Networking Follow Ups and How To Get Them Right

April 13, 2015

Just want to share an ‘interesting’ phone call. So it appears that I won a bottle of wine at an expo a couple of weeks ago. Yay me!

Networking | Virtual AssistantDo you do this at expos? It’s a great way to build your list and get in touch with people who want to learn more about what you do. This lady had an expo stand advertising her video business. I chatted with her about the fact that I may be doing some videos in the future and asked her a bunch of questions. I also mentioned that someone like her could be a great resource for VAs who are looking for this kind of supplier for their clients. She could see that I was interested and that means I could be a potential client for her, or be a good contact to bring in loads of work to her business.  Basically, I was a nice warm lead.

So I entered her prize draw for a bottle of wine – even though I don’t actually drink red wine!  What I really wanted was to keep in touch with her. This is the main reason I put my business card in the draw.

Well, lucky me – I won the wine!  I was rather pleased to receive the email informing me that I’d won this prize because it meant that I would be able to have a chat to this lady about her biz… and what it can offer me and my VAs in my business.

However, this lady has got it all wrong.  When she called me to arrange to drop off the bottle of wine at my house, she made no comment about having a catch up to talk about anything at all. I said to her “oh, don’t you want to catch up and have a chat?  Let’s have a cuppa somewhere”.

She was totally unprepared for this.  I got the feeling that she just wanted to drop the wine off and get it over and done with.  Doesn’t she realise this is a golden opportunity for her to sell her business offerings to me – a captured audience?

She ummed and ahhed and didn’t know what to do! I asked her where her office was and suggested we meet somewhere half way.  She suggested a place that she’d been to, but she didn’t know the address of!  I googled it while we were chatting and it was miles away from either of us – a totally ridiculous option.

In the end, it was me who suggested my local cafe and a time and a date and we are meeting there in a couple of days.  But when I get there, I think I’m just going to have my cuppa and get my bottle of wine.  I don’t think I want to do business with someone who has no idea how to follow up or network. Of course, I will leave my options open and see what happens at the meeting, but based on what I’ve seen so far, I also don’t think this person would be someone I would recommend to my clients or colleagues.

So the lesson here is don’t waste wonderful opportunities when you are networking!  Have a follow up plan.  Do a bit of research on the person you are going to meet with – I wonder if she even knows what my business is!  Work out what you are going to say. Work out what you need to find out at a meeting so that you can help the potential client.  You never know who they know and even if they don’t need your services, they may just know someone who does.

Happy Networking everyone!

Chris

Have You Planned Your Year Yet?

February 13, 2015

Planning is so important. Do you have a plan set out for this year yet? What does a plan look like for you?

Is it a series of goals? Is it a vague idea of how much you need to earn?  Is it a bit vague overall -egg “get more clients”?

Having goals is great but have you made sure that you have laid down goals that are measurable?  So if one of your goals is “get more clients”, can you see that it may be more helpful to say “gain 2 more clients each month till I have 10 clients”?  See how that makes it easy to see if you are reaching your goals?

Once you’ve set your goals, you can then break it down into action items in order to achieve them.

It may also be helpful to create monetary targets around your goals too. Eg Get 2 clients a month on my $500 a month package. Doing this means you will aim higher. Otherwise you may run the chance that you are getting 2 clients a month paying you $50 which isn’t really what you’re after.

So how do you do that? Stay tuned for my next blog: “Co-ordinated Plan For Success” at the end of January.

In the meantime if you want coaching help on planning fir the year, email me at Chris@c2admin.com.au.

10 Awesome tools to Help Your Business

October 16, 2014

I’m often asked what my favourite tools are for running a virtual business and I thought I’d share my Top 10 with you today!

These are in no particular order, but they are the ones I’ve used today!

  1. TimeStamp
  2. Dropbox
  3. Google
  4. Skype
  5. Yoast SEO
  6. My Mobile Phone!
  7. WordPress
  8. Facebook
  9. MS Outlook
  10. SEOquake

There are more that I love to use, but these are some of the tools that I love and that I work with every day!

10 Awesome Things a VA Can Do For Your Business

September 15, 2014

Have you ever wondered – What can a virtual assistant do for me and my business?

