Let’s be real. Being an entrepreneur is not for the faint of heart. It’s a wild ride that takes you to crazy emotional highs and lows. It brings out your strengths and your weaknesses. Sometimes at the same moment. You give up a lot when you decide to start a business, too. We’re talking about things like a steady paycheck. Job security. Not to mention giving up a ton of free time, family time, and YOU time. There are risks and sacrifices involved that most people don’t want to make. But you show up for it ALL, every day–and you keep coming back for more. It’s what you do, and you do it well! Then, there’s the flip side…It doesn’t matter how successful you’ve been. If you’re an entrepreneur, you still have your moments where you question everything. You wonder if all of the stress, chaos, and responsibility are worth it. But when those moments of doubt and overwhelm cloud your vision, just remember this…You, the entrepreneur, represent the things we celebrate on the 4th of July. You embody freedom, the passion of the entrepreneurial spirit, and the American Dream. So in the spirit of the 4th of July, take some time and celebrate YOU this month! And if your entrepreneurial journey is really hitting a rough spot right now, give this little trick a try. Take a moment and remember WHY you went all in with your business in the first place. Maybe you wanted financial freedom. You might have an undying passion for your products or services. You might be a visionary and an innovator who couldn’t answer to a boss. Or you’re here to bring your message to the world with passion and purpose. It could be any or all those things. But one thing that all entrepreneurs have in common is an impassioned WHY. That’s what we at Vava are inviting you to reconnect with today!
So this July, give yourself a gift. Look at where you are now, celebrate your wins, and with your big WHY. If you haven’t revisited your mission statement in a while, do that today. Remember why you started. Look how far you’ve come. Most of all, CELEBRATE yourself! It’s like the old saying goes…“When you feel like quitting, remember why you started.” We at VaVa Virtual assistants salute you, the courageous entrepreneur! You took the leap, you’re following your passion, and you’re making it happen. We know what it takes to do what you do. It’s our mission to support you in YOUR mission. So if it’s time for your business to get a little extra support, we’ve got your back! Our Virtual Assistants can help with administrative tasks, digital marketing, and graphic design, just to name a few of our services! We’re here to take the extra tasks off of your plate and help you stay in your Zone of Genius. Let us help you keep your entrepreneurial spirit alive, so you can keep doing what you do best!
So today, celebrate your wins, then decide where you want to go next! And if a virtual assistant is in your future, schedule a consult with a member of our dedicated team HERE! Now, let’s get back to celebrating your American dream! Leave a comment below, tell us what you do, and share your big WHY! What drives you to keep going when the going gets tough?
Can’t wait to learn more about you, what you do, and your American Dream!
3 Important Reasons to Go Virtual As an entrepreneur with big plans for your business, it’s understandable that you want to go solo as long as time can afford you. When you just started out, you likely saved money by doing much of the work yourself. However, with time, your business picked up, your clientele increased, and your inbox became full.
Now, instead of investing time on learning how to better serve your customers, you are likely spending your valuable time responding to emails or writing social media content.
If this sounds like you and you are hindered by your growing to-do list, then it might be time to go virtual. Many entrepreneurs are benefiting from the growing trend of outsourcing Virtual Assistants (VA’s). A VA can help you with any task you can think of, ranging from administrative needs, graphics, and web design, to marketing and social media. VA services can come as a team of people or an individual, ultimately helping you get your valuable time back. Here are 3 benefits to joining the upward trend of going virtual:
Outsourcing a VA helps you to achieve profitability by improving productivity. A VA will help you make more money by allowing you to focus on big-picture business needs, such as developing a business plan. Time is of the essence and by hiring a skilled VA, you can ensure that important tasks get done quickly and efficiently. Instead of spending time on tasks that don’t come easy to you, invest in a VA who has the knowledge and expertise.
Lessen business costs
Hiring a VA over a full-time in-house employee can be a big cost saver for many reasons. This is because you won’t have to pay for office equipment, such as a phone or computer, additional benefits, allocating a rental space for work or the costs that are incurred from training. Additionally, you only pay for the work completed, there is no need to pay for employees sick or vacation time.
