Entrepreneur Basics

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Location: Margate, Florida, United States

President of Virtual Word Publishing, www.virtualwordpublishing.com. We specialize in publicity and marketing and helping you succeed in your small business. Also, author of Virtual Assistant the Series, Become a Highly Successful, Sought After VA & So You Want to be a Work at Home Mom (Beacon Hill Publishers) Email me for FREE VA and PR Package. diana@virtualwordpublishing.com

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Start Your Own Virtual Assistant Business

Here are some of my "Do's and Don'ts for Starting Your Own Virtual Assistant Business. I've been in business since 1985 and would welcome the opportunity to send you additional information, including my "Free Informational Package On Obtaining Clients."

Do’s and Don’ts for Starting a Virtual Assisting Business

Virtual Assistants (VAs) are highly skilled professionals who provide administrative support and specialized services to businesses, entrepreneurs, executives, and others who have more work to do than time to do it. Examples of services a VA can do include web design and maintenance, word processing, meeting and event planning, desktop publishing, internet research, e-mail coordination, business start-up consultations and so much more. This can be the perfect work-at-home opportunity for many with good computer and Internet skills. Following are several Do’s and Dont’s to keep in mind for starting and operating your Virtual Assisting business.

DO -- Decide on a targeted market and initially focus your marketing efforts in that area. By developing a “niche” in your field, your reputation spreads quickly and soon you become a recognized expert. Several specialties include: publicity and marketing, website design, article writing and distribution, press release writing and distribution, medical, legal or business transcription, resume consulting, transaction coordination -- real estate industry, desktop publishing, manuscript preparing, academic typing, e-mail support, internet research, etc.

DO -- Be creative about where you can find business. The Internet offers a large variety of potential for clients just waiting for you to contact them. Actively network and don’t limit your marketing to simply placing a few ads in newspapers or the Yellow Pages. You want to find where there might be a need- and go fill it.

DO -- Write a complete business plan and marketing plan. Too many leave out this vital step and waste valuable time unorganized and without a clear-cut goal and direction for their business. When starting a business you will have tons of ideas floating around. You need to materialize all these and put them into a workable plan of action.

DO -- Develop a website that looks sensational! Your website is often the first connection a potential client has with your services. It must immediately let them know that they are dealing with a professional. Your site must then have the POWER to draw them to you and contact you. Let them see that you value quality by the look and feel of it. Additional tips include letting them know what services you offer and why you are qualified to offer those services by mentioning your experience and education. Be sure to include points on why you stand out among the rest and are the BEST! For example, if you have been featured in articles, radio shows, etc., have them listed with the dates.

DO -- Learn everything you can about starting a business. Knowledge is power and the more you know, the greater your chances for success. Look to online services and message boards and chats to talk with other Virtual Assistants operating a business. Remember these are often run by pros who have been in business for years and are willing to share their experience. For example, you can stop by my site at Virtual Assistant Startups, www.virtualassistantstartups.com and I mentor and manage virtual assisting boards on HBWM.com, Momspreneursonline.com, etc.

DO -- Join associations that are targeted for our Industry. By connecting with these associations and being active, you learn from them what works and what doesn’t and you are able to post your questions to associate members via list serves often getting answers to your questions within minutes.

DO -- Read, read, read. By frequently continuing to increase your skills and your knowledge of your profession, the end result is a more confident satisfied you. Every tip you get from a book can be a new tool in your business. I recommend highlighting areas from several books and adding them to your library. Keep in mind that you might not use that idea today, but it might apply to specialties you might add down the road. We encourage you to purchase our book, Virtual Assistant the Series, Become a Highly Successful Sought After VA with its accompanying workbook. It has everything you need to succeed in your own business.

DO – Enjoy. There’s no greater feeling than landing that first client or finishing your first big project. Plus, wait until you get the opportunity to tell someone you own and operate your own virtual assisting business. It sure beats I’m a secretary at .... Plus, when you enjoy your business it shows. Your clients will sense your positive attitude and want to be a part of your team.

DON'T -- Underprice your services. The average virtual assistant today makes $35 to $100 an hour, depending on their skills, services offered, location, and years of experience. Don’t make the mistake of assuming if you charge the lowest prices, you’ll get the most work. You won’t. Instead, you’ll end up working outrageous hours for peanuts! Clients will pay more for professional services. When a potential client discovers you’re charging a lower rate than standard, they often feel they will receive a quality of services that is also lower.

