PR Success Series – Marketing Tips 101

Who’s ready to get back into marketing their business?  It’s time to get busy and there’s no better way than with tips from a pro, like me!  Here are some of my best tips to market your business and build your brand.

Marketing Tips 101

  • Define your business. In order to do this, you must know and understand who you are and who your clients are. Then you get to talk their language with all your marketing.
  • Make sure your “brand” is fully developed. Take a minute here.  If people were to ask what you do, what would you tell them?  This should come off your lips as fast as ice cream melts in the hot summer sun in S. Florida.
  • Create a complete “Marketing Plan.” This is a plan that you will follow.  Nothing fancy, just some good old fashioned ideas that makes your company stand out among the competition and brings those clients and cash (cha ching!)
  • Become an expert and use Social Media (Facebook, Twitter, Google, YouTube, etc.) to prove you are a rock star. Don’t boost, just provide great tips that show you know your stuff.   Also, be mindful of postings that are inadvertent brags.  Most see right through those.
  • Use images that show you as the supreme entrepreneur! Don’t just put an image out there to have new content.  Review those images and make them reflect the real you – you know the professional that will make other businesses shine when they work with you.
  • Network, Network, Network! Hi Ho, Hi ho, a networking we go.  – Online, offline, here an event, there an event, everywhere an event …. Okay, a little corny, but you get my drift.  Get out there and have some fun.  Network and meet new people, whether online or in person that can be your clients, refer clients to you, or just build relationships with.
  • Get involved in “virtual events” or host your own. These are often events where 5 or more entrepreneurs get together with a common theme and share what makes them awesome.  It’s great because not only do you get to connect with these entrepreneurs and build relationships, but you also get introduced to their tribe.  Win/win.  Just go in knowing that it takes time to promote.  Many a virtual event has not succeeded because no one took the time to talk about it.  The more you do, the better your results.
  • “Pitch” the media…and do it right! Write articles on your expertise.  How to articles work best.  Then create Cision databases and send them out.   Then announce on your social media when accepted.  Don’t have Cision?  No problem, email me and let’s see what we can do.

These tips should help.  Also, if you are interested in learning how to market like a pro, consider our latest PR Success Series – www.prsuccessseries.com.  It is 4 webinars, one on marketing like a pro, one on blogging, one on press releases, and one on pitching.   And for a very short time, these are available for $97.00.

Business Tips – Celebrating You and Your Business This Year

 

January, February, March, April … oh my!  Does it ever seem that the months just keep racing by and you’ll still back in holiday mode?  I hear you.  January can be a great month for businesses because well people get back to work after the holidays and they are all pumped up!  They are ready to spend money to invest in your products and services, and they are ready to make it the best year yet!!  Too bad come January 15th, their excitement dies down and it can get back to the same ole, same ole.

I always say no matter what month it is take time to reflect on the past and look forward to the future. A new month is a great time to see everything as a new beginning.  And a time to be proud of everything you’ve done, even the small things.

If you know me well, you know one of the things I do a lot of is CELEBRATING!  Not the dance on the table with a lamp shade celebrating, but more the “Yeah, my pitch worked and I got my client in that major magazine she wanted.”  Or after months of trying, I finally landed that client that I really wanted and knew I could help.  “Bring out the bubbly, we are going to party!”

And for years you’ve heard me say, celebrate it all … the big wins, the small feel good moments. Why? Because when you celebrate and take the time to think about your accomplishments, you feel better about yourself and your business.  Not many will take time out of their day to congratulate you—so you should do it.  I once worked for a very big and very successful law firm.  One of the attorneys would put a “gold star” on our work when we did an exceptional job. (Like beating the clock in transcribing a pleading so it could get to the courthouse that day and avoid default proceedings.)  Now, he only did it occasionally, so it wasn’t a common occurrence.  That would have taken all the fun out of it.  But when you got that gold star, you felt special! You felt appreciated.  And best of all, you felt validated that you were doing a great job.  We are talking years and years later; I can still remember that feeling when I got that star.

Now, I’m not saying go out and get a bunch of gold stars, (well if you do get multi-colored for fun!) but what I am saying is take the time to enjoy your business and feel your accomplishments. Large or small, pat yourself on the back and feel the win.  If you journal, write it down.  Slow down a tad.  You will discover that you truly love this feeling and therefore you do more of the things that allow you to feel that way on a regular basis.

You will remember why you love being an entrepreneur.  How exciting it is to work with different clients.  And best of all, the joy of being the best you, you can be.

I don’t care how long you’ve been in business, months, years, decades, centuries (oh wait, that’s not possible), but you get my drift.  For me it’s been decades.  And in those years, there have been incredible highs and some gut-wrenching lows.  I’ve had family challenges (losing my brother last year,) and business challenges (months where my bank account wasn’t where it should be) as well. But one thing always remained constant.  ME!

