Category Archives: Virtual Assistant

Top CRM Systems for Small Businesses

Top CRM Systems for Small Businesses

Happy New Year, everyone! It’s time to start off the new year on the right foot for your small business. Have you set goals for yourself and your business for 2016? I certainly hope so! There is no better time to recalibrate than in the beginning of the year. What are your big goals for the new year? Are you looking to build a better sales funnel? Keep better consistency going with your email marketing? Looking for a way to centralize many of your operational needs when it comes to the different projects, clients, or simply stay better organized with all of your irons in the fire? Than this quick post about some of the Top CRM Systems for Small Businesses may be just what you’re looking for!

Many businesses (including my own) benefit from implementing a CRM system into their day-to-day operations. Many of the clients I have also have them set up to better help them manage the many things an entrepreneur deals with on a daily basis. By no means is the list below a comprehensive list for all of the different web-based CRM systems that are available for business today, but it does include some of the favorites that I enjoy working with!

Blog1My Top CRM Systems for Small Businesses:

1.  Zoho

Zoho is a great CRM tool if you are looking to step up your team’s productivity and manage all day-to-day activities. From Sales & Marketing, Finance, Email & Collaboration, Human Resources and creating a solid business process, Zoho will have you covered. Automate tasks and create opportunities to close sales quicker by capturing leads from your website. That’s right! Zoho can do that! Create a workflow automation that will work best for your specific business. Write your own rules to automatically assign different activities to the people on your team who are best equipped to handle them. No more spending time with a million meetings to make sure everyone has the right things they need to do their job. Assign different rules to help with sales follow-up automatically, so you stop wasting time checking to see who is doing what on a specific task or client activity. Who needs the hassle?! This is the type of system that is going to really help you reduce your operational costs by making things so much more efficient.

Start with a Free Trial to see how you like it, and pricing will start after that. If you’re small, the Standard $12/month package may be all you need. But by stepping up to the Professional $20/month package, you’ll have the ability to start your email integration with the system, along with workflow automation. Check it out HERE!

2.  InfusionSoft

InfusionSoft is not to be taken lightly! It is the MacDaddy of CRM Systems and many times, may be more than some small businesses need. That being said, it is one of the most powerful Sales and Marketing software systems that are available for small businesses, so it is one I definitely want to bring to your attention. This system is the boss when it comes to true 100% automation for your business. It is going to help you start turning those leads into contacts, which in turn will turn into customers, who will become your company’s biggest fans. You know why? Because not only are you making things easier for yourself through the automation you’re setting up, you’re making it easy for them, as a customer, to interact with your business, as well. You are able to collect data about your leads’ behaviors, which will help you segment them into the priority with which you believe you can make sale. We all know that not every potential client is similar, so let this help you spend the work on the ones that are going to really bring business into your company!

Looking for something that is going to be able to create email follow-ups for you with ease and will build your relationships with personal, automated follow-ups that will make them wonder how you did that?! Than InfusionSoft is for you!

Also, if you are a small business that is involved with eCommerce, this may be one that you would want to consider. It will make it easy for you to sell online with digital storefronts, but even better, it will make it easy for your customers to buy your items and pay! You’ll be able to manage your billing, inventory, and fulfillment from a single spot. And there is more! You can easily create subscription plans, discounts and promo offers to sell your products or services, as well. And, of course, this is all automated and integrates with the CRM portion of InfusionSoft. That means that when someone buys, it’s going to automatically trigger an email communication through the email marketing section. Talk about seamless!

As I mentioned, it is the MacDaddy of CRM’s, which the price tag reflects, as well. The lowest package starts at $199/month for just the basic essentials, and tops off at $599/month for Team-Based support where a business has a large team. The typical choice for most businesses includes the Deluxe $299/month package, which is perfect for those businesses who have sales teams or are involved in eCommerce. It can definitely be worth it for those of you who are spinning your wheels and spending too much time on things that should be bringing you in more money.

3.  Insightly

On the other side of the spectrum, as far as cost goes, is Insightly. Are you a one-man shop who is strictly looking for a place to manage your contacts and the small projects you have going on? Is this something you don’t feel the need to share out, besides yourself and maybe a VA that you may bring on? Than this may be what you’re looking for. For those needs, the system is completely Free. Once you start adding on users, however, costs increase to $12/month PER USER.

