My Review of New Kajabi (and Can I Help?)

One thing I really enjoy doing as a virtual assistant and consultant is helping clients strategize what tech solutions will work best for their business. Considerations can be things like: ease of use, cost, features, aesthetic, and growth. I come by this knowledge not only because I investigate and learn about the available options for my clients, but also to utilize them in my own business.

For instance, my latest discovery is what I call a “business in a box” solution named New Kajabi. I think it’s a fantastic way to consolidate your website and all of your offerings into one place for one cost, and then enjoy the ease and simplicity that brings. I wanted to share New Kajabi with you and offer my services if you’d ever like assistance with it, so here’s my review and how I can help. Enjoy!

What is New Kajabi?

Nothing explains a product better than its own website so I’ll just pull some text from the the New Kajabi* (“Kajabi”) website. *This is my referral link and I want to share it right up front because if you sign up through me, you get 15% off for as long as your account remains active! (Further disclosure: All links below are my referral links).

 

New Kajabi: Overview

All the tools you need under one roof:

Online courses and membership sites

Kajabi makes it easy to turn your knowledge and content into products you can sell.

Landing pages

Create beautiful high-converting landing pages in minutes.
Pick from our library of beautiful templates
Email opt-in pages, video value pages, webinar registration pages, launch pages, sales pages, thank you pages, and more…

Marketing e-mails

Send emails to your prospects and customers from right inside Kajabi

Your entire website

Choose from a variety of gorgeous website templates to showcase your brand and products.

Sell more with a store

Built-in blog

Collect payments

Powerful analytics

Always know how your business is doing with powerful analytics and reporting.

Customize Everything

Point-and-click simple or go under the hood
We realize no two people or businesses are the same. Your site and products should reflect your brand and you shouldn’t be limited by a set of cookie cutter looks.

Endless integrations

Zapier
Mailchimp
ConvertKit
Facebook
Google Analytics
Active Campaign
AWeber
Segment
Drip
ClickFunnels

As you can see, Kajabi is an “all-in-one” solution to running an online business, selling courses or a product, and more. You may be wondering how it differs from other solutions out there, so I’ll break it down a bit.

Because it’s a one-stop-shop, it costs more than other choices you may see as similar – like Teachable, Thinkific, etc. The difference here is that Kajabi includes everything you need under one roof so, while the cost may appear high on the surface, you’ll see the value when you realize you can use Kajabi and get rid of almost ALL your other paid services.

Here’s a list of examples of the services – and COSTS – you can ditch if you use New Kajabi:

  • Teachable, Thinkific, Udemy
  • LeadPages, ThriveLeads
  • Mailchimp, AWeber, ConvertKit
  • WordPress themes, builders, paid plugins and popups
  • Tech person or developer
  • Website hosting and security

Yep, if you take advantage of using a custom domain through Kajabi, they’ll even host your site for you, saving you the hosting fees you currently pay (you do still need to pay for your domain and you’ll utilize a free CloudFlare account). Note: A custom domain means your site would be http://(URL).com instead of http://(kajabi site name).mykajabi.com.

New Kajabi: My Review

I’m a recent Kajabi convert (Kajabi Konvert?) since I discovered it in December 2016. I’d been avoiding checking out any other all-in-one systems because I was very happy with Simplero (and still love Simplero!). But after hearing Kajabi mentioned yet again by B-Schoolers, I decided to check it out. I got a free trial account and starting playing around with it, to see what the possibilities were. Um, pretty much EVERYTHING! It truly does it all.

Like anything else, New Kajabi has a learning curve. So I sat down one day and went through all the videos in Kajabi University (free/included with account). I had the videos open in one window and my trial Kajabi account open in another, then I just replicated or poked around in whatever topic Kenny (one of the owners) was demonstrating in the video. By the end of that process, I had a pretty good understanding of how it all works.

After that, for anything else I’ve wanted to do in Kajabi, I’ve either:

  • Re-watched just that video
  • Looked it up in the help files
  • Searched the topic in the Kajabi Facebook Group
  • Asked my fellow Kajabians in the group (and Support is always there if I need them too!)

I was so impressed with Kajabi that I decided to become a paid member and am slowly transitioning (between doing VA client work) everything from this site and another new site I was starting in WordPress …. over to my new Kajabi site! I’m so excited at the possibilities with Kajabi for selling my virtual assistant services along with the courses I’ll be offering soon (!).

Setting up my new site, products and offers, shopping cart, blog, and more has been so easy. Kajabi is intuitive and fun to use. I honestly have no complaints. They’re constantly making improvements and upgrades. Kajabi customer service is very responsive and helpful. Their Facebook group has grown into one of my favorites (and I’m in a LOT of them!). Everyone there is super supportive of each other and truly want you to succeed, to be a “Kajabi Hero” which is my goal for 2017! Other members share what’s worked for them, special coding hacks to make Kajabi do some trick things, and general motivation and support. I love it.

Bonus: Samples of Kajabi Sites

Whenever I come across a site built partially or in whole with Kajabi, I’ve been pinning it to this Pinterest board. So take a look if you like to see what’s possible! I’m putting everything on Kajabi but some people put just their products, services, and/or courses on Kajabi and link to it from their existing WordPress site. This might be a great option for you, especially if you have a very established site that would be a huge project to move over.

