Why Many Virtual Assistants Aren’t Blogging (But Should Be!)

Why Many Virtual Assistants Aren’t Blogging (But Should Be!)

The most common argument VAs have for not writing a regular blog post: I don’t know what to write!

You’ve got your Virtual Assistant website set up and you even have a blog!

It’s exciting but that excitement wears off really quickly for many VAs when they realize they have no idea what to write about.

Sometimes the first few posts come easily, but then the shine wears off and it becomes difficult to come up with ideas to post.

At least this is what Virtual Assistants tell me.

Who wants to read my blog?

How do I come up with new ideas all the time?

Why is blogging so hard for Virtual Assistants?

The main reason you get stuck is that you don’t have a plan.

The second reason you get stuck is that you really don’t know who you are writing to, or what you should be writing about.

Take a look at your blog. Do you write about being a VA? That’s not what your audience wants to read about. Unless you are helping others become VAs, that is.

But if you are providing services to clients for anything – that’s what you should be writing about.

VAs need to have a blog. And there are all kinds of things you can write about on it.

If you provide client care services, you should be writing about things that are related to that service. For instance, write about things like how to build long-term relationships with clients, how to reward customer loyalty, tips to onboard clients more easily, and so on.

If you provide WordPress services, write about everything WordPress-related. For instance, the latest plugins, new or improved themes, and tips to help you maintain your website (or how your VA can maintain it for you).

If you provide bookkeeping services, write about tracking expenses, filing and organizing tips and share info about other paperwork and admin resources that will help your clients do a better job in this area.

Get the idea?

Your blog topics have to be what your clients need to read about.

The blog posts should be written from your perspective, as the Virtual Assistant who can help them with those services or tasks.

You probably offer more than one service, so you can build your content from there. (Still stuck? Google your main service offering with the word ‘blogs’ and you’ll surely come up with some great examples you can model your content after).

The idea is that your content is for your clients and your potential clients. When you connect with someone in a networking situation, they will often check you out online. So your blog, if you have one, is an important place to showcase your expertise.

Come up with 3 or 4 main topics that you will write about – and then you still need to have a plan.

How often will you write? Once a week helps you to build a really good routine and habit. Less than that, and you might find yourself taking longer to do it or skipping it all together.

What kinds of posts will you write? You can write a variety of posts – conversational/advice like many of mine are, lists and how-tos, reviews of services you use, and more. Change it up and you will be keeping your blog fresh and interesting every time.

When will you write? Schedule time every week to do your writing and you will get a lot more done.

I belong to a writing support group – and it’s been great for me to be able to schedule time in my calendar to write ‘live’ with the help and support of our group facilitator, Kathy Colaiacovo. We come to the group with our article idea, get feedback on how to make it more appealing and SEO and keyword friendly, and then get (at least) the first draft done so we can finish it up and post it.

Learning to develop good writing habits, and writing regularly helps you to get better at it. When you nail your main topic areas it also makes it easy to find things to write about, and your audience will love it.

Start now. Pick four main topics to write about on your blog. Make sure they showcase your VA expertise, and will be interesting to your audience and potential clients. It’s easier than you think!

For some more ideas on what to write on your blog, check out this article: Five Ways to Find Great Blog Post Topics.

About the Author: Tracey D’Aviero is a Virtual Assistant Coach, Trainer, Speaker and Author. After operating a busy VA business of her own since 1996, Tracey began teaching others to run their VA businesses in 2010 through Your VA Mentor. In 2016 she purchased the CAVA and GAVA VA associations and now teaches and coaches VAs exclusively. She has a vast amount of experience working in a many different industries which helps her to offer her students and coaching clients a unique perspective and sound advice. She is a proud advocate of the Virtual Assistant industry. Learn more about Tracey’s journey in the VA industry here

Is Finding a Niche Necessary For Your VA Business?

Virtual Assistants who are starting out or struggling often end up asking if they need to find a niche to be successful.

My answer to this question is a definite YES and NO.

Choosing a niche is actually a personal choice, like everything else in your business.

There are advantages and disadvantages to deciding to work with a particular group of people.

What is a niche?

