The reprints below of three articles – two written by Fabienne Frederickson, the Client Attraction Mentor, and one written by Alexandria Brown, the Ezine Queen & online entrepreneur expert – answer this question in the best way possible – from experience!
If You Want To Increase Revenues, You Must Bring On An Assistant
If you want to grow your business, hands-down, you need an assistant. And by “grow,” I really mean “make more mo-ney.” Oh, I know what you’re thinking! “I don’t make enough mo-ney to hire an assistant yet. That’s just not something that I can do right now.”
I know you’re thinking this because I thought the same thing too, at first. I resisted working with a Virtual Assistant (VA) for over a year. Then I tried it because I didn’t have any other choice. I was so busy working on client projects and actually seeing clients that I didn’t have time to market my business.
But once I hired a VA, I nearly doubled my re-venues. I finally had time to work on getting more clients and taking care of the aspects of the business that actually MAKE me money.
Here’s the deal about Virtual Assistance. You can have someone work for YOU out of their OWN office, on their OWN computer on YOUR stuff, at a drastic fraction of what it would cost you to hire an assistant full time, or even a part-time college student. Here’s why: VAs are highly experienced professionals who have been executive assistants in corporations and have chosen to go out on their own and work from home (can you blame them?)
They work with several clients at the same time and have an hourly rate. The best part is they only charge you for the actual time worked, keeping track of the time they spend on your work. Which means that, if they only spend 64 minutes working on a project for you, then they pro-rate the hourly rate to just those 64 minutes and that’s all you pay.
Because they are highly experienced and own their own businesses, you can expect a much higher level of quality than you would with a student who generally doesn’t have any experience in the business world. Because of this, VAs often become PARTNERS in the growth of your business, rather than simply someone you delegate work to.
They care, and it’s in their best interest that you grow your business. The more successful YOU are, the more work you’ll be giving THEM (win-win situation). So, it’s almost like they’re INVESTED in your success…
Isn’t it time you thought about focusing on what matters most (the money-producing part of your business) and start to delegate the other details to a real professional?
Start writing down the things you want to start delegating and what your business goals are. You can also do a search on www.Google.com for “Virtual Assistant” and you will get leads for different organizations. Once you start collaborating with an eager-to-take-stuff-off-your-desk professional, you’ll start seeing results soon thereafter.
I hear this a lot: You may not be sure how to use ALL the time you’ll gain once you hire a VA. My advice? Marketing! But many solo-entrepreneurs aren’t sure what to focus on first: ezine? Teleseminars? Talks? Networking? articles? No worries, I was there once too. The step-by-step Client Attraction Home Study System™ will show you everything you need to do first.
Not only do you get clear on what clients you should be targeting, how to create the marketing message that will have them WANT to work with you and seek you out, but exactly WHAT to do with your marketing time and HOW. It’s everything you need to know to fill your practice quickly; no matter how long you’ve been in business. All the tools, scripts, templates, and examples are handed to you on a silver platter. So, you do step one of the system, and when you’re done with that, you move on to step two, and so on. So easy. That’s why my customers have gotten such great results from it. You can get yours at www.TheClientAttractionSystem.com.
© 2011 Client Attraction LLC. All Rights Reserved.
Want to use this article on your website or your own ezine? No problem! But here’s what you MUST include:
Fabienne Fredrickson, The Client Attraction Mentor, is founder of the Client Attraction System™, the proven step-by-step program to attract more clients, in record time…guaranteed. To receive your F.R.E.E. Audio CD by mail and receive her weekly how-to articles on attracting more clients, visit www.ClientAttraction.com.
Become a Client Magnet by Outsourcing
If you want to start making mo.re being self-employed while having more time off, it’s crucial to outsource, delegate, and systematize different parts of your business, even if you’re a beginner. Let’s face it, it takes a lot to make your solo-business a Client Attraction machine, but even more so if you’re doing it all on your own.
One of the reasons so many solopreneurs quit or watch their businesses fail is that they’re doing everything themselves and they eventually run the business into the ground. When we think of being self-employed, we often think it should be just “us,” like we’re out to prove something. Thing is, you CANNOT do it all on your own. (Believe me, I tried.) If you do, you won’t grow and worse, you’ll eventually burn out, both personally and professionally.
This is where you may need to let go of your ICF (“Inner Control Freak”) and start delegating and outsourcing some aspects of your business. I’ll admit; sometimes that’s easier said than done. The most frequent question that comes up when I talk to entrepreneurs about delegating and outsourcing is, “Where do I start? What should I outsource?”
