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Get clear on your services, then your marketing plan won’t be a challenge. #vatip Gotta Tweet!
What your client does for their business, you must do for yours. #vatip Gotta Tweet!
You’re going to feel so accomplished when you can consistently produce your content. Gotta Tweet!
Hello! This is Tiffany. Welcome to episode number two. We’re going to focus on you today – your number one client.
Now, you may be driving in the car or in the gym or doing housework. I know for me when I’m listening to podcasts, it’s really hard to sit and just totally focus without doing anything else. So I get that you’re probably doing something else while you’re listening to this.
We’re going to have show notes for you and action steps for you. So you’ll want to come back and relisten to this episode for sure.
It’s the beginning of 2015. Happy New Year! When I tell you I was so excited to see 12:01 to make sure it’s 2015, I have never been so excited about New Year’s in my life, like ever. I’ve been excited before, but when I tell you I was so glad to see it go to 2015, I can’t even express to you.
2014 was a year…man, it was rough. Let’s just say that. 2014 was rough. I’m excited that 2015 is here. Some things happened at the end of 2014 that totally set the stage for why I’m excited for 2015, and initially I was a little ticked by it. But it was a blessing and I’m going to share it with you. I’ve got my water here. I’m good to go.
So end of 2014, I was forced to come up with a marketing plan for my business. I started my business in 2008, and my marketing plan has been on index cards, various sheets of paper, in journals, but mostly in my head. It wasn’t laid out in an organized fashion. If someone who didn’t understand what I did, asked me to show them my marketing plan and I show them what I had, they would be like, “What is this? You don’t have it together.”
Towards the end of 2014, I was forced to show my marketing plan to someone that doesn’t know anything about our business. I don’t even know if they do a lot on online or anything. So I felt like I had to prove myself and prove what I do, and yeah, it ticked me off. But, you know, I couldn’t get out of it, so I quickly got over that and looked up tips on how to formulate everything that I had been doing all these years and what my plan was to market my business.
80% of what we should be doing for our virtual assistant business is marketing and then the other 20% is serving our clients.
The big thing is being clear on what you provide as a business. If you’re very clear on what you provide, then creating this marketing plan won’t be a big deal. It won’t be as much of a challenge as what I found because you already know the stuff. You just may not have it laid out in a nice, organized fashion.
The biggest thing is how will you attract new clients. What are you going to do?
Well, you could rattle off that list to me. I’m going to blog. I’m going to send out a newsletter. I’ve got a free opt-in offer. I’m going to do social media. I’m going to make connections locally. I’m going to do virtual events so people will know more about me and what I provide, I mean, you could create a list.
How would you communicate that to someone who has no idea of all the possibilities and how to market outside of a traditional way?
When you’re thinking about and writing, not just thinking, because we’re going to change the whole thinking about – when you’re writing down your marketing plan, write it as though you’re writing it to someone who knows nothing about what you do, I mean, they don’t know. They don’t have a clue, so that means you want to be detailed.
I revisited the marketing plan. I was able to get it off to the people I needed to get it off to, but it sparked something in me like never before. I was so stoked about what I needed to do next, because now everything I had planned, it was in my head. It was on paper. I could see it. It’s in black and white.
It got me to thinking, okay, obviously, my website is my presence online. What am I going to blog about? I’ll tell you, I’ve been fighting editorial calendars. You see those tips, oh, editorial calendars. I was like I don’t want to plan out all that time ahead. I might change. But there’s no rule that says you have to plan a year on an editorial calendar.
There’s no rule that says just because you say you’re going to talk about XYZ one month, doesn’t mean you can’t change it!
I don’t know where that thought came from, for me, that I couldn’t change it. So I got really excited about what I wanted to do and got focused on what I want to provide to my clients.
Now, I’m a technical virtual assistant and I can rattle off what that is. I do all things related to websites. I got even more specific this year and thought about what type of client I want to serve, and I want to work with clients who already have WordPress websites and want to give them a facelift, a makeover. They want a redesign. They want to change the theme, or they need someone to maintain it. They’ve been maintaining it all this time and now they need to hand that over to someone else. That’s what I provide as a technical virtual assistant.
Then my blog, I decided, you know, I want this to be a learning platform. I love learning new tools and there’s no point in me learning things and I don’t share. So that’s what I’ll be blogging about in addition to how to work with a technical virtual assistant. I’m very clear on it, even more clear than ever before all because of this marketing plan that I didn’t want to write down to give to someone that I don’t even know.
I want to encourage you to write a marketing plan for your business.
You already know how you’re going to do it. When you write it down, now it becomes an established plan. I put my in a Google Doc because it’s a living document and I just feel like by it being in Google Doc, it’s easy to access. I can change it from my computer or my phone, and it makes it so easy. It’s a living document, something I could easily access and look at when I need to and update as needed.
It made me think about the podcast for you guys and what that was going to be about, and that’s how I ended up coming up with this whole relaunch and getting things on track and naming it The Business of Being a Virtual Assistant, because I could go on and on about this business that I love so much. That’s where the podcast comes in.
