Okay, so let start by saying my Christmas ended up being pretty great. My grandfather was home to spend it with me, and just between you and me my parents rocked the holidays, but let’s keep that our secret.

It was kind of a sad week in our house this week as we lost my oldest sister, she got sick and had to go see our Vet, who we all love so much. And he could not make her better so we had to say a sad good bye to her. This got me thinking did she know how much I loved her but more than that, did she know how grateful I was to her for all the great things she showed me and shared with me every day. How about all the things she did for me without my asking her? Did I show her or did I just take it for granted and forget to express my gratitude?

Do you have somebody you count on to help you in your life or business and you know without question they will never let you down? if so, have you said thank you to them lately? Have you told them how grateful you are that you can count on them without fail and they are always on your side and got your back?
I know we all get busy and forget, trust me I get busy with bones and chasing stuff in yard and am guilty of not letting my parents and other sister that I am grateful to them for their help, support and love, just to mention a few things.

Remember we all like to know that what we do is appreciated. I am not saying you have to do it every minute of the day, but do try to take 5 minutes a week and let those who help and support you whether in business or in life, that you are grateful for them and their efforts. You would be surprised how easy it is too do and how much it can mean to those people that are important to you.

Speaking of being grateful I see my mom heading to the kitchen, and since that is where my treats are, I am sure you can guess the rest.

And until next week. Let me say thank you for taking the time to read my blog this week, I am grateful!

Emmy

One of the many way coaches can increase their income is via membership sites. This can be very profitable and can used as your signature program or just as an add-on.

Here are a few items to consider before you create your next membership site.

  • Platform: There are many plug-ins that allow you to create a membership site. One of the most common one is Wishlist. This has been trusted for years by many coaches and is one of the first ones that was created. Another great plug in is WP e-Member. If you are already an Infusionsoft user, you may want to consider using their add-on iMember360.
  • Levels: Make sure you pre-plan how many membership levels you want as well as what each level will have access to. This will making the set up a lot quicker.
  • Free vs Paid: A good way to entice people to your membership site is to either offer a limited time discount. Another idea is to offer a few pages to “free” members. This will allow them to savor what you have to offer and want to upgrade.
  • Content type: It will be important to know what content you will be sharing. Are you allowing them to view the content or download the content? Are you adding videos or PDFs? If so, make sure that they are the right size and formats. Also consider if you want to “host” the items on your website server or if you are going to use outside hosting options (You Tube, AWS, Vimeo)
  • Payment: Next you need to decide on how you are going to accept payment for your membership if you are charging. Also you will need to decide if this will be an on-going monthly price or a X-time payment.
  • Timing: Another item you will need to consider is if you want all of the access available at one time or if you want to “drip” the content. Another variation is that it is you want to move the members from one page to another. This is common for “classroom” formats. Many will have the next class “open” once the member has completed all of the steps from the previous class.
  • Branding: Most coaches will have new colors, new logos and banners for their membership site. If you are thinking about this, make sure you ask your website designer what dimensions you need to give to your graphic designer
  • Domain: Here you have the option to make a sub-domain to your main domain. This is a free option and would look like (members.yourdomainname.com). You may also want to consider purchasing a separate domain for your membership site. If you plan on buying a domain, make sure you send all the log in info to your web designer.
  • Security: This will be important now days with all of the hackers. Make sure that you have one of the many free security plug in installed or consider purchasing our favorite- iThemes Security.
  • Expiration: Lastly, you will need to consider is whether or not the content or access to the site will have an expiration date. Many programs are 3, 6 or 12 month programs allowing people to log in only during these times. Others will create a lifetime site. If do a lifetime site, you need to also decide if you are going to continually add new stuff or will it be a one-time set up and members can access the material forever.

