Virtual Assistant: Why I Offer Free Consultations

You’re great at what you do but the time-consuming tasks of being a creative entrepreneur are bogging you down. You know you need help but how do you find the right person?

Photo by: Negative Space

It’s scary. I get it.

You have questions but how do you get them answered unless we talk?

From my persepective, at first I thought it would be risky to offer free consultations (lose my time = money). But I’ve booked almost every potential client I’ve spoken with.

And those I didn’t book, I think I left a favorable impression with and hopefully we’ll work together someday. Or they’ll refer me to their contacts. Or I made an online friend and we can support each other with Retweets, Likes, and Shares :)

I have yet to speak with anyone but amazing entrepreneurs.

With a free consultation, we get to feel each other out. Do we have the same work ethic? Do we “click”? Do we laugh at the same jokes? Do you mind if I sometimes quote 80s movies?

What about my rates? Is there room for negotiation? Are there packages? Yep. But we need to talk it through.

Do I believe in your mission? Do you believe I can effectively help you?

How are we going to know unless we talk? So don’t be shy. If you’re serious about working with a VA, give me a shout out via my contact page and we’ll get a 15-30 minute chat scheduled.

I look forward to speaking with you!

2016 Planner Round-Up ong-turq

2016 Planner Round-Up: 50+ Planners for Creatives and Entrepreneurs

Are you looking for a paper day planner? I’ve scoured the interwebs and found over 50 planners for you to check out.

Each planner name is a link to see more about that planner. Each photo shows just one of the options or views but the sites have a lot more information ranging from photos, videos, more versions and sizes, free printable pages, etc.

In other words, don’t just go by the photo shown; click the link and see all the other options and views :) There are blog, yoga, and business planners, mom planners, motivational planners, even a planner just for photographers. So many options for creatives, entrepreneurs, and more!

I hope this is a great resource that helps you to choose your perfect planner. Happy browsing!

