Right now you’re in DIY mode. You’ve got a lot on your plate and you’re barely handling it all.

Plates are a’ spinnin’ and man are they fuuu-ulllll. If they come tumbling down, there’s going to be quite a mess–but you know there will come a time when you need to take that step and get some help. But, how do you know you’re ready? Well, that’s what we’re going to talk about today.

Let’s play Do, Dump, or Delegate!

In this little game, I’m going to present you with 3 situations. Then, I’m going to ask you to assign Do, Dump, or Delegate to each. ‘Do’ means you would do the tasks yourself. ‘Dump’ means you would dump some tasks off your plate. ‘Delegate’ means you would hire someone to take care of some tasks for you. Let’s get started.

Situation 1: You’re chest-deep in your business. Things are starting to get off the ground, but you aren’t quite earning a steady profit yet. You’ve got a lot of things to do and a lot of opportunities you can take advantage of. Some things are clicking, while others are falling through. Traction is just around the corner, but you’re still feeling overwhelmed by shiny objects.

Do, dump, or delegate?

Situation 2: You’re just starting out and you’ve learned a lot in a small amount of time. You know you still have a lot to learn, but your enthusiasm keeps you busy and you want to make money sooner rather than later. Shiny objects are everywhere, but you’re willing to experiment if it means finding the right strategy. You’re not overwhelmed yet, but you know you can’t continue on in the same way you’re doing things now–not for long anyway.

Do, dump, or delegate?

Situation 3: You’re starting to get more focused on the things that actually work in your business. There’s money coming in and you’re regularly investing in your business. You have a lot on your plate, but most of it is necessary to keep your business running. You’d really love some time away from your business or more time to do the important things in your business.

Do, dump, or delegate?

What were your answers? Which situation made you say “do?” Which made you say “dump?” What about “delegate?”

If you answered “dump” to situation #1, you were right. In this situation, it’s best to dump some of the tasks on your plate by prioritizing and focusing on the strategies that are working the best so you can bring in the money you need to hire someone in the near future. You might consider hiring out just a few things if you can afford to.

If you answered “do” to situation #2, you were right. When you’re just starting out and you aren’t quite sure which direction you’re heading in yet, it’s best to hold off on hiring. You need to have a little time to experiment with your business to make sure it’s really what you want. It’s also important to take some time to learn the ropes before hiring someone so you don’t end up hiring someone for the wrong reasons. The time to delegate will come when you’ve figured out how to structure your business.

If you answered “delegate” to situation #3, you were right. It’s important to be able to pay whoever you’re going to hire, so bringing in a steady income is crucial. You also need to have some idea as to what strategies to focus on so you’re not wasting money hiring someone to do something that doesn’t make an impact on your business.

What’s your situation like? Maybe you’ve already hired someone. Maybe you’re thinking about hiring someone very soon. Compare your situation to the ones above and you might get a better idea of whether or not you’re ready to delegate.

Before you do take that step and hire someone, you will want to make sure you’ve got certain things in place–communication, access to the tools and resources they’ll need, a clear list of tasks and responsibilities for them, and your expectations for what they’ll help you do.

Here’s some quick tips for all those:

  • Communication – Slack.com (Look it up! It’s awesome!)
  • Access – Dropbox.com or Google Drive (For sharing files)
  • Access (Part 2) – LastPass (For sharing your passwords securely. Comes in handy when you hire someone to post to your social media.)
  • Task Management – Airtable.com or Trello.com (I prefer Airtable and use it to organize most of my business.)
  • Expectations – Contract (Provided by you or the person you hire. Make sure you both agree to all the terms.)

Okay, now get out there and prepare to delegate. Whether you’re ready now or not, you can take some steps toward preparing for it right away. Just worry about prioritizing and streamlining your business to make things easier for you and your new team member.

IMG_20160622_160356Bio: Kayla Curry is a coach who focuses on productivity, setting goals, starting habits, and boosting confidence. She loves figuring out creative ways to overcome problems. To find out more about Kayla and how she can help you reach your dreams, visit courses.kaylacurry.com

All too often I hear from both clients and friends,

“I have a website, but it is just not me” or, “I have a website, but I am embarrassed to tell people to go to it.”

Sound familiar?

If you have thought this, or know someone who has, you are not alone. A website is often an afterthought to many starter businesses.

More often than not,  people almost always think.

“I can do it myself, how hard can it be. ” or “I saw a, Create your website fast, easy and free ad”

Though, those options are always OK, they are usually not really your business a lot of  options and end up being more like a personal one pager.