With the proper plan and guide, you can have a membership site up and running in a few hours. The key is to have all you need in advance before you send off to your web designer. Also we would suggest talking over all of the above with them beforehand and make sure that they are needing anything else before you begin to start your site.  If you are thinking about doing a membership site, we would love to assist you. Schedule your call today and let’s talk.

Okay, so another year has come and is almost gone. As I sit here on the floor in one of my mom’s offices and listen to my sisters snore and my parents little keys things on their desk I am taking time to reflect on the year.

I am sure you know all things as you are Santa but in case you were busy and missed something here are the highlights:

We moved to a new house after Christmas, which you know is always fun, new smells new sights new stuff to chase in my yard. As most animals do not ask if the can visit they just show up.

One set of my parents went away to help a friend, and it seems like they were gone forever but they are back now. Just between us I really missed them. And my sisters are both happy again, which makes me happy but I would never tell them that, then they might think I like them or something.

I had to go to the puppy doctor, which did not make me happy, but my ears hurt, he made them better and I found out I like him. Not that I am looking to go back anytime soon.

Then it was quiet until my parents all went for a short trip over Thanksgiving holidays. We did not get a vote if they went but it was okay we had a pretty cool lady stay with us, so not all bad. But maybe if you get a chance you could talk to them about asking us about this leaving us behind thing.

My dad and both moms all put up our Christmas decorations after Thanksgiving, and I supervised to ensure it was done to the highest of standards.

And that is all the major highlights for the year, just in case you missed one or two.

I cannot say my sisters and I have been great but we have not been horrible either, so maybe you could stop by and leave a bone or two for Christmas that would be great.

Oh and by the way please do not forget my other sisters and brothers, they are loud but my mom says I have to love them, something about family and all. They all might like a new perch for the cage or a treat stick. And for the two I watch float and swim in the tank maybe a new toy or something cool.

By the way… We know that we are lucky to have been adopted by a loving family, we would like to ask that many other families do the same. If not we hope that will help out another friend in need. Click here!

I guess that about does it for this year.

Thanks Santa,

Much Love,

Emmy, Tuesday, Chiquita, All the birdies, and the fish

(Also not OUR idea for this picture but makes our parents smile and we all love them.)

 

 

Okay, so another year has come and is almost gone. As I sit here on the floor in one of my mom’s offices and listen to my sisters snore and my parents little keys things on their desk I am taking time to reflect on the year.

I am sure you know all things as you are Santa but in case you were busy and missed something here are the highlights:

We moved to a new house after Christmas, which you know is always fun, new smells new sights new stuff to chase in my yard. As most animals do not ask if the can visit they just show up.

One set of my parents went away to help a friend, and it seems like they were gone forever but they are back now. Just between us I really missed them. And my sisters are both happy again, which makes me happy but I would never tell them that, then they might think I like them or something.

I had to go to the puppy doctor, which did not make me happy, but my ears hurt, he made them better and I found out I like him. Not that I am looking to go back anytime soon.

Then it was quiet until my parents all went for a short trip over Thanksgiving holidays. We did not get a vote if they went but it was okay we had a pretty cool lady stay with us, so not all bad. But maybe if you get a chance you could talk to them about asking us about this leaving us behind thing.

My dad and both moms all put up our Christmas decorations after Thanksgiving, and I supervised to ensure it was done to the highest of standards.

And that is all the major highlights for the year, just in case you missed one or two.

I cannot say my sisters and I have been great but we have not been horrible either, so maybe you could stop by and leave a bone or two for Christmas that would be great.

Oh and by the way please do not forget my other sisters and brothers, they are loud but my mom says I have to love them, something about family and all. They all might like a new perch for the cage or a treat stick. And for the two I watch float and swim in the tank maybe a new toy or something cool.

By the way… We know that we are lucky to have been adopted by a loving family, we would like to ask that many other families do the same. If not we hope that will help out another friend in need. Click here!

I guess that about does it for this year.

