Protect Your Reputation with These 5 Simple Online Reputation Management Tips

Positive CustomerThere are many different ways of reputation repair online. The best way to protect your reputation is to be what I call, pre-active – act BEFORE problems arise. Here are five online reputation management tips that can help you be there with good information about yourself BEFORE some negative folks try to tear you down.

Tip 1: Create Positive Profiles Everywhere

Create positive profiles in your own name, your brand name, and your company name in as many social networks, bookmarking sites, etc. as you can: Twitter, Facebook and Facebook Pages, LinkedIn, Google+, Yahoo and YouTube in particular. You may want to also consider creating profiles at MySpace, Naymz, and any new, smaller, or rising social networks. By getting this done first, you build your reputation and your company reputation on these sites before anyone else creates negative impressions around your name or company.

Tip 2: Create Email Addresses

Make sure you have an email addresses in your name, and variations of your name, your company name, etc. at Gmail, at least. Since this is such a widely used email service, you don’t want to end up with someone creating a Gmail account in your name and sending information that looks like it came from you, when it really didn’t (I have more than 20 email names that my mail program checks every few minutes). Also a good idea – create email accounts at widely popular free services like Hotmail and Yahoo and others. The idea is to take all email possibilities around your name and your company name before anyone else does – whether you use them or not. At least, you have them, no one else can get them to “spoof” you.

Tips 3: Register Your Personal Domains

Build your reputation, your company reputation, and your internet reputation by starting a blog – or several – because it’s so easy. (You could almost call it, “Reputation Management Blog.”) This lets you constantly post material to the InfoNet (my new name for the internet) for people to see. With a long history of positive pages and posts from you, if someone puts up something negative, it is less likely to register well in the search engines. Even if you’re not planning to have your own blog, register your name as a domain so that someone else can’t claim it. You can use a domain registry like GoDaddy.com (the one I use) or Namecheap.com to claim your domain. Make sure you set your domains to automatically renew each year… usually, with most domain registrars like those I mentioned, you can save money by registering for multiple years, but make sure it automatically renews so you don’t inadvertently lose your valuable domain – as a friend of mine did several years ago.

However, since it is so easy and beneficial to have your own blog, you can either set up a free one at WordPress.com or Blogger.com. But better, since you have at least one domain name, grab a simple hosting account at HostGator where they have one click setup for WordPress blogs – you’re reading a blog that was set up with one click at HostGator. Then just keep adding content… it’s REALLY EASY. (A comment about content: you will hear the adage, “Content is King” about the internet. That’s true, and to this, I add, “Quality is Queen.” In other words, don’t post junk. Good online reputation management tells us that people are looking for high quality content, not junk, and if you only offer junk no one will read you, you will not be building a positive reputation, and your search rankings will not be as good.) Whether you only post a single page with some public information about yourself, or build a complete blog site with LOTS of information, it’s worth claiming blogs in your name at these major sites (or better yet, your own blog that YOU OWN). Look around. See where other people are browsing who are looking for what you have to say, and get yourself there. If there are other places or sites in your market where people are active. Then set up profiles under your name or your business name there as well… get known for positive information.

Tip 4: Privacy Settings are Paramount

As part of your reputation management system, in any profiles or accounts that have privacy settings, ALWAYS check them carefully to make sure you are only allowing appropriate information to be seen publicly. For instance, set your Facebook profile privacy to hide your personal details from anyone other than people you have added as friends. Another suggestion – if you operate from a home office, seriously consider “private registration” of any domain names you own. Then, if people look up the Whois.com listing for your web site, they will not find your home address. If, on the other hand, your office is not your home, then private registration would hide your business address… and you don’t want that.

Tip 5: Actively Engage and Publish

If you have set up profiles and accounts in many places online, that doesn’t mean you have to be actively participating in all of them. Without bunches of helpers, that would be impossible. But you will want to be seen where others are likely to see you – which you want.

