What would it be like to make a great living while traveling the world? Michelle is a digital nomad who has unlocked the secrets of this lifestyle by balancing work from home and traveling abroad at the same time. She is the founder of Virtual Miss Friday (an online business consultancy), Academy (a built-in virtual assistant service), and the creator of 1inSourcing, which is a service specializing in serving six and seven-figure business owners.
Michelle began her first business at the age of 24, after leaving England and feeling unfulfilled with the typical career ladder. She landed in Egypt and not only found great success working online, but met her husband, became a mother, and pursued dreams she had of experiencing real freedom. She provides online training programs for freelancers and virtual assistants, and she now supports men and women to reach their professional and personal aspirations with the freedom of a digital business.
“I think the biggest thing for anyone if you really want to succeed, is to get very clear on why you must succeed. Build everything from there, and know that there is no such thing as failure unless you give up. So, keep going,” Michelle said. As I spoke with this successful woman, she shared with me her story, the services and programs she provides, how she connects with customers, and tips on how to create successful YouTube videos.
The Start of a New Beginning
Michelle was not happy working long hours, stuck in a typical work-life, and doing it all so young after leaving school at the age of sixteen. After returning home from work one night, she approached her front door that had been torn off the hinges, walked inside her home, and discovered that everything was gone including her birth certificate, utility bills, and more. As if a sign told Michelle that nothing was keeping her in England, she looked down at the ground to find her passport.
“The only thing that I had left was something that would allow me to travel. The next day, I walked into work and told everybody at work what happened. I said, ‘I’m quitting my job!’ I put my house on the market to sell it, and I went to the travel agent to book a one-way ticket to Egypt, which was exactly three months later. I arrived in Egypt and never looked back,” Michelle said.
A Business Model of Services & Consulting
After many changes and at the age of 24, Michelle began her own business. She wanted to provide services to help entrepreneurs, individuals who wanted to work from home, and those starting or growing their own businesses. She also wanted to advise and consult individuals with the same tools that she learned on her own. “I wanted to give others the support they need without the restrictions of having to hire employees. I know what it’s like starting a business, and if you don’t have someone there helping you, giving you advice, or someone to bounce ideas off of, it can be quite stressful. So, I wanted to be somebody that not only understood a client’s business or what they needed, but I wanted to help them grow, evolve, and pivot if they needed to,” said Michelle.
Her business model includes one person, either Michelle or someone she trains, which could be one of her 10-15 virtual assistants on her team, and they work to assist, support, take care of the details, or guide the client through their goals. This model provides the client with the personal service that they need. Michelle’s services are focused entirely on digital operations, so she helps clients with different digital types of businesses or services, such as consulting or coaching, selling digital programs, and more. “I’ve worked completely online, so I know a lot about this kind of environment as well as the challenges that people face working online,” Michelle said.
Digital Courses for Virtual Assistants, Freelancers, & Online Business Startups
Michelle originally set up a free course to help others start their own online business. “It was what I basically did, from start to finish. It was how to put yourself online, start getting clients, working with clients, and getting recurring income,” she said. Initially, she wanted to offer her courses for free, but when she researched Yaro Starak’s methods on his BlogMastermind program, she decided to trust him and take his advice, which has helped lead her to where she is today. She began with a blog and daily YouTube videos, and she received more than 500 subscribers in three months!
Michelle contacted her email subscribers with an invitation to apply to be one of seven people who could receive her course for free. Thirty-five individuals filled out the application. She picked seven individuals to try the course for free. For those who weren’t chosen, she offered the course for $1,000, and she was surprised at how many people purchased the course. That specific course, which was created in 2010, has evolved since then, and Michelle has since released several other courses. Her courses range from a small course for freelancers, 1nSourcing for those starting or growing their own business, workshops, help with marketing and coaching, and support for virtual assistants.
Building Connections with Customers
I asked Michelle if she could share some of her secrets and tips in building connections with customers. Here is what she suggested:
- Always over-deliver. We need to do what we say we’re going to do, and then do a little bit more.
- Be honest. It is really important from the beginning that our courses, programs, and anything we offer are not just hyped up. Make sure that people are going to get what they pay for, what they see, and what they’re looking to buy.
- Be there for customers. We need to give people avenues to us. It doesn’t necessarily have to be to us as an individual, but it has to be something that we’re responsible for, such as a customer support team, personal assistant, a community manager of a Facebook group, etc. People need someone they can rely on in order to get a response.
- Always do unexpected things for customers. Throw in unexpected things, specifically when it comes to customer support. For example, if a customer is struggling with something, and Michelle thinks she has a product that will help them, she will give her customer the product and say, “Go through this £47 product. If you feel it helps you and feel like paying for it, then go for it. If not, don’t worry. It’s yours.” Michelle likes to make sure that her customers feel very taken care of. It involves relationship building and a lot of listening.
Using Social Media
“Whenever a new social media platform came out, I would look at it as though it was going to change my business and make things easier for me to connect with more people,” Michelle said. Michelle was one of the first people on Twitter. She now has more than 50,000 followers. She loves the ease and quickness of getting her messages out there, and it’s been one of the primary ways that she markets her business now.
Here are some tips that Michelle suggests when creating our own YouTube videos:
- Think about topics and become an expert on each. What do you want to work with? Draft out some topics. Know as much as you should as if a friend were going to ask you questions on the topic.
- Don’t plan things out too much. Don’t feel as though it’s necessary to script things out. If so, we tend to come across as fake or false. It helps to create bullet points under each topic. Let things flow as though you’re having lunch with those you’re speaking with.
- Don’t think: “Oh no! Millions of people are going to see this!” Michelle used to be very camera shy, but she knew what had to be done in creating YouTube videos. “Pretend the camera is your friend. I would look back at questions people sent me from emails, and then I would sit there and talk on video as if they had asked me that question,” Michelle said. Then she would pretend to sit in front of them, explain the answer back, and it became her best strategy.
- It doesn’t matter how long the video should be. What matters is getting to the point where you’ve said all that you can say about the topic. Michelle doesn’t like fluff, but she also doesn’t like leaving out too many details. From a marketing perspective, she explained that shorter videos with more punch probably get the most followers and subscribers. People like quick takeaways because life is busy. “But, I think it depends on the topic and what you’re talking about,” she said.
Connect with Michelle
If you enjoyed this interview and want to learn more about Michelle or connect with her, you can find her on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/virtualmissfriday/, email her at any time to firstname.lastname@example.org, or check out her website www.virtualmissfriday.com.
Thank you so much Michelle for sharing your stories and knowledge with us today. Here are some of my key takeaways from this episode:
- It is possible to balance work and traveling by growing and monetizing a digital business.
- Be clear with why you must succeed, and then build everything from there. Understand that there is no such thing as failure.
- Don’t give your courses away for free. Create value through products.
- Always over-deliver for customers. Do what you say you’re going to do, and then do a little bit more.
- Be honest with customers and make sure that they get what they pay for.
- Always be available to customers in some way, whether that be through customer support, a Facebook group, a personal assistant, etc. Make sure that they always have a way to receive your help.
- When doing YouTube videos, become an expert on the topics you talk about. Don’t plan things out too much, but come up with a list of bullet points and let things flow. Imagine talking to a friend and having a conversation with them. The length of each video depends on the topic, don’t add fluff but provide enough detail.
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