This is why you should regularly move the goal posts

This is why you should regularly move the goal posts

This is why you should regularly move the goal posts

Are you moving the goal posts?

Mention the word Goalpost and immediately a sport comes to mind.  A total play on words, because even though it is termed sport or a game, it is still taken seriously.  No matter what game you think of, there is a goalpost of sorts, some defining object that remains static and signifies the end objective within boundaries.  And so it is in business.  When you have your boundaries or goalposts in place, they need to remain static in order to realise the goals and objectives you set out to achieve.

Some may say that “systems” are the most important and yes, while they are the backbone of getting, and keeping the flow of work going smoothly, if your boundaries are not constant and clearly defined, even the best system can be pushed out of whack.  Boundaries give as much structure as systems.

Clear Communication

It cannot be stressed enough how important clear communication is within the working environment.  Being on the same page, following the same path and achieving the same target are vital to the success of any business, especially when working in a virtual team and relying on cyber communication.  Being absolutely clear about how you work leaves no room for grey areas and instances where the overstepping of your boundaries can lead to feelings of frustration and irritation.  Matters such as hours of work, channels and times of communication, prioritisation of tasks and even what would constitute an emergency should be defined, and more importantly, adhered to at all times.

Crossing the line

Whilst you may be adhering to your practices, there may come a time when your boundaries become tested and possibly even crossed.  Don’t let the situation slide.  Address it in the moment or as early as possible.  Have a plan on how to handle it and carry it out before it loses its power and results in those feelings of frustration or even exploitation at times.  Making exceptions can take you onto the downward slope.

Consistency is key

Now I’m not saying be inflexible when the need arises, but consistency is an indication of your seriousness and professional approach to your work.  After all, if you don’t respect your own boundaries, you cannot expect others to do so either.  Should it happen that additional hours or some urgent work become necessary, assess the situation objectively and discuss how best to take care of it, leaving everyone fully in the picture.  Being flexible but consistent is the key to a great working relationship.

So, are your goalposts firmly in place, or do you have some cementing to do……

4 Secrets to Growing Your Business’ Sales Exponentially This Year

4 Secrets to Growing Your Business’ Sales Exponentially This Year

4 Secrets to Growing Your Business’ Sales Exponentially This Year With The Use of Social Media

What new small business owner or entrepreneur doesn’t need MORE SALES in their business? Especially when it’s free! Social Media offers endless potential and opportunities for the young entrepreneur or established company to drive traffic to their website and increase their sales for free. In this beginner’s guide to using social media for growing your sales, we are going to take an in-depth look at what it takes to drive that potential sales through the roof using social media to target your audience. In this modern day there’s not a person that doesn’t have a mobile device which is excellent news for the business owner. Just imagine crushing those sales goals when you have the right audience at your disposal – a global audience available 24/7, 365 days of the year!

#1 Do your research

What you want is knowledge about your audience before starting any campaigns on social media. Consider and research the demographics of your target audience and use the information to determine which social media platforms to use to reach them and what type of media would be most likely to succeed.

#2 Quality content vs Quantity content

So, this is where you expect me to say, “Start a blog”, right? Wrong! If you don’t already have a blog for your website, you’re missing out on one of the most powerful FREE marketing tools to boost those sales and you might want to take a step back and first take a look at where to start when writing a blog post or how to improve your blogging.  Our focus is on social media so that means you’ll need quality content to share. Take note my emphasis on quality content. Your biggest faux pax on social media is to share a whole lot of content without providing value to your audience. Don’t just post and share random stuff. Make sure what you have to say or share will either engage or entertain your audience.

A good guide is to use the 80-20 rule, which means you share 80% content that engage and entertain the audience and 20% sales content. Hard-selling is a definite NO! It adds a desperate flavour to your business that will chase away your target audience faster than you can schedule your next post.

#3 Consistency is key

Nothing is of greater value to improve your business’ online visibility than consistency. If you stuck to rule number two your content will be of value to your audience. It doesn’t matter if it’s a blog, motivational quote or short video, Facebook, Instagram or Pinterest. Your audience will be anticipating your next post. A social media calendar will enable you to plan your posts to coincide with special dates and events to maximize the effect of your content. So, what’s better than using a social media scheduling tool to make sure you free up your time while sharing quality content on a consistent basis to all the platforms and targeted audiences of your choice.

