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Everything posted by CBNikole

  1. This is good feedback, y'all. Thanks. I will likely give her another shot or two, just to see if there's improvement. I think part of it is that I'm unsure of which tasks in particular are worth outsourcing, although I'm beginning to get some clarity on it. I'm also considering getting an intern. Do any of you have experience with interns?
  2. So, I recently tested out a subcontractor with some of the more basic work that I do that just takes up time--namely optimization, transcription, and edits to a couple of YouTube videos. I went to the trouble of making video tutorials explaining exactly how I need them done and the subcontractor got them done in 30 min. (which is typically about how long it takes me to do them) and before her deadline. So far so good, right? Well, when I finally went in to publish them to my clients' blogs, I had to redo a bunch of stuff. It was too close to deadline to send them back to her to revisit, plus, maybe I'm just being type A here, but I didn't really trust her to do it the way I wanted it. So, in the end, it saved me literally zero time. Actually, it took way longer, if you consider the amount of time I spent producing the tutorials to send to her. Now here's where I'm struggling: how much of this is me just being a hard-ass Type A person and how much of this is just the learning curve of a new task? Do I give her a second chance with the same kind of work in the near future and see how that goes? Or should I expect a subcontractor to do it right the first time? At this point, I'm feeling like the investment in training and correcting someone else would be better spent on an employee, rather than a subcontractor. If I'm outsourcing, it's because I already have too much on my plate. Can someone level me out here? Thank you!
  3. Just thought I'd follow up and let you know that I ended up using Screencast-o-matic and it worked great! Thanks so much!
  4. Wondering what you all would recommend for figuring up rush charges? In most cases, my hourly fee is $35 (I have a couple of clients I've given a discounted rate to) and I put in every client's contract that "holiday and rush fees may apply" just as a precaution for myself, but I've never actually had to charge one, so I've never decided how much it would be. ha. How do you all handle rush fees? Is it a certain percentage of your hourly rate (Like time and a half for overtime if we were at a "normal" job elsewhere)? Or is it a flat number you tack on at the end? And, if so, how much? Thank you!
  5. Awesome! Thanks, ladies! I'm definitely going to check out that QuickTime option, sd_2000. But I'll for sure keep this list of other options on file because you just never know!
  6. Hi, all. Wondering if anyone has some good suggestions for this: I think I'm ready to start outsourcing a little bit of work, but I feel weird about giving out private information. I do basically online marketing stuff for my clients, and most of my clients happen to be therapists/psychologists. So, the problem is two-fold: 1. Sometimes HIPAA stuff can come into play, like if I'm going into their YouTube account (which is connected to their Gmail account) to optimize a video for them, sometimes I can inadvertently see emails or their clients' info. And, my clients know their info is safe with me (and I have signed necessary protective docs with them), but to hand that responsibility over to a 3rd party makes me uncomfortable. 2. I also obviously use a lot of my clients' logins and passwords to various things--social media, back ends of websites, email, etc. So, that's always risky too. So, for example, I have a couple of friends that are starting out doing similar work and I would trust them with sensitive information, but putting myself in my clients' shoes, I would not be too happy as a client about my information being handed out to someone I didn't know. So, what documents do I need to use to protect them and myself? Is there a generic HIPAA agreement out there that I should have subcontractors sign? And, I'm currently in the process of setting up a LastPass account for myself....is sharing a folder through LastPass sufficient protection? Or do I need a separate form for subtractors to sign regarding passwords and such? I've been trying to just suffer through "doing it all" this whole time because I didn't have a sufficient answer to these questions. So, thanks in advance for any advice you can give.
  7. If I want to make a How-To video demonstrating something on my computer desktop, how do I film what's on my screen? I use a mac. Can i do this within iMovie? Or do I need to use a webinar service or something to do this? Thanks in advance! Nikole
  8. I'm currently using GoDaddy's bookkeeping service for my invoicing and I'm starting to figure out how I can use it for time tracking too, but it's not perfect. The invoicing part is excellent, so user-friendly. But sometimes I need to generate custom time reports for clients that don't look like invoices (many of my clients prepay for hours, so I use time reports to show them how much time they've used up)....does anyone know of a time tracker that can do that? I've been just logging my hours in an Excel spreadsheet and manually entering time reports in iWork for now but that takes time to do.