Sometimes the answer itself can be a little daunting because what your virtual assistant can do for you and your business can be as unique and diverse as the individual VAs themselves!

But don’t be scared! Here are Top 10 Wonderful Things your Virtual Assistant can do for you:

  1. Answer your emails this way: “Hi! My name is [your name]’s virtual assistant”  Having your VA answer your emails in this way does two things – it makes your business look bigger than it is, and more importantly, it frees up your time so you can work with your clients. Your VA can deal with the simple emails, and forward your important emails for you to action.  After some time, you can teach your VA to answer emails the way you want them answered!
  2. A VA can be the bookkeeper and payroll officer – let your VA worry about the invoices coming in, have her/him post it in an Online Accounting system (that you can also check later on) with this out of your mind – you can focus more in other important stuff such as running your biz!
  3. Having a company event? Your VA can spearhead the planning! Your VA can source the venue, organise the menu, send out invitations, manage RSVPS, etc – all online! And make the event a memorable and enjoyable time for you, your company and your guests!
  4. Recruitment – having a VA to create and place a job advertisement, sift through applications, shortlist candidates and conduct phone interviews can save you a lot of time! Your VA can even facilitate the hiring, interview and training of new staff!
  5. Data Presentations – Your VA can transform raw data into a clear, stunning PowerPoint Presentation!
  6. Data Entry – Collected a bunch of business cards but never entered them? Got information on entry forms from a competition you ran that need entering?  Have regular sales figures that you need to enter? Scan them or post them to your VA for entering into your database.
  7. Appointment and Schedule Organization – Let your VA handle your schedule for you! She can set up meeting appointments, interview schedules and leisure time in your Google Calendar – you just don’t know how much more simple and organized your life can be!
  8. Marketing and Social Media support – Increase your clientele with the help of your stunning VA! She can spread the word, create stunning marketing collateral and provide service for your customers! She can also do Social Marketing using different online Social Media Sites such as Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.
  9. Web Research – Most VAs are a wiz at web researching! Just prep your VA, give precise instructions on what results you want, where to save and voila! You have ample time to do other things! Plus she can also research the lowest air fare or accommodation for your upcoming trip!
  10. Upload blog posts on your blog – If your VA is knowledgeable in WordPress, she can help you upload blog post and even create the post herself!

When Parenthood and Business Ownership Collide

September 2, 2014

There are some times when being a business owner and a parent collide!

When you are faced with loads of work and stress and yet you have had barely any sleep. And because you’re the boss, it’s just not possible to call in sick.

So, how can you make it through the work day without snoring in front of your laptop or going insane?

Coping on minimal sleep isn’t easy. Because you are a business owner and calling in sick is not an option, here are some survival guides to make it through the day!

Caffeine might just be your best friend

C Squared Virtual Admin

 First – make sure it is NOT decaf, because let’s face it, decaf is pretty much useless (for the purposes of this article). We all know that

caffeine is a stimulant and will get you going. Try having small doses of caffeine instead of one big mug of it! It works better.

Also, did you know that caffeine is diuretic which means it will make you pee loads and loads! And there is no better way to keep you awake than having to get up to go to the toilet a lot!

Energy boosting foods!

If you are not into caffeine – munching on nuts like almonds can boost your energy. Or keep oranges, blueberries or healthy snacks beside you.. or even chewing gum! (Okay, so the last part ain’t that healthy but that will keep you awake too! Tried and tested)

Get some sunlight.

Yup, you heard that right. Get up for a few minutes away from your laptop and go outside. Even just for a few minutes. That time you have spent walking towards Mr. Sun will bring some energy back, boosting your blood to pump and get you energized and feel less fatigued. And also, make sure to avoid dim places (such as your bedroom!!) Work where it is bright and properly lighted.

Don’t do it again – be gentle!

Whatever kept you awake the previous night? Unless it was the kids that kept you up, don’t do it again. Puhlease.  Of course, if the kids are sick or teething or feeding in the middle of the night, there’s not much you can do about that.  So be gentle with yourself.  Have a nanna nap if you are able to during the day.  Ask your client for an extension on a project.  Get some help if there’s someone around that can help you out!

