In the professional world, if you are working for a company, you have lots of time to adapt to the culture, get to know your colleagues, understand your customers and clients, and find your place in the mix. As a virtual assistant, you must adapt very quickly in somewhat of a vacuum. There are no office parties, no coffee meetings, no informal lunches with coworkers, and no water cooler. You are far removed from the day-to-day interactions that create the office vibe.
In addition, a VA is working from home, sometimes thousands of miles away on odd hours, with a next-to-invisible cast of clients and those they serve and interact with. Armed only with a computer, video calling, SMS, and telephone, how is it possible to create an “atmosphere” and make your clients feel like you only work for them?
Invest time up front
Clients who hire VAs often want to hit the ground running because they have goals to accomplish yesterday. They have mapped out agendas and workflow in their mind and may have a very established way of doing business. You as a VA don’t have the luxury of asking coworkers for insider tips for getting the job done while appearing on top of your game. As you start with a new client, express the need for an onboarding period. After you have assessed the general workflow and expectations, regularly email a list of questions for your client and don’t be afraid to ask for clarification of processes often. Encourage your client that you may need some ramp-up time only in the interest of serving them seamlessly. This will make them feel like you value their work and are invested in their success.
Don’t be afraid to make a mistake
The late bank marketing executive Paul Diesel once said, “It’s not the mistake but how you fix it.” If you make an error, apologize and ask for clarification. Approaching mistakes with humility without defensiveness helps your client to feel comfortable with you. It also ensures a quick identification for error correction if you briefly outline for them the steps you took, so your client can reverse engineer and retrain you on anything you may have missed or misunderstood in the flurry of adapting to new processes in record time.
Do your homework
It’s not enough to simply do the tasks that are assigned to you. To make your clients feel like you really are serving them well, invest some of your time researching the client. You may not be able to bill for this, but it only gives you more footing to do the job well and increase your chances of being retained. Get to know your client. Watch their YouTube videos; visit their LinkedIn; Google them and read the articles they’ve written. This will give you insight into how they tick and what matters most to them. Understanding how they communicate makes you a wonderful extension of them and creates a seamless experience for the clients’ customers and colleagues. If you can get inside their language, they will relate to you better and potentially entrust you with more responsibility.
Invest yourself in their goals
Being a fantastic taskmaster is a common and necessary skill for all VAs. But what if you really believe in what each of your clients is trying to accomplish? Imagine how your clients feel when their constituents call them up and say, “Your assistant really took care of me.” When your clients’ customers feel like you are partnering in their success in a genuine intention, it carries far. Rather than engaging a static, task-based approach, consider a mission-based approach. Seeking to understand and become excited about the goals of your clients makes you part of the team as opposed to just some hired hand.
Keep in step
Many clients that hire a VA are really well-established and sometimes high profile people who engage in business and the executive assistants of others on a very regular basis. These clients know what is expected of an ace executive assistant. The way they speak. The confidence they exude. The research they get done. The speed and accuracy in which they work. Their attention to nuance and detail. You need to be aware of this and be in a constant state of professional development in order to be perceived in line with these attributes. Imagine your client has a colleague who works at another firm. Your client wants to present an executive assistant who can keep up with the status quo of his or her colleague’s EAs. Just because you are remote does not mean you should lose grip of best practices and common denominator expectations of skill, deliverables, timelines, and execution.
Minimize how much you talk about other clients
If you are having trouble meeting a deadline or being available because of conflicting time, don’t say, “Oh, I can’t talk then because I have another client that needs my attention.” This is a kiss of death. Instead, keep it vague. “I will be available today between 9 and 2 and 4 to 6 your time.” There is an unwritten understanding that you may have other commitments, but you communicate it in a way that shows loyalty. If you have a longstanding regular commitment that the clients know about from when you first started, you can say, “Just a reminder I will be in at 1 PM your time, because I will be at my regular Monday meeting,” but be mindful of presentation. You want your clients to feel like you work for them.
