What makes you GREAT?

OK.  So, I’m sitting here wondering what I want to post about this week.  And due to a not-so-fun, frustrating, attacking experience over the weekend, I decided to focus on what I do that’s GREAT.

Attitude - Canva

Photo Credit:  Canva

I’m a very motivated person.  I have an entrepreneurial drive.  I like to get things done, and if I don’t know how to do something, I’ll figure it out.  I don’t like to procrastinate (although it does happen sometimes).  I don’t like broken promises.  I like schedules.  I like lists.  I like organization.  I don’t like people who nag or complain about the little things.  I love music, walking outside, working in the yard, playing with my kids, cuddling with my dogs, and so much more!  Life is good!

Why am I telling you this?  Because we all have something great within us that NOBODY gets.  I think mine is planning.  In my head, I have to plan just about everything.  I plan my day from the moment I get up to the moment I go to bed.  But, I leave enough time each day for me to do something different than the day before (if I want to).  This probably doesn’t make sense to anyone but myself, but it’s true.  I have amazing executive functioning skills.  I love the feeling of accomplishment.  And being a Virtual Assistant helps me build on these skills, gives me the opportunity to use these skills, and makes me feel like what I do really does matter.

What makes YOU great?  We all have things we are terrible at.  For me, it’s cooking.  We all have things we enjoy and really love.   For me, it’s planning and executing.  I am constantly reading, learning new ways to help my clients.  I am consistently networking to find professionals to collaborate with.  I am inspired by new adventures and can’t wait for the next one to knock on my door (or email me).  🙂

If you are GREAT at something, follow it through.  Walk down your path with pride and enjoy your time doing it.  That is one reason I started my business.  I enjoy helping others walk down their path.  And I get to walk down mine at the same time.  What I’m able to accomplish might not be what others’ want to do.  And I’m fine with that.  But respect that I love what I do.  And I’ll respect that you love what you do.  Understand we are all great at something.  If we were all good at the same things, this world would be a VERY boring place to live.

If you recognize that your GREATNESS is NOT organizing, planning, or executing, then contact me.  I want you to do what you’re the best at, and leave those other tasks to me.  Help me feed my GREATNESS while I help you live out yours.

This year has been amazing so far, but I’m starting to find some real niche professionals I want to continue working with:  Business Coaches (event planning) and Realtors (blogging).  I’m also working on a new path…marketing for educational centers.

Like I said, I am always looking for new adventures, and it keeps my life busy but fulfilled.  I wish you great things on your journey, and if you need any help, please don’t hesitate to contact me!

Elizabeth Debol
Executive Virtual Assistant
elizabeth.debol@smallbvs.com
www.SmallBVS.com

Advertisements

Low Budget Marketing for Small Businesses

Marketing is necessary for all businesses, but it can be a kick in the financials for small business owners.  So, coming up with clever ways to stay on (or below) budget can make all the difference in business success.

Marketing - Canva - Free

Here are some ideas to market your business on a low budget:

Referrals.  Often if you ask, you shall receive.  Maybe ask in an email campaign, offering a free download as a thank you.

Photo Credit:  Canva

Brochures.  Create a brochure to share on social media or to hand out during networking events.  No postage needed.

Website.  Design a free website (or landing page) for one of your best services or products.  Share it on social media or through email campaigns to capture emails or stir up attention.

Blog.  It’s free to tell your story or offer your advice.  Everybody loves to read something personable and helpful, especially if you aim it at your target audience.  Solve their problems and don’t spend a dime.

LinkedIn.  Spend some time each week connecting with your perfect audience.  Send personal messages, offer advice, schedule a free phone meeting, or just tell them you’re here if they need you.  Being friendly can go a long way.

If you can do any, or all, of these small marketing tasks, you’d be surprised how your business can grow.  And if you don’t have the time to implement them yourself, I am always here to help.

Elizabeth Debol
Executive Virtual Assistant
elizabeth.debol@smallbvs.com
www.SmallBVS.com

Organize Your Workspace and Be More Productive at the Office!

Working as a Virtual Assistant, I get this question over and over again… “How do you stay organized enough to balance all your client work?”

Well, it’s called #TimeManagement.  I learn to #organize and #declutter my office area, so my mind stays clear of distractions.  This gives me optimal work time.  But, my decluttered desk and organized virtual space don’t happen without me working at it every day.