Clients who I have helped integrate Insightly with have truly been small businesses where it is primarily a one-man show. It has been great resource for those businesses to use Insightly, as they aren’t looking for many of the bells and whistles that come with the more expensive CRM systems and really are looking to just have an area where they can manage their client contacts, have a calendar that they can use that integrates with those contacts and enjoy a project management system where they can stay on top of their client relationships.

You are able to build customized rules in order to create automation you may be looking for, so you will gain benefits by tracking performance. You can also create milestones to make sure you aren’t lagging behind, as well. It is very helpful for the entrepreneur who currently has pieces of their business located all over their desk, in their email, in a “to-do” list, and in their head. Build reports when you want to track the different items you are interested in, too. This is a great beginner CRM system to see how the power of organization and streamlining can benefit your business and help it grow!

4. Basecamp

Basecamp is a favorite of mine. I’ve used it extensively with different clients of mine and I really enjoy how easy it is to split different projects up without a lot of red tape. The unique blend of tools that they provide will help every team stay on the same page for any kind of project. Split out work you need and assign it to different team members easily, create a calendar so everyone knows when things are due and what is expected of them and create ongoing dialogues in different areas that stay together instead of searching through your email for information you’re looking for. It truly is a one-stop-shop for project management needs!

And you’ll always be able to stay connected with the great mobile apps that are available for your iOS or Android device. What a life-saver that has been for me – more times than once! Pricing is affordable, as well. They offer 3 simple packages (as of the time of this writing) to choose from, from a basic $29/month for your ENTIRE time. This is big if you’re going to be having multiple utilize this project management system. They don’t charge, per user, like other systems do. Prices go up, per month, from there, depending on the type of business you may be looking to set up the CRM for.

So what is stopping you? If you already have a CRM System implemented for your business, which one is it and what are your main reasons for choosing that specific one? If you’re still contemplating how a CRM system could work for you and your business, contact me today to help you set up a system or to discuss the many options that could potentially make your life so much easier! Make this year your best one yet!

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Advertising on LinkedIn: Is It Worth It?

Advertising on LinkedIn: Is It Worth It?

I have had a few clients ask me about advertising on LinkedIn.  Today, it seems like everyone is advertising on Facebook in order to promote their business or at the very least, to promote different campaigns they may be running at different times.  So when it comes to LinkedIn, is it worth it to spend coveted marketing dollars on this social platform?  Advertising on LinkedIn: Is It Worth It?


The Good

  • Targeting – LinkedIn has the most accurate targeting of any ad platform. Sure, Google has wider reach and Facebook has more categories, but for pure targeting, nothing beats LinkedIn. This is because LinkedIn users input the targeting data themselves; if they work in a bank, they put in their profile that they work in a bank.
  • There is no algorithmic guesswork by the platform like for Facebook Audiences.
  • You can target very specific attributes:
    • Industry
    • What company they work for
    • What skills have they been endorsed for
    • Their title
    • Even groups they belong to.
  • Audience Sizing – When you’re building your ad – before you have even paid anything – you can see exactly how big the ad audience is going to be (if it has over 1,000 people).  Today, users are six times more likely to read, post, share, comment or like content than engage in career-related activity, such as update a profile or make connections, according to LinkedIn.
  • Self-Service Tool – You can put multiple people on one account, collaborate on ads, and easily do multiple versions of an ad in one campaign.  They also offer a dashboard to keep an eye on ad performance and a button to turn both ads and campaigns on and off.

The Bad

  • The Ads – The first complaint for those who start using the platform is the ad size. You are strictly limited to a 25 character headline, 75 characters in the body, and a 50×50 image.  With a bit of work, though, it is certainly possible to deliver an effective ad within those constraints.
  • Managing a large number of campaigns – The self-service tool was clearly designed for the small-scale advertiser in mind.  It handles your every need until you reach about 50 campaigns, and then it can get a bit meticulous.  For one, every time you go to the ad tool you see every campaign – even those you have hidden. Clicking ‘Show all but hidden campaigns’ at the bottom solves this – but when you use the tool many times every day this becomes tedious.
  • Cost – For those in the branding world, that may not seem high, but many small business marketers are used to running dozens of campaigns with at a buck a day to test different strategies. And these prices make that quite difficult.  This can, however, be overcome. Although, you can’t change the minimums, you CAN run your ads with a $2 CPM. Then, a click through greater than .1% will start bringing down the cost below $2 per click.Also, you can stop/start the ads manually for when your audience is likely to be on so that you’re not spending money when you’re targets aren’t awake.

What To Do?

