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Time Management for Small Businesses…

The Art of Juggling a Small Business

The Art of Juggling a Small Business

WOW – I ran across this Time Management for Small Business tool today and think I just might like to take this seminar if I find it in my area. The Write Hand, LLC is a Virtual Assistant business, and I am constantly trying to manage my time from highest priorities to lowest. Often I cannot control when schedule changes occur due to client needs. I have always been an advocate of Living in Day Tight Compartments when I was in a corporate environment, but in all honesty it is often very hard to stay on task with this schedule type in my Virtual Assistant business.

I try hard to allocate my hours based on:

  • Real Work to generate revenue.
  • Business Marketing to generate revenue.
  • Reading News to stay apprised of my world.
  • Personal Tasks that simply must be accomplished.
  • Work on side projects like my YouTube series called Amp’d Rider Project and our giving efforts for SOXProgram.org.
  • My radio show and magazine column that share not only my life’s journey but send folks back to my real business.
  • … and oh yeah, riding, eating and having a life!

I have been thinking that I need a new strategy since I have not been very successful at Living in Day Tight Compartments. Perhaps this seminar would be added ammunition for my small business arsenal as a self-employed person operating a small business.

Take a read of the workbook for this program and maybe it will help you in your strategy and perhaps you may find the seminar in your area. 

 
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Posted by on February 17, 2015 in Time Management

 

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Why Every Business Should be Blogging…

Great article from Kristin. Give consideration for your business and if you need help setting up a blog, creating posts, and maximizing your SEO; hit me up and I can help you grow your business. Cheers, Ursula

Blog for Business

Why Every Business Should be Blogging

January 8, 2015 — Posted By Kristin Hovde

Why Every Business Should be Blogging
Thanks to modern technology, all it takes to gain the attention of your target audience is a few clicks of the mouse on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn, just to name a few. With a majority of people using their social networking sites throughout the day, it makes sense to get on the bandwagon and follow what the crowd is doing. Social media is also one of the most cost efficient marketing mediums available, making it a necessity for small businesses or small budgets.

One often-overlooked, yet critical piece to any good social media marketing campaign is blogging. It allows you to keep your audience posted on the latest news with your company, industry or products. As important as this blogging point is, there are many more reasons why you need to take the plunge and start a blog for yourself.

1. Brings Traffic to Your Website
Having the blog directly connected to your website will bring plenty of new traffic, as long as the content is well-written and useful to your audience. If the blog is not connected to the site, include a link to your homepage in a visible location on the left or right menu bars. After each blog post, take time to post a link to the article on all of your social media sites in order to attract more attention to it.

2. Shows You Are an Expert in Your Industry
One of the best things about writing blogs is it gives you a chance to shine in your industry. Writing about topics that your readers will find helpful and that you have a great knowledge of will help build your reputation as an expert in your field. This is an excellent way to gain the trust and loyalty of customers and prospects.

3. Can be Used to Connect with Customers
Respond to each comment or question left on your blog as a way to show your customers that you hear them and are available to help them. Also, if one commenter has a question, there’s a good chance other people will have the same question. Consider writing an article dedicated to this question as a way to educate your audience on a subject that has been brought to your attention by other readers.

Everyone likes to know they are listened to and by responding to comments or writing blogs based on questions or concerns will leave customers with a positive and lasting impression on your company.

4. Builds Brands
Every social media or blog post you put out there will increase your online presence. The reason for this is because, as long as keywords are also being placed in the articles, potential customers will have a much easier time finding your company when they search for one of those keywords. Also, the more someone sees your company’s name, the more it will be remembered.

5. SEO Purposes
This somewhat ties into building your brand in tip #4. Consistently putting articles online will help your search engine rankings and will leverage your brand. Another important SEO reason to start a blog is because the search engines love new content.

When there is new, quality content that isn’t overly stuffed with keywords, it shows search engines, such as Google, that your website is active and up-to-date.

All of these reasons should be enough for you to stop procrastinating and finally take charge of starting a blog. As I previously mentioned, make sure to stay consistent and write quality content that your customers would want to read. Happy blogging!