Here are some things I do to stay focused and organized:

I use G Suite, a lot!  G Suite helps me stay completely organized when it comes to my virtual space (computer) and everything I work on for my business.  I use a calendar for my personal life, and each of my clients has their own calendar (for me to keep track of daily tasks, not for them).  I use Google Drive to house all my documents, spreadsheets, forms, slideshows, etc.  I use Gmail for my business email, to look more professional and so my emails have less of a chance going into a Spam/Junk folder.  And I also use the task list inside my calendar so I can keep track of any other tasks that I might not want to include on my calendar.

I clean out my emails every day.  I only keep emails in my Inbox if I’m currently working on those projects, if I still have to work on those projects, or if they are questions that need to be answered.  Everything else goes into a clearly labeled folder for that client, company, etc.

Example of folders I keep to organize emails:

A.  Say I have a client named John Smith.  I will move all his emails into a folder labeled “John Smith” so I can go to that folder anytime I need to find something he has emailed to me (it’s a perfect reference place).

B.  Say I signed up for a webinar (which I often do).  I have a folder labeled “Webinars” that helps me keep track of all the webinars I’ve attended for future reference, or in case I need to contact the person/company who hosted a specific webinar I’ve already attended.  Keeping the information is very helpful.

C.  I have a folder labeled “Leads” so if I have an email conversation with someone who isn’t sure about needing my services yet, but wants me to contact them at a later date, I put them into this folder.  (I also add them to my calendar a few weeks later so I can contact them again to see if they’re ready for assistance).  Doing this has helped me land quite a few clients in the past.

– I check my SPAM/JUNK folders every day.  Sometimes even my clients’ emails get stuck in there.  Or, a new lead might email me and they get thrown into the SPAM folder.  I don’t want to miss an opportunity to work with someone because I didn’t check my SPAM folder.

– I mark tasks off on all my calendars with a big X next to the task.  This lets me know that I’ve completed this task and I can now move onto the next one.

– I only keep one calendar open at a time (the client I’m currently working on) so I don’t get confused.  I also have a specific color assigned to each calendar (client), which I end up memorizing, which helps me keep tasks more organized.

– I create a folder in Google Drive for each of my clients, where I keep all their information for current and future projects.  This helps me keep track of everything, so it’s not all buried in emails.  Client folders get assigned the same color as their respective calendar (neat trick to stay even more organized).

– I save everything (not related to G Suite) to a flash drive on my computer; I don’t save anything on my desktop or on my computer itself.  This way my computer doesn’t run slow and I can take my files with me to use on any of my laptops at in-person meetings or when I work at a local coffee house.

– Every weekend I print out any necessary information for the next week (I keep track of my social media postings for clients on a document that I check off throughout the week).  Doing this over the weekend helps me stay focused and “ready to start” come Monday morning!

 

For the most part, my office desk is clear.  I have two laptops and two monitors on my desk at all times.  I work on projects on both systems simultaneously so I can work efficiently and productively every day.  I also have one pen, one lamp, one notebook, and one box of Kleenex on my desk, and that’s pretty much it.  I keep a bowl of candy on my desk (which stops me from getting up to get snacks a lot during the workday) and I have an oil diffuser on my desk (which helps relax me and helps me stay focused due to the specific blends of oils I use).

I get a lot done during my work week, but it wouldn’t happen if I wasn’t organized.  I hope this information gives you a little inspiration and helps you become organized and work efficiently too.

If you need help organizing your workspace, contact me via email.  I’d love to help you!!

Elizabeth Debol
Executive Virtual Assistant
elizabeth.debol@smallbvs.com
www.SmallBVS.com

How Outsourcing Can Improve Business

As a Virtual Assistant, I often get asked these questions:

  1. What tasks can you help me with?
  2. How can I get more done each week?
  3. Will your assistance bring me business?
  4. What would be the first step to working together?

 

I am going to take a few minutes to answer these 4 questions below:

Q:  What tasks can you help me with?

A:  Well, it really depends on your business, your skills, your time, and your budget.  If your business consists of multiple people working together, then we would need to focus on team tasks.  If you are the only one in your business, then we would need to focus on what you need to get done and where you need help.  That brings us to your skills (and time).  What are you good at?  What do you enjoy doing?  What do you want to do but don’t have time to?  What needs to get done but never does? And the list goes on and on. We would brainstorm your strengths (and weaknesses) against mine and come up with a solution.   Now, we need to talk about your budget.  I have created an interactive spreadsheet HERE that allows you to type in your monthly income, what tasks you currently do yourself (or plan to do), how much it costs you to do them versus having a Virtual Assistant do them, and how much you can save if you do get help.  So, this not only helps you work on a budget, but it shows you how much money you may be throwing away trying to do everything yourself.

 

Q:  How can I get more done each week?

