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Monthly ArchiveJanuary 2011

Marketing &Mindset Sydni Craig-Hart on 21 Jan 2011

How to Eliminate Your Fear of Marketing and Get Results

Most VA’s start their business because they want more freedom, more flexibility, and more opportunity to utilize their skills to make a difference in the lives of others.  Those are great reasons to start a Virtual Assistant business!

Unfortunately, it often happens that once you start your business, you quickly realize that you are actually in the business of marketing. After all, you won’t have a sustainable business without clients. And to attract ideal clients you MUST market!

Concerned WomanARRRGGG! M-A-R-K-E-T….

For some Virtual Assistants, just hearing this word creates an instant frown. Perhaps you have thought, “I don’t want to market…. I just want to do my work!’”

I know that this thought has crossed your mind at one time or another, because when I was a VA it certainly crossed mine. When I first started my business as a Virtual Marketing Assistant, all I wanted was to work comfortably in my cozy little home office and for people to send me checks. It never really occurred to me that I’d have to actually get out there and sell my services…I just expected clients to show up knocking on my door.

Perhaps you can relate. Some VAs who have an aversion to marketing feel that way because to them, marketing represents something pushy, sales-y, and difficult. In the back of their mind their thinking “used car salesman” and that is not who they want to be.

I get it!

The good news is that marketing your VA business doesn’t have to feel that way, and you don’t have to be afraid of marketing. It can actually be … (gasp) FUN!

The thing is… marketing is simply a matter of sharing solutions in an appealing way with people who are already looking for them.

I’m going to say that one more time; marketing is simply a matter of sharing solutions in an appealing way with people who are already looking for them. So there is absolutely nothing to be afraid of. There are countless entrepreneurs who right now are desperate for help in running their business and in need of the exact services you offer. It’s effective marketing that will allow you to connect with these individuals, present your solutions and enroll them as your clients.

Following are a few proven tips to help you overcome the fear of marketing:

  1. Stop worrying about what other people think of you – You may be surprised to know, they really aren’t as concerned about you as you think they are. Instead of worrying about what they think, channel that energy into generously sharing your expertise with those who need your help.
  2. Get very clear about what it is you actually do for your clients.  Don’t label yourself as a Virtual Assistant.  Instead, focus on the benefits and results you create for your clients.  Doing so will make it much easier for you to talk about what you do (and make you much more attractive to ideal prospects)!
  3. Take action in spite of your fears!  Many times, we allow limiting beliefs, doubts, and fears to hold us back only to find out months (or even years) down the line that the very thing we were worried about – had absolutely no basis.  So, don’t stand in your own way and hold yourself back.   Take steps to move forward in consistently growing and marketing your business.  Highly successful entrepreneur Kevin Nations says, “Winners take imperfect action!”  Your efforts do not have to be perfect, but consistent action will take you a VERY long way.
  4. Reach out for support!  No one who is successful in life or business has done it on their own.  We all need a support system, a place to bounce ideas and get reassurance that “it’s going to be OK”.  Start surrounding yourself with individuals who believe in you and want you to succeed.  Hire a coach to help keep you accountable and to help you strategize.  Don’t be afraid to ask for help!

Internet MarketingRemember, marketing is simply a matter of sharing solutions in an appealing way with people who are already looking for them.  There are countless people right now looking for the very solutions you have to offer.  It’s your duty to share your expertise and service.  Allow marketing to be your vehicle to doing so!

Which of the strategies shared here will you implement in your business?  Share your thoughts and your plan here on my blog!

Achieving Goals Sydni Craig-Hart on 07 Jan 2011

Achieving Your Goals in 2011

It’s a New Year!  Time for a fresh start and a new approach to succeeding as a Virtual Assistant. 

Whatever happened in 2010, whether you dragged your feet a bit in starting your VA business, struggled with a rocky foundation, or didn’t achieve some of the goals you set for yourself…let it go.  You can learn from past experiences and make the decision – now – to do things differently.

Consider what your version of a successful virtual assistant business in 2011 looks like. What exactly would you like to accomplish?  Have you set aside time to outline your plan for success?

I’ll share a secret with you.  One of the greatest contributing factors to my success, as a former VA and now as a business and marketing coach, has been my practice to regularly take stock of what’s working, and what’s not working, in my business.  Then, based on the facts in front of me, I establish reachable goals for myself, which forces me to make any needed adjustments and also enables me to measure my progress.

I encourage you to do the same. Analyze what did, and did not, work well for you last year. Take note of what you’d like to do differently in 2011. Once you are clear on where you’re at and where you’d like to be, then it’s time to start setting your goals.  Setting goals is a critical factor to your success as a Virtual Assistant because:

  • Setting goals gives you something specific to work towards
  • Working toward goals allows you to measure your progress
  • When you stay focused on your goals you will be more likely to say no to distractions that could delay your progress

To get started, imagine what your ideal business looks like.  Visualize your ideal clients; what they look like, the work you do for them, how you interact.  Consider how many hours per week you’ll work IN your business and ON your business?  What is your gross revenue each month, including a healthy profit margin?  How are you making a difference in your client’s lives?  As you clarify the vision for your business, you’ll be able to set your goals, which in turn, will help you bring that vision to life.

Why is this important?  Another key to success is to not set random, ambiguous goals, but to establish clear objectives that align with your personal vision of success.  You must work toward YOUR vision, not someone else’s.  Your vision has to be your own!

Setting and achieving your business goals will increase your confidence, improve the quality of the services you offer, and make you more attractive to prospective clients. When defining goals for your virtual assistant company, it’s important to keep a few things in mind:

  • Your goals must be specific.  Don’t say, “I want to make more mon.ey in my business” or “I need more clients”.  Be specific with your goals and select a number.  Define how much revenue you would like to generate and exactly how many clients you’d like to enroll in your practice.
  • Your goals must have a deadline.  Again, ambiguity won’t serve you here.  Set a specific date by which you plan to achieve the goal.  This way, you can easily break the goal down into manageable action steps that you then schedule and execute on a weekly basis.
  • Your goals must be reasonable.  You should stretch yourself a bit past your comfort zone so that you really have to step up your game to achieve the desired result.  Be careful not to set yourself up for frustration by setting a goal that is too high for you, right now.  For example, if you currently have zero clients, deciding you want to have 10 clients within the next 30 days may not be realistic.  But you could certainly attract 2 new clients within the next month.  Set goals that are a bit of a stretch, yet still attainable.

As you consider what you would like to accomplish, analyze the different aspects of your business which can bring your vision of business success to life – such as:

  • How many clients you have now – and exactly how many you’d like to have
  • What marketing strategies you pursue now – and those you would like to participate in
  • How you will consistently market your services – vs. what you are doing now
  • What services you offer now – vs. what your ideal client actually needs
  • How you can run your business more efficiently – vs. where you may be wasting time, energy, or financial resources
  • What type of support you have to continually grow your business– and what you need to put in place

Remember, it’s YOUR business.  Owning your goals and making them work for your situation is what will set you apart from other virtual assistants.  You will continue to stand out when you maintain your focus, because you will be actively accomplishing more in your business than VAs who are simply copying ideas from others. 

True success as an entrepreneur is based on making consistent progress, therefore, once you have accomplished a goal, set another reasonable goal, along with a deadline for achieving it.  This will keep you moving forward, preventing you from being left behind or overcome by the rest of the pack!

Share your goals for 2011 by commenting here on my blog.