Virtual Assistants – When is it time to hire a coach?

You probably started your virtual assistant business with big hopes of success. You figured as soon as others knew you were in business they would be flocking to you. Yes, you were ready. Success was yours.

However, even though you put up your shingles, “Open for Business” a funny thing happened. No one came. So you go back to the drawing board again and become a little more vocal this time. “Hey, I’m opened, come and get it.” That should do it. But unfortunately it doesn’t.

So many make this mistake. They think with the right services the clients will be able to find you once you get started. Unfortunately instead of that lovely emails you receive of “you’ve got a payment” you can still hear a pin drop and no one is contacting you. Now what do you do?

Believe it or not, this happens to a lot of virtual assistants and other business owners thinking that once you open you can just get down to doing the work. The clients will automatically come running. But that’s not always the case. In fact, that is rarely the case. You need to get out there and promote your business and also you need to be set up for success, well before you send out that first marketing piece.

And that is why you might need a virtual assistant or business coach. Someone who can take you step by step through the process and help you not only get those clients, but also be set up correctly so once you get them, the day-to-day operations of your business run smoothly. Let’s talk about what a coach can do for you.

What can a virtual assistant coach or business coach help with? Here are just a few things:

• A coach will make sure you haven’t forgotten any of those vital business basic steps needed to start your business. Bookkeeping, licenses, business plans are just some of the topics to be discussed and figured out.

• A coach will help you decide with your skills and experience who would be your ideal clients. Then the coach will help you put the steps into place to land those clients. Marketing your business will be a big part of what you will be doing together.

• Your coach will review your pricing and figure out the best way to set up your business, whether you would benefit with going with packages, blocks of time, retainer rates, etc.

• A coach can review all your media including your website, media, blogs, and make recommendations. This alone is worth its weight in gold. Once you get out there marketing, if your site and branding doesn’t convince clients you have what they need, then you can be not only wasting your time and money, but burning bridges down the road. Those potential clients may never come back.

• A coach will be your best friend at times and your worst enemy at others. Yes, they will be there for you when you do things right, but they should also be there for you and guide you gently when you don’t. By helping you prevent many of the mistakes that they might have made themselves, you learn the best way to do things.
This all sounds good, but how do you find a good coach? The main thing you want to consider is to find one you feel confident in by reviewing their business. Is it one that you would like to mimic? Do they walk the walk and talk the talk? You want someone who you respect and know they have your back as well as the skills needed to help you success. Once you know what you’re looking for, go out there and connect. Your business success is waiting!

Diana Ennen, President of Virtual Word Publishing, www.virtualwordpublishing.com has been in business for over 25 years and is eager to help coach you to better success.  Email for her free informational package diana@virtualwordpublishing.com. Article is free to be reprinted as long as bio remains.

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Do you have tips on starting your business and the challenges you had?  Let’s hear them!

 

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.

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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.