Danielle Keister http://www.administrativeconsultantsassoc.com/blog ACA Biz Savvy Blog for Administrative Consultants Wed, 16 Apr 2014 19:31:52 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.5.2 Tune Into My Interview on BlogTalkRadio with LaToya Haynes http://www.administrativeconsultantsassoc.com/blog/2014/04/16/tune-into-my-interview-on-blogtalkradio-with-latoya-haynes/ http://www.administrativeconsultantsassoc.com/blog/2014/04/16/tune-into-my-interview-on-blogtalkradio-with-latoya-haynes/#comments Wed, 16 Apr 2014 15:36:45 +0000 Danielle Keister http://www.administrativeconsultantsassoc.com/blog/?p=3553

The lovely LaToya Haynes has invited me for a live interview on her BlogTalkRadio show this Friday, and you’re invited.

Here are the details for tuning in:

Fabulous Careers, Doing What You Love

BlogTalkRadio show with host LaToya Haynes of Driven Results VP

Date: Friday, April 18, 2014
Time: 11a PDT | 12p MDT | 1p CDT | 2p EDT (U.S.)
(Need time zone conversion, go to TimeAndDate.com)
Duration: 1 hour

Tune in this Friday: http://tobtr.com/s/6329503

Want to know what marketing terms could be sending the wrong clients instead of ideal clients in your administrative consulting practice? Are you struggling with how to charge your clients in your practice?

Tune in this Friday when I’ll be providing tips and strategies to get your business going in the right direction. Your questions are welcome!

“See” you there. :)

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Dear Danielle: Do You Ever Provide Writing Samples? http://www.administrativeconsultantsassoc.com/blog/2014/04/09/dear-danielle-do-you-ever-provide-writing-samples/ http://www.administrativeconsultantsassoc.com/blog/2014/04/09/dear-danielle-do-you-ever-provide-writing-samples/#comments Wed, 09 Apr 2014 17:00:10 +0000 Danielle Keister http://www.administrativeconsultantsassoc.com/blog/?p=3323

Dear Danielle:

I love your insight into this amazing industry and the advice that you provide. My question is, have you ever created a writing sample as an administrative consultant? If so, what type of sample and what do you include? Thanks so much! —Tajanna Mallory

Hi Tajanna :)

Thanks for the question!

Nope, I haven’t and I wouldn’t, and I’ll tell you why:

I wouldn’t create writing samples because I’m not in the writing business.

I’m in the administrative support business.

Two different things.

Remember, you’re not a gopher, a lackey, who does any ol’ thing clients dream up to pile on you.

As an Administrative Consultant, you’re in business to provide a specific expertise—the expertise of administrative support.

This is yet another example of why people in the admin support business need to stop calling and viewing themselves as assistants.

When you call yourself an assistant, clients think it’s their role to twist you into whatever pretzels they please.

Because that’s what they’re used to doing to employees.

And people only understand the word assistant one way: employee.

Here’s the thing:

They wouldn’t expect their attorney to build them a house, would they? They wouldn’t turn to their accountant to handle a lawsuit, right?

Of course not.

Because those are different expertises that entail completely different skills, knowledge, training, talents and processes that they aren’t in business to provide.

This is why I’m always telling folks, you have GOT to get clear and specific about what business you’re in.

Are you a writer? Or are you an adminstrator?

You can be whatever you want, of course. And maybe you have a separate writing division in your business. But that doesn’t make writing and admin support the same thing.

It’s like the analogy I’m always using:  Why would you ask a plumber to fix your car?

That would be silly, naturally. Someone who needs their car fixed needs a mechanic, not a plumber.

It’s the same thing here, and I would tell a client so.

I don’t “do” writing. I “do” administrative support.

Clients need to write their own stuff or hire an actual writer/copywriter to perform that service for them.

I might edit/proof their work, but I don’t write for them. That’s not what I’m in business to do.

Do you understand the difference?

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25 Ways to Get Better, More Ideal Clients http://www.administrativeconsultantsassoc.com/blog/2014/04/03/25-ways-to-get-better-more-ideal-clients/ http://www.administrativeconsultantsassoc.com/blog/2014/04/03/25-ways-to-get-better-more-ideal-clients/#comments Thu, 03 Apr 2014 17:00:24 +0000 Danielle Keister http://www.administrativeconsultantsassoc.com/blog/?p=3486 baddog

One of the biggest complaints people voice in our industry (the administrative support business) are clients who are a pain in the ass, otherwise known as PIAs, or more gently, unideal clients.

