Virtual Assistant Business Advertising on a Budget

Referrals 

Sometimes it’s not about whom you know, but about who 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.

Virtual Assistant Business Advertising on a Budget

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 Assistant Business Advertising 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 the rest of 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.

Tips For Setting Up Your Home Based Office – 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 information about what insurnace cover you need, and for low cost policies, visit: https://www.ukava.co.uk/html/insurance.html

Tips For Setting Up Your Home Based Office – 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.

Tips For Setting Up Your Home Based Office – Schedule your household chores

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!

For more information about managing your time visit: http://vasuccessgroup.co.uk/virtual-assistant-online-courses/start-your-virtual-assistant-business/

Tips For Setting Up Your Home Based Office – Set up Specific work times and create boundaries

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 cant get hold of you.

For more information aobut how to set boundaires and maanage your clients visit: http://vasuccessgroup.co.uk/virtual-assistant-online-courses/start-your-virtual-assistant-business/

Tips For Setting Up Your Home Based Office – Additional Equipment You Will Need

Consider an all in one printer, scanner and copier as it saves space. You can also get one with an intergral fax machine, although you can also use an online fax services from your 0844 number provider or Efax if required.

You will also need a shredder for confidential documents and you may need a transcription pedal if you offer the service and are asked for it and potentially a binder, laminator and guillotine again only if you need them for a specific job or your own use for marketing materials.

For office furnture and equipment suppliers visit: https://www.ukava.co.uk/html/furniture_and_office_supplies.html

Tips For Setting Up Your Home Based Office – Research and purchase your Computer

When deciding which type of computer to buy, consider how you will be working and which option would be best for you. If you are going to be working away from the office from time to time, you might choose a laptop. Make sure when you are using if for extended periods at your desk that it is on a stand with the screen at eye level and use a proper keyboard and mouse.

Consider a large external hard drive for making mirror back ups and storing large files and make sure you also have an online back system such as Carbonite.

For suppliers of computers and back up systems, including online back up from Carbonite, visit: https://www.ukava.co.uk/html/computers.html

Tips For Setting Up Your Home Based Office – Set Up A Call Answering Service

Set up professional call handling for when you are away from you desk otherwide who will answer your telephone if you are on a call or out of the office? There is nothing more likely to loose you a potential client than an unanswered enquiry call. You can’t be at your desk every minute of the working day so set up a real live person call handling service.

For more information about telephone call answering services visit: https://www.ukava.co.uk/html/telephone_services.html

Tips For Setting Up Your Home Based Office – Set up your telephone system

Firstly you need to consider if you will use your home telephone number, set up a new line just for business use, perhaps use Skype (providing you have excellent broadband) or register a non geographic or 0844 number that will divert to your home number during office hours.

There are benefits to all options so consider each one carefully before making your choice. Don’t use more than one or they WILL all ring together!

Just a note about using a mobile telephone number, don’t use one for your main business number as it will destroy your credibility. It screams ‘one-man-band’. If you want to use a mobile, divert your landline to it using BT Call Divert.

For more information about telephone services visit: https://www.ukava.co.uk/html/telephone_services.html

For information about how to start your own virtual assistant business visit:  http://vasuccessgroup.co.uk/virtual-assistant-online-courses/

Tips For Setting Up Your Home Based Office – Create a permanent, comfortable and healthy desk space

When choosing a desk make sure it is large enough area to accommodate the work you will be completing. It is tempting, particularly when using a small space, to go for a small desk or one of those cupboard work stations. Just make sure you have enough room to spread out.

Make sure the chair you choose is fully adjustable and comfortable. You will be spending a lot of time at your desk so ensuring a healthy sitting posture is essential.

For suppliers of office furniture visit: https://www.ukava.co.uk/html/furniture_and_office_supplies.html

For more information about setting up your home office visit:  http://vasuccessgroup.co.uk/virtual-assistant-online-courses/start-your-virtual-assistant-business/

Tips For Setting Up Your Home Based Office – Create a dedicated space that is your ‘office’.

Ideally this should be a dedicated space, an entire room if possible or at least a sizable portion of one. You will need a clear space to work that has sufficient power sockets and a phone line connection nearby. Make sure your work space is clear from noise and distractions like a t.v. or washing machine.

Also think about the additional room you will need for other furniture you will need including a filing cabinet, stationery storage etc.

For more information about setting up your home office take a look at the VA Success Groups “Start Your Virtual Assistant Business Online Course” at: http://vasuccessgroup.co.uk/virtual-assistant-online-courses/start-your-virtual-assistant-business/