. You should have a cash flow forecast that is made up of expected receipts and disbursements for the following 3 months (as a minimum) with some room for the unexpected factored in. With this information to hand you can easily see any potential difficult spots.

Once you have put together your cash flow forecast, it’s a good idea to take a close look at the expenses part of the forecast. Look for where you can cut some costs or find alternative suppliers, and think about what items are ‘nice to have’ but not essential to your business.

With the expenses under control you must make sure that the receipt part of the equation is taken care of with an effective collection system. Whichever system you use for issuing your customer invoices, set up a system for following up late payments. Get into the habit of issuing statements and following up by email, telephone or letter depending what is appropriate for you and your business.

The Secret to Virtual Assistant Success is in the Numbers

So here we are, fast approaching another financial year end. It’s around now that I run a bit of a review of how we’ve done over the past year. What has worked and what hasn’t, what’s up and what’s down.

So if you haven’t done it yet, why not spend a couple of hours reviewing how you have done, and decide what changes you want to make in the coming 12 months?

Being a Virtual Assistant, just like any other business, is a numbers game. How many contacts you have made over the last year? Of these, how many have you turned in to prospects? And, how many clients you have secured as a result? You should also know the average value of your clients and their average lifetime value. These figures can tell you some really interesting things.

For example, if you know that over the previous 12 months you made:

  • 300 contacts, of whom
  • 100 became prospects (by showing a real interest in what you offer), which resulted in
  • 15 new clients, each of whom spent an average
  • £15,000 per year, and stayed with you for an average duration of
  • two years

You will know that your clients have an average lifetime value of  £30,000. And, to generate each client, you need to make 20 new contacts (15 clients from an original 300 contacts: 300/15). Suddenly, the prospect of attending a few networking events over the next couple of months to find 20 new contacts does not seem such a drag, as you know that, on average, you will make  £30,000 for your efforts.

What you can also do is add up what you have spent on marketing, networking and other business-generating tools during the year. This will show the return on investment these have made. If you spent  £2,000 on marketing your business and generated 15 new clients (with an average lifetime spend of  £30,000), you know that that  £2,000 has resulted in £450,000 worth of sales. That’s a return of £225 for every pound spent. Excellent! You can break that down further if you have monitored where these contacts learned of you. You can then identify exactly which marketing, networking and advertising methods have given the greatest returns.

When it comes to planning for the next year, armed with this information, you can invest more in your most effective marketing methods, and less on the less effective. So, if you spent  £1,000 on a networking group, which achieved one client, but only  £50 advertising in an online Virtual Assistant directory, which resulted in three new clients, it does not take a genius to work out that spending more on advertising in the directory might be a better idea than renewing the membership of the networking group.

Also, take a long hard look at your ‘sales funnel’ – the process that people go through from being contacts to becoming clients. What are your conversion rates from contact to prospect and from prospect to client? Where are you losing people? If you find that you have lots of contacts but few prospects, are your contacts fully aware of what you do? Are you tailoring your offering to appeal directly to these people? If you have lots of prospects, but they are not turning into clients, are you following up properly? Do you need to set up a better relationship-building system to develop their confidence in you? As you identify these gaps and plug them, you will need to spend less on generating contacts, as more of your existing ones will become clients? Happy days!

File-Sharing Made Easy

As a virtual assistant you need to share files in some way with your clients. Often you will find your clients are happy to email latest versions of documents and spreadsheets backwards and forwards and some even have a file-sharing system in place that you can have access to.

But what happens if your client doesn’t have their own systems and you will be both updating a ‘live’ file such as a contacts database or an expenses spreadsheet? How do you both have access to the same current version of the file? You can purchase file sharing software such as Microsoft’s Sharepoint, or you can use free software such as Google Docs which, not very helpfully, interferes with the formatting of some documents and limits the size and/or formats of the files you can upload.

Well now, there’s a free option that not only works brilliantly, but also has many other features including access to 30 days worth of back up copies, in case you accidentally delete or ruin a file. You can also access your files remotely when you are out of the office so there’s no longer a need to take that laptop on holiday!

Click here for more information and an extra 500MB of space free!

Staying Focussed On Your Virtual Assistant Business Goals – Tip 1

As the owner of a Virtual Assistant business, you will find that hundreds of distractions that vie for your time, energy and focus. Common distractions can include children, family and friends, neighbours, pets, constant telephone calls, post and deliveries, household chores, television (Lorraine Kelly or Loose Women anyone?) and so many more.

As the owner of your own Virtual Assistant business, you must always remember your purpose in bringing your profession home. What was your reason for wanting to own your own home based business? Was your goal to work from home so that you can share more in the lives of your children? Was your goal to be out from under the rule of a dictatorial boss? Was your goal to have the freedom to work when it is convenient for you? Was your goal to reap the rewards of your efforts and make lots of money working for yourself?

