Digital Marketing, executive assistant, Goal Setting, virtual assistant

Virtual Assistant Must-Haves for Saving Time and Money

When you first decide to start your Virtual Assistant business there are so many questions to ask yourself, one of the biggest being “What applications can I use to maximize my functionality as well as keep things cost effective?” As you’ve probably figured out by now, there are a ton of options out there for everything from time tracking to project management and everything in between. It can seem like a daunting task to learn them all and find out which work best for your business. Luckily for you, we have narrowed down the top applications for 2021.

Top Project Management App:

  • Infinity.  Infinity is a task tracking application with a multitude of uses. As one of the more cost effective project management programs, it allows you all the functionality of the top names for a better price tag. With packages including anywhere from 1 to 30 workspaces, and anywhere from 50GB to 5000GB of storage, it is sure to fit any VA’s needs. Not only is it practical for your wallet, Infinity easily integrates with other top platforms such as Clockify and Trello. The best part about Infinity is you pay once and have access forever, no monthly or annual payments. You can check it out here. https://startinfinity.com/pricing 

Top Time Tracking App:

  • Toggl. Toggl brings time tracking to a whole new level. It is perfect for those just starting out as freelancers as well as companies with large teams. The time tracker itself is completely free to use, allows for multiple projects to be tracked simultaneously, and is very very user friendly.  The time tracker as well as report generation can be easily accessed via web browser or mobile app, and reports can be generated as a pdf or csv file based on any time period, project or client making it easy to share with your clientele. 

Top Messaging App:

  • Flock. Flock is our pick for the top messaging application for any small business. While it has a very similar structure and functionality to other messaging platforms, it is free to use for 1-20 members, making it ideal for those first starting out. This version also includes 1:1 video calling, searchable messages, 5GB of storage, and unlimited 1:1 and group messages per team. 

Top Scheduling App:

  • Acuity Scheduling. Acuity stands alone as my favorite scheduling application for every business both large and small. Starting at a very practical price for one location (and up to 36 for its top package), it works seamlessly with a multitude of other programs such as Zoom, Wix, Mailchimp, Quickbooks, etc. The only caveat is that it can take some time to learn all of the functions available to you. 

Top Video Conferencing App:

  • Zoom. I think, by now, we have all heard of and used Zoom in some fashion as it has become the premiere video conferencing app for both business and personal use. As with the other applications mentioned, it was chosen based on its functionality for both large and small businesses making it perfect for freelancers. 

Top Video Recording App:

  • Loom. As with Zoom, Loom is a video chat app. However, we love it in particular for its function as a recording app making it easy to create training videos and communicate with clients on your own time. A top criteria for this list was cost effectiveness and Loom doesn’t disappoint with its free version

As a new Virtual Assistant, we suggest sticking to necessary applications that will be utilized for your current clients along with a time tracking application such as Toggl. As you continue to learn and expand your business, you can take advantage of free trials to learn more about them and hone your skill set to maximize your potential!

blogging, businessbuildingstrategies, onlinemarketing, personal assistant, process management, small business, social media management, Social Media Marketing, virtual assistant, virtual assistant services

Small Business Start-Up Tips

So, you’re wanting to start a small business? Here are a few tips when it comes to figuring out the type of company you want to start and other important details. 

Figure Out What Interests You 

Identify how you’re spending your free time and what gets you excited to learn more. Maybe it’s a hobby you spend a lot of time doing, books you read, magazines you subscribe to, clubs/groups you’re a part of, or places you travel to. 

Identity a Problem 

Some of the most successful businesses are the result of finding the solution to a problem many people are facing in everyday life. These can make the best kind of products and/or services because everyone loves a solution that makes their quality of life better. 

Research Your Market

A lot of markets are becoming oversaturated as time goes on and people make knock offs/ the same product with another brand name. Doing research in your selected target market is a huge factor in determining your possible success. 

Build A Team

In order to run a business smoothly and deliver the best consumer experience, you may want to look into building a small team. During the start-up process cost is normally very important, so virtual assistants are your best bet. They handle most of the busy work while you can focus on making your product and/or service as great as possible. 

Life by Design has numerous VA’s on standby to truly help you with the crazy journey of running a small business. Schedule your free consultation today! 

small business, social media management, Social Media Marketing, time management, virtual assistant, virtual assistant services

5 Simple Tips for Small Business Owners

In the year of 2020, we all know small businesses took some of the hardest hits due to the pandemic, but it’s 2021 now and time for us to bounce back! 

Our country is full of millions of small businesses- owned by “ordinary” people like us who want to take their passion and turn it into a profit making machine. Below are some tips for my fellow small business owners. 

Stay Focused

Many small business owners make the mistake of trying to appeal to too many target markets, too quickly. Depending on the type of company you run, sticking to your niche can have a huge impact on your growth. 

Brand Imagery

People don’t know who you are, what you do, or even where you came from; so having not only a consistent but solid brand message/image can really let people in on your personal story. This also gives consumers somewhat of a backstory as to where their product or service is coming from and depending on your story can tug on those heart strings- promoting sales. 

