CWAHM Devotional

Do Life DifferentDo Life Different
Work-at-home mom: take a deep breath and Do Life Different as you allow these devotions for work-at-home moms to fill the vacuum of your needy heart in the chaos of your busy world.
 
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Author Archive

Jun
28

Top 3 Attributes of a Successful Virtual Assistant

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Pebbles Jacobo, All Things VA bloggerAttiributes of a Successful VA, by Pebbles JacoboIt 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!

Problem Solving – Clients hire out virtual assistants either when they don’t have the skill set to figure out how to complete a particular task or project or they don’t have the time to do it themselves. You will prove yourself as a valuable asset to your client by figuring things out without bogging down your clients with the details. As my husband often says, “Make it happen.” As a problem solving virtual assistant, don’t be afraid to “google” things or research online. Not sure how to install a plugin in WordPress? Do a search, read the articles or message board threads and make it happen!

Personal Computer – Having your own personal computer as a virtual assistant will seriously make all the difference. Some people believe they can make money from home by utilizing computers at the public library. Yes, I’ve had more than one person say this to me. My response: SERIOUSLY?!! Having your own computer will open the world to you as a virtual assistant. A personal computer to a virtual assistant is as a warrior’s sword or a farmer’s tractor; without either they won’t readily accomplish their tasks. Sure, the farmer can use a hoe to prep and plant an entire field, but it will take so much more time than if he had a tractor. A successful virtual assistant has a personal computer at home. Period. BONUS: For additional flexibility, a laptop will suit you well and allow work anywhere you have an internet connection. Read More→

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Jun
11

The Top Four To-Do’s of Successful VA’s

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Pebbles Jacobo, All Things VA bloggerI have had a lot of experiences in building my company from the ground up and refining my skills and services. From my experiences and education, I have a lot to share which may help with your own virtual assistant (VA) business. Here are my top “do’s” to begin with:

Do Communicate With Your Clients: Communication ensures you and your client are on the same page, tracking with the same line of thinking. This goes a long way in building a rapport with clients which will have them coming back for more. Repeat clients are additional revenue.

Do the Social Media Marketing and Networking Dance:  Social media marketing is, in the words of Diana Ennen, “is here to stay.” It is a free method of marketing and getting the word out about your VA services. Social media marketing, if done correctly, also is a way of establishing your expertise in your field.

Do Schedule Your Time: Believe it or not, scheduling your time in regards to clients and tasks will not only reveals hidden pockets of time, but also help you stay on target. This will serve you well as the more on target you stay, the more productive and the more money you can make.

Read More→

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May
10

Managing the Time Monster

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Pebbles Jacobo, All Things VA bloggerWhen I first started out as virtual assistant I struggled with time management. After all, I had always been the employee, never the employer. As a business owner, I quickly realized that the buck stops with me and if I don’t keep track of things, i.e. not practicing good time management, I was cheating myself out of money. I cannot stress how important it is to properly manage your time. Here’s a few tips from my personal experiences.

Schedule Your Time: Do you have a specific schedule or scheduled time in which you get your work completed? If not, you will find yourself in your office every waking moment and spending less time with your family. Schedule your family time, break time and work time. Don’t keep the schedule in your head, but write it out and post it. Post the schedule for you AND your family to see. More importantly, stick to it (especially the scheduled family time).  An additional perk to scheduling your time is that not only will you feel less guilty about family time, but also you will find yourself to be more productive during your scheduled work time. This takes time, but stick with it!

Keep Lists: Start making lists and writing things down. Yep, it actually helps. If you are like me, you tend to forget things, not because they hold little importance to you, but because they just slip your mind. Keep a small notepad in your pocket and write things down. Even at your desk…keep a list. In keeping lists you will spend less time looking for a client’s task request or trying to remember what it was you were supposed to do. Read More→

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Jan
30

Keeping Your New Year’s Determination Throughout The Year

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Pebbles Jacobo, All Things VA bloggerkeeping determination by Pebbles JacoboWhat 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.You trip and sprain your ankle. It takes weeks before you’re able to get back to the gym and by that time something else has caught your attention and, well, two months later you cancel your gym membership because you realize you’re wasting money. Oh the injustice of it all! It’s like the universe is working against you, out to destroy any resolution you set… Eh hem…I’m speaking from experience here.

