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My top 5 tips for getting your 2017 business started on the right track!

Now is the time to take advantage of all the amazing free apps out there. Take one day over the holidays, and get organized and automated!

1. Get a professional email signature! If you have a domain email, it’s time to start using it. Did you know that you can set up your Gmail account to reply using your domain email? Yes, you can! Or, if you don’t have a domain email, then go to www.wisestamp.com and get your free signature. It’s super easy to set up and use.

2. Get a CRM! CRM is a Customer Relationship Management tool. It helps you keep track of your clients, addresses, it can track emails, has a task list etc. My recommendation is Insightly. There is a free version which lets you integrate your email address, create your daily task list and more. www.Insightly.com.

3. Outsource! As much as we want to be able to do it all… we can’t (myself included as I outsource my bookkeeping, research, and all my website stuff). If it’s not revenue generating, or if it’s not what you love to do… it’s time to outsource it. Not sure where to start? Sherry or I can help you make that list.

4. Organize your business expenses right from the start. If you don’t use an accounting system, I highly recommend getting a good bookkeeper. Go to Staples or the Dollar Store, grab at least 12 manila envelopes and label them January through December 2017. Every purchase you make, every receipt you collect (and you should be keeping them all), you will put into it’s monthly envelope. It’s so much faster to organize come tax time!

5. Follow-up! The new year is a great time to follow-up with your clients from 2016. Connect with them even if you haven’t been in touch for a while.  Thank them for their support and let them know how you can assist them in 2017.

What tips would you add? I’d love to hear your suggestions!

Michelle

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Christmas cards

 

Entrepreneur’s, how I love thee… but PLEASE stop trying to do it all yourself.

I’m not saying this because I am a Virtual Assistant, but because we all have our strengths and we all have those things that we aren’t meant to be doing.  We only have 24 hours in a day.

And let’s be honest here… there is at least one thing in your business that you absolutely loathe doing.  Go on, tell me, what is it?  Is it bookkeeping?  Graphic design? Is it blog writing?  Is it HST or taxes? Newsletters?  Invoicing?  Email? I know, it’s Social Media isn’t it!

I know there is something.  And THAT thing, is the thing you should be outsourcing right now!

So, let’s go through my version the 5 W’s of Outsourcing and I’m gonna throw in the How as well:

Who:  Anyone who has a business or is in business has the opportunity to delegate and outsource.  To Whom do you delegate to?  Well, all VA’s have a specialty or a niche.  A lot of freelancers don’t call themselves VA’s, like bookkeepers, graphic designers, etc., so have an idea of what you’re looking for.  All you need to do is ask around and I can guarantee that someone will know someone they can refer you too.  Part of a networking group? I betcha someone there knows.  All you have to do it ask.

What:  That thing.  Yes, that thing that popped into your head just a moment ago. That thing that you despise doing or that thing that takes up way too much of your time.  That thing that must get done, but is non-revenue generating.  Yeah, that thing!

Where:  Virtually.  Most freelancers work virtually, some from home, some from an office, and depending on what you want to outsource, they may not even need to be in your timezone.  So the answer to where is… ANYWHERE!

When:  Now. Duh.  At the very least, this should be your top priority for your 2017 Business & Marketing Plan!

Why:  Why Not?!  Every Virtual Assistant or Freelancer has a niche.  We  know what we know, and we know it well.  We have the programs and processes already in place to get it done for you.  No overhead.  Just work.  That’s our job! That’s what we do.  And let’s face it… you can’t do everything, even though you want too.  That’s why.

Our job is to make your life easier and less stressful by removing the non-revenue generating activities off your To Do List and giving you more time to do the things you love in your business. 

How:  Ask.  Ask for referrals from your colleagues, friends & family. Send out an RFP (Request for Proposal). Interview your prospects to make sure they are a good fit for you.  Ask for testimonials.  Have a list of “things” you’d like to outsource ready to discuss.  Ask another VA.  I know if a potential client approaches me about a project and it’s not something that is in my wheelhouse, I have quite a few VA colleagues that I can refer them too.  There is room for everyone and at the end of the day, it’s the client that matters the most.

