Did you know Ausoma doesn’t require long-term commitments from our clients? Our only contract is a service agreement stating the scope of work and cost, and an agreement to provide 30 days notice to cancel services. While we strongly recommend a 90 day commitment for new clients because it takes time to achieve results, no client is bound to us by a long-term contract. We take the risk, not the client.
Yet most stay long term.
If people stay when they don’t have to, spend their hard earned money with no contractual obligation forcing them, there must be something else keeping them.
Do you sometimes feel there’s not enough time to get all the tasks done in a day? Virtual Assistants usually have several clients – each with a variety of tasks to be completed. Often these tasks are done on a daily basis. If you have a dozen clients and need to touch their account daily and complete three different tasks for each of them every day, that’s 36 different things you need to schedule that day. How do you manage your time to get everything scheduled done?
Here’s what I’ve found is working best for me at this time. (I find that works best for me sometimes changes depending on how many clients I have and how many tasks I need to accomplish. Feel free to change how you schedule your time as the need arises.)
1. My Google calendar helps me see at a glance for the day, week, or month what client calls I have scheduled, what projects are coming due, and gives me a daily reminder to check my daily task list.
2. Currently my favorite way to be sure I get everything done I need to do everyday is to use a spreadsheet similar to the one pictured here. Each Monday morning I print out my daily task list and then physically check off each task as I complete it each day. I had tried to do this on the computer without printing it out. However, I love the feeling of having something in front of me I can see, touch, and write on. Since I have so many clients with so many different things to do, I actually have a 2-page task list. It sure has helped me accomplish a lot.
Everyone has their favorite time management tool. I’d love to hear what works best for you.
Keeping our word leads nicely to the next personal habit: punctuality. Yup; just plain being on time. It falls squarely in the first two dissatisfaction-eliminating facets of customer service: accuracy and availability.
Punctuality isn’t just about being on time for a meeting, although that’s critical. It’s also about timely delivery, whether by mail or in person. It’s about timely response, by phone, email, or smoke signal. We’ll come back to that in a bit.
As VAs we need to give realistic estimates of timeframes, then do all we can not just to meet them, but exceed them. That’s how word-of-mouth is created, not by simply doing what’s expected.
**This is an excerpt from The Commonsense Virtual Assistant – Becoming an Entrepreneur, Not an Employee by Joel D and Sue Canfield. Get a copy from Amazon here.
Marketing a business is a huge topic. Today we will address a specific concern one virtual assistant has.
I ran a VA business from 2007-2009. As much as I loved it, I found that I was having to spend a large percentage of my time marketing my business. I would like to start up again, but what alternatives should I consider besides doing my own marketing?
To give the best answer, I first asked some additional questions.
What percentage of time did you use to market your business?
What marketing strategies did you use?
Would you be open to having someone else do your marketing and if so, how would you envision that?
The virtual assistant stated she spent at least 50% of her time marketing her business. Now that may seem like a lot. However, I did a bit of research and found several entrepreneurs who encourage spending at least 60% of your time marketing. I do know that if I’m working 20 hours a week for clients, I’m spending an additional 10 hours or so marketing my business. So the amount of time seems right.
What we sometimes forget is that we are entrepreneurs and business owners. That means usually we are the one person doing it all: sales, marketing, client work, administrative work. And that takes time. If we don’t want to spend the time doing the marketing, we have two choices:
Hire someone as our marketing person
Find a J.O.B. – because a business owner must market their services and products in order to succeed
Some marketing strategies that are very effective are in-person events such as SBA events, BNI meetings, professional associations. Then there’s online marketing: a blog, social networking sites, ezines, press releases. Yes, these all take time. That’s why it’s important to put together a simple marketing plan and calendar and schedule these events and actions. Our Action Guide has a sample marketing plan and calendar with details on how to put them into action. Having a plan helps you make sure you’re using strategies that are most effective and less-time consuming than just haphazardly posting something on a social network every day.
Joining local small business groups and attending monthly mixers are effective marketing strategies. Get to know the people, what their needs are, how you can refer them to others. It’s important to build relationships with these people before you ever try to “sell” them your services. There’s a whole section in our book, The Commonsense Virtual Assistant – Becoming an Entrepreneur, Not an Employee, that has lots of great information on marketing. You can purchase a copy on the website.
I believe doing your own marketing is most effective. However, hiring someone to market your services for you is also a viable option. After all, isn’t that what many of our clients hire us to do for them? You can hire someone to help promote your services – online, via mailings, follow-up phone calls, and even by attending in-person events.
Another great marketing strategy is article writing. It establishes you as an expert and always links back to your website. Check out my articles at Ezine Articles.
You can read more about proactive marketing at another blog post of mine.