2012 is finally here! Are you ready to start your next big project? Are you excited about the possibilities that 2012 has in store for you and your business?
We’re ready to help YOU make 2012 your best year yet. In order to do this, we wanted to make an offer to you at the beginning of the year to help you really make an impact on how much you accomplish in the next 12 months (as you might have noticed, twelve months is not a long period of time and it’s even shorter if you are unorganized!)
Our team has helped our clients:
- Host a virtual book launch and make it into the Amazon best sellers list
- Organize a series of paid and free teleclasses
- Launch a new WordPress site, integrated with social media
- Finalize an e-book and create a virtual storefront
- and more…
Our regular, not-discounted hourly rate is $50/hour. For this week only (until Friday, January 6th), you can purchase as many hours as you like for just $40/hour. That is a savings of $10 per HOUR which is huge! We haven’t had a sale like this in… well, I don’t know that we’ve ever had a sale like this!
Just to remind you of the guidelines around our pre-paid hours:
- Hours roll over month to month and you have them until you use them
- We bill to the minute and deduct time used from these hours on the 15th and last day of each month
- You can request a detailed time report at any time
- All of our services (except transcription) can be used under these pre-paid hours
When you’re ready, simply click the link below and on the screen that follows, enter the total that you’d like to spend. For example, if you want 10 hours, you’ll enter $400 on the next screen. If you’d like 20 hours, you’ll enter $800.
Please note: when you are checking out, you’ll see that it says “Enter donation.” This is the only option PayPal has that allows us to let you enter whichever amount you would like. We just didn’t want anyone getting confused with the wording on those pages as we can not change it.
Not Quite Ready to Commit?
I totally understand! Hiring a virtual assistant is not something you generally just “do” (unless you are already super clear on the projects you need to get done) so, let me make it even easier for you! If you aren’t entirely sure that a virtual assistant is right for you and your business, schedule a call with me to discuss it! It’s free and there is zero obligation and I have a no-hard-sell-policy which I enforce. I’ll tell you about our business, you can tell me about yours and we’ll see if there is a good fit.
To schedule that call, click here:
I have tons of open spots available this week and you can talk to me before making a decision AND still get the discount before Friday!
I was checking out an article over at MSN’s Business on Main titled “Taking On Debt to Grow Your Business.” In the article the author explores the notion that businesses need debt to grow. I’ve been thinking a lot about this lately and reading this article, filled with ways to get capital for your business, made me wonder if a business could grow without having to take on debt.
Do You Really Need to Spend Money to Make It?
A lot of times you will hear people say, “You need to spend money to make money” or you’ll hear people talking about how the universe opens up and expands to return to you what you spend. I beg to differ. I don’t believe that, in every scenario, you need to spend money to make money nor do I think that you should frivously spend your capital and just trust that it’ll come back to you. My own business, for example, was built with zero debt and zero funding. I bootstrapped it and you can too.
Businesses that feel like they have to spend an inordinate amount of money to make money often fail. Now, I am not talking about spending money to get your brick and mortar location set up or the capital that goes out to hiring people when they are needed. However, most of the people that are in my world are online entrepreneurs who are setting up web spaces and hiring virtual teams. For these particular people, not having a tight rein on your spending will inevitably lead to the death of your business.
Spend What You Make, As You Make It
You should spend what you make, as you make it. I know for the eager beaver entrepreneurs and the perfectionists, this idea sounds ludacris. You instead might think that you have to put things on a credit card now to ensure that everything is perfect before you launch things to the world and start making money. I see the reverse as being true. Get your wares out there in a professional yet quick and dirty way, see if it’s viable and see if it will turn a profit and when it does, reinvest a portion of that revenue back into business improvements. The other portion? That’s your income!
When I started my business, I started it with an Internet connection and my computer. The only money I put out was for an Elance.com account (where I landed my first client) and for website hosting that included a domain name. It wasn’t until my business turned profits that I upgraded my website, invested in a fancy schmancy telephone service, upgraded to a fancy shopping cart and all of that fun stuff. When you are in start-up mode, you have to nickel and dime in every area of your business so that your business doesn’t start creeping into your personal life.