Find out where your market is “hanging out”… where they look information. That is where you want to get involved – as heavily and as often as you can. Show up there regularly, answer questions often, post valuable content, all with links back to your own sites and pages. In other words, be visible… be very very visible with your positive image and information.

As soon as you start your business, start protecting your online reputation. Be, “pre-active” and offset any potential negative information early, and limit the damage it may do. That, combined with actively working with those who make negative comments to see if you can resolve their issues and turn them positive, will leave you pretty much in control of your reputation… at least some of the information that appears on the web. Make it more difficult for people to hijack your name by keeping up a steady flow of positive content. This give you the head start you need to counteract those who may want to do damage to your image and reputation.


Time Management Tips – Identify Daily Priorities for Maximum Productivity

Check_List_Check_Off

In your daily planner, calendar, or time management program, you should have a list of things to do today, and all of the things on it seem equally important. However, since you have no idea what interruptions and distractions will keep you from meeting your goals for the day, what do you do first?

Effective time management says, “Prioritize, prioritize, prioritize!” Move the tasks that will hurt the most if they are not done today to the top of the list. This automatically pushes the less demanding ones lower on the list. Also, move the most demanding to the top of the list so you do them while you are fresh, Then get to work. Start at the top and work keep moving. Now, if you there are a few tasks left at the end of the day, move them to the next day… but at least the important tasks have been completed and you can move on with a clear mind.

Evaluate to Prioritize

What’s the best way to prioritize? Sometimes, that can be tough. So for each task on the list, ask:

  • What’s in it for me? If there’s no business benefit, don’t do it
  • Does it get me closer to my goals?
  • Does it help me build relationships?
  • Who is depending on this getting done?
  • How much income does it create – either directly or indirectly?

Answers to these questions help to show what should be at the top of the list, and which ones can be saved for later. The clearer benefits the higher the priorities.

Prioritizing 101

Here’s a simple way to effectively and realistically prioritize your tasks. Ask yourself, “If other distractions take all my time so I only get one thing done today, what one thing is a must?” Got that one selected? Move on to the next. “If I can only get two things done today, what must be done? Rinse and repeat… your list will be prioritized in no time.

Want an easier way to break down your list? Try these categories:

  • Critical for today or I lose a client!
  • Won’t lose my client, but I really should get it done today
  • No clients involved, but it would REALLY help if I get this done today
  • Not facing this tomorrow would be great
  • I really could do it tomorrow, but…

Say it how you want. The important thing is to actually do the exercise and prioritize. That way, you can assure yourself that you really will important things finished and crossed off the list.

If you get to the end of the day with a few, low priority tasks left undone, take a few minutes and move them to tomorrow – but definitely put them in proper priority for that day. You could even reschedule them for several days from now… but make sure you don’t just keep pushing them off ‘til they never get done – that defeats the whole purpose of creating a properly prioritized “To Do List.”

Look at it Another Way and it’s a Done List

Looking at an uncompleted To Do List can be depressing. How about creating a, “Done List.” This lets you focus on what you have accomplished… and that’s LOTS more fun!

Be Flexible

A daily to-do list, in something like the Franklin Planner, or Outlook’s Time and Task Manager (which I use), is a great guide to keeping you on track for the day… but keep yourself flexible. Priorities change from hour to hour and day to day. Your prioritized To Do list is a great guide to use so you don’t get overwhelmed as you navigate your day… don’t think, just do (remember what the great philosopher Yoda said: “Do or do not. There is no try!” Don’t be afraid adjust priorities if needed. In addition, of course, these same methods work for prioritizing weekly, monthly, yearly, and even long-term tasks and goals as well.

And don’t forget, as a companion to this time management series, for those using a physical planner, Franklin Planner is offering 20% Off the Franklin Planner Basics, their beautiful Binders and Bags, through the month of January.

Click this link, and use promo code 22530 when you check out:

20% Off FC Basics in January. Use Promo Code: 22530 . Shop Now >


Franklin Basics January Sale

As a companion to my time management series, Franklin Planner is offering 20% Off the Franklin Planner Basics, their beautiful Binders and Bags, through the month of January.