New Kajabi: My Services

I love Kajabi so much, I’ve decided to make Kajabi set-up and maintenance a signature service! At this point, I’m very up front in saying that I am new to Kajabi and still learning about it. So if you want super-advanced crazy stuff done with NK, I may not be your girl (yet!). But if you need assistance with the everyday average stuff in New Kajabi, I can help.

As I say about all my VA services, I can’t possibly know everything about everything; mainly because software and systems are constantly being updated and improved. But what I DO know is that I love to learn, I’m a fabulous researcher, I have lots of techy friends to help me, and I always find the answer :) I don’t charge clients for my “learning” time, just my “doing” time. In other words, if I don’t know how to do what you need in New Kajabi, I can figure it out (on my own time) or possibly refer you to someone else if it’s an advanced task.

So if you’re using or want to implement Kajabi for your online business but you don’t have the time or inclination to learn and DIY, please let me help.

Kajabians sometimes ask what exactly I can do to assist them with Kajabi so here are some examples of tasks I’ve already done:

Website

  • You pick a theme or overall look for your site and I’ll get it started
  • We can collaborate to make it look the way you want
  • Set up your custom domain with your domain provider + CloudFlare
  • Connect your social media accounts and place icons on your site

Blog

  • Set up info for SEO and social media sharing
  • Implement Disqus or Facebook comments on blog posts
  • Narrow down key words and set up your Categories
  • Move your best blog posts over from your old site to Kajabi

Courses / Products / Offers

  • Help choose the best theme to offer your course content
  • Set up free and paid courses, products, e-books, and configure offers (i.e., bundles, discounts, packages, etc.)
  • Set up coupon codes

Canva for Work

  • Help you create opt-ins or update/utilize the ones you already have
  • Choose images for your Kajabi site and resize as needed (Kajabi has suggested image sizes to maximize appearance on your site)
  • Create a branding sheet including your colors (hex codes), fonts, logos, headers, etc. to keep a consistent look on your site and within all your products, courses, opt-ins, etc.

Facebook

  • Set up your pixel in Facebook, then set up FB pixel tracking in Kajabi
  • Implement Facebook Comments within your Kajabi site and blog

Funnels

  • Create forms and set up opt-ins around your website to gather subscribers/members
  • Implement free and paid products and upsells
  • Set up freebies
  • Create an affiliate program including a payout set up

Pages

  • Convert or create pages: About, Contact, T&Cs, Disclosure
  • Set up a Resources page for all your freebies, latest news/updates, affiliate links, etc.
  • Personalize menu and navigation

Strategy

  • Strategize with you about what current services can be moved over to Kajabi so you can cancel them and save money!

So those are just some ideas; it’s not an all-inclusive list of course.

Pricing

For now, my usual virtual assistant pricing will apply for any Kajabi services. All the information is on my Rates and Services page. I also offer the option of doing a Virtual VIP Day which I would highly suggest if you’re starting from scratch with New Kajabi or need a lot of work done with it and maybe some adjacent services.

Here’s why I say that. Sure, you can purchase my 10-hour retainer. But the realities of how this turns out, with both of us running businesses and being busy women, is it can take 2-3 weeks or more to get your goals accomplished. There’s the back-and-forth communication that inevitably leads to delays that neither of us like :)

With a Virtual VIP Day, we’d block off a 6-hour day to work together and just zip through your set-up and get it all done so you can move forward … and start making money! So I guess when you think of it that way, the VIP Day is the better value overall :) {And if a 6-hour block is not possible with your schedule, we can break it down into two 3-hour days or whatever works for you}.

Once I get to an expert level with Kajabi, I’ll have higher prices for these services – so now is a good time to get in, if cost is a concern :) The Virtual VIP Day price will remain the same, even as my Kajabi expertise improves.

Need a Consultation / Have Questions?

Not sure if Kajabi* is for you? Want to see if we’re a good fit to work together or if I can help with any other tasks you need assistance with? Please reach out via e-mail or schedule a free 30-minute discovery call via my Contact Page. I look forward to speaking with you and discussing how I can help your business!

*Save 15% on Kajabi if you use this referral link! Just another way I will save you money, LOL :D

Marie Forleo’s B-School: My Non-Affiliate Review

If you’re like me, you’re on a lot of online biz, marketing, and entrepreneurial mailing lists. This time of year, your inbox may be full of e-mails from people you’ve signed up to follow who happen to be plugging Marie Forleo’s B-School. It’s an online business program that’s only offered each March so that means one big launch period where prospects like us are inundated with wanted – or unwanted – information about it.

CC0 image courtesy of Pixabay.com

The Story Behind B-School Affiliates

The thing about B-School affiliates: They are VERY well-paid; to my knowledge, they get half of each $2,000 sign-up! So you can see why they’re motivated to convince YOU to join B-School, not in general but specifically using their own affiliate links.

