Getting Help: Using Interns, Salespeople and Virtual Assistants to Grow Your Business

I flew to Cancun this morning, and when I arrived I was in the thick of TBEX, the Travel Bloggers Exchange that brings more than 1000 travel writers and bloggers under one giant roof.  I was glad to feel my knee pretty much return to normal after my fall the other day.  Lots of long passages to navigate, would have been tough on crutches!

It’s an exciting chance to be a speaker—helping to create the program that all of these bloggers flew down here to experience.  I attended the TBEX in 2012 in Keystone Colorado, and now I’m back for a second stint, this time I’ll be making a presentation to advanced bloggers.

My topic is called “Getting Help” and it’s about how small publishers can use various means to help them get their work done and to get their publication more visibility.  My three avenues that I’ll talk about are hiring virtual assistants, bringing on student interns, and hiring outside salespeople.

Admittedly, each of these avenues is not a traditional route, not what many businesses would rely on. But each of these types of workers can provide exactly what a web publisher needs to get all of these repetitious tasks complete. They are all right for today’s publishing climate.

Virtual Assistants are familiar to Beth Whitman, my colleague and business associate who publishes a suite of women’s travel blogs. “ I couldn’t imagine how I would be able to get all of this stuff done without my two VA’s she told me.  Both of her assistants live in the Philippines, and she said that one is better than the other at writing. So she parcels out the work accordingly.

Interns have always been a part of GoNOMAD’s DNA, going back to 2004, when we hired our first intern from UMass. It has evolved over the years to be a well-oiled machine, now we set up the internships far ahead of time, and we bring on two each semester.

One thing we’ve done to make it easier is to have the interns work as a team. They come into the office at the same time and work together. They write lots of stories and help with other tasks like contacting people who have been mentioned in stories and helping to update our database.

Our outside sales person has also proved to be an important part of our business. We use Teresa to do all of the follow-ups when someone emails requesting information about advertising. She also gets back in touch later to make sure we didn’t leave any business on the table.

I’ll speak about the various ways to get the most out of all of these three types of workers at TBEX. Tomorrow at noon I go up to the podium in these cavernous exhibit rooms…I just hope I get a decent crowd!

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