Category Archives: Virtual Assistant

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Short on Time? Hire a Virtual Assistant

For entrepreneurs, hiring a Virtual Assistant may give them a better understanding of the value of time. Entrepreneurs are risk-takers by nature. They like to be at the driver’s seat and chart the course toward entrepreneurial success. They are driven, passionate and will do everything they can to achieve their business ambitions.

And that is why many entrepreneur- driven businesses close shop within 5 years time.

In business, it’s not the amount of time you spend but what you do with the time available that matters more. If you’re putting in 14 hour work days but only 2 of those hours are focused on core functions, how is that helping your business?

Here’s a short checklist. Go over them carefully and give proper insight. If you answer “Yes” to most of these questions then you are not managing your time properly:

  1. Do you find yourself doing too much administrative work? (E-mail filtering, phone handling, calendar management, appointment setting, bills payment)
  2. Are you constantly behind deadlines?
  3. Do you have to say “No” to opportunities because you can no longer accept new clients?
  4. Do you spend time learning new skills because your business requires them?
  5. Do you accomplish less than 3 major tasks per day?
  6. Do you wish you could spend more time with your friends and family?
  7. Do you wish you could have more time to take care of your health?
  8. Are you frequently stressed out or feeling overwhelmed?
  9. Do you find yourself “dreaming” of expanding your business?
  10. Do you sometimes think 24 hours in a day is never enough?
  11. Are you disappointed with the size of your bank account?
  12.  Do you get less than 7 hours of sleep a night?

All of these are experiences and incidents that could lead to opportunity cost for your business.

By hiring a Virtual Assistant, you will be able to manage time more effectively and make each day more productive through the following ways:

Delegate Non- Essential Tasks – Write down all the tasks that are needed to be done in your business. Categorize them as “core” and “non-core”. “Core” tasks are those that are directly related to the main enterprise of your business. “Non-Core” are supportive or administrative tasks. Delegate non-core tasks to your Virtual Assistant.

Identify Your Goals – The night before, identify at least 3 main goals that you want to accomplish the following day. These 3 goals must be realistic, attainable and measurable.

Start Your Day Earlier – Now that you are free of administrative tasks, you can start your day earlier and fresher. You can attend to the main business at hand because you are no longer tasked with filtering e-mail or taking phone calls. You might even get to enjoy your coffee for the first time since your business started!

Organize Your Work – Meet with your Virtual Assistant and organize your work schedule. Your VA can help arrange all your meetings and remind you of upcoming deadlines. You no longer have to rush work and compromise its quality.

Balance Life and Work – Your daily schedule should include time spent with family, friends and of course, yourself. You should have time to rest, relax and exercise.

Is success in work a function of hard work or quality work? In truth it’s a function of both. Even if a Virtual Assistant is able to manage your time and allow you to dedicate more focus to the things that need to get done, if will be useless unless you give it your best effort.

why-the-virtual-assistant-is-the-new-economy

Why the Virtual Assistant is the New Economy

It may seem far- fetched to single out the Virtual Assistant as representative of the New Economy. After all, unless you use an audio-video service such as Skype, WebEx or GoToMeeting, you hardly see the Virtual Assistant.

The New Economy represents a change in the way business runs. The Army College identified the end of the Cold War as the beginning of the New Economy. Since then, business became global. New territories were explored to see if there were opportunities and economies of scale to capitalize on.

By the new millennium, the world entered the Digital Age. The Internet was no longer the property of government agencies. It was now accessible to 300 Million people. The Internet was significant because it allowed businesses to bridge oceans through the virtual world.

Whereas before fax, long distance and air mail were the means to reach the international community. Now you have e-mail, chat services, VOIP, smart phones and other messaging protocols.

Of course, the Internet blew open the doors for social media particularly in 2004. In time, social media became an important tool for networking and content distribution.

Today, the Internet has grown into a community of 3.3 Billion daily users. 2 Billion Internet users are on social media; reading, sharing and posting content.

What do these figures and developments have to do with the Virtual Assistant?

The Virtual Assistant represents how business will be run in the next few years:

Lean – The Virtual Assistant represents the value of outsourcing services. Outsourcing cuts costs by capitalizing on comparative cost advantages and economies of scale. By hiring a Virtual Assistant over a regular employee, you reduce costs by 40%. A virtual team will save you more money because you don’t incur additional expenses for rent, Internet and utilities.

