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Virtual Assistant Archives - Anne C Clark
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The distinction between an Online Business Manager (OBM) and a Virtual Assistant (VA)

The distinction between an Online Business Manager (OBM) and a Virtual Assistant (VA)

Are you struggling to understand the fundamental difference between an Online Business Manager (OBM) and a Virtual Assistant (VA). In this article I am going to explore key fundamentals for you in terms of their roles.

Execution vs. Oversight

  • A Virtual Assistant acts as an executor within the business. The specific tasks they handle can vary based on their skills, which might include administrative duties, customer service, technical support, or marketing.
  • An Online Business Manager, on the other hand, plays a supervisory role, ensuring that tasks are completed correctly, efficiently, and by the appropriate team members.

Individual vs. Team Responsibility

  • VAs are accountable for their own set of tasks and projects, ensuring they are finished accurately and punctually.
  • OBMs oversee the collective efforts of the entire team, ensuring all members are completing their assignments in a timely manner, contributing to the broader business objectives.

Task Management vs. Strategic Planning

  • VAs focus on managing their own workload and time to fulfill their designated tasks.
  • OBMs engage in broader business planning, looking ahead to future needs and developing strategies and systems to maintain smooth and effective operations, avoiding last-minute pressures and disorganization.

Team Interaction

  • VAs concentrate on their own responsibilities, interacting with other team members as necessary to complete their tasks.
  • OBMs serve as a central liaison for the entire team. They work closely with team members daily, clarifying tasks and deadlines, and ensuring each member has the resources they need to perform effectively.

In summary, a Virtual Assistant functions independently, focusing on executing specific tasks often assigned by the business owner. An Online Business Manager, in contrast, takes a comprehensive view, organising plans and coordinating the team’s efforts to achieve the business’s goals efficiently.

Why I love having a virtual business

Why I love having a virtual business

Once upon a time, pre-children, I worked in the blue-collar corporate sector. I was a Personal Assistant to the Managing Director and the Chief Financial Officer, along with supporting the Executive Team and liaising with the Board of Directors.

I also wore the hat of Office Manager, attending to all things office-related from corporate events, office maintenance and renovations, and the day-to-day functions. I liked my job, but truthfully I never really loved my job. Like all jobs, there were functions you had to do that you didn’t like, and occasionally working with people you didn’t necessarily see eye to eye with or enjoyed being around.

Whilst on maternity leave, I was getting nearer to returning to work. For various reasons, I decided to explore the avenue of becoming a virtual assistant. My thoughts were ‘I can type, surely anyone would want that skill’, but there were many lessons to be learned along the way.

Things I learned along the way

  • Boundaries (mine and clients)
  • Networking (the good, bad and interesting!)
  • Working to meet my needs in business, family and clients
  • Saying ‘No’
  • Getting back on ‘the horse’ when you’ve fallen off
  • Learning to identify what I want for me, my business and what direction I want to head in
  • And the list goes on.

Like with any journey or adventure we take in life, there are some cringe-worthy moments, some high five (or fist pumps) and some enlightening moments.

I have had my virtual business for 5 years, and I can easily say I LOVE who I work with, what I do in and where I’m heading.

The things I love most about my business are

  • I’m fulfilling a dream
  • Being readily available for my children
  • Staying at home with my children and not missing those special moments
  • I get to be a role model for my children
  • Work the hours that meet my needs
  • I work with the most amazing clients
  • I earn my own income
  • I get to stay in my casual or pyjamas some days
  • I am not being questioned by a boss on what I’m doing, or not doing
  • I am recognised for my skills, services and expertise
  • I have created my own brand, which of course is 100% me
  • I get to choose who I’ll work with and what services I offer
  • I can work from any location with the assistance of a mobile, Wi-Fi and laptop
  • I get to create the vibe and feel for my business that resonates with me
  • I work harder now than I ever did in a corporate job and I love every single minute of it, even the crazy ones.

Running your own virtual business isn’t for everyone, and it does take commitment and openness to always learning. You need to learn and understand your customers and their needs, along with establishing your own boundaries. You need to create support around you that meets your needs, and you need to have the drive to see it succeed.

If you think you’ve got what it takes and want to establish a virtual business, and avoid the ‘time wasters’ I experienced, please feel free to visit my ecourse How To Become a Virtual Assistant, or my 1:1 private VA mentoring, and together we can get you on the road to success.

Perhaps you are unsure of your direction, then let’s chat and get some clarity happening for you.

What does a virtual assistant do?

What does a virtual assistant do?

A virtual assistant is a business owner that works remotely providing services from administration through to desktop publishing and website development, to other business owners. Virtual assistants work from their homes, providing support to businesses across the world. Virtual assistants are paid generally for the time spent working for businesses, at an hourly rate or project rate.

As many business owners start to grow their business, they can find themselves at a turning point where their focus truly needs to be on the business growth and development, not being weighed down with various administration tasks or business functions that could easily be outsourced and managed by external parties, giving them back their valuable time.