The good part of this whole sitch is this: Because B-School affiliates are so eager to sell the program, they offer VERY nice bonuses if you sign up through their link. For example, I posted here back in 2015 about all the affiliate offers I was considering – and who I chose.

YES! I took Marie Forleo’s B-School in 2015

One of the challenges I ran into when deciding to sign up – or not, because hey, it’s pretty pricey – was finding UNBIASED reviews of B-School, ones that weren’t shared by someone who was going to make $1k if they convinced me to sign up. Well, I don’t want you to be in the same boat so I’m going to give MY review of and experience with B-School. Want to cut to the chase? I wholeheartedly recommend B-School for most online entrepreneurs. And I’m not being paid a cent to say that ;)

So Let’s Take a Step Back

First, some background about B-School, in case it’s brand new to you or you don’t know much about it. I’ll do the classic “who, what, when, where, why” to fill you in.

WHO: According to her site, Marie Forleo is “(a)n entrepreneur, writer, philanthropist and an unshakable optimist dedicated to helping you become the person you most want to be.” She started her online business with nothing and now runs one of the most profitable online empires around. Marie has been recognized by people like Tony Robbins, Oprah Winfrey*, and Sir Richard Branson. In other words, she’s teaching what she knows because she’s accomplished it herself.

*Yes, I’m now a big Marie fan and this blog post includes my review of her appearance at Super Soul Sessions in Los Angeles last year.

Marie Forleo at Super Soul Sessions 2016

WHAT: B-School is an 8-week online learning program for big-hearted creatives who want to build a meaningful, profitable business online. Getting your business up and running requires clarity, vision and the ability to execute consistently on the right strategies. Without a roadmap or guidance, the process can be overwhelming. B-School can fast-track your growth and save you years of expensive trial and error. – from the B-School Program Tour page)

The B-School curriculum includes 6 modules, with 1 module released per week starting Monday, March 6th. Each module contains 4-6 individual video lessons plus corresponding Fun Sheets (growth assignments and handouts) to help you integrate and apply what you learn to your business. You’ll also get two full weeks of implementation at the mid and end point of the program, where no new content is released. These open weeks are designed to give you a chance to catch up on the training, reflect and take action. Once the initial 8 weeks are complete and all content has been released, you’ll have access to the entire library of training materials inside the member portal and can revisit and review as often as you like.

WHEN: Marie Forleo’s B-School runs from Monday, March 6, 2017 for 8 weeks (through Sunday, April 30, 2017). Enrollment begins February 22, 2017 at noon EST and closes March 2, 2017. They encourage you to join as soon as possible because there is some pre-work you can do to get clear on your business idea and get focused before B-School begins.

WHERE: Everything takes place online. Marie and co. are based in New York so times are EST-based but they really try to accommodate others, at least in the U.S., as much as possible. Students come from all over the world and, of course, it’s impossible to be perfectly-timed for everyone. Everything is fully available to anyone, no matter their location.

CC0 image courtesy of PIxabay.com

Saving the WHY for Last

WHY: This seems like the perfect place for my review and recommendation – why i took B-School, what my experience was, and why you should or should not take it.

How I Made the B-School Decision, etc.

I’ve already written about B-School a bit on my VA Creatively blog here and here, where I talked about things like:

  • how I heard about B-School
  • who recommended it to me
  • the high-price barrier and how I was able to afford it
  • how I finally made the decision to take the plunge
  • how I chose which affiliate to sign up with
  • my experience in the first 3 weeks of B-School

So feel free to head over to those posts if you’re curious about any of that. Just remember to come back here when you’re done …

Sorry, More Background

Before B-School, I was a long-time work-at-home transcriptionist who had been slowly adding virtual assistance services to my repertoire. Honestly, even though I’d been doing the work since 2007, I’d only discovered that being a VA was a “thing” in 2013 or so.

So I changed my official title – well, the thing I told people when they asked, “what is it you do from home exactly? It’s like medical billing or something, right?” Ha! Yeah, no. I had some very steady medical and psych transcription clients but I could read the writing on the wall. They weren’t going to be my clients forever.

With new federal medical laws, doctors were being required (against their will, in smaller and rural areas like mine) to transition to EMR (electronic medical records) or else face hefty fines. I wasn’t going to wait around for these clients to go EMR, drop me, and suddenly be without income. So I started taking every free class and webinar about online business and entrepreneurship that I could find. (Huge shout out to Creative Live! I feel like I got an AA degree in online business from them and it was free, other than the few classes I purchased).

Then 3 female online entrepreneurial friends (who didn’t know each other) all told me within a few weeks of each other about how B-School had been the game-changer for them and, long story short, I signed up. My impression from their reviews and all the information I could find online was that I probably already knew a lot of the information being taught. However, the way it was organized, presented by Marie, reinforced by her staff – not to mention the crazy networking that goes on in the B-School Facebook Group – would make it more than worth my time and money.

My Actual Review (Thank You for Your Patience)

Marie and the Materials

And that ended up being completely correct. I did already know about 60-70% of the information that B-School taught. But it wasn’t about JUST the curriculum. For one thing, I really like Marie Forleo, how she teaches, and what she stands for. I felt like she was talking directly to me with each .pdf, video, and call. She’s very straightforward, knowledgeable, self-deprecating, and funny. She tells great stories to illustrate her points in a way that makes sense to my creative yet somewhat techy, multi-passionate mind.