Bad clients are also one of the biggest business killers. One bad client (particularly in a new business) can suck up all your resources and destroy profit—and your morale—to the point of no return.

Despite your best efforts, it’s possible to end up with a rotten apple once in awhile.

Far more often, however, it is we who create the conditions that bring un-ideal clients into our lives in the first place.

You have far more control in this area than you may realize. So, here’s a list that will help you have more ideal, joy-to-work-with clients who won’t tear your business apart:

  1. Own your role. Bad clients don’t happen to you. You’re the one who took them on and continues to work with them. Acknowledge that so you can fix it and start doing things differently from this point forward.
  2. Trust your gut. If you have a bad feeling or see red flags, pay attention. Your instincts will never fail you.
  3. Treat and respect your business like a business. When you do, your prospects and clients will as well.
  4. Have self-respect. Don’t beg, bribe and prostrate yourself to get clients. The only clients who are attracted to desperate people are bad clients.
  5. Don’t be so available. Have a process that prospects go through to become clients. It’s an indicator that you are a professional, successful business, and that is going to attract professional, successful prospects. Anyone who is in a rush and wants to sidestep your processes is never an ideal client. Better clients are willing to wait for the best.
  6. Never take on work or clients just for the money. This is often where at least 75% of the problems start.
  7. Have standards. For example, choosing to work with only honest, ethical people is a standard. What others can you think of? Write them down and hang this list where you’ll see it every day.
  8. Set proper expectations. Remember, you’re not running a mass consumer, assembly-line business like McDonald’s. You’re running a professional service firm where there is a personal, ongoing relationship with each client. Sometimes clients can seem unideal because you haven’t properly managed expectations. They’ve been left to their own devices and so they assumed or made up their own rules. Similar to raising children, if we are too permissive, over-promise, and establish policies that we can’t possibly sustain on a consistent basis (such as 24-hour, on-demand, instant assistance), we can turn clients quickly into spoiled brats who throw tantrums the second you don’t instantly jump at their request. Picture your business with a full roster of retained clients. What kind of turn-around and communication policies does THAT business need to take great care of all your clients, consistently and reliably, now and in the future, without overcrowding and burning you out in the process?
  9. Set policies, procedures and protocols. These are relationship-preservers that bring order to your business, ensure it runs smoothly and gives you the space you need to take fantastic care of all your clients, evenly, consistently and reliably. Without this structure, clients can quickly (and often do) turn into monsters we dread dealing with.
  10. Establish boundaries. Besides helping ensure your business runs smoothly so you can do great work for all your clients, your policies and protocols also establish boundaries. For example, having formal office hours between 9a and 5p is a policy that also sets a boundary that tells clients you are running a professional business that opens and closes at certain hours and they may not expect you to be working past those times. See? Boundary.
  11. Honor your standards, boundaries and protocols. Here again is where we often “do it” to ourselves by taking shortcuts and stepping over our standards and boundaries or allowing clients to. They’re in place to ensure you have a happy business and happy clients. Ignore them at your peril.
  12. Know who your ideal client is. Start an Ideal Client Profile. This is a list of all the traits, characteristics and demographics of the kind of person you really enjoy working with, who you work best with, and who benefits most from working with you. Keep adding to and refining this list throughout the life of your business. This formalizing exercise helps you get more clear, conscious and intentional about who you want to attract and focus on in your business.
  13. Start an UN-ideal Client Profile. Likewise, as you grow in your business, you are going to get more and more clear about who is not the right fit for you, with whom you don’t enjoy working. List these traits and red flags so that you can better recognize those folks when they appear on your doorstep—and quickly and politely send them away.
  14. Work with business people rather those who are employees themselves. Business people get it. Non business people are more often going to be difficult to work with because they aren’t coming from a business context and don’t understand the proper business etiquette and rules of engagement.
  15. Have a target market. A target market is simply an industry/field/profession that you cater your administrative support to. Having one will not only make everything in your business easier, it will also help you get better, more ideal clients.
  16. Have a proper business website. Your website isn’t merely an online brochure. When you have a proper website that informs, educates and markets you like a business, it’s a powerful influence in the clients you attract and how those clients approach you in a proper business context. It helps set expectations and prequalify clients so you get more ideal business people contacting you. The image it presents, the message it conveys, and the process it takes them through set a precedent that is going to attract either ideal or unideal clients to you. If you want better clients, have a better website.