Why Every Business Should be Blogging – Full Article Here

 

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3 Mistakes to Avoid when working with a Virtual Assistant

3 Mistakes to Avoid when working with a Virtual Assistant

I have no desire to recreate the wheel if it rolls along just fine. As a Virtual Assistant, I am very much in tune with my strengths and the strength of others. So when I found this article written by Dorie Clark, I felt it was right on and worth sharing. Using a VA can certainly help free up some your time on tasks that aren’t your specialty but you still have to make sure the job is getting done to your desired vision. And as Dorie mentions, I too have subscribed to the 4-Hour Work Week by Tim Ferriss, although in all honesty, I’m still trying to perfect that vision – haha. Frankly, I just like what I do and enjoy being the go-to chick that makes success for my clients.

Dorie Clark – Contributor to Entrepreneur Online Magazine – September 29, 2014

Like many entrepreneurs, I was introduced to the concept of working with a virtual assistant, or VA, by Tim Ferriss’ The 4-Hour Workweek. He extolled the benefits of outsourcing repetitive work (or tasks you aren’t good at or don’t enjoy) so you can focus on your most valuable tasks. Lured by the idea of following the 80/20 rule (i.e., spending my time on the 20 percent of activities that generate 80 percent of my returns), for the past six years, I’ve worked off and on with VAs locally and around the world. They’ve handled a variety of tasks for me, including transcription, sharing articles on social media, uploading and formatting blog posts, audio and video editing, writing interview questions, and more.

If you’re considering hiring one — or would like to improve your working relationship with the ones you’re currently contracting with — here are three mistakes to avoid.

1. Failing to scope out your tasks. Well before you hire a VA, it’s useful to make a list of tasks that you’d like them to perform for you. In my case, it includes things like booking travel arrangements, uploading blog posts and sharing articles on social media. Creating an accurate task list can help you select a VA with the right experience and aptitude. Once you hire your VA — either through personal networking, placing an ad or perhaps by using a service such as Zirtual — you’ll also want to put the same level of advance thought into describing each individual task you’d like accomplished. This is especially critical if you’re dealing with an overseas VA whose cultural reference points may be different than yours; they may not understand that booking a Boston to Atlanta flight with a layover in Los Angeles is a very, very bad idea. You can save yourself a great deal of trouble later by being very precise in your instructions and trying to anticipate questions your VA might have or ways things might go wrong.

2. Not making time to review their work. It’s tempting to think that once you hire a VA, you can delegate the task and then forget it. But, at least at first, that’s definitely not how it works. You need to build time into your calendar to review everything they do, so you can catch problems early and offer suggestions and feedback. Some VAs may be hesitant to alert you if they’ve hit a roadblock or don’t understand your instructions. So checking in frequently and monitoring their progress in the early days can ensure they’re not going down blind alleyways trying to follow instructions they’ve misconstrued. It’s easy to get busy and ignore your VA temporarily; they’re not demanding your time the way a client would. But if you want them to be effective, plan at least 30 minutes per day to review their work early on. That gives them timely and actionable feedback, and will save you money because they’re less likely to have to go back and redo tons of work.

3. Not creating a system. One of the best things I did with my most recent VA was developing an “assistant’s manual” prior to her starting the job. I wrote down step-by-step procedures for the most common tasks I’d be asking her to do and put all the relevant information, such as website passwords or frequent flier numbers, into one easy-to-search document. (Depending on the task, you could also consider making online videos to demonstrate procedures to your VA.) That ensured she wasn’t constantly barraging me with basic questions and she could quickly become self-reliant. When she took on a new task, I also instructed her to write up the procedure and include it in the manual, so that it could become an ongoing reference tool for the future. The goal is to enable an easy transition and avoid having to reinvent the wheel when there’s been a long gap in between performing a particular task (such as uploading a blog post to a particular website with its own layout quirks).

Working with a VA can exponentially increase your productivity – but that’s only if you fully leverage their time and talents. You’ll never harness the real benefit if you’re constantly having to clean up mistakes and do things over again. The only way to avoid that is by planning in advance and setting up the systems that will enable them to succeed.

Full credit and article here

 

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Website vs Social Media vs Blog for My Small Business

Website vs Social Media vs Blog for My Small Business

With so much of our communication going viral these days, it is with increased vigor that small businesses are trying their hand at marketing online. There are many platforms with many benefits, and if used effectively together can actually be a painless and fluid process to boosting your business and online presence.

Website:

Connect to the World w A New Website

Connect to the World w A New Website

I like to start here because your business should have a website where you own the domain name. This is somewhere that all other things tie back to in the future. Your website is going to be your client’s one place to find everything they could ever need to know about your business. From here all your other media and communications will stem outward.

