Having 5 Great Tips for your Business is essential when you have a holiday looming. Especially if your business is working well and your client-work is coming in nicely. Are you running smoothly for ‘that’ family holiday which may be creeping up! Your family are muttering that you need to buy this, pack that, but you’re putting the inevitable to the back of your To-Do list, and mind. Oh no!
It’s your business that will suffer if you don’t schedule something! Whether it’s your annual summer holiday or the festive period or a half-term break with the children, the planning will be the same if you adopt a simple process.
I can speak from experience – It wasn’t a holiday that I had to undertake major planning for, but an illness, unfortunately. Disaster Planning can affect not only illness for yourself, but for your partner’s illness. A family member being ill or even a domestic crisis such as an accident or technical issues can put your business behind.
Last year I was quite ill for several weeks. But, because I had a number of mechanisms in place, my clients didn’t really get to hear about it. I had backups in place. I was ill from early in December. Right up until the end of January I was panicking that I wouldn’t be well enough for a special event in my life, which was not great, I can tell you.
It’s not like being employed, you can’t just ‘take time off’ and stay at home and sleep off the illness. As a freelancer or sole trader, it’s a little different, you are obligated to contact your clients. It’s essential to keep them updated and give them options as to what they would like to do with the options available and what suggestions you put forward to them.
I have given you 5 Great Tips to ensure that they will keep you and your business running smoothly during your holiday period to giving maximum output for both productivity and efficiency for yourself and your clients:
5 GREAT TIPS
The most important is that you take time to relax and rest on your holiday.
You need to have a Disaster Recovery Plan. This is your backup plan, your ‘what-if’. What if the laptop breaks down, what if I can’t get hold of this product for my salon, what if I lose a client, will my finances cover my outgoings?
Can you delegate any of your tasks and processes to anyone to ensure that you can relax whilst on your holiday? Can you prepare this in advance of your holiday and prepare any contracts for this and advise your clients who is going to be working on their projects during this time.
Ensure that you schedule your social media posts to continue whilst you are on your holiday as it is important to keep your visibility well, visible. Marketing only works well, if you do this consistently, as we all know.
Set up your Out of Office and filter your emails accordingly. It’s also a great idea to use an email signature-stamp too. Be consistent with your imagery and branding to create some consistency across all of your social media platforms.
These are only a few of many, many tips that are available from NottmVAto keep you time-managed, productive and efficient in the running of your business. It is a well-known fact that it is essential to have down-time from your business to not only spend time with your family and loved ones but to be refreshed, focussed and come back to your business with new ideas and new energy.
I have contractsthat I send to my clients for both GDPR compliance and also for booking forms and Terms and Conditions with follow-up support, that is great for that ever-forgiving disaster recovery plan.
I use all of the tips mentioned above (and many more) as I wouldn’t want to have ‘that’ telephone call with my clients to let them know that I wouldn’t be able to complete a deadline – would you?
Would you prefer to watch and listen to this blog post rather than read it? Then you can do by following this link.
If you need to delegate any of your administration and social media support so you can enjoy your forthcoming holidays please contact NottmVA for further information.
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?
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?
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?
Then 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.
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 £99offercould 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 emailme 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.
How 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:
• 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
• 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.
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?
The need to be mobile comes in many forms these days.
As a Virtual Assistant, there is a requirement to be flexible: there are many clients, different industry sectors, all with differing requirements too, so it’s quite a skill to get the balance right.
Having numerous years of experience with event management companies, the NHS, brand agencies, blue-chip companies, the legal sector etc, I have a broad knowledge to draw upon.
You’re also needed to catch up with clients via the mobile telephone, meetings, networking of course – to maintain those all important connections and then you have to knuckle up and actually get your work done! Oh, it’s a hard life huh?
Who is it For?
A Virtual Assistant is for businesses that probably cannot afford or do not need a full-time employee at the moment and a self-employed VA can offer a flexible alternative. A Virtual Assistant can be hired for your administration duties, sales calls or social media management when needed but not necessarily when business is slow.
I do have a desk for my ‘work stuff’, I do like to sit and work quietly, as I can concentrate on what I’m doing: but I can just as easily work in a coffee shop, a co-working office space, by the pool, on a train, well, anywhere really – that’s the beauty and flexibility of being a VA.
The technology is available to allow you to work in a mobile arena these days now and its great that I can encrypt my hardware and software that I know I am safe and secure with mine and my clients’ data, to be able to work in such a way that work can be undertaken around both the client’s and my commitments – a win/win!
If you would like to know more about the need to be mobile and would like us to manage your admin and social media by hiring a Virtual Assistant, or want to work with me as an Associate VA then contact me or by using the contact form on the website.
What do 10 Steps to a Perfect VA Involve? Well, 10 Steps of course!
The first one is self-explanatory, you need to introduce yourself to the big wide web or rather, market yourself. This means marketing yourself across all social media platforms, creating yourself a web presence, fully filling out your Facebook page, LinkedIn profile, Insta, Twitter, Pinterest and so on.
