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Digital Marketing, executive assistant, Goal Setting, small business, time management

How Time Blocking Can Grow Your Business and Cut Your Hours

As a small business owner and entrepreneur, you are more than likely thinking about how you can maximize your time and still grow your business as much as possible. Time blocking is the answer in many of these instances. With this not-so-new technique, you can successfully plan every hour of your week so that nothing slips through the cracks. There are time blocking apps and weekly planners with time blocking grids. You can use your Outlook calendar or your Google calendar, no time blocking software necessary, or use intricate programs that schedule your tasks automatically. This time management method allows you to keep track of your task management and stay focused.

By setting boundaries, buffering your time, and blocking out time to work on your tasks you can retake control of your day. It’s also good to think about your obstacles so you can plan for them. Does your client always call at the same time during the week? Make a note of it on your calendar and plan for that interruption. Maybe that means you work on items that don’t require much brain power or focus because you know the client will inevitably call during this time. Notice the patterns in your day so you can make a plan.

Here are some interesting statistics on where our time goes:

  • We spend ten minutes every day searching for lost items, from books and phones to car keys and even the cars themselves. 
  • 3,680 hours or 153 days is spent searching for stuff, over our lifetimes.
  • Office workers waste an average of 30% of their workday looking for information

You have a limited supply of energy, focus and will power. And the distractions don’t help. Allowing interruptions and less important tasks to take up your time is a recipe for disaster. It takes on average 25 minutes to get back to a task after a distraction

Where do I begin? Here is a simple way to get started.

Create a new spreadsheet that has the days of the week across the top and the hours, from the time you wake up until you go to bed, down the left hand side. 

Fill in recurring events.

Fill in anything that reoccurs from day to day or week to week. These could be meetings, recurring tasks, networking events, work hours etc.  You can now fill in the blank spots with chores, you time, and hanging out with your family.

One of the easiest ways to make it feel like you have more time in your day is to group like tasks together.  Plan a specific day for errands.  Define a laundry day and a shopping day.  Don’t feel like you have to do this all on the weekends.  Laundry can be done while watching your favorite shows mid-week or you can run errands after work on your way home.

At the end of the day, if you feel stressed and feel like you do not have time for things you enjoy, time blocking may work for you. If this technique does not, a virtual assistant from Life by Design can take on any tasks you just don’t have time to do.

Best Digital Agency
Digital Marketing, Goal Setting, Marketing, Social Media Marketing

Best Practices for Marketing in a Digital World

In today’s digital world, there is no reason a small business can’t thrive. By utilizing the many avenues of digital marketing in efficient ways you will be able to connect with over 4 billion internet users as well as generate consistent clients and revenue. We have put together the top marketing tips for small businesses.

  • Social media allows entrepreneurs, small businesses and influencers to connect with over 3.4 billion users in a nanosecond. This completely free technology is unmatched in the digital marketing space as you can find your ideal clients very easily. The most important aspect to this is time. Utilizing social media scheduling apps you can ensure posts are consistent and less time consuming in the long run. Researching hashtags that are appropriate for your niche can lead you to long term success. Consistent activity, appropriate hashtags, and communication are the most important ways to get the most out of your efforts in this space.
  • Know your customer. Finding and focusing on your ideal client base is key for success in any space, whether it be digitally or brick and mortar based. For example, if you have a nutrition business, you most likely don’t want to find clients that are looking for general contractors.(Unless you do, that’s fine too!) Look at who your posts/emails/and blogs are attracting and you can adjust your approach from there.
  • Focus on the long term. Where do you want your business to be in one month? One year? Five years? By setting appropriate and adequate milestones for marketing, you can make this time a little less cumbersome. Set and write down short and long term goals in an area you see regularly (be it an office space, calendar, or fridge!). This will keep goals in your mind and encourage you to actively work towards them.
  • Remain consistent in design when launching a campaign. Making sure all marketing spaces apply the same design aesthetic shows consistency and will let current as well as potential clients find you more easily. This simple tip will also look more professional and trustworthy. Try to use the same (or similar) colors and fonts in graphics, on your webpage, business cards and logo.
  • Develop Email Campaigns. On average, email marketing returns $44 for every $1 spent – that’s a 4,400% return of investment (ROI). You can bring more money and return customers to your business with the right emails – but what are the best emailing practices? To encourage return visits to your website, you should set up automated responses to thank customers after they subscribe or make a purchase. Consumers like to feel appreciated, with ‘welcome’ emails boasting an average open rate of 82%. A drip campaign needs to add value without spamming. Make sure the emails you create are of value. The marketplace pays for value. Everyone likes to buy, but no one wants to be sold. Keep the sales pitch out of it. Effective marketing tells the prospect WIIFM. (What’s in it for me?, meaning the prospect) What’s in it for your prospect? How will it bring them value?

