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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Archive for Work at Home Resources

Pebbles Jacobo, All Things VA bloggerpebbles-reasonsFor 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.

2.      Cost Effective:  You pay only for time spent on tasks as opposed to coffee breaks, late starts and vacations. Granted, you’ll want to check with your virtual assistant before you hire them to verify whether they round up their time ‘spent’ on projects to the nearest quarter hour, which is a common practice for freelance workers paid hourly.

3.      Excellent Resource:  Whether hiring directly or utilizing specific skill sets, virtual assistants are excellent resources, especially when used to manage off-site teams, no matter the project. Most virtual assistants, by nature, are capable of working remotely with very little input. This, in and of itself, reduces time spent on spinning ones wheels trying to complete specific projects and tasks. Read More→

Dec
27

An Important Lesson About Business Cards

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pebbles-bizcardsPebbles Jacobo, All Things VA bloggerI love autumn! 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.

Read More→

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Pebbles Jacobo, All Things VA bloggerI 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.Consistency by Pebbles Jacobo

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?

Before you think I have a big head about myself, let me stop you. What I’m trying to point out is the importance of developing consistency as a professional.  The glimpses of greatness are awesome. Those are the times we shine as professionals. Those are times our clients remember what we’ve done for them. Unfortunately, lapses in consistency are also remembered by our clients – sometimes more than our awesomeness.

While I am not the greatest, most consistent person out there, here are a few things which I’ve noticed helps:

Details. It’s the little things that make a difference.  When proofreading a client’s blog post, it’s important that their best foot is always put forward on your watch. If the post is last seen by you before it is scheduled to go live, make sure every “t” is crossed and every “i” is dotted. Sometimes it’s a matter of too many spaces between characters. Don’t just let it by, delete the extra spaces. Some might consider it to be nit-picky, but details are important. The details will slow you down, but the consistency in your details contributes to your client shining as a professional. Read More→

Pebbles Jacobo, All Things VA bloggerPerhaps 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 a lot of communication. Here are a few things I have found important to communicate as I have built my business.Communication, by Pebbles Jacobo

It is important that we communicate what we understand our clients are requesting. It’s more than just “you say pōtātō, I say pōtătō.” 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 want through their communication. Err on the side of caution and VERIFY. (I do this with my husband 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 expanding your services to your client, too.

Just like raising a child, establishing working relationships requires boundaries to be stated outright, rather than merely ‘understood.’ Just think, you don’t know with 100% certainty your client’s point of view. No one can ever know exactly another person’s point of view. Every individual’s viewpoint is shaped not only by their experiences, but mostly by their reactions and innermost thoughts about said experiences.

While most virtual assistants often work non-traditional hours, make sure to ask your clients what their expectations of you are during each holiday. Different religious beliefs and customs may allow for more or fewer holiday time than you expected. Read More→

pebbles-difficultPebbles Jacobo, All Things VA bloggerHave you experienced one yet? Odds are that if you are in business long enough, you will. And it most likely will not be a pretty sight. Difficult people have a way of pulling our strings and pushing our buttons.

Oftentimes things start off quite smoothly; other times there are immediate obvious signals that your train in barreling its way straight off a washed-out bridge. Whatever the case may be, here are a few things to keep in mind when your next train wreck is in progress or about to happen.

Point of View:  Just as there are two sides to a coin, there also are two sides to a story/situation – two very separate points of view. There is your side and there is the side of your client. Remember, everyone brings something different to any given situation as no two people, even twins, have the exact same experiences and the exact same responses from which to draw upon. These references guide a person’s responses and reactions to every situation. Read More→

Dec
06

Seeing Our Work (No Matter What) As a God-honoring Calling

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We all want our work to have meaning.Bible and coffee

It’s pretty much as simple as that … and has been since time began. Way back in the time when the book of Ecclesiastes was written (many scholars believe it was written in the 3rd century B.C.), the author’s main frustration was that he wanted his work to be meaningful.

So I hated life, because the work that is done under the sun was grievous to me. All of it is meaningless, a chasing after the wind.  I hated all the things I had toiled for under the sun, because I must leave them to the one who comes after me. What do people get for all the toil and anxious striving with which they labor under the sun? All their days their work is grief and pain; even at night their minds do not rest. This too is meaningless.

Ecclesiastes 3:17-18, 22-23

Pretty uplifting stuff, huh?

Since the beginning of time we humans have desired to make a difference in the world. For our work here to COUNT for something. And, whether we know or not, for our work to glorify God. Only then can our work have meaning.

But, what if our work isn’t centered around sharing the gospel. What if we don’t work in a church? Can our work still be a God-honoring calling?

The answer is a resounding yes! Read More→

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Nov
22

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! Read More→

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Oct
28

5 Work-From-Home Ideas For Motivated Writers

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Freelance Article WritingThe professional landscape across the globe is in a transitional period. What was classically viewed as the ideal working situation — driving to an office, doing your 9-to-5, then coming home — isn’t as satisfying or even as practical as it used to be.

Now, the notion of working from home is a lot more appealing to many people. For highly motivated writers, this can be an amazing opportunity; because to write, all you really need is a keyboard attached to a computer, as well as an Internet connection io get assignments and turn in the work.

Here are five ideas that make this concept especially workable, for people who desire to pursue this professional lifestyle.

  1. Create a Blog

A great place to start when you’re shifting to the mode of working from home is to create a blog. There are an almost infinite number of possibilities with regard to how to set it up, what you want to write about, and so on, but the primary thing to keep in mind is that you probably want it to move toward the position of generating income … which either means selling something on your blog, or getting money from advertising.

  1. Look for Contract Work via Central Sites

There are plenty of contract work writing sites that you can scan on a regular basis. People around the world seek to outsource simple writing jobs and even data entry through these sites. Assuming you know the basics of getting around on the computer, you can generate solid income if you work at it.

Legitimate larger companies, or smaller businesses that have a quick need for writing, tend to search for help through these contract sites, so it’s up to you to find the opportunities that match up with your skills and availability.

  1. Scan Social Media for Job Requests

Now more than ever, you can scan social media sites for online writing work as well. Employers are increasingly posting work requests there, too. Also, there is a ton of opportunity for copyeditors to find jobs on business Facebook pages and similar outlets, with easily searchable hashtags as points of interest. Read More→

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Jan
06

Working From Home: Is It Important to Be Liked?

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Rachel Williamson, Business as a Calling bloggerIs It Important to Be LikedDo you like me?

Remember fifth grade when finding out who liked you was s-o-o-oooo important?

Do you remember early school days….when someone ‘liking’ you was a symbol of success?

You were right you know….a great part of being successful is being liked!

Many of us believe that our business should first be about helping people, that how many people ‘like’ you is just being social or shallow or vain somehow.

Not so….

Like is not a popularity contest….like can be as simple as

  • You make me smile
  • You make me feel good
  • You share good things with me
  • You are upbeat
  • You remind me of someone else I like
  • I enjoy hearing from you
  • You appreciate me
  • You share my values

And guess what? People like people who do those things!

So how does that translate to your business? It’s simple really… 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…) Read More→