  17. Stop marketing yourself like a substitute employee. Face it, if people are approaching you like a potential employer instead of a client, it’s because you aren’t educating them properly. If you don’t want clients who treat you like their substitute, beck-and-call, under-the-table employee they don’t pay taxes on, then you have to stop marketing yourself like one. Model your marketing message more like that of other independent professionals like attorneys and accountants. You want to position yourself as someone with the expertise of administration, not some order-taking gopher. Reframe the message and you’ll get better clients.
  18. Have a consultation process. And I don’t mean some penny-ante 15-minute chat. That is NOT going to help you or the client whatsoever. I’m talking about a full and proper consultation process that begins before a prospect ever contacts you. Not only does this process help you prequalify prospective clients for mutual fit, it also helps them take your business more seriously.
  19. Always use a (proper) contract. A contract is a relationship-preserver as well in that it helps everyone remember and honor their agreements to each other. A contract helps clients respect you as a business, and a respectful client is an ideal client.
  20. Have a Client Guide. Formalize your policies, procedures and prototols into a written Client Guide that you give to all new and current clients. Part of setting and managing expectations is making sure you are informing clients about how things work in your business. None of us are mindreaders and neither are your clients. If you want your relationship with clients to go smoothly and ideally, you have to inform them of what that means, how things work in your business and what is expected of them (remember, it’s a two-way street; it’s not all about their needs).
  21. Conduct a New Client Orientation with new retained clients before you begin working together to go over and clarify the information in your Client Guide and answer any questions they may have. Do this with existing clients as well whenever your business undergoes significant changes. This further supports your efforts in educating clients about the nature of the relationship, setting and managing expectations, how things work in your business and what the standards, policies, protocols and procedures are for working together.
  22. Issue formal announcements to all your clients whenever there is a change in your business. Whenever you make changes or improvements to your business and how you do things, don’t mention these things in passing. Make it formal. Send out a formal business communication to your clients on company letterhead as well as any ezine and blog you publish. Here again, you’re reinforcing the business aspect of your relationship and treating the business like a business which then influences how clients treat and respect you and the relationship.
  23. Raise your rates. When you’re cheap and there is no barrier to entry for working with you, you get cheap, unideal clients. It’s an immutable law of business that when you raise your rates, you get better, more ideal clients. It’s a way to sort the wheat from the chaff in prequalifying clients.
  24. Face difficult conversations. It will only be worse for both of you the longer you wait. However, the quicker you are to face difficult conversations, the more often those relationships can be turned around for the better. You can learn many new positive things and possibly keep a client .
  25. Let go of unideal clients quickly. They’ll keep you buried in the muck and you’ll never grow or move forward if you continue to work with them. Unideal clients are highly unprofitable to work with and suck up three times the space in your practice compared to ideal clients. They cost your business far more than you realize and you can’t afford the psychological toll they take. You have to let go of the bad and unideal to make room for the better and more ideal.
  26. Bonus Tip: Stop calling yourself an assistant. Who you attract is all about your marketing. Marketing is about educating, setting expectations and creating perception. The words you choose to call yourself influence how clients perceive you and understand the relationship. The fact is, people only understand the word assistant one way: employee. So when you call yourself an assistant, you’re telling them you are some sort of employee. When they think you’re an employee, they want to treat like one. And when you call yourself an assistant, causing their perception to be that you are some sort of substitute employee, you predispose them to balk at your fees because they only expect to pay you like an employee. If you want more ideal clients, it’s not enough to change how you work with clients  and insist that you’re a business owner. You have to stop calling yourself a term that contradicts all those efforts. When you do, you”ll get higher quality prospects and more easily command higher, properly professional fees because you haven’t created a disconnect in their understanding and perception of the nature of the relationship right from the get-go.
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Pinch Yourself Today, Right Now http://www.administrativeconsultantsassoc.com/blog/2014/03/26/pinch-yourself-today-right-now/ http://www.administrativeconsultantsassoc.com/blog/2014/03/26/pinch-yourself-today-right-now/#comments Wed, 26 Mar 2014 17:00:49 +0000 Danielle Keister http://www.administrativeconsultantsassoc.com/blog/?p=3476 Pinch Yourself Today, Right Now

I was chatting online with a long-time colleague yesterday, someone whom I greatly like and admire.

I asked how business was going for her since we hadn’t had a chance to catch up in awhile.

This colleague has always invested in herself and her business. She’s purchased my entire system of business success products and if I remember correctly, taken all my training classes as well, and she is doing all kinds of fantastic!

