HOW TO ACHIEVE VIRTUAL SUCCESS: COMMIT TO COMMUNICATION

We commit to many things everyday: appointments, tasks, people, exercise….commitment is an everyday occurrence. If we break our commitment it reflects badly on us and our business. What if we made a commitment to communicate effectively? What if communication became a priority instead of something we take for granted?

When you are working with a Virtual Assistant or any remote employee, you have 2 types of communication that will work; verbal and written.  You need to decide between you and your assistant what type of communication works best for both of you, make adjustments along the way when needed, and then commit to that process.

Find your best form of communication

Verbal. If you communicate best verbally and have the time to set aside to commit to a daily or weekly call, you should make this clear from the start. Expectations are one thing; reality is another. You may think this is what you want and then realize you don’t have the time. Make adjustments and find what works, but don’t break your commitment.

Written. Can you express your thoughts better through writing? Set up a chat session through an instant messenger program and set for a certain time each day or week. Communicate through text messages or email, whatever system works best for you and your assistant. There may be a little trial and error in the beginning, but every relationship has to start somewhere.

Communicate clearly from the start, early and often. Mind reading and crystal balls do not exist…really. Once a relationship has formed and your habits & expectations are learned is when an assistant can attempt to see your next step (sometimes before you do). But until that glorious moment, don’t assume. Keep all lines of communication open on both ends for questions and answers.

Have no fear. Sound funny? You’d be surprised how many people don’t say what they want to for fear of sounding unknowing, or not wanting to insult someone with what they have to say. You don’t have to be brash to get your point across. You can still say what you need to say firmly but kindly.

The key is to not be afraid to ask questions, whether you’re the client or the Virtual Assistant. If you don’t understand why a task took so long, then you need to ask. There’s probably a good reason, but you won’t know until you ask the question. If you don’t understand the task given to you, don’t spend an hour googling it to try and understand; that’s a waste of everyone’s time. Ask questions when in doubt, and offer clear, concise answers.

Be clear. Don’t send mixed messages, this is both unclear and confusing. We all have an innate desire for people to like us, that’s important when working with someone. But you can still be likeable and be clear. If you don’t want something done one way, it’s important to make that known.  If you’re unhappy with the way someone handled a situation or task, make it known right away.  Don’t think “I can let this slide”, or “mistakes happen”. Mistakes do happen to everyone, but they also need to be brought to that person’s attention so it doesn’t happen again.

Listen. Take the time to listen to what someone is saying. This is so important on both sides of a relationship. Many times if the person doesn’t come out and say what might be wrong, you can hear it through their message to you; verbally or written. If you keep pushing your questions or problems under the rug, that pile becomes a mountain and eventually explodes. Address the tone upfront to avoid any pitfalls down the road.

Communication is the key ingredient to every relationship inside or outside of the office, but it is a necessity in a virtual setting. Everyday millions of people either communicate poorly or not at all. It’s not something that’s hard or complicated, but it is something that is important and should not be taken for granted. If you make a commitment to practice good communication, it will become a habit, and making communication a priority in your everyday life will make your life easier…period.

Laura is the Founder of Elite Virtual Assistants.

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TIPS ON KEEPING YOUR INFORMATION SECURE WITH A VIRTUAL ASSISTANT

How can you trust a Virtual Assistant with your personal information when they’re so far away? It really isn’t any different than trusting an in-house employee with the same information, and there isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer. Building trust with your Virtual Assistant seems obvious, but is something that is earned over time, not given up front.

While you’re waiting for that to happen, there are a couple options for sharing your important information with those who need it, and also keeping it secure.

Password Managers

There are many Password Manager programs that allow Virtual Assistants to login in to your account without seeing your passwords. The usernames and passwords are encrypted in the program itself, keeping all of your information in one place. Your Virtual Assistant can log into the program and navigate to the websites you have put in place.

This allows a VA or anyone you choose, including yourself, to login to your accounts without having direct access to your passwords (which also helps you have one place to go where all of your password information is stored). You can choose the level of access each user will have for the websites you load in the manager, from being able to view information or edit and make changes.  A few of these programs are:

Some Information you can store on these sites are:

  • Credit Card Information
  • Social Media Channels
  • Bank Information
  • Secure Notes
  • Email Accounts

Non Disclosure Agreement

Although most VA firms will have verbiage in their services contract on protecting clients information, many companies also opt to include a Non Disclosure Agreement with more specific information. An NDA is a legal contract between at least two parties that outlines confidential material, knowledge, or information that the each party wishes to share with one another for certain purposes, but restricts access to a third party.

There are 2 different types of NDA’s, a Unilateral and a Bilateral. Understanding and having an NDA in place is a good idea for companies to protect information and ideas, regardless of whether you have in-house employees or a remote worker like a Virtual Assistant.

Don’t Be Blind

Having a checks and balances system in place is always your best bet to stay on top of everything. When you’re getting started, always keep an eye on what someone is doing for you, whether they are an in-house or Virtual Assistant. You still need to take the time to follow up with your VA just like you would an employee in your office. If you’re allowing someone to use your credit card to make purchases, keep track of your card activity. If you’re allowing someone to post content on social media, make sure you’re monitoring what they’re posting.

