Online Business

  • How I became a booked out Virtual Assistant and quit my 9 to 5

    About 1.5 years ago I found out about the wondrous world of “Virtual Assisting.” I could be self-employed and “assist” people online with the skills I already had? Yeah okay right.

    I had already played with the idea of monetizing a blog for a while. I even started one and wrote a few posts but except for a few occasional affiliate sales, it was a random time-consuming hobby. Could people really make money online? 

    I had a marketing degree and a few years of experience working in the corporate world. But would anyone pay me when I offered these skills online? I was very skeptical, to say the least. 

    I wasn’t particularly fond of my 9-5 and was so tired of my 10 days of vacation every year. So the promise of “being my own boss” and “working from anywhere” definitely sounded appealing to me. 

    To start out I decided to launch it as a side hustle. I wanted to see if this crazy idea would even be sustainable or bring in any money at all. I researched, learned, and read everything about Virtual Assistants that I could find. I rebranded my blog writing about all things online business and marketing. 

    I started my social media channels and crafted my offers and packages. And after a few weeks, I had my first client and my first PAID invoice – what?! So this thing was actually a legit business idea – woo!

    Within a few months, I was booked out

    Once I found my first client things started to snowball. My first client referred me to two other clients, people found me on Instagram or my website and reached out…it was crazy.

    I worked hard so I could work at my 9-5 AND for my VA clients. It was challenging at times (lots of late nights and teaching myself all kinds of skills) but it paid off.

    After about 4 months I was ready to quit my full-time job (something I never ever thought I would say).

    There I was – a full-time self-employed Virtual Assistant and Social Media Manager. Happy, excited, confident, and terrified. For the first time in my life, I was my own boss. Could I really do this?!

    I’m going to be honest with you. It was (and continues to be) HARD WORK. All the late nights and steep learning curves I mentioned earlier were exhausting but I knew I wanted this to work out more than anything. So I pulled through.

    What did I offer?  

    I specialized in social media and content creation. I managed social media and Pinterest accounts for life and career coaches. I created content for blogs, podcasts, and YouTube channels. I designed social media graphics, wrote blog posts, researched the best keywords and tags, and so much more.

    It was such an incredible feeling to work with people 1:1. I helped small business owners succeed in their marketing efforts.

    The best part? I was my own boss. It was everything I imagined and more. I know working from home is not for everybody but I could never go back.

    I don’t have to deal with my morning commute. I can finally sleep in or wake up early (depending on how I feel). I have time to go for a long morning walk with my dog every day. I implemented a morning routine (walk, work out, stretching, coffee, meditating, journal, self-care).

    I choose the clients I want to work with and the services I want to offer. I spend all day with my dog (my favorite part). The advantages are endless.

    Hands down the best decision I ever made.

    After a while, I started shifting the focus in my business offering more specialized services and digital products (but that’s a story for another day).

    I hope sharing my story will make you realize that starting your dream business (and dream life) is possible. Just go for it!

    If you need more help or want to start your own Virtual Assistant Business I got something special for you!

    Check out my 40 page eBook – “Become a successful Virtual Assistant in 5 Weeks.” I want to help as many aspiring VA’s as possible so I’m offering it for free!

    I break down EVERYTHING you need to kickstart and launch your VA business in just 5 weeks. 

    What you will learn:

    • Create your offers
    • Brand and name your business
    • All the tools and programs you need
    • How to find clients
    • Market yourself
    • Legal Stuff
    • And so much more!

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  • The Best 5 Books for Female Entrepreneurs – Must Read!

    woman reading book on the floor pink shirt

    Over the last few years, I’ve read dozens of books and some of them have been total life and game changers for my business.

    I’ve come up with my top five best books for female entrepreneurs. I’m convinced that they will help you take your business to the next level and crush your goals (as they did for me ;)).

    Maybe you started your business recently or you’ve been at it for a while and are thinking of quitting? Wait!
    Get ready to be inspired and overcome your limiting beliefs. These books can teach you a thing or two about business, mindset, strategy, and success!

    Keep on reading to learn from the best and most successful women in the business world.

    You are a Badass at Making Money – Jen Sincero

    You are a badass at making money book cover

    This one had to come first since it’s my favorite book ever! The funny thing is that I would have never ever bought this book for myself (phew money issues, me?) but fortunately my business coach sent me this book…and my life hasn’t been the same since.

    I rarely related to a book this much. It’s like Jen Sincero is in your head, working hard to get you all the wealth you ever dreamed of.

    Wealth is already available to each of us. All you have to do is change your mindset and tap into that wealth. This book teaches you how.

