- Sprout Social
- Constant Contact
- Mad Mimi
- Google Hangouts
It’s good to know what your vision and goals are so you don’t go down different rabbit holes. #vatip Gotta Tweet!
Knowing about a tool doesn’t mean you have to provide a service in it. #vatip Gotta Tweet!
Don’t feel pressured to know every new thing that pops up. #vatip Gotta Tweet!
Hello and welcome to The Business of Being a Virtual Assistant. You’re listening to episode number 84.
How’s it going? Did you have a good week this week? Were you busy? Did you think about your business? Have you started your business, or are you in it; you’re working with clients? I’m curious to know where you are. If you’ve never reached out to me on social media, make sure you do that. I love to hear from you.
Now, let’s get into today’s topic. I’m going to talk about teaching versus recommending. What is teaching and what is recommending?
Let’s start with that first. Teaching means you show somebody how to do something so then they know how to do it for themselves. Recommending is where you are recommending different things. Maybe it’s a service, maybe it’s a product, maybe it’s a tool, but you’re recommending, and in the recommending you share what it is and how it could be used and how it’s beneficial to that person.
In regards to working with our clients, our responsibility aside from making sure their project is done, getting it done on time and excellence and all that good stuff, at some point you may be called onto to make a recommendation. You may be even called on to teach.
Now, the question is, is teaching what we should be doing as a virtual assistant?
Way back when, I participated in a coaching program and the recommendation was that as service providers we are to do, do, do, do the work, which was cool. Up until that point, that’s what I had been doing. But then I would get clients that would come and ask me, especially new ones just getting started, whether this was in our initial conversation or somewhere down the road as things progressed, either on the phone or through or through email, “What do you recommend for this? What do you recommend for that?” All relative to the service that I provided.
That’s when I realized that I should not only be knowledgeable of what to do, but things that make it easier, tools that we use to get it done. A variety, not just one. While I am a huge fan of AWeber and I recommend AWeber, I need to be aware of what else is out there that’s like AWeber.
If you are a bookkeeper, your service is focused on bookkeeping, maybe your primary tool is QuickBooks. You also should be aware of other tools that are out there like QuickBooks. Now, I don’t know what they are off the top of my head. I don’t use QuickBooks. I don’t provide bookkeeping service, so I can’t tell you what those tools are. But if that is your deal, that’s your thing, that’s what you love, you should be able to tell someone if they ask, you know, “QuickBooks does this. So and so does this. This is how they work, but this is the one that would be most beneficial for you.”
Think about what tools and things that you use that make what you do efficient or work for your client.
Are you a social media VA? Then you should be aware of the difference between Hootsuite, Sprout Social, Buffer, scheduling directly on Facebook, and whatever other scheduling tools there are out there. You should know what the differences are. Now, don’t feel pressured every time some new thing pops up you have to know what it is. But if you start seeing the same name coming up over and over again, it’s important for you to know what it is.
My focus service is WordPress, setting up websites, doing maintenance, troubleshooting, that kind of thing. When OptimizePress came on the scene, I started hearing about it over and over, so I needed to know what it is. Then, Leadpages came on the scene. I started hearing over and over again. I needed to know what it was. Whether it was something that I would use for my own business or not, I needed to know what it was so that when people come to me and ask me, I was aware.
Depending on the situation, you may not necessarily be making the recommendations up front. Maybe you’re doing it on your blog post. Maybe you’re doing it in conversation. I started out saying this is when a client asks you about recommendations, so a thought occurred to me to kind of break this up conversationally to be ready to know what different tools there are.
Now, the latest tool – it was OptimizePress, LeadPages. Now, the latest thing is ClickFunnels. That’s an added thing I’ve been hearing a lot, so now it’s time to dive in to see what that’s all about. I talked about AWeber. Back in the day, there was – Constant Contact has been around forever. It has evolved. I think that might have been the first one I heard of before AWeber. Then, I started hearing about AWeber. Then, there was Mad Mimi, GetResponse, MailChimp all these different things. Now, there’s Ontraport, Infusionsoft, and every time there’s something that adds on a little more, adds on a little more.
