Saturday, November 28, 2009

Great Article re: Virtual Assistant Qualifications

I came across this article today that I thought would be great to post on my blog. It explains what the qualifications are for a virtual assistant (VA). The article explains what the minimum qualifications one needs to build this type of business. Of course, I believe that I fit the mold, and hope this article will give others an idea of what it is I am doing in my business. Please visit my website, Dena's Tools and Tips, for more specifics on my VA business after reading this article:

What Qualifications Do I Need To Become A Virtual Assistant?

Have you considered becoming a virtual assistant yet are not sure if you have the qualifications you need to succeed?

Starting a virtual assistant business is not very difficult or expensive in contrast to many other businesses, but there are some qualifications you need to have to be successful.

Most virtual assistants have at least five years of high level administrative experience. These are not receptionists or data entry clerks, but high level administrative or executive assistants.

Why do you need high level experience?

Virtual assistants need to have experience with a wide variety of software programs, excellent writing and editing skills, good grammar and an understanding of business procedures. Many VAs also have expertise in Internet, web design, marketing, graphics and bookkeeping. This knowledge and experience allows a VA to become a partner with their client and truly assist them in running their business.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Virtual Assistant Chamber of Commerce

Just approved as a member of the Virtual Assistant Chamber of Commerce (VACOC). Danielle Keister is founder of VACOC. This site offers many resources for virtual assistants and for new clients . . . Click here to visit the VACOC website.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

George Washington's Thanksgiving Day Proclamation

A great historical document surrounding this day:

A National Thanksgiving

8 Ways A VA Can Reduce Holiday Stress

We're all busy throughout the year but the holidays seem to add undue stress to our lives and our businesses. No need to stress, call on a virtual assistant to get you through the holidays and start the New Year off on the right foot.

1. Design custom holiday cards
Want to stand out from the crowd? Let your virtual assistant design a custom holiday card that's sure to impress your clients.

2. Organize and maintain mailing list
Do you often miss the opportunity to send holiday cards, or any other mailings, because your mailing list leaves a lot to be desired? Let your virtual assistant organize your contacts and maintain them on a regular basis.

3. Send out holiday cards
You've got your cards and your list is ready to go. Let your virtual assistant sign, seal and deliver them to the post office while you spend your valuable time on revenue generating tasks.

4. Event planning
Whether you're planning a corporate party or a personal gathering you can get overwhelmed with all the details. Let your virtual assistant handle the many details associated with your holiday event planning.

5. Travel arrangements
Trying to get home for the holidays or have guests coming to visit you? Let your virtual assistant make flight arrangements, hotel reservations, and coordinate transportation.

6. Gift buying
Finding the perfect gift for the client who has everything can be a real nightmare. Let your virtual assistant arrange for the perfect gift that will make a lasting impression.

7. Give yourself some time for you while your VA keeps your business operating
Give yourself a gift this holiday season - some time for yourself. Let your virtual assistant keep an eye on your email and voice mail while you enjoy some much needed time with family and friends.

8. Jump start the New Year by working with your VA to plan marketing strategies
Now is the perfect time to start planning your marketing strategies for the upcoming year. Let your virtual assistant help you strategize and re-energize your business growth with a solid marketing plan.

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© 2003 Kelly Poelker

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kelly Poelker is a certified Master Virtual Assistant, President of Another 8 Hours, Inc. and Co-Author of Virtual Assistant - The Series: Become a Highly Successful, Sought After VA . To learn more about how to utilize a virtual assistant visit her website at http://www.Another8Hours.com.

10 Ways to Add Hours to Your Day . . . by using a Virtual Assistant

Have you ever heard of a Virtual Assistant? If you are a busy entrepreneur, you need to pay attention! A Virtual Assistant (VA) is an independent contractor who provides administrative support services by utilizing advanced technology to complete work and communicate with clients.

Below is a list of 10 ways a VA can help you get back to the business of building your business.