As with anything, there is a learning curve and a development time. Patience and planning will ensure your long and short term business goals are being met. If at any time you need help with digital marketing for your small business, Life by Design Virtual Assistant Services is here for you. Our virtual assistant staff specializes in all aspects of digital marketing from graphic design to blog writing to email marketing, and much more.

Digital Marketing, executive assistant, Goal Setting, virtual assistant

Virtual Assistant Must-Haves for Saving Time and Money

When you first decide to start your Virtual Assistant business there are so many questions to ask yourself, one of the biggest being “What applications can I use to maximize my functionality as well as keep things cost effective?” As you’ve probably figured out by now, there are a ton of options out there for everything from time tracking to project management and everything in between. It can seem like a daunting task to learn them all and find out which work best for your business. Luckily for you, we have narrowed down the top applications for 2021.

Top Project Management App:

  • Infinity.  Infinity is a task tracking application with a multitude of uses. As one of the more cost effective project management programs, it allows you all the functionality of the top names for a better price tag. With packages including anywhere from 1 to 30 workspaces, and anywhere from 50GB to 5000GB of storage, it is sure to fit any VA’s needs. Not only is it practical for your wallet, Infinity easily integrates with other top platforms such as Clockify and Trello. The best part about Infinity is you pay once and have access forever, no monthly or annual payments. You can check it out here. https://startinfinity.com/pricing 

Top Time Tracking App:

  • Toggl. Toggl brings time tracking to a whole new level. It is perfect for those just starting out as freelancers as well as companies with large teams. The time tracker itself is completely free to use, allows for multiple projects to be tracked simultaneously, and is very very user friendly.  The time tracker as well as report generation can be easily accessed via web browser or mobile app, and reports can be generated as a pdf or csv file based on any time period, project or client making it easy to share with your clientele. 

Top Messaging App:

  • Flock. Flock is our pick for the top messaging application for any small business. While it has a very similar structure and functionality to other messaging platforms, it is free to use for 1-20 members, making it ideal for those first starting out. This version also includes 1:1 video calling, searchable messages, 5GB of storage, and unlimited 1:1 and group messages per team. 

Top Scheduling App:

  • Acuity Scheduling. Acuity stands alone as my favorite scheduling application for every business both large and small. Starting at a very practical price for one location (and up to 36 for its top package), it works seamlessly with a multitude of other programs such as Zoom, Wix, Mailchimp, Quickbooks, etc. The only caveat is that it can take some time to learn all of the functions available to you. 

Top Video Conferencing App:

  • Zoom. I think, by now, we have all heard of and used Zoom in some fashion as it has become the premiere video conferencing app for both business and personal use. As with the other applications mentioned, it was chosen based on its functionality for both large and small businesses making it perfect for freelancers. 

Top Video Recording App:

  • Loom. As with Zoom, Loom is a video chat app. However, we love it in particular for its function as a recording app making it easy to create training videos and communicate with clients on your own time. A top criteria for this list was cost effectiveness and Loom doesn’t disappoint with its free version

As a new Virtual Assistant, we suggest sticking to necessary applications that will be utilized for your current clients along with a time tracking application such as Toggl. As you continue to learn and expand your business, you can take advantage of free trials to learn more about them and hone your skill set to maximize your potential!

blogging, businessbuildingstrategies, Digital Marketing, Marketing, small business, virtual assistant, virtual assistant services

Why You Need A Blog For Your Business

With the ever-changing styles of marketing methods, it is hard to keep up with what the best techniques are for growing your business.  Blogging can be one of the most effective ways to increase brand awareness while simultaneously providing useful information to your target audience.

