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About 1stva

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  • Birthday 04/14/1969

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  1. I would refer to your business as singular while it is just you. You can always change it later as you bring others into your business. Nothing is written in stone, so you can change it as needed. But for now, I would keep it singular. Warmly, Donna
  2. Hi Amanda, Great question. My financial goal is set as something that is a bit of a stretch, yet, also attainable. Some people determine what they want to accomplish financially for a year and set goals that way. Say you want to take 2 vacations in the next 12 months, pay off $X of debt, put $$ in savings, and then take home $x for A, B and C. You'll have a financial goal this way, also. I actually have set monthly goals and I readjust those once I have consistently met the goal for several months. I like monthly goals because I can easily see/know how things are going throughout the month and make adjustments as necessary (ramp up marketing, make new connections, get to an in-person event, do more follow-up with folks, etc). Great question for a great dialog. I look forward to hearing how others set their goals! Warmly, Donna
  3. Hi Susan, I would get in touch with some insurance agencies that would cover you. I had to call around locally to a LOT before I found one that would. And it's been so long I can't remember if they had different levels, or if they asked what services I provided or how much I earned, and guided me from there. But reach out to them and they'll be able to help you determine how much you need. Good luck! ~Donna
  4. Hi Julie! No, I can't say that that has ever come up for me, personally. And while my first inclination is to say, "no way!", I'm curious what services you're providing, if there may be a reason that this person feels it necessary to have a background check performed based on that. I'm not sure what services would make it "okay", but curious what you offer. Most times, however, I wouldn't see a need for it, and would think this person has an "employer" mindset. He's not thinking of the business relationship as an 'equal' one. And the business relationship that's beginning certainly isn't one that's based on trust if this is what he's asking for before you even begin working together. If it were me, I would say "no". ~Donna
  5. Candy - a girl after my own heart! Well said! ~Donna
  6. Hi Dana! I'm glad to hear the story had a 'happy' ending. I was expecting something else as soon as I saw "Paypal". There are so many horror stories of Paypal 'siding' with the buyer/client regardless of the information/documentation we have to back us up. I'm glad that wasn't the case for you. Thanks for sharing, and congratulations! Yes, great reminder to have effective agreements and to stick to your guns. I would also add that it's a good reminder not to ignore those 'intuitive nudges' that we can sometimes get that tell us a prospect may not be the best fit. I agree - karma will get her in the end! ~Donna
  7. Thanks, Tawnya! I'm really looking forward to helping out or a moderator! And looking forward to answering questions and sharing ideas with everyone. Have a GREAT day! Warmly, Donna
  8. Hi Patty, I hope I can chime in here. Please don't consider publishing a newsletter for "keeping up with the Joneses", but rather, to stay in front of your target market, for providing them with value, all so that YOU are the one they think of when they're ready for a VA. It's a great (and important) form of marketing that shows your expertise and gives you credibility. So to your question, "how do you do it all?" I can speak for myself and other colleagues that I know and tell you - we get help! :-) Just as we tell our clients that they can't do it all and need support, we get help for our marketing, client work, etc. in the same way. If you're choking, sinking and gasping, it sounds like you're busy with client work, so that's a good thing! Congratulations! Now it's time to get help with your own marketing, your newsletter, writing, etc, and with the other projects you want to do for your own business. Patty is right, if you don't enjoy it, don't do it, BUT find someone to help who does enjoy it. If I can be honest (tough love) I don't think a bi-annual newsletter is worth the effort. Good marketing is all about consistency so at the very least, I encourage you to at least publish it monthly. You can probably tell I'm very passionate about marketing. It's so important in order to avoid the ups and downs in cash flow. If we're marketing consistently we'll have a full pipeline of leads for when we need to replace clients who leave or when projects end. I hope this helps! Warmly, Donna
  9. Hi Everyone! Just wanted to post a quick reminder that this group program starts on Monday and we have a couple of open spots! http://www.stepitupva.com/coaching-programs/group/ Tomorrow, Wednesday September 8, I'm hosting an open call time from 9am to 3:30pm EST for you to get the answers to any questions you have about the program. Just call in at any point during that time and I'll be ready to answer your call and your questions! Please email me for the number. I look forward to talking with you and having you join us in the program! Warmly, Donna
