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mjva

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About mjva

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  1. Hi Lynn, I'm not sure if this is exactly what you are looking for. I am an instructor for the Red Deer College VA Certificate Program and we do have a practicum every Spring (starts May 1). In essence, like an intern program. We match our students up with established, experienced VAs, in order for them to get hands-on experience. The practicum represents their last step towards graduation. The students work pro-bono on client work for the VA (or whatever work that may be) in exchange for mentoring, guidance and training on any special programs you may have them work on (outside of the normal MS Office,etc). It really is a win-win situation. And, if you are happy with the work the VA is doing, you have the option of keeping them on after the practicum (of course their VA fees would apply). I would be happy to explain more about the practicum offline, to you or anyone else who may be interested. Michelle Jamison michelle.jamison@rdc.ab.ca michelle@mjva.ca http://www.mjva.ca
  2. HI, I just wanted to add my support. I am extremely proud to be called a Virtual Assistant. As an Instructor for new VAs at Red Deer College's Virtual Assistant Certificate Program, our students spend approximately 2 years in training just to meet the high standards of what it means to be a Virtual Assistant. They literally strive to be able to call themselves, Virtual Assistants. I couldn't image reinventing the wheel, we've made such huge leaps with this term. Just my 2 cents!
  3. Hi Everyone, I'm having a little difficulty with a plugin called Billboard. It is an ad manager plugin http://ithemes.com/purchase/billboard-word...manager-plugin/. I'm hoping someone can give me some advice. I use it to display my social icons and Rss feed icon (you can view what I mean on the RSS icons are showing http://www.mjva.ca/thevavoice). Anyways, the story goes.... As I mentioned I use the billboard from my social icons and Rss feed icons. So normally my social icon billboard would show up underneath the RSS feed icon. One day my social icon billboard disappeared, only my RSS feed is visible. I went and tried to add my social icon billboard again, and it worked, but then the RSS feed billboard disappeared. It's as if you can only use one billboard at a time now, when I did have both up. I'm not sure if anyone else has used this plugin and encountered the same issue. I did not set up my blog or the initial set up of this plugin. I'm now just trying to troubleshoot and figure out what the heck I am doing wrong. Thanks so much for your time.
  4. Wow, this seems like quite a hot topic! I thank elastigirl for her question as it's a very valid question. I agree there are no "dumb questions". Each multi-VA business owner will defintely run their business as they see fit. The bottomline is there are no set "rules" in place for managing a multi-VA business (other then being aware of the line between subcontracting vs. employee). We all have our own ideas and beliefs and we'll uphold the standards we choose to do so (as all of us strive for high standards). Now in terms of probationary periods, although I do not have this in my business, I have had in the past Junior Associates (in other words interns) who I have spent time mentoring and training and for that reason alone have received a lower rate. This rate of course agreed upon by both parties --establishing common intent. It was great to hear everyone's ideas and opinions! Thank you again for asking the question and beginning a fantastic dialogue.