Improve work-life balance
A VA will help you achieve work-life balance by giving you your valuable time back. Yes, the extra time will give you the opportunity to focus on big-picture business needs but it will also afford you the time to spend time on things you like to do the most, such as exploring the world.
More and more entrepreneurs today are going virtual to help grow their business. Join this upward trend by outsourcing a VA and start focusing on big-picture business needs for continued business growth. Setup a consultation today with VaVa Virtual Assistants and allow us to help your business get ahead.
As new technologies emerge and the digital sphere becomes more complex, companies around the world, such as Taco Bell, Dropbox and Prezi, are cultivating creativity in their teams to gain a competitive edge.
Creativity is a powerful force for business innovation and these three companies help their employees get inspired by allowing space for professional development, building diverse teams, and collaborating together on projects.
To be successful in the changing marketplace, marketing leaders must be adaptable and flexible and develop creative and new ways of marketing their brand. It’s not always easy to carry out, but the rewards are worth it. Here are 5 ways the modern CMO can inspire creativity in their team:
Expose your team to new opportunities. Give your team of creatives the opportunity to experiment within their department. For example, give an employee who commonly works with print, the chance to work with digital. This can help to broaden their skills sets, stretch their thinking and give an opportunity for personal improvement. Employees can also be given the opportunity to work with creative side projects. At Google, for example, employees utilize 20% of their working hours to work on creative personal projects.
Challenge your processes. Innovation and change go hand in hand. As technologies advance, creative leaders must challenge existing processes within their department. While a certain process might be working, habits can be risky in the creative industry. Implementing small changes and breaking patterns, such as altering a morning routine or brainstorming as a team instead of alone, could help creatives develop their skills, gain new ideas and find new ways of thinking.
Encourage brainstorming and experimentation. Give your team the opportunity to brainstorm and experiment as a team and let them know that it is OK to fail. Even if attempts fail, teams learn lessons about working together and co-creating for the future. Leaders can also encourage their employees to brainstorm several ideas for a project prior to coming into work. This gives all team members, introverts and extroverts, the opportunity to pitch in and come up with their own creative ideas without the time constraints of a work day or a meeting.
Build a diverse team. Instead of playing it safe and building a homogeneous team, bring on a team of people with diverse skills and assets. A diverse team can include differences in age, sex, race, and sexual orientation, but also personality, professional history, and personal interests. The diverse experiences of each team member can widen creative ability to problem solve and understand different perspectives. Deloitte, for example, has built a diverse team of people to serve as a creative powerhouse when interacting with a range of different customers.
Define the objective and let the team innovate. Draw out creativity in your team by helping them understand the goal of the project and fostering a way to arrive at the endpoint. Surround them with what they need to get the work done, provide guidance and support your team as they innovate.
With support and encouragement, marketing directors and team leaders can unlock creativity in their team. As marketing teams begin to engage and operate creatively, companies will grow, evolve and reap the rewards in an ever-changing digital marketplace.
It’s no secret that having a consistent online presence is crucial to a business’s exposure this day and age. This doesn’t just include social posts and online ads but also producing blog content that can circulate the Internet to get your business’s name and brand in front of people as much as possible.
But while you know you should be continuously creating articles that boost your company’s SEO, sometimes it’s easier said than done. If you’ve ever felt that frustrating feeling of having writer’s block, here are some tips on how to get yourself unstuck so you can keep publishing good content.
Write about what you know. Articles we write usually require at least a little bit of research to provide a well-rounded piece, but focusing on topics you know at least some about is easier to get started on and flesh out. The knowledge you have will always be of benefit to someone. Also, if your knowledge is limited, you can always link to different articles on the same topic for the reader to expand their knowledge in addition to what you’re providing. Plus, connecting your content with others’ is another great tactic to get your content noticed and spread even further online.
Write about part of a topic. Don’t feel like your articles have to cover every part of a particular topic. Just simply choose a specific part of the topic to discuss in detail. For instance, if you’re writing about business insurance, focus on General Liability coverage for one blog, providing as much detail on that as you can. Then, you have all the other types of business insurance (Errors and Omissions, Workers’ Comp, etc.) you can cover in future articles. Also, at some point, you can also write a general article just listing the types of business insurance, and then link each one you list to the detailed blogs you wrote about previously. This tactic can be used on almost any topic, not just business insurance!
