About Michelle (Also Known As Virtual Miss Friday)
About Michelle (Also Known As Virtual Miss Friday)
About Michelle (Also Known As Virtual Miss Friday)
Everyone has a story to tell...
Let's start mine at the beginning. I'm originally from England, born there in 1981.
I got my first job when I was 14 (I’d been searching since I was 13, but people seemed less inclined to hire a 13 year old) I started working part time as a waitress in a hotel, I really enjoyed it, actually, I really enjoyed earning money, I liked the feeling of picking up my cash at the end of the weekend, I liked deciding what to do with it, it gave me a taste of what the world could offer me.
I Made A Few Discoveries...
After being denied a grant to college (which I now find to be a blessing, not wanting to sound all controversial, but I really have little faith in the traditional education system), I decided to leave school and home when I was 16 and I ended up working what seemed like every job under the sun, these included continuing hotel work, housekeeping, waitressing, working in a hospital cleaning the instruments after surgical operations, (passed my driving test at 17) then when I came of age at 18, I worked in various bars, progressed into retail (shops), then back to receptionist work in a hotel, then onto the wonderful world of “office work” - that’s when I think I really discovered the kind of environment I liked to work in, clean, air conditioned, great desks, coffee machines and business lunches…
But… It wasn't until I started working in finance (banking and mortgages) for the most part, that I saw real potential - even though I was an employee, at 18 I discovered that there might have been an entrepreneur inside me. I knew I had come of age to apply for a mortgage and I started buying property, back then it was the days of home decorating programmes like “changing rooms” which inspired me, and I read the bank’s house repossession lists with excitement to see what bargains might be available, and because I wanted to be the first to have access to those lists, and the best mortgage deals, I stayed working in finance - I bought and sold 5 properties in the UK before the age of 23 and whilst I was doing well, dream job, dream home, dream car - I started to realise that those weren’t really my dreams at the time, they were, I guess ‘societies’ - so I sat down one day in February 2005 and thought about what “I” really wanted. (Deep, I know…)
I Dared Myself To Do It...
What followed was a life changing experience, I decided that I wanted to expand my horizons, see the world, and not have to work for ‘The Man” any longer. I had no idea how I was going to fund it, (yes I had property but I also had mortgages, I was living essentially on borrowed money) what I would do for work, or how it was all going to happen, but the next day, with some dutch courage and in my usual (typical Taurean) very stubborn, “I’m doing this thing” attitude, I walked into work and handed in my notice, I then went to the estate agent and put my house on the market, and I then went to the travel agent and booked a one way ticket to Egypt for exactly 3 months later - the day before my 24th birthday, and afterwards I told my family the news - I was going to start my new life before I turned 24.
And Hell Yeah, I Did It...
When I arrived in Egypt, with nothing but faith in myself, the universe and technology (that took the form of my notebook laptop) I sat in a hotel on the famous River Nile, with wi-fi, and I opened up Google. I knew the laptop was to be my tool to generate an income, I just didn’t know how yet.
I started researching ways to make money online, found many of them rather cheesy, or distasteful (ahem…), or unbelievable, and a majority ‘scammy’ - I started selling Egyptian rugs on eBay to bring in a bit of income, but I knew that wasn’t going to “cut the mustard” so to speak, then I came across something called a “Virtual Assistant” and the rest, as they say is history.
I spent 2 years in Egypt, and during this time I self-taught myself Dreamweaver and Photoshop, tried and tested multiple online systems and researched/worked the night away with my falafel and Egyptian mint tea to keep me going, I built myself a website and Virtual Miss Friday was born - I started working as an online freelance Virtual Assistant, knowing that the only way I could find any clients who were going to pay me for it online, a) because I was in Egypt, and b) because the whole point of this expedition around the world was so that I didn’t have to rely on any one person, at any one time, in any one place. I was going to create a business that could function and operate only online, which didn’t require any other equipment than a computer, didn’t require me to physically meet anyone, and could be run from anywhere with an internet connection. That might seem very common now, but back in 2005, it was considered quite ambitious.
How It Turned Out...
After 4 months or so of actively putting what I’d taught myself into practise, gaining my first clients, I progressed on to begin hiring sub-contractors (other VA’s and independent professionals who had skills I wanted to offer in the company), I expanded and developed a team worldwide and created a 6 figure IBC (International Business Corporation) all while also meeting my husband, having 3 children and living in 6 countries. I now work as an online business consultant and manager, virtual assistant and teacher to clients from all walks of life, all around the world. (And yep, it’s still all virtual!)
I’m currently spending time in hot climates enjoying life, and servicing clients and learning new cutting-edge ways to develop Virtual Miss Friday everyday.
I’m ambitious, down-to-earth, practical. I know that anyone can get what they want out of life with the right mindset, energy, commitment and know-how. I'm a strong believer that when we work with our minds through self-development - and not just our hands, we can achieve remarkable results.
Have you ever worked so hard your entire life to come to a point where you say - this is it! This is what it's all been for... This is my mark on the world, this is my legacy, this is 'my thing', the thing that could really make an impact - and you don't question it, you just know. Not yet? Well, if that's the case your time will come young Jedi...
You see, in 2005 I had nothing but a laptop and a couple of suitcases of clothes, and I knew one thing for sure - I never wanted another 9-5 'job' or to be tied down to one place. I write this post now, as a 35 year old location independent woman, with a husband and 3 kids, who's currently potty training and running a business and raising a family (it's not all sunshine and cocktails you know... well, actually it is a lot of the time ;-) I've been through an array of challenges, ups and downs, major successes, epic fails and served over 100 clients and hundreds of customers to build a multi-6 figure business, and I now have the confidence, tenacity and self-worth to reach my new goal of moving into 7 figures (yeah, imagine a VA on 7 figures, think of the lives that would change - I'm up for the challenge).
And... I'm at that point - the point where I say - this is what it's all been for... So much so, that I've taken the bold move to direct my whole business towards 'my thing', my contribution to the world and more importantly to all online service providers, virtual assistants and freelancers - which is 1nSourcing.
In the video above I walk you through where we are right now with 1nSourcing, and I mention an incredible business coach called Marc Winn, and there's something he said to me in an interview many years ago, that I've never forgotten, and this is it...
"The uber successful people are where they are because of how big they can think, and really there’s less competition the higher up you go. So the guys who really succeed really quickly are the ones that think at the top, they don’t think at the bottom. A good classic is someone starts up in business, probably in the onset and they say, “I’m going to work with small businesses,” and it’s like what everybody is feeding them at the bottom. Everybody is working for small businesses and things like that, so immediately your price point goes down and you’re saying well actually you can technically use the same skills, so let’s say for argument’s sake, 'I’m going to be a VA for a billionaire, what do I have to do to achieve that?' Immediately the way you think about what is it you’re going to do radically transforms your ability to succeed. I think there’s a lot of people that want to start at the bottom for some reason to gain confidence when actually in some ways it’s easy to start at the top. So really successful people just think they’re going to start at the top, go for it and then worry about how to do it later. They’ll gradually work out a way."
Wise words... When you approach 1nSourcing, I'd like you to see it as thinking at the top. You may of heard me mention 1nSourcing before, I did a talk back last September 2015 in Manchester at an event with 1500 people where I introduced this 1nSourcing model, I then came home and recorded a class where I went into the basics of the model but it needed refining, trying and testing and basically tightening up so it could be packaged and delivered in the most optimal way as something very specific, yet general - after all, I specialise in being a generalist ;-)
The Hybrid Outsourcing Model - 1nSourcing
I haven't reinvented the wheel, but I've created a hybrid - a hybrid of the best bits from all the outsourcing solutions out there, to create something that works well for everyone involved, the clients and the VAs. As always I put this to the test in my own business, I have the details of how it works, and of course, up-to-date income reports for you guys to reassure you with the proof. It's a simple, elegant way of providing services, that solves the real key problems that VAs face in this industry.
