How To Persuade People To Buy Your Product

By Jimmy D. Brown

You can be persuasive without indulging in hype, using strong-arm tactics, or preying on people’s emotions. In this article, I’d like to propose one way of convincing others to buy without compromising your ethics.

The premise is simple: write a piece of content (Example: article) that depends upon purchasing your product in order to most effectively use or use at all.

Let’s look at three very simple steps for this process…

1. Write a content piece that shares a set of points

It doesn’t matter if they are tips, keys, steps, ideas, ways, or any other type of list or how-to tutorial. The important thing is to share 3 or more of these related points.

Examples:

• 3 Keys To Making More Money From Your List
• Top 10 Ways To Get More Volunteers To Serve At Church
• The Simple, 5-Step System For Selling More Used Cars
• 7 Quick Tips for Toning Your Tummy
• How to Nurture Good Child Behavior In 3 Easy Steps
• The Ultimate Training Program For Running A Marathon

Nothing very surprising there. Folks do this all day long. And this works with everything we’ve talked about so far. Here’s where things are different…

2. Make everything you share dependent upon a single point or premise.

If you can make all of the content you share dependent upon one of the points or an idea that runs throughout the entire content, then you can start counting your orders now.

As always, let me give some examples to illustrate what I’m talking about…

EXAMPLE: A while back I wrote an article that shared, “3 Keys To Making More Money From Your List”. The three keys were: Consistency in quality, consistency in regularity, and consistency in delivery. In key #1, I talked about quality of content and how to provide exactly what your list members want in order to keep them reading. In key #2, I revealed a HUGE mistake that I had been making in how often I sent PROMOTIONAL mailings to my list. (Believe it or not, I wasn’t sending them often enough!) In key #3, I talked about spam filters and problems with email delivery as I spelled out how CRITICAL it was to get your mailings delivered to the inboxes of your subscribers.

Did you notice how key #1 and key #2 were COMPLETELY DEPENDENT upon key #3? It does you absolutely ZERO good to have content your list members WANT to read, and have promotional mailings that your list members WILL respond to if they NEVER receive the mailings!

That’s the idea here.

Let me give you a couple more examples to illustrate…

EXAMPLE: Let’s take a quick look at that content piece, “Top 10 Ways To Get More Volunteers To Serve At Church”. You could identify methods for getting volunteers such as sending out recruiting emails, letting volunteers choose when they are and are not available to serve, providing training materials, and so forth. You can frame everything in the content so that it is dependent upon having a program (software, web-based app, etc.) to manage it all. You could even provide a case study example of how that program is used to work with all the methods you mentioned. But, that’s not even my point. The entire list of ways is dependent upon the church HAVING A VOLUNTEER PROGRAM IN PLACE.

EXAMPLE: What about that content piece I mentioned a moment ago, “The Ultimate Training Program For Running A Marathon”? In the article you could talk about various types of runs you need to build into your training program such as hill repeats, speed workouts, long runs, recovery runs, etc. Mention that a mix of each is needed. Discuss varying paces and duration of each. All of this is excellent. But, here’s the thing: they STILL NEED A TRAINING PROGRAM. They know WHAT to put into a training program, but they don’t know HOW to develop the right mix at the right pace at the right intensity at the right duration.

This works for many, many pieces of content.

Give them good, useful, meaty information in all of the points and then stress at the close how they are all dependent upon some thing. And that “some thing” is…

3. Offer something related to the point or premise upon which everything is dependent.

Here’s the call to action. Here’s where you get people to leave your free content and go face-to-face with a buying opportunity for your recommended product.

What you have, in essence, done is create a problem for the reader. A problem that you are about to solve.

What you’ve told them is this: “These are all great ideas. But you can’t put them to work for you. Unless…”

At the conclusion of your free content, you not only mention that everything you’ve shared is dependent upon something, but you recommend a product that will enable them to actually use what you’ve just revealed to them.

Let’s take a look at how this would work in each of the three examples I mentioned…

EXAMPLE: In that first example, everything was dependent upon delivery of the email. That is, the subscriber must actually receive the email and open it. So, in that example, I would offer a product that teaches “How To Get Your Emails Successfully Delivered And Opened.” And that’s actually what I did a while back when I created a product entitled, “Get Messages Read”. I offered a product that solved the problem, that offered a solution for which everything I shared in the article depended upon.