I want you to hang out with me. Let’s talk about your business. Let’s pretend like this is a one-on-one consultation. You and I, we’re having a one-on-one consultation. Let’s say that you emailed me, you’re interested in my services and we’ve scheduled this appointment.
Now, the whole point of this exercise is to get YOU to look at your business outside of yourself, for you to treat your business as though it is your number one client.
Your number one client is you.
If you aren’t clear on what you provide to your clients, it’s going to be very hard when you talk to them on the phone about the service you provide. It’s going to be difficult when it’s time to blog and you think about valuable content to your community. You’re going to seem like you’re all over the place if you’re not clear in what you provide as a virtual assistant.
This pretend conversation we’re going to have is to get you to think about your business outside of you, and just imagine it’s like another client coming to you.
If I were to ask you to tell me about your business, what do you do, what do you provide, what are you looking to accomplish this year? Do you know what that is? It might be getting your website set up. It might be blogging more on a consistent basis. Your service may be that you are a social media virtual assistant or you are an administrative virtual assistant who specializes in editing and proofing.
I love specialties. When you’ve got a specialty, it helps you so much to gain clarity.
In addition to my technical virtual assistant business, Virtual Hired Hand, I also formed a virtual assistant firm called The Podcast VA, and we specialize in transcribing podcasts for podcasters. So I’m super excited about that, really clear. The tagline is the elevator speech. It makes it very easy.
The more simplified you can get on what you provide, the better for you.
In this consultation, when your clients comes to you and you’re talking to them and you’re listening while they’re telling you what services they need, put yourself in that client’s shoes.
Everything that your client needs to do for their business, you have to do for your business: Blogging, a newsletter, social media, networking, connecting, bookkeeping, administrative stuff, and on and on.
In this consultation, what do you want to happen this year in 2015 for your business?
Do you want more clients? Do you want to be more consistent in blogging? What do you want to happen? I’ll tell you if it’s to get clients, you’re just starting out, it’s to get clients, and I’m right there with you. I’m actually rebuilding my Virtual Hired Hand business.
For the last few years, I’ve been in a relationship with a client where they got the bulk of my time and it was almost like an exclusivity agreement where they got the bulk of my time. I served some other clients, but not in such a great capacity. When that relationship ended, it forced me to have to regroup and pretty much rebuild my business.
Now, because I’ve built it before, I can build it again. Very excited about that, and with this new clarity, new insight, just openness about who I am and what my business is. I’m very excited about that.
If you’re just starting out or rebuilding like myself, don’t be afraid. You can do this. We can do this together.
But that first step is to see yourself as your client. Have a private consultation with yourself. Write down what you need to happen this year in order for your business to take off. What do you need?
Now, you have clients that come to you and they right away know. Let’s say you are a webinar virtual assistant – you moderate webinars. Your client comes to you, they already know, hey, we’ve got webinars that happen once a month. We need someone to moderate that for us, to handle any technical glitches, to answer our client support email during that time, to moderate the chat, and on and on. They know right away.
If you have that client that comes to you that says, “Oh, we would like to do webinars this year and we’re looking at possibly maybe doing some things in the spring, so want to know what you provide.” Does that get you excited about working with them, the second client who’s like, hmm, maybe we think we are. We might in the spring? No. You already know they’re not ready for your business. They’re just kind of fishing, or they’re doing activity so they can feel like they’re doing something on their business.
We’ve all been there. Oh, we’ve been there. We’ve checked email. We’ve checked Facebook. We’re busy instead of really getting to what we need to get to: Writing out proposals, sending those out to clients finishing up a blog post that would be very significant in getting our name there so people know who we are.
We know how to do the avoidance activities, so you don’t want to do that for your VA business.
You want to be very clear on what you need because you have to be. Because you’re going to be serving clients, while at the same time you have to serve your own business. The reason why your business is number one is because if that 80% marketing falls off, guess what? You only have the 20% and if that 20% goes away, you’ve got to start over.
I’ve been there. It doesn’t feel good, but it makes you stronger and makes you more determined than ever before. It makes you realize, you know, I really want my business – MY business. I want it to look like me. I want it to be me. I want it to feel like me. I want to be excited about the work that I provide and the people that I provide to.
I don’t know. I’m actually kind of getting emotional talking about this. Oh my gosh, I don’t know, it’s just really an exciting time and I want you to feel that way about your business.
Start with your marketing plan. I’ll tell you the main topics I did for my marketing plan. I’ve got it pulled up here. I’ll tell you how I started it off. I started off with a goal and then identified the target market, what services we provide, listed out the strategies. I noted previous limitations, and I had to put that in there. Again, I’m providing this to someone who knows nothing about my business and just to show proof that I’m in business and doing this thing.
Metrics – some important metrics that I’ll actually be tracking every single month, and I broke those out based on community building, which includes my email list, social media, virtual events, subscribers to our podcast.
Inquires and leads, that’s the second metrics, breaking that out. In other words, how many people are contacting me directly as result of the newsletter, website, social media, hosted event, or from networking at live events.
Then the other metrics category is conversions. How many registered for our monthly services and those who registered for what I call “project only” services. Of course, the ideal thing is to have more recurring clients because that’s something that you can count on from one month to the next and you know that will grow.
