Public Holidays and Weekends

Hi as a VA we often ask what are public holidays and weekend. While working in the corporate world I rarely worked overtime or weekends, here its non stop. If im busy during the week and if by chance ive no work for the weekend then the weekend is spent marketing online but the chances of this are rare as most of the time ive work enough for 7 days a week. Being a VA means being very flexible, working around family and the house. Rarely do I get a public holiday off work, when working for overseas companies they dont have public holidays the same as us here in SA so as they are working. I will be working. The life of a VA is very hectic when you work for many clients that keep you busy

Signature on Emails

One of the ways to advertise your company continually is to sign off your emails.
Create a signature in Outlook, Tools, Options, Signatures.
Use this signature when sending out emails, to your colleagues, friends, the bank, relations, etc.
See mine below: This gives my full contact details, potential clients can contact me very quickly by the contact method that suites them. This is also a good way to get your company known, its continual advertising.

AMF Typing Services cchttp://www.amftyping.co.za/http://www.vaforhire.co.za/ Tavasa: Transcription and Virtual Assistants of SA, Tavasa Blog: http://www.tavasa.blogspot.com/ Cell: 082 871 3452, Office: 011 768 5028, Email: amftyping@mweb.co.za, alison@amftyping.co.za

Contracting out to Newbie VAs and Transcriptionists

Contractors

Lately a lot of Transcriptionists and Virtual Assistants are using Contractors. Often when the VA or Transcriptionist has work that is too large for her to do, or she is busy and needs assistance with tasks, she will ask for assistants from contractors. VAs or Transcriptionists who are newbie’s in this field, one of the best ways to learn about this business is to contract yourself out to other VAs, Transcriptionists, it is a great way to learn, and this gives you a good start in the industry as to how things work and the kinds of work available for you to do. But while you are contracting out to another VA don’t forget to still do marketing and networking for your own company/business. The aim must always be to get your own clients.

For you to contract to a client (VA/Transcriptionist) you need to incorporate the following Guidelines into your business, these are very important:
1. Follow the client’s instructions to the letter.
2. Communicate with your client and let them know how you are doing, keep them updated, it is the clients work you are doing and they need to be informed of your progress, because clients have deadlines to maintain.
3. Make sure you get clear instructions from your client.
4. If for some reason you cannot complete your task on time, contact your client and let them know you are running late and ask can you extend your deadline, or ask for assistance.
5. Make sure your client has all your contact details.
6. If you cannot perform a task and you know you will not have it ready for the deadline, do not take on the work in the first place.
7. I think there is a misconception here; if you are doing work for a VA or Transcriptionists they are your client and must be treat the same as you would any client.
8. It is up to you to keep in contact with the client, clients don’t have time to run around after you for the work. Communication is very important.
9. A contractor will earn in the region from 30% to 45% of the actual fee that your clients, client pays them.
10. A contractor will not have access to the client’s business information, nor will they abuse this information if they do have access to it. A contractor can be sued for abusing client information.
11. A Contract Agreement must be signed between Client and Contractor to cover both parties in the event of things happening.

Written by Alison Fourie, AMF Typing Services cc, © Copyright 2001 AMF Typing Services cc®, Ck2001/083866/23. All rights reserved.

Multi-tasking

What do you do in this situation, would your first step be to panic:

Client 1 sends you in a Business Plan to type, required today.
Client 2 sends you in 3 hours of transcription to type, required today.
Client 3 you arrange appointments for this client, so calls come in as and when.
Client 4 has a business presentation for you to type required tomorrow.

You first need to look at each task, put them into deadline date order, then put them into an order of the quickest one you can do first.

Then start working your way through the pile. Do one task at a time, you can stop quite easily in between to do your appointments as they come in, then quickly pick up where you left off.

Always work by prioritising and using time management skills when performing all your work. I love to multi-task. The more busy I am the more I can cope. I thrive on being busy and organised.

The importance of a Website/Blog

I feel that one of the most important items a Virtual Assistant can have, is a Website, to advertise your business/company on the Internet. As you start up I would suggest you start with a blog (a one page site with lots of information) and progress from there, as you get to know the Virtual Assistant Industry, you move on to having your own website. You can either build your own site or get a reputable company who specialises in web design to create your site for you. There are lots of Virtual Assistants worldwide who offer this service at a discount for other Virtual Assistants.
I advertise my website everywhere on the Internet, all the major SA and overseas search engines. Other VAs will see and view your website, as well as other businesses/companies worldwide.
I am using my website as a help tool for newbie and established VAs within SA. I have filled my pages with articles, Ebooks, job leads, lots of interesting items. My member section is full of information that is very helpful to Virtual Assistants.
Clients will see your website as they search the Internet for a VA. The client will contact you via your contact details which you will advertise on your website. You use your website to advertise the services you provide to clients.
It is up to the individual VA whether or not she places her rates on her site for people to see, some do, some don’t. I don’t put my rates on my site as I feel it draws the client to contact me further.
I use my website as my Internet marketing tool.
You need to keep your content on your website updated, keep adding new content as you need people to keep going back to your site, don’t make your site to fussy, written articles draw clients, links draw clients. Your aim of your site should be to draw clients and Internet browsers back to your site, time and time again. Make your site interesting and easy to read, don’t clutter it with colours, keep things simple and interesting.
An important part of a website is the keywords that you place within your site that will draw your target market to you. Its important to choose the correct words that people search on, I am a Virtual Assistant and some of my keywords are Virtual Assistant, Secretarial, Typing, Administration, these are some of the words that potential clients will use to search for as they look for a Virtual Assistant.
Your website is your Internet presence and it reflects you and your company, so it should be a reflection of who and what you are about, that’s my opinion.
Make sure you do not copy content from other people’s sites, use this website to check your site for coping: http://www.copyscape.com/. There are places on the Internet whereby you can take articles and content for free, it’s easy to search for these via Google etc. If you would like to copy something from another persons site always ask there permissions first, never just copy and paste.
Blogging is another great tool for your business, you can update your blog daily/weekly this will bring traffic to your site. Blogging is fun and there are lots of free blogging sites available. A blog is more informal than a website. Asking for comments on articles, information on your blog is a great way to interactive with other internet users, if you provide good content, people will come back to your blog often. Research the Internet and find out about blogging to give you an idea of what it is about.
My website: http://www.amftyping.co.za

