Archive for the ‘Starting Your Biz’ Category

Dear Danielle: What Do You Think of Odesk and Elance?

Dear Danielle: What Do You Think of Odesk and Elance?

Hello Danielle!

Hope you are having a great day. What do you think of Odesk and Elance as starting places for an Administrative Consultant? I currently am just starting out, just had a baby three months ago so I was thinking of starting out with these sites? Thoughts?  Thank you so much for all you do! —Maekeshia Smith, eOffice Business Solutions, LLC

Hi Maekeshia :)

It depends on what your motivations and intentions are.

If you’re just looking to make some pocket money on the side, then those places might serve your interests.

If you are looking to start a real business making real money (i.e., money you can actually live and operate profitably and sustainably on), oDesk, Elance and the like are no places for Administrative Consultants to be wasting their time.

That said, if you are not still working and need the funding, the little jobs you get here and there in those places could be a way to fund yourself and purchase necessary products, tools and training to grow your real business.

But don’t confuse that work with building your real business, because the kind of clients you need for the latter are not the kind you’re going to find on Odesk, Elance, etc.

Of course, whenever I say that, inevitably someone pipes up to exclaim how they got a great client from those places.

What I say to that is:

a) They are the exception, not the rule, and exceptions do not make for immutable laws of business. If you shop yourself amongst cheapskates, people who want to pay pennies and expect something for nothing (else why on earth would they be shopping for REAL professionals in those places), that’s exactly who you’re going to get. The odds of you finding that diamond client in what amounts to a yard sale are not in your favor. Has it ever happened at any time in the history of the world? Of course. But I would no more tell you to buy lottery tickets to build your business. The ROI is just not there as would cost you more in time and energy bidding and auditioning for “jobs” than you’d earn. There are better, faster, more profitable, effective and productive ways to build a financially successful business built with clients who value what you do for them and pay well for it. Leave Odesk and Elance for the hobbyists who have no business sense and don’t know or value their worth.

b) “Great” is relative. We would have to look closer at their business, under the hood, to see if their “great” is really all that great. Is their business really profitable? How much are they earning from that client? How hard are they working, how many hours a day, only to be barely scraping by? That’s not being profitable. They might think $15, $25, even $35 an hour is “great,” but that’s only because they have no frame of reference other than it is more than they were making as an employee. They don’t understand that the economics of employment are not the same as those of business. I’ve been in this business 20 years and all it takes is a few details for me to know how a business is really doing financially. And actually, their “great” doesn’t have any bearing on what your great is. So first order of business, so we can get real about what kind of money YOU need to earn and what kind of revenues your business needs to survive and be profitable, is to download the free ACA Income & Pricing Calculator.

Bottom line is the only kind of clients you’ll find in those places are cheapskates looking for the cheapest bidder, not ideal clients who value what the work produces and are ready and willing to pay well for it.

Here’s another blog post you should read on this topic: Dear Danielle: Should I Market on Craigslist?

You mention that you are just starting out and that’s the right time to be getting your foundations in place. I don’t know how far along in the process you are, but here are what I recommend for your next steps:

  1. Get your starting forms, documents and contracts in place so you have them and can adjust, update and adapt as you go along. You’ll be ready then when you get that first client.
  2. Get a website up. It doesn’t matter that you aren’t sure what to put on it or what to say right now. Just get it up there! Because otherwise, you’ll just stay stuck in analysis paralysis. The simple act of getting your site up is the catalyst for those next steps. A website is THE most important marketing tool you have in your business (people distrust and wonder what is wrong with a business if it doesn’t have one). It’s an integral and indispensible part of the process of properly educating prospects so you can get those ideal clients you’re seeking. AND I have a guide for building a website that works that gives you my own conversion system that you can implement in your website. It tells you exactly what pages in what order to have on your website and all the other vital elements that are needed to convert more of your prospects into clients and consultations. It also includes my patented 1-2-3 plug-n-play system that will walk you through, step-by-step, in creating your own unique, compelling and irresistible marketing message. It makes the process of writing easy as pie, even if you don’t think you are a writer (because you don’t have to be; this stuff writes itself with my formula).
  3. Choose a target market (i.e., an industry/field/profession you cater your administrative support to). Then gear your message and solutions to that market, and go start interacting with them on their industry blogs, forums and listservs and get involved in their groups, professional associations, events, etc. Be sure to download my free guide on How to Choose Your Target Market that will help you with this process and begin identifying the places to find them.