But what if we approached each new month with the vigor of the new year? How many more goals would we accomplish? How many New Year’s resolutions would actually develop into habit? I haven’t even walked into my home gym in the last two weeks, but that doesn’t mean all is lost!

You don’t have to wait until the new year to start a new goal. You can start one right now!

Read More→

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Nov
29

Continuing Your VA Education, Part 2

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In 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: Diana Ennen, Tracey D’Aviero, Lisa Wells, Donna Toothaker and Kelly Poelker.

Online Courses – There are tons of online courses out there specifically for virtual assistants. Some come with certificates, some with accreditation while others simply come with the satisfaction of learning something new and gaining a new skill. Whatever the case be, don’t overlook this tool. I once took a 4-week social media marketing course through. Accredited – no. Game changer – yes! Now I have clients that seek me out specifically to handle their social media marketing efforts.

Research – When I started out as a VA I had a limited skill set. Often times clients needed specific tasks completed which I was unfamiliar with and they had no time to learn to do themselves, so I pulled up my big-girl panties and dove right in. I researched until I knew the task, program or subject inside out, then I researched some more. It’s great to have people tell us how to do things, but until we actually look it up for ourselves and do it, how will we really learn. Research. Research. Research. You can never go wrong by going old-school and sticking your nose in a book or looking something online through a search engine. Personally, my favorite search engine is Google, but others include Bing, Yahoo, Ask, and DogPile.

New Blog Series – I have found that when I make a commitment to do something, especially with other people relying on me, it becomes more real to me. I go the extra mile to ensure I know what I am talking about. I encourage you to try that. Say you want to add event planning as a skill. Start a new blog series. Share your adventure with what you are learning with your new topic/skill at hand. You never know what you can learn by forcing yourself to stretch. As an added bonus, the feedback you receive from your readers can send you over the top with knowledge and advice.

Read More→

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Oct
27

No More Excuses! Make Social Media Work for You

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Pebbles Jacobo - Social Media BloggerI LOVE social media. In fact, I log several HOURS per day on various social media networking sites. Granted, most of that time is for my clients. I figure it’s a good thing when you can turn something you are knowledgeable and passionate about into a service, which is why I decided to be a social media marketer, managing the social media profiles for clients.

Social Media MarketingOver the last couple of years I’ve heard all kinds of excuses from clients with regards to why they have decided to cut back on their social media marketing efforts. Here are just a few:

  1. It doesn’t work for me!
  2. I’ve seen no real increase in traffic to my website.
  3. It takes too much time.
  4. Facebook is just a place where people goof off and ‘act’ like they are working.

Social media is not a quick fix. Consider the fact that people are literally bombarded with hundreds of ‘buy now’ messages constantly – and that’s BEFORE we enter the buying season of Trick-or-Treat, Gobble-Gobble and Merry Christmas!

Consider all the fan pages you like on Facebook. Of the truly successful fan pages with loads of active followers (who like and comment on posts) how frequently are they posting “buy my stuff” updates and links? How much more often are they creating a relationship with their audience and interacting?

Social media marketing is social. It’s not posting then running off. It’s interacting and getting to know your audience, creating relationships with them and adding value to their life through your posts. A single post is not going to drive traffic to your website UNLESS you have already built up a relationship with your audience.

Here are a few tips on improving your social media marketing efforts:

Read More→

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va-seriesOffering 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.

Online Groups – There are a few virtual assistant groups that I have connected with and regularly follow. Interaction with other virtual assistants is a great way of picking up other tips, tricks, and even skills. Facebook and Google+ both have excellent virtual assistant groups to join. One that I am a part of is Virtual Assistant Community. (Google+ calls their groups ‘communities.’) Read More→

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May
24

The Top Four Do’s of Successful Virtual Assistants

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lightbulbIn building my company from the ground up my skills and services went through tons of refining. From my experiences and education I have a lot to share which may help with your own virtual assistant business. These top “do’s” are a must in my book and should be in yours, too, especially as you push and plan for virtual assistant success!