Click the link, and use promo code 22530 when you check out:

20% Off FC Basics in January. Use Promo Code: 22530 . Shop Now >

Plan away!

5 Simple Online Reputation Management Tips

Before we get into the meat of today’s post, I’d like to recommend the article, Monitoring Your Online Reputation in 2013 appearing in Web Marketing Today. It is definitely worth a read especially as it is a good setup for this series of posts on Reputation Management.

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Positive Reputation ManagementManaging your reputation and the way the world sees your reputation and your company reputation is not as difficult as you may believe. Specific steps that you take help you manage your online reputation and enhance your brand and brand image in both the online and offline world. You already know that designing your message and delivering it to the world online is just one component of your marketing mix. Actually, it is probably one of the most important parts of the mix, and you do not need to be an online reputation management expert to get it right.

Here are 5 online reputation management tips toward a winning online and offline reputation:

Step 1: What Do We Look Like Now?

A thorough assessment of where you are today – good and bad. Searches: your full name, company name, brand names or other key phrase in the top three search engines: Google, Yahoo, and Bing. You really need only look at the first two or three pages of results, as most people will not dig deeper than that. Record your findings in a spreadsheet for easy reference: record the URL, position in the search results, and information about what that page shows – you may want create a column for “Positive” and “Negative” so you can sort and group them after you finish the research.

Step 2: What Do We Need to Change?

Sort and examine the results and mark the ones that need attention. The negative remarks are a priority: either try to get them deleted (contact the source of these negatives and see if you can resolve the issue so that they wind up with a better opinion and change their negative information to positive) or pushed down farther in the results. For the positive results, mark those as items you want to try to move up in the search rankings.

Step 3: What are Our Most Appealing Arenas?

Look at the positives. Do a lot of them come from Twitter and Facebook? If so, you want to consider posting to your blog more frequently to gain more exposure. If, indeed, the search engines like your blog, give them more. Possibly, you are showing up for the videos you have posted on YouTube – give them more. The great thing about adding to your social media presence, YouTube videos, and the like, is that YOU control the content, not someone else. So if you get more posts visible, these will “force” the other listings, over which you do NOT have control, further down in the listing – and that’s what you want. So if you get good “action and reaction” from your social media presence, do more of it. If you get good reaction from your web pages (that you create with your message), create more of them. The more you place with your message, the less room there is for other messages, over which you do not have control.

Step 4: What is Our Online Reputation Management Strategy to Maintain the Quality of Our Reputation?

Knowing the positives and negatives of your reputation today (your spreadsheet shows you this), design the strategy to enhance the positives. Focus on what you say, where you say it, and the type of content that best serves you and your business: possibly blog posts, press releases, videos, articles for directories, tweets, Facebook pages, or interviews. Always place your emphasis on placing your information where it does the most good.

Step 5: Do It!

The last step in building and maintaining your reputation is follow-through. Start creating content and promoting it using good SEO techniques. Always have your name, your brand, or your company shown as the source of everything published so credit accrues where you need it. Continue to create content that enhances your reputation and continue to monitor your position in the search engines. Keep track your progress (that’s where the spreadsheet comes in handy), and watch the mentions of your name and other key phrases so that you can immediately respond and clear the negatives. This is a great monthly “Recurring Task” in your planner.

Keeping your reputation positive is relatively painless if done on a regular basis. A constant stream of blog posts, social media entries, videos, etc. will keep your message coming from you, and not leave room in the search engines for the negative information. So assess your current situation, develop your strategy, and then execute, execute, execute. The positive image you create will “crowd out” those few folks with negatives.

What is Time Management – Where Does the Time Go?

Time Management ClockThe First Time Management Skill: Identifying and Dealing with Your Time Wasters

Does your day pretty much end with the same comment, “Where has the day gone?” How CAN you do so much work, but, always, at the end of the day, there is so much more left to do. The first, and most important, real time management skill is identifying the time wasters in your day and getting them under control. Here are five of the most common time wasters, and some suggestions about what to do with them.

