Monthly Archives: January 2015

Expanding Your Entrepreneurial Expertise With An eBook

Something that is growing in popularity for anyone with any type of expertise is the creation of an eBook, the digital equivalent of a printed book. Even 2016 political hopefuls are turning to this publishing format to engage their constituencies and share stories as they gear up for the campaign trails, according to Politico.  This should not be surprising with the growth of technology and development of digital applications for the increased consumer use of mobile devices.

Image found on Pinterest
Image found on Pinterest

 

Why An eBook?

A business eBook is generally a success guide or how to information written in an easy-to-digest, short format that is read on a computer, e-reader, tablet or even a mobile phone with an e-reader app. E-books are also a very popular lead generation tool for internet marketers who offer eBooks as free download products from their websites.

What makes eBooks so cool is that a) anyone can write one if they have expertise, something of interest to share, or unique idea or concept, and b) with the fast growth rate of self-publishing,  it is simple and cost effective to produce and distribute digitally. Bowkers, a publishing management company and the official ISBN agency in the United States, reported that self-published titles have increased 59% over the past two to three years and credit this growth to the ease of convenience of self-publishing, which can be found with sites such as CreateSpace, Smashwords and Lulu.

The benefit of having an eBook for an entrepreneur is increased visibility, exposure as an expert, and gaining a new title as published author.  Also common with some entrepreneurs is to write a series of eBooks and offer them as a package for a small cost, such as the eBook package on wisdom and insights offered by popular website, Tiny Buddha.

An Easy Process to Begin

An easy way to write an eBook is to use your blog format to serve as the foundation for a larger eBook project.  One idea is to share meaningful information with your audience and then publish most popular posts while expanding on ideas in an eBook format.  This process allows the author to write with a narrow focus and to begin capturing their initial thought process in an online format.

There is no need to fret if writing is not a strong skill, because many published books are produced by a ghostwriter, a writing professional who works with the author or expert subject matter to develop the book concept and write the content. Because self-publishing and eBooks have become so popular, hiring a writer has also become an affordable option, and with a little research and due diligence, there are many traditional (writing services, creative agencies) and non-traditional resources (Elance and Craigslist) for hiring experienced and accomplished writers that will work with all budgets and produce a great product.

???????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????A ghostwriter can draft the entire eBook from scratch or work from an outline or written notes in consultation with the content expert. Another option is to document with a voice recorder, hire a transcriptionist through a virtual assistant service to transcribe your recording, and then an experienced writer/editor to review the written document for structure, context, grammar and spelling.  The key for a successful eBook (besides the marketing) is that the topic is interesting and the content is well-written, informative and engaging.

When Less is Effective and Smart

Lastly, an eBook can be short in nature with as little as 10,000 words. That may not sound like much but in actuality, it equates to a short story and in eBook format may be 20 pages, just enough to capture your audience’s attention and share salient information. This is more doable than it may sound and can be completed in less than 30 days.  A longer eBook project, like say a biography or novel will be more in depth with more than 50,000 words and will take longer to write and finalize, but can still be done within months.

Depending on entrepreneurial and professional goals, an eBook can be an effective marketing tool that helps to build and brand your business and expand reach and influence as an expert in your field, as well as the residual benefit of a passive income stream once the eBook is published and properly marketed.

Solving Your Business Problems Differently in 2015 With Niche Virtual and Personal Assistants

assistantOften when people think of a personal or virtual assistant, they think basic and general administrative work or tasks, like running errands, answering phones and making files. While these are necessary organizational tasks, the world of virtual and personal assistance extends beyond the basics but now includes highly skilled professional workers with intermediate to advance expertise in accounting, finance, legal, public relations, marketing, communications, health care, insurance and real estate.

Who are today’s niche personal or virtual assistants?

They are smart, resourceful, competent and educated individuals (male and female) who may have worked as assistants, specialist and managers in their field at one time. But instead of letting their skill, expertise, and knowledge go to waste, many professionals are packaging their skills and talents to offer niche services to a specific industry or task. Some people sell their skills as consultants and are able to command a higher bill rate. But niche personal and virtual assistants not only are able to consult on a problem and offer a solution, but actually perform the work seamlessly and with little to no direction. And often, while their rates are competitively higher than a basic administrative assistant, the right virtual or personal assistant far exceeds the value for their cost.