You Will Wear Many Hats

When first starting a small business you’ll probably be wearing MANY hats to fulfill all needs of your start-up. From CRM to making and shipping your products and/or services, you have to have basic knowledge of all business concepts in order to deliver that consumer experience people won’t forget. At Life by Design our goal is to help/take over on some of those responsibilities. 

Take Advantage of Social Media

In this day and age social media is one of the biggest and best tools for growing your business. Apps like Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube have millions of people waiting on standby in your target demographic to buy your product or service. With a budget as low as $5 you can reach thousands of people a day. 

Pay Attention to Consumer Needs

Sometimes business owners are unsure of how to deal with customers/consumers and deliver that great experience. Having a smooth checkout process, keeping engaged, offering good customer service, and keeping them at a high priority are just a few of the things to overall improve their needs and keep them coming back for more.

Life by Design’s goal is to assist you in/with these daunting tasks and keep you focused on your passion. We offer a free consultation HERE. 

I personally wish each and every small business owner the best of luck. 2021 is our year.

executive assistant, process management, small business, social media management, sop creation, virtual assistant, virtual assistant services

It’s a Good Year for Better Time Management

Happy New Year! Here’s to an amazing and productive 2021!

How do we accomplish that in our business? We manage our time well.

Time management is a key skill in becoming/being successful and it includes setting aside the perfect amount of time for each and every task being thrown at you. Here are some tips to better manage your time, which will result in higher productivity in 2021. 

  1. Set Goals 
    1. A fundamental part of time management is not only setting goals for everything you need to complete, but also prioritizing them. One way would be to rank your goals by importance so you have a better idea of what you need to do first, second, third, etc.
  2. Set A Time Frame For Each Task 
    1. Try to estimate the amount of time you will be spending on each and every task so you know when and where to fit in those tasks. It’s very important to have enough time to complete each one, leaving wiggle room in case it takes longer than expected. I can’t tell you how many times I have underestimated the amount of time a task will take me and I had already waited till the last minute to complete it- that doesn’t result in a good outcome. 
  3. Reward Yourself
    1. No matter how big or small your personal reward is, you should have one. It not only gives you greater motivation to complete the task in a timely manner but also gives you something to enjoy and promotes self care. 
  4. Take Out Unnecessary Tasks
    1. Cleaning up your to-do can have a huge impact on not just your stress levels but also your productivity. Having a bunch of unnecessary and just straight up time consuming tasks on your list will only slow you down. 
  5. Give Yourself A Break 
    1. Taking breaks are known to increase productivity as long as you stick to your set break time. Think of it as a recharging period to re-center and boost motivation. Examples include working for maybe 3 hours then giving yourself a 20 minute rest. 
    2. Delegate. Give tasks that you don’t want to work on to an assistant. Hiring a virtual assistant is one way to get rid of those extra tasks and free up more of your time for the things you want to do.

Productivity and time management are serious factors when it comes to not only your mental health surrounding the areas of stress, but also important factors to putting out quality work- no matter your area of expertise. 

Here at Life by Design our team values time management and quality work. We focus on the busy work while you continue to run the business of your passion. If you want to learn more, schedule your free consultation here.

personal assistant, small business, time management, virtual assistant

What Is a CRM & How Can It Help Your Business?


CRM stands for Customer Relationship Manager. In a nutshell it is “the process of managing interactions with existing as well as past and potential customers and is one of the many different approaches that allow a company to manage and analyze its own interactions with its past, current and potential customers.”

A CRM can help a business of any size drive its growth anywhere but down. There are 4 key components of CRM work that someone like us would do for your company.

  1. Retain Customers
    a. When people buy a product or especially a service, your goal is to retain them
    and keep them coming back for more. But how do you do this? By customer
    interaction. People like when companies make their purchase personal and feel
    like the business truly cares for their satisfaction. This is done mainly through
    email or social media marketing and simply a fast reply time.
  2. Sales Increase
    a. It’s a proven fact that when you streamline your business on online platforms and
    interact with your following- sales will go up.
  3. Transparency
    a. Being “transparent” with the consumers again causes people to gain trust in not
    only your company but the “man behind the screen”. You can accomplish this by
    replying to customer inquiries, posting your company’s mission or about us
    statements, and introducing employees or the owner.
  4. Better Understand Your Consumer Audience
    a. Using a CRM can help you better understand who is looking, buying, and liking
    your product or service. Platforms such as Facebook and Instagram offer very
    easy to use/access user analytics. Diving into your target demographic and
    learning more about the analytics behind it all can truly benefit your business.
    Getting started with CRM can be a daunting task but with the right help it can be done in a timely and efficient manner.

Life By Design is capable of helping you with all things surrounding the avenue of CRM and
allows you to really focus on your passion- running the business you love.

I have a few I prefer, with my favorite right now being Hubspot, then Active Campaign with Zoho being third.

What’s your favorite CRM?

businessbuildingstrategies, Goal Setting, small business, Social Media Marketing, time management, virtual assistant

What is a Virtual Assistant and Why Would I Ever Need One?

Whether your business is a one-man show that’s just begun or an established company with more than one team member, a virtual assistant may be in your best interest. Their purpose is to allow you to focus on what matters most, your passions and running the business you love. 

