Friday, March 30, 2007

Are you blogging?

Day of the Long Tail...

Thursday, March 29, 2007

VA Talk Show

Have you heard the news?

There is a new talk show starting!

Tawnya Sutherland, the founder of VANA has come up with another great idea: www.vatalkshow.com

Starting in April, the Virtual Assistant Network Association (VANA) will be sponsoring a new talk show just for Virtual Assistants.


Podcast & Blog Hopping Virtual Assistant Promotes Industry During 45 Day Tour

VA Uses Social Networking to Power Industry Awareness

We’ve heard about or read about tours designed to promote all kinds of causes or industries. But you’ve never read about something like this before! Sharon Williams, also known as the Podcast and Blog Hopping Virtual Assistant, will embark on a 45 Day Virtual Tour designed to promote the Virtual Assistant Industry. It’s a grueling schedule, but Williams, who has been in training for this event, says she’s up for the challenge.

The idea is simple. Sharon will visit a different blog or podcast each day, to answer questions about the Virtual Assistant Industry and its upcoming annual online convention. Utilizing social networking, she will introduce virtual assistance to bloggers around the world, with stops planned in Australia, Canada, the US, England and other countries. Ms. Williams will respond to questions regarding the industry’s history, technology trends, benefits of working with VAs – basically anything blog readers want to know about one of the fastest growing home-based businesses of the 21st century.

A Virtual Assistant (VA) is an entrepreneur providing administrative and other business support services to business owners, remotely. “This tour is an opportunity to educate executives and entrepreneurs about the advantages of working with VAs”, states Ms. Williams. “Overworked and overwhelmed small business owners and solopreneurs can now delegate back office and mundane tasks to more than 20,000 work-from-home admin specialists, while they concentrate on responsibilities that fuel their passion.

As an added twist to this virtual event, Ms. Williams will leave a mystery clue at each stop, as well as a link to the previous stop’s clue. Participants who solve the puzzle at the conclusion of the tour will be eligible for prizes donated by Virtual Assistants and other industry supporting businesses.

The Tour starts April 1 – no fooling! The first week’s schedule is as follows:

Prize drawings will occur during the International Virtual Assistant Day (IVAD) recognition and awards ceremony scheduled, Friday, May 18, 2007 at 5:30 p.m. EDT. The IVAD celebration is online, free and open to the public. Detail can be found at www.oivac.com.

Monday, March 26, 2007

You Can Stop ‘‘Normal’’ Aging

I found this article very inspiring. I hope you do too!
You Can Stop ‘‘Normal’’ Aging


From your body’s point of view, “normal” aging isn’t normal at all. It’s a choice you make by the way you live your life. The other choice is to tell your cells to grow—to build a strong, vibrant body and mind.

Let’s have a look at standard American aging. Barbara D. had a baby when she was 34, gave up exercise and gained 50 pounds. Exhausted and depressed, Barbara thought youth, energy and optimism were all in her rearview mirror. Jon M., 55, had fallen even farther down the slippery slope. He was stuck in the corporate world of stress, long hours and doughnuts. At 255 pounds, he had knees that hurt and a back that ached. He developed high blood pressure and eventually diabetes. Life was looking grim.

Jon and Barbara weren’t getting old; they had let their bodies decay. Most aging is just the dry rot we program into our cells by sedentary living, junk food and stress. Yes, we do have to get old, and ultimately we do have to die. But our bodies are designed to age slowly and remarkably well. Most of what we see and fear is decay, and decay is only one choice. Growth is the other.

After two years of misery, Barbara started exercising and is now in the best shape of her life. She just finished a sprint triathlon and, at 37, feels like she is 20. Jon started eating better and exercising too—slowly at first, but he stuck with it. He has since lost 50 pounds, the pain in his knees and back has disappeared, and his diabetes is gone. Today, Jon is 60 and living his life in the body of a healthy 30-year-old. He will die one day, but he is likely to live like a young man until he gets there.