Break your articles up by sections. You can certainly follow the structure of having the typical intro and outro, but the middle part of your articles can be broken up into different categories with headings, bullet points, images, etc. This makes it easier for you to organize your thoughts and prevents you from rambling too much in your writing. It’s also more appealing for the reader to have categories or images to look at than to have long drawn out paragraphs.
It doesn’t have to be extremely long. Some blogs can be short and to the point – and that’s ok! Some people actually don’t want to read long articles so the short ones would get that audience’s attention more, helping you reach a broader range of reader types. The length of blogs does matter for SEO and credibility purposes, but you still don’t want it to be too long where people get bored or uninterested as they’re reading.
Give it a catchy title. Having a specific and interesting title will 1) help you stay focused on what you’re writing about specifically, and 2) get the attention of your potential readers. If you aren’t sure where to start for creating good titles, read more on that here.
Have someone proofread/edit your work. It’s always good practice to have at least one extra set of eyes review your writing before it gets published. This is simply because we don’t always catch anything – our eyes will even skip errors and read what should be there instead of what is sometimes. Also, if you aren’t fully confident in the piece you wrote, having someone step in to embellish or fix it up a bit can be a huge relief before it goes live.
Sitting down to write a great article and completely drawing a blank as soon as your fingers hit the keyboard is something that happens to us all. By utilizing some (or all) of the tips above, you should be able to flesh out something you can use to help your business stay active online. If you just don’t have the time to think about writing for your company anymore, it may be time to consider getting some help with that altogether. If that’s the case, contact us to see how we can help.
As a leader in the marketplace, do you know what your brand represents? Oftentimes brand perception is a mystery to business owners with many factors coming into play. What your company says and how it says it, as well as consumer opinion, all play a part in how your business is viewed.
What is brand perception?
The message crafted in your marketing and a consumer’s experience with your brand both contribute to overall brand perception. Customers quickly shape opinions when they engage with your business via social media, after they make a purchase, read reviews or talk to a friend. The first instinct a customer has determines whether they will continue interacting with your business and spread the word.
It’s easy to conclude how a customer feels about your business as you often interact with them. However, basing brand perception solely on these interactions is not the entire picture. That’s why it’s important to take an objective look and learn what people on the outside are saying by using simple measuring tools. So, how can you do this when you are looking from the inside out? Here are three ways to help you measure accurately and get an unbiased look at your brand perception:
Review social media interactions. In today’s modern world, businesses are ripe with customer engagement across social media. It’s common for potential clients to browse social media channels to evaluate your customer service. Make sure to respond to comments, questions and reviews on social media immediately to build good brand perception. Consumers are likely to recommend a business to a peer or friend based on their interaction with you.
Create surveys. There is the option for high-scale research to measure your brand perception in the industry, however, for a busy business leader there is a need for a faster, cost-effective option to measure consumers’ unbiased instinct. Surveys are an effective tool you can use to capture feedback. For example, you can ask customers questions through an email after they make a purchase online or store visit. A Customer Satisfaction Survey (CSAT) can be done through a free online tool such as Survey Monkey.
Utilize Google Alerts. It’s hard to find time to search the internet for what is being said about your business. Google Alerts does this for you by notifying you via email if any reviews or mentions come up. To set up a Google Alert, fill out the form and enter the keywords you want, such as your company name or terms related to your brand, and track what is being said about your business.
Brand perception is often ambiguous to business owners, therefore by employing the simple processes above, you can monitor and improve your brand perception. Even if your business stands for greatness, brand perception is largely influenced by consumers. By monitoring customer engagement, you can learn what people are responding well to and what you can do to improve. This will result not only in the success of your business but also by being a leader in the industry.
When you commit to starting a business, you’re signing up for everyday successes, challenges, and pitfalls. What an emotional rollercoaster, eh? The ups and downs are constant, but owning a business is one of the most challenging yet rewarding things you will ever do. Through it all, practicing certain mental habits will keep you focused on growing a successful business.
