Best follow up hack

How to follow up like a pro

Good follow up practices can make your business thrive vs make your business die. It sounds harsh, but it’s kinda true.

In this article, I’m going to talk about following up, why you want to do it, and how to do it!

And I’ll give you my #1 best follow up hack!

Why follow up?

It sounds like a no-brainer, but not everyone does!

  1. One thing that happens when you follow up: the recipient knows that you are still there.
  2. The recipient knows that you are still interested.
  3. The recipient knows that you are on top of things.
  4. And you don’t let things fall through the cracks.

Why don’t they respond?

You’re right, they don’t all respond. It sucks! You pour your heart out to a potential new client, you tell them what’s so good about you and why they need you and they don’t even reply. I admit, it sucks.

They’re busy! They need your help – probably because they are busy!

This is exactly why you need to follow up!

When to follow up

Is there a specific time frame you should follow? I usually follow up 5-7 days later, just depending on the day of the week that I sent the initial email.

For example, if I send them my initial email on Monday, I might follow up as early as Friday, so they can go into the weekend thinking about me! Or the following Monday at the latest.

If I send my initial email pitch on Wednesday, I might follow up as soon as the next Monday.

Either way, put it on your calendar or on your pitch tracker and when it says to follow up – just do it!

What do you say in a follow-up?

I follow up with something like this:

Have you made a decision yet? If you chose to go with someone else, could you provide feedback so I can make improvements if needed? Thanks for your time and good luck to you!

That is literally, exactly what my follow up email would say! Very simple and to the point. If they didn’t have time to reply to my first email, why would I want to overburden them with another long-ish email?

Can you force them to reply?

Unfortunately, no. There’s nothing you can do to force someone to reply. But you never know – they may be so overwhelmed that they haven’t even decided yet, and your follow up could be just what they need to make a decision!

I actually got a client this way back earlier in my virtual assisting career!

Why You Need a Follow Up System for Your Business

What else can you do?

Is there anything else you can do to aid in your follow up efforts?

Actually, there is!

I use something called Get Notify. It’s a free read-email notification. Check it out at www.getnotify.com

Ok, so using GetNotify is two-fold.

  1. When you see that the recipient has opened your email, then at least you know it got to them and they opened it. Yay!
  2. But it tells you more – if you see they’ve opened it several times, that could give you an indication that they wanted to read and reread your email!I think that multiple opens is a good sign!

Something you can do when you see they’ve opened your email is to call them. I’m not big on phone calls until they are an established client, so I don’t do it exactly this way, but it may be a tactic you could use.

This is it – my #1 best follow up hack

Picture this: your prospect opens your email. Then all of a sudden they get a call from you! Some will feel like it’s fate, or serendipity, that you called just as they were looking at your email!

But be careful! DON’T say, “I saw you opened my email”. You don’t want to sound like a creepy stalker! Lol

DO say, “I emailed you last week and I just wanted to follow up and see if you have any questions.” WOW!

Back when I was doing outside sales, this sort of tactic would work well when sending a proposal to a current customer. If they’re looking at my email, they might be ready to talk to me right now.

Same goes for pitching a new client. If they’re looking at my email, they may be ready to talk to me or hear more about me. If I think I left anything out of my email, I have used their opening an email as an opportunity to reply and add any relevant info that I feel I missed.

It’s like I’m answering potential questions they may have before they even respond. Just remember to keep it short. It’s perfect to say what I said above, “Just following up to see if you have any questions.”

Summary

While you can make a consistent process for yourself, you can’t control the prospect variable. But following up never hurt anyone. I promise. And if someone says, “your follow-up kinda annoyed me (or replace that with the word that sets you off)” – trust me, you don’t want to work with that person!

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Quit calling yourself a freelancer

Should you call yourself a freelancer? There's probably a better term you could use!

I might be aging myself, but when I hear freelancer, I think hippie. Even now that I know I’m a freelancer, I still think it.🤷‍♀️

If you’re a freelancer, please don’t be mad! I’m a freelancer – it’s a stigma we need to get past!

Since people still think like I did (do?) we need to shift our mindset.

Bottom line: You need to quit calling yourself a freelancer!

What is a freelancer?

Let’s start here. What is a freelancer? A freelancer is someone who works for themself as an independent contractor.

Oftentimes, people go into freelance work for freedom and flexibility when it comes to the work they do. While that notion seems brilliant, sadly, one of the things commonly associated with “freelance” is inconsistent income, and presumably, a lack of business savvy. But that couldn’t be further from the truth!

