Virtual Assistants-Taking Your Online Marketing to the Next Level

In this era of the Digital Age, more and more people are turning to the Internet to increase their marketing exposure. The problem? Every day the ways to use online marketing seem to grow exponentially. In one blog post at, they offer a guide to the top 99 Online Marketing Tools. You read that right, 99! And, they are only listing the TOP 99. From Clothing Boutiques to Real Estate Agents, Social Media Marketing has become a necessity to keep up in today’s marketplace. So, as an entrepreneur or small business owner, how do you find the time to run your business, increase your productivity, have a personal life, and keep up with the ever-evolving online marketing field? The short answer? You don’t. You hire someone to do it for you. Enter the Virtual Assistant (VA). Who are Virtual Assistants? Virtual assistants are home-based, skilled professionals, offering businesses, and entrepreneurs support remotely instead of within the traditional office setting. Communication is usually done via email, phone, or even face to face services like Skype. This alleviates the need to provide additional work space at your office or other business location. Don’t Virtual Assistants Just Provide Basic Admin Support? Back when remote assistants first came on the scene, the majority of their services focused on administrative tasks that were similar to those of an executive assistant or secretary. They were just done from home. However, with the growing number of VAs available, their offerings now run the gamut, and thanks to the incredible increase in popularity of Social Media Marketing and other Online Marketing, specialists in that area have become easier to find, and are extremely beneficial to have working with you. In fact, just a few years ago, the University of Florida created the first Bachelor and Masters degree programs to provide accredited education in Social Media Marketing and other schools followed quickly after that. A Few Things to Consider When Hiring a Virtual Assistant When you choose to hire a virtual assistant the first thing you’ll want to determine is whether you want them to be an employee or a self-employed contractor. There are pros and cons with each arrangement. When you hire an employee, even a remote one, you’ll need to provide any benefits your other employees receive, based on their employee status, ie: Full-time, Part-time, or hourly, as well as add them to the regular payroll. A real estate agent in the northern California area reported he has a full-time person who’s only job entails maintaining all Social Media postings for active If you choose to work with independent contractors or a freelancer you will have none of those responsibilities. But, you will have little control over what hours they work or be able to demand when they can be available. To be designated as an independent contractor, an individual must be free to determine how the work will be done to completion, free from the client/company’s control. The contractor is responsible for the final product only as far as the terms of their contract requires. Where Can I find a Virtual Assistant? Just as the internet provides the opportunity for the concept of a VA to work, it also provides locations, and even platforms to easily find, hire and pay your VA. Here’s a short list of websites that provide freelancers and businesses a way to find each 24/7 Virtual Assistant Assistant Match eaHelp Fancy Hands Freelancer FlexJobs People Per Hour Red Butler Time Etc. Me Upwork Virtual Assistant USA Virtual Staff Finder Worldwide 101 Ziptask Zirtual Hiring a virtual assistant will leave you with more time and energy on your hands to focus on the other aspects of your business. For more information on finding the best Virtual Assistant for your needs, check out Virtual Assistant Assistant for reviews of the best virtual assistant companies.

How to Market Your Service Based Business

What is a Sales Promotion? When selling a product, marketing usually comes fairly easy. Your marketing campaign revolves around the product for sale and how it can be used. When you own a service-based business, the marketing may require a different approach. Instead of marketing product features, you have to market yourself and your team.  The good news is, people are always looking for reliable services, no matter the type.  You just need to make sure they find you and not your competitors.   Here are some techniques that will help you accomplish this. Connect with Your Own Community Established local businesses have their own clientele.  And, they may only be able to handle a certain number of clients.  So, if you treat these businesses respectfully, they may refer clients to you when they are at their capacity.  A good way to connect with your community is to be involved with the local Rotary Club or Chamber of Commerce. These associations will connect you with other businesses that welcome assistance from a peer. Use Social Media and Networking By now you’ve probably created your business website.  Now, you need to consider establishing your presence on Social Media.  Starting with each of the following will give you a strong foothold:  
  • Facebook Business Page
  • Twitter Account
  • LinkedIn profile
There are a number of other social networks out there you may also find suitable. Once your pages are all set up, stay on top of them.  This can be achieved by responding to customer inquiries, posting valuable information, and providing relevant updates. As you cultivate this audience, you will build a following that will continue to reach more and more people over time. Offer Incentives Customers like to take advantage of a good deal.  Special promotions are a great way to let them. While a promotion might cut into your profits initially if it brings in new customers the payoff could be worth it.  You need to make sure you find a balance between your pricing needs and your customer’s idea of a good deal.  You can even utilize your Social Media presence to promote your incentives without extra cost to you. Empower Your Clients Often with services, the service providers have so much control over how the service is provided, this can sometimes cause a feeling of detachment for the clients.  To prevent this separation, try to make your clients feel involved in the process by underlining their significance in the process and reducing the visible influence of your own position. Stock Up on Business Cards Even within the Digital Age, business cards are still a valuable tool, especially if you are an individual or small business.  You can network with other local businesses, asking if you can leave a stack of cards in their lobbies.  You can also pass them out to other business owners at networking events, social engagements, and class reunions.  They can also be passed from customer to customer the way word-of-mouth advertising is accomplished.  These days you can even get your first set the same day by taking advantage of in-store printers, like the ones found at Staples and Office Depot. In the long run, the success of your business will depend on the quality of your services.  Here we’ve provided a few easy ways to get your marketing and your service-based business off the ground and increase your ability to communicate what you have to offer to a potential client. For more ideas on how to market your service business check out this post at the blog: 5 Ways to Market Your Service Business Like a Stellar Product You may find that not all marketing techniques will work with every target market, but, with patience you will find what methods will work for you and help you develop an effective strategy.

