Monday, December 31, 2007
I bought a 1000 piece puzzle. Working on this puzzle is reminding me of starting my business. Looking at the 1000 puzzle pieces scattered all over the table is what it felt like when I first started my business. So many options to choose from with so many different directions I could take. Do I start with the edge pieces and make the frame first or should I start with the dolphin in the middle? Decisions, decisions. Should I do a little "research" first and start sorting the edge pieces from the other pieces?
Like starting my business do I just jump right in and try to get that first client or do I first work on the "frame" (the business plan). So many ways to go. I could join online networking groups to meet others doing what I'm doing and learn from them. But there are so many. Which one should I join? VANA, IVAA, the VA Revolution... or maybe all three? I could hire a coach or sign up for VA Training. I could spend months researching the Virtual Assistant industry online or I could learn from someone who has already done the research and get the Virtual Toolkit. I could read blogs and purchase ebooks. Do I need to start a newsletter? This list of options goes on and on. One could get stuck in the research stage and never get to the actual starting your business stage.
Starting your own business is a lot like starting a 1000 piece puzzle - overwhelming. Think how many rejections you get before that one successful yes! Those first two pieces that fit together (that first client) feels so good you have hope that maybe one day all the pieces will fit together and you will have a beautiful picture (a successful, thriving business).
Happy New Year!
Wednesday, December 26, 2007
- Good time management and scheduling
- Setting goals and evaluating them continuously
- Setting boundaries and sticking to them
- Good business planning, both short and long term
- Evaluating your Return on Investment (ROI) for every business decision
- Ensuring that you don't "go it" alone
- Proper Stress Management
- Much, Much more....
Now until December 31st at midnight you can get $5 off our book by entering the code 2007 in to the Discount Code box.
Make sure to purchase it by the 31st so you can record it as a business expense on your 2007 taxes.
You deserve to have a prosperous 2008!
Happy New Year!
Remember to enter 2007 in the discount code box on this page: Managing Your Thriving Business For Success.
Sunday, December 23, 2007
Friday, December 21, 2007
Since many people are not thinking about business this week I am going to use my blog for some fun holiday trivia and other nostalgic memories.
Did you know in 1975 Ronald McDonald was an environmentalist? (Before most of us had even heard of Al Gore or thought about Super Size Me).
A little history for you from wikipedia about the WPIX Yule Log:
"The Yule Log was created in 1966 by the station's general manager, Fred M. Thrower. Inspired by an animated Coca-Cola commercial a year earlier that showed Santa Claus at a fireplace, he envisioned this television program as a televised Christmas gift to those residents of "The Big Apple" who lived in apartments and homes without fireplaces."
Thursday, December 20, 2007
Saturday, December 15, 2007
Sunday, December 09, 2007
It's okay to say no. And it is okay to take your time on a project. If a client wants a new Web site and you estimate it is going to take 4 weeks to complete how about giving yourself a break and telling the client it will take 6-8 weeks. This gives you more room for creativity, things that might come up, technical issues, etc. Now if you actually do finish the Website in 4 weeks your client will be delighted that you got it done early.
What else are you saying yes to? Think about it. Be conscious and aware every time you say yes (or no). When you are saying yes to volunteering at your kid's school what are you saying no to? When you say yes to doing a last minute project for your client that is going to require you to work over the weekend what and who are you saying no to?
Tip: Every time you are about to say yes to something stop and ask yourself what you are saying no to. If saying yes to doing that last minute project for your client means saying no to the date you had planned with your significant other... maybe you want to say no to the client. Or tell the client yes I can do that for you and have it ready by Wednesday (not Monday).
Tuesday, December 04, 2007
It keeps me in contact with old friends and family. I've met so many friends that I would have never met if it weren't for the internet. I wouldn't have this wonderful business if it weren't for the internet. And, I have learned so much from the internet... I learn everyday from my friends in the box, the forums I hang out at, Web sites, other blogs, e-courses, e-books, google, articles, etc.
I came across this news story today about a woman who lost 500 pounds thanks to the internet. Watch it here at Yahoo video.
The internet has changed the way we interact with people. First impressions are not all about looks anymore. When you meet someone on the internet you have the chance of someone getting to know you and listening to your thoughts and ideas before making a judgment about you based on your looks. I think that's pretty cool.
Saturday, December 01, 2007
“Set a reminder to ask yourself and answer this question daily: Am I doing what’s on my plan?”
Are you remembering to read your goals everyday? Are you sticking to your plan?
I think I am going to set up my calendar to pop the question "Am I doing what’s on my plan?" up on my screen everyday... about mid-day.
Is Your Business Thriving?
2 for 1 Coaching!
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
If the thought of following up with potential clients makes your heart race try reading Jaime Lee Mann's book The Art of Follow Up. This book will help you get over that fear. Jaime writes in an easy to understand, easy to relate to kind of way. After I read her book I really had no more excuses for not following up. I am so glad I did read her book, my business has soared to levels it would never have been if I had not mastered The Art of Follow up!
How about stop what you are doing right now and write out a task list. Write down everything you need to do. I mean everything. Get all that garble out of your head and on to a nice clean sheet of paper.
"The most important factor of an effective task list is to actually use it and look at it every day.
A task list is not something you enter into Outlook and never look at again. It is not something written on five different sticky notes all over your house or office. A task list is a working document you look at and update on a daily basis.
No task list or calendar system will work if you don’t look at it and use it every day."
(excerpt taken from Managing Your Thriving Business For Success)
"It’s all about planning, planning, planning (and then actually doing!)."
Now, look at that task list and prioritize it. What things on that list must you do today? Put an A next to those things or a star or whatever works for you.
So... what are you waiting for... go get those things done... one at a time. Then cross them off the list and give yourself a pat on the back.
Monday, November 26, 2007
I have finally decided to go for it. I am going to start a Virtual Simplicity newsletter in 2008.
Thanks to Heather Jacobson this is going to be a lot easier for me. She just published a book titled Expanding Your Business...One Subscriber at a Time! Build Your Business With Newsletters.