How Do You Handle the Naysayers?

How Do You Handle the Naysayers

Someone asked a great question today on our ACA LinkedIn group:

Q. I am curious to know how you handle naysayers. When I tell people that I am starting a business I get all sorts of reactions, but when people tell me that it can be “daunting” or “difficult” I start to doubt my own intentions. I know I am on the younger side with less than 10 years experience and a newlywed looking to start a family in the next two years. But I do have a lot of experience if not in years but in quality. I also feel that this is something I really want to do. Please let me know how you hand this, I’m interested in your feedback. Thank you again. —MA

I don’t know if there is any solution to this, really. If there is, I sure never found it, lol.

To this day and in the face of all that I’ve achieved including the money and the lifestyle, I STILL get no respect from my dad.

His generation seems to think anyone “working from home” is just playing around on the computer or that they’re running some kind of Internet scam.

He literally never asks about my business. I take him to the nicest places and he never has to pay a dime. You’d think he’d be at least somewhat interested in and happy about the success of his daughter. In nearly 20 years, I’ve gotten exactly ONE attagirl from him. ONE!

And my significant other who had the patience of a saint would also go back and forth between being very supportive (as long as things seemed to be moving along) to “maybe it’s time to give up on this and get a real job” (when it was tough-going).

He met me right when I was getting really serious about my business and there was no way in hell I was walking away from it. I was prepared to lose the relationship rather than do that and told him as much. I HAD to make it happen.

So, what I learned is to just not talk about business with family. They just don’t get it and they are the WORST with the naysaying.

I’ve found friends to be much more supportive. Heck, they wish THEY could do what I do and live the way I live.

But even they don’t really get it.

Although I do have an extremely flexibile and freedom-filled lifestyle (because I worked my ass off for many years engineering my business to have it like that), you still always have family and friends who think just because you’re home, they can pop in and interrupt any ol’ time they please to gab. They just don’t see it as a “real” business in many ways.

And there are some family and friends who are going to be jealous (consciously or subconsciously) and will want to pee in your cornflakes at every turn. Who are you to better your life and take chances when they are stuck toiling a 9-5 every day, is how they think.

What I can tell you is that starting this business was the best thing I ever did, despite all the hard work, the time, the set-backs and all the rest.

This journey of self-actualization, self-determination and personal growth and discovery never stops. It’s rewarding and exhilarating every day, and now in the years when I am really reaping the fruits of my labor, I am so proud of myself and pinch myself every day in gratitude at how lucky I am to have this life and lifestyle.

When it comes down to it, you have to believe in yourself, and have the determination to stick with it and the ability to tune out and ignore the Debbie Downers.  Don’t ask them for their opinions and don’t talk about your business with them if you know they’re just going to try to discourage you.

So how about you? What kind of naysayers do you have in your life and how do you handle it? Does it daunt you or make you more determined than ever? What advice do you have to share about dealing with the naysayers?

Building a Business Simply Takes Time

Building a business just takes time. There’s no way around it.

Because growing a business is more than just getting clients and providing the service.

It’s learning about (and implementing and practicing and honing) practice management and how to operate effectively, profitably and productively.

It’s learning how to conduct consultations that get results.

It’s learning how to price, package and market.

It’s copywriting and learning how to create an effective marketing message and implement a conversion strategy.

It’s learning how to manage clients and set and manage expectations.

It’s setting up infractures and getting clear about your standards and ideals and the things that will keep your business sustainable, growing and moving forward.