EXAMPLE: In that second example, the offer being presented could either be a course on how to setup a volunteer program. Or it could be a done-for-you service where a third party sets up the program on your behalf. Or it could even be a robust suite of online tools that managed the entire volunteer program. Lots of options here, but you could make a case for the entire content piece – every idea shared in it – dependent upon an offer that is mentioned at its conclusion.

EXAMPLE: For our third example you could offer a variety of things ranging from a set of training programs, a done-for-you training program where a qualified expert creates the program, a course that teaches how to create your own training program or even a software program or app that creates them. The problem created was the necessity for having your own custom training program, and the solution is made available in a recommended resource that you strategically reference at the conclusion.

Ultimately, the goal is to connect your free content to your paid product.

And you can do this in a paragraph or two, or as little as a couple of sentences dependent upon available space. There is a sales process in place somewhere – all you want to do at the conclusion of your content is to get them to initiate that sales process. IE Click on a link and arrive at a direct response sales page.

There is an extremely easy way to do this. The call to action is simply using a here’s how, where, what or why statement…

• Here’s how I / we use it…

• Here’s where it really is beneficial…

• Here’s what it can do for you…

• Here’s why this will [insert desired result]…

Explain the benefits, specifically stressing that it will make everything they have read “even better” or “even possible”. Then provide a link to a page where they can learn more about it. This connects your content to your offer.

And that’s how you persuade people to buy your product by using free content! No hype. No strong-arm tactics. No preying on emotions. Just meaty content that strategically builds toward a connected offer.
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Jimmy D. Brown is the founder of Earncome, a training program that gives you simple action steps to complete every 7 days in order to generate website traffic, build a bigger list, and sell more of whatever you’re selling. Get all the details at http://bit.do/earncome

Click here for Earncome

Shortcut Systems You Can Use To Build Your Home Business

One of the greatest things about the Internet is that you can easily build an online business that creates an income that pays your bills and gives you some extra money for the things you want to do in life.

Well for those who are committed to actually working hard for it that is. 🙂

Yes the Internet makes it easier, but that doesn’t mean you don’t have to work hard. When you can finally accept that fact that you’re going to have to work hard and you’re committed to doing so then you have a BIG chance of actually creating the income of your dreams.

In this short tutorial I want to give you some shortcuts that will help you find success faster…

Squeeze Page Shortcut – Having a squeeze page that allows you to build a list is vital to your success and is the first place you should start in building your Internet business. Now you can go out there, find a niche, learn to build a squeeze, learn to create emails OR you can use one of the many ready to go squeeze pages that someone else has already created!

Yes! You can find squeeze pages that you can add your name and autoresponder code to and have something ready to go to start building your list. Many of these will also come with follow up emails you can use too.

To find these you can search your favorite search engine for them or any affiliate marketplace like JVZoo and/or ClickBank.

Using this shortcut will have you up and running with the first thing your business should consist of… A lead gathering machine!

Affiliate Marketing Shortcut – Once you have a squeeze page setup the quickest and easiest way to start making money is by promoting products as an affiliate. This is where you find products related to your niche (the topic of your squeeze page) that others have created and you promote them to your list for a commission.

There’s two shortcuts you can use here:

1. Affiliate Tools Page – Most product creators will give you ready to go tools to use to promote their products. Things like banners, emails, blog posts, reports, etc. You can grab these tools add your affiliate links and start sending them to your list. When you find a product you want to promote contact the owner and ask if they have an affiliate tools page.

2. Affiliate Promo Packages – Affiliate promotion packages are things like banners, emails, blog posts, reports, etc that someone else has created and they sell you the rights to them for you to use. It’s similar to the affiliate tools page except it’s someone who doesn’t own the product and creates a “tools package” that the sell to others to use.

Again to find these you can search your favorite search engine for them or any affiliate marketplace like JVZoo and/or ClickBank

By using this shortcut you can save a ton of time by NOT having to create promotional material for products you want to promote, AND it gives you a great way to make money from the list you build!

Digital Product Shortcut – The next step in your business is creating and selling your own products. You find a niche, find what they want, and create a product that gives it to them.

