Work at Home Life

Virtual Assistants, Joining Forces, and Reinventing Work At Home

Staying Focused While Working From Home May 26, 2010

Filed under: Learning By Example,Work at Home — Jennifer Gallaher - VAbyJen @ 4:14 pm
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Working from home is a decision made more out of necessity these days than a luxury or convenience.  However, the same rules still apply when it comes to professionalism.  Just because you are working from home doesn’t mean you can be lackadaisical about your work, nor does it mean you should hole yourself off completely from the rest of the world in order to get client projects done. 

So let’s be honest with ourselves.  We all wear additional hats during the day along with our wonderful VA one.  The conflict comes in when other distractions in our lives interrupt our workflow.  So how on earth can we ever get focused, much less, stay focused?  Well, I’ve found some wonderfully simple tips that I would like to share with you.

  • Start working at the same time – Treat your work-at-home business as if you were still in a traditional office environment.  Establishing a set start and stop time for work will not only inform your clients of your availability, but help keep you on task for the day.  There will be those days, however, when you may have to start at a later time because of a child’s doctor appointment, or what have you, but consistency is still key, here.
  • Establish a schedule – Whether you are only available pn certain days of the week or certain hours of each day, your schedule should be established.  This not only lets your clients know when you are available, but it will help you distinguish between work time and family/play time, thereby establishing a more balanced life.
  • Limit distractions – Yes, this does include neighbors, friends and your adorable kids.  In order to have a successful work-at-home business, you do need to set boundaries and that should include when your children/significant other can interrupt you during your set work hours.
  • Plan ahead – Not only do you have to take into account your work schedule, but since you work from home, you need to account from your personal/family’s schedule, as well.  This may seem like a daunting task, but I promise you, with a bit of planning, things will start running smoother.
  • Take breaks – Get up from your desk and walk away!  Focus on something else for at least 15 minutes to get your eyes and mind readjusted.  Take a short walk outside and get some fresh air, it’ll do wonders for your creativity.
  • Focus on objectives – Get clear instructions and timelines from your clients before beginning a project so you know which direction you need to be going and how long a project should take.
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What tips have you found that work for keeping you focused?  We would love to hear them!

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Who’s Your Expert? April 30, 2010

If you’re like me, being in the Social Media atmosphere you’ll find someone, or maybe a couple of someone’s to follow and “learn” from. Maybe you follow them to see what their next move is, or simply like what they’re doing and how they’re using Social Media.

One thing that keeps my interest is when the experts keep it real.  I’ve had the pleasure of working with two very special Social Media Experts that have so much to offer. Both of these gentlemen are genuinely interested in others, as well. Their business is built on relationships – and it shows. They have definitely learned the ways of Social Media.  I’ve seen with my own eyes how huge an asset they are to their clients, whether it be Corporations or the Small Business owners.  Each of these individuals know how to take the Social Media experience to higher grounds.

Here are my two favorite Social Media “someone’s”:

 Nathan Kievman:  Founder & CEO of DemingHill, a leading Corporate Social Media Consulting & Marketing Firm.  DemingHill is a consortium of the top thought leaders in each of the core disciplines of Social Media.  Nathan is a LinkedIn wizard and knows his stuff when it comes to Social Media.  He takes the time to build relationships and connect with others.  Just the other day, during a phone conference, Nathan asked “How are you – is everything going ok for you?” and took the time to listen to what I had to say.  Those moments are very rare in this day and age.