Providing services online can give you a headache when there's so much to grasp - in this model, we break it down into single digits so your to-do list for building up to a multi-6 figure business (and beyond, but multi-6 is all I have evidence of now) becomes straightforward and easy to grasp.
It serves all independent VAs.
No man or woman gets left behind - I really hate competitiveness, like it's all a race to get the client first - it's not in my nature to be competitive but to work together. In this model is a place for every kind of VA - there are 3 groups of people in the industry, this model caters to 2 of these groups, innovators and supporters, the VAs who are independent, and the 3rd group are usually employees - I will explain this in more depth another time, but basically, if you're not employed as a VA in the traditional sense, and you're independent then there is a place for you in this model - even if you have no prior clients.
The ongoing problem with charging rates is that most VAs charge by the hour, package, service or the task and feel uncomfortable quoting larger numbers through fear the client may pick it apart and come to the conclusion it may be 'too pricey' - "OMG I'm not paying $X for that when I could get it for $X somewhere else" type thing, even the value based pricing model has kinks to iron out when trying to explain to the client what they're paying for, it can often feel like trying to justify yourself or educate people who don't quite get it to see the value in it, again not something I feel we should need to do, it would be easier if it was obvious - and I can show you how to make it obvious - this is the cream of this hybrid model, it completely eliminates the 'conclusions' that clients may jump to about pricing and no matter what you charge, it will make your service obviously of incredible value - which of course should be all true, especially if you follow my training ;-)
Awesome, right... that's a huge breakthrough. Plus the pricing model if you choose to use it of course, has a formula, for just 2 packages made up of 7 fixed prices, and 4 of those are completely identical - more on that to come!
So now, I'm on another mission, whether you're just starting out with no clients, or you have developed a team, I can guide you and help you establish your place in 1nSourcing - this is so you can have a profitable, freedom-based online business, so you can be there for your family, travel, and help clients around the world to simplify and streamline their businesses, so you can become a pioneer for a new breed of online service provider, a 1nSourcer, and do it all in the most elegant way I know how.
We needed some sort of dramatic music with that last paragraph ;-)
So now I bet you're wondering "great - Now What?"
This will be the last you hear from me on the blog until later this month when I'm going to release some free video training - if you're familiar with my training, I periodically run Free VA Training Weeks, and this will be one of these, to introduce you in more detail to the model. In the background I've been working on creating 5 brand new programmes and courses that will be released as additions onto the Shoestring, Apprentice, Administrator, Marketer and Creator - I know, I initially said just the service courses in the video, but I got inspired to add on the other 2 programmes. So altogether there will be over 120 new educational videos to share not only the model, but how to use it, with my usual tutorials and step-by-step guides and templates all from Virtual Miss Friday - what I've used to put the 1nSourcing model in place for my own clients, but reworked into a generic format for you to use and adapt in your own business. Click here to sign up to get the free 1nSourcing training!.
I hope you enjoyed the video - please please please leave a comment on this, as I'd love to get your thoughts on this, particularly because your feedback and support always helps me work just that bit faster ;-)
Just a little something I've been working and building on for the last 11 years :-)
What can I say about this post... It's the final blog in my India series, you can check out Part 1 here and Part 2 here - and it's a post that's completely out of my comfort zone, but if you know me, you'll probably know I'm no stranger to stepping out of that. It's also a post which shows a very real side of me that you probably won't have seen before - it may scare you off, or it may bring you and I closer together, I have no idea, but, I've come to the conclusion that in either case, the best decision is to always be genuine, even if it means this genuine side of me isn't accepted by some people, it's all good!
Intuition, instinct and guidance from sources within ourselves in many ways support us - which you may not be able to 'physically see' and they're very real, because after all, have you ever touched an idea or stared at a thought before? Of course not, so if I said to you, can you describe to me what instinct looks like, you can't obviously because it doesn't have a physical appearance like a chair or a glass, but that doesn't mean to say it's any less real or valid. So - I'm sharing this post and introducing you to a lady by the name of Tiffany Crosara, who's a fellow Brit I met while I was in India this year. They say that India is a very spiritual place, and when I think about spirituality, I think about all the things in my life that I'm connected to, and I know are real, but I can't necessarily prove it by showing you, and the likes of "Eat Pray Love" and the Dalai Lama who lives in India pretty much confirm this idea, along with a tonne of spiritual teachers and practises like Yoga that have come out of this very magical country.
Tiffany and I had a very unusual connection (a numerical one!) which we've shared with you through our discussion to give you some insight into how we came together because I feel it may help you, particularly if you're feeling like you need more help with making decisions in your life, or making better decisions, or if you're feeling lost and you need some sort of guidance, or if you're wondering in life, even in small things if you need help to be more true to yourself, to be more of who you really are, possibly by living life through instinct and intuition to a greater extent, and not just through logic alone.
I have a warning for hardcore sceptics of the grey areas in life - this video isn't for you, because we discuss all manner of 'supernatural' things such as synchronicities and tarot but not in a tree hugging, 'I see a tall dark stranger' woo woo kind of way - but more a journey of real personal experiences that could happen to anyone, and they do on a daily basis for that matter, but often times, so many people don't have the courage to speak out about them, so they continue exploring them on their own through fear of sounding cuckoo. Hey, I'm one of them... But here I am :-)
We have this open, from the heart discussion from a very grounded place, as to how we use spirituality (or whatever you want to label it or call it) as a tool to help guide us through our lives, with me predominantly in business and career success and Tiffany in terms of her exploring her gift and becoming a teacher in many of the supernatural things in life that usually leave a majority of us running scared - which is pretty sad in my opinion, because we could all use a bit of this in our lives, as if we deny it, we kind of deny a great deal of our life's potential.
So if you're sitting there, and you watched this video and you're still with me, please leave a comment if you would like myself and Tiffany to get together and share more with you on this topic, and open up some of these more controversial self-development tools (not by going to a Gypsy in a caravan), but to help you improve your life and explore many of the gifts and talents that are within all of us, and yes, that includes YOU, but you might need it lifting out to the surface a bit more. Maybe we could help introduce you, to a side of yourself that you don't yet know is there, but which could be extremely helpful for you to discover.
Interested? Just leave a comment or a question because we're going to base our decision to move forward with this on whether you want us to move forward with this ;-)
P.S. Not sure you noticed this, but completely unintentionally this interview exported on video at 1.11.... (1 hour and 11 minutes)...
On the blog this week, the last post from my India travels, and on a more 'spiritual' Eat Pray Love meets Thelma and...
Namaste! Welcome to the second instalment of our trip to India. We packed our bags and got in the car for over 9 hours heading to the Himalayas! It was a festival day so took about 2 hours longer than normal to get clear of the Delhi area. We had an awesome driver (Mohan, below in the image of us with our second mode of transport, the elephant) who never seemed to leave our side, I mean literally he stayed with us the whole week in the car parks, being available if we needed a car for anything - whenever, I'm pretty confident he slept in it...
I wanted to sum up our time there, so I made you guys a quick video ;-)
Our first stop was Sattal, which is a place high up in mountains with a lake. Upon seeing the water, my adventurous daughter (who's 7) felt the strong urge to try any and all water sports, including pedal boating and bungee zip lining over the water. She also settled for less adventurous activities like the bouncy castle so Dale had a bit of recovery time before the next event, and she quickly made friends. My son (who's 8) is a little less adventurous, he went on a Kayak and then decided to stay with me and Layla (our 1 year old) and write in his journal and draw.