A:  Here’s the thing.  If you are unfamiliar with a program you need to use for creating email campaigns, or if you’re not good at typing and need to create multiple documents each week, or if you find yourself consistently trying to learn something you don’t even want to do, then you’re not using your time wisely.  We ALL have our area(s) of expertise.  Business owners want to focus on what directly brings them income.  This could be one-on-one meetings, staff training, client workshops, or networking. It’s the back-office, out of the way tasks that pile up.  These tasks often bring indirect income, meaning they generate curiosity and possibly leads, but they don’t always close the sale.  You need someone to help you generate those leads, keep your name in front of people, encourage efficiency and productivity, and push you to get more done! You may still be doing the same tasks every week (the ones you love and those you’re good at), but the administrative/lead generating tasks are ALSO getting done.  So, more will be getting accomplished every week.  The key is consistency and communication.

 

Q:  Will your assistance bring me business?

A:  Yes, eventually it will.  There is not a sure formula out there or an exact science to this.  It’s consistently posting to social media and sending emails.  It’s keeping your name in front of your target audience.  It’s making connections with ideal prospects. It’s working with a plan, creating reasonable goals, and moving forward.  And if done right and consistently, yes, your business will grow.

 

Q:  What would be the first step to working together?

A:  The first step would be a good conversation (about an hour) where we learn about each other, how our personalities fit, and how we can best work together.  We would come up with a plan, create goals within that plan, decide on a budget, and communicate effectively.  It’s often a trial and error sort of relationship.  There will be things that don’t work, things that work great, things that need some nurturing along the way, and things that we won’t even try.  But, with a good plan in place and a consistent path to move forward, you will see that working virtually with a professional can relieve stress and grow your business.

 

If you are interested in having a short chat with me, please schedule a day/time here:  https://calendly.com/elizabethdebol

There is no obligation to use my services, but I can guarantee you’ll have a clearer idea of how to move forward with your business.

Thanks for reading.  And I look forward to hearing from you!

Elizabeth Debol
Executive Virtual Assistant
elizabeth.debol@smallbvs.com
www.SmallBVS.com
Join the Club HERE

Email Marketing – Website Design & Maintenance – Administrative Tasks – Event Support – Marketing Support – Virtual Recruiting – Blog Posting – Research – Data Entry – CRM Support – Social Media Scheduling – Content Creation – Spreadsheet Design – LinkedIn Prospecting – Lead Generation

Conflict in the Workplace (Guest Post)

Conflict Resolution
Dealing with a Toxic Workplace
By Helen Godfrey, MA, NCC, BCC, LPC
www.careercounselortips.com

stormy-day

One of my former supervisors said, “We don’t leave jobs, we leave people.” Think about that. Is this true for you? Think back to the last job you left or outgrew. What led up to you looking for another job? Were you not feeling appreciated? Were you unable to be yourself? Did you have an outright, unresolvable conflict with someone? Studies have shown that employees will stay at jobs that pay less if they have a good manager.What can you do when you find yourself in a toxic workplace? I went to a seminar and one of the presenters said something along the lines of: You can try to carpet the world or just put on a pair of slippers. In other words, you can only change yourself. It can be annoying to think about that because, hey, you are already pretty awesome. Wouldn’t it be nice if everyone just did it your way? Your way is better-you know it is…how long will it take for others to get on board? Don’t shoot the messenger but….maybe never. Life amongst the mortals, darling. No one said it would be easy. So, now what?Evaluate and Prioritize

What are your priorities? Are you feeling impatient because you are not advancing as quickly as you hoped? Try to take a step back and evaluate your current career path. Are you still learning? If not, you may want to talk to your manager about taking on some new/different responsibilities to expand your skill set. Typically, experts say that it takes about 10 years to become an expert in your field. Have you been doing your job for 10 years? Not necessarily in the same place but the same type of job function. If not, depending on the level of expertise needed for this profession…you probably have room for growth. Try to get this in your current location if you like your job. If you want to stay at your job but are not getting the additional skills there, you may want to consider volunteering. Not only will you presumably put some good karma in your bucket-full disclosure: individual karmic results may vary-you can learn, contribute and expand your network which may help you if you decide to move to a different company.

Evaluate Your Company Culture

The culture of any organization is shaped by the worst behavior the leader is willing to tolerate.

-Gruenter & Whitaker

Is this workplace toxic or just annoying? If you feel unsafe to speak up, to be yourself or to make mistakes, these could be indicators that you are working in a less than healthy environment. If your educational background and contributions are belittled by your direct supervisor, you may want to look elsewhere immediately…if not sooner.

