Social Networking Radio Show – Join us May 29th

The Social Networking NavigatorI’m looking forward to being on Laurie Hurley’s BlogTalk Radio show, The Social Networking News Hour on May 29th.  I’ll be sharing about what a VA can add to your business, including:

  • how to find a good virtual assistant,
  • what some of their duties are, and
  • how to know who would be a good fit for you and your business.

I will also be sharing some important information everyone needs to know about disaster preparedness when it comes to  your information, data, and systems.

May 29th @ 10:00 P.M. EST!

Do you want to ask me a question? It’s a LIVE show; call (888) 342-1274!

Virtual Assistants-Are You Offering Article Marketing Services – Why not?

Most professionals realize the unique skill set of the VA in today’s market are invaluable in promoting, marketing and enhancing their business ventures. Today’s Coaches, Authors, speakers and other businesses are recognizing the value of VA support. Sending out articles, press releases, and branching out into media campaigns is just one of the ways clients are utilizing a virtual assistant and this can be exciting as well as rewarding for both parties. If you aren’t adding article marketing to your list of services you provide as a virtual assistant, you should.

hands typingThese tips will help you master article marketing:

Research

One of the most important items to remember is do your research. A VA will have researched some of the following in advance:

• Your client’s product/service. Is there something different, relevant is it uniquely marketable?
• Your target audience, their needs including solutions, enabling their business to run better/smoother?
• What are cost effective, specific avenues for releasing articles, press releases, PR Campaigns generating exposure?
• Ranking, your clients Google Status including their Amazon Page Ranking for the articles you are submitting for them.

Writing

The success of any PR Campaign is in highly relevant, fresh, insightful content. Know and collaborate with your client. Ensure that your writing is:

• Thought provoking, ask questions, peak your readers curiosity.
• Includes how/why this product/service is a valuable asset.
• Valuable information – what are the benefits of the products or services they are giving and how can you connect that with the target audience.

Keywords

Inserting keywords into your articles further promotes success, generating additional exposure and publicity. Incorporate the content below before you send out that release:

• Correct keywords. Do a keyword search and analysis.
• An SEO search including Google, Adwords, Word Tracker, etc.
• Add keywords to image links when possible.

See why you should be adding article marketing to your services as a VA. You benefit, the clients benefit, and most importantly you are getting valuable information out there on topics of interest.

Diana Ennen is the President of Virtual Word Publishing, http://www.virtualwordpublishing.com and co-author of So You Want To Be a Work-At-Home Mom: A Christian’s Guide to Starting a Home-Based Business with Jill Hart and also VA the Series: Become a Highly Successful Sought After VA (Kelly Poelker). Follow her on Twitter @dianaennen

Speakers and Coaches – A Perfect Niche for Virtual Assistants

Here’s Kelly and my latest article. Please do feel free to use it in your newsletter, blog, etc., Just keep the bio. Let us know too so we can help spread the word about your site too.

Speakers and Coaches – A Perfect Niche for Virtual Assistants

Ask a virtual assistant (VA) to name one of their greatest challenges as they began their business and many acknowledge it is finding their niche—if, they even have one. First, they had to identify their skills and talents, match those with their interests and experiences, and then find the market that would allow them to best utilize those talents in an area of interest to them. Many have trouble doing this and so they just target anyone and everyone, something definitely not recommended.

So what exactly is a niche? A niche is a target market or industry whose needs fit well with a particular skill set. The great thing about the virtual assistant industry is that the opportunities for matching the right talents with the right niche are tremendous. Many VAs will base their niche market on their past work experiences, say for instance, real estate or executive assistance. Others may transfer their skills to a completely new area of focus, such as providing assistance to speakers and coaches. There truly is something for everyone.

Working with speakers and coaches is a perfect fit for virtual assistants. From routine tasks such as email and calendar maintenance to higher-level support like marketing and booking speaking engagements, the versatile VA can handle a multitude of support tasks for these clients. It usually doesn’t take the client long to realize that they can make more money and be more successful when they get the assistance they need and not try to do everything themselves. It’s a perfect match.

