Blog

Blogging, LinkedIn, Networking, New Business, Social Media, Virtual Assistant

Are you Embarrassed by Your LinkedIn Profile? Here’s What to Do!

Do you have an All-Star Rated LinkedIn Profile?

NottmVA LinkedIn profile

LinkedIn – Is it for me?

Do you have a LinkedIn profile? Maybe that is the first question we should ask. Do you need one, if so, what would you need it for and for what purpose? You really need to determine for what use you are going to use this social media platform for and incorporate it in your marketing plan. You do have a marketing plan, right?

FOR WHAT PURPOSE?

Many different companies, individuals and sole traders use LinkedIn for varied reasons and of course, this is entirely up to them – is your reason for lead generation, recruiting, to display your wares or to promote your business service or to communicate with other groups perhaps. You will need to decide on this, so you know how to market yourself and know how to write your profile accordingly.

Angela

YOUR HEADSHOT

Having determined your market, you may wish to begin with your headshot. It is always highly recommended that you have a professional photographer take your business photographs as they are aware of your branding colours, know how to get the best out of you, your business and will have your professional interests at heart. You don’t want to be promoting yourself at a family event with your head half out of the picture, or something worse perhaps??

YOUR HEADLINE

Your headline is quite important as that is something that follows you around along with your photograph of course and is seen when you remark on others’ articles and comments. This needs to be again pointing to your niche audience and eye-catching to attention-grabbing creating curiosity so that people are likely to open your profile. It needs to be about your audience, what you can do to add value for them (not you) and how you can assist them.

YOUR BACKGROUND COVER PHOTO

Have you seen the blue spacey blue background photos at the top of people’s LinkedIn profiles? It really is a waste of advertising space! Whoah, you need to go and get your photographs and get them up there! The background photograph has to be a required pixel size too.

You can make use of text, graphics and your logos and have your header cover in the background and it can be the same across the remainder of the other social media platforms too creating consistency so that your clients create the know, like and trust with you. You’re missing a big trick there if you do not use this big, wide space here.

THE ABOUT SECTION

Moving on to the About Section is quite an important part, to be honest. You need to again, write about what you can change for your audience, not write about you. Your reader needs to see what you can do for them, not how many years you have done x, y, z etc they want to know that you are going to create a solution for their problem that they are currently experiencing – so remember that niche that you have decided to hone in on? Yes, that – you need to now write about it. Talk about that problem and how you can now provide that solution for your client and how you can do it.

HISTORY, EDUCATION AND TRAINING

These sections will speak for themselves, of course – but it’s not like a straight copy of your curriculum vitae. Do not get caught up in copying your CV like, for like – you’re only putting in relevant information only, again for that niche audience. You can’t target everyone – it would be like a needle in a haystack. You need brief information to cover each relevant piece of the company and you can upload the logos too to link up with individuals from the same workforce.

ASKING FOR RECOMMENDATIONS

If you have undertaken work from others who are already on LinkedIn, you have the ability to request recommendations from them this provides credibility within the social media platform but has to be agreed between both parties.

CONTACT DETAILS

The all-important details, of course, are how to get in touch with you. There is nothing worse than someone having to hunt around trying to find your contact details – aagh! Leave as much information as you can – you do not know how your client prefers to work. Do they prefer telephone contact, do they prefer to directly message you via LinkedIn, or would they prefer to email you? Which way is the better way – well, the client’s chosen preferred way of course?

PROFILE SET UP

You are nearly on your way to having an almost great profile to get you on your way apart from tweaking some of the settings to be how you need them to be according to your personal preferences and that will come with time and use. Of course, there is much more to complete behind the scenes but this is a good start.

CONNECTIONS

You need to add people (or connections) to connect with so that you can see them in your newsfeeds, and they will then be ‘1st’ connections in your newsfeeds. Their connections will then be listed as ‘2nd’ connections to you, thus expanding the available connections to you and so on.

NETWORK

In order to become familiar with your target market, or niche audience you will need to converse with or comment on your network connection posts of those people you have connected with. This is deemed the most appropriate way to network as this is the required etiquette of LinkedIn and some deem it inappropriate to direct message regarding direct sales. What do you think?

DO YOU NEED A LINKEDIN PROFILE?

As a Virtual Assistant, I am often asked to create LinkedIn profiles and other online social media marketing for my clients as it does create a professional ‘POS’ signpost to point your clients to if you do not have a website or other material readily available. If this is something that you do not feel that is within your realms at this moment in time, or you feel that your time is better spent on other aspects of your business then please do get in touch and I can undertake this service for you.

 

 

Blogging, Email Marketing, Facebook Marketing, Networking, New Business, Social Media, VA, Virtual Assistant

Networking – Is It Really Right For You?

What is Networking Really all about?