Blog:

Using a blog can work in many business scenarios. For most of my clients I write blogs that are mostly information sharing in the general field of their business. In most of these cases our goal is to keep the potential client engaged until they need us. A blog is also a great way to build your business portfolio of activities. You can show and write about the latest refurbish job you did on that 1902 Hoosier cabinet to highlight your restoration skills; etc.

Many small businesses have turned to free blog platforms to set up their “website” for their business. While these platforms can work and do work, I find that over time a client ends up paying more for adding on this, that, and the other thing; than if they had paid for an annual website designer specifically for their business purposes. Use caution!

LinkedIn:

We are going here next because as a small business owner you can get a lot of great news and information to help with your business plans on LinkedIn. You can seek like-mind professionals with whom to collaborate, groups that work like think-tanks, and so much more. LinkedIn is a great way to showcase your skills, your business, and connect with others on a socially professional level.

Facebook:

Social Media Galore

Social Media Galore

When used properly for business, Facebook can be a very useful marketing tool. Many businesses make the mistake of setting themselves up as a person or a fan page rather than a business. All varieties of pages on Facebook have a purpose and built in features that will help you get the best experience out of the platform. Being setup properly, finding and building followers, and keeping your audience engaged without being pushy are just a few of the keys to effectively use Facebook for marketing a business.

Most folks are familiar with ‘Mayhem’, the troublesome character in the insurance commercials that effectively reminds us of our human flaws. If you visit Mayhem’s Facebook page, you will see he has over 1M followers and people are engaged on the page, but nowhere do you see the insurance company advertising their products; but I bet you remember them…

Twitter:

I like to think of this as the social encyclopedia of everything and nothing. Quick snippet searches can often lead a client right to your front door, so Twitter is not without its benefits. There is some time involved in using it continuously, but for small business purposes we start by focusing on getting your name out there first.

So many places, So little time...

So many places, So little time…

So what does all that mean?

What I like to tell my clients is to make things as automated as possible and start at the beginning whenever possible. Here’s a very basic social media marketing plan that I implement more and more with my clients this past year…

·         Establish a Website

·         Establish a Blog (perhaps)

·         Establish all social media platforms (LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Google+, YouTube…)

Use the website to hold all content. Use a blog to send a periodic detailed message to followers or share continuously useful information. Use social media to send out frequent posts to engage followers. Keep your name ever in their presence and when they need you, they will remember you. Give them something for nothing; information is free!

By starting at the beginning we are able to establish your website and use the verbiage therein to build the other media as we go along. Once the site is established we begin to distribute communications on a regular schedule to maintain automation and time savings, uniformity and professionalism, and constant online growth and presence.

We do have other options for growth, but that’s a great foundation on which to build. Virtual Assistants are perfect for helping small businesses implement these types of plans as well as to manage other tasks that take up valuable time when you should really be focusing on the products or services that make the wheels spin.

So many Options... Let's Get Started Now!!

So many Options… Let’s Get Started Now!!

Where ever you need help within your business, let’s have a conversation and see where I can help you free up some of your time to start with and to also get your business headed in an organized and vision oriented direction.

Ursula Wachowiak – The Write Hand – Virtual Assistant – the_write_hand@yahoo.com

 

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Blogging w/ WordPress at MindFlow Cafe

Blogging Effectively

Being a Virtual Assistant I don’t often get to be in front of my clients. Since using MindFlow Cafe as my WiFi ‘go-to’ place until I leave for The BROAD journey, not only have I picked up a steady client, but I got the opportunity to join forces with their mission and teach a class on Blogging with WordPress.

Today I taught some new bloggers the in’s and out’s and the tips and tricks of blogging. We covered a great many aspect of beginner and intermediate blogging.

Ursula teaching a Blogging ClassSetting Up Your Blog

Posting w/ Pics and Vids

Back Links, Keywords, Open in New Window

Search for Yourself

Be Unique but not too Far Out

Reading your Stats

Oh the list goes on and on. Blogging is a great tool for sharing information on any subject you find interesting, and believe me, if you like there’s others that will too. Reaching your target audience can take a little time and effort, but with the right knowledge and self determination; you’ll be a Blogging Guru in no time.

I guess I forget that not everybody knows what SEO is; Search Engine Optimization. Folks really found great value in the SEO portion of the session and in the fact that you really need to be sure at least the first 150 words of anything you post should always be unique. Typically this would be the case naturally, but with some businesses they think if they recycle the same message over and again, they make their lives easy. NOT SO!!!  You simply find yourself lost in the Google Sandbox or becoming a “bad neighbor” and will not make your way to the top of search engines.