The range of services for this popular niche is endless, really. Many VAs are managing entire businesses for their coaching clients. Aside from email and calendar management, here are several other services that can be offered to these busy professionals:
• PR – article and press release marketing, building a brand, promoting events, list building
• Teleseminars – scheduling, promoting, recording, transcribing
• Shopping carts – maintenance, product additions, autoresponders, broadcasts, affiliate programs
• Websites design and maintenance, blogs, membership sites
• Developing courses, homework assignments, e-books, presentations
• SEO / web analysis
• Social networking – Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn groups
• Research – target audience, information for teleseminars, statistics
• Brainstorming ideas – products, markets, alliances, JV partners

You can see the potential and how targeting speakers and coaches is a perfect opportunity for a virtual assistant. Want to know more? Look for books on starting a virtual assistant business including the best-selling book Virtual Assistant – The Series: Become a Highly Successful, Sought After VA.
Diana Ennen and Kelly Poelker are the co-authors of numerous books including Virtual Assistant – The Series: Become a Highly Successful, Sought After VA and accompanying Virtual Assistant – The Series Workbook. Stop by their site for complete information on starting your own VA business http://www.vatheseries.com. Article is free to be reprinted as long as the author’s bio remains intact.

5 Common Mistakes VAs Make in Doing PR

Check out our latest video on 5 Common Mistakes Virtual Assistants Make in Doing PR.   

Also, isn’t this the greatest way to do an article.  You can take your article and have it made into a video.  Amazing!  If you are interested, contact Andrea Kali – www.amazingsalesvideos.com.   This is the new way to do article marketing.  Enjoy!

Virtual Assistants – Top 10 Reasons to Attend IVAA Live Summit

Today is the final day for Early Bird Registration.  You know you want to go, so sign up now!  http://ow.ly/3X4xn

TOP TEN REASONS TO ATTEND THE IVAA LIVE SUMMIT IN PORTLAND

10.  You spend all year doing the virtual thing – time for a real face off. (One on one w/ your virtual buds)

9.    You’ve heard about the “Voodoo Donuts” and are TOTALLY READY to find out what the heck they are.

8.    The VA gurus will be there and you don’t want to be square. Many leading VAs attribute their success to attending the Live Summit

7.    Smooze fest, time to talk some smak with your fellow VAs

6.    You’re tired of being left out of all the latest Industry news and trends.  Did you hear about this thing called Facebook?  Amazing!

5.    Great info – so “learning” is not a 4-letter word

4.    You need your annual booster shot – that shot in the arm to get jazzed and rediscover why you still love your VA biz

3.    The chance to take part in history – This is the 10th year and one of the leading VA conferences

2.    You can’t wait for the goodies – Did you hear what was in those goodie bags last year?

And the #1 Reason to Attend Live Summit ….

1.    Who has more fun that we do? No one!  Last year’s programs totally knocked my socks off – I’m ready for Reaching New Peaks in Portland!

Find out more about the Live Summit and why 100+ of your colleagues feel it is the MUST ATTEND event of the year!

Who Coined Tea Party? Who Coined Virtual Assistant? A Fun Comparison

Diana Ennen Publicity virtual assistant and VA coachWow, what an election!  What really amazed me this time was the new lingo going around and what a difference it made.  Two years ago in the Presidential election I never even heard of “Tea Party” and now I’m hearing it every other statement.  And what’s even more important than that, it seemed to make a huge difference in election results.  Yesterday for a brief minute or two one of the newscasters shared the name of who first coined the term, but it got like seconds of press.  It DID matter, but what mattered more was what has happened since that term become commonplace.  The amazing powerful results that resulted in this new “term.”

It reminded me so much of recent discussions in the Virtual Assistant Industry on who coined the term Virtual Assistant?  It’s been debatable since Day 1 it seems.  The only difference is back then it didn’t seem to matter much. We were all working hard just to get the word out there about what a VA is and does and why businesses absolutely need us.  I like so many spent years trying to educate others on the benefits of being a virtual assistant and I couldn’t be happier that today people just know what a VA is without me having to tell them.  Now I know we could go on and on about who coined it and I in NO way want to take away from that.  (And it’s not the purpose of this posting to do that.) For me, I’m just so grateful that someone did. What matters most to me is that now I have a business that I can be proud of and that can not only support my family, but give me something to do everyday that I love. And I can do it globally.

I kind-of like how the debate sparks memories of those beginning years for many.  I can vividly remember the first few times I heard the term.  It was not long after I was made aware that we no longer wanted to be called Home-Based Secretarial Services, as we weren’t secretaries anymore, we were word processors. (Although I still felt we were and are today. At that time many businesses still referred to their secretaries as secretaries and I was glad to be able to show them they could work at home.)  I had just written Words From Home: Start, Run and Profit from a Home-Based Word Processing Business. I felt so ahead of the game then and so excited about where the home-based industry was going.  Starting in 1985 I had went from people laughing at me and snickering when I told them I worked at home to people now actually saying, “that’s cool, how can I do it?”