Whatever your reasons for starting your VA business, here are a few tips that will help you stay focused:

Stay Focussed Tip 1

Whatever your reason for going out on your own, you must keep your reason in the forefront of your mind. If you forget your reason for starting your own Virtual Assistant business, you will not be working for yourself for long. It is far too easy to let circumstance drive you and when circumstance is in the driver’s seat, you are more likely to crash and burn.   

Creating the Right First Impression Part 2

Make Yourself Clear

Make sure you are prepared for the specific situation. If you are attending a networking group, make sure you have perfected your one minute presentation and are prepared to speak to prospects on a one-to-one basis and have a ready answer to the inevitable question ‘What do you do’. If meeting a prospect who knows a little more about you and your business, make sure you are clear on what you are offering and how your service works and be prepared to explain this in simple terms without jargon.

What Else Can You Add of Value?

When you are meeting a prospect or attending a networking event you will understandably be focused on what you can get out of the experience. But be prepared to give a little too. It could simply be making an introduction to another of your contacts that could be useful to your prospect or offering a free piece of advice or your expert opinion. Small helpful acts like this will create a great impression and ensure you are memorable to your prospect.

Do What You Say, When You Say You Will

It sounds obvious but make sure you follow up. If you have said you will send through a contact’s details, make sure you do it. If you have arranged to send through more information by the end of the day, make sure you do. Nothing will kill a relationship faster than not following up as and when you say you will.

Creating the Right First Impression Part 1

As the old saying goes, you only get one chance to create a good first impression. When you are running your own business, it’s imperative that within the first few seconds of meeting you or being introduced to your business, you create a great first impression.

In this article we’ll give you some simple tips that will have the prospects that you meet being impressed by you, liking you and, critically, wanting to do business with you.

Looking Good?

Is your blouse ironed or are your shoes in need of a polish? It may sound immaterial but in the eyes of your potential client the care you take over your appearance symbolises the level of care and attention to detail you would take over their work. If you turn up with chipped nail polish and lipstick on your teeth they may wonder if you going to send out their letters with spelling mistakes or send emails to the wrong people. Make time to check your appearance before meeting your prospects.

Oozing Confidence?

Now you’re sure you look the part you can walk into any room with your head held high and confidence intact. Arrive in plenty of time for any appointment as you don’t want to be rushed. Stand up straight and tall and look the other person in the eye when introducing yourself, and don’t forget to shake hands firmly – no-one likes a limp lettuce handshake!

Are You Interested?

As well as having the opportunity to speak about yourself and your business, it is equally important to show interest in your prospect and their business activities. You will create a great first impression if you listen carefully and ask questions. By doing this you will be able to find common points of connection as well as identify areas where you will be able to help them professionally.

Look out for part 2 of this article coming soon.

Turn Your Virtual Assistant Clients into Raving Fans!

We all hear about branding and how important it is to your business. But branding is not just about your web site or logo, it’s also about the associations your clients hold with you and your company name. The more positive that association, the more likely they may be to remain loyal to you when times get hard or competitors start knocking on their (virtual) door!

So how do you know how you are perceived by your clients and prospects and how can you set about improving or building on your brand:

What do your existing clients think of you?
The best place to start is by sending a questionnaire to your existing clients and anyone on your prospect list. It’s a good opportunity to ask for their opinion on what they like about your service and what improvements could be made. You should begin to see some similarities in the responses which will give you an idea of how your brand is perceived.

What Do They Like?
When you have identified the similarities, have a close look at what your clients and prospects love about you and your service. These are the positive aspects or your brand and are what you need to be communicating in all your marketing information.

What Weaknesses Can You See?
Some of these may be related to the industry as a whole, for example it may be that as you work remotely you can’t make the coffee ;o) However, be aware if things crop up that you can do something about. Perhaps you have missed deadlines or you are not up to speed with particular software that your clients use. Think about how you can improve on these for the future.

How Can You ‘Delight the Customer?’
Years ago I used to work for a holiday company who used the line ‘delight the customer’. The idea was that you don’t want the customer just to be satisfied with what you have produced for them. In order to get them singing your praises you really need to ‘delight’ them. So what can you do to delight your clients? Where can you add that little bit of extra value or really show some initiative? If you are seen to be going that extra mile, your clients will love you for it and that’s when they start to become your raving fans and tell everyone how great you are.

Better Than Advertising
As you can see, creating your brand or the ‘image’ for your company isn’t about expensive graphic designers or advertising experts. It’s about identifying what’s great about your business and communicating that in a clear and consistent way. If you can turn your clients into raving fans, they’ll not only stick with you through these turbulent times, they’ll also recommend others to you. Now that’s got to be better than spending a fortune on advertising!

Virtual Assistant Business Make-Over Tips

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.

Why Outsourcing Takes Your Business to a Higher Level – Part 3- Choosing the Right Outsourcing Company

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.