Oh so much information, but I really enjoyed teaching this class and I greatly appreciate the opportunity that MindFlow presented me. In fact, I’ve been working from MindFlow for well over a month and have even gotten a client out of the deal.

So yeah, score one for The Write Hand and for MindFlow – network, network, network.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Ursula teaching a Blogging Class

 

 
 

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Day Late and A Dollar Short? Maybe…

Well, it’s been a while since an update has come out for The Write Hand. Sorry for that but all from due cause. I’m still working hard for my one VA client, East End Business Solutions, and I’m constantly bidding on more jobs on Guru.com. A few more transcription files have come through and of course, I’m still doing some miscellaneous side work, like cleaning houses and working local events for tips.

I’ve done a proposal for another VA client (Oginga Carr), but as the story goes, he’s so busy that he needs my help, but we are both so busy we have to find the time to get together on things.

All in all, I’m still plugging along. So why am I so late with a post???

Life moves at an incredible speed one day and drags on others. I was able to take a brief 4 days to visit Wisconsin thanks to a silent auction I won in 2011. For the Love of Ellie helped raise funds for a very young child in our town whom is suffering from a terrible disease. She’s gone through many treatments for such a young child. I was able to finally enjoy the cabin I won at the end of May and first weekend in June.

Upon my return I had one heck of a week when I lost two very special and dear friends. One from a freak accident as he worked on his Jeep. This is my friend Mike Morris, owner of Saffron and Cedar Wellness. You may recall that I wrote his blogs for his company. The other friend Isaac Perez I spent about 8 years of my childhood with on the military base in Charleston, SC and kept in contact with his family since then. The sadness still lingers and certain things will set me off, but I have no choice but recall the good times and pray that I meet them again someday in a better life.

And then yesterday, my dear sweet grand daughter was baptized into the Catholic faith. My father and step-mom visited for the occasion all the way from Georgia. So I must say, after such a terrible week, the ending was ever so sweet.

I am still looking for another VA client, ghostwriting opportunities, transcription jobs, and so forth. I am managing my garden as best I can with this heat and riding my motorcycle less than I would like, but often enough to appreciate my freedom.

I realize this particular post doesn’t say too much about my business, but sometimes despite the need to earn a living, there are just more important things for the moment. May you all be well, appreciate your loved ones, cherish your blessings, and be thankful for your freedom.

Bhyre Lake, Fifield, Wisconsin – The motorcycle riding there is amazing but I really loved waking up to this view.

Mike Morris – aka Mike Motorbike – I Love You Buddy!!

Isaac and I are the two big kids. I Love You My Friend!!

Me, My Step-Mom Ms. Patti, Tina my son’s fiance, my grand daughter Kylee, my Dad Roy, and my Son Nathan

 

 

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Growing (Slowly) but Growing INDEED

My new client for Virtual Admin work is a real gem and I’m learning a great deal from her. Paula owns and operates East End Business Solutions out of Long Island, NY. I was blessed when she hired me as her VA, not just for the obvious reason that I finally have a recurring gig, but because she is the ideal 1st client for my full-time venture into entrepreneurship. Paula has proven to be an up-beat, kind-hearted woman with a deep desire to succeed and flourish. She has taken the time to recognize that I am a very smart and eager individual and while I do not know everything she needs me to know, she has given me guidance and sent me along my way without micromanaging and with intent to see that we flourish together.

New New New and Good Good Good ~ Despite the slow rate of speed at which my clients are growing, they are growing. My capital will be all gone as of the next round of personal payments, so very soon it’ll be skin of the teeth, praying harder than ever, and getting creative with Ramen Noodles (hehehe). I have always believed in the barter and trade system, and now I’m actually making it work in one instance. You see, I sit at my desk for hours and hours, sometimes 10, 12, or more hours a day. Needless to say, it can be grueling and painful. Since being laid-off and being on a strict budget, many luxuries have been cut (case in point: my massages).

Here’s the barter and trade… My massage therapist (and good friend) is also building his independent business because he’s giving more to chiropractors in fees than he’s keeping himself for his services. His company, Saffron and Cedar Wellness, much like my business, needs some marketing. So I have created his blog and write his content based on subject matter he suggests. This takes me about 2 hours a week and in return I get an in-home 1+ hour massage session to help what ails me. Now, if only I could find a trade-off for somebody to steam clean my carpets (hehehehe).

That’s all for now… Time for a snack ;-)~

 

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