LinkedIn advertising can be expensive compared to Facebook. When to use LinkedIn advertising as opposed to Facebook advertising can be determined by seeing where your needs fit most.

LinkedIn Advertising:

  • Your product is B2B or B2G
  • Your product is catered to skilled individuals
  • You are recruiting specialized employees
  • You want to target using job positions, education, skills and experience.
  • You want to promote professional content.
  • To collect professional feedback

Facebook Advertising:

  • Your product is B2C
  • Your product is catered to the general public
  • You are recruiting unspecialized employees for general labor
  • You want to target using age, location, language and interests.
  • You want to promote general content.
  • To collect general feedback

Before you start an online advertising campaign, no matter what platform you use, you should always consider all of the following factors:

  • Your Objectives For The Campaign
 – What are you hoping to achieve from the campaign? Is it brand awareness, acquisition, increasing likes, call to action, competition participation, etc…?
  • Your Target Audience – Who are your customers or users? Who do you think will be interested in participating in your competition or reading your content?
  • Your Target Platform –Where is your target audience present online? Are they on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, forums, news websites, e-commerce platforms?
  • Your Resources – How much money are you willing to spend on an online advertising campaign per month? Who will be managing the online campaign?
  • Your Content Strategy – Do you have a content calendar? Will your content change throughout the campaign and do you want to invest differently in different phases of the campaign?
  • The Advertising Market – Do you know what the average price per click or impression or action is? Is this season a high or low advertising season? Are the prices higher or lower now?

Contact me today to see what your next moves in social media should be!

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5 Common Misconceptions About Virtual Assistants

Welcome!  While my website has been up and running for a few months now, I must say, it’s been a challenge to squeeze time in for a quick hello!  As always, life grabs hold and doesn’t seem to let go.  But I’m bucking the trend today and want to touch base and get this blog up and running!  It’s time… for sure!


For the most part, you’re going to get to learn more about myself and my business.  You’ll learn some tips and tricks, what I find useful in my business, how I like to help my clients reach their goals, and other fun and wacky adventures on my path as a Virtual Assistant!

But today… I want to discuss the most common misconceptions I hear about working with a VA!  Trust me… you’re going to want to read this if you’re in the market for a VA.  And even if you are already currently working with a Virtual Assistant, it’s never too late to learn a bit more about how we can help your business thrive!

5 Common Misconceptions About Virtual Assistants

When I first started researching this business and the ideas of creating my own VA firm starting tumbling into my head, I definitely had a lot of questions on what exactly a Virtual Assistant was and wasn’t.  I have spent a lot of time in the cogs of the educational system to ultimately earn my MBA, and even more time in corporate professional roles that helped me garner much of the experience and skills needed to start a business of my own.  I wanted to make sure I wasn’t going to be selling myself short and wanted to make sure that the experience and expertise I have gained over the years would be something that I could use in my new business.  My main reasons for leaving the corporate machine and starting my own business were like most people who do the same…  freedom, a sense of building my own brand, working for myself and not “the man”.  Did I mention freedom?  And as I gained more and more experience and talked to more and more people, particularly networking within the VA community and talking to prospective clients, it became clear pretty quickly what the biggest misconceptions were about working with VA’s.

  1. We are employees

Wrong!  We are partners in your business!  We are independent contractors that will help you by using our own business model to create the items that you’re looking for.  You are NOT responsible for worrying about paid vacations, offering insurance, or helping to bankroll a retirement plan for your Virtual Assistant…  those are all on our lists!  What you get by bringing us on is someone who is going to come in completely focused on getting the job done that you need.  Ultimately, I prefer working with clients who want to start up a long-term relationship.  I enjoy getting involved in a client’s business and as I get more education in it, to offer more and more solutions to free up your time.  Because let’s face it.  You need someone on the same level who can run with your thoughts, while you run to make more money for your own business!  And those long-term client relationships turn into more when I find myself vested in making sure you are ultimately moving your own business in the right direction!

  1. This Misconception is Two-Fold… We are either dirt cheap or we are way too expensive!

Wrong again!  While there are some VA’s that may do business at a very low-rate, there is often a reason for that.  Maybe they are new, inexperienced, or don’t have the skill set that is truly needed.  There are also price differences between VA’s in the United States, as well as overseas.  While this may be worth it for some business owners to use a VA overseas, I’ve found that the time difference, language barrier, and overall confusion in setting up the tasks that need to get completed are definitely not worth the savings.