Thanks Santa,

Much Love,

Emmy, Tuesday, Chiquita, All the birdies, and the fish

(Also not OUR idea for this picture but makes our parents smile and we all love them.)

 

 

When it comes to earning, virtual assistants have the upper hand. They know which clients to get, when to get them and the amount of money they want to charge for their services. Because of this, virtual assistants have the best of both worlds – freedom with their work and flexibility with their time. Not all professionals get to enjoy this, but there are also some items that VAs do not get to enjoy versus their full time 9 to 5 counterparts.

As much as saving is a great financial strategy for VAs (rainy days are really rainy for people who do not depend on a regular monthly salary), there are items that they should actually spend on as to not be left behind in the market and keep up with their hired peers:

  1. Personal development

There is a tendency to become complacent when it comes to personal development when you are home, when you have mastered the craft you have been doing for years and you have a set of clients that provides good cash flow. It’s truly a comfortable life that anyone can be happy to lead for a long time.

But today, life is different. Professionals need to keep up with the changing times and improving technologies to ensure that they are able to meet the demands of an even more demanding market. Spending on seminars that tackle industry-specific topics are good but being up to speed with learnings on social media, mobile marketing, app development & programming, as well as operational and efficiency are fields that any VA can dip into to generate more income for themselves.

They can also spend on books on business development and even fiction books to widen their vocabulary and further improve their writing prowess. Communication skills will always come in handy and is forever a minimum requirement for any job of any industry.

  1. Personal downtime

No amount of money can replace the joy that comes with a restful sleep every night. And this only happens when a person carves the right amount of hours for rest or even weeks for a proper vacation. Apart from reading, nothing widens one’s horizons mentally, physically, and emotionally than travelling.

Travel pushes one literally out of the box and being exposed to several cultures ensures that one is opened to several ideas other than his or her own.

Creativity-wise, travel is like a fairy that sprays pixie dust on anyone. So VAs will not be in the losing end of a delicious, uplifting, and eye opening trip to a museum, restaurant, or park that’s found several miles and oceans away from their desk.

  1. Better gadgets

It may cost more money than usual but being committed to upgrading gadgets such as laptops and phones provides any VA the advantage over competition. Investing in these for VAs is a surefire path to investing in efficiency. Being more efficient then leads to getting more clients as the turnaround of projects is faster and better than the last.

And all that spent money only leads to one thing: earning much more!

 

We work with many Coaches that are launching events, programs or webinars.  This post is designed to give tips to those wanting to carry out a winning event launch.

Plan Ahead: There is nothing more important that a clear plan. It is important that you have on a calendar all of the stage activities for your pre-launch, launch and post launch.  Make sure you give adequate time to have all of the tasks complete and most importantly have time to test everything BEFORE the launch. Make sure you have a circle of friends or sub-contractors that you test everything for you and make sure all of the browsers are working as well as the mobile devices.

Task Assignment: Now that you have a plan, it is time to assign out the tasks. Have a team meeting and go over the plan with everyone. Make sure everyone is on the same page and they clearly know who is doing what part of the launch. Also make sure you have a BACK UP person in place. This is often forgotten and can cause great stress during a launch. Avoid the headache and have each team member know who their back up will be.

Task Tracking: All the tasks are now assigned, but how are you going to know if the work is done? A project manager or even a simple shared excel spreadsheet is perfect for this. If you are using a project manager, have someone enter all of the tasks and assign them to the appropriate people. These people will mark the tasks complete as they finish them. Reminders as well as late notices will be emailed on a daily basis. This allow you to quickly view what is done and what is pending. Also notes can be made if a team member is waiting on material or another team member to finish. Team Meetings can also be helpful when the team is behind or not progressing the way you were hoping. If you are using an Excel sheet- make sure there is a place to add notes for the team members should the require something or are having an issue.  If may also be helpful to have 1 person assigned to check the progress and report to you what is happening on the work.