Arc

arc planner

Ashley Shelly

ashley shelly planner

BanDo

The BASICS Notebook

the basics notebook planner

A Beautiful Mess

a beautiful mess planner

Blog + Life

blog and life planner

Bloom Daily Planners

bloom daily planner

Blue Sky

blue sky planner

Brilliant Business Planner

brilliant business planner

Bullet Journal

bullet journal

The Choices Notebook

choices notebook planner

Commit 30 Planner

commit 30 planner

Daily Greatness

daily greatness business planner

Daily Dream Creator

daily dream creator

Day Designer

day designer planner

Danielle Laporte

danielle laporte desire map planner

DaySpring

dayspring planner

Design Love

design love planner

Dream Planner

dream planner

Edited Year

edited year planners

Erin Condren

erin condren planner

Freedom Planner

freedom planner

Get to Work Book

get to work book planner

Goal Digger

goal digger planner

Holistic Day Design

holistic day design planner

I Am

i am planner

iBloom

ibloom planner

I Heart Planners

i heart planners

inkWELL Press

inkwell press planner

The Inner Guide

The Inner Guide planner

It’s That Kinda’ Day

it's that kinda day planner

Kate Spade

kate spade planner

Kikki-K
kikki k planner

Lara Casey

lara casey planner

Life is Messy Bootcamp

life is messy planner

Live Life Creative

live life creative planner

Making Ish Happen

making ish happen planner

Mama CEO

mama ceo planner

My Creative Year

my creative year planner

My Life Planners

my life planner

Paper and Prosper

paper and prosper briefcase planner

Paper Source

paper source planner

Passion Planner

passion planner

Photographer’s Planner

photographers planner colorvale

Planner Pad

planner pad

Plum Paper Designs

plum paper planner etsy

Posy Paper Co

posy paper co planner

Purposeful Planner

purposeful planner

Rebel’s Agenda

rebels agenda planner

Recipes for Joy

recipes for joy planner

Refresh Planner

refresh planner

Rifle Paper Company

rifle paper co planner

Rituals for Living Dreambook and Planner

rituals for living dream book and planner

Savor the Success

savor the success planner

Scattered Squirrel

scattered squirrel planner

SELF Journal

self journal

She Plans

she plans planner

The Simplified Planner

emily ley simplified planner

Small Paper Things

The Spark Planner

spark planner

Start Planner

start planner

Sugar Paper

sugar paper planner

Text Agenda

text agenda quo vadis planner

Tools for Wisdom

tools for wisdom planner

Ultimate Business Planner

ultimate business planner

Uncalendar

uncalendar

Visionary Journal

visionary journal planner

Week Date

week date planner

Write It Designs

write it designs planner

The 7-Minute Life

the 7 minute life planner

If you’re also a scrapbooker or crafty type, try these:

Simple Stories, Webster’s PagesMAMBI, Dokibook, and Heidi Swapp. Then check out The Reset Girl for lots of fun accessories. I’m using an aqua Simple Stories “Carpe Diem” planner to track 2 of my niche blogs in 2016. Can’t wait to get crafty and organized at the same time!

If you know of any planners I’ve missed, please let me know in Comments and I’ll add them!

Photo by:  Morgan Sessions

Virtual Assistants and Creative Entrepreneurs: Making Time and Space for Real-Life Magic

I’m like you. I work solo from home. I’m often connected to my iMac or iPhone and feel very “in touch” with my clients and online business friends. I’m not lonely when I work and I have lots of conversations every day. “I love the computer. All my friends live in there.” However, while e-mails and Skype and WhatsApp are great for connecting, they’re not real.

Photo by: Aleksi Tappura

Last week, I had a lovely lunch with two mamapreneur clients / dear friends / mentors. These are wise women who are where I want to be in the cosmic scheme of work and life. I thought I was merely escaping a Friday afternoon at my desk and getting a meal with friends. Little did I know . . .

Not only did I receive free guidance and, essentially, coaching by two of the best, but I was affirmed in so many ways. They said I’m proactive, smart, and make things happen, that what I do is MORE than a virtual assistant typically does – oh, so much more. (Blushing ensued).

They teased about how, when the 3 of us meeting up “sometime” was mentioned, I had this lunch calendered so fast, they LOL’d. And how when one needed some press exposure, I had her booked on the local news pronto :) How I’ve helped them not just with essential tasks but with strategy and big picture conceptualizing. I like to think of myself as my clients’ right hand so that made me feel really good, like I’m on the right track.

They encouraged me and gave me ideas (including napkin notes!) for ways I can up-level my business by adding in a whole new direction!

We spoke about resistance, how where I am is comfortable and engrained in things from way back in my life and even those before me.

We talked about hermit crabs moving to larger shells – “the naked crawl” – and how change is scary but it’s already happening so go with it. Ride the wave; be accepting and joyful.

We shared the belief that we’re blessed by our husbands and children and asked, “How lucky are we that they chose us, and that they were chosen for us?” Each teaching us what we need to learn most, enveloped in unconditional love.

We talked about scarcity mindset vs. abundance, how to change patterns, how to bring loved ones along for the ride, and (for me) how to shift retirement dreams away from “the sensible place” and back to the beach, where my soul is fed and rested.

We ate well, drank bubbly, and toasted love & friendship. We saw signs like a lovely waiter named Jesus, and a delivery truck outside the window whose side read, “Oh, oh my, we are blessed.” Indeed.

We exchanged gifts that will continue to feed us, smiled and laughed, and hugged goodbye when it had to end. Three hours wasn’t enough; the words were still bubbling, the connections still firing.

Photo by: Morgan Sessions

Now it’s your turn, my love. Make the time and space to meet your online “true blues” in person. You simply must. Because this is the magic that happens.

*Photos courtesy of Unsplash

Social Media is Great for Business but How Do You Stay Consistent with It?