I have a friend who was a manager and, with his permission, is allowing me to share his story. He had a very difficult employee who refused to do almost anything that resembled work and he absolutely found the most amazing, Houdini-like ways to get out of work that he agreed he would do but that he did not want to do-which was pretty much everything. To give you some context, the manager would send the employee Outlook invitations for different events that he needed the employee to cover. These were during regular business hours and par for the job. The employee would accept the invitations and then delete them from his calendar. When he didn’t show up to the events that he was scheduled to attend he told his manager, “The audience could have come back in a few hours” or “I didn’t know about the event.” The manager had to start taking screen shots of his employee’s calendar to have proof.

When the manager went to his direct supervisor, the director, with proof of these shenanigans-too many to describe in this article- much to his surprise, she blamed him.  Hmm. In fact, she said the issue was his managerial style. Any small complaint from the difficult employee was taken very seriously by the director. In fact, she encouraged the difficult employee to keep going directly to her-not keeping his manager in the loop about their conversations. Do you remember the movie Office Space?  More specifically, the scene with HR where one employee describes his contributions to the company: he gives them examples of going above and beyond the call of duty, working overtime and so on. Well, he is fired. The second employee who goes into great detail about slacking off at work is promoted. It’s funny when it is a movie but in real life…not so much.

So, if you have a manager who undermines your authority and you are honestly doing everything right and to the best of your ability, you will probably need to look for a new job pronto. In fact, I would recommend looking immediately especially if you know that you have done everything in your power to work out the difficult situation you are facing. It is highly unlikely that your manager or employee, especially if he/she has the support of your manager, will change.

What are Your Deal Breakers?

Again, observe the behavior. What are your deal breakers? What are your values? If you are a manager ask yourself: Is your employee’s behavior acceptable? Are these growing pains? Is there a way we can communicate more clearly? Is the employee coachable? Do I have my direct supervisor’s support? If you answered “no” to these questions, seriously consider your choices. If your direct supervisor undermines your authority, is there another layer of support that is accessible to you? For example, some HR departments offer mediation for employees and managers. If you have exhausted all of your possibilities, your best choice may be to find another job.

Something else to consider is the amount of physical stress a toxic workplace can have on the body. According to www.AllHeartAttack.com, the most number of heart attacks happen on Monday mornings: http://tiny.cc/q34ydy You have choices and you don’t have to stay in a toxic workplace.

Go Where You are Loved

The Oscar award winning actress Ms. Lupita Nyong’o was interviewed in the September 2016 issue of Oprah magazine. She was asked about the best advice she’s received and she said, “Go where you are loved. People who see the best in you bring out the best in you.” These are wise words and I couldn’t agree more.

If you are working in an environment where you are not supported or appreciated, it may be better to look elsewhere. Of course, be self-reflective and ask yourself:

  • What can I do to improve my situation?
  • How am I contributing to the problem?
  • How am I contributing to the solution?
  • Do I need some additional training?
  • Is there anything I could be doing better?
  • What is my ROI on this situation? Will I learn and grow?

If you have done your best to improve your situation and nothing is working, take Ms. Lupita Nyong’o’s advice: Go where you are loved. You will be so much happier for it and so will everyone around you.

Resources for Dealing with Conflict

Resolving Conflicts at Work: Ten Strategies for Everyone on the Job by Kenneth Cole and Joan Goldsmith

This is a great book with a lot of useful dialogues which will teach you some basic conflict resolution skills.

amazon-1

Perfect Phrases for…..

This is a series of books that you can find on Amazon with helpful phrases for difficult situations.

amazon-2

About Helen Godfrey

As a counselor, I strive to help people make new discoveries about themselves and what helps them overcome the obstacles they face. My patients trust me to guide them on their journey to achieve the goals they set for themselves. As someone who understands the transformative power of therapy, I’m passionate about learning, listening, and partnering with my clients to bring balance and wellness into their lives.  I enjoy working with people from all walks of life, and if you or someone you love is going through a difficult time of career or personal uncertainty or needs to discuss their concerns with a professional, please contact me to setup a consultation.

Why you should ask for help…

When you own your own business and try to wear many hats, it’s only in due time that you will realize you are falling behind and need HELP.

Look at me…I am a Virtual Assistant.  I work with business owners taking those tedious tasks off their hands so they have more time to focus on their business and don’t have to work 70 hours a week catching up. Here’s the kicker…now I am looking for help.  I work at least 40-50 hours a week now because I am constantly getting emails from past clients and referrals who need help.

