Triancular_red_flagIn my eBook, The RFP Transformation – Take Your Virtual Assistant Proposal From Blah to Bling”, I offer a list of RED FLAGS and Tips to be aware of when vetting and securing potential RFP Clients. This the 6th RED FLAG in the 10-Part weekly series.

One of the most often asked question from VAs who submit proposals is, “What do I do after I submit the proposal?”

And while I discuss a number of creative follow-up options in Chapter Nine, After the Proposal: The Follow-Up, one suggestion is to use social media to prompt a proposal to be noticed before sending subsequent emails

Using Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter

Once you send your proposal to the prospective client, I recommend that VAs connect with potential clients on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.

Create a Unique Image

Create posts (samples below) which accompanies a custom photo that includes your own company URL and your name.

Note: If you don’t have Photoshop for the graphics work, here is a simple and free solution to creating a good photo.

Obtain a quality image of you at work; either at your desk or working in front of your computer, for example. Upload the photo to and select the Text button. Type in your name and your company URL on a viewable place on the image. Save the image and post to Facebook and Twitter. If this image-post is forwarded or Retweeted by the potential client, your name, company name and URL goes along. Thus your contact information circulates to more subscribers, who may also be interested in connecting with you.

Here are some examples of posts and Tweets to use on social media after you have sent your proposal to the potential client:


“Just responded to a terrific VA opportunity with @NameofPotentialClient for social media work. Looking forward to the possibility of growing his/her business” (attach the photo you created)

“Couldn’t be more excited to have submitted a proposal for a great opportunity with @PCname!” (attach the photo you created)

“Thank you for the opportunity to present my social media proposal to @PCname. Looking forward to networking and becoming a part of the @PCBusinessName team!” (attach the photo you created)

Facebook: Use the same type of posts/comments listed above. You can also create another type of photo, preferably of you, submitting the proposal. Or post a photo with ‘thumbs up’ or showing gratitude for the opportunity to submit the proposal. Make sure you tag the potential client and include the potential client’s website links in the post.

Twitter: “Just responded to a terrific VA RFP for @ClientTwitter Handle for social media work. Looking forward to the possibility of growing her biz #YourHashTag” Create a hashtag just for your use #VA

Bonus suggestion: If you use a photo to connect with a potential client through social media, use a personal photo and not one that is your logo or sales-y in any way. Potential clients connect with VAs who submit proposals on both personal and on professional levels. Using an image that represents ‘who you are’ along with your enthusiasm for submitting the proposal offers an additional connection toward building a relationship. Often that will allow your proposal to stand out from the crowd and be seen by many more than just the potential client.

Sign up for a free chapter, ! And if you do, be the first to be notified of my new publication, “10 Sure Fire Red Flag RFP Tips for Virtual Assistants” which I will roll out for FREE! So click here and sign up…


Doable 7 - How to Use Contests to Build Your List

How to Use Contests to Build Your List

It’s Day 7 already on our ‘Build Your List with 30 Daily Doables’ Blog Tour. Yesterday’s post was about using checklists and cheat sheets as free opt in offers.  Go back and have a read if you missed it.  If you have only just joined us, a full list of the blogs we have already visited can be found at the Blog Tour Information Page.

Today we have the pleasure of visiting with Janine Wertalik Gregor. Thank you so much for supporting us along the way.

Visit each of the blog posts to learn about building your list.  Don’t forget there are some great prizes also to be won. 

It’s not just on the blog that you can gather entries – share about the blog tour on social media and use the hashtag #30dailydoables for more chances to win!

This blog tour is to celebrate the launch of our latest book ‘Build Your List with 30 Daily Doables.  If you grab the book while the blog tour is on, you receive access to some great extra bonuses – make sure you visit the launch page to get yours!

See you tomorrow!

Stacey Myers

Build Your List Blog Tour

Contests are a great way to build your list. People love winning things and it feels great to be able to give something away.

If you have a Facebook page you can run a contest using an application on your page.  This is an additional tab added to your page where you can add an opt in form and various other types of content. Here you will see we have the blog tour contest hosted on an app on a Facebook Page.

There are quite a few companies that have great software for running contests.  Some you have to pay for and some have some free options. The benefit of using one of these apps is they have additional features already added in – extra entries for referring a friend, being able to link opt ins straight to your email provider, to name a few.