My mindset story

I have always said that I became a virtual assistant when I SAID that I was a virtual assistant. It was my attitude. It was the perception that I conveyed when talking about my new endeavor.

Actually, I didn’t speak as though it was new. I spoke as though I was in the thick of it, when in fact I didn’t even have a client yet. But I had the experience, so I felt like I was doing it all along!

That was my mindset.

Freelancer to Virtual Assistant

Change your mindset to change the perception

If the association with “freelance” is less than desirable, then don’t call yourself a freelancer.

A term I’ve recently been using is “independent contractor”. I feel like more people understand that means I work for myself. As in, I don’t have an employer. I like the connotation of that, and that’s just what I’ve found myself saying.

If I get into a discussion about what I actually do, that’s when I say that I’m a Virtual Assistant, which usually leads to describing what I do for my current clients.

So let’s find a better “name” for what I do. What do I do for my ideal client? Well, my favorite task is to respond to customer emails. I want to solve their problems!

What does that do for my clients? It provides a superior experience for their customers. Everyone wants to be heard – to receive a response. When customers are attended to, they feel important and that makes them happy.

And when customers are happy, they remain customers. And they refer their friends!

So what could I call this? A customer coordinator? Customer experience manager? In simple terms, I say that I manage their inboxes. 🤷‍♀️😂 While it’s true, if you were trying to find a better title, you might pick something like Customer Experience Manager.

Actually, I like that one!🤔 Oh! Customer Experience Expert! Yessss!!!

What other professionals have to say about mindset

Don’t take it just from me. I mean, anyone can write on the internet! 😂 Here is what some others have said about the topic…

I like how Borja Moya describes the freelancer mindset in this article. It basically says that you become a freelancer when you think about yourself and act as a professional. It’s your mindset that takes you to the next level.

Brennan Dunn of Double Your Freelancing advocates finding a better name to describe what you do. Brennan’s course, Double Your Freelancing Rate, revolves around a mindset shift that needs to take place so that you are properly valuing yourself and your services.

Go to his website and right off the bat you can get a FREE 9-day course tailored to you! Click the big blue button to get started!

Raelyn Tan is a list-building expert. On her website, she has online courses to help you build your email list. I love her List Building Incubator course, but scroll past that and you’ll find some free downloads! She calls herself a Profitable Visibility Specialist. Isn’t that a jazzy way to say, list-building expert?!

Does your degree or professional designation change anything?

Umm, I mean, sort of. And not necessarily. 🤷‍♀️

If you have some letters after your name, it’s a credibility that you earned and you should use that to tell people what you’ve accomplished! Realistically, they’ll figure it out if you’re legit or not.

Don’t be discouraged if you don’t have any letters! This is not to say that you need them to be a freelancer!

But definitely use your professional designations. People with letters after their name can usually command higher rates because of the perceived authority that comes with the education required to get those little letters!

Actually, I think this is a whole other conversation, so I’ll be circling back to it in the coming weeks: how to go from a professional employment career to a freelance/independent contractor gig.

Actionable activity

Grab a piece of paper, or open up a Google Doc. Describe what you do for your clients.

Don’t have any clients? What is it that you want to do for your ideal client? What have you done for clients or customers in the past (think past life, like employer situations)?

What outcome do they (or will they) experience as a result of working with you?

Try using short, bullet statements. Look through your bullet points and start combining words like I did above. “Customer Experience Manager”, “Customer Experience Expert”.

As you’re pulling together the different words, certain words will start to sound right. They’ll POP. Notice that I gravitated to Customer and Experience – these words were popping for me! But the 3rd word wasn’t exactly right.

Keep stringing the words together in a different order. Say them out loud. Hopefully, you have a big Ah-Ha moment like I did when you strike the right combination!

I would love to hear what you come up with!

 

I hope this article and the exercise help you to shift your mindset to a place of greater value and help you find a different way to describe yourself! Because what you do is surely valuable!

Refocus your business

How to get refocused in the New Year

Welcome, 2021! Thank God you’re here! Even though things won’t change overnight, there’s a mindset that 2020 just needs to be gone! Done! Buh-bye!

With the coming of a new year, it’s a great time to get refocused in all areas of your life. But for the sake of this article, I want to talk about your small business.

