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Author Archives: Lisa Salem | Monarch Virtual Assistance LLC

Give Me Perseverance…Anyway

“Anyway:  The Paradoxical Commandments”– a prayer that’s inspired everyone from Mother Teresa to Martina McBride.

People are illogical, unreasonable, and self-centered

Love them anyway

If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish ulterior motives.

Do good anyway.

If you are successful, you will win false friends and true enemies.

Succeed anyway.

The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow. 

Do good anyway.

Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable.

Be honest and frank anyway.

The biggest men and women with the biggest ideas can be shot down by the smallest men and women with the smallest minds. 

Think big anyway.

People favor underdogs but follow only top dogs.

Fight for a few underdogs anyway.

What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight.

Build anyway.

People really need help but may attack you if you do help them.

Help people anyway.

Give the world the best you have and you’ll get kicked in the teeth.

Give the world the best you have anyway.

–Kent M. Keith, Ed.D.

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Relationship Marketing is Key to Business Success — especially in a slow economy

Appreciation MarketingCan the condition of the economy be the reason for a decline in sales? I hear this all too many times from folks I talk to. They’ve watched their businesses slow down and sales decline, and like most of us, when they hear the news reports suggesting we are in a recession, they deduce that the reason business is slow is because of “the bad economy.”

I had a conversation recently with a neighbor of mine, a small business owner, who is of that very same mindset.  He said he’s watched his sales decline over the past year, and is blaming it on the bad economy.  I asked him what he was doing to market his business, and he replied, “Very little anymore. I had to cut back on advertising and marketing to limit my expenses.”

I asked him if he was getting out meeting new people and developing relationships. “No,” he admitted.

Immediately, I saw the problem. History has shown us that during economic slowdowns, the first expense that businesses often reduce — or eliminate completely – is the dollars they spend on marketing and advertising.  But then they don’t do anything else to bring in new business. Granted, the economy may have something to do with fewer people spending money. We can’t do anything about the state of the economy, but what we can do is find alternative solutions to increase our own business sales.  Isn’t that why we’re in business?  To make a living doing what we love to do?  Well, we can’t just sit back and wait for business to come to us.  Those days are gone.  We have to take action and find ways to attract it to us.

One way to do this is to practice relationship marketing with new people we meet and with people already in our network of contacts or sphere of influence. The days of aggressive selling techniques and strategies are going by the wayside.  They’re not working as well as they used to. People don’t want to be sold, but they do want to buy.  Although some marketing strategies don’t work today, relationship marketing still does and now more than ever, it is more of a necessity rather than a selling technique if we want to thrive and survive in today’s business world.

Joe Girard is recognized by The Guinness Book of World Records as the “World’s Greatest   Salesman” for twelve consecutive years selling 13,001 cars at a Chevrolet dealership between 1963 and 1978.  Joe did not come from an influential background.  As a child, Joe was abused by his father who told him he would never amount to anything. He was a high school dropout, but Joe didn’t let that stop him.  He started working from childhood as a shoeshine boy, then as a newsboy for the Detroit Free Press at the age of nine, and then as a dishwasher, delivery boy, stove assembler, and home building contractor. In 1963, at thirty-five-years-old, he walked into a Detroit car dealership and begged a skeptical manager for a job as a salesman. He sold a car on his first day and, by the second month, people were standing in line waiting to buy a car from Joe. He was so good that some of the other salespeople complained and got him fired. His next job was at a Chevrolet dealership, where he set consecutive sales records over a fifteen-year period.

What was Joe’s secret?  He practiced relationship marketing. He sent 13 handwritten cards to each of his clients and prospects every year: one card a month and one on Christmas. These cards were cards of appreciation, tips, and giveaways—never about special sales, discounts, or promotions. During his 15 years, Joe sent 13,000 handwritten cards! Every one of his recipients began to anticipate a card from Joe every month and he was the first person on their mind when they were ready to buy a car.