Online Distractions

Every time waster in the world is available 24/7 on the internet: games, up to the minute news (my favorite), YouTube videos, humor, great sayings (even about wasting time – like: “Your greatest resource is your time.” ~ Brian Tracy), forums, FaceBook, Twitter, and so much more. How do you keep these distractions from eating into your day?

First of all, take a good hard look at what you’re doing all day. Do you NEED to check your email EVERY HOUR? (What I have always liked about email is its, “asynchronous” nature… you don’t have to treat is like Instant Messaging – you can get an email, research your answer, and respond intelligently rather than quickly responding with the wrong answer.) Would you REALLY miss an important comment if you only looked at FaceBook once or twice a day instead of 8 – 10? And so on.

Find these distractions and control them. The easiest way is to schedule them – allot just certain times for email, phone, FaceBook, YouTube, etc. Set aside just 15 minutes a day for Facebook. When the 15 minutes are up, LEAVE! Same for email, phone, and the rest.

Interruptions

Whether you work in a home office or at a business away from home interruptions are a fact of life. At home, the kids come home for lunch, or the home phone rings… in the office, people, “drop in” to discuss their current project… always there will be interruptions. Everyone’s favorite thing to hate is a, “Do Not Disturb” sign. But actually TELLING interrupters not to bother you right now – and enforcing it – is one of the best time management strategies to them at bay. When interruptions occur, and they will, deal with them ONLY IF YOU MUST. The rest should be scheduled for later. This way you can keep YOUR FOCUS on what is critical for you, and get it done, then give the interruptions the attention THEY deserve.

Why THIS Meeting?

Scrutinize every meeting request… will the meeting help business, or is it a totally “meaningless meeting” that will do nothing but suck up too much of your valuable time. Turn down any meetings that aren’t absolutely essential. If you must attend, make sure the convener has a definite published agenda and make sure they stick to it. Be prepared to walk out at the scheduled end of the meeting – even if its objectives have yet to be met. Meeting conveners will learn to make sure meetings move along their desired end, and other attendees will appreciate the time you’re saving them. (Try a meeting WITHOUT CHAIRS! This will get it done quickly!)

Multitasking

Multitasking does NOT save time. As you shift from one project to another, you must refocus your mind for each one, and the net effect is that NONE of the projects get the attention they deserve, and worse, each individual project actually takes longer because of the constant refocusing or your attention. So projects take longer, and don’t come out as well… just say NO to multitasking!

Too Many Hours does NOT Equal More Done

You’ll actually LOSE HOURS by working too many hours. When I outlawed “all niters” in my production department, we found that the hours rest we got each night allowed us to be more focused and more productive during the hours we did work – and eliminated the NEED for all niters – go figure! It showed that, for most people, long hours don’t really add up to greater productivity. Tired minds and bodies just don’t focus as well. So, even if you do have to work a lot of extra hours, make sure you take refreshing beaks to keep your mind and body clear and able to really focus to get the work done well.

Track Your Time!

One of the better ways to make sure your time is used most effectively is to “Track It!” Keep detailed records on a time management table of what you do each day – this is especially critical if you charge for your time, and will teach you to make sure your time is properly used, and make sure you budget the right amount of time for future projects rather than losing time – and money – by wasting time.

This is installment 1 of this series (category) on Time Management Benefits. Start taking these steps to start managing your time, and watch for the next in our Time Management Tips series. These posts will be alternating (in my old Navy terms, Port and Starboard) with my series on Reputation Management.

Introducing Our Parallel Post Series – Time Management and Reputation Management

For the next series of posts, we’re planning to alternate posts between Time Management and Reputation Management – our last post introduced the Reputation Management Series, this post introduces the Time Management Series. So subscribe to our RSS Feed  over on the right, and subscribe to our newsletter – also on the right, and you’ll always be up to date as each post goes up.

Why Do I Need Online Reputation Management?