What does it mean to refocus

Do you know what it means to refocus? In terms of business, it could mean adjusting your vision. Or maybe reallocating resources.

But how exactly do you do that?

2 easy steps to help you get refocused

You have to start with your vision. What, historically, has been the vision of your business? For some, this will be easy to answer. For others, not so much. But don’t worry, we’ll get there!

1. What is your vision?

Ask yourself these questions:

Why did you start your business?

Who do you want to service/help?

Let’s look at my business as an example.

Why did I start my business?

I started my business so I could be home with my kids but still use skills that I’ve learned over the years. As a Virtual Assistant, I want to help small business owners who need support but don’t need a full-time employee.

Who do I want to service?

I want to provide services to small business owners.

More specifically, through my articles and products – I want to help NEW freelancers who have questions and don’t have time to take all of the courses or read all of the books.

I want my articles to be short, easy to read, and include just a few actionable items so that someone new can use the information NOW.

Why? Because I’ve purchased and taken soooo many courses and I feel like I could’ve gotten the info in so many fewer words! Lol, but I totally get it – I mean, they needed there to be more content to sell it, right?🤷‍♀️

Now, looking back, my vision hasn’t always been this clear. As I’ve written more articles, it’s really hit me that I think I can help new freelancers.

So that’s my new vision. This will help me stay focused when I’m thinking about what I need to do on a daily basis.

2. Reallocate resources

When we say resources, we could be talking about money or time. Ooooh, tricky! Yes, time is one of our most valuable resources!

Are you spending your time wisely? Based on your vision, should you adjust the use of your time?

I’m not adjusting my time spending habits, per se, but I did come up with a daily and weekly checklist system to keep me on track. So many times I feel like I get to the end of the day and I haven’t done something I’m supposed to do.

It seems so simple! Like, duh! But sometimes we overlook the easiest things.

Refocus and Grow Your Small Business

Now you do it!

  1. What’s your vision for your business? Are you happy with it?
  2. Do you need to adjust your time? Could you make a short checklist of daily and weekly tasks to keep you on track?

 

I hope you found this to be helpful! Next week, I’ll be looking more closely at mindset.

While you’re thinking about refocusing, are you happy with your branding? Does it tell people who you are? Are you happy with the image that you portray?

If you haven’t looked at it already, please check out my Branding Template! We have a new template in the works – a daily and weekly task list to help keep you focused!

My Branding Template and Asset Pack is a collection of my best resources to help you with your small business! Is there something you need? I’d love to hear about it!

Branding

BRANDING YOUR BUSINESS

The branding you choose for your business is the distinctive design that you use across all marketing channels. It’s how people recognize you!

In this article, I’m going to show you some resources to help you create your brand from scratch, or to rebrand.

Why create a brand

You choose a brand because you want to be consistent. Brand recognition is when people recognize the product or service because of the brand.

If you’re just getting started,  you might not have any idea what you want for branding. Don’t let this hold you back from moving forward in your business!

Rebranding

We’re approaching the new year, so I’m looking at re-branding my business. My business isn’t just me anymore and I want to consider a fresh brand for my virtual assistant business.

Actually, I just recently worked on defining my brand for my side gig – a direct sales company. As I worked on it, I created a template which you can get here.

TIPS FOR BRANDING YOUR VIRTUAL ASSISTANT BUSINESS

YVA Branding Template

In this template, I walk you through how to pick the vibe, name, colors you like, and potential icons. In this case, I was trying to choose a name for my direct sales team.

But you can totally apply this to any small business! I have a pretty good idea of what I like for my virtual assistant business (Your Virtual Associate, or YVA for short) but I will fill out the template and show you a couple of examples.

Branding Template Examples

First, you see the completed template for my direct sales team. I haven’t chosen a team name yet, so you’ll see in the logo ideas that the text still says “team name.”

Branding my Thirty-One direct sales team

Next, you’ll see my Branding Template filled in with my goals and ideas for Your Virtual Associate. As you will notice, I added an extra color dot. I couldn’t decide so I just added in another space and grabbed colors from the images I used.

Your Virtual Associate re-branding worksheet

When you purchase my Branding Template, you’ll receive instructions to walk you through the whole process!

Free Logo Design

Free Logo Design allows you to, fairly quickly, design a logo and download a low-resolution copy for free! I made a logo that I like and then I popped it into my template.

The logo I designed is in my template above, in the “biz logo ideas,” the first and last images. I downloaded the first one which I received by email. Then I edited it and promptly downloaded the new version without the text.