#4 Engaging with your audience

Social media is about engaging your followers. If you don’t grasp that concept first and foremost your hard work will all be for nothing. Nothing is as important as responding to your audience’s conversations, likes and shares. This is how you build trust in your brand and develop a relationship that turns a follower into a client.

Be intentional

Do the research, create or curate the content. Be intentional, be consistent, find your own voice and style. In a world where we are often overloaded with digital content, we need to be unique. AND we are – so use it to your advantage to outshine your competition. You’ll be amazed at the results!!

What you can do to get great work ethic

What you can do to get great work ethic

Setting boundaries and rules whilst maintaining good work ethic as a Virtual Assistant

As a Virtual Assistant we are sometimes so hungry to get that next client and maintain the best working relationships with the ones we have that we sometimes forget that the key to success is actually to set some boundaries. Setting boundaries and laying down some ground rules with your clients need not be a daunting, scary thing, in fact if anything it should be a relief to you and could even show your client a whole other side of your personality which they may love. Assertive and confident professional remote worker – THAT’S YOU!

Now although it may be a necessity to set these boundaries to avoid things like burnout and less than average work being handed over to clients, you need to be able to do it in a proper manner and without coming across as bitchy and condescending.  You also want to make the rules clear from the get-go, so things like what hours you are available to one specific client, what your actual working hours are and so forth need to be discussed right in the beginning to avoid any awkwardness further down the line.

Below I will discuss a few tips for setting up rules and structure within your business which will ensure your success and success for your client.

Boundaries for you and me

Your phone – Now although you have a phone and the general idea of a phone is to take calls you do not want clients calling you all hours of the day and night and weekends expecting answers. So you need to be clear that, if you do not have a phone purely for business, that you tell your client you are available for calls between hours x and y and thereafter there will be no response to calls or messages.

Set working hours – Most VA’s have more than one client and therefore would want to have specific times scheduled in order to provide the best most focused work to each individual client. This can be tweaked according to the workload of course as sometimes one client has nothing for you to do on a specific day, but another may have a mountain of tasks which are all urgent, you can then use your discretion, but setting some sort of guideline around this with your client is very important.

Treat your business like a business – All business’s have hours where they open and then the same for when they close, you as a virtual assistant are essentially running a business and should do the same. Business’s have rules and regulations, therefore so should you. A virtual assistant is not an employee and therefore does not have to adhere to the management from a client.

Having a task list – A task list is also great as you and the client can set up the tasks together that are needed for any particular day,  if the client then tries to deviate from this you can respond by saying that because the list has being drawn up in a specific  way you have planned accordingly and unfortunately any extra’s would have to wait for the following day. If you are unsure of what the priority task is it is always best to communicate and find out, this is also a good way of setting the rules that priority tasks are completed first but whatever falls outside of the normal working hours will be added to the following day.

Conclusion

At the end of the day we all want to be able to deliver top-notch service as a VA and we want to have as many clients as possible and keep everyone happy – but happiness comes from being honest and upfront about things. You never want to find yourself a few months down the line, when you realise you cannot handle the workload, telling a client you need to set boundaries, it will probably not end very well.

Be assertive, have a clear idea of what you can and cannot do in any one day and then have that chat with those clients and you will flourish.

Happy Virtual Assistant = Happy Client

Social Media for Growing Traffic and Sales

Social Media for Growing Traffic and Sales

 “Opportunities are usually disguised as hard work, so most people don’t recognise them.” Ann Landers

What is Social Media?

Social media is the collective of online communications channels dedicated to community-based input, interaction, content-sharing and collaboration.

Forms of Social Media

There are many forms of social media, amongst these are: –

  • Websites and applications dedicated to forums
  • Microblogging
  • Social networking
  • Social bookmarking
  • Social curation
  • Wikis

Typical examples of social networking platforms that may be easier for the “man on the street” to identify: –

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google+
  • Wikipedia
  • LinkedIn
  • Reddit
  • Pinterest
  • Instagram

To name but a few, find below a typical conversation prism. It is quite enticing to know how far ones reach actually goes when posting on social media.