One of the things you can get off your plate RIGHT NOW?  Holiday cards!  I know you want to do them, but finding the time to do them is another story.

Take a look at my Client Appreciation Holiday Promo!  You are busy, and the holidays just get busier the closer we get to the end of the year.  Let me help you!  Note: Gift baskets coming very soon so stay tuned for more info!

Christmas Promo

Holiday cards aren’t really your thing? That’s ok!  Check out my last blog post for other ideas on how a Virtual Assistant can help get you through the holidays with less stress and more time.

Want more tips?  Please sign up for my newsletter and receive my complimentary download, How to Free Up 10 Hours a Week! 5 Tasks to Outsource Now!

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Don’t shoot the messenger, but Christmas is only 5 weeks away…

For some, this statement brings excitement and anticipation!  For others, namely small business owners, it can bring added stress and frustration as we try to balance our business and our families.

Because I am awesome, I have put together a list of services that a Virtual Assistant can do to help get you through the holidays with less stress and more time!

1. I offer my clients a Holiday Card writing service. This can be for personal and for your business.  I buy your cards, hand-write your cards and mail your cards, so you don’t have to worry about finding the time to do it.  I also create Holiday Newsletters in MailChimp, specialized just for you and your client list!  Contact me today to find out more about these services.

I have also enlisted some of my colleagues in the VA industry to give you even more ideas for hiring a VA during the holiday season, and give you the break you need.

2. Judy Essig, owner of JudyEssig.com of Swansboro, North Carolina –  “Managing ‘Out of Office’ replies, writing your press releases, writing your holiday cards and mailing them, researching gift ideas with best quotes so you can shop online, make your reservations for parties and free up valuable time. We manage more social media accounts October-January than any other time of the year, drafting and scheduling posts and tweets, creating newsletters and infographics so it appears the business owner is still in the boss’s chair.”

3. Felicia Fyah Henry of MHVA Services in London, UK – “Help clients track payments through the holidays and keep invoices up-to-date.”

4. Melissa Haddad of MH Virtual Assistant Services, Ontario – “Set up clients electronic files for the new year.  Going into their email system and putting in new 2017 folders to keep their emails organized.  Google Drive/Dropbox and setting up files for the upcoming year to again keep them organized.

5. Anastasia Olson, Vancouver, BC Canada – “Photo editing is a huge stumbling block for many people (for example, cutting out backgrounds) and programs like Photoshop can be very daunting – especially during busy seasons. Product-based businesses in particular are often very busy during the holidays; clean images of their products makes for more attractive stand-out-from-the-crowd social media marketing.”

6.  Lesly Notter – “Concierge Services – sourcing out hard to find Christmas items.”

Some others are:

  • Ordering Holiday baskets for your clients;
  • Answering Services – Telephone answering services over the holiday break;
  • Email Management- setting up canned Holiday responses for your business and managing your email while you are away; and
  • Tax Prep – Getting a jump on your tax prep by organizing your 2016 receipts;

These are just some of the ways a VA can help you free up more time during this holiday season.  Do yourself a favour, before it gets any deeper into the season, contact me today to see how I (or a qualified VA) can help you

If you’re not sure where to start, here is a great article from my friend & colleague Yvonne Weld on getting your business VA ready.

Want more tips?  Please sign up for my newsletter and receive my complimentary download, How to Free Up 10 Hours a Week! 5 Tasks to Outsource Now!

To Do: Follow Up

 

A very smart person (I can’t remember who exactly, but I know they’re smart), once told me:

If you don’t follow up with your leads, someone else will.

Boom.

You invested a lot of time, money and energy on that last speaking gig, that last vendor event. You smiled until your cheeks hurt, you laughed, schmoozed and perfected your 30 second pitch. You delivered an amazing presentation. Your vendor table looked perfect. People were signing up at your table or filling out your ballots (which I assume are CASL compliant).  You worked damn hard to get those leads!

So now what?

FOLLOW UP!

This is the part where a lot of us (yes, me included)… well, we suck.

Ideally you should make that follow up call, or send that email within 24 – 78 hours of your event.  You don’t want to seem too eager, but if you let it go too long, you’re letting your “warm” lead cool down and they may forget why they were so excited to meet you in the first place.