Tom Hopkins is a sales legend. He has been recognized as America’s #1 Sales Trainer and The Builder of Sales Champions, but he is quick to admit that his early sales career was not successful. He wasn’t born to wealth and privilege. He was a mediocre student and began his work life in construction carrying steel. Since he wasn’t afraid of meeting new people and was known to be somewhat talkative someone suggested he try selling. He decided on the field of real estate, but his first six months were anything but successful. He sold only one home and averaged $42 a month in income.  He was down to his last $150 in savings when a man came into the real estate office promoting a three-day sales training seminar with J. Douglas Edwards. Tom hadn’t yet heard of either “sales training” or Mr. Edwards. He decided to invest his last bit of savings in the program. Applying everything he learned, Tom became a millionaire salesperson in real estate by the age of 27. He set records that remained unbroken into this century. His last year as a real estate agent, he sold 365 homes—the equivalent of one each day. Grand total, he closed 1,553 real estate transactions in a period of six years. He received numerous awards for doing what he loved to do – meeting and talking to people one-on-one. Soon, everyone wanted to know how he did it so they could do it, too. He began giving speeches and training people how to do what he did.

What was Tom doing?   He was practicing relationship marketing.   What was his secret to success? Tom understood that building relationships is what selling is really all about. He began early in his career to send thank you notes to people. He set a goal to send ten thank you notes every day. That goal meant that he had to meet and get the names of at least ten people every day. He sent thank you notes to people he met briefly, people he showed properties to, people he talked with on the telephone, and people he actually helped to own new homes. He got into the thank you card “habit”. And guess what happened? By the end of his third year in sales, his business was 100% referrals! The people he had expressed gratitude to were happy to send him new clients as a reward for making them feel appreciated and important.

What can we learn from these stories and how can we benefit from them? Here are a few strategic objectives to consider implementing in your own businesses to help you “ride with the economic tide” to withstand the impact of a slow economy, and not be so negatively affected by it.

Meet With and Talk to People: People do business with people they know, like and trust. We need to do our part to make connections happen. We must become genuinely interested in our customers and prospects. Schedule “coffee talks” with customers or prospects on a quarterly basis — invite them to meet you at a coffee shop and get to know them personally without a business agenda. Find out how they are doing, and what they’ve been up to in both their business and personal lives. Make mental notes and then when you get back to your office, write it down on their contact record so you can refer to it when you connect with them again. One-on-one time is an important element in building relationships. If your customers and prospects are not local, schedule a Skype video coffee talk!  With today’s technology, connecting with people from a distance is easy!

Stay in Touch on a Consistent Basis: We can stay connected with our contacts by sending heartfelt cards like Joe and Tom did, or by phone calls, emails or newsletters, but however we choose to do it, the key is to be consistent. We lose 10% of our influence every month we do not have contact with our clients or prospects. When we stay in touch, we stay at the top of their mind.  Then, when your client has a need or when your prospect is ready to buy, you will be the one they go to first.

Create a strategic plan for staying in touch:  Here are a few ideas:  1) Set up a postcard or greeting card campaign to go out once a month for 12 months. Do what Joe did and provide a series of tips or address a need and offer a solution — don’t sell or promote — make it about them not you.  2) Develop or find a system that helps you remember birthdays, anniversaries, and other important dates and send heartfelt cards or gifts to show you are thinking of them.  3) Send a link to an article or book or something that you think your client or prospect would be interested in or would be helpful to them.  And of course, always be on the look-out for any leads that you can send their way.

I personally use an on-line service that has a fantastic system for managing my contacts, as well as printing and mailing postcards, greeting cards and gifts. I customize and personalize the cards with my own handwriting font, signature, and photos. I’ll be happy to share my system with you.