I don't know if you've ever seen a video on YouTube called 'Baby Monkey' but my first thought was someone could easily make one called 'Monkey and a Cow' because you see so many of them just hanging out together.
After Sattal we moved onto Corbett National Park, which was my favourite place in the whole of India, I'm not really into crowds and felt more at home in the jungle I think :-) It was very peaceful. It's been a dream of mine to ride an elephant and I was able to take my whole family - such a magical experience, this elephant was amazing, and the bond the owner had with the elephant was a beautiful sight to see. We went into the jungle, and around the beautiful countryside.
While we were in Corbett we also went to the tiger reserve - whilst we saw zero tigers, we did see a bunch of Peacocks, a Toucan (they are huge!), a Meerkat, Wild Boar / Warthog (it was starting to feel like the Lion King) and several wild birds, including wild chickens, which you would hardly recognise as chickens because they're so slender and crazy fast.
The whole family then enjoyed driving around in the open top Safari Jeep because it was just pretty awesome :-)
Our final stop before returning to Delhi was Bhimtal, there wasn't much going on there, but the resort had some beautiful gardens, so the older kids got to fly kites and I had some time to hang out in a hammock with my baby girl contemplating what's next for Virtual Miss Friday.
I have one more post for you from India, they say that magical things happen there, and I wanted to share a personal experience for anyone who's into the more spiritual side of life - stay tuned, because I'll have a question for you at the end of the next post...
Second post on the blog on our Indian adventures http://www.virtualmissfriday.com/michelle/hanging-out-in-the-himalayas
Guess what, I'm back from India, and even though this post has been delayed while I get back in my groove, plus I'm not sure if you've ever put a 'holidays/vacation' blog post together with images and video, but it takes a fair while trying to condense it - I could have made this into a novel, so I'm splitting my travels up into different posts, in this one we're doing Delhi and The Taj! My oh my did I have an awesome time and it's still very fresh in my mind :-)
I have several things to share with you, but in this post in particular, I wanted to talk about WEF 2016 - Women Economic Forum, which is where women from over 100 countries around the world gathered together to listen to inspiring speakers on a range of different topics, and I was so humbled to be asked to be one of the women speaking.
When I got the invite to speak, I said to Dale (my husband), you and the kids so need to come with me to India, and they did, so more on our family travels to come, but today, I thought I'd share my talks, I did 2, and some other cools things :-)
Delhi was hot and crowded, but full of life. We stepped out of the airport (and for us it was about 24 hours of travelling non-stop) feeling tired, but excited to be there. My 22 month old daughter was the most challenging aspect of the journey, since she's not a great fan of being cooped up in small spaces, but I'm not sure how many 1 year olds actually would be pleased about that anyway. My 7 and 8 year olds were awesome, being more seasoned travellers in general.
After more than a day of travelling and less than a few hours of sleep we left the next day to Agra, a 3.5 hour journey there (and then back!) to see the Taj Mahal - this was top of my bucket list, it feels SO good to cross that one off :-) We were exhausted, especially the kids, and it was MEGA HOT, but it was all worth it :-)
We stayed in an AirBnB apartment in Vasant Kunj, and I took an Uber taxi everyday to the conference, which was about a week long. I listened to some amazing women from all walks of life talk about their careers, their personal and spiritual experiences and more.
I even got to share a room with her royal highness the Princess of Kuwait, she's the black and white dress in the middle ;-)
I had my 35th Birthday in India - Yep that one that crept up on me, I was just 25 a moment ago ;-) and on that day I met up with a member of my team and his gorgeous wife and 2 kids, who I've worked with for many years, which was totally amazing.
There was no shortage of parties to be found at WEF, and my kids, particularly my baby daughter certainly made the most of them...
We also got to see a few celebrity type people, this is Chyna Whyne singing in the video - she's a lovely lady that looks like she stepped out of a copy of Vogue Magazine, and she's a pretty damn good singer who teaches people how to walk 'safely' in high heels (LMAO, I can't remember the last time I put high heels on - oh yeah I do, it was pre-3 kids...)
My first lead speaker talk was on "Exceptional Versus Ordinary Living", and this was the 19th of May, the day after my birthday. You can watch that talk below.
My next talk was on beliefs and the law of attraction, which was on the 20th, and you can watch that also below.
Overall, I had an incredible week, and was so delighted that I got to speak in front of so many incredible people and met some great women who I'm now proud to call my friends, particularly a women (and fellow brit!) called Tiffany Crosara, who has a very special gift, and I'm going to be introducing you more to Tiffany later, because I think her talents can really help you guys, so watch this space ;-)
When I wasn't at the conference, we were exploring Delhi as a family, and all it has to offer.
This included sights like India Gate, Henna Tattoos, Tuk Tuk rides with 7 people and a grumpy baby, and spicy.... spicy... whoooooo so spicy food!
I think the Chicken Vindaloos my Dad used to try out 'to see if I liked it' on me as a kid may have helped with the ability for me to adapt to the food quite well, although my husband and kids on the other hand, weren't so fortunate... I have a P.S. to share on this subject - take loo roll with you to non-tourist locations - Indian people make other arrangements when they visit the bathroom that don't include toilet roll or paper of any kind. Wanna know why? Google it... Nuff Said.
What's left for me to share on my Delhi Adventure, well I couldn't list it all but points that particularly stick out in my mind, maybe seeing a car completely engulfed in flames, inside and out in the middle of town, a broken down bus sideways in the road with a group of people trying to manually 3 point turn it, blokes in toll road queues getting out of the car and using a tyre as bathroom facilities, or just vomiting randomly, and a (very obvious) man dressed as a woman begging at my taxi window. This happens a lot at crossroads - I helped out mothers and their babies, children and people with disabilities, but this one... I couldn't fathom why he would get so dressed up with a full face of makeup to ask for money at the traffic lights...
India remains in my heart, more on our journey across the country to the Himalayas to come :-)
The first addition from my time in India on the blog, and this is only the beginning ;-) http://www.virtualmissfriday.com/michelle/delhi-india
I've literally had multiple emails over the last month from many of you gorgeous people who have been wanting to start a VA business, to do numerous things like travel, change their lives, be home with their kids, dump their boss etc... and feel just so afraid about it all. I even wrote a blog post addressing this picking out a specific example.
The thing is, the emails have kept coming in... and today, I woke up, it was a normal day, my kids are home from Greek school as it's Easter holidays here in Crete, so I've got my "mummy look" on, hair scraped back, no make-up, looking a bit dishevelled from my baby being up all night with a fever (she's okay by the way, but you know how it goes) and I just thought "Michelle, you have to say something..." and whilst I'd love to have prettified myself - you know to save the embarrassment of looking like a 'normal' person on camera ha ha, I let my stylist have the day off, typical... tee hee ;-) I have a full schedule today, so it was a quick sit out in the Garden, with the iPad and a few personal thoughts on the subject of fear.
I don't know if this will help you or not, but I know for sure, the more you focus your energy on 'unhealthy' fear (I explain more in the video) the more you're giving that course of action the strength to appear in your life - that's the sobering power you have over what happens to you.
Afraid of not getting any clients.
Afraid of quitting your job.
Afraid to invest money into something that could help you.
Afraid of failure.
Afraid of running out of money.
Afraid of travelling and something going wrong.
Afraid of what people will say or think.
Afraid of making a wrong decision.
Afraid you're not ready.
Afraid of confrontation with people over what you're doing.
Afraid of clients not wanting you, etc...
Someone even contacted me saying they were afraid of not getting any clients, and then in the next sentence afraid of actually getting a client in case they did something wrong... This is sending out so many mixed messages to any kind of universal force that wants to have your back...
