DO YOU HAVE WHAT IT TAKES TO BE A VIRTUAL ASSISTANT?

I'm often asked by women if they can really make a living working from home as a Virtual Assistant.  They usually tell me about their past careers, education, and skills.  They want to know if their particular concoction of work + life experience will make them a successful Virtual Assistant.

Here's the truth:

I don't know.

Honestly?  Any person from any background with any amount of experience can become a successful Virtual Assistant or be a crap Virtual Assistant. A good Virtual Assistant is one who is:

  • Willing to work their butt off
  • Learns what they need to learn
  • Does whatever it takes

A successful Virtual Assistant knows how to stare fear in the face and bring it down like a warrior princess in the fight of her life.

I learned this from my own experience becoming a Virtual Assistant:

  • When I started my journey into this business in 2011 I didn't have a Marketing background - but I studied everything I could get my hands on and still do....
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WHAT TO LOOK FOR IN A VIRTUAL ASSISTANT COACH

Hiring a coach for your business is a big investment in your future success.  An excellent coach will give you the tools and perspective to help you grow your business, set, and reach your next level goals and overcome challenges.  But what should you look for when hiring this oh-so-important mentor for your business?

Here are a few suggestions:

  • Chemistry.  Much like dating – you’ll want to choose a business coach who shares your ideals and is easy to get along with.  Test the waters to make sure you’re a good fit to work together by asking for a ‘Discovery Call’ before taking the plunge to hire.
  • Proven Business Success. A professional dancer would never hire a coach who just watched ‘Dancing with the Stars’ a few times.  They would look for someone with real dance experience and accomplishments!  Likewise, when hiring a business coach, look for someone who’s done what...
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SHOULD VIRTUAL ASSISTANTS CHARGE FOR MEETINGS?

It happens to an awful lot of new Virtual Assistants:

You work hard to land that first client.  You're super-psyched that they've purchased a 10-hour retainer package from you!  You eagerly get to work on the tasks outlined for you to complete.  They request a meeting with you and suddenly - you panic.  You aren't sure whether 'meeting time' is billable or not...so you decide not to charge for it (because - let's face it - this is your first client and you NEED to keep them!)

The FIRST meeting lasts an hour, which seriously eats into your schedule but you suck it up - this time.

A few days later another meeting is requested...and this time the client asks to make this a regular weekly 'thing'.

They also start to call you throughout the day with occasional 'pop-up' meetings.  By the end of the month, you've spent 8 hours in 'meetings' that you haven't charged for...yikes!  That's an entire day of work that you aren't billing for.

So the answer...

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GET CLIENTS FOR YOUR VIRTUAL ASSISTANT BUSINESS

I coach new Virtual Assistants – Can you guess what the number one question I get asked most often?

You guessed it:  “How can I get, find and attract (more) clients?”

So here’s the short answer:  Be Yourself.  Be Likable. (Don’t leave yet…hear me out first)

I know you are groaning and eye-rolling.  You’re thinking that’s a dull, useless answer, but let’s dig a little deeper into what that means and you’ll see that it’s really brilliant advice.

Think As Your Clients Think

When you’re trying to attract clients, you have to learn to think like your clients think. You have to put yourself in their shoes…and pretend YOU are a client trolling around the internet in search of a new Virtual Assistant.

When a client lands on your website…what makes them decide to actually CALL you?  Is it your 27 skills?  Is it your ultra-low...

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WHAT I LEARNED WORKING WITH A VIRTUAL ASSISTANT COACH

In the beginning, I was just like you.

I thought Virtual Assistant business coaching was a BIG waste of my time...not to mention an outrageous amount of moola.  

I figured a coach was someone who sat your butt down and handed over a lengthy checklist of all the stuff you would need to do to make your Virtual Assistance business successful.  I figured it would be a list of 'hard' tasks (that I probably wouldn't want to do).  I thought they would tell me things I could get from free webinars.  I thought the ideas a coach would give me, likely wouldn't work anyway.  Nope...VA coaching? Not for me.

Can I just tell you how completely and utterly wrong I was?

The first time I worked with a coach happened because I WON coaching in a Twitter contest (thank the universe for making that happen).  I was shocked to find out that it was life-changing.  That year I tripled my income and got serious about my V.A. business. Since that day, I have rarely...

