Whether you realise it or not, as a VA you are a brand. 

That’s true whether you’re well established or just starting out, and whether you have a team or on your own.  If you are working as a VA to make money, then you are a business. And you should operate like one. 

Part of that is creating your brand and brand story. I’m not talking about getting a fancy logo or the beautiful colours on your website (though the design does play a role in branding). 10 Ways to Sharpen your VA Brand Message

This is about perceptions, values and positioning.  Your brand or brand story is, ultimately, what other people believe, think and feel about you and your business. If you don’t tell the story, somebody else will. Here are 10 ways to help you get a clearer and sharper brand message.

1. USP or Elevator Pitch

This has become a bit of a cliché now but it’s still a useful way to get thinking about how you explain with brevity what you do.  USP stands for Unique Selling Point or Unique Selling Proposition. It is essentially about what makes your product or service better than the competitors.

Are you the fastest? The cheapest? The first? The smartest? The safest? The most experienced? The biggest operator? The most authentic? The most ethical? The most environmentally friendly?

The elevator pitch idea asks you to imagine you get in an elevator and your ideal client (or a big name in business) is in the lift with you. They ask: “So, what do you do?” You have 20 seconds to ‘pitch’ them.

One of the ways to express your USP or elevator pitch (you may have heard it called something else, like ‘captivating introduction’) is to use a little formula.

“I help [insert your ideal client group here] to [achieve what outcome or result] without [insert a potential obstacle or objection] so that they [insert the transformation or difference it makes].”

2. Crown yourself King or Queen

Obviously, we’re not talking about taking over the monarchy. This is just an exercise in positioning.  Think about how you would describe yourself if your sentence had to start with:

“I am the Queen of….” or “I am the King of…” Don’t just think of one idea. Have several goes at it. Let your responses flow and see what you come up with. 

You may not end up using the phrase in your published marketing. But it may help you to find a stronger way to brand yourself or create a tagline. 

As it happens, too many of my audience I am still known as “The Queen of Microsoft Office“. 

Others know me as “The MS Office Maestro”. Either way, it points to someone who is well established and knows what they’re talking about. Someone worth listening to. 

3. Give the Answers to Key Questions

To get clarity about what your business and brand is about, and how to express that, you need to be able to answer some key questions.

The five big ones are these:

1. Who are You & What do You do?

2. Who do You Help?

3. How do You Help Them?

4. What Difference do You Make to Them?

5. Why Should They Choose You (and not somebody else)? 

If you can answer these questions and narrow it down to a few lines, you’re well on the way to a strong message or finding a smart tagline.

4. Understand and State your Values

What are your values? What is important to you? What are the principles by which you lead your life and run your business? 

Set them down. Express them on your website, in your sales process and in your social media activity. 

5. Use the Power of Story

A good way to express your values is through sharing stories. You can use ones that illustrate the values you hold dear, either through a time when you lived up to that value or a time when you did not. Or use the stories of others to make the same point.

6. Tell Your Back Story

One of the brilliant things about my podcast, Virtually Amazing, is hearing the guest experts talk about how they started their VA business.

Some of the stories about how people have overcome health and other life challenges to get where they are today are both emotional and inspiring. It really helps you to get a sense of who the person is and understand why they do what they are doing.

You may have a back story that you can use to help people get to know more about you. It’s a perfect element for an ‘About Me’ page on your website… or a spot on a podcast.

7. Create a Tagline

A tagline is like a slogan or memorable phrase about you and your brand. Something that people associate with you and nobody else. 

Think ‘Just do it’ for Nike. 

“Beans Means Heinz” for Heinz baked beans.

“Vorsprung durch Technik” for Audi cars.

You may have many more you could add to the list. These are just well-known examples of what a tagline is.

I’ve already mentioned how I’m known as “The MS Office Maestro“. People associate that with me. Shelley Fishel – The MS Office Maestro. 

There’s even a tagline for one of my products. 

My Tomorrow’s VA – The Hub is the complete box set of my online training courses for VA’s and other Assistants who use Microsoft Office and 365. It’s called The Hub but some know it as ‘The Full Monty’. The tag just stuck in people’s minds so I’ve kept using it. 

What could your tagline be? 

8. The One-Sentence Wonder

An exercise to try is to express your brand and what you do in one sentence or less. This might lead to a tagline or simply give you a smart set of messages you can use in your marketing and content. 

Could you sum it up in 12 words? In 10? In six or even fewer words?

Give it a go.

9. Ask Your Audience

A different approach to the one-sentence exercise is to imagine what is in the mind of your ideal client and express that as a question to them. For example:

Do your PowerPoint presentations fall flat?

Does it take you ages to format and brand style your Word docs?

Does the thought of running another meeting in Teams leave you anxious?

Isn’t it about time you knew how to pivot in Excel?

These are basic questions. You can add more oomph to them by layering in a more conversational approach and the feelings and around ‘not knowing’ how to use Microsoft Office and 365.

Do you dread it when your client asks you to just ‘polish up this presentation’?

Can you feel your neck and shoulders tense the instant you hear the words “Can you support our next Teams meeting?”

Is the anxiety of blagging it each time you turn on the computer really worth it?

I’m sure you’ll come up with something even better.

10. Cut Out the Jargon

Review your website and marketing material. Look for jargon, cliches’ and tired phrasing.