  10. Hi Amanda, I agree that you should first get people onto your list so a free ecourse or article series is a great way to do that. People also love free teleseminars so that could be an option, too. Once they're on your list you'll want to communicate with them regularly - offering value, such as articles, resources, etc. Then when you're ready to reach out to them with new products, they'll be more receptive. Like Tawnya said, definitely upsell to the next product you're offering, which could even be one-on-one individualized telephone support from you to help them transition to paperless. Good luck! Warmly, Donna
  11. Hi Sally, You will have to create new "lists" (through the "contacts" area), and then can click on whether or not you want these list options included on this page. Hope that helps! Warmly, Donna
  12. Hi Julie, Yes, we did a Tradeshow a few years back. The drawing is a great idea to get people to come in and leave their business cards. Some other things we did: Had a Powerpoint running on a Laptop (what a VA is, what we do, etc) so people could watch if we were busy talking to other people. Had pens with our biz name/site, M&Ms with our biz name, brochures, a nice paper with testimonials in one of those stand up acrylic frames We had folders with all of our information, rates, testimonials, services list, etc, that we would give to interested people that they could leave with We had some big signage to go across the front table, even though we were given a smaller sign included with our table purchase, having the big sign definitely brought people over Be sure you have people to 'man' your booth so YOU can walk around and meet all the other business owners that are there. The tradeshow wasn't a huge success for us, because people don't understand the VA concept in my area either but I did make some great connections. A lot of people were just there for the free stuff they know they typically can get at a Tradeshow. So it was disappointing but a good learning experience. Will you have a booth or a table? We had a table - if you want to see pictures of how we set it up, send me a message/email. Good luck! If I remember anything else I'll add it. Warmly, Donna
  13. Hi Kathy! Great question! This is what I've found works for us as we sell the packages: 1. In my communication and my marketing materials I sell the "Value" to the potential client, not the service or the time. So - I tell them what results they'll get from purchasing a package from me. When it clicks for them that they'll get X results for this package price - it's almost a no-brainer. They don't necessarily care how long or how little it takes. They're happy with the result they'll receive for the price they're paying. 2. I explain how in my experience working on an hourly/retainer basis for clients - it would frustrate us that we had to stop at a set # of hours because their retainer time was used. We didn't feel like we could accomplish all that we wanted to because our time was limited. This helps them see that we'll provide the service until they've received the value we've sold to them, without us watching the clock. Not every potential client is going to sign on, and that's okay, there will be more space for the ones who do understand the value in your packages. Just as not all potential clients are ideal for you now, not all are going to be ideal for your packages. Move on to the ones who are. When you're comfortable and confident in working with and selling your packages, you'll attract the clients who are confident and comfortable in purchasing from you. They'll be happy to pay your package price to receive the results/value you're explaining to them. Hope this helps. As an aside, just because we've done things one way in our business when we started, doesn't mean we have to keep doing things the same way. I've changed a LOT in my business from the time I opened my doors until now. It's part of the process of growing/changing as a business owner. It's remaining stagnant that's not always beneficial. Warmly, Donna
  14. Hi Leisa, I was getting so many ideas for you as I read your post! :-) If your specialty is writing, you could create some high-level packages around those services and remove them from inclusion as a service in your retainer packages. Clients could still purchase a retainer package for other services but your writing services would not be included and they could purchase these packages separately. This way you can charge much more and you can move away from hourly on these and create a bigger profit. You could create packages around press release creation and submission, article writing and submission, ghost writing could be a package of up to so many articles, etc, etc. There is a lot you can do! And yes, you can still work with your retainers as well as have packages. Does this help? Also, I know you didn't ask for advice here, but I cringed when I read that you're giving away hours. I suspect you're doing that as incentive for folks to purchase a retainer? I encourage you to reframe your thinking around that and really know your own value and the value of your time and discontinue doing that. The fact that they GET to work with you, a highly skilled VA, and that you have time for them as a new client should be their incentive. Warmly, Donna
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