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Stay on Track: Scheduling & Planning

Stay on Track: Scheduling & Planning

Stay on Track: Scheduling & Planning

One of the best ways to stay organized and keep on track with your projects is to create a monthly plan. Your monthly plan can be filled with notes about when to do your various tasks so you can smooth out your workflow (no more rushing to write that blog post at the last minute!).

Here are a few pointers to get you started…

Make a List of Recurring Tasks

Take some time to think about what recurring tasks you have to do for your clients each week. Do you log in to their WordPress blog and delete spam comments? Do you schedule their social media content including videos and pictures?

There may also be tasks you only do once a month for clients—like backing up their website or assigning work to other team members. Add these tasks to your list, too so you won’t forget them.

Schedule Recurring Tasks

Now that you know what you have to do each week or month, make space for it on your calendar. You can use a physical or digital calendar, depending on what you prefer. Digital calendars do give you a slight advantage since you can set reminder alerts so you never forget an important task again.

As you fill up your calendar, think about how long each task will take and build in some buffer time. For example, if you think you can write a blog post in twenty minutes, give yourself sixty instead.

Now, you have extra time if you realize you need to research a fact or interview a source.

Create a Checklist

Some recurring tasks may be big and complex. Maybe you’re a virtual assistant who uploads products to her client’s website. There’s a whole list of things you have to do to make this happen. You need to upload the product to Amazon S3, add it to aMember, set up a form in aMember, create a pickup page in WordPress, add the official sales page to the website, create an autoresponder series, etc.

With all of these tasks, it’s hard to know where to start. Use a checklist to help you stay organized. The next time you’re doing this task, note down every step you have to take along the way.

Now, doing this task in the future will be easy since you just have to open your checklist and get to work.

When you schedule recurring tasks on your calendar, you’ll be more likely to remember them and impress your clients. You’ll also feel less stress since you know exactly what to do to stay on track each month.

Learn how to boost your time management skills when you download your free workbook!

 

Contact me below if you need help with managing your time. I would love to help you with your time management.

 

Time Tracking for Your Clients

Time Tracking for Your Clients

 

Time Tracking for Your Clients

Casey was a virtual assistant who specialized in social media. She enjoyed working for clients but she was hired for a month or two and then let go time after time. After noticing this pattern, Casey reached out to a friend in the virtual assistant industry who had spent years serving clients. This article helps to explain time tracking for your clients. This is critical to your business’s success.

Dana, Casey’s friend, explained that often it’s hard for clients to understand exactly what their service provider is doing. “So, they paid you for ten hours of social media help but they don’t know what they purchased unless you tell them. At the end of the month, it’s hard to validate the money they’re paying since they aren’t sure what happened with it.”

Dana went on to recommend Casey do a few key things to improve her time tracking for clients.

Start with a Regular Report

Every week, send a brief email to your client and let them know what you did. Don’t say something vague like, “I spent three hours on your social media.” That doesn’t give the client an idea of what you were doing.

Instead, provide relevant details. You could say, “I spent one-hour uploading 15 posts to your social media scheduler. Then I researched popular Pinterest group boards. I followed the rules of each board then pinned your latest blog post so you can get more Pinterest traffic. I also updated the branding for your Facebook fan page with the new logo we discussed.”

Measure Results

After you share what you did, include any metrics that might be helpful. For example, you wrote a new blog post that resulted in two big sales for your client. Be sure to mention that in your week’s report.

Keep in mind that the results you measure should match the client’s goal. If the client’s goal is to become a social media influencer, then mention that their new video tweet got 103 RTs and 1.5K views on Instagram. If you’re not clear on what your client’s goal is, you need to talk with them. Figure out what it is they’re looking for and develop a strategy to help them achieve it.

Schedule a Review

As a service provider, you want to make sure that you’re spending your time on projects that matter to your client. It’s smart to request a 15-minute call every month. You and your client can use this time to review what you’ve been doing.

This monthly review ensures that you and your client are working toward the same goal. Your client might see what you’re working on and say, “Yes, do more of that please!” or she might say, “No, I want to change direction on this project.”

Tracking Your Time is Good

It’s not just clients who benefit from your time tracking—you do, too! Even if you’re doing an unpaid internship or bartering with someone, track your time.

Plotting how long it took you to complete a task can be helpful so you know how much time to budget for future projects. For example, tracking your time might reveal it takes you an hour to write a blog post but you always thought you could do it in 30 minutes. Now that you have this information, you can block off a full 60 minutes to write without feeling rushed or frazzled.

Casey took Dana’s advice. She started emailing her clients a weekly report and began getting more repeat jobs. This enabled her to spend less time marketing her business and more time doing what she loved—serving her clients.

Discover the best tools for tracking your time when you download your free workbook!

Need help? Check out my new Group Mentoring Program. It will help you in making decisions that will help you in your business.

Tracking Tools – 4 Great Ones

Tracking Tools – 4 Great Ones

The Best Tools for Time Tracking

Time tracking is a great way to ensure that projects stay on track while giving your clients peace of mind. But manually tracking it yourself can be difficult. It’s hard to remember to do it every time you start working on a project leading to inaccurate time estimates.