Focus on the bigger picture. Take a step back and review everything on a wider scale over a longer period of time. It is not always easy, but over our last 7 years in business, we’ve noticed that when we have this mindset, trends are more evident. Big picture thinkers can tough out shifts in various business operations more easily. Sometimes taking a step back can be hard, but in doing so, you will (hopefully) stay motivated through the day-to-day struggles.
This year we set out with a goal no one thought we could achieve. Who in their right mind would think that a 5-year-old business could grow by over 100% in one year’s time? Well, we are are on track to have 115% growth by the end of the year — directly a result of keeping a big picture mindset and setting and tracking concrete monthly goals.
Have an optimistic viewpoint. Having an optimistic viewpoint can help when feeling overwhelmed. Optimism is a chance to set yourself apart from others. When people doubt you, prove them wrong. It’s easy to fall into the ‘I don’t know if that’s possible’ bucket, but by turning your thoughts around and taking it one day at a time, you will see major changes.
As the year progressed, we found that pessimism was taking over our optimistic viewpoints. One day we sat down to figure out what was causing this and discovered, like most business owners, we were overwhelmed and our list of things to get done was endless. We thought to ourselves, ‘how do we change this?’ The solution for us was easy: mimic what our Project Manager does! She takes every task/situation one moment at a time. She has a positive outlook, doesn’t freak out, and deals with things as they come. Now, when we start to go back to our old ways, we think about how she might handle a situation. WOW! What a great solution!
Have unwavering confidence. Be confident! Easy to say, but if you continually choose to press onward rather than allowing self-doubt to cripple you, you’ll show unwavering confidence to others. Recognize your value and don’t lose sleep if someone tells you any different.
View mistakes as a learning experience. Everyone makes mistakes. Take all the risks you can because you will never learn if you don’t try. Embrace all experiences in your business – both good and bad. Accept that you will make mistakes and move on from them.
Always take action. Don’t drag your feet or fantasize about something that ‘could’ be. Turn your visions into reality and press on.
In summary, as Margaret Thatcher once said, “words become actions, actions become habits, habits become character. Choose wisely when adopting habits – especially in business. These positive mental habits can only improve your business!
Owning a business allows you the freedom to set your own schedule, be your own boss, and do work you feel empowered by on your own terms.
However, many business owners are overworked, depressed, or desperately trying to keep a struggling business afloat. This is because most entrepreneurs feel they must manage every single task that needs to be done in a day. They burn out quickly, having too much to do to keep their businesses up and running.
This is why having procedures and systems in place is absolutely key for business success and growth. Systems are the building blocks of your business and are essential whether your business is large or small.
Systems improve your productivity because they save you and your employees time and energy. Implementing meticulous and fool-proof procedures that can run in the background, whether or not you’re there, gives you more time and freedom to focus your creative energy elsewhere. While the systems take care of necessary day-to-day tasks, you’re freed up to focus on big-picture details that will set your company up for the long haul, like growth and development.
Systems also allow you to flawlessly expand your business nationally or even globally by guaranteeing consistent results. Name a franchise, any franchise, and within it, you’ll find hundreds of automated systems that make it a well-oiled machine; delivering dependable results and products every single time. The processes are precise but break down the necessary tasks step by step, making it easy for anyone to learn to do them. Expansion makes it possible for you to earn more without doing more work.
Business systems can help to reduce your costs and increase your profits. With more efficient training systems, they help your employees to be more productive and engaged and make it easier for new hires to join the team without a big learning curve.
Just some of the systems you can improve and implement into your own business, regardless of the service or product type you provide, are: training programs, employee onboarding processes, payroll, bookkeeping, or order fulfillment and shipping.
Systems meticulously organize components and procedures to help eliminate errors and improve daily functions within a business. Having a solid system, or several, in place allows a business to run smoothly and independently by delivering reliable results, reducing labor costs, and improving productivity. They can also earn your company more money by making it easy to expand through franchising or licensing.
For a business to be successful, its procedures and results must remain consistent. A fool-proof system is vital for the long-term functionality of a business because it allows business owners to work smarter, not harder, by focusing their creative energy on bigger responsibilities.