Stop seeing yourself as a VA
Sounds a little counterintuitive because you know you’re a VA. Your client knows you’re a VA. But stop seeing yourself as a VA and see yourself as an absolute member of the team. Keep in mind, in today’s global workforce, many executives work in satellite offices while their direct assistant may be based in a home office hundreds of miles away. It’s not just VAs who work remotely. If you can frame in your mind that you are representing the work of those you serve, regardless if you are outward-facing for their company or not, you will create a mindset for yourself that makes you feel part of something. As you do this, your clients will feel that you really are there for them, and will build increasing trust.
When your clients feel that you belong to them, they will do more to make you feel like you belong.
Acclaim. Popularity. Recognition. Sales. This is what business owners and their teammates want. We want to spread our ideas and sell products. We may have bold plans, but the truth is that we can only hit our goals by crafting and reaching the ideal target audience.
What is a target audience? Think of it as a room full of loyal customers. They love your message, support you and want to participate in what you have to offer. Your target audience needs to be limited to be effective, and you need to strategize who fits in your box. Having a target market means that you can focus your promotion on the right people, who will likely buy from or hire you. When this strategy is optimized, you will be able to spend less time, money and energy to reach more people.
Here are three ways to define your target audience.
Do some research. Speak to your ideal customer, ask them what they need and if they have any problems that you think you could solve for them. Use empathy to understand their minds and their needs. You can monitor discussions on social media and online forums for some of your competitors, head to networking events and reach out to others in your field. The goal is to understand what is lacking and how your service can fill that need.
Take notes and consider the demographics of the people you’re aiming to serve. Can you break it down by age, region, financial means? The more information you can capture, the better. You will want to know about lifestyle and cultural choices, like marital status, if they have kids, where and how they get their information, outside interests, and more. This can be a fluid process and your target market might change or include a few types of profiles. If that’s the case, make sure to keep it defined.
Scope out the competition. You want to know what else is available so you can begin setting yourself apart. Learn from others in the field and expand from their successes. This is crucial for building a reputable brand. Ask yourself, “Where do they fall short and how can you step in?” You want to outshine them with your unique assets.
A target audience is complete when you clearly visualize and understand your potential consumer. Then you can begin crafting your story. With a thoroughly defined profile of your target audience, your marketing strategy will unfold. You will be able to tailor your messaging to their wants, and offer effective solutions. Show that you understand them and can cater to their lifestyle.
Because you want to connect with your target audience and use them to bring in revenue, you also need to turn them into a community. Use empathy to make it a relationship, by showing that you care and that you are interested in helping them. Dive into their environment and meet them where they are, whether it’s showing up at events or on social media. Interact with your target audience to build rapport. Before you start pitching, you must build trust and understanding. Once you’ve been recognized by the right people, you will see business flow.
Some clients have a set workflow and longstanding history of success before you are brought in to assist. Others are starting with a clean slate and building their business. They may be incredible service providers but weak on the nuts and bolts administrative side. They may be visionaries, but lack promotional skills in writing, communication, publicity, social media, and marketing schematics.
You may be with a client for the sole purpose of helping them to build their business and brand while offering the administrative support to keep their ship sailing. In a scenario such as this, the client may rely on you to tell them what to do. Essentially, you may become the brainstormer, the sounding board, and the strategist who helps bring awareness to what they have to offer. You are there to fill a gap.
These can be the best opportunities and it’s important that you are forthcoming with a client. If you really are a task-driven person rather than a big ideas person, it’s really a good idea to cover that in the interview. Nothing is worse than a client who doesn’t have a clue of how to execute their vision paired with a VA who needs clear direction. But if you are a person with savvy and cogent skills that fill their gaps of need, you will become an indispensable part of the client’s team and gain his or her loyalty.
You must be clear, and regularly state, that your presentation of ideas and attempts to build success are not a guarantee. There is no way that you can promise that a magazine will write an article or that sales will increase by x. What you can do is demonstrate effort and commitment.
Sometimes your experience will tell you that a client’s idea or approach is off the mark. Use your creative expression to gently guide the client away from their misguided ideas. Sometimes a client needs to be sold on a new idea they have not thought of on their own. Offer suggestions couched with phrases like, “What I’ve seen work in the past is…” or “I have an idea about a solution that you might like.”
Never make the client feel as if they are not in control of their own business, even if they are putting you at the helm of generating attention.