No matter if your business is completely online, in person, or maybe both- tremendous benefits come along with hiring one. 

Managing a consistent/cohesive brand image across all of your social media platforms, website, local listings, and more can become a serious challenge. Alongside keeping up with all of your clerical/general administration tasks can seem nearly impossible. That’s why Virtual Assistants are there to help you! 

Save Money 

Most brands like to outsource when it comes to hiring someone to handle all of the busy work because it normally results in a profit save. As well as cutting back on things like training costs.  Virtual Assistants are already knowledgeable in everything that comes with the job. 

Save Time

Starting a business can be so exciting and gives you the opportunity to make a profit from something you truly enjoy doing, but will soon be followed by busywork. These amazing assistants truly will take a tremendous amount of pressure off your back so you can stop sweating about the small things and dive deeper into your passion. 

Virtual Assistants are becoming more and more acknowledged today, especially with everything starting to be done remotely. Most assistants work from home allowing a very flexible schedule to fit all of your company’s needs. 

Social Media

  • Content creation 
    • Using your brand colors, the content will be created to match your brand image and engage your following. 
  • Grow Your Following 
    • It’s a proven fact that when business social media accounts post consistent and engaging content- follower counts go up. 

General Admin  

  • Email Marketing / Regular Usage 
    • Including management and cleanup, sorting, scheduling newsletters and general emails, email autoresponders, automations, as well as mailing list setup. 
  • Proofreading 
  • Basic Bookkeeping 
  • Calendar Organization
    • Including management and appointment scheduling, creating daily to-do lists, and creating employee schedules. 
  • Media Creation 
    • Including slides for presentations, word documents, spreadsheets, and more. 
  • Research 
  • Data Entry 
  • Website Management

Life by Design is known for exceptional customer service and guaranteed client satisfaction. Each one of our team members has the same goal in mind – making your life easier while you continue to dive deeper into your passions. Hear from our past clients on our home page where reviews are located. See them here.

2021 can be your best year in business yet, with a little help. 🙂

To your success,

Genean

Virtual Assistant
businessbuildingstrategies, Goal Setting, Mindset, time management

Investing in Your Most Important Asset as a Business Owner

As a business owner, many of us have a tendency to work too much. It’s easy to get sucked into working ALL THE TIME. If your office is in your home, it’s easy to keep going back in and doing just a little more! Wait…is that just me? It can’t be!

Can anyone relate to the above? If so, I bet you can also relate to burnout, stress, overwhelm and zero self-care. I don’t know about you, but this mom, wife and business owner has been there too many times.

So, what is your most important asset as a small business owner? Duh, it’s you. Yes you! You are your most important asset in your business!

Investing in yourself and taking care of yourself is the most profitable decision you can make, in my opinion. It can help you to be more productive with less hours. Learning new skill sets, setting priorities and achieving a better quality of life are all results you can obtain by investing in you. Putting in effort now can have a big difference in your future in a much more positive way.

So maybe you’re thinking how in the world can I invest time into me when I have a million other things to do? The simple answer is just do it. Seriously, you just have to make a decision that it’s an important aspect of growing and maintaining a healthy life in all areas. Here are 2 things that have made a difference for me. FYI – number 2 should actually be number one.

1. Developing Your Skills. This can take on many forms. The niche you are in will determine some of the skills you should hone in on, but for the most part we all need to invest in personal growth and learning new skills regardless of the industry we are in currently and regardless of how long you have been doing a particular type of work. Things are always changing and to keep up we have to be prepared with new skill sets.

  • People skills. No matter what industry you are in, there are people. The money is in the hands of the people. The marketplace pays for value. Upping your people skills makes you more valuable in whatever line of work you pursue. Consider listening to personal development daily for 15 minutes.
  • Free and paid training that fits your niche – enroll in online workshops, go to live conferences or participate in webinars that fit your industry and the areas you want to see growth in more.
  • Grow your knowledge – Read books. Leaders are readers! Listen to podcasts. Schedule at least 15 minutes a day for just listening or reading positive things.
  • Care for your body. Self-care is so important for every aspect of our life. And it’s normally the one that we put last on the list. For most of us with families and businesses, there is little time left for ourselves. But it is so important that we make it a priority. We cannot pour from an empty cup. It is not selfish to take care of yourself. Take a spa day, get a massage, take a day to binge Netflix, take a drive or even a weekend away. Whatever it is for you, just do it. Make the decision to practice self-care every week.

Investing in you can truly make a difference in your life, your relationships, and your ability to grow in your business and utilize your skills to the best of your ability. The extent to which you invest in yourself, caring for your mind and body, making self-care and learning new skills a priority, can make a world of difference in your entire life.

If you are a business owner who has too many tasks taking too much of your day, it may be time to think about getting some help. A virtual assistant can help you by doing the back-end work like social media management, website management, calendar and email management, and much more.

If you are a business owner who needs a bit of a break, let’s talk. Schedule your completely FREE CONSULTATION here.

Genean Roberts

http://www.lifebydesignvaservices.com