When you are tired, you can get cranky and irritable, so remember to love yourself and look after you first, so that you can look after everyone else.  Be gentle and understand that you may be a little less productive – it’s going to be OK!

You may find one of my favourite sayings to be helpful “Is it really going to matter in five years?”  If it’s not, let it go… the deadline may go over, but if it doesn’t affect anyone long term, then it’s OK to let it slide just this once.

Why Should I Pay $40 an Hour for a VA?

May 22, 2014

On a forum I belong to, this morning a few questions came up around whether or not it really is financially beneficial using a VA.  I thought it worthy of a blog post.

These were the questions asked:

Ummm, sounds like I’m right, $40 p/h vs. $20+super. Any staff need to be trained on what to do, what equipment does a VA come with? A computer? What would they need? Even if full time employed it’s still cheaper than a VA. I don’t think I could trust someone I hadn’t met or had any relationship with other than here’s my credit card details do this job please that I can’t be bothered with. How would you account for the hours? It’s just wide open to getting screwed for time. How on earth will the VA do my filing when they’re somewhere else, if they’re calling people outbound does the rate include the calls?? How is their time logged?

Here was my response :

As a VA myself, I may be a little biased .

You’re right [member’s name], any staff need to be trained – and a VA may need some training too, but they are not staff. I have spent many an hour learning new technology that my clients use – and I don’t generally charge them for more than the agreed learning time. I figure it’s my PD because it’s another skill set that I can add to my repertoire.

As for equipment, we generally have all the software required downloaded onto our computers… as well as our own computers. The client also doesn’t need to provide office space, office furniture, electricity, heating, stationery, not even paperclips as the VA provides all that stuff. This stuff all adds up – and all the business owner has to pay is $40 an hour! Good value IMO.

The trust issue is a very valid point! Most VAs are happy to have a meeting with you, or if they’re too far away, a Skype meeting. You can really get a feel for people when you meet them. Most VAs are also happy to have a probation type arrangement where both can assure that they are a good fit with their clients.

Most VAs use Time tracking software to account for their time and will provide that with their invoices.

Most VAs are highly trained professional business owners who can help you with your business so efficiently that you will have time to do your own filing. If you need outbound calls made, you will have that discussion around rates including calls or not – and come up with a mutually agreed decision.

[Member’s name], most VAs in Australia are highly skilled, indpendent business owners. They are not employees and as such they bring a different dimension to the client/VA partnership. They bring business experience and practical experience. They work as a sounding board and sometimes very unofficially as an advisor. They are in business, so they understand what a business owner needs and wants. 

But of course…. I am a little biased

Top Tasks That Stop You From Growing Your Business

May 13, 2014

The fact is, you only have 8 business hours in a day – this is an inescapable truth! It’s what you do with these hours that can either help or hinder the growth of your business.

If you are running with a system that leans more on responding to things that happen in your day, rather than on creating opportunities and planning your day, then you could be stopping the growth of your own business – all by yourself.

Here are a few things you may be doing, which could actually be stopping your business’ progress:

  • Overloading a to‐do list. As we said earlier, there are only 8 hours in a day… don’t make your To-Do list for the day full of tasks that will take you longer than 8 hours.  You will feel worse if, by the end of the day, you look at your list and only a small percentage of it got accomplished. Prioritise your To Do list and make it realistic and achievable for each day.
  • Having open‐ended Meetings. Know the purpose of your meeting and its agenda, making sure that the topics of utmost priority will be resolved at the end. Avoid switching of topics as much as possible.
  • Responding more. Emails, phone calls, and other transactions that need a small portion of your time will always pop up and distract you from what you are currently doing.  Turn off email alerts and concentrate on what is important to you without being distracted by your technology.

What you need to do is to distinguish which of your tasks are of highest value. The intention here is to set your focus on what you would really want to accomplish at the end of the day, and learning how to stick to it.

Hope that helps

Chris

Coaching – Why It’s Important To Get Business Coaching

May 7, 2014

Business coaching – one of the most important things a business owner can do is to get coaching. Whether you’re just starting out, or have been in business for a few years.