To be in a position to make suggestions, you need to develop a track record with the client. Whether it’s demonstrating how you work over time or bringing in the clout of your previous experience, a client must feel trust in order to hear what you have to say about new ideas. Sometimes, clients don’t work well in the abstract. You may present them with an idea in writing or on a conference call that they just can’t grasp. Instead, create a document or a visual representation of what you have in mind. “I was brainstorming and this came to me. Please have a look and tell me what you think. Feedback appreciated.” Clients will respect your initiative and the humility; particularly if the idea is something that they can really use. You do have to judge carefully how much input the client wants but if they have asked you specifically to help them build their brand, this approach may work well.
You need to gauge if your client is open to you really providing honest feedback. Even when you do, remember to keep inspiring the client. They need you to ride the delicate balance between helping them understand what may not work and why without making them feel despondent about building their business. Entrepreneurs can be very sensitive and you may be the precipice between them building their dream and leaving the idea altogether. For this reason, never say no but rather, “How about we try…”
Successful VAs are those who have a roster of clients. The needs of each client are unique, as is the number of hours that you must dedicate to taking care of each one as if they are the only one. Naturally, it goes without saying that time management is critical when managing multiple clients. But there are some additional steps you can take to maximize your efficiency and output.
Use Restaurant Imagery
A server in a restaurant has many tables to take care of at once, plus tasks to address in the kitchen in between. Effective food servers are efficient because they rotate between tables and minimize their steps. As a VA, get yourself into the habit of finding a rotation rhythm. Check emails regularly for each client and respond to requests in the order of urgency and/or ease of getting the task done. Very regular rotation will help clients feel that you have a super response time. Don’t wait three hours to check emails. Look at everything very routinely and set up notifications on your computer to expedite the process.
Take a Deep Breath Regarding Systems
Each client will have a set of systems they want you to work with and these may be very similar or very customized to other clients you have. Orient with these systems quickly and write all your logins somewhere. You may have clients who set you up with email addresses and accounts that make it look like you are writing from their company. Keep a list of all the login protocols and workflow of platforms, databases, and so forth and spend time going through the platform’s functions to acclimate with greater ease. Create a document with standardized language templates for common written content you need to send for each client. Don’t be afraid to ask questions.
Build Open Time into Your Schedule
It’s important for VAs to build some slush time into schedules so we can be very responsive when a client has an unexpected task that needs to be addressed. It’s not a perfect science. Your client’s emergency may arise when you are not at your desk. But do your best to carve out a little bit of open time to create a better chance of faster delivery of the results your client seeks.
Make a daily task list
Tracking several clients means managing a giant Lego set of moving parts. Keep lists and notes in whatever way works for you. Pay attention to client deadlines and try to stay ahead of them. Separate project work from time-sensitive task-driven work. Some clients give broader, project-based assignments, others are task-driven, and most are a blend. Master multitasking and the art of re-prioritizing. Be flexible in your work style to be able to hit pause on that big expense report you are working on to jump onto the phone call because your client suddenly needs to move a meeting up by an hour. As you get to know each client and the work they want to achieve, you will gain insight into how to better order priorities.
Make Streamline Suggestions When Appropriate
It may take a little time for you and your clients to build rapport but once that’s established, you can slowly start to make suggestions (best phrased in the form of questions) that get your client thinking about a better way to approach something. Proceed with caution here. Some clients are very fixed in their style and method. This is why framing your suggestion as a question like, “Is doing such and such idea something that we do?” is far less threatening than, “I think we should XYZ,” unless, of course, the client invites you directly to offer suggestions.
Don’t Get Hemmed Up in Micromanagement
Clients who hire VAs are already walking far out on a limb of trust. They barely see their VAs, if at all, and when they do, it’s on screen. Some clients may micromanage slightly more — even unintentionally — than they would if they saw you working at your desk every day in the office. Don’t lose your mind. Listen between the lines and fish out what is really important. Learn to discern between anxiety and necessity. But don’t test the waters too much. Do the tasks in the way your client wants them done. If they are giving you a long speech about how to make a phone call or send an email, listen for the key points about content. Some clients may not have to give instruction to other people often and they are used to working solo. Having a VA is an adjustment. Be patient and ascertain what your client is driving at overall.
