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Virtual Assistant or Virtual Project Manager?

Virtual Assistant or Virtual Project Manager

Every business needs assistance large or small, corporate or private, someone has to answer the phones, respond to emails, organize meetings, and create a long term business plan. The list goes on. Accomplishing these daily tasks and long term goals takes work; it can be overwhelming, time consuming and tedious. As an entrepreneur you could apply your time as a jack of all trades, but it’s likely not the best idea for growing your business. Instead, consider enlisting a Virtual Assistant (VA) or a Virtual Project Manager (VPM) to support you. But wait, which one? Are they different or are they the same? Both roles are critical to your success, however, before you can delegate work to someone else – you must understand the difference between them and choose which best suits your requirements and business objectives.

Here are some (but not all) essential tasks of a Virtual Assistant (VA):

  • Marketing Support: It’s important to stay on-deadline with your marketing calendar. These tasks are recurring, are time-consuming and need daily attention. They involve Social Media posting and upkeep, posting new blog articles, setting up newsletters blasts, website administration and maintenance.
  • Sales Support/CRM Administration: In order to keep your business flowing and your sales pipeline moving, answering client inquiries by email in a timely manner are essential to a healthy client base. Updating and accurate client scheduling are also primary necessities to keep your business structured.
  • General Administration/Organization: Being organized about time management helps you complete tasks that have deadlines; and most importantly doing so efficiently and accurately. It’s critical to manage customer contact lists, maintain multiple calendars, plan meetings and keep tasks prioritized.

The tasks listed above are just a few of many that a VA can perform. Virtual assistants work on hourly retainers or have set packages and they charge anywhere in the range of $25 to $55 per hour in the US. As with any service provider, the more experience a Virtual Assistant has or if they cater to a specific niche or specialty – the more they can charge. Succeeding as a VA takes skill, attention to detail, personal organization and continuing education to assist online businesses and the vital programs needed to run a virtual office. There are several types of programs a VA should familiarize themselves with; such as task management programs, CRM’s, help desk applications, email marketing software, social media management tools, and the list goes on. The client delegates the tasks they need done, and the VA is responsible for getting them completed by deadline. VA’s set their own work schedule and a high quality of work is expected of them (without supervision).

Here are some (but not all) requirements of a Virtual Project Manager (VPM):

  • Project Planning: A Virtual Project Manager is the lead on a project and is responsible for overseeing all aspects of a project and maintaining a successful implementation/outcome. VPM’s create project action plans, timelines, manage other virtual team members, and resources.
  • Team Organization: Similar to planning, a VPM understands all aspects of the project action plan they create and will organize the team and resources so that all members are assigned roles (based on their own skills or strengths) and holds everyone accountable in all aspects to successfully execute the final outcome.
  • Leadership: A VPM is comfortable with ironing out complex issues, leading the team, monitoring the tasks, and making sure the project is executed properly and the finished objectives are met. Making sure that all team members stay motivated is fundamental to their client’s success.

A VPM’s niche and experience whether marketing or technical assumes a key part in what they charge their customers. Virtual Project Managers can make an upwards of $55 to $100 per hour in the US. They are generally the go-to person that ensures the client’s goals and expectations are met to create a successful end result with any project.

As a business owner, it is your responsibility to know when to seek help and the type of support you need.

To learn more about CT Virtual and the Virtual Project Management, Marketing, PR, and Creative Services we offer –Schedule your free discovery session! Have specific project management questions, ask me on Twitter! Visit our Online Creative Portfolio!

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5 Reasons Why Research is Crucial for Start-ups & Customer Development


5 Reasons Why Research is Crucial for Start-ups & Customer Development

There are many businessmen and women who become alarmed when hearing that 80% of small businesses fail within the first five years of being started.

If your business is a start-up, then you know that a successful plan for business marketing has little to do with gut feeling. It is however based on sound market research. If you have already come to terms with this, then you will have a competitive advantage. Despite the fact that market research is crucial for understanding the competition, many startup ideas are focused on the business opportunities and creating successful products. If startup businesses spend more time on understanding competition on all levels: segment competition, product competition, technology competition, future competition – they will be better equipped at devising highly effective competitive action plans.