Growing a business is not an event, it’s a process, an evolution, a journey. And these things are simply going to take time.

So you have to be prepared for the long-haul. None of it is going to happen overnight and most of it simply CAN’T happen overnight. That’s just not how it works.

Why do I mention this?

Because our industry is plagued by internet marketers who prey on our peoples’ hopes and dreams of business ownership with false expectations that they can start a business in only 30 days, get 10 clients in 10 days and be an overnight sucess.

And when they doesn’t happen, they become discouraged and dejected, thinking they are doing something wrong.

The only thing they did wrong was buying into bullshit.

So this post is to let them know that all of this is going to take time and yes, it’s completely normal.

Do You Ever Subcontract Your Client Work?

Do You Ever Subcontract Your Client Work?

A very sweet, sincere person wrote to me asking if I ever subcontract any of my work.

She indicated that she has all the experience and qualifications to make the leap to becoming an Administrative Consultant, but hasn’t quite mustered the nerve yet, and was hoping to start off by working with colleagues and for a trusted source first.

Without mentioning names, I share this here to help her and others who are in the same boat.

My answer is that I don’t ever subcontract my clients’ work. I’m highly opposed to that.

I have a couple people who support me in my business, however. We work in an ongoing partnering relationship the same as my clients partner with me, and they pretty much take care of all my needs.

Did you catch the distinction there?

Do you understand the difference between farming your clients’ work out to third parties and having people support you in your business?

If not, please do ask because it makes all the difference between turning your business into just another low-value, commoditized McDonald’s and a high-value partnering relationship where you can command top dollar.

The other thought that pops up for me is that helping others start a business is a little like helping drug addicts.

Don’t laugh; I’m serious, lol.

Because we can only point people to information and resources and give them the right advice, our best advice.

But when it comes down to it, they have to want “it” for themselves (whether that’s sobriety or the self-determined lifestyle of the entrepreneur), and they have to want it bad enough that they just say enough is enough.

So in this case, the lack of nerves, shyness, etc., eventually a person just has to get sick of letting those things hold them back and just charge forward, come what may.

(Does my analogy make sense now?)

In the meantime, here are some other ways to get your feet wet:

  1. First, it has to be said that the best way you’re going to figure out things in your own business is by working with your own clients. There’s just no way around that. Working for others may help bring in some cash, but it’s not a substitute for building your own business and brand and going through your own processes and trials and errors that go with that. All you’re doing working for others is finding excuses to delay the start of your own dreams.
  2. Confidence is a journey. It’s not something any of us necessarily has right out of the gate when we start our businesses. It’s something we all struggle with to some degree and/or at some stage or another. It’s completely normal so you’re in good company! What you’re really feeling is discomfort with the unknown. So, as they say, you want to get good and comfortable with feeling UNcomfortable. Because if you let fear and discomfort hold you hostage, you’ll never get anywhere (in business or life). Confidence comes from actually doing. That doing is where you’ll begin to learn and understand. It the where you’ll have your greatest a-ha moments and figure out what you want in your business and how you want to do it, and your confidence grows from there.
  3. Even if you haven’t opened your doors yet, go do some local networking. It will be good practice in talking to people and making friends with strangers. Because when it comes down to it, that’s really all it’s about. And that’s how you’re going to get clients, too. When you meet people, you can even be honest and say that your business isn’t open quite yet, and you were just looking to meet other business people and see what kind of administrative needs and challenges they had. That would be a great conversation starter AND you’d be getting some valuable market research at the same time. See, feet wet.
  4. If you’re dead-set on working for colleagues first to get your feet wet, you gotta be active and let yourself become known. The way to do that? Actively ask questions. Contribute to conversions and discussions. If you never speak up, no one is going to see you, much less get to know you. And that’s how colleagues hire other colleagues when they need help… by getting to know, like and trust them and seeing what they’re about. This is how they get a sense of what your skills and strengths are. That only happens if you’re making yourself visible. (This is the same way clients hire us, by the way.)
  5. Class matters. This isn’t directly about how to get your feet wet, but it still bears mentioning. And that is, your manners speak volumes about what it will be like to work with you. The person who contacted me was personable while being professional and she thanked me in advance for my time and consideration which she valued. I really appreciated this because it demonstrated a high measure of polish and class and that she wasn’t just thinking about herself and her needs. These traits are going to serve her very well in business.
  6. The right information will give you more confidence. What I’ve learned from my own journey and what I’ve seen in my 10 years as an industry mentor, when people haven’t gotten the proper information first, when they haven’t gone through the process of setting up proper business foundations, that’s when they have the least confidence and the most fear. Once they arm and back themselves with the tools, information and learning, that’s when their confidence flies, trepidation dissolves and they get excited and can’t wait to get their business started! You can get ALL of this, all the contracts, forms, processes and critical business skill learning guides you need to soar in the administrative support business from the ACA Success Store.