Treat Every Client as Your Only Client While Managing Expectations
You want your clients to feel fully served and appreciated. They should experience a sense that you are truly their assistant. You as the VA have to meet the needs and expectations of all of your clients equally. The phrase under-promise and over-deliver should be your mantra. If you tell your client you will achieve the goal by 4 o’clock, deliver it by 2 o’clock. If you tell them a project will take one week, deliver it in four days. This way, you build in some flexibility for yourself while giving the client the impression of what’s reasonable. If your client is asking for an outcome that you simply cannot deliver for whatever reason, don’t say no outright, but discuss with them what you can provide and create a work-plan that suits both of you. Business is an art form and requires tremendous commitment to communication, honesty, and results.
All businesses need to change and evolve to stay relevant and adapt to new market tendencies. In today’s market, you should reevaluate your strategies regularly to keep your your objectives and capabilities in mind.
So how do you know it’s time to change your sales strategy and reach new heights? These are the signs you should look for:
1. Your sales have leveled
If your sales volume has not increased overtime, you need to look at the market and shift directions in order to grow. Perhaps your local market is saturated with your product, and you need to explore other markets, or perhaps you can venture into online sales or social media promotions.
2. Your marketing is not aligned with your brand
Be consistent with your marketing messages. Make sure that you promote your expertise and don’t promise more than you can deliver. Buyers need to be attracted to your message and your product and feel that they’re getting what they came for.
3. Shifts in the market
Markets are ever evolving, and businesses must adapt and reinvent accordingly. New regulations or a change in the technological landscape can have an impact on your sales. You need to be on top of market research and be ready to change your offerings accordingly.
4. Reassess your customers profile
Consumers’ needs and demands also evolve and change rapidly, and it’s very common in today’s market. Try to be on the cusp of innovation and always think ahead for ways in which to adjust your products to their needs.
Finally, be original and unique as much as you can. It never hurts to look at your competition but never copy others. With passion, determination and the right strategies you are likely to be a success!
Working as an entrepreneur and managing a small business is tough work. It demands around-the-clock attention to detail and wearing many hats. Actually, small business owners are quite the jugglers– balancing strategy, finances, management, sales, marketing, execution and more. So much can go wrong. Yet with a little bit of work and a lot of dedication, so much can go right.
Here are some of the most common blunders that small business owners make, and how to avoid them.
Not setting clear goals at the start of each day, week, month and year
Start each work day with at least one precise, unique goal. It could be a simple one, like clearing out a pile of papers or responding to 10 emails. You need an action plan, and you can break it down by hour, day, week, month and year. Goals are important and labeling them keeps us flowing and accomplishing.
Staying in self-sufficiency
Not delegating and trusting your supporting staff to execute and contribute will harm your business. You can’t and shouldn’t do it all; this will only cause burnout. Hire qualified staff and trust them to contribute. Listen to their ideas and delegate as much as possible. Too often business owners are so swamped they can’t let go of simple tasks, wasting time and resources. An important part of delegating is also communicating your goals and getting your team members on board.
Avoid risk-taking and spending money
You usually have to spend money to make money. Going for the cheaper solution might not yield the results you want. Pause and assess, but also take some risks, whether it be outsourcing your social media strategy, paying for designers, or investing in new tools.
Losing focus of the priorities
What does your company stand for? How will you get your brand consistent and loved? A small business requires endless planning– strategy, marketing, recruitment, finances and much more. Managers must keep tabs on the company’s objectives, while focusing on growing the business and keeping it afloat. It’s a big task to stay aligned with all goals, keep employees happy and serve your client base. Don’t lose sight of what you really want.
Be a workaholic
When we’re so busy we forget to enjoy life. Don’t do that. Taking a lunch break or a small vacation will get you going again and keep you motivating. Working yourself into the ground may seem like the best strategy to accomplish, but it might not mean efficiency or quality. Find ways to enjoy your work, and that often happens through balancing work and life.
Unlock your full potential as a business owner and keep the work blossoming by delegating, communicating, planning and executing. Then, make sure you’re enjoying both your work and your personal life for the best kind of balance that will only sway your business endeavors for the better.
What do you think blocks you from unlocking your potential as a business owner? In which areas do you think you can improve?