Below we will outline reasons as to why research is crucial for startups and customer development:

  1. Poor planning: One of the major reasons as to why research is crucial for startups is poor planning. This can compromise the unplanned financial management, unplanned business administration, and unplanned marketing efforts.
  1. Marketing yourself well: Instead of marketing your general profession, you should stay focused on your niche. For example, if you market yourself as a “Research Startup”, you are too general and not specific enough. Try marketing your idea as “On-demand Media Research for Publishers” or “DIY Market Research Platform for Small Businesses”.

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Build Your Author Platform in 6 Easy Steps

Building Your Author Platform

Sometimes it’s called an author platform, writing platform, branding, social media presence, or what have you, but essentially, all these things are based on the same principle: you need to create a solid foundation for your writing business in order to build awareness, sustain it, and sell more books.

The word “platform’ might seem terrifying, but if you know all the variables involved ahead of time, and break them down into actionable goals, building your author platform is easier than you thought.  In this article, we will set you up with a plan on how to build up and maintain your author platform and connect everything, with small steps, so you can experience a gradual, steady increase in your visibility and reputation. So, let’s get to it!

  1. Author Websites: Yes, you might think that in 2015 a website is not quintessential anymore because of other existing platforms – but it is. In fact, most book marketers believe, next to email marketing, your website is the most important entity of your Author Platform. You need a stable foundation for your online presence, one that you have complete and unlimited control of. Building a solid author website is not necessarily a huge burden on your time if you have great author website designer, but there are other options as well. You can hire professional designers, or create one yourself using Wix or Grid, without having to write a single line of code. Blog engines like WordPress or Blogger also offer beautiful templates, but a blog template site may not have all the features you want. In this case, you can hire a Virtual Assistant Company that specializes in WordPress to enhance your site and make it complete. Alternatively, you can register on a personal branding site network like me. These are not the same as completely functional websites, but it can do the trick until you have a real site up and running. As an Author, it is important that you buy a personal URL or domain under your author or pen name.
  1. Contacts and List Building: Digital media offers a wide selection of tools to boost you author platform. But first, make certain to utilize your your personal and professional contacts, who can help you grow, give you feedback and spread the word, and create an opt-in list for them to join or for you to add contacts manually. This is referred to as your “Core Fan Base”. Next, make a list of people outside your network. This list should include your favorite authors (who write the same genre as your books), experts on the subjects you write about, and other stakeholders and media professionals. Now you can start looking for ways to use the first group to give the second group access to your author platform. Continue to build your lists by continuously sharing your opt-in list signup and by manually adding new contacts you meet.

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VA for Authors: Helping Authors Promote Their Books Online

As an Author, wouldn’t you rather be writing than marketing and promoting your book? You can if working with an experienced Virtual Assistant. There are a plethora of marketing and PR agencies out there that will book you — and if you have the funds, by all means, move forward.

But what are the alternatives if you’re promoting your book on a tight budget? There is always the “free” option to become something you are not; the type A personality that thrives on being their own marketer, brander, web designer, event planner, spokesperson and social media expert. In my opinion, working on marketing and promotions is not time spent on writing. If writing is your passion and your business plan for paying the bills, is this option really free or cost-effective in the long run?

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Google Plus Blog Series: Day 1 of 7


How many of you have considered Google+ to be a huge waste of time? You have thought this way for some time now and the idea of incorporating Google+ into your social media platform has taken a back seat. You are not alone in your thinking; I was one of these people until I decided to really explore this social media network. Read more…

Why successful Real Estate Agents turn to Virtual Assistants!

Why successful Real Estate Agents turn to Virtual Assistants!

Most successful Real Estate Agents know that having systems in place for their businesses allows them to be more effective and efficient in their business. Turning to a Virtual Assistant helps Agents to free up time and simplifies their life so they can concentrate on sales. Here are 7 ways a VA can help a Real Estate Agent:

1. Administrative work
2. Telemarketing
3. Internet marketing
4. Database Management
5. Bookkeeping
6. Marketing Analysis on the Multiple Listing Service (MLS)
7. Marketing Campaigns

In general, working with a VA can help a Real Estate Agent become more efficient and effective overall. Contact Connecticut Virtual Assistance (203) 354-8749 and forget about the time-consuming routine tasks and concentrate more on growing your business. Read more…

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