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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6 Tips For Operating a Successful Virtual Assistant Business

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6 Tips For Operating a Successful Virtual Assistant Business

Operating a successful virtual assistant business takes a lot of hard work. Done right, your hard work can prove extremely beneficial to build your business on a solid foundation as well as add to your bottom line.  These tips are sure to help.

  • Don’t work for free. More and more new virtual assistants are working for free as interns to get the experience, and hopefully land the client long-term. Continue reading

Three Tips to Propel in Your Virtual Assistant Business

 Looking for ways to propel your home-based virtual assistant business?  Whether you are just starting out or have a full practice of clients, here are tips to help you get the word out and help you to become the go to virtual assistant for your specialty.

Attend Networking Events

Attend networking events regularly where your target audience might be.  It works!  For example, at a recent event the host and main speaker recommended attendees partner with a virtual assistant to help grow their business. Continue reading

So You Want to be a Work At Home Mom is Now on Kindle!

We are so excited that our publisher, Beacon Hill, has now added our book on Kindle. Yeah!  If you’ve read our book, please do consider adding a review.  We would so appreciate it.  Want to interview Jill Hart or I, then email me at diana@virtualwordpublishing.com.  We would welcome the opportunity.  Thanks!  Diana

So You Want To Work At Home

Home-based businesses are estimated to be a $427 billion-a-year industry. In recent studies it was found that as many as 105 million people in North America alone were working at home. Considering this information, it is obvious that home-based businesses can be successful-and authors Jill Hart and Diana Ennen will help you succeed with your own. So You Want to Be a Work-at-Home Mom details all the basics of starting a business in a spiritual, motivational, and comprehensive manner. From deciding what type of business to start to keeping your family and faith first, this helpful tool details every aspect of establishing a business. With proven success tips utilized by the authors and others who own work-at-home businesses, this inspiration approach will provide you with the resources you need to start your own home-based business.  Click on the graphic or follow this link!

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!

 

Entrepreneur Tips – 10 Tips to Take the Ugh Out of Business Networking

10 Tips to Take the Ugh Out of Business Networking

What are your first thoughts when you hear the word networking? We know some of you are probably thinking, “Ugh, I hate to do that!” Right? All that work meeting new people. Forget about it. Or perhaps you’re thinking “Networking is too much like marketing and I’m not good at marketing. Never works, so why do it?”

It’s easy to be apprehensive or even downright anxious about networking if you haven’t had much success at it. But perhaps your lack of success comes from a lack of understanding just how important and beneficial it is. That coupled with a lack of good technique can prevent you from seeing good results. And, you won’t see how easy it can be when done properly. Many just give up instead of making it part of their marketing message.

Networking allows you to let potential clients know who you are and that you have a business that’s ready to help them solve their problems and quite possibly increase their revenue. Plus, making your name familiar to prospective customers is a great way to stay connected. People are more willing to work with a new service if they have heard about you or have had the opportunity to meet you. It helps them to gain the confidence that you can help their business. And finally, for those who work at home, it offers the camaraderie they often miss by not being in a workplace atmosphere. This is especially true when you network regularly at the same places so others become familiar with you and look forward to seeing you.

Like many things, networking can come in many forms. You can network by joining some of the more relevant business groups in your community and even offering to be a speaker at some of their events. You can attend seminars, tradeshows and expos. But what is even more important to where you network is how you network. It really works when it’s done right and we hope to help you see that.

Here are some tips to make your networking experience better:

1. Know the dress code and dress professionally. You don’t want to be over dressed nor do you want to be too relaxed. Simply ask or look at photos of recent events they have hosted to get a feel for it. Past event photos are often featured on their social media pages or website.
2. Make sure you are comfortable. Shoes that hurt your feet or shoes that tend to slip off regularly don’t create a positive appearance. Also, you want to look natural and when you look in obvious pain that sends the wrong message. You don’t want to look like you only dress for these networking events, but that you are professional day in and day out, even if you do normally wear jeans and a tee to work.
3. Make new contacts. Try not to spend all the time with the people you already know. Many people don’t enjoy networking events because of the “cliques” where the same people talk to the same people and it’s hard to break in. Do your best to mingle and truly connect with everyone.
4. Welcome the new attendees. They will long remember you for making them feel comfortable at their first event. And, you can sometimes use your “old contacts” to help you with this. For example, when a new person stops by your group you can introduce yourself and then say, “Oh, have you met…,” and then introduce your friend as well. This can be a great icebreaker for everyone.
5. Always have your short elevator speech prepared. The more prepared you are the more confidently you can introduce your services. Know the audience in advance so you can customize your speech to that group. Also, have business cards handy, as well as a pen.
6. Be a good listener. People can tell when you aren’t interested in their conversation. If you want their business, you should be interested. Pay attention to what is being said as if there were going to be a test later, because there just might be when asked if you recall something that was said just a bit ago.
7. Remember to make eye contact. You likely know how it feels when you’re talking to someone at an event and their eyes keep wondering over your shoulder to scan the crowd. It makes you feel like they have absolutely no interest in you and what you’re saying. Do your scanning of the crowd before you engage in talk with someone. Seek out who you’re going to talk to and keep them engaged with interesting conversation—don’t make it all about you.
8. Collect as many business cards as possible. Be sure to make any special notes on the back of a contact’s card that will help you remember them and why you need to make contact later.
9. Send a thank-you note. Immediately following the networking event, send a thank-you note to all those you spoke with to let them know it was nice meeting them. You can design your own to make it a little more personal. Make sure you sign your own name; don’t have it typed. While handwritten is better, email is acceptable. Just do it!
10. Follow-up immediately with hot prospects. If you made contact with the right people you will have identified some hot prospects. Armed with the notes you took on the back of their business card, make contact and let them know how you can benefit their company. Be sure to get a commitment for a next course of action.

