BUILD YOUR OWN VIRTUAL ASSISTANT WEBSITE

I've been coaching Virtual Assistants for 9+ years, and one of the questions I get asked A LOT is:

"Who should I get to build my website?"

My answer is simple:  YOU should TOTALLY build your website yourself. 

I know...I know. The thought of building a website terrifies some people with thoughts of crazy, complex custom coding nightmares.  But hear me out:  It's actually pretty easy to build a simple website these days.

There are some nifty drag-and-drop website builders out there that allow almost anyone to create a simple website in less than a day.  Better still?  Most of them are fairly inexpensive!  You don't need to know HTML or Custom CSS coding and you can have a pretty snazzy custom-designed website working for your business in no time.  A website that matches your brand and your own special personality.

"But I heard drag-and-drop builders don't let you customize much and suck for SEO?" 

The truth is, you can...

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DRESS LIKE A VIRTUAL ASSISTANT

One of the 'perks' of becoming a Virtual Assistant is the realization that you can wear whatever the hell you want.  

But if you're not careful...it's easy to fall into the trap of hanging out all day in pajamas or rocking the track pant/ponytail uniform day, after day, after day.  While this can sometimes feel luxuriously comfy and rebellious...it can also start to feel downright depressing.  

I'm one of those people who HAVE TO get dressed every day...and usually spend at least 5 mins doing my hair and makeup.  It's not hours of blow drying and perfectly drawn winged eyeliner but more of a quick 'good-enough' primp session.  

Here's why I do it (and maybe you would like to try it too).

  1.  As a Virtual Assistant, YOU are the brand.  Cereal companies pay graphics people big bucks to make their boxes and packaging look fabulous.  As a V.A. you are, essentially, the product.  So if you plan to spend ANY time at all outside of the...
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AN EASY WAY FOR VIRTUAL ASSISTANTS TO MAKE MONEY

If you've had any amount of success as a Virtual Assistant then you've probably noticed something interesting:  Lots of people want to know how you did it.

I get multiple requests per week from men and women who are 'Looking to Start a Virtual Assistance Business"  I'm asked to answer a few email questions or hop on the phone so they can pick my brain and give advice to them for free.  (It's to be expected, of course, who wouldn't want to earn good money working from home on their own terms?)

But here's the kicker:  Your KNOWLEDGE is valuable.  The things you've learned and experienced took you TIME and MONEY to figure out...and you should never give that knowledge away for free.

Hear me loud and clear:  If you are going to hop on the phone to answer someone's questions about how to become a Virtual Assistant...you can charge money for that service.  It's called 'Consulting' and professionals should expect to be charged for a good consultant's...

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OVERWHELMED STARTING A VIRTUAL ASSISTANT BUSINESS?

One thing I can guarantee if you are going to be a Virtual Assistant, is that at some time or another you are going to feel completely overwhelmed.  Especially when you are just starting your business.

There are a zillion things to do.  You may have your first client(s) to serve...and sometimes the workload gets heavy. You've also taken on the role of CEO for your own business...but many of us are also the bookkeeper, the receptionist, the accountant, the marketing team, the sales department, and also the janitor.  Not to mention wives/mothers/sisters/daughters and friends.

Overwhelm creeps upon us like a sneaky little be-atch at 3 am or slaps us in the face first thing in the morning when we browse our monster to-do list.  So what can a Virtual Assistant do to tame overwhelm?

First - Deep breaths, sister! Remember that it's completely normal to feel that way and that eventually...it will all get done.  It helps to get everything you need to do...

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ESSENTIAL EQUIPMENT TO START A VIRTUAL ASSISTANT BUSINESS

When I had the idea (9+ years ago!) to start a Virtual Assistant Business, one of the first things I did was research what equipment I would need.   Do you want to know what I found?  Almost EVERY post I read mentioned 'a comfortable chair' which:

A) Seems obscenely obvious and
B) is complete and utter baloney.

Hear me loud and clear: YOU DO NOT NEED A COMFORTABLE CHAIR TO BECOME A VIRTUAL ASSISTANT.  I have worked on the couch...on the floor...outdoors...on a beach...from my bed...and yes - from an UNCOMFORTABLE chair (LOL).  All kidding aside, I do have a desk and chair that I love and spend MOST of my time at...but it's not a necessary thing to worry yourself with when you're starting up!