The solution is simple: stop tracking your time yourself. Instead, use a tool that monitors your time use for you. Then you can simply review it at the end of each day and make sure it’s accurate.

Here are a few of the best apps and software for your time tracking needs…

Account Sight

Account Sight allows you to track time for 5 clients and 5 projects. The great thing about this site is that it integrates with PayPal and QuickBooks. This means that you can easily track your time, invoice your clients, and update your earnings with just a few clicks. There’s both a free version and a paid upgrade that unlocks additional features that you may want to use.

Toggl

Toggl makes it easy to see where your time is going at a glance. You can color code clients and projects, which turn into colorful charts and graphs. It also integrates with other productivity tools like Asana, Trello, Basecamp, and more.

Toggl has a free version that you can use for as long as you want. If you choose to upgrade, you’ll probably do it for access to the accounting features so you easily invoice clients and track your profits.

And a couple more:

Rescue Time

Rescue Time is another app for your time tracking. It works differently than most tools. With Rescue Time, the program tracks what websites and apps you use throughout the day. It then gives you a productivity score each evening.

The cool thing about Rescue Time is that you can set specific activities to be categorized as “productive” or “distracting”. This can be helpful if you’re frequently on Facebook to update a client’s group or page. You can simply set Facebook to “productive” so your daily score is accurate. The app has both a free and a premium option if you want more in-depth tracking.

Trigger

Trigger is an app that combines the power of time tracking with project management, resulting in robust software that lets you see at a glance what you need to do each day to stay on track with your projects.

Along with time sheets, you can use Trigger for online reports and automated invoices. It also integrates with Freshbooks, Zapier, Basecamp, Slack and more. You can get started with a free account but it’s limited to just 5 projects, so you may need to upgrade to a premium account later on.

Don’t get discouraged if the first app or software doesn’t seem to fit your needs. It can take a few weeks of testing out different apps until you find the one that works best for you and your business.

Find out how to track your time easily when you download your free workbook!

If you’re looking for help, just contact me using the form below:

Evaluating How You Use Your Time

Evaluating How You Use Your Time

Evaluating How You Use Your Time

Tracking your time for clients is a good practice for service providers. But don’t stop by just tracking it for clients. You should also be evaluating and tracking time for your own personal use, too. When you do this, you’ll discover important insights about your business that you wouldn’t have seen otherwise.

Here are a few questions you’ll want to ask after you’ve been tracking your time for a week or two…

 

Where Is My Time Really Going?

You’ve been working on launching your e-course for two months and you’re still nowhere near ready. But when you open up your time tracking app, you can quickly see that you spent 14 hours on Facebook or 9 hours tweaking the design of your website.

It’s easy to procrastinate when you don’t have any form of accountability. But a time tracker forces you to look at how you’ve been spending your time. This isn’t about shaming yourself. It’s about evaluating how you’re spending your time.

Instead, focus on being positive. You might say, “I spent ten hours on Facebook last week. What projects would I like to invest those ten hours into this week?”

Are These Tasks Giving Me a BIG Return?

You had a business coach tell you to make 10 Instagram posts each day and you’ve been following that advice faithfully. But when you stop and look at how you’ve spent this time, ask yourself, “Is this task giving me a BIG return?”

If you aren’t getting a good return on the time you’re investing, consider moving your attention to a project that will grow your business, like launching a course or hosting a webinar.

Do These Tasks Have to Be Done by Me?

Some digital business owners get bogged down in doing non-essential tasks that keep them from their important work. For example, if you’re a best-selling author then your most important work is writing that next book. But instead, you’re spending hours every week managing your Facebook group.

But what if you could outsource your community management? You could still pop in daily to stay connected to the group but you could focus all of your energy on that one thing you do well—writing your book. This is the right way you should be evaluating your time.

Is This Task Draining Me?

As you’re reviewing your time tracking, think about how you feel after you’ve completed each task. Did you feel energized and motivated after filming that Facebook Live broadcast? Did you feel frustrated and drained after working on your sales copy?

Pay special attention to tasks that take your energy. Try to find a way to avoid doing them. For example, you could hire a copywriter to handle your sales page or if your budget is tight, consider bartering with another service provider. Then you’ll both get to work in areas where you shine!

If you want to create more of what you want in your business and your life, tracking your time is important. The more you track your time, the better you’ll be able to manage it.

Find out which tools are the best for tracking your time when you download your free workbook!

 

Stay tuned for “The Best Tool for Time Tracking” on the next blog post.

 

Need help with Time Tracking? Contact me below for some FREE TIPS:

 

 

4 Great Tips for Time Management

4 Great Tips for Time Management

4 Great Tips for Time Management

 

The interactive world we live in allows for plenty of distractions. Oh really you say? Let me count the number of ways for you.

There are distractions by our:

  • Coworkers
  • Spouses
  • Kids
  • Cell phones
  • TV, especially commercials!
  • And on and on!

 

Then, there are our own vices like browsing at the latest sports scores or seeing which band is going to be playing at our favorite music venue. Right?

Some of these distractions are welcome and should be of course.

But all too often, they can become a nuisance that interferes with our productivity.