I’m a “The glass is never half empty, but that glass is waiting to be filled.”  I’m a “today might not have rocked, but tomorrow is another day.”  And I’m a firm believer in believing in me and the importance of that.

So this month, put the focus back on you.  Put the focus back on having fun and enjoying every day.  Put the focus back on growing your business, but also appreciating it right where it is today.  You might also want to add in some personal goals.  Not the I’ll lose 50 lbs. by March, but more the, “I’m going to do more walking and here’s the time I have scheduled to do it.” You can so change your life by doing simple yet effective steps.

Believe … Dream … Explore … And Most of All .. Commit to a Better Life. You can do it!  I believe in you.

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Diana Ennen, President of Virtual Word Publishing, www.virtualwordpublishing.com offers PR and Marketing services and PR and Virtual Assistant Coaching. She’s the author of numerous books including Virtual Assistant – The Series: Become a Highly Successful, Sought after VA  Feel free to pass this article along as long as the author’s block is included.

 

 

Changes you can make now to increase your 2017 profits.

 

It’s here.  No denying it now.  The new year is upon us  … a time to reflect on the past and look forward to the future.  A time to see everything as a new beginning.  And a time to be proud of everything you’ve done, even the small things.

If you know me well, you know one of the things I do a lot of is CELEBRATING!  Not the dance on the table with a lamp shade celebrating, but more the “Yeah, my pitch worked and I got my client in Inc Magazine.  Or after months of trying, I finally landed that client.  Bring out the bubbly, we are going to party!  I always try to celebrate the big wins and the little wins. Why? Because then when I have a “bad” day, I can reflect on the better days ahead.

The New Year is a great time to starting thinking about building your business.  Funny how January has that power.  Everyone is in the “grow” mode.  So with that, here are my top tips to increase your profits in 2017.
Tips to Increase Your Profits in 2017:

  • Do a website review – while you are changing that footer on your site from 2016 to 2017, spend some time and do a quick review of your site.  Read over it like you just put it up, and check those links, contact forms, etc.  Review the SEO and keywords to ensure you are still good to go. Review the services or products page.  Can you improve upon that?  Does it still represent all you do today?  Is it easy to purchase your products? Remember making it easy for your customers to order, will allow them to purchase more.  Now check your website on your phone.  Is it mobile-friendly or do you get a few sentences per screen?  Do whatever it takes to represent you in the best way possible.
  • Conduct a social media review – Devote a week each month in January, to reviewing your social media and make changes.  One week focus on Facebook.  The next week on Twitter.  Then LinkedIn, etc.  Now naturally you want to keep all your social media efforts going throughout the month, but if you focus on one each week, hopefully you can accomplish so much more.  You know the usuals, add more content, etc., but what you want to do is plan out 2017.  Use that week to come up with a 3 month plan.  At the end of the three months you can review, and broken down into 3 months segments help.
  • Create passive income streams– Take some time and consider what you can do to get some passive income in each month.  Can you convert that webinar into a product you can sell?  How close are you to writing a new ebook?  Can you connect with those you have associated in your industry and see what they are offering?  Sign up for affiliates.  Just see what you can do to bring in income that doesn’t require you to do it.

Get marketing and make 2017 the best year yet. And remember you don’t have to do it alone.  There are those out there who specialize in PR and marketing who can help.  The most important thing is to do it, have some fun, and welcome the New Year with open arms.

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Diana Ennen, President of Virtual Word Publishing, www.virtualwordpublishing.com offers PR and Marketing services and PR and Virtual Assistant Coaching. She’s the  author of numerous books including Virtual Assistant – The Series: Become a Highly Successful, Sought After VA  Feel free to pass this article along as long as the author’s block is included.

Social media Marketing Tips – These work!

Want to get more engagement out of your social media.  These tips work!

  • Have a Plan Work that Plan – The key is to be consistent. Don’t stop, start, start back up again, etc. Be consistent in your postings.  For example, I share tips, reviews, images, articles from publications, any media I get, what events I’m doing, tips from others, etc.)
  • Review Your Plan & Make Changes – Constantly review your SM marketing and make changes .. Just one might be .. finding out when your people are on SM by reviewing your insights and then sending more during that time.
  • Use Your Profiles –Use appropriate keywords to describe what you do in your profiles. Does your LinkedIn Profile sound like the same person as your Twitter Profile?  It should! Don’t be two different people online!
  • Post #PRTips, #VATips, #BookMarketing tips – Remember to include those tips that will reach your target audience. Also, set up columns so you can see what others post under these hashtags and repost some of their tips as well.
  • Do not run the same postings over and over again. Yes, you can use ones you’ve used before, but don’t do same ones repeatedly.  It  makes you appear lazy!
  • Facebook Ads – They work!  You get to set the budget, target the audience & more. You get more people to your page & you get ads that promote your events or services.
  • Images count. Use a great image, compelling message, call to action, etc.  Start noticing the ads that you see.  What is it about them that stands out?
  • You can send people to your website or your Facebook page. Decide which you want? I normally do a combination of both.
  • Use the editor to fine tune your audience. One thing I discovered is that you can “Type in possibilities” and it will show what’s available. Say .. Entrepreneurs, business owners, romance novels, etc.
  • Boosted Posts – Just hit promote this post. Bamm…it’s done! More likes=more engagement. Promote the posts that get the most responses and the ones that mention your newsletter, your specials, etc. (Not the ones that Facebook recommends.)
  • Promote the good stuff.

