Why Hiring a Virtual Assistant Is The Best Decision You’ll Ever Make!

Remember when you first started your own business? The freedom of being your own boss, planning your schedule and doing the things you want to do, right? After the initial surge of exhilaration, reality sinks in – especially when you’re surrounded by a pile of paperwork that seems to get bigger! 

You started a business because you wanted to make your vision a reality and focus on what you love to do, but it takes so much time to run your business, there’s no opportunity to develop it. Does this sound like you? Maybe it’s time to get a virtual assistant. 

Are You Doing What You Could Be?

Notice the difference there? I said could, not should. We all have individual skills and talents, but when you take on a range of responsibilities, you have to prioritise the essential aspects of running a business. You might want to work on that new idea, or plan an event, but customers are waiting for your response. 

Finding yourself in a Catch 22 like this can frustrate, and it also slows down your potential growth. However, if you had someone to do those annoying little jobs you hate, you could focus on the parts of your business you enjoy. After all, passion is the key to success. 

Are You Walking a Tightrope? 

What I mean by this is, are you desperately trying to balance finding and wooing new leads with supporting your existing customers? If you want your business to grow, then you need to engage with new clients, which takes time and effort. However, neglect your existing customers and they’ll move elsewhere. Statistics show that 70% of customers move on due to feeling neglected! 

Is Admin Dragging You Down?

For us virtual assistants, admin is our focus, skill, and business, so we understand that you want to focus on yours. Starting something you’re passionate about only to find you don’t get to spend any time working on it is a sure-fire way to lose your determination to succeed. 

We choose to be virtual assistants because we enjoy the work we do. Maybe it’s time for you to enjoy your work again.

Is Your Family Suffering?

Quality time with your loved ones is so important, but hectic work schedules mean people often miss special occasions, the school play and time with their significant others. Not only does this affect your mood, but it also impacts your family. 

Humans need a personal life, and if our emotional needs aren’t met, then depression, exhaustion, and a lack of motivation can be a consequence. It’s never too late to make changes, and your family will thank you for it. 

What Do Virtual Assistants Do?

Virtual assistants take on a range of duties, depending on their skill set. Some focus on administrative support, while others offer social media management, content writing, blog management, and much more. 

Most virtual assistants work remotely, meaning there’s no need to hire an office and most of us freelance. The main advantage of hiring freelancers is there’s no employment contract. You don’t have to specify a set amount of hours your virtual assistant works, which gives you flexibility and reduces your costs. 

Speaking Of Costs….

Every service costs money, but the initial expense will save you money in the long-term. By hiring a virtual assistant to help you lessen your workload, you can focus on developing your business. More clients, more opportunities, and your happiness will lead to growth and profit. 

Invest For Your Future

Hiring a virtual assistant might seem daunting, but most business owners that take the plunge don’t regret it. In the business world, competition is the biggest reason start-ups and small businesses fail. With some extra time on your hands, you can take your small company and turn it into something amazing. Now all you need to do is find a Virtual Assistant.


Blogging 101: What Not To Do

blog management services

When I tell people I’m a blogger, they always respond with “You’re so lucky, what a great job!” One of the most common misconceptions about blogging is that it’s so easy anyone can do it. The fact is, blogging isn’t the same as keeping a diary, especially if you want to build an online presence. 

Blogging is an invaluable tool for increasing engagement, developing a good reputation and turning leads into conversions. If you’re feeling blogged down, then here is what not to do

Don’t Write For Yourself 

You love fashion and you want to write about it. That’s great, but not if your business involves accountancy services. There are personal blogs and business blogs and you should never get the two mixed up. 

Every company needs to build a positive online reputation and blogging is the most powerful weapon at your disposal. I love unsolved mysteries, and if I had the time I’d write about them all day every day. However, why would my potential clients want to know about the woman who disappeared on a cruise ship? This information serves no purpose for them, and therefore is useless for my business. 

When you think about your topic, ask yourself these questions: 

☁ Is the topic relevant to the product of service I’m selling? 

☁ Will people find the information useful? 

☁ Do I have enough knowledge about the topic to write with authority?

☁ Will people want to read about the topic? 

If you’re struggling to find inspiration, HubSpot has an excellent topic generator

Don’t Neglect Data and Statistics 

Data blog management services

Blogging is about providing useful information for people, but many new bloggers think readers care about their opinions. Sorry to break it to you, but until you’ve become an authority within your industry, nobody really wants to know what you think! 

If you’re blogging to encourage people to use your service, then you need to convince them why it’s a worthy investment. For example, if you offer administrative services you should use statistics to show your readers why outsoucing their admin tasks is beneficial.

Remember, you don’t want to get people to take note of your opinion, you want to convince them to take action. 

Don’t Write Too Formally 

The most successful bloggers engage with their audience and make sure their writing is approachable. At school you were taught to write in a formal manner, but nobody wants to read a boring blog post. Try to write you blog as if you’re talking directly to your audience, and don’t be afraid to show your fun side. 

