Friday, December 14, 2007

Right-Hand-Man's Handy Tips - Holiday Edition

The Holiday Edition of Right-Hand-Man's Handy Tips is now out. If you have signed up for the newsletter then you will have already recieved your copy.

If you haven't signed up, you should do it now. If you sign up before the end of December, you will receive the "7 Essential Keys for Responding to RFPs" e-book for FREE! After January 1st the free -book offer will be replaced with another offering of interest to virtual assistants and their clients.

If you would like to read the Holiday Edition now, you can click view it at http://righthandmanva.com/Right-Hand-Man's Handy Tips - December 2007.htm

Monday, December 10, 2007

Virtual Assistant E-Book for Sale

I have decided to change my Free E-Book offer when signing up to the Right-Hand-Man Handy Tips Newsletter. In January you will no longer be abel to access the "7 Keys to RFPs" E-Books for free. I had planned on giving away 100 copies and have already exceeded this goal. You will still be able to access both the "Responding to" and "Writing" RFPs E-books but I will be charging $5.00 for the 2 E-Book set.

These E-books have garnered rave reviews from both virtual assistants and clients. Here is a couple that were recently posted at VANA fellow virtual assistants:

"Darrell Williams sent me the book. You are right it is a 'GOD SEND". It answers every question I had and more. Thank so much for recommending it. "

"I can give a glowing testimonial to Darrell's ebook. I modified what I was doing after reading Darrell's tips and got clients from the next two RFPs that I submitted."

I will announce the topic of the new e-book at the end of December. It will also be a 2 version E-Book set - one for VAs and one for clients.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Virtual Assistants Deal With High Canadian Dollar

My latest Press Release:

The high Canadian dollar may be good news for some businesses online, but for others it is causing them to rethink their marketing plans to US customers and clients.

Virtual assistants are among the latter group. For years, Canadian VAs have been able to offer competitive rates to their US clients. Now with the dollar being so high against the American dollar, they are losing money and in some cases, clients. Some American clients are finding it more cost effective to find US-based virtual assistants.

This has lead many virtual assistants to take another look at how they market to prospective clients in the US. Some are marketing more to Canadian prospects and since the Canadian market for virtual assistants is smaller than of that in the US, this is making the Canadian virtual assistant industry more competitive. Some virtual assistants are lowering their prices in response to the surge in the Canadian dollar.

Darrell Williams, of Right-Hand-Man Virtual Assistant Services has decided to lower his basic rate from $30/hour to $25.00/hour so his American clients will be able to continue to pay the same amount for his services. Williams says, “I would rather lose a few dollars an hour than lose my clients in the US. It makes sense to me to take a small loss, temporarily, than to possibly lose clients while our dollar is high.”

The high Canadian dollar is also hard on virtual assistant organizations, trainers and coaches. One of the largest VA organizations, the Virtual Assistant Networking Association (VANA), which is based in Canada, is now losing about $120 each time they sell the Virtual Business Startup System to new virtual assistants in the US.

Virtual assistants are global service providers. What happens to the economy of their country, or that of the country where their clients are based, will affect their bottom line. It doesn’t mean they will be forced into financial ruin, but it does mean they have to change to meet the challenges of their global industry.

December Edition of the Carnival of Virtual Assistants

The last Carnival of Virtual Assistants, for 2007, will be hosted by Ruth Martin at "Leaf Notes" - the blog of Maplewood Virtual Assistance. You will be able to view the Carnival tomorrow.

In 2008, each Carnival of Virtual Assistants will have a theme. If you have any ideas for these themes, post a comment on this post.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Holiday Sale and New Virtual Assistant Rates!

HOLIDAY SALE
Pay for 5 hours and get 2 FREE!
Pay for 10 hours and get 4 FREE!
Pay for 15 or more hours and get 6 FREE!
(Offer valid until January 2, 2008)


Due to the high Canadian Dollar our basic rate is now only
$25.00(CAD) per hour.
(+6%GST for Canadian Clients)
Billed in 15 minute increments.

• 5 hour Package - $112.50 (10% Savings!)
• 10 hour Package - $225.00 (10% Savings!)
• 15 hour Package - $318.75 (15% Savings!)

• 20 hour Package - $400.00 (20% Savings!)

• We offer a 15% discount for non-profit organizations, home school families and organizations!
We accept cheques, cash, bank drafts,
and money orders.
We also accept credit cards through Paypal

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

We are #1 On Yahoo!

I couldn't figure out why I was getting so many referrals from Yahoo so I did a Yahoo search for "virtual assistant services" and the Right-Hand-Man Virtual Assistant Services website came in first!

I know that less people use Yahoo than Google, but it is still a great feeling to be #1. My goal is to be first on all the search engines, eventually. I think that we all need to work towards this goal.

If you need help with your search engine optimization (SEO) and internet marketing, why not contact us and we can put together a plan for you.

Proofreaders Wanted For Small Firm Lawyers?

I found this article and I thought I would share it. The author is telling lawyers that they need to have their work proofread. I feel it is important for any solo practitioner or SOHO business person to have their work proofread.

While even the most benign typo can be professionally embarrassing — small law firms rarely look to fill proofreading positions.
by Robert M. Unterberger, Esq.
lexisONE

"Wanted: Individual possessing excellent writing and grammatical skills for small law firm. Must be gifted working with all kinds of legal documents.

No, I've never seen a classified like this one. While lawyers recognize that spelling, punctuation, sentence structure and adherence to format are critical to their credibility — and that even the most benign typo can be professionally embarrassing — law firms of any size rarely look to fill proofreading positions."

READ THE REST OF THE ARTICLE HERE.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Top 100 Ways to Utilize a Virtual Assistant

The Home Office Warrior blog has a series of posts on "The Top 100 Ways a Home Office Warrior can utilize a Virtual Assistant". In it you will find virtual assistants can do a lot more than you think.

Make a list of all the things that you do during the week that have to be done for your business to succeed but no not generate sales or income. Check this Top 100 list and the services list at Right-Hand-Man Virtual Assistant Services Website to see how virtual assistants can help you complete these tasks so you can concentrate on those things that actually make you money.

Isn't it time to let someone else look after your non-earning tasks so you can concentrate on what you do best - building your business and making money.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Happy Virtual Holidays

How can a virtual assistant help me during this holiday season? What could someone half way across the country or halfway around the world do for me at this time of the year?

I have come up with a few answers:

Sending out Christmas cards/letters - Do you have a list that rivals Santa's for Christmas cards and letters? Why not let someone else get this done for you. For businesses, this is a great time to send out something to keep in touch with clients and customers. Personally, it is a time to reconnect with friends and loved ones.

Shopping - You can find every product online now which makes shopping a whole lot easier. Have a virtual assistant find that perfect gift for that "hard to buy for" person in your life. Gifts can be purchased for you or your VA can locate that elusive CD, game, book, or technological gadget that you can't seem to find and then tell you how and where to purchase it.

Party planning - You can throw a great Christmas or New Year's Eve party this year without lifting a finger! Have your virtual assistant find the location, send out the invitations, hire the caterer, and get the entertainment to make your party memorable.

Travel arrangements - Whether you are going to see your Aunt Mathilda in Albuquerque or Cousin Donald in Dublin, a virtual assistant can help you with your travel plans. They can find you the best deals on flights and hotels so you don't have to sleep on Uncle Joe's lumpy pull-out sofa. Your VA can manage your emails and voicemails for you while you are away.

Appointment setting - How many parties and engagements do you have to juggle over the holidays? Have your virtual assistant manage your calendar and send you reminders to keep you on schedule.

Thank you cards - After you have been to all of those parties and received all of those great gifts, it is time to thank everyone. Handmade thank you cards are a wonderful way to show your appreciation. Your virtual assistant can order these for you and make sure they get to the right people.