The hard reality of our biology is that we are built to move. Exercise is the master signaling system that tells our cells to grow instead of fade. When we exercise, that process of growth spreads throughout every cell in our bodies, making us functionally younger. Not a little bit younger—a lot younger. True biological aging is a surprisingly slow and graceful process. You can live out your life in a powerful, healthy body if you are willing to put in the work.

Let’s take a step back to see how exercise works at the cellular level. Your body is made up of trillions of cells that live mostly for a few weeks or months, die and are replaced by new cells in an endless cycle. For example, your taste buds live only a few hours, white blood cells live 10 days, and your muscle cells live about three months. Even your bones dissolve and are replaced, over and over again. A few key stem cells in each organ and your brain cells are the only ones that stick around for the duration. All of your other cells are in a constant state of renewal.

You replace about 1% of your cells every day. That means 1% of your body is brand-new today, and you will get another 1% tomorrow. Think of it as getting a whole new body every three months. It’s not entirely accurate, but it’s pretty close. Viewed that way, you are walking around in a body that is brand-new since Christmas—new lungs, new liver, new muscles, new skin. Look down at your legs and realize that you are going to have new ones by the Fourth of July. Whether that body is functionally younger or older is a choice you make by how you live.

You choose whether those new cells come in stronger or weaker. You choose whether they grow or decay each day from then on. Your cells don’t care which choice you make. They just follow the directions you send. Exercise, and your cells get stronger; sit down, and they decay.

This whole system evolved over billions of years out in nature, where all animals face two great cellular challenges: The first is to grow strong, fast and fit in the spring, when food abounds and there are calories to fuel hungry muscles, bones and brains. The second is to decay as fast as possible in the winter, when calories disappear and surviving starvation is the key to life. You would think that food is the controlling signal for this, but it’s not. Motion controls your system.

Though we’ve moved indoors and left that life behind, our cells still think we’re living out on the savannah, struggling to stay alive each day. There are no microwaves or supermarkets in nature. If you want to eat, you have to hunt or forage every single day. That movement is a signal that it’s time to grow. So, when you exercise, your muscles release specific substances that travel throughout your bloodstream, telling your cells to grow. Sedentary muscles, on the other hand, let out a steady trickle of chemicals that whisper to every cell to decay, day after day after day.

Men like Jon, who go from sedentary to fit, cut their risk of dying from a heart attack by 75% over five years. Women cut their risk by 80%—and heart attacks are the largest single killer of women. Both men and women can double their leg strength with three months of exercise, and most of us can double it again in another three months. This is true whether you’re in your 30s or your 90s. It’s not a miracle or a mystery. It’s your biology, and you’re in charge.

The other master signal to our cells—equal and, in some respects, even more important than exercise—is emotion. One of the most fascinating revelations of the last decade is that emotions change our cells through the same molecular pathways as exercise. Anger, stress and loneliness are signals for “starvation” and chronic danger. They “melt” our bodies as surely as sedentary living. Optimism, love and community trigger the process of growth, building our bodies, hearts and minds.

Men who have a heart attack and come home to a family are four times less likely to die of a second heart attack. Women battling heart disease or cancer do better in direct proportion to the number of close friends and relatives they have. Babies in the ICU who are touched more often are more likely to survive. Everywhere you look, you see the role of emotion in our biology. Like exercise, it’s a choice.

It’s hard to exercise every day. And with our busy lives, it’s even harder to find the time and energy to maintain relationships and build communities. But it’s worth it when you consider the alternative. Go for a walk or a run, and think about it. Deep in our cells, down at the level of molecular genetics, we are wired to exercise and to care. We’re beginning to wake up to that as a nation, but you might not want to wait. You might want to join Barbara, Jon and millions of others and change your life. Start today. Your cells are listening.


Dr. Henry S. Lodge is on the faculty of Columbia Medical School and is co-author of “Younger Next Year” (Workman).


