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Strategic Content Planning w/ Social Media Manager & Virtual Assistant, Monica Chavira




Krystal J:

Today we have the incredible Monica Chavira, who is a virtual assistant and recently a social media manager. So I'm super excited to have her joining us today because this is something all of us small business owners need in our lives at some point. Right. But kind of getting to that point of delegating and kind of handing over the reins to someone else to take care of your baby, your business, that's a big deal. So I'm really excited to dive into this conversation. But first and foremost, Monica, thank you so much for joining us today.


Monica C:

Hi, Krystal. Thank you so much for having me. I'm so glad we made the connection online, and I'm super excited.


Krystal J:

Absolutely. And this is definitely just going to be the start of our relationship. I am looking forward to what this brings. Lord knows I need you in my life. But anyways, this is all about you. So let's dive into your story. Can you give us a little bit of background and how you got into becoming a virtual assistant and then this addition of social media management that you're now adding to your forte?


Monica C:

Sure. So I think my background has pretty much been in different administrative areas, accounting as well. But aside from that, I've always been creative. I've always been crafty. I come from a family of a lot of crafty women. And, I mean, going back to my grandma, my mom's mother, she did ceramics. She did classes for their ceramics, and all of my aunts, that's just kind of how we grew up. So I stood home with my kids for a long time when they were little, and I was always kind of doing something on the side even though I was home.


Monica C:

I would plan parties, I would do invitations, I would do dessert bars, different things like that. And so I think now with the social media, it's a great combination of the two things. You have to be organized. You have to have certain systems in place. And so my admin skills come in to work for that. But you also have to be creative. And so I think for me, it's a great combination.


Krystal J:

So with all of your or a lot of your family in the creative industry, I don't know if they had businesses of their own. But did you often just very naturally take over some of their admin stuff?


Monica C:

I shouldn't say I haven't. I have done small projects for family, or I would do, like, parties a lot. Whenever family was having parties, it would be like, okay, Monica, like, we're having a party. And so I did. I guess I did help a lot with that. And now, once I started my VA business, I have worked with, I believe, one family member, like, on a one-time project type of thing.


Krystal J:

But, yeah, it's always so interesting to hear that because there are so many times where women or people in general have already been doing the thing that ends up being their career, and they didn't realize they were doing it. So that was why I asked. But I've obviously had the chance to chat with you a few times now, and I love your work ethic and what you do, but tell us about starting your business. When did you launch as a VA? Because that was your first thing, right?


Monica C:

So I started in. Was it 2022? I started. I've been doing it for a little bit over a year. And so previously I worked for a school district in another town just a little bit away from me, and I loved it. We were a small district. I was in the business office, in the accounting department. And since we were a small district, we kind of wore a lot of hats. But I think that was definitely good for experience.


Monica C:

We did a lot of different things. I personally did a lot of different things and worked with a lot of different departments. But I think after 2022, kind of like with everybody, when the pandemic hit, it took a toll on my kids, for sure, on myself. I have three kids, and so my kids were home alone during that time. My husband worked a lot as well. And so I just came to the decision that I needed to come home. I felt like they needed me here. And it was very difficult for a lot of reasons, both personal and financial, financially, to just leave.


Monica C:

That was a huge deal for our family, but I just felt like they really needed it. And so at first, I left, honestly, with not much of a plan other than my goal was just to be here for them. And just, I left in July of 2021, and they were going to be going back in person in August of 2021, and I was going to have two high schoolers going from a k eight to a brand new high school here in town. And I really just wanted them to see me home and know that I was here without any other distractions whatsoever. And that if they were at school, and they needed me. An hour later, I was going to be five minutes away. And that's kind of where I started. But I always kind of had in my head that when there did come a point that I had to go back or I needed to go back or I wanted to go back, that I was going to try to do something on my own, I guess it was December of 2021 after a few months, or January of 2022, a friend of mine called and had a good work opportunity, and she knew that, she knew my situation, so she knew I didn't want to go back to something full time and traditional.


Monica C

So it was a part time job. It was here locally. And so I felt kind of put at a crossroads. Like, I had to decide at that moment. Either I was going to take that position because it was a good opportunity to kind of bring in a little bit of extra income for my family, but it was going to still kind of work with my schedule, or I was going to do what I wanted and I was going to try to go for it and do my own thing. And so I prayed a lot, and I ended up saying, okay, I'm going to do it. And I started looking up things on my own and doing some research. And one of my really good friends, who has a home based business, who has an amazing childcare preschool, texted me out of the blue, literally, and said, do you know an accountant? And I said, I thought, what does she need an accountant for? And I said, what do you need specifically? And long story short, she was my first client, and then it just opened the door for me with another provider that she works with closely and then another, and, yeah, here I am.


