Virtual Assistant Training + Coaching What You Need To Watch Out For

Virtual Assistant Training + Coaching What You Need To Watch Out For

 

What You Need To Watch Out For When It Comes to Virtual Assistant Training + Coaching

Don’t be afraid to ask questions – it’s your time + money that you’re investing.

This isn’t my standard blog post, it’s more of a rant.

Thought I’d warn you now <grin>.

Seems that everyone is now either a Virtual Assistant Coach or Trainer. I think it’s great that the industry is growing BUT, do these new Coaches + Trainers have the experience to really teach others how to be successful?

There are so many newbies jumping on the Virtual Assistant Coaching + Training bandwagon when many of them haven’t been in business long enough to be considered successful. I’m sorry but you’re not qualified to be a coach or trainer if you’ve not run a successful VA business for at least 3 years (the bare minimum in my opinion).

According to the Small Business Association (SBA) and many others, 80% of all small businesses fail in the first year alone. After the first year the number falls but only about 50% of businesses make it to five years.

Those are some pretty sobering statistics huh?

Here’s the thing, how can someone who has been in business less than a year really understand what it takes to run a successful business?

They’ve not been in business long enough to know!

Not only that, they’re teaching people stuff that is just plain wrong.

Like a contract is not necessary – WRONG. They are very necessary; in fact don’t work without a signed contract. It’s protection for both you and your clients.

I’ve seen things like:

  1. You don’t really need any experience… except know how to use the Internet. You’ll have a hard time finding clients if you don’t have the skills they want.
  2. People guaranteeing that you’ll make 5k or 10k a month if you buy their coaching or training. Sorry folks, no one can guarantee how much anyone else will make. It’s just a marketing ploy.
  3. If you read or hear something saying that it’s easy to be a Virtual Assistant, that you can make thousands of dollars only working 4 hours a day… it’s hog wash.

You have to put in the time and effort especially when you’re just starting out.

On a side note – it’s definitely possible to make 10k a month but there is a whole lot more to it than just being a Virtual Assistant.

I’m passionate about this industry and I’m seeing more and more people who are new to the industry get taken advantage of by slick marketing.

Some of these newbies are teaching crappy methods, and it brings down the entire VA industry.

I know when I first started I didn’t know what to ask or to look for when thinking about investing in training and/or coaching.

And… I ended up buying a LOT of crap.

You don’t know what you don’t know.

Please I ask you to do your homework when it comes to hiring a coach or buying a course.

Find out:

  • If the person really is/was successful.
  • If they’ve been in business more than a couple of years.
  • If they have a refund policy.

Ask for testimonials, ask for proof of success – it’s important since you’re trusting this person with your potential livelihood + business + your hard earned $$.

The VA Industry is NOT standardized which means there is no certification for trainers or coaches like in other industries.

Don’t be afraid to ask – it’s your time + money that you’re investing.

Oh and one more thing.

Yes I know… I’m what you would call a VA Coach or Trainer. But I’m starting my 10th year in this industry and ran a successful VA business for 5 years before I started The Techie Mentor. I’m not asking you to buy my stuff or hire me unless we’re a good fit.

Ok… rant over.

What do you think?

I’d love to hear from you.

All comments + questions are welcome.

HERE ARE A FEW RELATED BLOG POSTS THAT MIGHT BE OF INTEREST:

  1. Virtual Assistant Certifications + Why You Don’t Need One
  2. The Fake It Until You Make It Strategy
  3. What Is A Virtual Assistant
  4. Tips On Sub-Contracting

Oh… and each week I host an Open Mic Session in my VA Tips & Tricks Facebook Group where I deep dive specific topics & answer your questions, be sure to join us for the next one – it’s FREE! Go to http://bit.ly/vatipstricks .

Thanks for reading – Susan

Don’t forget to leave a comment if you found this information useful – I’d love to hear from you!

Sales Funnels – The What & Why

Sales Funnels – The What & Why

Have you heard all the buzz around sales funnels lately?

They’re all the rage.

Why?

Because they work.

What is a sales funnel?

