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About LisaJ

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  1. <!--quoteo(post=119378:date=Sep 18 2009, 10:23 AM:name=SavvySolutions)--><div class='quotetop'>QUOTE (SavvySolutions @ Sep 18 2009, 10:23 AM) <a href="index.php?act=findpost&pid=119378"><{POST_SNAPBACK}></a></div><div class='quotemain'><!--quotec-->Does anyone have any insight on how to do invoicing? Do you use a contract that needs to be signed by client? If so, are there any templates for this? Also, what kind of options in the way of billing do you offer? Contracted? Retainer? Hourly? etc. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks,Kirsten Savvy Business Solutions<!--QuoteEnd--></div><!--QuoteEEnd--> Hi Kirsten, I invoice through QuickBooks and my clients have the option to pay with a CC or check. I have a contract and most of my clients are hourly but I do require a deposit before I start work. I bill semi-monthly and offer discounts to high volume clients. The client agreement I use is a modified version of one I downloaded from the IVAA website. Good Luck!! Lisa Johnson, MOS, QB Expert User Virtual Business Solutions lisa@biz-solutionsonline.com 281-738-2258 Joe Namath said - "When you win, nothing hurts."
  2. Hi Dana, Our nature is to want to trust people. You're right, it's a shame it comes down to get the money up front or you run the real risk of not getting paid. Your comment about your "gut" is so true. Whenever I have had a bad experience with a client, I have invariably gone against that little voice telling me to steer clear. One of my pet peeves is getting paid on time. My proposals, the agreement my clients sign and the invoices plainly state "Due Upon Receipt", yet some people will try to stretch it out to 30 days. I have clients that pay with their bank's bill pay and that takes anywhere from a week to ten days and I can live with that if I've worked with them for a while and have faith it's coming. I just terminated a relationship with my highest volume client because he would wait two or three weeks to approve my invoice with his CPA, just because he would forget to call her with the approval or he had a question that he forgot to ask me. I'll have to work really hard to get back those hours, but I'd rather do that than work under the constant stress of waiting for money I've already earned. You are wise to demand a deposit up front. I don't do retainers as a rule, but I should get a deposit. I'm going to have to give that some thought, but it's a really good way to avoid the jerks. As always, thank you for sharing your wisdom! Lisa Johnson lisa@biz-solutionsonline.com
  3. I have used GoDaddy for years. Their tech support is amazing. 24/7 and KNOWLEDGEABLE. Only good things to say about them. Good Luck! Lisa Johnson, MOS, QB Expert User Business Solutions lisa@biz-solutionsonline.com 281-738-2258
  4. Try a wireless headset. I have a bluetooth that has a 300' range. Lisa Johnson, MOS, QB Expert User Business Solutions lisa@biz-solutionsonline.com 281-738-2258
  5. I think you're on the right track . Everything you mentioned would be great. I did a basket much like you're thinking of, for a networking group door prize last fall. I included a two hour gift certificate and a coffee cup with a sample bag of coffee and a cute note stating that "getting you a cup of coffee is about the only thing I can't do for you from my office". The business owner that won my basket is now my client and he never fails to use that line whenever he talks about me. Face to face can be important for local marketing and as you obivously know, you just have to keep your mind open to ways to attract positive attention to your company. Good luck with your basket. Lisa Johnson [signature deleted, please abide by our forum rules.]
  6. Hi Katie, Ditto to everyone's thoughts on cutting your rates. I got into the same situation at the first of the year and it was a nightmare. I ended up terminating the agreement and literally get nauseous when I think of how I allowed this company to take advantage of me. I use myhours.com to track my hours and all my clients love it. They thought it was not accurate, so they made me use this awful spreadsheet that the owner created. Every entry was questioned and they attempted to brow-beat me down on the time it took to do every task. It was as if someone thought up every bad thing that could happen to a VA and rolled them into this one client. I terminated, offered to stay on until he could get someone else and he still stiffed me on almost $800.00. He said that he had "calculated" that amount as what I overcharged in time to do tasks. Don't get involved with someone who is that miserly before you even begin. It's one thing to negotiate a reduced rate but half is ludicrous. Run, run like the wind. Lisa Johnson Virtual Business Solutions 281-738-2258
  7. Thank you Dawn, I have resolved it. I pulled down a MS template, put the graphic in the graphic box on the template and it worked. I don't know why... and I've decided that "ours is not to reason why. Thank you all so much for your help, I really really appreciate.
