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Public Apology

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It has been brought to my attention that some people feel that my website reviews are either not needed or too harsh. I am sorry if they have come across that way. That is not my intention. I am only trying to keep other VA’s from going through the same headaches and challenges that I have been through.

 

I empathize with those who feel discouraged and want to help them move past that with information that helps them do that. I have been in the VA business since 2005. It took me several years to get business. Not months, years. I was sending direct mail pieces, networking, writing articles, joining organizations, advertising, you name it I did it. I even went to SBDC and SCORE. I wasn’t getting business and I couldn’t figure out why. I had read all the articles and some books about getting business to no avail. I was getting people interested but then no follow through and I couldn’t figure out why. I then decided to have my website critiqued. I had tried everything free hosting, free websites, free templates, frontpage, html editors, etc. I taught myself basic html. I spent hours and weeks creating websites only to find out that they were all horrible. I was stubborn and yeah, I had a hurt ego so I didn’t take any of what was said to heart and just left my site the way it was. I even thought about closing the doors on my business several times.

 

Then one day I was feeling really discouraged and I posted about it on a networking site that I was on and I got yet another critique and decided well, nothing else I am doing seems to be working so maybe I should give it a try. So I did and let me tell you, it has done wonders for me. I’m not saying that a website is all there is to marketing but having one that gives the right impression does make a difference. I do get inquiries, I do get people following through now and I’m much further ahead than I was even a year ago. I was lucky enough to find somebody who was willing to help me and take the time to answer my questions. I learned that the critiques I was getting were really just to help not to attack me. After all, they were taking time out of their day to help me, knowing that the chances of me becoming a client were slim. I have since been getting training from a leader in the field and I wish I had found her four years ago. I also wish I had put my pride aside when I got the critiques and tried to fix my site then. The fact is marketing and websites go hand in hand.

 

I know what new VA’s are going through. They don’t have the funds to get a professional website so they try to do it themselves. There is nothing wrong with that. In fact, if they get good enough at it and enjoy it, then there is a new service they can offer which makes them more valuable. If I can help them in any way, I will.

 

The truth is that web design is so complicated that NOBODY can learn it by themselves in just a few months. My trainer taught herself, and it took her more than SIX YEARS of full time study and practice to develop a competence level that produced effective websites every time (she has more than 10 years of experience now). She now trains new webmasters, and the training program is TWO YEARS, of personal, progressive training. If you create a site and it has elements that are not effective, it isn't an insult if someone tells you how to make those better. It is not shameful that you didn't get it right the first time. Nobody does! If you want to learn to do it better, you HAVE to hear what the parts are that are not effective, so you can make them better. A good website requires skills in EIGHT professional areas: graphic design, page layout, marketing psychology, copywriting, search engine optimization, computer performance, site security, and web coding. Each one of those areas is a specialty in itself, and it is impossible to learn them all quickly without someone to give you tips on how to improve them.

 

I was fortunate to have somebody take me by the hand and help me where I needed it the most and I guess I am only trying to pay it forward. The offer that I made on one of my critique posts that I am more than willing to help anyone who needs it, still stands. I am not just saying things are wrong. I am willing to help them fix it, and to explain what needs to be done to make it better.

 

Sorry to upset anyone,

 

Tracy Collins

 

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Hi Tracy,

 

i just wanted to acknowledge you for being willing to put this out there. Whenever I am giving feedback to anyone about anything I try to remember to do a couple of things...first ask their permission and find out if they are ready to hear honesty and secondly to do it in a sandwich style i.e. what they did well, what they can improve, and what they did well.

 

Have a fabulous day!

 

MLA

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Tracy, I have read many of your recent responses to members asking for input on their new Web sites - you've even stepped in to give me some wonderful advice on my own recently - and I have to say that I don't think you've been harsh or given unsolicited advice at all!

 

If someone puts the request for critique out there, they need to expect open, honest input. Why ask for input if all you want is smoke blown up ... well, you know where. If one wants to grow and learn, one should be prepared to take constructive criticism for what it is - assistance, not insult. I may sound harsh here, but if someone asks for input and then gets hurt feelings when the input they receive isn't a bag of sunshine and flowers - i.e. they are told what could be better and why - then that is THEIR issue to deal with.

