virtual assistant training

Must Have Software For Virtual Assistants Part II

Must Have Software For Virtual Assistants Part II

My community showed their appreciation for my blog post on Must Have Software For Virtual Assistants. The buzz around that post was so much fun that I decided to create a part II and list even more software that I use and recommend for any virtual assistant.

Free Training For Virtual Assistants

free-training-for-virtual-assistants-large

There is an abundance of free training on the Internet just waiting to be taken advantage of.

I went from working as a general administrative virtual assistant to specializing in WordPress membership sites and content marketing within a short period of time and doubled my rates as a result.

I took advantage of the Internet and found a ton of valuable free content.  I joined webinars, watched YouTube videos and followed the advice of some of the most famous internet entrepreneurs out there.   Below are just some of the online resources I use to to keep up to date on the latest in marketing and tech.

Trello

Trello is a free and amazing project management tool.  Not only can you manage projects, but you can use it as a CRM, create #allthelists your heart desires, and be able to collaborate on different boards. You can start learning the basics of Trello here

Asana

Asana is another fantastic project management tool with more structure to it that makes it a breeze to collaborate with clients or a team, big or small.

Dubsado

A CRM tool that will help you automate your business so it saves you time so that you can focus on other aspects of your business. By using Dubsado, you can generate leads, set up payments, create your contracts and have it ready to go, bookkeeping, client and project management. Need I say more?  

ConvertKit

Ready to start building your email list? ConvertKit is an email marketing platform that has great features for creators that will help you grow your audience.

Double Your Freelance Rate E-course

A great online course for freelancers to charge what they are worth. A free, 9 lesson course that has helped 25,000+ freelancers learn how to charge more. This course give you a start-to-finish playbook on how to raise your rates and each lesson has an interactive worksheet which will help you apply it to your unique business.

The Freelance Business Planning Workbook

This 40-page freelance business planning workbook will help you figure out what to do, what skills to leverage, and how to get started. PLUS, you'll get an additional treasure chest checklist FULL of 250+ deals, favorites, and freebies to use in your business!

Branding

In this free e-book, you’ll learn the absolute basics about branding and how to create a beautiful brand for your business. 

Femtrepreneur Blog E-course

Ready to start your own blog so that you can position yourself as the expert and start generating leads? Femtrepreneur has an awesome e-course for blogging. 

Squarespace

One of the things you’ll need to have for your business is a website for clients to land on and find you, and start booking those discovery calls. Squarespace is a very user friendly platform that also allows you to be creative and customize your website with your branding. 

Facebook Ads

Want to start learning about digital marketing, specifically Facebook ads? Julie Stoian, provides a free training called Facebook Ad Audiences 101.

Megan Minns

Megan Minns is a VA, turned OBM, turned Productivity and Systems Strategist for online business owners. She has all the products, apps, tools, and resources she uses on a daily basis. She even has some Sqaurespace videos.

Social Media Examiner

A great resource to learn about social media, current trends of social media and marketing can be found on Social Media Examiner. They offer a weekly video show, weekly podcasts, and a weekly live video talk show to help boost your marketing skills and keep you up-to-date with the ever-changing world of social media.You’ll discover knowledge you need to make your business grow or your clients’ business.They even have the following guides to get you started:

- Facebook Marketing Guide
- Instagram Marketing Guide
YouTube Marketing Guide
- LinkedIn Marketing Guide

Free Podcast Course 

If you are thinking of starting a podcast for your business or looking to help a client get started, you can find all the trainings on podcasts all in one place on this YouTube channel here by John Lee Dumas of EOFire. Get ready to binge on all the videos.

VA Networking.com 

VANetworking.com is a virtual assistants networking community where they offer FREE, informative, educational resources and answers to your questions you will ever need to keep your virtual business thriving at its peak performance. They even hold seminars throughout the year with different guests from the industry. 

How to Write CSS

Want to learn how to write CSS? My good friend Dre Baltrami has got you covered. Learn how to master CSS even if coding scares you! 

HubSpot

HubSpot is an on-line marketing leader who helps thousands of businesses with on-line marketing.   They also offer some of the most amazing free webinars and a ton of free resources.

I have joined numerous webinars, and each webinar is packed with tremendous value. I walk away with from each webinar with new skills to offer my clients. With topics like SEO, website marketing, blogging and how to social media marketing you simply can’t afford to ignore this powerhouse of information.

