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Sharon Williams

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  1. Several of the "Unique" Topics scheduled for the upcoming OIVAC include: 1. VA Hot Seats Panel - We will review the issues, systems and operations of several VA businesses that have volunteered to be reviewed by a panel of veteran VAs. The volunteer business will have identified problems/issues they are facing that impact their growth. In addition, the panel will provided suggestions on how to resolve the issue(s) and help the business get and remain on track. 2. Intro to the VA Industry - an open discussion about the pros and cons of becoming a virtual assistant; responding to questions from attendees about best practices, etc. 3. Charge What You Deserve - Strategies on charging what you deserve and getting it, regardless of what’s going on in the current economy. 4.VA and Client Relationships: Interview of a VA Client - The dynamics of the VA/Client relationship to include the good, as well as areas of the relationship that may need improvement. How to choose the right client and the right VA and how personality plays a role in making the perfect VA/client relationship. 5. Successful VAs Panel - Profitable veteran VAs will discuss steps taken to achieve their success, respond to questions about their journey and recommendations on how to create a profitable practice. 6. VA Training Programs Panel - Honest discussion about VA training and coaching programs, pros and cons of enrolling, etc. Participation of actual VA trainers, coaches, mentors, etc. and the general VA industry population. The above are just a sampling of topics that will be covered during OIVAC 2010. In addition, training and business growth and development topics will be led by VA and non-VA business owners -- So hop on over to OIVAC's schedule to see the full lineup. Everyone is invited to register and participate.
  2. Hi Nancy, et al. While Express Scribe and a lot of the other systems are fine for transcription (and some are highly recommended), I must state that the system Andrea is referring to offers much more than just 1-800 dictation and upload file capabilities. It offers dictator, transcriptionist and even courier access, and several reporting mechanisms. I highly recommend it (I turned Andrea on to it myself), and have used it in my business for over 10 years. While I'm sure you're not necessarily interested in the nuts and bolts of how it works, let me say that it can maintain your billing (individual, client and subs) data as well as produce other reports. I highly recommend that those interested in using a state-of-the-art "system" that keeps you on top of the latest in dictation/transcription technologies contact Andrea. If she is unavailable, I am willing to answer any of your questions.
  3. Happy Friday, It’s the perfect time to let all your associates, clients, potential clients and news organizations know about the exciting events going on during this year’s OIVAC. Each year, OIVAC creates four (4) pre-formated fill-in-the-blanks, media press release templates you can customize and use to promote your business and the upcoming OIVAC and IVAD celebration. These releases can be submitted to your local and online media outlets (newspapers, TV/radio stations, cable, business groups, etc.) and posted on your website and blog. Take advantage of this exciting opportunity to promote your own business as you help inform others about this year’s convention and the virtual assistant industry. The convention will be here before you know it! You can download the press releases by visiting http://www.oivac.com/VAmediakits.htm. Be sure to download the Directives too, which provides a step-by-step process to obtain maximum coverage. Of course, if you have any questions, feel free to contact me. Yours,
  4. Attend Online International Virtual Assistants Convention and Discover How to Take Advantage of New Technology Tools Third annual OIVAC showcases communication and technology tools virtual assistants can use to enhance business and increase profits. Baltimore (PRWEB) April 29, 2008 -- "OIVAC has grown by leaps and bounds since it began in 2006. This year's focus, "Pathways to Successful VA Practices: Using Communication & Technology to Enhance Business", concentrates on resources Virtual Assistants use to increase productivity and reduce costs. Not only can we learn from seasoned professionals, we also have the opportunity to network with people from all over the planet," says Laurie Dart, whose company specializes in writing and editing services to individuals and businesses. Dart is a virtual assistant, and she along other virtual professionals working worldwide will gather to learn, network and grow at the third annual Online International Virtual Assistant Convention (OIVAC) scheduled Thursday, May 15 