Why Outsourcing Takes Your Business to a Higher Level – Part 2 – How To Make Outsourcing Work

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.

Why Outsourcing Takes Your Business to a Higher Level – Part 1 – What Is Outsourcing and Why Should You Do It?

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.

Home Office Tip 10 – Investigate insurance and make sure you’re covered.

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

Home Office Tip 9 – Plan your time around your body clock and lifestyle.

Are you a morning person? Some people work better in the mornings and some are more effective later in the day. What’s your best time?

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.

 

Home Office Tip 8 – Schedule your household chores so they don’t interfere with your work schedule.

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!

 

How Working From Home Makes You Better Off

President of The AA Edmund King comments: “Our figures show you can save £8.40 per day by working from home. That adds up to more than £2,000 per year and if you can do without a second car, that leads to annual savings of in excess of £6,000. These are cost savings that any family would be pleased to see. What we like to see is that not only are homeworkers saving costs, they are also saving the environment.”

When you add to this, that according to Homefinder UK having a home office can add up to £28,000 to the value of your property, working from home certainly seems to make you better off.

So is this time of financial uncertainty the right time to be starting a business? With job security more ambiguous than ever and everyone interested in saving on everyday costs, there’s never been a better time to make the leap into working for yourself from home. The opportunity to make and save more money, and spend more quality time with family or friends instead of simply commuting to and from your workplace makes more sense than ever.

If you’re interested in starting your own virtual assistant business, working from home during hours that suit you, with the full back up and support of an established business behind you, why not find out about license opportunities with

My Virtual Assistant at www.myvirtualassistant.co.uk

Why Working From Home Makes You Better Off

Ever fancied dumping the 9-5 and starting your own business working from home? Well now it’s official, what we all suspected has finally been confirmed, working from home makes you better off!

According to recent research conducted by Homefinder UK, having an office in your home can add up to £28,000 to the value of your property. In addition the AA estimates that the average commuter could make travel savings of around £2000 a year by working from home and save between one and two hours a day in travelling time – that adds up to nearly a whole extra day per week! Time that could easily be spent with the family or building a new business.

If you’re interested in starting your own virtual assistant business, working from home during hours that suit you, with the full back up and support of an established business behind you, why not find out about license opportunities with

My Virtual Assistant at www.myvirtualassistant.co.uk

Advertising Your Virtual Assistant Business on a Budget – Lesson Six – Test Everything

As much as is possible, you should always test your advertising and marketing efforts. You might want to jump in and try a range of different ideas and formats and that’s great, but try and keep tabs on where each enquiry comes from, and which enquiries go on to convert into paying customers.

With this data to hand you can then look at has been cost effective and what has not. For example if you paid £500 to join a networking group and attended 50 breakfast meetings costing £10 each over the course of a year, and as a result you got one new client, that client would have cost you £1000 to source. If you put an advert in the UKAVA Directory for £49.95 and over a year that advert resulted in 5 new clients, each client has cost you less than £10 to source. In this scenario you may decide to drop the networking group and advertise more widely in the Directory.

The important point is that you can’t improve on what you don’t measure so if you don’t know what is working for you, and what is not, how can you expect to improve your results next time around?

Sometimes you may find that the lower cost advertising and marketing strategies are the ones that bring you the most business.

For a listing in the UKAVA Directory visit: http://www.ukava.co.uk/html/join_the_uk_association_of_vir.html

Advertising Your Virtual Assistant Business on a Budget – Lesson Five – Online Presence

It goes without saying that as a virtual assistant you need a website. But have you really thought about the best way to use it? Some visitors will arrive at your website as result of you telling them about it or seeing the URL on your business card or marketing material.

What you really want though is visitors who have arrived at your website because they are actually searching for a virtual pa. These are not just visitors these are prospects. They have actually gone to the trouble of going to a search engine and entering a relevant term into the search bar and are busy looking through the results to find someone they want to work with. So how do you make sure your website ends up in front of them?

Search engine optimisation (SEO) companies charge a small fortune for ‘optimising’ your website in an attempt to make is appear at the top of that search engines results. And with good reason. The search engines constantly change their indexing criteria to keep out the spammers so the SEO companies have to consistently keep one step ahead. If you don’t have the budget to compete with the big players the best thing you can do is get listed on their websites. Visitors to their websites will then see your information and click through to your website.

There are several directories advertising virtual assistants and their services in the UK. Ours consistently appears on the first page of Google and can be found at http://www.ukava.co.uk

Advertising Your Virtual Assistant Business on a Budget – Lesson Four – Press Releases

Press Releases are useful for generating a buzz about your  virtual assistant business. The business editor at your local newspaper will always be on the lookout for a good business story to fill the business news section of the newspaper.