Diana Ennen of Virtual Word Publishing, www.virtualwordpublishing.com This article is free to be reprinted as long as bio remains.

25 Awesome Ways to Get PR for Your Book

Self-published your book and not sure how to get others to notice it!  No problem these tips will help you market like a pro.

  • Get media attention – pitching the media. Securing interviews with various media is an excellent way to promote your book. Make sure your pitch is well-planned, clearly showing why you are the expert in your field, and outlines your experience appearing on radio, TV, and other media. Also, just because you wrote a book is not news, you need to talk more about how that book can make a difference or why their audience would love it. Be sure to pitch to the right editors too.  We use Cision to find those and it rocks!
  • Radio Shows – One way to get more PR for your book is to do radio shows. Fortunately there are so many shows available today and constantly are looking for great guests. In fact, it was recently mentioned in Entrepreneur Magazine that 57 million Americans are now tuning in. One benefit of doing radio is that you can do it from the convenience of your own home or office with no traveling required.    Remember pitch the shows that fit your book and you.  That show on benefits of going organic is not going to appreciate your book on building a business.
  • Write down sound bites that clearly discuss your book, you, the topic of your book, etc.  (The Q&A from your media kit can be used here.)  Remember when doing a show to keep it conversational and fun, always following the hosts lead.  And add these to your media page on your website and be sure to promote the show yourself.  Shows will have you back more when they see their numbers increase.
  • TV –Know that if you haven’t been on TV before, big named shows are not as likely to bite, so start locally and on a smaller scale. Build up to the bigger names one and always add any media you get to your press page, your bio, and any pitches.  Watch the shows so you have a good idea how they work.  Dress the part and be confident.  Yes, you’ll be nervous, but remember you did something sensational that not everyone can do … you wrote a book and are an author.  It helps!
  • Local Media – Connect with your local media and let them know you have a new book out. But be sure to give them a reason why they would want to interview you.  Again, the fact that you live in their area and wrote something isn’t enough. You need to pitch them on why their audience would be interested.  What unique angle can you bring to the plate?  Keep in mind too, you can often target these towards holidays or special events if you have a book that relates to these topics.  There always seems to be a day or month for something (i.e., talk like a Pirate Day.)
  • Book Reviews. Getting book reviews is so important. There are numerous professional book reviewers who review books professionally and it’s good to send pitches to them. Again, we use Cision to look for reviewers and all of our media, but there are others out there as well.  Just make sure it’s targeted and send exactly what they ask.  When you do your homework, it shows.

Also, it’s great to ask for those who know you as well to write a review, just don’t be that person that spams their friends.  Also, have a promotion strategy with a big push at the beginning, but then continue to seek and secure reviews on a monthly basis. It’s a commitment that will pay off by keeping your book in the public eye. Also, know timing is critical when securing book reviews as a few of the larger book review sites require the galley two to three months in advance.