  8. Hi, I have found that I getting more hits on my website and have had more queries than before. I think the real estate industry is doing poorly in certain markets, but I have two clients that are realtors and they are busier than ever. They are having to work harder to sale homes, but that means more work for me. So, to answer your question, I think in most instances when businesses start thinking of ways to save money, it helps the VA industry as a whole. Good luck in your job search and especially in your new business! Lisa Johnson Virtual Business Solutions biz-solutionsonline.com
  9. Hi Everyone, I have not found a solution. The problem is not with merging the document. I am a whiz at merging Word documents using Access as the data source. My problem is that the letterhead graphic also appears as an attachment in each email. My client is unhappy with that and so am I. I haven't been able to come up with a work around. I have read Microsoft's knowledge base concerning Word documents merged as email and can't find a mention of the problem or a solution. There has to be a solution, I just don't know what it is. I have read and worked on this all day and have found nothing. Someone said to make sure my Outlook was set to html and I did, but the graphics still shows up as attachments as well as properly placed in the Outlook document. The document looks great, but the jpg attachment makes it look cheesy. Totally frustrated, but I really do appreciate your time and effort to help me. Lisa Johnson Virtual Business Solutions lisa@biz-solutionsonline.com 81-738-2258
  10. Thanks Jodie and Michele, Neither of these works for what I need. I really appreciate you taking the time to offer advise, I'll hold on to it and maybe it will help with another project. Thank you ever so much, Lisa Johnson Virtual Business Solutions 281-738-2258
  11. Hi Sherri, She can teach you very quickly how to entry istings and upload pictures on MLS and that will save her a huge amount of time. You can fill out her contracts with the information you provides. Schedule her appointments with clients. Take care of maintenance of listed properties (i.e. calling repair people, making sure yardmen are properly grooming, etc.). Send out her marketing mailers. Responding to basic emails for her. Create a newsletter, followup on leads. That's just a few things I have thought of off the top of my head. Good luck, Lisa Johnson Virtual Business Solutions
  12. I have created a great letter in Word with my client's letterhead and merged the address info from Access. When I send a test email to myself, the letter looks great but it shows the graphic from the letterhead as an attachment. How do I get it not to show the attachment. I have read the entire MS knowledge base trying to find the answer (a slight exaggeration but certainly all pertaining to mail merges). Can anybody help me? Thanks, Lisa
  13. Hi Kelly, Winfax Pro by Symantec is considered about the best. You can actually use Word's mail merge if you have the numbers in a database or in Outlook. I haven't sent a blast fax in years but its very simple and straight forward. Anna Lisa is right, you do need to warn your client that the send list needs to be people who welcome faxes from your client. Lisa J
  14. I have a client who needs help with starting the patent process. Does anyone have any experience in this area?
  15. Congratulations on your decision to start your own business. Office supplies vary greatly. I spend about $50 to $100 per month on supplies but I have a paperless environment and have all my own equipment. I try to put $250.00 per month away for capital expenditures so that I don't have to borrow or use my credit cards for the business purchases when the need arises. I started out with a full slate of clients, but lost several this year. I am discovering that cold marketing is TOUGH. I will never sit on my laurels again and assume that because I'm good the work will just come to me. I think it takes six months to a year to get a full rooster of clients and maybe longer. People who have had more experience with marketing and building their business can tell you more. I'm a novice at marketing myself even though I've been in business longer than dirt. It is much easier to market someone else than it is to market yourself. This is a great organization to get good support. I have learned so much since I started reading the forum. Some of the people like PattyD, Candy Beauchamp and many, many others are real authorities on how to build your business. I certainly wish you the best of luck! Its an uphill pull initially but it is truly worth the effort. Wishing you every success! Lisa Johnson Business Solutions
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