Sue Canfield also known as “Awesome Sue” is a virtual assistant as well as VA Coach. Along with her husband, Joel, Sue is the co-author of ”The Commonsense Virtual Assistant—Becoming an Entrepreneur, Not an Employee” available at Amazon.com.
They have also created a workbook for virtual assistants that would like to benefit from their expertise but work at their own pace. The workbook, Building Blocks: Succeed as a Chief Virtual Officer, includes samples such as a marketing plan and contract. The topics include Setting Up Your Business, Identifying Your Ideal Client, Marketing Your Services and more. It’s available at their website Chief Virtual Officer.
I asked Sue some questions about her VA business, VA coaching program and herself.
What lessons have you learned since starting your VA business?
The biggest lessons I’ve learned are to put processes in place, plan for the unexpected and ask for help. Fortunately I’ve had my husband Joel, a business coach, as a support to help me put systems in place and help me through this journey.
How do your clients describe you?
Clients have commented on my interest in helping them grow their business, my expertise and support, quick turnaround, clear communication about the options to consider on a project, excellent attention to detail, my contagious enthusiasm for my work, and my integrity and diligence.
What is your favorite VA resource or network?
My favorite VA network is www.FindVirtual.com. It’s a great community of friendly, helpful virtual assistants with lots of resources.
What advice would you give a new VA?
Schedule time every day to work on marketing your business – even 15 minutes a day. Invest in some affordable coaching designed to help you with your specific needs. Put processes in place now so that as your business grows you can adapt smoothly.
How important is it to maintain a blog? How often should you post to a blog?
A blog is a great way for prospects to get to know you so they can then trust you and then want to contact you to learn more. A blog showcases your expertise, is great for higher search engine rankings and is a wonderful way to interact with prospects and clients. It’s important to keep your blog current and post at least weekly, preferably two or three times each week. That will encourage people to return more often and share their comments.
What makes your VA coaching products or services stand out?
My husband Joel and I created Chief Virtual Officer in order to provide affordable and customized coaching to virtual assistants. We believe that our blend of virtual assistant and coaching skills, business knowledge and marketing savvy is unique. We share more than 50 years of experience working with small businesses and love teaching others how they can have the deep satisfaction they get from their work and the life it allows us.
Who are your ideal customers?
I recently created a detailed description of my ideal client so you can get a clearer idea of who we like to work with. Here it is:
Ruth Ellen Hill is 33 years old. Her husband is a fire fighter. They have two children, a boy age 6 and a girl age 3. Ruth took 2 years of community college and majored in accounting. She has 12 years experience as a receptionist, administrative assistant, and accounting clerk in small companies she’s worked in since graduating high school.
After her second child was born, Ruth decided to be a stay at home mom. Three years later her oldest child is in school full time and Ruth has decided she wants to work again, part-time and from home so that she’s still available to her 3 year old. Ruth wants to put her administrative skills to work, has researched the virtual assistant arena, and is setting up shop.
Ruth is not sure how to get started, where to find clients, what should be on her website or how to actually run a business. Her dad’s had his own construction business for years and she’s been doing some work for him such as bookkeeping, proposals and creating documents. He’s offered to help her get started and give her a small loan. Ruth is looking for a coach to help her build a solid foundation for her business.
How long do you maintain relationships with your coaching clients?
Once we’ve developed a relationship with a coaching client, we like to stay in touch even after they finish any coaching program. Our first coaching client we met online more than 18 months ago and still stay in contact.
Of all the services you provide, is coaching one of the most rewarding to you?
Yes, I enjoy coaching and find it very rewarding. I enjoy helping other women in business succeed and it’s a lot of fun to see their excitement as they implement our suggestions and watch their business grow.
Why did you decide to start coaching Virtual Assistants?
As I began connecting with virtual assistants around the world, it quickly became clear that many had great skills but were unsure of how to run a business. Since my husband is a business coach and the success of my virtual assistant business was due to his great advice, we decided we wanted to help other virtual assistants succeed also.
Do you need to adjust your style for each candidate or do you have a standard program?
We do have a five-month program that is standard. However, we prefer to work one on one and customize a program for each client based on their specific needs. We also offer affordable group coaching calls covering specific topics twice a month.