Regardless of your method of follow up, your ultimate goal is to get a business appointment in your calendar!

Personally, I like to send an email first and then follow up with a telephone call.  In my email I remind the person of when, how, where we met, and a brief synopsis of what we talked about.  Remember, you really want an appointment so it’s convenient for them if you use an online scheduler.  I use the free version of SimplyBook.Me, and I make sure the link is clearly noted so that they can choose a time that’s convenient to them, to book our call.   My scheduler looks like this: http://mscbizsolutions.simplybook.me

Some people are really comfortable on the phone, so if that’s you, go for it.  And if you are lucky enough to get someone on the phone, please use your manners and ask if you can have a few moments of their time.

Your second goal, which is just as important as getting an appointment, is to add leads to your email list.  I know I keep talking about this, but email marketing is still the #1 method to reach your target audience and convert leads into sales.

Your new lead may not be ready to purchase from you just yet, but that doesn’t mean they won’t in the future. You want them on your email list so you can get into their Inbox on a regular basis and remind them of how awesome your products and services are.

#VATIP: Don’t let all your hard work go to waste!  If you don’t have time to do the initial follow up, a Virtual Assistant can create an email template, which includes your online scheduler, and send it out to your new contacts.  If this sounds like a feature you’d be interested in, please contact me for more information.

Now, get out there, network, and be awesome!

Want more tips?  Please sign up for my newsletter and receive my complimentary download, How to Free Up 10 Hours a Week! 5 Tasks to Outsource Now!

Universe

 

I’ve been learning a lot lately about intentions and manifestation.  My friend & colleague Sara Clarke of the Mompreneurs, made me realize that the universe doesn’t differentiate between negative and positive words.  For example, if you say “Gee, I hope it doesn’t rain”, the only word that gets through is the word rain.  Did you know this?  I had absolutely no idea! Duh, I’ve been manifesting incorrectly all this time!  What you should say instead is “I am looking forward to a beautiful, sunny day!”  Sara also has an amazing analogy using minions that totally made me laugh, but it also helped me understand how to flip my thinking. If you know Sara, definitely ask her about her minion analogy!

Interestingly enough, your thoughts also translate over to your events, and more specifically, how your state of mind prior to an event will affect the outcome of your event.  I was taught years ago to always set your intention(s) before an event. Why are you going? What do you want to accomplish? Who do you want to meet? Who can you serve and how can you serve them? How can you get the most of of this event?

While they may change slightly, my intentions for most events are pretty standard:

1) To get out of the house and to meet new people – it can get lonely working from home. I am a social person and I find if I’m home too many days in a row, I start to get down, lack energy, lack motivation and oooooo I get grumpy. I need social interaction to keep me going and I want to meet new people.  If this makes you uncomfortable, I totally recommend going with a friend.  More specifically a sociable friend who can get the ball rolling for you and create introductions.  HOWEVER, set your intention for YOU to meet at least one new person at the event.

2)  To learn something new – well, yeah!  Always learning is my motto!  Learning is exciting! If you aren’t learning, you aren’t growing, and if you aren’t growing, well…

3)  To find someone who I can connect with my business – I’m always hoping to meet someone that I can help through the services I offer in my VA business.

4)  To find someone I can connect with someone else I know –  a good friend once told me that I am a “connector of people” and I love that!  I am always saying “Hey, I know someone you should talk too!”  If I can refer two people who can be of assistance to each other in some way, why wouldn’t I do that?

5)  To have fun!  Seriously… what’s the point of going if you’re not going to enjoy it?

At each of my events in the past 7 days, I was able to accomplish all of the above!  Goals met! Intentions met! Expectations exceeded!  A successful week indeed!

What about you?  I’d love to hear what your intentions are for events and how things are going for you.  Comment below so we can share in your success!

On next week’s blog we will chat about after the event. Now that the event is over, what do you do?

Want more awesome tips?  Sign up for my newsletter to receive my complimentary download, How to Free Up 10 Hours a Week! 5 Tasks to Outsource Now!

