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Monthly ArchiveAugust 2011



Business Management &Mindset Sydni Craig-Hart on 19 Aug 2011

How to Take Care of Your Best Client…You!

There are a lot of moving parts to running a successful virtual assistant business. Because of that sometimes, it can be easy to forget about your most important client.  That client is YOU! I want to make sure that you are not neglecting your greatest business asset which is your whole person.  That includes your mental clarity, creativity, physical strength and energy level.  How can you make sure that you have a healthy body and mind so that your business supports your lifestyle?

Here are a few important points to consider:

Exercise

When you exercise, your body thanks you for it.  Moving around and getting your metabolism sped up is one of the best things that you can do for your body.  It does not matter what fitness level you are in currently.  You can simply start by taking walks, even if it’s just 20-30 minutes.  Put on some comfy shoes and get to stepping!  Walk so that you break a sweat and feel alive.

Do you know that you want to get into shape but do not know where to start?  Consider working with a personal trainer. Check out a local gym and see what kind of professional guidance will suit you.  If you are concerned about costs, think about how much time, money and missed opportunity it’s costing you to not take care of yourself. You’ll likely find that investing in yourself is a smart decision!

Exercising regularly will help you to enjoy:

  • Increased energy:  We would all love to add a few more hours to each day.  I’m still trying to figure out a way to make that happen for you. So, in the meantime, try a different strategy by increasing your energy so that you can get more done in the time that you do have.
  • Mental clarity:  Exercising has a magical way of helping us to clear our mind.  When you do cardio or weight training, you have an outlet for relieving stress and worry.  You may even find that some of your best business ideas will come to you at these moments of clarity. I often do!
  • Strength:  Your body has so many different systems, cardiovascular, muscular and skeletal just to name a few.  An exercise program strengthens your whole body.  This will give you greater endurance when you are home working diligently on serving your clients and growing your business.

Take Breaks

It is a disservice to you to sit in front of the computer all day.  You owe it to yourself to get away from your computer and office for a while to get some peace of mind.  If you are not careful, your home based business will become an uncontrollable beast!  Believe me, I know from experience.  I have a tendency to work too much.  I have to work hard to detach myself from my desk several times a day. But I can also tell you that my absolute best efforts result when I set aside time for breaks.

Eat Well

It is so easy to get into the rut of awakening from sleep, starting work and going full throttle until you mentally and physically crash.  That is not a healthy way to run a business.  So, your first break of the day should be ‘breakfast’.  You have been sleeping and thus fasting all night.  When you wake up it is time to eat. This will provide the fuel you need to do great work for yourself and your clients. Be sure to schedule your second and third meals as it is appropriate for you.

Make no mistake about it; you are the greatest asset to your business.  That means you are responsible for taking care of your family, your company and YOURSELF!  If you are strong, vibrant and healthy, that will translate to you having a strong and thriving business.  Take great care of yourself!

Achieving Goals &Business Management &Marketing &Mindset Sydni Craig-Hart on 12 Aug 2011

Four Ways to Take Action NOW to Build a Successful Business

Once you setup your business and start moving out of “start-up” mode, you’ll want to turn your attention to “building” mode.  Yes, you WANT a long-term sustainable business. You BELIEVE you can create success for years to come.  Remember this quote: “There is something more important than believing; ACTION! The world is full of dreamers.  Those who are successful will move ahead and begin to take concrete steps to ACTUALIZE their vision” (- Unknown).

The first step in doing so is to define what success means for you.  You want to get to that place and stay there.  As an executive or admin assistant, you likely started out as a newbie in the corporate world. Over the years you found yourself going from supporting entry level personnel to C-Level executives.  In that world, supporting the highest level executives may have been considered by you as “Success Status”.  You want to reach that same level, but this time it will be created by you in your own business.

Building your business and growing it to support the lifestyle you want is the whole point of becoming an entrepreneur. In order to build your business, you will need to do a few things very well:

  • Market Consistently:  In our recent article on marketing, you learned how to reach out to your warm market.  That is the group of people who already know, like and trust you.  They are your family, friends and former colleagues.  Congratulations if you have received clients in this way! Now it is time to step up your marketing.  You need to know who your target market is and who your ideal client is.

Your target market is the industry or profession on which you focus your marketing efforts.  For instance, if you decided that you want to focus on working with fitness professionals.  That would be your target market. Now you can focus all of your marketing attention on that specific group.  You can easily find networking events where fitness professionals spend time.  They will be at conferences that you can attend.  Your marketing collateral will speak directly to this group.  It will help them to see that you are the expert who can help them to solve their specific problems.

Your ideal client is the one type of person in that target market that you are best suited to work with.  This person has traits that inspire you to do your best work. Being clear on your ideal client will assist you in ALL of the marketing that you do going forward.  It will affect where you direct your speaking engagements, social media marketing, blog writing, networking and everything else.

Your marketing efforts will be focused, consistent and effective when you follow this sound piece of advice.

  • Set Up Systems:  Installing systems in your business will allow you to dramatically build your business.  It will save you time, energy and resources.  Why?  It is because you will know exactly what steps to take when you perform any task in your business.  This includes billing and receiving payments, enrolling new clients, dumping less than ideal clients, working with sub-contractor VAs, managing business cards that you collect when networking, knowing what to say when following up with prospects, closing new deals and the list goes on and on.  All repetitive activity in your business deserves to have a system set up to make your life and that of your clients much more enjoyable.
  • Upgrade Your Skill Set:  What got you HERE, won’t get you THERE.  No doubt you were a sharp corporate employee.  The skills you possessed are what allowed you to create your business in the first place.  Now that you are growing your business, your fee structure should be commensurate with your skill set and the solutions you offer to your clients.  When you worked as an EA, you likely had a yearly review. Your manager expressed to you whether you met the expectations for the position or not.  That meeting likely determined if you received a raise or not.

In your own business, you will need to keep growing in knowledge and skill.  One of your clients may want to sell products from their website.  One skill you may want to develop is setting up and managing a shopping cart.  Some of your clients may need help with managing the distribution of their weekly email newsletter.  Therefore, you will want to learn how to utilize a database such as iContact. Make it a priority to look at what services will make your client’s lives easier and then invest in learning the necessary skills to offer those services so that you can increase your value (and your fees).

  • Build Momentum: There are so many different services that you can provide as a Virtual Assistant.  That is why this industry is exploding with opportunity.  You have started your business and that is EXCELLENT. Great job!  Now is the time to turn up the heat and make your mark as an entrepreneur.  If you market your business consistently, set up systems and learn new skills, you will be poised for phenomenal growth.  All of this is based on what your level of Success Status means for you.  Set your course and shoot for the stars!

We cover these topics in depth in the Successful VA 2.0 Mentoring Program.  It is quite a hit with an excited, brand new group of 53 students. If you would like to join us, you still can, just visit www.SuccessfulVA.com  to secure your spot and get instant access to the program materials. We look forward to welcoming you!

Uncategorized Sydni Craig-Hart on 05 Aug 2011

Five Keys to a Successful Transition to Self Employment

At what phase in your entrepreneurial journey do you find yourself now?  Are you researching the opportunity to become a Virtual Assistant?  Or, have you already fired your boss and are setting up your home based business?  Another phase that comes to mind is the phase where you are working in your business to replace and exceed the income that you once maintained as an employee.

Mental Preparation

If you have not left your place of employment, but yearn to do so, I want to help you make a smooth transition from employee to entrepreneur.  Likely, you have a million thoughts and questions running through your mind about how you can build a virtual assistant business from scratch. Continue Reading »