And then talk began on the Internet (which even that was cool back then!) about this thing about being virtual.  I do think I first heard it on Liz Folger’s forum, but so am not sure.  I can remember then thinking, that’s exactly what I am.  Now with this new email thing (AOL- although it took hours to connect) and being able to send files online I can work anywhere. Just like so many of you will always remember your first client, for many of us old-timers, we can visually remember that first time we sent a file electronically.  Let me tell you, it ROCKED!

I really don’t remember when I converted over to being a virtual assistant.  All I do remember is that I wanted to know more and make it a point to find out as much as I could. I do remember clearly though after my interview came out in USA Today in 1997 about being a virtual assistant, just how confused people were. That article generated a lot of traffic and calls for me, but didn’t result in a lot of work.  Many just didn’t get it and honestly, I wasn’t the greatest at explaining it.  Fortunately I got better at it.

In the early 2000s is when I met up with Kelly Poelker.  She seemed to know it all about being a virtual assistant and I was thrilled when we decided to partner on a book together.  I was still more the “word processing gal,” but that didn’t seem to matter much. She brought me around. I think together the combination made for a better book because we were able to come at it from different angles.  Hard to believe VA the Series is in its 4th edition.  How cool is that?

Anyway, my hope with this posting wasn’t to bore anyone, which I’m sure I did a few.  But more importantly just to be a reminder to be proud of how far we have come as virtual assistants.  I’m sure in the 2012 election you won’t even think twice when you say or hear tea party.  I hope in 2012 more and more will be shouting the praises of how cool it is to be a virtual assistant too.

Love to hear your comments!  What are your memories of those first few years as a virtual assistant?

IVAA’s Online Summit – Sign up Now

I’m so excited that the IVAA Online Summit is only a month away. It’s going to be ‘rock’n. I’m thrilled to be speaking at it and talking on marketing and disaster preparedness. And there are over 30 other awesome speakers! Hope you can join us.

Here’s more information. And check it out, the release even made it on Forbes and Entrepreneur. How cool is that?

Forbes

http://www.forbes.com/feeds/prnewswire/2010/08/31/prnewswire201008310805PR_NEWS_USPR_____PH56857.html

Entrepreneur Magazine
http://www.entrepreneur.com/prnewswire/release/290553.html

Entrepreneurs Explore How to Sharpen Technology Tools at the 5th Annual IVAA Online Summit

Reno, NV (August, 2010) On October 7th – 8th, 2010 the International Virtual Assistants Association (IVAA) will host its 5th annual online conference entitled, “Sharpening Your Technology Tools.” This year’s Summit is specifically designed to help new and seasoned virtual assistants and other entrepreneurs use technology to help grow and streamline a business. The Summit runs from 8:45 am until 4:00 pm (US EST GMT -5) each day with over 30 sessions available. Additional information can be found at http://online.vasummit.org/

Those attending can expect informative how-to tutorials from leading experts and classes provided on topics relating to technology, marketing and more. Topics include: Easy BlogSite Maintenance with WordPress, Simple Shopping Cart How-Tos, Cpanels-Discovering What’s Inside, and Beautifying your Website with Fonts, to name a few. The marketing sessions include classes on Top Marketing Tips to Take Your Business into 6 Figures, Establishing a Social Media Marketing Presence that Shines, and Marketing Magic Begins with the Right Tools.

This year’s Keynote Speaker is Arlene Johnson. Johnson is discussing SuccessMapping®, a strategy and step-by-step process that enables individuals and organizations to effectively execute and succeed with critical business objectives. Additionally, an exciting new feature this year is the addition of panels. Panel topics include building a multi-team business and project management software.

Since 1999, IVAA has been dedicated to the professional education and development of virtual assistants worldwide as well as educating the public about the function and services VAs offer. With over 700 members globally, IVAA is the premier industry association, setting standards for excellence and offering a myriad of courses leading up to formal certification (CVA). Hosting the annual online conference allows IVAA to reach a wide audience and continue the mission to educate and certify the best professionals in this growing industry.

Experience business growth today with tips from the pros and enjoy the fellowship of two days meeting and greeting with fellow virtual assistants and business owners. Registration is available to all Virtual Assistants, those interested in learning more about becoming a VA, as well as the general public.