Have an Attitude of Gratitude.  Showing sincere appreciation and kindness not only makes someone feel good but it can make a positive impression on your clients and prospects, and a huge impact on your business in the long run. If a client is having a bad day or is sick with the flu, I send them a card to cheer them up. Sometimes I include a gift card or small gift of teas or sweets with a thank you card for something they did – gave me a referral, more business, or even a compliment!   I try to make it about them, not me. Always find a way to say thank you and show you care.  Maya Angelou said it perfectly:  I’ve learned…People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but…people will never forget how you made them feel.” 

Understand and use the Law of Attraction: When we express appreciation, recognition, or encouragement, we are focused on giving and abundance, not selfishness and lack. Every human being wants to feel acknowledged and appreciated. What we send out into the world, we get back tenfold. What we focus on expands, so if we are focused on our lack of money, sales, business, etc. we will continue to have these things in our lives. This is the Law of Attraction.

Kody Bateman, a mentor and colleague of mine said, “Appreciation wins over self-promotion every time.” It is so true!

When we build strong networks and nurture meaningful relationships with the people we serve, we will garner unlimited referrals and be less affected by economic down cycles. Start making relationship marketing part of your business today and watch what happens!

What do you do in your business to keep in touch with business contacts to show them that you appreciate them and building a relationship with them is important to you?

 

 

10 New Year’s Resolutions for Business Success

1.    Delegate more.  Learn how to delegate and start doing more of it.  Let go and ask for help. Partner with an administrative support consultant who can work with you and take those tasks off your to do list that you shouldn’t be spending your time doing, and start focusing more on your core business priorities.

2.    Network, Network, Network. Join a new community group, business organization, and/or attend networking events. Keep sharing what you do in your business with others.   Don’t let what you do be “the best kept secret in town.”  Make new connections and build and nurture relationships on a consistent basis.  Be interested in other people, be likeable, and be trustworthy.

3.   Stay focused. Revisit your Business Plan and make updating it a monthly or quarterly task.

4.   Learn new things.  Update your skills, take a course, expand your knowledge, research a topic that interests you, and share what you’ve learned with others.

5.    Volunteer. Give something back to your community. But don’t over commit!

6.    Prioritize. Make more time for family and friends. Don’t be a stranger!

7.    Take time for yourself. Take short breaks to recharge your battery. Spend time doing something you love to do besides work once in a while.  Turn off the cellphone, and don’t check email or voice mail messages during this time. Let your administrative support partner do that for you!

8.    Get organized. Set realistic goals and vow to meet them. Write them down, then break the steps needed to complete them into blocks of time and schedule them into your daily/weekly routine until you’ve reached them.  Find an accountability partner to help you stay on track.

9.    Let go. Learn to let go of what’s not working for you and move forward.  Expand your horizons.

10.  Stay positive. Keep a positive attitude and share it with others. Make a difference!

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I hope you enjoyed reading this post!

My intention is to publish and share business ideas, tips, best practices, “food for thought”, recommended resources, and other information for your consideration as you move forward in your journey of business ownership and/or your professional career.  I will be selecting  blog topics based on my experience in working as an accomplished administrative professional for top level managers and C-level executives, and as a small business owner myself operating in a virtual home-based environment supporting other business owners, entrepreneurs, solo professionals and other busy individuals who also work in  virtual, home-based, mobile, or small office environments.

I invite you to comment on posts that you can identify with, or simply to let me know if what I’ve shared is helpful or useful to you.  I would also welcome your suggestions or ideas for future topics that you would like to see posted here.  I look forward to blogging and connecting with you!  Stay tuned!

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Author bio: Lisa Salem is a professional Virtual Executive Assistant and General Transcriptionist.  Lisa is the Founder and Managing Member of Monarch Virtual Assistance LLC,  and brings over 25 years of administrative and business management experience to her business and the clients she partners with. Lisa works to promote the Virtual Assistance industry and to make it stand out as a true profession of excellence. Lisa loves helping her clients build successful businesses by taking the administrative tasks off their “to do” list so they can have more time to focus on the core business priorities that will generate income and accelerate business growth. Her style is easy going, yet focused, with emphasis placed on going the extra mile to exceed clients expectations by providing quality service, excellent value, and total satisfaction to ensure long-term dedication, loyalty, and results.

