- Webinar: Setting Yourself Apart in 2018
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Virtual assistants are not a fad. #vatip Gotta Tweet!
The virtual assistant profession will evolve as technology evolves. #vatip Gotta Tweet!
Get creative as to what you can provide. There’s a wide range of things. #vatip Gotta Tweet!
Hi and welcome to episode number 117. Today’s episode is going to be very informal. I am in the middle of rearranging my office. I’ll get that itch to change things around, and so I had to find me a quick corner to record our very first episode of 2018.
You know, as I was thinking about this episode, I realized, man, I missed an opportunity to make the first episode of 2018 episode 118. It’s like, okay, scratch that plan. So this is episode 117 and I am going to answer a viewer question. It was a comment that got, a question, actually, that got posted on YouTube. I answered her on there, but I wanted to elaborate a little more.
Now, I will post, if you’re watching the video, you will see the question pop up on the screen here. I’m going to try to make it so that it’s right above my finger here. If you’re listening, I will read the question, so let me read the question.
Thank you for your videos. I’m looking to become a virtual assistant but it seems like this was popular years ago and has faded out. You are one of the few people who have made videos within the last year. In your opinion is a VA still a good business start?
First off, Stacy, thank you so much for listening and for posting your question underneath the video. I answered her there. But like I said, I want to elaborate because you may have this very same question. Stacy, you have been on my mind ever since I first saw your question.
Short answer is virtual assistants are not a fad.
We’re not like a style like acid wash jeans that comes in and out of style. It doesn’t work that way. We are a profession, an industry that is not going anywhere. What will happen is that it will evolve as technology evolves and different clients request different things, but we’re not going anywhere.
I did a quick search on Upwork.com. That’s where a lot of people go when they’re first looking for virtual assistants to outsource. I have a client, she’s a business coach, and whenever she requests – somebody, says, “Oh, I need to outsource something. Where should I go? I don’t know anybody.” She sends them to Upwork.com.
I went right over there today before recording this episode and I counted how many virtual assistant postings were there for the U.S. and Canada. Now, there are a million other countries there, but I just did it for the U.S. and Canada, and the total was over 900 for just the title Virtual Assistant. I didn’t search a particular tool, a skill, or anything like that. I just a blanket virtual assistant and over 900 posts.
Then I said, okay, how many got posted just today? There were over 90 that got posted, actually, over 100 that got posted just for the day, so I did within the last 24 hours. That should let you know right away people need you. It is not a fad. We’re not going anywhere.
I don’t know why other people aren’t sharing about it. I have no idea. I follow – I don’t follow people that do virtual assistant coaching or anything like that. I follow people that do business coaching, digital marketing coaching, social media coaching because those are the people that I relate to the most. So I have no idea what’s up with everybody else. I don’t know. Maybe time is a factor. Maybe they’re tired of talking about it. Your guess is as good as mine on that. But we aren’t going anywhere.
I want to paint a quick picture for you. You have a client. They’re an online business owner. They just opened a shop in Shopify. I’m using Shopify. I just bought, let’s see, I do all of my shopping just about online, and the last thing I bought was a sports bra on Shefit.com. Their website is on Shopify. I thought, cool, because that’s one of the software systems that’s highly recommended for ecommerce is Shopify.
Let me paint a picture for you. If you have a client that has this type business and they need someone just like you, here’s the breakdown. The founder of that company, she is not answering emails. She is not handling the calls. She is not handling social media. She is not handling packaging. She is not handling the distribution. She’s got all these different people that do all these different things.
Now, where to virtual assistants come in? Well, she probably has a blog. She probably has got a newsletter, an email, all these different things that people want information about, and she is not the one person doing it all. I’ve tried to do everything for myself in my own virtual assistant business, and it’s exhausting. Just like today, I am pooped [laughs]. I’ve come up with this whole new recording schedule. It messed myself up.
You know, if I try to do all these different things, there’s no way. She has a team. Now, whether they’re virtual or not, I have no idea. But an advantage, if she did have a virtual team, is that they could do different hours. Some people are Pacific Time, Eastern Time, Mountain Time. So they could cover people almost around the clock by taking advantage of people in different time zones.
Let’s say someone is a fitness coach and their focus is on creating fitness videos or doing individual coaching or personal training, whatever that may be. So what do they need you for? They need you to help with their blog. They need you to research ideas. They may need you to research podcasts where they can be a guest or YouTube shows where they could be a guest or Facebook Live shows where they could be a guest.
Maybe they need you to come up with a list of ideas for possible content or do some research on the different clients, on different people, on current events. Maybe they just need you to create some social media graphics. Maybe they need you to help with the Facebook Live videos, do some transcriptions, different things like that.