I didn’t want to say how proud I was of her (though I am) because that sounds so condescending. So I said I hoped she realized how stinkin’ proud of all that she’s accomplished she should be because SHE did this!

And I hope YOU are taking time regularly for “pinch myself” moments to honor and celebrate all that you’ve accomplished in your business journey as well.

I call them “pinch myself” moments because even having been in this business for nearly 20 years, I frequently marvel at just how fortunate I am to be living this lifestyle that my business affords me. And I “pinch” myself in gratitude that YES, this is REAL, this is my real life and I DID IT!

All anyone (myself included) can do is give you our best help, knowledge and guidance, but it’s YOU who makes it all happen in your own life and business.

So take a moment, right now, to celebrate all your accomplishments, every step you’ve conquered, every action you’ve taken, every fear you’ve faced, no matter how big or seemingly insignificant. Because they are all equally important in your journey.

Every time you learn a difficult lesson, every time you face down something you were scared of, that intimidated you or you felt daunted by, you make progress toward your goals for self determination and independence. And you grow not only in your business, but personally as well.

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Do You Ever Subcontract Your Client Work? http://www.administrativeconsultantsassoc.com/blog/2014/03/21/do-you-ever-subcontract-your-client-work/ http://www.administrativeconsultantsassoc.com/blog/2014/03/21/do-you-ever-subcontract-your-client-work/#comments Fri, 21 Mar 2014 14:40:39 +0000 Danielle Keister http://www.administrativeconsultantsassoc.com/blog/?p=3411 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.
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What’s Better: Charge Clients Upfront or Collect on the Backend? http://www.administrativeconsultantsassoc.com/blog/2014/03/18/whats-better-charge-clients-upfront-or-collect-on-the-backend/ http://www.administrativeconsultantsassoc.com/blog/2014/03/18/whats-better-charge-clients-upfront-or-collect-on-the-backend/#comments Tue, 18 Mar 2014 17:00:41 +0000 Danielle Keister http://www.administrativeconsultantsassoc.com/blog/?p=3395 What's Better: Charge Client Upfront or Collect on the Backend?

This question was asked on the ACA LinkedIn Group recently:

“Hi! So I’m looking at signing my first services agreement with a client. There will be a big kick-off project and then a monthly retainer. Do I charge the client half up front for the kick off and then have them pay the rest once I deliver? For the monthly retainer, do I have them pay me at the end of the month once my work is done or the beginning before I start? I’m trying getting burned as much as possible. Thanks!”

Here’s my advice:

Upfront, upfront, upfront!

It’s important to remember that you’re in the administrative support business, not the credit and loan business.

As  a service provider, you’re not obligated to extend anyone credit.

Which is what it would boil down to by you doing all work upfront and billing later.

The problems with billing after the fact include:

  • You deprive yourself of cashflow, which is the lifeblood of every business.
  • Clients will take you and the work less seriously and abuse your time more frequently. It’s too easy to blow things off and rack up debt on that which they haven’t paid for yet. When they have made an actual financial investment (skin in the game, as they say), they are more compelled to focus their attention to it.
  • You’ll have more late/non-payers.
  • Having to chase after and deal with those late/non-payers adds to your administrative burdens, creates stress, zaps energy, reduces your morale and spirits, and deprives good clients of your full, positive attention.
  • It doesn’t do anyone any good (including clients) to go into debt to you. The more they owe, the harder it will be for them to get caught up while you’re the one who suffers and pays the price for that.
  • You’re in a far worse position if a client doesn’t pay after you’ve expended your time and business resources helping them than if you were to mitigate possible losses by getting at least some money upfront.

So here’s what I recommend…

RETAINERS

Retainers, by their very nature, are always upfront. That’s the whole point of them. They are typically due on or before the 1st of each month.

In my practice, instead of having retainers due on the 1st, they are due (and processed) on the 25th of the preceding month. For example, April’s retainers are due on March 25.

This is because I don’t want my billing and being paid (along with all that beginning of the month work and bills we have to contend with in our own businesses) competing with the 1st of the month work I do for clients.

I also process my payments automatically… and I never pay myself late. ;)

To do this, I have clients sign a Credit Card Authorization Agreement (AGR-30) at the start of the relationship. By signing this agreement, clients give their consent for you to keep their credit card information on file (because you can’t do that without a consent agreement in place), and for you to automatically process their regular monthly charges.

Once I process the payment every month, I put a courtesy PDF copy of their paid monthly invoice up in a shared Dropbox folder for their business records.