The best part is the book only costs $7. I just purchased it yesterday and am already getting excited about starting my newsletter. Heather is a master at spelling things out in easy to do steps.
On top of the great advice offered in this book Heather offers an awesome perk at the end of the book. Anyone that purchases the book can be an affiliate and she is paying her affiliates 100% of the sale. How cool is that?
Happy Holidays! I will let you know when my newsletter is up and running.
Is your business Thriving?
Friday, November 23, 2007
It is very common that the "me" time always gets pushed to the bottom of the list and often never happens at all. To avoid this, start scheduling routines in to you day.
Include in your routines regular meals… breakfast, lunch and dinner, in addition to time for exercising and relaxing. If you are going to have a thriving business you need to take care of yourself. You need to eat regular meals, exercise, spend quality time with family and friends, and give yourself time to relax and rejuvenate.
Are you taking care of you? If not, please make it a priority to start today. Your clients need you, your family needs you, it's important that you take care of you.
Is your business thriving ?
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
I read this quote by prosperity teacher Marilyn Jenett today and it struck a cord with me about my upcoming family dinner.
– Marilyn Jenett
This is a great affirming paragraph to read anytime you find yourself in a challenging relationship.
Thanksgiving is a day I love because it reminds us all to stop and be grateful. I personally believe everyday should a day of thanks.
What are you grateful for?
I am grateful that I met Marilyn Jenett and signed up for her Feel Free To Prosper(FFTP) program. I recently found out she is going to be offering her FFTP program to Virtual Assistants that are members of VANA at a special discounted rate. If you are feeling stuck... wondering when you will get your first client... or wanting to bring your business to the next level then I highly recommend you sign up for her class. Marilyn is an awesome mentor and teacher. She spells things out in an easy to follow system. Amazing things have happened in my life since I met her.
Reading her story was like reading a good page-turning novel, I couldn't put it down.
Is your business Thriving?
Friday, November 09, 2007
Have you ever said any of the following statements?
I’ll join the gym and start exercising in January.
I can’t put my website up until I have the perfect logo.
I’ll go to that networking meeting after I get my new business cards.
What are you waiting for? What is your excuse?
We all make resolutions on New Years and we all know what usually happens to those resolutions.
“Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”
Why wait until the New Year to set your resolutions that probably are not going to happen anyway? You can set goals today, make an action plan and put yourself in the driver’s seat of your life today!
The first step in setting goals is to know what you want. If you don’t know what you want, how are you going to get it?
Take out a sheet of paper and write down ten things that you want to accomplish.
Now take those ten things and write them in the present, positive form. For example, if you want to make $50,000 a year; write I earn $50,000 a year. If you want to go to the gym three times a week; write I go to the gym three times a week.
Now, pick one goal and write down every thing you need to do to reach that goal. If your goal is to get one more client what are you going to do to get that client?
Start with writing your goal in a present, positive statement at the top of the paper.
Goal: I have one new client.
1. Attend at least one networking event per week (Research networking events in your area – ie. Chamber of Commerce, BNI, Toastmasters)
2. Join one new online networking forum. Network online – network with peers and potential clients. Research online forums. Join forum, introduce myself and participate in discussions.
3. Follow up with potential clients. Make phone calls, send handwritten letters, send emails.
4. Send sales letters to target market. Research and get addresses of target market, write letters, mail letters, follow up with phone call.
5. Spread the word! Talk about what you do. Be proud. Tell your mom, the bank teller, the cashier at the grocery store, your kid’s teacher, the lady at the dog park, everyone! Be excited about what you do.
Now focus on your goals. Read your list of goals everyday. Read them twice a day! Read them in the morning and before bed. Do the action steps. Add them to your to do list. Commit to taking charge of your life. You have a choice. You can sit around watching TV and surfing the internet or you can be taking action steps to get you closer to reaching your goals. What are you waiting for? Go! Get in the driver’s seat now!
About Sally Kuhlman
Sally Kuhlman, founder of Virtual Simplicity provides administrative, marketing and technical support to entrepreneurs and non-profits.Managing and developing a growth-oriented business is something that all businesses strive for, including Sally Kuhlman, owner of Virtual Simplicity and Yvonne Weld, owner of Able Virtual Assistant Services. They decided to combine their knowledge and wrote a book, “Managing Your Thriving Business for Success” which gives you the tools to successfully manage your own thriving business. For more information about getting organized, setting goals and managing your thriving business, visit http://www.thrivingbusinessmanual.com/managing
Friday, November 02, 2007
Thanks to all my virtual friends at VANA and the VA Revolution for your support this last year!
Managing and developing a growth-oriented business is something that all businesses strive for, including Yvonne Weld, owner of Able Virtual Assistant Services, and Sally Kuhlman, owner of Virtual Simplicity. They decided to combine their knowledge and wrote a book, “Managing Your Thriving Business for Success” which gives you the tools to successfully manage your own thriving business. “Although, we have both been very successful at running thriving businesses, we have faced many hurdles and ups and downs on our journey to success”, says Yvonne and Sally.
According to the Small Business Administration, the estimates for businesses with employees indicate there were 649,700 new firms and 564,900 closures in 2006. They also indicate that two-thirds of new employer establishments survive at least two years, and 44 percent survive at least four years, according to a recent study. These results were similar for different industries. Firms that began in the second quarter of 1998 were tracked for the next 16 quarters to determine their survival rate. Despite conventional wisdom that restaurants fail much more frequently than ﬁrms in other industries, leisure and hospitality establishments, which include restaurants, survived at rates only slightly below the average. Earlier research has explored the reasons for a new business’s survivability. Major factors in a ﬁrm’s remaining open include an ample supply of capital, being large enough to have employees, the owner’s education level, and the owner’s reason for starting the ﬁrm in the ﬁrst place, such as freedom for family life or wanting to be one’s own boss.
They attribute much of their success to various key factors, including good time management and scheduling, setting goals and evaluating them continually, setting boundaries and sticking to them, good business planning, both short term and long term, and much more.
That’s where “Managing Your Thriving Business for Success” comes in. This manual will give you the tools to successfully manage your own thriving business and then you can say that your business is in the SBA’s statistics of being a surviving and thriving business. Don’t you want to be one of those businesses that grow?