EvReputation Excellenterything you or your business does or says these days may potentially wind up on the internet for ALL to see. Think of George Orwell’s book 1984…  it may be much more real than many of us would like to admit. But, we can control, to some extent, our online reputation and image by, “Online Reputation Management,” (ORM). We just monitor what is said or seen about us on the web: as individuals, our brands, or our companies, and encourage positive information, and discourage any negatives we find.

How Do We Monitor Our Online Reputation?

Internet reputation and business reputation management begin by carefully watching all mentions of our brands, our companies – and us on the internet. Conscientiously watch search engines for key terms such as your name, your address, your company name, or your brand name. Keep an eye on everywhere that important identifiers might show. And, not just Google… the other search engines, social sites, etc. all may have negative information lurking there about you or your company. In my experience, it is much easier to find negative comments about a company than it is to find positive comments – folks find it easy to bad mouth us, but are less likely to publish their positive feelings. Monitoring our image online is a great job for a virtual assistant or a freelancer.

What Are The Basics of Building a Good Online Reputation?

Today, there are three elements at the core of our online reputation:

  • Proactively post your own positive content. On a regular basis, on social network sites, your blog, and other blogs, post positive information about new achievements by you and your company. You’re making sure the positive information is out there, not hidden behind the walls of your business. By doing this on a regular basis, you make sure that the search engines are seeing what is positive about you, your values, and your company.
  • Wall in your private information. Make sure that all the blogs, social sites, and web sites where you are visible ONLY shows the information that you want known. If you don’t want it known, don’t post it… period! The best defense against any future problems online is to keep private information hidden from public eyes. Make sure the privacy settings of anywhere you post information are set for maximum security – but really, I wouldn’t trust them… just keep the information you want private OFF the internet.
  • Develop and immediate response to any negative information. You know the old saying, “Bad news travels fast!” If you find ANY negative information, deal with it immediately. The sooner you get it retracted or overpowered in the search engines by your own good news, the less it will spread.

What Are the First Steps for Dealing with Negative Information?

Chances are excellent that something negative about you or your business get to the internet at some point. It may not be something particularly bad, but, if it reflects negatively on you or you or your business, you’ll want to minimize the impact. The two main ways to cut the negative impact will be to overwhelm the search engines with your positive news, or try to convince whoever posted the negative information to delete it – by dealing with them directly to solve the problem. Who knows, if you can solve the problem well enough, you may turn their negative comment positive – the best solution all around.

For individuals, small businesses, or large corporations. All businesses today need to pay attention to their reputation, both online and off. A single negative review, comment, story, or photo may affect you and your business for many years. Watch your reputation online and off to make sure you don’t get badgered by negative stories – keep them positive for business success.

We’ll have more on reputation management in coming posts.

Increase Your Productivity – 12 Rules

frustrated handDid you just get stopped because you were looking for the BEST solution? As you take time to find the easiest or most efficient way forward, you may just find yourself stopped completely in your tracks. We may even do this on purpose to avoid decisions… It’s, “Paralysis by Analysis!

Wanna find a work-around and get yourself moving? You’re looking for some rules to help you reach your goal quickly… even when the entire path isn’t clear from the start.

Look at this example – you want to make your way from New York to California… but there are no roads! You might create simple rules like these:

  1. Follow Horace Greeley’s advice and, “Go west young man!”
  2. Try ONLY to walk around obstacles (easier than going over them!).
  3. You come to the Rocky Mountains… find the space between two smaller peaks and pass through there.
  4. Repeat and repeat ‘til you get to California.

Is this set of rules the best way to get there – No! HOWEVER… it will get you where you want to go, and has the advantage of getting you going NOW, not tomorrow, or next week, or next year… NOW!