Dear Danielle: What If I Don’t Have 5 Years Experience?

Biz Question? Ask Danielle!

Dear Danielle:

I have been a Licensed Massage Therapist and Energy Worker for the past 25 years. It has been a good ride, however, I am ready for the next chapter. For 20 of those years, I was self-employed. Which means I do have some business back ground. I am very focused and pay attention to detail. Recently, I moved from Colorado to Oregon. I took a job working at a dry cleaners and am wanting a bit more from my life. I started looking at becoming a ‘virtual assistant’ when I ran across your web site. I can totally see the difference and I really resonate with what you say with regard to an Administrative Consultant. This is what I want to attract into my life. I also enjoy your sense of humor. So much of what you have to say, I am in alignment with. However, I was reading where you state that you have to have at least five years of administrative experience. I took a few steps back when I read that. As I stated, I do have some business back ground. I also worked on an as needed basis as an event planner. But I do not have the five years background in  Administration. Basically, I am just beginning to look into the idea of working from home in this capacity. I would still need to continue working at the cleaners for awhile. I would love to hear your thoughts on pursuing this as my next adventure. If I do not have the experience you are suggesting that I have, are there courses that you would recommend? I would appreciate your feed back as to how, or if I should proceed forward with this. —Name Withheld by Request

Let me clarify a few points that I think will help you.

First, this isn’t a regulated industry. Meaning, there are no special training or licensing requirements to start an administrative support business.

Anyone can start an administrative support business if that’s what they decide to do. There are no “business police” who are going jump out of the bushes and arrest you.

That said, like any industry, we do have our standards and expectations for those who would enter our ranks.

As a profession, we want to encourage those who are professionally and competently qualified to be in this business.

There are people out there who think all they need is a computer and Internet and anyone can do this work. And that’s simply not the case.

Would you hire a lawyer without a law degree? Or a web designer who had never designed a website before? Or a contractor who’d never built a home before?

But it’s more than mere skillsets. There are certain sensibilities and critical/analytical thinking skills that are only gained from actual experience and can’t learned from a book or a class.

That’s what the five-year actual experience standard is about. It’s more of benchmark.

We want our profession to be respected and to be taken seriously. Those who aren’t qualified end up having a negative impact on the industry’s reputation.

So as a profession, we do have an opinion about who should be in this industry.

BUT no one can tell you that you can or cannot start an administrative support business.

Just go in with your eyes open. Clients are demanding. Their businesses are important to them, rightfully so. They don’t want to be anyone’s guinea pig learning on their dollar. If you’re in business, they expect you to already have a business-level of qualification and expertise.

That said, if you feel that you are competently skilled and qualified and able to support clients at a professional level, then go for it. No one can tell you otherwise.

The question to ask yourself at this point, though, isn’t what YOU want to do, it’s what do other people need that you have the skills to do that they will pay for? That’s where you’ll find a more profitable path for figuring out what kind of business is best for you.

