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Everything posted by maplewoodva

  1. Hi Karen, When working in Client Spot try renaming your tasks to include the assigned by date; example: Nwsltr 7.25.13, Nwsltr 7.26.13. You could even add the client's biz initials at the beginning; example: TT_nwsltr 7.25 and/or add a letter at the end for multiples happening on the same day; example: CP_nwsltr 7.25.13_A, CP_nwsltr 7.25.13_B. Since the glitch in importing to QuickBooks is conflicting names modifying how tasks are named may be the key. Give it a test and see if that makes a difference. Personally, I'd omit sending personalized timesheets of your subs to a client. When I hire a landscaper with a crew of 5 that company doesn't send me a timesheet for each landscaper. I get a summary of hours, as a whole, with a list of what's been completed. Consider removing this 'employer-employee' throwback layer and give yourself some breathing room. I understand being accountable to a client but the proof is in completed work not documenting every minute. The client needs to trust that you are doing your job of overseeing your subs; they don't need to take on this burden and they shouldn't. All the best, ~Ruth
  2. Congrats, Mark! My one piece of advice is to take the time to vet the subcontractor beforehand. Give a small project, perhaps for your own business first, and check it well before anything done for a client or released back it to a client. It's your business reputation that is reflected should a subcontractor perform sub-standard work. It's important that subs can do the tasks they say they can do. Sometimes portfolios of work isn't applicable and that's were doing a small project for your business comes in.
  3. Thank you for the glowing words, Jenny, and sharing your experiences with others. You made my job so easy and were a joy to work with. Warm congratulations on setting your launch date. It will be here before you know it. Wishing you only the best! Warmly, ~Ruth
  4. Hi Kyle, If the client plans to sell only on Amazon then ISBN numbers are not required. Amazon will assign each ebook an ASBN number; Amazon's version of an ISBN. If the client intends to sell these ebooks across other sites, i.e. Barnes & Noble, then an ISBN number is required. If the book will be sold in varying formats, i.e. paperback, ebook, hardback, then a unique ISBN number is required for each format version. One number will not fit all formats of the book. The unique number basically indicates which format the book is. It would be like ordering a chair with the stock number 27. If you want it in blue the stock number would be 27BE, in red it would be 27RD.
  5. Not sure if anything in this link will be helpful or not > http://forum.openoffice.org/en/forum/viewtopic.php?f=7&t=9981 Adobe Acrobat Pro can do these functions. Perhaps sub it out.
  6. When you have a new message open look under Options > Delivery Options. ~Ruth
  7. Hi Cathy, It sounds like you're working on converting forms to PDF format. Adobe Acrobat Pro can create a fillable PDF forms that have multi-line expandable text boxes.
  8. Does the referral bonus need to be monetary? Connect with the right wholesaler and you may find flowers, chocolates, wine, or fruit baskets to be affordable alternate choices for a referral thank you. If the prospect signs a contract for 3 hours of service at $40/hour the total is $120. You pay out $100 to the referrer. Are you interested in $20 gross profit with the reality of $15 being your net profit when you take out your operational costs? The referrer bonus should be in proportion to what's being purchased, IMO. For this scenario a 10% referrer bonus is $12. So would you give a $12 thank you check, a $15 gift card, or purchase an alternative gift that is hard to pinpoint a price? It's really up to you and what net profit you're seeking PLUS the long-term earning potential projection for that newly acquired client.
  9. I'd run the figures and look at all angles as you put together referral plans and/or affiliate programs. If you're paying out a percentage to the sales rep AND giving a discount to the new client, how much is left for you to have a profit? Is it truly necessary to give so much away? Be certain that you can still make a profit in the end.
  10. Hi Gerri, Rebranding would consist of changing their logo, company colors, business cards, marketing materials, and overage appearance. The identifiable brand to the general public will be different than in the past. Think of when Pepsi and Coca Cola changed up their own logos and reworked their commercials with new looks and taglines. Changing a niche is either targeting a different customer type or offering a new service. It depends on if the niche is industry focused or service focused. As you do your market research to see if dentists are a viable customer for you add in doing searches on LinkedIn and LinkedIn Groups. You may find a group with this focus. Check with your local Chamber of Commerce directory to see if dentists are in the mix. Allow your research guide you as to whether or not dentists secure the services you intend to offer.
  11. Debby, I use Outlook for my emails and love the Delay Send feature. I can answer emails at any time of day and schedule them to send out during my office hours. Check to see if your email service has this feature. FYI: Depending on how you state how you operate, email correspondence can be part of your billable time.
  12. Hi Debby, When I first started out I didn't offer hours but would tell a client they could anticipate a reply email within 24 hours on business weekdays. During those years my child was a toddler and I worked as his schedule permitted. That may have been at 8pm on one day and 10am during naptime the next. Fast forward 13 years, I now set office hours of 9am-4pm weekdays [this is for my benefit to keep me disciplined] and continue to tell clients they can anticipate an email reply within 24 hours. I seldom have someone phone me out of the blue and I always schedule phone appointments/consultations. As long you meet the deadline that you promised you are free to work whenever (and wherever) you choose. ~Ruth
  13. Thank you. I'll pass this info on the client so they can decide. ~Ruth
  14. This topic is timely as I have a new client who does have the blog as the home page. There have been zero comments on the blog posts, with fresh content being posted and there's really no anchor to what the site is other than the header information. It's a white collar profession and somehow feels off to be sent to site and land on the blog first. The client includes schedule appointment buttons to the top/bottom of each blog post which no one uses. Karri Flatla used to do website assessments. Who else does these? I'd like to send this client to someone, besides me, who can assess the strengths and weaknesses of the site.
