Scheduling for Your VA Business

Once you get established with a few clients, it’s easy to find your schedule either keeping you insanely busy or insanely bored. There doesn’t seem to be much in the middle, which is your ideal. So this month I’m offering tips on how to schedule your workload out.

First of all, never go over 30 hours a week with scheduling your clients. So make sure you account for that in creating your hourly rate. Why? Well, two reasons. One, this allows you the opportunity to be flexible with your ongoing current clients if they need more from you one week than they do normally. They will appreciate that and their loyalty to you will increase.

Also, it allows you time for one time projects that might drop in sporadically (and with minimum charges on those they usually turn out to be very profitable). This also gives you time to handle some of your own business administrative functions (billing, record keeping, etc.) during normal business hours so you are not up late at night or weekends when you should be spending time with family.

Next, make sure your contracts all state that normal business requests must be scheduled 48 hours in advance. This way, when someone calls and says, “Heather, are you available to work with me on a project on Friday?” on a Wednesday, you can open your calendar and schedule appropriately.

Many clients will try to treat you like an employee–requesting same day if not immediate turn arounds. This is your time to remind them that while you do try to process same day requests, you do require a 48 hour notice for all normal business requests and that rush fees can apply if they need things done sooner.

Now, I’m pretty flexible with most of my clients, because I understand that things DO come up as a surprise now and again. So most of the time I don’t charge a rush fee for doing work the same day or in less than 48 hours from request unless they either are abusing this by constantly wanting things done same day or I’m really that busy that I can’t process their requests same day unless I work until midnight. Those two times, I will actually tell them that if I do their work I will require a rush fee in addition to normal hourly rates.

Always keep an electronic and a paper copy of your calendar. Technology is great, but you never know when it will decide not to function anymore! Even if I know a phone call or project will only take 30 minutes or so, I go ahead and block an hour in my schedule just in case something goes wrong or the client requests changes afterward.

This is a good rule of thumb to keep yourself out of a quandary and it gives you the opportunity to get up and stretch your legs or get some fresh air or a cup of coffee between projects. Believe it or not, these little “breaks” even if just for a minute or two will help keep your mind fresh all day.

Keep moving toward success

Social Media is Right For Small, Medium and Large Business

There have been an explosion of social media sites appearing online recently, and each one can be used to optimize your business in a variety of different ways. What follows are three methods that should be adopted by your business to enable you to harness the full power of social media within your business.

1. Create a Fan Page For Your Business On Facebook.

Facebook is one of the most promising social media sites when it comes to marketing your products. One good way to use Facebook is to create a fan page on the site; and to use it to draw in potential buyers.

Start by investing some time to create a high quality fan page. This page should include links to your site and a well-written description of what you do, and a brief description of the purpose of your fan page. ( i.e. to provide all of your loyal customers with free information about upcoming product launches, give aways and coupons).

If you don’t yet have enough fans to get the ball rolling, it might make sense to start by giving people an incentive to become a fan. You could do something like this: offer everyone who joins your fan page a 20% discount coupon for one of your products. You could then say something like “If this fan page has over 5000 members by September 1st every fan will get a product for free.

2. Think In Terms Of Social Capital.

When it comes to using any form of social media services to promote your business, it is always a good idea to think in terms of building social capital that will generate flows of returns over a long period of time.

It’s important to understand this because many marketers treat social media sites like pay-per-click (PPC) advertising services. That is they expect to see returns immediately after creating an account on Facebook or twitter.

In reality, using social media sites correctly requires that you build up a large following over a long period of time. You can think of these networks that you are building as a form of capital. Once sufficiently large, you can begin to use it to bring in additional members without actively marketing and additional customers.

3. Using The Twitter Search Engine.

Another approach you can take is to use the twitter search engine to find tweets related your business’s niche. This is an easy way to locate people who are interested in your products or services.

Once you have located some tweets related to your niche, you can follow them back to the source, determine whether the person involved might be interested in your niche, and then invite them to follow you if so.

Initially, a lot of people you add may not opt to follow you, however, over time, if you accumulate 50 new followers a day, you’ll gain momentum. If you make interesting tweets, offer discounts, or tweet vital information, you might get re-tweeted, expanding your reach and possibly bringing in new followers.

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Affiliate Marketing for Online Businesses

I’ve researched a lot of online business programs within the last couple of years forever searching for that one business that will aid in creating that needed income. The same is said of most individuals out there that perform the same research. There are programs out there promising riches beyond your wildest dreams and some with more of a realistic approach. I personally tend to shoot for the more realistic approach.

Affiliate marketing for online businesses is an area that I have ventured across on more than one occasion and I have found a couple of advantages within this area of marketing that most new people to this business are not aware of.

1. Zero inventory

With affiliate marketing for online businesses, there is no inventory to worry about. I’ve looked at a lot of businesses that entail purchasing a set amount of products that would end up being my job to get rid of. This was always a serious drawback for me. My hesitation stemmed from various reasons. The major reason was always lack of money and the ability to move that inventory out the door. This is not the same for everyone. There are some people out there that not only have the extra money a venture like this would entail but also possess that unique social ability to get people to buy the product.

2. Zero fees

There are a lot of businesses these days that, instead of forking out thousands of dollars in advertising expenses, contract with processors such as ClickBank to market their product or service. Now there are a ton of processors out there aside from ClickBank that have the same services but I’m using ClickBank as an example because it is the one that I’m most familiar with. You basically setup an account with ClickBank, free of charge to you. You then select the product that you wish to market. After you have selected the product a unique website link is created with your user ID embedded into it. This website is what you will use to market the product so that when the consumer clicks on that link and purchases a product the percentage in commission that the business has designated for their affiliate marketers goes to you through your ClickBank account. You are in essence selling somebody else’s product. Not only are there no payment processing fees but there are also no domain or website fees. All costs of running an online business is placed completely on the shoulders of the business requesting the affiliate marketing services.

Now, of course, some shy away from this type of service due to the fact that your job is to market that product or website. This can be a scary thing for the newbie out there that has never marketed a product in their life. In reality, it’s not as difficult or as scary as you think. In fact it can be really enjoyable once you get the hang of it. Plus, there are tons of ways to market without having to spend a dime. Earning income doing something that is basically free to you is always a perk. You don’t need professional references to do this or prior experience. Anyone can do this.

The key to affiliate marketing is knowing how to market the product. There are hundreds of ways to go about this. All you have to do is take the time to learn.