Get creative as to what you can provide. There’s a wide range of things.
Sure, there may be less people asking for – I don’t know what less is. I’m trying to think of something that I did back in the day. Oh, I did an affirmations CD. Nobody is burning CDs anymore, so that’s probably done. Now, if there was a project out there now, somebody would probably want me to record that, it would be on MP3 and not CDs, so that’s how that changes.
I did data entry way back when. People still need data entry because there’s still data, right, names, addresses, emails, you know, depending on what industry they’re in. Let’s say your client is in direct sales. Well, they’ve got a huge contact base that they’re creating, names, email addresses, phone numbers, different people like that. Maybe different Facebook groups or LinkedIn groups that they need to keep track of and do different posts. It’s a lot of stuff, a whole lot of stuff.
Please don’t think that being a virtual assistant is a thing of the past, that is it gone. It’s not. We are here to stay.
What you will see is us evolve. We may be, you know, changing our titles. Who knows, because we get the advantage that most don’t. We get to see the back end from the client’s perspective and how we serve, and the front end. We see how people come into our client’s business. So we see it from the back and the front. That’s one of the advantages that we have in working with different types of clients online.
Now, let’s talk about a client that’s offline. They’ve got a brick and mortar business. Let’s say they’re a real estate agent. I used to have a client that was a real estate agent in Massachusetts. That’s where they were, and I never met them. Met them through Elance, and every day I used to look up different – the new homes that were on sale on that – what is that? Whatever the real estate website is. I always forget what it is. MRP, MSP, whatever it is, whatever the name of that website is.
So I would look them up. I had a database to put the information in, pull the pictures, address information, details, all that good stuff in their database, and they did whatever they did with it from there. I don’t know if they contacted people. It was people that were selling their homes as well as owners that were selling their homes that didn’t have real estate agents. That was something I did every single day and it had to be within a certain timeframe so they could be the first ones on top of it.
What else? Oh, something that I have got to do, in fact, on my list this week, is to get out thank you notes to every client that I had in 2017, to send out all those thank you notes. That’s going to be fun. You could do those. Maybe your client doesn’t have good handwriting or the time and they need you to do that for them. That is something that you can do.
If they keep track of birthdays and different things like that – let’s say back to direct sales. They have a team. They need to keep track of birthdays and send that out. You may be the person to help them do it. They don’t necessarily have to have an assistant in their home to do it. You could help them with that.
It’s important to think beyond administrative tasks and be very creative in what we can provide.
I hope I’ve helped you. Not just you, Stacy, but anyone else who’s wondering where are all the VA coaches and trainers and all the people that used to do videos? I don’t know where they are [laughs]. But I’m right here, here to stay. Been doing this since 2008 and I love it. There are things that I don’t do anymore, data entry, transcriptions. I don’t do that anymore. I have a VA that I work with who does phenomenal with transcriptions.
I have a VA that I work with who does a great job with Instagram. We’ll be adding on more platforms this year. Really, I’m the hold up. She’s not. I’ve been the hold up since, what, last year we were going to do more with Pinterest and I just could not get my mind to like focus. So, you know, hey, there are business owners like me. They need some help in getting their focus, and you could be their accountability because they know you’re waiting on that content from them, so you could help them in that way.
But anyway, Stacy, I hope that answers your question. Do not give up. Don’t let people have you thinking that VAs are a thing of the past, because they’re not. People are still looking to outsource. As a matter of fact, today, I saw somebody begging and pleading, wanting someone to help them with their Facebook ads. Anyway, just gives you an idea.
I still have my free webinar up if you didn’t get a chance to participate in that. I had posted the link back in December. Maybe this is your very first time seeing my podcast episode. I did a free webinar on some things that could set you apart in 2018. If you haven’t gotten a chance to sign up for that and watch that, I will post the link so you can do that.
Also, V.A.B.O.C. has started. That is a Virtual Assistant Business Owners Circle. We are going through skills training, business training, and Q&A every single month. December went off very, very well. The ladies got some great information. I’m saying ladies because right now we don’t have any men. At one point it will be ladies and gentlemen, but right now it’s the ladies.
For January, we’re going over how to do discovery sessions and things like that with clients, how not to waste your time and all that good stuff. So that’s what we’re talking about in January.
If you have any questions for me, feel free to do like Stacy and post below this video if you’re on YouTube. If you are watching this on the blog, you can post your comment, question there or on Facebook where I am every single day.
Thank you again for listening. I appreciate your time. I’m going to get me some rest and then get back in my office, back to rearranging stuff so it’ll be a better scenery the next time I see you. Anyway, take care and happy New Year!
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!