Work at Home Life

Virtual Assistants, Joining Forces, and Reinventing Work At Home

We Must Stop Selling Ourselves Short July 6, 2010

Filed under: Learning By Example,Our Services,Work at Home — Amber Whitener - Virtual IT Assistant @ 11:21 am
Tags: , ,

break the bankI cannot agree more with Kena’s post last week: “Will Work For Free? Seriously…Is It Written Across My Forehead?” I have also dealt with surprisingly high numbers of requests for free business and web development consulting. Anyone who has worked with us knows that we are fair about our rates and work hard for what we do. And I am sure that we are not the only ones.

Bartering can be a really great option for people starting out, but it does not pay the bill$. So many of us offer free advice and tools for other businesses on our blogs. We share DIY information and resources on our blogs, on our Facebook Pages and even Twitter. These are enormous contributions to others who are starting out, so we should not feel obligated to donate more of our time towards the greater good of others. Should we?

We must also be careful about how we agree to be paid as well. I have had some very unusual offers about compensation for my work. I had one fairly large company recently that wanted me to build an entire e-commerce site for them and get 5% of the sales of the site. Things like this sound really great if a site is already up and getting traffic, but this one wasn’t.

I would have been responsible for providing free SEO (so that the site could be found and sell some of their goods so I would get paid), web design, development, e-commerce accounts setup, graphics research and customization, and so much more to bring it all together. There are hundreds of tasks to be done for setting up a site like this. Many companies are out there investing thousands of dollars on services like these and they weren’t willing to even offer a down payment!

Needless to say, after doing the math and considering the hours of work involved I said no thank you. It’s like Kena said, it’s not like I don’t want to help people. Anyone who knows me knows that I am willing to point you in the right direction, however, now I am getting more and more people who are coming to me for direction and that is cutting into my billable hours. I am going to have to start charging business planning and analysis fees to make ends meet.

Stop Selling Short

Now that half of the year is already over, we need to revisit our financial goals for the year and make sure that we are not losing focus on doing what is right for ourselves and our businesses.

Say it with me: “I’m worth every penny!”

Advertisements
 

Taking a break – Getting Away in any Small Way March 12, 2010

           Work and play are words used to describe the same thing  under differing conditions. – Mark Twain        

      

  Mark Twain’s words are truer today than ever. The native of our home state knew that to be effective in your work life, you also need to know how to play. As you dive into social media marketing you are often mixing work with play. Personal relationships cross over into your work world. It may mean you forget the fun.

             You started this venture to be in control of your own destiny. You might have wanted to earn a little bit of extra money. You might have wanted to grow an existing business, or start fresh on your own. Now, don’t forget the fun that’s in the adventure.

            If you’re struggling with which move to make next, try getting away to figure it out. Everyone needs a break. When you get consumed in work, a step back may be the best thing for your growing business.

            You could take a virtual vacation (http://www.link4u.com/vacation.htm), but maybe you need a little more than that. Remember the world is a real place. Remember how to play. Put your actual feet in actual sand, or if you’re not able to do that, just find the best that your area has to offer and go do it. Stepping away for a few minutes, or a few days is a great way to unwind and think about what’s next.

            Play may be the best way to improve your work, and remember the enjoyment in it.

            So, our advice for this week is to check out the local “What to do” section of your newspaper. Get your family or friends together and put some extra “life” into your life. You might not be able to completely log off, but you should take time to enjoy the reward for your efforts and step back for a few days before diving into the grind again.

            Have fun.

Taking a break – Getting Away in any Small Way
 

Using Social Media to Grow March 5, 2010

Filed under: Social Networking,Work at Home — kena-virtuallyassistingyou @ 3:10 pm
Tags: , , ,

One thing I’m always asked from potential clients is, “How can using Social Media help grow my business?”  Social media networks are a fantastic way to promote your business, connect with customers and drive traffic to your website.  Just like anything else, if you want results, you’re going to have to make an effort and it will require a bit of your time.

Many business owners just start using the networking sites without a strategy.  I can’t emphasize enough the importance of creating a strategy when starting out with Social Media.  Not only can a strategy keep your marketing efforts on track, it can keep you from wasting your precious hours.  When setting up a strategy there are some things to remember –

  • The whole team must work together (web guy or gal, graphic designer, writer, IT department, management, Virtual Assistant) as keeping everyone in the “loop” is the only way to go.
  • Don’t expect results overnight. A successful Social Media campaign takes time.
  • Know who you are.  Get them interested in your story and use the tools available to you through social media to pique your customer’s interest and make them invested in who you are.  This makes them want to share you/your business with others.

Figure out your expectations – know what you want out of using Social Media.  Knowing who you’re going after and where to market them, is key.  Is it to drive traffic to your website?  Or is it simply to get your company’s name out there?  Understand your audience and build goals that are realistic and possible.  All of this is fundamental in reaching your goals.

 The use of social media nowadays is very crucial to promote your business. So, determine where to build your communities- as in, find your customers and go wherever they are.

Tweet: Using Social Media to Grow
 

As Entrepreneurs, What Can We Learn From Olympians? February 15, 2010

Filed under: Learning By Example — Amber Whitener - Virtual IT Assistant @ 2:44 pm
Tags: , , ,

This past weekend the world has tuned in to watch the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, Canada.  We watch the best of the best athletes compete for bronze, silver, and gold medals.

You can’t make it to the Olympics without:

1. The Big Dream – It starts with one person who aspires to be the best in the world at his or her sport.  Once you know what you love to do and decide that you are the best at it, then you are ready to prepare for competition.

