About a week ago, ABC News did a story titled “Virtual Assistants: Do They Make Life Easier.” However, it did not accurately represent the Virtual Assistant industry. Click here to view it. First of all it focused on tasks that a personal assistant performs. Secondly, the virtual assistants’ fee was $2.00 per task.
The story did not point out the different expertise (specialty) services that virtual assistants (VAs) perform. My colleague, Tina Hilton, wrote an interesting post where she questions is the mainstream news media hurting VAs’ businesses. They are presenting virtual assistants as someone who does personal assistant tasks, at a very low cost, which does not require being an expert. Click here to read Tina’s post.
There are virtual assistants who provide the personal assistant services that are presented in the video, but not at $2.00 per task. The media is painting the Virtual Assistant industry with a limited brush stroke, says Tina, which I agree with. They are not shining the light on the rest of the industry.
According to a post in Huffington Post written by Grant Cardone, there are over 26 million people either unemployed or underemployed, and they are choosing to become entrepreneurs. These new entrepreneurs will eventually need a Virtual Assistant. This type of news story can give them the wrong impression.
When all else fail, Google it. This is a tip for entrepreneurs and small business owners from your Virtual Assistant Rita Cartwright.
I created a drop down menu for my ASPX web pages with Expression Web 2 software. The drop down menu appeared correctly in IE8 but not in FF 3.6. I posted my issue in the Expression Web forum, and the members gave me various suggestions and tips, which were from the perspective that I was designing my web pages incorrectly. So, I applied their suggestions; however, it didn’t solve my drop down menu issue.
Although, their tips didn’t solve the problem with the appearance of my menu, I did learn some valuable information regarding how to correctly lay out my web pages; therefore, it wasn’t all in vain. However, my menu still wasn’t displaying correctly in Firefox. So, I decided to Google my problem. Lo, and behold, I found a solution.
It turns out that it isn’t me, it is Firefox’s browser; specifically, Version 3.6 if using with Vista Operating System. If you are having the same display problems, click here for more information.
As a sidebar, Safari and Chrome browsers don’t show ASPX drop down menus correctly either. The members of the Expression Web forum did help me resolve this.
Anyway, when all else fail, Google your question and/or issue. There is a good chance you will find your solution. This is a tip from your Virtual Assistant Rita Cartwright.
In honor of Earth Day, I am re-posting this post. This is one of many solutions to help us preserve Mother Earth.
With the increasing cost of fuel and pollution, businesses are going to have to come up with alternatives for their employees who drive back and forth to work on a daily basis. One alternative could be to reduce the work week. Another alternative would be to allow their employees to perform their duties from home. Of course, there are certain businesses that cannot operate off-site, as well as certain tasks that cannot be completed virtually.
On the other hand, if you are an entrepreneur, small business, or a small business owner and need administrative assistance, you have the alternative of working with a Virtual Assistant (VA). As a result, you and your Virtual Assistant are able to “go green.” Your Virtual Assistant doesn’t have to purchase as much gasoline, because he or she works from their home office. You “go green” by choosing to work with a VA rather than hiring an administrative assistant who would have to drive to your office. Both you and your VA are helping to preserve our planet by not adding to the levels of carbon monoxide.
This is just another great benefit in working with a Virtual Assistant. “Go green” work with a Virtual Assistant.
Being an entrepreneur and small business owner, chances are you do not have enough time to prospect for new clients, as well as take care of your current clients. Generally, you are faced with daily administrative tasks, which are very time-consuming. You barely have enough time to focus on developing your business. This is where a Virtual Assistant (VA) comes in. When you retain the services of a VA, you will gain valuable time. With this extra time, you can concentrate on growing your client base. In addition, you will have more time to provide your current clients excellent customer service.
Examples of tasks that you can outsource are: bookkeeping, scheduling appointments, returning phone calls, answering phone calls, managing e-mails, making reservations, typing and mailing correspondences, creating and managing your database, updating your website and blog, etc. These are just a few examples of projects that can be farmed out.
Another task you can outsource to your VA is social networking. As an entrepreneur and small business owner, you are aware of the importance of using social media networking as a marketing strategy. You also realize how much time is involved in social media networking. I can spend an entire day on Twitter alone networking with other entrepreneurs. In order to save you some valuable time, virtual assistants can help you with your networking efforts. Keep in mind, virtual assistants use the same social media networking techniques and know their way around social media sites.
A virtual assistant can set up your social media profiles at various sites, as well as filter through posts for any relevant information pertaining to your business. On Twitter, a Virtual Assistant can check your DMs (direct messages) and your replies (posts directed to you) to see if there is anything you need to respond to.