  • Blog Tours. In today’s online world, blog tours are an economical way to promote your book as well as your expertise. Create your pitch and send it to blog sites that may want to have you as guest blogger or connect with you in some other way such as doing a good review or perhaps a contest. Be sure your pitch is clear on the topic and why you would be the perfect fit for their site. Also, offer several options such as being a guest blogger, providing a Q&A, hosting a contest, etc.
  • Blogging is a great way to get PR about your book. It allows you to connect with your readers, as well as those who are just curious about you, but haven’t yet taken the plunge as a devoted fan. Blogging builds relationships, allows you to share more about yourself than just what appears in your book, and it’s the perfect place to post your book reviews or ask for reviews.  Be consistent with your blogging and whenever you add a new blog posting, mention it on all your social media channels.
  • Book Clubs – Promote your book through book clubs. Offer a discount and also offer to answer questions throughout.  Be personable and show them why it would be to their advantage to host you.
  • Press Releases. An aggressive press release campaign can be one of your best and most cost-effective ways to promote your book. It not only brings exposure to your book , but it rocks your SEO results and backlinks. Your release can cover the launch of your book, any great reviews you received, an upcoming book tour or book signing, any speaking engagements you have up and coming, any radio appearances, etc.  Remember the most important basis for a press release – it has to be newsworthy.  Get in the habit of writing releases on a regular basis and also be sure in your press release to include the call to action—buy my book, do a review, come to my book signing, etc.
  • Writing Articles – Write articles on the topic in your book. It is a great way to promote your book or show your expertise. For example, say you have a business book on starting a virtual assistant business. You can write articles on how to start a VA business, how to work with virtual assistants, pricing, etc.  Use your articles to pitch magazines, blogs, newspapers, etc. who write on your topic.  Often they will include the entire article. You can also add your articles to your newsletter, blogs, etc.
  • Create a media kit – it’s great to have a media kit that you can add to your site as well as send when requested from the media. A media kit can consist of sales page, pitch (cover letter), press release, bio, Q&A, excerpts, and testimonials.  No need for a huge media kit these days.  Just the basics so you can share more about your book.  We use the pitch (cover letter) and press release to also send out to the media, so it helps that way as well.
  • Newsletter –On your website have a signup box to your newsletter. Send out a newsletter at least once a month if not more.  This is your way to get personal and show fans more about you.  Let them know of upcoming books, speaking opportunities, etc.
  • Book promotion and speaking go hand in hand. Use your book to get more speaking engagements, and use your speaking engagements to promote your book. Plan well in advance, and look for opportunities locally, online and around the country. Your colleagues and others in your professional circle can also be a great resource for speaking opportunities, and are typically always happy to share their knowledge and ideas. Also, you can find speaking opportunities by doing internet searches on speaking opportunities and your topic.  Also, set up Google alerts to find more.  Once you find them, send a well-crafted pitch on why you are perfect for their audience.  And know sometimes it takes follow-up and connecting with them more than once to be accepted.
  • Teleseminars / Webinars – Absolutely be in the habit of doing these, especially if your book is business related. You get to show your expertise, but also many use teleseminars as a way to get more to sign up for their email list.  The key is to really give value.  Too many webinars are 5 minutes of content and 55 minutes of sales pitch.  Not good! Give value and they will want to hear more from you.
  • Book Signings – What a great way to celebrate being an author. First connect locally to not only bookstores in your area, but perhaps your local library.  Don’t limit it to only those though.  If your book is focused on a specific topic, see what businesses or organizations may be interested as well. Know that you can continue to do book signings even after the initial launch. So many do this, plan book signings at the beginning and then stop.  Don’t be that author!  Continually make this a part of your marketing, not only for sales, but to keep you front and center in front of your favorite fans!
  • Networking – Get involved. Look for groups in your area that would be a good fit and attend regularly.  Be picky.  In the beginning you might attend more until you find the right groups, but once you find good fits, spend your valuable time there. And this isn’t just for writer’s groups, although those rock.  Are there any business groups that have your targeted audience in them, maybe some sci-fi groups or mystery groups?  Keep looking. The secret here though is not to overcommit.  Know these take time so watch your schedule so you too can enjoy them and not feel stressed.
  • Social Media –Get active and stay active on social media and connect with your fans. They love seeing the face behind the book. Remember the 80/20 rule.  80 percent engagement, 20 percent pitching. You can include excerpts from your books, any reviews you get, business tips, motivational quotes, images, contests, upcoming events and any press you get, etc.  Plus, have fun with it.  And most importantly, remember it’s better to have a smaller number of really engaged fans, than thousands of those who aren’t.
  • Paid Advertising – Yes do it! Sure it costs a little, but budget accordingly.  You get your book and you in front of the right people when you do.
  • Facebook Ads. – It pays to spend some money and get additional exposure for your book as well as your Facebook Book Page. Be sure to target your audience when you set up an ad and be specific in who will see your ads, and make it visually appealing.  Set the budget so you can see results.
  • Google Ads – The benefit to Google ads is that you find the keywords that really work. To get front page status, you have to pay more for certain keywords.  The good news … you can use those keywords in your everyday marketing.  Yeah buddy, it works!  Plus, Google ads bring more exposure to your book from those that might not have heard of it.  It’s worth it!
  • Book Business Cards – Carry business cards of your book with the cover on them and contact information. Get into the habit of passing them out often. Also, if speaking at an event have cards with your book and cards with your information.  A nicely crafted postcard works great!
  • Website – You want to have a website for your book or at minimum a page on your site specifically for your book. Also, know just having a website isn’t enough.  You also have to keep it updated, making sure to keep it updated and easy to purchase your book.  So many develop a website and never come back again.  Big mistake!
  • Promote through Your Other Books – Use your other books. If you sell multiple books in the shopping cart, have it set up so it shows other books they might be interested in.  When possible add in your other books to your newest book.  If you happen to have a series book, start promoting Book One in the series when you write new books so you get fans to start there and catch up.
  • Excerpts from your book – Get into the habit of taking excerpts from your book and creating social media postings, blog postings, creating articles, etc. It’s a great way to show what’s in your book and get more engagement. Also, you can add these to your media kit as well.
  • Always carry a copy of your book with you – When someone asks about it, be proud and tell them about it. Don’t be shy in telling them how they can purchase it.  (Just don’t be pushy!)
  • Family, Friends & Associates – Yes, your family, friends and associates can be key in promoting your book and most are thrilled to help. (You can even send PDF copies to some to cut down on expenses of not having to send a hard copy.)  It’s okay to tell them how best they can help as many just aren’t sure.  Ask for reviews, tell them to share with their friends and family, post on social media, and don’t forget to invite them to your book launching party.  Just don’t be that friend that all you talk about now is your book and forget the value of your friendship.
  • BONUS TIP — YOU! The best way to sell your book is to be a good example.  Be the author that engages with fans and truly cares.  Be the author that doesn’t overextend and burden your social media with constantly only selling your book.  Be the author that has a great book and you are proud of it.