I hope you have a happy, stress-free holiday season. Getting a virtual assistant to help you achieve this can be the gift you give to yourself.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

November Blog Carnival of Virtual Assistants

Welcome to the November 4, 2007 edition of carnival of virtual assistants. I want to challenge all VAs reading this to submit your posts early to get them into the next Carnival of Virtual Assistants so we can make it the biggest ever!

Darrell Williams presents 7 Steps to Business Emergency Preparedness posted at Right-Hand-Man Virtual Assistant Services - BLOG, saying, "Being prepared for an emergency will ensure your business and your client's information will be protected."

Ruth Martin presents Go Green! Use a Virtual Assistant posted at Leaf Notes . . . thoughts from MaplewoodVA, saying, "I'm submitting an unusual topic -- Successful VA-Client Recipe."

Edith Yeung presents Use Wordtracker to Identify What Customer Wants posted at Edith Yeung.Com: Dream. Think. Act.

Randy Nichols presents The Job Burnout Cure posted at Career Advice by Randy, saying, "The daily grind of working for someone else and being on a limited income takes it’s toll, What in the world is the cure?"

Jason Whitmen presents Best Press Release Writing - 3 Beginner Tips to Press Release Writing posted at Public Relations Insider, saying, "Press releases are news announcements, whether through online publications or through traditional media. You can use it as a promotions and advertising tool. To be effective however, you should write it in news format..."

Robert Michel presents Business Networking is Like an Orange Tree posted at Social Networking Skills, saying, "Print advertising, phone solicitation, and direct mail if done correctly lead to immediate results. Personal networking takes longer, and therefore requires a greater level of patience and maturity. However, the quality of business received from networking is by far superior because nothing beats a personal referral."

Joy Miller presents Ivy League universities now offer online degrees and certificates posted at Online College Blog, saying, "Ivy League dreams? Make them a reality. Although you may not be able to physically commute to an Ivy League campus, that shouldn’t keep you from “attending” classes at an Ivy League university."

Peter Quinn presents 10 Tips For Effective Negotiations in Life and Business posted at Easy Negotiation Techniques, saying, "These 10 points are things you need to have in mind to have a win-win."

Thomas Humes presents Are You Habitually Losing Money? posted at Wealth Building World, saying, "Psychologists tell us that up to 90% of our behavior is habitual. If you have a habit of letting your receivables get overdue, which is one of the most common unsuccessful habits, you will always get a predictable result. Negative habits breed negative consequences."

Info for VA Clients

Kathleen Gage presents Are You Losing Money by Doing Your Own Work? posted at Street Smarts Marketing, saying, "According to the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), the average small business owner spends up to 40% of his or her time on routine administrative tasks. Constantly working on non revenue-producing tasks that could be more productively and cost-effectively performed by a highly skilled, knowledgeable assistant is losing your business significant income."

Tips

Michael@TSM presents Fall TSM Travel Writing Contest: Win $125! posted at Traveling Stories Magazine.

Holly Ord presents Maximizing Your Website's Traffic posted at Woman Tribune.

Sanjay Kumar presents Getting paid faster posted at SimplifyThis, saying, "Strategies for getting paid faster."

Stefan Töpfer presents THE SMALL BUSINESS BLOG » Blog Archive » Work-Life Balance 2.0 and Small Business posted at The Small Business Blog.

JUST ONE MORE:

I just wanted to share one last post from Right-Hand-Man Virtual Assistant Services - BLOG. Learn about The Resource That Has Best Helped My VA Business! It is a great resource from Tawnya Sutherland, the founder of the Virtual Assistant Networking Association (VANA).

That concludes this edition. Submit your blog article to the next edition of carnival of virtual assistants using our carnival submission form. Past posts and future hosts can be found on our blog carnival index page.

Technorati tags: , .

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

7 Steps to Business Emergency Preparedness

The fires in California have made me think, once again, about having your business prepared for emergency situations. I made a list of 7 things that every virtual assistant business, or any business that is computer related, needs to have ready:

1) Back up, back up, back up! Make sure every important document and file on your computer is backed up. This can be done with jump drives, CDs, or really anything that will safely hold your information. It would be good if you could keep this and any installation and restore discs at a location other than your house/office.

2) Have another location option. Have a place set up ahead of time where you can go to use a computer, phone, etc. when you have to leave your home for any emergency. This could be as simple as having a laptop that you can take anywhere.

3) Insurance. Make sure, if you work from home, that your home-owner's insurance covers your home office. If it doesn't, increase your coverage.

4) Recovery. Have a plan in place to quickly recover from an emergency situation. If you lose your whole livelihood in a fire or flood, how will you recover? What will you do for equipment until your insurance cheque comes?

5) Communication. What happens when your clients can't reach you? What about an emergency situation as simple as your Internet going down for 3 days? Make sure your clients have multiple ways of contacting you. If this means calling each one from an evacuation center to let them know you will contact them again when you are back in the office, do it.

6) Replacement. Do you have other virtual assistants in place that can cover you while you are in an emergency situation? This is important if you find yourself not being able to do your work for more than a day or two. Find someone located in a different region or state who can competently help you out. This might as simple as having them contact your clients when you are unable to.

7) Family. Make plans for your family and pets. Contact your local emergency measures organization and find out what they recommend you have on hand to be prepared. They know what you need and how to help you plan for emergencies. Make sure your family knows the plan and make sure this plan has provisions for your pets. There is no sense having a great plan if no one knows what it is.

Just because you might find yourself in a bad situation due to fire, flood, hurricane, etc., doesn't mean that your business should be wiped out. If you plan ahead, your business will survive and your clients will appreciate that you included their needs in your emergency plans.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Newsletter Mistakes

Well, I learned one big lesson this morning. DO NOT send your newsletter out through Outlook/Outlook Express. I thought when you sent an email to a group of addresses that just the name of the group showed up on the emails. I was wrong. Next time I will send the newsletter through an auto-responder.

I also realize now that I did not put in a link to unsubscribe from the newsletter. I am sure I will learn and will make these changes next time.

Maybe I should send out a newsletter about "newsletter mistakes".

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

First Newsletter

I just sent out the first edition of "Right-Hand-Man's Handy Tips".

I now feel like I am waiting for a child to be born. I can't wait for feedback from the subscribers. I am hoping that everyone enjoys it and finds it helpful. There are about 80 subscribers, so I will hopefully hear from some of them.

If you would like to subscribe to the newsletter there is a sign-up box at the top of the page. I will be offering ideas, grammar tips, guest articles, inspirational quotes, and a whole lot more.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

The Resource That Has Best Helped My VA Business!

Tawnya Sutherland, the founder of the Virtual Assistant Networking Association (VANA), has created the best resource for getting your VA business up and running.

The Virtual Business Startup System (VBSS) has helped me immensely. Without it I would not be in business. I learned so much from Tawnya and the resources included in the program.

Tawnya says:

"I am going to show you the personal and prosperous benefits you will enjoy running your own Virtual Assistant business from home by clearly giving you simple instructions each day to obtain your own home-based virtual assistant business. It's a VA business in a box!

Within 30 days, you should have a successful Virtual Assistant business up and running!

The Virtual Business Startup System (VBSS) includes a step-by-step workbook which provides a collection of valuable sound advice and practical guidance for starting your own successful Virtual Assistant business from a well-known and successful Virtual Assistant herself, Tawnya Sutherland. There are also tons of business templates included on a CD-ROM to make your business start-up easier and cut your preparation time in half since you won't have to spend time designing them all by yourself!

But that's only the beginning!

Your VBSS also includes well known reference books written by professionals already in the Virtual Assistant industry like Diana Ennen, Kelly Poelker and Michelle Jamison that are referred to throughout your VBSS workbook journey. PLUS many other valuable resources like e-books, tutorials, charts, articles, coupons and Virtual Assistant contracts that will help your business become a success!"

