In honor of last night’s Academy Awards celebration, I’ve gathered together an ‘Academy‘ of Virtual Assistants who I consider to be the cream of the crop. I’ve asked these “Oscar-Worthy” ladies to give their ‘Best Supporting Advice” for new and aspiring Virtual Assistants. So without further adieu, let’s allow these experts to strut-their-stuff on the red carpet and share their greatest tips. Ladies and gentlemen, I present you with:
Oscar-Worthy Tips from Leading Virtual Assistants
“The best advice I was ever given came from my uncle who is a Business Professor at Boston University and a Business Consultant world wide. He said there were two parts to his advice. When I took this advice and applied it my business grew so fast it blew me away. He said, “The first thing you should always do when you make any money is to #1 put 25% towards marketing right off the top (after taxes of course). This will help your business start growing fast.” Then he said, “#2 is always invest in yourself and your business. Now you will have business coming in and you will be trained and ready to serve them well.” I find that the VAs I work with most of the time are not investing in marketing or in themselves. I guarantee you that if you do these two things together, your business will be hugely successful!”
Sheila J. Davis, Business Consultant, Marketing Strategist, Speaker
“To really succeed in your VA business, you need to continually market your business. Don’t just market when you need a new client or are looking for more income. Make marketing part of your business and schedule it in as you do client work. You never know when you have finally peaked a potential client’s interest and they are ready to connect, but then they get radio silence and don’t hear from you again for months. Also make marketing fun. If you enjoy it, you will do it more often. With so many ways to market, find what works for you and then do it consistently. Also, learn from your marketing efforts. Look back over the previous year. What worked? What didn’t. Obviously do more of what worked, but be willing to tweak what didn’t. Sometimes just a little change can make a huge difference and because you already have done it, it might be easier to implement doing it again.”
Diana Ennen, Publicist, Author, Speaker & Coach in the PR and VA industry
“Develop a branding strategy – a consistent mood/theme for all marketing efforts. Documenting your colors, font styles, preferred headshot photo, logo, etc. and get in the habit of referring back to this document any time you’re setting up an online profile or creating a fresh marketing piece. This small effort will help you keep your brand consistent…and recognizable. Make it easy for someone to see certain colors, styles, or images and think of you. When you see a maple leaf I hope you think of Maplewood Virtual Assistance. Any time you see burgundy and gold together, if you’re from the Washington, D.C. area, there’s a high probably you will immediately connect those colors to the Washington Redskins football team. See the connection? Be intentional and aware when you plan your profiles and marketing pieces. Each effort strengthens your brand and aids in being more memorable.”
Ruth Martin, Award Winning Virtual Assistant, Author and V.A. Mentor
Alyssa Avant, Veteran Virtual Assistant, Coach, Author & Speaker
“Learn what you don’t know, at any stage of your business. If you don’t know about business, marketing, networking, or analysis, get some training in those areas. You will only need to learn these skills once and they will sustain your business forever when you start to use them correctly. A successful business starts with a small business owner!”
Tracey D’Aviero, Virtual Assistant, V.A. Trainer and Mentor
“When starting your business do your research and find out how to start right. It’s very costly, in terms of lost business and have to start over if you don’t. In my experience, small businesses that rush into starting their business without a plan and a strong foundation for all aspects of their practice either, flounder and fail or eventually start over and do it right.”
“I always tell aspiring Virtual Assistants to treat their business as if it’s already in full swing. If you’re going to be working 6 billable hours a day (on average) but you don’t have any clients yet, invest those 6 hours (or as many as you possibly can) in the startup process. Use those hours to get your website designed and copy written. Have your marketing collateral printed. Get your business cards ordered and your social media platforms underway. Start writing great blog content to showcase your expertise and skills. Begin to communicate and interact with your target market in whatever ways you can. Find local and online networking events and learning opportunities to participate in. Join Virtual Assistant Forums and start networking with your peers – these relationships will pay off in the long run. Get a really good headshot that showcases your personality and use it on everything. Get your policies and procedures written up. And draft your contracts!!
Putting up a website and waiting for the clients to come to you is going to go nowhere fast. Treating your business like a business from day-one is going to get you from where you are to right where you want to be, faster. You’ve got to hit the ground running.”
Tess Strand, Founder: Virtual Assistant Forums and Virtual Assistantville
1. Get training! There are thousands of people online who are calling themselves ‘Virtual Assistants’ with zero skills or experience to back it up. You MUST invest in yourself and your business to be successful. If you get trained properly in a highly sought-after skill, you can practically guarantee you’ll be a very busy V.A.
2. Set proper rates and boundaries from the very beginning. If you aren’t getting paid a fair amount for your services…or if you are letting clients walk all over you with unreasonable deadlines or after-hours requests, then you quickly become resentful. Being a Virtual Assistant is the best career in the world if you are able to charge a good price and set your own schedule”
Lisa McDonell, Virtual Assistant, Online Business & Marketing Expert, V.A. Coach
Do you have some “Oscar Worthy” advice of your own to share? We’d LOVE to hear it! Feel free to leave your own best tip in the comments.