See how easy it can be to market your book.  Get in the habit of doing these regularly.  And know if you need help, follow those who offer book marketing series to get their expertise.  Often they will provide daily tips.

Diana Ennen, President of Virtual Word Publishing, www.virtualwordpublishing.com offers PR and Marketing services, book marketing services, and PR and Virtual Assistant Coaching. She’s the co-author of Virtual Assistant – The Series: Become a Highly Successful, Sought After VA  Follow her on social media at https://www.facebook.com/VirtualWordPublishing/ and https://twitter.com/DianaEnnen

My Best Marketing & VA Tweets Throughout the Years

Recently I found a way to download all my Twitter posts. It was so easy. All I had to do was log into my twitter account – click on Settings – go down to your twitter archive – click request and Bamm — It’s done. You then get a Excel Sheet with all your tweets.

Then what you want to do is in the column with your tweets, do a Sort by A-Z and then all your tweets will be together by hashtag and description so you can easily see them and review.

This is so great because now you can create new material (I’m making images from some of my tweets,) and also get a feel for the tweets you’ve done. This sparks the creative juices to write new and improved ones as well.
Now that I have year’s worth of tips, I thought I’d share some of the best with you.

#PRTip

#PRTip – When you see a title of an article that really captivates your attention, write it down. That can lead to a great title or subject line down the road. In fact, keep a list of titles you like. You’ll be so glad you did when the time comes to come up with a new title for your article or blog posting and you just tweak from your list.

#PRTip – Keywords are so important and consistency is too. Use the same keywords repeatedly in order to improve your SEO rankings. Be sure to use those same keywords in the blog titles.

#PRTip – Getting an award is definitely newsworthy enough for a press release. It’s good to “shine the light” on your accomplishments. And remember share these releases with your followers so they can see all you are up to.

#PRTip – Always double-check your website links and preview your release before you hit send. Also, when possible, add in a keyword-driven description under your logo.

#PRTip – Keep samples of the releases, articles, media, etc., you write in a spiral-bound notebook or three-ring binder. Often the language can be similar and it really helps to see the previous ones to help write new ones.

#PRTip – Don’t put too many website links in your press releases. Only add the main supporting links. Too many links can distract those reading the release! Also, all these links should be yours.

#‎PRTip‬ – My top recommendations for sending out a press release are eReleases, PRWeb, OnlinePRNews and 24-7 Press Releases. It’s important when you write a release to get the most traction from it and I find these work the best.

‪#‎PRTip‬‬ – Need ideas for headlines for your blog postings, articles, newsletters, etc, check out major magazines and their headlines for their stories inside on the covers. Which ones catch your attention right away? These magazines have mastered the art of getting you to look inside so see how you can apply the same principles to your marketing.

#PRTip – Don’t be a one-pitch wonder. Keep in mind, often people need to see you numerous times in order to connect and recognize you. Build those relationships.

#Book Marketing Tips:

#BookMarketing Tips – Avoid having your book launch too close to a holiday or other event that might take attention away from it. Also, if planning ahead on dates, consider all that needs to be done prior to the launch and plan accordingly. Be sure to add in a little extra time for those unexpected delays!

#BookMarketing Tips – Some books are perfect for different holidays. Remember…the media likes to interview unique guests and, if you have that book and are that special guest, get out there and let them know about it!

#BookMarketing Tip – Remember, marketing begins way before the book is finished. Complete most of your marketing before that book launch so, when the book is ready, you are too!

#BookMarketing Tips – An aggressive press release campaign can be one of your best and most cost-effective ways to promote your book. It not only brings exposure to your book, but it rocks your SEO results and backlinks! Your release can cover the launch of your book, any great reviews you received, an upcoming book tour or book signing, any speaking engagements you have up and coming, any radio appearances, and so much more! Remember the most important basis for a press release: It has to be newsworthy. Be sure to include in your press release all calls to action—buy my book, do a review, come to my book signing, etc.

#BookMarketing Tips – Be sure your website is set up to accept orders correctly. And, be sure that your message is clear before you market (review this frequently). Once you drive potential customers to your site, you want your site to do the rest and sell those customers!

#BookMarketing Tips – Blogging is a great way to get PR about your book. It allows you to connect with your readers, as well as those who are just curious about you but haven’t yet taken the plunge as a devoted fan. Blogging builds relationships, allows you to share more about yourself than just what appears in your book, and is the perfect place to post your book reviews or ask for reviews. Be consistent with your blogging and, whenever you add a new blog posting, mention it on all your social media channels.

