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Posts tagged ‘virtual’

The Difference Between a Virtual Assistant and VersaTel Solutions

I do a lot of networking, and recently I met a Virtual Assistant (VA). That’s very uncommon because, well, they’re virtual and generally don’t venture into the wild (i.e., networking events). I was intrigued by her as one would be with say a peacock or a Richmond Birdwing Butterfly(yes, I know what that is!) and asked her what her skill set was. “Well, I don’t do bookkeeping, and I won’t cold call. I don’t do or even understand social media, and I won’t get involved in marketing material. Oh, and I don’t do notarizing. Who does that anyway?” As she told me all of the things she doesn’t do, I couldn’t help but say (in the most eloquent way I could), “So, you’ve told me all things you don’t do, is there anything  you do do?” She looked at me blankly, probably wondering if it would be appropriate to slap me. It was a valid question; how would it benefit a company to pay separately for a VA, separately for a bookkeeper, and separately for someone to do their social media? That’s a lot of money if you ask me.  At this same event, I happened upon a gentleman who I had seen a few months before who had brushed me off with “Yea, I could hire you, but I’ve got this girl doing everything for me out of the Philippines, and she only charges $10 an hour. I just don’t see the value in what your company offers” (yes, he really said that).

 

I reintroduced myself to said gentleman and asked how things were going with his Filipino VA. He complained about how much time he spends just trying to get her to understand what he needs, and how many times he has to send things she writes back to her because they just don’t make regional sense. She speaks perfect English, don’t get me wrong. She just doesn’t speak Northern Virginian. People don’t get how important that is! Yes, of course you can spend pennies on someone overseas to do the same things you could pay an American to do, however, just because they speak English, doesn’t mean they speak Tyson’s, or Richmond, or Maryland. The words we use here, and the way we intercommunicate here in the DMV is vastly different than people back home in Michigan. I don’t communicate with people in Massachusetts they same way I do here, and how would someone halfway across the world know that where you live it’s called the Metro, and elsewhere it’s called the subway (in Michigan it’s called a People Mover-go figure!)

 

At VersaTel, we keep things local on purpose. Not only does it feed the American economy (which is EXTREMELY important to me), it also ensures regional intercommunication (basically, when you say something specific to the area, we know what you’re saying. Or, if you need scheduling, we know the area and where to take you first so you’re not driving all over the state). We don’t pretend to know what we’re doing, or say “Oh yea, we can do that” and hope for the best. We are highly skilled professionals, CPA’s, with a plethora of experience ready to service your needs. Our flexibility is the beauty of our business, and because WE are a small business, we have a vested interest in YOUR small business. It’s small business that built this country, and small business that will rebuild this economy, so the next time you think “Oh, I’ll save money if I cut corners here and there” remember you ALWAYS get what you pay for, and with VersaTel Solutions, you get a ‘Justice League’ of telecommuters at your service!

Social Media-Is It Working For You?

So many people drink the juice that is social media, and are quickly disenchanted by the dismal ratings and virtually zero client turnovers. Why is that? Isn’t social media supposed to be the cure-all, fourth dimension that marketing lacked for so many years? Well, yes! And, no. Social media is the perfect tool to expand on your personal and professional knowledge. Consider it your business’s soapbox. An opportunity for people to get to know you and gain trust in you as your field’s professional source.

 

You only get out of social media what you put into it, AND if you use the correct platforms to voice your business and experience within it. For example, I use Instagram simply because I like it. Do I really focus on it for my business? No, not really. How many people want to see 20 different pictures of me sitting at my desk, or pictures of my dogs sitting with me sitting at my desk? I’m going to venture to say, probably not too many. Would Instagram work for my business? Not really. Instagram does work, however, for anyone selling products (I’ve actually bought things I’ve seen on Instagram). For someone selling a service. Facebook, Twitter, and Linkedin work best. It’s good to know what you have, what information you can share, and where you think YOU would want to see that form of information. If you don’t know where your business belongs, do some research on your field. Where are other people who do what you do go for social media marketing? Do they have a lot of followers? Do they seem to do well within the chosen platform? This is a great place to start, and to build your social media presence. But, what do you say once you get there?

 

Communication is a highly underrated art-just because you say something, doesn’t mean you are ‘conveying information’. Learning what to say and how to say it truly takes time and practice. A great place to start would be to write a few different status updates in Word, wait an hour, then go back and read it again. Do they make sense to you? Do they resonate with you? Or do they seem like a bunch of words strung together? Research your competition and see what they write-how effective are they? Do they say things that make you excited about their product or service? Research and practice then practice some more to get the right ‘voice’. Saying the right things, and saying on the right channels will turn those readers into clients; those clients into money!