Now more than ever it is important for small businesses to have an online presence. Being a consistent blogger can take your business further than you thought possible. Content is still king when it comes to online business building. Consistent content on your social media channels, through email marketing, and through blogging can greatly increase your visibility online. Here are a few reasons why you may want to consider adding a blog to your business’ website.

1. It helps your audience know what is going on in your business: If you want to build customer loyalty and keep happy customers coming back, you’re going to need to keep them updated. Having a blog can work as a great tool to keep your customers in the loop. A blog will help also your customers relate to you on a more personal level, as they are able to give you feedback and have direct communication with you. You’ll keep the old customers coming back and new customers eager to learn more.

2. SEO boost: A great boost to SEO is increasing the outflow of fresh content, relevant topics and engagement. When you write blog posts consistently, this will generate traffic to your business. By utilizing relevant key words and creating new content, you are heightening your chances of appearing more frequently in search engines. Blogging is one of the most inexpensive ways you can increase SEO.

3. Build an email database: Email marketing is still a very important tool you can utilize to keep new and old customers updated. However, many customers are reluctant to sign up because they don’t enjoy spam mail. A blog, however, can build credibility and likability for your brand. If people enjoy your content, they are more likely to sign up for your newsletters. The main goal is to build trust between you and your consumers.

4. Pass Along Effect: If you are releasing valuable information that people enjoy reading, odds are they will want to share this information with others. A blog can highlight valuable information that relates to your niche. Once one person enjoys it, they are more likely to pass it on to others who share the same interests, therefore bringing attention to your business.  

If you haven’t yet, I encourage you to add a blog to your website today and start posting. If you don’t have the time, or the desire to, we can help! That’s one of the services Life By Design Virtual Services offers to business owners. We can write and schedule content as often as you’d like. Reach out and schedule your free consultation today to see if we are a good fit!

blogging

Common Mistakes Business Owners Make

Running a business, large or small is hard work. You plan and schedule your time to the best of your ability yet find yourself working more than you would at a typical 9-5 job. You ask yourself why you now have less time for the things you love. So many of us put our energy into the wrong things and miss the right opportunities. Here are a few common mistakes business owners make during the first 5 years, and how you can avoid them:

  • You do not set a clear plan and/or vision for your business. While you may have the next million dollar idea, if you do not have a clear, thought out, plan that you can easily relay to your clients it will be hard to find them. This is best done by taking the time necessary and not rushing the process. While there are always exceptions, business longevity requires a lot of nurturing. 
  • Find your target demographic. This will take time as well as trial and error. Initially, you will want to broadly market your products/services. As you go through the paces you will find a specific niche of clients you prefer to work with and can narrow your focus. This will not only help you focus on the things you enjoy doing, you will also be using your resources in the most efficient way.
  • Building a significant Social Media presence. The average length of time a person  spends per day on social media is 2 hours and 24 minutes. In that short window, you are literally competing with millions of influencers and small businesses to make your product or service known. You can expedite this process by reaching out to friends and family, finding influencers to promote your products and/or creating paid ads (not recommended until well established-utilize what is free until you begin bringing in a profit).
  • Have Patience. Finally, whether you are building a million dollar business or a coffee shop on the corner, please remember that everything worthwhile takes time. Setting the building blocks to success and nurturing your business through the growth stages is the most important thing you can do. 

Deciding to start your own business and pursue your passion is a huge, life changing decision and one you should always be proud of. Perfecting these key points will eventually make your business drive itself to success.  Life by Design VA Services can help during those times when you find the need for navigating through your unique business journey. 

A few things our Virtual Assistants can help you with:

  • Social Media – We can create graphics/captions and schedule posts. Consistency is key!
  • Website Management – Updating content, photos and links can take a lot of time that you don’t have. A VA can edit and update your website as needed.
  • Blog Posts and Other Content Creation – Creating eye-catching, aesthetically pleasing, and thought provoking captions, blog posts, articles, newsletter and info on your website is so important. 
  • Online File Organization – Whether you need help with organizing your emails and creating filters, or organizing your Google Drive or OneDrive files, we can help!
  • Email and Calendar Management – Keeping up with your email and calendar can take time you just don’t have. Our VA’s can help by replying to and sending emails, creating and sending calendar invites, schedule meetings, add appointments to your calendar, set reminders, and more. 

These are just a few ways Life By Design Virtual Services can help you grow your business in 2021. If you are to the point of not enough hours in the day, let us help!  Schedule your free 15 minute consultation HERE.

