What is GDPR?
The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is a European privacy law that came into effect on May 25th, 2018. The law regulates how individuals and organizations can collect, use and store personal data.
The GDPR is all about your customers/clients data, how you obtained it, where do you store it, what is your plans with it, etc. In a nutshell, the law is all about transparency. Letting your customers/clients know what your intentions are with their data and if you are storing it securely.
- Make a list of all the places you use to collect current or future clients information. This could be from Email Marketing Systems (MailChimp, ConverKit.), Cloud Based Storage Systems (GDrive, One Drive, Dropbox), CRM Systems (Hubspot, Zoho), Accounting Software (Xero, QuickBooks, FreshBooks), Payment Platforms (PayPal, Square), Website Hosting Platform (GoDaddy, Weebly, Wix, Wodpress), Analytics Tools (Google Analytics), or even from Social Media (Facebook, Facebook Ads, Twitter).
** Remember you only need to protect yourself if this data is personally being collected by you, in most cases with Analytic tools of Social Media Ads, you are not actually given the data personally. But it is worth noting as you need to make sure that the 3rd party you are using DOES store the data in accordance to the GDPR
- Check all your 3rd party systems to ensure they have updated their policies to be GDPR compliant. Most, if not all, of the larger systems you might use have updated their policies. However, it is always good to go through your list and personally ensure this has happened with each and every one of them.
- Take a look at your opt-ins. Do you have a box for someone to tick saying they would like emails from you? If someone signs up but doesn’t tick this box. They cannot be sent ANY emails from you or be added to your email list.
- Do you share data with third parties? This will require another opt-in, asking for their direct permission for you to share their data.
- Send an email to your current mailing list asking them to re-opt in. Your email marketing system might already have a template for you to use. Just make sure however you send the email that you clearly have an opt-in button and a opt-out button.
- Finally, data encryption. Is the data you store encrypted? Basically you want to make sure that if anyone came across them that they wouldn’t have access. Ie: if your phone or computer was stolen.
Remember, the biggest point to remember with the new GDPR policy is transparency. As long as you’re being upfront and transparent regarding any and all data you collect you should have nothing to worry about.
In a traditional business office, there are manyemployees who can handle a variety of tasks. When you work online for yourself, you don’t have this support network. This is why many online business entrepreneurs have virtual assistants, also known as VA’s.
Virtual assistants are hired help that work for you through the Internet. They can be located in distant parts of the globe and they often are because of the low price. You have the world’s workforce at your fingertips.
The Pros of Hiring a VA
The main advantage of having a virtual assistant is that you can get rid of the mundane tasks that eat away at your time. Your VA can handle itemsthat are unpleasant or difficult for you. They can also take over certain aspects of your business when you go on vacation. Some VA services are highly skilled in areas like web design which you may not be good at yourself.
There are a few disadvantages as well. Training and managing your VA can sometimes be a job in and of itself. The technology for communicating over long distances can be temperamental and there may be language or cultural barriers to overcome. Finally, you may have to give out sensitive information about your business that requires a great deal of trust.
However, your virtual assistant can handle so many of the different routine tasks for your online business that the benefits usually outweigh any of the challenges.
Research and Finding Resources
A great job for your virtual assistant is to do research for you. You can assign them tasks to find specific information you need. Examples would be hiring your VA to research other bloggers in your niche to put on your blog roll, blogs that accept guest posts, or forums in your niche that let you include a link in the signaturefile.
There are many email tasks that your virtual assistant can take over for you. For example, they may write reminders to your clients that it’s time to pay or other routine communications. You can have them cut and paste these messages so that all they have to do is send. You may hire a VA to clean out your email inbox or sort messages into appropriate folders.
Social Media Management
Many people with online businesses hire their virtual assistants to manage all of their daily social media tasks. They may update your social media site, set up profiles for you, find people to connect to, or research your target market using social media.
A great task for virtual assistants is getting backlinks to your site. They may submit your articles to directories, a task that eats up your precious time, or bookmark all of your content on social bookmarking sites.
Full SEO Packages
Some agencies hire out virtual assistants who are trained in all different aspects of SEO. They may offer SEO packages that include a number of the tasks mentioned above.
Finding the Right Help
Almost all online businesses need a virtual assistant at some point. It’s good to have a few picked out before you need them. That way, you can take the time to shop around for people that are skilled at the tasks you need done. Keep their contact info and then let them know when you need them.
Times have changed for authors. Traditionally authors would mail copies of their books to reviewers at newspapers and magazines and hope that they would receive a written review in exchange. There are many book bloggers online and many of them review books even though they are not paid. It is
important to get at least 25 reviews prior to launch. Potential buyers read reviews before deciding to
purchase a book. The reviews help build a potential reader’s confidence and help with your listing on
sites like Amazon.