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TOP 2 TIPS FOR CHOOSING A VIRTUAL ASSISTANT BUSINESS NAME

For those in the startup phase of their Virtual Assistant Businesses, finding that oh-so-perfect name for your business can be a challenge. We worry.  We think.  We stress.  We think more.  We ask for opinions online.  We ask for opinions from friends. We read-up on what the big business coaches have to say. We need it to be cool and catchy and to tell people what we do.  We need to check trademarks and registries and domains.  We don't want it to be too similar to another VA...but we definitely don't want to be too different from other VA's either. Before we know six weeks have passed and we still haven't committed to the 'perfect' name. The truth is:  Your name is just one teensy-weensy-itsy-bittie-bit of your business.  Does it even matter?  Not that much.   Seriously...it doesn't. Which brings me to my BEST TWO TIPS for choosing a business name:

  1.  Choose it fast.  If it takes 6-weeks to pick a name -...
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SURVIVING THE VIRTUAL ASSISTANT BUSINESS 'BLAHS'

If you've been a Virtual Assistant (or any business owner) for any length of time then chances are you've been hit with a case of the 'Business Blahs' now-and-then.

By BLAHS I mean many things - you're feeling tired, frustrated and un-inspired. Maybe you haven't been able to find all the clients you want.  Maybe you're stuck trying to come up with a viable list of services.  Maybe you're completely dried up for marketing ideas and can't think of one damn thing to post about.  Or maybe it's just the colder fall weather and darker, rainy days that's wreaking havoc on your joy.

Whatever is dragging you down and triggering those Virtual Assistant Business Blahs...there are a few ways to snap yourself out of it, girlfriend.  Grab yourself a coffee (and I won't tell if it's wine) and let's figure out how to bring the excitement back to your business.

  • Give yourself permission for a vacay day.  When you're a V.A., taking a day off can trigger all kinds of...
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A DAY IN THE LIFE OF A VIRTUAL ASSISTANT

This week I want to give you guys a VERY real glimpse into the life of a Virtual Assistant.  This is more or less a behind-the-scenes peek into a typical day over here at the Brainy Gal with Lisa McDonell Central.  I promise...this isn't sugar-coated nor boastful.  Just a completely transparent look into what a typical day is like running a Virtual Assistance Business!

6am - My 1990's alarm clock plays Sunrise by Norah Jones.  (It's particularly hard to get up because I haven't slept well thinking about a HUGE client project that I'm not sure how I will tackle.) Wake up 3 kids...make 3 breakfasts...and pack three lunches.  Kiddo number two has a melt-down because kiddo number 3 is copying her.  Kiddo number 1 freaks out that I haven't paid her online soccer fees that are due today.

6:30am - I'm online paying Kiddo #1 soccer fees. There is some cur-fuffle in the background as kiddos don't know what to wear in terms of a coat.  This time of year the...

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5 TRAITS OF A SUCCESSFUL VIRTUAL ASSISTANT

As someone who's worked as a coach and mentor to Virtual Assistants since 2011...I've come to know that there are certain traits and characteristics that separate the most successful, money-making Virtual Assistants from those who simply flounder and fail.

Wondering if you've got 'the right stuff' to make it as a big-wig in the world of Virtual Assistance?  Below you'll see exactly what those traits are along with how YOU can implement them to become an excellent Virtual Assistant.  Here we go:

  1.  THEY HAVE PASSION, BABY.  You cannot become a Virtual Assistant because you don't want to work or because you hate your current job.  I promise you, your business will never take off.  You need to actually LOVE and have loads of fun running your own business.  You need to regularly tap into that dizzying excitement.  You need to feel a little thrill every time you think about your Virtual Assistance Business.  This doesn't mean you have to love...
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USE PINTEREST TO GET VIRTUAL ASSISTANT CLIENTS

Looking for more clients for your Virtual Assistant Business?  Consider using Pinterest -it's not just fun for saving recipes, hairstyles and decorating inspo...it's also a fantastic tool you can use to attract potential clients to work with you!

Keep in mind that if you practice and get really great at using Pinterest for your own business marketing - you can offer Pinterest marketing as one of the services that you offer to clients too!

Here are my top 5 tips for using Pinterest to attract clients to your Virtual Assistant Business:

  • Make sure you set up your Pinterest account as a BUSINESS rather than a personal account. This will unlock a ton of cool insights and features to help you get more viewers
  • Pin content relevant to your target audience.  I suggest creating pins linking back to your blog posts, website pages, and any other content you create that showcases your products and Virtual Assistant Services. Create boards and share pins about things your...
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