It’s interesting how people describe themselves.

You might call yourself a director, founder or business owner. You might say you run a company or that you’re an entrepreneur. You might describe yourself as a sole trader, freelance or self-employed.

Perhaps the description or label is something else.

Whatever the term or phrase, if you’re out doing something for yourself (as opposed to being an employee) then you are running a business. Whether you like it or not.

And if you’re running a business, at some point you’ll need to do some form of marketing. Otherwise, how will anyone know you exist or what you do? Are you getting these in the wrong order?

Even if you start out by helping a few connections, once you’ve worked through your contacts book there’ll come a time when you have to do more than sit at your computer and wait for enquiries to arrive in your inbox.

It Fills Some People with Fear

But just the word marketing can fill some people with dread, fear or confusion.

They can feel as if there is some elite group of gurus – and it is only they who have the keys to success.

Such emotions are understandable. After all, you probably set up in business or went self-employed because you wanted to help others – and in doing so, change your own life.

You had sufficient knowledge, experience and skills to be able to do the delivery side – your products and services. But chances are you didn’t really have any marketing background. The whole caboodle was, and perhaps still is, a bit of a mystery to you.

Some of the approaches VA’s and other professional assistants are taking do demonstrate that there is a lot of confusion out there.

Many begin by using social media and picking a channel or two to use. They focus on the medium first. Then they think about their audience and their message.

That’s Getting Things in the Wrong Order…

The correct way to approach it is this:

1. Market – Who is your audience? This is your niche, your target market, your tribe, your ideal client.

2. Message – What is your message to your audience? What do you do? How do you help people? What difference do you make to their lives or business? What outcomes and results do you get for people? What is so different about you? Why you and not somebody else?

3. Medium – This is where you think about social media and other marketing methods. Where does your ideal client ‘hang out’? Where are they looking for your services? That might be Facebook. It might be LinkedIn. It could be both, of course. Then there’s Twitter or Instagram.

Are you getting these in the wrong order?Get the order right and it will help you to reach the people you want to reach, with the right message.

Being a VA requires an office, organisational and productivity skills, of course. That’s why being up to speed with your Microsoft 365 training is important.

But there’s also the marketing side…

You’ll want to consider this aspect, especially if you’re serious about wanting to grow your business (and make this self-employed thing more sustainable than a ‘nice little hobby’).

It’s why on Virtually Amazing – The Podcast, Jo and I invite guest experts on to talk about topics to help with the business side of being a VA.

Already, we have enjoyed hearing from some wonderful people who know their stuff about different aspects of marketing.

Each one shares great tips which will be of value to any VA who is wanting to get to grips with how to promote themselves, how to create great content for social media, and how to make their website stand out.

A Fantastic Line-Up

Here are just some of the experts who have shared with us some brilliant advice around marketing:

  • In Episode 3, Jennifer Corcoran reveals how to network effectively on LinkedIn.
  • Simon Graves, ‘The ‘WordPress Guy’ describes how to build a strong VA website.
  • Copywriter Gary Spinks gives us five fab tips for what to write for a website – and how to approach getting our words down and message across.
  • That leads nicely to another super writer, Sara Bussandri, a content writer and blogger who shares how to write better blogs.
  • Charlotte Wibberley, of the Association of Professional Virtual Assistants, talks about how she got started and we also get into a marketing chat around funnels and automation.
  • You can learn a lot about PR from Carrie Eddins, and there is more advice about content marketing and ideal clients in our chat with Sarah Arrow.

And these are just some of the experts and marketing topics featured in my podcast.

Find Us and Follow Us

You can find the Virtually Amazing podcast on my website, the usual platforms like iTunes and Spotify, and (if you like to watch as well as listen) you can also find us on YouTube.

Make a point of following and subscribing to Virtually Amazing. That way you’ll always be up to date with what’s available.

Sometimes one gem of a tip, piece of advice or an answer to a question is all it takes to have an ‘Aha’ moment or create a breakthrough in your VA business.

And, of course, should you need to know the essentials of MS Office or how to master Microsoft 365, including Teams, there’s a course for you in my course directory.

Shelley Fishel

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