Websites should be considered your tool for communication. They are there to talk to every person in the world about what you do, sell or offer when you are not available. It is a method of giving your future clients, or your current clients access to you 24 hours a day.

Did you know that the majority of the people in the world spend less than 15 seconds on the average website searching for potential information of interest? Even less on sites that they happen upon, or click ads to get to your website.

So that it is important to to get someone’s attention withing that 15 seconds.

Now if you were talking to people on the phone, you could only speak to 1 person every 15 seconds, but with a website, you could potentially speak to hundreds at a time, every 15 seconds.

So you might be thinking, “that’s easy” no? So allow me to ask you a couple questions.

  1. Are You a Graphic Designer?
  2. Ever configured hosting services?
  3. Do you have html and css knowledge?
  4. Do you know php?
  5. Ever set up an ecommerce site or membership site?
  6. Do you have knowledge of joomla or wordpress?
  7. Do you have a branding package?
  8. Do you know how to setup security for a web?
  9. Do you understand how SEO works?

These are just a few of the pieces of knowledge or expertise needed to create a truly captivating site. Although not every site requires all of that, and many can be done by installing simple plug and play WordPress plugins, so no big deal right?

Well I won’t tell you, you can’t or shouldn’t build your own site. I will say that if you want a site that really delivers you need to do a few things first.

  1. Talk to a Coach

Talk to a Coach if you have not already. This will help you get a true understanding of the direction your business needs to go. It does not matter if you are a coach or an entrepreneur, having an outside perspective who works to help you get your business going is not only a smart move. It helps with separating your personal feelings out of the way and keeping your website goals in focus.  We all think to ourselves “I know what I like.”

Of course you do, we all do, however what we might like, may turn off another person. Often people like things that do not really work or are not in the best interest of the business.

For example, your favorites colors are Bright Neon Green and Hot Pink.

To you this sounds really good, and you want your branded colors to be that, however your business is Coaching Executives to look more professional. These colors most likely wouldn’t really work. I know, I know, if you were a Professional Coach for Executives you would not be thinking in those colors, however you would be surprised the ideas people have for branded colors that do not understand the finer points of branding.

  1. Talk to a Designer

A designer can really help you.  They can take your branded colors and your information and organize them into a truly captivating site. You may consider yourself a designer, or may even be one, however if you are not, now is not the time to try to become an artist. Visually captivating does not mean Van Gogh or Jackson Pollack on a website.

Clean and beautiful are the keys of a great website. A designer will lay out your web ideas entailing use of color, ease of navigation, simplification of information, and know how to squeeze everything you want to say and the images you want to show into your website, in a way people can easily see.  A well designed site will know what makes people want to stay on your site and to want to learn more.

  1. Know your Targets

You should know always your target audience, this will help the designer. This is another thing a coach can help you out with, if you do not know who your audience is. A site that is visually captivating for a millennial may not work for the baby boomers. Knowing whom you are wanting to target will make sure your site is built to stand out.

  1. SEO

Yes that’s right SEO  (Search Engine Optimization), if you are unfamiliar with this, then you have some more research to do. It is the key to making sure that when people go searching Yahoo, Google or Bing or whatever search engine they may choose, they will find you.

This is accomplished by seeing that your content, use of words, traffic and Social Media, site architecture, trackers and more are organized in a way that makes it easy for the search engines to find and list you.

Back in the early days it was as simple as a couple lines of code that had your keywords and key phrases. But this system was abused by people using the alphabet as keywords and would type in keywords that had nothing to do with the actual content of their site. And of course this lead our searches ending in mountains and mountains of porn, sales pages, spam or just plain junk.

Now the system is refined. It is made to work for business like yours and ranking them, instead of the porn site first. With a designer who knows how to set those systems up in your favor, you can get listed near the top of the categories pertinent to your website.

  1. Someone to talk to.

Some designers just want your info, badda bing, badda boom, they build a website. Your input is not necessary, they just want to cookie cut the sites. In and Out and they are done.

After they are done, it is like you sat down at a busy restaurant, was served a meal and the Waiter is hovering around your table waiting for you to leave so he can reset your table for the next. You are mow left not knowing even how to use this website you just paid for, how to update it or even how to post your own blogs.

It is important to find a designer you can talk to. Someone who is not just emails, but will get on the phone, will screen share, and will be there to show you all about your site. One who will teach you how to manage and control the site as a tool in your business. You want to be able to know how it all works so if you need to, you can maintain it, or tell another you hire to maintain it the way you want.

No different than any device you own, you may not care how it was built, and every part that went in it, but you do want to know how the remote control works, in full.