I guess this is kind of a funny question coming from a virtual assistant, huh? One of the services I provide is social media – anything from posting, monitoring, and research to scheduling.

And yet, for my own business, being consistent on social media is one of my biggest marketing struggles. On principle alone, I refuse to hire another VA to do this VAs social media :P I’m determined to improve my own habits. Social media is so great for any business but here are the top 3 reasons I want to improve my use of it:

1. Getting myself “out there” is a great way to find potential clients.

2. I’ve learned so much about online business and marketing in the last couple of years. I love sharing that knowledge by answering questions or posting helpful things on social media.

3. I’m not one who needs a lot of Followers to feel good about herself (heh) but they’re good for business. The more people who see what I post, the more potential clients it could lead to. Also, having more posts and followers adds credibility. If I’m asking to do YOUR social media, shouldn’t I appear to be blowing up my own?

My main struggle is time. It’s not that I don’t enjoy or want to do my social media, it’s that I’m – what do they call that? – time deficient. Ha, that’s a way of saying I’m busy, right? As a service provider, I tend to put my clients’ business needs above my own. I know, I know . . . boundaries, Erika! But it’s so hard to restrain myself sometimes. I love my work and helping creative entrepreneurs do awesome things!

Photo by:  William Iven

So what I need to do is figure out and implement a systemized approach to my own social media for VA Creatively. I use Hootsuite (for myself and clients) but it doesn’t do everything I need it to and it saves a lot of time but still takes a lot of time. It’s on my list to check out Buffer which is another social media scheduler I hear great things about. I’d also love to use Edgar but I need proof that the ROI is there for $50/month. Is it going to MAKE me more than $600/year or save me enough hours of my valuable time to justify its high cost?

These are things I’m still evaluating and one of the reasons I’m looking forward to an upcoming online boot camp by creative blogger April Bowles Olin. It runs for free from 9/29 to 10/30/15 on CreativeLive – that’s a 30- to 60-minute daily online class. It’s called Double Your Followers with Creative Marketing. I looked at the syllabus and was happy to see that the last module is called “Promoting Your Business on Social Media without Spending All Your Time on Social Media.” I’m so stoked about this course that I’m participating in April’s blog tour (see more info below).

If this is something you’d like to learn about too, join me for April’s class starting in 6 days. Just go HERE to RSVP for the free class and they’ll send you a reminder. During the live-recorded portion of the class, there’ll be a lively chat going on so if you join in, please say “hi”. My username there is VACreatively_Erika :) Happy learning, creative entrepreneurs!

This post is a part of the Double Your Followers blog tour to spread the word about April Bowles-Olin’s upcoming CreativeLive course. Does hearing the word ‘marketing’ make your armpits start to drip with anxiety? Are you terrified of sounding salesy or like you have the personality of a dead blowfish? If so, come join me and 2,500+ entrepreneurs who’re taking April’s latest CreativeLive course, Double Your Followers with Creative Marketing. You can RSVP and watch for FREE. Yep, free. High fives, wildflowers, wine samples. Who doesn’t love free?

CreativeLive-Blog-Tour-Image-620x433

What Tasks Can You Outsource to a Virtual Assistant?

I’ve always meant to put a list together but tonight while cruising Pinterest, I found THIS lovely list already done – and it’s great!

It was put together by Heather Crabtree, a small business strategist for creative entrepreneurs. I’m glad I found her website because I’m a virtual assistant to creative entrepreneurs. I’ll be reading her blog for a while to see what else I can glean from her.

Photo by:  Craig Garner

Anyway, back to the list . . . of the 47 items she suggested you outsource, I was happy to see I could personally do 32 of them. Granted, I have to bow out of things like taxes, bookkeeping, and legal services, but I can help with a whole range of tasks such as research, transcription, and social media.

So if you’re thinking about outsourcing some of your work to a virtual assistant but you’re not sure what tasks to hand over, take a look at Heather’s list and see if it generates any ideas for you.

