Month: April 2017

Who’s running your business…part 2.

Well, most of everything I said two weeks about niches, I take back.  I wasn’t exactly on board with the whole niche thing anyway.  I know that is what the experts say to do, narrow down a niche so you know who you are marketing to, and become an expert, yada yada.  I get the logic of it, I do; but in practice, it doesn’t work that well.  Recently I posted on Facebook about finding a client in some groups I am in, and a bunch of people went to my homepage and stopped there because it said I only work with architects and engineers.  Did I lose business over it? Possibly.  That’s what bugs me about the whole niche thing in the first place.

Someone I just met told me that it wasn’t the niche I should be concerned with, but who I wanted to work with.  Not based on gender/age, occupation, etc., but who did I want to work with.  What are their characteristics, aspirations, personalities?  That I have been doing a lot of thinking about from the beginning of starting my business; who is my ideal client?  As a VA, I want to work with entrepreneurs, solopreneurs, and small business owners to help take the administrative burden of their backs and give them more free time to work on their businesses or spend time with their families. I want to work with the no-nonsense, no drama type of people who know what they want in a VA and know how to communicate those wants in such a way that I know what they want.  Neither of us of time for guessing games, or an endless back and forth email conversation when one concise email would have done the trick.

Now I get there will be potential clients who have never worked with a VA before and are not sure what can be delegated and what can’t be.  All I can say is this, if the thing can only be answered or completed with the client’s expertise, than the client should be handling it, at least the content of it anyway.  Now, if the item on the old to-do list can be done by anyone with an administrative background or another area of expertise the item is needing, then delegate. Virtual assistants come in a variety of flavors, from the general administrative to the techie ones, and everything else in between.  There are VA’s who specialize in sales funneling, direct marketing, etc.  We run the gamut.  If you have a need that you don’t know how to do or don’t have time to do, there is a VA out there who can, guaranteed!  Now, just go find that help; Google is a good place to start.  And if I can be of help to you, contact me; I’d love to help you run your business in a more efficient and effective way.

Until next time, blessings to you all,

Elizabeth

I’m worth every penny!

Recently, I had a client lead that ended with them asking for a ridiculously low rate that was in itself insulting.  And let me explain why.  When you hire me you are hiring someone who is a vital part of your business team.  I am not an employee; I am a business owner just like you.  I have overhead costs to deal with and taxes to boot.  But what really gets me about the whole thing is that I am much more valuable than some overseas virtual administrative consultant.  Let’s start with I both write and speak English proficiently versus British English or English as a second language.  I understand the geography of the US and its colloquialisms.  I am very resourceful and tech-savvy, and there is nothing you can give me that I can’t figure out how to do.  I am a very talented, intelligent woman who will work her butt off to make your business run smoother and more efficiently.  I take care of the planning and day-to-day aspects of running your business so that you can spend the time saved growing your business or spending precious time with your family.  I give you time, is that not valuable?

All I am saying is that as a virtual administrative consultant, I am part of your team and care about your business as much as you do.  I want you to succeed, I want your business to grow, and I will do everything within my power to help make that happen.  What I want in return is the respect I deserve.  I reiterate, I am not your employee.  I am worth every penny I charge because I will give you all that I have to give.  You will be my priority.  I really don’t understand the mentality of some who think a virtual administrative consultant is some sort of personal assistant.  I am so much more.  I provide accountability, efficiency, and a logical flow to your business.  I save you money and I give you more time, both of which I would think would be of value to you.

If you’ve guessed by now that this is a rant, you’d be correct.  I am insulted to be considered so unworthy of my fee, which is a reasonable amount for the services I provide.  I am only limited by your imagination.  There is nothing I can’t do, nothing I can’t learn.  Well, almost, I don’t know anything about sales funneling, but I bet I could learn!  As a team member, I am the gateway, the second mate of the ship.  I am not in some clerical position sitting at my desk typing up letters.  Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but as a virtual administrative consultant, I am more.   I am a business owner who is a vital part of your business team; I help you run it and grow it.  I am a sounding board, a manager and an assistant all rolled into one kick-butt woman.  If you think an overseas VA is a good idea, well, good luck and remember you get what you pay for!