One last and final thought.

Many people believe once a site is built that’s it. It is done no need to worry about it anymore. Here is my web address go check it out and have a nice day.

Wrong, so wrong. Your website, as I stated earlier, is a tool in your business. What I did not say then, is that it is a living breathing part of your business and should be as flexible as you are. It should be capable of changing quickly without the need for a full redesign. Your business is constantly moving, you have new programs or products, webinars, seminars, retreats and all the great things you all do.

So your website should also reflect that, a site that is a living and breathing part of your business will continue to get visitors, both new and repeat. No one is going to go to a site over and over that never changes nor offers anything new. They have been there, seen it, have the t shirt to prove it, and no need to go back.

Your website should be more like. “Oh Wow, there is a new video on SOandSo.com about “This Guy is a Website Superstar” (see how I did that?)

That is what makes people come back over and over, and they want to know what you have to say or offer. They tell their friends who tell their friends, who tell their social media channel, who like your page and retweet your message of the day. And so, your audience is buzzing and a “Star is Born” on the good old interwebs.

Thank you for reading. (Tips his hat)

Virtual assistants are on the rise. According to popular outsourcing platform Upwork (formerly known as oDesk), they have 3 million job postings per year amounting to $1 billion. It also has 9 million registered freelancers from all over the world. That’s 9 million competitors worldwide, and this figure doesn’t include yet the numbers from the other popular platforms like Elance or Freelancer.
With more businesses hiring virtual assistants, the industry is bound to grow in the years to come. So how do you make sure you get noticed in the midst of millions of virtual assistants who are probably offering the same services or even better skills than you do?

1. Have your own website.
Yes, that’s right. Have your own website. Most virtual assistants would have their profiles on their platforms, but only a few would think of setting up their own website with their own domain name. Go for paid web hosting. There is a tendency for people to not take you seriously when you don’t have your own domain name according to an article on Forbes. The website can showcase your portfolio and your services, too. You can also publish blogs, which can help you establish your credibility and expertise in your industry.

2. Create a winning LinkedIn profile.
Gone are the days where employers only ask for your resume. Oftentimes, they would check your LinkedIn profile instead. Your LinkedIn profile is not just your resume, it’s also your branding tool. Take full advantage of its features. Have a professional photo taken for your account. Maximize the headline space by not just writing your job title, but also a summary of what you are offering. Finally, the summary below must highlight your skills, goals, and accomplishments. When writing this area, keep in mind the keywords that your potential clients might use when looking for the kinds of services that you offer. Aim to have multiple endorsements from your past clients or associates.

3. Upgrade your skills.
Regardless of the industry, learning is an activity that shouldn’t stop if you want to stand out. Stay ahead of your competitors by keeping abreast of the latest trends in your industry and equipping yourself with skills that can make you more desirable as a virtual assistant. For example, if you are a graphic designer, you can upgrade your skills by learning how to use the latest software for designing or knowing how to do web programming, so your client doesn’t have to outsource this part of their business requirement to another freelancer. Ultimately, you are helping them save time and cost.

4. Treat your proposal as a business proposal.
When applying for a job, treat your cover letter as a business proposal. Don’t just say what you can offer. Understand what the company needs. They don’t always say this on their job requirements, but doing a little research like checking their website or asking the client for more information can help you determine needs that the company hasn’t even thought of yet. This also shows your resourcefulness and determination to win. Mention their needs and propose solutions that can help them solve their problems.
More than just hard work, the best virtual assistants who get noticed are smart and strategic. Take the time to plan for your career, work on it, and success will come naturally.

pen writes website  on paper.

People have this attitude towards businesses: if it can’t be searched online (first page at that), then it does not exist. Such is the reality that companies face today as more and more people are accessing information at their fingertips with the widespread availability of internet access and low priced gadgets.

If they do not ride this wave, surely, competitors can quickly catch up and take over the market or niche that they are not serving. The first thing to do is to set up a good company website that instantly makes for a good footprint online and is one of the biggest online spaces that the company can invest in and profit from for the years to come.

Here are some tips to building a company website that pays off:

1. Make it easy for the visitor to contact you

Creating a separate page for the contact information of the company is the primary requirement for any professional website. This ensures that potential clients can quickly inquire about products and services wherever they are.

The list may include a working company landline, an email address (which a real person does receive and respond to), a social media page, and an office address for traditional correspondence.

2. Well-written content

As they say, design is queen but content is still king. Poor grammar and composition do not only reflect severely against the company, but also creates space for misunderstanding. The number one reason for a company website to exist in the first place is to communicate the many ways people should do business with it. With bad writing, it tells people that the company simply just does not deserve anyone’s time as they obviously cannot be bothered with their own reputation.

