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060: Building an Online Business from the Beaches of the World (w/ Michelle Dale)

Michelle Dale is the founder of Virtual Miss Friday, an online business consultancy and academy with built-in virtual assistant services. She is also the creator of Insourcing, a service that helps 6 to 7 figure entrepreneurs to organize, monetize and cultivate their online businesses. Through the academy, she offers a range of training programmes and courses for virtual assistants and digital nomads.  

Michelle built her business while travelling through 6 countries and has expanded Virtual Miss Friday into multi-6 figure, multi-VA team supporting a global client base. 

Travelling the world 

Michelle has been on the road travelling globally since 2005. In 2005, Facebook and social media were not invented and there were very few people offering services online. She left the UK to travel the world and she thought to herself that there must be something she could do online to earn a living in such a way that she could keep travelling. Eventually, she discovered that she could provide VA services online which is what she did. 

Current base 

She is currently based in Greece, on the island of Crete, where she spends most of her time during the summer months after which she travels in the winter. She goes back to England on Christmas and then takes her kids off so they can travel for a few months after which they return during the summer. 

Corporate role 

She was in banking for a long time. She left school at 16, so she did any work she could do to make ends meet. At age 17, she landed a job in a bank and by the time she was leaving the UK at age 23, she was working as a para-planner and office manager in a mortgage and financial administration firm. 

Core revenue streams 

She makes money from services she provides to clients including consulting services, VA services, and online-oriented training courses. She also sells products, training programs and does a lot of coaching. She is currently trying to focus more on her programs and courses. She has a membership site as well, which generates income for her through membership fees. This is her primary income source. 

Starting out in business 

When she started out, her house in the UK was broken into and the thieves took everything except her passport. Michelle took that as a sign and so she decided to start travelling. She immediately quit her job, sold her house, booked a one way ticket and left.  She then did some research online, came across virtual systems and started the business. She also contacted her friends to get people and resources that would enable her to test the services before she started getting paying clients. 

She then started taking paying clients for services like customer support, administrative support, and personal assistance. From there, she later branched out into website design, and when social media was created, she started offering social media marketing. Michelle didn’t have any skills in website design but she self-taught herself  HTML code and Dreamweaver so she could build her own site and it worked out so well that people started asking her to do websites for them. 

Identifying what to do 

She had a criterion of things that she absolutely had to have fit into her business and one was that it had to be a business she could do on the internet so she could work while travelling. She also wanted a business that wouldn’t require her to commit to specific times. The criteria included many other things which she wanted in a business. She then researched online about working online and she came across many different online businesses including ecommerce. She had tried selling things on eBay but she wanted to use her skills in what she was doing, and enjoy it. That’s how she settled on administrative and customer support, and personal assistance services. 

Knowing it would work 

She didn’t know for sure but she had no other option but to make it work because it was all she had. 

Tip: You have to have enough pain or passion to achieve what you desire because with that you can make it work. Enough pain means that the consequences of not making it work are very bad while the passion is enough promise of a better life, more income, and getting what you want in life. 

Getting the first set of paying clients 

She was living in Egypt at the time and started picking some odd jobs she came across. She even did some work for people in Egypt as well but she eventually decided to get serious about the business especially when she got pregnant a month after meeting her husband.  

She says that back then, it was difficult to do the online business because there were not social media networks. She used to advertise on a networking site and business directories online like Yellow Pages. That’s how enquiries from potential clients started coming in. She secured her first client through an initial consultation. 

Virtual assistant courses 

She teaches something more evolved in the virtual assistance space. She teaches “One-sourcing” which is about a person having somebody not just process tasks for them but also partner with them to help them progress with their business through operations management. She has a range of courses that teach people the basics of virtual assistance including how to set up online, how to identify one’s skills, how to get started, how to grow the business, and how to get the first clients. Then that evolves into one sourcing which is more about consulting, strategy and operations management where they take care of the full administrative, marketing, and creative areas of a business online. That service really helps people with their businesses especially when starting out. It helps them keep their costs down and focus on what they know how to do best. She teaches clients how to work with one-sourcers and also teaches one-sourcers how to get and retain clients. 

Teaching One Sourcing and offering it as a service 

She has several one sourcing clients who are made up of online entrepreneurs who sell diverse products and services. Michelle takes over the entire back end operations of the businesses so the clients can concentrate solely on what they do best in the business. She compares it to having a CEO who runs and manages everything and every employee in a business. The virtual assistance team that works for a particular business is hired by the one-sourcer, not the client; and that enables the monitoring of efficiency, productivity, time and other operational aspects. The one-sourcer is also the one that pays the team. 