Fear is about stepping into the unknown, and nobody is immune to these feelings, not even people who supposedly appear to have it all.
You can never immediately switch off the feeling of fear, but you can make a conscious effort to be responsible for what comes next in your life, and say to yourself... Could I be wasting my time here spending 30 minutes of effort and emotional energy thinking about all the things I'm afraid of?... Hmmmm, I wonder if I put that 30 minutes into marketing, or client hunting, or just laying in the sunshine - (and believe me that 30 minutes is much better spent laying in the sunshine) - Would that be more helpful to my cause?...
Can I get a Hell Yeah! Here's your new mantra for when fear comes knocking...
"This is what I want, and nothing can stop me, not even the challenges, or the setbacks, or the roadblocks, or things not going exactly the way I want - because at every stage in this process - I'm just going to keep moving forward, and deal with it. Step aside Fear, you're wasting your time here - because I'm in this for only one outcome. Now, what can I do right now to help me feel better?"
On the blog today - one of those, just gotta say this videos... http://www.virtualmissfriday.com/michelle/the-fear-pep-talk
I think I might have something here that's going to resolve one of your biggest biz challenges! I talk to numerous Clients and VAs each week, and there's one thing that always becomes a sticking point for them - it's content.
In fact I was on a call this week with someone who felt challenged, maybe slightly intimidated by blogging, and publishing content on the Web - like where do I start, what do I write - how do I make it count so I'm not wasting my time? All good questions...
When I first started out I was one of those people, I would stare at the screen trying to force a masterpiece out, pouring over every word and analysing it, wondering if I picked the right ones...
I eventually relaxed into it, and many hundreds of thousands of words later, I'm now actually pretty cool with my content, I don't stress over it so much, but I did a lot of learning and growing over the course of a number of years.
Funnily enough, mastering the art of writing the way you speak to a friend is one of the best tips I can share with you, actually writing how you would speak it, like the first words that come into your head, get them out asap as if your screen is your mate that can't hear you speak, so you're talking to him or her through the words you're typing.
Okay there's "hardcore VA" for you right there - 'your screen is your mate' and you might be thinking, this woman has clearly been spending too much time hanging out with Mac... I mean 'her' Mac...computer... Of course I don't call my computer Mac, like a person... I mean that would be silly, right?
Joking aside, I just demonstrated a chain of random thought in words, which has made up a part of this blog post. That's how chatty and informal some of my most successful [income generating!] posts have been.
But there's so much more to creating awesome content, and I'm going to show you a way of how you can get YEARS of combined learning from multiple experts condensed into one amazing event (which I'm speaking in by the way!) and that's the Create, Connect and Convert Summit.
It's a completely free event that you can sign up for on the link below, where myself and 19 other content experts get together with the summit's gracious host Sarah Schwab, to share all our top tips and insights into creating great content (and then knowing what to do with it!)
I just signed up myself (of course!) and they have this really awesome upgrade option, I don't know about you, but as my calendar is looking pretty full with client work during the event, which is April 13th to April 23rd, I'm going to need those MP3 recordings to listen to later on as I won't be able to be at all the sessions and listen to everyone's juicy advice, so this is a great way you can get access to them as well.
And guess what ;-) If you want to purchase this early bird offer now through my link in this post after signing up for the free event, forward your purchase receipt to me at firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll send you a FREE Bundle of 7 of my favourite PLR article packs from my own content store (which is 35 articles you can use in your own business and content development), to the value of around $70, so this is an awesome bonus for you guys too!
Offer is there if you'd like to take it :-)
By the way here's the link again for the summit, and remember the actual event price is the awesome sum of totally FREE :-) Enjoy!
This is for anyone who's struggling with their content creation and wants to really use this awesome way to turn content...
Hello you! I have an exciting announcement :-) If you're subscribed to my mailing list, first of all, thank you because You Rock, and second of all, you should now be getting an email in 'real-time' in future from my mates over at Feedio, who are kindly sending their RSS fairies to you with my posts. If you're like "oh no Michelle, I don't want these super awesome posts" ;-) - that's okay, no hard feelings you can simply hit unsubscribe, but if you like what you read, stick around, and the Feedio fairies will keep delivering.
Thank you! Michelle x
One of the great things about what I do now, is that I've got over a decade of being in business for myself as a VA under my belt, and I've pretty much been through what a lot of other VAs go through when they're first starting out and growing their business.
What am I talking about here?
Well, I wasn't the most confident of people, I certainly wasn't the most popular girl in school, and I was a bit of an awkward teenager. I left home at 16, went into the big wide world to start working, and gained a lot of life experience while many of my classmates went off to college and made the most of their youth... Even in the VA world today, just like back at school, I'm pretty sure there are people who disagree with me, maybe don't like me or have an issue with me - but, oh yeah - that can happen to anyone...
I started my VA business when I was 24, I was young, travelling, not really knowing what I was going to do, and so many thoughts went through my head, like "Why would anyone pay me to do this for them?", "Why would they choose me?", "Will they think I'm too expensive?", "Will they think I'm too young?", "I have no idea how to run a business - who'll take me seriously?" - you know, those signs that you're afraid of the unknown, or about to make a fool of yourself or whatever...
Despite those fears, I kept moving forward, just knowing it would all work out. I'm 35 next month, and I've only had to have a boss for 7 years in my life, and I wouldn't change that for the world. I'm so glad I started my own business when I did.
I had an email this week from someone who is way more qualified than I am (in terms of formal qualifications), has way more skills than I had when I started out as a VA and much better circumstances to pursue their business than I had as well, but when I read her email, she still reminded me of myself in many ways...
Here's what she said:
"I am terrified of getting my first client. I feel inadequate. I really want to know how to get clients who don't expect me to be perfect and who I can learn from even if the pay is low."
And I thought to myself, what would the 'me' today, say to the 'me' all those years ago... And this was my reply to this person.
Think of it this way...
If you feel inadequate, this is something you need to work on - because nobody else can make you feel inadequate without your consent.
If clients expect you to be their version of perfect it's because you haven't managed their expectations properly, and that's a skill you need to acquire.
It all comes down to taking responsibility as best you can for the outcomes.
The more you fear, the more those fears are likely to come true - you need to shift your thought process to something along the lines of...
"I'm going to get clients who are right for me, and as long as I take responsibility and manage their expectations of me, I will likely exceed those expectations consistently and be paid well for it."
Know that your fears, your concerns, your doubts and your feelings of lacking in some way all stem directly from your mind, whether they were planted there by you or someone else, that's the only place they live - so change your frame of mind, and see the world around you change with it ;-)
Felt totally 'called' to write this post today - several people I've been in contact with this week need to hear it, maybe you do too? http://www.virtualmissfriday.com/michelle/concerned-and-feeling-inadequate
In February 2005 when I was 23, I was pretty fed up with several things, such as the daily commute to the city, the huge council tax bill, the ridiculously large mortgage that I would most likely be paying into my retirement and the sheer predictability of everything in my life. Does this sound familiar to you?
One day I came home to find my house had been robbed (that's the short version of the story) but when you have something like that happen it makes you sit down on your empty living room floor and think... I had problems – I wasn't happy, this was the kind of shock I needed to get me out of the trance state that was my daily existence. When I took a look at my problems, I could see the only way out would be to make a significant life change, I needed a break – but I was in no position to do that with my cost of living each month. I decided that in order to do this, I would need to get rid of my mortgage and my living expenses. Now this isn’t so easy in the UK, costs of living are high, and you need a steady job. So my only option was to dramatically reduce my living costs. This is when I decided I would have to take action and actually move in order to do this.