    If you’ve been struggling to make money or to scale your business get “You are a badass at making money” right here.

    Everything is Figureoutable – Marie Forleo

    Everything is figureoutable Book Cover

    “Everything is figureoutable.” So much more than a fun quote to pin to your Pinterest board. It’s a way of life.

    I love her honesty, passion, and unapologetic optimism.

    Get ready to build the attitude and mindset necessary to create your dream business.

    Marie Forleo breaks down what exactly makes up the “figureoutable” in life. All you have to do is follow the advice in this book so that you can figure things out as you go along in life.

    Ready to become the creative force of your own life? Get “Everything is figureoutable” here.

    Mind Your Business: A Workbook to Grow Your Creative Passion Into a Full-time Gig – Ilana Griffo

    Mind Your Business: A Workbook to Grow Your Creative Passion Into a Full-time Gig Book

    I hadn’t heard of this book before but my friend recommended it and I love the workbook style.

    It’s filled with tons of lists, prompts, and planning pages so you can brainstorm and self reflect:

    • Pros and cons of being your own boss
    • Why do I want to start a business
    • business expenses
    • brand board…

    And so much more.

    If you’re planning, dreaming about, or wanting to scale your creative passion this book is for you.

    It covers everything from identifying your ideal client to legal guidelines to productivity.

    Get “Mind your Business” here.

    The Universe Has Your Back Gabrielle Bernstein

    The Universe has your back book

    As you might suspect from the title this book is a little woo-woo…but in the best of ways!

    Gabrielle’s stories and lessons provide a framework for achieving happiness, security, and clarity.

    Reading this book felt like a warm blanket with a mug of hot tea. It has helped me overcome a lot of my self-confidence and insecurity issues.

    If you want to learn how to shift your awareness from fear to love, purpose, and freedom this book is for you.

    Get “The Universe has your back” here.

    She Means Business: Turn Your Ideas into Reality and Become a Wildly Successful Entrepreneur – Carrie Green

    Carrie Green She Means Business Book

    The perfect guide for all the dreamers and doers out there! There has never been a better time to start your own online business. This book teaches the foundations you need with actionable, easy to read chapters.

    Carrie shares all the challenges she faced when she started her own business years ago (and how she overcame them).

    After reading this book you will believe that you, too can have a successful business no matter what.

    You will finally be able to understand the fears and doubts that can get in the way when starting your business. You will also learn how to get clear on your business vision (a big block for me in the beginning) and so much more!

    BONUS:

    If you want more, check out Carrie’s course “Start and Grow your Membership Site.” I signed up and can’t wait to dig in because I know her content and knowledge is absolute gold!

    Have you read any of these books for female entrepreneurs? Which book is next on your list?

    Leave any recommendations on what other books I should have on my reading list below.

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    5 best books for female entrepreneurs Pinterest Pin
    5 best books for female entrepreneurs Pinterest Pin
    Are you a female blogger or influencer? Check out this 4-page media kit template:
  • How to Create a Client Welcome Package and What to Include

    The Onboarding Process - What you need to know

    Finding and signing new clients consistently is nearly impossible without the right systems and processes. Here are a few questions you need to ask yourself before you’re ready to onboarding a new client:

    • What services and packages do you offer at what price point?
    • How do you generate new leads (Instagram, referrals, content marketing, blog, Facebook Ads, a combination of strategies, etc.)?
    • How can potential clients get in touch with you?
    • Do you have a Services and Pricing Guide you can share with them?
    • How do you structure your discovery call?
    Take some time to write these things down (if you haven’t already). Once you have all of this figured out its time to dive into the onboarding process.

    So you just signed a new client...

    You’re thrilled! Your dream client has agreed to work with you and you both can’t wait to get started! But what happens next? Do you have a streamlined process?

    Or do you send dozens of emails to your client trying to figure out scheduling, expectations, timelines, payments, and questions? It’s time you create a client welcome package!

    Keep reading to find out what to include in your Client Welcome Package so you can finally set CLEAR expectations and give them EVERYTHING they need from the start. Show your new clients how professional you are.

    By streamlining your client onboarding process you will also save tons of time and get peace of mind that your client will be taken care of.

    What to include

    Send an onboarding email that includes your contract, invoice, and welcome packet.

    Your welcome packet should set clear expectations and include information like communication guidelines, project details, turnaround times, etc. Depending on how your business works (e.g. if you don’t have a team, you can skip the “Meet the Team” page), consider adding the following pages.

    Welcome Message/ Meet the Team

    Include a quick welcome message welcoming your client. Explain the purpose of the welcome packet and share how excited you are to start working them. Emphasize things like your values and why they made the right choice working with you. You can also add your social media handles. 

    If your client will be working with any of your team members you can quickly introduce them and explain their roles if applicable.

    Use a handwritten font to sign this welcome page and include a headshot to give it a personal touch.

    What to expect

    Now that they decided to work with you, what can they expect from you within the next few days or weeks ? Another call, a tutorial video, a team member reaching out to them, etc.? List it all right here.

    Package Details

    Outline important details about the package your client selected and the services that you will be providing as part of your agreement here. List the investment, milestones and summarize the desired outcome.

    Project Details and Outcome

    What tasks are included in the project? List the exact tasks and detailed scope for each. Explain any desired results and goals you discussed with your client.

    Client Resources

    Share all the resources your client might find helpful – articles, videos, passwords, folders you created for them, links to invoices or contracts, etc. Do you use a specific project management tool such as Trello or Asana? Explain the purpose of the tool and include a link for them to sign up.

    Are there any other resources that you have used in the past or that you discussed with your client on the phone that can make their life easier? Include it all in the resource sections so your client has a central hub they can refer back to. 

    Your Process

    Do you have a signature process (e.g. for website design or social media management)? List your step-by-step process e.g. Sign Contract, Complete Client Homework, Book your Kickoff Call, etc. 

    Invoice

    This includes an itemized list of your services. Break down all your packages, hours, services, etc. List the total price of your services so your client knows how much exactly they have to pay. You can include a link in your package so your client can pay the invoice right away.

    Your Business Guidelines

    These guidelines are very important to set boundaries and clarify expectations with your client. Get clear on your business hours aka when you are available to respond to emails, calls, or urgent requests. The last thing you want is a client to expect you to be available 24/7. 

    List your contact information and  your preferred method of contact (e.g. email, message, chat, phone, Facebook, etc.). If you use an online booking platform such as Calendly or Acuity to schedule your calls, include a link here.

    Some questions to answer:

    • How do you track time for projects?
    • Do you charge extra for last minute or weekend projects?
    • What is your average response time?
    • If you plan on having frequent phone calls what’s your call cancellation timeframe and rescheduling policy?
    • If your client is on a payment plan when are their next payments due? How much are your late fees?

    This is your chance to set boundaries and help your client get adjusted to your policies and processes.

    Project Timeline

    If this is an on-off project or you have certain milestone to hit (e.g. web design) you can create a timeline that outlines your most important deadlines and milestones. You can also list the dates when you need any homework or content from your client.

    Kickoff Checklist

    What has to happen before you can kickoff the project? List all the items that need to be completed before you can get started with your project such as paying a deposit, signing a disclaimer, filling out a questionnaire, a kick off call, etc. Summarize it and create a checklist.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    Save time by compiling a list of common questions people have asked about your specific services and guidelines. You can add to this list as you get more questions from your clients.

    Call to Action

    Include a detailed call to action to seal the deal and start your project asap such as “Sign your Contract” or “Secure Your Spot.”

    If you’re creating this packet in Canva you can insert links easily. Select the element you want to link (in this example I want to link the “Start Here” button). Select the “Link” symbol, insert the URL of your choice and hit “Apply.” When you save your design as PDF File your buttons are now clickable. 

    Final Thoughts

    Phew, and you’re done. Although, this might seem like a lot of work at first, think about all the time you will save once you create this packet and can just plug and play with the text, tweak it a little bit and send out your package again and again. 

    Sounds amazing doesn’t it? Need help creating your packet? Check out this editable 21 page CLIENT WELCOME TEMPLATE HERE. 

    How it works

    I already did the hard work for you by designing and putting it together. All pages are editable! All you need to do is customize the template to match your branding – change the text, adjust your brand colors and add your own pictures. Save and send it to your client. The template can be reused as many times as you’d like (just make small tweaks for each new client). 

    If you’re not sure how to do all of that, no worries! The template includes a Canva tutorial walking you through customizing your template.

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  • How To Grow Your Business With Pinterest

    Market your product or service with Pinterest

    How to grow your business with Pinterest

    You may have heard a lot about Pinterest lately. It has more than 300 million users 😮 (with 85 million users in the US) and over 5% of all website referral traffic comes from Pinterest.

    Well, that’s nice, but how can it help your business. Maybe you’ve tried this whole Pinterest thing but you don’t even know where to begin. You posted a pin here and there but nothing is happening…your traffic is not “exploding” as everyone who successfully uses Pinterest seems to be claiming.