You hear me all you distractions? Lol

 

Use the following tips to stay focused. These are really good so pay attention!

 

1 – Determine Your Most Productive Work Times

We all have ebbs and flows in productivity. For instance, if you are a writer, you may find that writing in the morning is your most optimal time.

If that is the case, concentrate your writing schedule to mornings only and use the afternoon for other tasks.

You may need to track what you are doing for several days or weeks to see when these optimum times are occurring and their frequency. Or, you might already know.

And, there are software packages that can help do the tracking for you.

One to try is Pomodoro. It allows you to work in chunks of time so you at least “feel” like you’re productive.

 

2 – Plan on What Success Means To You

Just throwing together a bunch of tasks is as useful as having no tasks defined. In other words, neither are very useful. Use a To-do list tracker like you can find here.

Work with your coach to determine what kinds of tasks or goals will be needed for you to increase your productivity.

Your coach will have your objectives in mind which can be used to determine how you can contribute to those.

The great thing about doing this consistently is that you can make adjustments for the tasks that are not working out or where you need extra help.

This is actually a great time-saver because you might just be spinning your wheels at doing nothing. You think you are, but you’re just staying busy…it’s called “busy work”!

Your coach will praise you for trying to become more productive and for being proactive. (Praise!!)

 

3 – Give Yourself a Break

Having a well-defined plan is a great way to increase your productivity.

But don’t beat yourself up if you happen to have a few days that are not as productive as others.

Sometimes, the tasks are going to slip up and you are going to be more distracted than others.

And guess what? It’s normal and you should account for some downtime to recharge yourself. Take a nap, a bubble bath or take a walk to re-energize yourself.

No one is expecting you to be a productivity robot. (Usually, it’s you that thinks this way!)

 

4 – Be Consistent

Time management is a skill and needs to be learned and applied. Yes really! I heard your mind working on you, saying that you don’t have that “skill”. You have to learn it!

It takes some adjusting in the beginning but it’s really just a matter of changing how you structure it and the tasks to complete your work. Yup, you heard that right my friend.

Adjusting takes time, it’s not something you can do in just an hour a day.

This requires a consistent commitment to yourself and to making it work.

What is commitment? Something you need to seriously consider.

Here’s the definition:

com·mit·ment
kəˈmitmənt/
noun
  1. the state or quality of being dedicated to a cause, activity, etc. “the company’s commitment to quality”

    synonyms:dedicationdevotionallegianceloyaltyfaithfulnessfidelity

    ” her commitment to her students”
  2. an engagement or obligation that restricts freedom of action.
    “business commitments”
    synonyms:responsibilityobligationdutytieliability;

 

So, tell me, what type of changes are you going to make to increase your “Time Management”?

Let me know in the comments below…I’d be interested in knowing what you do in your business.

If you are looking for someone to help you with your time management, connect with me. I would love to chat with you to see how I can help you create “Time Management” in your business.

 

Simple Ways to Eliminate the Maybe Clients

Simple Ways to Eliminate the Maybe Clients

Simple Ways to Eliminate the Maybe Clients

As in any business, you’ll spend a certain amount of time on clients who will never pay you. Really? Gasp!! Not in my business ever! What you say? You mean clients always pay you? Yup, that’s what I’m saying. So, here’s the situation.

Do you realize that…

  • Website designers quote jobs that never come to fruition? Yes, it happens every day!
  • Car dealers spend hours chatting up customers who will never buy? Yup, I’ve seen it happen!
  • Book agents read countless manuscripts they will never be able to sell? Can you imagine this?
  • And coaches spend time giving out free advice to clients who cannot or will not hire them. Oh, my!

Truthfully, it can be frustrating when you’re in this situation. And it’s definitely a drain on your time and energy, right? But there are some things you can do to eliminate those who will never become clients without having to spend time with them first.

Here is the definition of a PERFECT CLIENT!

Perfect Client

1) Someone that trusts you   2) They receive value from you   3) A person who will pay you

OK…here are my magical ideas!

Post Your Prices

One of the most hotly debated topics among coaches and service providers is whether or not you should post your prices on your website. There are pros and cons on both sides of the fence, but the biggest advantage to posting your prices is that it immediately eliminates those who cannot afford you. Yes, this is true! If you are not comfortable doing this, then put “starts at”.

Of course, you don’t have to list prices for everything to achieve the same effect. If you offer private coaching and self-directed training packages, having a price tag of $1000 on your “entry level” course makes things pretty clear. Your private coaching is going to be at the high end. And that will eliminate all the clients that are looking for a less expensive option.

And that will eliminate all the clients that are looking for a less expensive option.

If you prefer to quote packages individually, a line that states, “Coaching packages start at $XXX” is a simple way to state your prices while still giving you some flexibility. Right? I mean if you’re going to provide this as a service you need to market it correctly.

Intake Forms

Before you get on the phone with anyone, require that they do a little groundwork first. A client intake form should tell you everything you need to know about a potential client. So long before you pick up the phone, do a little digging. What it tells you the most, is how much work they’re willing to do. Freebie seekers aren’t likely to do the work required. They won’t even answer a simple questionnaire, so those who do fill out your form are better prospects.