Let’s see if what we do is a good fit for you!

Digital Marketing, Marketing, Marketing, small business, Social Media Marketing

Free Marketing Tips for the Small Business Owner

No matter how big or small your business may be, marketing is always a good idea if you are wanting to grow. Here are a few marketing techniques that don’t cost thousands.

  1. Host an Online Event
    1. This method is especially good if you have a message behind your business, unique service, or anything cool that people would enjoy watching. Sites like Eventbrite are a great ticket promoting platform, with free options. Set up a scheduled live stream or Zoom where people can see your unique service or product. It’s a great way to gain an audience and give people something to do, especially with everything moving virtually due to COVID.
  1. Start a YouTube Channel
    1. This one is much like the online event, but easier for you to arrange. You can film the same thing as mentioned above but put time into editing and upload it at your convenience. You can market the channel which in return will promote your business and grow your following.
  1. Commenting
    1. Commenting on other people’s posts is something social media marketers use to engage with others. First, find your competitor and then go to the list of people who have liked or are following the account. Next, start to like or comment nice things on their posts, things of value, not spam. This will bring them back to your account and it’s 100% free.
  1. Optimization
    1. SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is a great way to get your website to rank higher in Google searches. You can hire someone to do this or just search up the highest-ranking words for your type of business/product/service and put them into the backend of your site. There are tons of YouTube videos on how to do this process.
  1. Hashtags
    1. Hashtags are super important when you’re wanting to market yourself for free. Like the one above, search the most used hashtags for your product/business/service and put them into the comment section or caption of your posts. No matter if it’s on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, TikTok, etc. hashtags are always a good idea.

If you need help managing/navigating the virtual world, we would love to help. Schedule your 15 minute consultation today HERE!

businessbuildingstrategies, Goal Setting, small business, time management, virtual assistant

5 Goals You Can Set For Your Small Business

It is never too late to set some new goals for your small business! Here are five things you can do once or continuously to better improve your small business.

  1. SWOT analysis: S- Strengths, W- Weaknesses, O- Opportunities, and T- Threats. This is a great way to figure out/analyze the current state of your company. Also, this helps target those areas you may need to improve on before setting goals.
  1. Take Advantage of Social Media
    1. Social media is one of the absolute best tools to use when it comes to not only growing your small business but also establishing a key identity that is attached to your business’ name. Try creating a profile on Instagram or Facebook and just putting your logo and company message, and then add consistent content focused on your products and/or services.
  1. Revise Your Customer Service Process
    1. Having a fantastic customer service process is especially important. People like to feel like they are cared about personally when it comes to assisting their needs. If you sell products, maybe start offering an easier method of contact. For example, if you only offer a customer service email, think about opening a business phone line or live chat for people to get a faster response.
  1. Hire Someone to Help
    1. If you find that your business is starting to grow, adding an additional person may be your best bet to maximize productivity. Virtual Assistants are the perfect option to start off with. They have a lower cost vs regular employee and need little to no benefits. It would be great to talk with you and see if our VA’s are the right fit for your business.
  1. Reduce Business Expenses
    1. This is dependent on the type of small business you are running, but there is always some way to cut a few costs here and there. For example: unneeded materials or subscriptions.

Here at Life by Design Virtual Assistant Services, we wish your small business nothing but the best. Feel free to check out the FREE 15-minute consultation we offer on our contact page to see if our services would be of benefit to you.

Attraction Marketing, blogging, businessbuildingstrategies, executive assistant, Goal Setting, onlinemarketing, personal assistant, process management, small business, social media management, Social Media Marketing, time management, virtual assistant, virtual assistant services

The Importance of Branding Yourself

Whether you are an entrepreneur, or someone looking to get employed by others, branding yourself is one item in your personal portfolio that can make or break you.

Why Is It Important?
Over 70% of employers say they check social media accounts to see who “you really are”. They want to see if how you present yourself online aligns with the company’s beliefs. If you’re an entrepreneur/ small business owner, many people will probably Google your name and see what populates. We’ve all “googled” someone at some point. You want people to see positive things but also relate to you as a human being.