Some of the programs you can use to run a contest on a Facebook App are 22Social, Easy Promos, ShortStack and Woobox. I am not recommending all of these, as I haven’t used them all – I just know they are some of the more popular ones out there. I do personally use 22Social and like it a lot.

You can run contests directly on your Facebook page (in the feed) – these are good for exposure but not very good for building your list, as people enter usually by liking or commenting on a post, so you do not receive them onto your list.

There are also ways you can run a contest on your blog.  One that I particularly like is Gleam. That is what we are using to run the contest for the blog tour.  It is very easy to set up and you can choose a range of different ways that people can enter. Try out some of the different ways yourself.

ENTER HERE!! Build Your List with 30 Daily Doable Blog Tour CONTEST


You can give away anything you want in a contest, but remember when building your list you want the prizes to be of interest to the people you are targetting.


There was a time when everyone was giving away a free iPad as a contest prize.  This had hundreds, if not thousands, of people signing up to win the iPad. However, as soon as the contest was over and the people that had entered to win an iPad started receiving emails, they would unsubscribe from the list.  The person that bought the iPad would end up out of pocket and without a targeted list.  Quite often, when people sign up for an iPad, they don’t even look to see what the page is about or what they will be receiving later, they just want a free iPad.


Having a lot of people unsubscribe can be upsetting and it can get you in trouble with your email service provider. These providers pride themselves on having great deliverability and if the people that unsubscribe say you are sending them spam, it can cause problems with deliverability.


I generally give away my own products or coaching time as prizes for contests.  You could always give away someone else’s product if it is a good fit for what you do in your business. We have a range of different prizes from different business owners for the blog tour contest.


Have you run any type of contest in your business?  Can you think of a contest prize that would be of interest to your people?

ENTER HERE!! Build Your List with 30 Daily Doable Blog Tour CONTEST

Triancular_red_flagIn my eBook, “The RFP Transformation – Take Your Virtual Assistant Proposal From Blah to Bling, I offer a list of RED FLAGS and Tips to be aware of when vetting potential RFP Clients. This the 5th RED FLAG in the 10-Part weekly series.

When a potential client (PC) contacts me after receiving my proposal regarding an RFP, I reply via email offering 3 different days and times to speak. I ask the PC to choose when the consultation is convenient for them based upon my own schedule.

From the start, I set parameters that I am in control of the consultation while giving the PC options so the scheduling decision is not so one-sided.

In this preparation email, I attach my New Client Welcome packet in PDF format and ask the recipient to review this document before our consultation. I recommend that they send me any questions beforehand that I can address on the call; however, I certainly will take any new questions or comments during the consultation as well.

Forwarding the New Client Welcome Packet in advance of the consultation serves 4 purposes:

  1. Gives the PC a ‘heads up’ regarding fees, late payment policies, communication, expectations, etc., in advance to offset any surprises should a contract be signed
  2. Establishes a VA’s sense of professionalism prior to the consultation
  3. Expedites questions and comments during the consultation so I can keep to a half-hour timeline
  4. Opens up conversation about policies and procedures, which might not have been addressed if the PC did not have the Packet

Note that I am using the term ‘consultation’ because this is what this step in the RFP Process is referred to. This is not an interview. Employees are interviewed, virtual assistants are consultants. I am advising the client what I can do for them to reach his/her goals.

While the consultation telephone call is a ‘get to know you’ call and to discuss work-related issues, understand that I am evaluating whether this client is the RIGHT match for me as is the client doing the same in the evaluation of me.

There have been times when I decided not to work with someone because I did not feel they were a good match for my personality and for my business plan. While this does not occur often, it is important as a business owner to be in control of my ideal client choices even if that means rejecting the potential client.

The more you handle client consultations, the better you get at them. Further, the better you get at listening to the client carefully and determining early on if he/she is a good match.

Download a free chapter here

Triancular_red_flagIn my eBook, The RFP Transformation – Take Your Virtual Assistant Proposal From Blah to Bling“, I offer a list of RED FLAGS and Tips to be aware of when vetting potential RFP Clients. This the fourth RED FLAG in the 10-Part weekly series.

Substitute a requested resume for a New Client Welcome Packet.

