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

personal assistant, small business, time management, virtual assistant

What Is a CRM & How Can It Help Your Business?


CRM stands for Customer Relationship Manager. In a nutshell it is “the process of managing interactions with existing as well as past and potential customers and is one of the many different approaches that allow a company to manage and analyze its own interactions with its past, current and potential customers.”

A CRM can help a business of any size drive its growth anywhere but down. There are 4 key components of CRM work that someone like us would do for your company.

  1. Retain Customers
    a. When people buy a product or especially a service, your goal is to retain them
    and keep them coming back for more. But how do you do this? By customer
    interaction. People like when companies make their purchase personal and feel
    like the business truly cares for their satisfaction. This is done mainly through
    email or social media marketing and simply a fast reply time.
  2. Sales Increase
    a. It’s a proven fact that when you streamline your business on online platforms and
    interact with your following- sales will go up.
  3. Transparency
    a. Being “transparent” with the consumers again causes people to gain trust in not
    only your company but the “man behind the screen”. You can accomplish this by
    replying to customer inquiries, posting your company’s mission or about us
    statements, and introducing employees or the owner.
  4. Better Understand Your Consumer Audience
    a. Using a CRM can help you better understand who is looking, buying, and liking
    your product or service. Platforms such as Facebook and Instagram offer very
    easy to use/access user analytics. Diving into your target demographic and
    learning more about the analytics behind it all can truly benefit your business.
    Getting started with CRM can be a daunting task but with the right help it can be done in a timely and efficient manner.

Life By Design is capable of helping you with all things surrounding the avenue of CRM and
allows you to really focus on your passion- running the business you love.

I have a few I prefer, with my favorite right now being Hubspot, then Active Campaign with Zoho being third.

What’s your favorite CRM?

businessbuildingstrategies, Goal Setting, small business, Social Media Marketing, time management, virtual assistant

What is a Virtual Assistant and Why Would I Ever Need One?

Whether your business is a one-man show that’s just begun or an established company with more than one team member, a virtual assistant may be in your best interest. Their purpose is to allow you to focus on what matters most, your passions and running the business you love. 

No matter if your business is completely online, in person, or maybe both- tremendous benefits come along with hiring one. 

Managing a consistent/cohesive brand image across all of your social media platforms, website, local listings, and more can become a serious challenge. Alongside keeping up with all of your clerical/general administration tasks can seem nearly impossible. That’s why Virtual Assistants are there to help you! 

Save Money 

Most brands like to outsource when it comes to hiring someone to handle all of the busy work because it normally results in a profit save. As well as cutting back on things like training costs.  Virtual Assistants are already knowledgeable in everything that comes with the job. 

Save Time

Starting a business can be so exciting and gives you the opportunity to make a profit from something you truly enjoy doing, but will soon be followed by busywork. These amazing assistants truly will take a tremendous amount of pressure off your back so you can stop sweating about the small things and dive deeper into your passion. 

Virtual Assistants are becoming more and more acknowledged today, especially with everything starting to be done remotely. Most assistants work from home allowing a very flexible schedule to fit all of your company’s needs. 

Social Media

  • Content creation 
    • Using your brand colors, the content will be created to match your brand image and engage your following. 
  • Grow Your Following 
    • It’s a proven fact that when business social media accounts post consistent and engaging content- follower counts go up. 

General Admin  

  • Email Marketing / Regular Usage 
    • Including management and cleanup, sorting, scheduling newsletters and general emails, email autoresponders, automations, as well as mailing list setup. 
  • Proofreading 
  • Basic Bookkeeping 
  • Calendar Organization
    • Including management and appointment scheduling, creating daily to-do lists, and creating employee schedules. 
  • Media Creation 
    • Including slides for presentations, word documents, spreadsheets, and more. 
  • Research 
  • Data Entry 
  • Website Management

Life by Design is known for exceptional customer service and guaranteed client satisfaction. Each one of our team members has the same goal in mind – making your life easier while you continue to dive deeper into your passions. Hear from our past clients on our home page where reviews are located. See them here.

2021 can be your best year in business yet, with a little help. 🙂

To your success,

Genean

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.

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

5 Stress Reducing Methods – Busy is Not a Badge of Honor

It’s become the norm for small business owners to feel very stressed out while running their businesses. If you are a business owner, I’m sure you will agree that it is hard work, and not everything is always going to go smoothly. There are bumps on the road to growth, lots of them. Those bumps cause stress, frustration and lots of pressure.

As a small business owner, there are so many things to get done. If you are a solopreneur or have a very small staff, then you have to do most of the work yourself. This includes taking care of clients and customers, employee recruiting and retention, troubleshooting issues and putting out fires, marketing yourself, meetings and so much more.

However, there are some stress management methods that have been proven to help many business owners who have experienced the pressures of being too busy.

Here are 5 tips for helping with the stress.

