Training, Business Support and Camaraderie: This Virtual Business Has A Better PlanAug 17, 2022
Starting a new company, whether it is a traditional or virtual business, can be extremely intimidating. This is especially true if the entrepreneur has little experience with “being in charge” and accustomed to being surrounded by others. Someone who might want to become a freelancer, or a seasoned executive, who decides to leave a company or profession to start a new enterprise with the potential of being more rewarding, hears that little voice in his or her head that says: “Are you SURE you know what you’re doing?”
This is why many people stay in a dead-end or even toxic job. Being surrounded by the camaraderie of coworkers, having business specialists in areas such as accounting or sales just an email away, and a training infrastructure (even if it is dysfunctional) in place, is often more comfortable than starting a new venture.
While those concerns are certainly real, they can be mitigated with the right support in place. Working from home changed everything. It proved that working in a virtual business environment can be amazingly efficient, effective, and energizing.
You Gotta Have Friends!
When questioned about what they missed most about working remotely, many workers responded that they missed the interaction with coworkers, many of whom were also friends. This need for camaraderie is a very powerful human trait.
In a classic Harvard Business Review article entitled “We All Need Friends at Work,” Christine Riordan explained. “Employees report that when they have friends at work, their job is more fun, enjoyable, worthwhile, and satisfying. Gallup found that close work friendships boost employee satisfaction by 50%.
“Camaraderie is more than just having fun, though. It promotes a group loyalty that results in a shared commitment to and discipline toward the work. Camaraderie at work can create “esprit de corps,” which includes mutual respect, sense of identity, and admiration to push for hard work and outcomes.”
As the founder and CEO of Virtual Expert®, Kathy Goughenour, has a deep understanding of the power of camaraderie. “I was worried about the same thing when I quit my corporate job,” she said. “Who would I have insider jokes with? Who would I have lunch with?
“What I discovered was that I no longer had anything in common with those corporate comrades. So, we didn’t stay in touch very long. Instead, I began connecting with other online business owners. In the Virtual Expert® Training program, we have an extraordinarily supportive community.
“At Virtual Expert (VE), we even have an application process that everyone must go through before they can join our program. Part of what we’re looking for are people who WANT to support each other.
“I believe that together we all rise higher, and that’s the environment we establish in our VE community. Many of our VEs refer clients to other VEs and then they work for the same client.”
Kathy highlighted other ways these virtual business “solo-preneurs” are supported by Virtual Experts.
A private Facebook community where our colleagues can share challenges, ask questions, and celebrate successes. No matter what day of the week or time of day, you can always get a fast response to anything you post.
Monthly Q&A sessions via Zoom with a Virtual Expert Coach. Anyone in our organization can submit questions if they cannot attend live, and the sessions are recorded. When they attend “live” there is an opportunity to network with others in the group. Even if a VE doesn’t have a question, they learn something new by attending because there are always great questions and discussions.
Monthly “Highly Sensitive” Virtual Experts sessions via Zoom with a Virtual Expert Coach who specializes in the unique gifts and challenges that Highly Sensitive people have.
Monthly “Get Stuff Done” sessions via Zoom with a Virtual Expert Coach. During these 4-hour sessions, our VEs commit to what they will get done and get inspiration for about 30 minutes. They go work on their tasks (for themselves or their clients) for 1.5 hours and come back together as a group, committing to what they want to accomplish in the last 1.5 hours. They get another dose of inspiration and then go to work. We all come back together at the end to celebrate what we’ve accomplished, and we have a “show-and-tell” segment. That’s when we show our pets, our kids/spouses, our baked goods or other projects. We have a little happy hour and network. It’s tons of fun!
A once-a-year live event in April exclusively for VEs. It’s 3 days of non-stop fun and learning. We laugh and cry (from emotions, not sadness) together and build friendships that last a lifetime. 2023’s live event is in Orlando, Florida, yes, Disney! This is a life changing experience and can skyrocket a virtual business.
A once-a-year virtual event in October. It’s 3 days of learning and growing done virtually via zoom. The evening of Day 2 always includes something fun such as a Talent or Costume Contest. The laughter rings throughout the land, and we get to know each other in a more personal way. The range of talent and crazy costumes these women have is mind blowing! The most popular costume last year was dressing up like Kathy. It was easy – just PJs, a tiara, and a glass of wine. The most elaborate costume was a full-body unicorn.
Professional Support Services
Many companies, large or small, have systems in place to help employees navigate the sometimes challenging “waters” of sales, marketing, legal or accounting issues. “Virtual Expert Training has 3 levels that take people from wherever they are TODAY to where they want to go,” Kathy explains.
Level 1: Expert VA® Training (3 months long). Its focus includes:
- Setting up the virtual business legally, productively, and professionally so that its ready to bring on clients. It includes information on the best practices for business models and legal business entities as well as the best free tools to use to run an online business.
- Getting the first or next 3 clients in 90 days
Level 2: Virtual Expert® Training (4 months long). Its focus includes:
- Increasing the company’s hourly rate by narrowing its niche (specializing) to create consistent monthly income of up to $5K+ monthly
- Implementing a system for the fastest and easiest way to get a steady stream of clients (one to 2 new clients monthly, if that’s your goal). This system is called “Power Partners.”
Level 3: Certified Virtual Expert® Training (5 months long) Its focus is:
- Creating a consistent income of up to $10K+ monthly by setting up the company website, building a list of prospects that can be accessed anytime there is an opening, and implementing additional methods of business development.
- Moving away from the hourly rate business model for freelance jobs by creating project rates and packages.
- Scaling the virtual business by leveraging the leader’s time with a team or agency model and by developing multiple streams of income from affiliate marketing, developing higher-value services or products, adding consultation services, or creating courses.
Getting New Clients - It Takes a Plan
Some of the most brilliant, talented, and hard-working people on the planet are terrified of talking to a complete stranger and asking them for a chance to do business with them. This anxiety about “BizDev” is completely understandable, especially if the virtual businessperson also happens to be an introvert.
“The overwhelming number of successful Virtual Experts were once terrified of marketing and selling,” Kathy said. “They didn’t know how to get their company information in front of their ideal clients, how to encourage clients to have a conversation with them, or how to talk with the potential client to get hired. In short, they didn’t know how to ASK for the sale.
"We teach them how to find, get and keep high-paying clients without having to perform those extremely scary marketing and sales techniques. We have scripts written that new VEs can read from to conduct the free consultations, “Discovery Calls.” Even the most introverted VE can read the script until they become more comfortable.
"The scripts are primarily focused on asking questions about the prospects’ goals and challenges. They identify if the VE has a solution for those challenges and wants to work with the prospect, and if the answer to those 2 things is YES, we teach them to simply ask ‘would you like to know our next step to work together?’ That’s as salesy as it gets until they’re earning $50K. In ‘Level 3’, we begin using the “S” word (sales) and they learn about overcoming objections."
A Mindset for Success
The great Yankee catcher (and philosopher) Yogi Berra once famously opined, "Ninety percent of the game is half mental." This insight applies to entrepreneurship as well as baseball. Building confidence that can lead to financial success starts in the mind of the freelancer.
Kathy concludes, “We do a lot of mindset work, because that’s the #1 thing holding most people back. They have ‘imposter syndrome’ or ‘scarcity mindset.’ They don’t believe in their own abilities. We teach them to get out of the ‘VE Witness Protection Program” by focusing on how they can help business owners.”
When you’re ready to realize the life you deserve, Virtual Expert has the support and training to help you succeed. Click here and talk to a Virtual Expert®.
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