Often traditional job sites such as Jobster, CareerBuilder and Monster will advertise for virtual assistants as employees as opposed to contracting opportunities.

Traditional jobsites often ask for resumes.

Virtual Assistants are business owners and not employees so we do not offer resumes.

I suggest that you create a New Client Welcome Packet and send this document in lieu of a resume.

I have been able to turn a traditional job posting into a virtual opportunity with a well-crafted proposal supporting valid reasons why a VA is the better choice. Attached to this proposal is a copy of my Welcome Packet that details my business processes and policies.

My Welcome Packet is geared precisely for traditional job postings for virtual assistants, which includes specific details regarding the benefits of working with a VA as opposed to a working with an employee.

More on New Client Welcome Packets in my eBook, Chapter Eight, Preparing for the Client Consultation.

Download a free chapter

Triancular_red_flagIn my eBook, “The RFP Transformation – Take Your Virtual Assistant Proposal From Blah to Bling”, I offer a list of RED FLAGS to be aware of when vetting potential RFP Clients. *RFP is Request for Proposal

When responding to an RFP where the client is requesting software you may not be familiar with, consider letting the client know that while you do not have the knowledge, you are willing to learn the process on your own.

Use your good judgment if you decide to make this statement. There are a few conditions to ruminate.

While you never want to tell a client you have experience with software that you do not; consider suggesting in your proposal that you will self-teach for those processes that are less-technical.

Some software use requires advanced technical training and experience, which clients will expect you to know. However, for some less technical software programs, consider offering the service on the stipulation that you will self-teach in a reasonable, specified period of time. Consider stating this intention IF the client shows an interest in you AND the main skill requirements are met.

  • A willingness to learn a new skill can show a client your enthusiasm for partnering with them.
  • Offering this suggestion may cause your proposal stand out from all others.
  • Further, if you are prepared to use your own time to advance your own education this is a win-win for the VA..he/she secures a new client and new skill that can be marketed in the future.

Bonus tip: Make sure your contract states that you will evaluate the account in three or six months. Once you have mastered the new software, you would then be in a position to raise your rates to a level that compensates you for the additional, self-taught knowledge and value you bring to the client.

Download a free chapter by leaving only your email address:

 Click here to download 10 Free RFP Tips

Click here to download 10 Free RFP Tips

The answer is an emphatic “Yes!”.

There are three largely used Request for Proposal (RFP) form styles available for potential clients (PC) when requesting the services of a virtual assistant.

One form-style is ‘freeform’ and the other is ‘check off’. The third, which is less common is a combination of both freeform and check-off.

Freeform or freestyle refers to RFPs which require a PC to type in the description of services required.

Freeform written RFPs can be useful to a VA when he/she is creating a personal and professional connection with the PC when writing that proposal.  The freeform style allows a VA to read between the lines to determine if a PC is a good fit. Careful attention by the VA to notice unique adjectives and nouns to describe the services needed assists in determining if the PC is (or is not) a good business match.

Freeform also allows the VA to utilize similar words in his/her proposal that the PC uses in the RFP to make the all-important connection. Finally, freeform permits the personality of the client to come through the RFP particularly when the PC describes the character preferred along with the type of work desired of a particular VA.

The check-off version of an RFP can be a speedier system for the PC when submitting an RFP to a VA-centered website.  Check-off RFPs list a general selection of service and skills that the PC may desire of the VA, which are simply checked-off or ticked as needed.  In my experience check-off is a less creative format to connect with a VA as this limits the PC to only those services described in the RFP list. In some cases a checked-off RFP is useful for the PC if the services required do not require a complicated or detailed explanation. (Note, there is typically an area in the RFP check-off form for some creative description but not as much space as in the freestyle format.)

Sometimes a PC will tick off more skills required than initially desired using the check-off form because it suggests skills that a PC might not have thought of when composing the RFP. For example, the PC might check-off ‘social media’, believing this might be a VA service that might be useful in the future.

And thus, a lengthy list of skills required appears in the RFP after the PC has checked-off  a laundry list of services.

This long list of skill requirements can create a concern for the VA as too many requests may appear overwhelming and thus the VA can feel under-qualified for the opportunity.

