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About cynthiac

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  • Birthday 10/07/1950
  1. I use Outlook as my email client and it pops up a little screen that tells me who the email is from, the subject line, and sometimes even a few words at the beginning of the message. I glance at each one as it comes through and if it looks like a genuine emergency, I'll go look at the whole thing but I generally check once in the morning and once or twice in the afternoon. As for phone calls, I don't get many but I have a statement in my Welcome Packet that tells clients that I may not answer my phone as soon as it rings simply because I may be focused on a project and that I will do the same with other client calls when I am focused on their projects. This helps them understand that I may not respond immediately. I encourage them to send email even if it's a request to speak with me on the phone. So far, it's worked very well. If I had a client who called on a regular basis, I would pick times to check voicemail. Hope this helps--
  2. I wish to apologize to all of you who requested the notes I offered to send. I read something somewhere else about sharing proprietary information and felt it only fair to ask the tele-class leader if it was appropriate to share the information I learned in the class. She asked that I not do that. As a result, I have to withdraw my offer. I am so sorry to have offered and now have to un-offer this. I'll try to think before I make offers in the future.
  3. I've been having a wonderful holiday season. I spent Christmas Eve helping a friend get ready for Christmas Day. She hurt her right shoulder a few days before and could only use one hand. We had a great time getting the cooking started for the next day. I went back on Christmas Day and spent it with her whole family. We had a great time! I'd never met her family so there were tons of people's names to remember but we just had such a good time I couldn't believe it. Lots of food, laughter, and stories--just what Christmas should be, right? Yesterday I went to see Chronicles of Narnia with friends. It was a fabulous movie and I'm now looking forward to seeing it again as soon as it comes out on DVD. Today I spent working on writing information sheets for my new clients. I've been sending the same information to clients and realized that every time I get a new client who wants me to help with a blog or article submissions I'm going to have to rewrite the same thing AGAIN! Well, I put as much as I could squeeze out of my brain into pages of standardized info sheets that I can just attach to an email and off they go. This is much better. That led me to think about other things I tell clients over and over and I now have a list of information sheets to continue working on. I figure that if I keep at this on a fairly regular basis it will end up saving me hours and hours. How cool is that? I have a friend who grew up with the belief that what you do on New Year's Day is what you will be doing the rest of the year. I decided that I want to spend the year working in my VA business so that's how I spent my day. I had actually planned to do a little quilting today, too, but that hasn't happened, yet. Maybe I'll spend an hour or so working on a quilt before I head to bed. I love my quilting and it would be a fun way to end my New Year's Day. One more day off before I go back to my day job and I'm looking forward to a nice, quiet day--maybe a movie with a friend but maybe just a quiet day.
  4. I, too, use AVG (www.grisoft.com) and the thing I've heard about it that makes me such a fan is that it's written in Europe. Any code written in the US must, by law, have a back door that can be accessed by government officials. That's a whole topic in and of itself but the point for the purposes of this discussion is that hackers love back doors and are able to find them in many instances. This makes US-made anti-virus software susceptible to hacker-introduced viruses. Besides, AVG has never allowed a virus to attack my computer. Oh, a word about Norton. A friend who had Norton and had a total system crash was told by her computer technician that they do well for a year or two then get lazy and the software gets less effective again. He told her that 2005 seems to be a good year but you never know, right? So, that's what I know about this.
  5. I'm the worst person to ask about the marketing aspect--I haven't a great deal of success with that. I would, however, like to add just one more comment to the timekeeping issue. Whenever I find myself falling back into the employee mode I ask myself how an attorney (accountant, fill in your favorite consultant) would bill (or explain something, or deal with how long it took, or how much I charge) and go from there. I generally find myself laughing when I think of how a lawyer would respond if I called and said, "OK, you say you spent 2 hours filing a brief but I'd really like to know just how you spent that time. Don't you think you could have done it in an hour?" As Danielle said (I hope I remember who said it), it's a mind-set, a mental state. Oh, and the other thing I do is remember that when I worked for environmental consultants, they billed my time out at $45/hr. and that was for complex tasks like making copies or collating a report. If their clients didn't flinch at paying $45/hr. for that kind of work, I don't worry about charging $35/hr for the VA tasks I perform. I'm so glad you wrote to ask about this. I hadn't thought about this in a while and it was good to remember that the work I do for my clients is valuable.