Here are some simple rules to get you going now and increase your productivity:

  1. Work at YOUR best time. Most people are very productive at some times of the day, and drag at other times. Best practice – schedule your toughest tasks during your best time.
  2. Only work on what NEEDS to be done. If you don’t need it, don’t do it – toss it.
  3. Do the tough stuff first. Those unpleasant tasks are best done quickly (like ripping a bandage off quickly). Then the rest of your day is fun stuff.
  4. Establish daily, weekly, monthly and yearly goals. See the note about the Franklin Planner below. Each day, lay out and commit to plans for the day (or next day if you plan at the end of the day). Your plan becomes your road map for the day, and you don’t have to think about it – just do it!
  5. Turn off distractions. When you start on serious work, turn off the distracting phone and cell phone, email, even your radio if you would rather listen to the tunes than do the work – everything that keeps you from concentrating and working. Use a, “Do not disturb,” sign if it will help. You probably don’t have to do this for everything, but the tougher tasks demand your full attention, so, “Clear the decks” of distractions.
  6. Group similar tasks. Email – all together. Phone calls – all together. Opening snail mail – all together. You’ll be amazed how much more productive you can be this way.
  7. Give yourself a time deadline. Many tasks will take several hours, but if you break them up into shorter segments with deadlines, you’ll find that things will go faster – because you have the deadline to work toward.
  8. Let your goals be your guide. For instance, if you need to make a bunch of cold-calls to generate sales, set a challenging goal, and don’t get up from your desk until it’s done. Go to the bathroom BEFORE you start, and don’t quit until you are done or there’s a fire drill.
  9. Use the 80/20 Rule. You’ve heard of the Pareto Principle… 20% of your actions should provide 80% of the benefits. So focus on the 20% tasks that get the most results. These may not be the most enjoyable tasks in front of you, but you’ll be surprised at how much you get done by concentrating a lot of effort on the critical 20%.
  10. Delegate – delegate – delegate. Who else can pick up some of your load? People in your organization, or freelancers and Virtual Assistants whom you hire. Whenever possible, use other peoples’ time to give yourself more time.
  11. Deadlines work. Working against the clock really helps to focus your time and energy.
  12. Work faster. You may laugh, but really, try this. Just do stuff a bit faster. Talk faster, walk faster, write faster, read faster – each one cuts a little time off each task and, by the end of the day, you get more done.

Simple rules, but the simple solutions usually work best. At the heart of it all is staying on task… just stick to it, keep at it, and you’ll, “Git ‘er done!” These 12 simple rules will help you do just that.

One of today’s greatest tools to help you get organized and plan your life to keep moving forward and keep on track is a FranklinPlanner. This is an outgrowth of the late Steven R. Covey’s bestselling book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People,” which was named the #1 Most Influential Business Book of the 20th Century. Mr. Covey devoted his working career to helping people work better and more productively, so let him help you.

Review – The Traits and Habits of Successful Bloggers by Kevin Muldoon

Recommended Book Review

Kevin Muldoon’s easy to read and highly motivational book, The Traits and Habits of Successful Bloggers, is the wall to wall truth… His basic point is that running a successful blog is no different than running any successful business – in both cases, it requires dedication and hard work… PERIOD!

Research, learning, pride, analysis, devotion to your readers (and your business), when applied consistently, yield success, and each chapter of the book explores each of those (and several other) Traits and Habits and reminds you that is the road to success… sorry folks, there are no shortcuts. In the short period of time I have had the book, I have been reminded (I really knew it all along, but, like everyone else, needed to be given a quick shake) of that truth.

My favorite lesson is a paraphrase of a lesson that I learned many years ago, “Budget for failure.” In Kevin’s words, “Fail often, fail well.” In either telling, out of failure, Phoenix like, rises success – if you pay attention and learn.

Of course, an extended review might motivate more people to read this book, but like the book, short is right. What can I say? Simply that I would buy it again – it’s that good.

Amazon has The Traits and Habits of Successful Bloggers by Kevin Muldoon, and as a Kindle Book, it is very easy to own.

