What I’m learning as I grow my virtual assistant business


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As I grow my business, I’m running into a challenge that I know other entrepreneurs run into: how do I grow my business?

What I’m learning right now is this:

How to connect with others online.

Meaning, the importance of going beyond the research: actually picking up the phone and calling people who I could potentially work with!! This has already gotten me a few clients.

Learning

The lesson is, NEVER stop learning! Because I’m a bookworm at heart, learning new things is something I’ve always considered to be a strength of mine. I cannot even begin to count the number of times that I have been given a project (when I worked at a corporation), and was given instructions to, “Can you just figure out how to make this happen?”. It’s served me very well over the years. It’s why I’m able to offer the different services that I do for my clients.

How to build my business. 

Oof, this is tricky. And, I know it’s something that many others struggle with too. I realized today after watching a video from Derek Halpern (Social Triggers) that I was still honing in on my audience. So, in honor of the assignment he provided….

Here’s my client wishlist:

Conscious, communicative entrepreneurs who have built companies that enhances other people’s lives. They see the value in getting assistance when they need it, and are willing to pay for that help. 

What I offer to all of my clients, no matter what business they’re in is this:

PEACE OF MIND

My clients know that their job will get done, on time, and completed as if they had done the job themselves (or better!). Don’t take my word for it, hop on over to my testimonials section (it’s still growing) and read it for yourself!

As I continue to grow my virtual assistant business, I will share what I’m learning along the way. And if it’s working, I’ll be sharing that too!

To all of us and our success,

Monica

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Communication is everything


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So as my work as a Virtual Assistant has been building, there’s one super key element that is absolutely critical. It’s:

COMMUNICATION

Sounds simple, right? Well, when I take on a new client I have to familiarize myself with their accounts, what I’m responsible for, and pull all of the elements together.

Here are where things go sideways:

1) Half directions

What do I mean by this? Well, here’s an example. A new client told me that she creates text images in PicMonkey. In her email she sent over, she said: 

“This is the video explaining how to get the info you will need for the picmonkey collage. She explains how to get the names.  I found the easiest way to organize from highest to lowest is loading them into a google sheet or excel sheet and arranging highest to lowest that way.“

When I went to complete this assignment I was given further instructions in a separate email that said, log into her XYZ account and get the info for the text image.

These emails came 4 days apart, in a separate thread. Keep in mind, I have multiple clients that I manage and I don’t memorize everything they all tell me. 

How could this been alleviated? Clear, concise directions. Such as:

“Watch this video to learn how to obtain the names from the XYZ account. I will be sending the login information for XYZ in a separate email. After you watch the video, on Thursday, you will need to log into the account, create the text image, and then post the image on her Facebook (both personal and business pages).”

When Thursday arrived, I had to inquire about the login for XYZ account, and when I went to complete the task, I realized I had to go back and ask for directions on how to get the names. It was then that I was told that the instructions were in the video. Ok, cool. I then created the text image and posted it on Facebook. The client sent me an email hours later, upset. Why wasn’t it posted to her personal Facebook account?? Well, I wasn’t told to post to her personal page. In the end, who takes the fall for the error? Hint: it isn’t the client.

ORGANIZATION

Organize, organize, organize. How do you manage all the details of multiple clients, projects, accounts, etc? Project management software. There a few out there, but the ones I use the most are Basecamp (I love!) and Asana (it does the job but it’s too left brained and not visual enough for me).

I have another client who is the go-between between me (the social media person) and the client. Hmph. This creates a whole other set of issues. Why?

Quite simply, there are questions and details that she wouldn’t think to ask for from the client because she doesn’t handle any social media at all. On a recent project I had to do, boy did it go sideways. I was instructed to create custom digital media for the client’s facebook postings. I was given a spreadsheet with quotes that were approved (so I was told). I then created custom image quotes. The images were then forwarded to the Project Manager who then sent them to the client.

The client came back and was upset because they were not the quotes she wanted. Huh? And, YIKES!!! The files were all over the place and emails were strewn about my inbox.

How could this been avoided? Management, & organization to start with. Had this project been in a project management software like Basecamp or Asana, the client could have reviewed the quotes, signed off before I worked on them, all of the images would have been in one location, and instead of using a go-between, I could have gotten the feedback and direction I needed directly from the client without having to wait to hear back from a line of people. All of the key stakeholders would have been involved and up to date on the projects, at the same time. 

Before you hire a Virtual Assistant, it’s wise to ask how they manage their projects. And, it’s also very smart to make sure you take the time to prepare to hand off your project with as much detail as possible. In the long run, it saves you both time, energy, and money.

Moral of the story: communication is critical when working virtually. Not taking the time to provide your Virtual Assistant detailed, explicit instructions, and managing a project by email crumbs only sets both of you up for a future mishap.

Work smart! Not harder.

Virtually yours,

Monica

Virtual Assistant │Digital Nomad


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So, I’ve been taking a terrific business plan writing course offered through http://e-jedi.org. Actually, I won a scholarship which is how I was able to attend. So far? It’s been incredibly awesome. 

On May 30th I will be giving my final presentation. I decided to write about it because one of the key things that has come up during this class is my title! I had one woman graciously tell me that she saw me more as a ‘Solutions Provider’, a ‘Project Manager’, and a ‘Social Media Assistant’. I was so humbled! The challenge is though, what’s the appropriate title for me to use?

Since my business has bloomed into a full-time venture, I’m finding that I have to use the title that makes the best sense to potential clients. I could say that I’m a Virtual Creative Assistant with a flare for travel! Too long though…Another title that I absolutely feel is the best fit for me (although the url has already been taken) is Digital Nomad. Because I do travel quite a bit, and oftentimes work while traveling this title perfectly captures the essence of who I really am. 

One of the things I have come across since identifying as a Digital Nomad is that there’s an entire tribe/culture of people who live just as I do. I’m hoping to connect with some fellow Digital Nomads when I take my next trip. I’ll be sure to write about it when it happens!

At the moment, I have some very incredible clients. I love the fact that my skill set has enabled me to create a dream job situation. I love, love, love that I can be just about anywhere with a power source, wifi, and a laptop and I’m in business. Pure awesomeness!!

I’ve also updated my portfolio section to include some of my recent clients. My real estate investor guy isn’t featured because I haven’t figured out just yet how to showcase the projects I’ve done for him.

Ok, back to work I go!

WHAT DO I DO?


I recently had a friend check out my website who doesn’t know anything about the work that I do. Her feedback was perfect. She said,

“I looked at your website but I have no idea what you do. I can tell you’re creative though.”

I thought, oh my God. If she can’t tell from looking at my website, then I’m sure others have thought the same as well. So, I thought I would write a quick note to make it very simple.

I write copy.
I do project management for new websites.
I design basic marketing collateral
I curate content and manage social media accounts.

In my previous career I was an Executive Assistant in the financial services industry.

Now? I’m an independent contractor and I help with all of the above. I created this website to showcase my portfolio, my resume, and my writing skills via this blog.

That should explain it! Any questions, please ask!