According to Buffer, 55% of readers spend only 15 seconds on your article, so it’s vital you leave them wanting more. Don’t be scared to throw in some contractions and keep it simple. Big words might get you an A on that term paper, but they discourage people from reading your blog. 

Don’t Just Start Blogging 

planning a blog

Blogging is a godsend for creative individuals, but don’t forget that your post should follow a structure. Just as if you were writing a novel, you should plan your blog post before you let the words flow. 

Start by deciding on your title, and create your sub-headings. Doing this will make it easier to write the content and you’re less likely to steer away from the topic. Never forget to do your keyword research before you start writing! 

A blog post without keywords is like chips without salt and vinegar! SEO is the magic ingredient for getting your blog noticed on search engines. Don’t forget, search engines aren’t people and they sweep your article for keywords. If you forget about the keywords, then nobody will find your blog post. 

Here are some of the best keyword research tools in 2019.

Don’t Go It Alone 

The business world is more competitive now than ever, but so many small business owners try to do everything themselves to save money.  Common sense says this technique isn’t helpful, because we can’t be good at everything! 

If blogging isn’t your strong point, then consider using blog management services to increase your engagement and build your customer base. As a blog specialist, I can tell you now that a well-planned blog with quality content is the thing that will make or break your business. 

Websites with a blog attract thirteen times more engagement, which means a small investment in blog management services will result in long-term success. If you’ d like to enjoy success in a saturated market, contact me today for a free no obligation consultation.

How to Say No To Your Boss

Building a career is harder now than ever. We live in an age where to succeed; we have to be available at all hours. Smartphones, tablets, and laptops mean employers can contact their team whenever they want and need to. This “always on” lifestyle is great for your boss, but it really sucks for you. 

You need and deserve a work-life balance, but are you getting one? If workplace competition has you scrambling to answer that What’s App message when you should be enjoying dinner, then you need to take a stand. Yes, your job means a lot to you, but is a promotion worth sacrificing your happiness? It’s time you learn how to say no to your boss. 

I Can’t Say No…Can I?

It’s funny how two little letters can instill such fear in us, but people really hate saying “No”. Once upon a time, your boss was a mere employee like yourself. Maybe they’ve forgotten that, or feel they paid their dues so why shouldn’t others? The key to refusing a request from your boss is to be calm, tactful and offer a reasonable explanation. 

The Reasonable Excuse 

Say your boss asks you to mentor a new employee, but you don’t want to. Now anyone with an ounce of common sense knows that telling their boss they don’t feel like doing something isn’t a good idea. So, how do you handle it?

Ask your boss if the two of you can sit down and have a conversation. Once you’ve got their full attention, ask them if it’s possible for someone else to mentor the new employee. Talk about the projects you’re working on at work, and how they need your full attention. 

Offering a reasonable excuse and tying it to your job role is a lot more understandable than bringing your personal life into the equation. 

Offer An Alternative 

Sometimes, your boss will ask you to stay behind to work on that important contract, but you’ve got plans. Now, you could just say “No sorry, I’m busy”, but that won’t do you any favours when bonus time comes around. 

Offer to go in for a few hours at the weekend, or stay behind one evening. If you can complete the work at home, then say you’ll make up the extra hours. You don’t have to cancel your plans and you’ll keep your boss sweet. Win-win for everyone! 

Be Gracious 

When someone asks you to take on extra work, it’s because they know you can do it. Saying no seems harder now doesn’t it? A great way to divert your boss’s attention away from your refusal is to show them your gratitude that they considered you. We all love a bit of flattery and your employers no different. 

Be Assertive 

When we say be assertive, we don’t mean storm into your boss’s office and shout “no” in their face – that’s the fastest way to join the unemployment queue. However, finding another qualified employee who’s willing to help will impress your boss. Instead of giving excuses, you’ve solved a problem which shows you’re willing to pull your weight. 

Know Your Place 

Remember your boss signs your paycheck and makes the decisions. Acknowledge this when to speak to them! We’ve all had a difficult boss, but most employers are reasonable as long as you respect them. If your employer is unreasonable and chooses not to listen, then maybe it’s time to move onto another role! 

The Reality of Being a Freelance Writer

We all have career goals and aspirations. Whether you spend years at college, or start at the bottom of a company and work your way up, it’s that drive to succeed that fuels you. When I started my freelancing career, I would do anything to make it work and avoid going back to an office job. What I didn’t realise, is how hard life is as a freelancer. 

Rising to Fall 

My first role was for a content agency that paid me a grand total of 0.01 per word. I’m not joking. Churning out a 500 word article, inserting all the correct keywords and finding authority links earned me £5.00. However, my determination to succeed meant I accepted that low pay with the reasoning that I was “paying my dues”. Unfortunately, it was this mindset that trapped me in a low-paying job with little prospects. 