When we work for a company on-site, we usually have a set schedule of hours during the week. We report to work and leave work at regular times, with the exception of those professionals who conduct some of their work from home or on the road. Even then, there is a clear definition of when we are working and when we aren’t.
For the virtual assistant, the lines can become blurred. We may be managing multiple clients in various disciplines, and our hours can vary client to client and day to day. Working from home, there are many distractions that can arise from friends who call in the middle of our shift, a child who simply must have you see their latest kitchen creation, to household work, to family time, and so on.
Exceptional VAs must master the delicate art of work-life balance. So how can we manage to compartmentalize all of those shifting priorities and remain effective?
Set your hours
Be very honest with yourself and with your clients about how much time, and when, you can dedicate yourself to their needs. Granted, you may have more than one client scheduled during a particular block, but be realistic about how well you can serve them in the same time frame.
Schedule the day
Just like you would set up your calendar working on-site, at least loosely plan for the day or even the week. Ascertain client needs and plug your running task list into a formal or informal list or calendar. This way, you know when you will have pockets of time to toss in the laundry, cook, run some errands, and enjoy time with your family without causing undue wait times for your clients.
Build in breaks
You are not superhuman. Make sure you carve out times throughout the day to relax, exercise, stretch, sing, nap, make personal calls, and so forth. In a regular office environment, people often have a lot of down time and use this time to attend to personal business. Your home office should offer the same opportunity.
Don’t forget professional development
An excellent VA is always learning on the job. Make sure you dedicate an hour a week to some kind of professional development; learning new applications or software, reading blogs and articles, and staying abreast of best practices and trends in the fields you are serving through your clients. This helps you to gain skills that make you more efficient and help you achieve more time balance.
Make yourself shut off
Whether you are single or married, have children or not, make sure you have a maximum daily cap of when you will close out for the day (or night) or periods of time that you need to attend to matters in your life. Stick to this. Sure, just like you might have to stay late at the office here and there when there is a screaming deadline, try to enforce the rules that you have personal commitments that are valid and deserve undivided attention.
Don’t take meals at your desk
If you are eating a meal or a snack, disengage from your computer. Enjoy your meal. Digest well. Eating while working will cause you to tend to rush through your meal. Plus, if work is stressful or demanding, you will digest poorly.
Prioritize work at work
Just like your boss would walk by your desk and give you the eye of disapproval if you were painting your nails or playing games on your computer on company time, try not to attend to personal things during the time you have dedicated to your clients. Your clients expect your focus and if you are distracted by the latest YouTube episode of your favorite show, you may not have a clean jump of focus if a pressing email comes in and you need to suddenly shift gears.
Prioritize home at home
If you set your hours to be able to attend to personal and family needs at given times, try hard not to divert. Your clients have goals they need to accomplish, but they must also realize there is a reason you chose to work from home. Your family and personal needs are important and should be firmly respected.
Take days off
Sick time aside, working from home may make you feel less inclined to take a personal day or vacation time. Stop it. Stop it now. Working from home bears the same demand as working in an office and often, you are managing personalities, work styles, and voluminous communication just as you would be in any other role. Take vacation time. It helps you to refresh and re-engage. Even a long weekend here and there is a good idea. Naturally, it’s most appropriate to clear this time off to make sure it’s not going to be terribly disruptive to your clients.
Don’t forget self-care
The same concepts that apply to a traditional workplace apply to you as a VA. If you are feeling unwell and your concentration is shot from illness, take the day off. Forego on-the-run meals and fast food in favor of nutritious choices. Stay hydrated. Stretch. Do chair exercises. Stand a couple of times an hour. Get some fresh air every hour. Just as these are norms for employees in any office environment, they should stand true for you as a VA as well.
The workplace, whether brick-and-mortar or virtual, will be fraught with many personalities to contend with on a daily basis. This blog will focus on a few of the more challenging personalities, and some tips on how to streamline your interactions.
The One-Upping Show-Off
Stay in your lane. Do your best. Shine on your own. Keep communication with management clear and open. Document your work. Whatever you do, don’t counter this behavior by openly criticizing it, calling attention to it, or worst of all, mimicking it! Ignore = narcissistic supply shutdown.
