9 Cool Tools to Get Things Done & Save You Loads of Time!

Posted on April 5, 2011. Filed under: Productivity Tools | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , |


[tweetmeme] It’s truly an awesome time to be in business, especially if you market your business on the Internet or if you use the Internet for productivity within your business.   I have a close friend who has started an online business and since she only recently left a corporate job, she is amazed to learn about all the latest and greatest in online productivity tools.  I am someone who loves any tool or information related to productivity and organization.  So I must admit that I get positively ‘giddy’ when I find something new that will enhance both my own and my clients’ businesses.  If you are like me, then you will want to be sure and subscribe to my blog.  I will be featuring many more tools in weeks and months to come.

Some of my clients have shared a few of these great tools with me and in turn I have shared them with other clients, friends, family and colleagues, who also love them. So if you follow me on any social media platforms or subscribe to my newsletter, I’m certain you will find these time-savers to be valuable as well.  To further spark your interest, I also offer some ideas for how to use them most effectively.  The best part is most of them are FREE! (more…)

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Why A Virtual Assistant and How to Choose the Right One?

Posted on October 11, 2010. Filed under: Smart Business Strategies, Virtual Assistant | Tags: , , , , , , |


[tweetmeme]This post is directed to those of you who have all your own business ideas but need someone you can rely on specifically to handle the administrative functions of the business. Traditionally you would first think of an in-office employee and that might still be the answer. However a Virtual Assistant can often be a better alternative, and here are 5 reasons why:

1. You save money! There are no office space costs, no equipment or furniture costs, no fixed salary, no payroll taxes, no employee benefits and no sick pay or paid vacations.
2. If you are working in a limited space, a Virtual or Online Administrative Assistant will be less in your way than an office employee, and you have the opportunity for greater concentration.
3. With an office employee there is inevitably down time; an Online Administrative Assistant works for you “as-needed” and you pay only for the time actually spent on your tasks.
4. An Online Administrative Assistant, working in quiet from home, can accomplish more than an office employee, plus there is the additional benefit of often being available outside normal working hours
5. An Online Admin Assistant will generally have more wide-ranging business experience.

Choosing the RIGHT ONE is obviously key. Here are 5 suggestions: (more…)

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As Seen on Forbes.com … “How Virtual Assistants Have Evolved”

Posted on October 5, 2010. Filed under: As Seen On ..., Smart Business Strategies, Virtual Assistant | Tags: , , , , , , , , , |


[tweetmeme]I met Jaimie Skultety while researching how organizations can avoid being “held hostage” by an employee or contractor (see “Don’t Let Your Business Be Held Hostage“). An experienced executive assistant and office manager, now working as a virtual assistant, she recommended documenting key processes in a company operations manual, a standard service she offers to her clients.

This introduced me to the idea that a virtual assistant could be more than some kind of Internet-enabled secretary. If you find the right person to work with, you may get more than just someone to do the boring administrative work you can’t seem to get around to. You may get a consultant on some of the essentials of how to make your business work better.

Certainly that’s how Skultety’s clients talk about her. For example (click here to read more …)

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Don’t Be A Slave to Your Admin Tasks – Grow Your Business!

Posted on October 4, 2010. Filed under: Smart Business Strategies, Virtual Assistant | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , |


[tweetmeme]Inwardly and logically you know it, in your business everything can be delegated except that which makes you unique. There are many tasks that do not require your focus to get done. Ask yourself how much value you are getting versus if you had an assistant. How depressing is it to be looking at a long to-do-list every day and realizing there won’t be enough hours to get through everything. If you spend all your time “in” your business and not “on” your business, your frustration level impedes your ability to challenge yourself as a thinker and innovator who can move your business forward.

You may not have the space or number of hours to justify an on-site employee. The answer is an Online Office Assistant whose hours are billed strictly on the actual time spent working for you. All your repetitive daily/weekly/monthly items can be taken care of, and other tasks/projects can be handed over on an “as needed” basis. The initial “letting go” understandably could trouble you, but your motivation to be free of so much administrative work and the vision of having real time to devote to your customers, and to new strategies and initiatives, has to be your inspiration. Thousands of entrepreneurs have taken that leap of faith, and a burden has been lifted. (more…)

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Expense vs. Investment

Posted on June 29, 2010. Filed under: Smart Business Strategies, Virtual Assistant | Tags: , , , , , |


[tweetmeme]

DEFINITIONS FROM WEBSTER’S DICTIONARY:

Expense – financial burden or outlay

Investment – the outlay of money usually for income or profit

Many business owners, particularly small business, do not truly differentiate in their thinking between expense and investment but tend to view the overall picture of how much they are spending and where costs can be saved or reduced. Let’s look at Expense as the financial outlay essential to conduct your business, such as Telephone, Office Supplies, Power, Internet etc., and Investment as the financial outlay that is strictly focused on acquiring income/profit, such as Advertising, Public Relations, Networking, Social Media etc.