 Ted Prodromou: Founder and CEO at NetBizExpert. Specialties include – Internet marketing strategies, search engine optimization (SEO), pay-per-click (PPC) marketing, website traffic generation, online sales and marketing, web analytics and maximizing website ROI.  Like Nathan, Ted is also interested in others and knows how to build relationships.  Although we speak frequently, if a few days go by I’m sure to find a DM (Direct Message on Twitter) from Ted saying something like “Hello, How are you – keeping busy? ”

Although a lot of people do it…NOT just anyone can call themselves an expert.  I know everyone has their own opinions, but these are my Social Media experts whom I learn something from each and every day.  These acts of genuine interest from Ted and Nathan aren’t just with me.  They are with almost everyone they come into contact with.  I see it every day on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook.  Both of these awesome experts have something unique to offer in terms of bringing Social Media to a whole new level.  As we all know, taking the time to build relationships is the key to building your business

So, here’s a little about who I consider experts…Who’s your expert? Who do you follow that is generally interested in you or their followers?

Tweet: Who’s Your Expert?
 

When our plate is full, are we asking for seconds? April 5, 2010

Filed under: Learning By Example,Work at Home — Amber Whitener - Virtual IT Assistant @ 2:48 pm
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Do you ever stop to really notice the patterns of your work life? If you are a virtual assistants or small business owner and haven’t noticed these “bursts of opportunity” and “temporary dry spells”, don’t worry, the bigger you get the more obvious they are. The trick is to keep a medium pace and stay consistent. Sometimes this means sending business elsewhere. Start building an affiliate list now.

Where quality cannot take a back burner for small social business:

  • Always try to respond to blog post comments.
  • Check Twitter, email, contact form responses, and check in with Facebook everyday.
  • Strive to do your finest work on each task you take on because it represents the quality of your business. Word of mouth is even more important in today’s social media culture. Rumors and recommendations have a much further reach nowadays.

Even if our plates are full of good things, it’s easy to get overwhelmed when so many things are going on in our personal and professional lives. So, in conclusion, I want to mention an old email that I had forwarded (yes, one of those.) to me ages ago. It has long since been deleted so I can’t quote it directly. However the idea of the message stuck with me, and was something like this:

Be proud even if your kids are driving you crazy asking for one thing right after another, because they are healthy, bright individuals who are interested in trying new activities. (Variety is the spice of life right?)

Be grateful for the dirty dishes you are washing in the sink because that means you had the money to eat today.

✿ Appreciate the ability to attract lots of business at once because that means your skills are in high demand.

Be confident if you have some really difficult homework to do, because you have finally made it to the end of your bachelors program and you have done the work that has built up to a project you know how to do as long as you simply break it down into the usual steps and take one at a time. (OK, so this last one is just something I needed to write for me. 🙂 )

 

Slow the Information Overload on Facebook March 29, 2010

Filed under: Social Networking,Work at Home — Amber Whitener - Virtual IT Assistant @ 2:44 pm
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There has been much talk lately among virtual assistants regarding “information overload” and many of us battle issues like adult ADD (attention deficit disorder). Nowadays, if we don’t write our articles and emails with enough bullet points and well structured headlines, our readers miss important details.

If you are like me and most of my Facebook friends, you do a lot of work and play on Facebook. This article should help you weed out some of the junk in your news feed that doesn’t interest you.

First, I must make a confession: “I heart Farmville.” The fact that it’s a game of “make-believe” that really and truly provides no real benefit should queue me in on the fact that it’s really not worth playing at all. However, I play it almost every night, and I play it with my mom and about 30 ladies I used to go to church with as a child. It’s a fun way for me to stay connected.

In case you have friends like me, you can easily hide “Farmville” or “My Daily Luck” updates from constantly popping up in your news feeds.

Here’s How to Hide Some Unwanted Info from Popping Up in Your News Feed

1. See an app update from your friend that you don’t care to see anymore.

2. Hover over your friend’s post on your news feed until you see the word “Hide” in the right corner of the feed.

3. Click on “Hide Farmville” or “Hide Cafe’ World” or whatever.

4. Make sure you don’t accidentally hide your friend’s feeds! You might miss pictures or links that interest you too.

Use these links in case you:

You may need to be logged in to Facebook for these links to work properly.

My point is to encourage the use of these features of Facebook. It’s not being rude or uncaring. They are here to help us make sure we are getting the information we do want and cutting out the information we don’t want.

 

 
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