What is well-written content? Well-written content is content that clearly conveys what your clients need to know about your company. Perfect grammar and composition are just the minimum requirements. You need to write content that’s substantial, relevant and helpful to your readers. You also need the content to be SEO-optimized. It needs to use keywords that your target market uses to locate your business.

3. Cross linking to social media sites.

Another off shoot of a website is the company Facebook page, Twitter and in some cases, Instagram and Snapchat sites. These make the company more human and easy to interact with. It also makes the brand more engaging and current. However, if you are maintaining a social media page, you need to update it regularly and respond to messages and inquiries immediately. Questions that don’t get answered gives clients an impression that you don’t care about them.

4. Easy to navigate

One key ingredient in a great website is if it’s optimized for all kinds of gadgets including desktop computers, laptops, tablets, and smartphones. People today are more connected than ever which makes them all the more impatient.

Can you imagine needing to zoom in or out just to check a website? It’s every competitive company’s nightmare. So invest correctly in a website and let it pay dividends in the long run.

Business relationships are going virtual and the demand for virtual assistants is growing gradually day by day. Professionals and business owners are struggling to balance their career and personal life. This causes them to feel overwhelmed and constantly stressed out because their work pile has become a complete hassle. These everyday tasks really can be a pain when trying to find time for yourself. Scenarios such as this is what leads professionals and business owners to find a quick, inexpensive alternative to relieve them of the chaos they are experiencing.

Virtual Assistants Are Versatile
Virtual Assistants are definitely considered “on-call” for a reason. They will work around the clock, if needed, to keep their clients happy. (This includes weekends and holidays.) As independent contractors, virtual assistants take their work seriously and put their best effort forth at all times. Here’s a look at the many valuable skills VAs possess, manage on a daily basis:

1. Newsletter Maintenance
Keeping in contact with your loyal clients is vital to keep your business afloat, this we do understand. Newsletters are a great way to reach out to your clients weekly or daily. This is also a great way to grow your target marketing audience.

2. Social Media Marketing
Social media is a great way to promote your products or services to the public. It is definitely an inexpensive option if you are on a budget.

3. Website Design & Maintenance
Websites are necessary for a growing, successful business. Many consumers have gone virtual, so you are more likely to keep a steady flow of sales with a running website. Your Virtual Assistants offers domains for as low as $9! If you already have a website, it can still be maintained but sometimes changes are good for business.

4. Graphic & Video Design Creation
Visuals are VERY important in the rise of technology. Consumers frequently share graphics and videos through social media networks. This is a great way to reach new people. Graphics and videos are also used when building or reconstructing a website.

5. Shopping Cart Maintenance
When selling through your website, you will need to set up a shopping cart like Shopify, WooCommerce, InfusionSoft, etc. Shopping carts can be a hassle to set up if you are not sure of what you are doing.

6. SEO
Complete optimization of your website means you will generate more traffic and gain more exposure.

This is just a brief summary of what a virtual assistant can do for you and your business. (To view a complete list of services provided by Your Virtual Assistants — click here.)

Virtual Assistants Can Also Save You Money
Believe it or not, hiring a virtual assistant can save yourself a good chunk of change by reducing labor and hiring costs.

1. Virtual Assistants are independent contractors and pay their own taxes.
2. You will not be required to provide worker’s compensation or employee benefits.
3. Virtual Assistants will only charge for their time spent on tasks that are assigned.
4. Office space & equipment does not have to be furnished because VAs already come equipped.
5. Training costs are pretty much thrown out the window once you hire the right VA. Many of them already have experience needed. Just be prepared to send thorough instructions and have plenty of work ready.

If you are ready for more personal time without worrying about your business declining, it may be time to consider a reliable VA to handle all your dirty work while you focus on more important things (like golfing).

social-network_110002839-012814-intThe last couple of days have been beautiful, the weather near perfect and some of us are suffering from spring fever while others are simply struggling with the pollen levels. This time of the year reminds me that summer is coming and things are about to slow down – in networking. I would like to take just a moment and discuss this trend and what I believe may be the cause of it.

Let’s begin in the fall. At this time of the year we are working feverishly trying to procure new business because we realize that around the holidays things will slow down. As December draws near, some of us become preoccupied with things like parties and shopping and our attention turns from building our business. Others find it increasingly difficult to make contact as people begin long vacations.