DON'T -- Overextend yourself. One of the common mistakes many virtual assistants make is to accept too much work and then not be able to accurately complete it. Learn to say no or have a back-up helper who can assist you with any overflow work. Remember one of the most important ingredients for success is keeping your clients satisfied. If you overextend yourself and make a lot of errors, it will jeopardize your business.

DON'T -- Get discouraged. It takes time to get a business going. Plan ahead and have money saved in reserve. Don’t buy items until you have found the best possible price and there is an absolute need. This advance planning takes the pressure off of having to make money NOW. If things are slow and the phone just isn’t ringing ... MAKE IT RING!! There’s plenty of work out there, you just need to aggressively pursue it.

Finally, the most important ingredient for success is your belief in yourself. If you believe that with your skills and experience, you can own your own business, then there’s nothing stopping you. DREAMS DO COME TRUE. SOMETIMES YOU JUST NEED TO MAKE THEM HAPPEN.
Diana Ennen is the Author of Virtual Assistant: The Series, Become a Highly Successful, Sought After VA, & The Corel Word Perfect Office Ready Virtual Assistant Solution Pack, http://www.virtualwordpublishing.com.

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Thursday, December 14, 2006

Virtual Assistant New Year’s Resolutions for 2007

The Virtual Assistant Industry has grown in leaps and bounds this year and is soon on its way to becoming a household word. It used to be people would ask, “What is a virtual assistant?” Now, the question is more, “Who is your virtual assistant?” It brings to mind years past when if you mentioned you were starting a home-based business, people would look at you like you were nuts. Now operating a home-based business is not only accepted, but also highly regarded.

This past year, we saw amazing evidence of the power of virtual assistants (VAs) with more and more media coverage, well-known authors and celebrities singing our praises, and businesses and corporations alike commenting on how hiring a virtual assistant has helped them to achieve so much more success in not only their business, but personal lives as well. Thousands of qualified and dedicated entrepreneurs stepped up to meet that demand and now join the ranks of being one of us-a virtual assistant.

When thinking of the VA Industry, brilliance, cutting-edge technology, and enormous dedication comes to mind. This year lets take our Industry to new heights. Lets keep our proud tradition of being the best, and lets show the world, that they can’t do without us.

Here’s are several New Years Resolutions to help you achieve greater success with your business this year:

Resolution #1 -- Make a commitment to get to know two people within yourindustry on a more personal level every month. Answer back an e-mail addressed to a VA group with a personal, “Hi. How are you doing? I’m Diana.” Also, become active on VA boards. If networking locally, introduce yourself at a professional organization's meeting or a conference instead of just being in the background.

Resolution #2 – Take the time to organize your business and make it easier to run on a daily basis. If you haven’t done so already, invest in a 3-ring notebook and put all the valuable forms you use on a daily basis in there including all your marketing letters, follow-up client letters, proposals, portfolios, etc. By customizing these forms now, you have them available when a client contacts you and are then able to respond to that client immediately with the right professionalism that will convince them to use your services. Bottom line – You don’t have to reinvent the wheel each time.

If you’d like help on creating some of these forms, consider our latest book, The WordPerfect® OfficeReady® Virtual Assistant Solution Pack, available at http://www.corel.com in their Office Productivity/OfficeReady® Template Packs section. This VA Solution Pack contains a valuable 81 page e-book and over 70 templates you can use on a regular basis to start or grow a successful virtual assistant business. The Solution Pack was written by Diana Ennen with the help of several VA Industry leaders including Kelly Poelker, co-author of numerous other VA Books with Diana Ennen.

Resolution #3 – Define your definition of a virtual assistant. There is so much talk today on exactly what is a virtual assistant. Spend the time this year to focus on what you believe a virtual assistant is and what you believe your clients look for in a virtual assistant. Develop a mission statement with that definition. Try this, “At (insert your company name), we strive to provide you with the best (insert what that is) and to always meet and exceed your expectations. We are committed to (what?). This can be done while enjoying that eggnog this year, not too spiked of course. By developing your mission statement, you will find clarity, which will enable you to take your virtual assistant business to the next level. Also, if you have a mission statement from last year, it’s time to rewrite it and include where you are today with your business.