While we’re looking at the template I created, notice that the first image in the “images that inspire” section is the banner image on my website. I chose the other images searching in Canva for “work from home” and “home office”.

I think I chose the last image because of how clean it looks! Haha! Seriously, choose something that inspires you – either your current environment or the environment you aspire to!

Looka

Looka is another free logo creator.  It’s not free to download though. But you can get a ton of digital materials starting at around $60.

I’ve enjoyed playing with this tool, but I just happen to be happier with what I created in Free Logo Design. Hey, it’s always nice to save a few $$$!

What do you think

YVA re-branding options

What do you like for YVA? I’d love to hear your thoughts! I’m thinking Color group 2, B, and X. What do you think? When I decide on A vs B, I’ll probably go back and spend $39 to get the high-resolution copies. But in the meantime, I’m pretty happy with free!

Thanks for reading! If you haven’t joined my mailing list, please do! I send out weekly business tips geared towards small business owners!

And remember to grab the YVA Branding Template so you can hash out your own ideas!

 

 

 

Should I start freelancing during the pandemic?

Should I Start Freelancing During the Pandemic

So you’re thinking about freelancing? In the midst of a pandemic, I’m not surprised! There are many reasons that people turn to freelancing. The short answer (TLDR): yes!

Now I’ll explain.

But first, what is freelancing?

What is freelancing?

Freelancing is a non-traditional means of making money. It is non-traditional in the sense that it is not the typical means of employment. Freelancers are independent contractors. They are responsible for their own income reporting and taxes.

Why do people want to freelance?

So why would someone want to freelance? When you’re a freelancer, you’re your own boss. Who wouldn’t like that? Some people don’t work well without a boss telling them what to do. But if you’re a self-starter and don’t need someone micro-managing you, telling you when and how to do your job, then freelancing could be for you!

Freelancers set their own hours. They work from their own home office (or kitchen table). They can take time off as needed and don’t usually have to let anyone know about it.

Freelancers, like myself, are home and available to get the kids online for eLearning. I make sure my 4-year-old is paying attention to his teacher. When he’s done, I hop back online to work for my clients.

If you’re not convinced yet, here are some other pretty interesting statistics that might perk up your ears. According to this article on Websitebuilder.org, 25% of freelancers can find work within 1 day if needed. And in 2019, freelancing contributed $1 trillion to the US economy. WOW!

Why start now?

Should you start freelancing now, during the pandemic? Sure! It’s a sad fact that you may have to try. But let me tell you why that’s OK.

According to Market Watch, more than 22 million people lost their jobs in the first half of the year due to the Covid-19 pandemic that emerged in the US in March of 2020. I’m sorry if you or someone close to you is one of those statistics.

But it’s time to look forward! So…

How to Start a Freelance Gig

 

How do you break into freelancing?

I think one of the hardest things about losing your job or getting into freelancing is explaining why you’ve come to the decision to start freelancing.

If you’re used to working in an office, you don’t realize how mainstream freelancing is in some circles. But I can see how someone might not want to tell their friends and former co-workers that they are now freelancing. It just sounds strange. Or does it?

Change your mindset. Now.

Say this out loud and take ownership of it: I decided to start (fill in the blank with your job or skill) as an independent contractor instead of an employee because (fill in the blank with your key reason for working for yourself).

Here’s what I would say: I decided to start doing marketing consulting as an independent contractor so I can be home and available for my kids when they’re little.

Now, you may have lost your job because of the pandemic and if you’re comfortable saying that, then by all means say that! But if you’re feeling down about it, like you didn’t have a choice, put a spin on it.

Find the reasons that freelancing is an advantage for you and say that you made this decision just in time. Or it was serendipity that you can now be a freelancer instead of an employee.

Say, “I had been thinking about going out on my own for some time. Now it’s a blessing to be home with my kids while they’re eLearning.”

I’m going out on my own

Undoubtedly, you’ve heard someone say, I’m going out on my own. 

Anyone who says that is a freelancer! They may not consider themself a freelancer, but it’s essentially the same thing! They are an independent contractor.

True, that person going out on their own may eventually incorporate their business. But the beginning of the process is very similar.

If you’re not comfortable with the term freelancer, you can say it this way.

Examples of jobs you can do freelance

Let’s look at what you can do. Freelancers take a skill that they have and offer it “on the side”. If you find yourself without a job, you can take something that you did for your employer and offer it on a contractual basis to someone else similar to your former employer.

