If you haven’t completed projects online, refer to skills you have used offline. #vatipGotta Tweet!
Providing good details will show how you communicate. #vatip Gotta Tweet!
Your profile is just as important as your proposal. #vatip Gotta Tweet!
Hey ladies and gents! This is Tiffany and I just have to tell you my back is sore and I don’t know why. In the middle of my fitness class this morning, we’re going to the weights and all of a sudden my lower back starts hurting. I have no idea why. It’s still hurting. That should not affect the podcast today, but the way I’m sitting is probably not good for my back. However, it makes it easier to talk to you on the mic.
Episode number five. Today’s focus is on your Elance profile.
Now, a while back I got a question on Twitter about what my advice was in regards to an Elance profile and what that should look like, you know, what to include and what was my advice. That’s what we’re talking about today is your Elance profile.
If you have not set up one yet, you’re totally clueless, have no idea what I’m talking about in regards to Elance, go to elance.com, and actually I have an affiliate link, which is virtualhiredhand.com/elance and I’ll make sure that’s in the show notes so you can go there and get your profile set up.
If you have a copy of my 15 Known Secrets To Get Started As A Virtual Assistant then you know that I talk about Elance as a great way of getting started with your virtual assistant business.
We’re going to talk about what your profile should look like. I want to say when you are getting ready to do your profile, if you don’t have any online experience serving clients, then I would recommend that you have your resume in front of you.
If you do have experience serving clients, then when it gets to your work experience you’re going to break down each project and give a summary of what you worked on. If you’re able to share the client’s name, do that. If not, be generic, like share what type of business it was.
For example, I used to be a computer programmer at Sprint, and what I would put on different things is telecommunications industry, you know, something like that. So if you worked with a business coach or fitness coach or health coach, put that on there, unless you are listing them as a reference and they already know and it’s okay to put their name on your profile, then I would go ahead and do it that way.
Okay. Let’s dive in.
The first thing, of course, is to have a picture of yourself.
I was going to skip that, but I want to make sure everybody understands it’s important to have a picture on your profile. Just like with social media, people want to know who they’re talking to. So it’s important that you have that picture. They can put a name with a face. No logo, nothing crazy, just you, your beautiful face, your handsome face, in a little circle so they can know who this person is that is bidding on their project.
Now, the first thing you want to do in the section that says Resume/C.V. – C.V. is pretty much an overview of your work history. In this area you want to, in a conversational but professional tone, give a summary of what you’ve been doing online. Give a summary in a nice paragraph or several paragraphs in regards to what you have been doing online.
If your experience does not include any online projects, this is your first time out, everything else has been corporate related, then I want you to refer to the skills that you already have. For example, if you’re good at data entry, customer service, bookkeeping, transcription, websites, blog content management, whatever it is that you’ve done offline, include that in that summary as well.
If you’re online, let’s say you’re just one or two projects in, then I would include a mix of both online and offline experience.
Additionally, you want another paragraph to share what you’re looking for and how your experience relates to what you’re looking for.
Okay? In another paragraph or two, go into detail. What type of projects are you looking for? What kind of skills are you looking to use? Things that you’re looking to do, and share how your experience is relative to what you’re looking for.
Now, let’s say you’re doing something new. Say you want to start writing articles. You are interested in writing articles for clients. That’s something you haven’t done, but you have your own blog. So you want to say that you’ve been writing articles for yourself on your own blog posts and you’re looking for projects where you can utilize your writing skills to write articles or blog posts or eBooks, or what have you, for clients.
If you have not done it for yourself, then I would test it out on yourself first to see if that’s something that you really want to do for a client before you go bidding for projects, because they are going to want to know if you’ve done it before. They’re going to want to see a sample, something in your portfolio, in relation to that.
Then I want you to brag on yourself. Include one paragraph, and it could be a few sentences where you’re bragging on yourself. Share if you’ve received any awards, any type of recognition, or any certification. Share that information in a few sentences in that paragraph.
If you don’t, then I want you to include something about yourself – a strength, what makes you exceptional, what sets you apart, why you’re a good fit, something like that in that last paragraph.
To give you a quick outline of what we’ve talked about at the top where it says Resume/C.V., that’s where you’re going to include in the first few paragraphs a summary of what you’ve been working on.
I want to say this: try to avoid any industry jargon that your prospective client may not understand. Okay? Try to avoid using acronyms. If you’re saying SEO or HTML, you know, well, HTML is pretty common, but I’m trying to think an acronym – PMP for example.
Let’s say you have a PMP certification. Well, your client may not know what PMP is. You want to avoid using acronyms that your client doesn’t know. Say it all the way out so they will understand what that is, okay, so there’s no question in regards to that.
Remember, you’re speaking in a conversational tone. Just imagine that you’re talking to them and write it out.
Now, because you have this information, you could actually write it out in a Word document for yourself, and then take it to Elance, however you want to do it. This way, you’ve got a copy to work off of as a draft, and then you can just copy and paste into Elance and format it how you like. In case it comes over as one huge paragraph, then you can break up your paragraphs.
In the Resume/C.V. you shared a summary, you shared what you’re looking for, and you bragged on yourself. Okay.
In the section that says Service Description, this is where you want to include in detail what you’ve done. This is where you want to break it all the way down. You can go project by project if you want, or what I would even do better than that, instead of project by project, is lump it based on the services that you provide because you could have several clients that you did social media management for, or several that you did proofreading for.
Let each paragraph be related to what you’ve done. So a paragraph regarding your proofing projects, a paragraph regarding your transcription projects, a paragraph regarding your data entry projects, so on and so forth – in detail.
