Thinking Out Loud

New Year…

Ok, yeah you caught me. I am listening to “Thinking Out Loud” by Ed Sheeran. My sister called in the middle of one of his songs recently and I almost didn’t answer the phone. lol  She is still pretty sure based on my maturity level that she is older than me, which isn’t the case. I am the older one! (stomp, stomp!)

I obviously don’t have a lot to say tonight that is too intelligent. I just wanted to reach out to whoever is out there and say hello.

I have been focused a lot on my business these last couple days due to catalysts that have occurred over the last year. Sometimes, especially at the beginning of a new year, you need to step back and reevaluate things.

virtual assistant, omaha

When you feel like quitting, remember why you started.

I don’t feel like quitting at all. Quite the contrary, but we all have days and things that make us feel inadequate and challenge our confidence. It is in those times that we sometimes have to evaluate the path we are on and listen to that still small voice (and sometimes Ed Sheeran) to make sure it is the right one. And if it isn’t, get on the right one.

Have you been contemplating change for this new year? Have you felt something new on the horizon since later in the last year? Maybe it’s time to take that leap and do something new.

Sometimes you have to reevaluate your target market and even the services that you are providing. Do they align with who you are and your skill set? If not, it may be time for some clarity. That’s my word for the year.

Clarity…

I could write a whole post about that I think. It’s a great year to figure out why you do what you do. Or to remember the first reason. What was the passion behind your decision to start your business? Have you become buried in the details once again?

I have seen it time and time again. We know that what we do is what brings in the money, but when we allow ourselves to be pulled down into the details, we lose precious time that could be spent creating new business and strengthening the relationships we have with currently clients. Is it time to do some delegating so that you can gain that clarity I mentioned and get back to doing what you love.

Get a Virtual Assistant…

Do you struggle with delegating or trying to figure out what to outsource and what you need to handle yourself? Do you worry that if you train a virtual assistant to do a task that it will take too much time and in the time that it takes to train someone you could do the task about 4 times? You probably could, but if it is something that you have to do over and over then it is just an investment of your time and money to let someone else to do it.

Additionally, there are a lot of virtual assistants out there who are highly skilled in a great variety of skills. And it is a little like dating to find the right one. I get it. But it will be worth your time and money to get that one thing or those 20 things off of your plate so you can get back to what you love doing.

If you are looking for a virtual assistant and have some questions, I would be happy to talk to you. Let me know how I can help you find the right one.

Have you worked with a virtual assistant in the past? What worked and what didn’t?

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Saving Money with a VA

Do You Need A Virtual Assistant?

Running a small business means you have a lot on your plate. How can you maximize your earning potential while still reining in operating costs? Partner with a virtual assistant! How often have you sat at your desk, stared at your mound of paperwork and thought wistfully about hiring an assistant–only to have second thoughts because of the cost? A virtual assistant is an independent contractor. This means that you won’t pay for employee taxes, employee life & health benefits, 401K’s, coffee breaks, employee social time, sick days, and vacation days. Since you are dealing with an experienced professional, you won’t pay for training, either. This gives you more time to devote to your clients, more money to market your business and more freedom to focus on your company’s vision.

An experienced VA to call on in time of need or to build a long-term relationship provides peace of mind. One of the most exciting things about having a virtual assistant to collaborate and partner with is that they have a vested interest in your business. Your success is their success!

 

Your Team of Experts

Having a virtual assistant is like having an entire team of experts at your disposal. Your VA can handle tasks like bookkeeping, transcription, social media marketing, print media, branding, reservations and event planning and many other virtual concierge services, document formatting, website building, blog planning, and search engine optimization. All of this is work that is now off your plate.

In addition, your virtual assistant probably has many business connections. Your VA may adeptly manage your on-the-road coaching schedule, but perhaps she doesn’t do bookkeeping. Chances are, though, that she knows a great bookkeeper to fill that job for you.

If you find yourself buried in paperwork or with a long undone to-do list, try partnering with a virtual assistant and feel the difference. You may only need one hour of help a month, or you may need over ten hours a week. Whichever is the case, you are sure to save money working with a VA. Don’t hesitate to take that step today. Get it off your plate and out of your mind!

Do you work with a virtual assistant?

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A Virtual Assistant Supports Virtually Any Industry

People all over the world contract VAs daily on a short or long-term basis to help them with routine tasks and special projects. As a busy professional, you need more time to focus on the things that you do best. Let your Virtual Assistant focus on the rest.