Resolution #4 – Get the steps to success down in writing. For those that have read our book, Virtual Assistant – The Series: Become a Highly Successful, Sought After VA, you might benefit with our new VA The Series Workbook. It takes you step by step through operating a successful VA business, listing all your goals, development ideas, and also drives home exactly what you want your business to be. When you see it in writing, it helps you see where you want to go and how you want to get there.

Resolution #5 – Make an effort to keep your company name out there. Send out regular press releases, articles, newsletters, post cards, thank you notes, and frequent follow-up. Not only can this help your Google status, but it also gains you credibility as an expert.

As virtual assistants, being able to work without global boundaries has enabled us to work with clients anywhere. These steps can help you find the right balance for your business so that 2007 is more prosperous than ever.

We wish you the best of luck in the coming year. May it be your best year ever with success, happiness, and the right family/work balance that allows you to enjoy every day with peace and serenity. Stop by any of our sites for additional information on how you too can become a successful Virtual Assistant.

Diana Ennen, Author of numerous books including Virtual Assistant - The Series: Become a Highly Successful, Sought After VA and New Accompanying VA The Series Workbook; WordPerfect® OfficeReady® Virtual Assistant Solution Pack, (http://www.corel.com) and Words From Home: Start, Run and Profit from a Home-Based Word Processing Business. Visit Diana at http://www.virtualwordpublishing.com and http://www.virtualassistantstartups.com. Free booklet available on starting a virtual assisting business, as well as several other great articles and tips.

Feel free to pass this article along as long as the author’s block is included.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

A Complete Solution for the Busy or Aspiring Virtual Assistant

A Complete Solution for the Busy or Aspiring Virtual Assistant,
WordPerfect® OfficeReady® Virtual Assistant Solution Pack

Margate, FL (November, 2006) For years, businesses have complained of needing more help around the office to meet the ever-increasing demands of running a successful business. The answer finally arrived when highly skilled Virtual Assistants came on scene offering a global solution to the daily challenges of doing business. As the demand increased for qualified Virtual Assistants, so did the need for information on how to become a Virtual Assistant (VA). Corel® has stepped up to the plate to meet the increasing demand with the release of their latest, WordPerfect® OfficeReady® Virtual Assistant Solution Pack, available at http://www.corel.com in their Office Productivity/OfficeReady® Template Packs section.

The WordPerfect® OfficeReady® Virtual Assistant Solution Pack enables entrepreneurs to successfully open their doors in no time, easily expanding their client base, and is also ideal for those already in business who want to take their businesses to the next level. The unique combination of its 81-page e-book, and coinciding templates, enables entrepreneurs to quickly create everything from Corporate Brochures and Newsletters, to Consultation Forms and Marketing Letters. This ability to rapidly create impressive documents, spreadsheets, or presentations, hassle free makes this an exceptionally valuable tool. Also, its ability to work directly with WordPerfect® software provides users an added tool in their ongoing quest to start a business or become more successful in their current business.

The Solution Pack offers advantages for both those wishing to start a Virtual Assistant business and Word Processing businesses alike. Those wanting to use their secretarial skills to start their own business will enjoy the detailed information provided, as well as proven methods for success.

Just some of the benefits include:
1. The ability to establish themselves as an expert in the Virtual Assistant and Word Processing Industry.
2. The information to help them prosper in their own niche, such as publicity, medical or legal transcription, web design, bookkeeping, and so many more.
3. The access to all the tools they need to succeed right at their fingertips. No need to reinvent the wheel every time they need an example of an invoice, etc.

The WordPerfect® OfficeReady® Templates were written in conjunction with Corel to assist millions across the globe in the ever-growing Virtual Assisting industry. The Virtual Assistant Solution Pack was written with great care and precision by Diana Ennen, a VA Industry Leader and President of Virtual Word Publishing, http://www.virtualwordpublishing.com, and contains valuable contributions from several professional Virtual Assistants, including her co-author of numerous other books, Kelly Poelker.

The OfficeReady® Virtual Assistant Solution Pack immediately gives its users the proper tools to turn their independent small businesses into successful enterprises. So start your business today, or grow your existing business by ordering your copy today at the Corel site, http://www.corel.com.

Holiday Marketing Magic for New Year Success

Can you believe it’s November already? The holidays are here and then the start of a new year will be upon us. Now is a perfect time to reflect on your business and see if it is all that it can be. Is it running at full speed and do you have all the clients that you need?

