by Shai

Preparing Your Business for a Virtual Assistant

June 19, 2014 in blogging, Business, virtual assistant duties, virtual assistant information, virtual assistant needs, virtual assistant training by Shai

You’ve made the leap and found the perfect virtual assistant.

Woohoo!

you hired a va now what

Preparing Your Business for a Virtual Assistant

or You Hired a VA, Now What?

Your new virtual assistant is everything you could want in a VA. Smart, quick witted, familiar with your industry, worked with a company similar to yours and you connect on a personal level plus they have all the experience and relevant skills you were searching for.

Your new virtual assistant is going to be your new friend, business associate and help your company excel.

You are excited and everyone is happy. The virtual assistant has a new client (I know I get excited with every new client). You have a new virtual assistant. Your family and friends are looking forward to all the extra time you have available now (and looking forward to filling it with more stuff).

Now, what?

Shai, what do you mean? Now, What?

You already taught me how to use a virtual assistant in 5 Ways to Utilize a Virtual Assistant.

Yes, I did, but there are more than five ways to use a virtual assistant. Besides,  hiring your virtual assistant is only Step Two. (Finding a Virtual Assistant is Step One)

Sorry to harsh your mellow. There are more Steps involved. This post is all about Step Three.

 

Step 3: Preparing Your Business for a Virtual Assistant

You need to prepare your business for an assistant; treat your new virtual assistant like a new employee.

What would you give a new employee to your company? An orientation about your company such as when founded, why, how, and the goals, aspirations and accomplishments of your company. Maybe even some background on you, the founder.

Then you would assign your new hire a desk, a phone, an email, business cards, a list of projects, instructions on how to complete said projects, a pep talk and even possibly take them to lunch during that first week.

You would also walk them around the company headquarters and introduce them to the other employees and explain their responsibilities. If they were working with vendors or outside clients, you would introduce them face to face, over the phone or via email.

Just because your new virtual assistant is virtual doesn’t mean they don’t deserve or need the same treatment as a new employee.

Here are several steps to preparing your business for a virtual assistant.

  • First, write down every project that is Outstanding. When I say every project, I mean EVERY project whether you want your new VA to do some tasks associated with it or not. You may find during this process some additional tasks that your virtual assistant can work on reducing your work load.

 

  • Then write down all the projects that are Upcoming in the next three to nine months. Yes, sometimes we aren’t in charge of what the future brings but it will give you a rough idea of the work that is coming.
  • Examine your daily workload. What can you take off your plate and assign to your virtual assistant? The average business owner works a 60 work week.
  • Do you need to Assign an email to your assistant? If you are, for example MasterChief@MasterandCommander.com then it would be a great idea to assign an email to your virtual assistant if you expect he or she to conduct business outreach or follow-up on behalf of your company.
  • Create an Introductory Package for your assistant of
  1. passwords,
  2. logos,
  3. letterheads,
  4. contacts,
  5. important numbers
  6. and client names
  7. anything important that your assistant will need while transacting your company’s business like scripts for customers.
  • Orientation Materials – all the information of when your company was founded, why, how, and the goals, aspirations and accomplishments, mission statement. I myself often ask clients to let me read their business plan or at least the executive statement. It gives me a good idea of the strategic direction the client wants to take their company in the future.

 

  • Tell your clients/customers, business associates and other employees about your new assistant – so they aren’t cold calling people and creating confusion.

 

by Shai

Seven Steps to Becoming a Virtual Assistant

October 4, 2013 in Seven Steps to Becoming a Virtual Assistant, virtual assistant duties, virtual assistant information, virtual assistant needs, virtual assistant training by Shai

 Seven Steps to Becoming a Virtual Assistant

 

I’m truly excited to be teaching my first class on becoming a Virtual Assistant. The lessons I’m sharing are from my Virtual Assistant Training Manual which will soon be an ebook.

I’m teaching some of my virtual assistant secrets! Join me and learn about virtual assisting, increasing your income and leaving the corporate world behind.

If you are in the Washington, DC metro area make sure you join me. Register Here.

7 Steps to Becoming a Virtual Assistant v3 resized

by Shai

@HireShai Does #Blog4Biz Day 9: What is the next level for a virtual assistant?

August 9, 2013 in business blogging, virtual assistant duties, virtual assistant needs by Shai

virtual assistant expansion#Blog4Biz Day 9 prompt: Taking it to the next level means… What does that phrase mean to you? How are you going to implement the next level in your business?

How does a virtual assistant take it to the next level?

For a single virtual assistant there is only so much work that she (or he) can take on. A typical work week is 40 hours but that can easily be pushed to 60 or 70 hours when you aren’t commuting and don’t have any other obligations bogging you down. After that expanded work week there is only one of two options for a busy virtual assistant.