Testing: Make sure you have a circle of friends or sub-contractors that can test everything for you and make sure all of the browsers are working as well as the mobile devices.  Set up discount codes so that purchases can be made to test the cart. Make sure you bump delay email times to 1 day or 1 hour so that the series can run in its entirety before it goes live. Proofread everything 1 more time. All are the colors right? Themes right? Cart theme right? Tags Applied? Emails Sent? Website seen on Firefox? Chrome? Safari? Explorer? IPad? IPhone? Android? If there is an error- fix and restart the test on the failed item. We suggest giving yourself at least 1 week to test everything.

Promotion: Testing complete and working? Great! Now you are ready to being the hard part- promotion. Now is the time you want to look at the different ways you want to promote. Make sure you give at least 2 weeks’ notice for your social media promotion and 1 Week minimum for Facebook ads. You should try to send to your list at least 2 times. If you are setting up affiliates, make sure you have given them adequate time to promote your event as well.  Also remember to make sure you have all of the materials available for them to promote your event (solo email copy, Facebook posts, hashtags, Tweets, banners, price, and anything else they will need)

Analyzing and Tweaking- Make sure you spend time analyzing your Facebook Ad numbers, Google Analytics numbers and Sales numbers.  Make sure that you leave time to be able to make tweaks and reanalyze your results.  This will give you a much more successful event.

Follow up– Sending out reminders, replay links and sales information after the event is vital. Make sure that you plan on at least 3 touch follow up emails after any launch or event. Make sure you add some personal messages as well. It is important that people are buying YOU! Make sure they know why.

Final Review– now that everything is done- go over the numbers one more time. Hold a team meeting. Did you meet your goal? If yes, do you know why? If not, why not? What worked and what did not? Who on your team made a difference? What changes can be made to make the next event better? Spend time with the team and find out their thoughts and opinions.

Ask for the Testimonial- This is the most important thing. Make sure you have scheduled in the future to ask all buyers (or even attendees) for their testimonial. Try to ask for a photo or better yet, try to get them on video. Video is a great way of proving the testimonial is the real thing.

We hope these tips will help you in the future with your next event launch. If you are looking for more ideas, help, or just have a few questions, we are here to help. Have a great weekend!

Online communications are truly the wave of the present. Gone are the days when people would send a letter via a courier. Today, if you want to speak with someone or inquire about something, all you have to do is go online and everything and everyone is yours for the taking. Because of this, a lot of jobs and opportunities have opened up, providing people the chance to work remotely or from across countries, giving rise to virtual assistants who are hired online to do work for clients from any part of the globe.

But despite the lack of face to face communications, there is still a need to maintain a professional demeanor. In fact, due to the lack of context with the help of facial expressions and voice inflections, there is a greater pressure for virtual assistants to be clearer to prevent being misunderstood in their communications whether it is via email or social media.

Read up on some quick tips for a winning online communication tactics for virtual assistants:

1. Place a subject.

When writing an email, always put a subject and make sure that it is pertinent to the items inside it. Emails are not something that people log on to or check via their desktop computers. Emails are a way of life and placing a subject is a way of showing courtesy to the recipient as it makes them aware of what they are about to read.

Furthermore, on a more technical point of view, subject-free emails are redirected to spam or to the junk mail more often than not. So don’t waste that well-written email by placing a concrete thought in the subject line.

2. Use the reply all button with caution.

Nothing puts one’s career in jeopardy than accidentally replying to all. As mentioned, emails are a major communications portal and can be very intrusive. Imagine being inundated by replies going back and forth on a business that you had nothing to do with. So double check the recipient area.

Also, when replying to the sender to confirm understanding, click reply instead. This makes sure that the message is sent only to one person and not to everybody in the email trail.

3. Send big files using big file sharing sites.

Save people’s precious bandwidth and data plans by sending big files such as editable Illustrator files or high resolution photos via a link where they can access these instead of placing them as downloadable attachments. First, they surely would not download it and second, your email will simply clog their whole inbox.