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Business Applications of Social Media

Social media, today, is a fundamental part of life online. Social Media is used to market products and services, to promote brands and most important of all to connect to individuals and business with whom you can set the stage for new business.

How do you increase social media traffic?

This is a phrase that MANY people ask! Let’s focus on the “HOW”!

The bottom line is, social media traffic happens or shall we say increases when you engage and build relationships on each and every network.

Every social media network is different, however to increase your social media engagement on these platforms, there are some hard and fast rules that one should follow.

  1. Inspire your audience with visuals

A fundamental concept in social media engagement “first impressions last”.

The first impression that you portray in your post or engagement is what lasts in most people’s minds. The age old saying “Don’t judge a book by its cover”, is not always true. Visuals assist people or potential clients with making decisions.

The best visuals on social media include: –

  • Vibrant colours and well-designed layouts
  • High-level photography
  • Visuals telling stories
  • Visuals showing products or services in a new light
  • Consistently on point and well-planned

ALWAYS be where your audience is!

  1. Identify Social Media Influencers and Engage with Them

The term used is “influencer marketing”. When one engages with various social media influencers, one is creating the ideal opportunity to attract more followers, in other words, MORE traffic to your business website, platform etc.

  1. Understand that Social Media is for SHARING, not selling!

Although, the majority of potential clients begin their journey on social media by making a purchase. Most clients do not visit social media networks with the intention of shopping.

The primary intention for social media marketing is to build relationships. People are more inclined to check out your post or share your story, news, blog etc if they feel that your post is directed at building a relationship with them.

Clients want to feel as if they are important and that their own needs are being met.

The above ideas are to name but a few. Get out there and ENGAGE with your followers make them feel as though they are your number 1 visitor!

When is it the Best Time to Hire a Virtual Assistant?

When is it the Best Time to Hire a Virtual Assistant?

When is it the Best Time to Hire a Virtual Assistant?

When it comes to assistance, most business owners will delay it as long as they can. This is because of fear that an assistant cannot do the work as well as they can. Although that may be true, a growing business needs an extra pair of hands. In this blog, we will discuss the best time to hire a Virtual Assistant and where to find one.

What is a Virtual Assistant?

Virtual Assistants, also known as VA’s, are your fairy godmothers so to speak. They assist you with your business virtually. They usually work from home or their own office and manage their own income. These people can also be referred to as freelancers.

There are many reasons why one would become a VA, the most common one being for a better work-life balance.

VA’s are highly skilled people who choose this career path to have more control over their lifestyle.

What can a Virtual Assistant do?

A VA can do absolutely anything work-related. They can do admin, cold calling, receptionist duties, writing and content creation, web design, social media management, accounting and more. It boils down to what you are looking for. If you are looking for someone to write your content, for example, a VA with blogging experience can assist you with that.

You don’t even need to hire a VA with a specific skill. There are also generalist VA’s who can cater to your varying business needs.

How do Virtual Assistants change businesses?

A big corporation can easily afford to hire a full-time employee, but if you’re an entrepreneur or small business, affordability may be an issue.

Perhaps you’ve stayed back from hiring someone because you think it will cost you an arm and a leg. You need to know that VA’s are so affordable, and the career path was created for business owners like you.

Having help in your business means more time for you to focus on other aspects of your operations. This means serving your current client base better than before, without compromising the generation, cultivation and nurturing of new leads.

In short, more time = more money.

When to hire a Virtual Assistant?

We believe that to be abreast of the competition, one should hire a VA as soon as they open their doors to business.

Other clear signs that show you need a VA:

  • You can’t keep up with the workload
  • You don’t get to all your emails in a day
  • You are out of the office and need someone to handle your back-office tasks
  • You feel overwhelmed
  • You want someone to handle your projects
  • You need someone to manage a team
  • You hate admin
  • You hate making sales calls and setting up appointments
  • You’re so bad at staying organised
  • You can write your own articles and blogs
  • Your social media pages are dormant
  • You have no idea how to get leads
  • You need a fresh perspective on things

If this sounds like you, make sure to give us a call.