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About Kerry

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  1. Please mark your calendars now for a workshop coming this spring! A "Spring Fling" Workshop for Business Support Practitioners and Virtual Assistants will be co-hosted by New England Business Services Association and Western New England Business Support Services on Saturday, April 24, 2004 in the Springfield, Massachusetts / Enfield, Connecticut area. The workshop will feature speakers and breakout sessions. Suggested topics (subject to change) are: [*]How to Prepare Projects for Print [*]Beyond Computing 101 [*]Optimize Your Business Website [*]New Features of Microsoft Office 2003 [*]Pricing Your Services[/List]The workshop is open to all business support practitioners and virtual assistants who live or plan to be in the New England area on Saturday, April 24, 2004. More information will be provided as details unfold.
  2. More details have unfolded: Get your business "blooming" with Success this spring! You are cordially invited to join your virtual assistant and business support service colleagues from the greater New England area at the Annual Spring Business Workshop. This first-time event is co-sponsored by Western New England Business Support Services and New England Business Services Association. When: Saturday, April 24 2004 from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Where: Double Tree Hotel at Bradley International Airport, 16 Ella Grasso Turnpike (Route 75), Windsor Locks, CT 06096 (www.doubletree.com) For agenda, list of facilitators and registration form, visit www.wnebss.org/workshop.htm. Whether your business is in its first stages—or you are a well-established entrepreneur—there will be abundant, energizing topics and ideas for optimizing your business success. Best wishes for your continued SUCCESS!
  3. Kimmer, Congratulations on being the FIRST virtual assistant in your area! I know you'll continue to grow and succeed as the "leader of the pack" in your region. I just want to mention that I network with local virtual assistants as well. We get together every six weeks for long lunches to discuss ideas, trends, equipment, production standards, etc. We're unique from one another in that we each have our own areas of expertise and support different client industries. Two of my colleagues specialize in association management, another in database design, another in medical transcription and still another in PowerPoint presentations. None of us feel threatened by one another. In fact, we routinely collaborate on large projects, refer work/prospect, and cover one other during vacations and emergencies. Having colleagues close by definitely has its perks! Okay, the name thing is kind of freaky! You'll always be Kimmer #1 on our board!
  4. Happy Dancing with ya!!! Congrats. You deserve it!
  5. Oh good, Tawnya. Robert Brenner is so approachable and ethical. He really is an advocate to women business owners and doing his best to educate us on the importance of pricing our services appropriately. And more times than not, that means raising our rates.
  6. Kerry


    Congratulations everyone! I love hearing all these success stories. Keep up the great work!
  7. Lisa, Welcome to the Group! I checked out your Mainely-Wraps website and am very impressed with your talent and offerings! There is absolutely no reason why you couldn't offer your talents virtually! The key is to concentrate on the skills you DO have (and are quite good at, thankyouverymuch!) With a bit of research and planning, you should be able to attract and generate a fair share of business. I would imagine you have an outstanding client base to tap into as well. I suggest you introduce yourself to established print shops and graphic designers (locally and virtually). Show them samples of your work and let them know you are available for overflow work. Btw, do you make Graduation Wraps? Best wishes,
  8. Call me strange, but I have always wanted to open a secretarial service. Although the term is somewhat out of vogue now, the idea actually hit me during a commute to college as I passed an old house advertising a secretarial service within. I remember thinking I can do that! Fast forward twenty-something years. My long-time position was now the subject of a company reorganization. Without batting an eye, I called town hall to see about opening a home-based secretarial service. The rest, as they say, is history. It never occurred to me that I might not be successful or that I should go into this part-time. Fortunately, my last employer, along with several former HR executive-level staffers, became my first clients. And although I had not heard the term "virtual assistant" yet, most of my clients were virtual. My advice -- in no particular order -- is that you develop business, operational (i.e., pricing, procedures, contracts) and marketing plans; have a source of income to finance your start up and household expenses; go full time when your billable hours can support you; identify your niche (i.e., industry, type of client, service(s) you provide) and, above all, don't treat your practice like a hobby. Oh, if at all possible, attend a VA conference this year. I don't care which one or where, just go, go, GO! You will pick up invaluable tips and techniques, meet wonderful new and seasoned colleagues and will be so energized with conference-itis that we'll be able to feel and share your excitement all over the globe! Now go put your loose change in a coffee can to get your conference fund started. Best wishes,
  9. Rebecca Trelfa, webmistress at work-the-web.com, has done an outstanding job of itemizing each and every VA organization in existence. To see the full list, certifications offered, membership fees, and other juicy details, click here.