About Yvonne Weld
Yvonne Weld is the owner of Canadian-based Able Virtual Assistant Services and author of The Ultimate Guide to Creating a Thriving Business. Yvonne brings knowledge from a number of resources including personal experience (8 years in her previous employment as an Office Manager), education (graduate of several courses at the Small Business Centre, London, Ontario) and her love for information through reading and internet research. To learn more about what Able Virtual Assistant Services can do for you, stop by www.ableva.com or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
About Sally Kuhlman
Sally Kuhlman, founder of Virtual Simplicity, is an independent professional providing administrative and technical support usually handled by in-house staff. After working in the corporate world she started working virtually as the Director of Operations for a consulting firm that offers evaluation and strategic planning services to non-profits. In addition to working with entrepreneurs, Sally specializes in partnering with non-profits providing administrative, marketing and technical support. To learn more about what Virtual Simplicity can do for you, stop by www.virtualsimplicity.net or email us email@example.com.
About Managing Your Thriving Business for Success
For more information about Managing Your Thriving Business for Success and how you can manage your thriving business, visit the Web site at http://www.thrivingbusinessmanual.com/managing.
Sunday, October 28, 2007
I'm doing all this in preparation for the upcoming teleclass that Yvonne Weld and I will be teaching at the VA Revolution this Friday. One year ago, on November 1st I did a teleclass on Goal Setting for the VA Revolution members. I talked about the importance of writing down your goals. Once again the system of writing down goals has proven to work for me. I'm amazed at how many goals I actually reached. Goals that I wrote down last November 1st... some of those I didn't even believe were possible (those were my big goals - thinking out of the box kind of goals).
I'm so excited to be teaching this class again and to be working on my new goals for the upcoming year!!!
“A full 97 percent of adults have no written goals. When you make out a list of 10 goals that you want to accomplish in the next 12 months, you move yourself into the top 3 percent of people living and working today. By the simple discipline of committing your goals to paper, you join the elite.” - Brian Tracy
Have you written down your goals? Are they written in a positive, present and affirming statement or are they just a wish list?
I'm going to stop drinking soda. (wish)
I put healthy things in my body. (affirming statement)
I'm going to write a book. (wish)
I write for at least 15 minutes everyday. (affirming statement)
I want to make $5000 a month. (wish)
I earn $5000 a month. (affirming statement)
I will blog three times a week. (wish)
I blog three times a week. (affirming statement)
Thursday, October 25, 2007
Google Maps is keeping the maps updated as to where the fires are and what areas are being evacuated.
View Larger Map
Wednesday, October 24, 2007
My family and friends are lucky, some others are not. I encourage you to donate to the Red Cross and read more about what they are are doing to help the victims.
This horrible fire is reminding me to really think about my emergency plan. Do you have one for your house? Do you have one for your business?
I'm going to take some time this week to review my business manual and make sure all the information is up to date.
My heart goes out to all those in Southern California.
Monday, October 22, 2007
The first step to creating a thriving business is preparing an operational manual that will ensure that your business can survive any hurdle including business growth, owner absenteeism and even owner death. Most business owners never stop to consider what might happen if they were injured, sick or worse. By taking a precautionary role in your business and considering things such as: “What if it happened to me?”; “What if my spouse, child or parent was sick tomorrow – could I dedicate the time to their recovery?”
These are all things we think we won’t have to worry about, but what if? Step back for a minute and think about how your business would change if you needed to take the time to dedicate to a personal problem. Perhaps in the short term it wouldn’t change much, but what about if you needed to step back for an extended period of time? What would happen then?
The success of many of today’s small businesses hinges on the expertise and skills of the owner. What happens to the business though should the owner become ill or die? In many cases a family member steps in out of a feeling of obligation, but often they lack the skills necessary to allow the business to truly thrive. They don’t have the same dedication, determination or passion to see the business succeed as you did. In many cases, a promise to maintain a family business is made with the thought of “I won’t ever have to worry about that” in the back of the family member’s mind. After all, no one thinks it will ever happen to them.
By creating an operational manual that outlines every facet of your business operations including pertinent company information and a full description of how daily tasks are carried out, your business could easily continue uninterrupted without fear things were not being handled in the same manner you, as business owner, would expect. Family members could easily hire someone to handle the business operations with your Operations Manual with the confidence of knowing things were being handled as you would handle them.
Step back for a minute and think about what it means for you to truly create a thriving business. Just like plants need essential tools to survive, so does your business. The ingredients may be different but providing them is no less important. Plants need water, sun and dirt in order to grow vigorously and healthily. Your business needs a successful team leader, a needed product or service and a plan in order to be successful and profitable. Most businesses only have two of those important ingredients and are missing the most important ingredient. If you leave instructions for watering your plants, shouldn’t you leave instructions for running your business?
About the Author
Yvonne Weld is the author of The Ultimate Guide to Creating a Thriving Business and is the owner of ABLE Virtual Assistant Services. For more information about The Ultimate Guide to Creating a Thriving Business and how you can protect your business from unexpected absences due to injury, sickness or even death, visit the Web site at www.thrivingbusinessmanual.com.
This article may not be copied unless in its entirety and the author’s bio is attached.
Friday, October 12, 2007
Gratitude calls could be placed to your clients, your employees, your parents, your children, your friends, your neighbors, your child's teacher, your mail carrier, your doctor, the list goes on and on.
I challenge my readers to start making at least one gratitude call a week. I'd love to hear how it goes. If you are one of those people that avoid the phone how about a gratitude note? You know the good old fashioned pen and paper kind of thing that you put in the mail box?
Thank you for reading my blog!
Tuesday, October 09, 2007
Sunday, October 07, 2007
Did you know if you write your goals down they are much more likely to happen?
Do you ever dare to dream big? Do you know what you want? Do you know how many clients you want to work with? How much money you want to make? How much quality time you'd like to spend with your family each week? Where you want to go on your next vacation?