Virtual assistant specialists offer the same if not higher level of professionalism as would a regular employee but often have more incentive to prove their value and worth. One great advantage to being a niche virtual assistant is the schedule flexibility for maximizing work performance and creating solutions and results for their clients. There is no secret that many companies may have employees who are faced with downtime but who are still on the clock being paid. With a virtual assistant, the employee is paid only for the hours they work and the time they put in. They are task specific and efficient because if the work doesn’t get done, they don’t get paid, no future work or referrals.

So how can a niche virtual or personal assistant help you?

A good, savvy virtual or personal assistant should have experience in your field and familiarity working with industry type executives and managers, be self-sufficient and easily accessible (during agreed upon hours). They should be set up at home with a phone (mobile is okay), computer, laptop, printer, Microsoft Office or other appropriate software and Internet access to perform work online using, email, Dropbox or a client management dashboard. Many assistants can and will meet on site but preference is offsite to allow more flexibility, with the exception of a personal assistant who may need to travel with their employer or be on site to manage day-to-day operations.  A freelance virtual or personal assistant is also entrepreneurial-minded so they often are proactive and able to think ahead of your needs and offer solutions or ideas.  In many respects, the assistant is your strategic ally in helping you to be successful, so identifying someone with a specific strong skill set that is compatible with your personality is key because the work relationships is about trust and respect.

So if you are struggling to get work done in your business but lack the expertise in certain areas, consider hiring a specialized personal or virtual assistant with a specific niche. This type of service is often very helpful for the entrepreneur and small business owner who needs to offload tasks they don’t have the time or knowledge to complete, allowing them more time to focus on their core business. But even small to mid-sized corporations now are considering how a niche virtual and personal assistant can fulfill critical work needs, solving problems, and adding value.

Finding a Niche Virtual or Personal Assistant

Because this market has grown over the past 10 years, a quick Internet search will help you to identify personal assistant services.  You an also try sites like Elance, Odesk, Fiverr, or post classified ads on Craigslist or Ebay Classifieds if you want to find someone yourself. Or register with an employment agency, who will have already performed a screening and background check. I believe, however, the best way is from word of mouth.  There are talented people available looking for great opportunities.  Let your trusted colleagues know that you are looking and what skills you need.  Everyone knows someone and you’d be surprised at how a referral can be a business or project lifesaver.

N. Ann Hall is the managing director of Own Your Idea, LLC, and a freelance writer and blogger at Diva Nina Writes and business blog, Own Your Idea. She also works as a virtual lifestyle manager/personal assistant with a niche specialty in providing writing, editorial, proofreading, typing, and transcription services to serious-minded authors, entrepreneurs, business executives and VIPs who are using social media marketing tools to build and grow their reputations and brands. She can best be reached at nannhallwrites@gmail.com or 678.310.6573.

Social Media 2015: Don’t get left behind!!!

© Gfadel | Dreamstime Stock Photos

© Gfadel | Dreamstime Stock Photos

Want to see how quickly web technology and Internet use is growing? Check out real-time statistics at internetlivestats.com. This is really cool. With just a quick glance at the site, you will see that it is easy to get left behind digitally with just a blink of an eye. I was searching for statistics for a blog story and realized that as soon as I quoted a stat, the information would be different by the time it was read.

As a small business owner, if you are still contemplating your approach to using social media, this site may offer you a depth of perspective to encourage you to become engaged sooner rather than later. Regardless of what direction you decide, ensure that you have a strategy and plan in place to guide you for the most effective results.

If you are a DIYer, I have a one page guide to help you develop a strategy that works for you. Email me at divaninawrites@gmail.com to receive your pdf copy. As I mentioned in another blog post about social media overdrive, your main objective should be to just get started. No need to make it a production for yourself or your business, just pick one and manage it on your schedule. With consistent use, you will begin to see incremental results and be encouraged to go to another level in social media marketing.