Some employees never thought of a future where they would be forced to work remotely for a week, two months or even longer than that. Many people lost their jobs or had to close their companies. Maybe you were a business owner who never dreamed that a ‘black swan’ like the coronavirus would hit, and now need to think of other ways to keep your business afloat or maybe you just need to start a new business so that you can earn a pay check.
When you decide to start a business, you first need to ensure that; your innovation or business idea is addressing a long term problem, it must solve a pain point, there must be a passionate market for your product or services and most importantly, it must be ethical and not be aimed at taking advantage of people during these difficult times.
If you are planning on starting a business, have no fear as a virtual assistant can help you with ANYTHING from administrative tasks to website design! We will ensure that all processes run smoothly and that your business can grow.
Here are some Covid-19 inspired business ideas that a Virtual Assistant could help with.
1. Become a professional speaker or move your speaking business online
Speakers would previously have travelled to different venues and events but since Covd-19 many of their coaching sessions, workshops and talks have now been cancelled. For this reason speakers need to turn their events into online experiences aimed at reaching audiences all over the world
We can help a professional speaker by:
- starting an online community of followers and running private Facebook groups
- deciding which tools, apps and platforms are best for you to host your webinars
- teaching you how to speak specifically to your audience online
- setting fee schedule documents which you can use to quickly respond to conference managers and event coordinators to ensure that you don’t miss out on any bookings
- helping you get onto podcasts
- helping you turn your conferences into books and designing book covers
- researching speaking opportunities that are a good fit for you and contacting the event coordinator on your behalf
- ensuing that you are paid after each event and assist you with the billing and bookkeeping
- giving you moral support and encouragement when you need it
2. Starting a Membership Programme
Many businesses like yours may have had to temporarily close their doors. Don’t view this as a total shutdown; this is a great opportunity to offer your services online. People are craving community and connection and may be facing isolation at home. Provide your clients the same value they would receive if your doors were open.
We can help you start a membership by:
- coming up with valuable content that will keep the members engaged and interested
- building and maintaining your website
- creating PDF’s, freebies and membership cards
- creating a Facebook group to encourage and manage your member community online
- writing and sending out invoices to members and keeping track of all monthly/annual subscriptions
3. Turning your Brick and Mortar Business into an online business
If your brick and mortar business is already thriving offline, then why not give web visitors the choice of either buying online or at your physical store? There are many different offline businesses that can be moved online. Here’s an example. If you like to bake, you can start baking customised wedding cakes, birthday cakes, fresh bread, cupcakes and pastries. These can be posted on your Instagram page or sent out in a WhatsApp group to people in your local area. People enjoy homemade baked goodies and may place repeat orders for two loaves of bread per week or a box of six cupcakes every Friday.
A virtual assistant can assist you by:
- making your social media pages look amazing by creating beautiful posters of your products for sale
- taking orders and ensuring that your customer s have made payments
- building brand awareness and dealing with online customer queries
- offering discounts, promotions and fun events to give people a reason to shop at your store
4. Starting up a Cleaning Company
Do you enjoy cleaning so much that you wouldn’t mind opening your own cleaning business? This is the perfect time to follow your dream as sanitation and hygiene are of utmost importance right now. Offices and homes need to be cleaned more often than before. As your commercial or residential cleaning business starts to grow, things can get tough and you will need an extra pair of hands such as ours.
A virtual assistant can help by:
- managing your schedule-there is nothing worse than being double booked
- creating contracts, invoices, service proposals and cleaning logs
- ensuring you have sufficient cleaning supplies, detergents and PPE (masks and gloves)-keeping stock of the different products can be time consuming
- placing ads on career websites and interviewing cleaning/driving staff and conducting background and criminal checks
- creating social media pages and campaigns to boost your business and show off the work that you have done for other clients
5. Starting up a Gardening Club
Most people are staying home and gardening as it is one of the most stress relieving hobbies that you can have. Some of us need a breath of fresh air every now and then as we get tired of being indoors. You can plant trees, flowers or even grow your own food. You can offer your expertise to other gardeners. You can give advice and information on how to grow a specific flower or vegetable, or how to get rid of garden bugs or you can record a video on how to arrange flowers in vase. How big your gardening business becomes depends on the time you put into it and the creativity that you have.
