I received a referral from a client yesterday who had given my contact information to a friend.   This particular client has known me for about 30 years (since I was a teen) and knows my extensive and diverse background.  Not sure of what this potential new client might need, she suggested to call me.

After speaking with the potential client and finding out she wanted me to help her with sales – calls and in person – I told her it didn’t appear to be a good fit for me/my business at this time.  She told me about her/their project and the item they would be selling and it sparked my interest.  I think her/their idea is fabulous.  We decided to meet later today to discuss it and view the rough draft of the item which is going to print later today.

I thought more about it through the morning and decided to rescind our meeting and my assisting with this sales project.  However, if she needed assistance with social media marketing, creating effective marketing pieces, or building a web presence, this IS what I do as a virtual assistant.  It felt GREAT to say “no” to a project that doesn’t fit my business.

yes noIt may have seemed indecisive because while I really want to help people achieve their goals and ease their anxiety/stress, I had to stay true to what my goals and desires are for my business.

I just read an article by Donna Toothaker (love her!) on being passionate about your own business and how saying “yes” to a project that you really don’t want to do isn’t fair to you or your client.  True!

Best to you,
Jan

Cell Phone Contact List

January 10, 2013

I bet you never think about how many people you connect with in a year.  New potential clients, new subcontractors, other virtual assistants, people you meet at networking groups, other parents at school, someone in cell address bookyour church group, babysitters, etc.  I am known for grabbing my cell, plugging in their name and number and that’s it… done, right?  Great plan if you always have your cell and it operates perfectly.  Mine did or at least I thought so until just after the new year when all of my contacts vanished.  Now what was my babysitter’s number?  Her mom’s number?  My other babysitter’s number?  Hope I don’t have a date next week … LOL!

This post is to remind you to take a little time to either download or jot down all of the contact information that currently resides in your cell phone.   The start of the new year is probably a good time to complete this task – akin to changing the batteries in the smoke detector ;-)

Just my suggestion!
Best to you,
Jan

How Did You Begin 2013?

January 2, 2013

Unlike some, I spent much of today (January 1,2013) working.  Yes, I know the saying, “All work and no play…”  however, I felt driven to work and to get some things in place to begin the year with a more inspiring work area.

After fielding a morning call from a client, I decided to spend several hours on projects for another client – fun, creative stuff – yay!  That was plenty of time on the clock especially with my son home from school today.

Next, was creating a better work space.  A space where things wouldn’t linger as my plan is to have a home for everything.  I mean everything!  Nothing is to be without a proper home.  Over my 8 1/2 years of working as a virtual assistant from my own home office, this has been easy to manage and maintain, but by the end of this year in particular, things seemed to get stacked albeit in an organized fashion, but still “homeless”.

My revamp started when I pitched my beautifully photographed 2012 wall calendar which freed up a bright white space on the wall and I have no desire to fill it.  I like the white, open, uncluttered appearance of this new space.  New pretty pens were recently purchased (I love jotting notes, appointments, and more in fun colors), my 2013 desk calendar which I use daily vs. any online version, new file folders for clients as necessary to house current project info, notes, etc.  A clean work slate, new desk plant, and some of my tried-and-true check point systems in place, I feel that 2013 is going to be a fabulous year.

Plus, I took time to try out a new yoga stretch.  My plan is to try a new stretch, yoga move, or exercise each week/every week.  This week it is yoga move Warrior 3 – woo hoo.  I think my gluteus maximus will feel this tomorrow!

Happy 2013!  I am big on goals (if you’ve read this blog you know that), not so big on New Year’s resolutions and I’m okay with that! :)

Alrighty, I have got to get my son’s favorite dinner made … easy beef stroganoff, plus tonight’s dessert is homemade easy blackberry cobbler.  Yum!

Tell me about any projects you completed to kick your new year off on the right foot!

Best to you!
Jan

Social Media Networking

August 23, 2012

Personally, I prefer using Facebook for my business, LinkedIn and Twitter – in that order.  I have other accounts but do not use them the way I initially intended when I signed up.  social media logos

Also, I’m not a huge proponent of blasting the exact same post/info across all networks and think that it may be/become annoying on some level to those who follow you on more than 1 social media network (which I’ve said in the past).

Do you have a preferred social media network for your business?  If you use one and not others, why?  What are your thoughts/comments?

Goals – July

July 10, 2012

Hey there,

For those following the GOALS, this is just a friendly reminder that 2012 is half-gone.  We can’t get those first six months back or rewrite the time we didn’t use to focus on y/our goals.

