3 Questions You Should Ask Yourself Before Taking on a New Client

When starting a Virtual Assistant (VA) business, or any business, the goal is to make money and be paid for the services you are offering. Unfortunately, business owners take on new clients that are not their ideal client just to make money. We get it! Eventually a lightbulb goes off and the difficult client is the one that is not your ideal client. To avoid the pitfall of another difficult client, ask the following three questions when prescreening a potential client:

1. Do I want to work with this client and help them achieve their goal and yours?

Most business owners are looking to grow, but if you are talking to a potential client and they don’t know their goals or initiates, this may not be an ideal client.

2. Is your rate in their budget?

If they ask you to reduce your rate that could be a clear sign this is not your ideal client. You are worth every penny you are charging.

3. What are the expectations on both sides?

If having touch points and meetings to keep you and client on targeted timelines, important to you but the potential client only wants to communication email and does not want you to call them, unfortunately this may not be an ideal client for you either.

As you more frequently prescreen clients, your ideal client will become clearer. It’s exciting when the ideal client does come into your life.

Do you want a VA who believes in working with ideal clients? Email me at andrea@timesavingva.com to schedule a free consultation.

Three Rules for Delegation

This year has started very busy for me, which is a good thing. With all the things I have to do, I started thinking about the possibility of expanding my business so I can delegate to others. Successful business owners have this dilemma of how to handle the workload once the business starts growing.

Personally, I would prefer to do all the work myself, but that is not always going to be possible if I want my business to grow. The one word that goes hand in hand with delegation of responsibility is “clear.” Everyone has to be clear on the timelines, communication and responsibility. And those are my three rules for delegation:

    1. Clarify timelines: Adhering to timelines can make or break your company. When delegating, be clear and specific how much time it will take to complete the task. When someone says it’s due Friday, does that mean I should get it to you on Thursday? A better due date would be please have this back to me by 9 a.m. ET on Friday, March 20, 2015. If the task cannot be completed by the date and time given, then the team member that was delegated with the task should notify the appropriate person immediately.
    2.  Be clear and specific when communicating: Communication is important, but clear and specific communication is key. Emails can be “read” into or interpreted incorrectly. A phone call can usually clear something in a matter of minutes when several emails going back and forth got confusing. Not sure when questions became a bad thing, but it’s best to always ask questions. The clearer the task is understood the better the outcome of the product.
    3. Identify who is responsible for tasks: Responsibility of the task and expectation of what is to be accomplished is sometimes not clearly or specifically spelled out. Ever get an email that has several people on it and there is a task from the sender, but no one knows who is the “lead” or what is doing what part? It can be confusing and maybe even no one does anything. Clearly and specifically, assign the responsibility of task and the expectations for that task.

When the time comes for me to start delegating, I will have steps and processes in place to accomplish my clear, specific and expected communication plan to my team. Of course, it’s nothing is perfect but a game plan is a good start.

Do you want a VA who believes in asking questions to be clear about timelines, communication and responsibility?  Email me at andrea@timesavingva.com to schedule a free consultation.

What can you do with Dropbox in your business?

In August, I talked about 9 Tools Small Business Owners Love , and every blog post since I have expanded on these tools. Today I am going to expand on number nine on this list, Dropbox.

Dropbox is a free service that lets you bring your photos, documents and videos anywhere and share them easily with friends, family, teammates, clients, or anyone. Never email yourself a file again!

Technology is changing everyday and it’s amazing all the things we can do with “the cloud”. The cloud is a centralized storage area and can be accessed when you are online, so it’s not a physical tangible thing.

Upload your files to the cloud via Dropbox, instead of emailing them to your clients. You can set up access so that you and your client will have access to the files/folders without all the emails. The files will not be lost and will be accessible from anywhere. Access the cloud from a computer anywhere, traveling for the holidays, work or vacation, and get to everything with a click of the mouse. Using Dropbox will free up space in your email.

The basic features of Dropbox are FREE, which includes:

  • Storage of 2GB
  • Accessibility of files from the secure Dropbox website
  • Teaming with WindowsMacLinuxiPadiPhoneAndroid and BlackBerry
  • Accessing files even when offline. You always have your files, whether or not you have a connection.
  • Transferring  part of a file that changes (not the whole thing)
  • Manually set bandwidth limits — Dropbox won’t hog your connection.
  • Instantly see other people’s changes
  • Creating photo galleries that anyone, you choose can view
  • Sending a link to any file or folder in your Dropbox
  • Keeping  a one-month history of your work
  • Any changes can be undone, and files can be undeleted
  • Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) and AES-256 bit encryption
  • Editing files in your Dropbox from your phone

Do you want a VA who does use Dropbox and will not lose any of your information? Email me at andrea@timesavingva.com to schedule a free consultation.

What can you do with Skype?

In August, I talked about 9 Tools Small Business Owners Love and Skype was on this list.

Skype has many different options available. It allows video and voice calls with anyone else on Skype and is a great tool for both personal and business use. It saves time because you access it from any mobile device, computer or laptop. It saves money, not only is Skype free but so are the calls you make local, long distance or even international.

I use my video call option to Skype with family in Wisconsin. I get to see my niece and nephew growing up. I can see them and they can see me and yet be many miles apart. Last year I was unable to make it to see my family at Thanksgiving, so we Skyped. I loved it. I was able to see and talk to everyone. I was online for about 2 hours. The best part was when I signed off; I did not have to listen to the kids yelling or be involved in the family drama.

I also use the calling option with my clients or team members. I only use the calling feature not the video, because we use screen sharing

Here are a few other ways I use Skype:

  • My free membership also allows me to instant message with team members, clients, friends and family.
  • I use the file share option to upload documents with other Skype members.
  • I use the screen sharing option with clients to discuss edits or ideas.

Therefore, even if you do not have a video camera you can still take advantage of Skype and its other options. I love all these free tools.

 

Do you want a VA who does use Skype to save you time and money? Email me at andrea@timesavingva.com to schedule a free consultation.

Getting Started with Hootsuite

In August, I talked about 9 Tools Small Business Owners Love  and Hootsuite was on this list.

If you are like me, someone who is interested in saving time and increasing productivity, then Hootsuite is for you. It is a streamline process where you log into one place, type your social media posting once and pick the social media outlets you would like to post to — that is it!

 

Hootsuite blog

The screen shot above shows my profiles that I can choose from.  I can only pick one or pick all four like I have in the image above.

Hootsuite shows you how many characters you are at with each social media outlet. Why is this important? Well, Twitter, for instance, limits a Tweet length to 140 characters. As you can see by the screen shot above the characters are now showing 126.

It also has a scheduling feature, so you can save time and schedule your posts for the future. Many businesses have a social media communication calendar per month. If that is the case, then you can schedule all your social media on Hootsuite well in advance. Schedule it, by picking the date and time and forget it.

If you add a link, the shrink button will be available for you. Why you should shorten your URL? The main reason is to obtain data on how people react when they receive your shortened URL. If you post a long URL, you will not be able to track real-time, but when you shorten an URL, you’ll be able to track click-through rates and even track where they are clicking from. A link shortener, also, allows you to upload images. You can use the shortened URL in emails or on your website and use Hootsuite’s URL click stats to track how many clicks those links receive

This tool is FREE.

 

Do you want a VA who does use Hootsuite and will not lose any of your information? Email me at andrea@timesavingva.com to schedule a free consultation.