Tags: Business, Entrepreneur, Rita J. Cartwright, Single-Person Business, Small Business, Small Business Owners, Virtual Assistant, Virtual Assistant Services, Virtual Assistants
Since I live in Southern California, I never think about being snowed in because of inclement weather. I can’t even fathom it since I have never lived in that type of climate. However, I am aware that in severe weather, businesses are sometime forced to close; whereas, in other cases, businesses can remain open, but some of the staff may not be able to get to work because of the road conditions.
However, one way businesses can economically survive during periods of inclement weather is to work with virtual assistants. The administrative tasks will be completed no matter what the weather is or if the business remains open or not. This can save companies money or, at least, reduce the amount of money that would have otherwise been lost. Another domino effect is the cost to the economy. Jill McLachlan of JMVA in the UK stated that in her country, according to Federation of Small Businesses, the cost to their economy may rise to $4B, because of a recent snow storm. Approximately 20 percent of the staff could not get to work.
The same holds true for parts of our country that deals with this same type of weather. Businesses may want to consider having virtual assistants as a backup to their regular staff for these situations in order to economically survive inclement weather. Small businesses who work with virtual assistants on an ongoing basis never have to worry about their projects and/or tasks being completed during harsh weather. Virtual assistants do not have to commute to their clients’ offices to provide the administrative support they need in order to keep the operations of their businesses going.
Tags: Entrepreneur, Outsourcing, Rita Cartwright, Rita J. Cartwright, Single-Person Business, Single-Person Business Owner, Small Business, Small Business Owners, Solopreneur, Virtual Assistant, Virtual Assistant Services, Virtual Assistants
With all of the recent layoffs, more and more people for various reasons are opting to start their own businesses rather than seeking employment. These new small business owners will require some type of administrative assistance and are turning to virtual assistants for their administrative assistant needs. Due to the increase popularity of virtual assistants, I feel it is necessary to reiterate the working relationship between a client and a Virtual Assistant.
When working with a Virtual Assistant, it is important to remember a Virtual Assistant works “with” you not “for” you. Clients don’t hire virtual assistants (VAs), they retained their services. Clients don’t interview VAs, they have consultation sessions. Virtual assistants are not employees; they are small business owners as Minda Zetlin points out in her blog post titled, “Why You Need to Hire a Virtual Assistant.” Although, I don’t agree with some of the terms that Minda used, she discusses valid reasons why small business owners need to hire a Virtual Assistant. Click here to read Minda’s blog post.
Although the Virtual Assistant industry has existed for nearly 10 years, due to downsizing and layoffs, VAs are suddenly in high demand. However, clients and virtual assistants need to recondition their concept of what a Virtual Assistant really is and what they do or don’t do.
Tags: Entrepreneur, Rita Cartwright, Rita J. Cartwright, Single-Person Business, Single-Person Business Owner, Small Business, Small Business Owners, Solopreneur, Virtual Assistant, Virtual Assistant Services, Virtual Assistants
When working with a Virtual Assistant (VA), there are some simple communication processes that can be put into place, which will help to make a Virtual Assistant/client working relationship a success.
Communication is the key; just like in any type of relationship. If you are retaining a VA services on an ongoing monthly basis, it is a good idea to give your VA some type of schedule listing the projects and tasks you need completing, along with anticipated completion dates, for the entire month. This way, if your VA has other clients, he or she can schedule your tasks accordingly ensuring that you will have your completed tasks in a timely manner.
Another suggested method of communication is a check-in report that you and your Virtual Assistant complete weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly. The report will have the same set of questions that both of you will answer; for example, how has it been working with me for the past several weeks, what have you enjoyed most, what have you enjoyed least, is there anything you’d like to discuss, etc.? You may think this is too time-consuming, but it is highly recommended in order to have a successful working relationship.
One other method of communication, of course, is e-mail. It is less intrusive than the telephone and takes less time, which allows your Virtual Assistant to stay on track and focused. Needless to say, at times, a phone call will be warranted.