The examples are going to be endless, but I’ll start a list.

  • Bookkeeper
  • Content creator
  • Secretary
  • Scheduler
  • Calendar management
  • Appointment setter
  • Customer service
  • Designer
  • Developer
  • Programmer

I think you get the idea. Horkey Handbook has published a very long list to give you some ideas of things you can do as a virtual assistant. A virtual assistant is basically a freelancer.

How do you start getting jobs?

When you get in the groove and get comfortable with your new role as a freelancer, you’ll see opportunities. You’ll be prepared to talk about it – what you could do to solve someone’s problem. Or better yet, what you can do to increase their revenue.

But what about now? There are several job boards for freelancers. One that I’ve used with success is called Upwork. I don’t use it regularly now, but I probably have looked at it in the last year just to see what people are looking for.

If I suddenly lost all of my clients, I would look there to see if anything caught my attention. According to that article on Websitebuilder.org, freelancers earn over a billion dollars yearly on Upwork.

What’s next?

Well, I guess it depends on if you’re out of a job or if you’re just thinking about your options.

If you’re out of work, I would get signed up with Upwork immediately and start making offers! The site is pretty self-explanatory. Fill out everything as completely as possible. And start pitching!

If you’re looking at options for stay at homework, or to replace your day job, check out this list of services you can provide. You can get it in exchange for your email address. It’s totally worth it!

How to Start a Virtual Assistant Business

HOW TO START A VIRTUAL ASSISTANT BUSINESS

So you want to know how to start a virtual assistant business. My simple answer: SAY that you’re a virtual assistant. But follow this list and you can start TODAY!

Below is a list of the 5 key things you need to start a virtual assistant business.

You need a place to work

That’s easy! As an independent contractor, you can work anywhere! I have a small office in my house, but I’m sitting at the kitchen table as I write this post. Almost my entire last pregnancy was worked from the couch!

I have clients who regularly spend time at a coffee shop and another client who needs to go to the library when she wants a strong internet connection. So really – anywhere!

Steps to Start a Virtual Assistant Business

You need a computer to do the work

As an independent contractor, you are responsible for “outfitting” your own “office”. But if you already have a computer, you don’t need a new one! Just use what you have!

Honestly, though, with cloud access to so many things, you could work off of a computer at the library until you earn enough to get your own! Talk about bootstrapping!

You’ll need internet access

You have to be able to do the work and submit it virtually. I can’t think of any way to do this without access to the internet.

Does it need to be your own internet? Absolutely not! You can go to a library or coffee shop to access their internet.

Still in the days of COVID and you can’t sit in a coffee shop? Sit in your car in a parking lot where they have internet access – Starbucks, Mcdonald’s, etc.

Have you ever seen the Will Smith movie, The Pursuit of Happyness? Oh boy, I just cried watching the trailer! I think of that movie and I think that anyone can do anything if they really want to!

People can’t do something themselves, they wanna tell you you can’t do it. You want something, go get it. – Will Smith, The Pursuit of Happyness

You need clients

Tell everyone. Work it into conversations! The more you say it, the more you will believe it. And the more you believe it, the more it will be true!

I was recently interviewed in a podcast about becoming a VA and right around the 19:15 mark, I am asked about my first client. I go on in the interview to explain that my first client was my physical therapist and that it came about through simple conversation! You can listen to it via the link above or you can watch it on Youtube!

If you want more info about how to get clients, you might want to take a course. I suggest 30 Days or Less to VA Success. I’ll tell you more about it in a bit.

You’ll need a contract

Once you get your first client, what do you do next? You’ll need an Independent Contractor Service Agreement, or contract for short. I’m working on a template pack right now! At the time I’m writing this, you can actually pre-order it at a lower price!

So those are the 5 key things that I think you need to start a VA business.

Of course, there will be other things you’ll eventually need, but you don’t need them to get started. Someday you might want to make a website or make your business really legit by registering the name or creating an LLC.

You can learn more about these things and tactics for finding clients if you decide to take the 30 Days or Less to VA Success course.

I highly recommend taking any of Gina Horkey’s courses. Gina is the founder of Horkey Handbook. She’s an infinitely successful Virtual Assistant turned course developer who will help you set up your business to be a smashing success.

But don’t think for a minute that you have to take a course to get started! You can start your VA business for $12.99 – the cost of a contract template that you will use over and over!