Mompreneur Conference Vendor Photo

 

Did you know that a Virtual Assistant can offer you various solutions to help you with an upcoming event? Let me ask you some questions:

  • Are you a guest speaker at events?
  • Do you host your own events?
  • Do you spend time researching an event before you register as a vendor/speaker?
  • Do you buy a table/booth to show off your awesome services or products?
  • Do you do it all by yourself?
Well, here’s the thing, if you said NO, or even if you said YES to any of the above, you could be missing a HUGE selling opportunity.  The hidden ingredient to success at an event is…

Another person.

Here’s what I mean…
Guest Speaker – If you are a guest speaker at event, then you really should have a vendor table as well.  It’s no secret that a good guest speaker will not only generate a lot of buzz for the event, but they will also get their own business inquiries from the event.  Therefore, if you are speaking at an event, you should have a vendor table where the attendees can go to get more information on the speaker’s products or services.  A Virtual Assistant can be your “table assistant” and be there to represent you and your business while you are speaking, during the breaks, while you are networking, etc.  They can answer questions, sell your products, book appointments, restock for you, and more.
Event Host – If you host your own events, you should have a booth as well.  What is your business?  Are you an event planner or a business coach?  Then not only are you the host of the event, but you need to show the attendees how awesome you are.  A Virtual Assistant can help you with the various aspects of planning your event and they can also be present at the event to help with registration, man your table, answer questions, book appointments and be a “runner” if you need one.
Event Research – How do you know if the event is geared towards your target market?  Is it a good fit for you?  Is it a well-attended event? These are important questions to consider when you are looking at an event, as a speaker or an attendee.  However, this type of research can take a lot of time out of your already busy schedule.  A Virtual Assistant can do the research to help you decide if a particular event is right for you and your business.
Event Vendor – If you already have a vendor table at an event, you really shouldn’t do it alone. It’s always good to  have a “second set of hands” to answer questions, restock your table, book appointments, help with set up and tear down, and be there for overflow help.  This gives you time to speak with attendees, network and practice that “elevator pitch” you’ve been practicing.
When looking for someone to help with in-person event assistance, please make sure they have the following criteria:
1.  Excellent Customer Service skills – someone who is great with people, very social, polite and respectful.
2.  Professional – someone who will present themselves in a professional manner, both in their mannerisms and their dress.
3.  Knowledgeable – must be able to understand you and your business, how you do business, what you love about your business, how to contact you, any special packages/products you are offering, “show specials”, etc.
4.  Technology – must be able take payments, book appointments, navigate your website or your CRM if you are booking at the event, etc.
*Note:  Travel expenses may be required.
Want to know more about hiring a VA for an event?  Please contact me at your convenience.
Want more awesome tips?  Sign up for my newsletter and receive my FREE download, How to Free Up 10 Hours a Week! 5 Tasks to Outsource Now!
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Every other Monday at 10am, I volunteer my time to co-moderate the “Coffee Chat” webinars with IVAA (International Virtual Assistant’s Association).  Coffee Chat is an informal webinar where anyone wanting to know more about IVAA or about becoming a Virtual Assistant, can join in and ask questions.

Every week we are asked the same questions: How can I get more clients?  How can I grow my list?  Where can I find like-minded entrepreneurs & business people?

Do you ask yourself these same questions?

Well, the answer is pretty obvious isn’t it. One of the best ways to do all of the above is networking.

Personally, I am attending some amazing events in the next couple of months, Power of the Purse, SBEC and more,  and I want to ensure that I am maximizing my time, learning, growing, meeting new people, making connections, and building relationships with people I already know.

When there are so many events & networking groups to choose from, how do you know where to start?

I’ve been networking for a many years, so here are a few tips that I’ve learned along the way.  These tips are not fact, they are taken from my personal experience.

  • Start locally – local business groups including the Small Business Centre and your local Chamber of Commerce generally have monthly mixers where you don’t need to be a member to attend.  This is a great way to meet other entrepreneurs and businesses in your geographic area.
  • Network with a purpose – Your purpose is to build relationships.  Don’t go in for the sales pitch right away and please do not shove your business card in their hand without being asked for it.  Ask questions, be friendly and inquisitive.  Get to know people, ask about what they do and why they love what they do, how & why they started their business…  conversation should flow naturally.  If it feels like a good connection, they should ask you about your business as well.  If it feels right, you can ask to exchange cards.  If it doesn’t, then don’t.  If it’s meant to be, you will connect again in the future.

