RJ’s Virtual Assistant Blog is Moving

June 22, 2009 at 2:33 pm | Posted in Blog, Rita J. Cartwright, Virtual Assistant, Virtual Assistant Services, Virtual Assistants, WordPress.com, WordPress.org | 6 Comments
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ritajoblack1To all my valued readers, I am moving my blog over to WordPress.org. The new address is http://rjswordprocessing.com/blog/. Up until now, my blog was located at WordPress.com. After much procrastination, I took the plunged and switched to WordPress.org.

Based on my experience I gained from relocating my blog, I would like to share a couple of inside tips with you. In order to use WordPress.org to create your blog, it is necessary to set up a database on your web server and a MySQL user who has all privileges for accessing and modifying it. If you are using hosting companies like GoDaddy, Blue Host or Dream Host, to name a few, they will install WordPress.org and set up the database for you. This will save you headaches and time, as well as ensure that your blog and database are installed and set up correctly. All you will need to do is select the name of your blog, username and password.

If you are faced with the same situation as I am, redirecting your reading audience to your new blog address, I suggest writing a post, similar to this one, informing your readers of your new address. WordPress offers the capability of redirecting your audience. This feature is called domain mapping, which is an upgrade that costs $10.00 per year. If you want to save money, write a post instead. Remember, if you don’t have time to set up a blog, outsource it to your Virtual Assistant.

I hope to see you at my new blog address, http://rjswordprocessing.com/blog/.

Another Term for Virtual Assistant

June 5, 2009 at 2:21 pm | Posted in Bookkeeping, Entrepreneur, Online Business, Outsourcing, Rita Cartwright, Rita J. Cartwright, Single-Person Business, Single-Person Business Owner, Small Business, Small Business Owners, Solopreneur, Virtual Assistant, Virtual Assistant Services, Virtual Assistants | 9 Comments
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ritajoblack1So, you are still not quite sure exactly what a Virtual Assistant (VA) is or what they do. Think of a Virtual Assistant as your online administrative assistant. Your first thought may be, “Geez, they are expensive.” When you pencil out the benefits you reap from working with a Virtual Assistant, your thought will be, “Wow, they are not as expensive as I first thought.”

When you work with a Virtual Assistant, your business operations will run as smooth as silk. Your VA becomes familiar with how you operate your business and, as a result, are able to complete the tasks you hand over to them. Remember, virtual assistants are also business owners and have to deal with their own business operations. Therefore, are very versed in this area.

You won’t have to worry about time-consuming tasks, such as, your e-mail marketing campaigns, maintaining your website, following up with your clients, bookkeeping, creating a new blog, to name a few. Being able to take back your life is priceless, while at the same time, your business is booming.

Next time you hear the term Virtual Assistant and are not exactly sure what that means, just think of what an administrative assistant is and the tasks they complete; except, they are online.

An Online Business Tool for Virtual Assistants and their Clients

May 12, 2009 at 3:21 pm | Posted in Entrepreneur, Marketing, Online Marketing, Online Survey, Outsourcing, Rita Cartwright, Rita J. Cartwright, Single-Person Business, Single-Person Business Owner, Small Business, Small Business Owners, Solopreneur, Virtual Assistant, Virtual Assistant Services, Virtual Assistants | 2 Comments
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ritajoblack1Those of you who have been following my blog posts know that when I discover useful information I like to pass it on to other small business owners. If you need to create an online survey, I recommend using SurveyMonkey.com. It is very user-friendly, and the basic service is free. Although the basic service is limited, there are a lot of features included with the free version.

The survey is very easy to design and includes option of templates, as well as over a dozen types of questions; for example, multiple choice, drop down menus, and rating scales. You also have a choice of how you want to collect the data. You can put a link on your blog or send the link via e-mail. I used Aweber for one of my clients to send out e-mails because we needed to set up an auto responder follow-up e-mail. You can also send your e-mails through Survey Monkey. If you use Survey Monkey for your e-mail distribution, you can see who responds to your survey, as well as send follow up reminders to those who don’t.

Another feature is you can analyze the results as they are collected in real-time, including filtering and cross tabulation. In addition, you can download the results in multiple formats.

Remember, if you don’t have time to create your survey, outsource it to your Virtual Assistant(s).