A Virtual Assistant can also post pertinent information about your company and products and/or services. Larger companies are starting to use Twitter to communicate with their customers about their products and/or services, in addition to getting their feedback. Another feature of Twitter is you have people following you and people you choose to follow. A Virtual Assistant can research the ones following you to see if they are viable potential clients. In addition, s/he can search for possible clients for you to follow on Twitter.
As you know, social media networking allows you to create business relationships, as well as give your prospective clients the opportunity to learn more about you; therefore, it is necessary for you to spend some time networking on these social media sites. However, virtual assistants can help you save a huge amount of valuable time; time you can use to focus on your clients. Virtual assistants can help you with social media networking also.
Lately, I have been receiving inquiries as to how to arrange Virtual Book Tours (VBTs) and what is involved. I decided to write a blog post about it in order to share the information with other interested authors.
A virtual book tour (VBT) uses similar concepts as a book tour except it is done virtually on the Internet. Blogs are the brick and mortar book stores where book tours are held. Instead of physically going on a tour visiting book stores, you visit blogs.
The Process of Selecting Blogs
When you are arranging a VBT to promote your book online, research different blogs to determine if their readers are the target market you are promoting your book to, as well as how much traffic that particular blog gets. Are there a lot of site visitors/readers?
After you select the blogs, which meet your criteria, contact the owners to arrange a date for you to virtually stop by to visit with their readers. Then you will need to supply the blog owners with a copy of your interview, graphic image of your book cover, and your picture. The media standards are you provide the interviewer with the questions and answers for your interview. Although, the blog owners will get a lot of traffic, due to your book tour, you should offer them something for being a host. Maybe a discount or a free copy of your book.
Your Tour Visits
On the day of your tour visit, the blog owner will post your interview, book cover image, and your picture on their blog. You and the owner will want to encourage audience participation, as well as create an incentive for readers to visit the blog site on the day of your tour stop. You want as many site visitors as possible in order to promote your book or e-book.
The best incentive is to give away a copy of your book to a randomly selected visitor. There is a website called random.org where you enter the e-mail addresses of the site visitors, and it randomly chooses one. The contest can be something along the lines of all who post a question or comment on the day of your visit will be entered into a drawing for a free copy of your e-book or book.
You will check in throughout the day to see if there are any questions or comments that need addressing. This can create a dialogue or conversation, which in turn, will generate more audience participation. To make it more exciting, the owner of the blog can post the winner’s name after they have been notified that they are the lucky winner.
Following is an example of an interview I did when promoting my e-book to give you an idea of what type of questions and answers you can use to construct your interview:
TH: Why did you write this book?
RC: My goal was to create a handbook, which entrepreneurs and small business owners can refer to when they are searching for online marketing tools and/or new marketing ideas. I wrote it for new entrepreneurs and small business owners, as well as for those who have been in business a while.
TH: Tell me about yourself
RC: I’m originally from Arizona and now reside in California. I earned my bachelor’s degree (with Magna Cum Laude honors) from Arizona State University when I was 44 years old. After graduation, I couldn’t find a job; therefore, I decided to start my own business offering online word processing services, which was 7 years ago. At that time, I was not aware of the virtual assistant industry, which I am now a member of. So, I guess you can say I was ahead of the curve.
TH: What qualifies you to write this book?
RC: Approximately 2 years ago, I started maintaining a blog and writing articles in order to implement the article marketing strategy. (I talk about using this strategy as a marketing tool in my e-book.) Also, while attending college, I learned how to write. I had to write. I remember my English professor saying I should be a writer, because he thought I had the skills. I didn’t take him serious. I was just trying to get through college.
In regards to the subject matter, my background and education in marketing and my experience from operating an online business provide me with the necessary qualifications to write this e-book on the topic of online marketing tools.
TH: How long have you been an entrepreneur?
RC: I have been an entrepreneur since October 2002. Although I started out as a small business owner, I have become an entrepreneur. There are differences between entrepreneurs and small business owners. In fact, I wrote an article on the differences. It is titled, “Are There Any Differences Between an Entrepreneur and a Small Business Owner?” Ezine Articles is one of the article banks where you can find it.
TH: What is the e-book about?
RC: This e-book contains information on various online marketing tools, along with some examples and in-depth descriptions of the tools. There is also a resource section that lists websites where you can find the online marketing tools, including “live” links to the websites. The resource section will save your readers a lot of time in Internet research when they are searching for information on online marketing tools.
TH: What do you want the readers to get out of this e-book?
RC: I wanted to provide those readers, who have a shoestring marketing budget, with information they can use in their online marketing plan or, at least, generate new marketing ideas. Most entrepreneurs and small business owners do not have a large marketing budget. The marketing tools I discuss costs little to no money.
