Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Boundaries are a Necessity

Running a Successful Business from your Home

Setting Boundaries when you work from home is probably the most important thing you can do for your business, your family and yourself.

Do any of these descriptions sound like you? If they do it is probably time for you to set some boundaries:
  • Workaholics: never get off the computer and loved ones feel neglected and begin to resent their business
  • Doormats: family, friends, neighbors and others needs are always coming first and our business ends up getting pushed to the back burner… which means the income stops flowing and once again our loved ones feel neglected because we are not providing the financial support we are capable of providing, we get bitter towards our family and begin to resent them because we have no time to focus on our business. When we say yes to being the president of the board or heading the auction at our child’s school what are we saying no to? Free time with our families, time to work on our business, what else?
  • Online Addicts: we become addicted to forums, chat rooms, blogs, emails, IM, online networking and volunteering, we don’t know when to say no. We think we have to do this to build our business, we feel guilty being away from our computer, afraid we might miss something, keep volunteering, chatting, posting hoping it will turn into business… what it really turns into is all of our time being eaten away, no billable hours to show and a resentful family and quite possibly a feeling of isolation. I’m not saying that any of this is bad, but there has to be limits… if you are spending 8 or more hours a day doing this and seeing no income or getting behind on client work, feeling overworked and stressed and know that your family is resentful, you may have a problem.

Before we can begin to set boundaries that are going to be of any success we first need to figure out our priorities in life.

Steps You Must Take to Run a Successful Business from Your Home

1. Know your goals and see where you want your business to be today and in the future

Knowing what you want is necessary before you can begin to set boundaries and limits. Do you know where you want your business to be in 1 month? 1 year? 5 years from now? How much money will you be making? How many hours a week will you be working? How much flexibility do you want in your schedule? What services do you offer? If you don’t know the answer to these questions…then before you do anything else you need to stop right now and take the time to figure it out. Sit down and brainstorm, write the story of your dream business. After you write your story, go back and read it and think about what steps you need to take to get to that point.

2. Figure out what your boundaries and limits are

Now that you know what you want and what you need to do to get it, you need to determine your boundaries. How are others going to respect your boundaries if you don’t even know what they are?

For instance, if you can’t get anything done because your kids or significant other’s needs always come first… you need to set some boundaries with them. This goes both ways, if you are neglecting your loved ones and spending all of your time on your computer you need to set some boundaries with your clients, colleagues and yourself about when work time is and when it is not.

Do you have office hours set so your clients know when it is okay to call and when it is not? Do you have certain times set aside when it is your time to work so your kids know not to interrupt you during that time (unless of course it is an emergency)?

3. Let everyone know your boundaries – communication is key!
  • Be prepared to repeat your new rules frequently to your kids, your significant other and your clients. They have all been used to the old you… it will take them some time to respect and understand the new you. Be patient and be firm.
  • Visualize a big line that you draw so you know when someone is stepping over it
  • Make a schedule
  • Make a plan
  • Create financial boundaries/limits
  • Be consistent
Sally Kuhlman, owner of Virtual Simplicity and Yvonne Weld, owner of Able Virtual Assistant Services combined their knowledge and wrote the 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.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Network Like Nobody's Watching

After reading a post from the VA Revolution blog about Self Esteem, this quote got me thinking about last night: "They don't want to expose themselves to the ridicule of being seen as shy, nervous or ignorant. They would instead prefer to stay in their corners. "

This almost happened to me last night. I almost stayed in the corner. My friend invited me to go listen to some African drumming at a dance studio. When we got there I was surprised to see a dance class going on. I just assumed it was going to be a drumming performance. It was a drumming performance/dance class. The instructor, Naby Bangoura was an amazing dancer. It was obvious the 12 students in the class done this before. My friends and I stood quietly in the back of the room watching and listening. At one point the instructor noticed us, smiled and with a gesture of his hands invited us to join the class. We shook our heads no... and I literally backed in to the corner wanting to be invisible. Then I had a conversation with myself. I never dance because I don't dance good, I have no rhythm and that's just how it is. Other people have confirmed this belief. But then I thought, I've always wanted to dance so why don't I just go for it? Who cares what these people think? If they think I am a dork that can't dance, so be it.

My friends must have been having the same conversations in their heads because at the same time the 3 of us decided to go for it. We jumped in the back of the line and started dancing. Legs, arms, heads, everything moving. I decided I wasn't going to worry about what I looked like to others and just focus on what the instructor was doing and do my best to copy him. He was nice and even came over and showed us slowly how to do the moves. I danced for about a half an hour and I enjoyed it. I just assumed I looked like a dork out there and decided it was okay to be a dork. But when I was done a few people actually came up and told me, "wow you figured out those moves fast! and you're really good at this". Despite letting go of my worries about being a dork I have to admit I was happy to hear that I didn't make a complete fool of myself.

I realized that standing in that corner I was not invisible I was standing out like a person lacking self esteem. Actually joining the group made me blend more than standing in the corner did.

As Heather and Becki said, "In fact, lack of self-esteem stands out like a sore thumb at parties, meetings, conferences and social or official functions. Individuals with low self-esteem avoid introducing themselves to others. They prefer to stay in the shadows, away from the sights of others."