    So why should Pinterest matter to your business? Isn’t it only useful for wedding planners and for saving recipes? Actually, nearly any online business can benefit from using Pinterest. But I know how overwhelming it can be trying to figure out exactly what to do for your specific industry, so I put together a quick overview.

    Why Pinterest

    People on Pinterest are ready to buy

    Pinterest offers brands the chance to reach customers as they’re in the process of making purchase decisions, creating opportunities to provide engaging product education. 87% of active pinners said they’ve purchased something because of Pinterest (which is much higher than other social platforms).

    Find out what your audience really wants

    Pinterest is a giant search engine and therefore, a great place to discover trends. By targeting your audience and searching for trends you can find out what’s popular. You can see what your competition is sharing, who they follow and who your followers are following. You can find out what they want to see and use that information for market research and product positioning.

    Get more traffic

    That’s the magic of Pinterest – when optimized and used correctly, your traffic will start pouring in no matter your niche. Do you have solid content, a great website and amazing products? Is the only thing that’s keeping you from growing even more your lack of visibility and traffic? Then Pinterest is right for you!

    Inspire your audience with an optimized profile
    If you have beautiful pins AND great content, your audience will keep coming back for more. Create boards that they want to see.

    It’s all about the keywords

    Every niche has people who are searching for specific keywords on Pinterest. If you know what these keywords are and where and how to use them you will show up right in front of your target audience. Even if you don’t have a lot of followers (here is where Pinterest differs from Instagram and Facebook), as long as you know how to properly find and use keywords, you’ll get an increase in traffic.

    How to grow your business with Pinterest

    For Service Providers

    This one is for all my service based businesses – social media managers, coaches, web designers, photographers, interior designer etc. How can you make Pinterest work for you?

    Share your knowledge through blog posts and create content that positions you as an expert in your field. For example, if you’re a life coach, you could create and share posts on Pinterest such as “How to plan for a life coaching session” or “X signs it’s time to hire a life coach.” You could also share podcast episodes, courses, freebies, workbooks or other content you created. 

    With the right keywords and well designed pins, potential clients will find your content and click-through to your website. They’ll start exploring your website and inquire about your services or book your products.

    By offering freebies and growing your email list you can also start building a relationship with the leads coming in from Pinterest.

    Side note, Pinterest is also great for creating a strategy for your local business (photographers, I’m looking at you!).

    For Online and Ecommerce Stores

    As mentioned above, users buy products they find on Pinterest at a much higher rate than the average social platform.

    The power of Pinterest starts on your own website. Adding Pin It buttons to all your product (and content) pages and optimizing the name of the product is just the beginning.

    You can pin product pins that contain pictures or videos of specific products, which then take users directly to your site to purchase. But the Pinterest user who is interested in and actively searching for your product can only find your product if you are thoughtful of what you pin and the audience you are targeting.

    You guessed it – I’m talking about keywords! Optimized and targeted boards, descriptions, titles and captivating pin designs are a must.

    For Bloggers

    As mentioned above, Pinterest is a great tool to drive massive traffic to your blog. If you monetize your blog with ads, affiliate marketing or sponsorships more traffic = more visibility = more $$$. You can grow your email list on autopilot or start driving traffic to your sales and landing pages for courses you might be offering. Pinterest is a bloggers best friend <3

    Recap

    Hopefully, you have a better idea now how Pinterest can help your business.

    To recap, you need to:

    1. Create targeted, useful content
    2. Design captivating pins
    3. Optimize your entire profile with keywords
    4. Post consistently and at optimal times
    5. Get traffic, sales and clients

    And that’s it…

    Don’t forget to grab your free Pinterest Success Checklist here.

    How to grow your business with Pinterest
    How to grow your business with Pinterest
  • How To Create A Brand Style Guide For Your Business

    When I first started my blog I had never even heard of a brand or style guide for my blog. I was eager to get started and mixed all the fonts, colors and graphics together that I could find.

    My brand and content were ALL OVER the place. It was a confusing experience for me (and my readers). A few months in I finally realized that I needed to create something more cohesive that would make my brand unique and memorable.

    I started looking into creating a style guide and it has changed the look and feel of my blog completely. 

    In this post, I want to show you what to include in your brand style guide and how you can create your own.

     

    What is a brand style guide?

    A brand guide will break down the most important components of your blog in order to make it consistent and credible. It contains all your brand’s unique features such as colors and fonts.

    After creating your brand style guide you will also have a much better feeling of the audience you want to serve and the readers you want to attract.