RFPs which itemize a huge list of service requests should not be entirely discounted, though. Often a potential client with a lengthy list who has not worked with a VA does not understand that:


Thanks for joining us in our very first Hangout of 2015! You can watch this, anytime, on YouTube, here:
Our special guest today was Janine Gregor, seasoned Virtual Assistant and author of “The RFP Transformation: Take Your Virtual Assistant Proposal From Blah To Bling”. You can find her at and on Twitter @UrVirtualWizard

Free offers for all HOW Mad Mimi watchers!!
Get a FREE chapter of her book, by signing up at
AND go here: to get 10 Free RFP Tips
AND use code RFP20 to get 20% off her book!

We talked all about what Request For Proposals (RFPs) are, and where you can find them. Janine talked about the top three reasons why you might want to use the RFP and Proposal system, whether you’re new, or a veteran to the business.

1. if you’re looking to change your target market
2. building new business, and gaining new clients
3. to network, and keep your funnel full

Janine mentions many more in her book, but highlights the following 3 sites as great places to find RFPs, shares examples of RFPs from each site, and explains how they are best used for gaining clients…

Thrive (free):
Offers potential clients a more check-box system for creating their RFPs, and includes Janine’s favorite question: “What’s your favorite type of person to work with?”.

Virtual Assistantville (nominal charge):
Offers potential clients a more free-form approach, and offers users a listing complete with profile and blog page. Also, the owner is very good at publicizing on Virtual Assistant Forums and social media.

Virtual Assistant Forums (free, but minimum posts required to view RFPs): and on Facebook, here:
Membership site where RFPs are shared, and provides a directory of VAs for potential clients. Also, with many discussions helpful to new and experienced VAs and freelancers, alike.

She also tells us all about how she has taken regular job postings on careerbuilder, and monster, for example — and turned those into VA relationships for herself. And how you can, too.

Janine suggests spending about 2 -3 hours per week on RFPs, EVEN IF YOUR CLIENT ROSTER IS FULL. This is the best way to keep your skills sharp, and always provide yourself with networking and referral opportunities. She provides us with tips on prepping and creating a brilliant proposal.

Be sure your online presence is neat, orderly, and professional — you will be googled, and it’s important to appear the way you would want to, when meeting a potential client, in person.

And follow-up is key! If you haven’t heard from a potential client, reach out to them! Janine suggests each week, reaching out to them, to get a follow-up response. Even if they aren’t going to hire you, t’s good for closure, and for honing your proposal approaches.

Janine’s secret Mad Mimi tip is the icing on the virtual cake, here, folks! She’s created a newsletter that she invites ALL her potential clients to sign up for, whether or not they’re going to work with her. She provides useful information in her short, but consistent emails. Things like free software opportunities, software use tips, social media strategies, etc.

By collecting an email address (with valuable content offered in exchange), she not only gets contact information to use in following-up, but also keeps her top-of-mind with these clients. You also establish yourself as an expert. She’s gotten offers a long time after initial contact, and even referrals via people on her list. She’s had potential clients that never hire her, write to her to say how much they appreciate the newsletter. Networking gold!

And thanks for all the great questions! We had wonderful submissions that helped us clarify the discussion, and provide more detail to Janine’s tips.

If you have any other questions for Janine, you can email her at or connect with her on Facebook, here:
And you can always reach either one of us at and

Stay tuned to all HOW Mad Mimi news, here:
And we’ll see you next week!

Testimonials from clients and customers are one of the finest tools a virtual business owner can use to promote a service or product.

Testimonials increase a business owner’s credibility. Period. You can buy your own ad and create your own business card and tell everyone how wonderful your service or product may be but it means so much more if a third party is offering that same message.

A testimonial offers ‘proof’ that what you say about your product or service is really true!

Many business owners have website pages devoted to testimonials while other business owners dot their web pages with quotes from satisfied customers.  Most business owners simply copy in quotes from satisfied customers and include a link back to the clients’ web pages, however, another more interactive means to get the word out is through the use of audio and video testimonials.

We will discuss audio testimonials in today’s post.

