Principles of Success: My New Blog Series

Principles of Success

This week started my summer blogging series on CWAHM.com, Principles of Success: Proverbs. Through out the summer, posting on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, I examine various (60, to be exact) principles of success as found in my journey through the wisest book in the Bible, Proverbs.

What are your guiding principles for business success? You’ve created your business and marketing plans, cultivated your clients, gained their trust, garnered an exemplary reputation for what you do. You’re a mom. You’re a Christian. You’re an entrepreneur.

But what guides you? Profit? Satisfaction? Your personal values? Can you sit down right now and define what your principles of success are?

Every day you’re called to be both disciple and caregiver. Every day you’re called to serve your clients and family. Every day you are called to trust in the Lord for your personal and professional lives to prosper.

What are you guided by? Love first? Seeking God’s Wisdom? Do you listen and trust that wisdom? In the rigors of daily life, how often do you pray for your business? For guidance in your decision-making? On who to serve your business and yourself as wise counsel?

You can catch my series here  –> Principles of Success: Proverbs

I’d love your feedback. What principles do you connect with; which ones are serious struggles and how others have helped you be more successful in business and in life. I look forward to hearing from you!

Keeping Your New Year’s Determination Throughout The Year

The Long RoadWhat is it about all things new that appeals to us? New clothes… new car…new shoes – well that one goes without saying, especially if you’re a woman! How about a new year? At the beginning of every year people around the world celebrate with unmatched fervor.

With each new year we have a renewed sense of determination to achieve various elusive goals by setting resolutions and goals. You get off to a good start going to the gym every day for two weeks and you’re feeling good.

Then it happens. You get tripped up. Literally.  Continue reading

My Virtual Assistant Toolbox

This toolbox was a gift from my husband. Yes, I'm a Husker fan. What is a craftsman without the tools of their trade? What is a carpenter without his saw? What is a chef without good food and the proper utensils, pots and pans? As virtual assistants our box of tools and bag of tricks are seemingly endless. I have found the following tools to be the most valuable, no matter what you specialize in as a virtual assistant. Okay, so they are more ‘skills’ than tools, but hey, they’re still in my toolbox and they still get the job done!

Problem Solving.  No matter your position as a virtual assistant, be it a business owner, mentor, partner or subcontractor, your ability to problem solve and find solutions, in my view, the mightiest tool in your toolbox.  I don’t know about you but my virtual assistant business basically got its start by helping clients work through various issues and finding viable solutions. Even today, problem solving remains my bread and butter. Clients want to implement something new but don’t know where to start. That’s where the virtual assistant comes in. Your client doesn’t have the time to sift through research and how-to’s, that’s why they hired you! Don’t be afraid to roll up your sleeves, work through the issue or problem at hand, do a little (or a lot) of research and then make things happen. Your ability to problem solve and implement workable solutions will have your clients coming back for more, time and time again.
Continue reading

The Business of People Ranks Higher

People Are ImportantOkay, I’m veering wildly off course today with my post. Instead of talking about virtual assisanty stuff, we’re going to talk about the business of people. Recently I was tootling along at what I thought was a good clip in my business. Things were picking up and my husband, who is also my business partner, and I made what we felt were sounds business decisions regarding goals for 2014. Business was good, my bank account was beginning to building some momentum and things were getting accomplished.

With everything being so good I was on top of things, right? Then why did I feel so torn? At the very same time I had several friends really struggling in their lives; between homelessness, life and death illnesses, surgeries, multiple hospitalizations, and even a death in the family. Business was great, but life not so much. People were in need. God put them on our hearts in a real way. Then BOOM, it happened. God opened up my schedule in such a way that I was no longer too busy to be with those who needed a little time and company.

Prime Example: It had been way to long inbetween visits with a dear friend of mine so I gave her a call. After several unanswered and unreturned calls and a few weeks, I was at the point where I was going to just head over to her house. Surely she’s just busy, right? Well, come to find out her fiancé had been in the hospital a couple of times with a debilitating back injury only to find out he had cancer. The doctors gave him 14-18 months IF the radiation treatments did its job. WHAT?! When did this all happen? He was healthy as a horse the last time I’d seen him and talked with her!