Do you have anyone working for you? If not, you are spending your own time on administrative tasks. These tasks are essential to conduct your business. You could hire someone, but you probably and justifiably feel that is too costly an Expense. Having an employee not only involves a salary as well as other benefits, but there is inevitably downtime you are paying for, and also of course there is the added expense of the space and equipment an employee would require. (more…)

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As Seen On … Gables Home Page

Posted on May 21, 2010. Filed under: As Seen On ... | Tags: , , , |


[tweetmeme]

By Irina Patterson / Blogger – May 20, 2010

Today our guest is Jaimie Skultety, a gutsy 41–year-old mom of a 5-year old boy who didn’t sit around long when she lost her job, she just went out and created one for herself. So, let’s get started.

Hi Jaimie, tell us what you do?

I am a Virtual Assistant. Not only do I provide administrative support to my clients, who are mostly small business owners, I help them with their communications and marketing needs as well. I get a lot of requests for social media marketing, including Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. I create PowerPoint presentations and YouTube videos. In effect, I become my clients’ virtual marketing and administrative departments.

Where did you get your idea for this business?

I have worked in an administrative capacity for over the last 25 years, including working directly with senior executives, and my skill set can be applied to virtually any type of industry.

Any particular reason that led up to this venture?

I had been laid off about a year ago from my most recent position due to the company filing bankruptcy. I realized I would be competing against new college graduates coming into the job market and that they would be willing to work for less pay. Taking everything into account, I decided to become my own boss.

What about your competition?

Virtual Assistance is a relatively new field, yet it is growing very rapidly. I have found that the Virtual Assistant community is a very welcoming one.  We each offer different services, specialties and rate structures, so we actually view one another as potential sub-contractors and not as competitors. If I have a client who needs a service I don’t provide, such as bookkeeping, I subcontract work to an experienced Virtual Assistant with whom I have developed a relationship with that specializes in that area.

Tell us about your clients?

My ideal client is typically a small business entrepreneur or solopreneur who works from their home office.  They know they need an assistant, but they don’t have additional office space, extra equipment and software. My friend became my first client and she referred two of her associates to me as well, so I had business immediately and ever since.  Most business comes to me through word-of-mouth referrals.

Tell us about your business finances?

I bootstrapped the initial costs of marketing and networking and it is now paying dividends beyond my initial startup costs.

What is your growth strategy?

My vision for growth is to have a team of Virtual Assistants on staff to provide the service and that I would be in charge of marketing and promoting the business to new clients and maintaining relationships with current clientele.

Any thoughts about exit strategy?

I do not have, nor do I plan to have an exit strategy.  I have invested my time wisely in marketing my business in a positive way for which I am very proud.  So for me, the sky is the limit.

And where people can learn more about you?

On my site: http://www.AVirtualAssistant4You.com I have a presentation  titled “10 Benefits of Working with A Virtual Assistant 4 You”.  I can be reached at 877-798-7701, via email at Jaimie@AVirtualAssistant4You.com, on Twitter @AVA4YOU, LinkedIn and Facebook.

Thank you, Jaimie. I hope you inspire many people who still can’t find a job to create one of their own.

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7 Seeds to Plant That Will Grow Your Business

Posted on May 12, 2010. Filed under: Smart Business Strategies | Tags: , , , , , |


[tweetmeme]

Small business management is a delicate balance of planning, action and intrinsic perspective. With minimal resources, time and money must be spent wisely. Business fundamentals must be incorporated at all times. Below are 7 “best practice” seeds to plant. When watered (acted upon), they will help your business grow. (more…)

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As Seen on … Spotlight on Small Business

Posted on April 19, 2010. Filed under: As Seen On ..., Virtual Assistant | Tags: , , , , , |


By Robert Rogers, Managing Attorney at Robert Rogers Law Firm, P.A. – Miami, FL

“Each week, I spotlight a different small business with the intent of showcasing the variety of skills and opportunities that are presented in the small business community. This is also to give small businesses a voice on their product/service as well as running a business.

This week the spotlight is on: A Virtual Assistant 4 You. One of the key elements of owning a small business is knowing how and when to outsource tasks to other people or businesses. A Virtual Assistant 4 You assists other small businesses manage administrative tasks so that the business owner can focus their time on what they do best.”

What is your business name?

    A Virtual Assistant 4 You – I help small business owners create more time in their day so they can make more money in their business.

    How long have you been in business?

    I have worked as a Virtual Assistant (VA) on a part-time basis for over 20 years for several clients. I started    my full-time VA business just over 1 year ago.

What industries do you serve?

My skill set can be applied to virtually any type of industry. My clientele consists of:

* Attorneys
* Authors
* Executive Business/ Personal Coaches
* Freelance & Technical Writers
* Motivational Speakers
* Non-Profit Organizations
* Personal Fitness Trainers
* Retail Store Owners
* Software Consultants
* Etc.

What motivated you to start your own business?

As previously mentioned, I have worked part-time in my field for over 20 years. I chose to follow my passion for a career I enjoy, and am now translating it into a full-time business. I also wanted to have more freedom to create a more balanced life with my family.  Becoming an entrepreneur has been a very rewarding journey, on many levels.

If there is one aspect of your business that sets you apart, what would it be?

