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Monthly ArchiveJune 2012

Skill Development Sydni Craig-Hart on 15 Jun 2012

Two Ways to Improve Your Skills and Increase Your Income

There are two kinds of Administrative Professionals. Those who just show up to work and collect a paycheck, and those who take pride in their craft and truly strive to support those they work with.

Last Friday, I spent the day with a wonderful group of women who belong to the International Association of Administrative Professionals (IAAP). This organization teaches administrative professionals how to upgrade and maintain their skills, and how to reach their true potential. I had the privilege of training more than 100 members how to use systems and technology to decrease their stress, work more efficiently and make themselves indispensable.

What is special about the women that I spent time with is that they are progressive in their careers. They work hard at improving their skills and therefore have more opportunities to increase their income. How do they do this? More importantly, how can YOU do the same?

Constant Education

It is critical to your success that you never allow yourself to stop learning. I realize that your days are action packed and you have a lot on your plate.

However, you and you alone are responsible for your professional development. So this is an activity you have to make time for.  To excel as a valuable employee or as an entrepreneur you must continually re-invent yourself through education. These areas in particular deserve your attention

  • What is happening in your industry
  • What new technology is available to help you be more effective in your job
  • What trends are taking place in your profession

Perhaps you work in financial services, in legal or with small business owners as a Virtual Assistant. Are you keeping up with what is happening in your industry and the interests of those you work with? Are you using old, antiquated systems in your day-to-day work-flow just because you are intimidated by new technology? What is really expected of Administrative Professionals and Virtual Assistants these days?  How is your role evolving?

The more informed you are about what is taking place around you, the better able you will be to service the needs of your company and your clients. Things will continue to change rapidly as time progresses and you will find yourself further and further behind if you don’t put forth the effort to stay ahead in the game.

In addition, knowledge is what allows you to feel confident in your abilities. Confidence allows you to earn top dollar for your work and easily earn respect from those you work with it.  Thus continuing education should be a high priority that you give ample attention to.

Personal Investment

The second way to increase your value and income is to invest in your personal growth and training. True, there is a lot of free information to which you can avail yourself.

However, in most cases, you get what you pay for. To progress in your career, you will need to make practical financial investments. That may include hiring a business coach or working with a mentor to help you achieve your goals. A coach or mentor can also assist with mental blocks that you may not see.

The women at the IAAP conference all invested in their personal and professional growth. Their event lasted from Friday through Sunday. Can you remember the last time you took time away from your work, family and friends to advance your career? It takes a significant investment from your finances, time and energy to rise above the crowd in any endeavor. But doing so is well worth the effort.

What steps are you taking in order to achieve your professional goals? If you want more out of your career than the status quo, which is working harder while receiving less reward, take steps to invest in yourself. Your pride and your pocketbook will thank you.

Business Management Sydni Craig-Hart on 01 Jun 2012

3 Keys for Building a Successful Virtual Assistance Business While Still Employed

When I first started teaching administrative professionals how to create a successful virtual assistance practice of their own, most were ready to fire their boss, ditch their corporate job and dive right in to self-employment.

Times have changed! Most folks are happy to still have a job. While still very interested in virtual assistance, many are looking to setup their business part-time and grow into a full-time practice.

If that scenario would work well for you, here are 3 keys that will help you to accomplish this goal.


In order to make a lasting impression at your place of employment, it is important that you stand out from the rest of your colleagues. How does a person excel? It is by constantly delivering high quality work.

When it comes to running your own business, those same principles apply. Being a virtual assistant is not for the faint of heart.

It takes a person who is willing to hustle and work hard in order to succeed. Not only do you have to stand out in the marketplace, but you must become astute at managing your business and acquiring clients. Doing those things WHILE maintaining your current employment will require a lot of hustle.

You’ll also need to show tenacity, patience and a proactive approach to your work to create the additional income you’re looking for.


Simply put, businesses exist to solve problems. Restaurants feed hungry people. Clothing stores dress people. Virtual assistants relieve administrative overwhelm for their clients.

Which means you have to decide what problems you will solve. It is not advisable to start a business simply because you want to. Your skills must be marketable. Those skills need to be easily packaged as solutions for busy professionals.

Think about your skill set. What problems do you know how to solve? Do you excel at proof reading and typing, making travel arrangements, or creating spreadsheets? Are you great at managing accounting tasks, creating reports and developing presentations?

Take stock of your skills and list everything that you have to offer as a business owner. Answer this question for yourself: ‘Why should someone pay for my help?‘ The answer to this question is the beginning of a successful VA career. That will allow you to move on the 3rd Key


After defining the problems that you solve and determining why someone would pay for your help; now you can look for the people who need you. Start close to home. If you look around at your personal network, you will likely see people who can help you to acquire your first few clients.

Notify everyone you know about your new business, what problems you solve and who you solve them for. If you know 50 people, keep in mind that all of those individuals know at least 50 people as well. You potentially have access to 2,500 people within your personal network.

This is exactly how I engaged one of my very first clients and a strategy I still utilize, with great success today.

These are a few basic steps to help you make progress with starting your business while still  dealing with your current employment situation.

If you’d like to know the rest of the steps and receive mentoring directly from me on how to create a successful virtual assistance business, I warmly invite you to join me as a member of the Successful VA Mentoring program. CLICK HERE for details!