If you’re not sure what I mean by finding a niche, it’s basically choose to segment a group of people to target your networking/marketing/work with. You can choose a group by the industry they are part of (ie travel industry), orby type of person they are (married with families, female solopreneurs) or the service you provide (WordPress websites).

There are so many options to specialize your services.

Usually, the experts will tell you that you need to specialize in order to be successful. I disagree with that because I think that your level of success can only be determined by you.

What do you want to earn?

No one else knows how much money you need to make to live the life you want.

I have never wanted to be a 6 figure VA. I make a comfortable living as a VA and I work as hard as I want to work. But to break through that $100K level doing what I do would mean having a team of people to help me generate more work for clients, which then turns me into a project manager – which I do NOT want to be.

So I have a threshold of income I need to make, and I target to make that each month.

And you can do the same.

Everything is your choice in your business!

If you are making the amount of money you need to make each month and you have good clients that you enjoy working with, then you don’t need to change a thing.

And most certainly if you think you ‘need’ to specialize or you can’t find good clients, you couldn’t be farther from the truth. Don’t let anyone tell you that!

But if you do want to build and grow and your vision for your business is to have a lot of people on your team then finding a niche is the fastest way to do that.

Why a niche is a good idea.

There is nothing like networking with a large pool of potential clients who work in the same industry, who need the same services. You can bring on new clients consistently and really hone your skills to be THE go-to person in their community. Great business tactic!

Or deciding to be the BEST WordPress VA around and building a solid clientele of repeat customers. Continuously improving your skills and knowledge so you are highly sought after. Able to set your rates so that you can work with fewer clients and make more money. Or finding a really great service that not too many others offer like this VA.

So is finding a niche really necessary? Yes and No. It totally depends on your perspective. And what you want to do in your business.

Ask yourself THAT question instead, and then decide what's right for you.

But if you are having difficulty finding clients, then maybe looking at a niche is the right thing for you now. For more information about choosing a niche, read this blog post:  How to Choose a Niche and Why it Matters.

About the Author: Tracey D’Aviero is a Virtual Assistant Coach, Trainer, Speaker and Author. After operating a busy VA business of her own since 1996, Tracey began teaching others to run their VA businesses in 2010 through Your VA Mentor. In 2016 she purchased the CAVA and GAVA VA associations and now teaches and coaches VAs exclusively. She has a vast amount of experience working in a many different industries which helps her to offer her students and coaching clients a unique perspective and sound advice. She is a proud advocate of the Virtual Assistant industry. Learn more about Tracey’s journey in the VA industry here

Your Marketing Plan Goals Check Up

It’s a good idea to check where you’re at in terms of your marketing plan goals and objectives. Some people check weekly, others do it every month – but you should definitely check at least once per quarter.

Your goals might include revenue, number of sign-ups to your list, number of products sold, number of visitors to your website and blog – and so on. Regardless of what you measure, you want to make sure you take time out regularly to see how you’re doing.

You’re rocking!

If you are humming right along and reaching your objectives - that’s fantastic.

Some questions to ask yourself:

• Have you been working like a mad dog to reach your objectives and can you now slow down a bit?
• If you are easily managing your current level of marketing, are there a couple new tactics that you’d like to add to the plan?
• If there’s extra revenue, is it time to hire a Virtual Assistant, bookkeeper, or other help to free up your time to work on new ideas, products and
services? Or to be able to service the extra clients and business your marketing is bringing in?

You’re sucking!

The reason we have goals and objectives is so we know if we’re meeting them – or not. If you’re not, don’t despair! There are a few things that could be impacting this and you can tweak or change these.

Some questions to ask yourself:

• Have you been doing the tactics on your marketing plan consistently? Did you fall off of your plan?
• Does your plan have enough marketing tactics or are you relying on only one strategy?
• Are you giving prospects enough different ways to reach you?
• Does your marketing message come across loud and clear in all your communications (website, sales letters, emails, ezine, blog, etc.)
• Did you add any new services or products?
• Does your marketing plan have tactics that work off of and build on each other?
• Has your target market or niche changed? Is your marketing still aimed at the “right” market?
• Has there been any dramatic change in the competitive environment that could be impacting you?
• Where in the marketing process are you falling down? Attracting new leads? Converting into clients? Keeping clients?
• Do you need to revise or create new marketing materials? Update your website content? Do an overhaul of your ezine?
• Have you given enough time for the marketing tactics to work? Some tactics take longer to show results than others.