NottmVA at Global Woman's Club
Photography Credit: Jo Welch Photography

Everyone is talking about it and doing it aren’t they? Even I have succumbed to it. Me, who couldn’t even mumble a 30-second introductory video about my business when I first started. We’ve all been there, nervous, dreading being in front of the camera and afraid of looking a fool in front of, well, who? We just don’t know! Well, according to Woody Allen, 80% of Success is Showing Up. So, what are we waiting for – let’s go and do it!

Where Do you Find the Right Networking Event for You?

Now, this is the tricky part. Networking takes time and patience and you have to be prepared to put some time in. I know, I know we are all busy people, but you know – we all have the same amount of hours in the day and you have to put in what you want to get out. You may get lucky and find the one that works for you the first time. I was 3rd time lucky did you know? I have found an absolutely fabulous group called the Global Woman’s Club which is held in my local town in Nottingham and being a Virtual Assistant , the Club is Global – it is held all over the World so of course, it is the perfect group for me!

So, what are the key points to look for when joining a group?

It is important to find the right networking group for you. You want to feel comfortable in your surroundings and to feel natural when you are speaking with others. Here are a few pointers to think about:

  • You want to find a networking group that has similar or like-minded people to yourself
  • The networking group needs to be familiar with your target market or open to your mindset or law of attraction
  • Be open as to what YOU can offer or contribute to the networking group
  • Does the networking group offer additional networking outside of the event days/evenings i.e. online networking, social gatherings and so on?
  • Where is the networking group held, is it the same venue/date/time each occasion? Is it weekly/fortnightly/monthly? Would you feel comfortable in this environment?

Business Relationships NottmVA

You will need to endeavour to build the right relationships for both yourself and your business and for the other members of the networking group to ensure that it is a success for both yourself and everyone involved.

What is it about Networking that Everyone finds Valuable?

The Value – it’s so important for everyone to take some importance from their meeting or why would they take time out of their busy day or evening to spend it with you? You will be meeting and greeting new business introductions – look at all those new possibilities! People to talk to and discuss what you have been doing, learning, and chatting about your family and what people’s husbands and wives do too – it’s not just about the people in the room, there is a lot of referral business that is undertaken too.

There is a lot of value in the support that is gained from networking. Many businesses are sole traders and entrepreneurs working from home or in isolated areas and numerous business gurus thrive on meeting up and blossom in a room full of people for an hour or so. It is important to ‘walk’ the room or mingle – if you see someone on their own, introduce yourself and ask about their day – they may be feeling as nervous as you perhaps.

Many networking groups have guest speakers and with you attending it could be that you have access to new information, new learning and your value would be to gain new trusted information that has been pre-approved by the host.

What Can You Get Out of Networking for your Business?

Ultimately, you’re there for your business, aren’t you? But, don’t pitch-sell, sell, sell to your peers the minute you walk in the door – eek! You don’t want to be ‘sold’ to, do you the minute someone walks up to you with a cup of coffee in their hand? I know I don’t.

What you CAN get out of networking is a source of great support, this is something I get great value from. I have a fab collaboration of great people now to call on for a variety of information, referrals both to call upon for my clients and to send business to – it works both ways. New friendships are formed with yourself and your spouses too, it’s such a close relationship – but only if you want it to be. It’s your call. Remember, it is what YOU want it to be. It’s your business. Some networking groups are strictly business, some are extended into social gatherings – make sure you find the one that works for you. There are networking groups that will offer mentors or will have individuals that have these businesses within the group. Take the time to talk to everyone in the group. Make it work for you.

What if your chosen Networking Group hasn’t Worked for You?

Photography Credit: Jo Welch Photography

There are some occasions when some Networking groups are just not right.  I have tried a couple, and more than once, myself and just did not feel comfortable with them.  There was nothing wrong with the groups, they worked very well for many people. You will need to ask yourself the questions I raised earlier about whether they are right for you regarding timing, environment, business strategies etc.

What you need to do is work out what you DO need and find something that DOES work and what did not work, however.

Does your networking group allow selling sessions?  The Global Woman Club that I attend is a fabulous group and allows 2-minute presentations from everyone for you to speak about something regarding your business. As you can see here, my presentation  was videoed,

sometimes live-streamed and then shared to the Facebook group to the local group and the Global group too – so there is lots of scope for other businesswomen to see my business pitch on that occasion.

Are you making sure that you ‘walk’ the room and mingle and don’t ‘sell’ in that coffee area? It’s important to get to know people and like the mantra of a business coach that I’m working with at the moment… obtain that ‘Know, Like, Trust’ factor from those around you.

Perhaps the cost of joining the networking group might be an issue for you right now, but something you may wish to think about if you obtained one client from that group is – what would a few months of that client’s business be worth to you, or your membership to this group. What is the value of being a member of this group mean to you? Is it purely monetary? Is it for support? Is it collaboration too – there are many other benefits too? Have you checked out the other benefit packages that the group has to offer?

Are you attending the meetings, are you allowing people to see your face, are you speaking, letting people hear you and hear the tone, your character, your laughter, your charisma – the real you? This is where people get to know YOU!  The old saying is People buy people, isn’t it?