©2012.  Would you like to republish this article? You are free to do so as long as you include a link back to the full post, attributing the author, Lisa Salem of Monarch Virtual Assistance LLC.

 

Social Media 2012 – Getting back to basics

I’ve been evaluating the use of social media over the past year. I have sent requests to follow people, accepted invites from people requesting to follow me, tweeted, retweeted, mentioned, and DM’d on Twitter, I’ve invited people to join my professional network, accepted connection invites from people who want me to connect with them, posted articles, business tips, resources, ideas, and shared “what I am doing” on LinkedIn, I have created a Fan Page, shared the link to invite people to visit and “like” my page, “liked” my friends pages back, posted articles, business tips, resources, ideas, inspirational quotes, commented on wall posts received by my friends, and encouraged discussions on my Facebook page.

I’ve also been of the mindset that it doesn’t matter who you follow or connect with, the more people you connect with the better. But it’s been bothering me for a while now that there’s something not right with this strategy — something is missing in all of my efforts.  What I’ve discovered is it’s the true purpose of social media that is missing for me. I really believe that social media is supposed to be “social”, and that it’s true purpose is to build and nurture relationships with your connections, and that’s really how it should be used. After all, isn’t that the way it started long ago?  But many people, including myself, do not and have not been using it in that way.

Honestly, I found myself saying many times that “I really don’t like social media,” or “I don’t resonate with it.” It got to the point where I would procrastinate going into my profiles and making a presence there because it was all meaningless chatter to me. Just a bunch of noise! “Why bother, nobody talks to me any way.” Then I thought “when is the last time I conversed with one of my Twitter friends?” Or sent an email to one of my LinkedIN connections to ask them how they’re doing and if there was anything I could do for them or who could I introduce them to?  Is there any information or resources they would like me to share with them in my posts that could help them in their business life? Or when did I take the time to review the pages and websites of my Facebook fans to learn more about what they do?  It’s like hosting a party and not mingling with your guests or not introducing them to other guests to make them all feel welcome!  Or worse, attending the party and sitting in the corner not talking to anyone and just being a “passive observer.”  Why bother going to the party or having one in the first place if you’re not going to join in?

So….. I’ve decided it’s time for me to “get back to basics” with social media.I spent the morning going through all my connections on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.  Not only have I come to realize that there is no possible way I can meaningfully communicate with the large amount of people, but most of them I do not know and never actually “spoken” with. So, I decided to thoughtfully go through the process of cleaning up my list of contacts and followers and to determine who I wanted to keep on my list. While going through the process I asked myself:

  • Who added value to my social media life over the past year?
  • Who did I have communications with, or who communicated with me and seemed willing to make the effort to stay in touch with me?
  • Who was open to socializing with me?  Who took the time to retweet my posts, sent me DM’s, engaged in discussions, etc, rather than just “selling me their services”, and who was I open to socializing with?
  • Who would be a good referral partner?
  • Who would be a good referral source for my clients and prospects who need services that I don’t offer, or who have complimentary services that are not within my expertise, but that my clients and prospects may need as part of their administrative support plan?
  • Who posted meaningful, interesting content?  Could I benefit from or learn from their contributions? Could I share this information with others in my network so they could benefit from and learn from it as well?
  • Who was willing to share ideas and resources, be supportive with encouragement and advice? Who reached out to me for answers to questions they had or solicited my advice or assistance?