Krystal J:

And the ball just started rolling. I love it. So a little over a year now, what have been some of your biggest obstacles in growing your business? Because obviously, there are so many VAs out there, so many social media management companies. So what are some obstacles that you've been facing in taking the sleep, which I am so proud of you and so in awe of you for doing, but what obstacles have you come across since?


Monica C:

So, I think in starting, I wasn't really looking to be fully booked out because that was going to kind of defeat the purpose. Right. My goal and my priority was still my kids. My kids are super busy in drama, in band, in various parts of the band, in various clubs. They're at two different schools because I have high schoolers, and then I have a k through eight student. And so I think in the beginning, honestly, I just felt really good because I wasn't honestly trying to grow too much. I was happy with the couple of clients that I had and the one-off projects that I had. And so I didn't feel a lot of pressure.


Monica C:

And I think, honestly, that's been great for me. I think once I started to hit my year and I had, of course, I think as a business owner, you're always kind of reevaluating where you're at and what your goals are. And so as I approached that year, I really loved the creative side of things that I was getting to do in my VA work. And I always kind of had in my package presentation that eventually I was going to add social media services. And so I thought, now's the time, and started doing some more courses on that and took a really great course with Ellen Mackenzie. And it's so funny because when I took it, I think it's scary when you go to invest in something like a course or a coach or something in that realm. It's scary to invest in yourself. It's very scary to invest in yourself.


Monica C:

And I went in kind of like, I hope this whole course is not about mindset. I want to know, XYZ, what do I need to do? How do I build this? What are the applications that you use for this? What are the different things? And I didn't really think that I needed that portion. And I think when you go into business for yourself, you don't realize how much you need that portion of the program in whatever program that you're taking, because a lot of running your own business is mindset. And you really need to have a strong one. You really need to believe in yourself. You really need to not be afraid to come out and say what you're doing. I think sometimes it's so intimidating when you're starting something to even say it in front of family. I don't know why that is.


Monica C:

And so I think for me, in making the transition to the social media management that has been my biggest hurdle is the mindset is going ahead and putting myself out there and saying, hey, I'm doing this. This is what I'm offering now, and you kind of just have to go for it.


Krystal J:

Are there any tips or tricks that you have for yourself to get yourself to that point where you are feeling comfortable putting yourself out there more? What has your journey been or looked like in overcoming that hesitation or that fear of putting yourself out there?


Monica C:

It sounds so silly, but I tell one of my girlfriends, honestly, sometimes it's just like hitting that send button like, you're doing that cold pitch and it's like, it feels so cringe. And you're like, does this sound, like, as cringey as I think it sounds or is this good? You just second guess yourself a lot. And so I tell one of my girlfriends sometimes I have to literally just make myself hit the button. I just hit the button because you have to go for it. And I think we all make mistakes. And I tell my kids, make mistakes because you will learn so much. Don't be ashamed when you make a mistake. Own up to it and say, like, oh, hey, my bad. That was me. And learn from it. Nobody is perfect. It sounds kind of silly, but honestly, I make myself hit send or post and just kind of go for it.


Krystal J:

I don't think it's silly at all. I think I'm kind of the same way with a lot of things, especially when I'm doing, like, reach out for events and things like that. Because you kind of already have in your mind, like, what you want to say, how you want to present yourself, what your mission is, what you're sharing, and then it just comes to that point, right? Like, okay, I have all that prep now. I just need to push the button. And you're so right. You just need to push it before you get to the point where you're allowing yourself to talk yourself out of it. Just keep pushing that button over and over and over again, because if you never send it, you're never going to get anywhere. The worst thing that's going to happen is someone will say no, and then that's it. Okay, thanks for your response and move on, right?


Monica C:

Absolutely.


Krystal J:

So now that you are in the social media game, what are some of the things that you've noticed that small businesses kind of fall short on or struggle with the most when they are managing their own social media? And what do you do to kind of guide them to a better place with how they're managing it?


Monica C:

I think it's hard to be consistent. Right. As a business owner, you wear so many hats and you have to do so many things. And so I think consistency, and I would say engagement are like the two big things that are super hard for people and myself as well. I've been there, done that. And so I get it. I think after you've done all the background work to come up with a strategy, because that's the main thing, is that you need the strategy. I think you can go out there without one and kind of just post things about your day and it doesn't have to be overcomplicated.


Monica C:

But sometimes that's kind of hard to sustain when you don't have a plan in place. And so I think you have to have a plan, and I think there are certain things you need to do to come up with that strategy, which is do some market research, look at different pages within your industry, a lot of different things in the background before you start posting and before you come up with your content calendar. But from there, the easiest thing that I could say to kind of come up with your plan and to come up with even a month's worth of posts in one night is really just to come up with five content pillars. And everybody hears that word and throws it around and it seems intimidating. All these words that are in marketing, right? You hear about KPIs and you hear about content pillars and you hear about insights and all of these things. And really, if you look up all the definitions of everything, don't let it intimidate you. And so content pillars are really just topics, and they're going to be the broader topics that you talk about on your page. And so I think if you could come up with five, like one, for instance, could be information, you want to provide something to your viewers, to your community, and you come up with those five, and then you break them down further from there into six different ideas each.