 

Some examples of the various industries that are using virtual assistants are:

  • Realtors – You need flyers to show off your listings! There are several sample flyers in the links on the left side of the page.
  • Therapists – Your Virtual Assistant will set up an automatic online calendar for you that is HIPAA secure and very private. Your clients will be automatically emailed the day before their appointments. Your VA will also manage print technology like business cards and brochures.
  • Dentists – VA’s provide a simple after-hours service that is ideal for a dentist. If you’re interested get in touch to learn all about it.
  • Physicians – We do transcription from both voice files and written files.
  • Writers – A Virtual Assistant will proofread, format, schedule book signings, work with publishers and manage all of your social media needs.
  • Professional Speakers – Some VA’s love to create presentations on PowerPoint, Keynote and Prezi.
  • Churches – To connect with their communities, churches need interactive websites and social media outreach.
  • Life or Professional Coaches – Your VA can help you with scheduling clients, speaking engagements, email as well as voicemail management.
  • Salon Owners – A Virtual Assistant can set up a website to show off your awesome portfolio and help you increase your salon’s customer base.
  • CPAs – Help with data entry, bookkeeping and much more allow a CPA to stay on top of their busy office tasks.
  • We even assist other Virtual Assistants with their own clients and day-to-day operations.

The list is practically endless because anyone can use a VA. Let your VA manage the burden of your administrative tasks. We look forward to hearing from you!

Are You Emailing From The Toilet?

If you cannot disconnect long enough to use the facilities without communicating to a client, then you need a new strategy. First get Gmail/G Suite and then get a virtual assistant to manage your email.

Separate. Delegate.

Separate It

It’s no secret that G Suite is one of my favorite apps. A few of the great features are:

  • You can train emails to go into any folder that you would like them to go into. Plus it is highly intuitive and will learn what you need it to filter.
  • It’s not like the Outlook or Mac Mail rules. The filters continue working on the servers and your phone even when your computer is offline.

If you do use Gmail, I highly recommend setting up filters and labels. It’s quick and easy. Simply put a check in front of a message that contains a sender from whom you receive quite a few emails. Select ‘More’ in the menu bar above your messages and then select ‘Filter messages like these’. Then follow through the steps to get emails from that particular sender or with that particular subject or content out of your inbox.

If you use iCloud, you can now create rules that will work similarly to filter emails into specific locations. Log into iCloud online. Click on the message in your inbox. Then click on the gear icon in the upper right hand corner and select rules. Again follow the steps to create a rule to keep emails from that sender or with that subject out of your inbox.

I did this over and over for several days and now hardly have to do it at all.

Delegate It To Your Virtual Assistant To Manage

If you are emailing from the toilet, then I can only assume that you are short on time. Do you make money responding to email? Maybe you do. If not, however, and it isn’t boosting your ROI, you may want to consider a new strategy. Keep it simple. You probably have emails coming in from social media sites, newsletters, and other automated notifications. A virtual assistant can easily help you with this kind of task. You will have to explain specifically what you are wanting your virtual assistant to handle for you. But you should not have to explain the fundamentals of how to manage email. (If you do, then I suggest that you look for another virtual assistant.)

To enable your virtual assistant to be autonomous and very efficient, I suggest the following:

  1. Set up a separate company email address (i.e. info@…, support@…, admin@…, name@…, etc.) specifically for your virtual assistant to manage. You could also create a Gmail address specifically for this purpose or allow her/him to login directly to your inbox, if that is within your comfort-zone.
  2. Update newsletters, social media sites, blogs, etc. that you are subscribed to and would like your virtual assistant to manage with the new email address.
  3. Keep looking for senders/subjects to delegate to your virtual assistant, freeing you to disconnect from your inbox for a while, use the facilities the way nature intended…alone, and spend more time increasing your ROI with your skillset.
  4. And don’t worry, your virtual assistant knows all about email etiquette.

*Note: To be clear, virtual assistants are professionals, not employees, who have a background as an administrative assistant (in most cases) and vast experience managing email, contacts and calendars for multiple upper level staff or C Level executives. They have so much experience, generally, that they have decided rather than continue to work in Corporate America, they’d rather have their own business providing support to entrepreneurs and other businesses.

 

What tools do you use to manage email? 

 

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What is a Virtual Assistant?

Do You Need A Virtual Assistant For Your Business?

I often hear the question ‘You do what?’ So, I thought I’d take the opportunity to explain more about what a Virtual Assistant can do for a business.

A Virtual Assistant is essentially an administrative consultant or a partner who can multitask and get things done for you. This is a partner who is also available to advise you about tweaking your business so that it is more streamlined and efficient. If you own or manage a business, but find that you are spinning your wheels in the sand each month trying to get all the administrative details done, enter the VA. Since VAs provide services remotely, but only when you need them, hence you WILL additionally save time and money.

