May 13, 2007

4-Day Countdown before End of the VA Podcast & Blog Hopping Tour

Well Patty,
We’re nearing the end of the OIVAC Convention Podcast & Blog Hopping VA Tour that’s cyber-skipping all over the Internet. I’m glad to rest here for a day, especially since I don’t feel too well, and don’t want to do anything too strenuous before May 17-19, the dates of the convention. Since I know you’ve prepared insightful questions, fire away!
1. How does a VA go about finding clients and companies to work for?
First the VA conducts research to determine her ideal clients’ demographics, such as: age, gender, education level, income, neighborhood and commonalities. Then she shifts to the psychographics variables (Wikipedia.org describes psychographic variables as any attributes relating to personality, values, attitudes, interests, or lifestyles); their values, fears, wants, needs and dreams. Before you say, why is she telling me this? It wasn’t what I asked. I just wanted to share that finding ideal clients is a process and the demographics/psychographic variables I’ve described play a very important part in identifying them and creating long term relationships.

Okay, now I’ll jump forward to answer your question – but caution that there are a lot more processes the VA should go through before “finding clients and companies to work for”.
  • Network, network, network
  • Request referrals
  • Join on and offline communities where your ideal clients frequent
  • Volunteer on various nonprofit organizations or associations such as the local Chamber of Commerce
#2 – If you plan on targeting local businesses, what are some networking events that you would suggest attending?
The Chambers, on and offline communities and even nonprofit organizations and associations regularly schedule networking events. I would add to the list local Leads groups such as BNA, targeted industry events/trade shows, activities sponsored by state and local government, Toastmasters, and social networking events, to name a few.
#3 – I’ve heard that some VAs have a “resume” and some don’t. Why would a VA, who is a business owner, need a resume?
Actually, the only reason the VA would need a resume is if she is a newbie, and wants to showcase her prior skills, knowledge and experience. The resume can be formatted to focus on the duties she performed and how they contributed to the company’s growth instead of her job title, number of individuals she supervised, etc. When providing a resume to a prospective client, I would actually entitle it curriculum vitae [CV] (which is defined as your course of life) instead of a resume and structure it accordingly. I would also inform the customer that you are not an employee and are running a business. As such, you do not have a resume, but can provide information about your experience, skills, etc.
#4 –Businesses don’t have to pay for benefits and taxes for a temp, so what’s the difference between hiring an in-house temp or an off-site VA?
There is a tremendous difference. When a business works with a temp, the manager does not establish a relationship with the individual (before beginning the contractual relationship). Instead, the individual is usually selected from a pool of staffers and sent to the job aware and prepared to perform basic duties.
However, before the business owner retains the services of a VA, she should participate in an interview session(s) to ensure the VA and she are compatible in their vision, mission and goals. In addition, they determine the parameters of the relationship (which is much more personal than with a temporary staffer) as the VA gets to know her client’s business as well as her idiosyncrasies.
The decision to hire a VA isn’t solely based on not having to pay taxes, benefits, etc. but is based on the desire to develop a lasting relationship with an assistant, someone who is able to assume responsibilities and work independently. Once the client understands the concept, they will also discover that cost isn’t an overriding issue in the selection process: knowledge, skills, ability and compatibility are.
#5 – I’ve heard that there is an Online International Virtual Assistants Convention (OIVAC) in May and will include some great seminars. Will these seminars be recorded so that individuals can listen to them when they have time?
First, I must remind everyone that May 15th is the last day to register for the event.
Yes, the seminars will be recorded. Individuals registered by May 15 will have access to seminars during May 22 through May 31 (10 days); and can view them directly from the event seminar schedule located at Co-opWorld, our 3-D event host site.
Afterwards, the OIVAC convention recordings will be available for sale from the OIVAC and Alliance for Virtual Businesses websites. So, if your readers aren’t able to register by May 15th, they will have an opportunity to download the complete presentation (and giveaways, if any). It’s a win-win situation for everyone.
Well Patty, it’s time to mossy on over to the next stop, which I believe is my own blog! Ah, a break, and I’m grateful for it too, especially since I’m not feeling well. When I visited Karen of Konceptuality, I mentioned that I gave an incorrect clue for letter #29 (instead of 27). So for those that missed it, clue #29 is iesbwe. Then, I cyber-hopped over to Australia and visited Janet Beckers of Niche Partners and tomorrow I’m visiting my own blog, The 24 Hour Secretary, home sweet home! Patty, your clue, and I want to make sure I get this right, is: sapesvi.
So, to all of you happy and blessed mothers, I’ll post a very short note tomorrow (because I don’t usually work on Mothers Day) and wish each and every one of you a great Mothers Day tomorrow!
About Sharon Williams
Sharon is the Chairperson of the Alliance for Virtual Businesses and OIVAC, and president of The 24 Hour Secretary an administrative, secretarial and internet-based marketing support services company. She is the 2006 recipient of the Thomas Leonard International Virtual Assistant of Distinction Award and co-founder of Virtual BusinessU, an interactive, online training environment for Virtual Assistants and entrepreneurs doing business on the Web ready to step toward their greatness.

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