through Saturday, May 17, 2008. New technologies have impacted how companies conduct business. By participating in the online convention, VAs access business-building, value-add services clients are demanding today. Technology-related topics include "Working Virtually with the Right Technology", "How to Automate Your Business (or your client's) with Autoresponders", "Using Mambo, Joomla and other Open Source Software in Your Business", "VA Software for Skype", "Offering Podcasting and Audio Services to Your Clients," and much more. By utilizing skills and software introduced at the convention, Virtual Assistants can assume responsibilities like website maintenance or online marketing, create and mail a monthly newsletter, email marketing campaigns, provide administrative support, conduct market research, etc. "It's clear that small business owners can experience significant savings, both in time and money, by hiring a technology-savvy virtual assistant", states Sharon Williams, OIVAC Founder. The 3rd annual Online International Virtual Assistants Convention, (OIVAC) is a web-based event offering educational seminars, workshops, international exhibition and networking opportunities for aspiring and veteran VAs. "It also allows VAs to experience, first hand examples of how effective and efficient communication and use of technology can launch a practice," says Williams. "By attending the convention, participants have access to industry recognized experts, as well as a wealth of knowledge, experiences and information specifically crafted to benefit their businesses. If you have questions, you'll find the answers at OIVAC!" Visit htp://www.oivac.com for registration information. About Laurie Dart Laurie Dart is president of Writing Wisely specializes in writing and editing services to individuals and businesses. About Alliance for Virtual Businesses Established in June 2003, the Alliance for Virtual Businesses™ is volunteer-directed organization, whose primary mission is to promote the growth of free enterprise between virtual assistants, entrepreneurs, small businesses, corporations, associations and other business entities. At the Web site client-related case studies, industry-related demographics, and a wealth of other types of information are available to facilitate learning about our industry. Visit the Web site for more information. About Online International Virtual Assistants Convention The OIVAC is an online, interactive, "live" yet virtual environment convention of Virtual Assistants, traveling Pathways to Successful VA Practices. Visit the Web site at http://www.oivac.com. About Sharon Williams Sharon Williams is president of The 24 Hour Secretary, and administrative, secretarial and marketing support services company assisting busy and often overwhelmed business executives, entrepreneurs and their assistants. Visit the Web site for more information. ###
  5. FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Sharon Williams Tel: (410) 521-7001 Fax: (410) 521-9742 E-mail: info @ The24HourSecretary.com Veteran Virtual Assistant Provides Critical Answers on Internet Talk Radio Show New Internet radio talk show host questions experienced VA mentor about launching a successful virtual assisting business. Baltimore, MD –Veteran Virtual Assistant Sharon Williams recently appeared as the special guest for the inaugural launch of Mentor Minute Monday, an Internet-based radio talk show providing crucial business answers for individuals interested in starting a specific type of business. Ms. Williams, president of The 24 Hour Secretary, an administrative, secretarial and marketing support virtual assistance firm, was selected as the show’s initial guest because of her experience as a Virtual Assistant (VA) and 18 years of successfully operating her business. “If you are interested in launching a VA business, Sharon is the ‘Business Mentor’ who can get you started on the right foot!” states Sharlene Redway, Founder/CEO of Full Circle Global Mentoring, Inc. and host of Mentor Minute Monday. Sharon mentors aspiring, emerging and experienced virtual assistants as well as offers Internet-marketing and business planning courses for students interested in launching their practice and fueling their passion. “I enjoy working with VAs that possess entrepreneurial spirit and seek a guiding hand to achieve their goals,” says Ms. Williams. My appearance on Mentor Minute Monday allows me to provide answers to unique questions about the VA industry and the opportunity to encourage others to enter this exciting and rewarding field.” Is there a specific question you wanted answered? Did you always want an opportunity to hear advice from a person already successfully operating a virtual assistance business? Well now is your chance! Sharon’s interview can be heard at Mentor Minute Monday or by visiting The 24 Hour Secretary.