So the turn of events which follow are the steps I took to quit my job and experience financial freedom, and this all happened in under 3 months:
Month 1 - Choose Your Destination & Give In Your Notice
When you choose your destination make sure the cost of living is low, and Visa requirements are fairly unrestricted.
The year before I had taken a holiday for 2 weeks to Egypt, I was amazed at how cheap everything was. I knew a couple of people there from my holiday, and it was very economical to get to at the time, flights were next to nothing. I decided that would be a good place to go. Cheap rent, cheap living costs and great climate (I love the sun!)
I was able to very easily obtain a Visa just by landing and heading to the Visa office. You can buy a 1 year Visa, it’s cheap as chips, and most places near the centre of town in Luxor will have good internet access. There are internet cafe’s everywhere, and if you decide to go somewhere like Cairo, then the lifestyle there is pretty far advanced, and you can have all the luxuries you would normally have in the Western world.
So in February 2005 I put my house up for sale, and gave a month's notice at my job with a view to making it to Egypt as soon as possible.
Month 2 - Let Go Of Your Material Possessions & Arrange Accommodation
In March 2005 I sold or gave away every item of furniture and the things that I was not able to take with me to my new destination. Now, this was quite easy for me. Once I made the decision to leave, letting go of my possessions was just another part of the process, but I can really appreciate now how difficult letting go of “things” can be. But you have to look at them from the point of view of — how valuable are they, really? Are they essential to your existence? More often than not, the answer will be no… be honest with yourself, electrical equipment, clothes, ornaments – ask yourself, “Are these things necessary for my existence and inner happiness?”
I also purchased my tickets to Egypt and set about closing up my accounts and sorting out loose ends. I had arranged temporary accommodation from a friend I met on holiday, an apartment close to the centre of Luxor, and actually that’s where I ended up living for 2 years. The rent was just 500LE which is around £50 – the price in some shops for a pair of shoes. When you arrange accommodation, if you have a family, go for a flat or search on the internet for holiday rentals, see if the owner of the holiday rental will extend the rental period for 3 to 6 months. Many will, especially during “out of season” for that country, and it will give you time to get there, set yourself up and find somewhere more permanent. If you're solo, then your options are very open — hostels, guest houses, single rooms for rent or studio apartments.
Month 3 - Pack Up Your PC & Go!
In April 2005 I flew to Egypt, and by this time I was feeling lucky because I had a buyer for my house and the sale was going through. The sale closed in May when I was already living my new life.
I made sure I had a good, light notebook style laptop and an internet connection where I was going so I was able to start researching the best possible options for business opportunities right away, and of course stay in touch with friends and family. Now, at the time I had no idea what a Virtual Assistant was or that my time spent researching was going to result in Virtual Miss Friday. My basic costs of living each month were around £100, which was about $200 at the time, so I pretty much lived like a queen, and did whatever I wanted. Yes it’s totally nuts… But it allowed me to study, and research and enjoy my surroundings. It was one of the most memorable and liberating periods of my life.
Looking back, everyone thought I was crazy, but now I consider it one of the most sober and sensible decisions I ever made in my life. Sometimes you have to act without thinking about it too much, or you'll likely talk yourself out of it. If it feels right to you, then it’s most likely the right thing to do. Follow you instincts…
How To Do It
You didn't think I was going to leave it at that, did you? ;-)
I'm going to show you how you can build a location independent VA business, and it won't cost you a penny. Join me next week, March 21st to 24th for Free VA Training Week 2016 (#FVATW) where myself, and my fellow location independent colleague Danielle Greason have got together to create a special week of training, starting with a FREE 3 part video series on Preparing, Building and Sustaining your VA business, with a 'LIVE' Q & A Call at the end where you can ask us anything you want about becoming a VA or growing a VA business.
I replied to an email today from somebody who was feeling a little lost... She couldn't figure out what she wanted to do in life, where she wanted to live, had fears concerning what the best decision was for her, and this was having a knock on effect in other areas, like feeling overwhelmed about starting a business. She was at a crossroads in her life and didn't know which direction to take. She asked me if I had any suggestions or feedback I could throw her way that might help, so I replied with this...
The best suggestion I can make to you, is that you work on getting really clear about what it is you want. Don't just think, "I want loads of money" or "I want to be happy" or "I want a business I can take anywhere" - be really, really, specific.
Write down what you consider to be your perfect ideal 'average' day - what does your day look like when the rest of the world is commuting to work, or running to the bank on lunch breaks, how do you want your average day to look? Because let's face it, even Brad and Angelina aren't always living in perpetual 24/7 excitement - we all have what we consider to be an average day, we all wake up in the morning, we all need to eat at some point, perhaps spend some time working to earn a living, or with the kids, then we end up going back to bed at the other end of it.
This may take a few tries, maybe you'll include a business in there, if so, where do you operate that from, is it just you or do other people work in it as well, what do you do, who do you interact with etc... You might include meetings with friends, walks in nature, taking some exercise, or cooking... Whatever it is, whatever sounds good to you, include it in the day, from the time you wake up to the time you go to sleep.
If you feel that you would find true happiness living that day, on a daily basis, or something similar, then you can use that as the foundation for deciding what you need to take action on, to work towards achieving that.
You'll find some things you can begin immediately, what if you wanted to wake up at 5 - 6am each morning and do 20 minutes of Yoga, could you make that happen now? I bet you could...
What if you're seeing yourself working 5 hours a day on a business, then you know you need to start somewhere on that - take the first step, decide what you need to do to [eventually] work 5 hours a day and earn an income or who you need to reach out to, to make it happen. You won't have all the answers right away, it likely won't all fall into place right away, but nobody ever tips out the 5000 piece puzzle (half of it with just blue sky... that's a sod) and has it done in an hour ;-)
So if you're having difficulty deciding where to live, what to do, who to be with, to go left or right... Just keep working on your perfect day (which your ideas about will likely change as this evolves) and the answers that surface will eventually reveal where you most want to be, what you most want to do and who you most want to do it with - and that's the key to unlocking a life of happiness.
Hope this helps!
I find when I'm facing a difficult choice or decision, it helps to reflect on how that choice will fit into my life... I...
I often get asked questions about team development, it seems like a daunting task and without a strategy in place for it, it really can be. Building a team makes good financial sense on paper. The opportunity in theory can provide all the good stuff we're looking for as business owners, but it also has several possible consequences in practical terms...
I'd really like to share some of the benefits of building a team and the consequences associated with them, and then provide you with a complete (and relatively simple) strategy for handling this process.
BENEFIT: A way to sell billable hours to clients, where you're generating a profit by outsourcing the tasks to a team member, with a mark up to cover costs and ensure a reasonable profit margin.
CONSEQUENCE: You may find your time consumption shifts from billable hours to managing your clients' expectations of your new team. If you don't factor in this additional time, it can easily consume any profit potential.
BENEFIT: If you've been building your business doing billable hours, you can disconnect yourself from those hours and connect them to a team member.
CONSEQUENCE: As you disconnect yourself from the billable time, you connect yourself to managing the people who do the billable time, but if you aren't careful, you could be doing that for free.
Use Of Time
BENEFIT: By outsourcing tasks for clients, you'll have a choice of how you use your new found time, either through business development or leisure time.
CONSEQUENCE: You will be able to successfully hand over tasks and billable time to other people, but by doing this you also add more tasks to your list, so if you're not careful it could simply be replacing the task with a different task.
BENEFIT: With billable time often comes deadlines. By getting additional support you can share the load and the deadlines all of a sudden become much more achievable, and less stressful.