Knowing about it doesn’t mean that you provide a service in all of it. You have to decide what fits you best.
Even if a client comes to you and they’re like, “Well, I use XYZ and I love it. Is that something that you’re familiar with? Do you use it?” If it’s something that you’ve never heard of, time to jump in, go to your best friend Google, and find out what is it. Do your trial. See if you like it, if it’s something that you’ll be able to learn, and go from there. If not, be up front. Let them know.
I recently was invited to a project on Upwork for ClickFunnels, and there was some other thing. Oh, gosh, what was it? He said ClickFunnels and – I don’t want to mess it up. They have some new thing that will analyze data and all this stuff that’s an add-on for ClickFunnels, which I had never heard of until this project.
I was intrigued by the project. I sent him a proposal, but in it I was very clear and let him know that I didn’t have experience with that data part. Can’t remember what it’s called. It starts with an A, and I don’t want to pause to look it up because it may be totally irrelevant to you. But anyway, I was honest in that and just let him know. He replied back. Let me know, I think a day or so later, he found someone else to work on the project, which was totally fine.
But get this. Because of his job description and because I got really excited about it, guess what I’m going to do for the next time? I’m going to go dive into that data add-on thing on ClickFunnels and figure out what it is. See if it’s something that I would enjoy working with, and start tinkering with it. Tinkering with it for myself, even if it’s just for the trial period, to know, and now be ready, if it is something that I want to pursue, be ready for the next time.
They even have like a whole certification for ClickFunnels. I investigated that a little. Not worth it for me in regards to what I want to do and go forward with for 2017. This is why it’s good to know what your vision is, what your goals are and your plans for your business are for this year so you don’t go down different little rabbit holes, because there will be all kinds of things popping up at you all throughout the year.
The last Facebook Live I did on my Facebook page, I think it was the last one, was about BlueJeans. I was trying out new software, BlueJeans, that lets you go live on Facebook on your computer and share your screen. That was the thing that intrigued me the most, sharing your screen. I was so excited, and you could tell from that video how excited I was.
One thing I do, I don’t, you know, sign up for things right away as far as paying, but I’ll sign up for a trial. Test it out. Give it a run. But in my decision making, is this worth it for me personally in my VA business, or is this something that would be more suitable for a client? So I’ve gone back and forth, back and forth to see if it will make sense.
It’s easy to sign up for all these different things and have money going out for all these different tools, but if you’re not using it, you know, it kind of defeats the whole purpose. But knowing how to use it is beneficial for my business so I can help clients. You see what I’m saying?
This is all a part of our recommendations. We’re not teaching anybody. I wasn’t teaching anybody how to use BlueJeans. I just showed them what it was and gave ideas on how it could be used. Obviously, for Facebook Live, but also for webinars and things like that. That sparked ideas for me for future blog posts just in talking about that software.
Recently, over the holidays, I learned about a new tool. BeLive.tv is something that will let you go live on Facebook, and right now it’s free. You may have seen it popping up in your feed where people are doing interviews, so you see two people on the screen on Facebook Live. You’ll see their little logo, BeLive.tv, in the corner there. That is in beta and it’s free right now, and I’ve signed up for a trial. Haven’t gone on live yet to use it.
My whole thing is for me is I don’t do interviews and I really want to be able to share my screen, so I’m going to test that out. They’ve got a whole dual camera thing. I don’t have two cameras. I’ve got a phone and a laptop. I’m going to tinker with it and see if I can work it out for a screen share and me on the camera. I don’t know how that works, but I’m looking forward to testing out to see. Then, guess what? I’ll be able to make a recommendation. What is this BeLive.tv in comparison to BlueJeans?
I got an email. Someone asked, you know, told them about the Facebook Live to my email list, and a person emailed back. They wanted to know, well, how is this different from Zoom? So guess what? I’m familiar with Zoom. I use Zoom. I like Zoom, and was able to let them know the biggest difference between Zoom and BlueJeans, Zoom has nothing to do with Facebook Live. It’s totally separate.
