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.

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.

executive assistant, process management, small business, social media management, sop creation, virtual assistant, virtual assistant services

It’s a Good Year for Better Time Management

Happy New Year! Here’s to an amazing and productive 2021!

How do we accomplish that in our business? We manage our time well.

Time management is a key skill in becoming/being successful and it includes setting aside the perfect amount of time for each and every task being thrown at you. Here are some tips to better manage your time, which will result in higher productivity in 2021. 

  1. Set Goals 
    1. A fundamental part of time management is not only setting goals for everything you need to complete, but also prioritizing them. One way would be to rank your goals by importance so you have a better idea of what you need to do first, second, third, etc.
  2. Set A Time Frame For Each Task 
    1. Try to estimate the amount of time you will be spending on each and every task so you know when and where to fit in those tasks. It’s very important to have enough time to complete each one, leaving wiggle room in case it takes longer than expected. I can’t tell you how many times I have underestimated the amount of time a task will take me and I had already waited till the last minute to complete it- that doesn’t result in a good outcome. 
  3. Reward Yourself
    1. No matter how big or small your personal reward is, you should have one. It not only gives you greater motivation to complete the task in a timely manner but also gives you something to enjoy and promotes self care. 
  4. Take Out Unnecessary Tasks
    1. Cleaning up your to-do can have a huge impact on not just your stress levels but also your productivity. Having a bunch of unnecessary and just straight up time consuming tasks on your list will only slow you down. 
  5. Give Yourself A Break 
    1. Taking breaks are known to increase productivity as long as you stick to your set break time. Think of it as a recharging period to re-center and boost motivation. Examples include working for maybe 3 hours then giving yourself a 20 minute rest. 
    2. Delegate. Give tasks that you don’t want to work on to an assistant. Hiring a virtual assistant is one way to get rid of those extra tasks and free up more of your time for the things you want to do.

Productivity and time management are serious factors when it comes to not only your mental health surrounding the areas of stress, but also important factors to putting out quality work- no matter your area of expertise. 

Here at Life by Design our team values time management and quality work. We focus on the busy work while you continue to run the business of your passion. If you want to learn more, schedule your free consultation here.

businessbuildingstrategies, onlinemarketing, personal assistant, small business, Social Media Marketing, time management, virtual assistant

5 Ways To Grow Your Business Using Digital Media Marketing In 2021

Marketing your business in the era of 2020/2021 may seem like it’s more difficult than ever, but that’s not necessarily the truth. More people are having to stay home instead of going out or going to work in general, which has resulted in a massive increase of social media usage. 

What does this mean for marketing in this day and age? Digital Media. 

Digital media may be that key ingredient to growth and success in your business. Millions of people are right at your fingertips and those people are in your businesses demographic. 

With all of that being said, here are 5 ways to grow your business in 2021 using Digital Media Marketing. 

  1. Have your business known across all platforms. 

No matter your avenue of business, having an account with your brand image across the board is the most important thing you could ever do. Some of the most well known social media platforms to market on include, but are not limited to Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube. 

  1. Develop a cohesive brand image. 

Having a consistent and cohesive brand image across all platforms helps develop a sense of identity in your business and allows consumers to gain trust. 

  1. Build trust. 

Consumers like trust. They want to be able to buy your product or pay for your service with a guarantee that you will hold up your end of the deal and meet their needs. Ways to do this is making clear not only your refund or guarantee policy but having a mission or about us statement to where they can learn about the person “behind the screen”. 

  1. Take advantage of paid ads. 

Platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest give you access to millions of people in your businesses target demographic using keywords and an age range. You can set daily, weekly, or monthly budgets where you gain insight on the number of people who will see your business. 

  1. Take advantage of SEO (Search Engine Optimization). 

Once you create a solid website for your company, SEO can be a major factor in getting your name out in the world. What is SEO? It is a set of keywords put in both the front and backend of your website in order to show up higher on search engine rankings. 

Doing these 5 simple, yet impactful things can lead to serious growth in your company. 

Not sure how to start doing these things or simply don’t have time? We here at Life By Design have you covered. Reach out today and learn how we can take this weight off your back.  www.lifebydesignvaservices.com/contact

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

Growing Your Business With a Virtual Assistant into 2021

As e-commerce platforms are growing in the business world, hiring a virtual assistant is becoming more and more needed. As a virtual assistant myself, I believe that we, as professional VAs, should possess certain qualities to help your business grow.

As the need for virtual assistants is growing, more and more underqualified and inexperienced people are starting a virtual assistant business. When hiring a virtual assistant, it’s imperative that you screen them well, ask many questions about their prior experience, and make sure they have the qualities of the kind of person you are looking for in your business.

I have heard from many business owners who hired a virtual assistant, then soon regretted it because the assistant was not as skilled as they claimed. At that point, it’s a little awkward letting them go, not to mention the business owner is now gun shy on hiring another VA.

There are many quality VA’s out there who will do a fantastic job for your business. Many are looking for work right now! A couple things to ask for is a portfolio of past work, and a referral.  These two things can tell you a lot about the professionalism and quality of a VA.

You also want to ask questions to find out the quality of the person. Integrity and honesty, being punctual, and meeting deadlines are things you need in a VA. Here are 3 more qualities to look for when hiring a virtual assistant.

  • Detail-Oriented. A virtual assistant should always have great attention to detail. A quality virtual assistant is one who does the task promptly, does it correctly, and does it with a positive attitude.
  • Responsiveness. Virtual assistants are just that, virtual. So, it is important to have good communication since they are not in the traditional office setting.  Depending on where your virtual assistant lives, the time difference can be a challenge for both the company and the VA. So, it is important to discuss these issues in the initial consultation, before hire, and set expectations.
  • Effectiveness and Efficiency. Effectiveness and efficiency are critical aspects of making any task successful. When running any business, it is of great importance that all deadlines are met, and all work is completed thoroughly and professionally.

If you are currently in need of a virtual assistant, or maybe you are just window shopping for now, you can see what we at Life by Design VA Services do by scheduling your free consultation here.