I was surprised at how many students in a recent website development class wanted to find the easy way to being ranked #1 in the search engines.   Funny thing is they weren’t looking at the obvious.  What was true before still holds true today – content is king!  You need good content that is relevant to your business endeavors.

There are additional steps you can perform to increase your rankings i.e. add meta tags, alt tags on images, and of course submitting your url to the search engine directories.   Don’t forget to list your business on Google’s Local Business Center.

And, don’t just let your website sit out there!  Freshen your content on occasion or have something to draw visitors back to your website because they want to read your …. a) events calendar, b) latest blog post, c) witty commentary on local happenings, d) your review of the latest great book or article you’ve read.  Make them want to come to your website over the websites of your competitors.

Want more ideas or have some suggestions – send me your comments!  Need help, I can assist you virtually – even if it is just to send you reminders to complete some of the steps above!

Best to you,

Jan

Computer Tutoring

July 19, 2009

One of the services I offer is tutoring people on the basics of using the internet, their computer, and multiple programs.  Initially, they seem a bit embarrassed about contacting me, but after a quick discussion, they realize I’m not going to belittle them for not being super savvy when it comes to their computer knowledge.  I am t/here to help!

Most often my tutored clients start off thinking they are going to do irreparable damage and have ceased using their computer.  First of all, it is really hard to “break” your computer by clicking on the wrong file or in the wrong space.  Secondly, there are numerous avenues available to complete a task.  i.e.: cut and paste in Word by selecting the item/words then  a) use the edit drop-down menu, or b) right click for a pop-up menu, or c) use keyboard shortcuts Ctrl+x then Ctrl+v .

I encourage them to go about it the way that makes them the most comfortable and before long they wonder what they did before they used their computer for everything!  (Heck, I rarely use the telephone directory anymore – I go online to anywho.com).

Best to you,

Jan

Reclaim Your Desk

June 26, 2009

Lately things have been getting a bit chaotic and my desk was bearing the brunt of  being “put off”.   The stacks started off small – I call it “organized confusion” – I knew where everything was located but it was becoming more challenging as the weeks passed.

.:.Even in this economy, my virtual business is still chugging along and picking up a new project now and again!

.:.My son is now 15 months old and very active.

.:.Summer is beckoning with fabulous sunny days and the opportunity/neccessity to tend to landscaping duties.

I don’t know about you, but if I am disorganized in one area of life, it can really stress me out!  It was imperative to reclaim my desk space for me and my clients.

My wonderful sister took my son to her house one day and I jumped into my project to clear the clutter, organize all of the bits and pieces and regain control.  It is amazing how efficiently things run now – everything is in its place.   I love to work at my desk again and look forward to it – isn’t that the way it is supposed to be?

Best to you,

Jan

Buying a Digital Camera

March 30, 2009

As a virtual assistant and somewhat of a techno-person, I am often asked for recommendations on different components and programs. With so many digital cameras to choose from it is important to determine your priorities before you buy.

Personally, when I chose my current digital camera, my priorities were:

affordability

higher megapixels

large LCD view screen

image stabilization

ISO setting

optical zoom capability

compact

Before you make your decision, consider how you will be using the camera   and what your particular needs will be when using the camera. Take a little time to research your options, ask questions, shop around, and test several models to get a true feel for the camera before you buy.

Say cheese!

Jan

Well, that is something each business owner must ascertain for themselves.

Although I consider myself to be a positive thinker, the current economic shift has been tough on many businesses/employers and it may remain that way for a while.  Faced with having to make critical decisions regarding their workforce to keep the business solvent is not easy.   Replacing employees with a full-timer may not be the best option when times are still uncertain.

Luckily, the virtual world offers the relatively new solution of hiring a professional virtual assistant.  Choosing to partner with a virtual assistant might be the most cost-effective solution when you have to cut your traditional workforce.

Best to you,

Jan

Keyboard Shortcuts

December 27, 2008

keyboardSo a while back, I provided some Mozilla shortcuts to help you maneuver more easily. During a recent Computer Tutor session (yes, I’m still a Virtual Assistant, but I love to teach/help/tutor), my student was thrilled to find out about using keyboard shortcuts that work in a Windows environment (and others!). Sometimes I forget that working in a world with computers is old to me, but new and foreign to others.  Plus, I believe in sharing what you know.

If you are ambidextrous like me, you may find it much more efficient to use both your mouse and keyboard shortcuts in unison.

