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Amanda Lawson

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About Amanda Lawson

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  • Birthday 10/07/1982

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    Roseville, CA

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  1. Hello Fellow VA's, I have an average of 12 team members on my multi-va team. I am having trouble finding the best way to calculate and run payroll. Especially as the hourly rate is different for different clients, and some of the projects are flat rate monthly. This makes it difficult to find a program that will allow me to enter different hourly rates, etc. for an individual. To date, I have been using a project management and time tracking integrated program, and entering the information into an Excel Spreadsheet that is already set up with the calculations. This seems to be a bit more tedious, and open to the potential for more errors. I am wondering what anyone else in the same or a similar situation has found helpful for payroll. I am open to any suggestions and/or questions! Thank you!
  2. Hello Jodie, I have quite a few Real Estate clients that might be interested. What type of interview questions will there be, and it will they need to be available on a specific day and time, or can it be scheduled based on mutual availability? Sorry for the questions, but who I can suggest is dependent on the answers. :-) Thank you!
  3. My head is spinning right now! So, you go through the entire process of interviewing someone to subcontract on your team. Check references, work samples, check them out online, have extensive phone conversations about their experience, future goals, etc. You do your due diligence. Then you bring them on your team, and slowly start giving them work to test them out, after they sign an extensive contract. During this time, they have access to your project management system, team manual, procedure manual & back-end team pages. Then, this happens.... Scenario One - You've only given them a small project, as they have barely been on the team a couple weeks. You get a call from a previous employer, who has their attorney on the line. They want to make sure you know that the person you just brought on your team has stolen their company information, in an attempt to recreate and sell the information to other companies. Bringing yours under scrutiny if you obtained any piece of that information. As soon as you hear this, you block any and all access to your information, website, everything. Then, you go to their website for a quick look, to see if your info was taken, too. Low and behold, there it is! They have stolen some of your website content, word-for-word. Even tried to recreate your marketing pieces. Scenario Two - You have given them one client/project so far. It had the potential to be a great repeat client. Somehow, they majorly blow it! They weren't paying attention when you gave them the task, didn't read the project assignment information which explained the pending tasks, and it turns out...they don't actually provide those services! So, now that brand new client has a really bad impression of your company, even though nothing like this has EVER happened before. You chalk it up to a mistake. Then, you go to their website so that you can verify that you have properly displayed their skills on your website, as to avoid this in the future. What do you find? You find that they have completely changed their website since joining your team to reflect that they are now building their own team, the content matches yours almost exactly, some of the same pictures, same bullet points, same service category names, same application. Wow!!! What do you do??? I am pulling my hair out right now. I can't believe this has happened with two different people now, over a period of 1 year! Help!
  4. I have used quite a few different programs over the last few years. I actually just started using TeamWorkPM a couple months ago. I absolutely love it! It is a lot easier to work with for both my team members and I, and easier to manage on my end. I previously used BasecampHQ, and didn't like the way it was laid out. I also used a few others like AceProject, which was limited, as they are still working on building it to have the features that the other's do. Google Docs is always a great way to collaborate with clients on Spreadsheets that are regularly updated, but TeamWorkPM works for uploading, editing, and saving new versions with comments. So, we don't use Google Docs as much as we used to. I would love to know what you end up deciding on! :-)
  5. Hi there, These are some good questions! Actually, just about every website I have see that is adding to their team refers to their hiring process as completing an "application" initially. I rarely see it referred to as submitting a proposal. The application gives me the ability to ask specific questions that I need answered up front, without writing out what needs to be included in a proposal, and not getting everything I need. In my experience, it seems like an easier option for everyone involved. As far as the fee, I actually end up waiving it most of the time. What we want is good people on the team, who are honest, hard workers. This is a way to "weed-out" the people who are just submitting their information any where possible, and aren't really interested in making a real career out of this. I don't want people to think of it as a job, but as in investment in their future. The way we market our team members individually, and then their specific specialties makes it a bit different than the traditional multi-va biz. Besides, I don't make much, if anything of the projects/clients we bring in. I initiated this when I first started, after receiving way too many applications that were...well, I will say lacking. I have actually been going about the interview process a lot differently lately, so it may be gone completely in the future. You never know! I received a few different questions about all of this, especially after a post on here previously. So, I actually created a page dedicated to answering some of those questions here: http://www.yourusava.com/our-team/virtual-assistant-home/ Once again, I really appreciate your questions. It is always good to get feedback from how other people view the procedures in place! Thank you!
  6. Hello again everyone, Hi Tawnya - I have to say...I actually just brought on my first Canadian VA, and I LOVE, Love, LOVE her! My clients actually specifically ask me to verify that the team members that will be working on their projects are in the US. Especially as there are many people who say they are US or Canada based, and staff their company with VA's from India. So, it has become something that we are known for, and people are confident that we aren't outsourcing to other countries. Keeping jobs in the U.S. is something that has grown increasingly important over the years, especially as the economy has declined. We are actually adding to our team again now, to fill in a couple spots that we are adding. I absolutely love what I do, and having team members that have the same passion. We completely support VA's having their own business, in addition to the work that they do for us. Crazy thing is, in the last week, and again in the last 6 months, I have had two people literally come on the team and copy my business model, my welcome kits, website content, interview emails, job postings and attempt to recreate it on their websites. This is a huge struggle for me, especially because I have really stepped up my interview and reference check process, and it still happens. Luckily, they signed contracts, so I have the option to pursue legal action. But, it definitely makes it a little scary, to say the least!