#BookMarketing Tips – Radio and TV interviews are great ways to promote your newly released book. Plan for these the week of the release and schedule in advance so that all the particulars are set up and ready to go!

#BookMarketing Tips – Don’t do all your marketing when your book launches and stop. So many authors do this. They go out with a bang and then slitter back to the background in the upcoming months. Be committed to market for best results.

#BookMarketing Tips – Know your target audience. No, not everyone would love your book. Then be sure in your Facebook ads, and all marketing that you talk to them!

#VATips (Virtual Assistant Tips)

#VATip – Always have clear payment guidelines outlined in writing with clients. Everything works better when everyone knows what is expected!

#VATip – If you are available to your clients, they will trust that you have their back. Not saying be there 24/7 for them at all. Just if they have a quick question, respond ASAP. They will appreciate it.

#VATip – Let a VA Coach can help you establish your pricing. Have you ever sent out a proposal and thought, “Wow, that was too high, they will never hire me.” Or, worse yet, “Man, I’m working for nothing…I totally bid that wrong. Why did I do that?” Even the best of us have done this. But, with the right plan and review of your clients, services, skills, experience, etc., you can feel good about your pricing and know it’s right for you. Plus, I’ll bet you find that you will charge quite a bit more than you thought you could (or may be charging currently) once you have that “pricing discussion” with your coach.

#VATip – A Virtual Assistant can be instrumental in doing your research and helping to keep you organized with that research. The VA can help you decide on the best ways for the research to be done as well as the best ways to store the information so it can easily be updated.
#VATip – Blog regularly on topics that would interest your potential clients. Not only can they find you that way (internet searches), but when they land on your site and check out your blog, they will see how experienced you are in that area. It just might be the determining factor to hire you!

#VATip – Make sure you add all press, speaking engagements, etc., to your site & blog. It adds to your professionalism.

#VATip – Want help in starting your virtual assistant business, check out our book VA the Series: Become a Highly Successful, Sought After VA

#Entrepreneur Tips

#Entrepreneur tips – Let others know your value. So many business owners just don’t understand fully everything you do because they aren’t doing the work. You need to let them know. It’s not bragging, it’s just good business sense. For example, with PR and marketing, it’s important to be able to explain to clients exactly what they are getting. Let’s say you land them in major media. Not only should you let them know that it happened, but you should also provide the stats on that site so they see how great it is and what they can expect. Also, to get more out of each media mention, provide additional information on how they can utilize their social media to showcase this media attention. So, whatever your business, find ways to do the follow-up showing all you accomplish for your clients and why it benefits them.

#Entrepreneur Tips- You need to remain passionate about what you are doing. That’s the only way to keep going and face those odds, exhaustion, and temptation to throw in the towel. You aren’t going to love what you do every day but, on the whole, you have to believe in it and want to continue doing it.

#Entrepreneur Tips – What makes you excited to work every day? Establish your business so you do more of those fun things!

#Entrepreneur Tips – When starting your business, know the costs involved. Research and ask questions. Find out not just about the normal operating costs, but what else might be required. Write it all down and plan accordingly. Have money for several months or plan to work part-time elsewhere until you’re established. Too many fail because they don’t have the money to succeed.

#Entrepreneur Tips – Social media and marketing is a key to success. Create a marketing and social media plan based on your target audience!

#Entrepreneur Tips – When marketing your product, make sure you add a “call-to-action” with exact details on what you want your potential customers to do. Make it easy for them!

#Social Media Tips

#SocialMedia Tips – Be sure to post regularly even when you are “busy.” Time so well spent!

#SocialMedia Tips – Check the ‎#hashtags‬ you are using to ensure they are effective. If 95% of the postings under that tag are spam, it’s time to find another one!

#SocialMedia Tips – Make sure to post your own content in addition to RT’s on Twitter and Shares on Facebook. When a potential client reviews your feed and all they see are RT’s or shares, it has more of a negative impact than good social media mojo.

#SocialMedia Tips – – Review your Facebook insights and see which postings are getting the most engagement. Then, when possible, write similar postings. Your target audience is saying, “I like these!” Keep making them happy!

#SocialMedia Tips – – Develop a reputation for always sending quality tips targeted to your audience. More is not always better!

#SocialMedia Tips – Mix up your marketing with a good combination of images, tips, updates, links to your articles, etc. Then be consistent and ‘rinse and repeat weekly!’

#SocialMedia Tip – When doing a promotion or launch, be sure to create tweets in advance and share with all involved.

#SocialMedia Tip-When hiring someone to do your SM, be sure they get you, your audience, your personality, your biz, etc.

Hope you found these tips valuable. Want to use them? Go ahead, just if you could say “from @dianaennen” that would rock! Or on Facebook just mention you got them from me.