Incorporate regular assessments of your marketing plan goals and progress into your business workdays. There are lots of variables that can affect your success, and by being proactive you can keep on top of any changes, good or not-so-good, and keep heading upwards and onwards!

About the Author: Tracey D’Aviero is a Virtual Assistant Coach, Trainer, Speaker and Author. After operating a busy VA business of her own since 1996, Tracey began teaching others to run their VA businesses in 2010 through Your VA Mentor. In 2016 she purchased the CAVA and GAVA VA associations and now teaches and coaches VAs exclusively. She has a vast amount of experience working in a many different industries which helps her to offer her students and coaching clients a unique perspective and sound advice. She is a proud advocate of the Virtual Assistant industry. Learn more about Tracey’s journey in the VA industry here

Tips for Planning Your Content

As an online business owner, you know that content is one of the best tools you have. It drives traffic. It provides your audience with the value and information they seek. It also helps you market your business, products or services. Content is essential for online marketing success. You can achieve greater success if you take the time to plan your content.

What Is Content Planning?

Content planning is simply the process of taking a look at your calendar and deciding what to write and where to publish it. Content planning involves a few primary criteria:

• When will you publish the content?

• Where will you publish it?

• What will you write about?

• What’s the purpose of the content?

• What are your keywords?

• How can you repurpose the content?

Consider how far ahead you want to plan your content for. Many online business owners take a tiered approach. They plan large content projects for the entire year. For example, they may publish a report each month. They also take a look at their content on a quarterly or monthly level.

If you don’t plan your content or are struggling to plan it effectively, consider the following tips:

Use a calendar that gives you a big picture and you can write on. A paper desk calendar is a great planning tool. You can write your content ideas in pencil for easy modifications. Then, if you prefer electronic organization, you can transfer the paper plan to your Outlook or e-calendar.

Plan how you’ll integrate your content into your marketing strategy. For example, you could decide that in March you’re going to publish ten articles on article directories. You’ll also want to make sure this content ties into any season or holiday.

Ensure that the content you post supports any new products or services you are offering. Content must have a purpose. It may be simply to drive traffic to your website. Or it may be to drive traffic to a sales page or increase your opt-ins.

Leave room for change. The best content plans leave room for inspiration. The greatest ideas often come out of the blue. If you’re a stickler for your plan and don’t allow room to add your content inspiration into the mix, then you’re missing out.

Finally, don’t forget to take a look at how you can repurpose your content. It’s not only a great way to get the most return on investment, it can help fill content gaps.

When you plan your content, make sure you’re looking at both the macro and micro picture. Make sure you look ahead and take the entire year into consideration. At the same time, plan your content right down to the keywords and topics.

Planning your content for the entire year may take a day or two to accomplish but it’ll save you tons of time down the road. Instead of wondering what you’re going to write on, you’ll have the answers all worked out. Best of all, your content will fit with your other marketing efforts to create a comprehensive business growth plan.

About the Author: Tracey D’Aviero is a Virtual Assistant Coach, Trainer, Speaker and Author. After operating a busy VA business of her own since 1996, Tracey began teaching others to run their VA businesses in 2010 through Your VA Mentor. In 2016 she purchased the CAVA and GAVA VA associations and now teaches and coaches VAs exclusively. She has a vast amount of experience working in a many different industries which helps her to offer her students and coaching clients a unique perspective and sound advice. She is a proud advocate of the Virtual Assistant industry. Learn more about Tracey’s journey in the VA industry here.

Why Every VA Needs An Online Presence

Building a VA business? Great! Congratulations! Being self-employed is a fulfilling and rewarding lifestyle. Before you get too far into that business plan, are you planning on having a website? If you’re going to be a virtual assistant, you need one. Here’s why:

Your Clients are Online

You’re a virtual assistant. Emphasis on virtual. That means your business operates online. Via the internet, email and perhaps instant messaging and conferencing. If you’re without an online presence, you’re missing out on clients. The majority of your clients will be online business owners. That means they’re very Internet focused. They’ll turn to the internet first to search for a provider.

Now that’s not to say that you won’t have local clients. You might. However, they’ll still likely search for you online. It’s how our society buys products and services.