Can you be a virtual assistant with kids?

Tips for Working at Home with Kids

Can you be a virtual assistant with kids at home? Absolutely! Even with small kiddos like mine! My kids are 6, 4, and less than 1 year. AND, we’ll be starting first grade and full-day pre-K next week from home!  🤣

I was choosing to keep the kids home this year. Thanks to Covid and the expectations to wear masks and social distance while in school, I just didn’t think that was realistic for our little ones.  But after making my choice, our school district announced that we would ALL be e-Learning at least until mid-October.

Where did I learn to be a virtual assistant?

I guess I learned it over the years! My first job out of college was technical services – kind of like customer service but more technical in nature. I have taken several courses from Horkey Handbook, but what I really recommend is to get this list from them – it’s 150+ services you can offer as a VA. The list is free – just give your email in exchange for the list. Check it out and you’ll see that you already have services you could offer!

How do the kids affect my virtual assistant business?

I mean, it does affect my business a little bit. But it’s not going to be a huge burden. I am so blessed that I’m already working from home. And to top it off, I can set my own schedule. So my day will change a bit because of the e-Learning requirements, but honestly, I’m feeling pretty lucky!

 

Tips for Working at Home with Kids - Pin

What will our days look like?

The school day starts at 7:45 am and ends at 2:15 pm. Before I was pregnant with the baby, I would get up around 5:30 am when my husband leaves for work. I could get in a solid 2 hours of work before the kids even got up. It was awesome!

Now that we have the baby – who still doesn’t sleep through the night – I am sometimes up that early, but not consistently.  But what I am hoping for is to get up early and get in even just 1 hour before the kids need to start school.

That one hour before school starts will be my bonus time! But I won’t bank on it. I will plan on starting my workday around 3 pm when the kids are done with school and I’m done feeding the baby. Because that still has to happen! 🍼

How do other virtual assistants fit their business into their day?

As many VA’s are getting started, many are still working full time while they slowly add clients to their roster. Many VA’s get up early and then work late at night after a full day of work and the family goes to bed.

Where will we all sit?

Sounds like a funny question, but I know you’re thinking it! I’ve been watching my friends post their school setups on Facebook for the past week. I don’t know if we have a good setup, but I’m giving it a shot!

We’re all going to sit at the kitchen table. Our kitchen and living room all blend into one space. I have a small office, but I’ve been at the kitchen table since the baby was born. I need to be right in the room with everyone so I can keep my eagle eye on the baby and the other kids!

We also have a playroom that I thought about setting up like a school, but decided against it since that would require a table or desks. Plus since they’re so young, they’ll need my help for almost the whole day, so I decided on the kitchen table.

Staying organized is key!

I’m adding a small cubbie shelving unit next to the table so I can keep our stuff off of the table while school is not in session!🤣 I got something to match the other shelving unit we already have in the living room. My husband makes fun of my shelves. I love my shelves!

I think being organized is a very big part of working from home and now schooling from home too! If you are organized, both physically and digitally, you will spend less time prepping and more time working.

One of the things that keeps me organized digitally is Trello. I’m a big fan. And Client Portal. In fact, I have a discount code you can use for Client Portal. Use CARRIESdiscount at checkout to get 10% off! You can see more about Client Portal in this article I wrote.

Summary

Yes, you can totally be a virtual assistant with kids at home!! Actually, I recommend it! Unlike another job that you have to work specific hours, you’ll be free to set your schedule and work the hours that are best for you and your family!

Thanks for checking out my blog and seeing what I have to say about being a virtual assistant! Join my email list to stay in the know about virtual assisting!

Can you work from home as a Virtual Assistant

Can You Work from Home as a VA

Are you currently a stay at home mom? Well, you’re already in the right place! But joking aside… that’s basically what I am! In my article on my pet project mommy blog, I talked about my schedule in this short post

But you’re here because you want to know: Can you work from home as a virtual assistant. The simple answer is yes. YES! Yes, you can!

Do you have to work from home to be a virtual assistant?

No, you can work from a coffee shop (if we were sitting in coffee shops these days, thanks COVID). I used to go to our local library to get some focused time.

It might depend on your reason for wanting to be a virtual assistant. I started out wanting to be a VA because I wanted to be home with my kids. So why would I leave the house to be a VA if I wanted to be at home?

Simple: I AM home with my kids. Sometimes, when my husband gets home from work, I need to put in some time, so I go somewhere quiet. But the point is that I AM HOME when my kids need me.