Need help getting motivated to exercise? Coach Sally can help you!

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Have you ever thought about hiring a coach?

I found this article about coaching. It explains the benefits you could get from working with a coach. I am currently offering a Spring Special for anyone interested in trying out coaching. Click here for more details about my Spring Special that lasts through April 30th, 2007.


What is Coaching and is It for Me?
By Elaine Hamilton


Coaching Creates lasting change. A Coach helps you to focus on what you want in life, helps you to plan, and finally put into action events that will get you there. A Coach provides the sounding board, the support, and the extra motivation to keep you on track. Most importantly, a Coach is always on your side.

Changes usually fail because we lack persistence; it’s too easy to fall back on old habits and the way we've always done things. For change to last, you need to break the old habit and replace it with a new and healthier one. A Coach provides the encouragement you need to keep persisting.

When we change, all those around us have to change too - and this can be hard for others to support. When we are trying to break out of old molds, sometimes those we love most try to hold us back - not because they don't love us, but because most people fear change. A coach is an objective yet supportive partner in your efforts to change, especially when you need to create a supportive environment beyond your friends and family.

WHO CAN A COACH HELP?

Anyone who is willing to apply themselves, and wanting to grow. My most successful clients are willing to be 100% honest about themselves, and willing to dig deep. They are usually very courageous, and take action.

Coaching only works when you are motivated to try new ways of thinking, and are open to feeling ‘uncomfortable’ as new habits are formed. People who respond best to coaching are self-aware, enjoy personal growth, and willing to be honest with themselves.

WHY COACHING WORKS

It’s a Partnership not a Crutch!
A coach supports you, yet is independent. The relationship is equal, and respectful. Its not counseling or psychotherapy, the focus is always on what you want to achieve

There are Frequent Meetings and Structure.
Goals and direction are set and weekly reviews are made. It is very motivating, and amazing progress is made! Having accountability means that new habits are much easier to form and keep.

Focus is Holistic.
The aim is to strengthen all areas of your life and not just focus on the issue at hand. Life is much easier, and clearer, when in balance.

Better Goals are Set.
You set the goals you truly want, and are ready for. Higher goals are set because of the support and affirmation you get from the coach.

The work is Deep and Meaningful.
A coach helps you get to the source of what's happening, instead of working on the surface symptoms. Coaches help you uncover the true issues at work.

You take Effective Action.
The focus is on awareness and action to create the life you want more quickly vs. being 'busy'. Actions are chosen because they will have a profound impact on your goals, not just to have a hefty ‘to do’ list.

The Law of Attraction is Applied.
When you feel good about yourself, you begin to attract good things into your life, as opposed to chasing it or trying hard to get it. This is when you are in the 'flow'.

HOW DOES A COACHING SESSION WORK?

A typical coaching session takes place face to face, or via telephone. Sessions are usually 45min to an hour. Conversations might centre around; What’s working and what’s not. Things you are currently stretching for and issues you would like to resolve. Any actions you are currently taking and actions you feel inspired to take in the future. Any barriers you feel resistance to and ways to overcome them.

Every session is focused on finding ways forward, not looking backwards.

Most Coaches offer free introductory sessions so that both Coach and "Coachee" can see if there is a good fit. When you talk to a Coach, have some goals prepared and see what sort of questions the Coach asks you, and whether you have a good 'gut feel' about how the session went. Its good to shop around and talk to several Coaches...I always do!

Elaine Hamilton, Life Coach and Reiki Master Teacher, has been teaching and speaking internationally since 1995 helping thousands of people through her workshops and personal consultations.

Elaine is founder of http://www.Wahara.com, the first global community of specialist Coaches blogging and sharing their expertise online. Visit Wahara and download the incredible free etips ‘Key Success Factors – the top contributors to success’ including tips and secrets from our specialist Coaches. Find out what our expert Coaches tell their clients all in one great Esource!

