Outsourcing your Business Processes to a Virtual Assistant: What You Really Need to Know

The truth about finding and working with virtual assistants with No Bullshit Over the years I’ve seen a lot of information published about outsourcing your business processes to virtual assistants and other virtual professionals.  Some of the information is good. A lot of the information isn’t. There are a lot of reasons why so much … Read more

If its not Broke…Fix it Anyway

I’m currently taking an online business turnaround course.  GASP!  “But Tina”, you say, “you already have a successful virtual assistant business.  And you teach others how to build their own successful businesses.  Does that mean you don’t know what you’re talking about?”

Before you get your panties in a bunch breath deep and listen to what I’m going to say next. 

Read moreIf its not Broke…Fix it Anyway

What if There was a Business School for Virtual Professionals?

(Psst…interested in starting a business as a virtual assistant? There’s a special offer at the bottom of this post. If you’re the impatient sort you can click here.)

Do a search for ‘how to become a virtual assistant‘ and you’ll get a slew of information provided by a variety of sources from Entrepreneur .com to some obviously uninformed authors who are looking to increase traffic to their website by using a popular search term.  In fact, the search I did for this post 10 minutes ago returned over 5 million hits.  Sounds like an abundance of information available at your fingertips doesn’t it?

Sure.  That is if you want to spend thousands of hours sifting through tons of inaccurate information and just plain nonsense.  Oh and don’t forget, if you’re doing the search in the first place you most likely don’t know what is valid information and what’s not.  You could spend all of those hours only to find yourself  more confused that you were before you started reading.  Trust me, I know.

I hear from wanna-be, new and struggling virtual assistants and virtual paralegals every week wondering how in the world I built a successful business.

I started out like many of the rest of you, with perhaps two major exceptions.  One, I was unemployed and desperate.  And two, I had some experience running my own craft based business way back in the dark ages; otherwise known as my twenties.   The desperation gave me the motivation I needed to do the trial and error thing over and over and over again.  If something didn’t work, I had no choice but to try something else.  The craft business experience gave me a tiny bit of business owner knowledge of things like business structure, licensing and registration that I wouldn’t have had a clue about otherwise.  Truthfully, the desperation was a bigger benefit, but those two items are the only things I may have started out with that other virtual assistant wanna-bes  might not have the benefit of.

So how did I build a successful business? 

Read moreWhat if There was a Business School for Virtual Professionals?

Yes, Your Business Needs a Facebook Page

Anyone who reads this blog knows I’m a big fan of Twitter. (Done the right way.) And although I myself sort of dragged my heels at first, I have come to the conclusion that when it comes to social media for business, a Facebook Page is a necessity.

The problem is, many small businesses are overwhelmed by social media and find the Facebook Page a bit confusing.  Not to mention they aren’t quite sure how to use it.  So rather than deal with it, they throw their hands in the air and say “Bah! Facebook is the devil.”  Enter this post.

Below are a few simple tips and hints to help you utilize the power of Facebook for your biz.

Profiles vs Pages:  The most confusing thing about Facebook just may be the whole Profile/Page confusion.  First, your profile is what you get when you sign up for Facebook. It’s personal, all about you, not your business.  So basically, your Facebook profile is your base “account’.

Pages are something that you can add to your ‘account’.  A Page is totally separate from your profile pages and wall. Items posted to your personal wall do not show up on your Page and vice versa (unless you choose to share them there).  Your personal friends do not get added to your Pages, they must ‘Like’ them like anyone else.

Types of Pages:  Facebook has several categories for Pages.  The choices are:

  • Local Business or Place
  • Company, Organization or Institution
  • Brand or Product
  • Artist, Band or Public Figure
  • Entertainment
  • Cause or Community

So you can build a page for your business and/or for your new bestseller or product.  As you can see, you could easily end up having several pages for different reasons.

