WHY I CHOSE TO BE A BUSINESS OWNER – MY WHY

Why would I want to run a business? What is it about running a business that makes me want to take the risks, work long hours and be vulnerable to the ups and downs of entrepreneurship?

Many people don’t understand, but, many people ask me WHY.

I can’t imagine my life any other way! It runs deep in my blood. It’s my passion and my life’s greatest pursuit.

Today I want to share my Why.

If you’re not familiar with the Why concept, it was made popular by thought-leader Simon Sinek and is crucial to explore if you’re willing to come to the table head-on and dig deep into WHY you do what you do.

You know WHAT you do and HOW you do it. But do you truly know WHY?

And when you figure it out, it will affect everything. In the best way possible, of course!

It will move your business and your purpose in ways you never thought possible.

Your motivation, your services, and the quality of your work will skyrocket.

It’s why you show up every day. It makes your victories sweeter and your goals non-negotiable.

My passion for the work I do as a Virtual Assistant is revolved around my client’s success. I have an innate talent to make things easier for people. Did I mention I LOVE organization? And I’ve been told I have an incredible eye for all the little details 😉

Giving 110% to the work I produce helps propel my client’s progress in ways they never imagined. It also brings excitement and new opportunities in unexpected ways.

No more overwhelm. No more unfinished projects. Dreams become realities. Joy and freedom appear. I love being part of that success.

Too many of us define our lives by what we do for a living rather than accepting that what we do for a living is a part of an overall purpose that guides our lives.

Have you explored your Why? If you haven’t check out this TedTalk. It will be the best 20 minutes of your day. I promise.

TOP 10 FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Over the years we have gathered up our most frequently asked questions and decided to write about them in hopes it will answer some of the mysteries surrounding Virtual Assistants.

  1. What the heck is a Virtual Assistant anyway?
    When people ask me “What do you do?” and I tell them “I am a Virtual Assistant,” nine times out of ten they ask me “What the heck is that?” Well, let me explain. A highly valuable self-employed individual who provides professional administrative, marketing, and consulting services (just to name a few) to Entrepreneurs, Solopreneurs, Small-Medium Sized Businesses remotely from a home office. Virtual Assistants (also referred to as VA’s) are becoming more and more commonly used and are an absolute hidden gem. They can handle the same tasks as an in-house assistant with many added benefits. VA’s can work with you on a contract or freelance basis and can provide a wide variety of, sometimes specialized, services. With technology today, there is not much that you cannot outsource to a Virtual Assistant.
  2. What do you do?
    Each Virtual Assistant company will have their own unique offerings. Our company offers Administration, Marketing and Design, Consulting and Coaching. We specialize in Real Estate but have clients from all types of businesses as well. Variety is the spice of life –  right?! We cover everything from spreadsheets to social media marketing to branding and business coaching.
  3. What don’t you do?
    Our company does not take incoming calls (receptionist), handle bookkeeping, accounts receivable or payable, invoicing or accounting. We are happy to recommend trusted businesses and our partners to help you out with these services.
  4. Where are you and your Virtual Assistant’s located?
    We take pride in being a 100% Canadian company. All our Virtual Assistants are in Canada and serve businesses and individuals across our country. We support local business and love to support Canadian entrepreneurs and companies.
  5. How does it work? How do we work together?
    First, we have a call to discuss your unique requirements; we provide a custom quote then if we decide to move ahead, we sign our contracts. Once all the paperwork is done, and out of the way we have our onboarding call and discuss how we can provide you with solid support for your success! You can learn more with 6 Easy Ways to Work With A Virtual Assistant.
  6. What are the benefits of using a Virtual Assistant?
    The benefits of a Virtual Assistant are that you can use our services on an as-needed basis, on-going or for a one-time project you need to get done. No worries about filling hours, keeping someone busy. In a pinch? Just reach out, and we can help take some of the stress out of your day and put time back on your side. You can save $1,000’s in business expenses by hiring a Virtual Assistant via an in-house employee. Read the cost comparison on our blog.
  7. What do you do to ensure privacy and protection of information and data?
    We have all clients sign a confidentiality and non-disclosure agreement. All private information including passwords, login details, credit card info is all stored in a secure database that you have control over your data. We share information via Google Drive or DropBox for Business. The House Wren is covered by insurance for both Errors and Omissions as well as Cyber Insurance. We take your privacy very seriously.
  8. When should I hire a Virtual Assistant?
    If you find you’re so busy working “in” your business rather than “on” your business, there’s a good chance that’s it’s hurting your bottom line.  If you’re drowning in to-dos, missing deadlines or just have a wish list, let’s get it done and move your business to the next level. Make a list of all the most important items you would like off your plate this and will help you to prepare your game plan on getting your business back to a productive and well-performing machine (Read: To Do’s Before Hiring A Virtual Assistant). Still not sure? Read 7 Signs Your Small Business Could Use A Virtual Assistant.
  9. How do you charge?
    Each Virtual Assistant company will vary, but ours offers packages, a-la-carte options as well as hourly. We will have a call with you, assess the most economical option for your business needs and provide you with a quote. Each quote includes a scope of work as well as costs.
  10. How am I billed? How is time tracked?
    Our company bills monthly for hourly and packages, one-time projects are 50% of the cost before the project commences and the remaining 50% upon completion. Payment methods include e-transfer, credit card, cheque or cash. HST applies to all charges. Hourly work is timed by the minute, no minimum and no rounding up.