It’s Been Entirely Too Long….

Ever hear how nail techs have the ugliest nails? Why, you ask? Because they’re so busy making everyone else’s nails fabulous, they have no time to do their own. Well, that’s how I’ve been feeling for the past few months. Business has been great, and things are moving in the right direction, yet at the meantime, I’ve neglected blogging and sharing the information I’ve been gleaning on my journey. I apologize. I really should be more proactive, and I’ve let my blog slip. Please accept the apology-I promise to do better.

 

In the meantime, this has proven as a great example of when one owns a business, and runs it successfully, it’s time to realize what can be done by one person, and what can be delegated out. What’s your time worth? Are you using your time to build business, or are you using it doing frivolous administrative work? It’s been the heart of my business-helping business owners understand what is worth their time, and what isn’t. I’ve done a great job these past few months building a team of incredibly skilled professionals to assist clients and give them the kind of one-on-one focus I strive to achieve with my company. By doing that, I’m able to focus on administrating my own business, and relaying information and experience through the blogs!

 

I promise, I’ll do better. Spring is here, hibernating animals are soon to wake, and me? I’m getting ready to blossom with springs flowers. Who knows what comes next? I guess you’ll have to stick around to find out 🙂

How To Transition From A Full Time Job To A Full Time Business

I get asked all the time how I got started. I get phone calls from people I don’t know, I get stopped at business events, and I even get questioned when I’m involved in events with my kids. It’s as though what I’ve done is this amazing feat and how could anyone possibly do it? Well, frankly, it’s not that difficult, and I personally don’t see the transition as being that scary; it’s all about how much you want it. When you’re heart and head aren’t in your full time job anymore, it’s pretty easy to transition into your new life. The only issue, which is the biggest issue is money. So, how do you keep your full time job while trying to build what will hopefully become your full time business? Well, that part? That’s not as easy. It’s all about how bad you want it.

 

Most full time jobs are between 9-5, Monday through Friday. When you’re building your new business, the rest of your time must be committed to creating a solid foundation for that new business. This means researching your new field, your new competition, your new potential clients and their habits, and where you may find a majority of them. For example, Northern Virginia is overflowing with solopreneurs, and my company fully caters to them. I know what they like, who will most likely become a client, and what my competition can do to take away those clients from me (which keeps me on my toes!)

 

You have to commit to working early in the morning, late at night, and throughout the weekends. Attend as many networking events as you can, and most of all, truly believe in yourself. If you think you can you can, if you think you can’t, you’re right! No truer words were ever spoken, Mr. Ford, and the adage stands true for your business. If you think it will succeed, it will! If you don’t, well…you know the rest.

 

There was a point when I was working three jobs, falling asleep in front of my laptop, making sure my home was run like a tight ship, and YES it was exhausting, and YES it’s frustrating, and NO there’s never any security, but so long as you love what you do, it will never become a job. Keep your goals realistic and small too, and it won’t become overwhelming either. Remember, “just keep swimming, just keep swimming” and you will eventually get everything you want! So, how do you eat an elephant? You take small bites 🙂

 

Finding The Right Balance Between Working Virtually and Working With a Virtual Team

Working virtually can have its benefits (and I’ve mentioned them numerous times here), but it can also have its pitfalls as well, especially if you work with a team. There’s a lot to be said for one on one face time, or even just having the opportunity to share a story over the ‘water cooler’ to building camaraderie. But, what do you do when you don’t have that ability? When your business is fully virtual (like mine), making it impossible to have a space to work together?

It’s very important to find the common ground in building a relationship with your team to keep them focused, and to keep them on a united front. Yes, we’re all working separately, but there are ways to make it feel as though we’re all in the same office. Leadership has to be tailored for this situation, and having one on one time with each individual team member will help make them feel as though they are part of a larger unit. If face time is possible, try to see your team members every now and then to touch base on production, questions, or issues. If you aren’t able to do this because a team member may live too far away or in another state, try using Skype. Communicating clearly is paramount to a successful team!

It’s difficult to communicate if you don’t have the proper software. Use any Google Apps to share your email, calendar, or even to have team conferences. GoToMeetings is great for large meetings and Skype or Facetime (if you have a iOS) work well when you need to see your team member. ToDoist and Yammer are fantastic for remote teams but of course; find the ones that work best for you. Checking in weekly or monthly with your team members using one or all of these applications will make you all feel as though you’re all in the same office.

Whatever way you choose to communicate, do often, do it clearly, and leave room for questions or concerns. It’s easy to tell when someone is frustrated about something when you see them face to face, but the dynamics are different when you never see your team members. Don’t leave them in the dark; doing your best to keep them in the loop will only benefit your company in the end.

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