But those are pretty much the subheads for a marketing plan. That’s really got me all excited.
Now the action plan – let me go ahead and back up. Okay, so with the action plan, this is where you want to have your when, what, who, your objectives and how much it’s going to cost. You could chart this out.
For example, for my newsletter I’ve got Thursdays, and for those of you who aren’t on my newsletter, if you go to tiffanyparson.com and get signed up there. There is free training. You’ll see a button for free training. Select which one you’re interested in. Maybe it’s the 15 Secrets to Getting Started as a Virtual Assistant. That’ll get you on the email list.
There are things I send out to my email list that I don’t ever post on my blog, and that’s because the community, we have some private things to talk about. I’ll email that just to the list and the blog will never see it, so those are the advantages of being on the list.
Also, there are people that come to me who are looking for virtual assistants. Usually it will be a service that I don’t provide and so they may ask me if I know someone and I go to my list first because, yeah, I know a bunch of people. Let me go ask them, see who’s available.
At some point this year, 2015, I’ll create another way of doing that. I haven’t figured it out yet, whether it will be part of a membership or training, and that’ll be an added benefit. I’m not really sure. But for right now it’s going to the email list, so I encourage you to hop on that list.
I’m going to say this now before I forget. Last episode, towards the end I talked about an audio I did in the Summer E-Camp for Virtual Assistants about what to do on social media, and I was deciding what to do, whether to provide it as a podcast, an opt-in, what to do. This is what I had decided to do. It’s going to be a bonus.
If you sign up for the waitlist to be a part of the next Summer E-Camp for Virtual Assistants, clearly we’re not waiting for summer, but that’s just what it was called last year so that page is still there and working perfectly fine. I just haven’t taken summer off. But if you go to tiffanyparson.com/summer, sign up for the waitlist, you will receive the bonus mp3. I’m going to give it to you. It was part of the training, but I’m just going to give it to you for signing up, for listening to the podcast, for signing up to be on the waitlist for this e-camp training.
It goes into detail about what we should be doing on social media as a virtual assistant, because that can get a little confusing. So that mp3 goes into that. I won’t get us off track with what we’re talking about with our marketing plan and getting clear on that. But if you’re interested in learning more about that, you heard last week’s episode, make sure you get your copy. Get on that waitlist. Again, that’s tiffanyparson.com/summer. As soon as you confirm your email, you’ll get access to that mp3 and start listening to that.
Just happy to provide that to you and I know it will be helpful. Take it, listen to it, and put it to action.
Back to the action plan with our marketing, so Thursday’s newsletter I have on here, and I’ll tell I went ahead and did the editorial calendar for the blog that’s specific for clients. I’ve got it mapped out all the way to the end of the year and I’m excited about that.
Now granted, I know things will come up. But me being a technical virtual assistant, there’s so many tools I want to talk about and different things I want to tinker with and share with them and kind of guide them along the way. That’s where the blog’s going to go, and I’m flexible. I know it can change. It doesn’t have to stay. It’s not written in permanent ink.
So newsletter goes out on Thursday. My blog post goes out on Thursday. Podcast goes out on Thursday. Thursday is my day. Thursday is the publish day. Everything goes live on Thursday, which is exciting. I’ll tell you, the weeks that I don’t publish any content, I feel it. I feel like I can’t breathe. I feel like there’s something I haven’t done. I run my to-do list in my head over and over and over and over again.
When I don’t produce content, I feel it. But when I do produce content, I’ll tell you, I feel like the weight of the world is lifted. I feel like I’ve accomplished so much. I feel like it is an awesome week because I published my content. It’s wild. It is. It’s wild. It’s like, you know, there’s something that you have inside of you that you need to do.
I’m not saying you’re going to feel this way when you publish. It could be something else for you. I don’t know what your thing is, but whatever it is and you know you’ve been putting it off, putting it off, putting it off, when you get consistent with it, start doing it, you’re going to feel so accomplished from one week to the next.
Let’s see what else I have on this marketing plan.
Virtual events – I don’t have set dates for that yet. I know I want to do it quarterly, maybe monthly. I don’t have that all laid out. You don’t have to have everything all laid out. It’s a start. This marketing plan, the action steps in it, are a living document. So it’s something that I can reference with excitement and not look at it as a chore or anything like that. Now it’s in my hands. Now it’s something I can maintain and do for myself.
The main two things we talked about today was creating a marketing plan for your business and also having a private consultation with yourself about your business.
Put it on paper. Talk it out. Whatever you need to do so you can get clear on what you’re providing this year as a virtual assistant. Get clear on what you’re specializing in. Get clear on what needs to be done for that marketing plan. All of that pretty much goes together. Once that happens, things will fall into place just like unlocking a combination. Just like all the numbers lining up and boom it opens.
Thanks so much for tuning in. If you like what you heard, stay tuned. We’ll be back. Tell me what’s going on with you. Come on over the Facebook page: facebook.com/tiffanyparsonbiz, or if you prefer a little shorter message, come on over to Twitter: @tiffanydparson.
See you next time.
Image courtesy of stockimages at FreeDigitalPhotos.net, modifications courtesy of moi!
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