  6. Hello, I'm Sharon Williams and my company is The 24 Hour Secretary. I guess I've been very fortunate in that I've had a multi-VA business since 1991, with first my daughter helping out and then having on and offsite staff from that point on. We specialize in transcription, secretarial support, marketing and event planning/management. I too am a stickler for meeting deadlines, and if you miss too many, you are no longer a member of the team. I believe in sharing information and implementing systems, so that if I'm not around, others can run the operation. Some of the "highs" of running my business are: I've met and worked with many fabulous VAs, and even have a team member that has been with me since 1992, 6 others for more than 5 year, and the rest for time ranging from 2 to 3. Ability to spend time with my granddaughter (who is getting ready to leave for college). "Making a good profit!" Seeing a client's face after they have concluded a very successful event. "Lows" Large projects that clients don't provide enough information about -- but want us to "work miracles" Losing 3 major contracts due to during the same time fame because of their going out of business. VAs not meeting deadlines -- boy, that burns my gas.
  7. As the economy heads toward a recession and business owners express concern about overhead and cutting expenses, it is time to implement innovative, cost-effective, technology-savvy, recession-busting strategies. Hiring a Virtual Assistant is a viable solution that saves time, money and frees entrepreneurs to fuel their passion. Everywhere we turn these days -- television, radio, Internet -- discussion focuses on the economy and growing concerns of a recession. George W. Bush, President of the United States, declared during his January 2008 State of the Union Address that "Our first goal is clear: We must have an economy that grows fast enough to employ every man and woman who seeks a job. After recession, terrorist attacks, corporate scandals, and stock market declines, our economy is recovering -- yet it's not growing fast enough, or strongly enough. With unemployment rising, our nation needs more small businesses to open, more companies to invest and expand, more employers to put up the sign that says, "Help Wanted"." How can small business do that when concerns over recession suggest they should be saving money instead of spending it? "Perhaps the best way to recession-proof your business is to hire a virtual assistant", says Sharon Williams, president of the 24 Hour Secretary and chair of the Alliance for Virtual Businesses, the online information portal to the Virtual Assistant industry. The US government recently passed an economic stimulus plan designed to keep the US economy from sliding into a recession. Many questions remain for small business owners, including, what will this package do for my business? According to a January 27, 2008 article entitled, Small Business Planning for Slump written by Jim Wyss of the Miami Herald.com; "Among a dozen small business owners interviewed last week, most said they expect things to get worse before they get better -- and many doubted the new economic stimulus package, which includes rebates for consumers and tax breaks on business expenses, will do much for their bottom line." Unfortunately, this same sentiment is echoed by small business owners located throughout the country. Two suggestions to stimulate income and fight recession overrun are: (1) to increase the utilization of Internet-based technology (2) outsourcing administrative responsibilities to Virtual Assistants (VAs). Virtual Assistants, as defined by the Alliance for Virtual Businesses, are independent entrepreneurs providing long-term, collaborative, professional administrative, creative, managerial, technical, business office and/or personal support services for clients. From their fully functional home offices, VAs use the most advanced means of communication, and the newest and most efficient and time saving office products and work delivery, regardless of geographic boundaries. Virtual Assistants are paid only for time on task and utilize time tracking software that records duration and billing information associated with the assignment. As a result, the client is not charged for downtime, breaks, lunch, leaving the office when emergencies occur, etc. The list of tangible and nontangible benefits associated with hiring a VA is extensive. For example: *Elimination of costs related to providing employee benefits and paying taxes, purchasing furniture and equipment, and training opportunities. *Gaining additional time to focus on income-generating activities instead of time consuming back office administration, recordkeeping and other duties. *Paying only for time on tasks and compensation is based solely on the contractual relationship. *Time to concentrate on responsibilities that fuel their passion. *Development of a partnering relationship with an individual providing fresh insight into projects; an extra pair of administrative hands or an expert in Internet-based technologies. A comprehensive list of value-adds and benefits are identified in A Virtual Solution for Business Growth, Stability and Profitability a downloadable white paper which introduces small business owners, independent