Well… it’s a system that automates both marketing and sales.

Automation = Freedom.

A sales funnel combines strategy + technology to get in front of your audience, share your expertise and get clients on autopilot.

There are people looking for exactly what you offer every minute of every day.

Whether it’s through a Google search or perusing Facebook or LinkedIn Groups.

Your clients are looking for you.

And, you need to make it easy for them to find you 24x7.

What are you doing today to make it easy for your potential clients to:

  1. Find you
  2. Learn more about who you are and what you offer
  3. Share your expertise with them

This is what a sales funnel can do for you on autopilot.

But first, you need to create some great content to share with them.

Remember, all of your content should be focused on how you solve your client’s problems using your expertise.

Share your expertise by:

  • Writing a blog
  • Creating videos and sharing them on YouTube.
  • Doing Facebook Live sessions from your Facebook Page.
  • Running paid ads

Getting their attention is the first step or stage in your sales funnel.

The next step is to get them on the phone with you for a free “Discovery Session”.

It’s a free 15 minute call to find out more about them and if they’re your ideal client.

If they are, great.

Now you need to close the deal.

If they’re not, then you can move on to the next person.

The most important part of your funnel is to make your audience aware of you and your services.

Then it’s getting them on the phone and closing the sale.

So… what can you do today to create great content that will get your potential client’s attention?

Feel free to post below and let me know what action you’re taking today to automate your marketing + getting clients.

I’d love to here from you.

All comments + questions are welcome.

If you know someone who might benefit from this information, please share. You can use the share buttons below the post.

HERE ARE A FEW RELATED BLOG POSTS THAT MIGHT BE OF INTEREST:

  1. Virtual Assistant Systems – The Key Systems You Need
  2. The Day to Day Systems In Your VA Business
  3. Is Your Target Aware Of You + Your Services
  4. Tips To Grow Your Online Following AKA Your List

Oh… and each week I host an Open Mic Session in my VA Tips & Tricks Facebook Group where I deep dive specific topics & answer your questions, be sure to join us for the next one – it’s FREE! Go to http://bit.ly/vatipstricks.

Thanks for reading – Susan

Don’t forget to leave a comment if you found this information useful – I’d love to hear from you!

Virtual Assistant Business Operations

Virtual Assistant Business Operations

Virtual Assistant Business Operations: The Day To Day Stuff

What does Virtual Assistant Business Operations mean and why is it important?

Well, this blog post is going to deep dive the key systems that run the day to day operations of a successful VA business.

Welcome to the fourth blog post in the Setting up a Virtual Assistant Business series.

If you haven’t read the first blog post in this series, I invite you to do so before jumping into this one.

You can read it HERE.

So, let’s talk about Virtual Assistant Business Operations.

The things you must do to keep your business running – the day to day stuff.

Things like:

  • Doing client work (tasks)
  • Talking with clients
  • Interviewing prospective clients
  • Answering emails
  • Answering phone calls
  • Tracking time
  • Marketing your business
  • Troubleshooting issues
  • Problem solving
  • Invoicing
  • Running reports

Why do you need to have to systems for all this stuff?

Remember, I mentioned in an earlier blog post that a business is a system.

No system = no business.

It’s all about having repeatable processes.

Being efficient and effective.

Looking professional to your clients and prospects.

Automation = Freedom.

Automating what you do every day, week or month to keep your business running, will free up your precious time.

Not to mention, brain space.

Because you’ve created systems and automated them, you can focus on other things besides running your business.

So, let’s get started.

To make it simple, I’m organizing similar type tasks into systems.

Please note: there maybe overlap between the systems since tasks are related.

Here are the day to day systems for running your business.
  1. Client Management
  2. Task Management
  3. Email Management
  4. Business Management
  5. Prospect Management

Let’s take a look at the tasks in each of these systems, starting with Client Management.

Feel free to download the Day to Day Business Systems Infograph below. It summarizes the key business systems I’m covering in this blog post.