#HashtagHustle

This video is geared more toward start-uppers and less toward creative entrepreneurs. But I still think you’re going to see yourself in here several times, from being attached to your MacBook 24/7 to drinking bulletproof coffee to fortify your long hours. Even though we all work only a 4-Hour Workweek, right?

This is the first I’ve heard of the creator, Matt Giovanisci. He posted a link to his video in an online business group I’m in. Not only is his video SO well-done and entertaining, it’s a genius marketing move.

Why? Because he created hugely shareable content, made us laugh at him and ourselves, and included specific things online entrepreneurs can identify with:

– Checking your phone in the restroom
– Taking Uber so even car trips are productive
– Working at the playground, the bowling alley, even the office supply store (okay, extreme examples but I bet they reminded you of an inappropriate place YOU have broken out the laptop!)
– Paying those dang quarterly taxes
– Work-at-home wear
– Mastermind groups

So enjoy the video. I’ve already watched it a few times so I could catch all his references. And, Matt, amazing job and thank you for sharing your talent with us. I’m not your ICA but I’ll follow you anyway. Well done, my friend. Well done.

How Can a Virtual Assistant Help You?

I came across this video of virtual assistant Marion Jackson who was recently interviewed on The Cath Vincent Show in New Zealand.  I think Marion does a great job of explaining:

– What does a virtual assistant do?

– What types of businesses usually hire a virtual assistant?

– What are the benefits of using a virtual assistant?

– Is it cost effective?

– How do you manage someone you’ve never met? (Hint: They’re not a good match for micro-managers).

She also shared 3 tips for working with a VA that I think are very helpful.

 

 

I hope you enjoyed the video!  As always, if there are any questions I can answer about working with a virtual assistant or how I can help you in your business, please leave a comment below or reach out via my Contact page or Twitter (@vacreatively). Thanks!

Weekly Round-Up by VA Creatively.com 04-12-15

Here’s a round-up of some finds from around the web this week. Just some things for creative entrepreneurs / solopreneurs about social media, working at home, living a creative life, and other things you might find helpful or interesting.

I noticed that The Good Creative: 18 Ways to Make Better Art is FREE for Kindle right now.

From the description on Amazon:

You’re creative. You dream and plan and make stuff – all the time. And whether that “stuff” is a book, a startup, or abstract crayon art on the bathroom wall, you have a nagging feeling that you could take your work further. Do it better. Become more successful.

In The Good Creative, I outline the 18 habits of the world’s most respected artists. It’s a concise, invigorating manifesto for creative pursuits of every kind.

Happy reading!

I know we creatives love our Macs. Have you heard about the new Macbook Pro? I’m not a total techie but – in this review by Mashable – it sounds pretty impressive to me! For me, it would be hard to get used to 1 USB and also to the new keyboard – I type a TON as a transcriptionist. But those are risks I’m willing to take for something this pretty . . . oh, and functional!



I love this article by Olivia.co called “10 Introvert-Friendly Offline Marketing Ideas for Your Blog + Business” – great tips!



Have you been seeing these cool text masks around the interwebs lately? Me too! Wanna’ make them yourself? Me too! Check out PicMonkey’s text mask tutorial.



One last thing . . . do you have Testimonials on your site? As a service provider, it’s something I’ve been meaning to do for a while now. I finally sat down and tested out a few WordPress testimonial plug-ins. My favorite and the one I chose is called Handsome Testimonials. I only had time to add 2 testimonials for my virtual assistant services so far but I think they look pretty good, don’t you?



Have a great week!

Marie Forleo B-School Update

I’m about halfway through Marie Forleo’s B-School and wanted to give an update.

It runs from March 9 through May 3, 2015 so we start Week 4 tomorrow. It’s kind of a catch-up week, thank goodness, because I’m behind . . . erm, not totally caught up. As you’ll hear again and again from your fellow students, “There’s no ‘behind’ in B-School!”