So, there you have it our top 10. Is there anything we haven’t covered? If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out. We’re more than happy to answer your questions! Should you be interested, we also do in-office education seminars on what a Virtual Assistant is and how to hire your own. Give us a call today to find out more!

CLIENT GIFT GIVING

IMG_7266Have you ever wondered how gift giving affects your clients? The benefits of giving business or corporate gifts are plentiful. These days, giving gifts as Entrepreneurs, REALTORS and Small Business owners to clients are no longer seen as “nice to” but rather as a business imperative. Gifts help businesses to create goodwill, strengthen relationships, enhance your company’s image and create an emotional connection and positive perception of your brand.

Here are a few dos and don’ts for gift giving for the holiday season or any time of the year. There is a distinction between promotional gifts and corporate gifts. Both are valuable marketing tools for specific purposes in business. Promotional items are typically branded items of a lower cost, used as giveaways in large quantities as an extension of advertising efforts. Corporate gifts, on the other hand, are typically higher value items which are given with the intention of showing gratitude and strengthening relationships. They increase brand loyalty and encourage recipients to interact favourably with your brand.

IMG_7273If you are giving a gift to an existing or potential client, do find out what their company’s gifting policy is first. Banks, auditing firms and multi-national companies have strict rules around gifting. Feel free to ask your client upfront if they have a “No Gifting” policy, then at least your client will know that the thought was there. They will probably give you suggestions on what are acceptable ways to show your appreciation. Don’t go overboard with lavish or intimate gifts.

Your heart might be in the right place, but a gift that is excessive or a little too personal can make your recipient feel uncomfortable. Avoid outlandish gifts like jewellery. Try to stick to gift baskets, chocolate and sweets, coffee or wine and their accessories if in doubt. Don’t guess how to spell your recipient’s name. Getting their name wrong on a gift is a no-no. Instead of having warm, fuzzy feelings, your recipient will feel embarrassed or think that you are careless. That’s the opposite of what you are going for. Finally, do have your gift professionally wrapped. Great presentation increases the excitement of receiving a gift. Professional gift-wrapping also adds to your message of how much you value your recipient.

Don’t be shy to add a personal note and a gift card too!

Donna Hartrick,
My Shopping Diva
www.myshoppingdiva.ca

HOW MILLIONAIRES MANAGE THEIR TIME

No matter what industry you’re in, there’s a good chance that you have a big to-do-list and are constantly trying to figure out how to get more done in less time.

The truth is, we all have the same amount of hours each day. So how do ultra-successful people manage a business, keep up with personal development, family, friends and fitness, without being overwhelmed and stressed?

After researching and modelling numerous success stories, we’ve come up with the most common traits of the most productive and highly successful business people.

1. Morning Rituals

Starting your day off with a consistent morning ritual gets you into a positive state. Getting up early to work-out, go for a run, stretch, meditate, or listen to inspirational music or podcasts is the foundation for a productive day. Starting your day off by dedicating yourself to your body and mind is a winning game!

2. Get Crystal Clear

Millionaires have a crystal clear vision of their goals and values.

They rarely get sidetracked by distractions and know when to say NO to things that aren’t in alignment with their life and business goals.

Time Management

3. Break down your Big Goals 

Breaking down your big goals into small tasks daily is the secret to achieving anything you want. 

You need to know exactly why you’re working towards that goal and what the outcome will be like. Then reverse engineer your goal with an achievement date in mind.

4. Knowing the Best Kept Secret to Productivity 

Leverage your time.

Instead of getting bogged down with mundane tasks and stifling the growth of your business, a virtual assistant can help you get more accomplished by helping you with your marketing strategies, completing your day-to-day tasks, advertising campaigns, designing creative assets, and coaching you to stay on track with your big goals, while working with your office hours and schedule. It’s a win-win for any growing business!

Hiring a virtual assistant is a great way to test-drive support staff and identify people who can become key players for your business.

There is no better time than now to get started.

Reply to this email or click here to find out how we can help!

Hiring a VA lets you focus on the things that matter most—growing your business, spending time with your family, or just giving yourself a few more moments to catch your breath. We look forward to hearing from you today! Contact us here. 

Get your FREE Clarity & Goal Setting Worksheet Today!

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6 EASY WAYS TO WORK WITH A VIRTUAL ASSISTANT

So, you have considered hiring a Virtual Assistant, otherwise known as a VA?  Maybe you’ve even hired one, and now what?

How does it all work?

Here are 6 steps to a successful partnership with a Virtual Assistant.