Focused on Productivity – By delegating work to virtual assistants, you are able to focus on work that demands your attention and competencies. The cost savings generated can also be used to fund revenue- generation projects.

Flexible – With such great uncertainty in the business environment, your strategies should veer away from developing “perfect” plans and instead move toward flexibility. This allows you to recognize factors of change and implement revisions to keep your strategy on course. Hiring virtual assistants will give you flexibility in scheduling, strategy design and more freedom in managing manpower.

Cost Efficient – Virtual assistants are paid per productive hour. They are given tasks that have to be accomplished to keep your business moving forward. Regular employees generate lesser productivity because they are paid a fixed monthly rate regardless if they put in adequate work or not.

Hedge Against Uncertainty – If you want to expand your business, virtual assistants is the way ago. You can increase your virtual team based on the growth of your business. If the expected growth or volume of business does not materialize, you can simply terminate the agreements with the virtual assistants without issue.

The New Economy is not a trend. It is the way business will be from here on end. There will be no going back to perfect strategy design-making. If you want to survive and thrive in the New Economy, outsource your services to virtual assistants.

how-to-reduce-the-cost-of-running-your-virtual-assistance-business

How to Reduce the Cost of Running Your Virtual Assistance Business

Believe it or not, even when you are running an online business such as virtual assistance, you too can incur costs that will drive your profit margins down. Virtual assistance is all about rendering services that improve organization and efficiency. But ironically, even virtual assistants themselves could use some assistance in managing their own enterprises.

Here are smart ways to reduce the cost of running your virtual assistance business:

Work From Home – It sounds counter- intuitive but some virtual assistants prefer to rent a small space to conduct their work.

It may be because home presents too many distractions or the available facilities are insufficient to carry out work effectively. It could also be because an office space is just more conducive for productive work.

However if rental payment accounts for more than 20% of your monthly earnings, you should re-think your strategy and just work from home. Work as a Virtual Assistant could be sporadic. There will be periods where work will be few and far between.

Unless you have been contracted for long-term work, save up your money for the dry periods.

Manage Your Finances – So you think you’re making money? Do you know where it is going? Are you maximizing your earnings? Many businesses fold up simply because the owners became complacent with managing their money.

When you generate income and you’ve paid off your costs of business, you have 2 choices: save or invest.

To invest means either you plow money back into your business to grow it by funding projects or improving infrastructure. Or you could park your money in higher yielding financial instruments that give a higher return than a savings account.

Either way, you should always track the flow of money so you will have an idea of how you can fund your business.

Outsource Services – Yes even virtual assistants should outsource services. This way, you needn’t have to say “No” to projects that come your way.

If you know other virtual assistants and are assured of the quality of their work, get them on-board to help you run the business. Even if you don’t make as much, you still generate net income. There is no incremental cost to your business by hiring other virtual assistants.

This means you can further distribute your costs to other streams of income and further improve your profit margins.

Limit Credit Spending –Do you need to buy a new PC? Are you planning to upgrade your spare laptop? Are you thinking of renovating your home office?

This is why you should manage your income flows.

If you are familiar with your income flows and are on-point with your projections, you can cover these upgrades and improvements with cash rather than credit. You can even negotiate term payments with suppliers or contractors that can be covered by your stream of income.

Credit carries interest charges that will accumulate over time. Credit spending can lead to a situation which could potentially drag down your business.

Remember that profitability is a function of 2 variables: revenues and costs. Your hard work and productivity will help you bring in revenue but smart and savvy money management strategies will take your profitability to another level.

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How to Land Your First Client as a Virtual Assistant

More people are crossing over from the grind of the 9-to-5 office job to the convenience of becoming a Virtual Assistant. No longer will you have to deal with the hassles of the daily commute. No longer will you have to bear the inanities of office politics. Finally you have a job that measures revenue with the effort you put in.

If you think becoming a Virtual Assistant is “utopia” for professionals, think again. Wanting to become a Virtual Assistant is different from actually becoming a Virtual Assistant. It’s an arduous step-by-step process where you simply cannot put the cart ahead of the horse.

There is no denying that many have made the successful transition from the brick- and- mortar world to the virtual world. But there are also many who fell short.

The high demand for virtual assistance services has blown open the gates of opportunity to other likewise talented and skilled individuals. But it has made competition for services tighter.

Your success as a Virtual Assistant lies in your ability to land the first client. Given the depth of competition, how can someone without experience or body of work to show for land his or her first client?