The Client Management System

This system is all about managing the relationship with your client and the work you do for them. Ask yourself, how do you manage the following for your clients? If you don’t know, now is the time to make some decisions and start drafting your client management system.

  • Tasks or To-do’s
    • How do clients assign tasks to you?
    • What types of information do they need to include? Things like due date, files, etc.
  • Status Updates or Calls
    • How do you let your clients know the status of the tasks you’re working on?
    • How often do you talk to them?
  • Delivering Completed Work – Tasks
    • How do you deliver completed work?
    • Do they sign off on it?
    • What do they do if there are changes?
  • Issues
    • What do clients do if they have an issue?
    • How is it addressed?
  • Communication
    • What’s your overall communication process?
    • How do you prefer to communicate with them?
    • How often?
  • Quality work
    • Do you test your work before you deliver it?
    • If so, what is that process?
  • Tools
    • What tools do you use to work with clients? Tools such as DropBox for storage, Skype for communicating, Teamwork for task management, etc.
  • Onboarding new clients
    • What’s your process for onboarding new clients?

The Task Management System

This system is all about managing your day-to-day tasks, deadlines and workload.  Ask yourself, how do you manage your daily to-do’s (tasks)? If you don’t know, now is the time to make some decisions and start drafting your task management system.

  • The Tool
    • What tool are you using?
    • Does your client have access to their project?
  • Workload
    • What’s your current workload?
    • How do you know if you can take on more tasks or meet a new deadline?
    • How are you tracking billable hours?
  • Tracking Time & Tasks
    • How do you track time on tasks?
    • Do you round up to the quarter hour or bill to the minute?
    • How do you track retainer hours?
  • Deadlines
    • How are deadlines assigned?
    • How do you know if you can meet them?
  • Reports
    • Do you provide weekly status reports for clients?
  • Task Assignments
    • How do you get new tasks?
    • How do you get notified of changes to tasks?
  • Client Management
    • How do clients use your Task Management tool?
  • Your Business
    • How do you manage your business tasks?
    • Things like follow ups
    • Business tasks

The Email Management System

This system is all about managing your email and inbox. Ask yourself, how do you manage your email and organize your inbox? If you don’t know, now is the time to make some decisions and start drafting your email management system.

  • Checking
    • How often do you check your email?
    • Do you leave your Inbox open all day?
  • Responding
    • How quickly do you respond to emails?
    • Is there an average time?
  • Tools
    • What email program do you use?
    • Do you use tools for scheduling emails?
  • Signature
    • What do you include in your signature?
  • Auto Responders
    • Do you use auto-responders when you’re out of the office?
  • Organization
    • How do you organize your Inbox? By client folders?

The Business Management System

This system is all about managing your business operations. Ask yourself, how do you manage your business? If you don’t know, now is the time to make some decisions and start drafting your business management system.

  • Invoices
    • How often do you send out invoices?
    • Do you charge a late fee?
  • Office Hours
    • What hours are you available during the week?
    • Do you only work certain days of the week?
  • Holiday Schedule
    • What holidays do you take off?
  • Vacations
    • What’s your vacation policy?
    • What kind of notice do you give your clients?
  • Payments
    • How do you accept payments?
    • What tools do you use?
    • Are payments refundable?
  • Tools
    • What tools do you use to run your business?
  • Referrals
    • Do you offer a referral program?
    • If so, what is it?
  • Trusted Partners
    • Do you have a Trusted Partner that your clients can turn to when you’re unavailable?
    • For more information on Trusted Partners, click here.
  • Moving On
    • What is your process for firing a client?

The Prospect Management System

This system is all about managing prospective clients. Ask yourself, how do you interview prospective clients? If you don’t know, now is the time to make some decisions and start drafting your prospect management system.

  • Discovery session process
    • Do you have a discovery session process?
  • Follow up
    • How and when do you follow up?
  • Templates
    • Do you have a questionnaire you use?
  • Sales Conversations
    • Do you have a sales script?
  • Objections
    • How do you handle common objections?

Don’t forget to download the Day to Day Business Systems Infograph below. It’s a handy reference for setting up your Business Management Systems.

