Top 10 Tips for Becoming a Virtual Assistant

SVA put together 10 baby-steps to becoming a Virtual Assistant – a must-read for any aspiring assistant! Continue reading

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Marketing Friday for Virtual Assistants:

marketing

Welcome back to our marketing tips for Virtual Assistants. I hope January’s tips were of use to you, here are this week’s:

1. Volunteer to help a local community group with their admin.

2. Make sure your SEO is great (for free!) with WebCEO. www.webceo.com

3. Design and build your own website with WordPress or Blogger as a first step. You can add in customised domains to make it more professional, but this is a great way of getting online without spending lots of money.

4. Update your site regularly with updates so the web crawlers find fresh content which automatically refreshes you in their listings. We recommend at least once per week for a start-up.

5. Build a blog into your site. I was a bit sceptical about these, but generally they “talk” to your customers, let them find out a bit more about you, can act as newsletters, increase SEO by updating your site and driving traffic, and provide a quick and easy way to update your content. Remember don’t use a free blogging tool which is hosted externally – in order for the SEO benefits the blog needs to be hosted on your domain.

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Specialist Niches: Emma of Scriptrix-em – Virtual Legal Secretary

As part of our Specialist Niches section, we’ve spoken to VAs who have unusual or specialist niches.

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Your name and age? My name is Emma Freeman and I am (gulp) 41.  I am a Virtual Legal Secretary with 25 years’ legal and medico-legal experience.
Continue reading

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Starting out as a Virtual Assistant – Michelle Shaw

Michelle Shaw I am Michelle (aka Elle) from Bangor, N. Ireland. I am a newbie VA and will be blogging this year on the ups and downs of starting out as a VA. Continue reading

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Marketing Friday for Virtual Assistants:

marketing

Hopefully you’ve found our previous Marketing Friday tips helpful, here are this week’s 5 tips to try:

1. Try contacting people advertising for part-time or temporary staff.

2. Get in contact with your local temp agency and volunteer a special rate for their clients. Lots of temp agencies won’t send out staff for less than ½ a day and often the work can be done off site (e.g. marketing mail outs), making it ideal for VAs.

3. Remember on average it takes 7 communications before someone will buy from you – so try, try, try, try, again, again and then try AGAIN! You don’t have to plague them with sales-y phone calls or emails – send a funny postcard or a link about their industry just to remind them of your presence.

4. Join your local Chamber of Commerce, BNI, 4Networking or Women in Business event. These are usually listed on www.findnetworkingevents.com

5. Put a sign up in your local coffee shop / Wi-Fi hotspot.

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Marketing Over Holiday Periods

Rachel originally wrote this post on 2nd January – however as she discusses in her post Christmas can be such a topsy-turvy time, and unfortunately this post is now a little out of date. However, we will soon be reaching the long Easter Weekend and then the summer holidays – the same dilemmas will apply.

Bonjour! Rachel

How much more hectic can Christmas holidays get?

We all know by now that it is anything but a relaxing holiday and I am not just talking presents and turkey here.

I am talking about business and being a VA.

Is this your busiest time? quietest?

For me right now and because I am new it is a case of “shall I email this company?”, “shall I send them this brochure?”

December is a tricky time for marketing, isn’t it?!

Everything has to be done BEFORE Christmas or we are condemned to wait until the New Year so basically it is all rushed before the 24th or nothing is happening for 2 weeks.

I have been emailing some companies but now I realise that it may not be the best time to make my follow up calls…or is it?

People may be winding down and this may just be the perfect time. Or not. It is driving me mad.

So as a compromise I have emailed some people a brief presentation of my services along with a special offer in the spirit of the holiday and New Year with the aim of calling in them in January.

I decided to follow the lead of local networking events, there aren’t any for the next few weeks and the ones usually taking place at the beginning of each month, will now resume in February which would indicate to me that most people welcome a bit of a breather around the holidays.

I have also decided to put finding my target client on hold for now as a newbie I am having to decide on the following:

Do I stick to my guns and focus on my ultimate goal, which is my case is to find work within my niche of bilingual services, not just admin but others such as accompanying business people to shows or workshops or do I compromise and look for local people or businesses that will bring in some paid work, local contacts and hopefully more work thanks to word of mouth?

It’s a tough call. Are you having to compromise on your original idea or goal? Is it a case of being practical over being ambitious? Can you afford to stick to your original idea? Please let me know…

 

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Tell us about your Virtual Assistant Day

We’re looking for more VAs to take up the challenge of telling us about a typical day in their Virtual Assistant life (see example here). Whether it’s a list of tasks, a timetable of what you normally do or a photo diary, we want to hear from you and show people what REAL VAs do with their time. Continue reading

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Marketing Friday for Virtual Assistants:

marketing

I hope you’ve been enjoying our previous marketing tips, here are another 5 to help you market your virtual assistant business:

1. Network on online forums in your chosen target market – remember that website link on your signature again!

2. When you’re networking make a point of gathering as many business cards as you can – people are only too happy to give them away – rather than concentrating too much on dishing yours out, because each card you have gives you the chance to market yourself and your business to that contact.