Dealing with Clients

A lot of newbie Vas and Transcriptions have a Secretarial background, so should be used to dealing with clients…

The quicker you reply to an email, sms, fax or query from potential clients, you more liable you are to secure that client.
Clients must be treat as equals, you are both on the same level, and you are providing them with a service they require.
I learnt very early on in my career to provide a quality customer services and I have always done this with my clients. I treat each client as if they are my only client and they know I have a lot of clients, but I make them feel special and make them feel as if their work is very important to me and I would say that clients appreciate this.
Never try to sell a service to a client that you cannot perform, the client will immediately pick up on this and very soon you will be caught out. Only offer the services that you have experience in.
Be confident in your approach with potential clients, the more confidence you show in knowing what you are doing, this is again a way to bag the client.
Show an interest in getting to know your client, ask for company profile, company website so that you can see what that client does, that is a great help when sending out emails, doing PowerPoint presentations and doing press releases for clients and it shows you are interested in knowing more about them.
You as a VA or Transcriptionist should be the one who gives your client a rate for the job, not the client. You should be able to negotiate on deadlines, as you know how long jobs take to do. The client does not always know and often it is the case in transcription. The client has no idea how long it takes to transcribe an hour’s work, but you do. If the deadline is not reachable negotiate with the client and tell them it is unmanageable, be honest up front, never be afraid to approach a client, you are on equal terms.
Do not address clients as Sir, Madam, and Mr Brown etc; address them by their first name, as they do you. You are working with them, not for them, the way you address the client makes a difference in how they will treat you and the level in which they converse with you on.
VA and Transcriptionists are Business Owner, so make sure you portray this to prospective clients.

If you need help or assistance in dealing with clients, quotations, please contact me. I have lots of experience in dealing with all types of clients. alison@amftyping.co.za

Backing up your Data

How many of us have lost all our information on our PC’s at some time or another. I’ve lost my data/files/software at least 3 times. I have learnt how important it is to back up my files.
I now use external hard drives which I have attached to all my office and children’s pc’s. I run backups daily for all my files, I also keep a CD and memory stick backup, I have been caught too many times lately.
I advise you to back up everything if you can. I have just lost all my photographs that I had copied onto my pc over the years, I have lost every email message I had, as I keep them in folders as often you need to go back and check something, I now have to start this again, and another thing which is very important is your address book, keep a copy, that’s the one thing you don’t want to loose and I was lucky I didn’t loose this.
It is so important to back up and you usually only realise this once you have lost all your files.
I have recently found out that having free antivirus software is not the way to go, I have a 60 day trial period with Avast Professional and when the trial period is over I will be buying a copy of the antivirus software.

Running my business: AMF Typing Services cc (I will keep updating this section as it will be helpful to all newbies to see how a VA business is run).

I want to tell you some of the steps I use in running AMF Typing Services.
I keep records of everything.
I keep client files, client details on pc and in their own personal files.
I keep a work schedule in MS Word, I use this to document every job that comes into my office. I log the date, time, what the job is and what is involved, deadline time, time the work actually is done by, and who is working on the job as some jobs are contracted out.
I also keep an Excel spreadsheet of all invoices I send and to whom, for contractors and clients. This is updated as required.
I also keep logs of specialist VAs and contractors, who are specialists say in PowerPoint, bookkeeping etc.
I keep as much information as I need for my job/business on paper and in email folders and MS Office.
I fully believe in keep good records as often you need to back track.

Working from Home as a Transcriptionist in South Africa Ebook – R90

E-Book “Working from Home as a Transcriptionist in South Africa”!

This E-book is packed with everything you need to know about working from home as a transcriptionist in South Africa. I started out as a transcriptionist in 2005 and I’ve included everything I’ve learned along the way that I wish someone had told me. How do you get that first client, how do you keep your clients, how do you invoice, and quote? What about where can you find support? What equipment do you need? All this information and more is available in my E-Book. Buy it today. This is information I wish somebody had told me – I would have been able to get going so much faster. These are my tried and trusted methods. There are many American transcriptionist guides but “Working from Home as a Transcriptionist in South Africa” has challenges and obstacles all its very own and answers particular questions faced by South African Transcriptionists.Buy my book today!! Much cheaper than other shorter publications on similar topics.

Email: gpaynter@telkomsa.net or 083 442 4689.
Typewrite Transcription and Typing Services CC – www.typewritetranscription.co.za

(NEW) AMF Typing Services Diary Sessions

Introducing my diary sessions: in these sessions I will update my blog often, I will let you know what kind of day ive had, if anything interesting has happened or if there is any news to tell. My aim is to show you how busy a VA can be during the day and to give you some idea how a VA can cope and handle pressure with deadlines, working for more than one client at a time.