If something doesn’t seem right or seems out of line, bring it to their attention immediately. Taking the time in the beginning to put some security systems in place and following up until that trust is established is your secret to virtual success!

Laura is the founder of Elite Virtual Assistants. For more information on finding a virtual assistant, you can visit their website or call Laura directly at 440-973-7005.

Struggling With Your Content Marketing? Create Because You Care

In the beginning I struggled with my content marketing. I’d search blogs and sort through the latest trends looking for ideas. I’d spend more time searching for topics than actually writing and creating my content. But when I took a step back and stopped to think about the basis of true content marketing, it helped open the doors to my writing and content ideas.

According to the Content Marketing Institute, Content Marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly-defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action. When you start thinking about the valuable information you have to share with people, it opens a wide range of topics and areas to write about and share.

Now take the definition of caring: serious attention or consideration applied to doing something correctly or to avoid damage or risk. Think back to a problem or situation that may have taken you or your company months to find the right solution for. You can take that experience and turn it into your content. Using this approach will not only show people your expertise in that area, but also give you an opportunity to offer a solution to a problem someone else may be having.

Caring is a powerful business advantage -Scott Johnson

Think about something that you failed at. Admitting that you failed at something isn’t easy, but it’s also what makes us human. No one has created a business or become successful based on one success after another; it’s many years and steps of questions, problems, failures and solutions that end up creating your success. There are also times these failures don’t add up to success: share that information with others so they can avoid the same pitfalls you’ve encountered.

Failure is success if we learn from it -Malcolm Forbes

What stumbling blocks have you encountered in business? Share those and the solutions you came up with to get past those stumbling blocks. Did you approach a situation 5 different ways before you found the right answer? Share that with your audience.

Do you receive the same questions within your business on a regular basis? Each one of those questions or concerns can be a topic that you can write or post about. These questions can help create engaging content with others, while the answers can reach a wide range of people across many different channels.

Answer the most commonly asked questions you or your company receives and offer solutions. You can turn this area into a learning tool that you use to not only create great, readable content, but to also show others that you care and help them from possibly making the same mistakes. Once I started looking at my content as a means to help answer the questions I was fielding on a regular basis, the ideas started flowing.

I tend to struggle with verbal communication vs. written communication. There are times I end a conversation and think to myself, “I could have answered that better” or “I meant to say this”. I’ll take that experience and turn it into my content.

Care about your audience, answer their questions, admit failures and offer solutions you’ve used yourself to help create and generate interesting and engaging content. Remember, if we don’t take care of our customers, someone else will.

Laura is the Founder of Elite Virtual Assistants who can help you polish and post your content marketing.

24 Tasks You Can Outsource To A Virtual Assistant

Working with a Virtual Assistant can be a rewarding experience. Typically one of the biggest challenges when people are starting out is deciding what tasks they can outsource. Everyone needs help in different ways; but whether you’re the CEO of a company, or an independent  Author or Blogger aching for more writing time, below I have broke down the 3 main areas that tend to cross-over between industries.

Here are 24 tasks you can outsource starting today:

EMAIL & CALENDAR MANAGEMENT

The wide world of email: it has a good side and an overused side. The problem is trying to filter & sort through what’s important, what’s not, and everything in between. For some of our clients this task can take away more than 5 hours a week of time that could be much better spent. A VA can help you:

  1. Sort through emails/mark what’s important/sort through spam
  2. Reply to customer/client inquiries
  3. Chat Support
  4. Calendar management/appointment reminders
  5. Schedule appointments

GENERAL ADMINISTRATIVE TASKS

Although the administrative list can go on forever, a sampling of some tasks our Virtual Assistant’s do that are “all things admin” include:

  1. Travel Planning
  2. Internet Research
  3. Client Gifts (purchasing & sending)
  4. Personal Errands
  5. Data Entry
  6. Database Management
  7. Task Management
  8. Event Planning
  9. Reporting
  10. Expense Reporting
  11. Bookkeeping
  12. Organize Meetings/Conference Calls
  13. PowerPoint  Presentations

DIGITAL MARKETING

The world of digital marketing is big, and only getting bigger. Just when you think you’ve mastered one social channel, there’s another one that is proving to be better. Trying to stay on top of learning the ins & outs of digital marketing, whether it’s the latest email programs, hosting platforms or the hottest social channel to advertise on, can be overwhelming. Some areas you can outsource to a Virtual Assistant that will help promote you and your business are:

  1. Create & schedule email campaigns
  2. Create & send newsletters
  3. Social Media Management (create campaigns for each channel/schedule posts)
  4. Moderate & reply to comments on different channels
  5. Help with blog postings (finding images, editing, posting)
  6. General Website management (html coding/manage subscribers)

There are many other smaller tasks that could be added to this list, but these are typically the areas that people are needing help with, regardless of your industry or company size. Once you have settled in on what areas you need assistance with and the tasks within those areas you’re able to outsource, you’re ready to start outsourcing some of that workload. Are you ready to bring the balance back to your life?

Give us a call at Elite Virtual Assistants…we offer a free consultation to get you on the right track and match you with the perfect Virtual Assistant.