Business CardsThen there is the final follow-up. Are you following up your contacts? Have you been left with many business cards? Have you sent an email to say anything, or followed up with a 1:1 meeting and met with a coffee to discuss your business in further detail or asked how you can refer any other businesses if that is appropriate or asked if you can add them to your mailing list?

What are the Benefits of Networking for You?

I touched on this briefly earlier, but you need to find out from your networking group what it can offer for you. Of course, you will be receiving the support, the collaboration, the networking and so on, but some groups will offer financial reward and other benefits for you introducing guests to future meetings so it may be mutually beneficial to you and your guests to find out what those benefits are. Why don’t you join me at one of the Global Woman Club meetings or if you are a male businessperson, you could join as a guest presenter?

What Strategy Should You Undertake?

You need to have a marketing strategy that works for your business. Have you worked out what your ideal client, skills or sector is and that you are marketing to that niche business?

Here’s a quick summary of what was mentioned earlier on:

  • Have you ensured that you defined your ideal client and you are marketing to a niche audience?
  • Are you making sure that you are only selling in the required environments that allow you to do so?
  • Do not sell in the ‘coffee arena’ just network appropriately and courteously
  • Is time and money an issue for you right now – do your networking group offer instalments?
  • Are you actually turning up to meetings and offering your character and charisma?
  • Take time to nurture your fellow peers and discuss your business and referrals and show your knowledge
  • Are you following up?

Whatever networking group you choose it should be one that you are comfortable with, one you feel you can relate to and one you feel best suits your needs – at that time.  Just remember, nothing is forever. You can change, your business changes as it grows. Your ideal client niche will change as your business changes and develops. I wish you every success with your business, your networking and your personal development.

As your business does grow, it is inevitable that you will obtain an additional workload and may require the services of a Virtual Assistant to assist with your Business Administration and Social Media Marketing.

 

Nottingham Virtual Assistant

 

 

Blogging, Facebook Marketing, New Business, Social Media, VA, Virtual Assistant

Feeling Overwhelmed with your Business? Not enough hours in the day? Let me help! Take Advantage of this May Special Offer!

Need to stop work for the day, but still have so much to do? 

Then the £99 4-hours Virtual Assistant Package might be for you?

Are you feeling overwhelmed with your business and career and not getting the lifestyle that you want or need? Take a deep breath as this isn’t the way to go! I know! As I felt that way a couple of years ago and my work lifestyle was making me ill! It simply had to stop…

Have you thought about outsourcing some of your tasks, but the thought of getting around to it is causing you issues because you are too busy and need to prioritise other things?

Are you needing to spend some time with your family, or want to factor in some leisure time perhaps – then maybe delegating is something you might want to think about?

My 4-hours for £99 offer could be just the ‘thing’ for you to try!

This is only around for a VERY LIMITED TIME, so if you know that you need help in your business, now is the perfect time to Buy-it and Try-it and see if a Virtual Assistant is a way of working for you without any further commitment.

Try some Business Administration such as; diary/calendar management, transcription, database management, email management/detox, data entry, document formatting, file management incl GDrive, Dropbox OneDrive, PDF conversions such as merging, splitting and editing and password protecting or Social Media Management for your business and see if this is something that you like (or don’t like) for your business.

It is merely a small investment to outlay for your business with no ongoing obligation either side – what could be better!

Terms and Conditions:

  • This is ideal for New Clients to NottmVA to BUY-IT AND TRY-IT!
  • You must book the offer during May 2019
  • You must redeem the offer before the end of July 2019
  • And of course, there is no further commitment and obligation to continue services with NottmVA (unless you want to)
  • Only 5 spots are available. Book while offers last!
  • Only one offer per Client

 

All you need to do is email me to book your offer – but don’t forget this needs to be booked between 1st and 31st May 2019 to be eligible for the offer.

 

su

Blogging, Facebook Marketing, VA, Virtual Assistant

Expectations of Working with Your Virtual Assistant

It’s hard to think about delegating your work, let alone actually do it. But a Virtual Assistant or VA, can assist you both in being efficient and increase your productivity. So, what can you expect?

What is a Virtual Assistant or VA?

A Virtual Assistant, or VA is a person who has chosen to work virtually, or remotely on assignments and tasks that you have allocated to them. This is quite different to being employed and working in-house too. Let me explain in a little more detail:

• VAs do work their own agendas – A VA does sometimes like to work evenings or late-night hours on occasion. Or sometimes he/she just likes to split the schedule up throughout the day. Instead of putting in a solid 8 hours work day and then going home, VA’s work on their own timetable.

• Less training – When you are working with a VA, you often do not need to “train” a VA on a particular process. In fact, that’s part of the benefit of using a VA. All you need to do is express your required outcome and your VA will deliver the end result with some guidance according to your brief.

• Specific Expertise – Most VAs tend to specialise into their niche or skills that they excel at and focus on using those skills. As VAs work with multiple clients they will advance into being quite knowledgeable and gain skills into many programs and be continuously learning.