Take Breaks

I know, I know. You don’t have time for breaks. Did you know that one reason why many small business owners get so stressed is that they don’t take enough time off? Some take 0 days off in a year. That is not healthy for your body, your mental health, or your relationships. When you spend too much of your time working, it takes a toll. Taking time away from work will help you to recharge your batteries. So take a day off! The business will still be there when you go back!

Self-Care

Self-care is vital for stress management. Again, I know, you don’t have time. If you aren’t eating right and your sleep schedule is off, then you’re going to feel it, and it’s going to affect your health over time. I also know business owners who get so busy that they go all day before realizing they haven’t eaten and it’s now 11pm so they binge eat junk food before going to bed. That’s also not a good idea for the waistline. So, take time to at least get lunch and get enough sleep each night. You should also try to get some exercise in when you can. Yoga/pilates is a great stress reliever and good for the body.

Don’t Neglect Those Most Important to You

Make sure you separate work from home life. I know many business owners, I have been guilty of this as well, who feel like they need to think about work or work on projects even after the work day is over. Many business owners also work from home now, which can lead to even more work. It easy to get lost in constant work when your office is in your home. But when you’re at home spending time with your family, it’s important to leave work at work, even if that work is only steps away to your office. Set business hours and only work inside those hours, unless a business emergency happens.

Focus on the Positive

It’s easy to see the negative things and all of the challenges of running your small business. For some reason, our minds see the negative more so than the positive. It’s normal human nature. But we can adjust our thinking. We can choose to focus on the good. Being intentionally grateful and counting your blessings can make a huge difference in how you feel. Maybe set a reminder in your phone for every single day to stop for 1 minute and say 3 things you are grateful for that day.

Hire a Virtual Assistant

Maybe you are simply doing too much. Maybe your business is growing and you simply can’t keep up anymore and it’s stressing you out. Maybe it’s time to get some help. A virtual assistant is a great way to get some of those general admin, website, social media, scheduling, email marketing, and other tasks off your to-do list, so that you have more time, and more productivity.

Here are a few things hiring a virtual assistant can change for you:

  1. Delegate those time-consuming tasks that keep you from growing your business.
  2. Free up your time to focus on the things that are most important to you.
  3. Check off those tedious tasks that never seem to get done.
  4. Feel calm, productive and a lot less frustrated!

Schedule a free consultation with me today so we can see if what I do as a Virtual Assistant may help you in your business. Let’s Talk.

virtual assistant

The Top 3 Time Tracking Apps for Virtual Assistants in 2020

If you are a Virtual Assistant who charges by the hour, it’s imperative that you have an easy-to-use, accurate, time tracking program. With over 5 years in the virtual assistant industry, I have tried a variety of ways to track my time. Heck, I have even tried using a kitchen timer once! I don’t recommend it unless you want to almost pee your pants when it goes off! 😉

There’s an easier option that doesn’t make you jump out of your seat. It’s called a time tracking app, and there are many on the market. Some are wonderful and some are meh. Some are very simple and others are a hassle. Some are free and some cost a fee.

First of all, I don’t recommend paying. There are many free options that work just as well as the paid ones. So, there’s no reason to have more business expenses than you have to as a VA.

Today, I want to tell you about my top 3 time tracking apps, even though there are probably a dozen that I like really well, but for the sake of space and time, I’m picking three.

  1. Clockify. This one is kind of new to me, but is my absolute favorite now. I have only been using it for about a month, but I really like it. Super simple, easy-to-use, accurate, and free. This is an all-inclusive time tracking program with an extensive reporting system. This time tracker offers tracking time while you work, manual time entry, you can also add your time in a time sheet, and includes features that help you organize the time you log. The Reports section also offers weekly reports, if you choose to use them.
  2. Toggl. This is the one I have used the most in the past. It was built for speed and easy to use. It has a simple interface that is easy to navigate and learn quickly. It is also free, but there is an advanced paid option, but I did just fine without the paid version. You basically clock in and out on this app as well. You can access it from your desktop or phone. You can also use the data to organize time sheets.
  3. Time Camp. This one also has a free version. It has automatic time tracking with comprehensive and detailed reports. It also has time sheets and can separate by categories. I’ve used a few times and it was pretty simple and easy to use.

When I thought about all the ones I’ve tried, these 3 stood out to me the most as ones I would recommend. It’s important as a VA to make sure you are tracking your time correctly if you charge by the hour. Not only is this for the benefit of the client to make sure you are not charging more than you are actually working, but this is important for you to use a time tracker to make sure you aren’t undercharging for your time.

If you are an employer or have recently contracted out a virtual assistant, these would be good options to use or recommend to them to make sure productivity is what it needs to be. If you yourself are a virtual assistant, any of these would be a great way to help track your time accurately.

If you are a busy small business owner and maybe need a virtual assistant to help take care of some things for you, please schedule an appointment with me for a free 15 minute consultation to see if we are a good match! You can do that HERE.

Genean Roberts – Life By Design VA Services