4. Do not be passive aggressive.

When it comes to social media, there is no such thing as a private status update. And if you are friends with a client, then you have basically signed up your account as a professional account, even if it’s personal. All your words can be twisted and misconstrued. To prevent this, stop with the passive aggressive language. If you have a problem for example with a person, settle it privately instead of posting irate messages that other people (read: your client) may think is directed at them.

Mind the language you use and see for yourself how it directly affects your career as a virtual assistant.

Today with so much emphasis with automation and making a business run at its maximum efficiency, many people are fearing the technological changes needed for their coaching practice.

Today there are several programs that are NOT complicated but can be extremely useful in your coaching practice.

Today we are going to cover some of the technologies you can start to use that are for the person who has the only the basic understanding of computers and programs.

CRM– one of the best ways to keep track of your clients, vendors, and even birthdays is through a CRM. These programs can sound a lot scarier than they are. The fact is that many coaches are not using this fantastic tool. Many either have no idea how much time it can save or many are just not sure what a CRM does.

Most CRM shas a group calendar as well as syncing capability to Google and many other calendars. This allows everyone to be able to see what is on the calendar and what is coming up next. This is great for recording launch calendars and other events.

The Customer panel of the CRM is easy to view and understand. Here is where you can enter all of the customer’s information as well as notes, tasks, emails sent and also what products they purchased.

Most CRMs also allow you to set up email campaigns, web forms and also includes a space for document sharing.

A few suggestions for the beginner would be:
• FreeCrm.com is one example. Best of all- it is Free like the name implies, for up to 1 year. After that there is a fee of 24.95 to 35.95.
• Zoho CRM is another good option. This one costs $12-35 a month. Most coaches    would be fine with the $20 a month option.

Online Calendar– this is one of the best tools that a coach can have. The ability for your clients to schedule a time to speak with you via the web can make your job much easier. Many of these will also send out reminders to both you and the client as well as thank you reminder emails.

A few that we suggest for ease of use and pricing are:
• Vcita.com- there is a free version as well as a paid version (pricing starts at 12.45 a month) We currently use the free version and have for years and it has been perfect for our needs.
• simplifythis.com is another option. For $18 a month they offer a calendar software that not only allows booking bit also allows invoicing, reminders, reoccurring billing, and class/group scheduling.

Project Manager– the software can place all of your to dos as well as everyone else’s in 1 place. This is perfect also for tracking and assigning tasks to your Virtual Assistants and other support staff you have.

Some of the easier ones to use that are affordable are:
• Asana- This is a great and powerful project manager. There are also a lot of free “templates” as well that you can use. There is a free version if you are only planning you own to dos. Pricing is based on the number of team members and starts at $21 a month. The interface is simple to use and team members are sent reminders of their tasks daily when projects are assigned to them.
• Zoho also has a project manager. There is a free version if you only have 1 project, otherwise pricing starts at $20 a month. This is also a very easy to use PM and also, like Asana, has good reporting features as well. If you are using the Zoho CRM, Zoho will give you a discount for the multiple purchase.
• trello.com is perfect for the “visual” person. This allows you to visually create boards as projects. There is a free version to try this one out and see how it feels. The paid version starts at $8.33 per month per user.

These are just some of the basic tools we would recommend to start to automate your business. We will be continuing this discussion in the following post. Here we will look at more advance tools that can help automate your business.

Nothing requires more reading that virtual assistants. Being the go-to people for a gamut of tasks and requirements by clients in several industries, it pays very well for virtual assistants to be well-read. Reading itself opens the person’s mind to several types of information and turns it into a sponge. Being well-skilled and well-read makes for a person who is strategic and creative, both skills that virtual assistants can make use of as they tackle client requests moving forward.