  9. I think the key to a positive experience with Fiverr is to be choosy in what you'd pay them to do. Like, having a logo designed or having some audio transcription done.....perfect. Fiverr is great for that. In fact, that's how I got my logo. The bonus there is that it's so cheap that I paid 2 or 3 designers to design a logo for me--that way I had options to choose from. But, there are some things i just simply wouldn't trust to have done through Fiverr. For example, I have a client that had his domain hosting set up and site migration initiated on Fiverr and then later came to me with a hugely botched mess to clean up. It was a nightmare that took over a month to repair. And because I felt bad for the guy (he's as far away from the tech-savvy end of the spectrum as it gets) and had completely underestimated the magnitude of the job (he told me that his Fiverr person said all we needed to do was delete a file from his cPanel and I'm no web developer, but it had sounded easy enough), I put in many hours pro bono trying to solve a puzzle I didn't fully understand and with a Fiverr person who wanted to totally wash her hands of the gig altogether. Oh well. Big lesson learned in terms of what I'm willing and not willing to do going forward. And I learned a lot about Wordpress site migrations!
  10. Hi, Tawnya! Thanks for your reply. The link that wasn't working for me was the "Forum rules" link in the body of the pinned Guidelines post. For some reason, it thought I wasn't logged in, even though I was. I attached a screenshot of the error message. Does this help?
  11. **Disclaimer-- I tried checking out the Forum Rules before posting and kept getting an error message, so hopefully this post is within the proper bounds... My name is Nikole Stephenson and I am the owner of my new startup, Computer Blue Media, which offers VA/creative marketing assistance to businesses within the niche of holistic health and wellness (most of my clients currently happen to be therapists). I don't currently have a website yet, but you can check me out on www.LinkedIn.com/nikolestephenson or www.facebook.com/ComputerBlueMedia. My business is very young--I acquired my first client a little over a year ago, my second client last February, and then I had a huge boom in business over the summer and currently have 13 clients in my roster really without even trying and am getting a fairly steady stream of new referrals. All of my marketing has been through word of mouth--I'm very humbled and grateful. The work literally found me rather than the other way around. My focus is on my clients' web presence, so this includes anything from web content writing and blogging, web updates (specializing in Squarespace and Wordpress), SEO, social media management, video transcription (a lot of my clients produce YouTube videos), event marketing, media design (ebooks, downloadable freebie designs, memes, thumbnails, infographics, etc.), email marketing, and so on. It's a lot and I'm finding there are pros and cons to doing it all, so I'm toying with the idea of honing in only on what I feel are my strengths--writing and design. My clients seem to like the streamlined branding that happens when one person handles it all, but it also obviously causes delays in productivity because I'm only one person. I found out about this forum through an email sent out by Reese Ben-Yaacov, a VA I follow online for tips. I'm really excited to begin connecting with other VAs because I'm definitely at a point in my business where I need to either start outsourcing work or consider hiring help. Not to mention, in terms of running a business, I'm totally flying by the seat of my pants. Everything has developed so quickly--I didn't realize I was starting a business until I was suddenly IN IT! Haha! So, advice is always welcomed on my end ;-) A little about me outside of work: I'm currently living in Minneapolis, MN--we recently moved here from SoCal when my partner entered graduate school at the U of Minnesota. We aren't married, but have been together for 5 years and have a 2.5 year old daughter. My interests include fine art (I have a BFA in photography and worked in art galleries for many years before getting pregnant with my daughter), yoga (I'm graduating from a teacher training at the end of this month!), running, reading, and human rights/social justice work. I love doodling, painting, writing lines of poetry that I rarely ever finish, DIY projects, cooking, and, given all of the above, drinking lots of coffee. ;-) So, Hello everyone! It's nice to virtually meet you! I'm looking forward to the VAV seminars next week and to connecting with each of you! Please reach out if you want to connect. Cheers!
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