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Elaine_Hamilton

What Should You Be Saying When Others Ask "What Do You Do?"
By Yvonne Weld Platinum Quality Author

Small talk is society’s way of cutting the silence, of filling the empty void that makes many of us nervous. When faced with a situation involving just us and a stranger or someone that we are not well acquainted with, it is our innate reaction to talk about the weather or news events as opposed to feeling comfortable sitting in silence. How many times a day are you asked, “So what do you do?” If you are like most, your answer is usually confined to a simple professional answer, “I am a self-employed ___________”. In most cases this is the end of the conversation or you then ask “and you?” But let’s face it, do we really care and did the person asking the initiating question care? The next time you are faced with this question, take the time to find an answer that makes them care and create enough interest to keep the conversation flowing.

As a small business owner it is important to talk to anyone and everyone about your business because let’s face it, anyone could be a potential client and the person asking could know of potential clients. When answering the question “What do you do?” I am not talking about starting an hour long conversation where you get into the meat and potatoes of your job and start relaying a grocery list of your skills and capabilities. Rather I am talking about giving them something to be interested in talking about and something to make them spread the word about you. When looking for that interesting factor, think back to when you first started your business. What excited you and drew you to start this business? What makes you stand out from the crowd and makes others excited to hear about your business?

Here are some ideas to get you started:

1. Provide a hook or a reason for potential clients to remember you and your business. Paint a picture for the person that is asking. Imagine a person selling a cloth that provides a streak free shine every time. They explain to the person that they no longer have to lug bottles of glass cleaner and paper towels, but simply dampen the cloth and rub and the cloth does the rest. I guarantee the next time that person is lugging glass cleaner and paper towels they will think about that cloth.

2. Give them a reason to ask more. Imagine the questions when you hear of a person who just opened a massage therapy business that utilizes water but the patient never gets wet. What part of your business is most likely to make people ask questions?

3. What makes you stand out from others like you? I am a virtual assistant who provides bookkeeping services. I also provide administrative support and many people choose to work with me because they only want to deal with one person to assist them as opposed to both a bookkeeper and an administrative assistant.

4. Ask a question that will provoke an emotion. This will enable the person to think of you every time that emotion is felt. For example, ask “have you ever felt overwhelmed by the unorganization present in your home? I am a personal organizer who not only organizes things for you, but also provides you with tools and resources to improve your own organizational skills.” The next time someone is feeling overwhelmed and is in a state of chaos I am sure they will think of you.

Always, always, always keep in mind that although the person you are talking about might not be your target client, you can never be sure what fifty people they know. Truly talking about your business can make the difference in truly creating a thriving 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

Yvonne Weld is the owner of Canadian based ABLE Virtual Assistant Services and the author of "The Ultimate Guide to Creating a Thriving Business". For more information visit http://www.thrivingbusinessmanual.com

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Yvonne_Weld

Monday, March 19, 2007

How to stay organized?
It’s all about planning, planning, planning (and then actually doing!).

While working in the corporate world I had the fortune of being sent to Franklin-Covey training seminars to learn their system on getting organized. Here are a few of the things I took home:

Planning saves time! Take 15 minutes everyday to plan your day and you will be amazed how much more productive you are.

I have customized the Franklin-Covey system so it works for me. You can integrate this method in whatever way works best for you. The system I use has daily task lists. I suggest getting some kind of system where you can list tasks by day… use outlook, a paper planner or a spiral notebook.

Are there a million things floating around in your head that you know you have to do but don’t know where to start? Here is where to start: write down or type every single personal and business thing you need to do today, tomorrow, next week, next month, etc. on one sheet of paper. This is your master task list.

Go through your master task list and see what must be done today. Put every task that must be done today or that you would like to get done today on a new sheet of paper with today’s date on it, now cross out those tasks from the master task list. Take today’s task list and prioritize it. Every task that HAS to be done today should be labeled with an A, tasks that would be really nice to get done today should be labeled with a B, and tasks that could be done today but don’t really have to be are labeled with a C. Now go through all the A tasks and prioritize those. A1, A2, A3… and get to work!