Alison.com

Alison is a free online learning website. There are courses on Microsoft Excel, PowerPoint, Google Apps, WordPress, podcasting and video editing just to name a few!

Udemy

Udemy is a great online resource to learn just about anything from entrepreneurship to how to code your own website.  For virtual assistants, there are plenty of free courses in a variety of areas that will be useful.  Courses like learning how to use WordPress,  Advanced Microsoft Suite training and more.  It's definitely worth checking out so you can brush up on your skills and even learn something new.

Copywriting

Want to learn how to write the words that go on your website and social profiles? Copyblogger has the perfect free copywriting 101 introductory course to get you started off on the right foot. 

WPBeginner

WPBbeginner is a free WordPress resource site that has over 130,000 users. They offer an amazing free WordPress training course called WPBeginner's WordPress101. The training is very basic so if you don't know your way around WordPress this is a great resource.  If you're familiar with WordPress this training might be too basic for you so I recommend checking out their other free content in the blog.

SkillShare

SkillShare has quickly become the go-to online learning platforms because the bring in some of the best instructors around.  Some of the courses are free, but most are paid. I couldn't think of a better marketing instructor than Seth Godin or learning social media strategy from Gary Vaynerchuk. And Entrepreneurship from Barbara Corcoran? Awesome. Sign up, thank me later.

ByRegina.com

Regina is AMAZING. She has a very popular site that help bloggers and creative entrepreneurs get their ducks in a row when it comes to starting their business. Regina offers a many different free workshops

Canva

Visual Marketing is critical for a brand's success and a virtual assistant business is no different. Enter Canva. Canva is a free simple graphic design software. It used to be that to create beautiful graphics you had to hire a graphic designer. Now all you have to do is create a free account and sign up for the Canva Design School to get started. Create social media graphics, website graphics, presentations, business cards and more. The sky is the limit.

Your First Client, a free e-course made for Virtual Assistants

Your First Client is an in-depth free e-course that teaches virtual assistants what they need to know to start and run a successful virtual assistant business. The content in this course isn't fluff. It's chock full of advice from a successful virtual assistant (me!) that's been in the industry since 2008.

What online resources do you use to broaden your skills as a virtual assistant?  Let us know by sharing them in the comments below.   I read every single comment and look forward to hearing from all of you.

What online resources do you use to broaden your skills as a virtual assistant?  Let us know by sharing them in the comments below.   I read every single comment and look forward to hearing from all of you.

Did you enjoy reading this article and find it useful?  If so, highlight any sentence in the post and tweet it out or share it to your favorite social network. I'd love you for it!

Love,

Reese

The Virtual Assistant Website - What You Must Know & Avoid

website dos and donts for virtual assistants
website dos and donts for virtual assistants

If you want to grow your client base and your earning potential you must have a great website.  If you're ashamed of your website it's time to change that.

As part of my blog post series about how to get new clients for your virtual assistant business I’d like to talk about why what you include on your website is just as important as what you should not include.

I will show you how to build a website that leaves little doubt about what you do, and how well you do it.

Let’s say I am on your website. Within 3 seconds do I know what you do and the clients you serve? If I can’t I'm going to bounce off your site.

To prevent this, make it easy to for your visitor to see within 3 seconds what you’re all about.   Include a clear message, whether it's a photo, logo or a well-written tagline. I would recommend doing all three.

What and how many pages should I have?

The golden standard for most websites is 5 pages. They are your home page, about page, contact page, testimonial page, and blog.  There is a lot of controversy about whether or not to post your rates to your website. If you want to create a page for rates, go for it! Alternatively, you can insert your rates in the about page.

Avoid adding additional pages that just clutter up your navigation bar. I've seen some virtual assistant websites include pages such as “why choose a VA” and even a page dedicated to highlighting a resume. Online resumes are good for LinkedIn, not for a website and you're about page should explain why you should choose working with a VA.

Make sure your page titles are easily understood. An about page is one of the most visited pages on your website so make sure your visitor knows where to find the about page. Stay away from kitschy terms like “Get The Scoop, or My Story”. The same goes with your testimonials page. Stay away from titles like “singing my praise”. It’s okay to be creative with the titles of your pages but make sure everyone can understand what each page is and why they would want to open it.

Call to action

When a visitor comes to your site do you have a place to capture their email address similar to my home page? If you don’t you’re leaving money on the table (stop that!). The idea is to grow your email list so you can market to this list at some point by offering special promotions or services. In order to entice people to subscribe to your email list consider offering a useful freebie. If you don’t have a freebie why not create a VA/Client checklist or a short video on how to work with a virtual assistant. Create something useful for any business owner or entrepreneur to use.

