Managing to dos from multiple companies can be a difficult task. There may be lulls, but when a client needs something, they expect it now. Being a Virtual Assistant that provides a quick turnaround is every business owners dream. Can you circle back around on to dos? Can you push when you need something? Will you provide me with XYZ? And so forth… BUT, in recent interactions with new clients not only do businesses love the ability to produce, true value in a virtual assistant may lay in transparency.
True story, recently a client came to me with a terrible misfortune. They had lost their previous contractor to a sudden illness which had led to the death of that contractor. Serious misfortune on both ends. There was no real organization of passwords, services or document trail provided to the client. The client was happy with the services received until they realized they had no access to anything that promoted their business virtually. To gain access, death certificates needed to be provided. That meant contacting extended family of their previous contractor and so much more time and runaround.
Another circumstance, a client expressed extreme interest in follow up and transparency though his previous provider did a good job, again nothing was documented. No email trails, not a written scratch pad or path to lead the way. In this circumstance it was found none of the completed projects on the SEO side or social networking initiates were followed through on. There were broken pieces of incomplete work everywhere.
Value today comes with transparency, complete projects and fast turnaround. Providing a client with in depth descriptive processes and guidelines not only help secure your position in contract work, but it is necessary for open communication. If you worked on it your client should know how to access it. Provide clients with a full circle experience.
You may have a degree in marketing, which is a one up on me because my college degree does not have a marketing focus. However, to be a true marketing guru today it is necessary to stay on top of social media trends. You must also have a consistent willingness to be a self educator.
How do you stay up to date on current social media trends when there is so much information out there from social media content marketing agencies? The answer is so simple it may have went over your head. Visit the official blog of your primary social media sources, I have listed my personal favorites below.
Is there a way to streamline these blogs? Yes, you can add these platforms to your RSS reader, but I have found in doing that you may miss quality tidbits. Is it worth your time to stay on top of social media trends? That's up to you! It could cost you a pretty penny you could have earned if you don't.
I have worked with several companies now consulting on many different aspects of small and large businesses. Reflecting over my past direct hire positions I have realized employers have limited my potential by sectioning my duties into what the vision is for the position held at the time. Unless I have pushed, poked and dug deep enough to be involved with additional duties that suit my capabilities. What I want you to think about here is are you placing parameters on employee capabilities?
Let's be hypothetical here, if you have an employee in a customer service role for a year and a position opens up for a marketing role are you tapping into resources you have available within your company? Are you offering opportunity to employees within. Many larger companies do this successfully, other medium to small companies seem to forget to tap into what they already have.
It happens to all of us; tunnel vision. We forget the credentials on a resume. By chance we put a limitation on willingness to learn and grow within a company. By doing this you are potentially sending your employee into a downward spiral. For someone willing to grow and thrive in a company they need to be nurtured. If you put restrictions on what you think someone can do, you may also limit the time they are with your company which in turn may lead to turn over. Put your feelers out there, nurture the employee asking for more, give your employees the opportunity to step up and stand out.
Why hire under contract?
Evaluating the true cost of an employee hire:
Figures are estimated: $30,000 base salary. $5,000+ in benefits and PTO. $2,000+ Social Security and Medicare Taxes. $2,000 in Federal Unemployment Tax. $2,500 State Unemployment Tax.
ESTIMATED TOTAL: Approx. $41,500 (not including overhead) OUCH!
What a contractor can provide for your business:
It was just a few years ago that I stepped foot into learning about marketing from a diverse perspective. While these strategies toward new age marketing continue to evolve, I find myself devouring information from a wide variety of companies to be able to support the businesses I work with. Let’s be honest it is truly fascinating seeing XYZ company act as a reliable source for information when sources cited for content curation purposes are coming from unreliable web sources or even competitors as not enough research has been done on the piece to properly curate the material.
Coming from a high school and college where it seems we were beaten with sticks on properly citing sources as to not create plagiarism. I initially found content curation for the benefit of marketing and educating your buyer as a laughable selling tactic. At first sight of the content curation process I continued to reflect back to the days of writing papers in high school and college. There it was red marks of despair with a less than desirable letter at the top of the paper. How could it be as simple as to hyperlink a word with a .com behind it and call that my source? How could I ever learn to live with myself with this simplicity? I still sometimes feel Mrs. Swanson staring over my shoulder shaking her head at this “content curation”.