I learned very quickly that freelancing isn’t like regular employment. There are no minimum wage standards, which means content agencies can get away with paying writers a pittance. I knew that I couldn’t sustain a living on that kind of money. With rent and bills to pay, I was working round the clock to make ends meet. Feeling trapped in a job you hate, writing about engineered flooring and injury lawyers isn’t good for your mental health. As I sank deeper into depression, I knew I had to make a change, or go back to a nine to five. 

Working Up 

A Google search lead me to a freelancer platform that promised thousands of opportunities at the click of a button. Clicking on the link, I was greeted with a website that offered hope and the promise of success. I’d found Upwork, the largest freelancing platform on the internet. 

The thing about Upwork is if you apply as a writer, you’re usually turned away. Why? Because there are so many of us. However, I wasn’t giving up that easily. I applied to the platform as a Virtual Assistant, and after receiving my acceptance email, I altered my profile to advertise my writing services – and it worked! Now I was ready to make my fortune and finally see my name in print. 

The First Job 

OK, maybe I was naïve in thinking I’d find a high paying client straight away, but I had experience, talent and took the time to write proposals clients couldn’t say no to. Twenty proposals later, and I was losing my confidence. However, hundreds of enticing writing jobs on the screen, meant I had to decide. Do I give up, or swallow my pride? 

It wasn’t a hard choice; I mean I’d put all my hopes in a writing career, so I knew I had to make it work. Drafting a proposal to an entry-level job, I offered to write 2000 words for $5.00. Two hours later I had the job and began my first Upwork contract. 

The contract was for an affiliate website, which meant I had to write in-depth buyers guides and product reviews. It was boring, tiring and there were no real rewards because the money was worse than my first role! However, I carried on because it was the only way I could see any chance of progression. 

My hard work paid off, when my client asked me if I’d like to upload the work directly onto his website. There was no extra pay, no bonuses, but I’d have my very own authors profile. My name would be on my work and I could say “I’m a published writer”. 

The Five Star Trap 

Your Upwork ratings are everything, but that doesn’t mean they’ll get you higher paid work – believe me. On Upwork, every client you work for awards you with a rating based on your skill, quality, communication and a range of other skills. I had a five star rating, experience, examples of my work, so surely I’d get the high-paying job I deserved. Nope. 

Clients know that there are millions of freelancers around the world competing for jobs, and they use that to their advantage. A common practice is accepting low rates for a five star rating, which serves no good for anyone on the platform. Clients see a page of five star ratings, and automatically wonder if the work was high quality, or the freelancer was really cheap. 

This practice means that nobody can really trust the five star rating system and building strong reviews isn’t enough to prove to high-paying clients that you can deliver on their requirements. 

Samples, Samples and More Samples 

I can’t stress enough how important it is to have writing samples. It doesn’t matter if their from a job, or something you’ve written in your spare time. Nobody can deny quality content when they see it, and this is the secret to getting clients. 

As I built up my portfolio, I noticed that I began to receive more responses to my proposals. However, my lack of confidence meant I was still working for two cents a word. It was a minor improvement, but still nowhere near enough for me to live on. Not only that, but the Upwork service charges were draining my earnings. 

The “Fair” Commission Charge 

Every time you earn money on Upwork, they take a portion of your earnings as a service fee. The company thinks it’s reasonable to remove 20% of earnings from freelancers. Yes, they charge us, not the clients. So, imagine working for 0.02c a word, and looking forward to your first paycheck…then seeing the reality of that 20% commission. 

Upwork commission charges

Take into account that UK freelancers don’t get their rates converted to GBP, so in effect we lose out, which means having to increase our original rates. 

So, Why Are You on Upwork? 

If Upwork is full of low-paying clients and unfair charges, when why even bother using it? The simple reason is, because I have to. Freelance writing is a competitive world, and unless you have a degree, you’re not going to walk into a high-paying job. 

The reality is, that Upwork has some real opportunities, but you need to find them. In my three years on the platform, I’ve found clients that wanted a high-quality writer and hired me because of my samples. Am I earning a premium rate from my writing? No, but 0.05c a word is enough for me to live on, providing I find enough work. 

I use the advanced search filters to find serious clients and read the adverts carefully. If a client takes the time to explain what they’re looking for, then they’ll pay higher rates. It shocks me to see people offering $3 an hour, but Upwork is a worldwide platform. There are freelancers in other countries that will happily work for these low rates. 

Tips For Finding High-Paying Jobs 

One technique I like to use is the keyword filter. When I’m looking for writing jobs, I type “UK Only” into the search, which means I see jobs from clients seeking people in the UK. Doing this means I avoid the low pay rates, and can find decent paying roles. Of course, there are always freelancers starting out who will offer to work for low rates, but with a strong portfolio you can convince a client they’re making a wise investment. 

Never rely on Upwork to be your main stream of income, but don’t underestimate the opportunities it offers. The main way you’ll find success as a freelance writer is to build a strong portfolio. If you’re passionate enough, and will accept that you have to pay your dues, you can make a living writing. We’ll never be rich, but at least we’re doing what we love.