Of course, the business editor understands the economics of running a paper and is more inclined to run your story if you buy advertising in his/her publication, but will still print stories for special events and openings. Think of an angle, could you offer a competition prize, could you help a local charity.

The important thing to remember about Press Releases is that it must be constructed in the form of a news story. Even if you are a sole proprietorship, quotes from you should be written in a third person format: John Doe said, “Your quote here.”

A Press Release should pack the most important information at the beginning of the copy, and leave extra details towards the end.

You should always provide the reporter who gets the task a simple and easy way for him/her to contact you directly. Often the reporter will want to contact you to get details that will enhance their take on your story.

Advertising Your Virtual Assistant Business on a Budget – Lesson Three – Networking

If up until now you’ve been an employee, you might never have been to a networking event before. The whole idea is that everyone who goes along is a business owner or key decision maker in their business and is there, like everyone else, to promote their product or service. The beauty of networking is that if you attend groups regularly, people get to know and trust you and are happy to work with you if they need a virtual assistant or refer business your way.

Now I could write a whole series on the subject of networking alone but these are the basics. If it is your first time networking I would initially go to an informal group as this will help you get your confidence and see how they work. Do an Internet search on networking and you town and you should find a whole range of groups in your area. Have a look for one that takes your fancy and book on. Most groups will let you attend one or two meetings before asking you to take out a membership so make full use of all the free trails until you find a group that you like. Some groups are free but you will find that those that charge a membership fee are often more formal business networking groups and produce more clients and referrals.

Again don’t forget that anyone you speak to may know someone who needs a virtual assistant so don’t dismiss anyone on first impressions and also remember that networking is two-way so if you can put those you meet in touch with anyone they would be interested in, do it. You will be remembered for it and that’s the first step in getting referrals.

Advertising Your Virtual Assistant Business on a Budget – Lesson Two – Referrals

Sometimes it’s not about who you know, but about whom they know. We’ve all heard the theory about the six degrees of separation, that you are only six people away from anyone you want to get to know. Well the same applies to business. The person you are talking to may not have any requirement for a virtual assistant but who do they know that might?

If you make an impression on the person you are talking to they will remember you and possibly refer on to you anyone who may need your services. This is particularly true at networking events, which we’ll cover next time. But how can you make sure that they will remember you and refer you when appropriate. How about offering a referral fee?

A referral fee can be a gift or cash and is usually related to the amount a referred new customer spends. You only pay out on the referral if the potential new client signs up so you have nothing to lose. You may want to offer a free bottle of champagne or gift vouchers for each new referral or perhaps 10% of the first invoice total. It’s up to you but it can be a very effective way of getting your contacts to refer their contacts to you.

Tips For Advertising Your Virtual Assistant Business on a Budget

When you are starting out as a Virtual Assistant and no one knows who you are or what you do, one of the biggest challenges you will face is how to drum up new business.

You probably have already done some research and already know that there are people who need your services or you would not have started your business in the first place. But once you have spoken to those you already know who may need you, your next task is to find others who will help you make your business a success.

At this point most people turn to advertising. If I had a pound for every VA that has said to me, ‘There’s a little local magazine that comes through my door each month. Should I advertise in it?’ I wouldn’t have to run a VA business myself; I could retire on the proceeds. The answer, by the way, for many reasons is no. There are many better ways to spend your limited advertising and marketing budget.

It is a misconception that you have to spend lots of money to advertise your Virtual Assistant business. Unless you have some sort of financial backing, it is unlikely that you will have a huge budget so it’s better to get a little bit creative and use what you have wisely.

In this series, I will be letting you in on a few tips and some of the lessons I’ve learned on how to advertise your virtual assistant business on a budget.

Advertising Your Virtual Assistant Business on a Budget – Lesson One – Word Of Mouth

If you’ve just started out and you’ve done a piece of work for a client who is pleased with the results, they will talk about it. My advice in the early days is to under promise and over deliver. Think about how you can ‘delight’ your customer. What can you add or improve that would really ‘wow’ them? Could you deliver the work early, could you suggest some ideas that might improve it, could you put them into contact with a potential new client that you know? Anything that is seen as going the extra mile and helping your client within their business will be appreciated. When they thank you for it, ask them if they know anyone else who might need your services. Put it in their mind that you are looking for new clients in this way and they may send you referrals. More on referrals next time!

Virtual Assistants and the Importance of Client Consultation

screenshakeWith a large number of virtual assistants to choose from these days, how can a potential client select who they want to work with? How can you project a professional image and create synergy with someone you’ve never met? What can you do or say to make them think ‘I’ve got to work with this person’?

When I first started out as a virtual assistant, more years ago than I care to remember, there weren’t many other VA’s around and therefore not much competition. Nowadays, a sizeable proportion of the clients I take on have worked with at least one other VA in the past. When I ask what differences they notice between how we work and what they have experienced in the past, it is often commented on that what they like more than anything is that we work as a partnership with our clients, being proactive in their businesses and looking for opportunities for them and suggesting ideas, as opposed to those VAs that just sit and wait for work to be delegated to them.