Who’s running your business? If it’s not you, then there’s a problem.

Over the last months, I have received a lot of advice from my mentor, from other virtual assistants, business coaches, you name it.  And the majority of them have said that I need to choose a niche for my VA business.  I’ve been fighting it because it does seem counter-intuitive to narrow down who you will work with, that I’ll be losing possible business if I have a niche.  However, again, according to the experts, narrowing down my niche means I learn that niche as an expert, their pain points, what they need, where they hang out online and off, etc.  That does make sense to me.  So, I’ve been thinking about it.  Agonizing over it is actually more accurate a statement.  Someone I trust implicitly says to not niche until I know who I want to work with.  Yet, I’ve kind of worked that out.  I have always been fascinated with architecture and structural/civil engineering.  I mean to take something you visualize in your mind and making it into a real object that stands, possibly for years, is amazing.  I have a tremendous respect for these professions.  So, I made the plunge.  I am now, officially, a virtual assistant for architects and civil/structural engineers.

Ultimately, it is my business and I am the boss of it – isn’t that the whole purpose of starting your own business in the first place; to make the decisions!  So, I have and I really hope I made the wisest decision.  But another trusted mentor (now that I think about it, both of my mentors have said it) told me there is no right or wrong; just wise and unwise.  Is it wise to narrow down my customer base, according to the experts it is.  Is it wise to pray and think long and hard on the idea, and then eventually just doing it and going for it?  That may take time to answer. Regardless, I have made the decision and I have to live with the repercussions.  And another great thing about being my own boss, I can always change my mind in the future.  I can always re-brand and start all over again.  I have the freedom to do that.

I love being a freelancer for so many reasons: the freedom to choose, the freedom to work with who you want, the freedom to be home with my family, to just name a few.  Is running a business easy? No, if it were everyone would be doing it.  But it is the right choice for me; I’m too much of an independent thinker to work in some office doing the same thing day in and day out.  However, I do wish I could have a quick five minute conversation with God where He could answer if I am doing the wise thing, because as it stands now, it’s a crap shoot.  Scripture says to walk by faith and not by sight.  Running your own business is a huge test of faith, but one I am willing to take.

Until next time, blessings to you all,

Elizabeth

It is all temporary!

Last Friday was a really bad day for me.  Not in the ‘I just don’t want to work’ kind of way, but the go back to bed, pull the covers over my head and cry kind of feel bad. I didn’t want to work, which just made me feel guilty on top of crappy.  It was just an ugly day all around.  The next day, I woke up and was on fire.  I started working at 6:30 am and just kept going until almost noon.  I revamped my website, wrote this blog post, plus other various things that needed to be updated or changed.  My point in all of this is that the bad days, no matter how bad they are, are temporary.  I was told once a long time ago by a trusted friend that everything in this world is temporary.  The thing is that when we are feeling bad, it feels like something is wrong and that it will last forever and we are basically screwed.  Nothing could be further from reality.  It is TEMPORARY!  And we need to accept that all of us have bad days, days where we don’t want to work or do whatever it is that we do, and that’s okay.  If we were “on” all the time, we would be robots.  God didn’t design us to be robots.  My advice is simple, when those bad days happen, and they will; remember, it is temporary.  It will get better in a few hours or maybe the next day.  With that said, if you have a long string of really bad days, I mean like a few months’ worth; seek professional help because there could be something going on with you that you need help with.   Otherwise, just take the bad day as just something to deal with, eat some chocolate, watch your favorite movie (mine is Star Wars, usually the original one, but any of them work) and just ride the bad wave until it passes.  And trust me, it will pass!

 

Until next time, blessings to you all,

 

Elizabeth