Work at Home Life

Virtual Assistants, Joining Forces, and Reinventing Work At Home

Does This Header Make My Brand Look Big? 5 Ways to Assess Your Online Image August 17, 2010

Filed under: Web and Blog Site Tips,Work at Home — sironroad @ 12:50 pm
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Shalon IronRoadIn the spotlight today is Virtual Assistant Shalon Ironroad, Human Swiss Army Knife.

“You never get a second chance to make a first impression.”
– Author Unknown

This weekend, I was invited to a presentation about a “Work from Home Opportunity” for stay-at-home moms (sound familiar?). I am hugely skeptical about any kind of “opportunity”, so I got the URL prior to the presentation so I could do my homework. My findings were my inspiration for this post.

I was told that the goal of the company was to help young moms make money from home. With that information, I expected to see a website that was professional, fun, and appealing to Gen X mommies. Not so much. The website was a standard sales page (white background, blue text, cheesy graphics), with broken links and typos. I was turned off immediately. While this is an extreme example, it got me thinking about the message we project through our websites. In the offline world, it has been proven that the bulk of our communication is non-verbal. How does that translate to the online world, where most of what we see is written text? The overall feeling you get within the first 3 seconds on a website is that non-verbal aspect, and it can either help businesses or hurt them.

Is your Online Image helping you or hurting you? Here are 5 areas to check:

1) Website Layout
Is your website too cluttered? Is it too simple? Go to your website on your computer, then take 5 steps back. From a distance, where does your eye go? Is there a focal point, or does your eye wander? Now figuratively step back and look at your business. If your message and your personality is simple and clean, make sure your site reflects that.

2) Color
Take a look at your color scheme. Now think about your personality. Now your color scheme. Now personality. (sorry…just thinking about the Old Spice guy) If your personality is more subdued and mellow, don’t use hot pink or neon yellow on your website. People will be confused! Instead, go with softer tones like pastels. Same goes for you more outgoing and bubbly ones. Using black and all neutral/muted tones does not automatically make you look professional. Be yourself, and your clients will love you for it.

3) Graphics
There is a common myth that all graphics have to be flashy and complex (and expensive). Wrong. Think about your personality and what you want people to know about you, then work those pieces into your graphics, especially your logo and header. Symbolism is fun…get creative!

4) Voice
When a client calls you for the first time, wouldn’t it be great if he/she felt like it was a continuation of a previous conversation? This is do-able if you use your own voice on your website (and in social media). If you’re not used to writing this way, record yourself speaking, then transcribe the recording word for word. I guarantee your clients will feel more comfortable during that initial phone call!

5) Energy/Movement
The web is full of some really cool (and free!) ways to add energy and movement to your website. You want the energy level to reflect the same energy level you naturally have. This helps people get to know you before they even meet you. YouTube videos are always fantastic, or try checking out Widgetbox.

For more tips, tricks, tools, or just to get to know me better, visit my blog or my business website.

Wishing you the very best in your Work at Home Life!

Tweet: Does This Header Make My Brand Look Big? 5 Ways to Assess Your Online Image

Shalon Ironroad
Human Swiss Army Knife


Guest Bloggers August 2, 2010

Filed under: Learning By Example,Work at Home — Amber Whitener - Virtual IT Assistant @ 2:23 pm
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Exciting News!

Due to the overwhelming number of submissions to become a guest blogger for “It’s a Work at Home Life” (which we sincerely appreciate!), we are not going to conduct phone interviews as we initially planned. In response to your requests, we are verifying your business validity and sending out invitations to the verified entrepreneurs to be contributors to our blog. We are setting up a tentative schedule and working hard to make sure that you all have the opportunity to share the spotlight on our blog.

Now is the time to contact us about guest posting on “It’s a Work at Home Life” if you haven’t already.


The schedule is filling up fast so if the date chosen for your post doesn’t work for you, please contact us as soon as possible so that another virtual assistant can take your place and you get a new date as well. We already have every Tuesday and Thursday booked through the end of October! And there are more messages sent to VA’s for more information about their business.

For the quality of our blog, we are not going to invite more than one person to guest blog on a given day.

WordPress Role: Contributor

We are sending invitations through WordPress for contributors. With a contributor status you may write a post, but an administrator will need to publish it for you. Contributors cannot accidentally delete published posts or work on anything outside of the post they are working on. This will be the perfect place to start.

We strive to keep high quality content. The goal is to write an article that will add value to the reader’s work week. This is all about balancing business, technology, and personal life while you work at home. We are very protective of our professional reputations so please review the basic rules about contributing to this blog.

Content that is inappropriate or completely irrelevant to this blog will not be published. So if you are unsure of the topic or details you have included, please ask one of us.

