Work at Home Life

Virtual Assistants, Joining Forces, and Reinventing Work At Home

What Does the Last Quarter of 2010 Look Like for YOU? October 4, 2010

Filed under: Learning By Example,Work at Home — Amber Whitener - Virtual IT Assistant @ 9:08 am
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Not to short change you or anything, but we only have three more months left in 2010. Some people might see that as a bad thing, but you know what? The end of the year is here. It’s not time to be shocked about how fast this year has flown by; it’s time start making sure that your 2010 goals are to be met or even exceeded!
Quarters Add Up
My goals for year 2010 were/are to:

  1. Finish college: This is my very last week. I am 90% finished with my final project! (YES!!!)
  2. Send my son to a good preschool: He loves it, but he doesn’t have to be there 45+ hours every week thanks to my virtual job.
  3. Take care of business while juggling work, school, and family: Now that goals one and two are being met, from now on I am going to be able to focus on Virtual IT Assistants! Before the new year, I am definitely going to overhaul a lot of my web presence and get to accept new clients. I am SO excited about my plans!! It’s going to be awesome!!
  4. Post on Work at Home Life every Monday: I have done this, and some of the posts have turned out to be some of my favorites. Your responses let me and the girls know that we are helping you and our message is coming across well. We have loved all the feedback. So, thank you. 🙂

Well, that’s enough about me. What about you? There are lots of holidays and school functions coming up soon, but what are you going to do to grow your business? Three months doesn’t seem like much time, but all of those quarters add up.

“If time be of all things the most precious, wasting time must be the greatest prodigality.”

– Benjamin Franklin

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Virtual Business: Take It Like a Man September 27, 2010

Filed under: Learning By Example,Work at Home — Amber Whitener - Virtual IT Assistant @ 1:38 pm
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Confident Business WomanI have learned so much this year just by hearing about all of your experiences. It’s nice to have other strong business women to share with and relate to. I love girl talk, but we haven’t even once really talked about men! Sure, a husband or son gets mentioned every once in a while, but what can we learn from these seemingly simple creatures about business? 😉

Continue reading: Virtual Business: Take It Like a Man

(includes a little excerpt from Chris Brogan and other great comments from inspiring business women)

 

Labor Day: Not Just an American Holiday September 6, 2010

Filed under: Learning By Example — Amber Whitener - Virtual IT Assistant @ 12:25 pm
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Labor Day:Just American?When you go to Wikipedia and look up Labor Day, you’ll find yourself reading a lot of “blah, blah, blahs”.

What is this holiday is all about? In short, it was about how a bunch of American workers simply got fed up with unfair labor situations (and significantly lost wages) and decided to go on strike for their rights. After about a week of this strike, they got what they wanted and a national holiday to recognize the true value in the labor force.

Think about it: Would you be able to stand up for your own unfair labor situation?

So while Labor Day, to us, probably means many things:

  • A three-day weekend
  • One last summer cookout
  • The unofficial end to summer
  • A weekend of great sales at Macy’s and Targets all across America
  • And maybe even an extra day of rest for those of us who are overworked

It’s really about fairness, happiness, and moral/ethical obligations. No matter where you happen to live in the world, you realize how important these attributes are in any workplace.

The meaning of this holiday this year seems to reach beyond just an old American tradition; it seems to have more significance in the entire global workforce. Labor Day is the day that we are focusing on societal working conditions.

  • So, what are your working conditions like?
  • Do you work too many hours for too little in return?
  • Are you getting the credit for all the work that you do?
  • Are you happy with whatever it is that you do?
  • Think about it, and make sure that you recognize that

Life is too short to answer unfavorably to any of those questions. Write down a few things you want to be different by NEXT Labor Day.

 

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

Cheers,
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.

Scheduling

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?

 

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.

 

Wiki is Tricky! July 12, 2010

Filed under: Learning By Example,Virtual Office Tools — Amber Whitener - Virtual IT Assistant @ 9:58 pm
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Wikipedia is “a free, web-based, collaborative, multilingual encyclopedia project supported by the non-profit Wikimedia Foundation. Its 15 million articles (over 3.3 million in English) have been written collaboratively by volunteers around the world, and almost all of its articles can be edited by anyone with access to the site.”

Wikipedia

Wikipedia

What Wiki Is:

Too many entrepreneurs don’t understand the beauty of this particular information system. This website was created for us and is constantly being updated by us to share accurate information. You might even call it a “living” encyclopedia. All information that is edited there is to be referenced with verifiable sources and must meet Wiki’s high quality standards. To leverage the value of Wikipedia means contributing well researched information to it’s already vast library. Wikipedia can be a tool to prove that you are an expert on your topic or in your field of business. Sharing information and having others verify the accuracy of the information is a great way to show your expertise. They keep tabs on who has made what edits, and believe me when I tell you that there will be a wiki administrator who will either undo any information without a good source or delete the wiki page altogether if the it isn’t deemed “notable” enough. Of course, when you accurately and holistically contribute a good article, you should blog about it and be proud of sharing your piece of wisdom with whole world. 😉

May I use myself as an example? You all know that I am a virtual IT assistant right? But what does that mean? A little under a year ago you wouldn’t have found any information if you looked up “IT assistant” on Wikipedia. I am proud to say that I contributed the IT_assistant page. When an employer puts out a classified ad for an IT assistant, you can find out what the skill requirements are for an IT assistant’s position. Even if you have never worked under that title, you may have experience to fit that job well.

What Wiki Isn’t:


Start Quote MeNot just anyone can go to Wikipedia and create a wiki page about how fantastically interesting they are.Quote Me End


There are many of us “gurus” who have been quoted here and interviewed there, but that doesn’t make us wiki material. Maybe you have worked extensively in our chosen field. You might have a successful business or single handedly spun yourself an extensive social network and have become quite popular. You may have written articles for popular websites like Mashable.com or Monster.com, but you don’t have recognition on Wiki. Not just anyone can go there (or hire someone else go there) and post up a wiki page about how fantastically interesting you are. Until you are interviewed for your expertise on CNN or Time magazine wants to put you on its cover, you probably don’t belong in the encyclopedia. (Sorry, but it’s true.)

There are dozens of wiki articles deleted everyday because so many newbies want to sign up and use it as some kind of social media tool that grants them an opportunity to market themselves, create backlinks to their blogs, or to just get their name out there. It just is not what Wiki is for. I mean, it is social, but its not about networking its about information.

Stop Selling Short

Wiki is not the place to validate or establish yourself; the quality of your work will do that for you. Maybe someday you’ll have your place on Wiki, but for now, let’s use it for what it’s good for: information.

 

 
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