A week went by and I knew he had come home to the hospital and they were adjusting to their new reality and roles with my friend now being a caregiver. Several more unanswered calls and I figured they were just busy with doctor visits and the such. When I finally reached her, come to find out an infection had set in and he was now in the hospital IN A COMA.  Wow. Where was I before he had gotten sick? I was too busy doing business.

I know we’d like there to be a balance between ministry time and business time, but that doesn’t always work in God’s timing. What I had to learn was that I was so busy being busy that I was not there for my friends. It WAS okay for me to take a day off when my mom came to town. Yes, building a business is important and time-consuming, but what about the souls and lives around us?

As Christians we are in the business of leading others to Christ and seeing to the “needs of the widows and orphans.”  Those needs don’t stop just because we’re busy with business. Can a person have a business focus and a person focus at the same time? YES.

What does this say to the ‘grab all the business you can while you can’ idealists? Life (and death) circumstances will continue on with or without us. Should we be working so many hours providing an income, security and support when all is really needed is our time? I think the answer is clear on that one. Well, at least in my eyes it is.

What does this mean for my business? Well, it means that I will continue to work like a crazy woman (is there really any other way?!) but I will also take time out for the people around me. Being busy is one thing but being too busy for people is not the Christian way to run a business.

Don’t feel bad about taking time out of your busy day, squishing things around a bit, for people. People are important. People are the reason Jesus came to earth. He didn’t come to save the souls of businesses. He came for me and you. He came for people.

I want to challenge you to make a point of spending time with a friend for at least 30 minutes each week. Pick a different friend every week. Stop working 24-7. Make time for that friend who’s been wanting to grab a cup of coffee with you. Seriously!! What’s 30 minutes in your day really worth when in the end you have no solid friendships that grow over time? 

So, who’s your first coffee break, lunch or walk going to be with?

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Pebbles Jacobo  A&P Virtual Enterprises, which she, with the guidance of her husband, started when she began  working from home as a VA (Virtual Assistant) several years ago. As Content Director of the leading Christian work-at-home site online, CWAHM.com, Pebbles found herself thoroughly intrigued and fascinated with the world of social media. Her love of social media has grown over the years.  She now offers Social Media Marketing, as well as Blog Management, Editing, E-Book Formatting and Conversion, VA Training, and a host of other services to her clients, which include speakers, authors and entrepreneurs alike.  Connect with Pebbles on Facebook Google+.

Continuing Your VA Education, Part II

Continuting EducationIn my last post I shared about continuing your education and adding to your skill set as a virtual assistant. One can do this through non-traditional means with online groups, blogs, books, and webinars. Today I’d like to add to that list with additional methods of continuing education and include links to get you going in the right direction.

Additional Methods of Expanding One’s Skill Set

Mentorship – A lot can be learned from someone who has ‘been there and done it.’ Often times the hardest part is finding the right mentor for you. A few virtual assistant mentors I recommend checking out include Continue reading

Continuing Education: Improving Your Skillset and Services as a Virtual Assistant

Girl Reading by LusiOffering social media management and consulting services to clients is one of those things I sort of fell into. When I started working online as a virtual assistant social networks were in their infancy. MySpace was dying with Facebook and Twitter quickly gaining traction. Facebook spoke to the extrovert in me; couple that with working from home and social media soon became close to an obsession for me. It was a client’s prompting that had me looking at my near obsession through a different lens and started making money offering my social media knowledge and experience to clients as a service.