I started off strong, completing Module 1 and most of Module 2. But that’s where I’m stalled. I’ve been interacting a lot in the online group, trying to be an encouragement to others and providing helpful tips or ideas where I can. I’ve also offered my virtual assistant and basic website building services to students who’ve expressed a need. It’s such a great community and I honestly feel like it’s one of the best parts of B-School.

People post their progress and ideas, ask for feedback, talk ICAs and opt-ins and software, oh my! So you truly do learn in 2 ways: Not only from Marie and crew but also from your fellow students. It’s awesome to see what we’re learning being put into practice in real time and hear about the hits and misses along the way. It’s transparency at its finest and it’s all a learning experience.

This week will be the first Office Hours, where Marie takes live calls from students with their questions. I’m super stoked about that! I can’t make them all but will take part in as many as I can.

I’m also loving my Operation World Domination crew which I’m a part of because I signed up for B-School through April Bowles Olin and Mayi Carles. They’ve been sending out some great resources to help us along the way and held online video meet-ups where they share their B-School experiences and answer questions. They both have such contagious joy in all they do and that really helps keep me going.

Because this is tough. Like a lot of other students, I have a full-time job, a family to take care of, and loads of other obligations. I’ve missed some fun personal events and have spent many a late night at the computer (ahem, it’s Sunday at 11:46 pm as I write this). But I don’t think I or any other student is complaining. That’s what entrepreneurs do, right?

You work in pursuit of the dream and you go until you get there. You have friends pulling you along, cheering for you, and backing you up – if you’re lucky. If you go to B-School :)

Peace.

Virtual Assistant: Working with Authors

It’s funny. When you start out as a virtual assistant (VA), you think of all the services you’re capable of and offer them all up, kind of in a non-specific way because, well, you need clients! I talked about it a little bit HERE.

As time goes on and you start booking clients, you might start to see a pattern. I did and it surprised me. To date, the large majority of my clients have been authors. I couldn’t have asked for a better match, actually. You can tell by my business name that I was planning to work with creatives but, honestly, I was thinking more of crafters since I’m a crafter myself.

But I’m also a writer, I’m a voracious reader, and I was an English major in college with an emphasis on Creative Writing. Yes, I’ll someday write the Great American Novel – like all you other writers ;)

Photo by:  Florian Klauer

So I don’t know how it happened but I seem to have transitioned into largely being “a writer’s VA”. Who knows? Maybe I used the principles of The Secret and put it out to the universe that I’d really love to work with writers – but it was so secret that even I didn’t know about it :)

Maybe writers tend to be readers and researchers so they’re more apt to come across my site, interact with me on TWITTER, or ask other authors, “Hey, how do you get everything done and still find time to write?” Ohhh, you have a VA . . .

Either way, I’m very grateful for how things have worked out in my virtual assistant business. I love authors. I “get” them. I truly enjoy being even a tiny part of helping them succeed and helping them to spread the word about their writing.

If you’re an author and you’d like to talk about how I can be of help, please drop me a line HERE or say “hi” on Twitter (@VACreatively). Apparently, we’re meant to work together ;) Here are just a few ideas:

– You tell me what you write about, what you like to share, what’s important to you and I can load some posts onto your social media (while you’re writing). Selfies are still on you, sorry.

– I can transcribe the audio from your book reading so you can share it for free on your website.

– Let’s take some content you already have, make it fresh, and sell it as an e-book on Amazon.

– Making travel plans or arranging a book tour can be a pain for an author but I don’t mind doing it.

– I’m just gonna’ guess that JODI PICOULT had a little help researching elephants. What topic can I research for your next book?

– I hate to say it but most author websites I’ve seen could use some freshening up. Yep, I’ve got you covered!

Now, off you go. Get back to writing. I’m waiting to read your next piece!