I think it is well worth the $495.00 investment. You will get all the training you need to set up your VA business and keep it running.

Check it out at: VBSS

Saturday, October 6, 2007

3rd Edition of the Carnival of Virtual Assistants

Kathie Thomas will be the host for the October edition of the Blog Carnival of Virtual Assistants.

You can see all of the great posts by clicking HERE. Kathie Thomas' blog is exactly what the title says, "The Blog About Our Industry". There is always so much information posted there for VAs and their clients. It is definitely a resource for you to add to your favourites.

Kathie has also been honoured recently by VANA (Virtual Assistant Networking Association) as having the VA Blog of the Week. A well deserved honour. VANA is another great resource with over 7,000 members who, through the VA forum, are more than willing to help you on your way as you get your virtual assistant business to the place you want it to be.

The 4th edition of the Blog Carnival of Virtual Assistants will be making its way back here in November. Let's make it the virtual assistant event of the month!

Friday, September 28, 2007

Event Planning

I have been involved in the planning of many different kinds of events - conferences, weddings, concerts, and parties - but the most difficult one to plan and execute is a child's birthday party.

What has happened to the pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey party? Nowadays, you have to have crafts, entertainment, the "right" location, and treat bags to rival the ones given out at the Oscars. Today was my daughter's 10th birthday. It was not a large party, but it was still a lot of work. I had a lot to do. It had to be just right because it is the last "big" party that she is having.

There were invitations to make, goodie bags to make, crafts to create, rooms and a cake to decorate, prizes to make, and food to serve. My wife was working, so I had to do pretty much everything. I tried to break every project down into small parts and get so many of them done each day until everything was all done. It wasn't done until 5 minutes before the kids walked in the door, but it was done!

No matter what kind of event you are planning, it all comes down to preparation. Knowing what the expected outcome is and planning for every possible thing between idea and realization. It sounds like a huge task but if it is broken down into smaller tasks, it becomes way less daunting.

The party was a success and everyone went home happy. There were no fights, and even despite the rain, it went great.

Monday, September 17, 2007

VANA's Virtual Assistant Blog of the Week!

I have been awarded one of VANA's highest honours for a Virtual Assistant Blog. Every week a blog is chosen out of over 7,000 members and it is awarded the Blog of the Week.

VA Blog of the Month

If you are a virtual assistant and haven't joined VANA (Virtual Assistant Networking Association) then you definitely should. Join over 7,000 other VAs for support, direction and fun. There are also RFPs listed and everyone is ready to help you with whatever questions you might have.

If you are NOT a virtual assistant, but are looking for more information about VAs, then VANA is the place for you as well. With tonnes of articles, links and a Virtual Assistant Directory it is the spot to find out more and even locate the right VA for you.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Newsletter and Free New E-Book

I have finally decided to take my newsletter seriously. Everyone keeps telling me that it's a great way to collect leads and keep people informed about my business.

I have decided to give away a short e-book away as a thank you for signing up to the newsletter. It's called "The 7 Essential Keys to Responding to RFPs" for virtual assistants and "The 7 Essential Keys to Writing RFPs" for people who are not VAs".

The newsletter is called "Right-Hand-Man's Handy Tips" and will be filled with great business, office, and VA tips as well as stories of and quotes by successful business owners and entrepreneurs that will spur you on to being the best you can in business.

You can sign up at in the box in the sidebar

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Plagiarism in Online Business

I don't understand the need some people have of plagiarising other people's work. In the recent edition of the Blog Carnival of Virtual Assistants, we had to remove about half of the submissions because they did not belong to the people submitting them. It seems that people are just taking articles published online and putting their name on them and submitting them as their own.

Why do people do this? It doesn't look good for your business if the first thing that people learn about you is that you have stolen someone else's material. Would you want to do business with a thief? It doesn't take much to Google the title of an article or blog post to see who the original author is.

Another thing that gets stolen a lot on the Web is Web site content. I must admit that when I first put up my website, I did take a couple things from another VA's site. I honestly thought that this was not a problem because they were quite generic things that I took. I was approached by the other VA and immediately changed these aspects of my site. If you make a mistake in using someone's material, correct it as soon as you become aware of it.

There are going to be a lot of things on your Web site that are going to be common with your competitors. People surfing the net looking for a particular service or product want to see different things at each site. If yours is just like everyone else's, they will just click on the next one on the list. Take a little extra time to make your Web site a reflection of yourself and how you do business. If someone else is designing your site for you, make sure that you check it for plagiarism before it is made available to the public. It is your responsibility to make sure that you have the right to use the content of your site. This goes for not just the words you use, but the pictures, videos, and even the fonts.

Plagiarism doesn't just hurt the business being stolen from, it will hurt your business even more. People won't want to do business with you if they find out you are an online content thief.

Respect that little (c) symbol. It is there for a reason.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Blog Carnival of Virtual Assistants - Tomorrow!

Tomorrow is the day. The second edition of the Blog Carnival of Virtual Assistants is coming out. It will be hosted by Angela Wills of StarVA.com.

There is still time to get your posts in. Just go to Blog Carnival Submission and fill out the form to submit your blog post.

Let's make this the VA event of the month!

Sunday, August 26, 2007

7 Benefits of Hiring a Multi-Virtual Assistant Practice

A Multi-VA practice is a team of virtual assistants who provide a variety of VA services and quality work. Most Multi-VA practices have one owner who then subcontracts projects to other virtual assistants who have the skills and experience to complete the project.

There are a lot of benefits in hiring a Multi-VA practice as your virtual assistant service provider. I will touch on seven of these benefits:

1) There is always an expert available. With a team of virtual assistants available to work on your project, you are guaranteed that there will always be someone available that has the necessary skills and expertise to complete the task.

2) Large projects can be divided among the team. This allows for larger projects to be broken down into smaller tasks and, therefore, completed faster and more efficiently than if one VA was to take on the task. Many hands make light work!

3) Associate virtual assistants are usually located in different time zones. Having VAs located in your time zone as well as either ahead or behind you allows for your work to be completed at all hours of the day. Your tasks may be completed while you are sleeping and ready for you before you start work in the morning.

4) The client is in contact with one person. A virtual assistant manager usually is in contact with you. They are the one responsible that the output you receive is of the highest quality. The manager is also responsible for deciding which associate VA is the best person for the job.

5) The client is only paying for the time spent on their work. Even though there is a team of people working on your tasks, you still only pay one hourly rate. You are not paying when the VAs check their emails, work on behalf of another client, or take an extra long lunch break.

6) If a client likes the work of a particular member of the team, they can ask for them to be their VA. Most Multi-VA practices have provisions for you to work with a particular team member and even for contracting outside of the company with that VA.

7) The client is in control of what work is completed and when. Even though the team manager sets you up with the best virtual assistant, you are still in control of what tasks that VA completes and the deadlines they need to abide by. The team manager will assist you in setting out these tasks and deadlines.

In choosing any virtual assistant or Multi-VA practice you need to make sure they are the best fit for you and the work you want completed. Check them out by going to their websites and the websites of any organizations the VA belongs to. Make sure to ask as many questions as it takes for you to become familiar and comfortable with your choice.

Friday, August 24, 2007

“Odd” Job Virtual Assistants

There are many reasons that one might require the services of a virtual assistant. The following uses of their services might surprise you.

When he started his virtual assistant practice, Darrell Williams imagined himself creating documents for clients, checking their voicemails and emails, scheduling their time or other common administrative tasks. He did not expect to be finding a moving company, writing press releases and articles or finding just the right kind of sunglasses for his clients.

