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

 

Find It Faster

May 30, 2012

Sometimes I forget the things I know :)  I go through my day using techniques and short cuts that are automatic/inherent.  The example that inspired this post was while online with a client, we were doing a little research together.  Of course, we received a staggering amount of seemingly pertinent information within seconds from our Google search.  When she chose a document from the search, we had to wait while the huge pdf file loaded only to find that it was a 459 page document.  I laughed when we saw the size of the document and sounding a bit overwhelmed she said, “It is going to take forever to find” her sought after key phrase.  Not!

When I took a few seconds to walk her through the process of  how to “find” her key phrase (using Ctrl+F) and she found the exact information she sought in a millisecond, she was amazed!  I love it when I can dazzle a client and empower them with tools to make their life easier.

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

Resume Writing Tips

August 30, 2011

Good Day All,

As a general services virtual assistant, I help clients with a diverse range of services.  Over the past few months,  I have been inundated with requests to assist clients/potential clients with writing their resume.  Seriously, crazy numbers of people have been contacting me.  Yay!  In the current marketplace and sheer volume of candidates seeking the best positions, your resume must be high-impact to get you in the door for that all important interview.resume writing tip

While some resumes have some basic big mistakes, in my opinion, there are several things I keep having to address and wanted to put a couple of tips out here.

1) Create your resume specifically for the position you are seeking.  This means you will need to recreate your resume each time you apply for a position – yes, a little time consuming but very important!

2) Keep it 1-2 pages.  A resume isn’t the vehicle to get you the job, it is the tool to get you into the interview where you get to shine and embellish!

3) Be brief but concise with relevant information, successes, and use action words.  Focus on the actions that led to great results not your responsibilities.  You want this potential employer to relate to how you will be a benefit to their organization.

4)  Don’t send a resume printed on an ink jet printer – you know why.

5) Always include a stunning cover letter.

Good luck!
Jan

As a virtual assistant offering Social Media assistance with everything from set up to ongoing posting/maintenance, I am a proponent of using social media to market and propel your business upward.

While there are a vast number of mistakes (some obvious, others not so much!) that I’ve discussed with clients and via blogs and my social media networks, one I’d like to write about today is the importance of evaluating your results.

social media logosYou need to have ways to measure your social media marketing results, otherwise you won’t know if your efforts are worthwhile.  You may be excited to see your friends and followers increasing each month but how many are paying attention to your messages?  Are they looking into and buying your products or services?  Decide on the best metrics that make sense for you and your business (i.e.: click-throughs to your website;  sales resulting from social media site referrals; exclusive social media network coupons being redeemed, etc.).  Analyze and document these results.  It will be extremely helpful to know what’s working and what needs to be improved in order to get the results you desire.

Tip: Set some goals for yourself and be dedicated to achieving them.

Need help – contact me!
Best to you,
Jan

It is the half-year mark and wanted to check in with you to see how you are doing on reaching your annual goals.  Is it going well?  If not, can you analyze each goal and see where you can make adjustments/improvements?

Personally, I’ve encountered so many obstacles thus far in 2011 – things I never imagined – my business and personal goals are way off track at this moment.  However, I will not let this impede my efforts in moving forward to achieve my goals … plus I still have 6 months before I tally up the score for the year.

Best to you,
Jan

Messy Desk?

February 25, 2011

Is your messy desk slowing down your progress?
Does it make you feel less efficient?
More than likely, your honest answers would be “Yes!” to both questions!

disorganized office messy desk stress

My suggestion:  next time you get up from your desk, simply take 60 seconds to straighten up.   I mean literally, count out 60 seconds as you quickly organize the items on your desk.  You will be amazed at how much you can get accomplished in 1 focused minute.  I guarantee, you will feel better (and probably relieved) about working when you return to your desk.

Best to you,
Jan