Episode 155: Show Notes
On today’s episode, we welcome our good friend and social media whizz, AllieDanae Walker. AllieDanae owns a Virtual Assistant and Social Media Managing company called of The Social Walker Agency. She works with companies, running their online presence and keeping their social platforms in check. We are actually lucky enough to say we have had first-hand experience with AllieDanae while she has been the VA for The Strategy Hour Podcast! We love AllieDanae and know you will too and we cannot wait to share all her knowledge with our listeners!
What are some of the ways you can apply for a Virtual Assistant position? How do you grow a small, one-person operation into a company with employees and assistants of its own? When looking for VAs, what can companies do to ensure a healthy and successful relationship in this regard? If any of these questions sound faintly familiar or if you just want to get the lowdown on an important aspect of present-day business, then we know this episode is for you. Tune in to hear more!
An Overview of AllieDanae’s Professional Life
AllieDanae started to see the role of Virtual Assistant as something she would like to pursue after noticing people and their companies often seemed to need help with their social media and online work,. At first, it was not a full-time occupation and she was pursuing other avenues of work when she started her business, The Social Walker Agency. In fact, it was around this time she came on board here at The Strategy Hour Podcast. We remember when she first approached us off the back of some online discussion on a Facebook group. AllieDanae believes the best way to “cold-call” businesses is to approach them on social media and offer some help or service for free, either by commenting on a post or just reaching out. Once small communications have been made, you are then able to broach the subject of employment or payment for service. For AllieDanae, this process is all about identifying a demand, applying yourself to it and from there, narrowing down your expertise and marketing yourself as someone for that specific role.
How AllieDanae Got Her First Clients
As her work with The Social Walker Agency was initially a side hustle, AllieDaanae had to find time between her other commitments to build her company. This meant going to appropriate Facebook groups and contacting potential clients. After about 6 months, she decided to go full-time. Again, it was the free advice and communication that sparked the initial collaboration and connection with these clients. We think AllieDanae’s idea of approaching companies is great and would highly recommend this sort of well-researched and sensitive self-advertising.
Defining The Role of a Virtual Assistant
In the beginning, much like other professions, being a virtual assistant can appear to be tasks that seem straightforward enough. Something AllieDanae has learned is that specialization is key. Although you could learn and execute all the tasks necessary for a VA yourself, this will probably lower your value. AllieDanae suggests concentrating your energies on specific faculties rather than spreading oneself too thin. A sign of maturity is when you are able to turn down potential clients based on your skills.
Before running The Social Walker Agency full time, AllieDanae worked at a real estate firm. Taking lessons from her experiences has been very important to her as a business person. These lessons mostly revolve around what it takes to grow as a company and what sorts of decisions constitute good leadership. AllieDanae made the decision that she needed to expand her reach after some months. This meant hiring people to assist with her work and although this means having to find more money and thus finding new clients, it is exactly the help of new hands that allows a company to find time to seek out new clients. Here, AllieDanae stresses the importance of hiring new staff for a specific role, one that both the employer and employee are very clear about. This expansion does not have to be huge, but rather is a piece by piece growth, allowing knowledge and expertise to be shared and increasing everyone’s time.
AllieDanae’s Daily Schedule Being a Business Owner
AllieDanae comes from a family of business owners. She takes her name and legacy very seriously. Her grandfather started the Walker Agency, something AllieDanae has nodded to in naming her own company. We agree wholeheartedly with AllieDanae when she says if you do not take your business and work very seriously, it is hard to potential clients and other business to take it seriously. AllieDanae admits it can be quite difficult to stick to a strict schedule in her line of work. She wants to be able to service her clients’ needs fully and sometimes that means working late or dropping what she is busy with to work on something more urgent. She does, however, lay out her first hour of work every day for her own business and handling anything arising from that. From there, she likes to move onto anything new and then handling residual client business. AllieDanae says she likes to try and stay a week ahead in terms of a timeline, but also this is not always possible. Sometimes, being a virtual assistant means there is no real end-of-day and AllieDanae was okay with this in the beginning, now she has a more strategic plan in order to shut it down each day.
Helpful Tips and Tricks from AllieDanae
We asked AllieDanae if she had any tips or tricks she had picked up through experience for anyone starting out in a position of virtual assistant. She kept it really simple, compelling everyone to devise an organizational system that is easy to track. For AllieDanae, this means the naming and filing of files and media so that sorting through large amounts of folders for clients does not become unnecessarily time-consuming. Saving time is a big part of what makes a successful assistant, something with which we fully agree.
Things AllieDanae Wishes Business Owners Would Do Differently
AllieDanae said she wishes business owners would plan differently. Arranging a client’s media and advertising is very difficult if they do not have a general plan within which to fit your assistance. AllieDanae has found it is not uncommon for businesses or individuals to want social media accounts to be managed but without having a goal in mind. This is an important lesson to anyone out there in our listenership. Those outlets need to be servicing a particular need, aiming to sell something or building a list. Instagram is not just about posting pretty pictures. When there is no clear “why”, it is always hard to collaborate and work together on the “how”. Amen, AllieDanae!
Managing Shared Knowledge
We chatted to AllieDanae a little bit about the idea of running a small company and how information and vital knowledge is spread out among the employees. If the owner is hit by a bus, how do the employers get paid? Does the company immediately fall apart? These are all questions people should be asking about their business. Each process a company does should, as much as possible, be able to run without a particular person doing that piece of work. The transfer of knowledge and necessary know-how to complete a task can be time-consuming but in the long-run, can save a complete collapse of a company when it encounters a single hurdle. This idea is something AllieDanae has experienced the hard way and is also trying to implement best practice around in The Social Walker Agency.
Practice As a Vital Part of Learning
During our chat, we kept coming back to themes of communication and feedback. Obviously, for AllieDanae in her position, these are vital channels to the kind of work she has to execute. AllieDanae believes that although critique can be quite tough it is integral to the improvement and progress of a working relationship and the output of this. And by displaying availability to this form of communication, as an assistant or employee, you can make yourself invaluable to your client or workspace, and we think this great advice!
- An overview of AllieDanae’s professional life and what exactly she does. [0:03:14.1]
- How AllieDanae got first few clients and engaging new business. [0:04:49.1]
- Defining the role of a virtual assistant for herself. [0:07:17.1]
- Scaling up to the point where you are employing others. [0:10:02.1]
- Being a business owner and how AllieDanae gravitated towards this lifestyle. [0:15:39.2]
- AllieDanae’s daily schedule and balancing clients. [0:18:43.1]
- Helpful tips and tricks AllieDanae has picked up. [0:21:41.2]
- What AllieDanae wishes business owners would do differently. [0:28:25.1]
- Managing shared knowledge with an assistant and colleagues [0:28:25.1]
- Practice as a vital part of learning and imparting knowledge from clients and VA [0:40:29.2]
Find what is in demand.
Specialize in some of these services.
Take your business seriously from the start.