What Do You Do There?  A Facebook Page is all about creating a community of people who like your business or product.  Ask yourself, “What do I want to share with my community about my business?”  Perhaps you want to announce book signings or public appearances. Or you could share news about what’s going on at your biz, including new projects, faces, products or services.  Does your community have questions about your business?  Let them ask on the page and provide answers for them.  Of course, you don’t have to limit it to just one of those options, you can combine several or all of them.   And don’t forget, if you have a blog you can connect it to your page so that new posts are announced on the Page wall.

Read moreYes, Your Business Needs a Facebook Page

The Big Impact of Small Errors

Alright, alright, let’s just admit it right now: we ALL make mistakes!  Nobody really wants to admit it, but it’s just part of being human.  In the course of our lifetime we have and will make many, many mistakes; some large and some very small.  The mistakes themselves cause their own bit of anguish as we are forced to accept that we are not perfect and still always have room for improvement.  However, it is the consequences of these errors that are undoubtedly the worst part.  Sometimes we can get away with an ‘oops’ moment with next to no fallout, but other times we can face further challenges, penalties, and setbacks just based on a single slip-up.  It seems unfair that one can be judged due to such an innate human quality, but it isn’t uncommon for even the smallest of errors to cause great suffering.

When it comes to owning and running your own business, there seems to already be insurmountable odds stacked against your success, so who wants to have to stress about making one wrong move that could cost you all your hard work?  Well, unfortunately I’m not here to tell you how to avoid all the common entrepreneurial mistakes there are out there, but I would like to focus on one group of seemingly small errors that can compromise your professional reputation.  Just as in my last post I talked about how text speak can earn you a reputation of ‘business amateur’, I want to zero in again on how the way you communicate can affect the way you are perceived professionally.  This time, I’m going to reveal to you how grade school level grammar lessons are important even now that you venture out on your adult pursuits.

Read moreThe Big Impact of Small Errors

Why You Should Re-think That Low-Cost Virtual Assistant

I’ve had a lot of small business people who need help with their business tell me that my rates were too high.  Heck, I’ve even had a person or two tell me I was crazy to charge that much when anyone can go to one of the freelance websites and find an army of virtual … Read more

Why You Shouldn’t Hire Your Virtual Assistant on Guru.com

I recently read an article by Ryan Lee called “The REALITY of Outsourcing and Virtual Assistants”.   He makes a great point about waiting until your business is ready for a virtual assistant rather than simply getting one because some ‘guru’ tells you to in their book(s). But he also included a few items that I felt the need to comment on, both on his post and now here in this post.

The first thing that concerned me was all the talk of hiring a virtual assistant. While technically I suppose using the word to describe finding a virtual assistant is correct usage, I feel it can cause incorrect expectations in the client/virtual assistant relationship.  Why?  Many business people ‘hire’ with the expectation that the virtual assistant is an employee rather than an independent contractor.  I’ve written here before about the differences between an employee and independent contractor and how important it is to not blur the lines.  And sadly many virtual assistants aren’t very good at pointing out where that line is or at reminding clients why that line exists.  I feel part of my service is to make sure that my clients don’t have to worry about the IRS accusing them of being my employer.  And although I’m sure I’ve lost a few potential clients because of it, part of my introduction packet explains my business policies to remind them that they are collaborating with another business professional, not employing me as part of their own business.

Read moreWhy You Shouldn’t Hire Your Virtual Assistant on Guru.com

Are You a Business Do It All?

We’re all familiar with the term ‘know it all’. It’s a rather negative term for someone who acts as though he or she knows everything and who dismisses the opinions, comments, or suggestions of others.  But do you know what a ‘do it all’ is?  In business, a ‘do it all’ is someone who shoulders all of the work and responsibilities themselves, often resulting in the stunted growth of a business.  I know all about the ‘do it all’ because, well, I was one.

I haven’t spent 7 days without working since 2007. That’s the year I opened Clerical Advantage and since then, although I’ve taken a few trips out of town, I haven’t ever completely shut my business side down.  I may have taken a few days away from client projects, but during those times I could be found working on my own projects, videos, blog posts and brainstorming.  I enjoy working and love what I do, so it never seemed like a bad thing.

Until June 25th.

Read moreAre You a Business Do It All?