Are you on track – right now – with your goals?  If not, can you identify where things strayed?

What tools do you use to stay on track and achieve your goals?

Best to you,
Jan

Monthly Checklist

June 23, 2012

As a busy business owner, homeowner, and mom of an active 4 year old, I have quite a bit on my plate.  In reality, the flow doesn’t always flow as planned and although I hate to admit it, things that I *should* do, don’t always get done.

I think it was 2009 when I implemented a little monthly checklist.  Don’t know about you, but I am a visual person (maybe that’s why I like doing graphic design projects).  While super simple, this little checklist serves as an accountability system on my being productive.

Here’s what works for me – on the page for the entire month at-a-glance (I use a Weekly/Monthly Planner), I prepare my super simple list for the month with little empty boxes to the left beckoning their check mark:  post to business blog; daily earning goal (and an area to note how many days I achieved that goal); monthly marketing quota; act of kindness; and a few related to personal goals (e.g.  monthly home improvement project, post to my personal blog, money to savings, etc.)

While it may seems silly, like I said the accountability side is that driving factor when the end of the month is looming.

HTH – Best to you,
Jan

 

Here’s some helpful information regarding the upcoming changes to Facebook business pages.  It’s concise and easy to digest.

All pages will move to the new format on March 30, 2012.  I suggest previewing your page in the new format soon (by hitting the Preview button in the top right corner) and take the new features out for a test drive.  You may elect to move to the format early!

Plus, a great link directly to Facebook for more detail.      Facebook social media networking with your virtual assistant

If you get stuck, or need assistance – contact me or your virtual assistant.

Best to you,
Jan

Luckily, to date, I haven’t had the unfortunate experience of having to fish my cell phone out of a toilet (or other body of water), but I wanted to share this tip in case your cell phone takes the plunge.wet cell

1) Act fast, retrieve the phone and pull out the battery
2) Don’t attempt to turn the phone on
3) Dry the phone, preferably with a hair dryer
4) Put the battery back in and turn the phone on

If the phone still doesn’t work, you may only need a new battery.  Test the phone with a new battery before you give up!

Work / Life Balance

March 2, 2012

I love owning my own business and wouldn’t want to change anything as being a virtual assistant has been an amazing career thus far.  However, sometimes it is difficult to find the best solutions to obtain a work/life balance that fits.

I have found that setting boundaries is crucial but also keep in mind that you don’t have to be super-woman.  To achieve a balance between work and home life, you should know and understand your priorities—and it is vital to cut yourself some slack!

You need to realize that for your career and family life to flourish, you will probably need to adjust your standards when it comes to the some things at home like cleaning and cooking – they may need to slide.  This was extremely difficult for me to accept especially when it came to the cleaning side.  However, try mapping out a comfortable number of home-cooking and cleaning days/times (even schedule it on your calendar), then let the rest go.  And, don’t stress over it.

If you are a virtual assistant or other stay-at-home professional, you will find your workflow will improve because you can stay focused on client work knowing that your family life time is scheduled.

Your kids would rather have you take the time (schedule this, too) and engage with them directly even if it is to just sit down and read a book, color, or play cards with them vs. scrubbing the toilet or cleaning the floor – try it one time and you’ll see it in their eyes.  They will feel important and that is priceless!

Processes and Procedures

December 10, 2011

I am an avid fan and huge proponent of having written Processes and Procedures in place for your business.   This probably stems back to my corporate days when I was the business lead for Change of Century (remember that one? LOL!) for our division of the corporation.   While creating a Processes and Procedures guide or manual may seem like a lot of work when starting from scratch, it is essential to document in detail what you do, how you do it, who is involved, and what to do if something happens to you.

Sadly, this recently came into play when a client passed away (RIP Mark C).   His staff contacted me to take down his website and paypal account because the orders couldn’t be fulfilled (and weren’t really a top priority at the moment).  It was several days after his passing and it got me thinking about the overwhelming task his family and staff will be facing as reality sets in and things need to be handled.

  • Do you have a Processes and Procedures guide or manual in place now?
  • If you have one, when was it last updated?
  • Do you have someone delegated to step in should something happen?

This is especially important for small business owners.   Who will communicate to your customers?

I know ;) you are building your GOALS list for 2012, so it is the perfect time to address the need for a Processes and Procedures guide – or at least, review and update your current guide.

If you need assistance putting your Processes and Procedures guide together, contact me, or your virtual assistant and get it done!

Just some thought provoking information you may want to consider.

Best to you,
Jan