Monthly Archives: February 2014

OLYMPIC MOMENTS

I’m sure all of us watched the Olympics on television. I didn’t get to watch as much of it as I wanted to, but I always enjoy the 2 weeks of Olympic competition. As a virtual assistant, I am constantly striving to learn more about new software programs and to find new clients. Sometimes it seems like an Olympic event.

Olympic President

There is so much preparation that goes into finding new clients. Not only finding them, but finding out where to find them and then there’s meeting with them, listening to their problems and concerns and offering solutions that I can provide to them.

When I meet with a client, I feel like I’m at the starting gate and I need to be the best and most knowledgeable problem solver and provide immediate answers to their problems. It is daunting, but well worth it, when they sign on with me.

2 people meeting

I can appreciate all of the work that the Olympians go through to just get to the Olympics. They have to be the best in their sport and beat out the competition to go on and compete. Being a virtual assistant is a lot like that. The client has several options to get their work done. Virtual assisting is just one of those options, but presented in the right way, it can seem like the only option.

Of course, it’s not just the competition at the Olympics that I enjoy, but the stories of the athletes themselves. Some of them have not had an easy time of it, but they hung in there, because they love the sport. Virtual assisting can be financially rewarding, but many of us struggle to get new clients. We don’t have the luck or connections to really get ahead quickly, but a fast start does not always mean a good finish.

Building your professional brand and your client base takes time. You need to develop trust and make a reputation for yourself. Your niche or specialization is also important, because it determines which groups will be drawn to your services.

PERSONAL BRANDING POWER Just as each Olympian strives to be their very best, every virtual assistant does the same thing. In some cases, virtual assistants work 7 days a week. If they’re not actually doing work for their clients, they’re marketing their business, taking an online webinar or attending a function, where they can promote their businesses.

Virtual assistants don’t win medals, but they do compete for business and the best ones rise to the top. These are the virtual assistants that not only learn how to market their business, but how to fit in the extras, such as blogging, which is so important in this age of social media.

Watching the Olympians strive and struggle gives me the incentive to continue to promote myself and my virtual assistant business and to be the best I can be.

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PRESIDENTS’ DAY FOR EVERY PRESIDENT

My blog this week focuses on all virtual assistants, not just on me. Presidents’ Day is a day dedicated to all presidents, whether they were good for the country or controversial, they all had an impact on the United States and the future of the country.

President Seal

Every person aspiring to become president has to dedicate their personal lives to promoting their public lives. A person aspiring to become president usually 1) gets involved in politics as a young adult and 2) establishes party affiliation and 3) works diligently for that group to promote herself.

Virtual assistants follow a similar path. We declare our specialty or niche as opposed to a political party. We also work diligently to promote ourselves through affiliation with LinkedIn, Google and other groups.

Just as the would-be president has to stand out from the rest of the crowd, so too, does a virtual assistant. Through continual training on a variety of topics, the virtual assistant rises to the top of her profession.

Social Media All

 A political candidate must also have a strong media presence. Not just his/her own website, but maintain a presence on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest and other social media sites. The candidate has to keep her information current and keep pushing her own personal brand. Sometimes, the candidate may offer comparisons between 2 or more candidates.

A virtual assistant has to do the same things. We must try to stay current on all social media sites, pushing our business brand and demonstrating our strong points and explain why we are the best choice. Unlike a political candidate, the virtual assistant has to do this on her own. There are no volunteers to provide free help for her business. Instead, she either has to do it herself or pay someone else to do it for her.

A virtual assistant doesn’t have a large organization to help her plan her business strategy or to offer comments and suggestions as political parties do. She also doesn’t receive donations, because people think she’s very good as what she does. Instead, she has the weight of her business on her shoulders and she has to perform her work very well in order to get paid.

Connections

Virtual assistants have member groups on social media to help with advice on general topics, but it is up to the virtual assistant to take charge of her career and her business. She is the president of her company.  If she does well, she may get referrals from former clients and attract new ones.

The virtual assistant business is built on proficiency in the services they offer, social media marketing expertise, and perfectionism to get the job done right every time and on time. Clients’ satisfaction is paramount to continued success. Virtual assistants have an impact on every client they work with.

Female President

So although we celebrate the presidents of the United States on Presidents’ Day, let’s remember that every day, a virtual assistant is president of her company and she has all of the same responsibilities as any president of any company; the only difference is that she is both president and employee.

For more information about Virtual Colleague, LLC, check out the website.

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How to Celebrate Valentine’s Day If You’re a Virtual Assistant

Valentine’s Day is supposed to be about the celebration of love, but who has the real definition of love? It can mean different things to different people and is there a difference between loving people and loving things?