If Your Spending is Out of Control, Reel It In
I can’t tell you the number of entrepreneurs that I’ve personally worked with who started their businesses, put things on credit cards, maxed out all of their available credit, dipped into their children’s education funds, used their life savings, dipped into retirement funds or sold their posessions just to keep their perfect business image. If this is you, stop spending, look for ways to bring in revenue and get your business out of debt.
What tips do you have for entrepreneurs who might be struggling with business debt? Leave them in the comments below.
This is the third post in a series. The series will explore some of the common hesitations when it comes to outsourcing and delegating work to a virtual assistant. Our hope is to shed some light on working with a virtual assistant and clear away some of the doubts so that more people can benefit from having support for their business.
Major Outsourcing Pain Point – No Experience or Not the Right Kind of Experience
Another area that entrepreneurs struggle with, when thinking about hiring a virtual assistant, is in the area of experience. Entrepreneurs fear that the person that they hire will not have the right kind of experience required or the virtual assistant may say that they have expertise in an area but maybe they don’t really.
Hiring virtually can be a really scary thing. You are putting a lot of trust and faith into someone you’ve never met and when you send work out to your virtual assistant, it sort of disappears into this black hole only to come out at a later time finished. It takes a bit of time to get used to the idea of working virtually. This post is going to explore ways that you can make sure that you eliminate the fear around lack of experience.
Is the Virtual Assistant Walking the Talk?
One of the main ways to see if a virtual assistant has the experience you are after is to see if they are walking their talk. If the virtual assistant claims to be a really fantastic WordPress designer, yet their own website is amateurish, you may want to look for someone who has illustrated their skill set. Now, it does happen where the old adage is true: “The cobbler’s children never have any shoes” so sometimes you need to dig a little deeper than the virtual assistant’s presence. We’ll explore those options in a moment.
In the most ideal of worlds, you would ideally find a virtual assistant who is doing things that you would like to do in your own business. If they are already executing on those things for themselves, you are going to get someone who has experience from the trenches. This experience and expertise can be invaluable when implementing on your task list because many of the inefficiencies of certain projects will have been worked out.
Ask for Samples of Work
Samples of work, aka a portfolio, is another fabulous way to see a virtual assistant’s experience and expertise. Ask them for samples of their best work in the area that you are looking to hire in. For example: if you are looking to hire someone to help you create a logo, ask them for samples of their logo design work. If they don’t have any or can’t produce those examples, it will be a really clear indicator as to the true level of experience that they have in a particular project.
Trust Your Gut
Sometimes, you might find someone that you just really, really click with. Perhaps this virtual assistant doesn’t have the right experience or expertise that you are after. Sometimes, it pays to go with your gut. If you find someone that you can train, you might end up with someone that you can mould and shape into the type of virtual assistant you most need and they may cost less. Keep in mind though that the learning curve for someone like this is much steeper so it might take you longer to get things done.
Set an Intention
Everyone starts somewhere in their business so you will see newbie virtual assistants and you will see seasoned pros. Your job is to figure out what you want out of a service provider and what you are willing to spend on that. The more you search, the pickier you are and of course, the more you are willing to stretch your budget a little bit, the better quality service provider you will be able to hire into your business.
Stay tuned for the next blog post in the series!
When I am speaking with people who use the services of a virtual assistance company, I often hear the same thing over and over again: “I have trouble letting go” or “I don’t want to relinquish control” or “What if they don’t do things the same way that I do them?“
This blog post is written to give you permission to start the process of letting go by sharing with you some valuable ways that you can empower your virtual employees. This post was inspired after reading an article on MSN’s Business on Main entitled, “Empower Your Employees.” I highly recommend you check it out as the advice there is solid — even if you are looking at building a virtual team.
1. Provide Your Virtual Assistant with the End Result – Not the Process
Many people hire a team or a solo virtual assistant and then feel that they have to go through this daunting process of documenting everything in their business so that the VA does things in an identical fashion to how they do things. In my opinion, this is why most people never get their delegation and outsourcing off the ground. It just feels too overwhelming.