What day to day systems do you have
implemented in your business?

Feel free to post below and let me know what action your taking today to implement your day to day systems.

I’d love to here from you.

All comments + questions are welcome.

If you know someone who might benefit from this information, please share. You can use the share buttons below the post.

HERE ARE A FEW RELATED BLOG POSTS THAT MIGHT BE OF INTEREST:

  1. Do You Have a Trusted Partner + Why You Need To
  2. How Many Clients Do You Really Need
  3. Are Your Business Policies Documented
  4. Working With Clients

Oh… and each week I host an Open Mic Session in my VA Tips & Tricks Facebook Group where I deep dive specific topics & answer your questions, be sure to join us for the next one – it’s FREE! Go to http://bit.ly/vatipstricks.

Thanks for reading – Susan

Don’t forget to leave a comment if you found this information useful – I’d love to hear from you!

Virtual Assistant Systems

Virtual Assistant Systems

Virtual Assistant Systems:
The Key Systems You Need.

Do you know the key Virtual Assistant Systems you need for your business?

Welcome to the third blog post in the Setting up a Virtual Assistant Business series.

This blog post is all about Virtual Assistant Systems.

If you haven’t read the first blog post in this series, I invite you to do so before jumping into this one.

You can read it HERE.

As I’ve said before a business is a system.

A poorly designed system leads to poor and inconsistent results.

That’s why it’s important to take the time to design, implement and document the right systems in your business.

Here are the 4 key business systems you need.

  1. Operations – running the business
  2. Marketing – making your audience aware
  3. Sales – getting clients
  4. Delivery – delivering your services

Each one of these systems are necessary to having a thriving business.

In fact, these are the same systems your clients should have in their own business.

If not, you can help them design and implement them as a service. (That’s for another blog post…)

Back to the 4 key systems…

Why do you need them?

Systems are how you run your business and you should have a system for everything you do.

A documented checklist or even a full blown Operations manual that lists the systems you use.

Remember… No systems = No business.

You don’t want to re-create the wheel every time you sign on a new client or take on a new task.

You need to have a system for everything you do in your business.

Too many people don’t take the time to design, implement and document their systems.

Instead they use hope as a tactic.

They hope they remember the steps the next time they sign a new client…

Hope is not a reliable tactic.

You must spend the time and energy when you’re setting up your Virtual Assistant business to create and implement your systems.

Oh, and document them too!

Systems work together which means they overlap.

All of your key business systems work together to run your business.

Feel free to download a copy of the Key Systems Infograph below, it’s a great reference to keep handy.

The next blog post in this series is all about the day-to-day systems you need to run a successful VA business. You can read it here .

What Virtual Assistant Systems do you have implemented in your business?

Feel free to post below and let me know what action your taking today to implement key systems in your business.

I’d love to here from you.

All comments + questions are welcome.

If you know someone who might benefit from this information, please share. You can use the share buttons below the post.

HERE ARE A FEW RELATED BLOG POSTS THAT MIGHT BE OF INTEREST:

  1. Are You Lacking The Structure You’re Used To
  2. Scheduling A Kick Off Call With New Clients
  3. Sales Funnels 101 + Why You Need One
  4. Day To Day Operations In Your VA Biz

Oh… and each week I host an Open Mic Session in my VA Tips & Tricks Facebook Group where I deep dive specific topics & answer your questions, be sure to join us for the next one – it’s FREE! Go to http://bit.ly/vatipstricks.

Thanks for reading – Susan

Don’t forget to leave a comment if you found this information useful – I’d love to hear from you!

Your Virtual Assistant Business Plan

Your Virtual Assistant Business Plan

Your Virtual Assistant Business Plan:
What You Need In yours

Are you ready to create your Virtual Assistant Business Plan?

Welcome to the second blog post in the Setting up a Virtual Assistant Business series.

This post is all about your plan. Your plan on how to set up your Virtual Assistant business.

If you haven’t read the first blog post in this series, I invite you to do so before jumping into this one.

You can read it HERE.

Ok, back to your plan.