Now, I challenge you. Go and grab your Twitter postings and create a best of article as well. Share with us and we will be happy to promote your tips as well. Think how awesome it will be to get year’s worth of tips from many experts! That’s how it’s done!

Diana Ennen, President of Virtual Word Publishing, www.virtualwordpublishing.com offers PR and Virtual Assistant Coaching and PR and Marketing services. She’s the co-author of Virtual Assistant – The Series: Become a Highly Successful, Sought After VA. Follow her on social media at https://www.facebook.com/VirtualWordPublishing/ and https://twitter.com/DianaEnnen

Money Management Tips for Virtual Assistants & Small Business Owners

Money management is one of those topics many virtual assistants and small business owners routinely put off and hope for the best. It’s front and center on the mind on April 1st in anticipation of the April 15th tax deadline, but then it goes straight to the back burner for the rest of the year. Bookkeeping and money management are best practiced year-round. When done this way, it gives you rewards of more money, more peace of mind, and above all else, a happy IRS!

Smart business owners know the importance of good money management and apply tactics in their business to actually help them. The following tips are sure to help.

Best Money Management Tips For Your Virtual Assistant Business

Be Smart And Continually Learn More – Learn as much as you can from the get go. It’s often said it’s not how much money you earn, but what you do with it that counts. Totally applies to business decisions regarding money management and budgeting. Follow those you know on social media who offer business and money tips. Read all you can and know that especially in March and April many will be posting more business tips. When you see a tip you like, keep it and see how it can apply to your own business.

Track Your Income and Expenses – Seems silly to state the obvious here, but you’d be surprised at the number of business owners who haven’t got a clue about their operating costs, net income/loss, cash flow—none of it. It’s easy to see all of the income and expenses you incur on a regular basis if you keep records and write everything down. Don’t close your eyes (and your Quickbooks file) and hope things works out. By writing everything down or entering it into accounting software, you are well aware of your business status and can then plan business finances and make smart decisions on a regular basis.

If you don’t have accounting software that’s okay… log it all in a binder or Excel spreadsheet. For large purchases (anything over $100) include item description, use in business, date purchased, what you paid, and any model or serial numbers. Then you have an accurate accounting of items for tax purposes, an insurance record, and for software user licenses.

Budget for The Year Ahead & Start Making Good Choices – Create a budget and stick with it as best you can. Be honest and know that each year you will get better at this. Put away money for taxes. Save for expenses. And don’t buy things you can’t afford. Review this budget throughout the year. Honestly nothing beats looking at your budget and realizing how well you are doing.

Also, know that with your virtual assistant business, income might differ month to month. On those rock’n months, put extra away to compensate for any slower months or invest it back into your business.

Review Your Books Monthly. How much did you make? How much did you spend? Were these smart decisions or are there ways you can improve. While many business owners review their accounts monthly, they don’t spend time looking for ways to improve. That’s where the magic happens. By reviewing and analyzing them you also see if you need to make major business adjustments and also can identify trends so you can plan accordingly for upcoming years.

This cannot only save you money, it will also allow you to see if there are any mistakes. Yes, mistakes happen. For example, were any automatic payments taken out that shouldn’t have and more? While you are reviewing these, take a minute to consider if you are fully utilizing the services you are paying for. Is there a cheaper alternative that can still give you similar results?

Pay Yearly When Possible – If you know you have ongoing expenses, whenever possible pay for the year instead of making monthly payments. This can save you a considerable amount of money as normally businesses give discounts for annual payments. Web hosting is a good example of this. Look for other cost saving tips as well.

Make Money by Being an Affiliate – For those services you use on a regular basis, consider signing up as an affiliate. Refer colleagues to this service you know, like and trust so they can reap the same benefits in their business. As a result, you can earn affiliate commission to help offset your costs for using the product or service.

Put Money Away – We hear you, who has extra to do this? But once it becomes a habit you will find you don’t even miss the money. Set up a schedule that works for you. Start small if you need to with the main goal of simply getting into the habit of saving. Put it in a savings account. This can be your emergency fund for when your computer gives you the blue screen of death or your accountant says you owe more than you thought.

Good money management helps you get—and stay—excited about your business. Done right, it will enable you to save more money and invest wisely, in the right areas. When you have a good handle on your money matters it will directly result in a more successful and satisfying experience as a small business owner. Ultimately, knowing what the bottom line is will enable you to better focus on the right areas of your business. Or, you’ll have peace of mind that you’ve got things under control.
Diana Ennen and Kelly Poelker are the co-authors of Virtual Assistant – The Series: Become a Highly Successful, Sought After VA. Stop by their site for complete information on starting your own VA business http://www.va-theseries.com. Connect with them on Twitter at @learntobeava or at facebook.com/becomeava