2. Daily Practice and Preparation – Being this good at what you do is not just an 8 to 5 job.  You take every opportunity to grow and try different moves and push the limits: Higher, Faster, Stronger!  You have to take care of yourself and make sure you are physically and mentally ready for any competitor’s challenge.

3. A Genuine Belief in Yourself – If you don’t have the confidence in your ability, how can the whole world?

4. The Best Coaching – You get to a certain point in your career where you realize that you need the best coach and training your money can buy.  You must invest in yourself as you cannot do this completely alone.  Training vs. proper training can be the difference in placing or not placing in the Olympics.

5. Unstoppable Endurance – Even qualifying for the Olympics requires a minimum standard of performance.  The true test is to keep your performance high, from start to finish.

Our message to all Virtual Assistants, Virtual Business Owners, and Entrepreneurs:

“Find what you are great at and go for the gold.”

Our best wishes go out to all of the Olympians and their families during these winter games.

We want to share our sympathy to the family of Nodar Kumaritashvili, the young Olympian who passed on far too soon.  He will be remembered always.

 

Why use Social Media to Market your Small Business? February 5, 2010

You may have heard a lot about social media, and how using it can be a great way to improve the bottom line for your small business. You’re right. But it can also be overwhelming and hard to understand exactly how it works, what it is and why it’s so important.

Social media marketing is just like face-to-face networking, only better. One reason it’s better, is because you can connect to more people online than you meet every day on the street.

Think about it this way.

Let’s say you start a business on the square in your hometown. How many people would walk through your doors every day? A few at first? A few dozen on good days? Maybe, you’d have some discouraging days where no one walked through the door at all.

When you connect through social media with your customers, it’s like thousands of people walking through your doors every day. They see your specials, hear about your new products and can even get expert advice from you.

You can easily see how the business owner who has thousands of people looking at their product every day will have more customers using their services, than the one who only gets the word out to folks who happen to drive through town, stop, park and walk into their store. 

If you want some more ideas about how social media can be used to help your business grow, how you can use it to connect to people and how that can translate to dollars in your pocket, just shoot us a line sometime. Or keep reading this blog. We’ll be doing our best to help out.

 

So what will using Social Media do for me? (WIIFM) January 29, 2010

Filed under: Social Networking — kena-virtuallyassistingyou @ 2:01 pm
Tags: , , ,

When it comes down to it, the real reason why you need to engage in social media boils down to forming the right relationships and doing so the right way.  Here are some reasons why:

  • You will find whomever you want to do business with somewhere online.
  • You will find whatever knowledge you need about any market or any person online.
  • You can reach your market by simply engaging in the right conversations with the right people.  It’s more effective than just advertising.
  • If your business can’t be found, it isn’t engaging with your target market or, worse yet, ignoring your target market.  You’re not going to likely be creating transactional opportunities while your competition is.
  • Communication through social media is a system to leverage your organization’s ability to communicate with your market.
  • Social media saves time and money if used correctly and for the right reasons.
  • If you learn how to use social media correctly then you will understand what your market is looking for and where they are looking.  You want them to look for you, not you chase them.
  • When your customers and prospects are engaging about you, your industry, your products or your services, you need to be there listening.  Otherwise, how will you gain the necessary market intelligence, be able to respond or even be aware of problems or needs?  If you’re not present when and where the conversations happen, you’re basically out of touch with your target market.
  • Social media communication is about reach and relational dynamics about people.  It provides the means to effectively communicate with your target market in human, rather than institutional, terms.
  • If you are not communicating (listening first, initiating second), then how in the world do you expect to create relationships with people and businesses that may want what you have to offer and communicate your value to them?

In the old days, when people needed or wanted something, they’d look up information in the yellow pages.  Today, people turn to search engines to find what they want or need.  Every day, Google is used an average of 235 million times for searches.  The yellow pages’ days are over. People are going online more and more to find what they want or need and to find out what other consumers think or say about a product, service or brand.  The relevancy that influences people’s buying behavior is other people’s conversation, yours included.  That’s if they can even find your conversation and if it provides the value they are looking for.

To sum it up: These days, the Web isn’t a place to look for information, it’s the only place.

 

I Have my Facebook Fanpage Setup, Now What? January 22, 2010

 Facebook is a busy place. There are over 250 million active users on Facebook, and more than 120 million of them log in every day. Those in-the-know are taking advantage of Facebook and promoting themselves and their products using Facebook’s platform through one of the actual business applications-the business fan page. I have seen quite a few of these pages popping up around companies that haven’t had a social media presence until someone decided to put the page together. A fan page is a facebook page, similar to a personal profile, centered on businesses, organizations and people that have fans, such as public figures, writers, artists, etc.

Making a fan page takes just a few minutes – add some information about your company, your URL, upload your logo and you’re done. Then, when someone becomes a fan of your fan page, everything you publish appears in their News feed for all their fans and friends to read (unless they have this feature turned off). It makes someone joining your fan page somewhat viral.

The goals you want to have in place when using Facebook for business are:

  • To get found by people who are searching for your products or services.
  • Connect and engage with current and potential customers.
  • Create a community around your business.
  • Promote positive content, including webinars, blog posts or other resources.

Ok, so now what? I suggest creating Google Alerts with industry related search terms. Posting these articles and blogs to your fanpage will help your fans become more aware of what you have to offer along with building your business and brand.

 

 
%d bloggers like this: