7 Surprising Places to Find Your Virtual Assistant

 

Where to find a Virtual Assistant
7 Surprising Places to Find Your Virtual Assistant

Welcome to Whose Business Is This, Anyway? Where the tasks are unending and your stress level doesn’t matter: Sound familiar?

If it also sounds like your life as an entrepreneur, until this point every little milestone of that life has probably been a celebrated victory. But the novelty is probably starting to wear off.

Related: The Virtual Assistant: A Startup’s Secret Weapon

 There’s content to be edited and updates to be made to your website. You’ve missed two meetings and can’t remember who the contacts are to reschedule them. And your inbox count looks like the GDP of a small country.

There’s a lot to be said about optimizing your own daily routine to get the most out of your days, but that can only take you so far. While you may have aspirations of a tremendously profitable quarter, it’s probably time to compose yourself and admit that you’re not going to be able to do it all alone. You can’t continue growing a business if you’re tethered to your desk.

Traditional hiring processes take far too long when you need someone immediately who can take the load off your shoulders. Ideally, you want someone who can materialize, quickly get up to speed on what’s happening, handle the workload, and disappear until needed again.

I’m referring to a VA (virtual assistant).

This is where a lot of entrepreneurs will cringe. Sure, it’s hard to give up control, and you may find it a challenge to find someone who is reliable and whom you can trust with private company intel. But those someones are out there: You just have to know where to look.

Here are seven surprising places to start your search.

1. Twitter

I am absolutely advocating that you search social media to find a stranger to trust with your business. Start talking about the need for a virtual assistant on Twitter, and you’ll be surprised just how fast VA businesses will respond and start following you. Some of the best VA companies have listening posts set up with alerts to find people just like you.

The best part is that if you’ve got a social-savvy VA, Twitter is just one more task he or she can help you with.

2. Your network

If your contact list includes other business owners, mentors, influencers, professionals or any combination thereof, then it’s time to make calls and let them know you need help. Chances are, they know someone, or can recommend a service they may have used in the past. Don’t ever forget about the power of referrals and word of mouth.

Inspired by Tim Ferriss’ The 4-Hour Workweek, New York Times bestselling author Michael Hyatt decided it was time to pick up a virtual assistant when he began to focus on his writing and saw his blog traffic (and workload) spike. He has had the same virtual assistant for years now and swears by her.

“I found that I was so much more productive that it was well worth the additional investment,” Hyatt says of his assistant. “She’s just one of my teammates — and a very valuable one at that.”

Related: How to Hire a Virtual Assistant for Startup Success

3. VANetworking

If you’ve never worked with a virtual assistant and you came up short on referrals, VANetworking is a good place to start. VAs often network and come together here as a means of finding work, as well as solutions. Not only do they provide information for clients who want to work with a virtual assistant, they also have a hiring section where you can post in search of a VA.

4. Craigslist

This one might be as surprising as Twitter. While the go-to classifieds site has its share of scammers, it’s very possible to find a top-notch virtual assistant on Craigslist. You can also look on Craigslist sites elsewhere in the world and choose your desired location, though the local aspect can be a huge benefit. Even though your assistant will be working remotely, you’ll have the advantage of setting up a face-to-face interview as if you were hiring an in-house employee.

Just make sure you do your legwork, like verifying work history and checking references.

5. Zirtual

Zirtual is a great choice for startups and entrepreneurs as the site specializes in providing dedicated virtual assistants to entrepreneurs, professionals and small teams. One of the biggest perks is that it works only with college-educated VAs who are based in the United States, so you don’t need to worry about the vetting process. Zirtual boasts that fewer than 2 percent of applicants get hired on to their service.

Pat Flynn, founder of Smart Passive Income, often shares the benefits of working with virtual assistants on his podcast. In his tutorial on delegation, he writes, “I know just how valuable my time is and where my time should be invested to give me the most return.”

6. Workshops and events

Hopefully, you’re consciously aware that you’ll need help down the road and that you have time to be on the lookout. If that’s the case, then always keep the VA search in the back of your mind as you travel to industry events, workshops, and lectures. Those are great places for industry professionals to gather. If you find a VA at an event like this, you know he or she already has at least one foot inside the door of your industry.

Related: Hiring a Virtual Assistant Grew My Business, and Changed My Life

7. College campuses

A local college, or any college for that matter, can be a great place to locate a VA. Talk with career counselors or professors, or post hiring ads on campus job boards to try to locate a student studying in your industry. You may find a student chomping at the bit for a paid internship, willing to act as a virtual assistant as a means of learning the industry and gaining experience in his or her chosen career track.

*  This post first appeared on Entrepreneur.com on 17th October 2016 and is written by SUJAN PATEL

**  Header Image courtesy of Pixabay.com and edited by Virtuadmin.uk

Webinar Success with Transcription

Webinar Success with Transcription
This post originally appeared on Business 2 Community 13th October 2016, written by Jessica Vionas

After the webinar is done, I usually heave a huge sigh of relief (especially if there were no technical difficulties!). However, you just had a whole bunch of people engage with you for an hour—now is not the time to drop the ball!

Recording

Recording your webinar is super important for a variety of reasons, including:

  1. Webinar registrants expect that a recording will be available after the event. If a meeting comes up or attendees must leave early, they expect to be able to catch the recording later.
  2. After attending the live event, webinar attendees may want to recommend watching the recording to a colleague.
  3. Recordings allow the marketer to get a transcription made.
  4. This transcription helps in creating other pieces of content from the information in the webinar.
  5. A transcription should also be uploaded to your website for SEO purposes.
  6. A transcription also allows an option for hearing-impaired audience members to access to the content.
  • Recordings are another piece of gated content that can be offered on your website in perpetuity to convert new visitors into leads.
  • You can send a recording to potential speakers so they can see what your webinars are like and what previous presenters have covered.
  • New customers may find past webinars helpful in educating themselves on a particular topic.

Because of these reasons, the best practice is to always have one main recording mechanism as well as a backup in case the first fails. (I have had my laptop crash in the middle of recording a live webinar. It happens.) Many webinar software options now have a recording feature, so you can rely on that functionality as one method.

Sidebar: How do you put the recording on your website?

One of the methods I used for delivered the recording was to upload the video to YouTube as an unlisted video and then embed it on our website’s thank you page (this can also work with Wistia, Vimeo, or any other video hosting site). Another option would be to give visitors the ability to download the video file directly to their computers by uploading the raw MP4 or WAV file. You may decide to do both.

For the backup, have a non-presenting or participating employee record as an attendee using software such as Camtasia. Make sure this recorder turns off all notifications including email and chat, turns off all screen savers (and power save mode for laptops); turns off the microphone, and doesn’t use the computer at all during the webinar. This will result in the cleanest recording possible.

If you are able, test both recording mechanisms during one of your dry runs to make sure the quality and technology are working properly.

Once the webinar is over, review both recordings and select the one that is better. (Usually one will have superior sound compared with the other.) If any major faux pas occurred during the webinar (such as software crashing during a product demo or a question that didn’t make sense), they can be edited out, as can any dead space at the beginning or end.

Some companies choose to do a second session of the webinar for recording purposes only. This may lead to a more polished presentation because the speaker has already given the content once. Depending on how the live event goes, this may or may not be necessary. Another option is to replace a certain section of the webinar that didn’t go well and not the whole thing. When choosing this method, just be aware that sound differences will make this splice noticeable to the listeners, so choose wisely.

Post-Event Activities

  • If the speaker was external, call immediately after the webinar is over and thank him or her for presenting. (You may want to also send a gift, depending on if you agreed to an honorarium.)
  • Sending the registration and attendee spreadsheets to your sales team.
  • Sending any unanswered questions to the speaker and asking to respond to you with the answers so that you can get back to the attendees (unless the presenter doesn’t mind responding to the attendees directly, but usually, I have found that speakers prefer someone else handle it).
  • Editing and uploading the recording of the webinar to whichever hosting service you’ll be using.
  • Sending the recording to a transcription service and then uploading the finished transcript to your website.
  • Updating your webinar registration page for the recording, or archiving the registration page and creating a new landing page for the recording.
  • Responding to any people who emailed you asking for access to the recording and/or slides.
  • Uploading the slides to SlideShare.
  • Going back to any blog posts you wrote about the upcoming webinar and either editing them to include the link to the recording or posting a comment with the link.
  • Updating the website announcements with revised wording to view the recording instead of registering for the event. Don’t forget to add the recording to your resources page on your website.
  • Creating CTAs for use at the end of blog posts on the topic.

Follow-Up

Follow-up after the webinar is just as important as promoting the webinar before the event.

Most post-webinar campaigns will usually include sending an email to all the registrants with a link to the recording and slides. (Send a slightly different email to those who attended and to those who didn’t.) For customers, this may be all that is needed.

Prior to the webinar, you should have already determined what you want the next steps to be for leads who attended. If the topic was educational, one option is to direct attendees to download an e-book or visit a blog post that ties the subject matter to your company and product (consideration or decision stage content).

For leads who are new to your database, lead nurturing over the next couple of weeks can help solidify your company as a source of educational content with the eventual goal of helping them down the buyer’s journey.

Other Post-Event Considerations

Webinars take a lot of time and work. Don’t let this effort go to the wayside: Think about how you can use the webinar content in other ways. Perhaps the speaker would be interested in writing a post on the topic they just covered. Or, take the transcript and develop your own blog post from it (a one-hour webinar can easily be repurposed into three blog posts). Was there a section of the content that would lend itself to an infographic? How about a podcast with your internal expert breaking down the webinar play-by-play? Even the Q&A section can be reused.

* This post originally appeared on Business 2 Community on 13th October 2016, written by Jessica Vionas

Why Is Speed Important in Audio Transcription?

What is audio transcription?
What is audio transcription?

Transcription is one of the largest growing industries, not just in the Medical Industry but in many others.  Digital technology advancements enable pretty much anyone, from an academic requiring interview transcription for their dissertation, to Entrepreneurs and small businesses to utilize online transcription services.

Creating a transcript from recorded audio does require a special set of skills, however.  Everything from listening to the audio and listening in detail to an understanding of the language; having excellent spelling and grammar skills is important.  One of the most important skills, though, is typing, preferably touch typing.

Keep reading to learn more about why typing speed is so important in the world of transcription whether you do it full-time or part-time.

Accuracy means efficiency for your client

For anybody doing transcription from dictation or recorded audio, the job requires a fair amount of speed, accuracy, and effort to create an accurate transcript.  To make any decent amount of money this is an essential element.  Why? Because the average transcriptionist that types approximately 70-80 words per minute, will take, depending on the amount of speakers and audio quality, roughly 4-5 hours to transcribe.

That means that the ability to type quickly and accurately will improve the amount of money that you make performing an online transcription service like Virtuadmin.  Sending back an as accurate a transcript as possible means less time for them having to check and correct mistakes.  That inevitably means saving time means saving money.  Delivering an accurate transcript on time, or earlier, also then sets you apart from other service providers.

Audio Transcription and Dictation

Transcription services can typically not be just copying-typing down text from one piece of paper or screen to another.  Some of the audio transcription transcriptionists do every single day means typing exactly what you hear.

Most transcription jobs, though, are not ones where you are sitting in the same room with the person dictating, you would then be audio typing as the person dictating would be instructing you exactly where to put the punctuation.  If they are not, however, then you are indeed transcribing.

Transcriptionists work with audio where you upload the recordings and transcribe what is being said.   A transcriptionist, freelance or employed directly by a specialized transcription company, could be typing anything from market research notes to day-to-day activity logs.  This type of transcription is essential for busy professionals who need notes and thoughts in written form.

Conclusion

Anybody can require their audio or video to be transcribed into text.  It could be for a one-off call/meeting, interview, the reasons are endless.  Equally, the ability to record what you need transcribing, has, through the new technological age, the ability to just record your conversation on your mobile, tablet, and now wristwatches.

With so many choices in ways to produce audio recordings, digital online audio transcription services are growing in demand day by day.

However, although it may seem attractive to be able to work from home, working when you want, the money may not be fantastic, especially at the start.  It may not make your fortune.

If you enjoy listening and typing, that’s a good start to working in the transcription field, just be prepared to start working for low pay in the beginning, and work your way up to what could be a good wage.  Maintaining a regular constant typing speed and accuracy is important, that is what will, at the end of the day determine how much you earn for that audio hour you are charging for.

 

10 Invoicing Tools to Make Freelancers’ Lives Easier

Freelancers Invoicing Tools

Freelancers’ success depends on their organizational skills – both when it comes to finding/delivering work, and especially when it comes to getting paid. After all, “The cornerstone to getting…

Freelancers’ success depends on their organizational skills – both when it comes to finding/delivering work, and especially when it comes to getting paid. After all, “The cornerstone to getting paid is more effective invoicing.” So says freelance financial journalist Miranda Marquit – and she’s right.

There’s a vast array of freelancer-friendly invoicing tools out there, with a variety of features to please every solopreneur:

  • “Easy Pay” integration with PayPal, Quickbooks, etc.
  • Recurring invoices option/automation
  • Template customization and branding options
  • User-friendly phone app
  • Expense reporting
  • Time tracking tool
  • Internationally compatible
  • Price (of course!)

Here are 10 great invoicing tools that keep these features in mind:

  1. Due – Due has done, well, its due diligence when it comes to creating a service that is both sophisticated and intuitive for both freelancers and clients. You can customize just about everything from the design of the invoice to your payment terms, all while safely storing information in the cloud. The “freemium” service allows for 2 free invoices per month while the premium service is $49 annually or about $4/month. Favorite features: Ability to track partial payments, and simultaneous invoicing for multiple contacts.
  1. FreshBooks – With 5 million users and growing, FreshBooks‘ cloud-based accounting service is a serious contender. They’ve got noteworthy features like a 24/7 “award-winning” support team, a newly designed iOS app, and recently launched card reader technology. They offer a 30-day free trial, and unlimited invoices for a starting rate of $12.95 per month, up to five clients.
  1. Nutcache – For their reasonable price and generous features, Nutcache is quite appealing. The list of included services is impressive, so you should have no trouble finding a package with the features you need. A favorite: Ability to attach and store documents with invoices and estimates. Nutcache’s caters to both individual entrepreneurs and enterprises – so feel free to explode your business. Free accounts offer the basics – recurring invoices and VIP support require a subscription, which starts at $5 per month.
  1. Hiveage – Hiveage, formerly Curdbee, offers unlimited customers and invoices in their free plan. Additional features, like time tracking, cost extra. Don’t like any of their packages? Create your own customized plan starting at $6.95 per month. Favorite feature: Ability to manage multiple teams and businesses from a single account.
  1. Wave – Wave has a niche with the little guy (independent contractors, sole proprietors, or companies with nine employees or less) and for good reason. Mentionable features include the ability to create and send recurring invoices, to see when invoices are viewed, to add messages to your invoices, and to do all of the above for multiple clients at once – for free. However, when it comes to accepting payment from credit cards, they charge the standard rate (2.9% + $0.30 in the US).
  1. Invoicera – Invoicera‘s notable features include ability, to add custom fields to invoices and set your own exchange rate (small business level). They also offer detailed invoicing reports, handy for budgeting. A free plan is available for subscribers with three clients or less, with pricing starting at $19.95 per month for larger client bases.
  1. Zoho – Zoho is easy to understand and free to use if you have 5 clients or less. For those who need more than invoicing, Zoho offers additional tool suites like sales and marketing and human resources – which can all be managed from one account, though each is priced separately. One nice invoicing feature is the option to send retainer invoices for advance payments. Paid plans start at $15 per month.
  1. Harvest – Harvest allows you to quickly create personalized invoices that are compatible with international currency and tax rates. The look of the invoices is super easy to read – for example, you can list your amount due at both the top and bottom of the page. Integration with Forecast, their time planning tool, lets you compare estimates versus actual costs to stay on budget. Four clients or two projects per month are free, with unlimited options available at $12 per month.
  1. Billbooks – With Billbooks‘ cloud-based accounting and invoicing service, you are given the option to pay for invoice “credits” as you go instead of paying a monthly fee. Their abbreviated invoice creation process can be done in less than 60 seconds. You also have the option to customize your dashboard to organize exactly as your brain desires. For up to three invoices per month, the service is free, with credit packages starting at $10 per month.
  1. Simplybill – With the motto “Experience the joy of billing,” Simplybill boasts they’re the “easiest to use” of all online invoicing services. That’s something for you to decide. They offer 40+ template designs, cloud-based storage, simple invoicing tools, and additional features starting at a cool $5 per month.

Freelancers have enough to do without cobbling together DIY invoicing options – especially with so many great tools to choose from. And who has time to sort this all out in any meaningful way? Or you can stick with handwritten tallies, of course. Though your accountant might kill you.
Read more at http://www.business2community.com/small-business/10-invoicing-tools-make-freelancers-lives-easier-01545716#6t0c3SJI8P8MWeGy.99

Source: 10 Invoicing Tools to Make Freelancers’ Lives Easier