Of course there’s a shortcut for this also! You can find products related to your niche that you can get the right to sell or even get the right to call your own. Again to find these you can search your favorite search engine for them or any affiliate marketplace like JVZoo and/or ClickBank

Membership Site Shortcut – Okay so once you have a squeeze page setup, and you’re doing some affiliate marketing, and you’ve got a few products setup that you’re selling to your list too it’s time to turn on the monthly income and the best way to do this is to create your own membership site!

Now A LOT of work goes into creating your own membership site, but this tutorial is all about shortcuts, right? You bet!

Just like squeeze pages, affiliate promotional tools, and digital products you can find complete membership sites that you can setup and use to start creating a monthly income!

Now just like the other stuff to find these you can search your favorite search engine for them or any affiliate marketplace like JVZoo and/or ClickBank.

Just what I’ve taught you here you could build an entire business around using things that other people have already created. Maybe it’s not your dream business, but it’s a great way to get started and get money coming in!
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How You Can Create Your Own Super-Profitable Membership Sites And Get Paid Month After Month Like Clockwork… For Doing The Work Just Once! The “Insider Secrets” Used By Big League Marketers To Quickly Get Membership Sites Up And Running Are Finally Revealed. ==> http://bit.ly/memberslab
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Meeting Your Freelancing Deadlines

When it comes to meeting deadlines, one way to manage your timetable effectively is to divide the large jobs and farm them out to several coders.

Let’s say you’ve been awarded a writing job to write an e-book on childcare with 10 chapters for $2,000 over a 45 day period of time. Bid out each chapter separately among 10 coders and allocate, say, $100 for each chapter over a 25 day period. This way you don’t have to worry about the deadline because you’ve given yourself a 20-day buffer and you stand to earn $1,000 for your efforts.

If you are going to handle a project in this manner you must be able to rewrite the articles you receive in order to make sure the entire book “flows” seamlessly and that the same style and tone of voice is consistent throughout.

1. Cultivate a strong talent pool
In many cases, this is the most important asset needed when subcontracting work to others. Here are a few additional tips to help you out in this regard:

2. Know how to hire a good coder
There are four things you should look at when hiring a coder – their resume, their samples, their rating, and their client testimonials.

The last two are critical because it is easy to prepare a bogus resume and samples, especially on the internet.

If you look at those four things and feel you have found the person you are looking for, hire them.

3. Know how to keep them happy
A happy coder always delivers better work than an unhappy one, given the same skill level. You keep your coders happy by dealing in a polite and professional manner, paying them on time and understanding them when they fall or falter (and believe me, they will miss a deadline now and then). Give them respect and they will give you their best.

4. Nurture your current roster of clients
Here is the main reason why quality counts – it is quality, more than anything else, that will make your customers come running back to you again and again. Always put a premium on quality. First-class work is sometimes hard to find, especially given a limited budget. If you consistently deliver first-class work, you assure yourself and your coders of a prosperous business well into the future.

There is a popular saying in sales which says that “It is eight times easier to get new business from your current clients than it is from cold calls.” In other words, make sure you ask your clients for referrals from people they know or work with who may need the service you provide.

Some coders hesitate when it comes to asking for referrals because they feel it is unprofessional. They feel asking for referrals is like asking for a favor. That is not really the case. If you have faith in your ability to deliver good work you are actually helping your client because of your willingness to provide quality work to their friends or business associates. That will reflect well on them too. It is a two-way street.

Now that we have looked at three on line venues we are ready to look at developing eye catching resumes that will help you land some of those great paying opportunities.

Get Paid To Programs For Freelancers

“Get paid to” programs (or GPTs as they are often called) are one of the many ways that freelancers can make money from home. If you’ve been looking for a work at home job, you’ve no doubt run across ads that claim that you can make money by reading e-mails, answering surveys and trying free samples. The good news is many freelancers make money doing those exact things. The bad news is that this particular industry is rife with scammers. If you are interested in getting involved with GPT programs, you’ll have to do your homework and take special precautions to protect yourself and your computer.

It should be noted that very few people make full time income from GPT programs. Like mystery shopping, GPT should be used as a supplemental income source at best. For many freelancers, the GPT programs are a fun and easy way to earn some extra money when they need it. People who have experience with the programs recommend that you never rely on GPT to pay your monthly bills. But they can be a perfect solution to earn money for a special occasion or holiday shopping.