“Networking goes bad when a complete stranger says ‘let’s do business together, hook me up, etc…. That’s not networking, that’s direct selling.” ~ Networking Like a Pro, by Dr. Ivan Misner

  • Ask about your mailing list – if you want to add those business cards to your mailing list, you need permission.  Permission can be given in a number of ways, but since you’re exchanging cards, feel free to ask if you could add them to your mailing list.  They may say no, but in my experience, most will say yes.
  • If the event doesn’t feel like your target audience, then find another event.  Don’t waste your time or their time. I’ve been to a few events where it definitely was not my target market, but I met some great people, I learned a lot and that’s what I took away with me.  That’s ok too.  Move on to a different event.
  • If you have a vendor table, a fun giveaway is a sure-fire way to get contact information.  PLEASE ensure that on your ballot you ask specifically for the contact to join your mailing list.  This is considered “express consent” and a great way to grow your list!
  • Be a “connector” –  Even if you didn’t come away with a contact for your business, doesn’t mean you can help someone else with theirs. I take pride in being a connector. I love introducing people who I believe can be of assistance to each other.

On the admin side of networking, a Virtual Assistant, like myself, can help you find local events, can book your tickets, reserve your vendor table.  We can also help you AFTER the event and take those business cards and contacts and make them into a usable database for you, or enter them in to your current CRM or mailing system.

I’d love to hear your networking “do’s” or even some fun networking horror stories!  Comment below!

PS. Don’t forget to sign up for my newsletter and receive my FREE download, How to Free Up 10 Hours a Week! 5 Tasks to Outsource Now!

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In the mid-90’s, I was your typical 20-something.  I was “doing the do”.  I had graduated from Fanshawe College in Legal Office Administration, I was working a full-time job at a prestigious law firm in town, I was living in downtown London with some friends, and I was in a “serious” relationship with a young man I had been dating since college and knew we were going to get engaged soon.  It was fun! It was exciting! I had exactly what most 25 years would consider a “perfection”.  I was doing what we are “supposed” to do.  And I was miserable.

I hated my job at the law firm.  Sitting in “the pit” all day, typing hundreds of notes from transcription tapes, was sucking the life out of me… to the point where I would literally fall asleep at my desk in the late afternoon.   My relationship with my long-time boyfriend was, well, in a word, boring.  He was more into hanging out with his friends, than with me. And while I was enjoying living downtown with my friends, that lifestyle was also taking its toll on me.

At the age of 26, while pretending to be happy, the “fates” decided to take matters into their own hands.  Apparently I needed to be figuratively hit over the head to get the message, so they did.  I got fired from my job at the prestigious law firm (not surprisingly when someone is sleeping on the job).  I was devastated.   I certainly did NOT want another job at a law firm (that was my 5th law firm in as many years by the way), so I ended up moving back in with my parents while I tried to figure things out.

During this time, I also found out that my boyfriend, whom I thought I loved desperately, did not feel the same about me.  He had bought me an engagement ring, because that’s the usual course of action when you’ve been dating for 5+ years… but the kicker was, he just couldn’t bring himself to actually propose.  So, with my heart broken, I did us both a favour and I ended the relationship.  Again, I was devastated.

Everything I thought about how life was supposed to go in your mid 20’s, was slowly falling apart.  Depression reared its ugly head, I hid in my bedroom in my parents house,  I didn’t know what to do.  I was lost and searching desperately for a direction.

One night I decided to actually leave the house and I met up with some friends at The Oar House for drinks. There I met a lovely young lady who had just come back from working in Mexico.  That poor girl, I didn’t leave her alone all night.  I was so curious… how did she get that job, where did she go, what did she do?  I was intrigued.  I think she sensed my desperation because at the end of the night she said “How about I get my friend in Mexico to call you and you can talk about it?”.  Me, in my half-drunken haze, eagerly agreed.

The next day, Yes, the very NEXT DAY, I received a call all the way from Mexico!  These guys work fast!  We chit-chatted on the phone for a while, he asked me about my hobbies (none), any second languages (none), and he said that “the girl from the bar” highly recommended me.  He offered me a job and I took at huge leap of faith and I accepted.