Submerging myself into content curation I realized the simplicity given to the citing of a source is truly a blessing in disguise. Compelling material published online keeps your brand in the mind of your client and done effectively can significantly increase your ROI by building trust and establishing your brand as an expert in your industry. The time you take to make these content pieces count for your business giving you an authentic value prior to any sale contact. The value save here is your buyer has already picked you to buy their services from prior to the initial contact. You just saved yourself the price of another sales person beating the streets to sell whatever it is you sell. With that cost saved are you or is someone spending the time it takes to really do content curation accurately and bring marketing strategies around this full circle?
Creating a person behind your brand, a likeable or even lovable familiar voice is the first step in creating a bond with a client you have yet to even speak with. Let’s just say that was it; find credible sources, be lovable, and add commentary – easy peasy right? No. There is a reason citing your sources in a content marketing piece got so easy. Now add the rest of this to your plate; planning, creation, delivery, and management. WHAT?
This ends up being no simple task. These pieces all come together with a thought out process and a familiarity with the business you run. Key assets to this program include, but are not limited to; developing a calendar, determining a client persona, determining key messages that target your persona(s), developing a good mix of channels and mediums to spread your lovable voice; managing and tracking engagement metrics, creating styles that speak to your customer, metadata, managing your budget, integrations and so much more.
My headline mentioned you’re to do list going hand in hand with content strategy. So, you have the strategy, but can you execute the do to list?
It has been a little more two and a half months now since making a transition from a full-time position to a freelance/contract role. I threw myself into what I will now call outer space by leaving a position that I absolutely loved, but could no longer be a part of due to an inability to work so directly with a personality completely opposite of my own on an everyday bases. I still work from an office, but it is my own. I do not have to share a revolving desk, I choose my projects, and I create my own fires, as well as, put them out. I find myself taking all the things I loved about my old position and continuing to move forward with my task set similar. That could be my undiagnosed OCD or just my will to do what I love.
I am still struggling to get my bearings. I often question the next step and how I will get there with 2 little ones at home and one on the way I know I cannot fail. My ability to move forward supersedes the average person in my position. Have I let go of the idea of moving into another full-time position? No. When I walk into an interview 30 weeks pregnant do the “interview nerves” get to me? Not a chance. I can tell you I have never interviewed for so many positions and not got the job. The light in all of this is no one, I mean not a single person has questioned my ability to perform in a short term contract position with my protruding belly. At this point I see a brighter future coming from this new role and I find an exciting ending to this story.
I am finding a glim curvy road turn straight and lit with the sun. A brisk fall breeze. The kind of road you start to slow down and watch the red, orange and yellow fall leaves turn. You take a deep breathe in with your jeans and long sleeve shirt on and know the world couldn’t get any better. In the real world this is when daycare calls and you are only a block away. You can run your little into the doctor and be back to work in only 30 minutes. You can thrive being the answer to each problem for anyone you’re doing work with – knowing you saved the day for someone each and every day.
In my role I am not tied to a computer all day, no. Majority of the day some days, yes. What I am finding is this work style is nothing ordinary. I can be shaking hands with someone that inspires me in a whole new way or training myself to be better at what I do. I have time in this role to invest in people. How exciting is that?
Finding my path hasn’t been easy. I have learned a lot in just a short amount of time. Most who know me, will tell you I am driven and nothing gets me down. I do have to say one of my favorite girls in the world and my amazing partner have been victim to several conversations that have approached negativity at its best. What am I doing here? I want to give up. If I could give up I would. Does this road lead anywhere? In all these trials and tribulations I have focused on;
Successful business owners though they may start as lone entrepreneurs eventually find success in a team that supports them moving forward. The most successful businesses know that they cannot succeed by being a one man show, there are just too many hats. Delegation of tasks is not only a key to success in growing your business, but also a way to find a balance between work and day to day life. Delegation allows for productivity and an opportunity for an increase in growth where executives can spend their time on income production and expansion.
Administrative services, marketing communications, and operational management can be a task set that can often be performed much more successfully by a Virtual Assistant "VA". Depending on the versatility of Assistant you choose you could potentially add much more value to maximizing your time elsewhere within your business.
In researching duties of a VA you may notice a wide array of duties this role is willing to play in your business. VA's find themselves making recommendations on business decisions, standing in high profile roles for company executives, carrying out complex projects, coordinating major business activities and overall making a major contribution to the business goals as a whole.
A VA role will fall into becoming a dependable and valuable part of any team. Your success and the success of the business is a main priority. Maintaining a Virtual Assistant on your team will bring many different perspectives, 3rd party knowledge and skills into the mix.