One of the most challenging things about being a VA can be the isolation and the lack of knowledge about how to run a business, or where to go next.  Sure, every VA I know is AWESOME at what they do, but some of them have never run a business before and may need a helping hand to get their business started, or move it to the next step.

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When you think about it – every successful champion has a coach – no tennis player, golf player or winning football team can be successful without a coach.

Even the most powerful leaders have their coaches, (although they’re usually called “advisors”).  Our Prime Minister has his team, the President of the USA has staff behind him – even the Queen of England has advisors (or coaches) for “The Firm”.

Therefore, to be successful, a business, small or big needs a coach not only to guide them but to open their minds and help them discover and reach their goals.

A business coach is someone that assists business owner to identify and realise their goals, dreams and aspirations by making them more self-aware and by developing their hidden talents and potential.

A coach will help you get out of your comfort zone and hold you accountable to decisions and goals that you set for yourself in your business and help you grow in many ways you never thought possible.

These are just few reasons as to why it is important to have a coach. Whether you’re starting up a business or you already have a brand, a business coach is still needed to help and assists you so that your business can reach the goals and become as awesome as you know it should be.

Contact Chris about the VA Coaching she is offering from July 2014… make YOUR VA business the best it can be.

Top Tips for Managing Your Emails

April 29, 2014

Do you often find yourself beginning your day stressed-out just because you find your email inbox filled with so much clutter? You need to organize yourself more, but guess what?? You don’t need intensive training to manage your inbox effectively.

In order to keep the inbox in sync with your schedule, here are some useful tips that you can use to manage your email activities:

  • Establish a daily routine. Finding a routine that works for you will be the key to keep your inbox and the people waiting for your response happy. You can set how often you check your email strategically – 3 to 4 times a day should be sufficient.
  • Acknowledge receipt. A small “Thanks,” or “OK,” is actually sufficient to communicate to the sender that you received their emails, thus, keeping more unwanted duplicate emails at bay.
  • Know also the difference between CC: and the To: fields as it means a lot to the receiver. Basically, having your name in the To: generally means “Respond please” while CC means “Just keeping you in the loop.”
  • Be precise with your words. If you need to send out an email or a response, make sure that you say what you need to convey up front. Misinterpretation often leads to more emails asking for clarification, which will waste not only your time, but the email recipient’s as well.
  • Save the drama for the stage, and avoid engaging in email wars. Remember emails are for communicating, not for antagonizing. If you must clarify something, talking directly to the person involved will save you the agony.  Pick up the phone and spend 5 minutes talking instead of wasting time to-ing and fro-ing with emails!

How about you? What best practices do you do to manage your emails? Feel free to share in the comments below.

7 Jobs A Virtual Assistant Can Do For You

April 24, 2014

You’ll be jumping for joy when you realise how much your Virtual Assistant can help you!

7 Jobs A Virtual Assistant Can Do For You

Having a VA is not just having an online secretary, instead, consider a virtual assistant as an extension of yourself and your business!

With proper training and exposure, you can maximize a VA’s capabilities by delegating tasks such as:

  • Writing Blogs. Content blogging is an important marketing strategy, and trusting this to a VA can save you time. With all the research that needs to be done to create a compelling post, having a VA to help you saves you lots of time.
  • Organization Tasks. A VA can assist you in managing your emails, and keeps you aligned with your daily schedule. However a VA can do more by helping you with data processing using spreadsheets, bookkeeping and creating Powerpoint presentations.
  • Web Designing/Audio Editing. VA’s are usually individuals with strong computer competence. Learn your VA’s skill areas and use it to your vantage.
  • Research/Social Media. Your VA will be your eyes and ears to the outside world, will keep you up-to-date with trends, and will help you maintain a strong online presence.
  • Human Resources. Delegating the screening phase of the hiring process to a VA can help lessen the number of applicants you’ll need to interview.
  • Transcription. You can speak faster than you can type, so why not record your thoughts, plans and field notes from meetings and get a VA to type them up for you!
  • Customer Service. Responding and listening to your customer’s possible crisis real time can keep your customers happy. Having a VA that can provide excellent customer service is a gem.

This is just the tip of the ice-berg!

Need to know more ways how a virtual assistant can help you grow your business?

Feel free get in touch with me today!

Chris