I’ve listened to other heavy-hitters and I don’t connect with them in the same way, so I know it’s something special. If you want a feel for what I’m talking about, watch some Marie.TV; make sure and stay for the end of each episode ;) You may not connect with her in the same way and, if that’s the case, I’d have second thoughts about taking B-School. While she’s not like a 1:1 coach in this environment, B-School is definitely full-tilt Marie Forleo. If you don’t groove with her voice and message, this isn’t for you. But I suspect that if you’re taking the time to read this extensive review, it’s because you do like Marie Forleo :)

Another highlight for me was that the way she presents the information in workbooks, videos, the online portal, etc. was SUPER well-organized and just plain pretty to look at! Hey, I’m a visual person. It really did make a difference in how I absorbed the information. Heck, it motivated me to read, listen, or watch in the first place because it’s an eye-pleasing presentation. It’s like Anthropologie: aspirational. I know my site doesn’t look like Marie’s but it can someday, lol. So if you like a plain-text, straightforward, “just the facts, ma’am” type of presentation, maybe all the pretty colors and design will be distracting for you?

Psst! Keep reading … I have a way for you to get an idea ahead of time about how things look inside the B-School learning area.

The Information

Like I said, a lot of the info I’d already heard or knew from starting to expand my virtual assistant business, build my VA website, starting my social accounts, etc. The difference was, instead of this information/reference materials being scattered all over the internet and in my computer files, it was all beautifully organized in the B-School portal, available to access 24/7 from any device, and available for download to access offline as well.

Also, the information came from someone who, by then, I trusted and admired, not some random blog post or person I didn’t know that much about. Marie presents the information in several formats and also has live calls where YOU can ask a question to her directly or just listen to those from other students – who have the same types of questions you do. I didn’t have to piecemeal information together; it’s all there, A to Z. If I got stuck or needed motivation or encouragement, I had (and still have) one place to go.

The Learning and Implementation

B-School is an 8-week course with 6 modules and 2 weeks to implement what you’re learning. There’s an oft-repeated saying, “There’s no behind in B-School” because they don’t want you to beat yourself up or get discouraged when life inevitably gets in the way of your studies and you can’t keep up with every lesson, every task, every week. It’s a LOT of information and a lot of hard work. If you’re starting from scratch, it can be overwhelming.

Also, sometimes you need to contemplate and decision-make or prep before you can move forward and that’s okay. The information is always there for you to access because you’ve downloaded it and you have access to the portal. B-School materials are updated for each new session and the portal does close down for (I want to say) about a month every Jan/Feb. But they notify students via email any time something will be inaccessible or deleted so you have plenty of time to download it before then.

Then when the next round starts in early March, every alumni has full access and can “take” B-School again. In fact, the alumni Facebook group is full of people excited about doing B-School again, mainly for these 3 reasons: 1. Something came up and then never completed it in the past, 2. They’ve changed or added businesses and want to apply the B-School tenets to a different business, or 3. Now that another year or two has gone by from their first B-School run-through, they want to put the same biz through it again and make improvements and refinements. I think the ability to take B-School over and over is one of its best (and most cost-effective) selling points.

The Biggie: Networking

The ability to network in B-School is UH-MAZE-ing. I can tell you this: I’ve made WAY MORE than $2,000 just from the networking in B-School alone. For one thing, in the B-School portal, you can create a listing by name, business, and contact info and you also  participate in discussions under each lesson. So your name is out there and available to other B-Schoolers if you want to be found, to network, to make friends in similar businesses, etc.

For another (and more importantly in my opinion), there are the now-massive B-School Facebook Groups where you can network like crazy. I don’t mean blatantly plug your business because we know that’s super-bad form and not allowed in most Facebook groups anyway. {And the group moderators on Team Forleo do not mess around. They delete inappropriate posts pronto}. I do mean that you can make authentic connections with like-minded folks who are in the same place with their businesses, facing the same challenges, and asking the same questions you are.

When you’re in B-School, you go into a Facebook group just for that year’s B-School class. (I’m sorry, I can remember how many were in my 2015 group but maybe 2-3K?). Then when the current B-School session is over, they close that group and you’re invited to join the huge alumni group (as of this writing, it has 18,000 members!).

With a group that large, it can be easy to feel lost in the crowd but it’s what you make it and that hasn’t been my experience. I’ve made a consistent effort to take part in the discussions and, over time, have bonded with specific people who I really feel connected to. We’ve gotten to know each other, our businesses, and work ethics; we love to support and recommend each other; and we often DM or call each other. I can’t recommend B-School enough for making this kind of connection possible.

