Archive for November, 2012

Woohoo! It’s Cyber Monday

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Woo hoo, it’s Cyber Monday!

Just a quick reminder that special prices end midnight tonight. There are some great deals to be had (a little over 50% off on most) on the foundational learning guides that will give you the skills you NEED to get clients, earn well and grow your business success! Or you can get The WHOLE Shebang for $150 off.

By the way, you don’t have to do a thing to get the special prices. Just add ’em to your cart and they’ll already be marked down.

Working Together Successfully

I have a brand new article that I’ve added to the ACA Client Guide.

For those who don’t already know, the ACA Client Guide is an online guide intended to help educate clients about Administrative Consultants, how they help them and how to work together successfully.

What I’m looking for are:

  1. Typos or other errors;
  2. Suggestions on order (i.e., Should any of the items be moved to another position in the list so it flows better?); and
  3. Did I miss anything? Is there any other topic that you’d like to see addressed that relates to setting proper expectations and understandings, thus helping ensure the relationship gets off to the most successful start?

Here’s the article:

Working Together Successfully

Everything you need to know to get your business relationship with an Administrative Consultant off to the best start!

Following are the key ingredients you must bring to the table to ensure you experience the most fruitful and rewarding benefits of working with an Administrative Consultant.

  1. Understand the nature of the relationship. The relationship you have with an Administrative Consultant (or ACE for short) is similar to that which you have with an attorney or accountant or other independent professional. She is not your employee or “hired help.” She is an administrative expert, collaborative partner and trusted advisor. Respect her opinions and concerns. Be open to her input and advice. Your best interests and success are her priority.
  2. Collaborative partnership. Relationships are a two-way street; your participation is required. In order for it to work—indeed, for the magic to happen—and for you to get the very best experience and outcomes from it, you, as the client, are an integral part of the equation. If you are absent from the relationship, it won’t work and you will end up dissatisfied.
  3. Tech-savvy. Just like your attorney or accountant, an Administrative Consultant works from her own offices. Heck, you may never even meet in person. Meetings and consultations are typically held by phone or video chat (e.g., Skype) and email is the primary form of regular communication. You don’t need to be a whiz (and you’ll learn of all kinds of amazing tech tools and services from your ACE should you work together), but you do need to be comfortable with computers, technology and communicating by email in order to work with an Administrative Consultant.
  4. Be present and timely. One of the most important relationships you have in your business is with your Administrative Consultant. The administrative engine she is determined to help you with is critical to your business’s success and smooth operations. In order for her to accomplish those objectives, it’s vital that you answer questions and provide requested information and materials in a timely manner so that it doesn’t hold up your business and objectives or hers.
  5. Communication is key. This is especially important in this kind of tech-driven, remote working relationship where we primarily communicate by email. Like you, an Administrative Consultant is not a mind reader. We can get really good at anticipating your needs, tastes and preferences the longer we work together; still, we can’t guess or make assumptions. It is better to err on the side of over-communication and be forthcoming with details and expectations. Your Administrative Consultant may have further clarifying questions to make sure everything is understood.
  6. Make meetings with your Administrative Consultant a priority. Do everything in your power to keep your appointments, show up prepared and cancel with appropriate (not last minute) notice when you can’t. Mutual respect of each others’ time is a necessity.
  7. No dumping. If you disappear for long periods of time and then suddenly show up with a flurry of work requests that you need done “yesterday”… well, that just isn’t going to work. An Administrative Consultant has other clients to serve whose needs are as important as yours. Every Administrative Consultant has her own policies and protocols. To work together successfully, you will need to plan ahead, give plenty of lead time (as specified by your Administrative Consultant) and follow her procedures for submitting work so that it can be managed effectively and accomplished in a timely manner to the highest standards.
  8. Practice the Golden Rule. Administrative Consultants expect to be treated with the same human dignity and respect with which you expect to be treated. We are deserving of civility and complete sentences. We expect to not be yelled at, grunted at or have orders barked at us. We appreciate “please” and “thank you” as much as you. Clients who are unable to extend common courtesy and mutual respect are not a good fit and will be let go with haste.
  9. Maintain professionalism. Difficulties, dissatisfaction, conflicts and misunderstanding can arise in any relationship. Your Administrative Consultant is always interested in your constructive feedback and being given the opportunity to improve or make things right. When communicating upset or complaints, just be sure to keep things professional, not personal. Continue to treat and speak to each other respectfully and humanely. This will go a long way in facilitating communication, being heard and finding resolution.
  10. Pay on time without any hassles. Respect cannot exist in the relationship where there is chronic late or nonpayment. You can expect one (or all) of these things to happen when that is the case: a) All work will cease until your account is paid in full; b) you will be required to pay in full up front for all work in the future; and c) you may be let go as a client.
  11. Own your business. An Administrative Consultant cannot care more about your business than you do. Nor is it her job to ensure you make money; that’s your job. She wants to help and support you in achieving your goals and dreams, and she can if given the opportunity. However, the success or failure of your business is always your responsibility.
  12. Vacations and closures. It’s important to understand that an Administrative Consultant is not a temp or employee and, thus, does not provide that level of administrative support on a daily basis. What we provide is strategic support in specifically defined support areas. And just as your attorney or accountant (or any business for that matter) is closed on occasion for holidays, vacations, emergencies or other reasons, so, too, will your Administrative Consultant’s business. Your ACE will give you plenty of notice so that you can plan accordingly. Just know that if you are so dependent upon support that you are unable to take care of things yourself during these intermissions and your entire business comes to a screeching halt without us, what you really need is an employee, not an Administrative Consultant.
  13. Proper expectations. Rome wasn’t built in a day. Neither will all your administrative needs, burdens and challenges be solved overnight. Recognize that this will be a process. And boy-oh-boy, will it be fun to see these things whipped into shape bit by bit as you continue to work together!
  14. Be generous and forthcoming with your praise, feedback and referrals. An Administrative Consultant is a business owner who takes pride and joy in her work and helping clients like you succeed. She’s also a person, like any other, who appreciates recognition, a good word and a pat on the back for a job well done (not to mention your referrals and recommendations). She may also ask for your formal feedback at specific intervals throughout the year. This is for your benefit as well as hers and gives you an opportunity to let her know how she’s doing, voice any concerns and offer suggestions on how she can better serve you.