There are many different kinds of virtual assistants and even more types of clients. There are VAs who work for hairdressers, lawyers, doctors, writers, artists, real estate agents and even athletes. Everyone needs help with something and there are a lot of VAs that are experts in areas that clients may never imagine.

Williams, of Right-Hand-Man Virtual Assistant Services says that he enjoys the varied tasks he is asked to complete.
“I love doing different things for each of my clients. I don’t really enjoy doing the same thing over and over again, all day long. If I don’t know how to do something, I have a team of associates that I can count on to be able to do it.”

Clients and virtual assistants must make sure they are a good fit before they agree to work together. There is no sense hiring a VA and then finding out they can’t do what you need done. Some VAs would rather not take on the “odd” jobs and would rather just type documents all day long.

Many clients, after hiring a virtual assistant, find out their VA is not prepared to do what they require. They did not find out the skills and experience of the VA before hiring them. If the VA the client has hired and cannot complete certain tasks, then the client is left to find another VA that can. To avoid this, many virtual assistants are opening Multi-VA practices. With many virtual assistants with varying talents in one team, there is always an expert available.

If a client needs a virtual assistant to find a kennel for their dog while they are on a vacation that the VA has also arranged, and type the client’s manuscript while they are gone, they would either need to hire a multi-talented VA or hire a Multi-VA team with a number of VAs capable of completing one task each. Remember that everyone is an expert at something and there is a virtual assistant that can do whatever “odd” job that each client needs done.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

5 Reasons Solo Professionals Need a Virtual Assistant

My latest article:

5 Reasons Solo Professionals Need a Virtual Assistant.

Having worked with a few solo professionals in my time, I have noticed a few things:

Solo professionals often bite off just more than they can chew. They do this because they want to succeed. I think that they feel that if they take on a little bit more, they will do more and, therefore, succeed more. Stop spreading yourself too thin and get the help you need.

They often forget that they can't do everything. Everyone is an expert at something, but no-one is an expert at everything. Solo professional doesn't need to mean "lone wolf". If you aren't good at something, get someone else to do it. Your clients will appreciate that the work is done well and not just completed.

Solo professionals tend to focus on too many things at once. The old phrase, "do one thing, and do it well" comes to mind. If need be, get a virtual assistant to help you mange your greatest resource - your time. A good VA can weed out those time wasting emails and voicemails. They can help you prioritize your schedule and help give you the time to spend on your area of expertise.

Solo professionals can have a habit of mixing business with pleasure. Sometimes it is difficult to keep a handle on your own finances and keep your personal money separate from your business money. Hire a virtual assistant who specializes in bookkeeping and get them to help you budget and plan how and where you spend your money. They can also handle the "divorce" of your personal and business finances.

Solo professionals are great at what they do and they get paid accordingly. They can also have more expenses than a professional that is in a partnership or firm. Hiring a virtual assistant is more cost effective for the solo professional than hiring in-house administrative assistance. Since the VA is private contractor with their own office, you don't have to put out money for more space, equipment, health benefits, and other employee related costs. Also, since a virtual assistant is only paid for the time that they work for you, there is no money lost to long lunch breaks, personal calls, or even sick days.

If you are a solo professional, and if you need some help, consider hiring a virtual assistant to partner with you for your success. You will be glad you did.

To find out more about virtual assistants and how they can help you as a solo professional take a look at www.righthandmanva.com

Thank You Blog Carnival Visitors!

Thank you to all of the visitors who stopped by to check out the Carnival of Virtual Assistants. The first edition was a great success. I have had over one hundred visitors (which is a lot for my fledgling blog) since the Carnival was posted.

Next month's Carnival of Virtual Assistants is already shaping up to be a great event. We already have a lot of different posts that will be of interest to virtual assistants and their clients. The Carnival will be hosted by Angela Wills in September at her blog - InTouchVA. In Ocotber, your Carnival host will be the incomparable Kathie Thomas. Kathie has one of the definitive blogs about the virtual assistant industry - The VA Blog.

So, all of you blogging VAs, start sending your posts in so that they can be included in September's Carnival of Virtual Assistants. Just follow this link and add your post: http://blogcarnival.com/bc/cprof_2071.html

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Virtual Help: An Outsourcing Relationship With a Virtual Assistant Can Complete Your Team

Another great article on the advantages of legal virtual assistants:

Lawyers function best as members of a team. No lawyer can do everything. A paralegal or administrative assistant whose qualifications and skills meet your needs will effectively extend the reach and quality of your practice. You can hire such a person to work full time, on your payroll. However, technology increasingly affords an efficient alternative: the VA, or virtual assistant.

VA Relationship
VAs are paralegals or other administrative specialists who work offsite and online, creating work product to your specifications and tailored to your practice. They represent an extension of the outsourcing that lawyers and law firms have done for years. Once that outsourcing was limited to mailing and records storage services. More recently it has come to include transcription of voice files for depositions, accounting support for billing, data entry, litigation support graphics, and legal research. Such outsourced services are transparent to the client – to such an extent that they now can be performed a continent away.

The relationship with a virtual assistant is complex and rewarding. As an independent business owner, the VA is neither employee nor subordinate. VAs more closely resemble an accountant or any other business consultant with whom the lawyer has an ongoing, collaborative relationship. They become familiar with your practice and attuned to your business needs as much as any service provider engaged for a substantial length of time.

VA Selection

An excellent example of a virtual assistant practice is The Relief, a Tacoma, Washington-based firm that delivers remote administrative and legal assistant/paralegal support services to solo and small practice professionals. Danielle Keister, principal of The Relief, graciously shared with me her insights on what makes the VA relationship work from the service provider’s perspective. She recommends taking these factors into account when engaging a VA:

Is there an informative, well constructed Web site, as evidence that the VA has the technical skill and sophistication to conduct an effective online business relationship?
Conduct a personal consultation, face to face or by phone. It is not appropriate to ask for resumes or for work history beyond professional references, but the VA should be willing to provide information on experience and qualifications.
Request a business track record. Look for a VA who has been successfully in business for at least three years, and one who is actually IN business (not just working part time or providing an incomplete service package).
Does the VA provide a realistic cost structure? Inappropriately low rates can signal a lack of business sense and indicate a practice that is not profitable (and won’t be around for long). Because you want to rely on the VA long-term, you want assurance that their business is viable. Proper VA rates will average between $30 and $65 per hour. And if the work provided is paralegal in nature, don’t forget that this work can be billable client hours that you can mark up at a profit.

VA Qualifications
Beyond these business considerations, think through the professional qualifications that you want from the VA. If you’re seeking paralegal services, you should expect a certificate of completion from an accredited educational institution. Do your own research on that institution and don’t rely blindly on “ABA-approved” status. Make sure your VA paralegal can demonstrate knowledge of local rules regarding court and civil procedure, in addition to practical insights pertinent to your practice. Other relevant skills include the ability to:

Organize files and chronologies
Prepare documents for summons, complaints, answers, motions and other proceedings
Conduct investigations and summarize depositions
Perform legal research
Coordinate with outside vendors for trial preparation
Create and maintain client files.
A virtual assistant should be able to conduct all these activities electronically from a remote location. That assumes and requires compatible email, word processing, document management and database capabilities. If your word processing system is WordPerfect, engaging a VA who works only in Word can complicate and not simplify your life. The same is true for other software products: Excel versus Lotus, Quicken versus QuickBooks. There are of course other document exchange tools – f ax, overnight courier, even surface mail. But effective electronic integration is a must.