Monica C:

Then you have a month's worth of content, and then you break that out, go from there, and then break that out into what's going to be carousel posts, what's going to be static feeds, what's going to be your reels. But I think if you just start somewhere, start from there and then break it down, then you'll at least have an action plan. And also on the engagement, just to remember that you're here to build a community and engage with people. It's like going to a networking event. Really get out there and just make connections.


Krystal J:

I love that you said that. It doesn't have to be so overcomplicated and you can just hop on your stories, say a little something about your day, and that is where you can really make those connections with your community. Right? Bringing that authenticity to it. But you're absolutely right. Having some kind of foundational base of when you're showing up, why you're showing up, what you are bringing to the platform, having that kind of, in the back of your mind when you do show up is so helpful and helps you to be a little bit more accountable, right? Because you already have like, oh, I'm supposed to do this this and this. That gives me a reason.


Monica C:

Absolutely. And to know that everything serves its purpose. Like you're talking about jumping on stories. Like you're just saying that's a huge part of it. And stories are the personal aspect of it that you're adding into your feed. Right. Stories and reels. A lot of the times can be more personal. Static graphics and things like that are going to be more informative. And so everything kind of serves its purpose.


Krystal J:

So with all of this competition out there and all of these social media management companies and VAs, what are your kind of tips to making sure that that pairing is the right match? Like how does someone choose who to go with?


Monica C:

I think that's going to be different for everyone. I think it's going to be different for everyone. And I think for the business owners on the business owner side of it and on the social media manager side of it, don't be afraid to make sure that that's a good connection. I know with my VA work, when I went to go interview, say, like a new client, I always made it very clear that they were interviewing me and I was interviewing them. I think if you really are going to build something that's productive, it has to be good on both ends. It really does. And I would say as far as advice for the business owners, I think when you're looking at a social media manager, for sure, make sure that it's someone that appeals to you. But things that I would say for sure that you would want to look for is someone who's organized, someone who has certain systems in place where you know that they are going to end up with a plan for your page.


Monica C:

And it's not going to end up kind of like when we ourselves are doing it, which is just like, oh, I got a post today and I don't have something planned. If you're paying them to do that for your page, then you want to make sure they have certain systems in place. And I would just kind of ask that and also make sure that it's a system that works for you as well. Because I think sometimes some systems don't work for everybody. Everybody has different preferences. And so I think it's really good to go over everything that goes on in the back end and just make sure that you have a good connection.


Krystal J:

I love that you mentioned that it is a two-way street. Right? You are interviewing them as much as they are interviewing you. And this goes to all of our listeners. If you are looking for a social media management company or a VA, well, really, for social media, it's not just about the aesthetics that you see on their feed. You have to have that conversation with them and kind of get to know who they are as individuals. And if they really do align with what your core values are, I think that's so hugely important. And then for anyone that's listening, that might be on Monica's side of things, where you are the one managing social media or you are the VA, you also want to make sure that it's right fit for you. And that's where practicing that no comes into place.


Krystal J:

Because there's so many times where you just want to say yes to everything because business is business. Right. But you absolutely have to keep in mind your own sanity and your own peace and energy and making sure that you are aligned with them as much as they are aligned with you. So I love that tip. Do you have any key tools or programs or anything that you highly recommend for managing social media?


Monica C:

I do. I started off kind of using Asana to organize my content for social media, and so I would say that's a great program, one that I'm using right now for myself, that I really love that. I think I would like to transition everything to is notion, and notion can be a little intimidating at first. I already was using it for my VA work, for all of my clients information, anything at all that I need for my client work, I have it in there. Their sign ons, their addresses, for instance, with the daycares, like all of their parents and children's info and billing information, because I do billing for them and things like that. Anything at all that I would need is in there. And in notion, I saw that a lot of people were using that, and so I kind of transitioned to that for my own content, like to plan it out. And I love it.


Monica C:

I absolutely love it. And I could see how it would be so amazing to use for client approvals, and you can filter it a ton of different ways. A lot of people I know talk about later and metrical, and I know Canva also has a scheduling feature, but for social media managers, I'm not sure that would be as productive when you're managing different accounts. But, yeah, I would say Notion is probably my top app right now.


Krystal J:

I have heard of Notion, and I agree that it did seem a little bit intimidating, and there's a lot of different features that you could take advantage of with that program. So I kind of did not dive too far into it. But maybe I'll take a look. Maybe you've convinced me it's amazing.


Monica C:

Yes, I'll do something in it.