Then the holidays pass. We put our marketing and networking efforts into high gear, going to several meetings a week, trying to get things cranked up again. The result is increased business and increased profits. Have you ever noticed that in the early part of February that things begin to pick up almost at a maddening pace? When this occurs, unless we are prepared for growth, we start to back off on our promotions as we scramble to complete the work that has been generated by our marketing efforts.

In effect, we stop networking. We lose contact with those we have been making and asking for referrals, and they begin to feel as if we are not interested in them any longer. When this happens, they may look for someone else to refer when that target prospect comes along.

Continue Reading…

FreeCan you ever avail of free website promotion? Is that even feasible?

Of course yes! Nowadays, your baby website can amass huge traffic in no time thanks to free website promotion.

How does this free website promotion go anyway? What are things to be done?

1. Enlist your website.

Look for the hottest Internet directories and enlist your site there. This is the easiest and most effective free website promotion tactic. Start with this step and the rest of the good things will follow.

Just don’t forget to prep your website and make it all spruced up for a higher chance to get accepted in your directory of choice.

2. Know your forums.

One reason why forums are created is for free website promotion for everyone. Log in, post actively, let them know about your site in every post and you attract instant visitors right there.

3. Write a press release.

Release your writing prowess and start up a press release that advertises your site! This is a free website promotion tactic that you can do anytime. Type a brief paragraph or two and email it to your friends, colleagues, internet e-zines, newspapers and other media and massive traffic will come to you pronto!

Continue Reading…

graphicEven though more and more Internet users switch to broadband every year, a large portion of the web’s population is still running on good old dialup connections. It is therefore unwise to count them out of the equation when you’re designing your website, and a very major consideration we have to make for dialup users is the loading time of your website.

Generally, all the text on your website will be loaded in a very short time even on a dialup connection. The culprit of slow-loading sites is mainly large images on your website, and it is very important to strike a delicate balance between using just enough images to attract your users and not to bog down the overall loading time of your site.

You should also go to a greater length and optimize every image on your site to make sure it loads in the least time possible. What I really mean is to use image editing software to remove unnecessary information on your images, and thereby effectively reducing the file size of your image without affecting its appearance.

Continue Reading…

Flash PlayerFlash-based sites have been a craze since the past few years, and as Macromedia compiles more and more great features into Flash, we can only predict there will be more and more flash sites around the Internet. However, Flash based sites have been disputed to be bloated and unnecessary. Where exactly do we draw the line? Here’s a simple breakdown.

The good:

Interactivity

Flash’s Action script opens up a vast field of possibilities. Programmers and designers have used Flash to create interactive features ranging from very lively feedback forms to attractive Flash-based games. This whole new level of interactivity will always leave visitors coming back for more.

A standardized site

With Flash, you do not have to worry about cross-browser compatibility. No more woes over how a certain css code displays differently in Internet Explorer, Firefox and Opera. When you position your site elements in Flash, they will always appear as they are as long as the user has Flash Player installed.

Better expression through animation

In Flash, one can make use of its animating features to convey a message in a much more efficient and effective way. Flash is a lightweight option for animation because it is vector based (and hence smaller file sizes) as opposed to real “movie files” that are raster based and hence much larger in size.

The bad and the ugly:

Continue Reading…

site_map_no_1-bigA sitemap is often considered redundant in the process of building a website, and that is indeed the fact if you made a sitemap for the sake of having one. By highlighting the importance of having a well constructed sitemap, you will be able to tailor your own sitemap to suit your own needs.

1) Navigation purposes

A sitemap literally acts as a map of your site. If your visitors browses your site and gets lost between the thousands of pages on your site, they can always refer to your sitemap to see where they are, and navigate through your pages with the utmost ease.

2) Conveying your site’s theme

When your visitors load up your sitemap, they will get the gist of your site within a very short amount of time. There is no need to get the “big picture” of your site by reading through each page, and by doing that you will be saving your visitors’ time.

3) Site optimization purposes

When you create a sitemap, you are actually creating a single page which contains links to every single page on your site. Imagine what happens when search engine robots hit this page — they will follow the links on the sitemap and naturally every single page of your site gets indexed by search engines! It is also for this purpose that a link to the sitemap has to be placed prominently on the front page of your website.

4) Organization and relevance

A sitemap enables you to have a complete bird’s eye view of your site structure, and whenever you need to add new content or new sections, you will be able to take the existing hierarchy into consideration just by glancing at the sitemap. As a result, you will have a perfectly organized site with everything sorted according to their relevance.

From the above reasons, it is most important to implement a sitemap for website projects with a considerable size. Through this way, you will be able to keep your website easily accesible and neatly organized for everyone.