The bottom line about the networking is B-Schoolers love to support other B-Schoolers. Just by being a student of Marie’s, you know you’re on the same wavelength with most everyone in this group. Because you each spent $2,000, you’re most likely pretty dang serious about your business. And you’ve watched each other grow and succeed – it’s exciting and fun! People post their successes and milestones in the group and we cheer each other on! People also post their hardships; not only do the B’s support each other but Marie’s team shows such kindness as well, even sending cards and gifts to these students 💗

Who Might NOT Want to Take B-School

I read in another non-affiliate review from a few years ago that unless you’re a coach or someone who serves coaches, you shouldn’t take B-School and also that product-sellers shouldn’t take B-School. I couldn’t disagree more with that advice. Maybe it has changed since that attendee went to B-School several years ago. There’s actually an entire bonus just for product-sellers, Marie answered many live questions from product-sellers, and I’ve seen sooo many product-sellers in the Facebook group achieving great success. The first who comes to mind is Brandon Wagner of Crumble Co.  He’s not only been a huge financial success but also a success at giving back, an integral part of what Marie preaches in B-School.

So let’s use the B-School technique of ICA: Ideal Client Avatar. I’d say the ICA for B-School is: Jennifer, a 30-something young married who has worked in private industry but always been at least somewhat of an entrepreneur at heart. She knows she has more to offer the world with her work, not just from a ‘producing something valuable sense’ but from sharing her wealth with others. She’s spiritual but not religious, has a supportive extended family, loves to travel, and has a pug named Marley. (Ha ha, any B-Schooler alumni reading this, how did I do?!?)

So, yeah, if you’re a guy in B-School you’re going to feel outnumbered although very welcome. But there’s not that masculine, hardcore, hurt and hustle mentality you might see in male-taught courses. B-School definitely attracts coaches, or brings out coaching biz ideas in people who’ve attained expert level in their fields and now want to share their vast knowledge. But B-School also has artists, photographers, writers, bloggers, visibility experts, social media managers, and much, much more.

I can’t think of any one business group or type that would feel excluded in B-School or wouldn’t benefit from it. It’s definitely geared toward online business over brick and mortar! But if you’re a brick and mortar, you’re crazy if you aren’t also trying to maximize your online presence, sales, and marketing. There are also MLM’ers, teachers, and athletes in B-School. If you have a question like, “Hey, Erika. Are there filmmakers/jewelry designers/naturopaths in B-School?”, just ask me and I’ll let you know.

It’s a pretty wide range which reminds me: There are also B-School subgroups on Facebook where like-minded students (Woo-Woo Crew, want to give TED Talks, Ontraport users, etc.) and those from similar professions (coders, coaches, veterinary, etc.) can “talk amongst themselves.” There are also groups by geography so you can arrange meet-ups in your own area! Pretty dang cool, I tell ya’. They’re all on a handy-dandy list in the Facebook Group files section; 6 pages of groups by similar interest/profession and 4 pages worth by location.

The other thing I read in a negative review was that there was a lack of networking beyond meeting up with local B-Schoolers. As you can see, I completely disagree with that as well. If you can’t network, make friends, and establish a referral network in a group of 18K people who took the same extensive business course you did, that’s not B-School’s fault, LOL. And then all the sub-groups too! Yikes. With approval, you can even start you’re own.

Want to Check Out a Kind of “Mini-Mini B-School”?

I mentioned earlier there was a way to get a little peek behind the B-School curtain. Welll … Hurry! I don’t know how long this offer is available but right now, in the top bar of MarieForleo.com, it says, “Limited Time Only – Get Instant Access to a FREE 3-Part Business Workshop”. Click on that to sign up and you’ll get access to some videos and .pdf workbooks that are very much on the wavelength of B-School. Enjoy and I hope that helps in your decision … along with my 100-page review here, lol. (So I’m a little verbose! Sheesh).

In Summary …

Without hesitation, I recommend Marie Forleo’s B-School for most online entrepreneurs who want to start, build on, or refine their business.

There are negative reviews out there, too, and you should read them before you sign up. I sure did. Honestly, even before I took B-School in 2015, the things that stood out about the negative reviews was that they were older (perhaps the program has improved over time, eh?) and their experience seemed more self-directed than anything.

I go back to something I heard when I was trying to make this big decision: B-School or no B-School? And that’s that B-School is like anything in life. If you approach it with a positive attitude, willing to learn, eager and open to what’s being offered to you, you’ll have a good experience. The opposite is true as well: Those who look for fault usually find it. So approach B-School positively and I can’t see any way you won’t get your time and money’s worth.

Did I go to B-School and become the most super-amazing, 6-figure virtual assistant?! Nope. But that was never my goal. For me, being a mom comes first and I just wanted to improve and refine the VA biz I already had going, work about 30 hours a week, and be at home for my family. B-School helped me in so many ways, the main one being networking with like-minded online business owners. I learned how to figure out my ideal customer, how to market to them, what services they most needed, and how to communicate with them.

Marie herself gave me the confidence to charge what I’m worth and to obtain the clients I deserve. Since B-School, I’ve rarely had to “hustle” for clients and am usually fully booked. When I’m not, I don’t panic because I also learned how to see the big picture and a little woo-woo to get me through, too ;) I learned how to ask for help from my B’s and that I’m not alone in my entrepreneurial ideas, dreams, and struggles.

If this all sounds good to you, definitely give some good thought to attending B-School. However, if the money is too much of a hardship or Marie doesn’t ring your bell, don’t feel badly about it. B-School isn’t for you, at least not right now. Keep looking for the program that DOES resonate most fully with you and is within your budget.