If my kids are sick, I’m home with them. If it’s a snow day, I’m home. Doctor’s appointments, no problem!

How do you start working as a virtual assistant?

Here’s how it might look:

  • You will meet a potential client online, possibly from an ad on LinkedIn. Or you’ll see an acquaintance post something on Facebook stating that they need help with something.
  • If you know how to do the thing they need help with, you reach out to them, electronically, through the same platform you heard of their need.
  • You’ll go back and forth with a discussion, possibly do a zoom meeting.
  • Together you will define your scope of services.
  • You write up the appropriate and necessary contract. (here are my contracts)
  • You’ll start working.

Is that simplified? Overly! But you should get the idea. You CAN work from home as a virtual assistant! Check out this list from Horkey Handbook. It’s 150+ services you can offer as a virtual assistant.

 

 

Make Money at Home as a VA PIN

What do you need to be a virtual assistant?

There’s not much that you really need to be a VA. You’ll need a computer and internet access. Even a phone could be considered optional. Personally, I text with my clients for quick questions, but otherwise, everything is done by email. I do virtual “calls” as one of my tasks for a client and those “calls” are through the computer. So again, only my computer is needed.

You also need to have contracts with your clients. Any legit business person will want to have a contract and will understand that you want one too. I have a contract template as part of my Asset Pack.

Do I need to have a website to be a virtual assistant?

Do you need to have a website? Nope. I started one right away because I wanted to learn WordPress. But it’s not necessary to get started as a VA. A simple Facebook Page would suffice.

Do I need to take a course to be a virtual assistant?

IF you wanted to take a course to start your journey as a virtual assistant, this is the course I recommend – 30 Days or Less to VA Success, by Horkey Handbook. Is it necessary? Not at all!

Technically, I started as a virtual assistant before I even knew what it was! I was responding to emails for a friend. Then I saw an ad for the Horkey Handbook 30 Days or Less to VA Success course and I took the course to find out what else I could do as a VA and to walk me through setting up my business.

I mean, do I recommend it? Absolutely! But it’s NOT necessary. Find something on the 150+ list of VA services that you can do and just get started! When you start getting paid, you can set some money aside to use for development.

I hope this article helps you see that you CAN work from home as a virtual assistant! While you’re here, look around my website and remember to join my email list!

 

 

What does it take to be a virtual assistant

What Does it Take to Be a Virtual Assistant

If you hadn’t thought about being a virtual assistant in the past, there’s a chance you’ve thought about that or another virtual job in the past few months. Covid-19 hit the US in March and according to this article published by Pew Research Center, unemployment rates have risen higher in three months than they did in the two years of the Great Depression.

Odds are, you’re looking for options that will allow you to work from home. And if you’re reading this, you wonder if you have what it takes to be a virtual assistant.

My guess is that you do! First I’m going to answer some common questions about Virtual Assisting. Then we’ll look at some of what it takes to be a VA.

How am I qualified to determine if you’ve got what it takes?

I’ve been a virtual assistant, or VA for short, for about 5 years now. I get confused about how long since I was working virtually before I called myself a VA. But I can estimate that it’s about one year less than my daughter’s age since I started after she was born.

I’ve taken several courses over the years to help me up my game as a VA. I love the courses from Horkey Handbook. This is actually the course that got me started. It’s just from experience, I have a pretty good idea of what it takes!

But it’s not up to me to “determine” if you’ve got what it takes. YOU need to make that determination. And really, a lot of it comes down to your belief in yourself, your skills, and your ability to learn and grow.

Work at Home as A Virtual Assistant

What is a Virtual Assistant?

A virtual assistant is an independent contractor who works independently for a small business owner. Usually, the business owner needs some sort of help with their business, but they don’t have the need for a full-time employee.

Sometimes, a Virtual Assistant knows how to do something that the small business owner doesn’t know how to do. So you would bring your expertise to the table. But not always, so don’t get hung up on knowing something special.

What do Virtual Assistants do?

VA’s do many different things for their clients. I have done the following things for clients.

  • Email management
  • Content creation
  • Website updates
  • Social media
  • CRM support
  • Customer service
  • Database creation

But what if you don’t know anything “special?” Don’t worry about it – you WILL learn new things as you go! I bet there are several things that you can do that you would never think of. Here’s a list of 150+ VA services you could offer.