I believe that offering both textual and audio testimonials offers a varied experience for the website visitor. While reading a testimonial uses the visual sense; listening to an audio uses another human sense. An audio testimonial allows the listener to hear fluctuations in the voice and if spoken well, an audio can allow the listener to conclude whether the words are pure and honest. Reading a testimonial does not dig quite as deep into the human psyche.  So I recommend using both audio and textual testimonials on your website or blog to allow the listener to have a heightened experience.

Audio testimonials not only help to personalize the individual behind the website but it tends to keep the user parked on a web page much longer than if they were to simply read a text testimonial and then move on.

An audio testimonial is easy to create using Google Voice.  Once the call-in numbers are established, customers simply dial the number and speak into the telephone verbalizing words of praise.  Once recorded in Google Voice, the audio files are then copied, saved and uploaded to a website where they can be heard by anyone who simply clicks the designated blue ‘start button’. Refer to this blog post for how-to set up and use Google Voice to create an audio file.

Once the audio files are created…now is the time to circulate the good news on the social media sites. Placing your audio on your site or blog is wonderful…if someone is perusing your site. But using social media to get the word out will attract many more interested parties.

Facebook: Update the status area with a link to the audio testimonial. Announce your good news to your fans and friends.  In the status area type in, “I am proud to have received an audio testimonial from XYZ. Click on the link to hear my good news!”  Then provide the link where the audio is located.

Twitter: Use similar verbiage as you would for Facebook. You may need to shorten the link to the audio testimonial using an online link shortening program such as

LinkedIn: Update your status and announce to your business associates that you have received an audio testimonial.  Provide the same link back to location of where your audio testimonial is stored.

Quick tips to remember when creating an audio testimonial.

1) Ask your clients early into your relationship to provide an audio testimonial.  Once you have Wow-ed! them with your good work, provide the phone number they can call to leave their good news.  It is important to ask while enthusiasm for working with you is high.

2)  Provide a short outline as to what a client should say in the testimonial.  Have the client state their name, their business name and their relationship with you.  Ask them to provide an example of how you solved a problem for them. An uninteresting example of a testimonial might be, “Janine Gregor is my virtual assistant and her work is wonderful”. A better example of an engaging testimonial might be “Janine Gregor has been my virtual assistant for two years and without her encouragement, I would not have entered the world of social media marketing.” An even better testimonial might be, “Janine Gregor has helped me to grow my customer base by 50%.”

Providing numeric results in a testimonial speaks volumes!

3)  People are busy so offer to write the testimonial for your customer and ask them to call in and just repeat the words into the telephone. Ask permission to use their name and company name along with a photo. Overall, this should take your customer about 2 minutes of their time since most of the work will be done by you!  The results are quite effective.

4) Ask your customer who will be providing the testimonial to include a headshot that can be used alongside the testimonial link. Seeing a real face instead of a company logo will make experience much more personal for the listener.

When posting the audio link on Facebook, include the headshot of the individual using the Facebook link ‘photo’ feature. When you update your status announcing the new audio testimonial the individual’s photo appears alongside the link. Quite effective!!!

5)  Before posting the announcement on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, if you are not already networked with the customers who will be offering the audio testimonial make a point to ‘like’ their pages first then add them to your network and send friend and follow requests.  When the time comes to post the audio testimonials on your social networking pages you can:

Facebook: use the @name within the status update so that your good news appears in the customer’s news feed.

Twitter: use the @twittername in the tweet so that the individual’s followers can receive your tweet

LinkedIn: use the customer’s name in your status update so he/she can view their name if they are in your network

Ask for audio testimonials regularly and update the page where you store them.  Listen to the files when you are having a bad day as surely they can be a great pick-me-up!

Feel free to Tweet this post below or Share on your Facebook page!


If your marketing strategy includes a newsletter or any type of email marketing always, always include a CTA or a Call-to-Action within those materials. It’s the Golden Rule for all marketing plans.

Never expect that people will automatically do anything without being prompted to doing so.

People must be ‘told’ to do whatever action you want them to take.  They must be solidly informed in a very short period of time WHY they need to take action. This is a difficult task to accomplish given the small envelope of time and space in which to get that message across.

Remember that you can send out marketing materials until you are ‘blue-in-the-face’ expounding all the great features about you and your business but if you don’t get people to ‘do something’ you are throwing your time, energy and money into a bottomless pit.