While I continue to work on finalizing my social media reorganization strategy and create my new social media plan for 2012, I’m noticing the shift in my attitude toward social media, and am starting to feel good about continuing my efforts in using social media more effectively in 2012 — in the spirit of the true meaning of it’s purpose — keeping in touch, building relationships, and sharing with others. I may not win the prize for being the “most connected” on social media in 2012, but I look forward to making more meaningful connections, building solid, long-term relationships, and being a valuable resource and “blessing” to my small, but growing network, by supporting them while they strive to “thrive and survive”  and meet their business goals in 2012 and beyond.

My challenge to you for 2012 is to evaluate your social media. Is it adding value to your life or is it just a routine, time-consuming task that you are just going through the motions of doing, albeit it haphazardly, because you feel you “need to be there” because everybody else is there?

ListenMake 2012 the year to make a concerted effort to make meaningful connections and have a wonderful circle of influence with those around you. Most of the people I left on my list were the first people I added to my list when I first joined social media back in 2009 — family, friends, coworkers, and colleagues — and of course, my valued clients!   I want to get back to my roots and renew and reacquaint myself with those who have added meaning and value to my life and my business, and look forward to making new connections in the future!

I would love to hear how you manage your social media noise and what your Social Media strategy and plan is going to be for 2012.   Feel free to post your comments below, or better yet, send me a DM on Twitter, post to my wall on Facebook, or send me an email via LinkedIN.  I’d love to hear from you!

 

10 Tips for Effective Delegation

We may think that it’s easier to do things ourselves or that we can do it better and faster than someone else.  And that may be true enough, but, there are several compelling reasons why you should invest in making an effort to learning to implement an effective delegation strategy into your personal and business life.

One good reason, in a word, is leverage. You only have so many hours in a day. Choosing what you spend your available time on and delegating the rest is critical to your success, happiness, joy, and fulfillment.  When you try to do everything yourself , it steals your focus away from your core business tasks and other priorities, and leaves you less time to be doing the things that only you should be focused on doing, like working with clients to increase your income, networking to build business relationships, strategic planning  to create new products and services, or taking some time away from your business to spend quality time with friends and family.

If you want to be able to spend more time on doing the things in your business that you enjoy, are skilled at, and only you can do in your business, and less time on the things that you don’t particularly enjoy, or that bog you down and overwhelm you, then implementing an effective delegation strategy is the best solution.

Here are 10 tips on how to delegate effectively:

  1. Make a list of the tasks you want to delegate.
  2. Ask yourself these questions:  What do I enjoy doing?  What do I dislike doing? What am I skilled at doing?  What am I not skilled at doing, but know I need to do it.  What have I been putting off because I can’t get to it?   What would I like to be doing more of if  I only had the time to do it ?  What could I be doing more of if I had more time to do it? What am I in business to do?
  3. Define the intended outcome.  What do you want to be doing more of/less of as a result of implementing this process?
  4. Make a plan for the delegation process.  When, to what level or degree, and how often will you delegate?
  5. Determine what instructions will be necessary to ensure the best results.
  6. Clearly and precisely outline the nature and objective of each task you delegate.  Don’t assume that the person you are delegating to knows what you know or can “read your mind” as to what your intended outcome or objective is for completing the task.  Communicate! Specify the conditions for satisfactory performance at the outset.
  7. Determine and set a reasonable deadline. This will keep you and your assistant on task, focused, and soon you will develop a steady momentum to maximize productivity and get things done.
  8. Understand that delegation doesn’t free you from responsibility.   You’re still the Captain of your ship…don’t abandon it or be a “dumper”.  Invest in the process and stay involved in the delegation process to some degree.
  9. Assign tasks by requesting rather than ordering.  Give as much notice as possible. Unforeseen delays can happen, mistakes are often made in a heated rush, and quality of work suffers when everyone is scrambling to meet a last minute deadline.
  10. Determine how and when you should follow up; set checkpoints and request status updates from your assistant.