As an entrepreneur and freelance virtual assistant it is important to keep up to date not only on the latest programs, software and, in some cases, social networking sites. It’s important to also be up to date on the latest trends and advances within one’s industry. The following is how continue my education regularly. Continue reading

Reasons to Hire a Virtual Assistant

Help KeyFor a busy entrepreneur not to have a virtual assistant on staff, or at least on retainer, is for a king not to have his knights or a coffee shop not to serve coffee. Scratch that. It would be the same as a king CHOOSING not to have or make use of his knights, being a wayward traveler and lone ranger or a coffee shop CHOOSING not to serve coffee. None of those work out very well.

Simply put busy entrepreneurs are just that – they’re busy! A virtual assistant is akin to an off-site employee providing web and general administrative assistance.

1.  Versatile Skill Sets: Virtual assistants, like other employees, come in all manners of knowledge, experiences and skills. Often times their versatility enables them to easily switch gears, modes and even programs easily. Often times a virtual assistant you use for research and database collection might also be the same one you can use or web design or document formatting. Continue reading

Consistency: It Gets the Job Done and Brings the Clients Back for More

Follow the LeaderI love what I do. I mean, seriously, my job description spans from creative development to organization to implementation of new marketing procedures and beyond. Life as a virtual assistant is good, except when it’s not.

There are times when I am on top of my game and clients love my work. They praise what I’ve done for their project, ministry, website or business. Then there are the other times where life gets in the way or I take on too much and, well, projects drag on longer than they should.  Why can’t my greatness be, well, more consistent? Continue reading

Communication: An Essential Tool for Growing Your Business

Perhaps one of the most important tools to help establish and grow your business is communication. Look behind the scenes of a thriving business and you will find an efficient flow of communication. Below I share a few things I have found important to communicate.

It is important that we communicate what we understand our clients are requesting. It’s more than just “you say p?t?t?, I say p?t?t?.” Think of it as “you say potato, I HEARD potato.” Just because a client knows what they want does not mean you hear what they are asking for through their means of communication. Even if you are both fluent English speakers, the meaning of your words, the depth of your experience and education, and the vision in your head can all greatly differ from that of your client.  Err on the side of caution and VERIFY. (I do this with my husband as well, and though it ruffles his feathers, it saves time and energy in knowing I understood correctly what he wants.)

Don’t be afraid to speak up and bring certain things to the attention of our clients. Don’t assume they know about every little issue with their website. Often times it takes a fresh set of eyes to pick up on something overlooked by familiar eyes. This is a great way of expanding your services to your client, too. Continue reading

My Top 3 Secret Attributes as a Successful Virtual Assistant

It takes a lot of hard work and discipline to be a good virtual assistant. Sprinkle in a little humility and desire to learn new things and you’ll be a rock star! What? You want to go further and be a very successful virtual assistant, big dog, top of the heap? Take the essential tools I mentioned above and add my top three secret ingredients. You’ll be a very successful virtual assistant in no time! Continue reading

Losing Time: A Review of the Latest Twitter Friend Adder – TweetBig

I’ve been trying out some programs that are supposed to make my life run a little smoother. Today’s blog is a review of the Twitter follow generator, TweetBig.

TweetBig is designed for the soul purpose of increasing the overall quantity of one’s following on Twitter. While in some cases quantity rules, it is my opinion that quality and consistency take the cake. Continue reading

Tips for Building a Relationship with Your Target Audience through Social Media

Target AudienceWhat kind of relationship do you have with your target audience? In selling online, whether a service or a product, it is important to build a rapport with your target audience. Even with online sales, it is in our human nature to want and need to trust who and where we make purchases. Here are my top four tips for building a relationship with your target audience: Continue reading

Stepping Up Your Blog

How successful is your blog? Several factors come into play to make a blog truly successful.
What is your niche? This will be your topic of choice, usually with your unique spin or point of view. Some are comedic while others spout a ‘just the facts’ style of sharing.

