Saturday, February 9, 2008

What New Services Can a Virtual Assistant Offer?

I have been thinking lately about the new kinds of services that a virtual assistant could offer their clients. I have come up with five:

1) Travel - Are you already contacting travel agents for your clients and making travel arrangements for them? You could be the one getting the commission for those travel plans. There are companies you can join to become a travel agent. I chose Pro Travel Network. It is the only one to legally offer travel agent status in Canada.

2) Podcasts - Why not offer the set up and even recording of podcasts for your clients. If you have a good voice, strong writing skills, and a mic, you are all set. It's another great way to get the word out about your clients' products or services.

3) Suidoo Lenses - Now I must admit that I do not understand Squidoo yet. It seems to be a new and great way to share ideas and information. It might be just right for some of your clients. See if you can get a handle on it and begin offering assistance in setting up lenses for your clients.

4) Shopping Carts - If you are not offering shopping cart set up and maintenance, you may be missing out on a lot of business. One VA I spoke with recently has a booming shopping cart business. If a client is selling thins online, they probably need a shopping cart.

5) Blogging - Do your clients have blogs? If not offer to set one up for them. If they want, you could even "ghost-write" their posts for them. If they want to post themselves, remind them to send you post daily or weekly and the rest of the time you could post links to other blog posts that are relevant to your client's business.

These are just a few ideas to get you thinking outside the virtual assistant box. What kind of services can you come up with that maybe aren't offered yet or are offered but can be tapped into. Always be thinking and offering your clients help before they even know they need it.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Virtual Assistant Speaks to College Class

I was asked this week to come and speak at the college I graduated from this year. They are using a new textbook for their "Office Skills" module and it has a section on working at home.

Knowing I had my own business, one of my former instructors asked me to come and talk to the students about the pros and cons of working at home. It was a great opportunity and learning experience. It gave me a chance to practice talking about my virtual assistant business and it gave the students some new ideas about what to do when they graduate. (I also got a great travel mug as a gift for speaking.)

I encourage everyone to take every opportunity they have to talk about their business, to anyone who will listen. You never know - they may not need your services, but they may know someone who does.

I am learning this myself. To have a successful virtual assistant practice, I have to take every chance I get to tell everyone about the value of VAs.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Marketing the George Jefferson Way

Lately I have been watching the Jeffersons. I have noticed why George was successful. George Jefferson was a master marketer. He was always ready to tell anyone who would listen, and even those who wouldn't, about his dry-cleaning business.

Even my 10 year-old has mentioned that George gives his business card to everyone. Every time he has the opportunity he gives his "elevator speech" and makes sure people know he is the owner of the largest chain of dry-cleaners in the city. In one episode, he was bailing Weezie out of jail and he gave the guard a card and he even gave the prostitutes in the cell each one.

Any time he had the chance to be in the media, he took it; no matter how ridiculous the reason. He was always trying to get the attention of anyone with money that could further his enterprise.

How are you about spreading the word about your business? I know that I need to learn how to be more like George. I need to tell everyone about my business at every opportunity. I have been doing this well online, and now I am going to start giving this more of my attention in the "real" world.

What is your "elevator" speech? What do you tell people when they ask "What do you do for a living?" How are yoou involved in your community and how is this helping your business? Are you meeting with other business people on a regular basis?

Monday, February 4, 2008

New Virtual Assistant Podcast

I decided to join the world of podcasting. My first podcast, entitled "What is a Virtual Assistant and Why Do I Need One" was posted Saturday night.

This is definitely a new learning experience. It is great fun though. I really enjoyed the whole process. The only hard part was doing it over and over because I kept messing up what I wanted to say. I am so glad I found Audacity and figured out how to edit my podcast.

I am going to post a new episode every Saturday night. The podcast is hosted at Podomatic and Odeo.

Check it out!