If you only want to be involved in the gardening part of things, we can always help with the administration by:
- coming up with creative ideas for your website and social media pages
- planning and organising how you will showcase your plants or flowers
- finding interesting new ideas all the time, such as an online cooking show using vegetables from your garden
Don’t be afraid to start that business, transform your business slightly or give it a total make over altogether. Whichever you choose, a virtual assistant will be able to provide the business support that you need.
When last did you sit down and take a look at your social media presence and see what is working for you and what isn’t?
As a social media manager, I try to make sure I am abreast of all things related to social media – because just like anything related to the web and technology, things change daily!
So, it would make sense for me to take a look at what trends are big in 2020 and what is still to come, and I thought it would be very cool of me to share it with you.
As a business owner you would be remiss to not have a social media presence these days as that is where 95% of conversion from lead to purchase generally takes place.
Let us take a closer look at what I do for clients when it comes to social media and then also touch on the trends which we can all take note of and use going forward.
How I do social media
Social media for me is in the blood now. It is my main niche when it comes to the work that I do for clients. I love it. I have a passion for it – but it can also be a headache somedays.
So, what is it exactly that I do?
I create thought provoking content for clients ranging from digital marketing agencies through to life coaches and PR companies. I have vast experience in many sectors of social media and have written content with spiritual undertones, information related to the automotive industry, real estate and much more.
Therefore, I know that with each client, with each business type, comes a new way of writing content and showcasing the business as a whole.
I also know that these things change often. What works this week could not work next week, and that is why I am forever looking at what is happening globally and applying it (where able and where relevant) to my clients.
So, what is trending?
- Brands are reevaluating – Businesses are taking a new look at what works for them on social media and what doesn’t and from what Sprout Social is telling us, 72% of marketers look at Likes and Comments to find out what to run with and what to bin. This makes sense because when you are getting a Like, or especially comments, it means people have taken notice and found what you have to say to be of relevance to them. The close second is 62% looking at shares and retweets.
- Interest driven versus “just because” – The trends show us that marketers are looking at making real connections with their actual target audience and not just anybody who engages with them (because not just anybody is who you are targeting). This means that they look at their target market as people and not just figures or sales. Marketers are saying, “What do you want? How are you feeling today and what can we give you or show you that can make that feeling change?” They want to know the real people behind the engagement and make them want to stick around. Just as an example, the new Instagram Threads allows one to share stories only with selected people, this gives a more personal touch and more connection, trust and integrity is gained.
- Advertisements – Did you know that Twitter is doing ads as well? I must say I found this to be news to my ears, another reason I like to do research and look around at what is happening in the world of social media. That said, target social ads create major return on investment. When you do paid ads on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter you can choose your ad spend and that spend will determine how many MORE people get to see your posts. These targeted ads then get in front of exactly who you want it to, they allow you to either get more reach, have more page likes or even allow you to get more traffic to your website. So, all in all, spending some money on paid social media ads every now and again can be highly beneficial.
- The Influencer Conundrum – Influencers on social media are not going anywhere anytime soon, but the way brands utilize them may be changing. Before brands would look at influencers with massive amounts of followers and ambassadors who promoted many other products and brands. Nowadays the trend seems to lean more towards what is called “Nano-Influencers”. These are exactly what it sounds like, influencers with a smaller group of followers. The smaller group again leads back to the more intimate, personalized feeling when it comes to marketing towards a target market.