  15. That's interesting. I'd thought a red door meant a "safe place" or something like that. I'm not sure where I heard that though. "Welcome to all" is good. ~Ruth
  16. Hi Jenny, If no one responds, I'd be happy to submit my office as your Feng Shui test subject. Psst - the front door to our home is red. I think that's good, right? ~Ruth
  17. Hi Lacie, Become a resource reference for genealogy societies and libraries in your area. Often they will get requests for researchers and will keep a listing of businesses/individuals who offer this. I, also, do genealogy research and get many leads from my local library. Also connect with other researchers in your area to meet and see how you can assist each other. Some of the oldtimer's are most helpful in giving advice and tips to help you launch this service offering. If your local community college offers genealogy courses you should let the instructor know that your business is taking on clients needing research assistance. There are many genealogical groups on Facebook that you can tap into. If you're able to do a bit of desktop publishing, you can offer the creation of family tree books or tree graphs. Another service offering would be scanning old photos to a digital format. Photographing gravesites for those living outside your area. They will be most grateful to have a headstone photo when they can't travel here to visit a cemetary themselves. There are many services that a researcher can include in their offerings. Best of luck, ~Ruth
  18. Karen, Don't feel pressured to create and teach this, if it's not right for YOU. You're the biz owner and always have final say. As Candy pointed out training may not be in the cards. Period. If you do decide to go forward price it appropriately. Take your time to create the info product, research comparative products, potential buyers, set up your marketing to really do this - fully. You determine the timeline for creation and completion, if this is the direction you want to go.
  19. Hi Karen, Hmm, are you interested in selling an info product or eCourse of the training processes? Appropriately priced, you may open sales in a new area. True, some may not secure your services for the implementation of the processes but others will find it's still time effective to hire out rather than learn and make it a DIY project of their own. Something to think over... ~Ruth
  20. Since many use Send Out cards for similar card services check to see how SO is marketing and what categories they are appearing in. Your business will want to appear in similar types of searches. Also explore how florists and gift companies are posting so you'll be appealing in those searches. Make a rough list of things that people would search to find you and see what kinds of sites you find. Are these sites anything near what you'd like to do? Yes, then you're on track. No, then try other search words. You're trying to narrow down the keywords that others will use to find you and then you'll be able to determine how to market your niche in way that others will quickly connect to. All the best, ~Ruth
  21. Aww, thanks so much Tawnya. I'm tickled to share you and your business successes on The Naked VA blog. Wow, I've been here for over 5 years and love all the resources you've maintained for virtual assistants in all stages of their business. ~Ruth
  22. Hi Leanne, A business page needs to be connected to a personal profile page so that Facebook admins can show ownership and accountability to page owners but as the others have said you never need to post anything to your personal page nor friend anyone nor make a public connection between the two pages. Should someone send you a friend request you don't need to accept or acknowledge it. As for privacy, change all the settings on the personal profile page to Just Me. There are settings within the business page that you can also add levels of privacy though with being a public business page most allow more leninent settings here. Business pages and their content can appear in Google searches. As for apps, this depends on what you'd like to do on Facebook. If you're interested in selling and setting up a little storefront there are apps to do this. The Timeline is the overall page layout - with the large cover picture in the header area - the double column newsfeed appearance to the page, and the hyperlinked month datelines appearing the far right side. The Timeline allows a business to highlight special dates within their business so they can tell the story of how they came into business, if you would want to. For example, setting a start date, noting when an award was given, noting when a second store location was opened, etc. Some add this level of detail and others do not. It's up to you. The Wall is the columned newsfeed containing all the posts you write and comments that others write to you. Mari Smith has written a book titled, Facebook Marketing in an Hour a Day. She's among the leading Facebook marketers and has a tremendous amount of knowledge to share both in her book and via following her Facebook page. Facebook is ever changing their policies plus function updates. It's good to keep an eye on some of the Facebook marketers so these transitions go smoothly. Let me know if I can help in any way. ~Ruth PS: Welcome to the 21st century.
  23. I send holiday cards to all clients, subs, warm leads, and some colleagues. I send gifts only to my top regular clients.
  24. Speaking as someone who's been a team associate and served as a project manager for teams, I believe multi-va owners must be diligent about vetting their team members during the initial interview. Asking about the vision and direction of the VA's business can be telling. If they are in this for the satisfaction of the projects they'll be working on and the enjoyment of doing this type of work OR using this as a stepping stone for experience and/or to learn a skill needs to be asked. Additionally, I believe fair and competitive compensation is a must. From the PM side, it's frustrating to work with someone, train them, and have them say they've learned the skill set and move on. Being a subcontractor is not a route to getting free or reduced training. That's what seminars, workshops, and internships are for. With that being said there is a different in executing tasks (for quality control purposes) to the multi-VA owner's standards and being relatively green about how to do a task. Much comes down to the interview process, IMO. ~Ruth
  25. Hi Cathy, Make a list of all of your skills Determine which skills you truly enjoy and have a good mastery of Determine who would benefit from services built around these skills. For example, newsletters...who uses newsletters as a form of marketing or a form of getting their information into their customer's hands? Once you have this target market then get specific and narrow it down more. For example, doctors narrowed down to pediatricians, narrowed down to pediatricians who are located in a specific region or work with patients of a specific conditions Compose all of the your marketing messages to appeal to the most narrowed down group and speak directly to them; using language and keywords found in their common language and usage. Your messages will immediately connect with this group and weed out others = this is a good thing. Place your marketing pieces where this niched group would anticipate seeing them. It may include social media, for example, it may not. Not all marketing mediums fit all niched groups. As you research this narrowed niche the answers will present themselves. Happy marketing, ~Ruth
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