Where Do You Start?
Branding yourself normally starts with social media. As I’ve said before, you will probably be searched at some point and the first thing that will pop up is ALL of the social media accounts with your name attached to them. Make sure you’re posting appropriate content that speaks to who you are as a person. Social media is like a peek into what you do in your free time and/or your personal accomplishments. People want to know how you are spending your time and what you have to say about it.

Oprah Winfrey
Oprah has proven to be one of the best at personal branding, almost anyone in the world knows her name. With an estimated net worth over $2 billion, she (I am sure she has a social media manager) always is posting content that revolves around staying true to yourself and your passions. This kind of content brings people in and also empowers them- while benefiting her personal image and growing her following.

Outcomes of Personal Branding
Not only will you have a solid foundation of who you are as a person and your values on display for people to connect to, but also your brand will be able to evolve/adapt to the changing world. You may start a small business and the product is slowly going out of style- if you are attaching your name to that business and bringing your customers to your own personal image then they will be attached to not your business, but you. They have the potential to follow you around on your next business endeavor because people like to support like minded or positive people.


Personal branding is growing in importance now thanks to social media, and your entire life story can be just a click away. Most importantly, make sure you are portraying yourself in a connecting, encouraging, and honest way.

blogging, businessbuildingstrategies, onlinemarketing, personal assistant, process management, small business, social media management, Social Media Marketing, virtual assistant, virtual assistant services

Small Business Start-Up Tips

So, you’re wanting to start a small business? Here are a few tips when it comes to figuring out the type of company you want to start and other important details. 

Figure Out What Interests You 

Identify how you’re spending your free time and what gets you excited to learn more. Maybe it’s a hobby you spend a lot of time doing, books you read, magazines you subscribe to, clubs/groups you’re a part of, or places you travel to. 

Identity a Problem 

Some of the most successful businesses are the result of finding the solution to a problem many people are facing in everyday life. These can make the best kind of products and/or services because everyone loves a solution that makes their quality of life better. 

Research Your Market

A lot of markets are becoming oversaturated as time goes on and people make knock offs/ the same product with another brand name. Doing research in your selected target market is a huge factor in determining your possible success. 

Build A Team

In order to run a business smoothly and deliver the best consumer experience, you may want to look into building a small team. During the start-up process cost is normally very important, so virtual assistants are your best bet. They handle most of the busy work while you can focus on making your product and/or service as great as possible. 

Life by Design has numerous VA’s on standby to truly help you with the crazy journey of running a small business. Schedule your free consultation today! 

small business, social media management, Social Media Marketing, time management, virtual assistant, virtual assistant services

5 Simple Tips for Small Business Owners

In the year of 2020, we all know small businesses took some of the hardest hits due to the pandemic, but it’s 2021 now and time for us to bounce back! 

Our country is full of millions of small businesses- owned by “ordinary” people like us who want to take their passion and turn it into a profit making machine. Below are some tips for my fellow small business owners. 

Stay Focused

Many small business owners make the mistake of trying to appeal to too many target markets, too quickly. Depending on the type of company you run, sticking to your niche can have a huge impact on your growth. 

Brand Imagery

People don’t know who you are, what you do, or even where you came from; so having not only a consistent but solid brand message/image can really let people in on your personal story. This also gives consumers somewhat of a backstory as to where their product or service is coming from and depending on your story can tug on those heart strings- promoting sales. 

You Will Wear Many Hats

When first starting a small business you’ll probably be wearing MANY hats to fulfill all needs of your start-up. From CRM to making and shipping your products and/or services, you have to have basic knowledge of all business concepts in order to deliver that consumer experience people won’t forget. At Life by Design our goal is to help/take over on some of those responsibilities. 

Take Advantage of Social Media

In this day and age social media is one of the biggest and best tools for growing your business. Apps like Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube have millions of people waiting on standby in your target demographic to buy your product or service. With a budget as low as $5 you can reach thousands of people a day. 

Pay Attention to Consumer Needs

Sometimes business owners are unsure of how to deal with customers/consumers and deliver that great experience. Having a smooth checkout process, keeping engaged, offering good customer service, and keeping them at a high priority are just a few of the things to overall improve their needs and keep them coming back for more.

Life by Design’s goal is to assist you in/with these daunting tasks and keep you focused on your passion. We offer a free consultation HERE. 

I personally wish each and every small business owner the best of luck. 2021 is our year.