Identify Your Value Proposition

What will be your main service offering as a Virtual Assistant? You must have at least one service that you can present as your key enterprise. This is the best way to pinpoint or align your online marketing and promotional strategies.

Create an Online Profile

Your online profile must be current and updated. Regardless of what anyone says or what you read, include a professional head shot. In the virtual world, trust is difficult to ascertain. Businesses would prefer to deal with a face behind the name.

Open Online Accounts

Elance, Guru and Freelancer are among the most popular online job sites. Open an account with each of these job sites plus others that offer projects along your core competencies. You can also search for sites that offer virtual assistant services, such as Smart Virtual Assistant. 

Use Social Media

Many of these social media networks have focus groups. Check which focus groups are involved in your industry or share your interests. Sign up with them and try to engage in group discussions. Visibility and activity will increase awareness of your brand and highlight your expertise.

Bid as Often as Possible

Landing a client is a numbers game. The more bids you put out, the higher the chances of success. Try to submit at least 2 bids every day. At the end of the month, assuming you put out 2 bids in 3 online job sites, you would have sent out 132 to 180 bids. To land 1 client, you have 1/132 probability of being rejected.

Do Not Prioritize Your Earnings

If you are trying to land your first client, you should be prepared to compromise your planned earnings. Without any client history and body of work, you will have a difficult time justifying your rate. As the saying goes, “The proof of the pie is in the eating.” Land the client first, consistently do a great job then the rest will follow.

Landing the first client will always be the most difficult and challenging aspect of becoming a Virtual Assistant. Only focus on what you can do and what you can accomplish. Keep moving forward and remain optimistic about your chances of securing a contract. With time, dedication and patience all of your hard work will yield the desired results.

5 Effective Home Selling Tips for FSBO

5 Effective Home Selling Tips For The For Sale By Owner Contept

5 Effective Home Selling Tips for FSBO

FSBO or For Sale By Owner is a fast growing approach to selling property. It means you forego the services of a real estate agent to sell your home. By doing so, you increase the net return on the sale of your home because you no longer have to pay commissions and have more control over sales- related expenses. All told, going FSBO can help you save up to 6% to 8% in costs.

The key component in FSBO is marketing and promoting your home. You should generate as much interest in the first 2 months of putting your property in the market. Your goal is to sell you own home within 4 months. Otherwise, interest and the perceived market value may start to decline.

Here are 5 effective home selling tips if you decide to go For Sale By Owner:

Hire a Virtual Assistant

In order to yield productive results, you must be efficient with your time. Selling real estate involves different tasks outside marketing. You will need to prepare and review contracts, take in calls and organize home visits.

When it comes to organizing your tasks, your best option would be to hire a Virtual Assistant. A VA is highly skilled in providing administrative and support services. Best of all, hiring one will not cost much as you pay them only for hours rendered.

Fix Up Your Home

Although it is understood by buyers that purchasing property means acquiring it in its present condition, you should still make an effort to fix up your home by instituting minor repairs and improvements.

You don’t have to spend a lot of money. You just have to make sure the house is tenable. With the cost savings, you have a budget to cover the repairs. If your house is valued at $500,000, initially allocate 1% or $5,000 for improvements.

Get Professional Help

You will need great quality, high- resolution photos for your marketing collateral. Even if you have an iPhone 7 Plus with its dual camera function, do not take chances with the images.

Hire a professional photographer with experience in taking home shots. He or she knows the best lighting and angles that can present your home in its most flattering positions.

Create an FSBO Account

Ask your Virtual Assistant to create an account for you in a reputable FSBO site. These are websites that assist property owners who want to sell their own homes find prospective buyers.

If you choose the free option, you will have to update the images and content of your FSBO account. The Virtual Assistant can do this for you as well as engage with potential buyers.

Utilize Social Media

Social media is a powerful tool to help distribute content. Your Virtual Assistant can find out if your neighbourhood has a community page online and try to get you in.

Once you’re part of the community, a fellow member may be able to help you sell your home. The VA can also post content in your other social media accounts to push your property further in the market.

It is very important that your social media accounts are linked to the FSBO account. That is where interested buyers can view the property in greater detail and get more information about your home.

Keep in mind that marketing is a process. It will take some time to see results. The most important thing is to keep pushing your property via online and traditional channels.

You should consider having flyers made or ads published in local media. Studies have shown that if you combine online marketing with traditional marketing, you could improve the probability of a sale by 15%.