So long before you pick up the phone, do a little digging. What it tells you the most, is how much work they’re willing to do. Freebie seekers aren’t likely to do the work required. They won’t even answer a simple questionnaire, so those who do fill out your form are better prospects.

Freebie seekers aren’t likely to do the work required. They won’t even answer a simple questionnaire, so those who do fill out your form are better prospects.

Not only that, but you can include in your form a question about pricing. Such as “What’s your budget for coaching?” Use a pre-defined list of answers that start with “$1,000 and up” rather than letting your potential client fill in her own amount.

And, I guarantee you that those with smaller budgets won’t bother to complete it.

Change Your Language

You know that words have power! If the words you use on your website and other marketing material are speaking to newbies or those just getting started in business, you’ll never attract the audience you’re seeking. Instead of using words like “step by step plan,” say, “advanced techniques.” Rather than talking about “easy systems,” mention high-end, complex software by name. Simple changes can help you to automatically attract the right audience.

Rather than talking about “easy systems,” mention high-end, complex software by name. Simple changes can help you to automatically attract the right audience.

You’ll still spend some time and energy on those who ultimately won’t hire you. But by making these simple edits to your website, marketing materials, and other business systems, you’ll begin to see more high-end clients.

So try it, maybe see if this method works for you. And, as a result, you may just save yourself some time.

I bet fewer of those types of clients you no longer wish to work with will disappear, just like magic! It’s as simple as that! Try it and see if this method works for you.

Remember, if you need help with your business, I’m always available for a FREE 15-minute chat. Just contact me here…I know…it’s a form! What did you expect?? Yes, you are finally finished reading this post. BUT…

Here’s something that might help you:

 

Free Online Tools That Every Entrepreneur Needs

Free Online Tools That Every Entrepreneur Needs

 

Free Online Tools For Entrepreneurs

Most entrepreneurs realize the enormous amount of effort to put ahead for their ventures while thinking about their limited financial resources. In my own case, I must admit it stressed me out, especially because I would have to do it all by myself. Yes, and most of us start out this way.

At the beginning of any entrepreneur’s journey, you can rely on key digital marketing tools that make your life easier. I can attest to that. It’s what makes ya or breaks ya!

And, you can do this without investing a single cent. There are plenty of online tools out there in the virtual world. Do your due diligence and do some research to find the ones that suit you best.

Below is a list of some useful tools that some entrepreneurs use

This by no means is a complete list of the excellent ones on the market these days. But they allow me to keep up with my own lifestyle while keeping my business at the top of the wave. So to speak!

Hootsuite

This is one of my favorite entrepreneur’s tools when it comes to Social Media management. The free version allows you to sync three accounts.

Hootsuite allows you to execute your social media marketing strategy literally from your smartphone. You develop posts and schedule them as needed, and interact with others directly from their app or website.

I really like the fact that the tool helps you to determine the best times for postings according to how active your audience is. In simple words, I don’t need to wake up at 3 am to post on Twitter to target a market that is active on the other side of the world while I am sleeping.

Or when I’m at the beach soaking in some much-needed rays of sunshine!

Grammarly

This one I absolutely love!  The Grammarly tool, allows you to improve email writing and keeps you focused on writing your blog posts without the constant hassle of knowing if you’re using the right word in your content.

Great when you’re on a time crunch and for when working on your website. The free version has a plugin that can be installed in Chrome and you can also use it in all the applications you use like Word, Excel, and others. You should really check this one out.

Canva

Another favorite entrepreneur tool is Canva. Visually attractive content on your website is a must these days.

Businesses need to show a professional and credible appearance, so potential customers want to your website and read more interesting articles from you.

With Canva you can create booklets and banners to be used on different social media channels. And, as creative blogs post images with text and even business cards.

Their stock of templates, fonts, and illustrations plus the intuitive drag and drop functions allows anyone to create the most amazing visual content.

It’s simple to use also, but eventually, you’re going to want to get the pro version of this because it has SO many more features. And the cost is priced right for the beginner also.

Chattypeople

Imagine yourself receiving 50 messages from prospective clients at a time when you are a solo business entrepreneur. Chattypeople is an excellent solution to that problem, as it will answer queries automatically.

It allows you to intervene, via Facebook Messenger to push customers through the sales funnel. Such a great idea to automate some of the simplest of tasks so this would be a great service to investigate.

MailChimp

E-mail marketing remains an essential way to generate leads by moving consumers through a funnel for conversions.

People who are interested in your business and who provide their email are allowing that intimate experience where you can show why you are the best in your industry.

MailChimp has a free version that effectively allows you to make that happen without you even noticing through their automated features.

So, those are just some of the tools you can use to start on your entrepreneur journey

With an automated approach, your business can grow by leaps and bounds. Or, wave by wave to use a beach phrase, which I am quite fond of!

Reaching your audience effectively without compromising quality, while giving you the chance to focus on other aspects of your business.

Submit your comments below so I can help you grow. Go to my contact form to schedule a chat with me. It’s easier than you think.

Outsourcing Can Change Your Business

Outsourcing Can Change Your Business

 

Outsourcing Can Change Your Business

 

Ok, let’s get real on this how OUTSOURCING can help your business. Today’s article will discuss how outsourcing can change your business. Are you ready?