"It doesn't matter where you are coming from; all that really matters is where you are going. And where you are going is solely determined by yourself and your own thoughts" - Brian Tracy
"You become what you think about most of the time." - Ralph Waldo Emerson
If you have a goal that says, “I am going to go to the gym 3 times a week…” change that into the present… your subconscious mind will just keep thinking I am going and never get there. Change the wording to say, “I go to the gym at least 3 times a week.”
Or if you have a goal that says I want to write for an hour everyday… change it to say, “I write for an hour everyday”.
Tell yourself you are already doing it. It is amazing how your actions will try to keep up with your thoughts. If you are saying, I am a loser and can never get anything done over and over in your head… guess what? You are a loser and you are never going to get anything done! What you think about comes about… so pay close attention to those thoughts going on in your head and make sure they are thoughts that are taking you in the right direction.
Wednesday, October 03, 2007
Sunday, September 30, 2007
Most beautiful rainbow
As we grow up, we learn that even the one person that wasn't supposed to ever let you down probably will. You will have your heart broken probably more than once and it's harder every time.
You'll break hearts too, so remember how it felt when yours was broken.
You'll fight with your best friend.
You'll blame a new love for things an old one did.
You'll cry because time is passing too fast, and you'll eventually lose someone you love.
So take too many pictures, laugh too much, and love like you've never been hurt because every sixty seconds you spend upset is a minute of happiness you'll never get back.
Don't be afraid that your life will end, be afraid that it will never begin.
Saturday, September 29, 2007
Where do you network online?
My two favorite places for virtual assistant networking are VANA and the VARevolution.
I dabble in other forums: IVAA, Ryze, LinkedIn, Myspace, Twitter, Facebook, Olivia and a bunch more... to be listed another day.
Where is your favorite place to network? Why?
Tuesday, September 25, 2007
5 Ways to Make Delegating More Effective
by Erin Blaskie
In my profession as a virtual assistant, I am in the front of the delegating lines and I see firsthand what works and what doesn’t. Oftentimes, new clients will ask me to coach them a bit on delegating work to our company and I am always happy to do so.
If you are currently delegating work to others or you may do so in future, here are five ways to make your delegating experience more effective.
(1) Set Deadlines
This often gets overlooked but it’s the most important part. If you need something back by week’s end, specify that when you delegate the task. Although your virtual assistant may be a magician when it comes to getting your work done, he/she is not a mind-reader. They need to know, from you, when you need the work done.
If you are giving your virtual assistant many tasks, let him/her know which item needs to get done first. One of my own clients will often note when something takes precedence over the rest of the work she’s delegated to me. This helps me to know what she needs back quickly and what can wait until closer to the set deadline.
(3) Be Clear
When you delegate something, be clear in your message. It may be something that is easy for you to do because you’ve done it often but you’ll need to remember that when delegating items from your business, they may not be things that others are as familiar with. So, be clear and be available if/when your virtual assistant makes requests for items he/she needs to complete the task.
(4) Check Skills First
Too often I’ve seen people delegate out a task to someone that went above their knowledge level. When this happens, the person may take longer than expected or may have difficulty with the project. A lot of people want to please their clients so they may hang on to a task thinking, “I’ll learn this and get the work done” but that only delays progress. Check with the person first to make sure he/she has the skills required to complete the task.
(5) Give Advanced Notice
The last tip I’ll give you is to make sure you are giving enough notice. If you delegate a 5-minute project in the morning and want it done by day’s end, that may be okay for that person’s schedule but if you drop a full blog-design project in their lap and request it back within 24-hours, that may not always suit their schedule. It is better to give as much notice as possible so that you both benefit.
Erin Blaskie is a virtual assistant and the owner of Business Services, ETC. Erin supports business owners with their daily operations - helping them fr*ee up their time so they can get back to doing the ‘life’ stuff or focus on the revenue generating items. Feel fr*ee to contact her via her website at http://www.bsetc.ca or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sunday, September 23, 2007
I'm starting a new game of tag or meme. Please tell me five reasons why you love being a Virtual Assistant?
- Having time to spend with my family and friends.
- Being in charge of my own destiny.
- Choosing who I work with and when I work with them.
- Getting to know lots of virtual friends who have turned in to real friends.
- Working with the most awesome clients!
Please link back to the person who originally tagged you so we can have fun seeing how far this travels.
Tuesday, September 18, 2007
Thursday, September 13, 2007
How to Earn More from Home
Thanks Darrell from Right Hand Man Virtual Assistant Services for posting this article in VANA: "The hottest, friendliest, informative, Education and Resourceful network for Virtual Assistants!"
Sunday, September 09, 2007
Tuesday, September 04, 2007
Are you a LinkedIn member?
I am and I decided to join because two different people in one week invited me. I thought, I better check this thing out.
Just curious... if you are a LinkedIn member what do you think? Do you like it? Is it good for networking? I see a lot of the movers and the shakers from the Virtual Assistant industry in there so I know it must be good. I'd love to hear about your experiences with LinkedIn.
Here is what PC Magazine had to say about it. "More of a well-heeled social club than a friendly free-for-all, LinkedIn is the most exclusive site we reviewed." - PCMag
Sunday, September 02, 2007
If you ever hear yourself saying... I don't do that. Or I'm not comfortable doing that... well guess what? You probably need to do just that...
Is your business stuck? Are you wondering why you haven't gotten a new clients in a long time?
I think it was Albert Einstein who said “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results”.
What have you done lately to get out of your comfort zone?
I read Jaime Lee Mann's book, The Art of Follow Up and did some of the steps she suggested (that were outside of my comfort zone). Guess what? I got some new clients.
Saturday, September 01, 2007
If you want some feel good stories that might inspire you this weekend check out the videos here:
Oprah Pay It Forward Challenge
Imagine if we all did the pay it forward thing once in awhile...
Friday, August 31, 2007
Wow! I can't believe it's been over a week since my last post.
Lots of changes happening around here with my business and my life in general.
It's all good! I've been busy, busy, busy.
Will post an update on all the changes soon.
In the meantime, here is some music for your listening pleasure.