Levels of Action

When delegating tasks, determine what level of action you want taken and be sure to communicate this to your assistant so she is clear on what you want her to do.  Here are some examples:

  1. Please research this issue.  Send me all the facts, and I will decide what to do and let you know if I need further support.
  2. Let me know the pros and cons, what my available options are, and I will make my decision as to which option I want to select.
  3. Recommend a course of action for my approval.
  4. Let me know how you intend to handle this or what action you plan to take on this.  Delay action until I approve.
  5. Handle or take action. Let me know what you did or provide me with a summary on the results or outcome.
  6. Communicate with me only if you have questions, run into issues, or if your action is unsuccessful and needs further discussion.

Once you learn how to delegate effectively, and build a level of trust with the person or organization you have chosen to work with, you will surely feel so much better, more productive, less overwhelmed, and a sense of freedom and accomplishment as a result.

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I hope you enjoyed reading this post!

My intention is to publish and share business ideas, tips, best practices, “food for thought”, recommended resources, and other information for your consideration as you move forward in your journey of business ownership.  I will be selecting  blog topics based on my experience in working as an accomplished administrative professional for top level managers and C-level executives, and as a small business owner myself operating in a virtual home-based environment supporting other business owners, entrepreneurs, solo professionals and other busy individuals who also work in  virtual, home-based, mobile, or small office environments.

I invite you to comment on posts that you can identify with, or simply to let me know if what I’ve shared is helpful or useful to you.  I would also welcome your suggestions or ideas for future topics that you would like to see posted here.  I look forward to blogging and connecting with you!  Stay tuned!

**********************

Author bio: Lisa Salem is a professional Virtual Executive Assistant and General Transcriptionist.  Lisa is the Founder and Managing Member of Monarch Virtual Assistance LLC,  and brings over 25 years of administrative and business management experience to her business and the clients she partners with. Lisa works to promote the Virtual Assistance industry and to make it stand out as a true profession of excellence. Lisa loves helping her clients build successful businesses by taking the administrative tasks off their “to do” list so they can have more time to focus on the core business priorities that will generate income and accelerate business growth. Her style is easy going, yet focused, with emphasis placed on going the extra mile to exceed clients expectations by providing quality service, excellent value, and total satisfaction to ensure long-term dedication, loyalty, and results.

©2011.  Would you like to republish this article? You are free to do so as long as you include a link back to the full post, attributing the author, Lisa Salem of Monarch Virtual Assistance LLC.

 

Partnering for Results: 10 Ways to Create an Effective Partnership with Your Virtual Executive Assistant

In my last post I shared with you my concept of what a Virtual  Executive Assistant is.  You now understand the concept, but knowing how to create an effective partnership with your Virtual Executive Assistant is crucial to the success of the Client/VEA relationship.  What do I mean by “partnership” or “partnering”?

From my perspective, to “partner” is to establish trust, share information, and work in tandem to solve problems and achieve results. In order for the Client/VEA partnership to be successful, both parties must agree to work together in a way that will help them create a successful long-term, collaborative partnership.

To help you get the most from your partnership relationship, here are 10 of what I believe to be the most important characteristics of a successful Client/VEA relationship that will allow you and your VEA to partner effectively and achieve extraordinary results.

 1.    Communication

Open communication is vital to building a strong and successful partnership – especially when working from a distance. When assigning work, be concise and explicit with your instructions. Provide your VEA with enough information to allow her to perform your tasks competently and precisely. Ask her questions, and be available to answer her questions too. This will expedite progress in completing your work on time and with the desired results. Consider scheduling weekly phone meetings with your VEA to connect, discuss any new or existing work, address any issues, or just to say hi! Staying in regular contact will strengthen your working relationship and help it to move forward quicker.

 2.    Trust

Just like all relationships, trust plays a huge role in the success of a virtual relationship.  Your VEA will be involved with many areas of your business, and you must feel good about trusting her with the details you will be sharing with her, even if the information is personal or privileged.  Having confidence in her abilities to do a good job for you, trust in her loyalty to you as a valued client, and faith that she will always do the right thing is essential to creating an effective and successful long-term partnership.  As you work together, you will get to know her and her work style and work ethics, and trust will build. This is essential for the relationship to thrive and survive for the long-term.