There are probably areas in your life and in your work where you procrastinate, self-sabotage, or worry to the point of mental paralysis. You may not even realize that you have bad work habits or that your productivity is suffering. With the holidays in full swing and the end of the year closing in, it’s time to get re-energized. Here are some helpful practices that will reinvigorate your motivation and help you make the new year your most profitable yet!
Make Daily Lists
Even if it’s short, a list helps you to make your day more productive by prioritizing what needs to be done and what can be put off. This way, you maximize your time and energy without feeling burned out or panicked. There’s also something wonderfully satisfying about seeing your items checked off one by one.
Set Daily Goals
Just like making a short list, setting daily goals helps you to stay on track. If you’re working on a large project with a team of other people, setting daily goals provides direction and motivation for each person. People that set goals are more productive and focused, allowing for a higher level and better quality of output.
As people are bombarded with more everyday stressors, like a cellphone that never stops buzzing with new messages or longer commute times, it’s no wonder meditation is becoming a more mainstream topic. Meditating, even for a mere five minutes a day, has been proven to reduce stress and anxiety, reduce age-related memory loss, and promote healthier, more restful sleep.
Just like meditation is good for your mind, take care of your body too. Exercise not only helps you to lose weight or feel more energetic, it decreases your risk of cardiovascular diseases, stroke, diabetes, cancer, and arthritis. It also helps keep your mind healthy to ward off depression and anxiety.
Limit Screen Time
We are constantly stimulated by text messaging, Instagram, Facebook, online shopping, apps, music, and the list goes on. What the most productive leaders and entrepreneurs know is that the more screen time you engage in, the less productive and creative you are. When you procrastinate by scrolling through social media, you rob yourself of valuable time and an important sense of community with friends and coworkers. If you take a break to check personal messages or watch YouTube videos, set a timer. Give yourself five minutes to decompress but don’t get sucked into a black hole.
Progress Over Perfection
If everyone waited to be perfect, or for the perfect circumstances, before they took action, nothing would ever get done. Even if you feel unprepared or inexperienced, start anyway. A tiny step each day is still progress towards achieving your goal.
Feed Your Brain
Successful people are committed to learning whether it’s for their own personal development or to help their business be more successful. Spend 15 minutes every day indulging in some mind food. Try to learn something new every single day. You never know when something you’ve learned will spark a new idea and help you in the workplace.
Don’t Regret Your Mistakes
You’ll never be able to do every single thing perfectly. Mistakes will be made at some point. Be accountable and take responsibility for your mistakes, especially if it affects your coworkers, but don’t beat yourself up over it. Think of it as a learning experience. You’ve only failed if you give up completely. Focus on what you learned and how you can grow from it.
Focus On Results
Successful people care more about great end results rather than how someone got them. They’re more open minded about changing things, especially if it’s more efficient and cost effect. Ask yourself if you’re doing things in the most efficient way possible to maximize your productivity. If you come up with a better way to do things, share it with your supervisors. All great leaders love creative, forward-thinking minds.
Don’t Compare Yourself To Others
Successful people recognize that someone else’s success doesn’t take away from their own. They don’t have time to worry about what someone else is doing because they’re so focused on their own gigantic goals and aspirations. A great practice for a positive mindset is to think about all the wonderful attributes someone has that you strive to have. You’ll be shocked at how energized you feel when you can turn any negative into a positive.
If you want to be successful, don’t overload yourself. Maximize your time and energy by being more mindful at the moment. Taking more on doesn’t mean increasing productivity or accomplishing more.
As an entrepreneur approaching the end of the year, you may be thinking about how you’ll be ringing in the new year, but more importantly, what is in store for your business in 2019. Before beginning, give yourself a well-deserved pat on the back for all your accomplishments over the past year. If you’ve recently started your business, it’s time to write that business plan if you haven’t already done so. Have you recently changed your brand’s voice or your core values? Write that strategic plan. If you’ve been in the game for a while, it’s time to evaluate what has worked, what didn’t, and make plans to grow your revenue and your influence in the market.
Either way, end-of-the-year business planning is a great time to use the skills of a Virtual Assistant (VA). VA’s can play an essential part in planning the future of your business by helping you review, strategize and plan. They can also take other tasks off your to-do list as you focus on bigger picture business needs. As you sit down to think about what you need to do next, you may find that you’re going to need help.