There’s so much to do when you have a business. Especially when you have an online presence, which most businesses do these days. From content creation, list building, and a launch strategy, this is SO MUCH WORK! I can hear you saying that right now.  And then you have to actually manage your business to boot. The list of tasks can seem unmanageable.

If you’re feeling the stress of it all, don’t worry—you’re not alone. And you don’t have to do this alone. Even if you’re a first-time business owner, OUTSOURCE part of the workload to a VIRTUAL ASSISTANT. They can/will make a task that feels insurmountable totally doable.

What Is the Idea of OUTSOURCING?

The idea of OUTSOURCING or working with a VA can be intimidating at first. But, YOU can build your business around having a Virtual Assistant that works with you, NOT for you. I can show you how to get it right. And I think that learning how to delegate is one of the best things an entrepreneur can do. Don’t you agree with that?

BUT it can be difficult to know what to delegate and when. Can you relate to that? Yes, you say in your best “I can relate” voice!

In this post, I’m going to give you the down-low on all things OUTSOURCING. I’ll teach you what to outsource, how to outsource, and even give specific ideas and lists of what to delegate.

What is OUTSOURCING?

Before I jump into how to outsource, it’s important to have a thorough understanding of what outsourcing is and why it’s important to run a successful online business.

Outsourcing is the process of hiring (either domestically or internationally) another team or individual to complete various activities for you.

Specifically, entrepreneurs will often hire a Virtual Assistant to offload tasks so they can get more done in their business.

The tasks you pass along may be monotonous or laborious, so you can be freed up to focus on what really matters. The tasks may also be those that you aren’t naturally skilled at (such as copywriting, proofreading, graphics, etc.), so you outsource OUTSOURCE that task to someone who is more skilled in that area.

I’ll get into the specifics of the types of tasks you can outsource to a Virtual Assistant a little later in this post. Deal?

But first, let’s answer the big “why”.

Why Should I Hire a Virtual Assistant?

I’ve talked with hundreds of course creators and I see the same thing happening time and time again.

We are all spending too much time on the small stuff!

If we were honest with ourselves, most of us are spending 80–90% of our time doing the maintenance tasks for our courses and only 10–20% of our time marketing and selling them. This means that we are spending MORE time on things that don’t make us MONEY. That is the reason WHY we are in business in the first place right?

However, if we could OUTSOURCE the majority of our maintenance tasks, then we would have more time to spend on the things that will actually sell our course and bring in income. YES!!!

The bottom line is this—your personal productivity is limited by time. Whether you have 10 hours or 80 hours a week to work on your online course, there is a limit.

When you start OUTSOURCING, that time gets multiplied. When a course creator OR any entrepreneur masters the art of outsourcing, there is literally no limit to what can get done.

By OUTSOURCING the tasks that aren’t core functions of your business, like customer care, editing, proofreading, billing, etc., you’re able to focus on the aspects of your online business that add value to the customer and will allow you to market and expand your business. Good thinking, right?

The Investment

Before you go out and hire your first (or next) virtual assistant, there are a couple of investments you need to consider.

These are:

  1. The financial investment
  2. The time investment

The Financial Investment

You need to go into your outsourcing arrangement with a firm idea of your budget.

A virtual assistant’s rates can range dramatically, depending on who you plan to hire.

There are three types of Virtual Assistants (VAs) that you can hire:

Hire internationally: I’m writing this post from the U.S., so when I say “international,” I mean outside of the States. Many international Virtual Assistants advertise their services for as little as $3–$5 per hour, so if you have a limited budget, this is a good option for you. Keep in mind, however, that if you need to work with someone who has personal experience with your local market, you may want to reserve the work you do with VA services in this category to simpler, rote tasks that are easy to communicate virtually. You can find international virtual assistants using freelancer hiring platforms like Upwork.

Hire domesticallyIf you do have a need to work with someone closer to home, you may want to hire a VA domestically. You’ll often pay more for a Virtual Assistant that is based in the U.S. (and also the U.K. and Canada). If you are English-speaking only and you need help with tasks that require detailed communication, or if your work requires familiarity with local market trends, you may find that the increased investment is worth it to your business.

The average rates for Virtual Assistants in the U.S., the U.K., or Canada can range from $18–$40+ per hour. The best place I have found for domestic Virtual Assistants is to search entrepreneurial Facebook groups like Linda Henslee Enterprises. This is my Facebook group and from here you can check out what services I offer to the general public.

Hire a specialist: Lastly, you may want to hire an expert for a certain task for your business. Maybe you know your business needs an expert copywriter. Maybe you want to pay for a custom sales page or for a Facebook Ad to be created for your business. Know that you’ll pay more for these services, but it can be a worthwhile investment if the individual has proven results.

You should expect to pay anywhere from $50 per hour to thousands of dollars per project, depending on the scope of work. I suggest looking for personal recommendations other businesses provide when it comes to finding a Virtual Assistant. Try logging into The Teachable Tribe and asking who others have hired to get results.

The Time Investment

It’s important to note that there will likely be a time investment on your part to train your new Virtual Assistant.