I wish you so much luck and love in your online business journey! If you have ANY questions about Marie Forleo’s B-School, online business, working with a virtual assistant, etc., don’t hesitate to ask. Helping is what I love to do.

Take care,

 

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?

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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.

B School: I’m Going for It & Deciding Who to Sign Up Through

If you’re not familiar with B School, it’s an online business school geared toward women entrepreneurs that has turned out some awesome success stories. It’s put on by MARIE FORLEO and you can learn more about it HERE.

From MarieForleo.com:

B-School is an 8 week, interactive video-based training program that teaches smart, effective online marketing strategies to business owners who want more sales and more impact from their online presence. It’s designed to turn your business into a force for good that fuels higher profits and your higher purpose. In addition to B-School, Marie Forleo is the creator of the award-winning show MarieTV and has been interviewed by both Tony Robbins and Oprah as a thought leader for the next generation.

I first heard about B School through not one but THREE different friends who have attended. They happen to be three women I admire greatly and when they say it was awesome and I should do it, I took their recommendations very seriously. B School is also recommended by some online entrepreneurs I follow and admire – but more about them below.

One important thing about B School: It’s expensive . . . $2,000 for an 8-week online course (with unlimited repeats). Now, of course, that includes tons of learning, resources, etc. but still. That’s a LOT of money and not an amount I would normally spend on anything other than, like, a car.

So B School went on my “Someday” list, along with attending WORLD DOMINATION SUMMIT, writing my first novel, and getting an iPhone 6+ (which I finally got a couple weeks ago!). Then something awesome happened: A friend and pending client for my virtual assistant business offered to pay for me to go to B School in exchange for a commensurate number of VA hours helping her business!

Well, duh. No brainer. I said yes.

Once it became a real possibility, I started looking into B School like the over-researcher that I am. I checked out the GOOD, the BAD, and the UGLY (not calling you ugly, ladies! just acknowledging that not everyone loves Marie or B School, k?).

And then I decided to forget all the bad for the reasons Karen Yankovich shared on Facebook. I think largely what you put into things is what you get out of them. And all the women I’d spoken to who LOVED their B School experience had chosen to get a lot out of it.

Their collective advice for me is that, while I already know a lot of the nuts and bolts information about online entrepreneurship, they think I’ll get a lot out of the structure, inspiration, aspiration, group support, and business connections. Sounds good to me!

So, sure, nothing’s perfect and $2,000 is still a boat-load of money. Sometimes I think, “WOW that’s a lot!” and other times I think, “What better to invest my money in than ME?”

I love being a virtual assistant. It’s the best job I’ve ever had and I’ll always have at least a few clients because I ADORE helping people and watching their dreams come true. But I have big dreams for myself, too. I want to go bigger in my business life and my head is exploding with ideas of how to get there.

marie forleo

So I’m going for it. Sign-ups are from 02-18 to 03-04-15. My “sponsor” is traveling but she’s going to purchase it for me ASAP. In the meantime, I have a choice to make: Which affiliate to sign up through? Decisions, decisions.

Marie has hand-selected B School alums to be her affiliates which means they promote B School and she pays them a (cough cough pretty hefty cough cough) commission for each sale. Which I have absolutely no problem with because I’m an affiliate for people and companies that I believe in. It’s a business model I support.

Since they’re getting such a nice commission, B School affiliates go all out to entice you to sign up through them. They offer tons of incentives worth some pretty good money in the form of their own products, workshops, books, Q&A sessions, Facebook support groups, etc. The hard part for me now is deciding which one to choose.

If I were a purely good person, I suppose I would unselfishly give the commission to the person I supported the most or felt had turned me on to B School before anyone else (after my three friends, I mean). But, no, I’m selfish. I’m going to compare what each person has on offer and choose the package that I want the most :P

Does that make me evil? Bwahahaha!

So I’m gathering into one place all the B School affiliate offers I can find and will be comparing them for a winner. In case it’s helpful to anyone else, I’ll share my list below, with links:***Please be very careful when clicking on where these links take you. I’ve linked you to the information pages for each person’s B School bonuses. But if you go beyond that and click on links within their pages and then sign up for B School, you may be giving affiliate credit where you don’t mean to. So be careful! I’m not 100% sure how it works but clicking on affiliate links may “tag” you as that person’s sale and then the person you want to give the commission to won’t get it. Also, to qualify for their bonuses, they’ll verify that they got credit for your B School purchase. I’m only clicking around freely because my sponsor will be making the actual purchase from HER computer.***

Derek Halpern from Social Triggers

April Bowles-Olin of Blacksburg Belle and Mayi Carles of Heartmade Blog

Karen Yankovich, social media brand strategist

Amy Porterfield, social media strategist

Kris Carr, author, wellness activist, and cancer thriver

Alexis Neely and the Eyes Wide Open Collective

Danielle Laporte, inspirational speaker and author

Michelle Martello with Minima Designs

Gabby Bernstein, author, Today show regular, etc.