Social Media Icons

Is your website littered with social media icons, badges, links or categories? Talk about distracting! If a potential client lands on your site and you've got all this junk in the sidebar how are they going to know what to do next? The idea is to minimize the number of links that lead visitors away from your site. You want to keep people engaged on your site, not off your site.

Clear, well-written copy

We all make spelling and grammar mistakes from time to time but your website isn't the place to make these kinds of mistakes. Go through your website copy and read all the text backwards to see if you have made any mistakes in sentence structure. Run a spell check. Have a friend proofread the copy for you. Do all of this and make it a priority because your potential clients will choose another VA if they see spelling and grammar mistakes on your site.

Links working?

Go through your website from time to time to make sure all your links are working. You can do this by setting up Google Webmasters. Once you have Google Webmasters set up you can receive a weekly report that shows you if you have any errors on your website.

So come clean, are you happy with your website or are you embarrassed by it? Let me know in the comments below and feel free to ask me a question on how to make it better. I read every comment. 

Like what you're reading?  Click here to tweet it out!

Rock on,

Reese

How To Use LinkedIn To Find Clients

How to use LinkedIn to Find Clients
How to use LinkedIn to Find Clients

Do you want to know how I got started with zero clients to having more work than I could handle, in less than one year without a website? The answer is LinkedIn.

It's a fact that LinkedIn is the most effective social media platform for lead generation for B2B business, beating out Facebook and Twitter. Click here for the research data.  When I first got started in the VA industry I learned the ins and outs of LinkedIn and successfully marketed my virtual assistance business without a website. With LinkedIn alone, I managed to keep my virtual client pipeline full.

Here’s the inside scoop on how I brought in lead after lead and brought in my a handful of clients.

LinkedIn Profile

First I banged out an awesome LinkedIn profile. I researched on Google for ways to stand out on LinkedIn, to be noticed by everyone. Google it yourself, you’ll see there is a lot of advice out there about how to get more leads, and more money for your business with LinkedIn. I followed the advice of Lewis Howes. He teaches you exactly how to build a LinkedIn profile that gets noticed and that will bring in lead after lead for your business. After following his advice, I created a really awesome profile on LinkedIn. I then optimized it, big time.

LinkedIn SEO

SEO on LinkedIn isn’t the same as it is on Internet search engines, but the basics are similar. In order for my profile to stand out and get high rankings in LinkedIn’s search engine, I had to optimize it for the terms “virtual assistant”. There are a few areas in your profile that you must plug in keywords and they are:

• Headline

• Description

• Summary

• Current and Past experience

• Skills

If you include keyword-rich phrases in these areas you are more than likely to appear in a search for that keyword or keyword phrase. Keep in mind, it’s not enough to pack your LinkedIn profile with keywords. Your LinkedIn profile should also contain all of your experience (the past and current) and should read like an interesting conversation, so steer clear of typical resume style writing. Click here for 30 Simple Steps To A Killer LinkedIn Profile That Converts

LinkedIn Networking

After you have created a great profile and you’ve optimized it with your keywords, go out and network! If you haven’t joined a group on LinkedIn, I want you to go and join a group that’s made up of your target audience.

Before joining, first, ask yourself -- what is my specialty and who needs my services? My answer would be - I am a WordPress and Email Marketing Virtual Assistant. My clients are Coaches or Consultants looking to start a website manage their e-mail marketing campaigns. There are so many groups on LinkedIn that cater to business coaches and solo-entrepreneurs in these fields; it wasn’t hard to find groups that matched my target audience.

Each day I spent up to 30 minutes in these groups answering questions and providing value.  But you might be asking yourself "but all the groups I join seem to be full of marketers promoting their business and there are no discussions of value happening".  This is unfortunately very true today regarding many groups on LinkedIn.  They have become a place for people to drop off their blog posts and don't add value to the groups by way of posting and answering questions.

The way I got around this was I kept my eyes peeled for actual discussions and questions that I could answer.   I filtered through the noise by setting my group settings to receive a daily email summary of the group's activity.   I scanned the headlines of the posts and see if there is something relevant to comment on.

The more I post in a group, the more my  name and profile start appearing  in front of all of the group members (this reach could be in the hundreds or thousands). Within a short period of time, I was discovered and started a conversation about virtual assistant services with someone who contacted me from one of the groups I was a member of.