3. Look out for networking events run by your local council – these range from support networks for young entrepreneurs, women into business groups and tax workshops run by Inland Revenue.

4. Send out 2 letters a week to potential new clients in your target market.

5. Follow them up your prospect list with phone calls – it’ll improve your conversions tenfold!

 

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Competition: Best Marketing Letters

tea bag for virtual assistantsEmmaB in our office is rather famous for her “Have a cuppa on us” campaign.  She rather brilliantly realised that our clients’ most precious asset is their time and when we were asking them for more info or to fill in a form, it was quite annoying and got forgotten.  So she sent them a little note with the form she needed filled in and… a tea bag.  “Have a cuppa on us, sit down, relax and tell us about your admin fantasies.” The clients LOVED it.  And the response we got was phenomenal – a great marketing success.

So, what we’re looking for is what worked for you, as a virtual assistant. Continue reading

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One Of Those Weeks.

Bonjour!Rachel

Another day, another blog!

What a difference a day makes, eh? A few days ago I was living my life as a VA safe in the knowledge of having 3 clients…and now? I’m not so sure! So what happened?

Well, first, my French client emailed me to ask to put everything on halt, well stop, basically. Why? Financial reasons apparently, which I will not go into here. He is kindly keeping me in the loop about his latest developments and assures me this should only be a temporary glitch in our agreement!

Fair enough, I think, at least I have still 2 clients…or have I?

Shortly after, client number 2 suggests that we work together every other week because I caught up with her back log and now it is a case of a monthly update with the odd extra work…”Am I ok with that?” “Yes, sure, no problem!”.

Oh well…at least I have my husband, he won’t let me down, now will he? Well, no, not per se but it seems that he is reviewing some of his priorities (in view of a new major contract) and some of the work I did needs to be put on hold, at least till the new year…now, where did I hear this before??

As the new VA on the block I get a surge of “self-doubt” combined with an unhealthy dose of “Is it me?” not to mention a shattering drop in self-confidence, or rather what’s left of it.

So, naturally I begun to question my own ability, maybe I did something wrong? Maybe I said the wrong things? Maybe I’m too slow? Maybe, maybe, maybe…

So, my new predicament leaves me with 3 choices:

  1. Giving up (self-doubt and all that)
  2. Waiting for them
  3. Finding a way out

Giving up, not an option, too many reasons why. Just not an option!

Waiting for them, not a viable or desirable option.

So, what is MY way out of this?

I know, some of you might say “novice’s mistake!” ok, fair enough, my first lesson! So, here I am frantically searching for the next local networking events, flicking through the business directory, clicking on YELL.com, updating my LinkedIn profile, and signing on for the next “digital marketing masterclass” where I discover that I am being “reactive” rather than “pro-active”, so is that a bad thing, really? I mean, at least I’m active.

You see, the plan (yes, I did have one) was to “wait” till the end of January to start looking for new potential clients in a more pro-active way (using the appropriate, if a tad over-used, term), I thought that by then, I would have gained more confidence in my new role as a VA and also I would have earned a little bit of money, so of course I had a plan and I knew how I wanted to execute it. How naïve of me, I am now reduced to switching from pro-active to re-active! Great, client hunting before Christmas.

Actually this is not the worst for me, as I said I was going to get there anyway, the worst for me, you see, is what this is doing to me on a more personal level; Starting a new venture, however small it may seem to the outside, is HUGE for some people, me including.

Going out there, talking to virtual strangers, making new connections, oozing self-confidence when you‘re not always too sure of what to say or how to say it; Knowing you can do the job until you meet “the other VA” who has it all worked out; emailing people hoping ONE will realise you do have potential; all this whilst trying not to take it personally…Well, I do take it personally!! It is personal…to ME!

I want it to work, not to show off, not for the kids to be proud of mum and not for the money BUT because, I want it! I need it! And more to the point I can do it and I want to prove it by making a difference, one business at a time!!

So, maybe there is a silver lining after all: I am more determined than ever to carry on and find the next client and the next one and so on.

2016…Here I come!!!!

Are you a new VA? Have you had a couple of setbacks? Are you more determined than ever?

Share your experience with us by leaving a comment.

A bientot

Rachel.

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Marketing Friday for Virtual Assistants:

marketing

Welcome back to our regular series of tips to help you market your virtual assistant business, here are this week’s 5 tips:

1. Print business cards with an explanation of what you do – lots of people aren’t entirely sure what a virtual assistant is!

2. Print loads of business cards – you can never have too many of these, but you may want to do a smaller print run initially as you may want to change your description of services or your tagline after trialling them on real prospects. We recommended a minimum of 200 to start.

3. Hand out 5 business cards a day – I heard a story recently of someone getting an excellent new client because a Big Issue seller passed on his business card.

4. Give your contacts extra copies of your business cards to give out to their contacts.

5. Put your signature with website link on the bottom of all your emails.

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