Retainers are the holy grail in this business because it’s where the bigger, more consistent money is. To learn how to make retainers profitable and build a business where you can earn a great living working fewer hours with fewer clients (and get off the nickel and dime project hamster wheel where you always have to chase down your next meal), I highly encourage you to get my Value-Based Pricing & Packaging Guide (GDE-39).

PROJECT WORK

A project is different from ongoing support in that it is self-contained and ends upon completion of the work.

Designing a website is an example of project work because it’s not ongoing. Once the site design is complete, that’s the end of the project.

With project work, clients should definitely be paying at least something upfront, and 100% is entirely acceptable business practice.

With projects, there are a number of ways they can be charged. Getting a minimum or deposit upfront works like earnest money and helps clients respect your time and take the work more seriously.

Requiring payment upfront also helps weed out those who are not serious prospects.

I hate to say it but it’s nonetheless true:  there are dine-and-dash clients that new people in business often fall prey to who engage them to do a bunch of work, and then disappear when the bill shows up. You want to avoid that.

The rule of thumb in my business is that if it’s $1,000 or less, I charge 100% upfront.

If it’s a larger project, we break it up into logical phases and they pay for each phase upfront. If you do it that way, you get paid for work you were engaged to perform and complete, and work only continues beyond that once the next phase’s payment is met.

While you’re at it, if you want to learn all my secret policies and procedures that allow me to run my business 3 days a week while earning a full-time income working with just a handful of clients, be sure to get my Power Productivity and Business Management Guide (GDE-41).

Is this information helpful or eye-opening to you? Let me know in the comments. :)

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Dear Danielle: What If I Don’t Have 5 Years Experience? http://www.administrativeconsultantsassoc.com/blog/2014/03/12/dear-danielle-what-if-i-dont-have-5-years-experience/ http://www.administrativeconsultantsassoc.com/blog/2014/03/12/dear-danielle-what-if-i-dont-have-5-years-experience/#comments Wed, 12 Mar 2014 15:00:23 +0000 Danielle Keister http://www.administrativeconsultantsassoc.com/blog/?p=3371 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.

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Another Word to Delete from Your Biz Vocabulary: WAHM/Mompreneur http://www.administrativeconsultantsassoc.com/blog/2014/03/11/another-word-to-delete-from-your-biz-vocabulary-wahmmompreneur/ http://www.administrativeconsultantsassoc.com/blog/2014/03/11/another-word-to-delete-from-your-biz-vocabulary-wahmmompreneur/#comments Tue, 11 Mar 2014 17:00:56 +0000 Danielle Keister http://www.administrativeconsultantsassoc.com/blog/?p=3379 103089q8q89309edfadlferqw98

Never, ever refer to yourself as a WAHM or mompreneur/mumpreneur. You won’t be taken seriously.

You might be one, but it’s irrelevant to business and not what you should be focusing your prospects on.

Because here’s what people that attracts, what they think:

Oh, a nice little work at home mommy. She’ll be grateful to get the measly $5/$10 bucks an hour I pay her.”

I was watching Shark Tank the other day and this one entrepreneur (a woman doctor, by the way) was asked if she had any reps selling for her. She told them she didn’t; instead she had “6 moms” doing that work.

You see the implication don’t you? I couldn’t help but shout at the TV!

She was devaluing these women because they were “moms.” They were doing her selling and managing of sales for her, but were presumably being paid peanuts compared to what she would be paying for “real” sales reps.

This is exactly why you don’t want prospects viewing you as a work-at-home mom. You want them seeing you as nothing less than a businesswoman and an expert in administration.

It’s wrong and it shouldn’t be, but the fact remains that when you advertise/market yourself as a “work-at-home-mom,” people will devalue you and think of you as something other/less than a businessperson. And they will accordingly expect to only pay you peanuts.

I don’t know why more moms don’t get fired up about this. As a mom myself (though my daughter is grown now) you better believe I am presenting myself as nothing but a business person because anyone who shortchanges me, shortchanges my family/kids.

I would be just as responsible for that shortchanging by settling for crumbs and marketing myself in ways that caused my marketplace to devalue me.

Use that mama bear energy to get good and fierce about learning whatever you need to learn so you can start marketing like a proper business, get proper cients and start making the kind of money you and your family deserve.