Nathalie Lussier, digital strategist

Andreea Ayers with Launch Grow Joy

Jenny Shih, business coach

Tracy Matthews, Flourish and Thrive Academy

Well, I could go on but I won’t. Holy heck, there are a lot of affiliates out there! I think this list is enough for me to go on. If you know of any good ones I’m missing, let me know.

Haters or not, I have to say I’m pretty impressed with the success of the B School alumni above – and with my three friends / women entrepreneurs / success stories who originally recommended B School. I’m *really* looking forward to it!

Now . . . I’m off to do my homework :)

Creative Live Class Review: “Embrace the Ugly; How to Break Through What’s Holding You Back in Business”

I had this class playing online today while I was transcribing and doing virtual assistant (VA) work.  It was taught by Kim Werker and was free for the initial broadcast; it’s $29 to purchase which you can do HERE and then watch it anytime you want.  If you buy the class, you also get Kim’s “Year of Making” e-book for free which is a $12 value.  After today, the permanent price becomes $39 but if you hurry, you can still catch it for free.

 

Kim is “a writer, editor, maker, podcaster, and speaker.”  She also does a project called Mighty Ugly, which is about embracing the dark parts of creativity.  She’s the author of “Make It Mighty Ugly: Exercises & Advice for Getting Creative Even When It Ain’t Pretty”:

make it mighty ugly

 

Here are some notes & things I learned from “Embrace the Ugly: How to Break Through What’s Holding You Back in Business” by Kim Werker:

She participates in and invites others to try #yearofmaking.  It’s about embracing imperfection, trying new things, being creative, sharing your imperfect results, and making creativity a habit.

Make a list of your super powers – what are you really good at?  Add to it all the time.

Your ugly voice talks to you all the time.  “I don’t know what you were thinking.”  “Who do you think you are?” “Why do you think YOU have the authority to be talking to others about this?” etc.  In the chat room, people shared what their ugly voice was saying to them and I identified with one who said, “My ugly voice told me not to take this class today, although I blocked out time to do it, because I’m not a creative business owner so who am I to think I belong here?”  

Yep, that’s exactly what mine said.  I love creative people, I work with a lot of them, and I have a successful blog about a creative craft but I’m ONLY a writer and blogger and assistant to creatives.  I’m not A CREATIVE so I often feel the need to justify taking Creative Live classes.  (Hmm, to whom?  Other attendees?  Creative Live? Myself?)

Attendees gathered craft supplies and made an “ugly” object, the point being to listen to their ugly voice as they went along.  The outcome was interesting, as they all shared their thought processes throughout the project.

I was only able to listen off and on for the rest of the day, then caught a little bit more on the replay (Creative Live runs free replays a time or two immediately following their live classes).  The overall point seemed to be about fighting perfectionism, embracing the “ugly” parts of ourselves and our creative process, and fighting (and winning) against the negative self-talk and even outside criticism that can hold us back.

I really enjoyed this class.  Kim Werker is a fast-talking, empathetic, intuitive, kind instructor who was able to draw quite personal insights from not only her students in the classroom but also from those in the CreativeLive chat room.  People were talking down the ugly voices, creating comebacks to them, and setting some major goals.

To paraphrase Kim, it’s a Photoshop world where everything can seem “perfect” and who are we to insert our creativity into that?  But perfection is an illusion and we all deserve a space in the creative world :)  Embrace your ugly!

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 :)

6:00am
Wake up, get myself and kids ready, start some laundry, etc.

7:30am
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.

IMG_4835

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!

Weekly Roundup by VA Creatively.com 08-31-14

Here’s a round-up of some of my finds from around the web this week. They’re geared toward creative entrepreneurs, solopreneurs, social media, working at home, and other things you might find helpful or interesting.

-You know those funny “som(ee)cards” you see on Pinterest and such? Look! You can make your own HERE.



– Here’s a GREAT READ for you bloggers, crafters, hobbyists, and creative entrepreneurs.

– Hey, come join me in class next Friday, 09-05-14! It’s FITNESS FOR CREATIVES and us types who sit at a desk all day. And it’s online and it’s free so no excuses. See you there ;)

– A new venture by a gal I’m very fond of: PERSONALIZE YOUR ART, baby!

– Some GREAT ADVICE from a successful blogger and editor.

– Wondering what work to outsource to a virtual assistant? HERE’s a great list of ideas by Entrepreneur.com.

– If you’re going to Pin images from your blog, make sure to DO THIS first.

– A PODCAST about creatives? I’m in!

Hope you enjoyed this weekly round-up from VA Creatively.com!

Free Online Summit for VA’s and Other Online Service Providers

There’s a cool event going on from August 4-15, 2014 called the “Virtually Successful Video Summit”.

You can find the entire schedule HERE if you’d like to join in.  It’s all free.  Of course, each presenter has products they recommend or sell but you’re not required to buy anything and, so far, it hasn’t been a “hard sell.”

On Day 1, I listened to organizer TINA FORSYTH‘s presentation on how to “Create a Business Around Your Brilliance & Get Paid What You Are Worth.”  It felt good to be validated as what she calls an “online service provider” – whether that be a Virtual Assistant, Online Business Manager, Copywriter, etc.