 

But are there limits?

It can be most advantageous to work with your well-qualified VA but there are a few things to bear in mind, of course:

• You aren’t their only client – Your VA will have other clients. That means they may not always be able to get your job done straight away when you need it done. You do not get to pick your priority as their priorities for them, like you would be able to do as if they were your employee.

• Hiring a VA is like hiring a good employee – It can sometimes take time to nurture your right fit. Whether it’s communication or natural skills, you both need to work at it with each other and that doesn’t always happen easily. Don’t give up. Communication is key.

• This isn’t Trial and Error – While you may not have to do as much training with a virtual assistant as you do with an employee, they aren’t able to jump right in and take over your detailed work without some set up on your part either. Get your lists and systems together so you can help them help you.

• Don’t expect everything – As mentioned above, many VAs do have an area of specialism or a niche. However, they may not cover an aspect of work that you may want to cover. You can expect them to undertake training, if they wish to do so. You may want another VA to undertake that piece of work – that’s also fine. Work with multiple virtual assistants so that you can get the job done by the best person for the job.

• Your VA – Your Business Administration – Some VAs do not have experience in business and may not be able to advise you how to manage your business. Your VA will deal with your instruction and for your administrative or specialty work only based on your booking form/contract only.

 

How Do I make it Work with My VA?

These are some important points that you can undertake to enhance the working process with your VA:

• Communicate Well – If your written word isn’t your best way to communicate, send verbal messages instead and then have them written down so they can be referred to at a later date. Or, better yet, schedule a weekly call to share new tasks and projects. Bear in mind that your calls and emails may be time-tracked.

• Provide as much detail as possible – Usernames and passwords should all be securely verified before they are shared (or use a system like LastPass that allows you to share without full access). Ensure you provide the appropriate deadline for example. Is there anything specific that you or your VA needs?

• Review and provide feedback – Working with a new VA takes a little time to get to know one another and needs some adjustment. With each project, ensure that you review the work and provide your VA with your feedback. What worked? What didn’t? Are there any little changes you’d like to see for the next project?

• Delegate don’t abandon – Ensure that you agree with your VA what level of communication is appropriate between you. You may want to touch base weekly or perhaps fortnightly depending on the task in hand with a simple email.

• No need to micro-manage – On the other extreme, don’t manage every aspect of the process. Your VA is an independent business owner in their own right. Allow them to do what you are paying them to do.

 

A Mutually Profitable Future…

As long as you have thought about your process, what you need to delegate, discussed it in your discovery call and provided your brief with your VA, then you have taken the necessary steps to liaise appropriately with your VA to have a mutually profitable future.

You are more than able to feasibly save up to 5 to 30 hours a week that will open you up to develop on expanding your business or even spending more leisure time or family time perhaps…

If you are looking to hire a virtual assistant and would like help with the entire process, consider checking out NottmVA. I would be delighted to hear from you and talk you through your social media and/or business administration. If you would like to receive a copy of the Top Ten Tips for Freelancers – please select it here: Top Ten Tips

 

Blogging, GDPR, ICO, VA, Virtual Assistant

A major concern of outsourcing to £10.00 per hour workers can kill your business…if you do not recognise the implications and act on it now!

Angela Brown | NottmVA

 

Data Security
Photograph courtesy of Jo Welch Photography

Many Sole Traders inadvertently outsource their work or tasks to a more economical source. In my niche (or target market/audience) of Health, Wellbeing and the Medical sector, whilst dealing with Special Category Data, this is the most common and costly mistake you could ever make!

Here is an explanation as to why, and what you should really be doing instead.

 

Special Category Data: Personal, Sensitive details

By outsourcing your admin work to a £10.00 per hour worker might seem like a perfect solution to you at the time, and you may think that you’re getting a job done for half the pay, or a third of the cost perhaps, but there are reasons for that:

 

Virtual Assistants who are either self-employed (or could also be Ltd) who provide you with invoices and have been in business for extensive amounts of time, have taken specialist training, and more importantly have registered with the ICO and the HMRC with their businesses and of course, have the appropriate business insurances, public liability and some may even have cyber data loss insurance too!

 

—o0o—

 

VA Rate Courtesy of VIPVA.org
VA Rate courtesy of vipva.org

Would your £10.00 per hour admin person with their wage, after taking on board for example, to pay for the tax and NI deductions, their secure systems and subscriptions that are needed to keep yours and your clients’ data secure, the relevant insurances mentioned above, the compliances, the costs for their own training and marketing costs and the wear/tear and utilities costs and so on.  Let alone any profit!?! Once all of that has been taken out of their £10.00 per hour cost – what on earth are they left with to live on?  It just doesn’t make good business sense! But more importantly, how are you or your clients’ data being protected?

You may need to question this.  You can check the ICO Register here: https://ico.org.uk/ESDWebPages/search/ to see if your workers’ invoices for your special category data are registered for processing or controlling yours or your clients’ data.

