SVA put together 10 baby-steps to becoming a Virtual Assistant – a must-read for any aspiring assistant! Continue reading
We get asked for sales letter advice all the time… One of the reasons I tend not to give out advice on it is because 1) Sales letters have a very poor return (usually 1%-5%) and 2) Because each business will have a unique personality which needs to shine through in their marketing.
Having said that, getting a letter or a postcard is increasingly rare in this world of digital communication, so it’s regaining popularity. Yes – stamps are expensive, but you can also use a service like Documail or similar to keep costs low.
So we’ve rounded up a few examples which you can tailor for your own use. The more you can personalise them to your own house-style, services you offer and prospects you are targetting, the more effective they will be. We know several people getting responses of 25% using these letters combined with follow up phonecalls. Continue reading
My claim that SVA set up the very first Virtual Assistant standards in 2005 in my recent email was challenged – I stand corrected! I did try to detail a few historical facts about VAs in this post, which probably requires a few updates! (Feel free to email me with amendments…)
However it’s spawned another little challenge…
Susan of VirtualPA Limited set up in 1982 and at that point she introduced her own VA Standards. I had a fascinating email conversation with her regarding how she managed to be virtual in an analogue world – very informative! She’s wondering if anyone else has been going this long marketing themselves as a Virtual Assistant? Continue reading
virtual assistant history
Just occasionally I have a very wicked sense of humour… It was tickled this week researching for an article on the VA industry – there seems to be some dispute about who invented the phrase and when that was.
Author of the 2-Second Commute Chris Durst is credited with having founded the Virtual Assistant industry in her home in rural Connecticut in 1995. In 1999, with Michael Haaren, she founded the International Virtual Assistants Association – the industry’s nonprofit parent organization – and served as its first president.
However back in 1992 Stacey Brice was already working as a virtual assistant when her life coaching client, Thomas Leonard, coined the phrase “virtual assistant” for her. She then went on to create AssistU, a virtual assistant training programme.
Back in 2006 we established the UK’s first professional standards for virtual assistants… They were reasonably simple, but surprisingly a lot of VAs simply hadn’t ever considered the security of freebie email addresses or even what they would do in case of flooding or a burglary… The SVA Approved list was born!
10 years on, the industry has made huge leaps, but we are still somewhat hampered by a reputation of being a home-based industry. That affects every VA who has ever had a client haggling on price, or being unsure of working with us.
The idea behind the professional standards is to raise standards across the board for virtual assistants – and to create something to aim at for new assistants entering the industry. Continue reading
How to create profitable ethical business relationships using clear terms of trade
WEBINAR: Weds 30 Nov @ 8pm
It is easy to think of terms of trade as a ‘compliance’ issue. Something you spent as little time on as you can (and as little money) and then get on with your work.
Do you know that having a great set of terms can help you:
- Reduce the time you write off as not chargeable to clients
- Increase your profitability by establishing premium rates
- Integrate your way of working into your sales process
- Improve the client’s onboarding experience
It’s not just about compliance – it’s about establishing a business model that is clear to you and your clients.
Join Annabel Kaye, of KoffeeKlatch (specialists in freelance contracts and terms) and learn how to integrate your Virtual Assistant Terms and Conditions into a healthy and profitable client relationship.
Prompted by SVA’s new Approved VA Standards, which will be coming into effect 1st January 2017, Annabel will talk you through what your Terms and Conditions should cover and where the pitfalls can creep in.
You can register your questions when you sign up for the webinar, or ask them live in the chatroom. This webinar is designed to help you understand how the legal and the customer experience can be brought together in your business to reduce problems with clients and non-payment and increase how your clients value you.
We will be looking at:
- What is a contract with your client?
- How to set expectations that work
- Small print v large heart
- Defining the work
- Defining the rate
- Your legal responsibilities
- Creating REAL relationships based on clarity
- Using terms to improve customer service
- How terms can help you end relationships with grace
SVA took the decision to include having T&Cs available on your website as a standard since it raises the professionalism of the industry and protects VAs who might not otherwise outline how they work and what they are prepared to do. These don’t have to be professionally drafted, but we would highly recommend it. After 1st January 2017, any VA NOT having T&Cs on their website will be removed from the Approved VA database.