Work at Home Life

Virtual Assistants, Joining Forces, and Reinventing Work At Home

Are You A Truly Mobile VA? June 17, 2010

Filed under: Learning By Example,Work at Home — Jennifer Gallaher - VAbyJen @ 1:34 pm
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Consider the question in the title very carefully and what it really means.

As many of you know, my family and I, along with my business have moved.  We moved from the Pacific Northwest to the East coast.  To say it is a total change of environments is a complete understatement.  To say that moving a virtual business is an easy task to accomplish is also a complete understatement.

Challenges abound with changes that occur in life, especially a move.  You are not only responsible for your family getting from point A to point B or C or D or however, your trip maps out, but you are responsible for all belongings being packed or shipped and finding a new place to call home.  That’s just the beginning.  Once you do find that new home, you then need to get the basics set up, like utilities, schools for your children and then the dreaded…emptying of boxes. YUCK!!!  I don’t know anyone who likes this part of a move.  Oh and did I mention, that a month later, I am STILL trying to get boxes emptied?  LOL

Now, add on the responsibility of moving your business.  It’s not that it’s a HUGE task, but there are parts of it that need to be taken into consideration.  Even though you are a “Virtual Queen or King” of whatever your field of choice, you do need to make preparations.  Like for instance, you may have your laptop ready to go, but do you really?  Are you really fully stocked with supplies, such as stamps, envelopes, mailing, etc?  These are all things that may be forgotten when it comes time to pile in the car and head out.  Seems silly, doesn’t it?  But, these little things need to be accounted for.  If you are truly going to be mobile, then you have to prepare for this.  I’m sure you are all Wi-Fi enabled right?  But, are you sure that where you will be stopping has Wi-Fi connections?  What happens if they don’t?  What about your clients?  Have you prepared then in advance for this big transition?  Will they still be able to connect with you while you traveling?  What about once you reach your new destination, have you researched the necessary paperwork for a new business license?  These are all things, as well as a few I may have forgotten, that need to either be taken care of beforehand or made notes of, for when you arrive at your new place. 

For me, I sent postcards out a few weeks in advance letting my clients know what was coming down the ride for me.  This was also a prime opportunity for me to set up my office and fax numbers so that I would be accessible at all times.  I chose my1voice for my virtual office phone number.  They were inexpensive and easy to learn on the fly and I went with SmartFax for my all my fax needs.  I’m sure at a later date, I’ll combine the service, but for now, it works.  I sent a reminder postcard right before I left and included all my new contact information as well as when I would and would not be available.  I even went one step further and upgraded my phone to a Blackberry so that I would still be able to answer simple emails when I wasn’t near my laptop.  I stuffed my computer bag with simple office supplies so that I would be able to start right up once I reached a stopping point for the day.  Was I truly “mobile”?  Aside from not having a printer…yes!  I was able to continue with the majority of my workflow, more or less, without much interruption.

However, if and when I have to move again, I don’t believe I will bring my work with me.  What I mean by that is this: I’ll take some time off!  It wasn’t that it was too difficult to stay on top of my projects, but I missed out on a lot of family time.  While the rest of my family went swimming or checked out shopping areas in the towns we were in, I was stuck back in the hotel room…working.  That was my choice.  I wanted to make the transition easier on my clients, but I ended up making it harder for myself.  So next (hopefully there won’t be one…at least anytime soon) time, I’ll just let my clients know I’ll be on vacation.  If I have the time to answer simple emails along the way, I will, but if I don’t, then I won’t!

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So, for all you VA’s out there contemplating a move…go for it!  Just make sure you have all your ducks in a row.  If your clients are well-informed ahead of time, things will flow that much smoother for you.

Good luck!

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Work at Home Does NOT Mean Solitary Confinement April 26, 2010

Filed under: Virtual Office Tools,Work at Home — Amber Whitener - Virtual IT Assistant @ 2:18 pm
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I have a “confession” to make. I live with a condition called Seasonal Affective Disorder also known as “Winter Depression”. Depression is a scary word isn’t it? Here in Indiana we have a wide variety of weather changes. Sometimes there are weeks of gray winter days, one after the next; and those days can seem to last forever.

Due to a brief break during the holidays, followed by four months of burying myself in my work and my studies, I wasn’t really affected by it as much this last winter. The problem with this “solution” is that inevitably ends in a period of “burn out“.

Most of my trouble with winter is the fact that it’s difficult to get out as much. I have found lots of tools that help me work more efficiently, and help me “get out more”. I hope that sharing them with you will help you get out more as well.

  1. One purchase this last winter that transformed some work at home to become work on the go was a smartphone. Check out these smartphone resources:
  2. If you do not have a smartphone yet, but do have a laptop, look into places with free WiFi.
  3. Even if you don’t have a laptop yet, you can go to your local library and find out about the availability of computers and the internet.
  4. Many Virtual Assistants have also found this new cellphone application called Foursquare to be a fun “excuse” to get out more.
      It’s really fun to get the badges and points, but I do have some important rules that I follow for safety. Seriously consider setting boundaries that work for you when sharing your location with the world.

    • Never “check in” until you’re leaving, especially if your going to be there awhile
    • And never check in to someplace you visit on a regular basis. (e.g. school, book club, work, or church)

I am the type of person who loves to be around people, I get sort of energized by it. Therefore, the decision to work at home was truly a difficult one. I knew that I wanted to be at home with my children, but they are growing more independent everyday.

In order to stay healthy and motivated, it’s important for us all to make sure that we live active and balanced lives. Even if you begin to practice working away from your home office once a month, it’s better than not at all. New places and environments can really stimulate productivity!

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Life with a Smartphone January 18, 2010

Filed under: Social Networking,Virtual Office Tools,Work at Home — Amber Whitener - Virtual IT Assistant @ 7:41 pm
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When I am on vacation, I don’t usually work, nor do I recommend working. However, when you own a small business, the last thing you want to do is completely disconnect (disappear) for 4 or 5 days. With the new generation of Smartphones, you don’t have to…

Continue reading: “Life with a SmartPhone

 

 
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