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Business Management &Organization &Resources Wil Hart on 18 Apr 2013

How To Start A Virtual Assistance Business

Organization &Resources Wil Hart on 29 Mar 2013

3 Ways to Use Evernote For Your Business

If you would like a tool that gives you instant access to data that you have collected, you have no need to look any further than Evernote. Why can this be an effective tool for your Virtual Assistance business?

Keep Track of Everything

Evernote has so many cool features that you just cannot get enough of using this awesome app! You can track absolutely everything that comes to your mind. One of the first things that you may want to do with Evernote is to start saving data so that you can see how easy it is to collect information.

If you have photos or images that you want to keep online instead of on your smartphone or camera, you can save them in Evernote. The same goes with audio and text files that you create. When you upload data you can use the tagging function that will enable you to do an easy search for your files.

Inside Evernote I have a notebook called Business. This is where I put all of my business ideas that come to mind. The app on my smartphone gives me 24-hour access to my Evernote account. I use this app to organize product launches for the EAtoVA community. You can consider ways that you can Evernote to keep track of business opportunities, ideas and tasks.

Safeguard Client Details Continue Reading »

Podcast &Resources &Technology &Virtual Assistant Wil Hart on 21 Nov 2012

The VA Success Cafe: Episode 3

Technology is the friend of the successful virtual entrepreneur. In this episode of The VA Success Cafe, we cover just a few tools that will be helpful to building your business. Special Note: We discussed Highrise. There is a free version if you follow these instructions: 1) Click this link www.EAtoVA.com/Highrise/ 2) Click, See Highrise Plans and Pricing. 3) Under the 3 options you will see a link for ‘free plan”. 4) Click that link. Voila! You have access to the free version of Highrise.

Marketing &Resources &Virtual Assistant Sydni Craig-Hart on 02 May 2012

{Surprise Gift} Rebelations Magazine Visibility Boom Issue

I have a surprise for you that has me grinning from ear to ear…

If you’ve ever felt invisible in business, been deflated by lackluster marketing results or struggle to spark a 2-way conversation with your target market…

– take a look-see at this:

My biz girlfriend Gina Bell invited me to write an article for the newest issue of Rebelations Magazine!

The “Visibility Boom” issue is devoted to helping you get noticed, get clients and get your business growing!

Inside this top-notch resource for innovators, trendsetters and entrepreneurial go-getters you’ll enjoy 17 other rebelicious articles AND a special feature that will have you creating your own Visibility Boom in no time!

Imagine hearing your ideal clients say…“I see you everywhere!” and “I want to work with you!”

I’m biased for sure but I’m certain – this is a must-have resource for any aspiring woman in business!

And what I know about Gina Bell is she’s a “don’t just do it REALLY do it” kind of gal so fasten your seat belts and hold on tight – you’re going to looooove this magazine!

And the best part – it’s totally FREE!

Be among the first to join the Rebelution and jump inside the newest issue of the digital magazine at:


You know I only share top-notch stuff, right? This is one of the most valuable resources I’ve seen recently so don’t miss out! Get your copy and post a comment below to let me know what you think!

Achieving Goals &Mindset &Networking &Resources Sydni Craig-Hart on 03 Jun 2011

How to Break Through Your Challenges and Get Back in Gear

If you have felt “stuck” with where you’re at in your VA business, especially as it relates to accomplishing the goals you’ve set for yourself,  I want to assure you that it is possible to get “un-stuck,” break through the challenges you’re facing and get back in gear.

How? Continue Reading »

Achieving Goals &Mindset &Organization &Resources &Time Management &Virtual Assistant Sydni Craig-Hart on 08 Apr 2011

Create Systems to Create More Free Time

Savvy Virtual Assistants use documented systems to run their business.  Using systems consistently will allow you to work as effectively and efficiently as possible.  The more you can systemize, the more you can monetize!

machineSystems are the key to your business organization.  It’s a way to ensure that you create consistent high-quality results in everything you do.  This includes bookkeeping, communication, administrative duties, client support and marketing.  Whether you realize it or not, you probably already have a system in place for all of these things. You just haven’t gone through the process of actually documenting the steps involved.

Documentation is the key to helping you streamline your processes so that you handle your workload more quickly.  Once you document your processes for how you handle different tasks, you’ll begin to see how you can either automate them or outsource them.   This will free up time for you to spend on your two primary business activities:  client work and marketing your business.

Another benefit of setting up systems and embracing technology to help you run your business is that your clients see that you are a true professional.  When you invest the time, money and technology to run your business efficiently, you demonstrate that you are running your business like the CEO of a large company rather than a “hobbyist” who makes decisions flying by the seat of her pants.  This sets you apart from your colleagues and makes you a more valuable and respected Virtual Assistant.