The things that would be more of a comparison with Zoom would be like Zoom, well, Google Hangout, WebinarJam, GoToWebinar, all the different things that you can use for webinars. Zoom has a free option; let’s you do your webinar of 45 minutes. I like that. You may not be talking for 45 minutes. You may not need all that time.
Anyway, it’s good to know what fits the services you provide, not be stuck one way in a bubble.
When I first started, I was kind of like that. Stuck one way, when I learned something new. Oh, my client uses 1ShoppingCart, you know, I’m focused one way. Okay, it’s only 1ShoppingCart. Were there other things that came on the scene? Shopify came on the scene early on. I remember one of my clients, she was moving to Shopify. She wasn’t blogging. I was like, “Oh, you should do WordPress and maybe you can add Shopify.” Well, that was in the early days of it, and her focus was more so on the ecommerce side versus the blogging side, so it was really smart for her to go to Shopify.
Think about it like this with the teaching part, because I think I made it pretty clear about recommendations. Let’s talk about teaching and I’ll get you off the ledge of teaching or feeling like you have to teach your clients anything. They are outsourcing to you to do the work, and in most instances, for those who want to learn themselves, there are all different other places they can go to learn it. They can learn it on YouTube. They can sign up for courses, all these different things. The tools themselves have tutorials that they could go through.
What happens a lot of times is people want easy. They want it delivered to them on a silver platter, and you are the silver platter because you understand it. You translate it and can give it to them. I wouldn’t do that free, and I wouldn’t do that for clients. It’s one thing if you’re handing off a website and they need to know, “Well, how do I blog? How do I add more pages if I want?” That’s totally different from the start you teaching, teaching someone how to post on Facebook, teaching someone how to create a graphic in Canva, teaching someone how to do a spreadsheet. No, that’s not your role, and it will drain your energy doing that.
A good analogy that came to me as I was drafting notes for today’s podcast is an auto mechanic. Now, there may be some things you know how to do for your car, and I wrote down a few just off the top of my head. You may know how to change the oil. You may know how to change the tire. You may know how to check the air pressure in your tire. You might know how to add the wiper fluid. You may know how to change the wiper blades. These are some things that I have either done or seen and I’m aware of.
But if you asked me to change brake pads, I can’t do that. I don’t know how to do that. I’m not interested in doing that, nor am I asking my auto mechanic to show me how to change my brake pads so I can change them for myself, or how do I align my wheels? Can you show me how to do that so I can do that for myself the next time? No way, no how am I even going to do that, and I think the auto mechanic would probably look at me like I have three eyes and really wonder why. Why would you ask that? It’s weird, isn’t it, when you put it in that perspective.
Or you go to the dentist and, you know, the dental hygienist does most of the work. She does all the cleaning and all that stuff. If you just asked her, “Well, what tool is that? What does that do? Can you show me how to use that because I’m going to buy me a kit and do that at the house?” It’s crazy. There may be one that shows you. But overall, it’s crazy to even ask. It’s like why? Why are you trying to do all this?
If a client, you know, and I’ve had people ask, and I didn’t respond how, you know, if they were a friend of mine, how I would have told a friend of mine. I was very professional about it, and really just focused more on the services. I can do this for you. I can do that for you. You need this, this, and that. But I’m not providing training courses for people to do certain things.
My joy is not in showing a client how to do a Facebook post. My joy is in getting their content and maybe scheduling for them. You know, and I’m saying “my,” putting myself in your shoes. You know, my thing is the whole technical aspect, but people look at some things like, “Oh, I could do this myself,” and you probably could. I just don’t want to be the one to show you how to do it.
Now, having said all that, maybe there is a teacher inside of you that really wants to show them that. If that’s the case, then that would be totally outside of virtual assistant business. You can frame it how you want. Your VA business, you can frame it how you want. But when you start teaching people how to do services, then that’s another avenue. Make sense? I hope so.
Hit me up if you have any questions. I appreciate you listening. You have no idea. It means the world to me that you listen to this podcast, and you are the reason that I continue to push and I show up every single week for you. Until next time.
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!