A virtual assistant is a great stepping-stone for the business owner who isn’t quite ready to hire a full time or part time employee, or have the needed finances to cover overheads such as computers, wages, insurance, and so forth.

In Australia, Virtual Assistant rates range on average from $30 to $70, depending on their skill and industry knowledge and experience. In my role as a virtual assistant, I work with multiple businesses providing a range of services from administration, email/diary management, social media and online business strategies, blogging, newsletter, desktop publishing and website updates.

Virtual assistants can be hired hourly for a one off project, or for a set number of hours per week or month.  When it comes to hiring, don’t allow yourself to be blocked by the price of a virtual assistant, as it is important that your business needs are being met. It is important to know, that whilst a virtual assistant might cost $50 an hour, that task that takes you 2 hours is mostly likely going to take a virtual assistant 1 hour or less.

 Virtual assistants work remotely, and use programs such as Skype, Dropbox, project management software, to enable them to work for businesses across the globe.

Business owners can source overseas virtual assistants, which can have many pros and cons. If your business need a 24 hour service, having a virtual assistant both locally and overseas can enable you to provide a 24 hour service.  There are many programs that can be used to streamline processes between your virtual team and ensure smooth running of your business.

When you feel you are ready to bring a virtual assistant into your team, but may be unsure where to start and how to hire one.

I recommend reading the following articles:

How to start working with a virtual assistant

How can a Virtual Assistant help you in your business?

Then seek referrals from colleagues and friends, on virtual assistants they recommend.  Another method is to review testimonials on virtual assistant websites to see what previous clients have to say.  Be sure to talk to several virtual assistant businesses, to ensure you feel comfortable with their ability to meet your business needs and understanding.  Also, see if they offer a trial period so you can be sure it’s going to be a perfect match!

If you have any additional questions on what a virtual assistant does, please feel to connect with me. 

The why and how of building an email list

The why and how of building an email list

I work with clients helping them to build their mailing list funnels. The purpose of building a quality email list is it gives you the opportunity to communicate directly with your audience, build trust and convert sales. It’s your direct line of communication to your target market.

Why build a mailing list?

If Facebook, Instagram or whatever platform you’re using to connect with your target market were to close tomorrow how will you communicate with your target market. You would be left with no market, no audience and no opportunity to continue connecting with your audience to gain revenue.

You own your mailing list, you don’t own the social media platforms.

Where to start?

A list building funnel is an opportunity for you to offer something free (like a sample) to your audience that would
answers their question (pain point)
showcases your expertise

Types of freebies

Freebies or commonly referred to as Opt-Ins can be anything you desire to showcase your expertise. Some examples are:

  • Checklist
  • Ebooks
  • Mini Courses
  • Challenges
  • Videos
  • Exercises
  • Cheat Sheet
  • Templates
  • Workbook / worksheet
  • Spreadsheet
  • Tutorial
  • Free course
  • Printables
  • Report
  • Mindmap
  • Quiz

Opt-in Goal

Determine your end goal for your opt-in sequence. Yes, you are list building, however you are not just giving away things for free. Your email sequence wants to have an end goal.

For example:

  • Buy product
  • Book in for coaching service
  • Enrol in course or workshop

The email sequence

A general rule for email opt-in sequences is as follows:

  • Send your freebie and welcome them
  • Offer something extra that compliments your freebie they’ve already received, and introduce yourself
  • Talk about how you solve your audience pain points
  • Present your goal product or service
  • Pitch your final offer on the service or have a countdown until the offer expires.

 

If you would like to start building your email list, contact me today and let’s talk about how we can make this happen.

Why You Need a VA to Manage Your Blog and Newsletter

Why You Need a VA to Manage Your Blog and Newsletter

Keeping your business in the ‘eye of the customer’ is essential in order for your business to grow. As a business owner, you can easily become consumed dealing with our day-to-day matters, and not giving our business the time needed to action strategies for growth.  

Two of the best avenues to gently remind your customers you are there, are through your newsletters and blogs. 

A virtual assistant (VA) can assistant you in maintaining your customer contact. Creating a regular schedule on when blogs and newsletters need to be composed and released, enables you to know your timelines and your VA to know what deadlines they are working to. 

Before you start going crazy producing blogs and newsletters, you firstly need to determine how frequently you should create your content and will meet your target customers’ interest. You need to make sure you are not over or under-producing them. This can be a bit of trial and error. Once you have determined this, you need to commit to your schedule.

The best way to ensure deadlines are met is to talk to your VA about;

  • how much time they need to create the content
  • how much time you need to review the work, and
  • allow time for final edits and touch ups.

Once this is locked in, you can then start brainstorming the content needed for blogs and newsletters. Do some research to see what your customers love and don’t love. Don’t be scare to even ask your customers, using such means as a survey.  

The best strategy when working your schedule is to try and keep 2 to 3 blogs ahead of yourself, you can preschedule these to be released on your website on a set date. 