VA Versus Employee
One of the most important considerations about the outsourced VA relationship is to ensure that it is in fact an engagement of an independent contractor. Do not make the mistake of thinking that every part-time or offsite paralegal or legal assistant qualifies. The IRS has very clear guidelines to determine whether a hired individual is an independent contractor or an employee for federal tax purposes. An employee is subject to the will and control of the employer not only as to what shall be done, but as to how it shall be done – an employee does not have independent control of the work process. By contrast, The Relief, as a true independent contractor, states on its Web site: “Our expertise is based on over 20 ears top-level administrative experience and training. Our legal support services for attorneys and investigators are based on paralegal and investigative training and experience.” If you engage a service provider who cannot provide the same assurance, they likely are not a true VA.

VA Versus Temp
Note also that a VA relationship is different from that with a temporary employment agency. Temps can be a viable solution to small firm or solo personnel needs, but if you need anything other than the most basic clerical assistance it would be wise to consider and select a temporary on a long-term basis, known as “temp to perm.” This option accommodates extended projects and protracted litigation, but should only be pursued with a temporary agency that specializes in temporary legal personnel.

The VA Advantage
Virtual assistants are an outsourcing strategy that can give lawyers the best of all solutions to the need for help. You get a professional team member, selected to your criteria, attuned to the business and professional needs of your practice. You are relieved of the cost (and potential liability) that in-house staff can represent. Best of all, you have an efficient solution to “The Business of Law”®, one that frees you to do the client representation and development work that you want to do. As Ms. Keister remarked to me, “ When I first started, I wondered if attorneys were so above the crowd that concerns like working at a profit, operating efficiently, finding ideal clients and dealing with problem ones were just too petty and far beneath them. Since then, I’ve seen that they have the same marketing and operating issues that any other business has.” Help from a knowledgeable virtual assistant can be a major step in resolving them.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

About the Author
Edward Poll, J.D., M.B.A., CMC, is a coach to lawyers and certified management consultant who shows attorneys and law firms how to be more profitable. Ed's latest book is Collecting Your Fee: Getting Paid From Intake to Invoice (ABA 2003); he is the author of Attorney & Law Firm Guide to The Business of Law, 2d ed. (ABA 2002); Secrets of the Business of Law: Successful Practices for Increasing Your Profits. To make suggestions or comments about this article, call (800) 837-5880 or send an e-mail to edpoll@lawbiz.com. You can also order a free e-zine or visit Ed on the web at www.lawbiz.com.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Top 10 Things A Virtual Assistant (VA) Can Do For Your Business

Have you ever wondered, “What exactly is that Virtual Assistant that you keep hearing so much about?” The answer is simple. A Virtual Assistant, or VA, is an administrative professional who provides immediate professional support, services, and skills to busy entrepreneurs and business managers via the Internet.

But “What can a Virtual Assistant do for me?” is a little more complicated. The ways in which a VA can help you and your business are as unique and diverse as the individual VAs are themselves. To help narrow down the possibilities, the Virtual Assistants at the Virtual Assistant Networking Association (VANA) forum, http://www.VAnetworking.com were asked to list the top 10 things they could do for their clients. This is what they said.

READ MORE HERE:
Top 10 Things a Virtual Assistant (VA) Can Do For Your Business!

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Carnival of Virtual Assistants - #1

Welcome to the first ever Carnival of Virtual Assistants. We will bring you great posts from the virtual assistant industry from around the globe. Enjoy and maybe next month your post will be here along with ours.

Tips for VA Clients:
Angela Wills presents StarVA - How to Know You're Getting Your Moneys Worth From Your VA posted at StarVA.com.

Website Design Tip:
Barbra Sundquist presents How to Write a Short Bio or "About Me" Page posted at Barbra Sundquist.

How can a Virtual Assistant Help Me?
Emma Walker presents How can a Virtual Assistant help me? posted at CKPA.

Tips for Women Who Lead Men:
Alvaro Fernandez presents Top Ten Tips for Women Who Lead Men posted at Brain Fitness Blog.

Some Business Success Myths:
Bhupendra Khanal presents Top 10 Mantra for Professional Success posted at Analytics Bhupe.

Gmail Productivity Tips:
The Free Geek presents The Enormous Gmail Productivity List posted at Free Geekery.

Internet Marketing Tips:
Praveen presents My Simple Trading System: A Free Guide Recommending Internet Marketing Resources posted at My Simple Trading System.

Don't forget to leave us your comments and suggestions to make the Carnival of Virtual Assistants even better next month!

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Lawyers and Legal Virtual Assistants

I just read this great article about how lawyers can really use a virtual assistant. It was published in Law Practice Today.

here is the link: The Virtual Assistant: Every Lawyer Needs One!

It is nice to see that virtual assistants are being taken more and more seriously by other professions.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Carnival of Virtual Assistants

I have started a blog carnival for Virtual Assistants and their clients. To have your blog post in this "magazine" just go to Blog Carnival (http://blogcarnival.com/bc/cprof_2071.html)and submit your post. I will choose a person each month out of the posts received to host the carnival the following month.

The Carnival will be posted on the first Sunday of every month!

A blog carnival is like a traditional carnival in that it travels from blog to blog. They showcase posts from other blogs usually based around a specific topic.

Monday, July 2, 2007

5 Best Ways to Keep Your Clients

You’ve worked very hard to get your clients. No matter what business you are in, keeping your clients is now your most important task. If you can keep these clients happy, they are more likely to stay with you and refer others to you. Don’t stop now, you have to keep working and make yourself indispensable.

I have come up with 5 ways to keep that client and to keep them happy.

Be Personal – You don’t have to be your client’s best friend to be personal. It can be as simple as knowing their birthdays and anniversaries (personal and business). When these special dates come up, send them a personalized card and a small gift. Don’t forget to have your business information printed on the back of the card.

Don't Make Promises You Can't Keep – This is so important to remember in all areas of your business. If you can’t do it, don’t say you can. If you say you can do something, and then can’t, you will look very unprofessional and unethical. Have a list of other professionals that you can refer your client to. Your client will appreciate being told, “I can’t do it, but here is someone who can”. Don’t worry about losing the client, they will come back to you for the things that you can so.

Go The Extra Mile – A few minutes of your time will be appreciated by your client. You don’t have to work for your client for free, but doing those little extra things they might not expect will go a long way. Try to think of that one little thing that can be added or improved, or that part of the project that the client just didn’t think of. Don’t come across like you are sacrificing your time for them and they will appreciate the extra time you spend on their behalf. Give a little and gain a lot!

Listen - If you listen to your client, you will know what they need and want. Don’t go into a project thinking you know best. Listen to the client first. Your client may not know what they need, but your job is to listen and interpret it into a plan. If a client says they need something done, but they are missing a step, listening will help you assist the client in seeing the overall picture.

Be Open And Honest - If you are involved in a project and something goes wrong, tell the client right away. It is better to let them find out sooner than later so that alternative plans can be made if necessary. Again, offer alternatives. If you have made a mistake, offer solutions on how things can be rectified. If you try and hide your failings, they will come out and bite you. Don’t risk losing a client over a mistake.

Try to do these simple things and you will see the difference it makes in your relationships with your clients.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

New Website and Associate VA Program.

I just thought I would let everyone know that I have redone my website. I hope that it portrays the more professional image that I was going for.

You will notice that Right-Hand-Man Virtual Assistant Services is now a TEAM. We have started an Associate VA Program. If you would like more information about it, email me or use the contact form on the website.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Summer Sale

SUMMER BOGO SALE!
Buy one hour at our regular rate and
get your next hour ½ price.
(up to 10 hours/month)
So 10 hours will only cost you $225.00!
This offer expires on Labour Day, so get it while you can!

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

I Won, Again!

I am the first winner of, and Tawnya Sutherland says, the inspiration for a new contest at the Virtual Assistants Network Association. It's called "Blogging for VANA" and it is going to be better than "bobbing for apples"!