So how do we achieve that distinction? Part of it is the mind-set. When you make the leap from being an employee to a sole trader or business owner you will quickly realise that if you sit around and wait for work to be delegated, you won’t get very much of it. At that point you learn to make yourself an active member of your clients ‘team’ very quickly or you will soon start to flounder.

To give a great impression straight away it’s important to ask the right questions at the first meeting with your potential client, before they sign up. You need to ascertain where you can be most useful to them. What are their weak points? What work do they have to do that they continually put off either because there is no time or because they don’t enjoy it? Find out what their plans are for their business. What do they want to achieve?

Once the client has come on board you need to maintain the momentum with scheduled meetings as an on-going process both with regular and ad-hoc clients. By having detailed monthly catch up meetings, either in person or by telephone, you can identify what is coming up in their calendar and how you can help them by sharing some of that workload.

How To Work With Virtual Assistant Associates

You can work with Associates in one of two ways, or indeed, a combination of both.

Firstly you can retain all the client contact so that he/she never knows that the work they are sending you has been completed by a third party.

The plus side here is that you will never have to worry about unscrupulous associates who may attempt to take the client from you, or underhand clients who think they may save a pound or two if they cut you out of the equation and work directly with your associate.

The downside is there will be inevitable delays as you send work back and forth, and you will have to be not only very aware of every piece of work as you will have to discuss it with the client where necessary, you will have to double check everything that goes out. All this additional admin can become very time consuming.

The second way to work with an associate is to effectively pass the client over to them and allow direct communication.

This frees up much more of your time as all discussions about the tasks performed are direct between the client and the associate. However, do make sure that you have very solid contracts in place with both your associate and your client to prevent them working directly together.

Also bear in mind that associates will not be with you forever so make sure you keep yourself up to speed with the clients account information, that you have access to all their files and the work completed by the associate, and that you maintain a relationship with them have contacting them regularly to check in and see how things are going.

It’s imperative to have an Associate Agreement in place so that everyone understands the boundaries of the relationship.

Expanding Your Virtual Assistant Business with Associates

office group2When you have filled your virtual assistant business with clients, you will soon run out of time that you can sell to new prospects. After all, you only have so many hours in the day that you can work. So how can you expand and take on more business without the overheads of getting an office and taking on staff?

It’s time to introduce you to the Virtual Assistant Associate.

Working with associates is a very popular business model in several industries as it works in much the same way as working with a virtual assistant. When there is work you don’t have the time to complete, your clients outsource it to you. When you have an excess of client work you don’t have time to complete, you outsource it to an associate.

Associates work at a reduced hourly rate to that you have charged your client, as they have been handed the work ‘on a plate’ without having to do all the marketing and relationship building associated with bringing that client on board.

You also continue to manage the client relationship and invoicing, and the client remains a customer of your business rather than becoming a direct customer of your associate.

It’s imperative to have an Associate Agreement in pace so that everyone understand the boundaries of the relationship.

Virtual Assistant Legal Stuff – What You Need and Why

pencils-21186_640There’s often chat in the virtual assistant world regarding contracts versus terms and conditions and whether the formal approach of issuing contracts actually puts off potential clients. Some hold the opinion that published terms and conditions are enough and that displaying these on your web site or issuing them to new clients should be sufficient. To an extent I agree that issuing a 10 page contract to a new client who is only looking to work with you for a few hours on a one-off project can seem a little over doing it. Of course in this instance you should ask for payment up front. But when it comes to long term clients, a word of caution…

Several years ago I had my first non-payer. We had worked together for several months and he had always paid on time. Then, over a period of a few months things slipped and he ended up owing me a couple of thousand pounds. When I had the audacity to ask when my invoices would be paid, his response proved that actually he no longer needed my services and was simply looking to get as much work as possible from me for free before the penny dropped with me that he was actually not intending to pay. The long and short of it was that I eventually got the money but it was after a lengthy court process and a lot of stress.

Lessons learned? I immediately took advice on what should be included in my contract because, although I had one at the time, it was nowhere near watertight enough and I hadn’t included things I could charge for such as penalties for late payment and interest. If at the time I could have produced his signed contract accepting these clauses, I could have been much more effective in collecting the debt before it went through the whole legal process. After all, if you were presented in an option of pay the invoiced amount today, or in 7 days it will cost you 15% more in penalties plus interest, wouldn’t you pay now?

I also now only accept clients on a pay up front basis and have never had any prospect or client comment or complain about this way of working. This in itself won’t cover you completely as there are always the extra hours you may work over and above what has been prepaid, and then of course there are the additional expenses which can mount up. But, in general, it does prevent a similar situation from occurring again.