Advice for those starting out 

Before training someone to be a successful virtual assistant, Michelle starts by helping them figure out what they want out of the business, how they want to spend their days, what they can do for free, what they enjoy most. Then she helps them figure out the logistics of how to make that happen online. 

In terms of her one sourcing operation, she has 9 key roles in it including content creation, marketing assistance, social media marketing assistance, customer support and many others.  

Tip: The ones who love what they specialise in, are the ones who succeed at it 

Marketing strategy 

She primarily uses webinars to market her business. She does a breakthrough plan with all her clients and they focus on operations (the systems, what customer support desk they will use, where to build the website, and much more) and the income strategy (based around a webinar style format where Michelle delivers a lot of value, involves a membership site, involves a lot of amazing content, involves high ticket products/programs/coaching services, and using a webinar to build the audience).  

The strategy involves a consistent stream of needs coming into a free or low cost membership site using Facebook ads, podcast interviews, and others. It then upsells every month into a monthly webinar where Michelle delivers real high value content based on what she or the client knows. She uses the same strategy for herself and her clients. She delivers high value content on a webinar on different topics and then sells her products and services at the end of the webinar. It works very well and has even enabled Michelle to get clients to do 6 figure launches just from webinars. 

Tip 1: The internet changes constantly. What might work today doesn’t work tomorrow 

Tip 2: Always keep your finger on the pulse of what’s happening online all the time 

Value of webinars 

She says webinars work today because they deliver a lot of value. They give people instant gratification more than anything else like videos.  

Tip: People are more likely to attend a webinar through a 7-minute video with high impact content than they are a 3-part video series. Always make sure that when you are on the webinar, that you keep what you are teaching short, concise, actionable, and high impact so that people can take away immediately something they can go and act on. That builds the foundation to sell anything else because you’ve gotten them hooked 

Getting leads from Facebook, podcast interviews and others 

She pays for Facebook ads and says that there are many other things one can do, like going onto podcasts. Michelle also builds communities for clients through Facebook Groups and it has been working very well. They start a free Facebook group for the client where anyone and everyone can join, then they put valuable content in there, and invite people to webinars. The groups have more of a community feel than a promotional one. 

Tip: You don’t always get massive results, you don’t always do your first launch and get 6-figures; but if you do it on a consistent basisyou will attract organic traffic 

Facebook Groups 

Most of her clients have digital products, programs or coaching packages. Therefore, Michelle builds public Facebook groups where any interested persons can join and then builds private Facebook groups where only buyers or paying customers can join. Michelle often finds that when they are feeding content into the free groups, there is often a spill over of existing customers who talk about the Facebook groups which brings about a situation where customers sell to other customers.  

Strategies that are working are live streams inside groups and the “3-word formula”. The 3-word formula is where everyone who joins a particular Facebook group describes themselves in 3 words and that works very well in engaging the audience. Whenever anyone is subscribing for anything, they are also directed to join the Facebook groups. 

Tip: Share your Facebook group anywhere and everywhere 

The numbers 

She says that her business generates between $30,000 and $50,000 per month from everything she does. 

Inspiration for VAs, especially those in third world countries 

Tip 1: The internet is completely borderless, once you start working in this environment it’s like you step off the planet into another world 

Tip 2: There is a place for everybody in this industry 

Tip 3: The internet is a global community. There are an abundance of clients out there who are prepared to pay any rate that you want to charge. 

Tip 4: Focus on being the best so you can serve your clients and help yourself 

Tip 5: Charge what you’re worth and always over-deliver 

Book recommendation for entrepreneurs:   

  1. The Science of Getting Rich: How to make money and get the life you want – Wallace D Wattles 
  1. The 48 Laws of Power – Robert Green  

Legacy: 
To change the outsourcing industry into something much better through the methodology and business model of one-sourcing and taking all the best pieces of the industry and bringing them together into a super outsourcing model that will help clients and VA’s to live their best lives, make money, and become abundant – Michelle.   

Best way to connect: 
www.virtualmissfriday.com – Michelle’s Business website (Use the contact form or check out the social media platforms at the bottom of the site page)
www.facebook.com/groups/thevaacademy – Michelle’s Facebook Group 

Get Your Hopes Up and Maximize Your Dreams [Symbol] 

Cheers,
Davis! 

About the author, Davis

My Dream of sharing inspirational success stories started many years ago and this Podcast is an amazing show that brings some of those conversations to light.

This show is dedicated to being a voice of encouragement to you because I believe God created you and I with a purpose to fulfill and I want to be here to cheer you on through this Podcast, our Blog and through our other channels of interaction via our comments section after each Podcast and Blog as well as on social media.

I love business and entrepreneurship and I truly believe you have greatness inside of you 🙂