From the VANA contest page:
Blog with VANA and you could win a month's worth of Bronze Advertising at VANA to help you with your business advertising. Everyone is welcome to play from Virtual Assistants to clients of Virtual Assistants! We will draw one new winner for every 10 entries we receive. If we receive 100 entries, we'll draw 10 winners!

So go over and check out my ad. It is posted right beside the contest details.

Thanks, again, VANA and Tawnya!

Monday, June 18, 2007

Virtual Assistant Networking Association VAccolade Award

I was overwhelmed today to be told that Right-Hand-Man Virtual Assistant Services was selected to receive the:

VAccolade of Virtual Assistant Networking Association (VANA)
VAccolade Business Entrepreneur Award

The award is given to a member of VANA (there are over 6,000 members)who is nominated by one of their clients, business colleagues, or peers. They must have also met any combination of the following criteria:
1. Has been an important contributor to the forum (volunteer/advice/support/etc.)
2. His website demonstrates at least one of the following qualities in an outstanding way: a. Solid copywriting b. Usability c. Search engine friendly d. Excellent design e. Original content
3. Shows all around business savvy and good judgement
4. Demonstrates a strong USP
5. Upholds our VANA member ethics

I am honoured to be selected and proudly added the VAccolade banner to my website. Thank you VANA!

Friday, June 15, 2007

Virtual Assistant Networking Association Milestone

The Virtual Assistant Networking Association (VANA) is nearing the 6,000 member mark. It could hit it as soon as this week. With a current membership count of 5,945 it won’t be very long at all.

This is an amazing feat for a forum that is only 4 years old. It is billed as the “Largest online global meeting place for successful and aspiring Virtual Assistants”. As Virtual Assistant forums go, this is the biggest and it doesn’t seem that this growth will be stopping anytime soon.

With recent mentions in articles like the one that appeared in the May edition of the Reader’s Digest, Virtual Assistants are making VANA their online meeting place. People come and ask questions, give advice, share their successes, and even help each other find clients. A member at VANA, Darrell Williams of Right-Hand-Man Virtual Assistant Services says this:

“This is the most supportive business forum that I have been a part of. Other VAs are always willing to answer any questions I have and they are also open to any comments or suggestions I might have, as well. It is like we are all working together because it’s not a competitive place. Everyone honestly wants the best for each other’s Virtual Assistant practice. My VA practice would not be where it is today without the help I found at VANA”

As more people become aware of Virtual Assistants and the need for their services increases, VANA will be there to help VAs and their clients along. There is An Request for Proposal (RFP) system for both VAs and potential VA clients alike. If a client needs a Virtual Assistant, they just send the information into VANA and then the VAs have a chance to respond to their request. This is just one of the services and benefits of the free VANA membership.

VANA’s founder, Tawnya Sutherland, and her team of “VA Virtuosos” are a volunteer team of extremely successful VAs. They are involved at VANA to help other VAs succeed as Virtual Assistants the same way that they have. They are a vital part of VANA and their solid input is invaluable to the “aspiring” VAs.

If you would like to find out more about what a Virtual Assistant is or if you are a Virtual Assistant that needs some support, give the Virtual Assistant Networking Association a look. If you are looking for a Virtual Assistant, VANA would be a great place to start.

Virtual Assistant Networking Association - http://www.vanetworking.com/

Right-Hand-Man Virtual Assistant Services - http://www.righthandmanva.com/

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Virtual Assistant's Worst Fear!

Lately my computer has been acting up. I think that it had a virus that was just hanging on, even though I tried every anti-virus program out there. I finally got it back to health today.

This did get me wondering (and worrying a bit), "What would I do if my computer died on me?" I think that this should be the Virtual Assistant's worst fear. We should have a healthy fear of this happening and take measures to protect our businesses in the event that it does happen.

I am now in the process of burning everything of my clients and my business onto CDs. My next step is to go tomorrow and buy a jump drive. I would like to be able to 'move' my files easily to another computer if the need arises. I do keep paper copies of most everything that I can. (So much for the 'paperless' office of the future) My plan now is to back up EVERYTHING! It may seem a bit extreme, but better safe than sorry.

What are some other ways that you protect your valuable information? What would you do if your computer died right now? Do you have a plan? Are you afraid yet? Being afraid is a good thing if you do something about it.

Be like a boy scout and be prepared.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Right-Hand-Man and Podcast & Blog Hopping VA Discuss Industry Growth

Darrell, this is my first stop at a blog hosted by a male, and you are VA too. I love it! I read you are relatively new to the industry, but also recently received great media coverage. So, let me first congratulate you and wish you continued success and second, welcome you to the world of virtual assisting. Since we’re spending Saturday together, let’s just kick back, get comfortable and sip something refreshing as I respond to your questions.
Great idea, Sharon!

1. How is the Virtual Assistant profession growing worldwide?

The industry is actually growing in leaps and bounds. Ten years ago, there were only a few thousand VA's, most of whom resided in the United States. Now, there are at least 20,000 globally situated. More virtual assistants (individually and collectively) are spreading the word about the industry, and new businesses are opening daily. As information about the industry circulates, more and more administrative and executive assistants, office managers, and other experienced administrative professionals are considering alternative business and employment opportunities. Many recognize virtual assisting as a viable, achievable option.

In conjunction with new businesses opening, VA networks are springing up, too. A comprehensive list of international VA organizations, list servs, etc. can be found at the Alliance for Virtual Businesses.

2. How important is it to belong to some kind of network of other VA's?

It is very important to belong to a VA network. Membership provides an opportunity to share experiences and literally combine business with the pleasure of social networking. The VA networking community offers lively discussion regarding topics that directly and indirectly affect your business. They also offer a sense of empowerment and are a non-threatening way to solicit support, learn from peers and develop potential partnering relationships. By actively participating in a network, you have the opportunity to increase your sphere of influence, which may eventually lead to additional income-generating opportunities.

3. Where do Virtual Assistants find clients?

Virtual Assistants can find clients literally anywhere on the planet. However, before beginning your search conduct some research. First, identify your ideal clients, determine where they congregate, join an industry organization – the group, be it a list serv, networking group, association, etc., and listen to their conversations regarding what they want and need. Next, create products or services to meet their desires and gradually begin interacting and sharing your expertise – offering solutions – etc. Once you begin this process and unselfishly share your expertise, clients will find you!

4. How will the OIVAC help Virtual Assistants to grow their businesses?

This year’s OIVAC has a wonderful lineup of non-industry and VA-industry presenters, each offering resources and information specifically designed to help grow your business. As a matter of fact, these resources can be applied to business from any industry. Some of the talented VA's presenting at this year’s convention includes:

• Laurie Dart - Write powerful sales copy that draws your customer to your product or service and results in increased sales and higher search engine rankings
• Mary Lou Ashton - Determine your ideal client, what qualities to consider, where to possibly find them, and what red flags to pay attention to
• Janice Byer – How to respond to Request for Proposals
• Cheryl Callighan - Subcontracting Made Simple!
• Andrea Cannavina - Working Virtually with the Right Technology
• Jeannine Clontz - Business Ethics for Your VA Practice
• Diana Ennen – Preparing for the unexpected

The complete list of OIVAC presenters and their topics is available at the official OIVAC web site.

5) Why do VA's choose to become Virtual Assistants?

There are many reasons why someone would chose to become a VA. They include: control of one’s destiny, spending more time with family, and health issues. The explosion of the Internet and the availability of the PC have made working from home a reality for many with administrative and office skills. Many virtual assistants don’t even realize they are VA's. But, that is changing as we educate more and more people about the industry. I think people are attracted to virtual assisting because of their goals, their experience and the potential of the industry.

