How do you keep up with all the changes in social media algorithms?

Short answer: you don't.

For the long answer, watch this 1-minute video:

Join an Online Virtual Assistant Forum

forums for virtual assistantsJoin an online virtual assistant forum this year. Make it your goal to interact weekly at the forum. This is a wonderful resource for learning from other virtual assistants. You could also find other virtual assistants you want to collaborate with and even new clients.

Here are two active virtual assistant forums to check out:

Have you participated in any virtual assistant forums? How have they been of benefit to you and your business?

10 Goals for Your Virtual Assistant Business in 2014

10 goals for 2014

It's that time of year again. We're winding down this year and about to begin 2014. What are your goals for your virtual assistant business in 2014?

My husband and I take two weeks off at the end of every year and shut down our businesses so we can focus on our businesses instead of working in them. We evaluate what worked and what didn't work. Then we make a plan for the new year. I suggest you take some time in the next few weeks to sit down and write down ten goals for your virtual assistant business in 2014.

To get your creative juices flow with ideas for goals, here are 10 goals you might choose to have for your virtual assistant business in 2014:

  1. Add one new client each month of the year.
  2. Raise your rates by 10%.
  3. Offer an added-value feature for your existing clients.
  4. Commit to posting at your blog regularly.
  5. Start using Pinterest. If you already are using Pinterest, create a new board with tips for your clients.
  6. Add 5 new connections to each of your social media networks every week.
  7. Learn a new skill that you can offer to your clients.
  8. Join an online virtual assistant forum and interact weekly.
  9. Create a procedures manual for your repetitive tasks and ask another VA to review them. This will come in handy if you need to take some time off and hand your tasks off to someone else for a bit.
  10. Plan to take a week off at the end of 2014 to plan your business goals for 2015.

I'd love to hear what your goals will be in 2014. Please share them in the comments so other virtual assistants can get some ideas as well.

Don't forget to share this post on Google+, pin it to Pinterest, or write a similar blog post.

Let's make 2014 the best year yet!

VA Interview: Paula Hill, Virtual Assistant

When Joel and I first met Paula online we knew she was our kind of people. She's smart, fun and easy to talk to. I hope you enjoy her interview.

Paual Hill

1. When did you start your business?
January 2008

2. Why did you choose to become a Virtual Assistant?
In 2007 I realized I had hit a “brick wall” in my corporate career. I began looking for a new job but wasn’t excited about getting another j-o-b. Then one day I watched a TV news interview of a successful VA out in Montana and realized I could do that! I purchased a couple of books on how to be a VA and with a little prior planning I quit my corporate job and established my new business.

3. What advice would you give new and aspiring VAs?
I have two:
Polish your networking skills and force yourself to get out of the house and meet people.
Do not buy anything at the office supply store until you absolutely have to!

4. What resources have helped you in your business?
I recently read The Commonsense Virtual Assistant and recommend it to new VAs. My local business assistance center and my local chamber of commerce have been a huge help in getting me clients.

5. Share something about yourself.
Being self-employed I tend to work too much. I am not comfortable “just sitting around”. Realizing I need to relax more I recently took a knitting class. It’s the perfect hobby for fidgety people and it gives me the mental break I need.

6. Additional comments you'd like to share.
If you are considering a career change I highly recommend becoming a Virtual Assistant. There is plenty of work for all of us!

Paula's Contact Information:
Paula Hill - Virtual Assistant
Website:
http://paulahill.com
Blog: http://paulahill.com/paulas-blog/
Twitter: http://twitter.com/paula_hill
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/panther.city.paula
LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/paulahill

VA Interview: Marie Fitzgibbons - Deadline Met Virtual Assistant Services

I first met Marie online just before she left her corporate job to launch her virtual assistant business full time. From the moment we connected I was impressed with Marie's spirit and obvious passion to help other people.

Marie Fitzgibbons - Deadline Met VA

1. When did you start your business?

Well, I started putting things in motion August 2009, officially opened for business February 1, 2010, and dove in full-time (leaving a corporate job of 7 years) on April 1, 2010.

2. Why did you choose to become a Virtual Assistant?

I was finished with being undervalued and underpaid by my employer. Owning my own business had been a dream of mine for a long time and after facing several disappointments at my corporate job that culminated in utter frustration last July (2009), I started researching my options. I knew I wanted to work from a home office, I knew what I was good at and I knew what I enjoyed doing … when I discovered the VA industry, it just clicked. I’m a helper by nature, and I love being in a support role and seeing those I support succeed. Being a Virtual Assistant would bring all the things I needed and wanted together into my dream career! I knew that I would work harder than I ever had, but I’ve always felt that I would be better off working 12 hours a day for myself than 8 for someone else in an unfulfilling, boring job.

I’ve only been out on my own for a few months, but I can already tell you that I feel like I have the best job in the world. Even on the difficult days, I would not trade it for anything. My goal is to be a VA until I retire at 55 and to never again be anyone’s employee.

3. What advice would you give new and aspiring VAs?

Network, network, and network some more! Join Virtual Assistant Networking Association (VANA), FindVirtual, VA Forums, IVAA, and any other VA networking sites that work for you and get active on their forums. The VA industry is the most supportive, friendly industry I’ve ever had the pleasure to be a part of and you can learn so much from your fellow VAs who have been around the block a time or two. I started hanging out at VANetworking in August 2009 and I can honestly say that if has been like going to school to be a VA. I’ve made some great online friends, met VAs who live in my area, found a local VA group to provide friendship and support, and got connected with my first 3 clients from networking with other VAs.

Face-to-face networking at live networking events is also very important. The majority of your business will come from networking (online and off) and word of mouth/referrals. I highly recommend joining local small business and entrepreneur-focused networking groups. A great place to find networking groups in your area is www.meetup.com. Its free and easy to use.

Mentoring and coaching is also critical to a VA’s success. You need to have the support of someone who has been there, someone who will help you identify your strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities that you may not be aware of. A good coach and mentor will also give advice and criticism in an honest, helpful and friendly way, and be there when you need to vent.

4. What resources have helped you in your business? Forums, blogs, coaching, books?

Like I said, the VANA forums have been an amazing resource and I follow several VA and VA Coach blogs (Virtual Moxie, The Gritty VA, Chief Virtual Officer’s Blog to name a few). I also get a lot out of the group coaching calls that you and Joel host. I’ve been able to apply things I’ve learned on those calls right away with my prospects and clients and, because funds and time are tight for me right now (that’s how it is when you’re a start-up!) the calls are ideal for me. Eventually, I’ll have the resources to spend more time with a coach (I’ll probably be hitting you up for that when the time comes, Sue!) but until then, the coaching calls are a perfect fit!

5. Share a success story or something about yourself.

Well, I consider my journey in getting my VA business started to be my biggest success story so far, so I’ll leave it at that. A few things about me that not many people know are that I was once in an improv comedy group, I had another small business on the side a few years ago in which I designed and sewed one of a kind clothing and accessory items on eBay, and once upon a time I was a social work major at CSULB!

6. Additional comments you'd like to share.

I truly enjoy knowing you, Sue, and I love your coaching group!

Marie's contact information:
Marie Fitzgibbons, Deadline Met Virtual Assistant Services
Website: http://www.deadlinemet.com
Blog: Do not have one yet … soon!
Twitter: http://twitter.com/DeadlineMetVA
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/deadline.met
LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/deadlinemet