Highlight the words and find an alternative way to express them.

I’m not saying there’s never a place for a cliché or technical terms, just make sure they are relevant and right for where and when you’re going to use them.

If you can, avoid phrases like “I am passionate about…” or “Our company is all about excellence”. How else could you say that – or illustrate that – so the audience understands.

Or, as the marketing phrase goes, show don’t tell.

That’s a tagline, by the way.

Do share what you come up with as different ways to express your VA brand.

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The session was well structured and the explanation was very clear. It was amazing how Shelley managed to squeeze so much info in just one hour and a half! Colin’s support and contributions were also very valuable, and so were “Virtual Veronica”‘s. Thank you for a most interesting and useful training session at the Miss Jones Virtual Summit!

Laura Carizzo- Royal Norwegian Embassy in Argentina

I haven’t used PowerPoint in 20 years, this has really boosted my confidence.

Lyn Parker

Course is packed with so much valuable information in a easy-to-understand and follow language, even for a complete beginner. I can respect the fact that sometimes it’s very hard for an expert to break the information down to basics. but Shelley has done it brilliantly. I was sure that I knew quite a bit but Shelley has proven me wrong even at the very beginning of the basics of PowerPoint. Lessons are short and precise which allowed me to easily transfer the new skill into practice without being overwhelmed and to carry on adding on more with each lesson. I had so many ‘Aha!’ moments and for most of them I couldn’t believe I used to pay graphic designer to do it for me, now, thanks to Shelley, I am looking forward to creating, designing, converting my presentations all by myself!

Iva Freeman – Vertex Human Capital

Shelley was very thorough and knew a lot of tip’s for using Teams, thank you 🙂

James O’Connor – Cavannah Homes

Very informative, constantly getting everyone in the meeting involved, loved every bit of it!

Dylan Teal Hopkins – Cavannah Homes
Fantastic and informative training and great to see all of the exciting functions with Microsoft Teams.
Laura Rigby – The Apprenticeship College
Shelley was really clear in her teaching and went at a pace that was helpful to us. We covered all we needed to know to get us started, as a small team, using MS Teams. She was also very helpful in the run up to the session, with check in calls and ensuring our platform was set up correctly. I would highly recommend Shelley to anyone wanting to learn to navigate their way around MS Teams.
Leigh Dowling – Innuous

Microsoft Teams One to One Training Session

Shelley was approachable, easy to work with, and agile with answering questions to apply the session to my specific needs

Melissa Marshall – Present Your Science

A course on Outlook had been on the top of my list when Shelley asked VA’s what they wanted to learn.

It was a real case of ‘so that’s how you do it’ or ‘I never knew that’. I have to say that I learnt so many great tips it has definitely improved the way I work in Outlook and my inbox is looking colourful and organised and I can’t wait to share this knowledge with my clients.

Jacqueline Leake – JLeake VA Services – Outlook

A great course with lots of examples and step by step instructions. I can now confidently create infographics and as a bonus, I learnt a lot of new PowerPoint functionality that will enhance all my PowerPoint work and save me so much time.

Jessica Bailey – Integral Resource

I really like Shelley’s courses. She has a clear and easy to follow teaching style. In ‘How to Create Fillable Forms’ I’ve learned about the functions of the Developer ribbon which will mean I’ll be able to create a bespoke Returns Form for a client who has an online shop

Freya Henderson – Virtual Office Orkney

Shelley was really clear in her teaching and went at a pace that was helpful to us. We covered all we needed to know to get us started, as a small team, using MS Teams. She was also very helpful in the run up to the session, with check in calls and ensuring our platform was set up correctly. I would highly recommend Shelley to anyone wanting to learn to navigate their way around MS Teams.

Sarah Clements – Inuous

Absolutely superb course, easy to follow and to refer back whilst putting it all into practice! I was unaware of the extent you can customise a presentation and it’s just made me want to know more – what’s next Shelley?

Denise Williams

I thought I had a pretty good grasp of Outlook until I did this course! In her videos, Shelley is clear and concise, and the language she uses is straightforward and jargon-free. Each module is broken down into manageable chunks, which helps keep your attention and means the course is easy to fit in around other commitments. I’ve created email templates and implemented rules that are already saving me time, and as all the other things I’ve learnt start to become second nature, the positive impact on my efficiency is fast becoming clear. This course has been incredibly beneficial and I would highly recommend it to anyone looking to strengthen their skills and boost productivity.

Pip Doleman VA

I thought I knew Powerpoint really well, but I wanted to specifically learn how to use Powerpoint to create better infographics, easily and quickly. Shelley explains everything in a very logical and clear way, so I understood everything the first time I heard it. The most useful thing I learnt was that Powerpoint can do so much more than I thought it could. By also using the short cuts that Shelley showed me I am much quicker than I have ever been and I thought I was already quick!

Susan Marot

Shelley Fishel of Tomorrow’s VA has a wealth of experience in Microsoft Office. I met her in person 2 years ago at the PA Show in London. I also saw her in action in a fab workshop and knew she was the whizz that everyone had told me she was. I have since bought a lifetime access to her HUB and all the courses in there are a MUST if you are a VA on a mission. The courses will give you confidence in all the Office 365 components and will catapult you to dizzy heights

Alex Hughes