Yes, even a professional like myself needs help so I don’t fall behind and get bogged down in tedious work.  There are projects and tasks (HERE is a quick article to explain the difference) that I am very skilled at and need to handle myself.  And there are some that I can hand off to an assistant of my own…either because my skill set is not up to par in that area or because it’s time-consuming and I need to focus on bigger/specific skilled projects.

OH Lord…I have to hire an assistant!!!  This is new to me!!

Sound familiar?  If you have an assistant (or are thinking of getting one) then you understand what I am going through.

Asking for help can be in the form of hiring an assistant to work for you (or with you) or it can be in the form of a Mentor or Coach to help guide you to make better business decisions and reach important goals.  I work with a lot of Business Coaches.  Perhaps I should ask a few of them for advice?!?

Below is a really great article from Entrepreneur explaining why asking for help is good for business: Asking For Help Is Good For You and Your Business

Want to know more about hiring a VA?  Here is a really awesome article that may help you with the process:  7 REASONS YOU SHOULD HIRE A VIRTUAL ASSISTANT

Don’t work alone all the time and try to do everything on your own.  It’s good to get help, ask for assistance, collaborate with other business owners, network, and hand over small tasks (or large projects) if it means you get peace of mind and become less stressed.

Hey…if I can do it, you can too!  Here is a great article explaining what a VA does:  How Virtual Office Assistants Work

If you have any questions about how a VA can help you stay organized and get more accomplished, please contact me!

DSC_0112

Elizabeth Debol
Virtual Assistant
Business Virtual Services
elizabethdebol@live.com
http://www.businessvirtualservices.com/

THANKS FOR READING!!  🙂

Feel free to use my post on your blog.  Just please make sure to include the link to my blog in your post.  I would greatly appreciate it!:)

Consider filling out this short multiple-choice evaluation to see if you might need some business re-organizing!!   Click HERE.

Business Communication…why it’s so important.

Effective Business Communication

When you own a business, it’s essential to have GREAT communication skills.  Whether you are communicating with vendors, clients, colleagues, or employees, your business is not going to work if there is lousy communication.

If you don’t know how to communicate in your business, then you should invest some time and money into learning how to.  Here is a great website to find communication skills seminars in your area.

It’s extremely important to realize that how you communicate is often how people see you as a business owner.  This can have lasting effects on your business and in your business relationships!

Example:  I have spoken to many business owners over the last 4 years.  Because I have the luxury of choosing who I work with, I make sure I pick those who can communicate effectively.  Why, you ask?  Because if I can’t get the information I need from them to work on their projects, then I’m useless and not making MYSELF money.  If they can’t communicate their needs to me, then again, I’m useless and not making THEM money. If I can’t get their projects done, then their business falls short.  Not only are they already behind (which is why they reached out to me in the first place), but now they are even further behind and frustrated because all they want to do is explain their needs to me, but they can’t.

Because of this communication gap I often see with business owners, I started offering monthly support calls.  These phone meetings are a way for us both to come up with a current strategic marketing plan, a detailed budget, and a suggested marketing plan going ahead.  It’s an effective way to communicate what their needs are because I am able to walk them through their thoughts.  This is often what many business owners need assistance with but don’t even know it.

I have also come to understand that many business owners just can’t dedicate time for monthly support calls due to traveling or extremely busy schedules (which I fully understand).  That is why I also created a 3-part online program to help them organize their business, so they will know exactly what they need assistance with.  And they will have everything in order to effectively communicate their needs when they are ready.  Plus, since it’s an online program, they can work on it when their schedule allows, at their own pace.

Now…the hard part is keeping up with emails!!!  I have a very manageable email process I use, and it’s free.  It’s efficient and I can easily find any emails I need.  It helps with my communication process and it altogether helps my business in a big way!

Here is a really great article from Forbes that goes into detail about how to write effective business emails.

The overall message here is…learn how to effectively communicate with ALL your business people.  It will not only help YOUR business, but it will help others as well.

DSC_0112

Elizabeth Debol
Virtual Assistant
Business Virtual Services
elizabethdebol@live.com
http://www.businessvirtualservices.com/


My Weekly Knowledge Log (a list of things I’ve learned from or about this week):
1.   Clean out your inbox WEEKLY.
2.  Schedule social media posts in advance.
3.  ALWAYS ask questions!

THANKS FOR READING!!  🙂

Feel free to use my post on your blog.  Just please make sure to include the link to my blog in your post.  I would greatly appreciate it!:)

Consider filling out this short multiple-choice evaluation to see if you might need some business re-organizing!!   Click HERE.