CONSEQUENCE: It's still your responsibility to ensure those deadlines are met, and if at any time, for any reason, your team aren't able to meet those deadlines themselves, you will inevitably need to step up to the plate and find a way to get the job done.
BENEFIT: From my experience, the more skill sets I have on board to help me in the business, the higher the rate I'm able to command, because people want to pay for the option of a one-stop shop.
CONSEQUENCE: You then have the job of managing a team and co-ordinating tasks yourself, which is a job over and above the simplicity of processing tasks and this will need to be factored into your rates. With a higher rate will likely come a higher calibre of client, who'll have raised expectations of the service, which you'll need to strive to exceed at all times.
Solution with a Strategy
I've got an effective solution along with a complete strategy for growing a team, with both freedom and profitability in mind.
So if you've built a team of virtual assistants to support you to free up your time, but that time has simply shifted from 'doing' the work to 'managing' the team doing the work, you'll need this solution.
You could be stuck in the micro-managing trap or that 'limbo' stage of the business where you're ready to move to the next stage, but not quite sure how to go about it without losing the quality you get from overseeing the team and the expectations you have from the clients who rely on you to service them. In this class we'll be looking at a solution that will not only resolve the transition issues, but also create more time for you, while maintaining happy clients, and increasing profitability!
Sounds good, right?
So let's take a look at the specifics:
The consequences of growing a team. (We'll delve into these points above a little further.)
How to effectively stop micro-managing.
The team leader solution.
Maintaining quality without the associated stress.
Gaining a more profitable business.
Keeping clients happy during the growth phase.
I'd love for you to join me, this is a personal invitation :-) It's completely free to attend the webinar 'live' with me on Friday the 19th at 8.30pm EET (Eastern Europe Time).
The registration page on the button below will help you with timezone conversions.
I have a membership site where my members can contact me on email and I'll help them on the fly with any dilemmas they're having with clients or questions they have about their business. Today I had a really excellent challenge to help with, one I think many online service providers face, and that's about clients having issues with payment terms or paying late. I'd like to share my response in more detail...
When you really like the client (in terms of the work you do), but they have issues paying, for example, they never pay on time, which is a problem if you have a team, or they share their financial woes with you, it's really hard to not get personally involved and take those problems on board.
But there has to be a line you draw.
I'm sympathetic to people in financial difficulty, but not to the point where it would negatively impact my business, my family or my team, and that's the line you need to draw.
It's understandable there may be times a client has difficulty in paying, heck, a couple of years back, my bank closed down for days due to an economic crises and I was unable to pay my team on time, but economic crisis is one thing, poor money management or over committing, is another.
Any client who comes to you with problems paying more than once, is forming a habit... Take a step back and see this as a reminder that your clients' financial issues can't be yours, you need clients who are comfortable paying your rates, and clients need a VA who they're comfortable paying as well.
But I don't want to lose the client...
I know you don't... But enforcing payment terms is something that has to happen, for several reasons, such as being fair to other clients who are paying on time, paying your team on time, making sure you're valued (I once had a client pay an invoice of over 7.5k and they thanked me for it). Nobody can make you feel undervalued unless you undervalue yourself, but the clients who thank you when they send you money (on time!) - they are the kind of clients that make you realise how appreciated you are and that's good for the soul.
So I would say, if you want to keep your client, you can put it in such a way that perhaps they can meet you halfway - no payment, no service. That sounds fair, right? There aren't many people who could argue that point.
I suggested that this person send something along these lines, I've made a few edits so it's more generic, and you're welcome to use it yourself if such circumstances arise.
I'm very sorry to hear that you're having trouble paying your invoice because of [ENTER THE REASON].
Please understand that due of the nature of my business unfortunately there's no wiggle room for me to be able to [ALTER PAYMENT TERMS], particularly because of my responsibility to my support team and the demand for my services. I have these terms in place to ensure I can offer my clients the best possible service in terms of quality and reliability, and also respectfully pay my team who help me to support you in your business on time.
[NAME], I really appreciate your understanding in this matter, and I very much hope we can find a solution so we can continue to work together.
To accommodate any delay in the payment you may have now or in future, I'd like to suggest we simply pause any service provision after the due date (e.g. 7 DAYS) and then resume services as normal as soon as the invoice is paid.
Does this sound fair enough?
If you have any further questions, please don't hesitate to ask."
If the client comes back and says, "No, you should keep working for me without payment." I think you should assess whether you really want to be working with someone like that...
Avoiding That Altogether...
Really, the best thing is just to avoid that altogether. With a majority of the clients I work with, I now always take money up front, and if I don't, let's say they ask me to do a quick, over and above task, I cap the hours to just a few and add them to the next invoice.
By taking payment up front, and not starting work until the money is in, this will inevitably help you to provide a better service, particularly with a client who has a history of being concerned over prices, payments or anything money related, because it simply gets that detail out of the way.
A very common issue believe it or not, but it doesn't have to be! On the blog post today I chat about handling clients who aren't paying on time...
I get a lot of people contacting me asking me what they need to build a successful business, of course there's a comprehensive answer to this, there are several factors involved in building a great business that serves the purpose of adding value to the lives of others, while providing an abundance of wealth and enjoyment to the person who's behind it. But there are certain factors that have more influence on your success, than others.
I was on a webinar recently, where the person hosting it was providing a immense amount of value, entirely for free, there were strategies and experiences shared, and the guy had obviously put a great deal of work into it. This was definitely a heart-based business.
There was a section after the presentation where he then suggested that if people liked what he had to say, thought they could learn from him, then he had a programme for sale, where he would also coach people through what he teaches, and provide a whole host of other benefits along with it. Obviously the whole training he'd been through just then, 'live', was free, but the programme came with a fee.
As soon as that happened there were a lot of people very excited, and eager to buy from him, but there was one (and there's ALWAYS one...) who started commenting in the chat box that it was a scam, that he was just another internet marketer looking to steal people's money, p***ed there was a fee etc... Craziness to that effect.
The numpty in the chat box hadn't really thought through what he was posting. The host of the webinar, who was also the creator of the product was putting his time, money, energy and expertise into every detail of this programme - so why should it be free?
Let's say the host really enjoyed putting all that effort into it - that he loved creating the programme, and was equally going to enjoy seeing people thrive from it, again, should something be free because it's enjoyable?
Then maybe the price seemed a little high to the guy in the chat box... Well, if you have an expert with over a decade of knowledge and a proven track record to back it up, who has the potential to double, triple, quadruple etc... your income through what he teaches, what price do you put on that?
A lot of people feel uncomfortable charging money in exchange for their time, especially if they're doing something they enjoy, they feel (like the guy in the chat box) that perhaps it should be free or cheap.
Well, if you feel that way, you'll find yourself paralysed when it comes to progressing in your business. If you want to continue to grow, improve, be creative, and help others, you have to have the financial means to do this, and those who benefit on the other end of it, tend to be the first people in the run to providing you with that means.
So what is it you need to work on?
knowing and BEING COMFORTABLE WITH what youR EXPERTISE IS worth.
Everything is energy, your effort is energy and money is energy, they just take different forms. Reciprocity has many forms, and learning to receive, is just as important as learning to give.
So know that what you're doing to benefit others is worth something to them, and therefore is should be worth something to you, don't ever take it for granted that you have a certain skill, or level of expertise, because there are bunch of people out there who don't have that same gift.
For example, if you don't think and feel you could get to the top of the mountain, you'd likely never step foot on it, and if you did, you'd back down as soon as things started to get too difficult. If you don't think and feel you're worth whatever it is you need to be successful, regardless of what other people think, you'll likely never do what needs to be done to get there.
There are people on this earth who have made millions of dollars and pounds doing everything under the sun, from...