Darrell, I’ve really enjoyed my Saturday visit. And, I’m elated to see more men entering the industry. Good for you! Now before I forget, here’s your scrambled puzzle game clue (#28). rfuom. When I visited Shannon Cherry of Cherry Communications yesterday, I left a relatively easy clue. Frankly, some of the clues have just been too easy; so, beginning tomorrow I’m back to more difficult words. Let’s see, Ann Zuccardy of Vermont Shortbread Company is my next stop. Ah, shortbread! I can’t wait!

About Sharon Williams
Sharon is the Chairperson of the Alliance for Virtual Businesses and OIVAC, and president of The 24 Hour Secretary an administrative, secretarial and internet-based marketing support services company. She is the 2006 recipient of the Thomas Leonard International Virtual Assistant of Distinction Award and co-founder of Virtual Business University an e-learning environment for entrepreneurs willing to step towards their greatness.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

CBC Radio Interview

I was interviewed today for the morning program for CBC Prince Edward Island. The interviewer, Mitch Cormier, asked me a lot of questions about the Virtual Assistant industry and about my practice. Even though I was nervous, he said it would sound great on air. My business name and website will be noted and hopefully the interview will be available online.

If you want to listen for it go to CBC Radio One PEI between 6a.m. and 8:30a.m.AST (5a.m.-7:30a.m.EST). It will either be on tomorrow or Monday.

All of this came about due to my press release (see earlier post). Mitch Cormier picked it up through a Google alert. So get your press releases out there. If you need help, get in touch and we can work on a press release that will get you noticed.

OIVAC Podcast/Blog Tour

"Join us on this exciting tour. Follow Sharon as she travels the Web answering challenging questions about the VA industry. If you are a podcaster or blogger, select an open date and host a visit. It's fun, and you can obtain answers to burning questions on your mind about the virtual assistance industry." OIVAC Website

This great tour will stop here on Saturday, April 28. Remember to stop by and check out the questions and answers and pick up the clues. This is the link for the Tour Schedule:
OIVAC Podcast/Blog Tour

Monday, April 23, 2007

My First Press Release

The following is my first ever press release:
____________________________________
Virtual Assistants In The News
The Virtual Assistant industry is catching the eye of the national media.

The Virtual Assistant industry is being highlighted in the national media once again. In the May issue of Reader's Digest, an article on ways to make extra money states, "If you've got word processing, transcription, bookkeeping, public relations or website design skills, you may want to try life as a virtual assistant." The article goes on to quote VA and author, Diana Ennen whose book, "Virtual Assistant -The Series: Become a Highly Successful, Sought After VA", is a must-have manual for every Virtual Assistant.

In an upcoming episode of the "Today Show", another VA will be featured. A film crew will follow her through a "typical day" in the life of a Virtual Assistant.


"The Virtual Assistant industry is growing rapidly and having it noticed by the press will only help its growth. People will learn what a VA is and either want to become one or hire one."


The Virtual Assistant industry has been featured in national publications in the past. TIME, Businessweek, The Christian Science Monitor, and USA Today have all published articles about Virtual Assistants.


According to Darrell Williams, owner of Right-Hand-Man Virtual Assistant Services, "The more exposure the Virtual Assistant industry gets, the better. Explaining the concept of a VA to potential clients is half the battle. National press exposure makes this so much easier."


For more information on Virtual Assistants and what they can do for you, visit www.righthandmanva.com.

####

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Virtual Assistant Articles.

I've looked through the Internet and found a few articles about
Virtual Assistant's
published in magazines and newspapers.
Here are the links:

READER'S DIGEST
TIME
BUSINESSWEEK
MY BUSINESS MAG
IQ
MOTTO
CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR
USA TODAY
ENTREPRENEUR


I will search for more and post the links here when I find them. If you know of anymore, especially from outside of North America, please add a comment with the link included.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

You're a Virtual Assistant? What's That?

When I tell people that I am a Virtual Assistant, they look at me like I have 2 heads. I then try to explain that a Virtual Assistant is like an Administrative Assistant working from home. Then they kind of snicker.
I am trying not to say "work at home". When people hear this they think of someone sitting in their pajamas, watching the soaps, and working at the same time. Now this may be true of some people, I am pretty sure it is not the norm. When I work at home I still have to get up and get dressed and go to work. I just don't have as far to go.
The next question they have is, "Well, what exactly do you do?" This is where I have the most problem. I tell them that the clients I have had in the past have had me doing everything from formatting books for printing to sending e-mails. Some people still don't get it. They seem to have in their minds a picture of Homer Simpson from the episode where he gained so much weight that he HAD to stay home and work.

Well, I am still working on my "definition" of a Virtual Assistant that I can quickly and easily give to people when I want them to understand what I do. It's great the industry is getting coverage in magazines such as "Reader's Digest", in newspapers and TV news. It will definitely make it easier to explain as people become more aware of what a Virtual Assistant is.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Virtual Assistant Groups

If you are a Virtual Assistant then you HAVE to belong to at least one VA group. I have learned so much from being part of different VA forums and chatrooms. There are many VA's out there that are very helpful. Members of the Virtual Assistant industry seem to me to be the most helpful group of business owners I have ever seen. Experienced VA's are more than ready to answer every question you might have about making your business successful.

GROUPS

http://www.mediamage.com/cvaforum/
http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/VirtualAssistantNetwork/
http://www.va4u.com/assistant/
http://allianceforvirtualbiz.com/
http://finance.groups.yahoo.com/group/CVAConnection/(Canadian)


There are many more out there! Find one and join today.
If you know of more please add them in a comment on this post.

Don't forget to stop here on April 28, 2007 as part of the OIVAC Podcast/Blog Tour! http://www.oivac.com/pressreleases.htm

Friday, April 6, 2007

New Website is NOW HERE!

I finally have my new website up and running. You can find it at www.righthandmanva.com I will still be blogging here, but it will become more of a resource blog for VA's and their clients.

Don't forget about the OIVAC Podcasting/Blog Tour! It's stopping here on April 28.

Friday, March 30, 2007

Who Uses a Virtual Assistant?

What types of businesses use a Virtual Assistant?
The list is longer than you might think.

Realtors
Coaches
Artists
Musicians
Actors
Home-based Businesses
Lawyers
Chiropractors
Doctors
Salespeople
Authors
Property Managers
Students
Accountants
Hairdressers
Non-Profit Organizations

There are so many more. Do you use a Virtual Assistant?
Please leave a comment telling us what line of business you are in.
Are you a VA? Leave a comment with a list of the types of businesses
your clients are a part of.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

New Logo




What do you think?

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

New Newsletter

In "Coming Soon!" I said that I was going to be posting tips on formatting documents. I thought I would take this a bit further and have a tips Newsletter. I am currently writing Issue#1 of "Right-Hand-Man's Handy Tips". It will have tips for business, VA's, Office Assistants and anyone else that wants to present themselves better through the documents they create.

Also coming soon - A NEW Right-Hand-Man Web site! The blog will remain, but I want to double my Web presence with a Web site.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

7 Reasons Your Non-Profit Needs a Virtual Assistant

Having worked in non-profit organizations in three different countries, I have seen the benefits and drawbacks of non-profits hiring full-time Administrative support staff. There are many different reasons why a Virtual Assistant would be a better choice for non-profits and I have come up with these seven.

1) Cost – Virtual assistants cost less than their in-house counterparts. With lunch breaks, coffee breaks, telephone calls and personal conversations, most in-house employees work less than 28 hours per week. Costs such as benefits, training, office setup, etc. also cost the organization money that it doesn’t always have.

2) Loyalty – This can be a great thing to have from an employee, but can be a costly thing to have as an employer. When things get tight, as they always do in non-profits, we are less likely to lay off staff. This is great and the probably the right thing to do, but it does cost. Hiring a loyal Virtual Assistant when needed is better than having to lay people of when needed.

