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Everything posted by nirie1

  1. My 13 year old daugther just learned illustrator in art class and wants a copy. I cant afford it right now and was wondering if anyone has used any of the open source alternatives. Some I found are Xara, Inkscape, Skencil, OpenOffice Draw or ???
  2. from someone with terrible print who has to rewrite to make it right (LOL) I print everything including notes to my children's teachers. I use different fonts for different things. For instance a love note in my children's lunchbox gets the comic script while the Christmas cards or letters to family and friends get the monotype corsive. I often buy clear labels so I dont have to handfeed the envelopes or postcards. A few more dollars but a timesaver and it looks a little bit better. When I am doing small mailings I will put the envelope in for print.
  3. I checked out ed2go and saw that they have several graphics classes. Never heard of Freehand MX which they offer as well as CorelDraw, Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop. I am leaning towards CorelDraw is there a preference or industry standard?
  4. I want to learn to do graphic design (is that the term). I often have wonderful ideas but I cant find free clipart to use, no drawing skills, etc. For instance a friend (who helps me a lot) wanted to gift my services to her brother in law and sister. I came up with a great logo idea. Its a painting service so I came up with a paint can pouring over their business name sitting in a paint tray with the business slogan on the paint tray. Unfortuantely I can't do it. The rate I am charging her is very nominal. I did something in word which is not the right product although what I came up with is close to my vision. Any suggestions on what program(s) I should learn to be able to do this sort of stuff? After this I will need to learn a web design program. FYI I taught myself access (still need a class to do complex stuff) so I can pick up stuff easily but I have been using wysiwyg programs for web design. When it comes to jargon I tend to get a mental block. I am very much a hands on visual person. Yet, I want to be able to implement my ideas more readily. I often end up searching the net and user groups for help with Access so I know I need a class in sql or something more indepth. I have tried doing a form with adobe form designer but its not as easy as word any suggestions or tips? Suggestions to what I should learn for any are appreciated: Graphic Design/Desktop Publishing: Database: beyond basic Access Web Design: Doc1.doc
  5. As a newbie VA, I know it is quite hard to balance work, home and business. Finding customers is even more difficult. I have found carrying my cards, brochures and post cards a big help. Whenever someone mentions their own business at family functions etc I make sure to slip them some info about mine later on. I like the above idea to put an ad in papers which I have not done but plan to do asap! More money....
  6. Depend's on what state your in. Many states have at will employment laws which mean it is the employee and employers will to work and either can terminate their relationship at anytime without notice. Some states that I know of first hand are Georgia and Mississippi. These laws protect the employer more then the employee since if you quit without notice as an employee your chances of a good reference are nill to known!
  7. I would recommend a slightly large font size it makes it easier to read and your site can be skimmed quickly which is what I tend to do when I first visit a site to find what I want
  8. This was a good post. I would love a survey of the new VA’s who introduced themselves on the forum in a certain time period say 1/1/06 to 12/31/06 who are still active and are still in business.
  9. Wow! I know how it feels to have a computer crash. My desktop where my personal checking info is locked up on me after buying a new printer (btw always read reviews on amazon before buying) I did the restore only to figure out later after losing stuff that if I unplugged the printer my system would boot up. My laptop is a newer model I got from my mom who bought a bells and whistles system with no idea how to use a computer. Then this past Xmas she bought my oldest a ($400) laptop. I decided I was starting my VA business and my cheapy desktop wouldn't work so I had her switch laptops (daughter isn't allowed on internet in room so laptop was a waste for her). Now I have a fast machine and two computers networked to each other. I backup using thumb drives. I only have had two customers so far. I also have a habit of switching between machines depending on my mood and where the kids are. Laptop is in my bedroom/office and the desktop is in living room. Now my big point is thumb drives (Lexar) are great. I promote Lexar because as a Katrina evacuee I had all my files on my thumb drive when I evacutaed in 2005 and left the computer thinking nothing bad was going to happen well as we all know it did. I was able to retrive my computer and was advised to let it dry out and it would probably work. As an online student I was glad I had my jump drive. Plus my checking info in quicken was on there! (BTW my machine never worked again its collecting dust in my mom's basement) Anyway to make a long story not as long. Six months later while resuming my life my thumb drive was left in the computer and my daughter tripped near the computer and it broke!!!! I had not downloaded all my old files to my new machine since I just liked to have them but didnt use them (stuff like papers I wrote, etc). Well, I emailed Lexar (jump drive was like 3 years old) and they set me up with a RMA and I mailed in the drive. The guy told me it was out of warranty so they wouldn't replace the drive. I didn't care I just wanted the files since I had already lost so much. A few weeks later in the mail I get a CD with all my old files!!! For free.... Talk about customer service. Of course I went out and bought another of their jump drives. I am going to buy another as a backup and rotate the saves. Once I get a few more customers (or at least one steady) I will invest in online or external hard drive. I keep my laptop charged at all times. I also have family an hour away who all have machines and I put in a copy of MS OFfice on one of their machines. The big problem with using someone else's machine is that they won't have all the software you need or use. So you have to think of that when figuring out a back up plan.
  10. I ordered some from them and had a problem with the one sided cards and had already placed a second order before the first came in. The second set which were two sided were perfect. Another fyi vista cards aren't standard business card size. I contacted their customer service and they refunded me my money at least... I will probably order from them again though. I also plan to use their freebies (+ shipping lol!) for our family reunion stuff... The other stuff I got from them was fine (ie magnets-(large, small, refrig), note cards, brochures (love them good quality paper), postcards. The free labels are more like return address size print so I slice them with the paper cutter and use them accordingly. I used to have a state job and understand the importance of being furgal and using the vendors on the list.
