5 Tips To Help You Be a Successful WAHM

It’s never easy being a mom trying to juggle a work at home job with a family life.  15 years ago, most people never even heard the acronym WAHM (work-at-home mom).  Women usually had to make the decision to stay at their 9am-5pm job and find childcare or become a stay at home mom without any additional income.
Luckily, a question today’s Moms can ask is “What kind of work can I do from home?  According to parenting.com the desire for family flexibility is the number-one reason most Moms want to work from home.
Working as a virtual assistant (VA) is a great option for today’s WAHM.  Having an administrative, marketing or accounting background is very beneficial to the current demand for virtual assistance.  However, there are many other professional skills that can be done virtually.  Working as a home-based VA can be a very rewarding and profitable venture when considered thoroughly and executed strategically.

So what will help...

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Environmental Benefits of Telecommuting by Brandy Nasi

We are so excited to have Brandy Nasi of ECO Virtual Services be our guest blogger.  We are happy to share a very informative blog she has written about how the environment can benefit from telecommuting and home-based businesses.

As our society’s concern for the environment becomes greater and greater, we are looking for more and more ways to reduce the footprint we leave on this planet. The internet has brought us new and multifaceted ways to not only save time and energy, but also reduce our rate of fuel consumption and pollution. Still, many people believe there are some thing that cannot be cut back. Traveling to work, is one of them. Very few people, even who live in cities, can reasonably walk or bike to their workplace. But the vast technological advancements of the last twenty years makes it possible to reduce and even eliminate the so-called “commuter’s pollution.”

How? Through implementing a telecommuting program. Allowing employees to work...

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The Top 5 Ways to Share Large Files

Sometimes file sharing is as easy as emailing clients back and forth. When files are too large to email or you want a place for them to “live” online, there are other plenty of options.

Below are some of the more popular file sharing programs that are free or inexpensive. They are easily used on a Mac or PC, and most have apps for handheld devices also.

  1. Google Drive allows you to store some of the more popular file types online (word, excel, powerpoint, and mac equivalents) and to share them with whoever you’d like. Since the documents live in Drive and are saved automatically, you know you are always looking at the most recent version. You can also download the documents to your computer.
  2. Dropbox is a solution where you can upload files and share the link or folder to someone else to access and download the file. The files can live in the folders as long as you’d like.
  3. Box is another similar solution that allows the user to upload files and share the link...
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A Tool to Figure Out What to Charge as a Virtual Assistant

What do I charge for my services?!? This has to be one of the most frequently asked questions by virtual assistants. And unfortunately there is not an easy, straightforward answer. It depends.

A VA’s rate is often dependent on the niche she is serving, her skill and experience level, what she needs to make for income, and what she believes she is worth. This answer leaves a LOT of gray area.

If you like to make decisions from a factual, numbers based approach, the rate calculator here may help: Freelance Hourly Rate Calculator.

You are asked to take 5-20 minutes to enter your personal and business costs, profit goals, hours you want to work, and a few other things, and the calculator gives you an hourly rate to target. It’s a good starting place, especially if you charge by the hour.

I encourage you to use the rate calculator as just one tool. Remember to take into account the other pieces that come into play when making your decision on what to charge – your...

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Do I need a business phone number and email for my VA business?

A business email is essential.
You want something professional rather than prettybrowneyes@email.com or sallyanddave@email.com. If you don’t have a business name, at least use your name.
Other than your specific domain name address (name@yourcompanyname.com), Gmail is the most popular and professional email these days. Please retire your AOL address – they scream outdated and technologically challenged. Same with hotmail.The challenge with using email addresses that your service provider gives you (Verizon, Cox, Comcast, etc.) is that you lose the address if you ever change services.
A business phone number is ideal, but not always financially possible for VAs when just starting out. A dedicated line for business lets you have a professional voicemail and security that the phone will always be answered in a professional manner.

  • If you choose to have your home phone be your business line, here are some tips:
    • Have a professional sounding voicemail greeting
    • Do not...
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Fantastic portal for event planning, registration and management

If you ever coordinate events for clients (or yourself) you need to know about EventBrite. The website allows you to create an event, let people register, sell tickets, and even accept payment online. It’s a fantastic tool that is free (other than the payment portal) and greatly assists in tracking attendance and communicating with attendees via email. Check it out for yourself at EventBrite.

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Time Management Tip: Chunk Your Day

Many virtual assistants struggle with managing their time. Some work all day, and since the office is at home, they can work all night completing projects, looking for new clients, researching virtual tools, using social networking sites… Sometimes this time in front of the computer pays off, but for many, it’s time spent without much to show for it.

Others find that their focus is pulled in other directions. Laundry needs to get done, they don’t want to miss Oprah, they spend an hour talking with the neighbor who was outside walking the dog… Next thing they know, the day is almost over and little work was done to grow their business or assist their clients to the best of their ability.

If you have difficulty with time management, chunk your day. Schedule your day so you complete what is needed. If you need to spend time following up with new business leads, schedule it on your calendar for an hour chunk. Need to complete a project for one of your clients?...

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Home Office Essentials for the Virtual Assistant

You are thinking about becoming a virtual assistant but don’t know if you have the right software and equipment? Here are the basics:

  • Computer with high speed internet
  • MS Office software
  • Printer
  • Fax capabilities (either e-fax capability or a physical fax machine will do)
  • Unlimited long distance calling, preferably from a dedicated home phone line
  • Hands-free devise for your phone to make it easy to talk and type
  • Anti virus program for your computer
  • A backup storage system for electronic files (external hard drive, or my favorite – an automatic backup program like mozy.com, ibackup.com, or carbonite.com)
  • A quiet and comfortable place to work

Anything else will depend on the services you are offering and the clients you will be assisting. The basics listed above should be enough to get you started.

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Online Form Solution

Google has done it again. They have created yet another cloud-based solution for virtual assistants and businesses. The online form. It sounds simple and even a little boring, I know. But here’s what makes it great.
1.     The forms are easy to create
2.     They look professional and have themes and question types you can use
3.     The results get automatically put into a spreadsheet for you
4.     You can easily create charts and graphs with the data collected
5.     It’s part of the Google Docs offerings, so if you already use Google Docs, the forms are a natural progression
Try it for yourself: Google Forms

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Time Saving Website: ZAMZAR

Visit ZAMZAR to convert one type of document to another type, even without owning the software! This is useful for converting PDFs back into Word or vice versa.
Poof – and it’s done!

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