How to Build a Successful Virtual Assistant Business
Written by Janice Byer and Elayne Whitfield-Parr, this NEW book includes information and tips to help aspiring and established VAs with every aspect of starting and building a Virtual Assistant business.
From naming your business, to upgrading your skills, to expanding your business, we have put together everything you need to know based on our combined years in this industry and the input of successful VAs worldwide.
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Christmas Gift Giving on a Budget
By Janice D. Byer, CCVA, MVA
Docu-Type Administrative & Web Design Services
For many entrepreneurs, our clients are not only our source of income, some are also our friends. We appreciate them for far more than how much work we do for them. We should show our appreciation throughout the year to these valued people but especially during the holiday season.
Yup… it’s that time of year… time to think about how to best display your thanks to your valued clients and contacts for being a part of your business and its success. Not all entrepreneurs can afford big gifts, especially in the start-up phase.
There are certain things that you can give to your clients that you could make yourself. Not only can this be a way of showing your appreciation, it is also a way to give your personal touch to the gift. And when you add that personal touch, your clients will be reassured of your exceptional customer service, thoughtfulness, and why you are, or soon will be, successful!
When you provide personal gifts you also gain a sense of fulfillment. It is very heart-warming to know the appreciation that will be felt by your clients for your special efforts.
The following are just a few ideas of homemade gifts that are both economical and personal:
Coasters – You know all those CDs you get in the mail, newspapers and magazine? Hang onto them and create coasters from them. You can get CD labels at office supply stores on which you can print a design, picture, or info about your business; foam or cork backing at craft supply stores; and lacquer finish (that will withstand heat) at home repair or paint stores.
Bookmarks – Pick up some coverstock paper at your local business supply store and design a bookmark. You can print a full sheet of them on the coverstock. You will then have to cut them or you may be able to get perforated cards in the shape of bookmarks. Again, anything can be put on here, including just lines with the heading “Notes From This Book”. For an added touch, buy some tassels and punch a hole in the top of the cards to put the tassel in to.
Calendars – Everyone needs calendars, especially busy entrepreneurs. The following are just a couple of relatively easy calendars that you can create and they make the perfect gift.
Pocket Calendars – You don’t need a laminating machine to whip together a few business card calendars, perfect for carrying in a wallet. Most business supply stores carry self-laminating sheets. You simply put together a small calendar with your desktop publishing software, cut them the size of your business card and glue them on the back, arrange them on the laminating sheets and cut them to size.
Wall Calendars – Again, your desktop publishing software can be used to design each month and print them on separate sheets of paper. As an added touch, allow room to list inspirational sayings, put in a word search puzzle, or a light comic strip (being careful not to go against any copyrights). Then put each month into a sheet protector remembering to set them up like a normal wall, flip calendar. Slide a binder clip over the top ends and punch a whole in the center of the other end and your calendar is ready to be hung up. And don’t forget to send a dry erase marker so your client can write down their appointments.
Magnetic Calendars – You have a couple of choices here. You can put your business card or enlightening phrases on a magnetic sheet and attach them to a tear-off calendar. Or, you can use pre-cut business card size magnetic sheets to make a card holder, note page holder, or small calendar. Actually, with the larger magnetic sheets, you can let your imagination run wild.
Gift Certificates – Design a gift certificate to provide your clients with one of the services you have to offer. If your client generally has web design services from you, offer them one of your administrative services so they can see the variety of help that you can provide them. Or, how about offering your client free ad space in your newsletter or a banner ad on your website. One thing to remember is to put different time frames on each certificate. The last thing you need is to have everyone redeem his or her gift certificates at the same time.
Key Chains - Here’s where your self-laminating skills will come in handy again. Design small key chain cards, putting you company information on one side. On the other side, put your client’s information; a scenic picture; calendar; or marketing tips. You can include just about anything that would appeal to your clients. You will have to pick up some key rings (be sure to check yard sales, dollar stores, and craft supply stores) and then simply laminate the cards, punch a hole in one end and slip the key ring in that whole. Here’s a tip… be sure to cut the laminate sheet far enough around the card so that water will not get in. You may even want to punch the whole in the card first and then punch a smaller whole in the laminate so there is some sealing there.
Another idea, if your budget will allow, check with your local dollar store or craft supply store to see if they have key chains that will allow you to insert your own message. Less work but could be more costly.
You get the idea. Let your imagination create something both personal and professional. Each of these ideas will take time to do so be sure to start in plenty of time to create them and then send them to your clients. One thing about these ideas is that your budget will thank you. Take a look around your office right now…. What can you use to make a special gift?
Janice Byer, owner of Docu-Type Administrative & Web Design Services, provides professional, creative and affordable virtual office assistance and small business website design. She is a Certified Canadian Virtual Assistant (CCVA) and Master Virtual Assistant (MVA). She is also the author of Surfin' The Net - Docu-Type's Virtual Collection of Links, which is filled with the secrets of her success. Visit her website for more information and to get your copy.