Thinking Outside the Box with a Virtual Assistant

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I’ve been talking to a lot of business owners lately who are looking for ways to work virtually. Some are planning to take their online businesses offshore with them when they move to a foreign home. Others are using the ability to work virtually to travel or just work from home in their PJs. But, unless you’ve got a small or totally hands off business, at some point you’re going to need to find someone to help you out. And if you’ve got a virtual business, or want one, that means you need a virtual assistant.

I asked my friend Bobbie who runs a virtual assistant business about how her business is changing as more and more people need her services. Here’s what Bobbie had to say. By the way, you can reach Bobbie about her services at

I often tell new clients that in today’s world of the internet and technology, there’s nothing I can’t do “virtually.” To prove my point to one potential client in New Jersey, I found a local coffee shop (with great reviews) and had a slice of fresh apple pie (his favorite dessert I found out through our conversation) and hot coffee personally delivered to his office to his great (but happy) surprise!

The owner of a Maryland Graphic Design Studio recently contacted me about the problems she was having in staying organized with her growing and busy portfolio of clients and projects. She was finding herself waking up in the middle of the night afraid something had fallen “between the cracks” with her hectic and ever-changing workload. Having been in that same situation many times before myself, I suggested several options that could help make the situation less stressful and chaotic. The first solution that was implemented was the creation of a new Google document which tracked all open projects at a glance with clearly defined deadlines in one column and finished tasks in another column. From this document, I was able to send her important reminders of upcoming deadlines and tasks. We also set up a weekly call to review all current and new projects (and associated milestones) while I made real-time updates on the shared Google document. This simple weekly conversation helped capture any recent changes and necessary follow-up tasks. It was also invaluable in jogging the client’s mind about forgotten tasks or steps by focusing and walking through each project together. I was also able to suggest which tasks were better off delegated so she could free up her valuable time. Between those weekly meetings, I also suggested the owner open a new email each morning and make quick notations of what happened during that day and then at the close of each day send it to me to update the Google document. Just these few simple steps helped put this studio owner’s mind at ease, helped her feel more in control and freed up her time to do more marketing to keep her pipeline full of work. I hear she’s sleeping better too!

Executives often create client presentations on the fly … literally. One such client regularly split his time between Hawaii and Washington State and often flew back to Hawaii at a moment’s notice to do high-level client presentations for his convention television business. It was common to receive faxed rough sketches of a new presentation and review them together over the phone while he was waiting for his flight to board. While he was travelling, I would create the entire presentation. Then, using the location of the meeting, I would find the closest Kinko’s, email the order with detailed instructions and call the store to confirm everything would be ready (and paid for) so he could pick it all up on his way to his meeting. The client was never the wiser!

A coach in Virginia found her clients constantly asking for more detailed information about chakras; a subject she always referred to in her spiritual coaching business. Her clients were eager for more in-depth knowledge; but she just couldn’t find the extra time to create an eBook to offer to her ready-to-buy clients. After discussing the project, the client forwarded the research she already had completed, the images she wanted to use, charts and definitions she wanted to incorporate along with dictated MP3 files regarding the layout and some of the content. From all this information, I created her 15 page Reference Guide eBook; including a cover, references, a Disclaimer page, an Author Bio page, a newly designed graphic depicting the key elements of each of the seven chakras on the body along with pages dedicated to the specific breakdown of each chakra in much greater detail (Main Focus or Meaning; associated gemstones/crystals and oils; positive qualities; malfunctions or deficiencies; affirmations and which body parts the specific chakra can provide supportive energy). A quick review by the client and the eBook was ready to sell over and over again!

Everyone LOVES a vacation; but not everyone loves the endless details and logistics of taking a vacation. A client in Suffolk, Virginia, wanted to surprise his wife with a weeklong vacation on the water along with their young daughter. But he was almost paralyzed when contemplating the many options and prices. Where to start? He wanted something different, but the options were mind-boggling. After a long conversation about what he envisioned, I put together a reasonable package that included staying in a private condo right on the waterways with a huge balcony to watch the romantic sunrises and sunsets each day along with the many boats that frequented the harbor. Even better yet was the easy access to shopping, restaurants and entertainment, just walking distance from their lodging. I hear the huge bouquet of flowers that greeted them upon their arrival to the condo went over very, very well!

A client in Arizona was shocked when his designer/printer suddenly went out of business with no notice and left him scrambling to create a new annual brochure from scratch because they had never given him copies of his graphic files. One of the first things I suggested was addressing the lack of consistency among his brochures, business cards and signs. His logo was nicely designed (with palm trees and a sunset), but we made it even more eye-catching and dramatic by laying an actual sunset behind it. Then using the updated logo, consistent fonts, layout and colors, we ensured the branding was consistent across all their marketing materials. The brochure was then redone with a much greater emphasis on brand-new photos we shot to showcase his gorgeous RV Resort Park (it’s true that “a picture is worth a thousand words!”). The result was greater client interest and many, many compliments on how the message was delivered!

Find out more about how a virtual assistant can be way cheaper than you imagine and help you get organized, streamline your business and build your business. You can reach Bobbie Abdallah at: 520 762 7624

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