  10. Not to beat a dead horse, but I'd like to mention one more thing. In 2002, Robert Brenner conducted a pricing and industry standards survey of the Business Support Services industry. In turn, he published Special Report: A Comprehensive Survey of the Business Support Services Industry. VA and BSS associations alike endorsed that survey (i.e., ABSSI, IAVOA, IVAA). Each encouraged their members to participate. I was one of them. It was very time consuming and somewhat stressful. His survey forced me to dig deep into the fog of my business practices and to think about and analyze things I never considered would impact my business. Participating in that survey was my first true lesson in the importance of having meaningful operational, marketing and pricing strategies. I keep Robert's Report at hand and refer to it constantly. My very favorite chapter is "Best Business Practices" which represents twenty-six of the most successful practitioners in our industry -- all of whom made a minimum of $100,000 per annum. One even hit her stride at the $2.2 million mark! By emulating what these "best of" companies do, read, price, use, provide, etc., I know I benefit personally, professionally and financially. One year after that survey was published, my business earnings increased considerably (300%) over the previous year's earnings.
  11. Tawnya and all, Robert Brenner is a highly respected pricing guru in the printing, desktop publishing, scoping and business support services industries. He has conducted tons of pricing surveys and has authored many books and articles on the subjects of pricing and industry practices. You can learn more about him and his group at BrennerBooks.com. In fact, the Alliance for Virtual Businesses commissioned his group recently to manage the Virtual Assistants Survey, which is the source for initial statistics found on its web site. Forgive me if this has already been cleared up, but I felt it necessary to vouch for Robert Brenner's good name.
  12. Anne, Yours is the million dollar question! My marketing strategy has sort of evolved over the years. Five years ago I advertised locally with so-so results. Now I market almost exclusively online and yes, by word of mouth. What works for me may or may not work for you, but the key -- as basic as it sounds -- is that you stay in touch. Here are a few things that have worked for me: *Get listed on free and fee-based VA directories (don't forget to submit your bio to the new Alliance for Virtual Businesses web site * Regularly contribute to VA and client-related newsgroups * Send every post and email with a sign off that includes your contact info and slogan * Send periodic emails to clients and prospects to ask them if there is anything you can do for them * Send postcards announcing your vacation schedule to clients and prospects about a month ahead of time. You'll be sure to get one or two calls right before you leave and as soon as you get back! * Subscribe to Google News Alerts topics that appeal to your clients and, without bombarding them with too many, forward the most appealing results to them * Ask for the business! I learned this bit of wisdom from a business coach who felt I was doing everything right in terms of marketing my wares but not in asking for the business!!! * Read Sharon B. Williams' book "Marketing Your VA Practice: It's Not About Money, It's About Having the Right Strategy" One last thing, VA certification is highly regarded by clients. Earning certain designations (i.e., CVA, MVA, ECVA, CRESS) will automatically place you on exclusive directories and score you high with clients. Just my loose change...
  13. Congratulations Tawnya on another terrific newsletter and Kimmer for being top poster! I enjoy reading what both of you have to say.
  14. Thank you very much for allowing me to post this workshop announcement here and on the VANF calendar. There is nothing like meeting folks "just like us" in person to swap ideas, collaborate, tell stories, educate and learn. I always try to encourage new VA's to attend at least one event a year -- be it the New England Spring Fling, IAVOA Conference, IVAA Summit or Connection, NEBSA Conference, or quarterly VA gathering. I know I'm forgetting key ones and apologize. There are so many to choose from. If none are near you, organize one yourself. You'll be energized and will make a lot of lasting friendships in the process.
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