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 the 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 on 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?

Check out my Discovery Session System workshop – it walks you through setting up your own system for interviewing potential clients and then closing the sale. It’s the exact system I use to this day – and it works.

Find out more about the Discovery Session System here.

If you need a step-by-step action plan that walks you through all of these systems and the basic must haves you need for a successful VA business – check out my VA Action Plan.

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

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

I’d love to hear 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

If you’re looking for more details on how to start or scale your VA business including how to specialize by learning in-demand skills, join my FREE VA Training Vault. It’s over 8 hours of how-to video training for Virtual Assistants that want to create a successful business.

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.

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 is necessary to have 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.

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

If you’re struggling to design + implement your Key Business Systems, check out my VA Action Plan. It’s a step-by-step action plan that walks you through the basic must haves in an easy to follow step-by-step system.

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

I’d love to hear 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.

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

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

If you’re looking for more details on how to start or scale your VA business including how to specialize by learning in-demand skills, join my FREE VA Training Vault. It’s over 8 hours of how-to video training for Virtual Assistants that want to create a successful business.

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.

The plan 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 the 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 10 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.

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 is 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!

I recommend that all Virtual Assistants learn WordPress + Mail Chimp. They are two in-demand skills that clients are always asking for.

If you want to learn more about offering WordPress services, check out my free webinar 3 Secrets To Offering WordPress Services. You can watch it here.

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.

Oh… and one more thing. Think about whether or not you want to be tied to your computer for certain hours every day. I know I didn’t that is why I chose to offer systems + techie skills so I could have the freedom to do the task on my own schedule and not be stuck in my office all day long like a JOB.

Realize that admin type services require you to be “available” during business hours — where back end services (systems + tech) don’t.

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 than 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.

Oh and I don’t work on Fridays!

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?

You should always implement your business systems BEFORE working with clients.

Don’t fall for the scam, get a client then figure it out! That’s not a great way to start a relationship.

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>.

If you’re looking for a step by step guide that walks you through setting up your VA business (including everything covered in this blog post), be sure to check out my affordable VA Action Plan. It’s a workbook that walks you through the basic must-haves in an easy to follow step-by-step system.

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

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 you’re taking today to complete your VA business plan.

I’d love to hear 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

If you’re looking for more details on how to start or scale your VA business including how to specialize by learning in-demand skills, join my FREE VA Training Vault. It’s over 8 hours of how-to video training for Virtual Assistants that want to create a successful business.

Thanks for reading – Susan

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

Setting Up a Virtual Assistant Business

Setting Up a Virtual Assistant Business

Setting up a Virtual Assistant Business:
What You Need to Know

It’s overwhelming, isn’t it?

All the information on the web about setting up a virtual assistant business.

There are pages and pages of it!

It can be overwhelming and confusing.

It’s hard to know what to do first or where to start.

I remember what it was like when I started out way back in 2009.

I found tons of helpful information.

But the problem was… it was not a complete system or process.

I had to try and put all the information together myself and hope I had it right.

Sometimes I did and sometimes I didn’t.

It took lots of trial and error AND time to figure out what I needed and in what order.

To help you avoid the same mistakes that I made, I thought I would share my system.

Because it’s all about systems.

A business is after all just a series of systems working together.

I’m creating a series of blog posts on how to set up a virtual assistant business.

Everything you need to know laid out in a simple, step-by-step system. (Something I wish I had when I first started).

In this first blog post, I’ll be sharing an overview of the steps & processes you need to get your VA business up and running.

So, let’s get started.

First, you need a plan.

A plan for how and when you’re going to do the work needed to make it happen.

I have a step-by-step action plan that walks you through everything you need to set up your VA business and it’s super affordable.

Second, you need to know what it takes.

It takes hard work to set up and launch a VA business.

You can do it in 5 days, 14 days or 90 days, if you have a system.

The timeline is up to you.

And, you need to have skills that clients want.

Just like in the job world, it’s all about the skills and expertise you have.

You need to look at your current skill set and how you can use it to your advantage.

You don’t need any special Certification to be successful.

And third, you need to take action.

You need to implement your key business systems.

These systems are the foundation of your business.

Without them, your business is on shaky ground.

Remember… a business is a system.

Here are the 4 key business systems you need to implement:

  • Business
  • Marketing
  • Sales
  • Delivery

We will be diving into each one of these key systems, along with planning and understanding what it takes to set up a successful Virtual Assistant business in this blog series.

For the next blog post, we are focusing on creating a plan for how and when you’re going to do the work needed to get your VA business off the ground.

Do you have a plan for setting up a Virtual Assistant Business?

I’d love to know if you do!

If not, be sure to check out my Getting Started Action Plan.

Feel free to post below and let me know what action you’re taking today to set up your VA biz.

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 Certifications + Why You Don’t Need One
  2. VA Coaching & Training 101 + What You Need To Watch Out For
  3. Virtual Assistant Systems + What You Need To Know
  4. Virtual Assistant Business Plan + What You Need In Your Plan

If you’re looking for more details on how to start or scale your VA business including how to specialize by learning in-demand skills, join my FREE VA Training Vault. It’s over 8 hours of how-to video training for Virtual Assistants that want to create a successful business.

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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