Just what are GPT programs? They fall into three basic categories: get paid to read e-mail, get paid to fill out surveys and get paid to try products. Each type has its own pros and cons. Before you start any GPT program, you should take some steps to protect your personal information. You will be required to give your personal information for many of these programs and the less you actually say about yourself the better.

To start you should register a separate e-mail address for your GPT purposes. Many programs can result in a lot of spam mail, so you’ll want to keep your main e-mail address separate. You can also register with NetZero to get a free voicemail inbox and private phone number. This is helpful in keeping your home phone free of telemarketing calls.

Get paid to read e-mail programs will pay you a few cents for receiving e-mail and clicking on links. Normally these e-mails offer special deals on products or encourage you to sign up for programs. Sometimes, depending on the e-mail program, you will get more money or “points” if you try the offer. You are not obligated to try the offers, and will get paid a small amount just for clicking on the link inside of the e-mail. There are many popular paid e-mail companies. Do some research before you sign up for a program to make sure that people are actually getting paid. Try not to sign up for too many programs at once or your GPT e-mail address will be swamped.

Getting paid to fill out surveys works in a similar way. You will sign up for a survey program and then fill out some personal information. You will be matched to surveys that are looking for the opinions of people in your income bracket, of your age or one of several different qualification factors. Depending on the company, you will get paid per survey, or completing surveys will earn you points that can later be redeemed. Just as with get paid to read e-mail programs, do research on survey companies before you sign up. There are hundreds out there but only a handful are worth the time and effort.

Finally there are get paid to try products programs. These programs pay significantly more than the other GPT programs. However, you will be required to pay anywhere from $1 to $10 to try the products. When you use these kinds of programs, you have to be careful to take complete records of what you will be receiving and when you need to cancel service or return the item. Most of the time you will be registered for recurring billing for a monthly service, which can be cancelled within the initial 7 to 14 days. You can call the companies and cancel the service, yet still be paid for signing up for the GPT program.

Remember that GPT programs are a great way to supplement income but are not something to be relied on for monthly bills.

Choosing the Right Freelance Business

When you are considering working from home, there is a set of decisions that must be made. First, you must decide whether or not working at home is right for you. Next, you need to consider what type of work at home job you will be doing. There are many opportunities for freelances out there, both offline and off. Having a successful freelance career starts with evaluating your own skills and requirements in a job and then finding the right match.

Sometimes the best place to start with your freelance career is where your out of the home career ended. Many women find that they can become independent contractors in the field that they previously worked in. You can use your previous work experience as a launching pad for your freelance career. Some of the ways to use your experience to your advantage are: finding a company that hires people in your field to work from home, using your previous experience to become an “expert” writer in your field or starting a business related to your previous field.

However, some people look at their freelance careers as a way to break out of their old job. If you’d like to try something completely different, there are plenty of opportunities for entry-level work as an independent contractor. Many of these jobs deal with telephone or online customer service. When you work as a customer service agent from your home, you just need a reliable Internet connection and a working phone. Companies also hire medical transcriptionists, data entry professionals and virtual personal assistants to telecommute.

If you want to start your own business, the opportunities are very vast. You can start with a direct sales company and sell products from an established brand to friends and neighbors. You’ll make commissions through your sales and also off of recruiting other people to sell the products. There are hundreds of direct sales companies that offer everything from aromatherapy products to candles to cooking supplies.

Another option for starting your own business is offering a service in your community. Day care center operators, florists, professional organizers and hairdressers all have the option of working at home, among many other professions. Of course, starting a business in your community normally means that you’ve had some experience in that field. However, there are some small business ideas that can be started without much experience at all.

Many women turn to the Internet for a source of at home income. The World Wide Web offers a plethora of job opportunities. You can offer your services online as a freelance web designer, writer or virtual assistant. You can also start an online store that sells products that you make yourself or have the rights to resell. Many freelances establish their businesses online by using one of the popular auction sites, like eBay. Still others find a home in internet marketing, by directing web traffic to a website and then recommending certain products and services.