  7. Hello Everyone! Great to see that this post is still circulating. Since my original post, we've still had some ups and downs. I have changed up my interview process quite a bit, and do a lot more checking of references and work samples. I hope this little change will make a difference, as it seems to be so far. We are still looking to add some team members for some of the services that are not yet covered by the expertise of our current team members. Our biggest need right now is for Online Business Managers and Social Media Rockstars! I have included the complete list of services that we are looking to fill below. Feel free to check out our website for more info! http://www.yourusava.com/our-team/virtual-assistant-home/ Article Distribution Press Release Writing Resume Services SEO/Web Optimization Affiliate Program Management Audio Editing Blog Maintenance Blog Post Writing Blog Posts Blog Site Design Email Marketing Event Coordinator Graphic Design Logos Marketing Plan/Strategy Online Business Management Power Point Presentation Preparation Social Media Assessment Social Media Maintenance Social Media Profile Setup Web Graphics Webinar Setup & Management Website Design Website Maintenance
  8. Hi there. Craigslist is great if you regularly work it in to your marketing plan. For example, we pick some of the larger metropolitan areas in the U.S. to post in. We have a word document that has a list of all of the Craigslist posts that we post regularly, and work our way through the list. The key is posting regularly! Craigslist is a great way to market, as it is FREE, and if you word your posts correctly, your posts will come up in Search Engine searches. I also recommend spicing it up a bit with some HTML coding to make the font stand out, and ALWAYS attaching an image. We have obtained 3 clients from regular posting on Craigslist, and we could have more if we did it more regularly. That's when we had the most success. There is definitely still some SPAMMING going on on Craigslist, but if you work it right, it's not a big deal compared to the clients you can access.
  9. Hi there! I agree with these posts. When we are looking for additional work, for what I call our "in between" times, I started looking to ODesk, Elance and PeoplePerHour. I found out quickly that you will get outbid by someone from overseas that only wants to make $2/hour. So, unless you are willing to really lower your standards, I don't recommend it. There are a ton of bids entered, and it can start costing money to bid on projects if you go over a certain amount. Not to mention that many of the times the company hiring you wants to use their monitoring program and watch you the whole time. I recommend working with someone that will allow you to earn their business, and their trust. Not bid against a ton of people to fight for someone to watch over you like "big brother". On the other hand, there are a few sites that seem to be great...I would start right here first! @VaNetworking.com job board!
  10. Hi there! Not sure if you chose anyone yet, because I see that you were looking by early February. I would love to volunteer if you haven't already found one! Thank you!
  11. Hi there! Welcome to the VA world! You started in a great place by coming to this forum. This is by far the best VA Networking forum out there. You will find that everyone is very helpful! Not to mention, with just a small investment, you can have access to a ton of business tools, job posts, seminars and so much more to get you on the right path. I would recommend thinking about whether you want to have your own VA Company, or be a subcontractor working with someone else to get started. There are also some VA's who work with interns, to help them find their way in this growing industry! Let me know if I can be of any assistance!
  12. Lot's of great suggestions here! I don't charge for a quote, and generally do about a 30 minute initial consultation. I try to get enough basic information up-front, prior to the scheduled call. I usually send an email confirmation after the call is scheduled, and within that email is an attached document, or a link to an online form where they can complete some basic information. It says in the email, and on the forms something like: "This allows us to make the most out of our time together!" Most of the potential clients are more than willing to fill it out, even if they don't fill it out all of the way, it is very helpful! Also helps us stay on task with what we are taking about during the call, and making sure I ask all of the important questions surrounding those items.
  13. Hi there. Does he know that you are virtual? Or are you referring to admin/bookkeepers that would only be working on his books? We have a couple team members that provide bookkeeping for our clients, and it works well for organized va's that have the necessary online programs to be able to manage the bookkeeping. Let me know if you have more info or clarification! I would love to see if I can help point you in the right direction!
  14. Wow! This year has been a year of incredible growth for my company, and my team. Unfortunately, it has been a year of many struggles as well. My recent one, finding virtual assistants that are honest and reliable to join our team. One after another I have brought on people on to my team with some incredible skills, work history, and seemingly great customer service skills. People practically begging for work from the start, but basically disappearing once they accept the new projects I give them. I keep changing my interview/screening process to add more to it to try to cyphen out the "bad one's", nothing seems to be working! I need to make some changes before these dishonest, unreliable virtual assistants keep making a bad name for my team and the entire industry. I only bring team members on when the work allows for it, and I start them off with a smaller project to see how it goes before giving them anything big. Any recommendations? What works for you? Desperately seeking some clear answers! And I know I can always could on the VA Networking gals to shed some light on the situation!
  15. The TEAM at USA Virtual Assistants is looking to add another 5-6 team members to our team. If you are highly experienced, and your true desire is to be a VA full-time, you may be exactly what we are looking for. Don't want to handle the marketing, client screening, billing aspects of running a VA business? We are looking for people that are experts in any of the following: Online Business Management Wordpress Website Creation & Setup Optimize Press Website Graphic Design Article & Press Release Writing & Distribution SEO Sales Page - Landing Page Design AutoResponder & Email Marketing If you specialize in any of these services, we would love to have you fill out an application on our website. We are not currently looking for assistance with general admin work at this time. Please be sure that you meet the minimum criteria located on our Join Us page Taking a few extra minutes to read through the criteria before submitting the application saves both you and me time. **Must currently reside in the United States, as our clients come to us for that reason. Nothing against other countries, just a professional decision and a niche that we have chosen. :-)** Thank you!!!
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