Guest Bloggers

Currently we are only sending out one-time invitations to write to hundreds of other virtual business owners. This could lead to more invitations to write for us or other blogs.

Something to think about:
What do you want the virtual business world to know about you? How are you going to represent your expertise and your business?


Looking for Virtual Assistants to Spotlight July 26, 2010

Filed under: Work at Home — Amber Whitener - Virtual IT Assistant @ 2:23 pm
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We have posted so many tools, trials, and successes of our virtual businesses this year. Now we want to share the stage with you!

How Being a Guest Blogger Helps You:

This is a free blog resource and it is not a paid opportunity, it is simply an opportunity to share your knowledge with other virtual business owners and get some exposure for yourself. We currently have built up more than two hundred weekly visitors to our blog posts and that number is growing every week. You are welcome to include a banner of no bigger than 468 x 60 or 200 x 200 at the bottom of your post. However, this is not a request for sales posts, it is a request to share experience. You are also welcome to link back to your business site or blog (a maximum of two linkbacks per contributed post will apply).

What We are Looking for in a Guest Blog Post:

Eventually we hope to be inviting two or more bloggers to post weekly or monthly as we do. We need one person for Tuesdays and one person for Thursdays, but for now we are leaving these days open for guest writers. We are inviting all virtual business owners, virtual assistants, and other solo entrepreneurs to take the spotlight and write a guest post on this blog. We are looking for many types of businesses like:

  • financial investment advisers
  • YouTube channel operators
  • podcasters
  • copyright editors
  • legal advisers

or even just a new viewpoint of the virtual assistant businesses that we already write about every week.

These posts are to be real life, original posts about you or your work at home life. If you want to rant or rave about a particular application or virtual business resource, you must write about your experience with the product or service in first person. Unless someone is officially charged with doing something illegal, we will probably not accept negative posts about a specific person or small business. Even though we all love a juicy bit of gossip now and then, we are not in the business of starting rumors. 😉

Quality Assurance:

Before writing the post about any specific topic, you are welcome to contact us and make sure that it is appropriate for our blog. We are welcoming all kinds of input. However, in the interest of protecting our reputation, we will have to approve any content before it is posted.

All posts must be proofread using professional etiquette and grammatically correct. All material must be non-offensive and viewable to the general public. If you do not have a proofreader, Jen has been gracious enough to offer professional proofreading for five dollars per post (with a maximum of two hundred and fifty words). This unheard of deal is only available for contributors to the “It’s a Work at Home Life” blog, for this special or other editing services, contact Jen.

Take the Spotlight

Contact us to contribute to “It’s a Work at Home Life” blog


Mass Communication Skills: Provoking an Emotional Response July 19, 2010

Filed under: Learning By Example,Work at Home — Amber Whitener - Virtual IT Assistant @ 8:45 am
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Who should be sharpening their mass communication skills?

Social media marketers, press release writers, bloggers, freelancers, designers, web 2.0 developers, and basically everyone else who is in the business to make a good living from an online business. You have to know how to get your message out. Today, I am going to share a theory I have been reading more about called: the cultural theory.

What is the cultural theory of mass communication?

The cultural theory of mass communication is the belief that mass communication processes have the potential to shape our reality.

What the heck does that mean?

The cultural theory of mass communication is about three very important things:

  1. Knowing your message.
  2. Knowing your audience.
  3. Knowing how to get your audience to hear your message and remember it.

If you are successful with number three, then you know how to utilize the value of perception and convert your audience to be a customer / client / faithful reader / etc. Advertisements designed with the cultural theory in mind are the types that are aimed to be more “interactive” so that the messages are received, processed, and then stored by the viewer.

So, how do you provoke this emotional response with your message?

It takes trial and error with a dash of common sense to choose which of the following ideas will work with your message. If you get a person to hear a message, then you must practice stimulating an audience response by

  • asking the audience a question,
  • showing the audience an attractive picture (like a beach or a beautiful person),
  • getting the audience to question their position,
  • showing the audience a repulsive image (like starving children or magnified pictures of harmful micro-organisms)
  • recreating a memory of the audience past (we all enjoy a blast from the past every now and then),
  • or predicting what might come to be in the audience future.

Any way you look at it, a message sent to make the recipient believe that it might directly affect him/her is a message that will be processed and stored. This would be the type of communication that reaches to relate to people of the target audience and add value to the specific individual’s situation (whether by entertaining or informing).

Communication Skills

The messages that the media and advertising executives want you to see or hear and remember are more often delivered with some kind of spin that plays on the emotions of the audience. The stronger the emotion you can provoke will determine how memorable the message was.