Krystal J:

Yes. So I want to switch over to the VA side of things because this is not just social media, obviously, it could incorporate that to some extent, but this is kind of like any admin task within your business. So for those that have not yet had a VA, or maybe they're pretty still early on in the game, maybe they have had a little bit of experience with a VA. I think the biggest obstacle for them or the biggest hurdle that they have to overcome is figuring out what tasks they're going to delegate to this VA. And I know that's something that I definitely struggle with because usually entrepreneurs are in the mindset, like, I can just do it myself. I know what I want. I'll take care of it. But we can't drive ourselves crazy as much as we do, and we do need the help occasionally.


Krystal J:

So what are your tips with trying to figure out what tasks should be delegated, which tasks you can keep to yourself? What suggestions do you have for any business owners that are kind of going through that struggle but also trying to bring help on?


Monica C:

I think that. I'm so glad that you brought this up because I think, honestly, it's such a great point. I think a lot of people know that they need the help but aren't quite ready, I should say, to hand things off. And I think definitely for the business owners, I would say you definitely need to figure that out. I would look at the things that you enjoy doing. What do you enjoy doing the most? What do you absolutely not want to give up? I would say in terms of social management, I would say keep the stories. That's something very personal. It's something easy to hop on and do a story. But I think kind of looking really sitting down and writing out all the tasks that you have for your business and breaking them down and seeing what are the tasks that you really love, what are the tasks you really have time for and what do you not enjoy, what do you hate doing and what do you not have time for? And start there and really have a clear action plan for whoever you're bringing on of what you need done because they're going to be more productive. And lost my train of thought.


Monica C:

What do I want to say here? Okay, so I think that you want to be prepared when you bring them on because it's honestly a waste of your money. It's a waste of your money if you don't have a plan of what you want them to do. And so you want to be really specific so just write all those tasks down and see what you. And go from there.


Krystal J:

So you mentioned having an action plan to be able to give it hand the reins off to them. Does that mean you think that they should have systems already in place, and if they don't have systems yet, maybe they aren't ready for a VA?


Monica C:

No, absolutely not. I think when you're hiring a VA, that's kind of like a bonus that you might get with it is that they have used different programs or different organizational things that you haven't used before, and so they should understand that you're bringing them on to help them get a little bit more organized or get things running a little bit more smoothly. And so, no, absolutely not. I think that as long as you're open to hearing their ideas, and I think from their standpoint, they should understand that as well as a VA.


Krystal J:

Yes, absolutely. So I'm glad you cleared that up. I know that is another pain point for a lot of small business owners that are doing everything. It's hard to get those systems in place and know exactly what it is that you need. So a VA could definitely be the person that gets you on the right track. Final question, and this is more of a general question. So you took the leap of faith and really started betting on yourself last year and went all in. What advice do you have for other people, women especially, moms especially, that are kind of in that season of their life where they're looking at that transition, deciding, is that the right move for them? Should they go all in on themselves? What are the things that they should be thinking about and what advice do you have for them?


Monica C:

I would say just do it. I would say when you're starting out, a lot of people get caught up in like, well, I don't have a website yet, or I don't have this yet. I don't have that yet. And I think you have to just do it. I think it's kind of like pushing that button on that email or that post. You really have to just go for it and believe in yourself. I think obviously, you have to look at your finances. I'm in a few groups, and a lot of times people will pop up and say, like, I'm getting ready to give my notice, and I'm not sure if I should.


Monica C:

I mean, I think definitely that aspect of it is a personal decision. Only, you know, your finances and yourself and what you can do. But I think as far as once you're ready to do it. Okay, well, do I need to do this? Do I need to do that? I think no, I think just go for it. I think just make the page, do the post, say you're doing it. Say it to family and friends and just go for it.


Krystal J:

Love it. Simple, but so effective. I think this is something that I say often, but I think people heavily underestimate the power of just showing up. And that's really how you get the ball rolling and how you start building that momentum that will start opening all of these doors to all these other opportunities that feel very aligned with what you envision for yourself.


Monica C:

Absolutely.


Krystal J:

So, Monica, you have been amazing. Can you tell all of our listeners, our viewers, where can they find you and all of your amazing services?


Monica C:

Yeah. So you can find me on Instagram, Monicasc,Va and check the link in my bio for important links. But that's where you can find me.


Krystal J:

Awesome. And as always, that link will be included in the show description. So check that out. Reach out to Monica via IG or on her website. She's amazing to talk to. And like, we already discussed having that conversation. That initial conversation is really so key to finding the right person that's going to really fit with your business and align with the vision that you have for it and for you. So thank you to everyone at home that has tuned in today.


Krystal J:

And a big thank you to Monica. Thank you so much for joining us today. I've loved chatting with you.


Monica C:

Huge thank you to you, Krystal. I really appreciate it.

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