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.
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!
Join a local networking group to gain local visibility and meet some like-minded small business owners. Don’t forget to follow up after events and meet up with contacts outside the events too.
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 … Read more
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 … Read more
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 … Read more
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 … Read more
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 … Read more
Consider an all in one printer, scanner and copier as it saves space. You can also get one with an integral 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 … Read more
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 … Read more
Who will answer your telephone if you are on a call or out of the office? There is nothing more likely to lose 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.
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 … Read more
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 … Read more
One of the fun parts of setting up your home business is setting up your home office. Here are some hot tips to make sure you invest wisely in everything you will need. Tip 1 – Create a dedicated space that is your ‘office’. Ideally this should be a dedicated space, an entire room if … Read more
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 … Read more
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 … Read more
There are various social media platforms you can use to deliver messages to your readers and followers which we’ll look at through the remainder of this series. But before embarking on any marketing activity, it’s important to know why it’s useful. Social media is instant so your messages can be delivered as they happen, and … Read more
We’ve all heard the phrase social media, but what actually is social media and how can you use it to help your virtual assistant business? In short, social media is a term that encapsulates a number of online communication platforms which make it easy for people to not only publish their own news and views … Read more
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 … Read more
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 … Read more
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 … Read more
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 … Read more
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 … Read more
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 … Read more
With 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 … Read more
Setting yourself up as a virtual assistant is an exciting step but one which should not be taken without some serious consideration. Starting any new business, particularly one where you work from home, can appear either a stimulating or frightening prospect, or both, depending on your perspective and experience. Breaking out from the ‘employed’ world … Read more
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 … Read more
When 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 … Read more
There’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. … Read more
Many 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 … Read more
The first step in this process is to say that you would like to meet with them again and that you will call to arrange a time and place to have a coffee and a chat. Then call when you say you will and make that arrangement. When you meet for that coffee, make sure … Read more
We 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 … Read more
Any 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 … Read more
Are 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 … Read more
Many 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 … Read more
When 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 … Read more
Have 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 … Read more
Paid advertising. Advertising online is very simple with tools such as Google AdWords. It allows you to appear at the top or side of the main search results for a fee. Be careful with your budget and again, make sure you get these visitors on your list to be really cost effective. When you’ve implemented … Read more
Organise an online expert event. Similar to the idea of interviewing an expert, but en masse. Organise a whole range of experts to speak on given subjects and offer access to the calls as a live event, or offer the recordings afterwards, or both. Getting all of the experts to promote the event will increase … Read more
Write articles about your subject. One of the best ways to become seen as an expert in your industry in the eyes of your target market is to write on the subject. Write articles and syndicate them online. Don’t forget to include your website link to your author information.
Don’t be afraid of social media. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, whichever ones you choose to get involved in, social media is a great way to expand your sales funnel. Offer free tips, advice and articles here. Answer questions to demonstrate your expertise. And above all, get them to your website so they will add themselves to … Read more
Interview some experts. If you can talk on the telephone, you can interview an expert in a similar field. You can offer it as a live teleseminar, or group call, or offer it afterwards as a recording. By asking your expert to also promote the interview to their mailing list, you will end up with … Read more
Consider an affiliate program. People will often sing the praises of your product or service, in exchange for a commission on each sale made as a result of their recommendation. What could be better than having an entire sales force working only on commission!
Get involved in new media options such as audio and video. Audio and video are very powerful mediums, so don’t be afraid to make a short podcast or video welcoming your web site visitors and actually tell them to sign up for more information.
Use your blog effectively. Post quality, useful content regularly and at the end of your posts, encourage people to sign up to your mailing list. “Why not have these tips delivered direct to your inbox”, “For more on this topic, download our free report here”, etc.
Give them a reason to sign up. Offer something for free in exchange for their contact details. It can be something they download, making it simple and cheap to administer, such as a free report, audio download or tip sheets.
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 … Read more
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 … Read more
If you go to the effort of writing an ezine, do not forget to tell you readers what you want them to do next. You are writing in order to build a relationship. So, do you want them to go to your website to read the rest of the articles, or download something for free? … Read more
Do not forget to ask your readers for their comments, questions or future topics they would like to see covered. The whole point of writing an ezine or newsletter is to build a relationship with your prospects and invite further interaction. You want them to take the next step by picking up the telephone or … Read more