If you have taken the time needed to hire the right people, you should feel pretty confident in their abilities. So, delegate out the end result and not the entire process. By doing this, the virtual assistant can use their expertise, their tools and their experience to execute on the task in the most cost-effective and time-saving way. By attempting to delegate out the process, you place the task into a pre-wrapped box, which the VA won’t unwrap — even if the wrapping job is terrible.
2. Give Your Virtual Assistant the Proper Weaponry
Feeling confident in your virtual team’s abilities is step one but the next step is to really give them the tools that they need in order to execute on the tasks you are assigning to them. For example, it would be very difficult to create social media updates on your behalf if your VA didn’t have background, context or material to gather your “voice” from. Provide them with ample tools and you’ll see a much more well-equipped team with the ability to problem solve as they move through your tasks.
3. Speak with Your Virtual Assistant Often via the Telephone
E-mail and project management tools are not enough. When you are working with a virtual team, one of the primary feelings that is felt is a sense of the unknown. You send an e-mail off into the black hole vortex that is the Internet and you are never sure if it got read, received or understood and you can’t just quickly ask a question.
To combat this feeling of the unknown, schedule regular, recurring phone calls with your team. During these calls, recap the items that are outstanding, talk about future and upcoming projects and allow your team to ask you clarifying questions on the work you are giving them. You will find that the accountability and conversation will allow you to trust your team more and give away more tasks.
4. Set Some Ground Rules with Your Virtual Assistant
If you are really clear with your team about what you are willing to have them do and what you aren’t, there shouldn’t be any miscommunication on projects and responsibilities. If you want your team to post updates to Twitter, for example, but not reply to any of the @ replies and DMs, make sure they know that when you have the social media management conversation.
It’s also a good idea to let your virtual assistant know when they can take initiative and when they can’t. For example, a client of ours used to say, “If you need to implement a tool to make my business more efficient and the cost is less than $10/month or $50 total, go ahead.” This way, there were ground rules set for our expenditures and we knew that if we needed to implement something to save them time and / or money, we could.
Trust, Arm & Let Go
These things will help you to feel more able to empower your team to make the right decisions for your company without you having to micro-manage every single piece of it. This will free up your time to focus on the income generating tasks of your business and not on the minutia because really, that is the whole reason you started building a team, right?
Don’t forget to also check out that article on MSN’s Business on Mainand leave a comment with your #1 tip to empower your virtual team!
This is the second post in a series. The series will explore some of the common hesitations when it comes to outsourcing and delegating work to a virtual assistant. Our hope is to shed some light on working with a virtual assistant and clear away some of the doubts so that more people can benefit from having support for their business.
Major Outsourcing Pain Point – I’m Not Clear in My Business, Lack Direction and Wouldn’t Know Where to Start
For many entrepreneurs, the big roadblock for them between working solo and having a team to support their business is in the direction and vision area of their business. More importantly, it lies in the lack of direction and vision. A lot of people tell me that they would totally love support in their business if they knew what to delegate, what to keep and what to just stop doing altogether.
Through these conversations, it becomes apparent to me that so many business owners are struggling with the big picture for their business and most entrepreneurs tend to be reactive rather than pro-active. When you are a reactive business owner, you tend to simply do whatever you need to do, in the moment you need to do it. Often, you are reacting to triggers that force you to take action — you may need a quick revenue burst for your business or you might be down to the last minute on an important deadline. These triggers cause you to stay stuck in overwhelm instead of acting pro-actively and being prepared.
Get Clear Before You Outsource
Hiring a team before you gain this sense of clarity is going to cost you a lot of time and money. If you hire someone but have no direction, no vision and just throw “in the moment stuff” at your team member(s), you aren’t going to see results. Instead, you’ll have a lot of fragmented pieces of your business being played with but nothing substantial moving and catapulting the business forward.
The beauty of having support is to have a dedicated team of people to help you achieve what you need to achieve and do it more quickly than you could do it on your own. Hiring a team or a virtual assistant is not solely about passing off tasks and stroking the ego with regards to having people “under you” but it is instead about being smart and allocating resources in the right areas.