Know the Audience

If you want your audience to ‘do something’ useful such as leave an email address for a monthly newsletter then you need to offer something your own audience will desire.

You wouldn’t necessarily offer tips to upstart a lifestyle coaching program to an accountant.

So know who your market is and then gear your offering toward that audience.

If you have more than one target market such as in my case, coaches, speakers and authors, you can offer more than one ‘freebie’ geared to that audience or find one common denominator such as ‘small business tips’ to offer to your entire audience.

On the backend, your social media marketing, your printed materials and your website should all be geared toward your chosen audience.

  • Add your CTA to your Facebook page which directs people to the sign up page either on Facebook or on your website.
  • Add your CTA to your LinkedIn profile in the website area. LinkedIn offers 3 places to input your linked URLs. You can use one of those links to direct people to your CTA page.

Use Powerful Verbs

Your CTA needs to direct people to do something in one or two words. Make a list of powerful, leading verbs that will get people to take action immediately.

Such verbs may be:

  • Click
  • Read
  • Call
  • Act Now!
  • Do
  • Sign
  • Enroll
  • Register (although not so powerful)

Make Your Offer Easy to Understand

If you have a CTA that tells people what to do, you want them to have all the information they need to act at that moment. For example, if you want them to sign up for a newsletter in exchange for their email address, make it short, but clear what the newsletter will be all about.

Sign up to receive useful social media marketing tips which will help to increase your fan base.


VA’s – Want to land that job you saw in a Request for Proposal (RFP)? Sign Up to learn how you can bag that opportunity.

You may need to play with these sentences, which should be kept to one or two simple statements. Don’t provide links to other pages (for an explanation of what you are touting), which gives a description of what you will be sending them. Once they leave your sign up page, they may never come back.

Use a fancy button image such as ‘Click here’ instead of providing a link (above for an example).  Buttons almost always get the better responses over providing a link. Search around for ‘free CTA images’. often gives away free Photoshop images that can be used for this purpose.


Try to use statistics in your short pitch to get people to do something. Never make up a statistic but see if you can find a statistic you can use. Take a survey of your customers using your product using www. and see if you can create a statistic you can use.  For example, “97 percent of my customers who have signed for my service state they are very satisfied with my services”.

Use common terms

Nothing galls me more than when people use industry-specific acronyms expecting everyone else to know what those acronyms mean.  (An acronym is the first letter of a string of words used to shorten the way the word is stated. In some cases, the acronym becomes the word if commonly used such as DMV, FBI or DUI.) However, never assume that everyone that comes to your website will know what industry words you may be referring to. So always spell out all words and place the acronym in parenthesis. By doing so this gives you leeway later to use the acronym in your text safely.


So you have your call to action up on your site and you notice no one is signing up for your freebie.  Your marketing is good and you have provided good advertisement on social media for the freebie.

So change the words around. Instead of ‘Click here’, use ‘One Click Sign Up’ or ‘Act Now to receive…’. Then see how that campaign goes.  Stick with the terms that work for you and for your targeted audience.

If you spend any time or money at all on your business, invest in a CTA that works consistently!

If you have ever written a blog post and would like to receive more mileage from the content consider repurposing that post into a video.

I’ve created a video below to show you the process in action.

Here’s a brief overview…

We will use Microsoft PowerPoint, the TechSmith’s Pro version of Jing ($14.95 per year) and a prior post to create a cool video that can be uploaded to YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, your blog or your website.

Download Jing here . It is important to note that the free version of Jing captures video in the swf format which is not uploadable to YouTube. You can use a free video converter but the quality lacks and most imprint a watermark when converted. The $14.95 version is a steal and will convert video to MP4 easily.

Let’s use last week’s social media post,  Super Event Woman’s Quick Tips for Using Social Media to Promote Your Next Super Onsite Event as an example.

Begin by opening PowerPoint to create a few slides…let’s say 5 slides to keep this short.

Slide #1 – Return to the post you have already written and extract the main topic for that post and create a title slide.

Slide #2-3 or 4 – Next, extract 3 or 4 bullet points from your post and copy that to a slide.

Slide #5 – Closing points – wrap the show up!

Open Jing, run your slide show and record the show using Jing. Plug in your microphone and narrate.

Now you have reused your prior blog post in a new way!

Here’s the video:

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