On the other hand, I have heard many say that the hourly rate for some VA’s is way more than they can stomach.  This is honestly something you’re going to have to figure out for yourself and your own business.  I have found in this market that you definitely get what you pay for.  Those VA’s that you feel may be too expensive have some of the most sought after skills needed!  If you have some highly technical pieces in your business that you need help with (website work, financial services, specific software needs, a great ghostwriter that you can count on, a social media guru, etc) you’re going to have to determine if it’s worth it for you to get those items off of your plate so you can focus on growing your business to bring in more money.  And don’t forget… While you may see an hourly rate that seems too high, you’re off the hook for insurance, retirement funds, vacation, etc.  Those are all overhead costs that every Virtual Assistant manages in-house and are taken care of by what we bring in.

  1. We only do Administrative work… AKA, we’re “Just Secretaries”

Now don’t get me wrong… during my corporate years, those “just secretaries” were some of my great friends!  And to me, they were nothing short of miracle-workers!  Finding supplies I desperately needed, scheduling the secret meeting rooms that always seemed to be booked, and keeping me “in-the-know” on the latest and greatest happenings around the company were things that helped me every day!  So yes…  I never feel that these people were “just secretaries”.

But there is definitely a misconception that this is what a Virtual Assistant specializes in.  While some do specialize in and offer only administrative services, I can say emphatically that that is NOT the case for all VA’s!  I have gotten to know many wonderful VA’s who specialize in many different aspects of a business, from the down and dirty processes of complicated website developments to the ins and outs of what it takes to help a client pull off a successful product launch.  Financial Services is one of the areas that I personally specialize in, while some VA’s I know are absolute geniuses in Real Estate.

  1. A VA working remotely is never going to work out for your business

Just think… you don’t have to provide office space or supplies, a computer, or any other items that a regular employee would need working in-house.  While it may be difficult at first to wrap your mind around the idea that someone who is doing work for your business may actually be on the other side of the country, rest assured that most VA’s I know (along with myself) are MORE productive in our environments.  We don’t have the constant distractions that I used to find in the corporate world, and I’m able to plan your business needs around my most productive hours.  Most VA’s make themselves available via Instant Message or Skype, so we’re only a click away when something comes up.  And with today’s virtual technology environment, sharing files, calendars, applications, and documents has never been easier.

  1. You’ll never be able to trust your confidential information with a Virtual Assistant

While it may be a bit difficult and intimidating to hand over confidential information to a VA that you may begin working with, there are boundaries that you can establish to help protect your business.  I, for example, am a big proponent of making clients feel more at ease by signing Non-Disclosure Agreements, if they prefer.  It’s also important to me to let clients know that any confidential information that I may hold of theirs is in password protected areas.  You CAN trust your VA!

What do you think are big misconceptions of different areas that you may work in?  I know it’s not just a Virtual Assistant problem!  Comment below and let me know!

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JLH Virtual Services is Officially Open!

Welcome to the JLH Virtual Services website!

I’m so happy to have you stop by! I’m Jamie, the brains behind JLH Virtual Services. I am a professional Virtual Assistant specializing in assisting small business owners and self-employed entrepreneurs with financial service needs, social media, project management, Photoshop editing and even some administration services. I love what I do and I love helping small business owners and entrepreneuers move their businesses forward!

So how did I get here?

What in the world brought me to Virtual Services?!?!

Back in the fall of 2013, I started helping a friend in her photography business on the side by updating her blogs with the most recent sessions she had finished, along with helping her with some high-level Photoshop editing.  And guess what?  I totally discovered a new passion and loved it!  I strangely enjoyed working on the back-end of a small business and found it very empowering. I had always enjoyed photography as a personal hobby and working on the business side of this photography business motivated me to do…. more.  I have a total Type A personality and with my education and background, I knew something like this was right up my alley that I could really take to the next level to help small business owners.  I just wasn’t sure what the next step would be…

Then I learned about Virtual Assistants and what they did.


I created JLH Virtual Services by combining my love for finance, photography, writing, and social media.  Those things all go together beautifully, right?!  Maybe not at first glance, but they are all passions of mine and complement each other well when assisting small businesses.  By offering different services in these areas, I have helped other small business owners and entrepreneurs push their own businesses in the right direction.  Through this, I’ve been able to find the personal fulfillment and constant growth that I desire.  A win-win!  It was also very important to me to be able to create a company of my own where I am able to implement the work schedule I desire in order to have the lifestyle that meets my personal goals.  It’s been a wonderful journey so far!


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