I’m Admitting It! I Can’t Do It All, All The Time. July 9, 2010

Ok…I’m admitting it!  I need a break!  Is that wrong?  Does that make me a bad Mom?  I don’t think so – everyone needs a break every now and then.  Since summer break began I’ve been juggling a very busy schedule.  I can’t speak for the rest of you Work at Home folks, but I know I try to do it all and it’s not working right now.  I needed a little time to work and focus without “Mom, can you make me a milkshake?” or “Mom, can we go swimming NOW?”  In a desperate plea for some alone time, I called my Mom to ask if the boys could come over.  Without any hesitation she said, “Sure, I’ll come get them.  We’d love to have them.”   Thank you so much to my Mom, Dad and Brother.  I have the most wonderful family anyone could ask for!  

Being a WAHM or WAHD [Work at Home Dad] as Scott Stratten aka UnMarketing made famous here… is a wonderful way of life if you can make it work for you.  And, I can see how some just give up and say I’m going back to work – as in, getting a job outside of the home.  I have a lot of respect for working moms and dads.  I have no idea how they get everything done.  I’m at home all day (usually) and I still can’t find the time to do the things that need to be done.  Even with daily chores set for my boys, some days it still looks like a tornado went right through the living room.  A schedule used to be a way of life for us here. But, as my kids get older it’s not working quite as well as it use to.  As a matter of fact, my son said just yesterday, “Um, yeah.  I’m 10 years old now – I don’t need quiet time.”  Ok, so maybe YOU don’t, but I DO! 

This summer has already been very busy for us.  I’ve taken on new clients and even kicked a few to the curb – no more time suckers for me!  On June 25th I had surgery [female issues – don’t ask 😉 ] and last weekend one my 13th wedding anniversary, I was wrestling with my youngest and ended up with a broken nose!  LOL  Who would’ve ever thought a 7 yr-old could break a grownups nose?!  Him breaking my nose wasn’t the bad part…ME  having to pop my own nose back into place was.  OMG!  Talk about peeing your pants!  Ever tried to focus with a broken nose?  Not so easy to do.  It was funny, but it wasn’t, ya know?!  LOL  Oh, did I mention this weekend (July 10th ) is my birthday and July 14th is my son’s 8th birthday?  Phew!  As you can see – it’s already been a crazy summer, but you roll with the punches, right?   

Making life work as an Entrepreneur is very important to me.  I want to work from home and be here for my family.  My life as a WAHM can be hectic, but I love every moment of what I do and I wouldn’t trade my country life for one moment of city life.   

I found this article to be helpful and I’d like to share it with you – How to Work at Home Successfully . 

The Boys and I last Christmas

Tweet: I'm Admitting It! I Can't Do It All, All The Time

Add a Facebook Like Button to Your Website or Blog May 17, 2010

Filed under: Social Networking,Web and Blog Site Tips — Amber Whitener - Virtual IT Assistant @ 2:17 pm
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This is a beginner’s tutorial and does not include information on how to add/edit your meta data in the html head tags. Adding the meta tags are not a necessity to add the like plug in to your website. – If that makes no sense to you, then you are in the right place!

This post will show you how to get the custom code for your site and how you may want to put it on your site. There are two ways to create the code for your website.

Continue reading: Add a Facebook Like Button to Your Website or Blog


Your Blog is Your Bond April 10, 2010

Filed under: Web and Blog Site Tips,Work at Home — Amber Whitener - Virtual IT Assistant @ 12:19 pm
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Business Bloggers Note: You never know which of your blog posts will be the first blog post a reader will stumble across, and first impressions are irreplaceable. Posting each article without many grammatical errors and a good sequential flow of your information presented is very important. Today, I am going to share some tools with you to help you put your best foot forward with each and every post.


Make sure you know: what to capitalize in a title.

According to the “The White Paper Marketing Handbook” by Robert Bly, good titles should have the 3 U’s by being: ultra-specific, unique and useful to your readers. For more advice and references on writing a good title read: Why a Good Title Makes a White Paper.


Add visual aid to your posts. (Pictures aren’t always worth a thousand words, however, the right ones really can add value.)

Make sure you utilize keywords in your writing where they are most important.

If your blog program does not include a spelling and grammar check, I recommend trying This online tool allows you to copy and paste your text into their website and check it for spelling & grammar errors.

I wish I could remember where I got these 8 words not to use and their alternatives. However, I decided to go ahead and scan my notes to share them with you anyway. This could have been from an internet source or another article. It’s a good reminder to use your thesaurus and sprinkle your writing with a variety of words. It’s important to be careful and not get too carried away though. You don’t want people to have to look up lots of words in the dictionary just to be able to understand your posts!

If you have an important document like a press release or a business site that gets more than 100 hits per day, I recommend hiring an editor for your content.

No matter what you are blogging about these days, whether it’s for business or pleasure you have a great window of opportunity to establish yourself as a great writer and an expert in your field. Even if you blog about recreational activities or entertainment you must have a certain amount of professionalism when posting your content.


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