In summary I would suggest you do both, get a proper, legally binding contract in place AND charge your clients up front for the hours you will work for them. Contracts for both short term ‘Pay As You Go’ clients and those on more long term ’Retainer’ arrangements can be found at the VA Success Group.

Becoming a Successful Virtual Assistant

calculator-178164_640Many Virtual Assistants start out in their businesses by working towards the finish line of what they perceive to be a successful VA business. They will research online what everyone else is doing and strive to achieve something very similar. They will spend time deciding what services they will offer, how they will offer them and going about finding the right clients. But before this process really starts, you should begin by defining what success really means to you. You need to drill down and establish the type of success that you want and how you want to achieve it.

Successful doesn’t necessarily have to mean the largest or most profitable VA business. It could be a business that fits in around your lifestyle, or one that develops a fantastic reputation within a very niche market.

It’s also important to understand that there are several levels or models of virtual assistant businesses you can operate. From the one-man band to the office based team, these can follow in sequence as you grow or you can start with you favoured business model in mind and develop that to its full potential. As you also develop with experience, practice and gaining the knowledge that you need for the job, you will be able to become more successful with your business. Continuing to define what you need and constantly growing into your virtual assistant business will help you to find your success.

The most important thing to keep in mind with your virtual assistant business is that the satisfaction should come from the process, not the goal. No matter what stage you are at, there is always room for growth. This may mean that you will grow into success by redefining the services that you offer or by continually refining your professional standards. Or it may mean developing your skills in certain areas or learning new ones to make you a well-rounded and progressive virtual assistant. The more you know and the more you can offer, the better of a chance you will have at continuing your success.

Becoming a successful virtual assistant simply means taking the steps that you need to be successful and achieve your own goals, whatever they may be. By beginning with your own idea of what success in your business would mean to you, and moving forward one step at a time.

 

The Secret to Successful Networking Is Following Up Part 1

contentWe have all heard that networking is a successful strategy for gaining clients for your virtual assistant business, but why are some people very successful at it while others wonder if they’ve just wasted their money and eaten too many fried breakfasts?

One of the most common reasons for the divide between who is successful at networking and those who are not, is those that are successful follow up.

By following up I don’t mean saying hello again at the next networking event, I mean actively keeping in contact with the people you meet outside of the networking event. How often have you met someone at an event who has expressed some interest and could use your expertise, but you never heard from them again? Did you follow up with them after the event, or did you leave it to them?

You are the service provider in this relationship so it’s up to you to get in contact with that prospect and tell them, in whatever way is appropriate, how you can help them.

Look out for part 2 of this article coming soon.

Building On Start Up Virtual Assistant Success

picjumbo.com_IMG_4340Any successful Virtual Assistant that’s been bouncing around the industry for a while will tell you that the road to success in virtual assisting can be a bit of a bumpy ride.  Becoming a self-employed business owner can often be a scary prospect as suddenly, there’s no-one to ask. No-one to tell you what equipment you need, no-one to ask how to best protect yourself with your client agreements, no-one to ask about the best way to grow and expand your business.

The VA Success Group was set up to deal with these issues and you probably already know that there’s a hugely informative Start Your Virtual Assistant Business Online Course to teach you all the basics and you can download all sorts of Document Template packs to help you with the legal aspects and client management.

But what happens when your business is up and running and you decide that this year is going to be the year when you really push your business forward. What do you do?

The first thing is to identify what ‘success’ really means for you. It sounds simple but it is different for everyone. Do you want a six figure income, or do you simply want to replace your old full time salary and only work part time hours? Or do you even want to build a highly successful business that you can then sell on as a going concern and retire on the profits?

Once you’ve decided what you want to achieve, the next step is to decide how you will get there. You need to set out your objectives, define your marketing strategy, set your budget and organise your operational process to take it all into account.

You’ll also need to decide if you already have all the tools you need, or if you need some training or professional advice in order to achieve your goals. You may also need someone to hold you accountable as without it, it’s all too easy for the big goals to get lost in the minutiae of the day to day.

Keep your goals written down and place them somewhere you will see them every day, if they are in the forefront of your mind you will be more likely to take advantage of any unexpected opportunities that come your way. Also remember that there are many paths to reach your goals, and if one goes a bit off track, try another.

If you would like advice and support from two of the most successful virtual assistants in the UK today, people who have really been there and done it’, along with the feedback and accountability of a whole group of VA’s dedicated to building their own successful businesses, the VA Success Groups Mentoring programmes could be just what you need.

Gaining Control of Your Social Media

hootsuiteAre you spending hours a day posting Tweets and Facebook updates, or more time than you can spare on keeping up with LinkedIn and the like?

Have you heard of Hootsuite? Hootsuite will allow you to post social media updates across multiple accounts and even schedule them in advance. There are analysis tools, so you can see your success and you can even have multiple contributors to your social profiles without sharing passwords (so great for nervous virtual assistant clients!).

