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

Entrepreneur Tip – Balance – I’ve got this, or do I?

Many entrepreneurs struggle with this issue. How can you do it all?  With the challenges of running a successful business and family commitments , it can be a daunting task. But it doesn’t have to be.  Here are a few recommendations to achieve more balance. We hope you find them beneficial.

Balance Tips for Entrepreneurs – Utilize your calendars and to do lists daily – Your calendar and your to do list should be your best friend.  I find that by keeping everything there I feel in more control and feel more empowered when I cross things off the list.  I also realize that I actually can finish all that I have to do when I write it down.  So often when it’s in my head I’m thinking it’s a billion times worse, but by writing it down I get that control. Plus, who doesn’t love checking things off.

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Entrepreneurship Highest in Decades – One Industry, Virtual Assistant Industry Leads the Way

Entrepreneurship Highest in Decades –One Industry, Virtual Assistant Industry Leads the Way

According to a recent study by Babson College and Baruch College, U.S. entrepreneurship rates have climbed to their highest level in more than a decade. Some attribute this to the fact that after the financial crisis of 2007, hundreds of corporations went belly-up and workers either lost their jobs or realized there was no longer financial security.  Others feel it’s because so many are realizing the huge potential of self-employment.  No matter the reason, one thing is clear, more and more are becoming entrepreneurs. And one industry that continues to lead the way is the Virtual Assistant Industry, which was voted as one of the most popular businesses to start, according to a recent article in Home Business magazine (December 2012 issue).  In fact according to Google Trends, since 2004 the number of individuals searching for “virtual assistants” has risen 650%.

So what is a virtual assistant?  A virtual assistant or VA is a highly skilled professional who provides administrative support and other specialized services to businesses, entrepreneurs, executives, and others who have more work to do than time to do it.

Well-known authors and leaders in the virtual assistant industry, Diana Ennen (VirtualWordPublishing.com) and Kelly Poelker (Another8Hours.com) have been paving the way for virtual assistant hopefuls.  As authors of the best-selling virtual assistant bible, Virtual Assistant the Series; Become a Highly Successful Sought After VA, Ennen and Poelker recently commented on the continued rise in this industry.

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The authors stated, “Now is the perfect time to become a virtual assistant, and here are just a few of the reasons why:

  • Not only are small businesses appearing in record numbers, but they are growing at record rates and as these businesses grow, they need support. A virtual assistant is the ideal source for that support because they come to the table with the knowledge, skills and expertise needed to provide critical services.
  • Social media is an important element of any business success today and most business owners do not have the time or skills to do it properly, thus losing time and money.  VAs can be instrumental in this area, which can lead to greater exposure and increased profitability for those businesses.  From keeping up with the latest Facebook additions to offering tips on what to post to continue to build a brand, VAs excel in this area.  Because of that, virtual assistants now can add the social media niche to the other niches they can specialize in.
  • Technology is advancing and improving faster now than ever before and small businesses often find it difficult to keep up. As more and more are utilizing tablets, smartphones, and many other devices, a business needs to be set up properly for this mobile marketing and a virtual assistant can provide those tools.  From helping to get a website mobile friendly to assisting with mobile marketing, virtual assistants and virtual assistant teams bring businesses into the 21st century plus providing great opportunities for tech savvy virtual assistants.
  • Because VAs typically work on a contract basis from their home offices, they are less expensive and less cumbersome than having to hire an employee and provide office space, equipment, benefits, salary, etc. In today’s economy, these aspects of working with a VA are becoming more and more attractive to small business owners and entrepreneurs. So the potential for virtual assistants continues to rise.

The growth of small business combined with the massive increase in people using technology and the internet creates an atmosphere that’s perfect for those who wish to become a virtual assistant regardless of the stage of career they are in. For young workers it can be the one and only career they have. For seasoned professionals it can be the result of a re-invention of themselves; and it works well for military families, families with small children or empty-nesters.

The good news is that there is training available to help anyone who has the desire and the commitment to make it happen.  Visit http://www.va-theseries.com today for more information on the virtual assistant industry and training, or to order the best-selling training book, Virtual Assistant the Series; Become a Highly Successful Sought After VA.

For additional information on starting a VA business or media interviews contact Ennen or Poelker at authors@va-theseries.com or (954) 971-4025.

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How is your VA business going?  Do let us know how we can help!