A client’s and my working relationship have been quite successful due to implementing the above-mentioned methods of communication. They leave no room for assumptions. The key is communication.
Tags: Advertising, Entrepreneur, Marketing, Rita Cartwright, Single-Person Business, Single-Person Business Owner, Small Business, Small Business Owners, Solopreneur
As an entrepreneur and/or small business owner, one of the decisions you make when starting your business is which portion of the market is going to be your niche. In order to choose your niche ask yourself, “where in the market will my products or services fit?” Has a new market been created, because of changes in technology or society, which has a potential demand that is not being met? Once you have answered these questions, you have chosen your niche.
In your niche, you will find people with shared characteristics (market segment). The factors (characteristics) that determine market segments are geographic, demographic, behavioral, and psychographic (attitudinal). Your advertising message and marketing strategy will be based on these factors.
It’s ironic how people are more alike than different. The aforementioned factors will affect how a group of people will behave. We tend to be creatures of habit, which causes us to be “sitting ducks” for advertisers and marketers. We leave clues, based on our needs, wants, and mental files, that tell where we live, how we shop, what we buy, and how we spend our leisure time. The same holds true for the market segment you choose to target with your products and/or services. They will have similar needs or wants and behave in similar ways.
In the market place, there is an area or subset where your products and/or services will fit (niche). In the market place, there is a group of clients who can use your products/or services (market segment). As an entrepreneur and/or small business owner with limited advertising and marketing budget, it is important to choose a niche, as well as a segment, in the market.
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If you would like to add your signature to your online communications; for example, email signature blocks, email marketing campaigns and/or blog posts, check out http://mylivesignature.com. You can create an electronic version of your signature in five simple steps, and it’s free. It is much simpler than scanning your signature. With the increased level of identity theft, this is also a way you can protect yourself. An electronic signature is not the same as your actual signature. Therefore, your signature cannot be copied for the purpose of stealing your identity.
If you are a Virtual Assistant, you can create an electronic signature for your clients to be used in their correspondence. It is especially useful for business letters, which will be used for merge projects. Your clients will not have to sign each and every letter.
Whatever digital content you may have, you can personalize it by adding an electronic signature.
Obviously, we as entrepreneurs and small business owners do not have large marketing budgets like big corporations. However, blogging is an affordable marketing tool. Are you blogging yet? I recently read a blog post, which emphasizes the importance of blogging when trying to brand your products, services, and/or company. The blog post is entitled, “Social Media Works for Small Business.” In it Ryan Moede also talks about how to use social media tools as marketing strategies.
On the other hand, one of my favorite bloggers, Grant Griffiths, wrote a blog post called, “Blogging is More Than Just Simply Marketing.” He talks about how we can use blogging to engage our clients in conversations regarding our products or services, as well as other important discussions.
Blogging presents us with the opportunity to level the “marketing playing field” with large businesses. It doesn’t cost us anything but our time. You can also outsource your blogging project to a Virtual Assistant who specializes in writing and has experience in blogging. Are you blogging yet?
Rita J. Cartwright, Owner
RJ’s Word Processing Services
Your Business Success Is Our Success
It appears that the Virtual Assistant industry is gaining recognition. Tina Hilton, of Clerical Advantage, wrote a post regarding a new product that is being targeted specifically to the Virtual Assistant industry. Following is an excerpt from her blog over at Home Office Warrior. “FileWorks is now offering a product that is targeted specifically to virtual assistants and their clients. It’s called VA Exchange and it is touted as a virtual file cabinet for VA’s and their clients. With a history of providing technology to handle confidential documents and records for the healthcare industry, FileWorks seems a natural to provide a secure, client accessible place to store and share documents. The fact that the files are encrypted and protected when they are stored on the VA Exchange servers will keep both virtual assistants and clients from losing sleep at night. And the document management tools and access from anywhere make it a natural compliment to virtual assistance services.”
Rita J. Cartwright, Owner
RJ’s Word Processing Services
Your Business Success Is Our Success