One takeaway:  We are Implementers.  We get things done.  We self-educate.  We want to help and we excel at being “behind-the-scenes” but are oh-so-important to businesses.

On Day 2, I enjoyed hearing from  BOB THE TEACHER on “Secrets to Becoming an Indispensable (and Well-Paid) Virtual Assistant”.

One take-away:  Don’t get so busy with clients that you have no time to learn new things – the hot new program LEADPAGES, for example.  It’s a service many businesses are looking for.  Use it in your own business to demonstrate to potential clients your expertise.  {Check out how Bob uses Leadpages himself at the link above}.

Also, I listened to MICHELE PW about “3 Keys to Writing Copy that Attracts, Inspires, and Invites Your Ideal Prospects to Become Ideal Clients.”  She has a new book coming out as we speak and it’s free right now for Kindle, only $2.99 regular price.  You can find it here: Love-Based Copywriting: How to Write Copy that Attracts, Inspires and Invites Your Ideal Prospects to Become Ideal Clients.  I downloaded it for free and look forward to reading to see what other copywriting tips I can put into my rotation!


*Her cute doggie Nick tried to get in on the video class :)

One take-away:  A lot of today’s direct response copywriting targets people’s fear but she contends we should use love-based copywriting to instead instill respect and hope.

I have a lot of transcribing and online work to do tonight (I multi-task!) so I’m hoping to get all caught up and also listen to Day 3 – KIM DEYOUNG talking about “The Top 5 Product Launches You Should Know How to Leverage for Your Business.”

What I find so great about participating in these kinds of events is that they’re cutting-edge classes and a pep talk all rolled into one.  For FREE :)

I always learn so much, have current knowledge reinforced, and enjoy hearing directly from those who are rockin’ the online business world. I also appreciate the free gifts that tend to be included, like a copywriting template, etc.

Thanks Tina and “Virtually Successful Video Summit”!!

Ask VACreatively.com: “I Need a Virtual Assistant. Where Do I Find A Good One?”

I’ve heard this many times from small biz owners: “I really need a virtual assistant to help with my business but I don’t even know where to start looking.” And there it stalls. They continue to be overwhelmed with the daily tasks to keep their business running, rarely having time to move it forward, spend time on special projects, or just relax.

Sound familiar?

Yep! And that leads to the question I’ve been asked repeatedly:

“I need a virtual assistant. Where do I find a good one?”

Sites like Elance and ODesk are options, sure. But they’re not where you should be looking, in my opinion. There’s a real battle for work there based on the “low bid” system. Is that who you want working with you – the person who’s clawing with the masses to accept the least amount of pay? When that’s the criteria for hire, I don’t understand how they can possibly have your best interest at heart and provide top-of-the-line service for you.

I think you’ll have much better luck with virtual assistants (like me) who have their own website, their own established business, years of demonstrated experience, a sound education, and expect a decent rate for their hard work.

The problem is, it’s hard to find virtual assistants of this type with a simple Google search. For instance, I just Googled “virtual assistant” and did not find a link to a “solo” virtual assistant until page 4. Prior to that were: Books on how to become a virtual assistant, blogs about becoming a virtual assistant, ODesk and Elance listings, VA forums, etc. (Yes, indeed, there is a whole industry based on BECOMING a VA that’s making a lot of money in itself, LOL).

So you need a virtual assistant but don’t know where to look? Please let me suggest VirtualAssistantville.com. {If you need to come back later and find the link, I have a clickable icon in my right sidebar ->}

Not only can you browse a huge listing of available virtual assistants, but you can submit an RFP or Request for Proposal detailing the services you’re looking for. Then VAs will submit bids and you get to choose the best fit – pretty cool!

VirtualAssistantville is run by Tess Strand who also administers VirtualAssistantForums.com.

“VAF” – as we VA’s call it – is an EXCELLENT resource for new and experienced virtual assistants to ask questions, find free resources, and take paid classes. I’ve been lurking there for years and have been an active member since November 2013. (HERE is my VAF profile).

Both VirtualAssistantville.com and VirtualAssistantForums.com are excellent places to look for a virtual assistant. These 2 sites are loaded with experienced, solo-business owner virtual assistants ready to help with whatever you need done.

It can seem like a big risk to hire someone online who you’ve never met – and may never meet – in person. One of the things I like about VAF.com is that you can check out the virtual assistant profiles to learn a lot about them. In addition, check out the forum posts they’ve made and maybe you’ll like what you see. A virtual assistant whose posts are friendly, inquisitive, business-like, and helpful would be a great one to hire. You can also tell by how long they’ve been posting at VAF.com whether they’re a “fly by night” VA not taking it very seriously or one who’s been around for a while and is a stable business owner herself with more on the line.

So if you or a fellow business owner would like to hire a virtual assistant (VA) but don’t know where to start, please check out those 2 resources. If you have any questions or comments, I’d love to hear them in Comments below!

PS: If you’re a virtual assistant yourself, come on over and get yourself listed at VirtualAssistantville.com! As you now know, that’s where all the SMART business owners are looking for virtual assistants ;)