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?


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.

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 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 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!

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!

Weekly Round-Up by VA 11-02-14

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.

How about 5 free creative business card templates RIGHT HERE? And check out the cool “X” WordPress theme while your there.

Do creatives make their own luck?

Have you MET EDGAR? Seems like a nice, helpful guy. {This is something a virtual assistant could set up for you . . . hint, hint}

I want THIS BOOK so badly! Every business needs a blog, especially creative ones. I’d love to take my blog design skills to the next level.

Hope you enjoy your week!

So I Went to a Kindle Publishing Seminar and . . .

. . . I learned that there is A LOT involved in book sales on Amazon. But of course it’s all completely do-able and it’s something I’d love to help you with – and do for myself!

The seminar was part of a writer’s conference and it was called “12 Steps to Becoming an Amazon Bestselling Author”. The instructor was Brian Schwartz from, whose tagline is “Digital Publishing, Consulting, and Top Quality eBook Conversions. Fast & Affordable”. If you hire him, you retain all rights to your book (VERY important!) and, for a very reasonable price, he helps you convert it to a Kindle-friendly format (also ePub etc), and can also you guide you in making your book a bestseller.

Brian has been in e-book publishing since the beginning and he clearly knew what he was talking about. I took 13 pages of notes. {What can I say, I’m a compulsive note-taker . . .}. But I didn’t want to miss a beat of anything he was explaining, with excellent detail and great examples of how to make your KINDLE book a bestseller.

Brian’s company has launched many bestsellers on Amazon and he graciously shared all the steps they routinely follow to accomplish this. The seminar was directed (obviously) toward writers and, as a virtual assistant who works with authors, I felt like it was directed right at me, too. One of the things I love to do in my VA business is help authors succeed.

I love to read. I love to write. I have a huge admiration for writers, especially those who publish. What’s so great about today’s publishing world, as Brian explained, is that ANYONE can publish a book. If you do it via Amazon, you have access to a massive audience right off the bat and that’s so awesome. Did you know there are currently almost 3 MILLION Kindle books on Amazon?!

The challenge is doing all of this well and getting a bestseller in as short a time as possible. Brian said the smart self-publishers are doing it the way the big publishers do. The Kindle publishing seminar taught me how to do just that. The 12 steps were laid out, we just have to follow them. For example, he broke the steps down into 3 main phases:

Phase 1: ARC Campaign
Phase 2: KDP Campaign
Phase 3: Countdown Campaign

I’m a HUGE reader of Kindle e-books and walking through the steps felt like home to me. It’s all the things I’ve watched unfold via Amazon, book review sites, and free/cheap e-book advertisers. You can’t just write your book, list it on Amazon, and expect it to sell. There is a lot of groundwork to lay down first and I’m so happy I learned how to do that. Brian also taught us how to take the next step: Publishing and selling a hardcover and/or paperback version of your book. It was all so exciting!

If you have a book (or books?!?) that you want to publish or re-publish on Amazon, I highly recommend Brian and If I can assist in any way, I’d love to – just Contact Me or find me here on Twitter :)

What Can A Virtual Assistant Do? Create a Spreadsheet for Blogger/Podcaster Outreach

Virtual Assistants (VAs) like me can do so many different tasks to help you. Here is one example:

Create a spreadsheet for blogger/podcaster outreach

I’m working on a spreadsheet right now for a client who is starting a service-oriented health business. She needs to get the word out and one way to do that is to be seen and heard by the audiences of others in her same space.

To that end, I created a Google doc spreadsheet that we share – so she can make additions or changes. It has columns for the following information:

Topics they cover
Guest blogging
Social Media Reach
– Facebook
– Twitter
– Instagram
– Youtube
– Pinterest

Screen Shot 2014-09-14 at 3.47.52 PM

I started the task by finding 10 well-known bloggers/podcasters in her niche. I filled in the blanks for each person – their name, links to their main website, topics, blog, and podcast. I also included whether they accept guest blog posts and, if so, included that link.

Finally, I checked each of their social profiles and added how many Likes, Followers, etc. they have on each. The Notes are mostly blank for now, although I did include details if she has already been in contact with the person.

Having this “bloggers/podcasters outreach” spreadsheet will be very helpful to the client. She can see at a glance who is out there, what their reach is, and easily click over to their site, blog, podcast, or guest blogging page without having to Google and then navigate each individual site.