Training Your Virtual Assistants and Freelancers – Best Practices

Virtual-Assistant-TrainingYou’ve found the budget and you’ve found what looks like the right person. Once you’ve taken the big step and started a working relationship with a Virtual Assistant or Freelancer, the most critical step in this new found relationship is making sure they get the right training so they can actually, “Fill Your Shoes.” Right now, you do it all, as the old saying goes, “Chief Cook and Bottle Washer.” Since you do it all, training your new helper can seem like a full time job in itself. What you will need most of all, is patience! Your new-found help is not you! They will do things differently, and at a different speed. But once you get the two of you, “in sync,” you will be amazed at how much better your business runs and how much more you get done with two working… even if one of you only works a few hours a day. Most of the problems that occur in outsourcing happen right up front, during the, “training phase.” Here are some steps to help you get going on the right foot from the start.

Always Make Sure Your VA or Freelancer, “Gets It”

Never assume that folks who haven’t worked with you before “Get It…” that they understand your business – and the way YOU do business. There are always times when you think you’re both on the same page only to discover that you’re not only not on the same page, you’re not even in the same book! The people you hire may have their own website, and it may, indeed, list the service you need. But do not assume (NEVER ASSUME) they do things the way you want them done. For every task, plan on giving DETAILED instructions on how you want it done… but keep an open mind – your new worker may offer innovative suggestions on better, time money saving ways to do it. And that new time saving could lead to more time and budget available to expand your services in new money making ways. Be flexible.

Write Down EVERY Detail

Writing InstructionsMany, MANY years ago, on my first company job, we had AVI pads… note pads so we would, Avoid Verbal Instructions.” The great thing I found about, “writing it down,” is that it forced me to more accurately, and economically, describe what I wanted, and virtually assured the outcome for which I was looking. So, when outlining projects for your virtual assistants and freelancers, always add MORE detail than you think is needed. Take it step by step, including the expected result of each step. Once you have detailed the task in writing, read it back, hopefully the next day, to ensure you have it completely covered. Then, go over the instructions with your assistant and make sure they understand exactly what you expect.

Write It or Show It?

Always make your own training materials for your Virtual Assistants and Freelancers. Once they are made, they can be used again and again as you hire more help in the years to come. Always take each task step-by-step. Your training materials can be either video tutorials or written instructions – actually, it’s best to do both. Some people learn better visually with the video, and others will work better with the written version – either way, it is good to have both. And all people benefit because they can see it visually, and also refer back to the printed version for confirmation.

It’s Trial Run Time

For each project that you hand off, you’ll want to do a small, “Trial Run” until you are familiar with the quality of your Virtual Assistant’s or Freelancer’s work. For example, if you’re looking for a large list of blogs that accept guest posts in your area, ask your VA to find just ten for a first go ‘round. Check these results to see if they’re what you wanted. If they are OK, go ahead and let your VA find a bunch more. By checking small samples, you will be able to make, “mid-course corrections,” to make sure they’re on the right track – otherwise you may waste a lot of time and money.

Immediate Feedback is Important

As soon as your assistant delivers your project, give feedback, both positive and negative, right away. This is especially important early in the relationship. Negative feedback lets them know where you expect to see improvement. The more important positive feedback lets them know where the right track is so they can stay on it. Always make sure that your Virtual Assistants and freelancers know that you appreciate their work – pay is good, but praise helps.

It’s Your Business so You Are Responsible

If your Virtual Assistant or freelancer misses the mark on a project, don’t put all the blame on them. Since it is your business, you are responsible. Find out if your instructions may not have been clear enough. Give your VA the benefit of the doubt… just as your outside workers need to adapt to working for you, you need adapt to delegating properly and working well with them.

Pay Promptly!

In my years running my production department at Minolta, I developed a good relationship with Accounts Payable, and always made sure my freelancers’ invoices were paid promptly. Because my people knew they would be paid on time, they remained loyal, worked hard, and worked well, helping me produce more than 30 award winning shows and meetings.

Always remember that you are responsible for your business, and no one else. Your Virtual Assistants and Freelancers deserve credit for taking up some of your workload, but you are responsible for how well they do – when they succeed, you and your business succeed.


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