I couldn't find a good version of this video on Youtube so I pulled it from AOL. I didn't know AOL had videos. Actually, I didn't know there were so many video sharing options out there until I read about the Top 50 Video Sharing sites in Website Magazine this month.
Here's just a few that I did a little test on. I searched each one for Bowie and came up with this.
www.apnatube.com (no Bowie)
www.metacafe.com (no Bowie)
www.ifilm.com (found Bowie but not Changes)
Okay, like I said earlier I am super busy these days which means I really should not be spending my time searching for Bowie videos on the internet.
Have a great weekend everyone!
Monday, August 20, 2007
If the second is true for you stop right now (after you finish reading this blog post), get out a piece of paper and write down every thing you have to do this week.
Now, review your list and put a mark by the ones that need to be completed today. Take another sheet of paper, put today's date at the top and transfer all the tasks that need to be done today to this list.
On today's list prioritize your tasks (1,2,3). Now, what is task #1? Go do it!
Let's all have a productive week!
Sunday, August 19, 2007
A little history on Jess.
Jess was kind of a nerdy guy in high school. Despite his nerdiness, he started dating my sister when he was 16 years old. He ended up marrying his high school sweet heart and they are still together today (some 20 or so years later). They stuck together through thick and thin and have two very cool teenage boys. Jess isn't so nerdy anymore, he's turned in to quite a cool dude.
I don't get to see my family often because I am in Northern California and they are in Southern California (about 450 miles between us) but I think of them often and thanks to the internet we stay on top of each others lives.
(I thought if I posted something personal, maybe my lurking family that thinks I don't know they are reading my blog would come out of the lurking closet and post a comment here. And hey, it's Sunday... I'm allowed a day of rest aren't I?)
Saturday, August 18, 2007
Fantasia, the 3rd American Idol woman dared to dream. Fantasia was raped at the age of 14, dropped out of school and was pregnant at the age of 17. She had a learning disability that was never diagnosed so reading was a challenge for her. She was not good with numbers either so it was hard for her to find a decent job. But she was great at singing! She now has two albums, a memoir and is starring the the Broadway play The Color Purple. With only $50, a borrowed car and her old clothes she got herself to the auditions.
She said when she was a child she used to dream about being on stage in front of lots of people.
What do you dream about?
Remember to keep dreaming!
Friday, August 17, 2007
As many of you know, I have been living in the dark ages for the last 4 or 5 years because I chose not to have TV in my house. If I do not pay for cable, satellite or whatever then I have NO TV reception in my house. It just doesn't work here at all... too many trees or something.
Well, I made the decision to switch internet carriers this week. I'm switching from AT&T DSL to Comcast Cable. My DSL was not reliable. It would go out often and I never knew when it would come back on. When you run a virtual business... it's kind of important that your internet service actually works. The DSL people don't seem to understand this though. There have been times when my internet has been down for more than 5 days...
Anyway, I'm not sure I am happy with my new cable yet either. Comcast came out on Monday to install the cable. The guy made a disaster out of my network and you should see what the wires look like on the outside of my house. There are wires going every which way, even across the top of my roof. Not along the side of my roof but literally going diagonally across my flat roof. It just so happens that I need to replace my roof this year... guess what happens if I replace my roof? I'm going to have to cut the cable. Comcast is sending a network specialist out on Sunday to redo the work... I'll let you know then if I am happy with Comcast or not. Sorry, I am digressing...
The whole point of my rambling is that in switching internet providers I got offered TV and Phone service as part of the package deal. So... I now have cable TV and I would love to win the TV that Best Buy is giving away at 5 Minutes for Mom.
Thursday, August 16, 2007
Apart from the obvious requirements such as computer, internet connection, suitable software, good knowledge in how to use that software and suitable experience in providing the services you want to provide (I recommend at least 5 years, but some might say 2 would suffice), then there are these other things that should be done:
1. Know what services you want to provide from the beginning and don’t make it more than 3 or 4 - it will confuse you on how to market and confuse others as to what you provide. It can be built up over time as you develop your client base.
2. Have professional business cards printed and also develop a signature block - both go hand-in-hand. One for when you meet with people in the flesh, the other for when you connect with people virtually. Give them something that tells about you, what you do and how to contact you.
3. Network, network, and network some more. Join online forums and networks and get to know your peers, but also join forums where you could meet prospective clients - your peers will teach you about your profession but few will provide you with work so joining forums of personal interest for example will put you in front of prospective clients.
4. Join local business networks - where you have to go out and meet people face to face and learn about them and teach them about you. Don’t be afraid to get in the front line, i.e. help with things, perhaps get on a committee, give out papers, nametags, handle the registration for events, collect up papers, help others - if you’re where many people have to pass by you, they’ll get to know your face and want to know more about you.
5. Software launches are a good place to network - especially if you already have good knowledge of that software. Many of those attending the launch want to learn about it and often need someone to help them.
6. Take your business seriously and treat it as a business not a hobby.
7. Get a domain name - don’t use a free email account for your business. It’s ok to use one for personal email but you want people to know about your business and a domain name is a good way to get them to take notice.
8. Have a webpage (even 1 page is fine) using that domain so that when people look up the domain out of curiousity they can at least learn how to contact you (other than email) and perhaps a bit about what you do and/or your skills and abilities.
All of the above will assist you in getting started. The phone won’t start ringing, or the emails start coming, unless people know you exist. If you want to know more I have several books available at my bookstore - why not come over and check them out? KMT
Kathie M. Thomas, AFAIOP, MVA, ASO is the founder of "A Clayton's Secretary", a Virtual Assistant Network with members in many countries. Dedicated to teaching others about operating business over the Internet, Kathie is a multiple award winner as both a Secretary and Virtual Business Operator, and has over 30 years\' experience in the secretarial/administrative field. She registered her business in March 1994 and is one of the senior VAs who launched the industry globally. http://www.vadirectory.net.
Sunday, August 12, 2007
With the Virtual Assistant industry getting larger every day, Tawnya Sutherland, founder of www.VAnetworking.com (VANA), has implemented a survey that will be completed by Virtual Assistants from all over the world so that further awareness can be brought to the Virtual Assistant industry through media and press outlets.