Entrepreneur Tips – Things to Consider Before Starting Your Business

Here are several things to consider before starting your business

1) Costs – Know it all. Research and ask questions. Find out not just about the normal operating costs, but what else might be required. Write it all down and plan accordingly. Have money for several months or plan to work part-time. Too many fail because they don’t have the money to succeed.
2) Marketing – Most businesses don’t work without marketing effectively. Be sure you know how you will market this business and also that you have the expertise to do it. If not, get reading or be prepared to hire someone. Be prepared before you start and have that plan ready to go.
3) Needs to be passionate about what they are doing. That’s the only way to keep going and face those odds, exhaustion and temptation to throw in the towel. You aren’t going to love what you do every day, but on the whole you have to believe in it and want to continue doing it.
4) Business Basics – Know what is required for your business and geographic area. Licenses, business types, etc. Also consider the daily operational procedures. Will your business require you to run it or can it operate some on its own? Why this is so important is because you then can use effective time management practices to succeed.

Love to hear your thoughts to consider before starting your business.

Entrepreneur tips – Overcoming business challenges: 5 Ways to Get Back Your Business

Entrepreneur tips – Overcoming business challenges: 5 Ways to Get Back Your Business

Running your business definitely has its challenges. It’s how you deal with them that makes the difference.

Here are a few tips to overcome your business challenges:

• Letting others know your value. So many business owners just don’t understand fully what all you do because they aren’t doing the work. You need to let them know. It’s not bragging, it’s good business sense. For example, with PR and marketing, it’s important to be able to explain to clients exactly what they are getting. Let’s say you land them in major media. Not only should you let them know that it happened, but also provide the stats on that site so they see how great it is and what they can expect. Also, to get more out of each media mention, provide additional information on how they can utilize their social media (people they already know them) to showcase this media attention. So whatever your business, find ways to do the follow-up showing all you accomplish for your clients and why it benefits them.

• Keeping consistent income. Here again, many business owners suffer from this and the feast or famine of their business. One month you are rock’n and can barely keep up, and then the next month crickets. You often crave the stability of a regular paycheck. Well, you can make that happen. One way is to offer retainer services whereby every month clients will retain your services. Even though it’s at a slight lower rate, depending on how many hours they secure, it’s beneficial as it provides regular income. Another method might be to offer programs that are set up on a monthly basis. This differs for so many businesses and how they can set it up, but the bottom line remains the same – keep income coming in regularly.

• Overcoming a Bad Experience. Have you ever had something happen in your business that well didn’t go according to plan? Say you spoke and no one ended up buying your book or becoming clients. Your new program that you spent months on, didn’t fly. Perhaps a client wasn’t 100% satisfied with your services. Believe it or not, this happens to most of us at one time or another. Yes, you could sit back and never speak again, or mope and settle for less income by not going after new clients, or you can reboot and start fresh. That’s the one to go with. We know that loss of confidence can really hurt. However, the real pros know to move on. First, take a few minutes and examine your role. Could you have done something different? If so, next time do it. (That was easy!). Next build your confidence back. Read your client testimonials or talk with associates. Do anything and everything to rebuild your confidence because honestly even saying it doesn’t bother you, more than likely it does. Then get back on the horse again only this time with renewed confidence and perhaps a few changes in how you do things. Will you fall again? Of course you will at some time. But will you always grow learning from your experiences, absolutely!

• Not Pricing Correctly. If I had a nickel for every time that I did this, well I could make up for my pricing mistakes. Seriously though, this happens. You underbid on a project finding out it takes five times longer than you anticipated. You price a course and then realize that you are giving away the farm. Or you simply discover your hourly rate is way below what it should be. Not to fear. It’s fixable. The most important thing you can do is to learn from this and correct the situation. You might not be able to up your rate with the current client, just you can learn from your mistake and never do it again. Also, don’t disregard talking with your client about it. Sometimes they understand. However, know that if its your mistake, you shouldn’t make them pay unless they are willing to.

• Time Management – Pricing mistakes often are made because you didn’t realize the time involvement. So get used to timing yourself. Yes, get the timer out and work for a specific amount of time on that task and see how long it takes. Simple! Also, get a day planner and write down your day for a week or two (or forever!) or get used to using some of the many valuable time management programs available today. Time is money and if you are not keeping track of it and utilizing your time in the best possible way, well there it goes, clunk clunk … down the drain.

Business challenges are a part of business. So get used to dealing with them and also get used to learning methods of rising above them. Be great at what you do, do what you are passionate about, and finally seek help when needed. Let’s chat about your business challenges. Post away!

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Diana Ennen, President of Virtual Word Publishing, www.virtualwordpublishing.com offers PR and Marketing services and PR and Virtual Assistant Coaching. She’s the co-author of Virtual Assistant – The Series: Become a Highly Successful, Sought After VA and So You Want to be a Work-at-Home Mom. Feel free to pass this article along as long as the author’s block is included and follow her on social media at https://www.facebook.com/VirtualWordPublishing/ and https://twitter.com/DianaEnnen