This happened inside of a female entrepreneurs group. The subject of the conversation was about what type of pantyhose should female executives wear during summer months! That conversation is what brought me one of my key clients who I have been working with for almost 3 years. So you see, all I did on LinkedIn was network, I just joined in on a conversation.

You don’t even need to talk about virtual assistant services. Just join a conversation and put yourself out there.  People will notice you. The world is a social place at heart and the more you go out there and meet different people, the more opportunity you have to grow your professional network. More connections = more opportunity.

Don't forget to start your own conversations.   Pay attention to the things people are "stuck on".  Ask questions that are relevant for the group.  For example, if you're in a real estate group  you can ask what type of customer relationship management software they are using and why?  Another great question is, "are you using email marketing for your real estate business"?

Form questions backward.  Think of the things you are really good at and then craft questions around those services that you could provide.  One more example.

Of course, networking alone doesn’t guarantee success. I had to create a slam-dunk tagline or what some may call my elevator speech. That first year I practiced my spiel a lot! In addition to my slam-dunk client intro, I encouraged them to check out the positive recommendations I received on LinkedIn. This combo worked.

There is a lot more to learn about LinkedIn marketing for a virtual assistant business, but these are really the most important tips I can give you to get you started with LinkedIn marketing.

I cover all of these tactics and more in my Social Media Marketing Masterclass, where I literally walk you through step-by-step how to get clients for your virtual assistant using LinkedIn (and I also include Facebook and Twitter).

Do you use LinkedIn for your virtual assistant business? If you do please post a comment below, I read every comment and I look forward to hearing from you!

Warmly,

Reese

7 Things I Wished I Knew When I Started My VA Business

From the start of my virtual assistant business, there’s a rap sheet filled with “things I wish I would have known”.  Had I known and accepted the things listed below from the beginning things would have been much easier for me as a virtual assistant.  Hopefully, this list will help you get your business in order so you don’t make the same mistakes I did.

 
 

1. Learn how to say no. When I was just getting my virtual assistant business started, I didn't feel I could say no to a prospect. There are several reasons to say no to a prospect. It may not feel right to you or you’re at full capacity and by taking on more work you’ll do a shit job. Another reason to say no is the budget just isn’t right. If a prospect wants to pay you less than you’re worth say no! Say no to the wrong prospects so you can make room for the right prospects!

2. You’re not a secretary. You’re a business owner! Start treating your virtual assistant business like one from day 1 because sooner, or later you wish you had.

3. Your target market is not “every small-business owner”.  You don’t “do” everything. Pick a list of services by honing in on what you’re really good at. If you really think that every single small business needs you, you’re wrong. You need to stand out, niche down and find your target market. By figuring what your skills are you can figure who your ideal clients are and you’ll have an easier time closing the deal with a prospect.

4. You don’t put in face time. If your client expects you to sit in front of your computer and answer their email immediately as it comes in, then it’s time to get your act in order! Have a well laid-out business plan that states exactly what you do, when you do it, and how you’ll do it. Period.

5. Bartering is bad business. You cannot and should not trade your services for another service. If you’re trying to build your business it’s better to work for less in the beginning and slowly raise your rates than give your services away for something unequal in value.

6. Focus on your strengths and hire your weaknesses. Stop trying to do everything. I get that you don’t have a budget to create your website but let’s face it unless you know WordPress inside and out, or you know how to code websites you’re going to need to hire a web designer. If you don’t it’s going to take you months to get your site even close to where you think you need it. This is time you’re spending away from building your business and brand. Time is money baby.

7. Your time is worth a lot!  Put a time limit on your prospective client conference calls. I allot 30 minutes for introductory conference calls. This makes both parties cut the social niceties and get straight to business discussing the important stuff. If I choose to speak longer, that’s totally up to me but I let my prospects know ahead of time that they have me for a set amount of time. If a prospect is serious about working together they’ll move forward with you and pay you for the next call.

Like what you've read?  Make sure to tweet it out by clicking here!

So what are some of the things you would have done differently had you known when you first got started as a virtual assistant?   What can you teach our community of readers so they don't make the same mistakes as you?   Please leave a comment below and let us learn from one another!

Warmest regards,

Reese

Finding Virtual Assistant Jobs

FINDING VIRTUAL ASSISTANT JOBS

If you're reading this it's because you're looking for a job.