The basic package is free so get yours here today!

Virtual Assistant Marketing – Niche to Streamline Your Efforts

contentMany Virtual Assistants shy away from the idea of marketing to attract a particular niche as they are concerned that they will be turning away hoards of prospects from other industries. But if you have ever tried to be everything to everyone, you’ll soon learn that you end up appealing to no-one and as your marketing efforts are spread too thinly, you end up out of pocket and frustrated by poor results.

When you market to a niche you are targeting a very small select group of people. With research you can identify what that group of people have in common and in what areas where they will all be struggling. This way you can tailor your marketing message, the words that you use, to suit the target market. For example, if you were to target a group of individuals that were constantly away from home due to their line of work, you could say something in your marketing material like ‘Are you constantly away from home and worrying that the post is not being dealt with or you’ll come home to find that your car has run out of tax or the boiler has not been serviced?’ Do you see how someone who was away all the time would identify with that question? They may well have already experienced a situation like that or know that it will happen at some point.

Now you can follow up that question with your solution, something like, ‘Our Mail Handling and Lifestyle Management services mean that we can run your home and life for you while you are away meaning that you will never have to be reliant on public transport or have a cold bath ever again!’ Do you see how that would appeal to them?

You can of course use the same approach with any niche market. With a bit of research you can establish where you might be needed and what services you can offer to add value. So don’t forget next time you are out networking, chat to people in niches that interest you, find out what they struggle with and if these are general issues for people in their industry. Then even if that particular person doesn’t need your services yet, you can still tailor your marketing message using what you have learned and target others from their industry.

A little bit more research will also tell you where you can find these people, what publications do they read, what groups or associations do they belong to? When you know what message to put before them, and you know what channels you have available to get in front of them the rest is child’s play. So as you can see, marketing to a niche is an effective way of streamlining your marketing efforts and achieving better results.

Virtual Assistant Tips – Getting Those First Clients

Face of beautiful woman on the background of business peopleWhen starting your virtual assistant business, after getting together all you equipment, getting excited over your business cards and web site, there comes the sudden realisation that here you are, all ready to go and there isn’t actually a queue of people knocking down your door to work with you. Yikes!

One of the questions I’m asked most often is ‘Where do you get your clients’. Usually the question is asked by new start up virtual assistants, but more recently I’ve been asked by more established VA’s who have started to struggle during the recession. Newbies have generally spent lots of time putting together their business by purchasing equipment and organising their office, but have forgotten the fundamentals of putting together their marketing plan. Then when they are all set up and ready to go and have opened their virtual doors to the world they find that the phone isn’t ringing and the email Inbox isn’t full of enquiries. More established VA’s, once they have enough clients, put marketing on the back burner until such a time as they need to look for new clients again.

If either of these sounds like you, you need to develop a marketing plan, and fast.

Firstly take a long hard look at your contacts and include everyone you’ve ever worked with, all your contacts through previous businesses if appropriate and family and friends. What contacts do you already have that you can ask for referrals? If you are already running a VA business, when did you last ask your clients for referrals? Don’t discount anyone because you think they wouldn’t need your services. They may well know someone who does.

Next take stock of all the skills you have and the industries you have worked in or that interest you. Consider what services can you offer and to whom? If you have been a book keeper with an IT firm for many years, you are going to find it far easier to offer your virtual book keeping services to other IT firms as you know something about their market and their ‘language’. If you target an industry or sector you have experience of, you will be seen as the virtual assistant who is an expert in this field and have an advantage over any other VA.

When you have decided on your target market, or niche, think about how you can reach them. Do they belong to particular organisations, read certain publications or as is the case with one of my niches, do they all drink on a Thursday afternoon in bars within a square mile of a certain point in London?

When you know where to find them, consider how you can get your message to them. While advertising in general is expensive and often pointless unless you can afford to take out a run, perhaps you could write an article for a trade publication, or give a presentation at an event your ‘suspects’ will attend. Think outside of the box for some interesting and inexpensive ideas that will have impact on your particular target market and keep you stimulated and motivated.

Above all, keep marketing as a continual process and recognise that although you may not get clients immediately from you efforts, in time your consistency will pay dividends.

Your Own Virtual Assistant Business – In A Box

Logo tmHave you always wanted to start your own business as a virtual assistant, but have been put off by the idea of starting from scratch?

Not sure what you need to know, how to avoid all the pitfalls, what to charge or how to make it all a success?

How would it feel if you could just click your heels together and land in your very own successful business that is up and running with all the tried and tested systems and processes already in place? And wouldn’t it be a dream if your business was already a market leader, with a raft of very happy clients and an enviable reputation for service and professionalism.