I liaise regularly with my IT Consultant for GDPR to ensure that my software and systems are secure and up-to-date.

Here you can see a graphic provided from VIPVA.org that illustrates the true take-home pay of a Virtual Assistant and this is based on the 2017-2018 tax year’s hourly rate of £25.00 per hour.  Interesting figures huh? 

 

But what if I like my Worker? 

There are ways around this, of course.  If your worker is not registered, with either the HMRC and/or the ICO, then, of course, there are a couple of options.

You will need to either a) employ them or b) the worker will need to become self-employed (or Ltd) and invoice you accordingly.

If you employ them then you will need to be liable for their holiday pay, pension pay, and everything else that is associated with employment law and there is an abundance of information out there that will support you with that.

If your worker then decides to register as self-employed and you then receive invoices as you outsource work to them as their Virtual Assistant, then the Virtual Assistant or Freelancer will need to have immediate ICO registration and appropriate GDPR and special category data training in order to protect both your data and more importantly your clients’ data as they will have access to confidential and sensitive information.

I use a company called KoffeeKlatch for this very specialist training.

There is also the option of asking your freelance worker to undertake some VA training.  At the beginning of my PA to VA journey I joined a comprehensive training programme that taught me how to run a business and how to use my existing skills and trained me to use my passion and skills that I utilize in my business today.

 

What if I think a mistake has been made?

If you feel that mistakes have been made in your business, either by you, your practice or your work, of course, you are obligated to report a breach to the ICO to protect your business and your clients and you only have a limited time to do this under the rules and guidance that is provided with the GDPR.

If you have breached your clients’ data to someone that should not have it, then you will need to provide to the ICO your examples of what has been breached, how it was breached and solutions as to how it will not happen again – all within their small window of reporting schedule.

 

What if I want to Outsource my admin work to someone else? 

If you would feel like the time has come to complete your current contract that you have with your worker, then, of course, your written existing contract will explain how you give notice to your existing worker. If you do not have a contract then I can highly recommend Koffeeklatch VA Contracts.

If you would like to work with an experienced Virtual Assistant, that is passionate about their own ethics and morals, and understands how to work with their own security, data and has good business ethics and acumen and is confident about working with your data and your client’s Special Category Data then, by all means, contact Angela at NottmVA.

 

Nottingham Virtual Assistant

 

 

In the openness of transparency, I am affiliated with Koffeeklatch and VIP PA.

Marketing Support from Michelle Ibbs

 

Blogging, GDPR, Networking, New Business, VA, Virtual Assistant

How do you Protect Yourself From a Potential ICO Threat?

How Do You Protect Yourself From A Potential ICO Threat?

ICO NottmVA

Angela Brown | 2018

As a small business, you are registered with the HMRC and with the ICO as a data controller and/or processor right, RIGHT?

It is important to ensure that you have got your policies and processes set up and you have undertaken the necessary training and that your paperwork in order, that’s a given. If you need to, you can look for the necessary business contracts via KoffeeKlatch who are an excellent source for all your GDPR business matters are and have legal experts on board to guide you through all the legal jargon.

Only you, as the lead in your business and the expert in your field, know how to undertake your business to its ultimate, as a freelancer have to convey to your client how to proceed with a particular task, but they have been doing something one way, and you need to be assertive in doing that something a different way or enforce something, it can be a bit tricky.

Let me give you an example:

If your client was sending documents to a client (let’s say client A) with an attachment that contained sensitive data with details of name, date of birth and bank details etc, and your client happened to send the wrong PDF document to the client (let’s say client B), you would then be in an ICO breach position and have to report this incident as another client would have had access to another person’s data and you would have to write up a process of how the incident occurred and how you would rectify it, and how it would never happen again – all within 48 hours.

The Solution

If you had a policy and process in place that you ensured that your client A (and their employees) had all of their PDF documents password-protected with each client’s own preferred passwords (by separate means, not via email), that if the wrongly-sent document from Client B with Client B’s password on was sent to Client A, if Client A tried to open with Client A’s password, and could not open because of the process in place. Then there is only an error made that needs to be rectified, and a breach avoided.

It is imperative that as a small business yourself you are following correct procedures and processes and ensure that as a data controller and processor that any work you undertake as a freelancer that you are compliant with work that you do not only for yourself but for others too.
If you need source PDF documents password-protecting then NottmVA can undertake that service for you. Please email for your enquiries.

NottmVA

 

New Business, VA, Virtual Assistant

How do You or Your Business get Paid???

How Do You Ensure You or Your Business Gets Paid?

Angela Brown | 19 September 2018

How Do I Get Paid
Be Structured, Not Stressed!

 

What is the First thing to do?

Soooooo, you’ve got your client to agree to your business proposal – Hooray! Now, what do you do? You’ve taken the brief already, so you know what your client wants to be done, as you’ve sent a written proposal and it’s been accepted so you now have a starting point.  You now need to formalise the proposal into your booking form or contract.