professionals, entrepreneurs and corporations to solutions that resolve business challenges and positively influence a company's growth and stability. "It's clear that small business owners can combat a recession and experience significant savings of both in time and money by hiring a virtual assistant", states Williams. To business owners who hesitate about hiring a VA because of cost, Williams says, "it's all relevant! If you are only looking at the amount you pay per hour or as a retainer, you may not experience immediate monetary savings, because a typical experienced VA charges anywhere from $35 to $75 an hour, based on the services provided and her specialty. But, if you compare the rate to the cost of hiring a full-time staffer or even a temp, and paying taxes, benefits and other associated expenses, you immediately see the cost savings. Additionally, you gain hours back of your time to concentrate on responsibilities that fuel your passion, are income-generating, provide a sense of satisfaction and protect your business from recession." For additional information about the benefits of working with Virtual Assistants, and tips and marketing strategies for busy entrepreneurs and professionals, subscribe to Smart Business = Success, located at The 24 Hour Secretary. ABOUT: Sharon Williams manages an administrative, secretarial, marketing and internet-based business support firm open 24 hours a day, every day. It helps busy and often overwhelmed executives and entrepreneurs achieve their goals by giving the gift of time.
  8. This is great news for all of you. Congratulations! I can't wait to read the article.
  9. Great news! Don't forget to add it to the media section of your web site and make a part of your new client package.
  10. Podcast & Blog Hopping Virtual Assistant Publishes Account of 45 Day Tour Entrepreneur travels Internet educating bloggers and podcast listeners about the virtual assistant industry and advantages of partnering with members of the fastest growing work-from-home industry of the 21st century. Baltimore, MD ― The 2007 Virtual Assistant Blog Hopping and Podcast Tour hits the virtual shelves this week. Last spring, Sharon Williams, also known as the Podcast and Blog Hopping Virtual Assistant, embarked on a 45 Day Virtual Tour designed to promote the Virtual Assistant Industry. “It was a lot of work” says Williams, “but the knowledge shared and the friendships gained were well worth it.” The new eBook recounts Williams’ virtual 45-day trip around the Internet as she visited different blogs and podcasts, responding to 200+ questions about the Virtual Assistant Industry and its annual online convention. She stopped in Australia, Canada, the US, England and other countries, virtually, providing insight regarding the industry's history, technology trends, benefits of working with VAs – anything blog readers and podcast listeners wanted to know about one of the fastest growing home-based businesses of the 21st century. A Virtual Assistant (VA) is an entrepreneur providing administrative and other business support services to business owners, remotely. "Savvy small business owners as well as overworked and overwhelmed solopreneurs can now delegate back office, mundane and non-income generating tasks to more than 20,000 work-from-home admin specialists, while they concentrate on responsibilities that fuel their passion." Many participants were interested in learning how to build a successful VA practice. Others wanted answers to questions such as “isn’t working with a VA more expensive than hiring an employee”; and, “how can I be confident that a VA who specializes in my industry won't share my business ideas with other clients?” Ms. Williams used the tour to respond to these and similar inquiries from emerging, aspiring and veteran VAs as well as Web-based business owners. The tour was, and will continue to be an opportunity to educate executives and entrepreneurs about the advantages of working with VAs," states Ms. Williams. It covers many topics including pricing, promotion, marketing, networking, niches, branding – just about any topic a small business owner and/or VA would be interested in exploring about the virtual assistance industry. For more information about the Virtual Assistant Blog Hopping and Podcast Tour, visit the Alliance for Virtual Businesses at http://tinyurl.com/2uylcr. About the Alliance The Alliance for Virtual Businesses (A4VB) represents more than 20,000 Professional Virtual Assistants, worldwide. As the leading advocacy, education and publicity organization for administrative virtual professional entrepreneurs, the Alliance is dedicated to the growth of the Virtual Assistance industry through networking, information sharing and proactive interaction between the global business community and the industry. About Sharon Williams Ms. Williams is president of The 24 Hour Secretary, an administrative, secretarial and marketing support services company which supports busy and often overwhelmed executives, entrepreneurs and their assistants. She is the Chairperson of the Alliance for Virtual Businesses and President of Virtual BusinessU, an online e-leaning environment providing virtual business training in an interactive environment, for students ready to step toward their greatness.