 

Your virtual assistant will partner with you in these areas:

  •  Email support
  • Calendar management
  • Appointment setting – This isn’t actually a typical thing a virtual assistant takes on and is often better handled by someone there in your office or a call center, but if it doesn’t require live calling, some virtual assistants will be able to handle this task.
  • Database support – Many virtual assistants really shine in this area.
  • Social media support – Your virtual assistant may not be a marketing guru, but she can likely help you keep a consistent presence in social media.
  • Hardware advice – Need a new computer, your virtual assistant is no stranger to the internet and can build a comparison document for you or spreadsheet if needed to help you find the best tech at the best price.
  • Smartphone setup – This isn’t for everyone but definitely something that I have found myself doing on a regular basis for clients whether in person or over the phone.

 

And many other more specialized areas as well…

  • Web development
  • Internet research
  • Data entry
  • SEO
  • Automation
  • Streamlining
  • Video editing
  • Proofreading
  • Ghost writing
  • Graphic design
  • Liaison for clients or with other businesses
  • Correspondence
  • Speaking engagements
  • Blogging
  • Transcription
  • Bookkeeping

This list is by no means exhaustive list and while any administrative work can be done remotely, this is a specialized service. Not all virtual assistants are created equally so don’t settle, remember you get what you pay for. Working with someone remotely may take some getting used to, but soon you will not remember what life was like without a virtual assistant.

A virtual assistant is also the ideal solution for businesses that need full- or part-time office assistant, but don’t want to pay for office space, furniture, computers, coffee breaks, benefits, taxes and vacation? With virtual assistant services, you’ll pay a flat rate regardless of how long the work actually takes. Since you will be saving on regular in office expenses you will be able to afford the best virtual assistant.

Whew! Seriously? You ask! That’s right and the benefits are too many to count. A virtual assistant is THE solution for small business and office management.

Have you used a virtual assistant? If so, what has your experience been?

14 Ways A Virtual Assistant Can Help An Artist

A Virtual Assistant for An Artist?

You are an artist. You visualize, you create, and you fashion meaning as well as beauty when you interpret the world around you. Your time is far too valuable to waste it organizing the technical and business parts of your world. That’s where a virtual assistant enters the picture. Virtual assistants can help an artist by managing business particulars such as paperwork, print media, a website and social media. You need someone to help you handle your business details! The support of a virtual assistant will allow you to streamline the business end of your career and pursue your passion: art.

How Will a Virtual Assistant Help You?

  1. Calls for Entries – Your virtual assistant will compile lists of calls for entries as well as send you links to the Prospectus.
  2. Submit forms and applications – A virtual assistant ensures that everything is postmarked in a timely manner.
  3. Gallery research – Your virtual assistant researches and compiles all the pertinent information you need to know about each gallery you are considering.
  4. Alerts for upcoming deadlines – Deadlines aren’t your thing? A virtual assistant’s job is to set up an automatic tickler system which will will email you in advance of each important deadline.
  5. Find a photographer – Do you need a professional to preserve your art? Your virtual assistant will find the right person for the job.
  6. Put images on disc or memory stick – Your virtual assistant can arrange to have photos of your artwork uploaded to a portable storage device and then shipped to you.
  7. Print media – A virtual assistant will create postcards, business cards, brochures and any other print media needed for your business as well as your upcoming shows.

 

There’s So Much More…

  1. Order supplies – Do you need art supplies or office supplies? Your virtual assistant orders whatever you need and has it shipped to you.
  2. Find classes and workshops – Virtual assistants are ‘at home’ on the Internet and can locate classes and workshops for you.
  3. Promotional information – Are you looking to increase your name recognition? As an artist you need to be. Need your information submitted to various publications? Your virtual assistant will get the word out effortlessly.
  4. Shipping – If you need your artwork shipped, the virtual assistant will make sure it is handled with care.
  5. Format labels for your art – Your virtual assistant will make professional labels for your artwork.
  6. Create a website – A website is essential to success for the modern artist, so your VA can create a website that dramatically showcases your unique artwork.
  7. Social media – Are you still marketing your art the old fashioned way? A virtual assistant will launch your business into social media (Facebook, Twitter) and additionally link and synchronize all of your accounts flawlessly.

 

As an Artist, You Should Be Creating, Not Managing Your Website or Paperwork

If you are an artist who wants to spend your time creating instead of managing documents, files or performing administrative tasks, we highly recommend that you find a virtual assistant. Let a virtual assistant take over the nitty-gritty details, so you will be free to do what’s really important. You will be so glad you did!

Are you an artist that uses a virtual assistant? Will you tell us about your experience in the comment section below?

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More Reasons To Work With A Virtual Assistant

Do you need more reasons to work with a virtual assistant?

Your business is a living, growing thing and needs to be nurtured, and weeded (like a garden sometimes). As your business grows, so do your strengths in the main focus of your business. And as your business grows, so do your weaknesses in the areas that a virtual assistant can come alongside of you and help you to complete your vision.