Before you hire a team, spend some time looking at your business processes. Cut out the items that you really don’t need to be doing in your business at all and then, when you have the list of what remains, divvy it up between tasks that you can’t let go of regardless and tasks that you can definitely let go of.
More importantly than this list however is coming up with the vision and the goals for your business in both the long term and the short term. If you don’t know where the business is headed, you can’t make appropriate business decisions and you can’t allocate resources to the most important areas of your business. If you don’t have a map, you most certainly can’t find your way to your destination unless you’ve been there before and have a great memory and sense of direction.
Making the Choice
Once you figure out your long and short term goals, you should see a clear picture of the projects that need to happen in order to move your business toward these goals. Once you see the projects, you’ll want to then spend some time breaking them down into tasks. If you aren’t sure about the tasks and the processes that need to happen in order to finish the projects on your list, hire a coach or a strategist to help you figure out what those steps look like.
After you’ve broken down the projects into steps (as detailed as you can based on your experience and expertise), it is now time to take a look at the tasks and figure out what you need to do and what your virtual assistant can do instead. Now, when you approach your team or your virtual assistant and are ready to delegate work, you will have a crystal clear idea of what they need to do. On top of this crystal clear list, you’ll also have the ability to request a clear proposal or quote from your team so that your budget stays in check.
Lack Time to Get Clear
If you lack the time to get clear, come up with the projects and break them down into steps, it is probably time for you to hire an online business manager. Someone who can work through these processes for you and someone that you can simply turn to and say, “Here are the goals for the business for the next 1, 3, 6 and 12 months, what do we need to do to make this happen?” An online business manager acts like a project manager or a business partner and can help steer the business in the right direction.
At the end of the day though, this is your business and you need to be at the helm of it and steer it in the right direction. Without you leading your team, at least to some degree, you will waste time and energy and your team will also lose that spark they had when they first started working with you as your business will operate in sheer chaos. Operating in chaos is not good for you or for maintaining the structure required to support a team effectively.
Stay tuned for the next blog post in the series!
Also – if you are interested in exploring what it looks like to have a team of people behind you, schedule a free consult with us today so we can learn more about your business and your projects!
This is the first post in a series. The series will explore some of the common hesitations when it comes to outsourcing and delegating work to a virtual assistant. Our hope is to shed some light on working with a virtual assistant and clear away some of the doubts so that more people can benefit from having support for their business.
Major Outsourcing Pain Point – It’s Too Expensive
Many people hold back from hiring a virtual assistant because they feel like they can’t afford it. Many entrepreneurs feel like they just can’t add one more expense to their business. So, instead of hiring people to do specific things in their business, the entrepreneur does it all and feels like if it isn’t costing them anything, it’s the better decision. Unfortunately, this ends up being quite detrimental to the business’ growth because one person does not a bustling business make. You see, everyone has a limited number of hours in a day and not using them wisely can cost your business big time.
Hiring a virtual assistant is entirely affordable IF you spend the time you gain doing business building activities. What this means is instead of hiring a virtual assistant and then popping offline to go and get your hair done or take in a round of golf, you want to instead be spending the newly found time doing activities in your business that will generate you revenue. This way, you aren’t actually seeing a business expense but you are actually gaining new earning potential.
The hard facts
Let’s break this down further. Imagine that you can earn $50 per hour if you are sitting at your desk, hammering away on client work. Now let’s imagine that you spend 50% of your day doing client work and 50% of your day doing all of the other business stuff that no one pays you for — marketing, accounting, blogging (unless you are a paid blogger), etc. Essentially, this means that you are earning $200 for an 8-hour workday because you’re only working 50% of the day and you’re earning $50/hour.
Now imagine that you’ve hired a virtual assistant and you’re paying them $25/hour. They have taken over your accounting, your blogging and even some pieces of your marketing and now, you have an extra 2 hours of your day that has been freed up. If you went and got your hair done or took in that round of golf then yes, your business now sees an expense of $50/day. However, if you instead spent the newly found time doing more client work, you’d see a net profit of $50 for the time you are paying your VA. Sure, you aren’t earning $100 for those 2 hours but you are still earning revenue versus not earning revenue at all.