 3.    Partnership

Great business partnerships are founded on the symbiotic quality that is defined by the union of two people who fit together in work style and personality, and have mutually shared goals and expectations.  You choose to work together because you believe that you are a good fit, and want to collaborate (join forces) on a professional level so that together you can meet your goals. Virtual Assistance is most effective when you see the relationship as a “partnership”, invest the time and energy required for it to be successful, and are willing to commit to it long-term.

 4.  Structure

Virtual Assistance does not work well when you have constant urgent deadlines or last minute emergencies because your VEA may not always be immediately available. By giving her ample time to schedule and complete your projects, and allowing her to put systems in place to alleviate the frustration these urgencies can create, you will both be happier.

 5.    Respect

The Client/VEA relationship breaks the traditional Boss/Assistant paradigm.  The relationship is based on equality.  You and your VEA have chosen to work with each other – for your success.  You are both professionals and business owners.  In order for your partnership to be successful, it is important that you treat your VEA as a professional and fellow business owner, and not as an employee.

 6.    Teamwork

As you continue to work together, the relationship will grow, and you will come to rely on each other. While it is true that interdependence creates successful teams, Virtual Assistance does not work well when you become too dependent on your VEA because there will be times when she will not be immediately available to you.  You must be able to jump in and handle things as needed from time to time, as she will do for you.

7.    Patience

Your VEA is most likely masterfully skilled, completely ready, and 100% committed to providing you with the support you need, or you would not have chosen to work together; however, it is important to remember there may be a learning curve when you first begin working together.  Naturally, she will need time to become familiar with your tasks, adapt to your working style, and learn about your business that may have taken you years to establish. Patience, understanding and guidance in helping  her understand the “ins and outs” of your business initially will help move the relationship forward that much quicker and set the foundation to help your relationship get off to a strong start.

 8.    Receptiveness

An effective Client/VEA partnership is created when both parties listen to and support each other.  Your VEA will be bringing a great deal of experience and expertise to you and your business.  She wants to serve you well, and will often share her ideas or make suggestions on ways to make your life easier and more productive. She is very creative, has years of experience working with other business professionals and business owners in the same capacity, and can guide you toward what will work best in your situation. Although not all her ideas or suggestions may work for you, and ultimately the decision is yours alone to make whether to act upon any of them or not, it is important to be open to the possibilities in order to create an effective partnership.

 9.    Delegation

In order to get the most out of your partnership, you must feel good about letting go of doing everything yourself and be comfortable with delegating.  It may be hard at first to delegate with complete confidence until you have seen the quality and results of your VEA’s work, but if you allow yourself to trust the process, in time, your comfort level will undoubtedly increase, and you will soon realize the value and benefits learning how to delegate effectively will bring to you and your business.  Delegating effectively is simply being willing to transfer control of certain tasks and projects to your VEA, and trusting her to take care of them for you so you will have more time to focus on other things such as your core business activities or personal interests.  Initially, your VEA will be focused on learning the in’s and out’s of your business and working style while your focus will be on building a rapport and getting to know more about her. As you move through this initial phase, together you will be able to determine the tasks that your VEA could easily take off your “to do” list to optimize your time even more.

 10. Feedback

Feedback is important for the relationship to strengthen and grow.  Expressing gratitude and appreciation for going the extra mile, recognizing a job well done, and providing constructive feedback when something needs correcting all are critical factors in shaping a successful partnership.

As you can see, there are many facets to the Client/VEA relationship. As the relationship develops over time, a dynamic grows of mutual respect and support that richly enhances both of you. Through this joint commitment, you forge a successful and effective partnership, and through this partnership, your VEA is able to enhance your business and help you to achieve your goals.