Communication Tool for Trade Shows or Conferences (Updated Post)

April 1, 2009 at 12:30 pm | Posted in Outsourcing, Rita Cartwright, Rita J. Cartwright, San Diego, Single-Person Business, Single-Person Business Owner, Small Business, Small Business Owners, Solopreneur, Virtual Assistant, Virtual Assistant Services, Virtual Assistants | Leave a comment
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A couple of days ago, I wrote a post on free video services.  It occurred to me that this would be a great communication tool for those of you who will be attending trade shows and/or conferences.  My video is an example of the type of video you can share with the attendees.  I chose music as my audio, but you create a recording explaining your services and/or products as the audio.  It has to be in MP3 format.  Once you create the video over at One True Media, you can publish it to YouTube. Once you have published it to YouTube, you can create a playlist at YouTube with the same video; so, it appears it is on a loop. This would be an excellent idea for a trade show booth. Your video is repeatedly playing describing and displaying your services.

As I mentioned in my previous post, although it is easy to create your videos, it is very time consuming.  If you don’t have time to create the videos, outsource the task to your Virtual Assistant.

Information for Entrepreneurs & Small Business Owners, Including Virtual Assistants

March 28, 2009 at 3:45 pm | Posted in Entrepreneur, Outsourcing, Rita Cartwright, Rita J. Cartwright, Single-Person Business, Single-Person Business Owner, Small Business, Small Business Owners, Solopreneur, Virtual Assistant, Virtual Assistant Services, Virtual Assistants | 6 Comments
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ritajopurpleWhenever I come across valuable business information, I like to pass it along to other entrepreneurs and small business owners. One of my clients, Karen Pina, Owner of Gifts Ordained by Direction, shared this information with me regarding creating free videos so that I could design one for her. I was so impressed with the software, I thought I would share it with you. Click here to learn more about One True Media and design your own video. If you don’t have time, outsource the task to your Virtual Assistant.

If you would like a sneak peek at the video I created for Karen click here. If you have been following my blog posts, you may remember me hosting one of Karen’s virtual book tour stops at my blog, a few months ago. If you missed it, click here to read all about it. If you would like to check out the video I designed for my business, RJ’s Word Processing Services, click here.

Remember it is free! Also, it is very easy to learn; however, it is time-consuming. As I mentioned earlier, if you don’t have the time, hand the task over to your Virtual Assistant. Enjoy!

Disadvantages of Outsourcing to Offshore Virtual Assistants

March 17, 2009 at 11:17 am | Posted in Entrepreneur, Offshore, Onshore, Outsourcing, Single-Person Business, Single-Person Business Owner, Small Business, Small Business Owners, Solopreneur, Virtual Assistant, Virtual Assistant Services, Virtual Assistants | 9 Comments

ritajoblack1As an onshore Virtual Assistant and small business owner, I feel obligated to inform small business owners about the disadvantages of outsourcing to offshore virtual assistants (VAs).

When you choose to outsource offshore, you are going to encounter virtual assistants who are not familiar with our culture and language. Although, they speak English, generally, it is not their first language. This causes language barriers, communication gaps, and lack of understanding. Is the frustration worth the money you save? Keep in mind, offshore VAs’ cost of living is much lower than ours. They can afford to work for less money. If you choose to outsource confidential personal data offshore, it may not be protected. Firms in India currently are not equally subject to any extensive legislative or regulatory data-protection controls.

Offshore VAs work for an outsourcing firm and are not business owners. They do not have a vested interest in your business other than getting more projects. Most of us, onshore virtual assistants, are business owners; therefore, we understand the operations of a small business, as well as what is required to develop it. Our goals are to establish an ongoing business relationship with you in order to help you reach your goals. We want you to succeed in your business. Erin Blaskie of Business Services, ETC stated in her blog, “These companies are working day and night going through a wide variety of tasks just to get them back out the door. They aren’t spending the time to strategize and become a partner in your business. They are simply providing cheap labor.”

Another disadvantage is offshore virtual assistants can’t operate without access to the Internet. On January 31, 2008, India had an Internet outage due to snapped cables in the Mediterranean Ocean. You can read the entire article here: http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,326988,00.html. Onshore virtual assistants’ Internet providers are their phone companies, cable companies or satellite providers. We are not at the mercy of a cable under the ocean.

There are several disadvantages to offshore outsourcing, including drastic differences in time zones. The one main advantage to outsourcing to offshore virtual assistants is saving money. The old adage is true. “You get what you pay for.”

