Welcome to the Administrative Consultants Association
Begin your journey to financial success in the administrative support business right here!
Welcome, friend! So happy to connect with you. If you are someone in the administrative support business, or you want to start one, you've come to the right place.
My name is Danielle Keister (pronounced Kī-ster), and I'm a practicing Administrative Consultant, here to show you how to kick business butt, get better clients and start making the kind of money you and your family deserve!
I'm all about better life through better business. (And you'll knock the socks off clients taking WAY better care of them in the process.)
I've been in the administrative support business since 1997, when I officially took out my business license after doing this work casually on the side for many years.
My expertise comes from an administrative background spanning 30+ years (geez louise, time flies!), nearly 20 of those running my own administrative practice where I specialize in supporting solo and boutique lawyers in intellectual property and business/entertainment law.
Since 2004, it's also been my privilege and honor to be a highly-regarded business expert and mentor in our industry. Besides my business savvy and straight-talking, no-nonsense style, I believe people are attracted to the authenticity and integrity of my expertise. I teach people as someone who still actively owns and operates a successful practice.
Here's your first business lesson:
"Virtual assistant" is a term of employment, not business. And when you run a business, for both legal and practical reasons, you are never anyone's assistant. This is one of the most important business principles to learn that will be vital to your success.
I point this out because Rule #1 in marketing is "Don't confuse your prospects and clients." When you call yourself an assistant, but need clients to understand that you're a business owner (and not their beck-and-call, under-the-table, substitute employee), you confuse them.
People only understand that word one way: employee. When they think you're some sort of employee (an assistant), they don't expect to pay you more than an employee, and it makes your education efforts and conversations with them, as well as your ability to command professional fees, far more difficult.
And why is this? Because when you tell people you're an assistant, you have to work twice as hard to correct the wrong expectations and understandings they have about how you work together, the correct nature of the relationship, and how much it will cost.
Wouldn't you like things to be easier in your business? To command professional fees and not have people balk, thinking, "If you're just an assistant, why would I pay more than $10, $15 or $20 an hour?"
Bottom line: You predispose people to thinking of you in these terms when you call yourself an assistant. And it's my mission in life to help you stop doing that so you can earn more, create an easier business to run and have a happier, more flexible, freedom-filled lifestyle.
The paradox is that the ways of operating I have to teach you that allow you to achieve these goals also equip you take superior care of clients. Because a poorly-paid, overworked, stressed-out business owner whose business is not profitable or happy-making and leaves her no time for life is not a help to anyone.
So what is an Administrative Consultant, anyway?
An Administrative Consultant is a solopreneur who works personally with clients in a collaborative, one-on-one relationship of ongoing administrative support. We're the administrative experts who keep our clients' businesses organized, humming along smoothly and moving forward.
I see conversations in our industry occasionally where it's clear some people don't understand our use of the term "consultant." They mistakenly think all consultants do is advise.
However, we use the term "consultant" in a hybrid sense of the word, not the traditional definition. That's because while we are first and foremost administrative implementers providing support, as administrative experts, we're also in a position to guide and advise clients on their administrative systems, set-ups, tools and business operations. That's the advisor part of it. Hence:
Administrative + Consultant. See?
For that matter, what is Administrative Support?
Administrative support is a niche, specialty, expertise and profession in and of itself. Administrative support is also an ongoing relationship, not a one-time or occasional drive-by purchase.
Administrative support is the collection of ongoing, behind-the-scenes work and activities that must be attended to throughout the life of a business in order for it grow, run smoothly and profitably, and generate revenue. It’s the backbone of every business and no business can run without it. What we do as administrative experts is that important!
Strategic administrative support, therefore, must also be delivered on an ongoing, continuous basis. The results clients want to achieve aren’t accomplished working together sporadically on a piece-meal or one-time project basis. By working in ongoing, one-on-one collaborative partnership with an Administrative Consultant, clients get someone whose knowledge and understanding of them, their goals, how their business works and what’s important to them grows ever increasingly the longer they work together.
That’s what administrative support is all about, and what gives clients the greatest business-strengthening value and results.
Holy moly! We even have a video! (You are free to display it on your website, too.)
Okay, how do I get started?
I'm so glad you've asked! The Administrative Consultants Association is THE authority on the Administrative Consultant business, and I LIVE to help people get started (or do better, as the case may be). Here are the next steps I recommend:
- Read through the entire ACA site page by page. This will give you a better grasp and increase your sensibility around the concept of providing administrative support as a business and administrative expert (not an assistant).
- This includes reading the ACA Client Guide. Understanding how clients are properly educated about our industry and working with Administrative Consultants will also help you in setting up your business.
- Once you've done that, check out our free online start-up guide to Start Your Biz.
- Download our free business resources.
- Subscribe to my blog. It's a fantastic resource (I started it in 2005, so it should be!) where I provide a wealth of free guidance, mentoring and advice to the industry at large. Check out the categories in the right sidebar for just about any topic you can imagine. It's also where you can submit your specific business and marketing questions.
- Follow me on Facebook. This is where I share my spontaneous brand of off-the-cuff quips and business and marketing advice (oh, and the occasional rant, lol) that people in our industry find extremely helpful in keeping them on their business toes and doing better.
- Join the ACA LinkedIn group. This is where you and your Administrative Consultant colleagues can meet up to socialize, ask questions and help and support each other in business. I occasionally pop in as well.
- If you're still employed, that's a great time to begin laying your business foundations and getting those important pieces in place such as your contract and website and determining some basic standards, policies and procedures. When you're ready to do all that or you're already opened or established but want to improve your business, the ACA Success Store has everything you need, from the practical, foundational forms, tools and contract templates to learning guides that will teach those all-important business skills of marketing, pricing and packaging, consulting with clients and practice management.
Are you excited? I'm excited for you!
This is such a rewarding, fulfilling business and lifestyle. I pinch myself just about every day in gratitude and marvel at how it affords me the ability to live exactly how I please while doing work I love that is meaningful and truly helps people and improves their businesses and lives.
It's a portable business so the start-up and overhead costs are minimal. And being that it's portable, you can live and travel just about anywhere and still run your business wherever there's Internet. I lived in Europe for awhile and lots of people never even realized I'd left the States, that's how smooth and imperceptible the transition was.
You get to set the standards, choose who you work with, and be the master of your own financial fortunes. Invest in yourself and the right tools and learning to run your business smartly and profitably and there isn't anything to hold you back!
I'm so pleased you've chosen the ACA to share in your business journey and I look forward to getting to know you.
Goodness + Success to You!
Business Catalyst & Administrative Consulting Expert