How to Best Promote Your Sales Promotions

What is a Sales Promotion?  When done correctly, sales promotions can transform a business.    Most of us these days know sales promotions are usually designed to increase sales or, encourage the use of a service. They are also often one type of marketing strategy confused with general advertising.  In fact, the two are different.  Because, each entices a different part of the buyer’s nature. Advertising is emotional in nature.  It induces consumers to purchase products or services through images, sounds, and experiences. Sales promotions draw on a customer’s logic. To get the most out of the efforts you put into creating a promotion, it’s important for you to promote your sales promotion. I know, that’s a lot of use of the base word promote, it’s confusing, but accurate. Promoting Your Promotion This concept is often where many small businesses and entrepreneurs come up short and, usually happened in one of two ways.  The first way is that many businesses simply don’t let their customers and potential customers know there is promotion opportunity going on. When it comes to small business marketing, the first thought is advertising, but this can add expense. Here are some optimal ways you can get the word out, without breaking the bank.
  • Highlight the promotion on your website home page.
  • Create a web page specifically about the promotion.
  • Post the info on your Social Media Pages and Blogs.
  • Where permitted, include it in guest posts on other pages and blogs.
  • Sent email notifications sent out to your approved email contacts.
These steps will go a long way in getting the information out there. The second way many businesses aren’t successful with their promotions is that they, get the word out but, put out the wrong information. Your first instinct will probably be to make your message about your offer, and that is a good place to start.  But, your message should also be about your customer.  More specifically, how they will benefit from the offer you’ve taken so much time to plan and execute. Let’s say an accounting firm decides to run a discount promotion on all services they provide, for a specific period of time.  To promote this, they start sending emails and posting on Facebook that for a limited time, clients can come in and receive a discount for any service they need.  Most people will see the post or email, make a quick mental note about it, and then move on with their day. The communication aspect was successful, but the desired conversion wasn’t.  What you need to do next is persuade your client that this will make his or her life easier. Persuasion begins with building a link into your customer’s head. Start by thinking about your service promotion from your customer’s viewpoint.  Then make a list of the things that may be on your customer’s mind.  Some examples could be, whether or not their job is currently stable, whether they should buy a new car or even, where they are planning their next vacation. No matter what they have in their heads, there is a good chance they are not thinking about seeing an accountant.  It’s your job to put the idea in their head and then, attach it to the things they are thinking about: “Want to fly during your next vacation instead of drive?  Let us help you find your maximum deductions and use your larger tax refund to start a vacation fund!” Next, go on to explain the benefits of having a professional go over their taxes instead of doing them at home. Last, include an effective call to action: “Call now for your appointment!” Now that you know how to promote your promotion, take a look at this article on for examples of what kind of promotions you can consider offering.  

Free Time With Friends – I Should Do This More Often!

Yesterday, I made certain to schedule some free time for myself so that I could spend the day with a friend and her two little ones. I have spent so many hours these last few months trying to get my business up and running, that I did not even have time for myself because I was determined to set it off on a great start. Now I know better. Yesterday was fun, filled with laughter and happiness It was a beautiful day and having a photography skill as a hobby, we made sure to memorialize the day with photos and videos. I rarely ever schedule free time for myself, even though I know it is important, and I don't do it as often as I should or need to. [embedyt][/embedyt] 'Simplifying your life can create extra time in your day,' says life trainer Stephen Yates. 'Doing everything at once actually makes you less efficient and tasks can take longer,' he says. Multi-tasking can also overload your brain, leading to stress, forgetfulness and a weak immune system. There is no need to live like this - with a bit of re-organisation, you can free up enough time to relax, do the things you really want to do. You'll feel less stressed and pressurized which will help boost your mental and physical well being.

1 Learn to delegate

Ask family, friends and colleagues to do things for you. You may find it hard at first, but you'll not only have more time, you'll also feel less resentful of others leaving everything to you.

2 Just say no

Cut out activities that drain energy and time. Ditch regular get-togethers that have become little more than a habit and don't waste energy on people who take without giving anything back. "Saying no is the most effective method of gaining time and energy,' says life coach Suzy Greaves.