 

Virtual Assistant Business Tops The List of Businesses to Start in 2013

Virtual Assistant Business Tops The List of Businesses to Start in 2013

It’s no secret being a business owner can be one the most rewarding ventures ever. After all, you get to be the boss, make all the rules, and make a great income—all at the same time, right? It doesn’t get any better than that! Of course that comes with a lot of hours, a lot of sweat, and a lot of sacrifice. Nonetheless, over 20 million of us do it and wouldn’t trade it for the world.
One of the most hottest businesses to start, according to a recent article in Home Business magazine (December 2012 issue,) is a Virtual Assistant business. If you’ve been following the industry and the top businesses to start listings for any length of time you have likely noticed that a Virtual Assistant business has been high on many lists in recent years. Why? We would say that is due to rising popularity and ease of entry if you have the right skill set and expertise. And, there is minimal investment for getting started.

As we shared with Home Business magazine, “Virtual Assistants partner with his/her clients and learn about the client’s business to become a trusted and valued member of the team. At the same time, the Virtual Assistant only charges for time on tasks, so it ultimately saves the client in overhead expenses while affording them the necessary time to take care of more business.”
It’s the partnership we create with clients that distinguishes us from other types of service providers, like those bidding for jobs on freelance-type sites. The ultimate goal is to establish a long-term relationship with the client to provide business support services, like those we outlined below. These services are performed in your office instead of the client’s, hence the virtual aspect of the working arrangement.

As an independent contractor you are then responsible for paying your own taxes, providing the equipment, software, and whatever else you need to perform the services in addition to all other aspects of running your own business. This is where the VA can eliminate the overhead expenses of a hiring an employee for a business owner.

The article further went on to say, “Virtual Assistant services include: publicity and marketing, article and press release writing and distribution, social networking updates, legal, medical, and general transcription, bookkeeping, web design, and administrative tasks.” There are a wide variety of services a virtual assistant can offer, this is only a small sampling of the services you can offer.

Want to learn more on how to become a virtual assistant? Take the time to visit different websites and do your research online. There are a number of colleges that offer training as well as industry experts, like us, who offer coaching. Take a trip to AcademyVP.com for a list of colleges. You can also find on that site a VA Self-Assessment that can help you in determining whether becoming a virtual assistant is a good choice for you. And, you can find answers to some common questions about getting started at VA-TheSeries.com.

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. Connect with them online at @dianaennen and @kellypoelker or facebook.com/becomeava — Article is free to be reprinted as long as bio remains

We Were Quoted in Home Business Magazines – Hot Businesses to Start in 2013 – A Virtual Assistant Business

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Kelly and I were thrilled to be quoted in the December issue of Home Business Magazine – Hot Businesses to Start in 2013 … http://homebusinessmag.com/digitaleditions/dec_2012/ page 16).

What did Home Business Magazine say about starting a Virtual Assistant Business?

Here are a few excerpts from the article that we were quoted in:

With more companies working with fewer employees business are flocking to find the right virtual assistant for their team. Virtual Assistants work as independent contractors from their home offices. They use leading edge technology to communicate work assignments via the Internet, e-mail, or disk transfer. Traditional methods such as regular mail and overnight shipping are also used.

While most Virtual Assistants will never meet their clients, it is not unusual to find a VA providing pickup and delivery service in their local area. Most Virtual Assistants now realize the amazing power of the Internet, and their client base spans globally. A Virtual Assistant partners with his/her client and learns about the client’s business to become a trusted and valued member of the team. At the same time, the Virtual Assistant only charges for time on tasks, so it ultimately saves the client in overhead expenses while affording them the necessary time to take care of more business.

Virtual Assistant services include: publicity and marketing, article and press release writing and distribution, social networking updates, legal, medical, and general transcription, bookkeeping, web design, and administrative tasks.

A little about us. Diana Ennen and Kelly Poelker are both leaders in the virtual assistant industry, with a combined history of more than 40 years as small business owners, themselves. They are the co-authors of numerous books including the best-selling book Virtual Assistant – The Series, Become a Highly Successful, Sought After VA. Together they remain on top of the latest developments in the virtual assistant (VA) industry and have been featured on Fox News, CNN Radio, Wall Street Journal, Woman’s World and many more.

We would absolutely love if you could spread the word and mention this on your facebook pages, twitter feeds, newsletters, etc. Thanks so much! Diana Ennen