This individual will be brand new to your business and your processes. I’ve found that it usually takes 1–2 weeks for a new Virtual Assistant to really get accustomed to a client.

During this time, communication is key. Have weekly meetings via phone, Skype, or Zoom to talk about the work that needs to be done for that week. If there is a complex task you need help with, shoot an on-screen video using a tool like Screencastify to show your Virtual Assistant exactly what needs to be done.

Yes, it takes time to train someone, but if you are willing to put in the time investment, you’ll end up saving yourself time in the long run! But, most Virtual Assistants are already trained in all the common software people use to do business so some training is not necessary! Just an FYI.

Where Do You Need Help?

If you have gotten to this point and you’re thinking, “This is the next right step for me”, then read on. I’ve created a step-by-step process to help you choose, hire, and train your new Virtual Assistant.

You physically only have a certain number of hours in a week to complete all the work that needs to be done to run your online business. Right?

So, it’s up to you to decide what your Most Profitable Tasks (MPTs) are in any given week. What is it that you do that will ultimately generate the most income?

Anything else that is taking up your time and energy is really distracting you from your MPTs.

Before you go on the hunt to find the perfect Virtual Assistant, you’ll need to know what tasks you are looking to outsource to your new VA.

What are you delegating so you can focus on your MPTs?

Again, you may end up hiring a generalist (a Virtual Assistant that can handle a variety of tasks) or a specialist (a Virtual Assistant who specializes in one specific area like bookkeeping, graphic design, proofreading,

Here is a list of the 25 most common services offered by Virtual Assistants:

  1. Content Creation (blog posts or your course content)
  2. Email Newsletters
  3. Video Editing
  4. Sales Funnels and/or Facebook Ads
  5. Customer Service and/or Email Management
  6. Graphic Design
  7. Web Design
  8. Custom Sales Page Creation
  9. Social Media Management
  10. Community Management
  11. SEO Services
  12. Webinar Setup and Assistance
  13. Proofreading
  14. Transcription and/or Data Entry
  15. Billing and/or Processes
  16. Internet Research
  17. Responding to Blog Comments
  18. Maintaining an Editorial Calendar
  19. Ghostwriting
  20. Social Media Graphics
  21. Ebook Content and Design
  22. Accounting and/or Bookkeeping
  23. Affiliate Management
  24. Branding Services
  25. PR / Press Releases

Your tasks for today…

#1 Make a list of all the tasks that you do on a regular basis. Look back at your past week or even your current to-do list. From this list, circle all of the things that you could potentially hire someone else to take off your plate.

#2 Based on the items you circled, decide if you want to hire a generalist or a specialist. From there, decide if you want to hire a domestic or international Virtual Assistant.

#3 Create a job description for your Virtual Assistant, based on the above information. You can use these questions to help create that job description:

  • Your Name
  • Email
  • Company Name
  • Your Blog / Website / Teachable Site
  • What tasks are you looking for a VA to assist you with?
  • How many hours per week or month will you need assistance?
  • What is your budget?
  • Is there anything else that a VA should know about you or your company?

Where to find your VA?

Once you have your job description written up, it’s time to start the hunt for the perfect Virtual Assistant.

Here are some of my top recommendations for where you can begin your search:

Personal Referrals: Ask other business owners that you know and trust if they have someone who helps them with their tasks. Personal referrals are a great way to find quality help for your business.

Email your list: If you have an existing email list, this is a great place to start finding the newest addition to your team. These are the people that already know, trust, and follow you. Someone who already believes in the vision of your business could be a perfect fit for you.

Facebook Groups: A great place to turn for finding help in your business are entrepreneurial Facebook groups. Try jumping into groups like The Teachable Tribe that have other business owners and course creators. Ask who has worked with quality subcontractors and Virtual Assistants to help grow their online business.

MarketplacesUpwork is a great resource for finding quality freelancers and Virtual Assistants. You have the ability to create a personal profile and post specific jobs. You can interview candidates, read reviews of their work, and hire and pay through the site.

How to hire the right Virtual Assistant?

You’ve started the search for a Virtual Assistant and the proposals are coming in—congrats! Yay…this is what we are looking for!

The interview process. As you interview, here are a few questions to ask yourself when searching for that perfect fit:

Are they self-starters?

When viewing the proposals, is there anyone that went above and beyond? Maybe they sent you a very personalized proposal instead of something that was obviously a template. Maybe they did some research into your company before applying. If you can find an individual who exceeds what you asked of them, you can be sure that they will continue to be a self-starter once you are working together full time.

Are they reliable?

It’s difficult to tell how reliable a Virtual Assistant is going to be just from the interview and onboarding process. I normally recommend starting out with a trial month to assess how you work together. Once that’s complete, get together and decide if the working relationship is something you want to continue with.

Also remember, the Virtual Assistant won’t be perfect at his or her job within those 30 days. However, you should be able to assess after one month if this individual is generally reliable and competent to do the job.

Do they have the skills?

Natural skill is an important factor when choosing your Virtual Assistant. Hiring someone to do graphics, you want to make sure that their design work is high-quality. Hiring a copywriter, their work needs to be grammatically correct and easy to read. If you can’t assess the applicant’s skill from the proposal they sent you, perhaps ask them to send over an example of their work or send them a quick trial project.