But one of the main problems of being a virtual assistant is time. Being self-employed, work comes before self-improvement activities such as reading or even exercise. What’s the best way to resolve this? Here are some quick tips:

1. Have an entrepreneur’s mindset.

Company owners know what their biggest asset is and it’s definitely not their money, their company, or their connections – it’s them. They understand that their asset’s value is closely related to their value as a person, which includes their mind and body. There is a reason why CEO’s such as Amazon’s Jeff Bezos is known for his well-written and long memos, which is read by his team before any meeting begins and star investor Warren Buffet is well-sought for his reading lists. Reading in itself makes people think better and when they do, they do better.

Instead of thinking how busy they are, making time for what matters such as reading can exponentially improve the business of a virtual assistant.

2. Read everything.

Most people think that reading only involves thick books. On the contrary, reading can happen in the most simple of ways and can start with just opening a newspaper. Opening one daily can be a great start until the habit is solidified.

Love for reading can be espoused by following one’s interests. Do they love cooking? Are comics engaging for them? It doesn’t have to Leo Tolstoy or an Economics book right off the bat. Doing so also makes the whole activity more sustainable as it comes from a place that is driven by one’s passions. Forget the bestseller lists and what’s popular! Read what makes your heart sing.

In fact, it also can be not just about books. Reading materials such as magazines also count and can add to one’s knowledge.

3. Read depending on the industry you are in.

Once the habit has been formed, move on to reading books that were written on the industry one is in. Business books can be quite expensive so starting off with borrowing from libraries or downloading electronic books can be a better option.

In terms of recommendations as to which titles to get, why not get it from the person who knows it well – your clients. They have the most experience in the industry plus knowing that the person they hired is willing to study more deeply into their business is a big boost to your reputation and standing.

So start cracking a reading material, and see where life as a virtual assistant who is well-read takes you!

Today, social media is prevalent. It’s the preferred communication among the younger set and studies have shown that a considerable amount of hours are spent on social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram during work hours. Most companies would respond by banning social media site access in offices as it is believed to take away from the productivity of workers. But this strategy simply boomerangs negatively, with employees instead opting to resign and move where rules are not as strict or resort to checking their sites on their own devices with data plans anyway.

In a nutshell, this is the best way for companies to deal with it: lose in the battle but win the war. Accept that social media is not entirely good or bad in itself, it is just a matter of having the right perspective and providing the right controls – the kind that respects the employee and at the same time, benefits the organization. Here are some ways to accomplish this in the long term:

1. Have a social media policy.

Most strict rules come from a place of fear. For companies, they are usually afraid of what the employee will share and the amount of hours they will spend online. First of all, owners should work with HR in accomplishing a holistic rule list when it comes to content. What’s deemed as confidential? What can help the marketing team? Be specific and if needed, list down the documents which can harm the company if shared. The last thing the company wants is to have an open ended memo which can be interpreted in many ways. Having so also protects the employees from other colleagues who may want to malign them online.

Instead of coming from a place of fear, come from a place of opportunity. Word the policies in such a way that they benefit the employee instead of seeming to stifle them. The goal is not to censor them but to ensure their safety and privacy as well.

2. Set smart limits.

The amount of bandwidth that is used for watching movies on YouTube for example can be detrimental for the company. So instead of banning the sites altogether, opt to have a social media hour for example so that these sites are not on round the clock. Rules such as not allowing downloading of movies or music are understandable. If the company security is compromised, invest in tablets which anyone can use for socials instead of individual PCs logging in.

This way, employees shift their mindset from something negative to positive. They are seen as the responsible adults that they are who plays a big role in maintaining the professional integrity of their workplace.

3. Provide the content.

When it comes to marketing, employees are the best brand ambassadors. It’s literally a gold mine usually untapped by most organizations. Since people are inclined to use social media, why not make them talk about the efforts of the company as well?

Nothing beats a company’s employee when it comes to announcing all its messages. And with the right guidance, it just might be the secret sauce to the company’s sustainable success, one post at a time.