As she progresses through making contact with each person, we can add notes, checkmarks, more columns, etc. to keep track of whatever information my client needs.

To start the list with 10 entries took me about 1.5 hours and cost her under $40. Her time and energy can be much better spent doing things for her business that ONLY SHE can do, like determining which services to offer, how much to charge, etc.

Using a VA (virtual assistant) for easy but time-consuming tasks like this makes perfect sense and that’s why so many entrepreneurs are using my services. It’s just plain cost-effective and smart.

Weekly Roundup by VA 09-07-14

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.

– OMG, there are some EXCITING NEW CAREERS for Creatives!

– Check this “TRENDY” THING out! Uber cool social media tool.

– Here are some great ideas to organize your office.

– Need some eye candy to read? The “Beautiful Mess” girls have a NEW BOOK out!

– And this, from

Have a great week!

A Day in the Life of a Virtual Assistant (VA)

The concept of a “virtual assistant” or “VA” is pretty new to most people. I thought I’d give an example of a day in my life to give a better idea of exactly what we do :)

Wake up, get myself and kids ready, start some laundry, etc.

The kids are off to school, I’ve had a cup of coffee, and it’s time for my commute – from the kitchen to my office. I get settled at my desk, open about a jillion computer windows, and start my work day.


As you can see, I kinda’ like Starbucks :) And candles and crafts and pretty colors and twinkle lights. Hey, I’m at this desk around the clock – may as well make it comfortable, right? I do pretty much everything on the computer but I can’t seem to let go of a hard copy day planner and I *live* for sticky notes.

7:30am to noon
I check my e-mail and put out any fires that I or my clients might be having, i.e. deal with anything that’s time-sensitive. Another cup of coffee, say “hi” to the dog through my office window, and it’s time to get into the meat of the day. That might entail any of the following:

– Transcribe medical/psychological notes, podcasts, videos, etc. for clients
– Do tech-y stuff on WordPress sites for myself or clients
– Perform bookkeeping for my VA business
– Network with potential clients and with other VAs via phone or social media
– Write, edit, and schedule posts to my own 6 blogs (yes, 6!) or clients’ blogs
– Make travel plans for a client’s book tour

Noon to 12:30pm
I take a break, eat something, take a quick walk, put some laundry in the dryer . . . Oh, the benefits of working at home! Wait, is doing laundry 24/7 a benefit?

12:30 to 2:30
I continue working as above, especially transcribing as it’s usually due in the afternoon. Other duties might be:
– Make business calls via phone, Skype, etc.
– Research various topics for clients; today it’s graphic designers, pet-related podcasts, and time-tracking software
– Learn new skills with software to serve client needs (e.g., Asana, Hootsuite, Harvest)
– Post to social media (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.) for clients and for my own business

Screen Shot 2014-08-31 at 10.09.49 PM

2:30 to 4:00
Pick up kids from school, run errands while I’m in town, pick up the mail, etc. Any time I’m waiting, my iPhone is in hand and I’m doing social media, responding to e-mails, texting clients, etc.

4:00 to 6:30
Hang with the kids and maybe work some more on the laptop until dinner time.

6:30 to 9:30
Eat dinner, family time, get ready for the day ahead.

9:30 to midnight
Finish my work for the day after everyone else is in bed. I like to have work-related videos or podcasts playing in a window on my computer while I work, to learn new things I can apply to my virtual assistant business, blogging, affiliate marketing, etc. I check e-mail one last time before shutting down the computer.

Okay, truth is . . . I’m a night owl so I often work or blog until 2am (or later, whoops). Midnight is the bedtime goal but it rarely happens. I can’t sleep if I’m thinking about work to be done, things I want to blog about, e-mails to write, etc. It’s a “bad habit” to most but I think it makes me a good VA :) I sleep in on the weekends to make up for it.

So there’s a day in the life of this VA. I hope it’s shed some light on what exactly virtual assistants do.

As you can see, I need to be very organized with my time. I have a wide skill set and enjoy the variety that this line of work provides. I’m deadline-driven while being proactive when time allows. I’m great at communicating and keeping my clients updated on my progress. I spend a lot of my own time and money maintaining a client base, time-tracking / accounting / invoicing, along with buying new programs and learning how to use them. When something goes wrong with my computer or internet, I don’t just call tech support, I AM tech support ;)

I absolutely love my job and feel very blessed to do it. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask. I’m very “social” and love to chat – online or otherwise!