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24 HOURS ONLY: Apply Your Past Product Purchases Toward a Full Set http://www.administrativeconsultantsassoc.com/blog/2014/03/05/24-hours-only-apply-your-past-product-purchases-toward-a-full-set/ http://www.administrativeconsultantsassoc.com/blog/2014/03/05/24-hours-only-apply-your-past-product-purchases-toward-a-full-set/#comments Wed, 05 Mar 2014 17:21:28 +0000 Danielle Keister http://www.administrativeconsultantsassoc.com/blog/?p=3363

Once a year or so I like to give my community the chance to apply their past product purchases toward a full set.

For example, perhaps you purchased a few individual products from the ACA Success Store and like them so well you wished you’d purchased a complete package.

Or say you purchased SET-01 and now you wish you had purchased SET-03, The Whole Shebang.

Then, not only would you have a full library of everything you need at a tremendous savings, you’d also have the free bonus products that only come with the sets and can’t be purchased individually.

The next 24 hours is your chance to do that!

From now until midnight, March 6 (that’s tomorrow), you can apply your past product purchases toward Set-01 (the Biz Foundations Pack) or Set-03 (The Whole Shebang).

All you have to do is shoot me an email telling me you’d like to upgrade to a full set. We’ll add up your product purchases and send you a coupon code for that amount.

If you decide to purchase one of the sets, just enter the code in the discount field when you check out.

Due to the manual calculations and time involved, this isn’t something I can offer on a regular basis so don’t miss out on your chance to complete your business foundations and training guides and also get the free bonuses that aren’t available otherwise.

Act now! This offer ends in 24 hours.

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Friends Don’t Let Friends Jump Off a Cliff http://www.administrativeconsultantsassoc.com/blog/2014/03/03/friends-dont-let-friends-jump-off-a-cliff/ http://www.administrativeconsultantsassoc.com/blog/2014/03/03/friends-dont-let-friends-jump-off-a-cliff/#comments Mon, 03 Mar 2014 17:00:45 +0000 Danielle Keister http://www.administrativeconsultantsassoc.com/blog/?p=3330 54830-10-34890458483098349030

Last week I came upon a post where a colleague was offered an “epic business offer” to work 16 hours a week for three months—um, FOR FREE—until the client’s business launched.

Once the business launched, she was told, the client “planned” to “promote” her to paid intern status.

This client was in her target market and she felt could potentially open doors to other clients within that industry.

What she wanted to know from the group was if they had this same opportunity, would they accept it.

And every single person on there was all “Yeah, go for it!” “I’d jump on it in a heartbeat!”… rah-rah sis koom bah.

What?!

I thought I was on a business forum.

Obviously I was mistaken because not one person spoke up about the fact that this wasn’t a business deal whatsoever.

Potential is not a form of payment. And clients don’t “promote” you to anything; you’re not an employee.

This was a con for free work by some slimeball preying on a new business owner’s naivete and lack of business experience.

Hope springs eternal. But REAL friends don’t let other friends jump off a cliff.

The ol’ “dangling carrot” is one of the oldest ploys in the book by those who would devalue others.

If their “epic” deal is so great and such a sure thing, they should be investing in it themselves by PAYING for the services of others fairly and squarely. Let them play games with their own business’s time, money and profits.

If you are ever presented with an “epic opportunity” such as this, let me assure you, it is anything but.

Before doing anything foolish and wasting your precious business time and resources on those who don’t deserve you, take a look at these entertaining videos and blog posts that will really open your eyes:

1. Please Design a Logo for Me. With Piecharts. For Free. Hysterical, but quite illustrative blog post by David Thorne on the kind of client who tries to get free work with the lure of “great potential” and “future business.”

2. Pay the Writer. Video clip of Harlan Ellison rant about people expecting writers, creatives and others in service-based professions (like ours) to give their work for free.

3. The Vendor Client Relationship in Real World Situations. Video humorously illustrating how cheapskate clients try to get you to work for free just because you’re in a service-based business.

4. Are You on Sale? Stop Giving Yourself Away for Free. One of my own blog posts on the topic of illegal internships.

5. Don’t fall for dangling carrot syndrom. Another of my own blog posts about not falling for unbalanced “opportunities.”

Free does not pay your bills. It doesn’t pay your electricity. It doesn’t keep a roof over your head. It doesn’t put gas in your car. It doesn’t buy food. It doesn’t take care of your kids or give them opportunities.

You deserve better and those who depend on you deserve for you to be paid and hold yourself in higher esteem.

Say no to spec work and giving yourself away for free. Think long and hard before you devalue yourself (and teach others to devalue you) like this.

Anyone who wants you to work for free is not a legitimate prospect. Walk away.

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