Start with A1 and be completely focused on it. Before moving to A2 finish A1 and check it off. Keep doing this throughout the day. When you reach the end of the day review your list and give yourself a pat on the back for all those tasks you completed. If there are any that did not get finished… that is okay. Move them to tomorrow’s task page and start over again tomorrow morning.

Once a week I write up my big master task list and then take time to divide it up for the whole week. Ultimately, I avoid doing any last minute rushed work because I plan ahead. If a project is due on Friday, it will be listed on Tuesday’s task list.

No to-do list or calendar system will work if you don’t look at it and use it every day. Remember to plan, plan, plan but also remember to take action!
This article originally appeared in the VANetworking newsletter on 2/10/07.

Sally Kuhlman provides customized one-on-one and small group trainings and consultations teaching businesses and entrepreneurs how to be more successful with their social media efforts. Visit www.SallyAroundTheBay.com for info.



Sunday, March 18, 2007

Landing Clients... It's All in the Bait.

A couple months ago, I told my husband I was going to revamp my business by defining a niche and a target market. My niche is writing. My target market – well, at the time, it was anyone or anything that needed writing or editing services. “Don’t you think you’ll be limiting yourself by concentrating JUST on writing?” he asked me with obvious concern. “No, not at all” I quickly responded. He looked at me puzzled. My husband loves stories so I knew a fishing analogy would help him see the light.

“You know how when we go fishing you use a lure and I use worms?” I asked him. “Yes,” he replied still visibly confused. “Well, what do I catch and what do you catch?” I asked with some sarcasm. “You catch a lot more fish than I do that’s for sure – but mine are bigger!” he said with a level of confidence reserved only for things he is passionate about – fishing being one of them. I knew he understood immediately. A fisherman always does – perhaps it’s all that time they have to contemplate the meaning of life as they wait for “the big one” to strike. Make no mistake about it – if you want to land a big one, you need the right bait. My husband understood the analogy right away because he knows when I fish with worms I catch all kinds of different fish, but most of them are small and I use a lot of bait.

I’ve always loved fishing with worms and even raised night crawlers when I was a teenager. I never really saw the merits of using a lure and certainly never thought a fish would be interested in a flashy piece of metal. When I fish, I carefully position my worm around the hook and cast everywhere that looks inviting and weed free. Then I sit and wait. The first few nibbles always excite me and I usually try and set the hook too soon. More times than not, the worm and hook are too big for the fish so I can’t catch the fish but I keep the worm for several casts. Sometimes however, when I cast out, the worm breaks free and lops off a few feet from where my hook hits the water and I get aggravated! So I normally spend the day feeding all the little fish in the lake.

Meanwhile, my husband is carefully choosing lures and trying different casting techniques in his quest to catch a fish. When I ask him why he keeps changing lures, why he doesn’t just stick with one and be done with it, he tells me that his choice of lure is dependent upon many factors. “Really” I wonder to myself – although he apparently sees the question in my eyes and feels the need to explain. Apparently the water clarity, time of day, depth, water temperature, type of water, and type of fish desired (among other things) determine the size, color, shape and texture of the appropriate lure. Wow, that seems like so much work! I thought fishing was supposed to be relaxing. Once he finally chooses a lure, he casts out and reels in and casts out and reels in and casts out and reels in. Good grief, I just throw my worm out and wait. Not him, he tries this spot and that spot until suddenly, bam, he hooks into a big ole bass. Then the excitement begins as he really wants to land the fish. It’s usually a big one – enough to feed both of us and make a tasty dinner. It’s hard work and it takes some time, but he almost always lands the fish. Content and proud, my husband displays the fish for the required “look at the monster I caught” photo and then cleans it. More often than not, I am very happy because if we had to eat the fish I caught, we would be cleaning fish for quite a while.