Go into detail as though you were explaining it to your mom.
Mom’s are a great person to use as someone that you’re pretending like you’re explaining it to because they don’t always understand what you’re doing online. I know for me, my mom, she’s still trying to grasp it all. She’s gotten bits and pieces over the years, but I still have to explain a lot of things that take several sentences versus just one or two for someone who understands.
I want you to go in full detail. By doing this, you’re not only explaining to your client what you’ve done, but it also shows how you communicate. Okay? It shows how you communicate – if you’re providing good details, if you’re clear, if you’re sharing it in an interesting way. Do they want to keep reading or are they bored? Those things all come into play aside from the information that you’re sharing. It’s like in addition to what you’re sharing.
You also want to include when you can start. Let them know when you can start, and I know this is on your profile so it’s going to vary. But this is where you’re showing that you’re available to get started; you’re eager to get started. Share how you prefer to be contacted. If your method of communication you prefer is Skype, let them know whether it’s Skype video or Skype audio, you know. Let them know what time zone that you’re in so they can look at that.
Let them know your citizenship. Are you American? Are you Canadian? Are you Australian? Whatever it is. Share what your first language is, your second language, and any other languages that you speak, share that as well. Include that information in another paragraph.
Closing – make it open so if they have any questions regarding your skills, your background, anything like that, that you’re open to answer any of their questions, and anything else you want to share to close it out. Okay? That’s under your Service Description.
I may have gotten something a little mixed up. Let me backtrack a little bit.
The Resume/C.V. is where you’re doing your summary and it’s several paragraphs. Okay. Then you’re going into what you’re looking for and you brag about yourself.
Then you go to your Service Description and that’s where you get to lay it all out. All the information there that we talked about where you are sharing based on the projects that you’ve done, going into full detail. Then when you can start, your preferred method of communication, express about your communication skills, citizenship, languages, different things like that, and then closing – how you want to close it out.
If you have any certifications, include those. If you don’t, that’s fine. Include your education. If you have done any training courses or anything like that, include that under the certification or education, whichever. If you’ve had college, include that as well.
Then for the Employment area, now, if you’ve been online for a while, then you’ve done several projects, you’ve talked about it in your service description, and then you can break those down in that area. That’s what I was talking about at the beginning of the show, about that resume section where you can use your online projects, or if you don’t have any, use your work history for that. Be very specific.
Now, there’s a section off to the right that says Payment Terms. Go ahead and put into words what your hourly rate is. Make sure it’s also on the profile itself. But also share in that area under Payment Terms, what your hourly rate is. Even though your bidding amount will vary based on your project, your hourly rate, I would base that on your minimum amount that you will accept. Okay?
If it’s $18 an hour, $20 an hour, $16 an hour, whatever it is, everybody’s going to be different based on where you live. It shouldn’t be lower than $15. If you’ve been a VA for a while, it should be – I hate to even put out an exact number, but let’s just leave it at it shouldn’t be below $15, because I don’t know everybody’s skills and I don’t know your experience and where you come from.
But here’s the deal: do not undercut yourself in this area.
Don’t be crazy. Again, this is on Elance. It’s on the job boards. When people come here, they don’t expect to see $45 an hour. It’s fine if that’s your rate on your website and you’ve got the experience, the skill, to back that up.
But if you’re brand new, this is your first time being online, you were in sales before and now you’re going to be a virtual assistant, you want to start back at the beginning in regards to what the hourly rate is. So you want to start anywhere between $15 and $20, depending on how long you’ve been doing it and what your comfort level is with the skills that you’re offering.
In the Payment Terms you’re going to put what your hourly rate is.
What your preferred assignments are – do you like hourly rate assignments? Do you like flat rate assignments? You’ll include that in there as well. Are you looking for something short-term, long-term? Share that. Express that in your profile.
Are you willing to use the Elance Tracker? That’s where it will record your strokes. It’ll take a picture – it seems like it does it like every five minutes or something like that. Some projects, that’s how it pays you and tracks your time based on that Elance viewer. If you’re fine with that, include that in there as well.
This just gives your prospective client an overall view of who you are, what you’re looking for, what your hourly rate is, what it would be like to work with you, how you communicate, and what your experience has been. Okay.
Now, I’m going to say this. If you have any questions, I want you to put those in the comments in the show notes, and the show notes will be tiffanyparson.com/five because this is episode number five. So put that in there. Let me know what your questions are.
If you have been on Elance for a while, and I’ve been on there for a while, it’s time to refresh your profile. Use this information to give yourself a refresh because you’ve got more experience now. You’ve worked with lots of clients online if you’ve been on there for a while. It’s time to give that profile a facelift and get it all set.
If this is your first time out, now you have a starting point to get things laid out really nicely on your profile, so you can feel confident, strong, and proud about how you’re presenting yourself on the job board. I will say this:
Yes, your profile is just as important as your proposal.
Your client may only glance at your profile. Some clients may just glance at the profile. Others may look at it in detail. It varies. We don’t know which way they prefer, but we want to make sure that we’re showing ourselves strong on both sides, in both the proposal and the profile, in case one is the deciding factor. Okay?
All right, so that’s the end of today’s episode. I’m going to go and lie down, stretch my back. Do something because it is hurting me.
But anyway, thanks so much for your time. Thank you for listening. Let me know how this was helpful for you, and again, if you have questions, put those in the comments at the bottom of the show notes: tiffanyparson.com/five.
Also, if you would leave a review on iTunes or Stitcher, let me know how you enjoyed the show. When you go to the website to see the show notes and get all the links, you’ll also see links for iTunes and Stitcher where you can add your review.
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.