 

I applaud your apology, but honestly I'm surprised you feel the need to put one out there! If you'd been harsh or mean, then yes ... but I haven't seen that from you at all.

 

Take care girl, and keep the good advice coming!

 

Marie Fitzgibbons :balloon:

 

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Wow Tracy

 

I've read some of your comments and have never thought of them as anything other than constructive. So sorry that you feel you need to apologize for them. Yours is a great story of grit and determination, long may you continue to help others with your insights.

 

Yvonne

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Tracy,

 

You are a true asset to the web design forum here at VANA and to the VA industry in general. I hope that you will continue to share your wisdom and experience with others to help them grow both as business people and online professionals.

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Tracy,

 

I appreciate that you were willing to apologize even though you did nothing wrong. That says a lot about your character. This forum has been such an encouragement to me. I haven't felt like anyone has been harsh with anyone else. Sometimes the truth hurts no matter how sugar coated it is. I just want to thank everyone here for the posts they write. It means a great deal to me.

 

Pam Snyder

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Tracey -

 

I don't feel that anything you've said is on the verge of harsh. If someone asks for an HONEST critique of their website, then they should be big enough to wear their big girl panties and take it like a woman. Then deal with it and move on.

 

All I'm going to say to anyone that may have criticized Tracey for what she's doing out of love and respect for her fellow VAs:

 

GET. OVER. IT.

 

(There. Now I'll get the nastygrams. :naughty: )

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I have to say, you guys have been great. I definitely love this place. Thanks so much for the words of support.

 

I wanted to post this because well quite honestly I don't like it when people are mad at me :mellow: I also wanted to clear the air in case others did think I was too harsh because I know when I first started out, if I felt someone was being too harsh, I was afraid to post anything because I thought I would get blasted as well no matter what I asked about. So I hid in the corner at times OOOOH, the mistakes I've made. Anyway, thanks guys you are all awesome.

 

:grouphug:

 

Tracy

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Guest Pat Z.

One of the absolute best features of this forum is the total commitment to giving to others that I find here. I've been on other forums where it's very competitive in nature and everyone is out to undermine others. I am extremely proud to be a part of this forum and the honest assistance I personally receive from everyone here.

 

If we start curbing people for helping, are we not becoming those other forums?

 

To tell you the truth Tracy, I am having my website moved (you don't want to hear the Joomla story) because I can't edit it, and I fully plan to ask your opinion when I do get my new site up - I think you provide insightful, beneficial assistance to us newbies! Keep up the good work.

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Pat,

 

Don't give up on Joomla yet. Joomla has so much potential and can expand in almost any direction that you would like it to without a complete site rebuild.

 

Actually Joomla is the software that I use for all my websites and I am quite experienced in it. I don't know all the tricks but I do know quite a bit. If you want help trying to figure out what is wrong with the program, let me know. I will be more than willing to help you. If I don't know something that you are having problems with, I can get the help quickly and easily.

Just let me know.

 

Tracy

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Hi Tracy,

 

Wow! I'm impressed with what you've shared her and appalled that you felt the need to do it! Shame on those who couldn't take the constructive criticism that they sought out from you. I have NEVER found anything you say as harsh or unwarranted, quite the opposite. You've ALWAYS come across as genuinely trying to help.

 

I applaud your efforts to assuage any "hurt feelings", I'm just sad that you felt it was necessary.

 

I think you're great! Sorry you haven't felt the :wub: lately!! Here's a :grouphug: for you!

 

LindaQ

 

 

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Hi Tracy!

 

I have never found anything you said harsh. Like everyone else on this forum you have always been very helpful. Like Pat, I am very proud to be part of this forum. I have received so much support and encouragement from everyone. If I need help with something or just want to vent I come here.

 

Dana cracked me up with her comment. What is going to happen to the VAs that can't handle constructive criticism? I replied to an RFP when I first went live. This person blasted my site and my lack of enthusiam in my response. I wanted to send this person a nastygram. (I'm very good at it :whistlin: ) Then I realized our business is based on referrals and word of mouth. What if this person needs one of my services in the future? I swallowed my pride and moved on.

 

Have a great day everyone!

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Tracy,

 

I am new to the VA world and this site but I have always been impressed with your comments, critiques, etc. I am still trying to figure out and write my content to give to someone who is going to build my webpage. I can tell you right now that when the time comes, I will be asking for your critique!

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