I know I mentioned in the previous blog post that the first thing you need to do is have a plan. A plan for how and when you’re going to do the work needed to make it happen.

But to be honest… the first thing you should do is make a decision.

A decision to either find out more about becoming a virtual assistant or going for it and starting your own business.

So… step number two is the actual plan.

Your plan of action.

That’s what this post is all about – your Virtual Assistant Business Plan.

We’re going to cover 9 essential things you need to know when planning your VA business.

So, let’s start with the actual business plan. The business plan I’m talking about here is not the same as a typical business plan. We don’t need a plan written for banks or investors (typical business plans).

What we need is a plan that walks us through the steps we need to set up our business.

So, let’s dive into the plan.

But, before we do, be sure to download my free Virtual Assistant Business Plan template that walks you through the process we’re talking about here.

Ok, let’s get started.

I’d like to ask you a few questions.

  • What do you know about being a Virtual Assistant?
  • Have you done the research?

I think it’s important to have a clear understanding of what you’re getting into. Not to scare you – but so you know what to expect. (Stay tuned for my next series of blog posts about being a Virtual Assistant).

This is step number one.

Do the research – understand what being a Virtual Assistant is all about.

Step #2 is your why.

In other words, why do you want to be a Virtual Assistant? To start your own business?

Your why is what keeps you focused and motivated during hard times. And, my friend there will be hard times. Knowing why you’re doing what you’re doing helps you weather those hard times.

Take a moment and write down your why.

Feel free to share in the comment section below, I would love to know.

Mine, is freedom – in every sense of the word.

And… be sure to post your why where you can see it every day to remind you why your on this journey.

Step #3 is investing.

How much money do you have to invest in your new business? Because, let’s be honest, it’s hard to set up a business for free. There is an investment of either time or money or both.

It’s all about working with what you’ve got.

This business is your future right? It’s your dream.

If you’re currently working, my best advice is to set aside money to invest in equipment or training. How much money can you put away each paycheck towards your dream?

Even if you’re not working, there are other things you can give up like eating out or your morning Starbucks.

Take that money and invest it in yourself – because you are your business.

Please take a moment and figure out what works for you. Something is better than nothing.

We’re going to talk more about what to invest in, in the next blog post.

Step #4 is your schedule.

How much time can you invest in getting your business off the ground? What’s your current schedule look like?

I know it can be challenging to find extra time when you’re working and trying to build your business on the side.

I’ve been there, done that and got the tee shirt to prove it.

I had a full time corporate career, plus an infant at home when I started my Virtual Assistant business over 9 years ago. I remember what a struggle it was to figure out how to juggle it all and stay sane!

Can you get up two hours early in the morning to work on your business? What about setting aside two hours later in the evening?

I gave up watching TV at night. Instead, I used that time to work on my business.

How about working during lunch?

The most important thing is to find the time.

The question is, where can you find even one hour a day to work on your business? Every little bit makes a big difference.

Step #5 is how much you need to earn.

This is a BIG one.

And… another step that many people neglect to do. I know I did (neglect this step).

I was so focused on getting out of my job, I estimated what I thought I needed to earn in my new business, instead of actually doing the math.

Boy was I wrong – I WAY underpriced myself.

You need to know how much you need to earn. This number is your baseline number – the amount you must earn in order to keep the lights on.

I have a YouTube video series on pricing and setting your rates.

You can find it here.

I recommend watching at least the first two videos, as it goes thru the exercise of figuring out how much you need to earn using my Rate Calculation sheet.

You can download the sheet by clicking on the image below.

Be sure to make a note of how much you need to earn and how much you want to earn. Both of these numbers are important.

Step #6 is your service offerings.

Do you know what services you want to offer in your Virtual Assistant business? What skills do you have today that you can offer?

It’s time to start thinking about what services you’d like to offer.

Like all other industries, the VA industry has specific skill sets that are in high demand. Anything techie or digital marketing are hot.

What do I mean by “techie” or “digital marketing”? Well… any of the dozens of techie tools clients use to run their business.