Valentine Day

As a virtual assistant at Virtual Colleague, LLC, I really love what I do. I enjoy working on projects and tasks each day and get a great deal of satisfaction, when they’re completed and finished on time. I have no trouble deciding how to celebrate the holidays in my personal life, but when it comes to business, I really have to look at the whole picture.

As I said, I really love what I do, but just because I love the work, it doesn’t mean I love the clients in the same way. How do I show my appreciation for a long-term client? It’s a business relationship and not easy to figure out.

Business People

From a marketing point of view, I should take advantage of every holiday and opportunity to promote my business, but Valentine’s Day is a tough one to promote. I have to be careful not to come across as too personal or inappropriate.

After quite a bit of thinking, I’ve decided to write a few short lines about how I appreciate my clients’ business and how it allows me to do some of the things I enjoy doing the best. I always feel it is a good marketing technique to thank clients/people for checking out your business and wanting to know more. Although they may not need your services now, they could need them in the near future and you would be the first one they think of.

Poetry

I wanted to so some poetry, but that’s not my specialty, as you can see.

Thank you all

For your email and your call.

Although I love to write

I can make your workload light

By working together and forming a bond

Working with me is like waving a wand.

The work gets done,

So you have more time for fun.

 I didn’t want to send that poem to my clients, so, I just jotted down a simple note of gratitude. I think Valentine’s Day is a time to show clients/people that you care for them. I don’t think it has to be in a sexual way, but just a day to remind them that they’re special to you in some way.

Thanking my clients is a way to show them that I think about them, whether we’re currently working together or not. Once they do business with me, I always consider them clients. That’s why I keep in contact with them.

I don’t send out physical gifts like flowers or chocolates. Being virtual has its limitations and I’m not in a position financially to do that, but a note on special occasions goes a long way. Everyone likes to be remembered.

Clients

Reader

  So Happy Valentine’s Day to my clients both active and inactive and my blog readers for staying with me every week. 

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Web Research: a Thirst Quencher

Several of my relatives have made a lifelong commitment to finding out all they can about their friends and neighbors. Unfortunately, they cannot contain that information to themselves and instead spread the details or stories to anyone that will listen.

Gossipers

I’ve always wondered why some people do that, even though: 1) it’s none of their business and 2) they could have the facts wrong and ruin someone’s reputation. My theory is that they have an unquenchable thirst for information. They feel compelled to find out everything they can about everything and everyone around them.

Unquenchable thirst That is the exact opposite of web research. I offer web research as part of my virtual assistant business, Virtual Colleague, LLC, because every business needs to stay current with information about products, services or new innovation.  The most common reason to do web research is to find out what the competition is doing. Businesses need to be upfront about the products and services they offer, any special deals or discounts that’s out on the web. This provides a challenge to them to find ways to stay competitive.

Competition Web research is also used to explore new possibilities. It provides current statistics on trends, important issues, and declining interests. Scanning the web for pertinent information can provide direction to a company, so they can decide to diversify by offering new products or services or to phase out products or services that are becoming outdated or obsolete.

I enjoy web researching, because as the researcher, I learn about new items and ideas and get a fresh perspective on things that I just took for granted. As a virtual assistant, I always get a clear picture of what my clients need and why they need it.

As a web researcher, I can pull up all kinds of information, but is it relevant to the needs of my clients?  That’s why having a meeting to discuss what the purpose and focus of the research is all about saves time, money and enables me to quickly discard information that’s not needed.

     Vacation Resort

    Convention Center

New Car

Whether I’m researching a vacation resort or convention sites or just researching to find the best vehicle for the company fleet, it is important to outline what to look for and why the search is so important. I usually create an Excel spreadsheet or maybe even a PowerPoint presentation to display my results in a way that is clear, concise and easy to follow.

The end result is a detailed list (spreadsheet) of each item I have researched and broken down each piece of information into categories, so my client can make an informed decision. I may also take any financial information and make a chart or table that provides a visual of the information I have collected.

In the case of researching a place or product, I may create a PowerPoint presentation with a page for each item or place I have researched. I try to provide pictures or photos and list the Pros and Cons on each page. This may seem unnecessary, but I’ve found that after reading reports for most of the day, my clients prefer visuals, so they can look at the whole picture rather than just concentrate on the numbers.

A web researcher must be vigilant and discerning. Everything on the internet is not true or substantiated and that’s why web research is a lot like trying to find your ancestors. You must find matching information that verifies the original information that you found, so you can count it as true. It’s not enough to just look things up on the internet and take them at face value.

Just as my relatives have earned bad reputations as gossipers and busybodies, so to for any web researcher that wants to keep clients, the information has to be true and correct.

 

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