3 File your life away

Instigate a clear desk policy. Aim to handle each piece of paper just once: this means dealing with bills, forms and the like immediately then filing them away. If you don't already have a simple and effective filing system, set one up as soon as possible.

4 A place for everything

Avoid those frustrating searches for misplaced essentials by creating special places for keeping things like glasses and keys, which always seem to disappear just when you need them fast.

5 Buy in bulk

A lot of birthdays this month? Consider buying all the cards (and stamps) you'll need in one go. You'll have a better choice and avoid last-minute panics.

6 Manage your email

Check your in-box regularly but only answer emails at specific times. Then you can choose which emails to prioritise rather than dealing with each one as it arrives.

7 Cut out cold callers

You don't have to keep answering the phone to double-glazing salespeople or other unwanted sales calls - just register online at the Telephone Preference Service. But remember to contact organisations whose calls aren't unwelcome, such as charities and companies you do want to do business with, and give them permission to call you.

8 Go for internet banking

Register for internet banking so you can check your balance, transfer money, apply for an overdraft, pay bills and make credit card payments 24 hours a day. Alternatively, most bills can be paid automatically by direct debit - it only takes minutes to set them up.

9 Shop online

You can now buy virtually anything on the internet - books, toys, cosmetics, clothes, groceries, computers, furniture, flights, tickets for concerts - all at the click of a mouse. Opt for well-known companies or those with an address and phone number in case of problems.

10 Know your numbers

Consider setting up the same chip and pin for all your accounts - but then keep it to yourself!

11 Store by the door

Keep a basket by the front door for library books, rental videos and DVDs and anything else that's been borrowed, so you're more likely to return them on time.

12 Create a reserve

Always running out of petrol, golf balls, light bulbs? 'Start to create a reserve,' says Suzy Greaves. 'For example don't wait until the petrol tank is hovering on empty, fill it up when it hits half way, buy in bulk and see how it feels to have more than enough.'

13 Shut down the computer

'Watch out for computer addiction,' says life trainer Stephen Yates. Set a time for stopping projects, for example installing that latest bit of software your children sent from afar, bidding on e-bay or planning the family holiday until 2am and then not sleeping. Say at 5pm, "I will stop and start again tomorrow".'

14 It takes five

'Spend five minutes every day doing something you enjoy,' says GP Dr Rob Hicks. 'Play the piano, listen to some music, whatever takes your fancy. Then gradually extend it to 10, 15 minutes and so on. Before you know it you will have made the time to do what you want to do and you'll be more relaxed, so more productive in other areas of your life.'

15 Breathe deeply

As soon as you get up take 10 deep breaths, then make your 'to do' list. 'Breathing deeply brings oxygen to your brain which clarifies your thoughts and energises your minds helping you to plan your day more efficiently,' says naturopath Jackie Young.

16 Join the club

Avoid going to the surgery to pick up your repeat prescription then queuing at the pharmacist while it's being made up. Join the Boot's Health Club and they'll do it for you and have it waiting for you at your local branch. Visit for more information.

17 Box your pills

Never quite sure if you've taken the right pill at the right time? Get yourself a pillbox at your local pharmacy and worry no more. Most come with marked boxes for each day of the week with four adjustable compartments labelled breakfast, lunch, dinner, bedtime.

18 Use NHS Direct

Worried about a recent diagnosis or an unusual symptom? A quick call to NHS Direct (tel: 0845 4647) will set your mind at rest and could save you a visit to the pharmacist or surgery.

19 Be a pay pal

Sign up to and you can buy online without having to spend time searching for your credit card number and financial information every time you make a purchase.

20 Down-size your tasks

'Do you really need to wash the car every week? Does your garden have to be 100 per cent perfect?' asks Gladeana McMahon, co director of the Centre for Stress Management. 'Look at your weekly tasks and see if you can trim them back, then spend the extra time gained doing something healthy like going for a walk.'

For The First Time This Season – I Have Turned On The Heat

It is COLD out there you guys!! I was sitting here this morning working at my desk and I was shivering!! Between Hurricane Irma and the beginning of Autumn, I'm guessing that the earth is cooling down a bit. I have read some crazy opinions and posts about this Hurricane. Some say that President Trump is controlling the weather. I'm not a earth scientist, but I'm thinking he may have better things to do than to stir up a hurricane, disrupting millions of lives, disrupting commerce, and the ability of people to be able to get to work so that taxable income can be generated. But I also think that if he is responsible for the bad, he must be responsible for the good too. So let's assign blame where it is due. I blame, mother nature. Between the earth warming and cooling and causing all sorts of problems, I don't think it would have anything to do with who is in office. Just my opinion guys. Try not to pounce. If if you speak of me, make certain you tell them that I am crazy. [embedyt][/embedyt]