Uncategorized Wil Hart on 30 Aug 2012
The worst thing that you can do to your business when you make a mistake is to ignore the error. As a business owner, you will run into roadblocks, you will have setbacks and you will commit some unforeseeable bungle! But, do not allow this to be a disastrous situation for your business. How can you overcome what may seem to be an irreversible catastrophe? If you do not take decisive action, you could lose customers, trust and likeability. Below you will find 5 corrective action steps that will save you from a business disaster.
Tip #1 – Own it and apologize.
Mistakes tend to come in two forms, 1) Your fault and 2) Not your fault. However, when you are providing a service to your customers and clients, any blunder that falls under your business name is in essence, Your Fault! Consequently, it is best if you own the mistake and apologize for it. Please don’t make excuses because they will only exacerbate the aggravation. When you admit that any blame rests on your shoulders, you will gain immediate respect and likeability from all parties involved. Continue Reading »
Uncategorized Sydni Craig-Hart on 18 May 2012
For five months, the EAtoVA.com email newsletter has been in hibernation. The hiatus was a good thing, because we have learned more about the community of Administrative Professionals who want to learn more about how to become Virtual Assistants.
Because many individuals have lost their source of employment, many are looking to create their own income by starting a business. Others are looking to supplement their income. So, we have found that many of the questions are being asked by newcomers who are learning about the VA industry for the first time. And of course there are the many established VAs who are interested in expanding their business and increasing their profits.
Our primary goal is to continually provide the resources you need to be successful and support the VA community worldwide. So by participating in our community:
I. You will learn how to start a Virtual Assistance business
It is an easy task to tell a person what they need to do. For instance, a person loses their income or employment, you easily tell them to “start your own business.” The first question may be, “How?”
At EAtoVA.com, we will teach you HOW to start your own Virtual Assistance practice and become your own boss. Is it an easy thing to do? Of course not! Yet, it isn’t that easy to commute 1.5 hours one way every single day of the week. Commuting is not the main reason why you seek to start your own company. Likely, it is the desire to have time and financial freedom. That means having the option to use your time in the way that you see fit. We will show you how to do that.
II. You will learn how to model our success
When I started my Virtual Assistance company, I had no idea that I would go on to create 2 additional business. Not only that, I’ve helped countless clients to start and grow their own companies. While that is exciting and wonderful, my goal is to show you exactly how I did it. If I can do it, so can YOU. There were no special gifts or talents that I possessed. Persistence and hard work were the keys to my success. I encourage you to model what I did.
The email newsletter will provide you with many tools that will help you to learn what to do and how to do it. I will show you exactly what I have done. I hope that you will replicate my steps and benefit yourself. When I first got started, I didn’t think that I would build a community of close to 10,000 people. I truly enjoy connecting with those who have taken the leap to (or desire to) start their own business. We are a special breed! So whatever I can do to assist you in being successful, I am at your disposal.
III. You will learn best practices on how to grow your company
I promise not to leave you in the lurch. Like I said earlier, you can tell a person what to do, but it is much more powerful to show them how. What is more, I will stick with you after you have created your business and help you to cultivate it, make it grow. After all, what good is having your own business if it is not progressive and sustainable?
There are so many things that I want to share with you, from having a healthy mindset to using technology to marketing to the right prospective clients. We are going to have some exciting times together and I truly hope that you will look forward to joining us on this journey.
Suffice it to say that I am very happy that EAtoVA Insights has awakened from hibernation. You will have plenty of opportunity to learn how to start your own company, model the success of those who have already built VA companies and learn best practices for building your business for years to come.
Do me a favor and leave a comment to let me know what specific questions you have that you’d like me to answer for you. I’ll be happy to do so in future issues!
Uncategorized Sydni Craig-Hart on 18 Sep 2011
Working as efficiently as possible will save your clients mo.ney, help you to develop stronger relationships with them and allow you to create a highly profitable business.
One of the keys to doing this is to use technology to assist you with your workload.Â Likely, it is your goal to build a business that serves several clients at the same time.Â How will you manage working with them all in systematic way?Â As a Virtual Assistant, you are receiving emails, phone calls and voicemails at different times regarding a variety of projects and tasks.Â How can you maintain your productivity and sanity?
That is the question of the day. The solution is not far off!Â A collaborative tool like Central Desktop can save you from a lot of wasted time, lost information and lost business.Â The days of writing notes on tiny pieces of scratch paper and losing them are OVER!Â No more accidentally deleting client voice mails that have important instructions on them? Now, you can capture notes, instructions and updates all in the same place without ever leaving a voice mail or sending an email.
Using a collaboration platform will improve your productivity tenfold.Â Tools such as Central Desktop allow you to manage people, projects and documents in a centralized location. (There are similar platforms such as Basecamp, but we prefer CD.)
Central Desktop is like sharing one computer among multiple users. For example, using a collaboration platform would allow you and me to seamlessly co-write this article.Â If we worked together through Central Desktop, I could make changes and save them.Â Afterwards, you can be notified via email regarding the changes and any notes that I want you to see. Isnâ€™t that cool?
Now, think back to the scenario that we mentioned earlier. Let’s say that you work with seven clients.Â With each of those clients you concurrently work on 3 projects and other tasks. From the standpoint of the projects alone, there are twenty-one different matters that clamor for your attention.Â How do you track it all?