  1. Secretarial Services. Are you spending too much time scheduling appointments? Do you have piles of routine paperwork to process? Do you wish you had someone to research and arrange your travel? A Virtual Assistant can assist with these tasks including scheduling appointments, completing forms, making travel arrangements, researching topics and maintaining a contact database.
  2. Research. The Internet is a fabulous tool for research, but it can be quite time consuming. A VA can perform research for you and provide you a report on the findings. Before you know it, your project will be completed.
  3. Presentations. Do you need a PowerPoint presentation? When you fax your notes, sketches and charts to your VA, they will be transformed into a professional slide show complete with handouts and transparencies.
  4. Database Management. All business cards need to be in a database. Mail or courier your stack of cards to your VA and they will create a custom database for you. When you acquire new cards, send them to your VA and your database will be complete and up-to-date for your next marketing campaign or Christmas card mail! A VA can handle that too!
  5. Email Management. We live in a “now” society and with so many people using email, it’s important you stay on top of it. Emails should be responded to within an hour, how are you doing? A VA can regularly check your email, respond where she can and notify you of urgent matters as they arise. This is a great service to consider if you are going on vacation or are often away from your computer.
  6. Word Processing. Perhaps you need a handwritten document typed. Fax it to your VA and she will type it and either email it back to you or print it on your letterhead and put it in the mail for you. If you’ve typed up a proposal or a manual that needs to be formatted, simply e-mail it to your VA and she will give it a polished finish and send it back to you. Your VA can even convert a document to a PDF making file transfers quick and easy.
  7. Personal. Do you wish you had a personal assistant to schedule your appointments, remind you of important dates and send thank you cards on your behalf? A VA can take care of all of these things and more. Anything you have an in house assistant take care of can be done virtually . . . except brewing the coffee!
  8. Purchasing. A VA can order office supplies, hire someone to paint your office or purchase a laser printer by researching the best price, presenting you with quotes, and ordering the items to be delivered right to your office.
  9. Invoicing. A Virtual Assistant can invoice your customers for you. Fax or email the details and she will create your invoices, print them off, address them and put them in the mail for you.
  10. Track expenses. Are your receipts in piles around your office, your purse or the glove compartment of your car? You can put all your receipts in one envelope, (one for each month) and mail them to your VA monthly. She can create an Excel spreadsheet, break down the GST and easily track your expenses for you. This year, you will be ready at tax time!

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Ready to start adding hours to your day? Jaime Lee Mann is the owner of Mann Made Time, a Virtual Assistant business based in Kingston, PEI. You can contact her by phone at 902.675.4008, email jaime@mannmadetime.com or visit her on the Web at www.MannMadeTime.com.

10 Signs You Might Need a Virtual Assistant

  1. You've missed out on opportunities because you forgot to follow up or didn't have time to submit a proposal.
  2. You've sent out articles, proposals, or other important correspondence with spelling or grammatical errors.
  3. You haven't sent out your "monthly" newsletter in several months.
  4. You often work evenings and/or weekends to stay on top of administrative tasks.
  5. You have projects requiring skills and/or software that you don't have.
  6. You have lots of great ideas for your business, but no time to carry them out.
  7. You haven't updated your website in over a year.
  8. You've been procrastinating about tasks on your to-do list for several weeks--or longer.
  9. You've had to turn down opportunities because you couldn't figure out when you would do the work.
  10. You'd love to take your business to the next level--if you only had the time.

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Janet Barclay, MVA and owner of Organized Assistant, provides administrative assistance and website services to coaches, professional organizers and other small business clients.To receive monthly tips for Maximizing Your Time and Space, request a subscription to her ezine, The Organized Assistant Resource.

Why Would Someone Use a Virtual Assistant Anyway?

Time is precious to ALL business owners . . . so anything that frees up time and helps business is invaluable! A Virtual Assistant (VA) does both--and more! Business owners--like you--hire VA's to free up time, help business and SAVE money! Yes . . . I said SAVE $$$. That may seem like an oxymoron, but just stay with me here. VA's are self-employed. They pay their own taxes, their own insurance, they pay for their own equipment and furniture, for their own training, etc. Plus! YOU CAN MORE THAN LIKELY WRITE OFF VA’S FEES AS AN EXPENSE--and you don’t have to pay taxes for a VA (as you would for an employee) or provide benefits and insurance . . . THAT’S HUGE! Any savvy business person sees the value in this right away!