Is Marketing One of Your Biggest Challenges?

If it is, you’re not alone. Marketing (and finding and getting clients) is one of, if not THE, biggest challenge people voice in our industry.

They give discounts and freebies, exhaust themselves trying to be everywhere, and waste countless hours and precious energy in consultations and responding to RFPs that go nowhere.

If you can identify with this problem, you should attend my upcoming class on November 29 when I will teach you:

  • How to market (and get clients) in a way that will preserve your precious and limited reserves of time and energy;
  • Improve your cashflow so you can stop worrying about not having enough money all the time;
  • How to create products that will sell themselves over and over and earn you passive income and add additional revenue streams;
  • Establish yourself as an expert and authority in the eyes of prospects;
  • Better nurture the all-important know, like and trust factor for increased client conversions;
  • Be viewed as a trusted advisor, not a cost to be managed;
  • Increase your ability to command higher fees;
  • Be able to work fewer hours with fewer clients;
  • Have a business that is not so hands-on with more free time to enjoy your life while making money in your sleep;
  • and essentially get PAID for demonstrating and marketing your business and expertise!

Are YOU ready to learn how to boost your business prospects and profits?

TIME IS RUNNING OUT!

Last day to register is November 20.
Get the details and claim your spot today >>

Administrative Support Is Not General

Don’t call administrative support “general.”

You are putting it in a very demeaning, unimportant light when you say that.

Administrative support is a very specific skill, expertise and sensibility, and is absolutely one of THE most important aspects involved in a well-run business.

Administration is the very backbone of every business. The administrative engine can either make or break a business.

Therefore, you must stop talking about administrative support in such derogatory ways.

If you don’t value and honor what you do, and view it and portray it in all its vital, integral relevance and importance to the success or failure of a business, prospective clients won’t either.

What you need to understand yourself is that administrative support is a specialization and category of business and service in and of itself.

There’s nothing general (or unimportant) about it.

So stop saying that! Get rid of the word “general” from your business and marketing vocabulary altogether.

Definition of Subcontracting

It’s important that people in business understand and use the term “subcontracting” correctly.

When you hire someone to help you in your business, that is not subcontracting. That is “contracting.” You are contracting someone to support you.

Subcontracting is when you outsource your client work (the work your client hired you to do as their contractor) to another business (i.e., an outside, third party). You are “subbing” that work. Hence the term SUB-contracting.

What Are You Doing Today to Get Those Clients?

What are you doing today to market and network and get those clients?

And what are you focusing on instead that is keeping you from those activities?

Ask yourself, why am I dinking around that stuff?

Am I lost? What am I lost or confused about?

Am I fearful? What am I feaful of?

Who can help me? Who can I reach out to for support, mentoring and/or coaching? Are there resources I can refer to that will bring me some light and clarity? (Perhaps I can help you.)

Get to the bottom of those questions so you can get back on track.

And go get those clients! You can focus on those others things you’re using to procrastinate with later. 😉

How to Opt Out of PayPal’s New Arbitration Clause

Just a quickie for you today… I came across a great resource on The Consumerist blog which shared a letter template for opting out of PayPal’s new arbitration clause.

In case you hadn’t heard, PayPal recently added a clause to its user agreement that forces everyone into mandatory, binding  arbitration in the event of legal complaints and takes away the right to join together in a class action unless you opt out in writing.

Apparently, many folks’ opt-out letters were rejected due to improper formatting so the Consumerist came to the rescue with a properly formatted template.

If you want to opt-out, just be sure you get your letter in by the deadline of December 1, 2012.

I got mine in AND I brought this to the attention of my clients and drafted up letters on their biz letterhead on their behalf. All they had to do was sign!

TIP:  Alert your clients and do letters for them as well; it’s a great opportunity to show how you’re always looking out for them and provide more value!