Onboarding your new VA or Freelancer

Once you have decided who you are going to hire to assist you with your business, it’s time to onboard that new Virtual Assistant.

Here’s the process that I personally work through every time I onboard a new person, and this is just a fancy way of saying “Getting them introduced to my business”.

The onboarding checklist:

Set Up an Initial Meeting: Have an initial meeting to outline the job description and your expectations

Have Clearly Defined Pay and Time Expectations: Make sure you have an understanding of how much you will pay your new VA, what their invoicing process looks like, and how / if they will keep track of their time spent on projects for you.

Sign a Contract: Sign a contract! Even if you will only be working together for a trial of 30 days, it is still important to have a contract in place to protect you and your business.

Define a Meeting Schedule: What will your meeting rhythm look like? I recommend meeting via Skype or Zoom once a week to discuss projects, make goals, and review progress.

Set Communication Expectations: How will you communicate throughout the week? Are you available by phone? Can your VA expect to reach you via email? You may want to consider using a tool like Slack or Trello for specific project communication.

Train your VA: Any time a training or explanation is needed for a specific project, I suggest using video. Film an on-screen video to explain what you want to happen in a project. Get your VA on a video call and walk through a specific process with them, so they can see what is expected and answer questions along the way. If your VA sends a long email with detailed questions, consider picking up the phone and talking with them or sending a video with your spoken response.

Remember, effective communication is the key to a healthy Virtual Assistant/Client relationship!

Reminder: You are ready to get started, right?

Here are your Next Steps

If you are ready to take your business to the next level, hiring a Virtual Assistant may be the next best step for you. Let’s get to it NOW!

Throughout this blog on the “How-Tos” to OUTSOURCING, I covered what it will take to hire your first or next Virtual Assistant to support your business.

Here are the tasks that you’ll need to complete in order to successfully bring on the support you need (so your business can grow!):

  1. Understand the Financial Investment.
  2. Understand the Time Investment.
  3. Make a list of your MPTs (what you should be focusing on).
  4. Make a list of the tasks that are not your MPTs (what you should delegate to someone else).
  5. Decide if you want to hire a generalist or a specialist, domestic or international. Decide your budget at this time, as well.
  6. Write out a detailed job description for the type of assistance you are looking for.
  7. Use personal referrals, your email list, Facebook groups, or freelancing sites like Upwork to post your job.
  8. Interview potential virtual assistants.
  9. Choose which VA to hire, and onboard them to help you with your tasks.

Now it’s time to take action! Yes, my friend, you are going to grow your business through OUTSOURCING? Right?

 

Partnering With a Virtual Assistant

Partnering With a Virtual Assistant

 

Should YOU?

 

Here are the top 5 reasons why every entrepreneur should partner with a Virtual Assistant in their business. Are you one of them that doesn’t? If you’re not, why not? Making the time in your day to do the work that you enjoy in your business is key to your happiness.

Don’t let the tasks you hate control you. You might just not want to get up in the morning! Consider the following reasons why you should hire a Virtual Assistant. My bet is that you’ll be very happy you did!

1. Lowers your operational costs

Reduce costs that are associated with the production of products and /or services
Cut down your overhead associated with equipment, payroll, human resources training, medical, office space, and utilities
Only pay for the work that needs to be done which eliminates the costs associated with idle or non-productive time

2. Makes more efficient use of time

Gives you the flexibility to delegate tasks according to skill and abilities 
Gives you the ability to focus more time on the business aspects in which you are highly skilled and enjoy
Make time for the urgent, imperative matters that arise
Gives you time to focus on the overall business goals and set priorities accordingly
Allow time for the little things that sometimes get left out or overlooked

3. Keeps up with technology

Gain access to an industry professional that can implement the top trends and technology
Give you the edge you need to stay competitive and evolve
Implement the right tools and resources for your business

4. Enhances your productivity

Implement tools and processes to operate more effectively
Enable you to deliver better results in a shorter time frame
Speeds up the process of getting your products and/or services to the client
Enables you to put into play the concepts and carry out the projects that are currently on your wish list
Gives you access to a larger range of highly skilled people

5. Converts your business into a super-fast virtual office

Gives you the ability to work anywhere in the world while remaining accessible to your client base
Facilitates the exchange and collaboration of information and documentation
Enhances the efficiency and accessibility of the business information available to the client
Automate processes and procedures

Partnering With a Virtual Assistant

 

As business owners, we think we can do it all. But most of the time, we end up overwhelmed and exhausted. Read this article to see what you can do to help get yourself out of “the overwhelm” and feel good about your business.

 

Want to know more about what a Virtual Assistant can do for your business?

 

Here’s a brief description of what a Virtual Assistant is from Wikipedia.

A virtual assistant (typically abbreviated to VA, also called a virtual office assistant) is generally self-employed and provides professional administrative, technical, or creative (social) assistance to clients remotely from a home office. … Virtual Assistants usually work for other small businesses. Virtual assistant (occupation) – Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Virtual_assistant_(occupation)

Read this article on Having an Assistant. You can get some additional ideas and understand why you should hire a Virtual Assistant. AND why you should make sure you are a Happy Entrepreneur

Here are just some of the common tasks that Virtual Assistants can provide for your business.