Option One: Stop taking new clients or

Option Two: Join together with another virtual assistant(s)

I have done both Options and let me tell you Option One is painful (soul crushing painful)! It hurts to turn people down because you can’t support their needs. It hurts to see money walking out the door (so to speak) and believe me you are looking for extra time in your schedule to accommodate them but you are human and need down time and sleep. Option One also damages your reputation because people may think twice about calling you to fill a role or complete a project.  Even if people are understanding that you are at the line between comfortable workload and completely overwhelmed – it feels damaging to you, psychologically.

Option Two is a fantastic solution. There are so many advantages to joining forces with other virtual assistants but there are disadvantages and unforeseen pitfalls. What if the other virtual assistant isn’t as good as you? What if they take longer than you to complete a project? Taking too long completing tasks can eat into the profitability of being a virtual assistant. What if the other virtual assistant doesn’t have the same commitment to quality and customer service that you have? What if without notice the other virtual assistant takes a ‘regular’ day job and is not available anymore (it has happened to me)?

Taking it to the next level for me as a virtual assistant means one thing expansion. Virtual assistant expansion to me is offering products, more services and training, adding more clients, employing other virtual assistants, expanding my reputation. No one can dominate the virtual assistant field but I want to be a significant presence in the field. I want to be able to help not only aspiring virtual assistants  but future clients.

I am constantly thinking of ways to expand my virtual assistant empire by finding new services to offer. I know I’m not the only virtual assistant who is looking to create more services and new ways to offer those services.

If you are thinking of expanding, what steps would you consider? What are your plans for expansion?

by Shai

@HireShai Does #Blog4Biz Day 3

August 3, 2013 in Blog4Biz Blogging Challenge, business blogging, virtual assistant duties, virtual assistant information by Shai

#Blog4Biz Day 3: My Best Day in Business was…What was the best day for your business? The first day, the day you got your first client, the day you got your biggest client, the day you sold $1,000 in goods?business virtual assistant

HireShai’s Best Day in the Virtual Assistant Business

My best day in business? This one is really tough because there isn’t one day that stands out more than the rest of my days.

My business has undergone several shifts or rebrands in the building of HireShai as it stands today. Each one of those shifts weren’t overnight. There will be even more shifts in the future as I try to position HireShai in the place that best suits its evolving goals and missions.

I could say that my best day was the first time I got paid to do something as I discussed yesterday.

I could say my best day was when I attended a networking event that lead to me meeting one of my longest retainer clients.

I could say my best day was when I had one client sign a long term retainer agreement.

I could say my best day was when I invoiced my largest invoice.

I could say my best day was when I decided to start blogging about my business.

I could say my best day was when I had other virtual assistants ask me questions.

I could say my best day was when I decided to bring in other virtual assistants onto Team HireShai.

I could say my best day was when I decided to host #blog4biz challenge because it expose HireShai to a different group of people.

I could say my best day was when I decided to write my upcoming ebook or maybe when I publish my first ebook.

All of those events and “days” above are interconnected. I meet my longest retainer client at a networking event. That client introduced me to someone who needed short term assistance but was willing to pay almost double my rate which lead to my largest invoices ever. I stopped blogging about myself personally after

Every shift I make is bringing me closer to the ultimate goal of HireShai helping businesses find their feet by providing small business support services until they can hire full time in office support staff.

Every shift I make also brings me closer to training and empowering other virtual assistants to work for themselves.

Every shift I make whether adding videos or doing Google Hangouts with my other StepSisters (Eva, Rae and Tanisha) brings me closer to sharing my knowledge with others so that they can embolden themselves if they have doubts.

by Shai

HireShai’s Post #BlogHer13 Conference Special

July 29, 2013 in Post Conference, productivity, virtual assistant duties, virtual assistant information by Shai

Special

BlogHer13 Special

Did you enjoy the BlogHer 2013 Conference?

I did and had a great time! If your conference experience was anything like mine you made some great new connections and you need my virtual assistant help?

“How can a virtual assistant help me post BlogHer conference?”

Simple, by turning that stack – more like pile of business cards into the potential money making list they are meant to be!

Allow me, Hire Shai to transcribe those business cards into a database that will allow you to capitalize on all your networking and hard work.

Don’t waste the potential network you have developed by letting those cards languish in the bottom of a bag or on your desk waiting for a tomorrow that may never come.

Email me today at HireShai@Gmail.com and allow me to do the heavy typing while you work on those plans you created in your head during the BlogHer Conference.

I know you have ideas for posts and new connections you want to explore rather than doing data entry (I know my mind was filled to the brim with ideas).