In Central Desktop, you can create a separate workspace for each of your clients.Â What is more, you can manage an unlimited number projects, tasks and milestones for each client.Â This gets even more exciting!Â When you or your client make any updates to a project or task, you both can be notified immediately.Â All notes and updates stay within the collaboration tool.Â That means you do not have to worry about picking up the phone every time you have a question or need more information. This takes a lot of stress off of your brain and records your most important business matters in one location.
Think about how well you collaborate with your clients and colleagues presently.Â Do you find this a great challenge?Â Consider leveraging supportive technology that will improve collaboration, decrease stress and increase your productivity!
Uncategorized Sydni Craig-Hart on 05 Aug 2011
At what phase in your entrepreneurial journey do you find yourself now?Â Are you researching the opportunity to become a Virtual Assistant?Â Or, have you already fired your boss and are setting up your home based business?Â 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.
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.Â 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 »
Uncategorized Sydni Craig-Hart on 14 Nov 2010
One of the expenses you have to account for each year is software purchases and upgrades. Depending on the program and what you use it for, you may or may not need to have the latest and greatest version. But when you do need to make a software purchase, it’s helpful to know how to get the best pricing.
Here are some quick tips to check out to see if you can get a discount on your next software purchase:
- Employee Purchase Programs – if you or your spouse currently works in a corporate environment, check with your IT department to see if the company offers an Employee Purchase Program (EPP). Many companies are large users of software like Microsoft Office, so the company can extend their discount to their employees. This type of program allows you to purchase some of the most popular Microsoft titles at a significant discount. In some cases, as low as $20.
- Student Discount Programs – if you are in school, or have a child of school age, you can be eligible for some student discount programs. For example, Adobe has several student versions of their software available for up to 80% off – all you have to do is show proof of student enrollment. These software titles are available online or for purchase on college campuses.
- Purchasing older versions – when a new version of software is released, the company usually tries to clear out their existing inventory to make room for the new versions. If you are on the company’s mailing list, you’ll probably receive advance notice or even special “pre-release” prices. This is your sign to start looking for the deals. If there’s really something you want, it might be worth your time to check every day – sometimes the popular titles go fast!
Before you commit to your next software purchase, make sure you do your research to find out if you qualify for a discount programs. While it may take you a little time to do the research, or even some extra steps to “prove” you qualify, the savings can be well worth it. This is especially true when you use the new software for your business, because the return on your investment is higher and the breakeven point is quicker.
Just a special note about purchasing software: I highly recommend that you purchase your business software directly from the manufacturer or approved reseller. If you ever have a problem with the software, you know that you’ll be covered and can get a replacement if necessary. When you buy a copy from a friend, or eBay, or wherever, there are no guarantees, no support and you may not even be able to claim that purchase on your tax return.
This is not a purchase you can afford to “go cheap” on. If for any reason, the software is not usable, you can’t work. This means you aren’t earning money. How can that be good for business?
Do you have other tips on how to great great deals on software and technology? Then please share them with me below!
Uncategorized Sydni Craig-Hart on 07 Nov 2010
Nobody is perfect.
We live in an imperfect world. We are human. We make mistakes and we are fallible.
When you own a business, it may seem that your mistakes are magnified. When something goes wrong it affects you, your client, your schedule and sometimes your reputation.
In the virtual assistant industry, mistakes happen all the time:
- A missed typos in an document
- A critical link is broken on a website
- Missing a deadline
…the possibilities are endless.
The longer you are in business, the higher the possibility to make mistakes. While it does not excuse you from making mistakes, it helps to have a healthy attitude about the mistakes you make and learn from them. But, mistakes should not happen because we’re not paying attention to the details, pressed for time, or because we don’t have a strong ethic.
When you make a mistake, there are 3 THINGS YOU MUST DO IMMEDIATELY:
- Admit the mistake: don’t try to cover up anything. Don’t blame anyone else and don’t make excuses. This will only make a bad situation worse. Instead, take ownership of the mistake and the steps to resolve it.
- Keep your client informed: failing to keep your client in the loop about the error will have damage your relationship. Open communication, honesty and integrity are everything in a virtual relationship. In essence, if you don’t tell your client what’s happened, you are lying to them which does not support the foundation of trust you need for a productive, long term relationship.
- Apologize: After you have made the mistake and it has been resolved, make sure you apologize to the client and let them know what steps you have taken to ensure it doesn’t happen again. For the most part, clients are very understanding when something goes wrong if you are upfront with them. Most people will respect an individual who owns up to a mistake, fix it and take steps to avoid the situation happening again. By assessing the situation and learning from it, you demonstrate that you are committed to excellence in your business and you care about your client and the work you’re doing with them.
Sometimes mistakes are unavoidable, there can be circumstances out of your control and you are forced to make the best decision given the situation. Even if the mistake is technically not your fault, you still need to go through the 3 steps above to demonstrate that you are being proactive and taking responsibility for a positive outcome. Your client wants to know that you have their best interests at heart.
Remember, when your client chose you as their virtual assistant, they made a big decision. They have invested time, money and trust in you. They want to make sure they are getting a return on their investment. How you handle mistakes is a good indicator if they’ve made the right choice.
Have you made a mistake recently? How did you communicate the error to your client? What is the relationship like now? Share your thoughts with me on the blog!