If not, it’s time to get those engines moving and start into action before the New Year begins. I know, it’s the holidays and there’s a lot’s going on. But also it’s the perfect opportunity to connect with your clients and get a head start on potential work for next year. You will find that communication is so much easier when you can utilize holiday greetings, holiday goodies, and holiday presents. Holiday gifts and candy will ease the way to a “Hi, how have you been? Send me more business!” Or for those new potential clients, “Hi, how are you—You need ME.”

First, reconnect with ALL your clients and let them know how you appreciate them and perhaps how you can help them with other needs they may not even know you offer. Send a personalized holiday card or greeting. For local clients stop by their office and drop off presents, popcorn tins for the staff and/or their favorite coffee for their afternoon pick-me-up. For potential new clients, drop off a Holiday cup full of wrapped candy with your business card or perhaps get your business name printed on the candy bar. Also, consider sending a specialty cake, such as a coffee lover’s cake from Make a Diaper Cake Biz, http://www.makeadiapercake.biz. You can make your own or have Barb Ireland create one for you.

For all you Virtual Assistants or word processors out there, don’t forget to stop by any small post offices or UPS shops and offer to put your business cards there. Many of these places will add your business card holders directly to the counter. Think how much traffic is going through these places shipping out those presents and what great exposure that can be. And the best news is that they usually do allow business cards with a business card holder. Just think about it, people waiting impatiently in line, pick up your card and BINGO—New Client.

Other tips include:

Ø Read and research new things. So many great promotions are going on now with the holidays and New Year coming. Look to them and see what’s out there and how you can apply it to your business. Take advantage of the teleclasses and seminars that are offered by the pros. Yes, they are going to try and sell you something, but by golly the information you receive will be worth it and you don’t have to buy.
Ø Join Associations: Join the association that you’ve heard about by so many but haven’t made the commitment yet. Start the New Year with a firm commitment to attend at least one engagement a month or more. See what a difference it can make in your business by talking with pros in your industry or networking with businesses, who might utilize your services or products.

Ø Get moving online. Go to the message boards and chats and network. Meet people and introduce you and your business. Offer tips and suggestions and actively be a part of the forum. I’ve been in business since 1985 so this year I will be celebrating 21 years in business. I owe a lot of my success to being active on the boards and letting people get to know me and trust me. My message board is up and running and eager for more virtual assistants to stop by and learn how to become a virtual assistant. It’s at http://www.Publicity-VA.com.

Ø Your Website. Now it can all go to waste if they these potential clients get to your website and see a unprofessional, poorly built, error-ridden, mess of a site. Take a look at your website and see if it is the best that it can be. I constantly update mine at http://www.virtualwordpublishing.com to try and provide tips and suggestions for those starting a virtual assisting and also tips on publishing and, of course, our new books in our online bookstore. I know the importance of changing it frequently, so people will come back to see what’s new.

Look to the overall appearance, the professionalism of your wording, the explanations explaining the benefits you provide, etc. In fact, everything in your site needs to convince a client to work with you. Now ask yourself, does it do that? Is this something I can be proud of? Too often we throw together a website, just to have it done. Remember this can often be a client’s first impression of you. Is it selling you well?

So this year as others are shopping and preparing for the holidays, you can instead be preparing your business for the New Year. What a gift that would be for YOU—to start your business off with a bang and lots of new clients you secured in your holiday marketing efforts.

November is a great time to reflect back on the year and plan for the next. Why not plan to make next year, your best one ever! Good Luck and Happy Marketing.

Diana Ennen, Author of numerous books including Virtual Assistant - The Series: Become a Highly Successful, Sought After VA and New Accompanying Workbook; WordPerfect® OfficeReady® Virtual Assistant Solution Pack, (www.corel.com) and Words From Home: Start, Run and Profit from a Home-Based Word Processing Business. Visit Diana at http://www.virtualwordpublishing.com. Diana@virtualwordpublishing.com. Free booklet available on starting a virtual assisting business.

Feel free to pass this article along as long as the author’s block is included.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Entrepreneur Basics - Welcome

Hi -- I'm Diana Ennen and I've been an entrepreneur since 1985. I've written numerous books on starting a business, and plan on using this blog to offer the latest tips and articles on starting your own business. I encourage you to send articles too.