I help entrepreneurs remove items off of their “To-Do” list, so they no longer have to spend nights and weekends just managing the “busy work” of their business. They can stay focused strictly on the long-term growth and success for their business. I provide my own office space, equipment and software. My clients pay me strictly for the time I work for them, which is 100% productive time. When clients work with me, they have a sense of having a partner in their business. I help them by managing their administrative workload and I provide them with ideas and strategies for their business they may not have thought of themselves. I offer a presentation titled “10 Benefits of Working with A Virtual Assistant 4 You” on the front page of my website at http://www.AVirtualAssistant4You.com.

What is your favorite part about owning a business?

I enjoy the fact that I can be in charge of creating my own marketing ideas. Being able to express myself through the messages I share on my blog and my website has been most rewarding. My business actually reflects who I am and what I love to do. I also love that I run my business out of my home office, so I no longer feel like I am “wasting time” driving back and forth to an office each day, and I am able to cut costs on fuel. I can’t wait to start working every morning and the fact that I can sip on my coffee in my robe and slippers and craft a blog post is very appealing.

Who is your ideal client/customer?

My ideal client is typically a small business entrepreneur or “solo”preneur who works from their home office. They know they need an assistant, but they don’t have additional office space, extra equipment and software. I provide all of these items with my service. A client may have a need for someone to assist them on an “as needed” basis or for a set amount of hours each month, and they pay strictly for the time I work them.

What is something that you have learned as a small business owner that could assist other small businesses?

I would suggest to other small business owners to never stop marketing. Although you may feel you have enough clients in the “pipeline”, you want to continue to find creative ways to market your business. I offer my services to clients to assist with that process, so it doesn’t feel like a never-ending task.

Is there anything else that you would like to share about your business? What is it?

I work with clients who either are perfectly capable to manage their workload, but simply don’t have the time and/or clients who don’t enjoy or know how to manage their administrative workload. Either way, I can help.

Mr. Rogers’ Blog may be found by clicking here.

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Does Your Company Have an Operations Manual?

Posted on February 17, 2010. Filed under: Smart Business Strategies, Virtual Assistant | Tags: , , , , , , |


[tweetmeme]

What happens when your office manager is out sick, on vacation, or decided to resign? In their absence, would anyone else know how to handle their responsibilities?

I recommend that companies consider implementing an “Operations Manual” to document step-by-step processes and procedures for all projects. Each project should contain sub-headings for all tasks associated with it and all relevant log-ins and passwords should be included within the first few pages. Typically, an Operations Manual is stored in a 3-ring binder with tabbed sections.

In a large company, each department should have their own manual, or at least their own section within a company manual. I would also recommend that managers be certain that their staff provides updates to the manual each time a new process is implemented. Once a procedure is documented in this way, staff will no longer spend valuable time and resources “re-inventing the wheel”.

I have created Operations Manuals for every company I have worked for. Before owning my business, as an employee, I always believed it was vital that in a rare case of my absence, the office should still be efficient and productive. As long as all my processes were well-documented, another staff member would be able to manage any necessary task that could not wait for my return.

Whether you work in a large company or are a small business owner, it is vital that steps already taken are documented in a concise format. I am pleased to offer this service of creating, formatting and implementing your company’s Operations Manual.

Please click here for more information: A Virtual Assistant 4 You.

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7 Tips to Achieve Greater Balance in Your Life

Posted on February 16, 2010. Filed under: How To ... | Tags: , , , , , , , , |


[tweetmeme]

For my first blog post, I am re-publishing from a previous newsletter my favorite tips to achieve greater BALANCE in your life.  I hope you find these beneficial.

Break free from feeling overwhelmed.  Be willing to delegate responsibility by pairing people with tasks that they can manage and then let go.  Increase productivity while paring back by having A VIRTUAL ASSISTANT 4 YOU manage your administrative workload while you stay at the helm.

Align yourself with your long-term and short-term goals.  Define major accomplishments you plan to strive for and create a deadline for each.  Implement an outline highlighting each major item and beneath each one, identify the exact steps you will need to take to achieve each goal.  Be sure to chart your progress.  

Limit your intake of business magazines and journals.  Keep only current issues if the publication offers article archives on their website.  You can bookmark your favorites.

Allow 30 minutes per day for personal internet time.  You can use this time to read and send emails, shop online, research your vacation plans, etc.

Never stop learning.  You may want to consider enrolling in a class on a topic you want to know more about or to update your skills. Perhaps a local art or theater class will help you to tap into or reconnect with your creativity, or you can simply visit your local library or download an e-book.

Coordinate two 30-minute sessions per week strictly dedicated to filing or tossing any paperwork that has started to gather into a pile.  Browse through your local office supply store or website and buy some items to get your desk organized and clear the clutter.  You are likely to be more productive and will certainly enjoy working at a desk where everything is neat and orderly.

Eliminate paper when possible.  Use your email filing system to sort by client and store all correspondence.  Use your Smartphone or PDA for updating your calendar.  Synchronize with your office computer,  and set alarmed reminders so you arrive for scheduled appointments on time.  You can also create your shopping lists, to-do lists or simply “jot” down notes that come to mind while on the go.

Please click here for more information: A Virtual Assistant 4 You.

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