I hung up the phone and stared at it in disbelief.  I had just agreed, over the phone, to a complete stranger, to get on a plane to Mexico, to go work in an all-inclusive resort as part of their activities staff, on a 6 month contract… and I was leaving in IN 10 DAYS!

I was going to a little town called Playa Del Carmen in the Mayan Riviera.  Now, you have to understand that almost 20 years ago (yes I’m giving away my age), Playa del Carmen was NOT the place most know it as now.  It was a tiny little town an hour away from Cancun, with dirt roads, a few shops and restaurants, only half a dozen hotels, and lots of beautiful open space in between.  Even though I had been to Mexico many times on vacation, I had never even heard of Playa del Carmen.  But apparently that’s where I was going.

Not surprisingly, my parents were shocked.  Funny enough my mom didn’t say a word.  She’s always been my silent supporter, now matter how messed up it may seem.  My Italian father on the other hand, was dead-set against it.   He wasn’t having his youngest daughter go to work in a hotel Mexico.  But I wasn’t listening.  I forged ahead.

And then I was off on my adventure.  I had 3 suitcases and two bags with me, which is a lot for one little person to drag around. When I arrived at the airport in Cancun, I found a cart, gathered my things, and with a huge smile on my face, patiently waited by the curb for the person who was picking me up.

And I waited.

And I waited some more.

I asked around if anyone knew if someone from this particular resort was here looking for me. Nope. Nowhere.  All I had on me was the name of the resort, the address of the resort and 200 pesos.  Not a contact name, not even a telephone number.  Hours went by and still I waited.

It was getting dark, the airport was almost empty and I was essentially all alone.  Did I mention that I didn’t speak a word of Spanish?

At that point I broke down.  I sunk down beside my cart, defeated, and cried.  Everyone was right. I was crazy. What was I doing??

I’m not sure how long I sat there, but at some point a nice security guard came up to me and tried to talk to me.  Between sobs, all I could say was I don’t speak Spanish and I kept pointing to my crumpled piece of paper.  He pointed to a set of stairs and and motioned for me to go up.   I left my cart with all my belongings, and headed up the mysterious flight of stairs.  At the top of the stairs there were some offices, most of which were already dark & empty.  There was one office with a light on and thank goodness there was a young lady sitting at a desk, and SHE SPOKE ENGLISH!

I explained the situation and handed her my crumpled up, useless, piece of paper.  She made two phone calls. The first call was to the resort to tell them I was at the airport (they thought I missed my flight, but that’s a whole other story) and the second one to a her friend, a taxi driver.  Thankfully he was willing to come pick me up and take me to the resort. I was so excited! I was getting out of the airport!

Finally after 10 hours in the Cancun airport, I took another leap of faith,  got into a taxi with a complete stranger, in the dark, in the jungles of Mexico, handed over all my money, and prayed.  I don’t think I ever told my parents this story, they would have killed me!

812bce7bad789cb63819e9753dcd0a6fThis story goes on and on, one leap of faith after another, and it didn’t end with Mexico…  What I will tell you is that a 6 month contact led to 4 years of working in various resorts around Mexico.  I made lifelong friendships, learned to speak Spanish fluently, and was lucky enough to travel all over North America.

It also gave me an amazing career in the travel industry that spanned over 15 years and allowed me to travel extensively, have amazing experiences, and meet new people. It gave me the foundation for who I am today and how I choose to live my life.

Believe it or not, I am a person who takes risks.  Sometimes calculated, sometimes not.  Sometimes well-planned, sometimes not-so-much.   And I do all this with a generalized anxiety disorder and depression.

I still wonder, to this day, what my life would have been like now had I not taken that job?  What type of work would I be doing?  Would I have gone back to that ex-boyfriend?  Who knows.

What I do know, is that a life worth living is a life made up of taking risks.

To end with a short quote by Neale Donald Walsch which states: “Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.”

My most recent leap of faith brought me to my own business.  I encourage you to take a small leap of faith.  You’ll be surprised at the result and where that road may take you.