Decide first what type of job you’d like to do and then work from there. If you are truly a people person and need to get out each day, direct sales or a local service business might be right for you. If you are the type of mom who lives online and is comfortable with the Internet, try finding a job or starting your own business on the web. If you like the comfort of having a weekly paycheck, look into telecommuting positions.

Once you’ve decided what category of job you’d like, do some research on what it takes to be successful at that type of business. If you feel like you are drawn to one particular business or company, then sit on your decision for a week and see how it feels. Imagine what your life will be like as you take on the duties of that job. Most importantly, be realistic with yourself about how much time you can devote to your business. Finding the right match isn’t hard when you thoroughly consider your options.

Blogging Tips for Freelancers

Blogging is one of the best ways to start a freelancer business because it is so easy to get going. However, that does not mean that it is easy to make money from your blog. Don’t start a blog and expect to see money rolling in immediately. Blogging is an activity that will take time to build up to a profit level. It’s a good thing to start while you are working on other freelancer opportunities to let it build to a profitability level. With time and attention, your blog (or blogs) will grow into a business.

When you are blogging for profit, you’ll want to pay close attention to how you present yourself in your blog. There are literally hundreds of thousands of blogs out there, and there may be several hundred blogs that are related to your topic. If your readers can’t understand your blog and have trouble reading it, they’ll just move on to the next one. The following tips can make your blog more user-friendly and help you gain consistent readers.

First, pay close attention to the format of your blog. Readers want to understand how your blog works right from the start. Most blogging platforms have similar formats, with links and tags on the left or right margin, and the most recent post on top. Make sure to use the links wisely. Only put links up for blogs or content that is truly related to your blog’s topic. The point is to give your readers additional information on your topic. Keep the list short and sweet. There is no reason to overwhelm them with links to other sites.

Also, take careful consideration when choosing your blog’s background and font color. Although there are a lot of color choices that blogging programs offer, its best to stick with a light background and dark text.

Studies have shown that the human brain can process this type of format better than light text on a dark background. Think about this before you commit to a black background and white text. It might look striking, but readers might not want to stay there for long. Also, use a solid background color instead of trying to use a pattern or design.

Proofread your entries before you post them to your blog. There is nothing that reduces your authority in the eyes of your readers more than bad spelling and grammar. The online world is a world of text, so take some time to learn commonly misspelled words and grammatical errors.

Keep your blog fresh and interesting by posting at least once per day. With so much information available on the Internet, your readers may go elsewhere if you aren’t supplying daily content. If you aren’t sure what to write about, try posting a poll, a link to another blog, comment on a news story or post of list of helpful tips. Not every post has to be long and complicated, but you do need to post something everyday.

These tips will help keep your blog readable and interesting to your visitors. The more visitors you get, the more your blog will grow in profitability and importance. Just make sure to present yourself in a professional way and keep your readers coming back for more new content each day. In no time, you’ll have a profitable blog and then you can move on to create two or three.

Writing as a Freelancer

Working at home as a writer is one of the largest work at home categories. Being a freelance writer has traditionally been a work at home job, and now that working at home is becoming more popular, there have been more writers in the industry. If you like to write and have a good grasp of the English language, you will never be at a loss for the work at home writing jobs.

Starting your career as a work at home writer is as easy as doing some Internet research and applying for a job. There are many ways to break into the writing field, even if you have no previous experience. Online opportunities abound, and there are still many writers who stay exclusively in the print market.

While many writers dream of one day writing the great American novel, most writers are realistic in knowing that they are going to have to do some other types of writing to get paid on a consistent basis. Writing for pay is mostly, if not exclusively, done in the non-fiction genre. While occasionally you will find contests for fiction writing or for poetry, these opportunities are few and far between when compared to the non-fiction opportunities.

Writing from home as a freelancer requires that you have a reliable Internet connection, good written communication skills and the ability to be a self-starter. As a writer, you will be in charge of your time and your projects. There will always be deadlines to meet and new writing opportunities to try. You will be responsible for balancing your writing with the rest of your life. You must also have the ability to research a wide variety of topics. As you accept assignments, you’ll be challenged to learn about and write about topics that you may have little experience in.

Freelance writing from home can break down into three specific areas: writing for print, writing for the web and blogging. Although blogging is technically writing for the web, there are many distinctions that make it different from other web writing opportunities.