Keep backups of backups and document your work like crazy. Don’t let this person give the presentation. They are likely to excise you and other team members, and might even whip out a completely different PowerPoint than the one all of you slaved over for weeks! Bring the original to the meeting!
Disengage immediately! Do. Not. Get. Involved. Be a part of a healthy workplace dynamic and zip it at the water cooler!
Set clear boundaries and speak up. If that doesn’t work, go to management. If that doesn’t work, seek help from HR or your compliance manager. You do not need to tolerate outright toxicity.
Hold your own, and breathe deep. Don’t serve that peach retort.
The Lazy One
On every team, there is going to be someone who possibly won’t — or can’t — pull their weight. Help identify your teammate’s demotivation. Maybe they are not lazy at all! Maybe they are having difficulties in their department or maybe even outside of work. Maybe they just need to be given a piece of the project that really hits on their expertise or interest. Before you balk, investigate where their lackluster approach is rooted. Don’t pry too hard, but see if you can spark that fire by inviting their input in way that is meaningful to THEM.
The Wet Blanket
There is a distinct difference between an effective co-worker who is really good at identifying potential pitfalls and one who just wants to rain on every parade as a means for negative attention. Identify quickly. If the former, take their advice into account and help them by saying, “I really appreciate you identifying some of the things that could go wrong. I really respond better to more positive framing, but definitely appreciate the bottom-line insight.” If the person is just a dripping naysayer, put that wet blanket in the dryer by simply saying, thank you and minimizing engagement.
The Micromanager/Difficult Boss
This person is probably not intentionally difficult but every time you hear those feet approaching you know it’s not long before his or her hot breath is down your neck and they are peering over your shoulder (or taking control of your mouse) to make sure you do things their way. The micromanager is not a jerk. They are insecure, which breeds perfectionism. They are afraid to look bad and want to make sure you don’t make them look bad so they exercise authority over every detail driving you to up the wall and having you leaving your desk each day feeling like a complete dunderhead.
Tip: Depersonalize and don’t let them MAKE you feel any kind of way (remember, only YOU can make you feel something!) Instead, ask to set up a 15-minute conference with them pre-shift to go over what you will be working on, when you will be submitting them drafts to review, and edit sessions. Explain that it’s YOU — that you work best when you can sort through a project on your own and present it to them in various draft stages until completion. This will ease anxiety for both of you.
A strong component of successful workplace interactions is to always be mindful of your own output, approach, and contributions. We can’t always choose our peers but we can choose how much stock we put into what they say and do. Remember YOU CHOOSE your reactions and feelings. We cannot lead by chasing after everyone’s idiosyncrasies all the time. If we stay humble and use a process that aims to generate excellent results, while being solution-seeking rather than complaining, it can help melt a lot of discomfort.
When was the last time you watched a video on social media? Probably within the last hour and definitely within the last 24 hours, guaranteed. Video has become the new “megatrend” according to Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg back in 2017 and he should know. However, what does that mean for a small business owner, blogger or e-commerce store owner? Not everyone has a massive ad budget to make an incredible viral video. However, making videos for small businesses can be inexpensive, simple and fun. These days, there are so many free or low-cost apps to help you make a short video. All you need are the ideas.
How To Create Short Videos
First off, let’s make a quick list of the top apps out there to make short videos. Most of these have free versions or cost as little as $5/month to allow access to all functions and templates.
All of these apps are designed for amateurs; no video editing experience necessary!
Animoto: This is a easy-to-use tool to make videos by uploading your own pictures. There is a free trial period before a low monthly fee is required.
Ripl: This is one of the most simple to use and with 2 or 3 pictures you can make an eye-catching video. They have a free version.
FilmoraGo: An Android app to use to make your own videos from your smartphone
In-Shot App: Another Android app to turn your short videos into masterpieces
(Sidenote: If you are creating a video that you will later use as an ad, it is best to add some text to the video in the second frame so when a thumbnail is created, there won’t be any text in that image as this can lead to reduced reach on Facebook. But don’t worry about this at first, just get started and you will soon become a pro.)
Getting Creative: Content Ideas
The content for your videos will depend on what kind of business you have. Here are some ideas to get started.
Product videos are very simple to create: choose a template provided by one of the above apps, upload product images, add some text, choose one of the free soundtracks and you are ready to upload your great-looking video to your Facebook or Instagram account. Yes, it can be that easy.