Defining a target market is like fishing with a lure. As a business owner, you increase your chances of successfully landing clients by careful defining your target market. How old are they? Where do they shop? How much money do they make? Where do they live? What are their hobbies? Where do they work? If you spend some time gathering this information, you’ll know where to cast your line and how to choose the most effective “lure” to attract the customers you desire.

You are not limiting yourself or your business by defining a target market; in reality, you are attracting a world of new and exciting possibilities.

Laurie Dart, owner of Writing Wisely, is the author of the Everyday Guide to Writing Wisely. She provides writing and editing services to entrepreneurs and small business owners. Visit http://www.writingwisely.com for info.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Laurie_Dart

How to Make Money Writing and Selling e-Books

Writing and selling e-Books are a great way to generate passive income and establish yourself as an expert in your field. You may be thinking that you can’t write an e-Book for one reason or another or that the process of writing and selling is just too overwhelming. While it’s true it is a big undertaking, it is not impossible.

Many successful infopreneurs generate a great deal of passive income selling information online. The most obvious advantage of being an infopreneur is the low overhead and high earning potential. Once you’ve written an e-Book, tele-seminar, e-course or other information product, it can be sold over and over again. It is even better than selling a traditional book because you do not have to print anything and you don’t have to jump through publisher hoops. The costs to produce a piece of information are the same whether you are selling to one person or to millions.

To make it manageable, break the process into steps. The writing portion can be broken down as follows: choosing your topic; doing the research; writing the content; editing and proofreading; finishing touches; and finally publishing preferences. When you’re thinking about choosing your topic, think about things you’re very familiar with, passionate about or experienced with. Make sure your research is current and credible. A visit to your local library can help you verify facts and check statements. Editing and proofreading are critical. It’s difficult to develop any form of credibility if your content is littered with typographic errors. Once you’ve finished your book, explore different self-publishing options. An Internet search will reveal a myriad of choices.

After you’ve chosen your method of publication and you’re getting ready to sell, some of the things you’ll need to consider include: copyright, acknowledgements, bios, a cover, how the book is formatted, testimonials, bonuses you’ll offer, sales copy, payment processors, autoresponders, domain names, hosting, affiliate programs, audio messages and a Web site. Include a copyright statement as well as a statement about transferring e-Books – basically that it’s not allowed. Also include your acknowledgements. Thank everyone who helped you to write your book or gave you the required space and time to do it. It’s important to acknowledge family and friends especially when they provide much needed support and encouragement. You’ll need to include a bio and decide on a cover. Gather testimonials from people you respect who are prominent in the field you’ve written in. Create some bonuses to include with your e-Book. These can be checklists or coupons or special reports. Finally, create the sales copy for your Web site and set up your affiliate programs.

You’re almost ready to go. Next, you’ll need to create a marketing plan to promote your e-Book. Include such things as: signature lines, business cards, a blog, newsletters, article writing, product or service give-a-ways, press releases, affiliate contests, free classifieds, tele-classes, free samples, pay-per-click advertising, product or service donations, and e-Bay. You’ll also want to address how you plan to keep in contact with your customers after they’ve purchased your product or service. Take every opportunity you can to promote your e-Book. The more exposure you gain, the higher you’ll rank in the search engines.

The Internet has changed the way people look for and acquire information. For many the Internet is an overwhelming network of unimaginable volumes of information difficult to navigate and lacking in credibility. Infopreneurs wade through the myriad of information available on the Internet weeding out erroneous or outdated information and consolidating and presenting current accurate information in easily accessible and understandable forms.

Laurie Dart, owner of Writing Wisely, author of The Everyday Guide to Writing Wisely and co-author of The Everyday Guide to Writing and Marketing Your e-Book Wisely provides writing and editing services to entrepreneurs and small business owners. To learn how to write your own e-Book, visit: http://www.penandpublishebooks.com

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Laurie_Dart