Your Website Establishes Your Credibility

Many VA tasks are focused on the Internet. You might be managing a blog or forum. You might be proofreading and uploading articles into article directories. You might be managing affiliates for a business. All of those tasks require a good degree of comfort using online technology. Your website helps demonstrate your ability to use the internet. It demonstrates that you’re comfortable online and skilled with using technology.

If you don’t have a website, many of your clients may wonder why not. They may simply disregard you because you’re not online.

Your Website Markets Your Services

Your website accomplishes a number of marketing tactics. It communicates your services and fees. It answers any questions a prospect might have about your services, practices and policies. It also showcases your personality. You’ll likely have an “About Me” page. This is useful for telling your story. However, the word choice, design and feel of your site also helps communicate your personality and brand your business.

Your website can also broadcast your successes. You can list your testimonials. You can cite awards you’ve earned. You can communicate organizations you’re a part of. You can also list the companies you’ve worked with. All of this helps establish you as a credible service provider. Your website can be used to build trust with your prospects.

Finally, you can use your website to facilitate many of your business functions. Communications, payments and even inquiries can be managed through your website. You can also use your website to generate more income by affiliating with products or services and by selling advertisement space.

In short, if you’re going to be a Virtual Assistant, do it the right way. Create a website that helps you build and grow your dream business.

About the Author: Tracey D’Aviero is a Virtual Assistant Coach, Trainer, Speaker and Author. After operating a busy VA business of her own since 1996, Tracey began teaching others to run their VA businesses in 2010 through Your VA Mentor. In 2016 she purchased the CAVA and GAVA VA associations and now teaches and coaches VAs exclusively. She has a vast amount of experience working in a many different industries which helps her to offer her students and coaching clients a unique perspective and sound advice. She is a proud advocate of the Virtual Assistant industry. Learn more about Tracey’s journey in the VA industry here.

How to Make Time for Marketing

To start getting business and success, you must make time for marketing.

Most small business owners and solopreneurs know this…let's face it, they've heard it over and over again.

Virtual assistants are no different. We are often so busy doing client work that we run out of time to do our own marketing.

People insist that they don't have enough time to do everything, and certainly not to do marketing!

I know that it's tough – believe me it's the same for me sometimes. But I have seen the results when I do make time to market and so that keeps me finding time, even when it seems impossible.

I have also seen the results that other successful business owners get…and it's because they make marketing their #1 priority.

If you've made marketing a low priority, here are some things for you to do TODAY to start to change that:

Schedule It

Go to your calendar, make a 30 minute block every second day, for the next month and label it: Do Marketing!

Eliminate Distractions

Turn off your email/phone/social media and work uninterrupted for 20 minutes on making simple connections on social media, or on follow up from an event you have recently attended.

Identify Time-Wasters

Make a list of your time-wasters during the day (internet surfing, computer games, yakking with friends, surfing Facebook) and the next time you start to do one of these activities, stop and do a marketing task instead: call a client, jot down 5 ideas for new articles, write a blog post, research a guest for your next teleseminar, write a special email to your list, etc.

Stop Receiving It

Take a look at all the ezines you get and ruthlessly start unsubscribing – keep only the ones you actually open, read and take action on.

Marketing is an ongoing process for you for the lifetime of your business.

The sooner you start cultivating consistent marketing habits, the sooner you'll start reaping the rewards you want.

Try taking these small steps...they may seem big, but they are doable. With consistent effort you will see consistent results – attracting more clients and prospects than you think!

You will also feel really good about your ability to market effectively and this increased confidence will show throughout all areas of your business and personal life.

So what are you waiting for?! Get going on those steps….

About the Author: Tracey D’Aviero is a Virtual Assistant Coach, Trainer, Speaker and Author. After operating a busy VA business of her own since 1996, Tracey began teaching others to run their VA businesses in 2010 through Your VA Mentor. In 2016 she purchased the CAVA and GAVA VA associations and now teaches and coaches VAs exclusively. She has a vast amount of experience working in a many different industries which helps her to offer her students and coaching clients a unique perspective and sound advice. She is a proud advocate of the Virtual Assistant industry. Learn more about Tracey’s journey in the VA industry here.