Click here for your own virtual assistant business in a box

List Building to Fill the Sales Funnel

I’m sure you’ve all heard of the sales funnel, where you start at the top filling the widest part of that funnel with prospects, and they filter through your sales funnel, inevitably decreasing in numbers along the way, until ultimately a number of the original prospects purchase a product or service from you.

The key to making more sales at the end of this process is often overfilling your funnel with lots more prospects than you think you actually need. Numbers will decrease for a multitude of reasons along the way so focus on list building activities to fill the top end of that funnel.
So where to start?

The following series will give you a few ideas to get your started.

Tip 1 – Newsletter opt in box. On your website, you need to include an opt-in box so that people can give you their name and email address. This automatically subscribes them to your weekly, fortnightly or monthly newsletter that will keep in touch with them to build the relationship – making it a responsive list.

File-Sharing Made Easy

Pc_Cartelle_003As a virtual assistant you need to share files in some way with your clients. Often you will find your clients are happy to email latest versions of documents and spreadsheets backwards and forwards and some even have a file-sharing system in place that you can have access to.

But what happens if your client doesn’t have their own systems and you will be both updating a ‘live’ file such as a contacts database or an expenses spreadsheet? How do you both have access to the same current version of the file? You can purchase file sharing software such as Microsoft’s Sharepoint, or you can use free software such as Google Docs which, not very helpfully, interferes with the formatting of some documents and limits the size and/or formats of the files you can upload.

Well now, there’s a free option that not only works brilliantly, but also has many other features including access to 30 days-worth of back-up copies, incase you accidentally delete or ruin a file. You can also access your files remotely when you are out of the office so there’s no longer a need to take that laptop on holiday!

Click here for more information and an extra 250MB of space free!

Top Ezine Housekeeping Rules

Pc_Cartelle_003The following series will look at some housekeeping rules, which will ensure that you follow the strict etiquette of email marketing, while presenting yourself and your business in a professional and ethical way.

Make sure your subscribers actually subscribed

There is nothing more annoying than being inundated with unsolicited sales emails. We all hate it. If you are boosting your subscriber list by adding email addresses from business cards you have picked up, trawling the yellow pages or your local Chamber of Commerce’s mailing list, your messages risk not only going straight to the junk mail folder, but also alienating people with whom you might have established good working relationships. Make sure the owner of the email address has requested that you send them information, or, at the very least, has agreed to receive it.

Affordable Web Sites for Virtual Assistants

It’s a bit of a given these days that in order to be taken seriously in the business world, you need to have a web site. When hearing about a company or service for the first time, how many of us head off to the “www.” to find out more? We all know that when work “virtually” in particular, we need to have an online presence, a web site. After all, we don’t have a shop front or an office building to impress our potential clients so our web site is our “shop window”, our opportunity to display our expertise and professionalism. Or is it?

It’s amazing how many virtual assistants don’t have a web site. 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 could be missing from your marketing armoury is as endless as it is senseless. 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 as simple as it is cost effective. Web sites from the UKAVA cost from just £245 for everything you need. We even and include a years free hosting and an advert in the UKAVA Directory. Now there’s really no excuses for not getting your web site underway today!

Find all the information about virtual assistant web sites here

Online Course Bundle – Fantastic 3 for 2 Offer

If you’re on this mailing list you’ve probably already experienced the tremendous value of our products. But now we are giving you the opportunity to get your hands on all three Online Courses, that’s:

Start Your Virtual Assistant Business

Marketing for Virtual Assistants

and Networking for Virtual Assistants

…all for the price of just two

You’ll learn absolutely everything you need to know to start, run and expand your virtual assistant business, all from the comfort of your own home.

Get your 3 courses for the price of 2 here

Do You Need Nagging?

You know how it is, you’ve been flat out meeting deadline after deadline for your clients and you’ve been turning away lots of new prospects as you simply can’t take on any more. You really want to expand but what’s the best way forward? Get an office and some staff? Work with associates?

Or worse, you’ve been banging away with the same old marketing activities and getting the same old results, i.e. no new clients, and you simply haven’t got around to writing that press release you were going to send to your target markets leading magazine.

It’s so easy to get lost in the day to day running of your virtual assistant business that sometimes it takes someone else to stop you in your tracks and point you back in the right direction. Some would call it nagging, some call it setting goals and being made accountable for achieving them, some would even call it sound business advice being freely given, targets being set with deadlines, and your progress monitored to make sure YOU get what YOU want from YOUR business.

At the VA Success Group we call it Mentoring.

Whether you need nagging, coaching, cajoling, mentoring or downright bullying we can help. But more than just ‘coaching’, as we’re also real live virtual assistants ourselves, we can also mentor you as to the best routes to take to overcome the hurdles achieve your goals. You not only get a ‘buddy’ to help you set your goals and targets and make you accountable, you also get sound, quality business advice.

Does that sound interesting?

Check out what’s available here>>>