8 Tips for Transitioning to Business from Full Time Work

Tips for Transitioning to Business from Full Time Work

While you’re still working is the best time to get your business foundations solidly in place before opening your business doors:

  1. Become a student of business. Study up particularly in the areas of practice management in a professional services business, marketing of professional services and all things related to the administrative support business industry (starting with the best resource of all, the ACA website and blog here! ;) )
  2. Create your business plan. Going through the exercise of business planning forces you to think through certain aspects of the business and get clear about why you’re going into business, what your goals and challenges are, how much money you want/need to make, etc., and then formalizing the map for how you plan to get there.
  3. Create a business map (not to be confused with a business plan). This is basically a modeling of what the business looks like in a visual, illustrated format and how it earns its revenues and profits. RESOURCE: The ACA Business Plan Template is tailored specifically for those in the administrative support business! It’s not only a business plan; it’s also a visioning tool for how you want your business to support your life.
  4. Get the practical working pieces together. This includes your contracts, ideal client profile, and beginning policies and procedures. This is also the time to begin drafting your Client Guide, which is a basically a formalizing/documenting of your standards, policies, procedures and protocols. This guide is given to new clients for the purpose of informing them how things work in your practice and how to get the most out of the relationship and work together successfully. This is a particularly useful tool because, while it should be written in positive, client-centric language, what it does is help to outline boundaries and inform clients what the “rules” are (for lack of a better term) so that they don’t think it’s their place to be making them up. YOU have to instruct them about how things work in your practice, not the other way around. It sets proper expectations and helps them view and respect you as a business and professional, not their beck-and-call employee. RESOURCE: One of the reasons many businesses in this industry fail is because they never learned how to structure their operations to handle more than one or two clients at a time. This is where my Power Productivity & Business Management guide comes in. In this guide, I give you all my trade secrets, systems and tools for running a six figure practice that scales with the growth of your roster and makes sure you still have room for a life in the process.
  5. Get your website started. This will always be a work in progress. No one is ever “done” with their website, nor should they be. One should always be working to improve and clarify their educational marketing message for clients. And while you are working is a great time to get the framework up and begin the work of crafting and honing your message. RESOURCE: Build a Website that Works. In this guide I show you exactly how to put your website together using my own proven conversion system for more consults and more clients, and how to articulate your value as I walk you step-by-step in creating your own unique, irresistible marketing message so you can get those lucrative, well-paying monthly retained clients. Throughout all this, you’ll get the bonus of a crash-course in in-bound marketing, business modeling and more clearly identifying your offers and how to position them on your website for best results.
  6. Learn those all-important business skills. Getting clients isn’t at all like applying for a job. In this way, going into business is like going back to college because there are several skill you’re going to need to study and learn if you’re going to be successful. These include pricing and packaging your support; conducting consultations with clients; and marketing and presenting yourself among other things. RESOURCE: I’ve been in this business for darn near 20 years and have packaged up every single bit of my knowledge, know-how and expertise into the ACA Success Store. When I say it has everything you need, that’s not some cheesy marketing line. It actually has exactly all the right information and tools you need to set your business up properly and learn the important skills you need to be successful far more quickly and easily than trying to do it (slowly, blindly) all by yourself.
  7. Take on that first client! While you’re still working can often be a great time to take on that first client. Keep in mind, you’ll only be able to handle so many retained clients (possibly only one, maybe two) while still working a job, and you still need to provide a professional, business-like level of quality and care they would expect from any business. Don’t use having a job as an excuse for providing anything less. That said, I often refer to those first clients as “starter” or “practice” clients. That’s because this is a time when we’re getting our business legs and learning about what we like and don’t like in our business, in clients, and how we want things to work. So, it’s quite common that these clients aren’t neccessarily ones you’ll keep for the long-haul (although that is entirely possible as well). Sometimes we’re lucky and have a client who happily and gratefully grows with us. You’ll also find that as your business standards and boundaries change and improve, as you course correct things that aren’t working in your business, there will also be some clients you naturally outgrow and need to let go. And then there will be others who are just plain intractible and not amenable to any change in your business (and probably weren’t a great fit anyway) and  leave of their own accord. Don’t view those clients as losses or failures. They are absolutely not! They provided invaluable growth and learning experiences and helped you better know yourself and improve your business. So, be grateful you had them and remember that when you let the undeal go, you open up space for the more ideal to flow in and take their place. You won’t grow by clinging to that which is not ideal and absolutely happy-making for you.
  8. Start a slush fund. As you’re working is the best time to start socking away operating capital for the business. This is because for most people, there are only so many clients you can feasibly take on while still employed in a “day job” and still have time, room and energy for all the other things you have to juggle in life. So there comes a transition where, if you’re wanting to go into business full hog, you have to make a leap, and most people don’t yet have a full roster of retained clients when they make that leap. So there’s going to be a period of time once you make the leap and leave your job where you’re working to fill your roster with clients. Having that operating capital (or some other means of income) while you get established can be a lifesaver and help ensure you can pay the bills and not make choices out of desperation (which leads to stepping over of standards) until the business becomes profitable and fully self-sustaining.