IVAA is currently seeking businesses interested in sponsorship opportunities. For additional information on the IVAA Online Summit contact Donnette Cowgill, pressonline@vasummit.org for assistance. Register today at: http://online.vasummit.org/

The International Virtual Assistants Association
http://online.vasummit.org/
pressonline@vasummit.org
877.440.2750

How To Start A Virtual Assistant Business

VA Series Book SetSetting up a virtual assistant business is relatively easy, but it’s important to have a complete plan of action set out in advance. I’m a firm believer that the initial planning phase of a business is crucial to its success. This ensures that you don’t leave any vital steps unaddressed and also prevents any unexpected surprises down the road. Therefore, I recommend first writing a complete business plan for your business. This plan doesn’t need to be anything technical, just how you plan to operate your business including advertising methods, pricing, business hours, equipment and supplies needed, etc.

The next step is to select the appropriate name. Take your time here as you want your business name to be an asset by appealing to your potential clients. Your name needs to clearly express what services you provide and not limit you if you choose to expand your business into other areas. Decide on a name that people would want to call if they have virtual assisting needs.

To operate a business you are required by law to have the appropriate licenses. This is your permit to do business locally. It’s a simple procedure that doesn’t require a considerable amount of time. Contact your city and county officials under occupational licenses for complete details or go online. Most VAs start out initially as a sole proprietorship and then might change later.

Now it’s time to set up your bookkeeping. I find that the most important ingredient to keeping good books is keeping it simple. If it’s easy to do, and doesn’t require a lot of effort, I tend it do it more regularly. You will want to keep track of all your income and expenses. Save all receipts and pay all your expenses out of your business checking account. A software program such as Quickbooks is ideal for our type of business. Not only does it allow you to keep accurate records, but it also enables you to track exactly where the most money is coming from. This enables you to target your marketing efforts more in that area.

Now you must decide how much to charge. Don’t undercharge your services. Many make this mistake. They feel if they price their services substantially below everyone else, they’ll get more business. That’s true–you might get more business, but you’ll also be working outrageous hours and not making the kind of income you should. The average prices being charge today are between $35.00 and $100.00, depending on the specialty. I personally recommend starting no lower than $35.00/hr.

Now you need to get those clients. The key to successful marketing is to tell clients what benefits they will receive by answering their main question, “What’s in it for me?” Keep in mind, you’re not selling your services, you’re selling the benefits of your services. What can you offer them that would make their business run more successfully? An example of this would be accurate dependable service done on an “as needed” basis.

It is also important to have an impressive marketing piece. Your brochures, letterhead, flyers, business cards, etc., should look sensational. Think back on what has caught your eye in the past. Now design your material with that in mind. The most important requirement is that it must be professional and convey that you are more than someone typing documents. Businesses want to deal with other professionals. They don’t want to risk their work, and possibly their clients, on someone who is not. Let them know this is exactly what they will receive when they seek your services. Places such as Vistaprints offer affordable printing.

Once established, word of mouth is your best advertisement. When people get professional, accurate, and friendly service they tell others. If you offer such exceptional service, you can be assured that you will need to advertise only at the onset to get your business started. From then on, your repeat clients, and referrals from them, will keep your business thriving.

Recognition is also a key to success, whether it’s through the press releases, articles, message boards, newspapers, chats, your website, radio or TV, when clients see your business repeatedly, they become familiar with your company and when the need arises, they will call you. Therefore consider where you can advertise that can keep your name out there.

Now that you’ve got the clients, you need to keep them. The best way to do this is to always provide them with more than they ask for. Go the extra mile on all assignments. Let them know that you value their business and are eager to help them succeed.

And finally, enjoy your business. Many start their own business to spend more time with their family. It’s the perfect way to stay at home and still make an excellent income. Firmly set your hours and learn to say no. Remember it’s your business and often your dream come true. By learning your limitations, you can keep it a wonderful experience that both you and your family will enjoy.

##

Virtual Word Publishing

Virtual Word Publishing

Diana Ennen is the author of numerous books including Virtual Assistant: the Series, Become a Highly Successful, Sought After VA, available at Amazon and other leading bookstores. She specializes in publicity and book marketing and is president of Virtual Word Publishing, http://www.virtualwordpublishing.com/. Articles are free to be reprinted as long as the author’s bio remains intact.