Such as:

  • Mail Chimp
  • Mailerlite
  • Active Campaign
  • WordPress
  • Buffer

Digital marketing includes skills such as:

  • Email Marketing
  • Video Marketing
  • Content Marketing
  • Digital Ads (Facebook, YouTube)
  • Social Media Marketing.

It really pays to specialize when it comes to being a Virtual Assistant.

Specializing makes it easier to sell your expertise instead of your time. You can package up your expertise into service packages. It makes marketing + sales so much easier!

The most important thing is to only offer what you love to do.

Take a look at the skills you have right now – I bet you have something you can offer.

  • Customer service
  • Project management
  • Event planning
  • Inbox or calendar management

All of these skills are needed and can get you started as a Virtual Assistant.

Take a few minutes to list out the skills you have and anything that you’d like to learn more about.

Step #7 is your target market (lucky seven).

This is where you’re going to target your marketing efforts.

Not everyone is your customer – you have to focus your attention on a specific market.

Now I know many people think that targeting their marketing means they’ll have less business. Or… that they’ll have to turn away business away that is not in their market. Neither of these are true.

In fact, what you focus on expands. You end up with more clients when you focus then when you don’t.

It’s easier to get clients too because you know who to get in front of to share your expertise.

Take a moment and answer these questions:

  1. What industries are you passionate about?
  2. What do you love to do?
  3. Who do you want to help?

These questions will help you to figure out who you want to work with.

Remember, it’s your business, your choice. You get to choose everything including who you work with.

We’ll be deep diving this topic a bit more in a future blog post.

Step #8 is your perfect day.

This one might seem a bit strange but I’d love you to just go with it.

I want you to design your perfect day, your perfect business.

  • What does it look like to you?
  • How many hours do you work? (4 hours a day, 3 days a week, etc.)
  • Where do you work? (RV, park, cabin, home, etc.)
  • What is your perfect business? (living where you want, working when you want, etc.)

Do this exercise like money is NO object.

Really take some time to imagine what your perfect day would be. And, what would your perfect business allow you to do?

My perfect day is a mix of creative and client work plus time for family & all my hobbies.

My perfect business allows me to give back to others and to make a difference.

What’s yours?

Finally, step #9 is what do you need.

What do you need to set up your virtual assistant business?

Well, since a business is a system, you need to set up your systems first. Your systems are the foundation of your business. This is a step TOO many people skip over.

Shaky systems = shaky business.

Do you really want a shaky business?

We’re going to deep dive each of the four key business systems and what you need to implement in the next five blog posts. These are the systems that run and support your business.

In the next post in this series, we are going to talk about the key virtual assistant systems you need to succeed.

Whew… you made it to the end!

Now, it’s time for action.

If you haven’t downloaded the free Virtual Assistant Business Plan template, then I recommend clicking the button below to grab it.

It walks you through the 9 questions covered in this blog post and it will help you take the action you need to plan your future.

You have to do the work <grin>.

It’s time to get busy creating your Virtual Assistant Business Plan.

Download the template below:

Be sure to keep your VA Business Plan handy, as we’ll be using it again!

The next blog post in this series is all about the virtual assistant systems you need to design, create & implement. You can read it here.

What do you think?

Feel free to post below and let me know what action your taking today to complete your VA business plan.

I’d love to here from you.

All comments + questions are welcome.

If you know someone who might benefit from this information, please share. You can use the share buttons below the post.

HERE ARE A FEW RELATED BLOG POSTS THAT MIGHT BE OF INTEREST:

  1. Virtual Assistant Systems + What You Need To Know
  2.  Virtual Assistant Is NOT A Title
  3. Creating Your Virtual Assistant Service Packages
  4. Tips For Starting Your VA Business While Still Working

Oh… and each week I host an Open Mic Session in my VA Tips & Tricks Facebook Group where I deep dive specific topics & answer your questions, be sure to join us for the next one – it’s FREE! Go to http://bit.ly/vatipstricks.

Thanks for reading – Susan

Don’t forget to leave a comment if you found this information useful – I’d love to hear from you!

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