  11. That's fantastic. Be sure to place a link to the publication article page (if it is online) on your homepage. If you can't link to it, then pdf it and add it to your media page. Great job!
  12. Hello Maria, When writing press releases, (especially when announcing a new business launch or grand opening) it is always good to say you are launching in the headline -- adding excitement to the event. Additionally, press releases are traditionally written in a pyramid format, (and telling a story) meaning the most important information is in the first paragraph, and carried over into the 2nd. As a result, you should include the who, what, when, where and how of your story angle in the first paragraph. It's also best to present some kind of "local angle" to your release -- how your business will impact the local community, or you are the first of kind in your area, the uniqueness of your business, demographics, and a quote, either by you are a potential client, someone prominent in the community, or someone familiar with running a virtual business, etc. The media needs a reason to potentially write a story about you and/or from you release (if they are lazy). So, give them a lot of the info they would need to say, "I want to write an article about her business, or new business model exploding the Internet, etc.." I have not reviewed your article for its basic content, but just tried to provide advise on the elements of what should be included to get it noticed and potentially covered. I hope this helps,
  13. Hey Gang, The conference is definitely worth attending. The presenters are great and meeting other VAs face-to-face is worth the expense. Plus, I remember in 2006 that 3 people shared a room -- so, if you really want to go, there may still be a way to cut back on expenses. And, you might do like I did, not purchase Haagan Daaz for a while and save all those dollars for the trip I'm not sure if I'm going to make it this year, as I have another travel commitment in April and the Online International Virtual Assistants Convention (OIVAC) in May. So, take my word for it, it is a fantastic event and well worth the expense.
  14. Hi Levi, I have a totally different take on your release and suggest that since "the environmental impact" is a unique consideration and one that isn't "pitched" often via this industry, I suggest that you focus on the theme of how working with a VA impacts the environment -- using examples (and add a few more) you have already included. I would also add a few statistics about how if more entrepreneurs worked with a VA they could reduce smog, or save trees, etc. (Now, I hate to give you more work, but believe you will receive a larger response and potentially coverage, by changing your headline, adding a sub-headline and then focusing your first paragraph -- on the relationship between the environment and your business.) Place your quote about preserving the environment for your children higher in the release -- as it is an impactful statement. Next, I would send the article specifically to the small business editors or environment-focused editors/reporters (need to conduct research). Finally, I would expand my reach and send to environmental-focused groups, magazines, etc. -- as they may want to run a feature article on your new-age business and its environmental connection. My mind is spinning around how you can really take this angle and run it (under various themes) to publications and organizations throughout Australia. If you'd like to discuss the possibilities offlist, contact me via skype at the24hoursecretary -- or email at sharon@the24hoursecretary.com. I hope this helps,
  15. Hi, Everyone! Below are my responses: 1. How long you've been a part of the legal industry? Since the early 1990s. 2. How long you've been a VA? Since 1989-90 - officially opened doors. 3. Your primary service offering? Digital dictation/transcriptions services (in the legal field), otherwise, its marketing & PR, event management and business support services. 4. If you could do one thing over, what would it be? Um, not sure -- Probably move all my websites to a dedicated server; so I don't have so many email issues. But, that's high on my list of "to dos" now! 5. How you've marketed yourself in order to gain clients. I used to extensively market by attending networking events, joining groups, doing post card mailings. Now, 90% of my marketing is done via my websites, with 10% in article marketing and speaking engagements.
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