Without the readers, your blog would just be taking up space – sitting out there online begging for someone to read it. In order to increase your readership you need to fulfill a need on a regular basis. People are creatures of habit. When we do things, whether we realize it or not, we generally do them on a regular to semi-regular basis. Take the blogs you read for example – do you always visit a different one or revisit the same ones? If you are like most people, you will revisit a blog which connects with you on some level. You continue to revisit, seeking new content. Blogging regularly will develop an audience base with an appetite for your blog. By regularly, I mean at a rate of several posts per week, 52 weeks per year. Continue reading

How to Get More Fans on your Facebook Fan Page

Today I want to talk about increasing your Facebook fan page numbers. It is tough for someone starting out, especially if you do not already have a solid support base to begin with. So, what do you do? Like a traditional ‘brick-and-mortar,’ after you stock the shelves and hang out the open sign, you have to do a little advertising, only with social media it’s more networking than advertising.

I bet you’re asking me, “But WHERE do I find the people on Facebook to network with if I don’t already know them?”

You to go to the virtual networking events. Yes, they have those on Facebook. In one I recently attended, within 4 minutes of opening the event, 215 people had already posted their page link! Continue reading

As a Virtual Assistant, Doing a Good Job Just Isn’t Enough

man with targetWhy should a potential client choose you over everyone else out there?

Entrepreneurs, business owners and corporate businesses alike all share one thing – they want the best. If they are working hard to be on top,  you can guarantee that any virtual assistants they hire are also hard workers and the best of the best. What does it mean to be the best?  It does not mean that they know everything or know how to do everything imaginable. Rather, the best virtual assistants are known for giving their best in all the projects they work on, in everything they do.  Is that you? Continue reading

Get Your Ducks in a Row – Getting Set Up as a Virtual Assistant

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ducks in a rowIn a recent blog post I discussed assessing one’s skill set. Life, whether as a mom or office assistant, may have equipped you with the skill set necessary to be a virtual assistant. If you want to take the next steps towards the goal of working from home as a virtual assistant, there is a lot of work to be done in getting your ducks in a row.

You see – anyone can put up a sign and claim to be a virtual assistant. The right way is to line up your ducks before scrambling to convince potential clients that your ducks are where they are supposed to be! A little extra research, planning and preparation will make all the difference in getting started on the right foot. My goal with this blog series is to guide you through setting yourself up as a virtual assistant using my experiences as a trail map, and marking certain pitfalls to avoid. Continue reading

An Important Lesson About Business Cards

I love summer! It’s that time of year when it’s warm enough here in Nebraska for festive celebrations – and unintentional networking. I don’t ‘enjoy’ lugging a purse around with me, but I need to and was reminded of that recently. I had given my business card out to so many people that I ran out of my ‘pocket stash’ Sunday at a party that I almost lost an opportunity.

Seriously?! What was I thinking? Had I had my purse, I would have been properly prepared.

As a small business owner it is important to continually market my services. I gave numerous business cards out at a party to people I connected with. Some may call me this week. Some will call me later this month, and others will call me months down the road when they are ready to tackle their projects. Of course, there will always be some who don’t call, and that’s okay. Hence the reason to give out so many. Continue reading

Help, what do I put on my Virtual Assistant Resume?

resumeA resume is a resume is a resume, right? Well…not exactly. For optimal performance resumes are custom-tailored to the position being sought. Say, for example, you are looking for a job as a high school English teacher. You wouldn’t want to use your resume tailored for a position as a delivery driver or sales manager in place of your virtual assistant resume when applying for a job online, would you? Well, you could, but it most likely would not deliver the desired results. Even as a freelancer I have a couple of different resumes. Yes, specific experiences and education may be the same, but the credentials, skills and references would vary. Continue reading

Doing Your Due Diligence

Due DiligenceI cannot express how important it is to do your due diligence, especially when starting your own business. When I first set up shop as a virtual assistant (VA) I was all over the place. I had an idea of what I wanted to do, just was not sure how to get started. I spent hours and hours and hours and hours researching this and that – just looking things up. I even remember one of the very first VA sites I found was that of Diana Ennen. Though doing your due diligence will vary from person to person, below are specific items I suggest you include in your research, especially if you are setting up shop as a new VA. Continue reading