I'm so excited this week, I'm posting up an interview that I did with my mentor Yaro Starak, who I've been following since 2005 (when I started my VA business and he started blogging). In 2010 I'd built up a really great VA Business, back then I was generating around $19,000 a month gross in client business, selling my VA services, but around that time I was also getting a lot of questions from budding and more seasoned virtual assistants who were looking to find out how I was doing it.
I always tried to answer as many questions as I could, but it ended up that it would take me several hours a week, just providing this support, and I had seen how Yaro was developing his blog, and also he had a course that taught people how to do that, and make income from it, sharing their expertise with more structure, to reach a wider audience. So I jumped in and bought his Blog Mastermind programme and his Membership Mastermind programme together, which actually changed the course of my business forever...
I took both courses, attended the 'live' calls, asked questions and tried to absorb as much as I could. The steps I took were relatively simple, I created a blog and began posting (using Yaro's strategies and advice), I started building a mailing list (using the methods he teaches), and I then decided I was going to create a programme for virtual assistants.
The entire process took 3 months, I was blogging, built up a list of around 500 people, and at the end of the 3 months, I made over $19,000 in additional income. True Story, which you can learn more about from when Yaro interviewed me.
Michelle Interviews Yaro
In this video below, the roles are reversed and I'm chatting with Yaro, to pick his brain on the following topics:
Blog Profits Blueprint & other free resources
If you liked this interview and you have any interest in blogging to subsidise your VA income or even make a full time income, this is your guy - Yaro has a (Free) report, "Blog Profits Blueprint" which you can get right now, and I've also added his Blog Sales Funnel for you below - between these 2 resources, you're going to have a wealth of information to get you started, and if you sign up for the free Blueprint, I can tell you he'll also be doing a free 'live' webinar, which I highly recommend you attend, he'll let you know the details of that via email.
P.S. You probably know this by now already if you made it to the end of the interview! Yaro is opening up the doors to Blog Mastermind 2.0 this month and I'm so excited about this, it's the (brand new updated version) of the course I took in 2010, and for any virtual assistant or freelancer who wants to take blogging seriously as a way to earn a side income, or even a full-time one, this is the best investment you could ever make. Yaro doesn't just teach a programme, he guides you through it, he's there for help and support and he knows his subject, and countless success stories verify this.
Now for a grand finale ;-) I'm offering a very special bonus for anyone who purchases his programme here. I'm giving FREE access to my course, The VA Educator - The doors are currently closed (but they'll be opening for this offer as a special one-off), so this is not even accessible to the public yet, the course sells for £497 (So that's a course for over $700 completely free!). With this you'll learn how you can structure and build a membership site for a programme, or sell access to any other secure content which is the exact way I was able to generate that income from Yaro's course in 2010, so with both of these you'll have all the tools you need.
So, if you feel this could change the course of your life as much as it has mine, check out his Blog Mastermind 2.0 course, but before you buy, come back to this post and CLICK THIS LINK (which is my tracking link) and then I'll know who you are and will be able to provide access to The VA Educator course, completely free! Happy Blogging!
This is my first post of 2016! Happy New Year to you :-) Did you get a chance yet to look back at your last year's goals, mull them over, set new goals, or are you finding you're setting the same goals again, because last year, they just didn't happen?
I was determined in 2015 to achieve some bigger goals that have been on my annual goal list, shall we say more than once... Here are my 3 biggest achievements.
1 - I lost almost 70lbs in weight, and was able to fit into clothes that wouldn't have fitted me even as a teenager.
2 - I've always wanted a beautiful view of the ocean from my home, and I moved into a new house with just that, plus panoramic rolling hills, olive trees, and snow capped mountains.
3 - I finally replaced my failing car that we'd used to travel from country to country with a new car.
This is just to mention a few, I also did my first ever 'live' public speaking gig, and finally got my iPhone 6 (I had an iPhone 1!) and then it got me thinking... What was different last year to all the years before, and what makes us think that life is any easier for other people?
We all have challenges, setbacks, and many of us at some point could have said, 'I don't have enough money to do that, or time to do that' etc... The usual excuses as to why we don't achieve our goals that year.
The thing is, I've realised for most people life doesn't suddenly grant you a favour, we're essentially all in the same boat. We all have 24 hours in a day, and everyone no matter who they are, and how successful they've become have done it because of the way they chose to use those 24 hours and what they did in them.
So what did I do differently last year? I stopped making excuses. Yes I run a business, and a home, I have 3 children... This isn't unusual, and I realised that if I kept telling myself I can't do this because... or I'll do that when I have... Then those goals are just going to stay at the back of my excuses.
So I decided I was going to make time for myself, make time to get some exercise, educate myself on my body and food, to cook healthy meals, to find that home with my dream view, and to replace my car. There were times when I was concerned if I could really afford to do these things, I'd move forward sometimes not knowing where additional funds were going to come from, and even wondered if I was just destined to be overweight and maybe it was my metabolism or some other convenient belief that gave me permission to get to the end of the year again, without achieving it.
But I ignored those excuses, and didn't entertain them anymore as an option. Opportunities, ideas, solutions and even money just dropped into my lap when I could never have predicted it.
We really do all have the same 24 hours in a day, the people who succeed, the people who fail, the people who are happy, the people who are sad, the people with their health and the people who are unwell, the people who are rich, and the people who are poor, there may be some of us who appear to be more blessed than others because their life challenges are just different, you might consider them lucky, but perhaps it's not luck, it could simply be that they refuse to accept that life could be any less than what they want to make it, and then when that happens, the strength, the resources and even the time within those 24 hours, will present itself in some way or other no matter where you live or how many kids you have or whether you have the money to afford things right now or not. Yes, maybe it will be more challenging for you, yes maybe it would be easier under different circumstances, but what choice do you have other than to start where you are right now, and move forward regardless?
Whatever you choose to do this year, the best advice I can give you based on my experience is to listen to your excuses as to why this goal can't or won't happen, and don't accept them - make it your action to believe there is a solution and to seek it out. Attitude and action can change everything. I had the same 24 hours a day to accomplish these goals last year, that I'd had every other year before, I could even argue that my circumstances last year were more challenging than previous years, my father died, I have a little one year old, my older kids are presenting me with new parenting challenges, but I decided to believe in the possibility that my goals were achievable in my circumstances, exactly how they are now, and go from there.
Be mindful of those 24 hours each day and how you use them, anything is possible.
First post of 2016 on the blog! I wanted to share what I learnt last year after finally achieving some of my bigger goals in 2015. http://www.virtualmissfriday.com/michelle/we-all-have-the-same-24-hours
So if you hadn't heard the news already we've just started managing "The Virtual Assistant Network" group on LinkedIn, which you're very welcome to join. I'm super excited about this because LinkedIn is a great space to connect with colleagues. We had a question posted from a lady looking to get some advice on marketing to obtain clients, here's what she said:
"I'm starting my marketing efforts for my business however I have had no leads. I'm marketing on LinkedIn, Facebook and other websites I can find. I have had one feeler and that was it. Can anyone give me advice on how you found your first client?"
First, clients can come from a variety of places; my first client came from me offering to help an old colleague for free, so I could gain confidence - as without that, I know any kind of marketing wouldn't have been as effective. I couldn't ask a client to put their confidence in me, when I was lacking it in myself through inexperience.
Then my first paying client came many years ago before the age of social media. I'd submitted my business to "any and all" internet-based business directories and he happened to have found me through one of those.
These days with social media and networking groups you would think it would get easier, but our approach to marketing through these tools can greatly influence our success.
A lot of VAs I interact with will say they're marketing via social media. The first thing I ask is, "How?" and their answers are very different.