Let me jump on my soapbox.

Becoming a virtual assistant is NOT another "job".  When you work as a VA (virtual assistant) you're working with clients and the last time I checked, when you have clients you've got yourself your own little biz-ness.

In any case here are a few places you can look to find your next client.

Virtual Assistant Forums

If you’re looking to become a virtual assistant this should be your first stop. Sign up for free to the Virtual Assistant Forums and you’ll be able to search for open virtual assistant jobs, post a question in the forums, or run a search in the shops for learning tools on how to get started in the VA business. Once you’ve created a website for your virtual assistant business you can submit your site to the forums and get seen by prospects looking to hire.

Hire My Mom

HireMyMom.com helps stay-at-home moms  with at home work positions.  HireMyMom.com has a yearly membership fee of $99 and a membership criteria that you must meet.  They will do all the marketing for you.

eaHelp

eaHelp is one of the leading virtual assistant staffing firms in the United States.  They source high quality executive virtual assistants and place them with clients in the U.S. and globally.  Check out their careers page to see if they're hiring. Be ready for a grueling interview process.

Zirtual

Zirtual is another great option to work for a well known virtual assistant staffing firm that finds clients for you.  They work solely with U.S. based virtual assistants so if you live outside of the U.S. this company isn't for you.  Be ready for a grueling interview process.

LinkedIn

There is an option to search for jobs on LinkedIn. I recommend going into the advanced search area and type in virtual assistant. In general there isn’t a lot of traction for the term “virtual assistant” in the search query but sometimes you can find some great opportunities. Before you apply for the job make sure your LinkedIn profile is completely filled out. In addition make sure you've read my blog post on how to find clients using LinkedIn by clicking here.

Virtual Assistantville

Virtual Assistantville is a premium virtual assistant directory. You do not need to have a website to be listed directly. All you need to do is sign up, select a package and finally create your listing. You can upload a logo if you have one and a tagline and you’ve got a mini-website. The purpose of this directory is to help potential clients find you.

Twitter

I've covered this one on a previous blog post so check that out by clicking here and go and open up a Twitter account today so you can find your first or your next client.

If you’re loving this article, share it on Twitter by clicking here

How do you find clients?  Let us know by leaving a comment below!

Rock on,

Reese

Convert Visitors Into Leads With a Well Written Website

Your website is the main hub of your virtual assistant business. The primary goal of your website is to convert visitors into leads. To do this your website copy needs to be persuasive. I am writing this blog post in hopes to get you to realize that copywriting is one of the most essential elements of effective online marketing. Without effective copy for your virtual assistant (or any business medium) website you are leaving money on the table.

What is persuasive web copy? Take a look at Task Rabbit’s website. Pay attention to their tagline “Do More, Live More, Be More”. The next thing to grab your eyes is their header “Get just about anything done by safe, reliable, awesome people”.

These may seem like silly statements to you but these words sell. They grab your attention. They keep readers interested spend more time on Task Rabbit’s site.

How do you write persuasive, professional copy on your website? You’re in luck. I’ve done the research for you and compiled a ton of resources to save you time.

After you’ve checked out all the resources below leave me a message in the comments. Let me know what changes you’ve made to your website copy and be sure to include your website’s url so we can all provide feedback! I can’t wait; this is going to be fun!

If you’re loving this article, share it on Twitter by clicking here

5 secrets to writing non-sucky copy for any business. This is a FREE downloadable from Laura Belgray, one of my favorite copywriters.

Why writing a persuasive About page is critical to your online virtual assistant business. This is one of my favorite topics by Derek Halpern, an Internet marketing genius.

Copywriting 101 – How to craft compelling copy for your website

Write like you talk! Four Steps to Finding Your Ideal Writing Voice

Overcome The Overwhelm Of Starting Your VA Biz

Hi everyone! This week I decided to record a video and read off an email that I got from one of my readers.   She has some very good questions about what software and payment gateways she needs in place in order to get started as a virtual assistant.

So many of my readers have the very same questions.   In today's world of technology everything you need to have a successful VA business can give you choice overload!   Stick with what works, don't complicate things!

I hope you find this week's video useful!  But before you click play check out the AWFUL video thumbnail of me below.   Could I possibly look any worse?  Gotta love video.

 
 

As always leave me a comment below.  I LOVE hearing from you and read every single comment.

Did you find this week's video helpful?  If yes please let others know about it by clicking here to Tweet it out!

xoxo, Reese