So, why should you hire a VA?

1. To save money

2. To fill a position or to help with a temporary project

You (i.e., business owner, entrepreneur, etc.) pay only for the VA services used--only when needed--no down time. One week you might have 20 hours of work for the VA, the next, only 5. Why would you pay a full-time, on-site employee (who probably can’t get done in a day, what a VA gets done in 2 hours!) benefits, vacation, taxes, lunch breaks, chatting at the copy machine, etc., . . . when you can partner with a VA to do it for you in half the time--for half the expense???!!!

Jennifer Cummings, Entrepreneur and Owner of Keytura, Inc., who has been using virtual assistants and virtual outsourcing for years says, "My virtual assistants and consultants have helped me execute so many of the ideas I just had sitting on my desk. Using their services, I take action . . . which means I make more money! They are invaluable to my business!"

At this point you might be asking, “Well, how do I know this VA is doing what I’m asking her to do? How can I trust her?”

Well, that’s not hard. #1 - If your VA is not doing what she says she’s doing, it’s eventually going to become VERY obvious. Things won’t be getting done and it will show. #2 – Your VA will keep track of – and provide you with a detailed record of – tasks completed & time they took. #3 – and this is HUGE…

Your VA is a business owner just like you!

Your business success is KEY to your VA’s business success!

If your VA screws up your business, she is, in essence, screwing up her own. What person in his or her right mind would do that???!!! You both (you and your VA) need to think of each other as business PARTNERS because that’s exactly what you are. You are partnering your businesses for success!

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Jennifer Claggett is a virtual assistant and a stay-at-home mom. Visit her website at http://www.VirtualAssistantMom.com to learn more invaluable, easy-to-use virtual assistant tools and information.

Ethics of a Virtual Assistant (VA)

  • As a Virtual Assistant, I will maintain the highest ethics and honesty in all dealings with clients, colleagues and the general public.
  • I will seek to deal with colleagues, suppliers and employees in a fair and equitable manner, and maintain the highest standards of personal conduct to bring credit to the Virtual Assistant profession.
  • As a highly ethical Virtual Assistant, I will only take on projects that are within my abilities. If a project is not within my ability, the client will be notified immediately and I will provide recommendations for other highly skilled Virtual Assistants.
  • Client information will be held in the strictest of confidence and will not be shared with others or used for personal gain.
  • I highly value each client relationship and will not place one client above another.
  • I will make a commitment to possess and increase the required knowledge, skills and training to be proficient and relevant in the provision of services.
  • I will be honest about my intentions and never misrepresent my skills, peers, or my profession as a whole, whether to networks or to prospects, clients, and the community at large (virtual or otherwise).
  • I will not knowingly be a part of any illegal or unethical activity.
  • I will promote the Virtual Assistance industry with the utmost professionalism and give of my knowledge freely to new and existing VAs and the general public.
*Source: Virtual Assistant Networking Association VA Code of Ethics
The Largest Global Meeting Place Online for Aspiring and Successful Virtual Assistants

What is a Virtual Assistant (VA)?

VAnetworking.com: "A Virtual Assistant (VA) is a highly-trained independent entrepreneur who provides a myriad of business support services virtually via phone, fax and internet based technology to support and meet the growing needs of businesses worldwide.

Partnering with a VA reduces stress, protects cash flow, eliminates administrative hassles, and enables business people to find the success they originally set out to achieve.

A VA is your right hand person helping you to succeed in your business. The irony is you may never meet your VA as odds are they live nowhere near you!"

*Source: Virtual Assistant Networking Association Virtual Assistant Definition, the Largest Global Meeting Place Online for Aspiring and Successful Virtual Assistants.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Starting A New Blog

I am starting my new professional business blog for Dena's Tools and Tips, my virtual assistant business. I have learned a lot about creating blogs in the past year and will try to use what I have learned to build a blog that will promote my business to help others be successful in their businesses!