Think it this way: why would a client pay you top dollar for your services if you don’t demonstrate that you are the absolute best choice? When clients see that you invest money in your systems that help you work more efficiently on their projects, they will gladly pay you what you are worth because they know they are getting the best service possible.

Setting up systems and embracing technology uniquely prepares you for something else:  growth with your client.  As your relationship grows with your client, they will see you not only as their skilled Virtual Assistant but also as a trusted adviser and business partner.  And when it’s time for them to grow their business by expanding their services or looking at other solutions, they will feel comfortable coming to you for help.  That trust can only be earned by someone who can offer solutions to what the client needs.

At this point, you may be asking yourself, “So where do I start?”

The best place to begin is to document your tasks for a couple of days.  Once you start writing things down, you will see some areas where you can maximize your time by “batching” tasks together.

For example, if you read email every 15 minutes, you probably waste a lot of time reading emails and responding immediately.  This is ineffective for two reasons:  one, you are constantly reading emails and never get into a good rhythm for completing client work and two, you set an unrealistic expectation for your clients about when you’ll respond to them.  If you always reply immediately, a client may start to get impatient with you if you take more than a couple of hours to address their needs.

You can resolve this issue by putting a system in place to set aside specific times of the day to read and respond to emails.  This will allow you to schedule time to review emails and respond so that you free up time to schedule actual client work.

You can also embrace the technology within your email settings to be even more efficient.  For example, you can set up rules to automatically filter specific emails (like newsletters) into a folder.  This helps you control the clutter of your Inbox and you know where to find the newsletters when you have a chance to read them.

These are just a few examples of how you can begin to create systems in your Virtual Assistance business.  Once you get some practice with creating systems and using the technology to help you work more efficiently, you will be pleasantly surprised and how much “FREE” time you have available.  Now, you’ll be in a position to use that time to grow your business, work with more clients or take a well-deserved break!

Resources &Time Management &Virtual Assistant Sydni Craig-Hart on 14 Aug 2010

Save Time and Energy by Using an Online Scheduling Tool

Hands down, one of the most time consuming tasks in any business is scheduling meetings.  First, you have to figure out what time you have available to meet, then you propose a time only to find out that the other person has a conflict.

Save TimeThen… the barrage of emails starts. The other person proposes other times; you respond back, they email to confirm…you know this scenario, right?

Quite frankly, this is a waste of everyone’s time.  But, there is an online solution that will save you time and energy scheduling meetings.  And best of all, it’s FREE!

There is an online service you can use called Tungle, and you can find the service at http://www.Tungle.com.   This free online service offers many features that are perfect for a virtual assistant or small business owner. 

Some of the features include:

  1. Personalized URL so that people can see your calendar and find out when you’re available.  Your URL is unique based on your name, like http://www.Tungle.Me/YourName and you can post it in your signature lines for emails, on your website, social network profiles, etc.
  2. Ability to customize your calendar every day of the week – block out times you are not available so that no one will try to schedule a meeting with you during that time. 
  3. Converts time zones – perfect feature when working virtually!  You set your calendar to your time zone, and the other person sees your calendar in their time zone (by changing the view) so there’s no confusion of 1 PM "my time" or "your time".
  4. Synchronize your calendar with Google, Microsoft Outlook and Lotus Notes 8.0.2 FC4 (and above)
  5. Propose a meeting time and invite participants – Plan a meeting and send an email to all participants to confirm.  You will receive an email for each person and whether they "accepted" the meeting or "declined" it.

You can also personalize your profile to include your picture, business, email address, website and social network profiles to make sure everything is linked together.

For a free service, this is pretty robust and offers many of the same features that the paid online scheduling services offer.  But more importantly, this saves you time by avoiding the back and forth emails and the headaches that come with it.  Additionally, this gives you another layer of professionalism.  By having an online scheduling service, it demonstrates to potential clients that you are serious about your business, you care about their time and their needs and you are organized. 

Efficiency and organization go a long way in validating your professionalism and trustworthiness.  No one wants to hire a virtual assistant (or any business owner for that matter) who is unorganized because that is a good indication of how they will handle your business.  Things get missed when you’re not organized. 

So, take the next step to working more efficiently and effectively by using an online scheduling tool. Your email inbox and clients will thank you for being proactive!

Have you had success with an online scheduling tool?  Share your thoughts and comments with me by posting a comment here on the blog!

Mindset &Networking &Resources Sydni Craig-Hart on 08 Jun 2010

Develop a Client Attractive Attitude For Networking

Networking is a great way to meet people and build your business.  While it may be easy for some people to just strike up a conversation and make all the right connections, it actually takes work to network.  But the more successful you are at networking, the more successful you will be in your business.