Hope that helps!

Dear Danielle: How Do I Obtain Financial Backing?

Dear Danielle:

Do you have any advice on how to secure financial backing? —Anonymous by request

What kind of financial backing do you mean or think you need?

Because these aren’t the kind of businesses that you’re going to be able to find “financial backing” for.

The great thing about our kind of business is that while all businesses require at least some investment of time and money, it costs relatively little to start up an administrative support business.

Best to bootstrap, build up your own capital for launch, make use of whatever resources you already have, and be putting your business foundations solidly in place before launching.

If you’re still working, that’s a great time to do all of that.

Thanks, Danielle. I’m pretty much set up. I have my equipment and such. So perhaps I am good to go. I keep seeing websites, though, that state I need to have a mentor and that it costs X amount of dollars for their insight. So that’s why I was thinking that I need to get a fianancial backer. What do you think?

I think you’re good to go.

Business learning is something that will be ongoing throughout the life of your business. You’ll always be learning.

And no one is going to give you money to get mentored so it’s really a non-issue.

Beyond that, as far as mentors go, you find people to follow who make sense to you and take advantage of their at-large mentoring.

For example, the ACA website and my blog here are where I mentor the industry as a whole with my blog posts, resources, etc.

As you go along, that’s when you might find you need some some personal coaching/advising/guidance here and there when you get stuck, and then you just pay for that when/where/if you need it.

What Is an EIN?

What is an EIN? How do I get an EIN?

For those in the United States or U.S. territories, an EIN (Employer Identification Number) is an identification number you get from the IRS used to identify a business entity.

This number used to be primarily for those businesses that had or intended to hire employees (which is why it was called the Employer Identification Number).

The IRS relaxed that standard in recent years, and it’s used these days as an all-purpose Federal Tax Identification Number.

This is particularly helpful for sole proprietors because they can obtain and use an EIN now instead of their Social Security number on forms they give to clients and others.

You need an EIN if you:

  • Started a new business or purchased a going one;
  • Hired or will hire employees, including household employees;
  • Opened a bank account that requires an EIN for banking purposes;
  • Are a foreign person and need an EIN to comply with IRS withholding regulations;
  • Formed a partnership or corporation; or
  • Had a change in ownership or structure/formation of a business (such as changing a sole proprietorship to a corporation or partnership).

There is no fee required, you do not need to have employees, and you can obtain an EIN instantly right online.

In navigating these matters, always talk with your accountant and visit the IRS website for the most accurate, up-to-date information and advice.

Dear Danielle: Should I Use the Word “Virtual” in My Biz Name?

In this episode of What Would Danielle Say, Lynn wants to know if she should use the word “virtual” in her business name.