Are any of these on your “To-Do List”

  • Email correspondence
  • Internet research
  • Data entry
  • Scheduling appointments
  • Editing
  • Writing
  • Marketing
  • Blog management
  • Proofreading
  • Project management
  • Graphic design
  • Tech support
  • Customer service
  • Social media management

So, are you looking to place any of these tasks in your business off your plate? If you are…you have come to the right place. Make a list of all the tasks you’d like to give to your Virtual Assistant. Then, fill out the form to request a quick informational call from me.


Go Here – Fill out the form to inquire about hiring your Virtual Assistant.  I would be more than happy to will help you get those items off “your To-Do list”, therefore freeing up your time. Wouldn’t that make you a Happy Entrepreneur?

Productivity Solutions For your Business

Productivity Solutions For your Business

 

Productivity Solutions – The Top 5

It’s not enough to dream of success. It’s not even enough to set goals. You need productivity! Yes…that’s right! Here’s an interesting article on organizing that will help you with your productivity.

The only way to achieve your dreams and build the business you’re meant to build is to sit down and just do it.

And that’s what many of us fail to do. We resist because we are afraid of failing. But it’s the doing that stops us. Are we good enough? Will I be a success? Can you relate to this?

Here’s what we do…

We will overbook our calendars until today’s to-dos become next week’s past dues. We procrastinate on the things that are important while attending to things that are merely “nice to do.” And sometimes we simply take on too much—even when we know better. I know that I do this and it prevents me from advancing to where I want to go in my business.

So, what’s the answer?

According to the dictionary here’s exactly what productivity means as far as business goes:

pro·duc·tiv·i·ty
ˌprōˌdəkˈtivədē,ˌprädəkˈtivədē/
noun
  1. the state or quality of producing something
  2. the effectiveness of productive effort, especially in industry, as measured in terms of the rate of output per unit of input.

 

“Workers have boosted productivity by 30 percent”

5 Solutions

Check out these five productivity solutions that top coaches use to get more done in less time.

1. Rituals and Habits: Simply put, a ritual or habit is a consistent way of doing something. You have a morning ritual (wake up, brush your teeth, work out, shower, and head to your office), evening ritual (check homework, tuck the kids in, watch the evening news, and hit the sack), weekend ritual (sleep late, mow the lawn, catch a movie, visit your mom), and many others.

The problem here is that if you’re not careful with your rituals, they can turn into productivity killers. Is checking Facebook or email a part of your morning ritual? Is turning on Skype a part of your at-work ritual? Distractions such as these can turn even your best intentions into hours of wasted time. And your productivity levels will wind up really suffering.

Take a good look at your rituals. What are you doing that you should not be—or that should be moved to another part of your day? Make your rituals more efficient, and you’ll automatically get more done.

2. Calendar Management: Want to know how much time you really have available for that new project? Try blocking off time in your calendar for all your existing projects. Fill in all your client calls, your business administrative tasks, time for meals and breaks, outside appointments, and everything else you’re committed to. What’s left might just shock you.

Make it a habit to block time in your calendar for every commitment, and you’ll never again over-promise or over-commit. You’d be surprised at how much your productivity will go up because you are more focused on the tasks at hand.

Here Are The Rest

 

3. Learn to Let Go: Here’s a news flash. You do not have to do everything in your business. You can (and should) hand off those low-level tasks to someone else. Hire a VA to create your documents and manage your calendar. Read this on how to help with your marketing.

Let your tech support person manage your blog and email. Turn over your bookkeeping to an accountant.

The time you free up will allow you to work on what’s truly important—and that only you can do. You will notice that your productivity in what you “desire to do” will go up and you’ll be happier too!

4. Work Hard, Play Harder: You are not a machine. You cannot work all day every day and hope to be at your best all the time. Yes, I know this from experience!

Take a day off. Get some rest, or relax on a long, slow hike. Take a friend out to lunch. Go shopping with your kids. See a movie or a play. Do something—anything—other than work.

Not only will you return to the office feeling much more refreshed, but you’ll also find yourself more creative and your productivity level will be better than before as well.

5. Focus: Multitasking is impossible. What? You cannot efficiently create a new coaching program while you’re simultaneously surfing Facebook, keeping an eye on the kids, and answering the phone every time it rings. Really? Most business people do this way too often and it definitely affects their productivity.

Use your calendar to block time off for important tasks, then turn everything else off so you can focus. No phone, no Facebook, no kids or husbands or neighbors or pets demanding “just a minute” of your time. Tune everything out, and you’ll find your work getting done much faster.

Managing your time and turning up your productivity is not something that comes naturally to most people. When you learn to master this skill, you’ll find your business grows right along with you.

A Few More Ideas

Here are a few more ideas that will help with your productivity:

The ideas are endless. Just put on your “magical” thinking cap. And if you need help with that…contact me so I can provide some great ideas for your business.

Let me know what you think in the comments below. How are you managing your productivity in your business?

 

 

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