 

Preparing the Contract

You can now prepare your Booking Form. This is where you create your formal process. Your talking relationship and process now becomes the contract so to speak. Your finer points are now written down into your Description of Services within your Booking Form to be undertaken so it is clear what is to be provided between you and your client.  As this is your document that will be signed, ensure that it is specific, or you can link it back to your proposal if you wish.

 

What Quality Standards are in place?

Have you provided a process as to how the work will be monitored or measured?  How will you know well you are doing a job well done? There should be a provision in your contract to liaise with your clients regularly to undertake your quality standards of some description that will ensure that your client can review your work at regular agreed intervals.

 

What Terms have been specified?

It’s a good idea to specify what your hours of working are going to be and what your fees are.  You will need to specify any Out of Hours charges, Urgent Work rates and Retainer fees too.  Of course, do not forget that Retainer payments are to be collated up-front and ensure that your booking form reflects this.

Payment terms are a must here, along with your preferred method of payment. It’s important to specify all this information right at the beginning of your business relationship prior to commencing any work that you do for your client, to ensure that your contract is clear and precise.  Have you specified whether any Late Payment fees will be incurred and whether you will charge for any Bank or PayPal fees/charges?  Most freelancers do, it is a common practice.

 

Finding the right Contact

One thing that is important is to find out who is the bill payer.  The person you are dealing with as your client is not necessarily always the bill payer.  Make sure you ask.  Are you dealing with a sole trader or a small business entrepreneur?  If it is someone else in a small business or an accounts team, make the effort to make a courtesy call to them when you have taken on the signed contract and introduce yourself to them.

Business Cards

Send them some of your branded material if you have some, and get on first name terms with them, it is helpful later on down the line – if you ever come to need them to chase for YOUR money!  It’s better to speak with ‘Jane in accounts’ than ‘Accounts’ when you need that £500 you need to pay your bills at the end of the month.

Ensure you have provided all your contact details so you are available by every way your client needs to get hold of you to enable the task/job to be completed. If they need your phone number, ensure they have it along with your email and your social media links. You do not want them to say they tried to get hold of you to try to pay your bill, and you could not be reached.

 

The Invoicing Process

So, you get your signed contract returned and this is now the appropriate time for you to send your invoice out.  You can then send your invoice to the named ‘Bill Payer’.  Remember it is to the bill payer, not the named client necessarily – there may be different people who are responsible for settling payment of your accounts, than those who deal with the purchase/sales of any business transactions.

You need to specify how many hours, products or services etc on your Invoice and what tasks/projects are going to be undertaken and for what costs were agreed in the contract on your Invoice and specify the date of the contract you are referring to so that it is all linking back to each document. You can see what is happening here, can’t you?

In summary: The Proposal links to the Booking Form/Contract. The Contract links to the Invoice. The Invoice links to the Client’s Order Number (if you have one). The invoice has your payment terms and preferred method of payment on it, which again should reflect what you specified in your contract.

In essence, make it easy for your client to be able to pay you. Is there a link to be able to pay you directly or is there a sort code and account number clearly identified on the invoice or other means to be able to pay you that you prefer?

 

You Undertake the Job in Hand

So, you get on with the job in hand and complete it to its satisfaction.  BUT STOP!  Was it a retainer?  Was it paid up front?  All retainer projects are paid up front, that’s a given.  If that was in your contract why did you start the work without the payment?  You don’t buy anything online without paying for it first do you?  Well, most things anyway.

This is why you spend so much time on your contract.  The detail is in the administration.  If you do not think you can do this or are too busy to undertake these tasks, or it is out of your skill set, hire a Virtual Assistant to do this for you. These types of tasks can be one-off ad-hoc tasks that VAs can undertake for you.  If you are undertaking tasks that are ad hoc and require manual timing and are going to be billed at the end of the month, then you can ask for a deposit which will be paid UP-FRONT and you can then invoice for the remainder accordingly.

If your client is a first-time client and your project isn’t a retainer, then you can word your contract accordingly so that you ask for a deposit also.

 

Waiting for the Payment

You have sent your invoice and wait patiently and have specified your terms.  Whether it is Payment By Return, 7 days, 14 days or whatever your required terms are, and the time period has passed, and you have had no response.  Yikes! You are providing a service or product that requires you to keep deadlines or time free for other clients too and this means that you are a) losing that time because you could have spent that time working on another client’s work b) produced another product for another client c) utilised/managed the time differently on other projects, accounts, social media marketing and so on.

Whatever the reason, you have put time aside in your month for this work and you have not received your payment, so what do you do?
If you have followed all of the steps above, and you have had a good relationship with your client and/or Jane in the accounts department then all should be well.  Your preparation and administration should keep you in good stead.  Speak to your client, your business-relationship should be your first point of call.  Pick up the phone, a gentle nudge is maybe all that is needed.

A hectic lifestyle sometimes just gets in the way.  Did an email go in the ‘junk mail’ perhaps, has someone had a bereavement and just not been around a computer to see any notifications, there are many reasons that someone may have reasons not to have paid you.