  5. Hi, This may not be exactly what you are looking for but I'm happy to share information regarding my project manager. I have one project manager who I really consider to be my right hand (left hand, two feet, you get the picture). She has been with my company now for over 8 years. She not only supports me with the managing of the business, associates, clients, but she also her self has clients that she works with under my company "umbrella". So to answer your first question, yes, my project manager works with clients just as my Associate VA's do. In terms of how many clients she works with/manages. Since my clients work directly with their VA's, there is not as much managing needed. However my PM and I share the duties of following up with clients, doing our check in's, etc. So how I have structured my multi-VA business, other than her clients, we don't necessarily assign clients to her. We share the client responsibilities and check in processes. Again, my company may be structured very differently from you, however my PM gets paid an hourly fee that is higher than the rest of the Associates do to her additional responsibilites in the company. I hope this helps Michelle
  6. Hi Caroline, Each Multi-VA owner may be different in the way that they approach this within their business. For me personally, I would train the existing VA, so that they would have those skills to offer the service themselves, the training itself would be considered compensation. I've done this in the past with my team members and they have appreciated the experience. Again, this varies and although this is the way I would handle it, other's may do it differently, so it will be interesting to hear how everyone else handles it. Michelle
  7. HI Everyone, I've been working on my Multi-VA workshop for FOVA, and one of the items we will be exploring in the session is our leadership style. As you multi-VA owners know, the moment you bring on your first Associate you become a coach, a teacher and a leader all rolled into one. As a leader we are concerned with two items: The task at hand & the people on our team. If we lean too far to one side (task oriented) we become so focused with the task, that we neglect the people. If we lean too far to the other side (team oriented) our focus becomes more about the team --being the best friend and the tasks begin to suffer. The key is trying to find the balance. So, what are your thoughts? Do you lean more to one side? Have you found the balance? What's your leadership style? Can't wait to hear from you! Michelle
  8. This is exactly the way it works for me...I couldn't agree with you more Yvonne!! Michelle
  9. Patty, As a matter of fact, no you haven't...but I love it when you do!! Thanks! Michelle
  10. Karen, Recommendations sent your way, please let me know how it goes! Michelle
  11. Hi Karen, Yes, I have a standard Associate Agreement, and if you are using the one from my book, then that is the one I use. I'm surprised to hear that you had some refuse to sign it. I can only speak for myself, but if one of my prospective team members refused to sign it, they simply would not be part of my team. I don't want to seem harsh, but there is no negotiating when it comes to my business. Either you would like to be a team member or not. If you do, wonderful, here's the contract sign it. If you don't, see ya later. This to me is one of the differences between a Multi-VA business and subcontracting. With a Multi-VA business you are playing by your rules, subcontracting you are playing by theirs. I set the fees, payment schedule, etc. There is a trust that comes along with it, I totally agree with you and I pay my Associates twice a month on the 15th and 30th. I have never had an issue with them regarding this. If you are ever in the need for Associates, please send me an email, I'd be happy to make some recommendations. Warmly, Michelle
  12. Karen, Cheryl has some great advice here. The multi-VA model is not for everyone, and yes, I too have had my ups and downs with Associates. It is part of the process of building a team...the unfortunate thing is that you have had to lose clients in the process. I have had to let Associates go because they haven't met my standards, yet on the flip side I have found wonderful Associates who have been with my business for 6+ years and who my clients love. Because of this my clients have referred more business and the Associate works 40+ hours. You are in a tough stage right now...the first year is a HUGE learning curve and quite honestly for me was the most difficult. Each year gets a little easier as you develop your procedures/processes and figure out what works and what doesn't work. Part of that process is looking at how we qualify our Associates. To be honest, at first I was pretty niave with Associates for my business. I took everything they said to be golden, and in fact some cases I didn't check references --rookie mistake on my end and I learned from this. Now, I have a testing process, I speak to references, I ask for work samples, I have a dual interview process and if they work for other multi-VA businesses - speak to the owners. When it comes to finding Associates, I've done it all. Brought on experienced VAs, New VAs, hired outside of the industry, and each have their pros and cons. You are going through a rough period right now and I know it can be very discouraging. Keep your chin up and if you EVER need someone to talk to, vent to or simply just need a "ear", give me call! I would be more than happy to share my experiences with you...all the good, the bad and the ugly. Warmly, Michelle
  13. Hi Renee, Yes the VAMotivators is a mentoring/coaching program for VA's to get one-on-one coaching! It's a fantastic program. Michelle
  14. What a great question!!! I'm not sure I would have enough space here to sing the praises of my team. They are an amazing group of talented individuals who take an above and beyond approach to all that they do. I would like to think that I recognize their efforts on a daily basis, it's simply part of our team environment. We're a close team and I'm never hesitant in telling them how much I appreciate all that they do. It's because of them that my business continues to thrive. Extraordinary Work Team Recognition Day --Fantastic! Love it!!! Michelle
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