After her radio interview on Brian Greenburg’s Philadelphia-based, nationally syndicated radio show (www.wnjc1360.com) and, due to the increasing number of requests for information on the Virtual Assistant industry from other media outlets, Tawnya has decided to go straight to the source for the information. Through a web-based survey, Tawnya hopes to put together a survey to assist individuals in understanding the who, what, when, where, why and how’s of Virtual Assistants.
To date, the replies have been surprisingly large, with hundreds of replies in the first couple of days alone. Tawnya is now looking forward to compiling the results and getting them ready for distribution. She will close the survey on September 15, 2007. If you haven’t already taken the survey, please go to www.vanetworking.com/survey to participate.
In appreciation for completing this survey, VANA will include a link to your business Website, stating you were a contributor to the survey results. You can only have your business advertised with the survey results if you participate in the survey itself. Who knows… you could get a call from a local or national media outlet wanting to talk to you about the industry.
Through the Virtual Assistant Networking Association (VANA) forum, Tawnya will compile all of the information from the survey and will post the information on www.VAnetworking.com, where everyone will be able to view and use this information freely.
The Virtual Assistant Networking Association (VANA) is for successful and aspiring "In The Know" Virtual Assistants and/or Virtual Achievers, commonly referred to as VAs, globally. Supercharge your Virtual Assistance business at the warmest networking place on the web that everyone online is talking about. A friendly, informative, educational and resourceful network, VANA is the largest business network online for VAs to share, learn and succeed in their virtual businesses.
So join the fun and stop by the VANA Forum today at http://www.vanetworking.com. You’ll see just how much better your business can become and also have a great time doing it. And for those looking for a VA, you won’t be able to beat the professionals you’ll find here.
Tawnya Sutherland, founder of Virtual Assistant Networking Association (VANA) http://www.vanetworking.com and author of the Virtual Assistant Startup System (VBSS), is a Certified Internet Marketing Specialist sharing her expertise to help aspiring and successful VAs turn website clicks into cash for them.
A group of us from the VARevolution are reading the book Get Clients Now! by CJ Hayden and working through the program together.
Here is an excerpt from the book that resonated with me.
"Having a sales and marketing goal gives you a destination in your business. Only when you know where you are going can you choose the right path to get you there. And you have to be clear about your destination to know when you have arrived."
Kind of reminds me of the quote from Alice in Wonderland...
"One day Alice came to a fork in the road and saw a Cheshire cat in a tree. Which road do I take? she asked. Where do you want to go? was his response. I don't know, Alice answered. Then, said the cat, it doesn't matter." - Lewis Carroll
Do you know where you want to go with your business?
Friday, August 10, 2007
I couldn't find my original copy so I just googled it and found this... I have no idea who the author of this is but it still makes me laugh every time I read it.
How To Keep A Healthy Level Of Insanity
1. At lunch time, sit in your parked car with sunglasses on and point a hair dryer at passing cars. See if they slow down.
2. Page yourself over the intercom. Don't disguise your voice.
3. Every time someone asks you to do something, ask if they want fries with that.
4. Put your garbage can on your desk and label it "in" .
5. Put decaf in the coffee maker for 3 weeks. Once everyone has gotten over their caffeine addictions, switch to espresso.
6. In the memo field of all your checks, write "for sexual favors".
7. Finish all your sentences with "in accordance with the prophecy."
8. Don't use any punctuation marks
9. As often as possible, skip rather than walk.
10. Ask people what sex they are. Laugh hysterically after they answer.
11. Specify that your drive-through order is "to go".
12. Sing along at the opera.
13. Go to a poetry recital and ask why the poems don't rhyme.
14. Put mosquito netting around your work area. Play a tape of jungle sounds all day.
15. Five days in advance, tell your friends you can't attend their party, because you're not in the mood.
16. Have your coworkers address you by your wrestling name, "Rock Hard Kim".
17. When the money comes out the ATM, scream "I won!", "I won!" 3rd time this week!!!!!"
18. When leaving the zoo, start running towards the parking lot, yelling "run for your lives, they're loose!!"
19. Tell your children over dinner. "due to the economy, we are going to have to let one of you go."
Thursday, August 09, 2007
Saturday, August 04, 2007
I'm not a newbie but I do network online.
I am currently reading the new ebook titled Online Networking for the Newbie by Angela Smith of AccuAssist. I think the title of this book should be Online Networking for Everyone (not just the Newbie).
Angela shares some great tips on how to network online, how to set up your forum profile, how to avoid 20 of the most common forum faux pas (not surprisingly I've done some of the faux pas...) and basic etiquette on forum participation.
By the way she is offering a free excerpt to download here.
Tuesday, July 31, 2007
I did however wear my Word Camp T-shirt and talk geek with some new friends I met in Tahoe. I love the shirt - it's a girl shirt , not an over-sized man's shirt like I often get at events. Okay, I realize I am totally rambling. Back to focusing on Word Camp.
Jeremy Wright talked about blog monetization. Content should be fantastic and ads should be ones that are valuable to your readers.
Jeremy said to think about... "Would you read your own blog?"
He also emphasized the point that although you can make money blogging, it takes a LOT of work to make a living off of blogging.
Check out what Tris Hussey had to say about Jeremy's talk.
Wednesday, July 25, 2007
Dvorak started the talk by saying bloggers should be credentialed. That statement kind of scares me. What happens to the one’s who are not credentialed? Kind of reminds me of the whole topic of Virtual Assistants – should they be certified or not? (note to self: stay focused to go there right now)
Take home tips of the topic:
- Dvorak suggested when blogging to consider not posting immediately. Let the post sit, come back and check it for errors, read it out loud to your self. (Maybe I should start doing this…)
- I also learned that it is not okay to call someone a crook on your blog unless they have been convicted of a crime.
Taking their advice to link when you can (when someone has already said what you want to say) here are some summaries of the talk I found from fellow Word Campers (that I didn’t actually meet in person): Stephanie Booth and Matthew Batchelder.