Rita J. Cartwright, Owner

RJ’s Word Processing Services
Your Business Success Is Our Success
http://rjswordprocessing.com
866-651-3073

FAQs About Virtual Assistants

March 7, 2009 at 2:30 pm | Posted in Entrepreneur, Single-Person Business, Single-Person Business Owner, Small Business, Small Business Owners, Solopreneur, Virtual Assistant, Virtual Assistant Services, Virtual Assistants | 5 Comments

ritajopurpleAlthough the popularity of Virtual Assistants is growing, there are questions that yet exist regarding them. I will attempt to answer some of those questions.

Who is a Virtual Assistant (VA)? A Virtual Assistant is an entrepreneur and/or small business owner who assists other entrepreneurs and small business owners with everything on their plate.

What is a Virtual Assistant? Virtual Assistant Networking Association (VANA) description of a Virtual Assistant is the following:

“A Virtual Assistant (VA) is a highly-trained independent entrepreneur who provides a myriad of business support services virtually via phone, fax and internet based technology to support and meet the growing needs of businesses worldwide.

Partnering with a VA reduces stress, protects cash flow, eliminates administrative hassles, and enables business people to find the success they originally set out to achieve.

A VA is your right hand person helping you to succeed in your business. The irony is you may never meet your VA as odds are they live nowhere near you!”

What can a VA do for me to ease my workload? Business owners’ workload consists of administrative tasks, attracting new business, converting leads, and servicing current clients. A VA can take care of the administrative portion, as well as assist you in the remaining areas.

Why should I work with a Virtual Assistant? If you are an entrepreneur and/or small business owner and you find yourself spending more time working in the business rather than working on the business, you should retain a Virtual Assistant. He or she can assist you with your daily, time-consuming tasks. These tasks are generally administrative in nature and require attention; however, they divert your focus away from working on your business. Working on your business requires just as much concentration and is necessary if you want to grow your company.

When should I retain a virtual assistant? When you find yourself spending more time working in the business rather than working on the business, it is time to retain a VA.

Where can I find a VA? There are several virtual assistant forums, which have directories listing their members and how to contact them; for example, Virtual Assistant Networking Association and International Virtual Assistants Association.

Where does a VA work? Virtual assistants complete their clients’ tasks from their own offices. It is not necessary for our clients to provide equipment, space, or supplies.

How do I tell her what to do? How do I train her to handle my affairs? Technology has created the ability for us to virtually communicate. Communication can take place via telephone, teleconferencing, Instant Messaging (IM), e-mail, SKYPE, PDAs, and the list goes on. In addition, VAs don’t require training; just an explanation of how to handle your tasks.

How do we exchange my projects? Lynette Chandler recently wrote a blog post on GoogleDocs, which is an online office suite. Please visit Tech Based Marketing to read her informative post. In it, she explains what GoogleDocs are and the many benefits associated with them. You and your VA both have access to the documents created with GoogleDocs. A VA creates the document and at that point, it can be saved to your computer or remain online. Another option is you can submit your project to your VA as an e-mail attachment, and he or she returns the completed document to you via e-mail attachment. There is also the option of a VA accessing your computer to complete certain tasks. GoToMyPc and LogMeIn are programs that provide a VA the capability of gaining access to your computer.

I hope these answers help you in your quest to find the right virtual assistant to work with.

Rita J. Cartwright, Owner

RJ’s Word Processing Services
Your Business Success Is Our Success
http://rjswordprocessing.com
866-651-3073

Virtual Assistants Can Help You With That Also

February 27, 2009 at 1:24 pm | Posted in Clients, Entrepreneur, Online Marketing, Rita Cartwright, Rita J. Cartwright, Single-Person Business, Single-Person Business Owner, Small Business, Small Business Owners, Social Networking, Solopreneur, Virtual Assistant, Virtual Assistant Services, Virtual Assistants | 1 Comment
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ritajoblack1As an entrepreneur and small business owner, you are aware of the importance of using social media networking as a marketing strategy. You also realize how much time is involved in social media networking. I can spend an entire day on Twitter alone networking with other entrepreneurs. In order to save you some valuable time, virtual assistants can help you with your networking efforts. Keep in mind, virtual assistants use the same social media networking techniques and know their way around social media sites. A virtual assistant can set up your social media profiles at various sites, as well as filter through posts for any relevant information pertaining to your business. On Twitter, a Virtual Assistant can check your DMs (direct messages) and your replies (posts directed to you) to see if there is anything you need to respond to. A Virtual Assistant can also post pertinent information about your company and products and/or services. Larger companies are starting to use Twitter to communicate with their customers about their products and/or services, in addition to getting their feedback. Another feature of Twitter is you have people following you and people you choose to follow. A Virtual Assistant can research the ones following you to see if they are viable potential clients. In addition, s/he can search for possible clients for you to follow on Twitter.