Have a mobi version or ePub ready to be sent to those who agree to review your book. A few
suggestions on where to find free reviews:
1. Ask friends and family and social media contacts to read your book and review it.
2. Find authors who have written similar books to yours and check out who has written reviews for
their books. Chances are, if they have reviewed a book of the same genre, they will be
interested in reviewing your book. You may have to do some extra research as not all of their
email addresses appear on their page. It may just have their website which you can go to find
out how to contact the reviewer. Once you have their email address, send them a personalized
email and let them know that you saw that they reviewed another author’s book, which is
similar to yours, and ask if they be interested in reviewing your book.
3. Midwest Book Review have volunteer reviewers whose reviews are run the monthly in the
Many professional review option for Indie authors are paid services.
Professional review options for Indie authors vary – many are paid services.
One that most people are familiar with is Kirkus Indie. You are guaranteed to get a review although it
may not be the one you were hoping for. You can choose to publish your review or if it is a negative
review, you can request not to have it published on Kirkus Indie. It is expensive with Traditional Reviews starting at USD 425.
These are just a few suggestions and you can always find more by searching on the Internet for Book
Reviews for Indie Authors.
If you have any suggestions for other Indie Authors, we welcome your comments and suggestions
How do solopreneurs do it all? How do they manage to work full time and have time for themselves, family and friends? We have all heard the expression “all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy”. Everyone needs a certain amount of relaxation. We all know that it is not good to work all of the time and we all need a good balance between work and play.
Dictionary.com gives an example of the word balance: “In these hurried times it’s getting harder and harder to balance work, family and technology.”
Creating that balance is something that can be done by adopting a few essential strategies. It is always easier said than done and really requires you to be adaptable. Here are 10 tips:
- Be flexible. Know that there may be times when either work or your personal life requires more attention than the other. Leave room in your schedule to allow a little flexibility, just in case.
- Balance your workload. As solopreneurs, we tend to want to commit to all of the business that comes our way at any given time, and, it all seems to come at the same time. You want take on as much as you know you can handle or know that you have a team ready to delegate to.
- Delegate. You need to know who you can call upon when you need to and who has a skill set(s) that is compatible with your needs. Delegating does not have to be only for work. You can also delegate personal tasks.
- Prioritize. There are going to be times when you cannot get everything done at both home and work. Make sure you prioritize your task list. This will ensure that the most important ones are done first. You can always catch up on the less important tasks later.
- Disconnect on a regular basis. It is important to take time off. We all feel that we will miss something of importance if we are not connected. That once in a lifetime email will wait until you reconnect. Taking time away from work recharges you; it will refresh you and make you all that more productive when you reconnect.
- Organize your schedule. Plan enough time for your work tasks and your personal interests. Manage your time and ensure that you make time for both.
- Track your time. For one or two weeks, track how you spend your time. Are you spending time on things that do not matter to you? Are you doing things that can be delegated so that your time can be better spent? Take a good look on what you can do to improve how you use your time.
- Focus on one thing at a time. You may find you get more done if you concentrate on one thing at a time. Focus solely on what you are doing. Set your boundaries for family and work and keep them separate.
- Exercise. Adding activity to your life makes you more productive. Exercising relieves stress and clears your mind. It also gives you more energy to accomplish your daily tasks at work and home.
- It is okay to say “no”. Before taking on more requests or tasks, make sure that they fit into your schedule and if they do not, see if you can delegate them. If not, then rather than overwhelming yourself, say no.
Do you have any suggestions to share on how to balance life and work? Anything in particular that works for you? We would love to hear from you. Either leave a comment here or feel free to contact us.
We see them pretty regularly….FB posts in the various groups and job boards that simply say “I need a VA. Send me a message.” Or “Can anyone recommend a good VA?”
Within a few short minutes – you’ll either see a flock of potential candidates drop links to their pages, add comments such as “Sent PM”, or other group members are tagging friends and colleagues they feel would be appropriate. Depending on the group’s size – that poor soul could theoretically receive hundreds of direct messages, emails and friend requests – and they still haven’t even disclosed exactly what it was they were looking for. It’s no wonder so many say, “finding a VA is next to impossible”. But it’s not – or at least it doesn’t have to be.
Probably one of the biggest misconceptions is that Virtual Assistant is a job title. In our opinion, “VA” permanently stopped being a title when SIRI was introduced in 2011.