Tuesday, July 24, 2007
Today I am going talk about my favorite speaker at the conference. She's not in the news clip but that's okay. Lorelle VanFossen is cool, she deserves a whole TV show for herself! In addition to being cool she did a much better write up of the conference then I ever will.
I love seeing women in the techie/geek world. We were definitely a minority but we were there! Lorelle is great! I think she may have missed her calling as a public speaker/comedian though.
She spoke about creating "Kicking Ass Content Connections". Some tips she offered on starting a blog conversation were to:
- not write for your 8th grade teacher (your blog does not have to be an essay)
- don't blog the whole idea - leave some room for your readers to respond, incomplete thoughts allow your readers to respond.
- link back to other bloggers
- comment on other's blogs
Monday, July 23, 2007
While sitting at the conference a thought struck my mind... "what was the first website I ever saw?". All these people kept talking about back in 1996 or some other random year in the 90's and I realized, "wow I almost forgot the internet has not been around my whole life and I don't even remember when I first started using it or what the first www address was that I typed in to my computer. I got through high school and college without the internet... how on earth did I do that? I do remember having AOL and those chat rooms... but it's all kind of a blurry fog from then. I remember my Mac with the little green screen and waiting and waiting for AOL to load. Do you remember what the first www address you typed in was? What was the first website you ever saw?"
I think what I am going to do is post about one Word Camp session each day. There were tons of great session! I’m still on information overload. So, let’s start with Day 1.
Day 1 started with Dan Kuykendall the author of the PodPress plugin. One tip from Dan that I thought was a great idea was to play your podcast in a popup so people can keep browsing your blog. I often times click away from a podcast un-intentionally and get really sad.To add to my proud geek status I won the Blog of the Week award over at VANA today- where 6000 of my closest friends hang out.
Friday, July 20, 2007
Monday, July 16, 2007
I got to thinking how this could be applied when networking for our businesses. Do you let potential clients know your needs? Do you ask for the sale? They may not know you want to work with them or even have thought about the fact that you might be able to help them. Next time you are talking with a potential client try saying, "I'd really like to talk with you more about your business and ways I might be able to help you. Can we get together for coffee on Tuesday? or Can I call you on Monday to set up a phone meeting?" Now your potential client knows you are interested in them and they know you want to meet with them. I mean seriously, what is the worst thing that can happen? They might say they are busy or not interested. That's fine, now think about the best thing that can happen: you might get a new client or a great referral!
Tuesday, July 10, 2007
Sunday, July 08, 2007
All wealth is a product of mind. Some economists will try to convince you that wealth comes from productivity. Many people believe that wealth is a matter of ownership or the accumulation of possessions. They are blind to the truth. They see only effects, not causes.
It is ideas that produce wealth. The process of creating anything, including wealth, begins with the idealization, the conceptualization, the visualization. Everything that follows is simply the implementation of the original thought. Everyone has the capacity to think and to choose what and how to think. Therefore, everyone can be wealthy.
The great thing is that ideas are free. You don't have to exchange or pay anything to have an idea. The problem most people have is that they don't have any original ideas. Of course, it is possible to refine someone else's idea or to find a better way to implement someone else's idea and thereby create wealth. That is actually what most people do. But why not just come up with your own concept. After all, ideas are free. Yours for the asking. No cost.
Hold onto that thought. Something you can produce with no visible effort, something you can have an endless supply of, something that you can have for free, can make you wealthy. Just one simple idea.
Hey, why don't we create an online flea market?
Zap. eBay. A multi-billion dollar company.
Hey, why don't we create a 24-hour international TV news channel?
Hey, why don't we create a better delivery system than the post office?
Hey, why don't we create a personal computer?
Zap. Apple Computer.
The experts at IBM laughed at the two Steves. "Who would want a computer in their home? You guys are nuts." Now IBM's business relies on the sale of PCs. And the world is a different place. What would your life be like without a personal computer?
His college professor gave Fred Smith a 'C' on his paper proposing the need for a guaranteed overnight delivery service. Now even the post office copies Fred's FedEx concept. Fred is wealthy. The prof is still not. Not wealthy and not thinking correctly. Thinks A ideas are C value.
Ted Turner knew nothing about TV. His business was outdoor advertising. Billboards. Now, the major TV networks copy little old upstart TBS. And now it is CNN/Time Warner/AOL.
Ideas. How great they are compared to tangible things. Here's why. If I have clay pots and you have apple pies, I can trade you a clay pot for an apple pie, but then I'd have one less clay pot and you'd have one less apple pie. But if I have an idea and you have an idea, I can trade you my idea for your idea and now we both have two ideas. Not only that, two ideas often act synergistically to make a third idea and maybe even a fourth or a fifth idea as well.
Tangible things do not grow when exchanged. They merely change hands. Ideas change the world. Tangible things do not create wealth. They are the effects of wealth creation. Ideas are the cause of wealth creation. Had any good or original ideas recently? You are equally as capable of having them as any one else. Ok, maybe you don't know how to think original thoughts. Improved upon anybody else's ideas lately? At least you can do that. No? The find a good idea and implement it. Copy. Mimic. Do the same thing.
Michael Dell did not invent the personal computer. DHL is merely copying FedEx. The boys at Google did not invent Internet search engines. They just built a better one. It was someone else's original idea.
I did not invent eBooks. Online marketing was not my original idea. I took my ideas, added the ideas of others and presto, a wealth creation business.
Yes, you can think and grow rich. I know. I have the proof. That's what I do. So can you. Go ahead; I dare you. Think. Idealize. Imagine. What if...
Why don't we create a...
© Leslie Fieger. All rights reserved worldwide.
Leslie is the author of The DELFIN Knowledge System Trilogy: The Initiation, The Journey and The Quest plus many more success publications. He also the co-author of The End of the World with Hugh Jeffries and Alexandra's DragonFire with his daughter Ashley. Subscribe to his free and ad-free eZine at http://www.ProsperityParadigm.com or http://www.LeslieFieger.com.
Tuesday, June 19, 2007
I also network online. I hang out in virtual forums such as VANA, The VA Revolution, Ryze, Myspace, and many more.