  11. I have found that if I am on a computer in which I am auto signed into the site when I do a search the info I put here will come up. As long as I am logged out of the forum it doesnt seem to be a problem
  12. I eagerly read your post as it unfolded. It was interesting to see although you were quite aggravated you kept it professional and met each of his concerns with professional answers. KUDOS to you! Go ahead say it "I am woman hear me roar" When you overcome something difficult it really hits home how much you know (or can do) that you didnt realize. Put this on your list of accomplishments so when you get that difficult question from someone "How did you deal with a difficult client and was the client happy in the end" you can say YES, YES, YES. Plus its a good one to save and remember for the oops times where you do make a mistake and kick yourself.
  13. As a new VA I am probably not the best person to answer this but... I wanted to be able to offer my retainer clients a discount and clients that would only use me occasionaly or hourly I wanted to encourage to go on retainer so I figured my regular hourly rate after calculating my lowest retainer hourly rate. For example if the lowest amount I was willing to work for is $27.50 an hour and I have three levels of retainer rates my retainer rates might be $32.50, $30 and $27.50. While my hourly rate might be $35 or $40. My thinking is that I want to encourage clients to take on retainers. My retainers are very generous and may change as I take on more clients. For example the hours retained can be used over three month periods and once hours are used they can use additional hours at the retainer rate for the period retained.
  14. I like it a lot. The satellite idea is good as well but I still like the original.
  15. Try your local community college or employment center. Microsoft also has some links for you to take the test as well. Also MOUS cert is recognized everywhere some will even give you college credit for it. Less expensive then some VA certs. You can get certified in one program or all. You can get the books which will help you learn the programs to test standards. Here is the link for Microsoft http://www.microsoft.com/learning/mcp/offi...quirements.mspx Also I did a post a while back on low cost training which included microsoft
  16. I just sent out post cards to names I got off our chamber of commerce list (online), I also created a mailing list from the yellow pages online. I did a yellowpage.com search for pysch/mental health since I have experience in that area of transcritpion. My neighbor who is disabled got me two clients her brother in law and a different sister. I take at this point all jobs large and small giving out my marketing materials (ie brochures, magnets, business cards) to new clients for them to pass out to others as well. I monitor articles online and on the internet for small business and home based business' I then look up their address or company online and send them a postcard. For instance I love TLC and Discovery Channel lots of independent business owners, house flippers, I keep a pen and pad nearby jot down the name and send them postcards if I can get the mailing info. Postcards were a inexpensive way for me to market. Few bites but I am optimistic.
  17. In a book I read when first starting up cant think of the name but I think it was by Jan Mellnik(???) she suggested when she had late paying customers she would send fill out and send them the small claim court papers without actually filing them. She said that usually resulted in them sending the payment promptly or contacting her. If she didnt get a response she would then go ahead and file them with the court.
  18. Great point Judy. I never thought to rescope a project!
  19. remember that although the check has cleared your bank it may not have cleared the national clearinghouse. Many times banks will clear checks as a courtesty to customers but hold the funds agaisnt your account in case the check doesnt clear the original bank which is what happens in these cases. Customers deposit the check in their bank wait 2-3 days thinking the check has cleared both banks they remove the funds only to find there account overdrawn weeks later because the check really didnt clear. In any case where it seems shady I would request they pay thru pay pal. So called cashier checks arent even a guarantee that you aren't being scammed
  20. Roboforms sounds interesting. I will defintly be looking into it. I have run into the problem of losing all my favorites and such and it seems you never remember them all! Sometimes I just add stuff to my favorites that I come across and need to go back and read at a later time. I do a family newsletter, and just started writing for AC as well as my VA business so whenever I run across interesting articles I tend to save them. Used to print everything but the piles!!!
  21. Another idea with the wordperfect is to convert it to pdf their are some free convertors as well. As a newbie who didnt even have rates decided firmly when I got my first client I let her know (she found out about me before I planned to open and needed a brochure asap) that as soon as I got my materials back from the printer I would forward them to her.
  22. Seems like she may just have a commitement phobia. I would just deal and be happy that I have a consistent client
  23. I have downloaded several free apps to track time. Yet it just dawned on me that I could delete the extra apps and use Outlook Journal. Does anyone else use this part of Outlook? If so, pros and cons please. Between this and contacts manager I could just use one program. Next question is do you like business contact manager. I had it on for a few days and thought it slowed me down with the sql server running. (I just hate having a bunch of apps running that I'm not using per se so I took it off) Should I give it another try? I know we have a few fans of MS and some who hate it any insight is appreciated.
  24. I put on the business contact manager on my outlook 2003 but took it off it seemed that the sql server was making it run slower and I have a pretty good machine with a fast processor.
  25. I am currently a community college student and I was able to purchase 2007 Professional Suite for $85 several months ago which included full 2003 version while waiting for 2007 release (it's in the mail and I can't wait to get it!!). Sometimes the software is also available to the public. Here's the link to check out Journey Ed and they still have the deal going! Take care, Wow Kelly! They have some great prices on software! I have a friend whose taking online classes and was looking for office 2007 I will be sure to direct her there. As soon as I come up with the extra money I will be upgrading as well! Can even get it with Vista for under $300. Thanks for the tip. Now I dont have to drive an hour and catch up with my sister
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