- Stories are still all the rage – Facebook and Instagram have what they called “stories”. These are more fun and more engaging than just regular posts and from what I personally have heard from clients, they definitely get a lot more traction when they post stories. Make them fun, make a video, show off your product and services – you will get people interested and they will come back to check in and see what you are up to.
- Moving pictures for the win – Video content is still high up there when it comes to social media content. People like to watch things. We are more viewers than readers now days. And I think again a video or a Facebook Live has a more personal and intimate feel and people connect on another level. Trust and rapport are built and that is key when it comes to sales.
- Customer is king – Just like in sales in person, so too you should make your customer your focus when creating content for social media. What sort of customer are you targeting? What are their favorite things which you have to offer? Have they said what they would like from your business? If you listened, you would tap into that and use it to market your brand via your social media content.
- Which is better – Now we all know there are a few social media platforms, i.e. Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn among the most used for business purposes. But which one should you be nurturing more? The answer is simple really, which one brings you the most business and the most engagement at the moment? It is not that one – you need to be nurturing the one that is not getting anywhere, because maybe you are doing something that does not work on that platform. Take a look at the insights on the platforms and you will see what the trends are and where you need to put in more effort. If after a while one just does not do anything for you – you can drop it!
After all that information, I hope that you are able to take some of these trends and run with it. I am certain that none of these trends will change much in the New Year – but one never knows.
Enjoy your social media marketing, it can be fun and very rewarding, when done right.
Thanks for reading!
Working in the sales environment can be one of the most demanding, rewarding and thrilling workspaces out there. As a salesperson, I do not think that there is anything quite like closing your first deal. Then there is the same customer reordering within a few weeks of their first deal.
The pleasure and stress of joining a new company as a sales consultant can be daunting. Especially when the company is a start-up business in America, and you must virtually create a whole new client base, with the added pressure of achieving sales targets or making any sales at all. When one’s experience is predominantly based on face to face direct sales, adapting to a virtual sales strategy can be challenging, let alone entering an entirely new industry. It can pull at the strings of your self-esteem and capabilities as an experienced salesperson. The timeline of joining a company is always crucial because the longer it takes to close a deal, the less confidence your new employer has in your capacity to be a successful salesperson.
This is exactly how I felt a little over month into my new role, having not closed a single sale for the company. After 6 weeks of nothing, and getting used to the American accent, cultural differences, and colloquialisms, dealing with clients from another country. I began to doubt myself. My self-confidence was shaken. I started to question my experience, and whether I was indeed a good fit for the position. Any salesperson with tell you that having thick skin is a part of the game, but even the toughest salespeople have their outer exterior scathed every now and then.
Nevertheless, like all things in life, it is always darkest before the dawn. Finally, my first lead was easily and quickly closed. It was a small order of 75 units but well enough to give me the boost I needed to push myself even harder. Which also came with a pat on the back from my COO. That, for me, is always a great motivator.
Then, within the next few days, a second lead of mine closed. A modest 25 units, but still an order. The most vital thing that came out of my second order was a positive review. The client positively praised me on my sales etiquette to one of the business partners.
Staying on my winning streak, after weeks of running email campaigns targeted at various industries, a positive response from one of my email campaigns for a much more substantial order of 250 units.
Two wins here, one from a successful email campaign and my largest order so far.
Valuable lessons learned
The important lessons I have learned from my recent achievements:
- The first is always stay hungry and to stay motivated, even when the initial results show otherwise. Hard work and perseverance never go unnoticed.
- The second lesson is from my COO, which is to not to be afraid to ask for referrals from clients.
As salespeople, we tend to want to achieve results on our own accord, but there is no harm in a little help from your client base.
Let’s not kid ourselves. This pandemic has ground the aspirations of most businesses to a halt or even forced some companies to shut their doors completely. Nobody could have foreseen the impact that Covid-19 has had on revenue – the lifeblood of most companies. Chances are unless you sell hand sanitiser or facemasks, your revenue has taken a knock too.