So what do you need to start a V.A. business?  As a business owner, some start-up costs are likely.  You will need to invest in the essentials. In my opinion, those would be:

  • A Kick-Ass Computer. You will be running your entire business online, using loads...
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WHY YOU ARE 'DATING' YOUR V.A. CLIENTS

Here we are (ALREADY!?!) in the month of loooovvvve.  It's only appropriate that we take a moment to remind ourselves that...whelp...we are dating our future Virtual Assistant clients. I'm not talking about dinner and a movie, exactly.  But the way we date 'potential mates' is somewhat similar to the way we date 'potential clients'.

When business owners go looking for the perfect Virtual Assistant - yes, they will take into consideration your skills and experience.  But the REAL deciding factor on whether or not they will hire you (or even call you for a consultation) is:  Do they like you.  

Seriously...it's that simple.  You may have more talent and knowledge than anyone else in the VA world...but if you come across as a totally unlikeable bee-atch...then you ain't gettin' hired by anyone.

Potential clients may lurk on your social media pages, website, and email list for weeks or months before they decide whether or not to 'hook up' with you....

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3 WAYS TO BOOST VIRTUAL ASSISTANT SUCCESS

January can be a tough time of year for some.  The fun of the holidays has worn off, the credit card bills have hit your inbox and the weather outside is a miserable mix of cold and wet.  Have the winter 'blahs' left you feeling a little less love for your business lately?  No worries, my V.A. friend.  Lucky for you, I have three words that can turn your business 'blahs' into business 'hurrahs' and make your Virtual Assistance business feel a whole lot easier AND become a whole lot more successful.

Any time I have business tasks that are crushing my soul and sucking the joy out of my Virtual Assistant Lifestyle - I apply one of the THREE A's:

  1.  ABOLISH it.  (Can you get rid of this task completely? )
  2.  ADORE it.  (Can you turn this task into something you adore?)
  3.  ASSIGN it.  (Can you delegate or assign it to someone else?)

Let's use an example of a task that may be dragging you down:  Bookkeeping

Hate...

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BEING A VIRTUAL ASSISTANT MADE THIS POSSIBLE

I'm writing this blog post from warm and sunny Palm Springs, California.

I left my home in Ontario, Canada in a snowstorm with gusting winds and ice pellets whipping at me to arrive later that day in a mini paradise of palm trees and sunshine (and sorry, not sorry, I was actually a little too warm at one point)

So what makes it possible to pick up and leave in the middle of a week?  To spend 7 days working and playing and having a life adventure somewhere far from home? Being a Virtual Assistant does.

In my old life as a sad cubicle-dweller...I didn't get to choose where to work.  I got some holiday time...but yeah, I also had to fight with the co-workers over who could take which week off and who would cover.  Well not anymore.

Being a V.A. means I can work hard from anywhere I like.  Some Virtual Assistants are digital nomads... traveling the world and making a living from wherever their heart calls them next.  For me, I love working from home (most of the...

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HOW NOT TO GET HIRED AS A VIRTUAL ASSISTANT

Today I want to talk a little bit about a Marketing tactic that doesn't work:  Insulting Your Prospects.   Well duh!  It sounds pretty obvious - you shouldn't try to make your potential clients feel dumb, right?

Well, let me share a recent experience I had that felt more like a big annoyance than an awesome sales tactic.

Several months ago I received an email from a Virtual Assistant who had downloaded one of my free ebooks that went something like this:

 "I would like to make you aware of multiple spelling and grammatical errors throughout your book 'Twitter Tips for Virtual Assistants'.  If you would like to hire me to proof and correct this, here is my contact info...."

For me - this is a huge marketing #FAIL.  Why?  For a few reasons:

1.  You start right out of the gate by insulting your prospect.  When I read that sentence my brain sees it as: "I found errors that you were too dumb to find yourself...but I'm not going to tell...

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4 WAYS TO STAND OUT FROM OTHER VIRTUAL ASSISTANTS

In case you were wondering, YES...there are a lot of Virtual Assistants out there. That's actually a good thing because online businesses are popping up by the gazillions and most of them need US to help them.

The downside?  Lots of Virtual Assistants means lots of competition.  How will YOU stand out, be found (and chosen) by the gazillions of clients who need you?

There are essentially, FOUR ways you can stick out from the crowd, get noticed and get hired. Interested to learn what they are? Read on...

  1.  Marketing:  It sounds so simple but it's so very true.  You could be the absolute best V.A. in the entire universe but unless you know how to market...no one will ever be able to find you. The good news?  Marketing is learn-a-ble!  And, dare I say, the MOST important skill you can have as a Virtual Assistant.  So if needed, invest in learning about online marketing and watch your business boom.
  2. Skills:  Skills matter.  You...
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