I'm glad I didn't stay in the corner and that I decided to dance like nobody was watching.

When you go to business networking events do you stand in the corner or do you get out there and dance (ie. mingle, introduce yourself, ask questions)?

"Dance like nobody's watching; love like you've never been hurt. Sing like nobody's listening; live like it's heaven on earth." - Mark Twain

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

I Challenge You To Build Up Your Business

Virtual Assistants and clients often ask me, “how can I get more clients?” My answer is always a series of questions… do you network online or in person? do you follow up with your potential clients? I’ve found that a lot of people think if you put up a Website the clients/customers will come. In fact, that is usually not the case. A Website is a place for someone to go find out more information about you once they have met you somewhere else (either online or in person).

If you are trying to get new clients/customers I’d like to offer you a challenge this week. Follow up with at least one person before the end of the week. If you are not sure how to go about following up, I highly recommend reading The Art of Follow Up written by Jaime Lee Mann.

Be sure to let me know how the follow up went.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Virtual Assistants Worldwide Honor Two Colleagues

Congratulations Tawnya and Kylie!

Virtual Assistant Social Networking Community Boasts Two Award Winners for 2008. There are many Virtual Assistants (VA) who have helped to not only build recognition of the VA industry but also to provide invaluable insight and assistance to their fellow VAs. VAnetworking has become a popular social networking community online since 2003 to many Virtual Assistants sporting over thousands of members. Founder Tawnya Sutherland states, "Inside VAnetworking we are just like one big happy VA family offering advice, support and answers to many business issues at any time of the day and even in the wee hours of the morning. As a family unit we share and work together trying our best to get the word out to corporate America about the benefits of hiring a Virtual Assistant".

It isn't a coincidence then that two members of this online social network just so happen to be winners of the most prestigious awards available to VAs.

For Tawnya Sutherland (founder of VAnetworking.com) and Kylie Short (Tilda Virtual Services), they received the biggest honor during the recent third annual IVAD (International Virtual Assistant Day) celebration. Sutherland was honored as the recipient of the Thomas Leonard International Virtual Assistant of Distinction award and Kylie Short was honored as the recipient of the Janet Jordan Achievement Award. The award ceremony was held on May 16th at the OIVAC (Online International Virtual Assistants Convention) and was attended, virtually, by dozens of VAs from around the world.

The Thomas Leonard Award recognizes a Virtual Assistant that has been in business for at least five years, and who has contributed to the industry in a way that leaves a positive impact on many others, helping them build successful businesses. The Janet Jordan award recognizes a newcomer Virtual Assistant who has been in business for less than 5 years and has reached a milestone in their short career in the industry. This milestone needs to be an accomplishment that has helped to boost their new business to an overwhelming success.

During her acceptance speech, Tawnya said "I have practiced my three 'P's of success within my own VA business and wish to share these ethics with the VA community. They are: Persistence, Passion and Populace. A persistence to never give up and keep pushing through your business plan no matter what obstacles stand in your way. A passion and solid desire to reach the vision you have for you and your business. And populace, the networking with likeminded people in the VA industry."

"To be awarded The Janet Jordan Achievement Award is the greatest honor and recognition of what I have built. I am humbled by this award even more-so as it has been awarded to me by my peers," said Kylie Short during her acceptance speech.

A long-time active member of the VA community, Tawnya Sutherland founded VAnetworking.com in 2003. In a few short years, VAnetworking.com has become the largest online global social network for aspiring and successful Virtual Assistants. Tawnya has had a huge, positive impact on hundreds of VAs over the years. Her most recent project benefiting VAs worldwide is The VA Talk Show which informs, educates and entertains virtual achievers around the globe. Tawnya is the producer and host of the popular Internet radio show. In addition to her Virtual Assistance forum and her thriving businesses, Tawnya is also the creator of the internationally acclaimed Virtual Business Start Up System: a comprehensive kit that provides all the information, tools and resources a person needs to build a viable Virtual Assistance business in just 30 days.

For Kylie, Tilda Virtual Services, which is named after her daughter, began as an answer to Kylie's desire to have flexibility in her life as she actively participated in raising her children and nurturing her family. Her passion to help others is fueled by the immense joy Kylie feels in being a business owner herself. As a virtual business owner, Kylie understands the special challenges associated with establishing an online presence. Tilda Virtual Services specializes in providing administrative, online marketing, e-newsletter design, Web site design and technical support to small business owners working from home.

The International Virtual Assistant Day Awards (IVAD) has been in existence for three years now and you may view past winners at their website at http://oivac.com/vadayawards.htm States Tawnya Sutherland, "It brings a glow to my heart to see that every winner of the IVAD Awards is a member of VAnetworking.com. Obviously we are filling a hole at our social network that every VA could use to help them take their virtual business to that next level of success!"

Tawnya Sutherland

Kylie Short


Monday, June 09, 2008


6/10/08 Virtual Assistant Revolution Open House! Don't miss the party!

6/11/08 VA Networking Seminar - Creating The Spark - 3 Secrets to Creating Passion For The Work and Life That You Will Love

6/13/08 Jaime's Birthday! (Happy Birthday Jaime!)

6/16/08 Estimated taxes are due in the US

Sunday, June 01, 2008