 

What if I Do Not Get Paid?

When you have had the obligatory phone calls, you’ve nudged and not had the responses that you need and you have asked for a payment by the end of the week as your invoice is still showing as unpaid and you need to diarise the work into your schedule otherwise you are going to lose the timeframe, are your doubts creeping in?

Have you looked at what accounting package you use?  Can this assist you at all?  Does it look professional?  Have you sent a manual document or a slip of paper?  Can your accounting package send reminder invoices to prompt your client so that you can create a little distance between you and your client so as not to ruin any business relationship you have?  Have you considered sending a reminder letter if your gentle prompts and reminders are failing?  There are invoice payment reminders and a series of reminders that can be sent, again another service that your Virtual Assistant can provide for you and send on your behalf.

 

But what if I Fly?

What you’re really aiming for is to get your invoices paid.  If you have done all of your groundwork and the preparation that is needed, then it really should be a matter of how you maintain your business relationships initially in the lead up to gaining your contracts and how you then pursue the process.

Once you have received the payment you can then undertake the job at hand.

 

Undertaking the Work

Hooray!  This is the easy part, isn’t it? You get the work done and submit it.  You ‘Wow’ your client and then ensure you get your repeat business and just do it all over again!

Nottingham Virtual Assistant

Networking, New Business, Virtual Assistant

How Do I Get New Business?

NottmVA New BusinessHow Do I Get New Business? – It’s something I’m often asked as a Virtual Assistant.

As a small business or sole trader, it’s hard to make yourself heard isn’t it, or to get your face seen above the heads bobbing up and down in that sea that is competing for business that is out there.

But there is a way to be heard, there is a way to be seen, you just have to work at it. You have to be determined. You have to have that fire in your belly! You have to have that passion and that desire. You have to want to succeed. Well, you have to pay the bills, don’t you?

How do you do it?

What you do NOT want to do, is offer free trials.  Why?  Well, it lowers your business-worth.  You may offer a free initial 1-hour telephone consultation to obtain the brief from your client to obtain information to enable you to do the job in the first place – this is good practice.  You are a business, a freelancer and are offering a good service/product that is in demand.  If a trial is required, then it should be a paid trial with a contract and terms of business provided.

You need to show your presence.  Have you got yourself a logo or brand to identify yourself? Has this been replicated in business cards to leave with people at networking meetings? When you network with others, you will want to leave them with something to remember you by.

Whether this is a business card, a pack of mints or some other form of promotional material, or you simply develop a document detailing your services whilst you get yourself up and running, it is a start.

Ensure that you have a website.  This is the first place your clients are going to look once you have given out your business card and the place they will go and check you out!  You need to have some credibility.  Even if you at least have a simple landing page with your contact details on – it is somewhere for someone to go and look at what you say you can offer them to reinforce your message.  Do not make your website homepage all about you, make sure you tell the reader what you can offer them.  The reader needs to know how you can make things easier for them and how you can help them.

Are you Networking?

Another way of showing your presence is to network to meet your peers, colleagues and guess, what? Potential new clients.  It’s something that we all ‘gulp’ at the first time around – but it DOES WORK.  There are different options such as the BNI and 4N Networking.  These are only a couple of options on offer, there are many, many networking groups on offer and you will need to find what works for you.  They will offer different styles of meetings and payment plans too giving variations of a formal referring-style option and relaxed friendly alternatives.

Are you Good At What You Do?

When online or offline, can you show others that you speak authoritatively?  Do you write about your endeavours such as blogs, articles, newsletters or written in groups or comment on other’s posts or articles on websites for example?  Are you known in your industry for your product or service or have you created something that is renowned for what you do, are you certificated for it, these are all things that you need to be talking to people about or getting known for?

Have you undertaken any industry training that makes you a specialist at what you do? This is something that again, can make you an authoritative speaker in groups or blogs and you can make an impact on this through communication with others and helping beginners in your field.

What’s next?

The next thing is to get yourself across all of the social media platforms such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram for example. Your clients will be on some of these, not all but they will be browsing some of them and you will not know which ones, so it is a good idea to be on them at some point.  If you can post on them at some point, preferably consistently, then you will reach them at some point or other.  If you would like to know the best times to post then you can read about it on this blog.

 

Should I respond to advertised job postings on Social Media?

There are, occasionally, job adverts posted on social media groups that can prove quite lucrative, but you need to know how to choose them and where to find them and how to source them.  This comes from knowing your niche and your target audience.  If you do not know how to start to help a potential client, you can read about that here.

If a position has been advertised publicly on a Facebook group, for example, you can believe that the ‘world and his wife’ (or husband), will have seen it and there will be hundreds of applications for it with plenty of skills and expertise going.

Not to say, that you don’t have the skill and expertise to fly to the moon.  So, apply for it anyway!  So, if you feel you have Nasa experience then go for it, by all means but, it is better for you to develop your own way of ‘job-sourcing’ by searching for your ideal client by either looking in your Twitter lists, your LinkedIn Client groups or by your own targeted sales network links from your own networking. Or, contact your colleagues, tell everyone you are looking for new clients, contact your own list, your ex-employees.  Be proactive!