Over the next few weeks, take time to review various aspects of your business. Whether you’re ready for a VA or not, here are 3 key areas we’ve found to help with your 2019 business planning:
This is a great time to do a SWOT analysis, which includes a review of your business strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. If your business has considerably changed, and your brand has moved in a different direction, it’s time to revisit it. A VA can help you simplify and focus your message or redesign your logo. Whatever it may be, understand that things change throughout the year and this means your business plan, and even your brand, needs to adjust with it.
Reviewing your marketing strategy is an important step to ensuring your business is running successfully. We can become satisfied with the way things are instead of looking at what could bring us a larger profit margin. A marketing VA can help you to review your existing marketing strategy and goals, then make suggestions as to how you can improve in 2019. They can also help you to maintain or build your marketing momentum for the new year by writing blog posts, updating your website, or managing your social media on an ongoing basis.
As a business owner, the key to juggling multiple projects and wearing many hats, is getting organized and delegating. Decluttering your desk, organizing your email inbox or managing your calendar will allow you to go into the new year with a fresh start. Allow a VA to help you manage your calendar and organize your inbox to ensure that you never miss a meeting or an important deadline.
The new year is a fresh opportunity to take a step back and take a look at what you have accomplished, how far you’ve come and where you want to go next. As a busy entrepreneur planning for 2019, you may be bogged down by an endless to-do list. At VaVa, our assistants can help you focus on your business planning and give you an extra hand. Book a discovery call with us today to find out if a VA is right for you!
Marketing continues to become more and more personal to consumers. The approaching holidays make it easy to create personal connections with your customers, but keeping the momentum going strong in the New Year takes adaptability. Ads on social media are still massively profitable, but growing tech trends mean it’s time to be innovative with your outreach if you want to stay ahead of the curve.
The New Year is a great time for you to take charge of content creation, implement fresh branding updates, and ensure that everything looks cohesive. It’s time to go beyond images and videos on social media and get inventive with the Google Home and Amazon Alexa smart speakers. According to socialreport.com, more than half of smart speaker owners say they couldn’t live without them. This opens an expanding platform for audio content that reaches new demographics. It also treads into A.I., which makes personalized suggestions based on a person’s interests and previous searches. It’s helpful for delivering the right content to current clients and it can effortlessly attract new ones.
Competition in business will grow immensely in 2019 as smaller companies, who had yet to join the Facebook or Instagram ad worlds, are following suit. Because of this, you should anticipate advertising costs to rise. Facebook may no longer be as profitable for you unless you can reach out to customers in real time. Stay ahead of the game; if you’re not diligent on social media, you don’t exist. You should consider personalized ads and emails that make your customer feel like everything you do is tailored just for him/her.
This may sound scary, but you’re also a PR leader at your company. You’re responsible for what the public sees, and therefore, the company’s reputation. Think from the perspective of a publicist in regards to the content that your company shares. Don’t forget about how powerful product reviews and ratings are. They not only speak to the product or service you offer but to your customer service and how your company engages with people. Since automation is beginning to take over, authenticity is essential. People are much more likely to buy from someone (or a business) they feel a connection to.
This is also a time to consider what kind of environment you and your team are working in and if it adds value to your work or not. Working remotely is gradually gaining popularity as it saves money on everything from electricity to commuting costs. Time and time again studies find that companies that allow their employees the flexibility to work from home have less employee turnover, lower maintenance costs, and higher profits. The flexibility of location and schedule can be effective for increasing productivity and profit because it makes employees feel valued, trusted, and less stressed. Communication is not a problem either as there are an increasing number of fantastic apps and programs that connect everyone, and their work, in the team (i.e. Slack).
With technology and its applications growing, consumerism is transforming. Much of a company’s value, whether it’s public opinion or profits, is linked to the advertising and marketing of their brand. That makes you and your marketing team vital members of any business. Be tenacious in your pursuit of knowledge – make it your mission to be continually updated on media and trades to help your company understand their financial position and what you can do to stay ahead in the coming year.