You can outsource everything from assistant-type tasks like calendar and email management, through to the other end of the spectrum and bring in an OBM for the day-to-day operations in your business, a Project Manager to make sure all client & internal projects are kept on track, or a marketing strategist to get your marketing efforts on track. Then there are graphic designers, bookkeepers, video editors, and social media managers – just to name a few. You just likely won’t find all these skills in one single person as sadly, the “Unicorn” is still very much a myth.
You simply cannot be the “master of everything” – if you could – you yourself likely wouldn’t be considering bringing on help. And one of the biggest things that is often overlooked when outsourcing are the relevant labour and tax laws. An employee is treated very differently from a Contractor, and to have one person with ALL of these skillsets – in most cases per the taxman, they’d have to be hired on as an employee.
One of the first steps when considering getting help is to determine your needs. “What CAN you outsource?” However, the bigger and more important question is: “What makes the most financial sense to outsource (or DELLAGATE)?” By DELLAGATE we mean, outsourcing the things that you
a) don’t like to do,
b) don’t want to do, or
c) will bring you the most return on your investment, and add to your overall bottom line.
How is your time best spent?
Customers today demand more and more from the customer service of companies they do business with. They want their issues to be resolved quickly and with minimal fuzz. It’s no wonder that a lot of businesses are scrambling to make their customer service as efficient as possible. However, it isn’t always easy to know which steps to take. There’s always the very real danger of sacrificing the quality of the service for efficiency, and that is something that must be avoided at all costs. Too many companies make that mistake and end up with customer service that is subpar compared to their competitors.
One of the key aspects of efficient customer service is trying to anticipate most of the issues that customers have and build routines to handle them. Of course every situation is slightly different from the next, but there are often big similarities too. It may be a good idea to try to log the details of every issue that reaches customer service in order to get the whole picture and be able to plan accordingly.
A common mistake many companies do in order to become more efficient is trying to write scripts for the customer service reps to use. In some cases that can work well, like if most issues are exactly alike, but quite often it is too rigid and leads to poor customer service. It can be a good idea to use scripts for some specific situations, but leave the rest a bit more flexible. Otherwise the customers will easily be able to tell that the customer service rep they’re talking to is just reading from a script, and that can give a very poor impression.
Another common mistake is trying to automate every little aspect of the customer service process, making it difficult or impossible to reach a real, human employee. While that may save time and money in those situations where it works well, it will also cause much frustration in a situation it is unable to handle. If you’re going to rely on automation, you better also make sure that it is easy to sidestep that process and get in direct touch with a customer service rep.
A great way to increase efficiency without doing heavy restructuring is offering rewards and bonuses to employees who perform well. That can be extremely motivating, but it is imperative not to just reward those that resolve issues quickly, but look at the whole picture and judge overall customer satisfaction.
Simply put, Facebook is a must for every business and professonal. It is the largest social platform in the world, giving them a power others strive form. Facebook is becoming the new age Google, where users turn to search for services, products, and reviews.
Key Point: Facebook provides businesses the ability to create digital advertising within any budget.
Being owned by Facebook, Instagram integrates extremely well. Making it an excellent tool to use if your business is built around a visual or physical product. Allowing you to build and share a visual story of your brand. Instagram allows you to search with the use of hashtags, so remember to add relevant hashtags to your posts to expand your audience.
Key Point: Instagram is all visual, look to upload high quality images and videos to help make you stand apart from other users.
Twitter is for those looking to share their quick thoughts, trending topics, and communicate with others with varying opinions. Similar to Instagram twitter functions better when you include a couple hashtags within your post.
Key Point: Twitter is a fast paced platform, to best unlock all it’s potential post a couple times throughout the day.
Even with multiple video hosting platforms available today, YouTube still sits as the #1 spot for users to upload their content. Due to several factors.
#1. The sheer amount of traffic YouTube has outweighs others
#2. YouTube is free for anyone to create an account and upload content without any restrictions on video length.
Key Point: Make sure your videos highlight your service/product in a way that’s unforgettable, so that it stands out amongst others content.
Nicknamed the ‘Professional’ sibling of Facebook, LinkedIn provides a great community for businesses and professionals. It is more of a ‘social network’ than it is ‘social platform’ so remember you’re there to build relationships with people who may eventually turn to your services.
Key Point: LinkedIn is great to build your social network, get involved within their groups and remember to share any of your articles/blogs to showcase your knowledge and services.
Trying to be on all platforms efficiently would take a lot of your time with little results, instead choose a couple that best suit your needs and focus on them. Creating your ‘online presence’ will only work if you maintain consistency.
Do you have a favourite scheduling program? We’d love to hear!