Dear Danielle:

My business name is BD Virtual. I read your blog post about What’s In a Name and the part about not having “virtual assistant” or “assistant” in your name. Is it a good idea to have virtual in your name? If not, should I consider admin services consulting like you were talking about. Is BD Virtual okay of a name? —Lynn Smith

Hi Lynn :)

If you follow me for long, you will find that I frequently advise/remind people to delete the word “virtual” from their biz vocabulary (among others).

A business is a business. There’s nothing virtual about it.

Is a business more “pretend” or of less quality if it’s run out of a home office or on the road? Is it more of a business if it’s located in a rented office?

Does an attorney who works from home and conducts most of his meetings over the phone have any less of a legal practice?

Is a doctor or accountant or designer or (fill in the blank for whatever other independent service professional comes to mind) “virtual” just because he works from his own location and/or his clients go to him, he doesn’t go to them?

By that logic, then all businesses are “virtual” in that they perform their services from their own place of business, not the client’s.

But we don’t qualify those businesses like that so why should you qualify yours in that way?

This is why I advise people to stop using the word “virtual.” It’s a silly word and puts a negative, subpar, “less than a real business” spin on things.

One of the challenges of a professional services business like ours (where we do not have physical storefronts that clients can walk into like brick-and-mortar businesses do) is instilling trust, credibility and rapport.

Therefore, you want your business to present itself in every way you can as no different from any other professional a client would hire to provide some kind of expertise.

Any word that detracts from that or qualifies your business as something “other than” or “different from” a real business and professional service like any other makes it more difficult to establish that trust and credibility.

And this is what the word “virtual” does… it says that your business is not a “real” business, it’s something “other than.”

And why do that? Why qualify it in any way except that it is a real business like any other?

This is what I mean by a business is a business. Where the business is located and where you work from is of no relevance.

Regarding your other question, whether you should call it Administrative Consultant, that depends on whether you actually are one or not.

An Administrative Consultant is not the same thing as a virtual assistant. The terms are not interchangeable.

Where “virtual assistant” has become the proverbial junk/miscellaneous drawer of terms of anyone doing anything and everything, which is not a definition or category of anything, it’s just a gopher basically (what Seth Godin would refer to as a meandering generality), an Administrative Consultant is someone who specifically specializes in the business of providing ongoing administrative support (what Seth Godin calls a meaningful specific). That is their business category and their specialty.

The other distinction is that when you are in business, for both legal and practical reasons, you are not anyone’s assistant.

Administrative Consultants are independent professionals (in the same way that attorneys, accountants, designers, etc., are independent professionals) who provide clients with the expertise of strategic administrative support. They are not day-to-day substitute employees or “alternative staff.” They are not staff in any way.

So if your specialization and expertise is administrative support and you view yourself as an independent professional (not a staff member, assistant or outsourced worker), then Administrative Consultant would fit you.

Since it sounds like you are just starting your business and still in the naming phase, be sure to also check out the Naming Your Business category of my blog. I have several posts with information and ideas to help you in that process.

Thanks for the question and I hope this provides you with some understanding and clarity. All my best!

Come to the Table with Proper Preparation and Manners

If you can’t be bothered to make an effort and have the respect, good manners and professionalism to put your best foot forward when you ask others to expend their time, attention and expertise helping you, you should expect the same level of effort and interest in return. ;)

A few quick tips:

1. Be clear. Write/speak in complete words and sentences (e.g., don’t grunt at me or expect me to waste my time trying to decipher your meaning.)

2. Get my name and the name of the organization right. Demonstrate that you are observant and attentive to details. You don’t give me anything to work with if you are so oblivious you can’t even get a name or term right.

3. I don’t care about typos here and there, but do demonstrate that you at least know how to spell and punctuate properly. If you can’t, you shouldn’t be in business.

4. Have the right attitude. Don’t act like you are owed my or anyone else’s time and attention.

5. Do your own homework first. (It’s obvious when someone hasn’t bothered to read anything or done any research whatsoever.)

6. If certain procedures are requested that you follow first, then follow those procedures and instructions.

7. Your mama didn’t raise you like that. Remember your manners and say thank you, always. It matters.