Are you a health, fitness or life coach? Add inspirational quotes or a tip together with a slideshow using a couple of relevant images and suddenly your weekly quote stands out from the others being shared on social media. Alternatively, record yourself giving a tip of the week, doing an exercise or reading an inspirational quote.
Bloggers or Influencers
If you are a blogger, write a question or line from your latest blog post in the video with a simple background, add some music and at the end of the few-second video, tell them to click to read more. Or better yet, make a quick video with you talking about your latest blog post. Remember the video only has to be 15 seconds or less and it does not have to be perfect.
Photographers or Event Planners
These are ideal professions to promote with video. Instead of uploading tens of photos of your latest event to your Facebook business page, pick 3 or 4 of the best, create a quick slideshow with one or two-word captions like “Love”, “Celebrating Life”, “Creating Memories”, etc that capture the essence of the event. Make sure to include your logo and business name on the last slide of the video.
Additional Tools: Lighting and Images
If you are open to recording yourself speaking, great! For better lighting, while making the video, purchase a selfie light online that attaches to your phone. It is a quick and easy way to make your video look more professional.
If you are creating videos with slideshows, what do you use for images if you don’t have enough of them to pull from your website? You can use free image websites like pixabay, unsplash and the like. Just make sure not to use any images or music without permission in your videos because this is unfair to the creator, not to mention illegal and it could get your social media account banned.
Promoting Your Video
If you want to promote your video on social media, you can do it relatively cheaply on Facebook, optimizing for video views. Once you have racked up a number of views, you can then begin to retarget people who watched more than 5 seconds, 10 seconds or watched your video to the end. Retarget them with your blog posts or a lead magnet to collect emails.
And if you can’t bring yourself to make your own videos, then you can still share relevant ones on your Facebook or Instagram page because videos tend to get more shares and likes over static posts, which increases engagement on your own page.
If you want to keep up with your competition, video marketing is the future. The thought of creating videos can be daunting, but we encourage you to give it try. You will be surprised by how quickly you will become a pro.
Working from home has become an increasingly popular method of employment for professionals and companies. Those working from home have been guided with copious advice about organizational skills, preparedness, time management, work-life balance, remote communications, administrative proficiency, and more.
We have all heard the joke of being able to work in pajamas (or worse, underwear!) and that “luxury” of being able to finally become disavowed from makeup and grooming.
However, what’s the drawback of that so-called “luxury”?
There’s something to be said for self-care and sure, if you just need to fly out a quick email in the middle of the night to your remote client, and you haven’t gotten around to spiffing up for the day yet, fine. But assuredly, this should not be the norm.
Did you suddenly go from razor-sharp professional whose exceptional qualifications have developed into a successful work-from-home pro to a frazzled, fried-out college student whose uniform of the semester is a jogging suit and unkempt mop? No! When you are at work, you are at work, whether it’s on Park Avenue or Home Lane. Do yourself a favor and dress for work!
Why dress for work if you’re at home? Because you want to keep seeing yourself through the professional lens. They always say, dress for the job you want, not for the job you have. There is a psychology that comes with dressing for your work that can impact productivity and professional esteem.
A couple of very practical reasons for being ready include: a last minute request for an immediate video conference call with a client or prospect; an interview opportunity and they want to see you in 90 minutes; an urgent request to run an errand (and you are representing the company). If you are ready ahead of time, as if you got ready for work, you will not be in panic mode trying to throw yourself together last minute.
Keep those business clothes in good shape. You don’t have to dress for Wall Street every day, but you should be dressing role-appropriate and be ready to put your best face forward, even if it’s just in your own mind.
Plus, when you work from home and have children, getting dressed shows them a positive example of someone who is polished and professional, and taking their work seriously. This gives them a good role model for professional decorum.
If you have a partner, they will appreciate that you really are at work and will probably appreciate that you look nice at home too, rather than always seeing you in clothes fit for cleaning the garage.
Do not let working from home lead you down the path that your work is somehow less serious, less challenging, less rewarding, or less important than commuting to an external office position. Take your wardrobe seriously and you will help yourself view your home work space as something of value, pride, and excellence.