  • Manage the mounds of incoming emails that you have in your inbox
  • Set up a calendar that automatically reminds you of important and routine upcoming appointments
  • Create an email campaign to market your business
  • Submit a press release
  • Create a PowerPoint, Keynote or Prezi presentation
  • Beef up the search engine recognition for your website
  • A Virtual Assistant can transcribe your notes or recordings
  • Type the minutes from your last meeting
  • Edit and proofread your documents
  • Ghost write your novel
  • Create spreadsheets
  • Compile statistics
  • Research the market or a product

 

And as your business grows, you will need a virtual assistant to:

  • Book your speaking engagements
  • Arrange your travel and create your itinerary
  • Reserve a table at your favorite restaurant
  • Create your business cards, flyers, brochures and letterhead
  • Put together a website
  • Research that big purchase you’re thinking about
  • Arrange domain name and hosting packages
  • Convert documents to PDFs
  • Confirm your appointments
  • Open and sort your mail
  • Handle a bulk mailing
  • Set up an online workspace for your business
  • Create your labels
  • A virtual assistant isn’t reserved for business only. We can also help create a family calendar to simplify your time off work.
  • And any other administrative task that you just don’t have time to deal with or don’t want to deal with.

A virtual assistant loves her work and does it with excellence. Virtual assistants  have been in the administrative business for many years and look forward to serving you in any administrative capacity that you need. Contact us today!

4 Projects to Delegate During the Holidays

Having A Virtual Assistant Is Like A Present To Yourself

The Holiday Season is always full of wonderful memories and great times with family and friends. However, it is also a time of stress and rushing to get everything wrapped up before the magic begins. This year, instead of arriving at your holiday gathering or party out of breath, change things up a bit. Here are 4 projects that you can get off your plate by delegating them to your Virtual Assistant:

  1. Holiday Greeting Cards ~ Do you use a CRM, a POS system, a spreadsheet, or sticky notes with addresses on them? No problem. Scan, fax, mail, email or SMS them to your virtual assistant. She can create labels for you in a jiffy. She will also order greeting cards for you, have them shipped to herself and send them out in time for the holidays.
  1. Shopping ~ Have gifts to buy for family, friends, coworkers or clients? Just send your VA a list with addresses and desired gifts. She can not only get them sent on time, but will also do the research to find the best deal for you.
  1. Party Planning ~ Your VA can select, order and send out invitations, order decorations, arrange for a caterer and handle all of the other details. Tell her your size, taste and the type of party you’re having. She can even find the perfect dress and have it delivered to your door.
  1. Appointments ~ Need to have your hair done or get a massage before the big day? Have all appointments made for you and added to your calendar.

What’s that? You don’t have a virtual assistant? That’s easy, just contact us today and we will send you the names of a few of the best in the biz!

Happy Holidays from all of us at:

Your Admin BFF

 

3 Steps to Adding Delegation to Your Life

Don’t Wait — Delegate!

There is one attribute that all successful businesses have in common — from the single-bodied LLC in a home office, to well-established enterprises with many employees: management that understands how to utilize the power to delegate!

Delegation can be more difficult for some people than others. A perfectionist may cling to micromanaging every detail; the natural-born leader may feel that he must hold all the reins while his employees merely carry out carefully-directed tasks. Artful delegation creates more success for everyone involved. It is worth recognizing and overcoming any preventive misgivings.

Whether you’re overwhelmed with customers or struggling to grow your client base, delegation may be your answer.  Here are 3 steps to get you started:

Step 1: Mental Inventory

What has prevented you from delegating in the past?  Fear?  Pride?  Identify, rationalize, and dismiss any emotional misgivings about delegating facets of your company duties.  Think positively about what other talents can bring to your business.

Step 2: Resources Inventory

Consider those around you. If you have employees, think outside the box. What skills do they have that you may not be using.  Perhaps you’ve noticed that the girl you have answering the telephone does an excellent job of composing professional and well-written emails, and she has a great sense of humor.  Could she use her personality and writing skills to start up and take charge of that company blog you can’t find the time to launch?

If you’re a one-person enterprise, have you explored your options to delegate to an independent contractor online? This may come at a fraction of the cost of hiring a full- or part-time employee to commute to your office?  The overall consciousness of the business world is behind the curve regarding what resources are now available to streamline and improve performance on recession-era budgets.  Businesses of any size should explore the amazing possibilities of delegating to administrative support specialists who work from remote locations.

Step 3: Let Loose, but Don’t Let Go!

So, you’ve acknowledged your need to delegate, you’ve found the right people to take on some of your duties, and now it’s time to kick back and relax!  –Not so much.  While artful delegation does require that you transfer a hearty amount of trust to the delegatee, you do maintain the ultimate responsibility for all facets of your business. So, while you clear some things off your plate, keep everything on your radar. Constantly gauge the results of your delegation and ask if your customers happier?  Is your client base increasing?  Delegation does require investment, and should quickly produce results.