Writing for print is what people generally think of when they hear the term “freelance writer.” freelancer writers who write for the print markets need to first build a reputation as reliable and eloquent writer. If you’ve never written for the print markets before, start with smaller, local publications and then work from there. You’ll need to find a list of publications that are accepting “queries.” Queries are a combination of a letter of introduction and a pitch for a story idea. Most writers rely on the Writer’s Market reference guide for lists of publications. The Writer’s Market has comprehensive information on a variety of newsletters, magazines and other publications that are taking queries. Start with topics that you know the most about and try writing a few queries to get yourself going in the print market.

The only drawback to writing for print is that the period between when you write and when you get paid can be months long. For many freelancers, this is just not feasible. Writing for the web, however, can meet their income needs and still allow them to write from home. There are many categories of writing for the web. You can be a ghostwriter for e-books or other Internet media. Many people need copywriters to provide content for their sales letters and websites. You can also offer your services to webmasters who need fresh content for their blog or newsletter. The opportunities are endless.

Blogging is yet another way to make money as a writing freelancer. Blogs are an ever-growing form of Internet media. Blog writers generally provide their own content. You can make money as a freelancer by starting your own blog and posting to it daily. If you love to write, you can start several blogs at once and multiply your earnings. Once you become an experienced blogger, you can apply for blogging jobs and post for other people.

Why Freelance?

Freelancing allows you to be your own boss. This means you make your own hours.

Wear what you want. Does your current job have a dress code? How does sitting in your pajamas all day sound; what about just spending the day wearing your favorite pair of worn out jeans and that T-shirt from that unforgettable 1980’s rock concert. If you are an independent agent, like a freelancer, then you decide the dress code.

Making your own hours does not mean loafing around all day. It means having the self discipline to set aside a certain amount of hours that you work each day. But, as the boss, you get to decide what those hours are. That way you can pick up the kids from school, have lunch with the spouse, go to the gym during the day when it’s not so crowded, and never have to make that horrible rush-hour commute.

Being a freelancer means that you get to set your own prices for what your time is worth. No more waiting years for a raise that may never come. As you become more proficient and widen your client base you can double and triple your earnings as you see fit.

Have you ever considered living somewhere else but your job and family obligations keep you stuck in the same place. Freelancing gives you the freedom to take your family, if that applies to you, or just yourself and live wherever you want. As long as you have a phone, a computer and a way to receive mail, you can live at the South Pole or Hawaii and still have a lucrative freelancing career. Your home is your office. You can be sitting in a coffee shop and enjoying a scone with a mocha latte at the same time you are making millions of dollars.

When I was a child my father always told me that “nothing in life is free,” and “if it sounds too good to be true then it probably is.” In the case of freelancing the price is minimal. As you will see in future chapters you will need some general items such as a computer, a printer and maybe a fax and scanner. After you have the materials needed to be a freelancer your greatest cost will be your time and effort. How much are you worth? The best part is that you get to decide what your time and effort are worth.

As far as the rule “if it sounds too good to be true it probably is,” here is something to consider. You should not quit your day job immediately and hope to make $10,000 next month. Instead, start slow and work your way to making the money you want. If you are making the equivalent of your full time job and you have too much freelance work to do, then decide to freelance full time and quit your day job. If you work hard this process can happen rather quickly, so don’t be discouraged. The jobs are real. The money is real. The only investment is the amount of time you are willing to invest.

The market for freelancers is growing in leaps and bounds. The future markets are projected to continue to grow at the same rapid rate. This means more fantastic freelance opportunities and greater potential income.

Virtual Assistant Freelance Jobs

Starting a virtual assistant business is just one of many ways to be a Work at home mom. If you have experience in an administrative field, or can offer virtual services to business clients, then you are a prime candidate for having a successful virtual assistant business.

Getting started as a virtual assistant requires a few simple steps. There is no formal credential process to become a virtual assistant, but there are several companies who offer training and their own credentialing. This is not absolutely necessary to be a successful virtual assistant, but it can be helpful in obtaining jobs as a newcomer. Before you sign up for any program or course, do your due diligence and investigate the company. Get recommendations from other successful virtual assistants and consider finding a mentor who can help you get started.