I could write a whole book (or 3) about my surreal virtual world and it would be full of an amazing group of colorful characters.
For those of you living outside the box it's hard to explain what happens inside of it. Client relationships are created. Support is given. Friendships are made. Bridges are built. Barriers are taken down. There is an incredible connection being made via humans these days and it is all happening in this little box you are staring at.
My partner, (the one who said I was acting like an emoticon) is amazed when I talk about my virtual friends, my virtual clients and the fact that the virtual money showing up in my email via paypal turns in to real money in our bank account. And not to mention the virtual friends I talk about that turn in to real friends sleeping on our couch.
Monday, June 11, 2007
In Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen's original "Chicken Soup for the Soul," I am reminded of the short story titled "Another Check Mark On the List." This is a story about a 15-year-old boy named John who, on one rainy day, when it was too wet outside to play, he decided to write a list of goals. John continued writing until he had 127 goals. These goals included exploring the Nile River, climbing high mountain peaks around the world and learning 3 foreign languages. He also wanted to be featured in a Rose Bowl Parade and play several musical instruments.
Of the 127 goals that he listed over 60 years ago, John has achieved 108. If he lives to become 75 years old he will achieve 109 (he listed "live to see the 21st Century"). How did John achieve all of these goals? He wrote them down.
Step 1 Write It Down:
Write it down, write it down, and write it down!
Have you ever got to a point where you were going to write down a New Year's Resolution or some other goal you thought you wanted, only to find yourself procrastinate. One year later, did you need to achieve the same New Year's Resolution or goal? Why does this happen?
It happens because of that little voice inside of you that says, "I am not good enough or worthy enough to be in possession of the benefits derived from achieving my goal." "I have been programmed for failure."
I recently read a motivational quote that said: "If you can't write it down, you can't do it."
Let us think about that for a minute. Every day you may be compiling lists of things to do to run your household, perform your job, or plan your business trip or vacation. How many times do you really write down, exactly what you want out of life?
How many long term or short-term goals do you write down?
Now when thinking about what you want to achieve focus your attention on specific words and ideas relating to your goals. Give those words and ideas your complete attention as you write them down.
Did you ever write a letter, business report, or term paper and at times find your fingers flying across the keyboard?
Since written words are symbols of objects, ideas, or feelings, could the physical process of entering these words onto a page actually create a subconscious connection?
I believe it does. When you use language to communicate on paper, you need to process the information on a subconscious level.
The help you are getting while creating your list of goals is coming straight from your powerful subconscious mind. Why not take advantage of the power of your mind in achieving your goals?
Write your goals down in your day planner, write them down, and hang them on your walls. Write your goals on sticky notes and place them on your bathroom mirror or on your windows.
Every time you write your goals down, your body is moving towards them. The goals are getting clearer and clearer. The roadmap you create by writing goals down projects straight to your subconscious mind and is being acted upon.
A now popular syndicated cartoonist wrote down 15 times a day, every day the following sentence. "I want to be a syndicated cartoonist." He did this every single day, even when he did not feel like a syndicated cartoonist. Now, Scott Adams, the creator of the "Dilbert Cartoon" is a full-time, syndicated cartoonist, known the world over. Scott "wrote it down."
One way to state that goal in a more positive and immediate context is to say, "I am a syndicated cartoonist." Act as if you already are in possession of the goal. It takes a lot of pressure off you during your daily activities when you feel the new role. You then become comfortable with it.
Write your goals down everywhere. As you write them down think about John, the 15-year-old goal achiever from the "Chicken Soup for the Soul" story. Now that John is in his seventies, what advice would John have for you when you ask him, "What is the most important thing I can do to achieve my goals?"
Listen to John whisper in your ear these three words... write it down.
Wayne F. Perkins is the Stress Annihilator for sales teams and executives. Wayne helps corporate clients achieve their goals. "Annihilate Stress an Propagate Hope" http://www.stressannihilation.com Phone: 602-647-4280
Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Wayne_Perkins
Wednesday, June 06, 2007
My best advice for being productive is to set schedules and build routines in to your life.
My business has blossomed in beautiful ways over the last year thanks to all the support I have received from my special friends at the VA Revolution and VANA forums. Because of this rapid growth in my business I had to stop, reflect and get reorganized fast!
What I have found most helpful in being productive is setting a schedule, planning routines and sticking to them. I have a certain amount of hours blocked out on my calendar for each client every day.
Each week I review my master to do list, prioritize it and then plug time in to my calendar for the upcoming week. For instance, on Monday 9AM - 11AM will be Client A, 11:30AM - 12:30PM Client B, etc... I leave a half hour between each client to check emails, return phone calls, get refocused, take a small break, etc. Like Connie suggested, I turn off my email while I am focused on client work. I only check email at designated times. This one little step will change your life. Turn off those email notifications!!!
I also find following regular routines helps tremendously. For example, every morning I empty the dishwasher while waiting for my coffee to brew and I start a load of laundry before hopping in the shower. I always shower and get dressed before starting my day of work. Even though I am working from home and there is a good chance that no one will see me, I like to be ready for opportunities. What if a friend calls and invites me out for coffee at the last minute? If I am dressed, I am able to go meet her at the coffee shop right away. You never know... I might happen to meet my next potential client during that coffee date.
I've found that keeping a master to do list and breaking it down in to daily tasks allows me to be much more productive. To me, it's all about breaking it down in to doable tasks. Once I have decided what I am going to work on each day I then prioritize the daily task list and start doing the tasks one task at a time. I love it when I get to check that task off my list.
Now, it is my turn to tag some people. I tag Becki Noles and Jennifer Gniadecki. I'm looking forward to hearing your tips!
Here are the rules from the Instigator Blog:
- Write a post on your best productivity tips.
- Include links to other people that have written posts, or include their tips in your post with proper attribution.
- If you use Technorati Tags, then tag your post “ultimate guide to productivity.”
- Tag others in your post to spread the meme. Tag as many people as you like!
- If you link back to Instigator Blog and email Ben, he’ll be sure to include at least 2 links back to you.