Contracts

Most professional Virtual Assistants offer contracted services to their Clients. A contract is a necessary requirement for most, as it protects not only the interest of you as the Client but also the Virtual Assistant. Be sure to carefully read your contracts and don’t be afraid to ask questions if needed.

Documented Processes

It will be easier to delegate projects and/or tasks if you have clear processes for repetitive tasks outlined. This will reduce the margin for error by letting your VA know exactly how you carry out processes within your business. Once you and your VA are up and running together then you can hand over updating and creating procedures to them. An easy place to keep processes for everyone to access is in programs like One Note or Evernote. These programs allow you to create chapters, sections etc. and that makes it easier to keep things current.

Communication

Be crystal clear on your needs and your wants. Decide right off the bat what the best form of communication is for you both. Some VA’s prefer tasks to be added directly to project management software like Trello or Asana. Other’s preferring to receive instructions via email. You as the Client may prefer a phone call, email or even text messages. Whatever the form of communication, be sure to set out expectations.

Instructions

Further to documenting your processes be sure to provide clear and detailed instructions. Although most VA’s would love to add mind reader to their resume alas it is not an ability we yet possess! If you are not sure how to communicate via writing then be sure to call your VA directly, or do a little walkthrough video. Find a way to give clear instructions in a way that is easiest for you.

Use Technology

There are so many fantastic programs out there that make working remotely and with a virtual team easy. Here are some of the most common ones out there (most of them free):

  • Last Pass – Allows users to store and share access to programs, information etc. in a safe and secure manner without sharing your usernames and passwords.
  • Asana – Project management program that allows you to set up teams, projects, delegate work, communicate, set deadlines and more.
  • T-Sheets – Allows VA’s to track their time by the minute for accurate and honest billing.
  • Screen-Cast-O-Matic – Create videos, presentations, capture your screen as you work to provide a video operation manual. So many great features!
  • One Note or Evernote – use these for online manuals, policy and procedures, store your blog topics and mark them done, create checklists and more.

Hire the Right VA for your Business/Needs

It seems like that is a no-brainer, right? What a lot of people don’t realize is that most VA’s will have a couple of niche areas that they specialize in. For instance, some are designers/creative VA’s, others might specialize in certain fields like real estate, law or medicine. Depending on what you need you may hire multiple VA’s who can work together to get your business where you want it to be!

Ready to get your business organized, free up your time and get new projects started?

Contact us today to find out how we can help get your business to the next level!

Get your FREE Clarity & Goal Setting Worksheet Today!

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Hashtag

ALL ABOUT THE HASHTAG

Social Media is always changing, evolving and it can be difficult to keep up. We are often asked how and when to use hashtags. We have put together some information on do’s and don’t’s, banned hashtags to avoid and when and how to use hashtags based on each social platform.

DO’S AND DON’T’S FOR HASHTAG USE

DO

DO NOT

  • Make your hashtags too long, people will not want to type them and won’t find you
  • Use banned hashtags (see below for more information on this)
  • Have more hashtags than content
  • Follow for Follow (just because someone follows you does not mean you should)
  • Use hashtags on Facebook (See below for more information on this, or download our cheat sheet)
  • Use irrelevant hashtags on Instagram your account could be flagged as a spammer.

BANNED HASHTAGS

For instance, when posting at Thanksgiving a banned hashtag we were unaware of caused it to be blocked. Who knew #happythanksgiving was the culprit, chances are it is one of the new temporarily banned hashtags much like #dogsofinstagram. Time will tell. Here is a list of just a few of many partially banned hashtags:

#attractive

#brain

#cheeky

#date

#easter

#elevator

#goddess

#saltwater

#tgif

#women

#woman

#workflow

NEW PARTIALLY BANNED HASHTAGS

#dogsofinstagram

#books

#skype

I am sure you can understand that many banned hashtags are because they can or have been associated with the inappropriate content.

WHEN AND HOW TO USE HASHTAGS

TWITTER

  • Tweets with one or more hashtags are 55% more likely to be retweeted
  • Tweets with 1 or 2 hashtags have a 21% higher engagement than those with 3 or more
  • Tweets that use more than 2 show a 17% drop in engagement

INSTAGRAM

FACEBOOK

  • Facebook posts without a hashtag fare better than those with a hashtag.
  • Posts with more than 2 hashtags dropped by 70% from those with 1-2 hashtags

PINTEREST

  • Hashtags are now allowed on Pinterest just like any other social platform
  • Pinterest recommends no more than 20 hashtags
  • Note that only 4-5 are visible in the preview.

GOOGLE+

  • Google+ has no official hashtag limit, but it is suggested to use no more than 5
  • Use the explore tab to search hashtags
  • Use 3 or 4 of the hashtags you find through the explore tab and copy to your post

YOUTUBE

  • The more tags you add, the less relevant they become.
  • Don’t use more any more than you need.
  • YouTube will remove your video if you use over 15.

LINKEDIN

Free Hashtag Cheat Sheet Download