Here’s a quick list of some of my favorite keyboard shortcuts.

Ctrl + a = select all

Ctrl + z = undo

Ctrl + x = cut

Ctrl + c = copy

Ctrl + v = paste

Ctrl + u = underline

Ctrl + i = italicize

Ctrl + b = bold

Alt + Tab = jump between open programs

Let me know if you’d like more examples (there are more than the ones I’ve listed above), how to use these shortcuts, or tell me about your favorite keyboard shortcut.

Best to you!

Jan

Hello All!

As an Amazon.com Affiliate, I receive special notifications when there are DEALS to be had! Guess what? For those of you with children on your holiday shopping list, you can save up to 35% on selected Fisher-Price toys when shopping right now.

Aren’t you interested in getting a bargain? Please use my website link to shop. It doesn’t cost you any more and they give me an itty-bitty kick back for sending them quality traffic if you shop and BUY via my link.

While I am a virtual assistant working from home, I find it easy, peaceful, and expeditious to shop online. I hope you can take a few minutes to shop from the warmth and comfort of your home and leave the chaos of traffic, crowds, and standing in line for someone with more time on their hands! :)

Thank you so much and happy online shopping!

Best to you,

Jan

This is truly echoing through the conversations of many these days. It has been profoundly prevalent amongst many entrepreneurs with whom I have elected to partner.

While I understand and empathize that these are tough economical times, I strive to be open-minded about the situation. It is increasingly difficult to do so, when I provide services in good faith, invoice for those services, then not hear a word from a client for weeks. Albeit, it may be a bit embarrassing for them to tell me, “Hey Jan, I am a little broke right now, can we work something out?” this simple communication would clarify the predicament and I would be much more willing to work with them. However, when I have to “chase” after them to pay, for them to hide/ignore or state they will get money to me next week, if next week never arrives, it just damages my faith in them as a client.

As an independent business owner and single mother, I try to be flexible, but bear in mind, my bills are still due and unfortunately my mortgage company isn’t as flexible. It is increasingly troubling to find out some trusted clients won’t communicate.

It has been difficult to get those ends to meet each month, but I am remaining positive in bringing new clients aboard, I have taken on a few new clients/projects and started selling Avon products as an independent sales representative. This is my way of being financially creative and accomplish the one thing that is most important to me…working from home so that I can raise my handsome 7-month old son, Jack!

Hello!

I cannot take the credit for this incredibly inspiring idea – it was, Peggy McColl, a goal oriented guru and fabulous visionary.

Here’s the idea…as of September 22, there are only 100 days remaining in 2008. How are you going to challenge yourself to achieve 1, 2, 3, or even 10 goals in the next 100 days? You have about 2 weeks to think about it.

In my opinion, you must first, write down each goal to get them into your consciousness. Review the goals several times each day (especially before falling asleep at night) to refresh the specifics of each goal in your mind. Next, visualize the achievement of these goals in detail. While it is easy to get side-tracked with day-to-day living, it is extremely important to focus on your goals. As a colleague of mine says, “throw it out to the universe” and see what happens. What can you lose?

What will you strive for in the last 100 days of 2008?

Best to you,

Jan

EVA – Electronic Virtual Assistant

http://www.eva-colo.com

Baking to Brainstorm

September 2, 2008

Wow! One blast of slightly cooler temperatures (44 overnight) and I’m thinking Autumn. Autumn means time to bake for me over and above my normal affinity for baking. While it has nothing to do with hands-on virtual assistance, I like to brainstorm while baking. I take the time to get away from the computer and think about how to better assist a client, consider new products, visualize new graphics, mentally revamp my website and on and on. I guess beating up cookie dough or cheesecake filling (no hand mixers for me!) can inspire thoughts almost as prolifically as a great book. Even though I’ve got a ton of work to do today, I cannot stop thinking about sticking something in the oven so I’m going to break away to throw together a loaf of peanut butter bread. It is a quick and easy recipe that I’ll share with you.  I can’t wait to slather a warm slice with blackberry jam.

PEANUT BUTTER BREAD Courtesy of Paula Deen

2 cups all purpose flour
4 tsp baking powder
1/3 cup sugar
1 tsp salt
1 ½ cup milk
½ cup peanut butter (any style)

Preheat oven to 375F. Combine all dry ingredients. Add milk and peanut butter. Pour into greased 8x4x3 loaf pan. Bake approximately 50 minutes. Serve with your favorite jam or jelly.

ENJOY!