What are the hours for a Virtual Assistant?

Your hours will vary depending on a lot of things. Your client may need work to be done at a specific time. For email management, it is common that you will log in twice a day to check emails. Maybe you will do this at a specific time, maybe not. It all depends on your client and the expectations that you set when you start working for them.

The nice thing about website updates and content creation is that you can usually do it at any time, day or night. So if you’re watching your kids during the day, maybe doing homeschooling or other “kid” activities, you can work in the evening and later after you put your kids to bed.

I talk about my schedule in this short post. I can tell you, one of my favorite things about being a VA is being in control of my schedule!

Do you have what it takes to be a Virtual Assistant?

What have you decided at this point? Do you think you have what it takes to be a VA?

I have a variety of resources I’d like to share with you. One is my Asset Pack. This is a pack of documents and such that you will need as you get started as a Virtual Assistant. This Asset Pack is starting off with 2 contracts. As I add more documents, you’ll get all the updates for free! You can check it out here!

I also have an application to be a VA – if you want to get started as a VA but don’t know where to begin, check out my application. I am always looking for the right people to work with!

Last, I’d love to hear if you think you have what it takes to be a VA!

Intro to Client Portal

Here's why freelancers should use client portal

I want to share a quick introduction to Client Portal. Have you heard of it? It’s a WordPress Plugin that was created by my client (there’s the first half of my disclosure;-)) Laura Elizabeth. You see, I’m a virtual assistant and Laura is my client!

So not only am I using it, but I’m working on the back side of it. I have quite a grasp of how it can be used by all different types of businesses. But since Laura created it for herself to use with her design clients, she has a very large design audience. What I want to focus on is how freelancers such as myself, can make use of Client Portal.

Top 3 reasons Freelancers should use Client Portal

  1. Professionalism
  2. Organization
  3. Convenience

1 – Professionalism

Think to yourself – what does my business process look like to an outsider? That outsider being a new potential client. What do they see? Do you give them a contract? Are your invoices and documents neatly organized? Now think about what your competition is doing.

Impress clients with your organization!

What if you present a portal as soon as you get off the phone with a potential client? Just a follow-up – “thank you for your time” message.

Hey, Potential Client ABC, I set you up in my system just in case we decide to work together. When you get inside my client portal, you’ll see our preliminary discussion, which you are free to add comments to if you feel I didn’t understand something exactly as you intended. You’ll see some grayed out sections which will become active if and when we start working together.

This shows Potential Client ABC that you are a professional, serious about your intentions to work with them, and organized!

2 – Organization

Client Portal will allow you to organize all of the documents that you use for your clients. I am a fan of both Dropbox and Google Docs. But I find I’m using Google Docs more and more. So what I’m doing is linking my doc right into the portal.

I can work on the doc from my Google Suite. But anytime the client wants to look at it, all they need to do is log in to their Client Portal.

I also have a link to their invoices. I’m still using PayPal to create my invoices, just like I always have. But I’m adding the URL to my client’s project.

So again, I look incredibly organized and professional. AND my client only has to go ONE PLACE to see everything that I’m working on for them – it’s so convenient!

3 – Convenience

I have a small handful of clients right now. If you’re a freelancer, you likely have a small handful of clients too, or maybe more. I have them all lined up in my Client Portal dashboard in WordPress. As I work on things for my clients throughout the day, I can easily switch to their project if I need to make any changes, like adding a module to keep track of a new project they just assigned to me.

But for the most part, I’m just working along like usual. The difference is that everything I’m working on is linked to their project. So any time they want to see what is current, all they have to do is log in to their secure project (password protected and private to each of them individually) and they can see the current version of basically everything we’re working on together!

I’m receiving fewer emails because my clients know they only have to look one place to find what they’re looking for. It’s convenient for them and I spend less time out of my day looking for something I sent them two weeks ago!

Do you want a Client Portal Discount?

Lucky for you – I have one! Follow this link to see more details about Client Portal and to purchase your copy today! If you follow my link, I will get a little kick-back for telling you about it, but it doesn’t change your price (and there’s the second half of my disclosure). If you’re gonna try it anyway, please help out a fellow freelancer and use my code!

When you get there, use discount code CARRIESdiscount to receive 10% off!

If you have any questions about Client Portal, you’re welcome to email me at carrie@yourvirtualassociate.com. Or you can send your questions straight to support@lauraelizabeth.co. Maybe I’ll still be answering your questions!