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Monthly ArchiveMarch 2013

Organization &Resources Wil Hart on 29 Mar 2013

3 Ways to Use Evernote For Your Business

If you would like a tool that gives you instant access to data that you have collected, you have no need to look any further than Evernote. Why can this be an effective tool for your Virtual Assistance business?

Keep Track of Everything

Evernote has so many cool features that you just cannot get enough of using this awesome app! You can track absolutely everything that comes to your mind. One of the first things that you may want to do with Evernote is to start saving data so that you can see how easy it is to collect information.

If you have photos or images that you want to keep online instead of on your smartphone or camera, you can save them in Evernote. The same goes with audio and text files that you create. When you upload data you can use the tagging function that will enable you to do an easy search for your files.

Inside Evernote I have a notebook called Business. This is where I put all of my business ideas that come to mind. The app on my smartphone gives me 24-hour access to my Evernote account. I use this app to organize product launches for the EAtoVA community. You can consider ways that you can Evernote to keep track of business opportunities, ideas and tasks.

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Virtual Assistant Sydni Craig-Hart on 15 Mar 2013

If I Were a New VA I’d Start Here

After being in business for 7 years, we have learned what it takes to grow a successful business. We had no idea when we started our first Virtual Assistance business that friends, family and associates would constantly ask the same question: “How did you do it?”

Every single day of the week, we have new members join our community and ask a sought-after question. That question is, “How do I get clients?” Follow along as I share some foundational work that you can copy and start to implement today.

If I were a new Virtual Assistant trying to grow a business, I would do the following:

  1. Assess my marketable skills – In the 17 years that I have been in the work force, I have developed many skills and a wealth of knowledge. People pay for the skills and talents that I use on a daily basis.
  2. Determine what problems my skills solve – Even as an administrative assistant, I solved problems for the people that I worked for. Who created all those spreadsheets and documents and booked all of those travel arrangements? Me, that’s who! If a company paid me for it then, someone will pay me for it as a VA.
  3. List the benefits that my clients will receive when I solve their problem – For a fact, I know that my clients will experience less stress and fewer headaches when I solve their problems. They will also be able to focus on income generating activities as I care for their administrative overwhelm.
  4. Find out who struggles with the problems that I solve – There are a lot of micro-business owners who need the skills that I have. I would reach out to my warm market, or the people who are in my personal network, to tell them about my business as a VA. I’d simply ask, ” Do you know people who are dealing with the problems that I solve?”
  5. Locate where those people ‘hang out’ – Here is where looking into associations and Meet-ups is helpful. I would definitely join a networking group such as BNI in order to expand my network and receive introductions to people who are looking for my services.
  6. Show up in those ‘hang out’ places – I would take action and show up offline and online where people who need me are spending their time.
  7. Help others to solve their problems – Being a valuable resource for others will make me stand out as a “go-to person” when people need help.
  8. Deepen the connections that I make with people – Staying in touch with people that I meet will keep me top of mind when they or something in their network is looking for the solutions that I provide.
  9. Exchange my solutions for fees at the appropriate time – The more connections I make with individuals, the more opportunities I’ll have to exchange my expertise for a fee. Potential clients are already looking for my services. I just need to show up as the solution at the right time.

This list is by no means comprehensive. The key to finding clients is becoming a problem solver in your industry. View prospective clients as people who are looking for solutions to their problems. View your business as THE Solution to their problems. As long as you continue to put yourself in a position to solve other people’s problems, you will always be in business.

Is running a business challenging? Of course! Going in to work for a company every day is also challenging at times. If you want to be successful in running your own Virtual Assistance company, you will need to become adept at the points listed above. Show up in a big way for the people who are already looking for your help. Serve them well and become a VA success story!

Transition Wil Hart on 01 Mar 2013

Start Your Virtual Assistant Business Part-Time

If you are currently employed with a company working as an Administrative Professional and are wondering how you are going to transition into your own home-based Virtual Assistant practice, the thought may have crossed your mind to start your business part-time. This likely led to a number of other questions, such as “How do I get started,” “How will I balance my job, family and business?” and “Can I really do this and be successful?”

The good news is that you can create a profitable business that you work in part-time. You and I both know of many individuals who have been able to maintain two or even three sources of employment simultaneously. It would be no different if you were to choose to start your Virtual Assistance practice while you maintain your current job.

There are a few things that you will need to consider if you are going to start a part-time Virtual Assistance business, such as:

  • What is my current situation? As with any endeavor in life, especially when there is a demand on your time and financial resources, it is imperative to consider your circumstances as they are and not how you want them to be. Ask yourself:
    • How much time do I have to devote to my business endeavor?
    • How much financial support can I dedicate?
    • How will my part-time Virtual Assistance business affect the time that I spend with my family?
    • Will my quality of life improve or suffer by taking on this challenge?

There are no right or wrong answers to these questions. The point is to honestly assess where you’re at and what needs to happen in order to make your endeavor successful.

  • Who will I serve in a part-time capacity? I’m asked all the time, “Will clients be interested in working with me if I’m only available part-time?” And the answer is Yes! Why is that? It is because when and how you work isn’t really their concern. Remember, they are looking for a solution to a problem, not a Virtual Assistant. Here is what you will need to do. 1) Focus the client relationship on solving their problems. 2) Be clear about your availability and meet the agreed upon deadlines. WHEN you actually do the work is a non-issue.We currently work with several Virtual Assistants. They each have different circumstances and different schedules. When they do their work for us is not something we worry or care about. Once a task is assigned, we just want it delivered on time and as we agreed. What this means for you is that you’ll want to focus on providing services that aren’t necessarily time sensitive (that have to be done during normal working hours). You do this by matching your skill set with what the client is looking for and then honoring your commitments.
  • How will I manage my time and clients? Time is our number one resource. We all enjoy the same portion of it each day. You, as a part-time VA, will have to determine how you will use your allotment of 24 hours. First, be mindful that you do not need to tell your clients that you only work part-time. Every day, you treat your employer as your biggest client, right?

When you enroll a client on a part-time basis, they only need to know that the agreement that the two of you made will be honored. Therefore, even in a part-time situation, make only commitments that you can keep. This means not over-committing yourself or making promises you can’t keep. Be honest about what you can do and you’ll quickly build a trust with your clients that will likely lead to more work and referrals to others in their network.

Is pursuing a part-time VA business the right goal for you? It can be if you honestly assess your current circumstances. Decide whether or not you have the time to commit to building your business. You also need to determine if you have the financial means to support your business. It is also important for you to be realistic in your commitments to clients.  Many are getting this accomplished. By reviewing the points mentioned in this article, you may be able to start a part-time Virtual Assistance business too!