As you know, social media networking allows you to create business relationships, as well as give your prospective clients the opportunity to learn more about you; therefore, it is necessary for you to spend some time networking on these social media sites. However, virtual assistants can help you save a huge amount of valuable time; time you can use to focus on your clients. Virtual assistants can help you with social media networking also.

rjssig2

A Marketing Tool for Your Online Marketing Strategy

February 26, 2009 at 11:30 am | Posted in Blog, E-book, Entrepreneur, Marketing, Online Business, Online Marketing, Outsourcing, Rita Cartwright, Rita J. Cartwright, Single-Person Business, Single-Person Business Owner, Small Business, Small Business Owners, Solopreneur, Virtual Assistant, Virtual Book Tour, Virtual E-book Tour | Leave a comment
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ritajoblack1Recently I went on a virtual e-book tour to promote my newly released e-book, “Online Marketing Tools for Today’s Small Business.” For us entrepreneurs and small business owners, writing can be an inexpensive way of marketing our small businesses. This can involve writing articles, blog posts, and/or e-books. It is not necessary to be a well-known author in order to write or have virtual book tours. If you choose to write e-books, you can go on virtual e-book tours to promote your e-book. As a result, your services and/or products, and your business will be promoted at the same time. If you are an author, you, too, can do virtual book tours to promote your books.

Because of today’s technology and blogs, book tours can be done virtually, and it is an inexpensive, creative tactic to advertise your e-books or books. However, coordinating virtual book tours can be time-consuming. If you don’t have time to arrange the tour, outsource this task to a Virtual Assistant. The process consists of you (or your Virtual Assistant) and blog owners coordinating dates for when you will stop by their blogs. On the date of your tour stop, the blog owner can interview you or you can participate in a question and answer session with the blog owners’ readers. If you choose to do an interview, you supply the blog owners with the questions and answers for them to post on their blogs, which is the standard procedure in the current media world. Periodically, you check in to see if there are any questions or comments from the blog readers you need to address regarding your interview.

To encourage the blog readers to get involved, hold some type of random drawing for anyone who submits a comment or question. At http://random.org/, you enter the e-mail addresses of the participants in a list randomizer and a random e-mail address is selected. This would be your random winner. On my tour, I gave away free copies of my e-book to random winners who participated, as well as to the blog owners as a way of expressing my gratitude for them hosting my tour stops.

In my e-book, I discuss various online marketing tools and strategies, which include virtual book tours. If you would like to learn about additional marketing tools that you can use in your online marketing plan, click here to purchase my e-book, as well as find out more about it.

How Do Businesses Economically Survive Inclement Weather?

February 12, 2009 at 6:00 pm | Posted in Business, Clients, Entrepreneur, Rita Cartwright, Rita J. Cartwright, Small Business, Small Business Owners, Virtual Assistant, Virtual Assistant Services, Virtual Assistants | 8 Comments
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ritajopurpleSince I live in Southern California, I never think about being snowed in because of inclement weather. I can’t even fathom it since I have never lived in that type of climate. However, I am aware that in severe weather, businesses are sometime forced to close; whereas, in other cases, businesses can remain open, but some of the staff may not be able to get to work because of the road conditions.

However, one way businesses can economically survive during periods of inclement weather is to work with virtual assistants. The administrative tasks will be completed no matter what the weather is or if the business remains open or not. This can save companies money or, at least, reduce the amount of money that would have otherwise been lost. Another domino effect is the cost to the economy. Jill McLachlan of JMVA in the UK stated that in her country, according to Federation of Small Businesses, the cost to their economy may rise to $4B, because of a recent snow storm. Approximately 20 percent of the staff could not get to work.

The same holds true for parts of our country that deals with this same type of weather. Businesses may want to consider having virtual assistants as a backup to their regular staff for these situations in order to economically survive inclement weather. Small businesses who work with virtual assistants on an ongoing basis never have to worry about their projects and/or tasks being completed during harsh weather. Virtual assistants do not have to commute to their clients’ offices to provide the administrative support they need in order to keep the operations of their businesses going.

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