Being prepared, looking professional at all times, and having the confidence that you are an expert at what you do will help to take the “Ugh” of out networking. And remember, the more you network the better you get at it. The more you enjoy it, the more results you will see.

Diana Ennen and Kelly Poelker are the co-authors of numerous books including Virtual Assistant – The Series: Become a Highly Successful, Sought After VA. Stop by for information on starting your own VA business http://www.vatheseries.com. Follow them on facebook at https://www.facebook.com/becomeava. Article is free to be reprinted as long as bio remains.

Tips for Getting Clients for your Virtual Assistant Business

Want to get more clients for your VA Business … here are some of the things that I do. Love to see your recommendations as well.

I do get a lot of clients via word of mouth and I highly recommend that. But there are so many other ways to get clients. One of the main things to consider is that clients are often looking at you long before they hire you so keep a professional image. So always be sure to look your best online and offline. That can help tremendously. Become the expert they need in the niche your excel at by showing you know what you are doing, I do that my constantly writing on my topic, social media, networking at events, and connecting with others who might give me referrals. But most importantly, make sure you are doing it right.

The most important thing is to be passionate about your business and be very good at it, continuing to learn and grow. When you are the best at what you do, clients want to work with you now and for years to come.

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

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!

 

Virtual Assistant Books – Choosing the Right One for Your Business

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Virtual Assistant Books – Choosing the Right One for Your Business

Want to have a successful and highly profitable business? Who doesn’t these days? Well, to do that it’s important to have the right resources as your foundation. As a professional Virtual Assistant (VA) your business success, at least initially, can depend on finding the best virtual assistant book. Choosing the right one can be a daunting task at best; however, there are well-written and highly successful VA books on the market that meet those criteria. You just need to know what to look for. You want one that is hands on, practical, current and offers all the information you need to succeed.

But first, what exactly is a VA? A VA is a highly skilled professional who provides administrative support and specialized services to businesses, entrepreneurs, executives, sales professionals, and others who have more work than time to do it. They can do everything from offering PR and marketing services to web design, event planning, bookkeeping, administrative tasks and so much more.

So when looking for a virtual assistant book, here are some recommendations:

Experience
Nothing is less practical than a resource written by someone with very little experience in the industry. Be cautious of the books that have been written by those who have been in business for under a year and have few clients. Instead, look to those writers that:
 Know the challenges, triumphs and pitfalls of being in the industry for a good length of time.
 Are highly successful and sought after for their expertise. Let their record of accomplishment speak for itself.
 Are out there on social networks offering tips and recommendations for others.
 Above all, look for those that know what they are talking about and it shows.

Highlights Business Essentials Including Tools & Requirements
Look for a VA book that contains details to getting set up such as:
 Understanding business basics including the type of business to start, how to choose your name, get your licenses, and more.
 A solid, methodical, well-written, practical business plan you can execute in a reasonable period.
 A checklist of all the components you need to start including examples of forms, client assessments, social media tools, self-assessment forms, marketing checklist etc.

Marketing Your Business Essentials

Look for solid marketing advice that is easy to follow, but will yield great results. Be especially mindful of these areas:
 Marketing to your niche and how best to determine that niche and the experience and skills you will need for that.
 Best ways to market that are cost-effective and time sensitive.
 Social media tools that are current and inclusive to those plans
 Updates on the technology and trends to increase your marketing.
Business Operational Procedures
Nice to have the vision for your business, however, day-to-day operations can be like throwing someone in the water who has never swam before and they have either to sink or swim. The right tools to ease that transition include:
 Explains in detail best tips for organization, time management, client relations, office set up and equipment.
 How to price your services.
 Explains the best daily operational procedures such as turnaround time, work balance, etc.
 Taking not only care of your family, most importantly your number one asset, “you” should be tops on that list.
Let us face it there would be no VA industry without accurate resources. Inspiration with practical and successful material is the perfect component to the successful VA book you need for your business.

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.