Legally, you’ll need a business license in order to become an independent contractor. By obtaining a business license you’ll be able to open up a business bank account and keep your business and personal finances separately. Being legal also means you can declare many of your business expenses as tax write offs.

Once you’ve set up your home office, you’ll need to establish your virtual office. On the Internet, you’ll use a website to advertise yourself as a virtual assistant. Having a website is essential to establishing your presence. If web design is not in your skill set, find someone who can make a website for you. Try to contact other virtual assistants and see if you can barter for the design if it’s something that you cannot afford to begin with.

On your website you should, at minimum, list your services and who you are. You can also include an hourly rate, although many virtual assistants like to charge by the project instead of by the hour. As far as services go, don’t offer services that you don’t like to do. If you can make spreadsheets but don’t like to do it, then don’t offer that service. If you have background in a specific field, for example law, then list this as a specialty. You can also specialize in the type of work that you offer. Many virtual assistants limit their business to writing and editing, web design, data management or planning, but some offer a mixture of all types of services. Remember, this is your business and you can choose what tasks that you want to perform.

The best way to get virtual assistant jobs to begin with is to start networking. Your best leads will come through people that you already know, whether they are online or in your hometown. Let people know what you are offering and promote your website address so people can see who you are and what you are doing. Make sure to include up to date contact information on your web page, including a phone number.

When you get your first client, its important to have a contract set in place before you start working on a project. You can get many sample contracts online that you can adapt for your needs. Make sure you and the client are both on the same page about the type of work that you will be doing. That way there are no surprises when you deliver the project and your bill.

After you have a few projects under your belt, you’ll begin to build a reputation. Then your virtual assistant business will grow naturally to include repeat clients and new projects. When you consistently do good work, your reputation will precede you and you may have more projects that you know what to do with in a short period of time. Make sure not to overbook yourself, and collect a network of other virtual assistants who are willing to take overflows for you if the need arises.

Getting your virtual assistant business off on the right foot is simple when you follow the basic steps mentioned above.

If Your Resume is the Cake, Your Cover Letter is the Icing

Cover letter writing is almost as important a skill for a job seeker to learn as resume writing. The cover letter accompanies the resume at all times as the primary support document. Whether you use traditional mail, email, faxing, or another type of electronic submission, this should always be sent with the resume. There are, of course, other tools you’ll use when job seeking. Your cover letter and resume come first of course, followed by follow-up letters, thank-you letters for after the interview, reference sheets, salary histories, and job acceptance letters. If you have good cover letter writing skills, and good resume writing skills, the other written tools should be a snap to compose.

Your goal in this is to get the attention of the hiring manager, just as it is with resume writing. The method and format are a little different however. Your resume will cover all, or most of your professional career, and will be from one to two pages. Your cover letter will be a very brief page serving as an introduction to the resume. Cover letter writing style must be direct, to the point, and able to grab the attention of the reader quickly, with a goal of making the reader want to read the attached resume.

Many people, when engaged in this type of writing, have a tendency to say too much. Good cover letter writing is short and punchy, and will take two or three key points from the resume and emphasize them. The old adage “tell them what you are going to tell them, tell them, and then tell them what you told them” holds true in both resume writing and cover letter writing.

As an example, let’s assume that you are a materials handling manager for a defense contractor, seeking another position. In your line of work the buzz words are MRP, lean manufacturing, ISO 9000, and cost savings. Your writing efforts should reflect these buzz words to show your value to your current employer and any future employers. Your resume will go into more detail about how you accomplished these goals. The cover letter will simply point out to the hiring manager that you accomplished them. An example of this would be two bulleted paragraphs in the body of the letter that say….

• Experienced in quality assurance and quality control, MRP, ISO 9000, QS 9000, and Lean Manufacturing.

• Demonstrated results in saving significant money for employers through cost savings, inventory level reductions, and on-time supplier delivery.

The hiring manager, according to many surveys, devotes only about fifteen seconds to each resume and cover letter he or she reviews. With that in mind your writing skills need to be top notch to get this person to look at your resume. Your resume writing skills need to be just as good to get the reader to want to grant you an interview. In turn, your interviewing skills need to be excellent to get the hiring manager to offer you the position. This long, and hopefully positive chain of events begins with good cover letter writing skills and ends with job satisfaction and a nice paycheck.

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