The key with outsourcing is to LEVERAGE your time and resources by delegating specific things in your business to someone else who’s happy to do them for you. That said, here’s what you should begin outsourcing:
Outsourcing the above allows you to strengthen your strengths, not your weaknesses. Here’s what I mean. For years, I’ve been really good at marketing and attracting clients, both for myself and for my own clients. It comes to me naturally; it’s my passion and my core competency. Bookkeeping on the other hand, is NOT. For years, I would beat myself up for not being able to balance a checkbook, organize my receipts, making sure stuff was paid on time, or taxes filed on time. It was a big source of shame for me.
A few years ago, I decided I was going to strengthen my weakness and get REALLY good at bookkeeping for my business. I bought a brand new copy of QuickBooks, cleared the whole weekend, pulled all the receipts, old bills, credit card receipts and tax papers out of the many shopping bags I’d stuffed under the bed and in the closet, and decided I was going to master this THING, once and for all.
Not only did it take me all weekend, but I got exasperated and anxious, depressed, and honestly, I cried more than once. You see, I was working OUTSIDE of my brilliance and “genius” work. I was trying to get really good at something I will never be really good at. And what I realized is, even if I got “really” good at it, I would only be a mediocre bookkeeper, in comparison to people whose brilliance that stuff is. Even if I conquered this weakness, I would still not master it.
I realized that if I’d spent the same time doing things I’m really good at, like making mo.ney, I would have made a LOT more than what I would have paid someone to do this for me. Using the same number of hours marketing and writing, I could have written a new info-product or created a new program, both of which would have brought in thousands and thousands of dollars. But I chose instead to get good at bookkeeping? Never again.
Today, I’ve got an entire virtual business team that works with me to help me focus on what I do best: 3 virtual assistants, one transcriptions assistant, an off-shore team to take care of miscellaneous things, an in-person assistant to run errands and file, a bookkeeping team, an accounting team, a law firm, a fulfillment house, a CD duplication company, an event planning team, travel agents, graphic designers, ghostwriter, and more.
It sounds like a lot (and I certainly didn’t start out that way), but believe me, just my 3 virtual assistants save me SO much time, at least 117 hours per month, so I can work on what I do best. That’s almost 3 weeks’ worth of 9-hour days, not even counting lunch or bathroom breaks, and I’m only counting 3 of those people, not the entire team.
Wow! Maybe you CAN have more than 24 hours in a day. That is, IF you outsource. If it doesn’t come easily to me, then I delegate it and use my time doing what I’m best at. It’s the ultimate leverage.
Take out a pad of paper and make a list of specific things in your business that you could outsource or delegate to someone else:
Make another list of your strengths and then one of your weaknesses (it’s OK, we all have ‘em). Begin to focus on delegating your weaknesses and anything that’s not Client Attraction and client work. You’ll begin to see a MAJOR difference in your re-venues, often as early as within a couple of weeks. When you see more mo.ney coming in, you’ll want to outsource ALL you can and it’ll become a game really worth playing. You make mo.re, play more. Everyone wins.
That said, you may be wondering WHERE to begin finding people to outsource to so you can make Client Attraction a priority and market your business in a way that’ll give you the most returns with little effort on your part. If so, I recommend getting a copy of the Client Attraction Home Study System™. It gives you the most important things to do to set up simple, solid marketing systems, so that you consistently fill your pipeline and continually get new clients. It’s all step-by-step, not a big mishmash of things. So, you do step one of the system, and when you’re done with that, you move on to step two, and so on. All the tools, scripts, templates, and examples are handed to you on a silver platter. Easy. You can get it at TheClientAttractionSystem.com.
© 2012 Client Attraction, LLC. All Rights Reserved.
Fabienne Fredrickson, The Client Attraction Expert, is founder of the Client Attraction System™, the proven step-by-step program to attract more clients, in record time…guaranteed. To receive your freebie audio CD by mail and sign up for her weekly how-to articles on attracting more clients, visit www.ClientAttraction.com.
“Why Are You Doing Everything Yourself?”
By Alexandria Brown
One problem I often see with solo entrepreneurs is that their businesses aren’t growing because they’re simply not making enough time to do it!
It’s not that they don’t understand the value of those efforts, or they don’t WANT to make the time. It’s that they’re simply trying to do too much by themselves. They’re so busy running their business that they’re not working ON their business.