Cursive shai signature

by Shai

Shai’s 14 Components of Successful Content Diversity

June 30, 2013 in Business, productivity, social media, virtual assistant duties by Shai

As a social media and content management virtual assistant, I have had to try and simplify what I do to explain it to clients. My job is to develop content for their blogs and websites. Not all of the content has to be original but it helps when the campaigns I create are original, thoughtful and drive readers to be customers and clients. This is both easy and hard. It is amazing to me that people don’t notice the things that they are attracted to on social media and websites. I have tried to identify the content that gets the most attention no matter what industry your business falls under. .

1. Campaigns

2. Images

3. Videos

4. Articles

5. Invites

6. Reminders

7. Holiday themed pieces

8. Cross Promotion

9. Questions

10. Quotes

11. Projects

12. Calls to action

13. Celebrities

14. Email

 

Those 14 items constitute what I would consider to be a successful content management diversity. I’m sure you are wondering why I have email on the list. You can’t push content successfully without having a way to follow up with potential clients and customers. Not everyone looks at Facebook every day, not everyone looks at Twitter or even has a Twitter account. Very few people read the same blog daily but most people check their email at least once a day if not more.

In the future, I will review each of these components of content management in a new series called “Hire Shai’s DIY Guide to Content Diversity“.

 

Do You Really Need A Virtual Assistant? Five Questions To Ask Yourself Before Hiring

November 2, 2012 in virtual assistant duties, virtual assistant information, virtual assistant needs by hireshai

Do you really need a virtual assistant to help with your business needs? A virtual assistant can be many things – a subject matter expert, an administrative consultant, a researcher, the creative spark, the ghostwriter, project manager, an extra pair of hands or eyes, the beginner, the placeholder or the closer. 

I was recently contacted by an infamous blogger who wanted to retain me to help with the administration of her blog {I promised not to use her name or her blog’s name}. After consulting with her about her needs for a little over half an hour, I came to the conclusion that she doesn’t REALLY need a virtual assistant. She needs a swift kick in the butt to keep her motivated for the current task.

This lady has been blogging several years now, receives high and quality daily traffic, has guest blogged everywhere and for almost everyone but she is struggling to produce content. Why?

Because she personally has outgrown her blog’s purpose and she wants to branch out into other fields but feels like she can’t leave the income she is generating, nor the reputation she has built as an expert in her field behind.

I understand this dilemma and I’m sure many of you understand this as well.   How do I grow beyond what was once my specialty?

When I said she doesn’t really need a virtual assistant, it was true and it wasn’t.

Yes, she needs help but first she needs to assess the kind of help she wants.

Does she NEED a virtual assistant to continue the administration of her current blog while she builds her next project? Then the answer to that is YES, except she isn’t sure what her next project will be.

However, since she isn’t sure of her next project it will be a waste of money to pay me and my team to administer her blog/website/brand and she has no clue of where she is going next. It would be the equivalent of hiring a limo driver and not having a destination.

If she wanted to hire me and my team to help her transition to her new niche by researching target audiences and similar brands, creating a list of new public relations contacts, crafting a new editorial calendar and helping to write content, hiring graphic and or website designers; then the answer to that would be YES.

Here are five ways to determine if you need a virtual assistant. Before you decide to hire a virtual assistant:

  1. Ask yourself are you hiring a VA to start something, build something, keep something afloat or finish something?
  2. What will I need my virtual assistant to do? Is it a specific short term project or an ongoing list of projects that you need help with every month?
  3. After that project is complete will it need daily, weekly or monthly follow up work?
  4. Are you hiring a virtual assistant because there just are not enough hours in the day for you to finish your to do list? Are you always burning the midnight oil trying to finish this or that?
  5. Is the hire because you have an aversion to the project and spend days and weeks procrastinating about completing it?

If the answer to three or more of those questions is yes, then you need an assistant.

Once you have decided on hiring an assistant, you need to prepare your business for an assistant.

  • First, write down every project that is Outstanding.
  • Then write down all the projects that are Upcoming in the next three to nine months.
  • Do you need to assign an email to your assistant?
  • Create a package for your assistant of passwords, logos, letterheads, contacts, important numbers and client names – anything important that your assistant will need while transacting your business.
  • Tell your clients and other employees about your new assistant – so they aren’t cold calling people and creating confusion.

If you are interested in a virtual assistant consultation call me at 301-893-4199.

Why Your Virtual Assistant Skillset is Needed or Finding Your Virtual Assistant Niche

September 27, 2012 in virtual assistant duties, virtual assistant information, virtual assistant needs, virtual assistant training by hireshai

When I wrote So, You Want to be a Virtual Assistant? I didn’t mean to give the impression that ALL the skills I listed were needed in one virtual assistant!

Believe me they are not.

Let me be honest; to me HTML code looks like Algebra IV and I couldn’t design my way out of a brown paper bag.

The questions I asked were intended to prompt you into thinking of what skills to include on your list.

My questions were also intended to give you a way to structure your thinking into what you are best at, average at and which of your skills need improvement.