One of the biggest indicators of your success as a networker is your attitude.  Believe it or not, you demeanor says a lot about you before you even open your mouth.   For example, think about the last time you went to the mall and sat on one of the benches to rest your feet and drink some water.  What did you do?  Well, if you’re like most of us, you watch people.

You know, you looked at all the people walking by you and thought about who they were and what they were doing and thinking…all in the blink of an eye.  Admit it, you summed them up based on the way they carried themselves.

People make those same assumptions about you.

So, to ensure that you are networking for success, take these steps to make sure you are projecting the right attitude:

  1. Smile.  It might be a cliché but a smile is worth a thousand words.  People will be instantly drawn to you or repelled by you based on your smile.  Make sure it’s sincere and inviting.  Don’t know what that looks like?  Picture yourself at your happiest:  think of your kids, your favorite vacation spot, etc.  That’s the happy look you want.
  2. Stand up straight.  Now, I know this all sounds like your mother talking to you, but the rule still hold true.  Standing up straight and being confident makes other people want to meet you and get to know you.  Nothing is more attractive than self-confidence.
  3. Genuinely listen to others.  Make sure you focus on the other person, their story and their background.  Building a relationship with them first is the best way to build a connection for life.  There’s a reason for the saying, “Your net worth is directly proportional to your network.”  Make sure you are making lifelong connections.

Taking a few moments to get an attitude adjustment can make all the difference in your networking.  By making these few changes, you will find yourself looking forward to getting out there and meeting other people.   Networking is supposed to be fun and exciting, not boring and a waste of time.

One last way to ensure you are getting the most out of any networking event is to make sure you only attend the networking events that make sense for you and your business.  For example, if your ideal client is real estate agents, make sure you attend a networking event where you know real estate agents will be attending.  Don’t just go to the next Chamber of Commerce meeting because you “might” find a potential client.  In the long run, this will be futile and tarnish your perception about networking.

Remember networking is about building relationships and making connections.  Make sure you project the right vibes so people will want to connect with you.  And make sure you’re in the right place at the right time to make those connections.

Finances &Resources Sydni Craig-Hart on 03 Jun 2010

Get The Software You Need Without Breaking The Bank

One of the expenses you have to account for each year is software purchases and upgrades.  While you don’t necessarily have to have the latest and greatest version, it can be beneficial to take advantage of new features that are released. And when you do find it necessary to upgrade your software, it’s nice to know how to get a discount.

Here are some quick tips to check out to see if you can get a discount on software:

  1. Employee Purchase Programs – If you or your spouse work in a corporate environment, check to see if the company offers an employee purchase program.  Many companies are large users of software like Microsoft Office, so the company can extend their discount to their employees.  This type of program allows you to purchase some of the most popular Microsoft titles at a significant discount.  In some cases, as low as $20.
  2. Student Discount Programs – If you are in college, or have a child of school age, you can be eligible for some student discount programs.  For example, Adobe has several student versions of their software available for up to 80% off – all you have to do is show proof of student enrollment.  These software titles are available online or for purchase on college campuses.
  3. Purchasing older versions – When a new version of software is released, the company usually tries to clear out their existing inventory to make room for the new versions.  If you are on the company’s mailing list, you’ll probably receive advance notice or even special “pre-release” prices.  This is your sign to start looking for the deals.  If there’s really  something you want, it might be worth your time to check every day – sometimes the popular titles go fast!

If you need to purchase software, make sure you do your research to find out if you qualify for any discounts.  While it may take a you a little time to do the research, or even some extra steps to “prove” you qualify, the savings can be well worth it.

Just a special note about purchasing software:  I highly recommend that you purchase your business software directly from the manufacturer or approved reseller.  If you ever have a problem with the software, you know that you’ll be covered and can get a replacement if necessary.  When you buy a copy from a friend, or eBay, or wherever, there are no guarantees, no support and little chance you can claim that purchase on your tax return.

This is not a purchase you can afford to “go cheap” on.  If for any reason, the software is not usable, you can’t work.  Which means you aren’t earning money.  How can that be good for business?

Marketing &Resources &Virtual Assistant Sydni Craig-Hart on 26 Jan 2010

How to Find Your First Ideal Client

This is the question that plagues all virtual assistants regardless of how long they’ve been in business. Clients are our lifeblood. But you don’t want to be so anxious for business that you will take on just anyone as a client. You need to have standards for what you will and won’t put up with in a client.

Virtual assistants have to be proactive about finding and acquiring these ideal new clients. Thanks to the Internet, prospecting for clients has become easier in regards to your ability to reach more people in a shorter amount of time. But the basic business practices that apply in the brick and mortar world still apply.

There are three ways to grow you business, online or offline. And they are:    Continue Reading »