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Author bio: Lisa Salem is a professional and experienced Virtual Executive Assistant, Transcriptionist, and Nurture Marketing Consultant. She  provides off-site, dedicated administrative and business support services on an ongoing or as-needed basis to small/home-based business owners, solo professionals, executives, and other individuals who need support, but don’t have access to or want to hire an on-site employee .

As the Founder and Managing Member of Monarch Virtual Assistance LLC,  she brings over 20 years of administrative and office management experience to her clients and her business.  Lisa is passionate about what she does, and strives to promote the Virtual Assistance industry to help make it stand out as a true profession of excellence. Her style is easy going, yet focused, with emphasis placed on building solid relationships with her clients. She never hesitates to go the extra mile to exceed clients expectations by providing quality service, excellent value, and total satisfaction to ensure long-term dedication, loyalty, and results.

©2010.  Would you like to republish this article? You are free to do so as long as you include a link back to the full post, attributing the author, Lisa Salem of Monarch Virtual Assistance LLC.

 

So, What Exactly is a Virtual Assistant?

I have been networking and talking to a lot of people lately, and almost always the first thing they say to me when we first meet and start talking is, “So, what do you do?”  When I tell them I am a Virtual Executive Assistant, they are intrigued, but really have no idea what a Virtual Executive Assistant really means.  And so, I find myself explaining the concept to them in more detail.  While I am quite happy to explain it to them, because I am very passionate about what I do, I thought I would start sharing the concept here in a series of blog posts to share what Virtual Assistance is all about.

So what exactly is a Virtual Assistant?  There are many definitions, and “types” of Virtual Assistants, but in the broad sense, here’s how the International Virtual Assistants Association, also known as IVAA, (www.ivaa.org) explains it:

“A Virtual Assistant (VA) is an independent entrepreneur providing administrative, creative and/or technical services. Utilizing advanced technological modes of communication and data delivery, a professional VA assists clients in his/her area of expertise from his/her own office on a contractual basis.”

Here’s a quick interpretation. . .

A Virtual Assistant is a skilled professional with years of experience and training, turned entrepreneur, who works remotely (off-site) from her own office location.

A Virtual Assistant is driven and passionate about what they do and gets the job done efficiently and effectively, with a greater level of quality and commitment than your average employee.

A Virtual Assistant is someone who will partner with you to assess and fulfill your business needs and walk with you on your journey toward achieving business success — in essence, your success is her success.

A Virtual Assistant provides her own office, computer, and equipment, and pays her own taxes, business and office expenses, and funds her own benefits.

A Virtual Assistant is an independent contractor so you don’t have to worry about benefits, insurance, payroll taxes, sick or vacation pay.

A Virtual Assistant provides flexible, convenient, reliable, and cost-effective support whenever you need it, no matter where you are located, anywhere in the world. 

A Virtual Assistant can reduce your labor costs because you only pay for the productive time she spends doing your work, which adds value to your investment.

Stay tuned for more posts about the wonderful world of Virtual Assistance!  I would welcome your comments or questions.

If you want to learn more, or receive a complimentary needs assessment and administrative tasks action plan for your business, please feel free to contact me.

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Author bio: Lisa Salem is a Professional Virtual Executive Assistant, Nurture Marketing Consultant, and an experienced Transcriptionist. As the Founder and Managing Member of Monarch Virtual Assistance LLC,  she brings over 20 years of administrative and business management experience into her business.  Lisa is passionate about promoting the Virtual Assistance industry and strives to help make it stand out as a true profession of excellence. Her style is easy going, yet focused, with emphasis placed on going the extra mile to exceed clients expectations by providing quality service, excellent value, and total satisfaction to ensure long-term dedication, loyalty, and results.

©2010.  Would you like to republish this article? You are free to do so as long as you include a link back to the full post, attributing the author, Lisa Salem of Monarch Virtual Assistance LLC.