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, 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

 

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

 

 

 

Facebook Marketing, VA

FACEBOOK: DO’s & DON’Ts

FACEBOOK DO’S AND DON’TS

It’s always difficult to know what to post and what not to post, isn’t it?  Well, that depends on your audience, your target market, so to speak and of course your work ethic as well.  Are you going to always be ‘businessy’? Are you going to be work-related, chatty, are you a B2B, B2C, are you a trader, a Mum VIP business, or something quite different that can be quite laid-back?  That’s where you have to think about how you want to gauge how your posting is going to be written and how you want to be heard.

This Facebook ‘Do’s and Don’ts’ infographic just gives a few little guidelines as to what the usual etiquette is and should be to get your posts seen and heard for the common sense approach across the broad range of industries and target markets, but of course, only you know your sector and should refine that to your audience.

FACEBOOK DOs AND DON'Ts

If you would like to have your Facebook marketing undertaken a little more frequently than you have the time for, then let me do that for you, just find me on Facebook, Insta, Twitter, LinkedIn or email me for an enquiry for one of my packages to cater to your needs.

 

Networking, Social Media, Uncategorized, VA, Virtual Assistant

What is a Virtual Assistant?

 

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What is a Virtual Assistant – The Basics

So, what is a Virtual Assistant, as people often look at me quizzically, so I thought I would try to explain it a little.

 

The Definition

I’m not ‘almost’ or ‘nearly’ there, as the Oxford dictionary describes ‘Virtual’, but an online self-employed version of the traditional PA who provides business support to SMEs and sole traders.

 A Virtual Assistant or VA generally works from a home office or remotely and the services provided vary from VA to VA depending on the skill-set but are usually social-media led, administration or technological based. 

 

How Many Clients does a VA have? 

A Virtual Assistant would only hold a small number of business clients so as to ensure that the number of hours provided to each are provided professionally, with clear set boundaries and delivered on time.

 

What Skills does a VA require? 
The skill-set that each business would use would depend on their need at any one time.  The business may have a secretary in the office, but may have sickness, annual leave and/or surplus work at the time – that’s where a VA comes into play.  Or indeed, you may just utilise a VA permanently and only outsource your work for the set hours you need.  Skills such as audio transcription, social media management, event planning, website monitoring, document creation, presentations, mail merge etc. Which VA you decide to work with will depend on the skill-set you choose.

 

How Do You Keep In Touch?
How do you keep in touch?  Well, technology is great these days, isn’t it?  Each client has their own preferences, so it is entirely up to you. You can choose; email, telephone, Skype, a Zoom call or even face-to-face if you prefer to work with a VA in your local area – however, face-to -ace meetings will be at a higher rate for onsite help, of course.

There are other services such as proof-reading available, along with the face-to-face meetings which do demand a premium rate along with the standard rate skills mentioned above.

 

Summary

I hope this has made things a little more clearer and you now understand the workings of a Virtual Assistant.  So in essence, you have a remote online freelancer for a VA who is technically skilled to work on your tasks that you have outsourced to allow you to focus on more cost-effective matters in hand. 

As you're a business colleague, you may wish to receive the Virtual Weekly E-Mag!  It will give you biz tips, information, quick fixes and Smart Tips on how to help you through your week - what more could you ask for!  Get this here.