Michelle

Email Pet Peeves!

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Apparently September is the month for me to cleanse my soul and admit all of my silly business mistakes. lol

So this week, I have another admission of guilt.. I have been using my personal Gmail address for the past two years because I didn’t know how to set up my POP to reply to email as my domain email… and I was too embarrassed to ask my web designer.  There I said it.

The worst part is that a HUGE pet peeve of mine is business owners not using a professional email address or signature in their business email… and yet I was doing myself. Ugh.

In my defence, I have an awesome email signature graphic which was designed by the amazingly talented Ang Wencel of Visions – Graphic Artistry by Ang, BUT it was attached to my Gmail address not my domain email.  Oopsie. But check this baby out. Isn’t is awesome!!

MSC_signature To make a long story short… er… I FINALLY got around to asking my equally amazing website manager, Melanie of MVR Solutions, to show me how to set it up properly so that when I send out, or reply to an email, not only will they see my beautiful signature graphic, but they will also see that the address is from @mscbizsolutions.ca.  Phew.  Check that baby off my To Do List!

In this day and age, there is no reason to NOT have a professional email signature.  You can get one from Hubspot or one of my favourites is the free version from Wisestamp but PLEASE make sure that when you’re sending an email, or replying to a client or potential client, that you have the following information in your signature:

  • Your Name
  • Business Name & Title (brand recognition)
  • Telephone
  • Email Address
  • Website

The goal is three-fold: to present yourself and your business in a professional manner, to create brand recognition, and for the person on the receiving end to be able to EASILY access your contact information.

Here is an example of the free version of an email signature from Wisestamp:

Wisestamp snip

Unless you have a cat toy business, nothing frustrates me more than replying to momof6cats@yahoo.com when it’s for business purposes, or having to spend 5 minutes searching for a business’ contact information.  And for the love of GOD, please make sure your website has your telephone number and email clearly listed, not just your “Contact Us” form.  Oh man, I could go on and on… but I think I’ve made my point.

So, tell me, do you have an email pet peeves? Do you have a professional signature for your business? I’d love to hear from you so comment below!

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I did. I admit it. I fell of the wagon.  I fell off the “don’t forget to market your own business” wagon.  The “I got too comfortable” wagon.  The “I got lazy this summer” wagon.

And guess what happened?  Well, what normally happens when you stop marketing your own business?

  • Eventually your momentum will slow down
  • New business will stop coming in
  • Revenue starts to drop
  • Productivity starts to dwindle

None of these are good for anyone’s business.  I got too “busy” with current clients. I got too “comfortable” with the clients I have, and to be honest, I was enjoying the part-time hours this summer.

But then came September.  The kids went back to school, I was back to regular working hours, a couple of potential clients didn’t sign on as anticipated, and to top it all off, I lost a good client due to restructuring their business.  Then I got sad.  I started to doubt my abilities and all because I just stopped doing the one thing you should NEVER stop doing… MARKETING MY OWN BUSINESS!  Duh.

sticky-notes-to-do-listSo, I got back on the wagon last week and spent quite a bit of time curating & creating my content for my Facebook business page and scheduled a week worth of posts, spruced up my LinkedIn page, and booked a couple of networking opportunities for the remainder of September.

I’m also in the middle of my Virtual Author’s Assistant certification with IVAA and I recently signed up to the new VA Classroom University and I can’t wait to upgrade my technical VA skills.

My business coach, Shelagh, whom I refer to all the time (cuz she’s AWESOME SAUCE) asked me to commit to at least 2 networking events per month, 2 blogs per month  and change my newsletter from monthly to bi-weekly… and that’s what I’m going to do.

In taking that time last week to do these few items, I already feel better about my business and the direction it’s going… AND I got an appointment scheduled to my calendar for a potential client that I haven’t met or spoken to yet! How cool is that!  It is proof that marketing works.

I have also scheduled time in my calendar each week to prepare my marketing for the upcoming week.

So, tell me, do you market your business and if so, what’s your preferred method of marketing? I’d love to hear your comments below!

PS. Don’t forget to sign up for my newsletter and receive my FREE download, How to Free Up 10 Hours a Week! 5 Tasks to Outsource Now!