  6. I frequently find myself torn between Staci's advice (I read the first one a day or two after she originally posted it) and my desire to be of as much service to my clients as possible. I suspect I land somewhere between the two. One of my clients (who is also a VA) just spent two weeks working very VERY hard getting newsletters for three of her clients all ready to go so they would automatically send while she was away on vacation. I'm covering voice mails for two of her clients and the rest of what she normally does has been put on hold. She seems to have managed the balancing act quite nicely. I only hope I can manage with as much style when the time comes for me to actually get away for a while. Before I sign off on this, I want to say that I think it would be great to have only clients who were able to handle all the work we do for them if we're not there to do it. I'm just not sure that's totally practical, especially when we're first starting out. I'll look forward to hearing how other VAs handle this issue.
  7. Hi to all my VANF Forum buddies! I've been so busy for the past couple of months that I haven't had time to any of the stuff I love most, like checking in here at least once a day to see how everyone is doing. Between my blog and my new clients (this is such a very good thing ), oh, and let's not forget the full-time job, I barely have time to take a deep breath. Add to that a budding relationship (nothing extremely serious, yet, but socializing is so time-consuming, don't ya know? ) and I'm not quite sure how I manage to get from one day to the next sometimes. Don't get me wrong, I'm not complaining. I just wanted to stop by and wish everyone the very happiest of whatever holiday you celebrate and tell you I miss all of you very much. I've made a commitment to check on at least a few posts a day or possibly spend an hour on the weekends keeping up with all the goings on here. That way I won't feel quite so isolated.
  8. I got my most recent client by commenting on her blog. She went to my web site and responded to me, asking if I might be able to help her. Not bad! So, I'd recommend building a web site, even if it's a very simple one so you can start promoting yourself online. It takes time but it's a great business!
  9. Hi, Julie-- I'm not in Tennessee any more but seeing your post made me think with great fondness of the area. I lived in a tiny little place called Fairfield Glade. It was technically a town (we had our own post office) but it wasn't on any maps. It was off the Peavine Road exit, near Crossville. That was back in the '70s but I still remember the dogwood in the spring. Oh, I also remember the chiggers! Anyway, I just wanted you to know your post brought back many wonderful memories. I adore living in Washington state but Tennessee will always have a place in my heart. If you're ever in my neighborhood (near Seattle) I'd love to get together and talk about....well, everything! Cynthia
  10. Hi, Tawnya-- Are you sticking with Canadian VAs? I'm in Bremerton WA, not all that far south of Pt. Townsend. I don't know how the ferry works up there but I know there is one--OK, I "think" there is one. Let me know.
  11. cynthiac

    QB Remote Program

    One of the reasons I get a little concerned about doing things like that online is the security issue. The main reason I use AVG virus protection (www.grisoft.com) is because it's manufactured outside the United States. All companies who make software in the U.S. must build in a back door so government agencies can get into your account if they need to (Homeland Security issue I've been told). That means that hackers just have to find the back door and they're in. I'll be the first to admit I don't know enough about this whole thing to speak authoritatively about it but I thought I'd toss in my 2 cents.
  12. I just checked in Access and ACT! isn't one of the programs it will import. If you don't know either of them, you might as well go with the one your client is using. I've heard people who use it regularly love it. If I were you, I'd start doing some serious research online to see if there is a service such as you describe but I've heard the ACT! program isn't very exportable and re-entering the information doesn't sound like a pleasant job. There are some very good books out there to help us learn just about any program imaginable. I've used ACT! and, while it isn't set up the way most programs are (well, the BIG one we use most often), it's definitely not as intimidating as it looks at first blush. Good luck with your efforts.
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