What is your time worth?
What it really boils down to is the value of your time. A perfect, domestic example is house cleaning. Sure, I could clean my house and spend four hours on a Saturday or Sunday doing so but maybe that doesn’t make perfect sense. If I were to sit at my desk and hammer out client work for those four hours at $50/hour, I’d be looking at earning $200 for that time. If a house cleaner cost me $75 for those four hours, I’d be seeing a net profit of $125, which means that it pays for me to bring on the expense of a house cleaner.
We outsource things in our lives and in our businesses because our time is more valuable than the specific task we are currently doing. It does not make good business sense for you to be doing your website updates or fiddling with your graphics if you are not getting paid to do so. The quicker that this logic is realized, the more successful your business will be because your focus will be exactly where it should be — on activities that directly result in revenue for your business.
Stay tuned for the next blog post in the series!
Interested in learning more about working with a virtual assistant? Schedule a free, no-obligation consult with us to learn more about how we can help you and your growing business!
So excited about this launch… Bri Saussy came to us awhile ago with the idea for a website built on WordPress. We were hooked after our first phone call! Bri has this amazing spirit and energy about her that we just HAD to be a part of this project. We built the entire site on WordPress using a really amazing e-commerce driven theme.
Check out the site here – www.MilagroRoots.com.
We have been fortunate enough to work with Jay Lambert of Jay Lambert Consulting on a few different projects thus far and we have really enjoyed his spirt, his energy and his native influence on his business.
For this project, we created a Facebook fan page for Jay.
Our client, Carolyn Herfurth, is hosting a really exciting event in NYC in October called The SELL Event and she wanted to host a contest to give lucky attendees a chance to win their airfare to NYC! So, we created a win free airfare page and a pop-up box to place on the event’s sales page.
You can check out the event here if you’re interested in that as well!
Here is the contest page that we designed and implemented onto WordPress:
Here is the graphical pop-up that we created for the sales page:
Interested in having one of our virtual assistants help with your next website / event project? Drop us a line!
One of the projects we worked on recently involved setting up social media profiles (Facebook, Twitter and YouTube) for a client who did not yet have a strong presence on these sites and in some cases, wasn’t on the sites at all. Along with setting up the profiles, we also implemented strategies to grow the following at each site and we put systems in place to push new content to the sites on a regular basis.
Social Media Set Up
For this project, we:
- Set up each of the social media profiles (Facebook, Twitter and YouTube)
- Developed initial campaigns to recruit fans to the fan page
- Developed and implemented e-mail marketing campaigns to recruit fans on Facebook and followers on Twitter and YouTube
- Managed each social media account and monitored engagement
- Created and managed Facebook ads
A large part of the project was also the set up and maintenance of a reputation management system in which we:
- Monitored the client’s web presence and watched for positive and negative feedback
- Communicated and relayed important messages on behalf of the client
To ensure that relevant, useful and timely information was hitting each of these social media profiles, we:
- Updated the various sites with industry related articles, upcoming events, discussion groups, blogs, videos and images on a daily, weekly and monthly basis
- Developed marketing campaigns on social networking sites to reach out to external targets and internal friends
While we were doing all of the various social media pieces, we also plugged in some online marketing to ensure that our efforts to attract in new people did not go to waste. We needed somewhere to send them beyond the social media profile. For this, we:
- Set up a WordPress blog that was branded to the site and to the social media profiles
- Maintained the blog on an on-going basis by posting new blogs, tagging them and adding images
- Provided ghostwriting services for all blog posts, which pointed people back to the client’s primary website
- Monitored comments
- Performed social bookmarking activities to spread the blog post beyond just the initial reach
- Promoted posts across all social media networks
In doing all of this, here are the growth charts our clients experienced while our activities were taking place:
All in all, a huge success for our client.
Interested in Seeing the Same Growth on Your Social Media Sites?