Here are a few examples I've come across:
Setting up a Facebook advert to send traffic, and then they hope for the best that the traffic will make an enquiry (or enquiries).
Posting blog posts to their Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter accounts.
Contacting connections and telling them about their virtual assistant business and asking if they could help them.
Trying to educate people on what a virtual assistant is.
None are wrong, or bad, but standing on their own, they aren't exactly effective.
So what's the most effective form of drumming up business online? Well, for me, it's been demonstrating to potential clients that I can see things they can't.
Here's a summary of the process.
1 - I'd be selective with who I'd contact, this means I'd never wait for leads to come to me, I'd go out and pick the leads I wanted to work with through those I'd connected with through general network building.
2 - Let's say I decided to look at 10 a day, I'd go to each one and look over their website, social media, I'd even sign up to their newsletter. I'd almost always be able to find a 'problem'.
3 - I'd then contact them either via an email, social message or video message letting them know how much I enjoyed visiting their site, and the action I took there. I'd then broach the problem I found and mention that I just wanted to make them aware of it, and also share that because of my line of work, I happen to be able to fix it, so if they need any assistance - don't hesitate to ask.
Doing this doesn't take that long when you consider how effective it is, and when you commit to a target of doing this so many times a day, you most likely will get a fair number of responses, and eventually paying clients.
The excellent part of this process, is that you should never, ever feel like you've wasted your time. You'll almost always have helped someone else uncover an issue in their business that they can fix - and that would help them improve, and every time you do that, "good juju is waiting in the wings" to deliver the good turn back to you by some other means!
One of the biggest issues facing VAs is getting a full business or needing to replace clients who they are no longer...
Creator of 1nSourcing™& CEO @ Virtual Miss Friday. Online Business Consultancy & Academy with Virtual Assistant Services
Internet | Other, OO
Michelle Dale is the founder of Virtual Miss Friday, an Online Business Consultancy and Academy with Built-In Virtual Assistant Services and the creator of 1nSourcing - a service that specialises in serving 6 and 7 figure business owners. She left the UK in 2005, at the age of 23 to pursue a dream of experiencing real freedom. She has grown a successful location independent online business, travelling and living abroad full time, meeting her husband and raising 3 children. She now supports men and women around the world in cultivating their own professional and personal aspirations in the digital world.
2007 - Present
CEO / VMF Ltd (Virtual Miss Friday)
This company provides products and services for online business owners across the globe. Founder and CEO Michelle Dale (www.MichelleDale.me) travels the world working online in the Virtual Assistant Industry as a digital nomad, very enthusiastically shaping businesses of all sizes into lucrative, paperless enterprises.
Personal Assistant to the General Manager / Sonesta Hotels
Responsible for the organisation, and operations of the general managers office at the Sonesta St. George Hotel, Luxor, Egypt.
Mortgage Paraplanner & Office Manager / Park Row Associates Limited
Paraplanner to a small office of independent financial advisor's. Responsible for record keeping, and processing of mortgage applications from start to finish, plus general daily operations.
Small Business Banking Advisor / Alliance & Leicester (now part of Santander Bank)
I started working in the Alliance and Leicester Mortgage processing centre in Shoreham-by-Sea, West Sussex, I then moved onto working in a branch of the bank in Launceston, Cornwall. From there I progressed into a main city branch in Cardiff, Wales and trained as a Small Business Banking Advisor.
Our 3.30am finish last night, (me and my husband who is shirtless, hey we live in the med, it's hot 😎) working through the explosion of 1nSourcing enquiries, we're troopers! Doors close at midnight tonight our time (Eastern European) there is still time to board the train 😀 http://www.1nSourcing.com/
Feeling sorry for myself, went into surgery today under local anaesthetic to have all 4 of my wisdom teeth pulled out, 2 hours in and he's still on the first tooth, he realises it's a complicated impacted, root fused extraction that should have been done under general anaesthetic - the dentist is sweating and panicking, the nurse is wiping his brow and it's not until he notices the water streaming from my eyes that the anaesthetic has worn off and I can feel everything :-( So he says, while drilling or cutting, whatever that was, "are you okay, can you feel something?" I tried to say with my eyes and a grunt "yes, everything" - he understood, dosed me up and we carried on - needless to say, he stopped after 2 teeth, and over 2 hours in the chair, I'm going back again after the bruising and swelling goes down for the next two that didn't get done to come out. Diamond.
We're almost there! This week I launched 3 training videos introducing the #1nSourcing business model for virtual assistants and I'm ready to answer your questions! Join me inside our Facebook event tomorrow (Saturday 17th) https://www.facebook.com/events/1048573518583196/?active_tab=posts at 1.30pm London Time / 8.30am New York Time where I will address any and all questions you have about 1nSourcing and help guide you with some next steps if you feel this is the way to go for you. If you've not yet signed up to watch the training, you still have time! Go to http://www.virtualmissfriday.com/1nsourcingtraining See you tomorrow!
This is where the magic happens, a warm night on the balcony, organic-sulfite-free glass of wine, sushi, notepad, pen, candlelight, and iTunes. Let the planning for a client launch that's going to kick some a*** commence! #virtualassistant #1nSourcing
Thought this was a great idea, and not something you see in summits too often - a 'what's coming' video for the experts in the interviews this is mine for Careers With Purpose hosted by the dashing Alex Wilson-Campbell :-D http://www.virtualmissfriday.com/careerswithpurpose
Good tip for busy peeps, especially mums and dads! We prep all our food for the day in the morning, I just made this and it tastes amazing so thought I'd share! Bulgur wheat, carrot, red cabbage, red onion, raisin, mint, parsley, lemon, cumin, spicy lemon pepper, pine nuts and avocado on the side 😍
Today is the last day you can sign up for the Lifestyle Business Summit for FREE! You can listen to me being interviewed by the lovely Michelle Villalobos along with 23 other awesome experts on how to build a lifestyle business. You totally don't want to miss this! https://goo.gl/39gRgO
You just can't help but do this as a location independent.... - when you go to the beach with your kids and see all the holiday makers, and you think, "You likely all have to go home at the end of the week, and I get to stay - YAY!" :-D
For anyone who's been waiting for the updates to my Roadmap programmes and courses this year - they are going to be seriously awesome - I've been planning out and crafting some kick-butt training - This is just the beginning, and I'm so excited to get stuck in and make this happen for you all. www.TheVARoadmap.com Watch this space.
I love this, I'm still so grateful that I quit my job at 23 to travel and start my own VA business. I'm 35 now and feel like I'm living my life, not watching it pass me by like I was before... Such a simple reminder of a very powerful message...
I've just experienced one of the most sobering days of my entire life... We went out this afternoon to pick up some stuff from town and arranged to drop in on some friends on the way home, as I was coming back to the car, the wife of the couple called and said her husband had gone out swimming and they lost sight of him, we arrived at their house where coastguards and helicopters were out looking for him, the sea was so choppy - I eventually had to leave to bring the kids home, but it's dark now and there is still no sign of him, we were all out together last Sunday for the day, so surreal... He's a father of 2 boys not much older than my kids. Hold your loved ones, be grateful that you can hold them and for every moment with them... **Update: He was found in the water, but sadly didn't make it**
I love the initiative this Greek Island of have taken to get #DigitalNomads on there and working - now if they just add a great childcare or tutoring facility I reckon I'd consider hopping over from Crete :-D http://www.digitalnomadslesvos.com/ Digital Nomads Lesvos
I met 2 really awesome ladies in India recently called Pat Duckworth and Kay Newton and they put together this video of a group of women from a conference we attended/spoke at called WEF - had to share, this is so sweet. https://youtu.be/bg9IvrsK584