TH: Can we look for more books from you in the future?
RC: Yes. One of my clients, who is a coach of Christian leaders, and I are currently working together on an e-book. It will be geared towards Christian leaders and Christian virtual assistants. So be on the lookout for that in the near future.
TH: How can the readers contact you if they have any questions?
RC: Your readers can reach me at 602-454-9408 or toll free at 866-651-3073 or send me an e-mail at Rita[at]rjsinternetmarketing.com.
TH: Where can the readers purchase your e-book and how much does it cost?
RC: They can click here to purchase it, and it only costs $3.98.
TH: Rita, thank you for stopping by my blog on your tour.
RC: You are very welcome. Thank you, Tina, for having me.
Overall, virtual book tours are more cost-effective than physical book tours. Plus, you reach a much broader, larger audience, including an international audience. If you don’t have time to arrange a virtual book tour, outsource it to your dependable virtual assistant.
When starting a virtual assistant business, the first item on your to do list is coming up with a business name. You should give this a lot of thought. The name you choose should reflect your products or services, because you will promote, brand and market your business under this name.
Next, decide on a niche. A niche market is a narrowly defined group of potential clients. In order to create effective advertising and/or marketing messages, you need to know who you are addressing.
One method of marketing is Internet marketing, also know as online marketing. Nowadays, because of the Internet and technology, Internet marketing is affordable and popular. Examples of Internet marketing are blogs, websites, article marketing, online networking, and e-mail marketing campaigns. For more detailed descriptions and examples of Internet marketing, click here for a copy of my e-book for only $3.98.
If you are considering starting a virtual assistant business, decide on a business name, choose a niche, as well as create and implement an Internet marketing plan.
We, as virtual assistants (VAs), generally attempt to grow our businesses by obtaining more clients. Another strategy is to grow your business by subcontracting or outsourcing projects to a team of VAs. These VAs’ services will complement your services rather than compete with them.
In an attempt to grow my virtual assistant business and deepen my service list, I organized a team of three VAs. My core services are word processing services and Internet marketing, and my team services include bookkeeping, transcription, and ghost writing. Their services complement my services. Now I can offer these services in addition to my current offerings. They are also my backup.
There are two different models of multi-virtual assistant (multi-VA) businesses, which outsource overflow of projects. One model is team and the other is subcontracting. The main difference is a team approach.
Multi-VA team businesses list the team members on their team web pages, but everything is under the umbrella of the multi-VA business owner. Team members also have direct contact with the clients. Whereas, with multi-VA subcontracting businesses, the subcontractors don’t have contact with the clients; although, they may be listed on your website. You, as the multi-VA business owner manage the clients and projects.
In both cases, subcontractors and team members/associates are VAs themselves and are at the beginning stages of their businesses or have room for more projects.
Due to the current economic situation, there will be more entrepreneurs and small business owners, and they will need virtual assistance. We probably will see more multi-VA businesses, both team and subcontracting models.
If you are Virtual Assistant and you want to grow your business, consider organizing a team of virtual assistants whose service offerings complement your services.
Just one more day until CD&C Virtual Outsource Paralegal worldwide virtual book tour begins right here at 9 a.m. PST. Come on back tomorrow when I interview Cordina Charvis about her newly released eBook, The Ultimate Virtual Paralegal Guide. In Cordina’s eBook she discusses how to begin a virtual paralegal business, and how to avoid the setbacks that goes along with starting a new virtual paralegal business.
Also, Cordina will be giving away a fr^ee copy of her eBook, valued at $18.99, to a randomly selected visitor. To qualify for the drawing, just post a comment or question for Cordina. I will announce the winner right here.
Come back tomorrow to meet Cordina and enter the drawing for your copy of The Ultimate Virtual Paralegal Guide. See you then!
In just two days, Cordina Charvis will begin her worldwide virtual book tour. She will make her first stop here on Friday, November 20th at 9 a.m. – 7 p.m. PST. I will be interviewing her about her newly released eBook, The Ultimate Virtual Paralegal Guide. Cordina’s eBook includes tips for starting a virtual paralegal business, as well as pitfalls she suffered when she first started her business and how to avoid them.
Cordina will also be giving away a fr^ee copy of eBook, valued at $18.99, to a randomly selected visitor. All you need to do to qualify is post a comment or question for Cordina on Friday, November 20th, to be entered into the grand drawing.
So come on by on Friday to learn more about Cordina, as well as ask her any questions you may have about operating and starting a virtual paralegal business. You can also be the lucky winner of her informative eBook, The Ultimate Virtual Paralegal Guide. See you on Friday!