Are You Spending All Your Time on the Little Stuff?
Owning your own business requires wearing a lot of hats. But it seems that when many people leave their jobs to “go solo,” they think they must work completely solo as well. They insist on doing everything themselves — even tasks they know darn well they’re not good at.
They try in vain to design their own Web sites and brochures, write their own sales copy, process their own orders, manage their own mailing list, personally respond to every customer call and e-mail, ship their own products, and more. Pretty soon they’re running around like that proverbial headless chicken.
What eventually happens is their love for their work — the reason they started their own business in the first place — drowns in a flood of administrative trivia. Suddenly one morning they wake up feeling burnt out and without that positive, creative energy they used to have.
When this happened to me a few years ago, I was lucky to learn about virtual assistants (VAs). VAs are freelancers who take care of all that “busy work” for entrepreneurs like us. Because VAs are independent themselves, they work on an as-needed basis from their own homes or offices, saving you the cost and hassle of hiring a regular office assistant.
I now have six VAs — Liz, who lives in Boston, Julie, who lives in Iowa, and a few others scattered all over the country. And I can’t live without them!
What Could YOU Delegate to a VA?
During next week, keep a log of all your activities. Then sit down and review it. Decide which activities are truly ones that only you can do and which you can delegate.
For example, here are some of the tasks I delegate to my VAs:
* Responding to customer e-mails and phone calls
* Scheduling business and personal appointments and interviews
* Bookkeeping: invoicing clients, receiving and paying bills, reconciling bank statements, tracking expenses and tax records, working with my accountant (This was my favorite to delegate!)
* Internet research and fact checking
* Planning my travel for speaking engagements and seminars
* Maintaining my e-zine and customer mailing lists
* Managing my e-zine ad sales
* Handling registrations for my teleclasses/workshops
* Maintaining my Web site (copy edits, additions)
* Creating sales reports
* Shipping customer orders and shipping products to anywhere I’m speaking.
* Submitting my articles to other publishers and article sites
* Placing ads in publications and at Web sites.
* Formatting e-books, creating PDF files, and sending out for printing.
* Designing PowerPoint presentations
And I don’t stop there. My VAs have also been happy to help me with personal stuff like researching vacations, shopping around for car insurance, and reminding me of birthdays and other important dates. Thanks to these amazing gals, I save my time and energy only for my “genius work.”
Worried You Don’t Have the Budget?
The good news is you’re not hiring your VA full time. A VA only charges you for the hours she actually works. Although VA rates may be more than you’d pay an administrative employee (usually $30-50 per hour), you don’t have the added expenses of employee benefits, office space, and equipment. You’re also getting someone who has years of experience, who loves what she does, who already has her own desk, chair, computer, software, fax, phone, stapler, and pens, and who’s ready to leap in and start work as soon as you are.
(comment from Marianne here — VA fees are pretty wide ranging depending on training, experience and expertise — $30/hr is quite low these days & $50/hr for an AssistU trained VA is average. VAs with advanced certifications, training & expertise can receive from $75 – $100/hr and are considered well worth that price!)
Keep in mind that having a VA will IMMENSELY free up your time to focus on the stuff that matters: marketing and growing your business, developing bold new product ideas and income streams, and servicing your larger clients. You’ll think much bigger and will have much more creative energy. I guarantee it!
Look for a VA That Matches Your Needs
If you’re looking for a long-term partner who is committed to helping you succeed (and I was), look for someone who’s graduated from a VA training program such as AssistU. Another resource is the International Virtual Assistants Association.
Don’t wait until it’s too late! Most people put off hiring a VA until they “hit the wall.” Things like overdue bills, a messy office, late projects, and unreturned phone calls add up until their business almost collapses.
Take action NOW and at least learn more about getting some help. It will be a big relief, I promise!
If you’d like some guidance in getting started, I also highly recommend my friend Melanie Benson Strick’s Virtual Team Building Secrets program.
© 2003-2017 Alexandria Brown International Inc.
WANT TO USE THIS ARTICLE IN YOUR E-ZINE OR WEB SITE? You can, as long as you include this complete blurb with it: Online entrepreneur Alexandria K. Brown publishes the award-winning ‘Highlights on Marketing & Success’ weekly ezine with 30,000+ subscribers. If you’re ready to jump-start your marketing, make more money, and have more fun in your small business, get your FREE tips now at www.AlexandriaBrown.com