Customer service is crucial to any business. It is the most important aspect of any business; it is the frontline of the company. Customers remember good service. Good customer service is all about bringing customers back, sending your existing customers away happy. Happy customers will spread the word to others, who may then try the product or service you offer for themselves and become repeat customers as well. Companies with great customer service do not have to do a hard sales pitch to potential clients; they let their reputation precede them.
Customers remember good service or really terrible service. Customer service representatives are the people that your customers are interacting with. They represent your company and you want them to offer the very best service possible so that your clients will want to continue doing business with your company. Really terrible service could result in the loss of a client who could speak poorly about your business to others.
In this virtual world, getting good service can be extremely frustrating at times. One of the biggest complaints is lack of personal connection when customers try to reach a company by phone or submitting a complaint via email and not receiving a response in a timely fashion, if ever.
Open communication between the client and customer service is extremely important. Having a contact person(s) for clients to contact who genuinely cares about their issue(s) is the most import aspect of any business. It should always be easy for clients to reach customer service. Prompt replies to all inquiries are vital. It is alright to say you do not have the answer, as long as the reply includes a time frame for when you will have the answer. Customers will remember favorably a good experience with your customer service and let others know.
Here are a few tips for providing good customer service:
- Polite and excellent phone manner;
- Listening to the clients and ensuring that they are heard and understood;
- Reliability, getting back to the client with an answer to a question as promised, even if you don’t have the answer, following through and letting them know you are working on it;
- If there is a complaint, paying attention to it and finding the best solution for the client. Again, keeping in touch with the client so that they know and feel that they are important to the business; and
- Always being helpful and making that extra effort for the client.
Providing good customer service is an asset to any business. People will remember the service and pass the word on. Word of mouth is the best form of marketing your business to others.
We would be happy to hear of your customer service tips. All suggestions are welcome. For more information, you can contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
We all know that providing quality customer service is crucial for the long term survival of your company. Going the extra mile for your customers will keep them loyal to you. Meeting the ever increasing demands of your customers and staying competitive means you need to constantly strive to improve your customer service.
Here are a few tips that are virtually guaranteed to lead to increased customer satisfaction:1. Speedy response times
Have you ever sent an e-mail to a company and not had a response or waited several days for a response? There’s nothing as frustrating as either not receiving a response to your query or it taking too long to receive an acknowledgement of your email. When it comes to response times, faster is always better, and that goes for both phone and e-mail. Do not sacrifice quality in order to respond quickly. Make sure to respond and if unable to provide a quality answer, acknowledge the
receipt of the e-mail and provide a turnaround time to your customer.
2. Collect feedback and act on it
The best way to learn more about what customers think is to ask them, for example through a survey. It is important, when doing this, to look at the data objectively. Never take any of the feedback or criticism personally. It’s also important to keep an open mind.
3. Simplify processes
Try to have all of your processes as easy and straightforward as possible. Human contact is the best strategy; having your customers in direct contact with a customer service representative is a way to ensure customer satisfaction.
4. Create routines for common issues
In most companies there are always a number of issues that come up again and again. One of the keys to great customer service is recognizing these issues and creating efficient routines to deal with them in the best and fastest possible manner.
5. Exceed expectations
Most customers expect a basic level of service from a company they’re doing business with. Going above and beyond this level will impress customers. Providing excellent customer service will have your customers come back to do more business with you and they will also recommend your company to all of their friends and family.
Welcome to the new DELLAGATE! My colleagues and I are very excited to announce the relaunch of DELLAGATE. I would like to introduce you to Julie Hoflin and Kelsey Evans. We are collaborating together to bring our clients extended service offerings beyond remote office management.
Isn’t the Internet amazing? You can communicate and work with people anywhere in the world. Forging relationships that would have been considered impossible just a few years ago. You have the world’s workforce at your fingertips. We all work in different regions and are able to communicate and give our clients many zones of genius in one location.
As a business owner, have you decided that you are ready to outsource in order to grow your business?
The world is changing and in order to outsource we recommend that you take a look at your business and your strengths. Look at which of your talents would best benefit your company in order to expand your business. Decide where it makes sense for you to focus, and what is realistic for you to DELLAGATE to someone else.
Before you begin, make sure you know exactly which services you want to outsource and have a clear vision of what it is you want to achieve. It is important to be able to communicate to your virtual service provider exactly what you are looking for in order for them to be able to fully understand your needs and best meet your requirements.
Once you take the first step to outsourcing, you will realize that you now have time to do what you are good at and enjoy most. You will no longer worry about when you will find the time to do certain tasks. We will do them for you efficiently and within your time frame. We treat your business as if it was our own.
Please feel free to have a look around our website and contact us to discuss delegating to DELLAGATE.