    I went through a whole rebranding process implementing all the styles and changes I put together in my guide. I finally figured out my brand’s “personality” and the direction I wanted to take my blog in. 

    Main Components of a brand style guide

    There are many possible options of what to include in your guide but I suggest you start out with the following blogging basics:

    • Color Palette
    • Fonts
    • Logo
    • Image Style / Inspiration
    • Basic Overview
    • Target Audience
    • Language

    Color choices / Palette

    First, you will pick your brand’s colors. As I mentioned above my colors used to be all over the place. Every week I would try new colors depending on my mood. I finally settled on some light pink and gray tones.

    When you pick your colors (usually between 3-4) you also want to write down the hex code for each color. The hex code (the number that starts with a #) is the corresponding number for your selected colors. Websites need HEX codes to correctly display your color. 

    Now you have the colors to design your blog, logo and everything else you create for your blog. If you have trouble coming up with colors check out Coolors.co or play with an online color picker.

    Fonts

    Choose 2-3 fonts that fit your brand and go well together. You will need a font for headings (post titles and logo), subheadings (on images, in your posts, widgets etc.) and for your body text (all the other writing in your posts). 

    If you use Canva check out this Font Guide to build your brand

    Canva Font Combinations is a great tool to find matching fonts. Just type in a font name and it will suggest fonts that match it. Another great resource is

    WhatTheFont – If you’ve seen a font in use and want to know what it is you can just upload an image to find the closest match in their database.

    Logo

    Now that you have your colors and fonts picked out it’s time to create your logo if you haven’t already. To start out you can just create a font-based logo. Again, Canva is a great tool to play around with different fonts and colors.

    Don’t forget to save different versions of your logo – your logo with tagline, a black and white logo, transparent logo etc. I use the editing tool Lunapic (free) to easily get pictures with a transparent background.

    Image Style / Inspiration

    It’s important that you keep all your graphics for social media and your website consistent. Use the same fonts on all your images, similar backgrounds and patterns, textures etc.

    Once you plug all those elements into your brand style guide you will have a handy manual that you can always refer to. You can design templates for your Pinterest and other social media channels on Canva.

    If you’re new to blogging or the concept of a style guide and need some inspiration you can also create a mood board on Pinterest.

    Here are some great examples from Ellelle and The Creative Boss

    Want to save a lot of time and create beautiful, consistent graphics without much effort? Check out my Template Shop to create cohesive, beautifully branded graphics in minutes ( even if you have no design experience). 

    Basic Brand Overview

    • List your brand name, URL and tagline
    • Categories – I suggest picking 3-4 blog categories. Adding them to your brand style guide will keep you focused on your main topics.
    • Social media usernames – Listing them here will allow you to easily copy and paste whenever you link your social media accounts. 

    Your Target Audience 

    Although I had decided on 3 main categories, I initially failed to pick WHO I wanted to write for. I didn’t specify my ideal reader. Knowing who you are writing for will make it so much easier to tailor and target your writing and marketing strategy.

    Ask yourself the following questions:

    • What age and gender does my ideal reader have? (you can easily pull that information in Google Analytics) 
    • What are their unique challenges? 
    • What kind of problems can I solve for them?
    • What value am I providing for my readers? 
    • What is their motivation for coming to my blog? 
    • What do they dream about achieving? 

    Be very specific. You could even create some ideal reader avatars like Darren from Pro Blogger.

    Messaging and Keywords

    Finally, what are some keywords that you use to describe your brand? What is the overall tone? For example, some of my keywords are passion, purpose, growth, strength, inspiration. 

    You could use words such as adventure, fashion, feminine, world travel, persuasive, simple etc. What kind of feelings do you want to evoke in your readers? Which words and phrases do you use frequently?

    Pay attention to your writing style when you create new content and find action words adverbs to describe that style.

    Brand Style Guide Template

    Are you eager to get started and create your own brand style guide? Sign up and get access to my freebie library which includes my free brand style guide Canva template.

    It’s completely customizable and you easily plug in all your colors, fonts, target audience description etc. Create your very own style guide. 

    BONUS

    If you’re looking for feminine, pre-made and beautiful WordPress or landing page templates check out Bluchic.  I got my theme at Bluchic and absolutely LOVE it!

    If you feel like you just can’t find any fonts or colors that match Bluchic got you covered. All their preset colors and fonts go together beautifully and are completely customizable. Their themes & templates make it easy for you to DIY without the tech struggle, or the designer price tag.

    Their default fonts and colors are great if you’re struggling to pick your own. 

    Do you use a brand style guide for your blog? Are there any other things you included in yours? I would love to hear from you in the comments.