Recognizing your best and weakest skills will help when you are writing your business plan, your marketing plan, crafting your elevator speech and selling yourself to future clients.

Knowing that I’m no good at coding means I need to have a cadre of people who know HTML in my Rolodex. I can also offer my best skills analyzing problems, breaking down Gordian knot problems into bite sized digestible chunks and short, medium and long term planning to other virtual assistants who may be deficient in those areas.

Virtual assistants fall mainly into two categories. Generalists who are jacks and jills of all trades and Niche specific virtual assistants who specialize in working for businesses in one or two industries.

There are niche specific virtual assistants for almost every industry.

Don’t believe me?

Niche specific virtual assistants run the gamut from Author Services to Bookkeeping to Medical Billing and Coding to Legal Assisting to Real Estate to Social Media to Travel to Website Development and literally every industry in between.

How do you translate your skillset into a niche virtual assistant job?

When you are writing down your skills it is important to remember where you learned those skills and how you applied those skills to the position you were working. Did you learn the medical coding and filling system working part time in a doctor’s office? Do you have a family member who is a real estate agent and learned the jargon at the dinner table?

Knowing the industry jargon is just as important when you are attempting to be a niche specific VA. Establishing that you know an industry or even that you are familiar with an industry goes a long way to easing the minds of potential clients.

You don’t want to know how many times I have had to bring up my years of  food service both waiting tables and bartending and in hospitality and gaming to ease the minds of clients that I’m experienced in dealing with irate customers.

Finding your niche at first is like squeezing the proverbial square peg in a round hole but once you have determined your target industry and target market you’ll find that the peg is not so square nor the hole so round.

Have more questions about virtual assisting?

Leave them below in the comment section. I promise to answer.

 

Hiring Myself

September 25, 2012 in virtual assistant duties by hireshai

Today, I did something unexpected. I hired myself.

I signed a retainer with my company to dedicate seven hours a week to just business development.

I’ve been so busy helping others grow their businesses, develop their content, administer their sites, and stretch their reach and awareness that I have neglected my own.

Today, I dedicated some time to reclaiming my role as a cutting edge content management specialist, reviewing Skill Lists for potential virtual assistants. {Who knew so many of you were interested in virtual assisting?}

I checked my website two weeks ago and realized not only had my domain expired (gasp!) but I haven’t posted anything original or new to it since May! But wait, I’ve had blog posts – completed and rearing to go, and many drafts just waiting for some tweaks.

Let me ask you – When was the last time you hired yourself?

Are you your most important client? Have you gotten sidetracked into thinking that your biggest client is your most important one? The client who pays the most bills is the most important thing to your business.

Are you focusing on you and your business or your profit margins?

I have to admit I feel very negligent. I have plans (many, many plans) for expanding this company beyond me and my current staff and current projects.

If your business is like mine…you focus on bringing in new clients and more money in. You don’t worry about improving your skills unless it pertains to retaining a client. I was so focused on getting new clients I’ve neglected the business.

What am I going to do with those seven hours I retained myself for? I plan on using those hours this week to review my business and marketing plan (two hours), taking a webinar or class to boost my skillset (two hours), finishing and posting more blog posts (one and a half hours), filing and organizing (half hour), tax preparation (one hour).

What are you doing for your business this week?

Two Months in…Rebooting Your Business Resolutions

February 29, 2012 in virtual assistant duties by hireshai

hire shai, virtual assistant, leap year, business plan, business resolutionsHappy Leap Day!

Can you believe that it is almost March already?

The New Year is just the year now.

Your mind and hand have gotten used to writing 2012 instead of  20112.

Everyone is back to school and work.

All the decorations are down (hopefully).

Two months in but what have you accomplished toward your goals of starting or expanding your business? Don’t feel bad if you haven’t gotten your resolutions off the ground.

Every year people lose motivation especially between January 11 and January 17  but that doesn’t stop you from retrying.

 Do you know what the most popular New Year’s resolutions are? 

Image

While all of these resolutions are great none of them focus on the business aspects of life except ‘Get a Better Job’? Instead of get a better job why not start a part time business and become your own boss?

Did you have a resolution to start your own business? Did you write those resolutions down? Have you matched a timeline to each of your business resolutions?

As my favorite personal finance star, Gail Vaz-Oxlade  likes to remind people “a dream without a plan is a wish” 

What are the steps you need to get back on track to starting your own small business?

Did you know that a virtual assistant can research permits, procedures and licenses for you?

Did you also know that a virtual assistant can write your business plan?

Already have a business that is growing faster than you can handle?

What tasks are you spending the most time on? Need help invoicing? Need help planning? Need help doing?

Need a competent extra hand for an hour or two or five a month to take care of those projects that you can’t seem to get around to? Contact me and my associates today for a consultation on how to reboot your business resolutions.

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