Do Communicate With Your Clients: Communication ensures you and your client are on the same page, tracking with the same line of thinking. This goes a long way in building a rapport with clients which will have them coming back for more. Repeat clients are additional revenue that all too often is overlooked. In communicating with my clients the door was opened several times to other services I offer. In communicating with your clients you will learn of upcoming direction changes and opportunities.

Do the Social Media Marketing and Networking Dance:  Social media marketing, in the words of Diana Ennen, “is here to stay.” For the most part social media marketing is a free method of marketing and getting the word out about your virtual assistant services. When done correctly it also is a way of establishing your expertise in your field. Be sure to stay up to date on the social media platforms to get the most interaction from your efforts.

Do Schedule Your Time: Believe it or not, scheduling your time in regards to clients and tasks will not only reveals hidden pockets of time, but also help you stay on target. This will serve you well as the more on target you stay, the more productive and the more money you can make. Don’t forget to schedule time to complete administrative tasks in daily and weekly intervals to keep things from piling up in your office.

Do Continue Your Education: This can be in the form of classes, whether locally or online, webinars, online courses and more. Personally, there are a number of small business and virtual assistant blogs I visit regularly and keep my eye out for articles in which I might further my knowledge. Every little bit counts. Read More→

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Pebbles Jacobo, All Things VA bloggerpebbles-startLooking to start out as a virtual assistant but don’t know where to find any paying projects and jobs? Here’s a shortlist of my personal favorites when I’m looking for VA work:

Upwork
Freelancer
Guru

iFreelance

In addition, here are some of my favorite sites found to be most informative, especially when I was just starting out as a VA:

Virtual Word Publishing
Google (there were LOTS of times I didn’t know how to do what was being asked of me, so I simply looked it up…)

Depending on the specific type of work at home work you are looking for, there are loads of sites out there. Read articles. Join message boards and forums. Buy and download audio books and ebooks. Educate yourself and the top of the hill is yours for the taking! Read More→

Mar
07

My Virtual Assistant Toolbox

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What toolsis 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 VA 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.

Organization. There’s more to organization than just putting the blocks in one tub and the pyramids in another tub. You can organize a client’s calendar for better usage of their time. You can organize their website for a better flow of information. I’ve even done this for a client’s devotional to ensure her devotions flowed in a specific manner. Sometimes it’s just a manner of organizing information in a spreadsheet for a better grasp of the overall picture.

Follow Through. This one can be a toughie but is important. First of all, think of contacts you have made. Just because your new contact CURRENTLY needs your services as a virtual assistant doesn’t mean that down the line they won’t need your services. In fact, I was at an event just this week in which I made multiple contacts. It wasn’t for the purpose of growing my business, but regardless, still follow through with your initial meeting of them with a quick email or note within a day or two of meeting. My services have been referred by clients and contacts alike, meaning they don’t have to use your services to know someone else who needs your services.

Secondly, the same goes for proposals, projects and tasks. When you submit a proposal to someone, be sure to follow that up by contacting them within a week if you don’t hear back from them. They could have been busy or just somehow missed your email. (I’ve actually had emails VANISH in the great vastness of the internet and never make it to its destination, so it does happen.) Don’t assume just because you have not heard back that it’s a no-go. Follow through and confirm before making assumptions.

Boundaries. Oy! So many of us struggle with the issue of not knowing where to set boundaries, I know I do. It’s hard to say ‘no’ when your bank account is low, but what good will it do if you work yourself into the ground? Decide on how many hours you can realistically work AND STILL HAVE A LIFE OUTSIDE OF WORK. Nobody expects you to work 24/7 just because you work from home. Okay, maybe some clients are out of their head and not always realistic, but those are the clients to step away from anyway. You are allowed to take a day off – even a weekend – so do it and do it regularly. Read More→

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