The next step is then the Team. Team? I hear you ask, there is no I in Team! Haha, well, of course, being a lone worker is no fun, is it? In my journey in becoming a VA, it was important to me to earn my stripes so to speak, so I undertook some Approved training, and this allowed me to join a fabulous group of VAs and an ongoing group afterwards which provides support, mentoring and social events too! There is, of course, the ultimate requirement for ‘getting yourself out there’, – Networking! You need to ‘be seen’. It is imperative to network with the appropriate groups for your niche, and I’ll come to that later.
Moving to 10 Steps to a VA – Point 3, we have a ‘Problem’. What is the problem that you are trying to solve for your client? Is it really a problem, or is it just ongoing work that needs doing? You need to discuss with your client what their requirements are and what you can do for them.
On to Step 4, we have the Advantages. This is where you can make a difference. How are you special? What makes your service a ‘cut above the rest’? What can you do that is that little bit extra, what do you do that goes the extra mile? There are many Virtual Assistants nationwide and we all work remotely, so our client base can and do choose VAs from any location, so you need to have something that comes from your advantage-base.
Step 5 of the 10 Steps to a VA gives us the Solution. A solution already? Well, you need to let your client know how you are going to solve their problem, or at least come up with some proposals in the discussion. This will be the format of the proposal prior to your booking form, terms of business and if necessary your data processing form.
Your product in Step 6, goes on to you showing how your product or service actually comes into play. How do you undertake your services? Are you on-site? Are you remote? Is it both? What services do you offer, what don’t you offer and so on.
Your market – Step 7 – You need to know your market or your audience. This seems to be a bug-bear for many new VAs. It is important to try to find a niche or target-market for yourself. You need to look at your skill-set, previous employment sectors, interests etc and hone this down as to who you would LIKE to work with and it will come eventually. You need to create your niche then marketing to your target market becomes easier as the ‘big wide web’ is too big to market to everyone!
In a way, Step 8, Competition is a little like Step 4 looking at how you are different to others, but here you need to look at your competition with more focus. Once you have established your difference from step 4 then you can see how your competition applies it, and become competitive in your own arena and marketplace and now you have created your niche, (you have got your niche, now haven’t you?) you are in the perfect place to hold your own.
Step 9 – The Business Model. This is where you look at how you are planning to make money. You will have looked at your rates, broken down the value of your hourly rate, what percentage is going to pay for your taxes, holiday pay, insurances, training, registrations and so on and so on. You then need to create a schedule for when you expect your revenues to come in – your business plan.
Finally, Step 10 – Investing. What are you planning for? What are your budgets? What finances are your looking for? You need to have planned for all of this. If you had planned well, and like myself, had taken some training, this was all covered in your VA training modules, so you will be fully prepared to be set on your way by now.
Hopefully, you have enjoyed reading through my 10 Steps to a VA and it has prepared you to venture out to make the appropriate moves in your ongoing journey to becoming a great Virtual Assistant.
If you need any help in anything Virtual Assistant, please comment or email me for further information.
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.
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.
For too many years that I can remember I have worked for various companies as an Administrative clerk, Secretary and PA, working my way up the ladder so to speak and trying to find success in the highest position available in my ‘trade’. I raised my family whilst working, as I was a single parent for the majority of years and learned how to become very organized; juggling a household, finances and learned how to balance the work/life balance to its utmost!
As time moved on, my family flew the nest and I concentrated on developing my career. I moved into the care sector – still writing reports, admin skills being at the fore, proofreading, typing, negotiation skills and so on until I chose to have a cycling holiday to watch the Tour de France in 2010 to break away from it all. I barely got to the front of the railings, I had a non-cycling accident and broke 3 vertebrae and spent the next few weeks in hospital in France. All I remember is asking for my Dad and children and wanting to come home.
My attitude to life changed following that point as I went through investigations to see if I was going to be paralysed, walk again, recover from the excruciating pain I was in and I just wanted to be at home with my family.
As I was granted this second chance of life, I knew that I needed a life-plan. I knew that my life was not all about throwing my ‘all’ into my work until I dropped and was gasping for the one and only holiday of the year.
How have I changed? Since that accident, I have worked towards spending time with people I want to be with, raising my family to be happy, healthy, fun people and I am happy they are living their own lives and raising their own families now, I have changed my working ethos from being employed to taking a journey from PA to VA, so I now have the flexibility of working around my family, my life and my commitments. I spend my time with my children, my loving, ever supportive partner, my extended family and last but not least my gorgeous Grandson!
If you want to take advantage of my Virtual Assistant services, then head on over to my website NottmVA for ways to contact me for a free confidential chat/brief for ways on how I can help you delegate your tasks so that you can have some work/life balance too!
Providing business administration so you don’t have to!
So, what is a Virtual Assistant, as people often look at me quizzically, so I thought I would try to explain it a little.
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.
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.
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