How can your VA get this all happening for you, so you’re not stressed trying to keep on top it all 

BLOG:

  • Create a list of key topics you want covered in blogs. Don’t be afraid to create a series of blogs, if your content is going to be to long.
  • Create a schedule of when the blogs are to be released. Working backward to create the first draft due date.
  • Your VA can draft the article for your review and can incorporate a call to actions at the end of your blog.
  • Determine what type of call to action you want from your audience. It is always good to encourage readers to comment, offer feedback or share an experience. Or you can encourage them to buy a product or service. Ensure you communicate to your VA what key call to actions you want incorporated into specific blogs.
  • Source free images – there are many website that offer free image to use for blogs. Some require acknowledgement from you sourcing the images from that specific website. Otherwise, your VA can use programs such as PicMonkey or Canva to create original artwork for your blog.
  • Update SEO – It is vital that in order for you to be found that your blog has it’s SEO words added. Your VA can enter these, and research on what other keywords would be relevant to your blog/business.

Your newsletter keeps you in your customer’s inbox. Don’t make your newsletters too wordy. A lot of people don’t love to read a lot of words (unless it’s a novel). A great way to create a newsletter is to mix up words and images and make as many things as possible linkable to your website. Remember, Traffic = Sales Conversion on your website.

Include your blogs in your newsletter too, again make sure your newsletter is linked to various aspects of your website to drive your traffic across.   For example, for your blog including your newsletter your title, image and the first couple of lines, then insert a ‘read more’ and link it to your website (also link the image).

The strategy behind this is to get your customers to your website, where you have the opportunity to convert them from visitor to a customer.

Newsletter

Brainstorm with your VA on the main section you want for your newsletter. Eg: The Blog, Shop, Latest News, Special, or Sales.

Your VA can create your newsletter template, and there are programs such as Mailchimp that have a free level for under a set number of subscribers. It is important that your business ‘branding’ is kept consistent through the newsletters. Why? Because branding is what people say about you when you’re not there!

Your VA can source and create content, create images and links to your various website sections. They can also create a draft of your written content, you will need to guide them on key aspect such as items on sales, specials coming up or key items you want to be highlighted in the newsletter.

Once your newsletter content is created and ready to go, make sure your VA checks all the links are working, and that they send you a copy to review.

Your VA can schedule and once your newsletter has gone, you’re VA will be able to advise you the open and click rates, as most newsletter programs advise this for you.

Don’t be afraid to test various styles and formats for your newsletter to see which format gets the most higher click rate with your readers.

 

If you have any questions, or would like to know more information feel free to contact me via my contact page.

 

 

 

How can a Virtual Assistant help you in your business?

How can a Virtual Assistant help you in your business?

Using the services of a Virtual Assistant is a great way to focus on what you love.  You know, as business owners, how quick your day can fly by and you just never seem to have enough time.  You find yourself spending so much time doing things for your clients, that you don’t seem to have time to focus on business development.

Working with a Virtual Assistant enables you to get back your time and have the confidence in knowing your various administration tasks/projects are being taken care off, whilst you do the things you love. 

Here are some common tasks a virtual assistant can help you get started with. It is important to know that not all virtual assistants offer the same services, so don’t limit yourself to thinking you have to have just 1 virtual assistant.

DAY TO DAY FUNCTIONS:

Assisting you with your ‘To Do’ list.
Preparing correspondence.
Co-ordinate mail outs, both hardcopy or electronic.
Create business forms, templates and ensuring branding is consistent.
Create your stationery requirements such as letterheads, business cards, with compliment slips, flyers and brochures.
Be your sounding board for new ideas, events, products or services.
Managing your emails.
Assist with streamlining your office systems to keep you on track, organised and efficient.

 

YOUR WEBSITE: 

Upload your blogs onto your website.
Source free images for blogs, or create original artwork.
Create pages, graphics and ‘call to action’ buttons.
Manage members.
Source guest bloggers.

 

YOUR BLOG:

Write your content.
Source or create accompany images.
Upload to your website and add in SEO components.

 

YOUR CUSTOMERS:

Attend to your customer emails.
Set up ‘canned’ responses for frequently asked questions.
Prepare an online ‘Client Questionnaire’ and review the returned results.
Undertake online research.
MailChimp e-Newsletters | Set up a template, import your list of contacts and create/compile your weekly/monthly/quarterly e-Newsletters.
Manage AWeber and Wishlist memberships, and creating newsletters.

 

SPECIAL EVENTS: 

Create invitations
Promote your special event, workshops & events.
Collate RSVPs
Setting up online ticket buying – Eventbrite / TryBooking
Coordinate with venues, suppliers on your behalf.
Preparing documentation and presentations for event.

 

SOCIAL MEDIA:

Create your editorial calendar of content for Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn and Google+.
Create original branded graphics for your business.
Search for avenues to increase your followers and audience interaction.
Monitor your page and attend to any business private messages.
Create Facebook Ad campaigns.

 

AND MORE: 

Create a PowerPoint presentation.
Create an Excel spreadsheet for a mail-merge mail-out, reports, budgets, etc.
Create and format Manuals and Workbooks.
Format your e-book.

 

My role is to make your life as stress-free and efficient as possible.

 

Ready to explore more, contact me today.