Are You Charging (and Getting) What You’re Worth?

I bet you thought you’d missed out on the Finding & Claiming Your Value Webinar. Surprise!  As I mentioned in my post earlier today, I just returned from two weeks in Maine due to a death in my family, 7 days of which I didn’t do anything business related at all.  Needless to say, it has jammed up my schedule a bit.

Because of that, the webinar has been rescheduled (I know, I know….again!) to give me a little time to catch up.  The webinar will now be held on August 10th at 1pm ET.  This webinar is for you if:

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Social Media for Business-Are You Making the Most of it?

[stextbox id=”info”]If you’re a virtual assistant I have something special at the end of this post you won’t want to miss.[/stextbox]

2010 could very well be called the year of social media. With over 500 million users on Facebook and over 100 million users on Twitter, smart businesses realized that it’s far from a fad that will fade. On the countrary, social media and mobile applications (or apps) are obviously on the rise.

Don’t believe me? Check out this infographic at digitalsurgeons.com.

However as more and more people log on to these social media giants, it’s not good enough to simply have a presence. As with any ‘marketing’ strategy, you should always have some sort of plan. Some plans work better with social media than others.

What doesn’t work:

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Do You Have What it Takes to Be a Virtual Assistant?

Starting your own virtual assistant business requires more than just a desire to make money working from home.  Ask yourself the following questions and answer honestly.

Too many individuals look at becoming a VA as a way to make easy money from home, but the truth is, running your own business is anything but easy.  Your honest answers to these questions will give you a clearer idea of what it takes to become and succeed as a virtual assistant.

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7 Things Every Virtual Assistant Should Know

I love being a virtual assistant. I love educating others about virtual assistance. And I love helping new virtual assistants get started.  With that said, I also believe that if you’re thinking about becoming a virtual assistant there are some things that you shouldn’t need to be taught.

The whole concept of a virtual assistant is that clients are hiring someone who is technology savvy. After all, we rely on said technology to do our jobs right? Yet more and more I’m being contacted by new VA’s asking for help with things that I feel they should already know or at least be aware of.

1.      You should know how to do a comprehensive search with a search engine.

2.      You should be aware of Word templates[1] and how to use them.  This is office administration 101.

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Social Media Time Savers for Virtual Assistants

If  you follow me on Twitter you’ll have noticed that for the past week or so I’ve sent out a tweet that looks like the one below every day:

twitter-tweet

The virtual-assistants Daily is a compilation of tweets, links, RT’s and information shared on Twitter by the other virtual assistants I follow there.  I started it because some days are just so busy that I don’t get much time to check Twitter, but I really hate missing all the great information. 

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Is an Intern Really Better than a Virtual Assistant?

I recently stumbled across a tweet that read: “Interns are actually way better than virtual assistants”.   The link led to an article giving the reasons for the bold proclamation.  So of course I followed the link and read the article.

As a disclaimer, I actually do believe that there are times when an intern fits a need better than a VA, so the contents of this post are not meant to disrespect interns in any way, shape or form.  But I do have a problem with the blanket statement made in the tweets, as well as with the content of the article it references.

Let’s tackle the tweet first, shall we?

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The Contractor Test; Do You Pass?

Virtual Assistants provide business to business services. They own and maintain their own businesses. So would you be surprised to find out that many of them are providing services in such a way that the IRS would actually classify them as ‘remote employees’ and as such their clients are in danger of owing taxes for them? Not only might you be surprised, I believe a large number of virtual assistants would be shocked to realize they fall in that group as well.

The IRS uses three main areas in which they look at control and independence in order to determine if you’re a contractor or an employee.  Those three areas are:

  • Behavioral
  • Financial
  • Type of Relationship

Each area is examined for certain factors which I’ll explain below.

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Are You Sabotaging Your Search for a Virtual Assistant?

During my previous career there was a point in time when I was called upon to assist my employers in finding someone to replace me as I prepared to move on to another position.   I was asked to do several things, from sitting in on interviews to creating training materials to help with the transition.  One of the first things I was asked to help with was the help wanted ad that we placed online and in several local papers.

My supervisor drafted the advertisement and left it on my desk to proofread. An hour later he stood by my desk and asked me what I thought.   I was lucky enough to work in an environment where I knew that my honest opinion was appreciated so I blurted out, “If we place that ad, I’m going to be working in this position forever.”   It was true, he had written the ad completely from his perspective, completely focusing on what his needs were with nothing within the context that spoke to potential candidates.

I’m not saying he wouldn’t have gotten plenty of responses, but I could guarantee that none of the candidates would have possessed the skills and traits necessary to fill the position.  Even in the down economy we find ourselves in now, if you’re looking to fill high level, skilled positions, the most desirable candidates will never respond to the so-called ‘old-school’ help wanted ads.  You know the ones that pretty much say ‘..must know how to do this, that and the other, a jack of all trades and willing to put up with any bullshit that may come down the pike. ‘

Well, ok, maybe that’s not exactly how they are worded, but those of us with the type of experience needed are pretty good at reading between the lines.  And by the way, this applies to your search for a virtual assistant.

Many people advertise for a virtual assistant with that same ‘what can you do for me’ attitude.  And just like my supervisor, their chances of finding a good fit for them are probably pretty dismal.  As an example,below is an actual ad that I stumbled across online:

Virtual Assistant Needed Paid weekly

Looking for a good Virtual Assistant to start with, and looking for 10-20 hours per week, must have gtalk, and must complete tasks in a decent time frame, you will be paid weekly by paypal don’t as for escrow or pre payment because it won’t happen… (Budget: $30-250, Jobs: Data Entry, Virtual Assistant)

I believe my clients would describe me as a ‘good’ virtual assistant, and as such I definitely wouldn’t waste my time to respond to this ad.  Let me explain.

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Virtual Assistant Rates- You Want to Charge What?

Don’t let the title mislead you, this post is for both those of you that are interested in using a virtual assistant as well as virtual assistants themselves ( and those that want to be one). I love hanging around the virtual assistant forums. It’s become just one of the ways that I try to … Read more