So, having undertaken the tasks of finding your niche and your target market or audience, you should be in a better position of knowing where to locate your search for who is your ideal client. Yes – your IDEAL CLIENT. What a fab position to now be in!

If you need a Virtual Assistant for your New Business to undertake your administration now that you have too many clients,

email NottmVA.

NottmVA
Be Structured, Not Stressed
Facebook Marketing, Networking, Social Media, VA, Virtual Assistant

How Can I Help You, When You Have No Idea What You Want?

NottmVA Help and SupportHow Can I Help You, When You Have No Idea What You Want?

This is a regular topic that is mentioned to me.  I know I need help, but I don’t know what I need!  I approached someone only last week, to be told I’m so busy, I need your help, but how can you help me?  Does this sound like someone that has contacted you?  Oh yes!

I need to address this pretty darn quick otherwise I will have lost my lead that I have worked so hard to find and engage with.  Of course, I don’t yet know their business, or do I?  If they are in my niche and my target-market – and perhaps they should be – if I’m doing my marketing correctly, then I should know something about their industry, well maybe a little, then I will have a vague idea about something that they will need.  So, we have a beginning to work from.

 

Where does my Client begin?

To work out what you need to start doing, there are three ways of doing this.  What you need to do is look at which option you prefer – but essentially, they all work out the same to bring you to the same result.  Then you will have ‘your beginning’.

So, let’s start: Firstly, you would need to undertake the following:

 

Option 1
• Write down everything you would do for approximately 3 days
• Highlight in yellow only everything that you would do and only you can do
• Highlight in green only things that you would do and can keep doing but ‘could’ hand over to a VA later
• Then write down everything else that can be delegated and outsourced to your VA

or

Option 2
• Take the time to put down everything that you would undertake that takes you more than half an hour.
• With your highlighter, mark-up things that you do not like doing or do not need to do yourself.
• When you are ready – you can then put down the things you do not ‘want’ to do or do not really have the time to get round to.

or

Option 3

Let me know the following:

• Advise me what tasks are on your ‘long-term’ To-Do list. This is your shuffle list, your ‘I don’t get around To Do’ing’ list as other work gets in the way list (ha ha)
• What would you do immediately if you had more time?
• How many emails do you have in your inbox?
• Do you follow-up with your clients?
• Have you any testimonials or references from your clients
• How often do you connect with your clients/potential clients on social media or reinforce those relationships?
• How do you market your clients, and do you have enough of them?
• Do you manage your time effectively and do you apply your time to your clients appropriately giving them the best service and after-care they need?
• Can you delegate/outsource any of your tasks to your VA to allow you to undertake any of these tasks or to undertake any of these tasks?

 

Why do I need my Virtual Assistant?

As a potential client of a Virtual Assistant (VA), you need to return to your core business ethics. What it is you went into business for.

What is your passion?

What is it that you really love about your business.

What do you love doing?

As this is what you need to convey to your VA. You need your VA to share that passion and ethic and take it on board for you and treat your company as if it were their own.

You are working with a Virtual Assistant because you want to save time, reduce costs and possibly save your sanity, I think?!

It’s well-known that Virtual Assistants are time-served time-management ‘geeky’ organised people that just love to do all things ‘Virtual’ and are happy to help and get stuck in and organise, so what better to do this at a more cost-effective rate, freeing up your time allowing you to just get on with the matters at hand!

What are you waiting for?  Block some time out in your calendar to undertake one of the options above, and contact me via email or Linkedin so that we can arrange a mutually convenient time to discuss what it is that YOU need help with.  After all, you now know, don’t you?

 

Blogging, Email Marketing, Facebook Marketing, Networking, Social Media

Virtual Weekly – The Midweek Breather!

Virtual Weekly E:MagVirtual Weekly – Your Midweek Breather! 

It’s hard going week in, week out isn’t it when you’re trying to run your business and keep up to date with everything going on?  Have you signed up to receive your copy of Virtual Weekly?

 

What is it? 

It is a fab mid-week breather to let you know about all the biz facts about apps, news in the industry and a few fun things too that might, just might be of interest to you…

 

If you would like to receive a copy and/or contribute or even be included so that you’re distributed to a mailing list around the country, well actually worldwide, so sign up too and get this winging it’s way to your inbox too!

 

When will I get it? 

Virtual Weekly comes out mid-week on a Wednesday and is there for you to put your feet up in the afternoon with a cuppa, or when you’re travelling home in the afternoon on the bus/train/tram, so you can have a nosey about what’s going on in the world of tech/virtual/biz.

 

Don’t miss this week!

You’re not too late to get this week’s edition if you’re quick!  If you want to get hold of past editions, then message me and I can get those sent to you too.

 

Virtual Weekly Sign UP

Thank you

Angela