Putting out fires
When trying to put out fires at present, most businesses turn to reduce costs to survive and keep heads above water. These costs include reducing your workforce, cutting salaries, marketing budgets either kept to a minimum or even scrapped and in some cases working from home to cut out office rent. When the dust settles, however, the only thing that will be able to propel business performance forward is generating revenue and using that to regain momentum.
That is easier said than done of course. Most business owners or leaders are currently trying to hold the fort, multi-tasking, and trying to keep the ship steady. And let’s face it – finding new business in most industries is tough enough as it is. Many people are holding on to the money that they earn with the fear that things could get tougher. Therefore, spending their money on what is now is luxury in their eyes is a big no-no!
Free up your time
As the chief business winner in most cases, business owners and leaders should be doing everything they can to focus their energy on establishing new relationships and closing deals. But they face many distractions from that at this moment in time. Dealing with HR issues, finance, and other critical business areas, let alone the restrictions in place from the government. But none of these will fuel growth. Being able to free oneself from these distractions to be able to free up time and focus on sales is possibly the most critical business need.
How a virtual assistant will make the difference
Using a virtual assistant service is one such way to be able to do this, without the financial burden of taking on full-time staff too soon, when the road ahead of us is uncertain and inevitably lined with challenges. A VA can offer a range of skills and services, which can all be deployed at short notice on short term contracts, including administration, marketing, accounting, and various others.
- Here are some reasons why a virtual assistant is not a financial or HR burden:
They are not a full-time employee, therefore you don’t have to worry about salaries or the benefits that one needs to provide to full-time staff.
- With the current pandemic we are facing, there may be months where a VA is not required as some projects may have come to an end or business is a bit slow. You would be able to have an agreement with your VA to use their services when required. The contract can be flexible.
- As the name says, your assistant is virtual, so you do not have to worry about office space or a laptop for them. They can plug in online as and when you need them.
Leverage an agile and scalable team to contribute to your business so that you can focus all your attention on generating sales!
Hiring a virtual assistant would help you achieve your goal.
What great blogging can do for your business
Since it made its first appearance in the 1990s, blogging has come a long way. Blogging was first used as an online journal or diary to share a person’s own individual thoughts, feelings, opinions and experiences and it usually attracted just a small following. These days, blogging is a platform used by individuals and businesses alike and can be read by thousands and even millions of people worldwide. Blogs are easy to set up and update regularly making them an important and usually a low cost tool for companies wanting to stay in touch with their customers and followers.
Benefits of a company blog
Increases traffic to a website using links
Inbound links in a blog will direct readers to relevant parts of a website, increasing overall traffic or increasing traffic to particular pages.
Improves a website’s SEO
If a blog is regularly updated and relevant to your business, it is more likely to be picked up in Google and other search engines which focus on a website’s quality of content and frequency of posts. Blogs create an opportunity for businesses to insert keywords that are likely to be used to search for your company or brand.
Promotes a brand and company as an expert in the industry
By regularly talking about a subject in well written blogs, your brand will become associated with and respected in its particular field thus encouraging readers to go to your site for valued information.
By providing high quality content and advice in a particular field, a blog can help give readers/customers the confidence to trust the brand. Comment sections in a Blog are often read and if monitored and updated regularly, this can further improve levels of trust with potential and existing customers.
Creates sharing opportunities
Including a sharing option in a blog creates viral traffic via twitter, email, Facebook or other platforms. Free marketing!
To increase your company’s online exposure and to establish yourself as an expert in your field, blogging is a must! And remember, it doesn’t have to be written by the company director himself, it can easily be outsourced and written by anyone as long as they do their research and create good quality pieces that are interesting to the reader. In fact, it is advised that a company’s blog is written by several people to vary the writing style and knowledge base.
Set up your company blog with a few launch articles and see just how easy it is! Use a Virtual Assistant to keep it updated and fresh with regular new content.