3) Expertise – I have seen it time and again. People are hired because they like to “help out” and have been volunteering for a long time – not necessarily because they have the skills and expertise that the position requires.

4) Perspective – Having a Virtual Assistant that supports the ideals of your organization, but is not actually involved gives you an outsider’s point of view. This can come in handy when decisions have to be made and it’s hard to see the forest from the trees.

5) Timing – There are always busier times in non-profit organizations. Why not hire a Virtual Assistant to create your quarterly newsletter, organize and mail out your yearly donation receipts, or create the posters and mail out the thank you cards for your annual fundraising drive.

6) Volunteers – Volunteers are the backbone of the non-profit organization, but volunteers only have so much time and ability to “donate” to your organization. Having a cost effective, dedicated alternative for administrative tasks is a great way to avoid “volunteer burnout”.

7) Networking – Non-profits need networking like any other business, if not more. A good Virtual Assistant is another way of networking for your particular cause. They are members of organizations and associations and have contacts that you may never be able to reach on your own. They may even have other clients who are willing to donate their time or resources to your organization.

Think about these seven points and really look at how your non-profit organization can benefit from a Virtual Assistant. Then when you are ready to hire one, do some research and find one that fits with your organization. Find one that shares the same values and will partner with your organization for its success.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

I Won!

I woke up this morning and found out that I had won 2nd prize in the Virtual Assitants Networking Association's Extreme VA Makeover contest. I am so excited! I can't wait for my prize. I won the Virtual Business Startup System by Tawnya Sutherland. (http://virtualbusinessstartups.com/).
Congratulations to all the other winners. You should check out the VANA Web site by clicking the link under Memberships at the bottom of this page.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Is Hiring a Virtual Assistant Really Cheaper?

Check out this chart to see the cost effectiveness of hiring a Virtual Assistant!
(Click on button for comparison chart.)


Cost Comparison

Coming Soon!

I will soon be posting Tips on how to properly format documents. Properly formatted documents show that you care how you present yourself and/or business. Keep an eye out for these Tips!

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Virtual Assistant - Spring Cleaning Sale!

From now until June 21, 2007, Right-Hand-Man is having a SALE. Clean up your administrative tasks by getting 5 hours FREE with your first 5 paid hours! Spring is a great time to get rid of the cob-webs that are keeping your business from reaching its full potential. Spring is a time of NEW beginnings. It's a great time to reach new customers, start new projects, and have time to offer new services/products. Spend more time this Spring growing your business and less time on your administrative tasks - hire Right-Han-Man to look after them for you.
See my other posts to find out why you may NEED a Virtual Assitant!

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Marketing your Business!

In Real Estate the slogan for looking for a new home is "location, location, LOCATION!" In marketing it's "network, network, NETWORK!"

So what is Networking? One dictionary suggested it means, "meeting people who can be of help to you and being a help to them." This can happen online, through personal contact, advertising, joining groups, meetings, and the list goes on. Networking can happen at the supermarket. Wherever it happens, you have to make the most of it. Talk about yourself, your business, your product/service, and your successes. Don't brag yourself up, but offer up information that shows how you could help that other person through your business.

"Hidden Marketing" is the marketing of your business that goes on behind your back. This is other people talking about your business. This can be good or bad, depending on the impact you have had on your customers. Did they have a positive experience or did you leave a bad taste in their mouth? When people are happy with your service they usually tell you, but when they aren't happy, they tell other people.

Networking and great Customer Service are the cornerstones of successful marketing. If you can find a way to accomplish both these things and one that works for your particular business, then you have it made. I haven't come across a "magic" formula that works for any and every business. Oh, and by the way, it takes WORK. There are no easy shortcuts. It's like your father used to say, "If something is worth having, it's worth working for!"

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Virtual Assistants: Benefits to YOUR business!

There are many benefits to hiring a virtual assistant, some which include:

*No need to hire full time employees
*No need to acquire office space, equipment or supplies
*No overhead costs
*No overtime or downtime
*No training costs
*No hiring expenses such as advertising and interviewing
*No need to pay for vacation time or sick days
*No "office hours". I work 6 days a week so am almost always
available for my clients.
*No need to pay for employee benefits such as workers compensation, EI or health benefits. As an independent contractor I pay for my own taxes and business expenses.

(modified from the VANA Web site.)

Friday, March 9, 2007

What is a Virtual Assitant (VA)?

A Virtual Assistant (VA) is a highly-trained independent entrepreneur who provides a myriad of administrative support services and skills via the Internet to provide immediate professional support to busy entrepreneurs, business managers, professionals, and anyone who needs help with an administrative project 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.
(VANA)

Right-Hand-Man VA Payment Policy

PAYMENT POLICY:

All pricing is in Canadian Dollars (CAD).

A deposit of 10% is required prior to the start of a project.

Payment is due upon receipt of an invoice.

There will be a $25.00 service charge for any NSF cheques.

I accept payment by business cheque, PAYPAL, money order, cash,
or certified cheque.

Clients will be billed for incidental expenses incurred
on their behalf. These include, but are not limited to –
photocopying, postage, stationery supplies, shipping, etc.

Thursday, March 8, 2007

Why A VA Blog?

What are the advantages to having a Blog versus having a website for a home-based business?

First of all, the cost. This blog is FREE! For home-based businesses start-up finances can be minimal, so this is very important.

A Web presence is necessary for all businesses today. Blogs offer this presence quickly, easily and efectively. You can have a web presence in minutes using a Blog.

Blogs are dynamic. They can be updated daily and create a 'conversation' between your business and prospective and current clients. They are very easy to update and edit. You need no html knowledge to have a great looking web presence. Web sites are static and are not as easily modified.

When a home-based business decides to create a website (IF this is deemed necessary), a Blog should be maintained to update customers, clients and the public on any changes in your business. A Blog is also helpful to have to post your ideas, plans, and articles.

Another great use for a blog is posting examples of your work, outlines of work that you have done for clients, and links to your clients Web sites.

Both Web sites and Blogs have their place on the Web. Find which works best for your business and use it to it's full potential.

Right-Hand-Man's Virtual Assistant Code of Ethics

I WILL:


1. Be honest and trustworthy.

With honesty comes trust, and without trust our association cannot perform or provide effectively. I will not mislead or make false claims as to my abilities, background or experience. I will not take on projects that are beyond my capabilities. I will conduct business in a professional manner, operating within all local, provincial and federal laws, rules, and regulations.


2. Respect the privacy of others.

As a Virtual Assistant, relationships become common between my clients and myself and my associates and myself. With these relationships, personal information may be shared. I will respect my clients and associates and not make their personal information available and will respect their privacy.


3. Honour confidentiality.

Information that is shared and used between my clients and myself may be considered confidential. This private information will be held in the strictest of confidence and not shared with others unless deemed by my client. I will not use this information for personal gain or in any way that would be damaging to my clients or that would violate their privacy.


4. Conduct my business in a professional manner.

I will uphold the highest of standards and operate my business in such a way as I would want to do business with others. I will operate within all local, provincial and federal laws, rules, and regulations. I will undertake only that work for which we are qualified and capable of providing within the time frame and price agreed upon.


5. Accurately represent my business and the industry.

While promoting my business, I will ensure that all information included in my marketing, advertising and promotional material accurately portrays the industry as a whole and does not have any negative impact on other members of the industry.


6. Provide top quality.

I will demonstrate a commitment to providing my clients with the highest quality of service and accuracy. I will undertake only that work for which we are qualified and capable of providing within the time frame and price agreed upon.


7. Contribute to the enhancement of the industry.

I will share my knowledge with other members of the industry. I will build honest and respectful relationships with my fellow members. I will not demean others who lack knowledge or experience. I will offer support to all those in the industry, especially those who are just starting their practices and need a supportive word or helpful information.