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Posts tagged ‘United States’

So, What Do You Do?

How many times have you heard this question? It can essentially make or break an introduction, and depending on how you answer, can either peak a person’s interest, or have them look over you to find someone else to try connecting with.


Networking isn’t easy. It’s time consuming, and can be disheartening when your networking is just NOTworking (see what I did there, heheh). A lot of why you may be in a networking rut may have to do with how you begin your conversation.


When someone asks you “What do you do?” How do you normally answer? Do you say, “I’m a commercial real estate agent” or do you say “I assist and consult clients in finding the ideal location for their businesses” ?


Of course, there’s nothing wrong with saying you’re an XYor Z, but there are likely thousands just like you in your area which doesn’t quite differentiate you in the asker’s mind. People will likely also wonder to themselves “Do I need that service?” I know I don’t need a commercial real estate agent, but if I were to hear the description instead of the title, it would instantly get my brain storming to think of the right referral for them-and I would most likely follow through with it as well.


The flipside of this can be just as deadly-telling someone TOO much of what you do. There’s no need to detail every aspect of your business. For example, if you were to visit my Services page, you would find a long list of what my company offers. But, when I’m networking, and someone asks what my company offers, I tell them “We offer office management virtually, we offer bookkeeping, and we offer social media maintenance needs including blogs and newsletters.” Keeping it short, keeps the door open for a possible meeting. That would be the place to expand on your details. Not in the first 30 seconds of meeting someone.


One of the great parts of networking is the referral possibilities, but how can someone refer business your way if you say “Oh, anyone looking to buy a place for their business!” No, people don’t want to have to think -be specific, “I’m looking to connect with those in the medical field who want to branch out and open their own offices or those in health and wellness, wanting to dedicate a space for their clients.” This will help the person you’re talking to think of a possible referral or prospect for you.


Communicating effectively will save you time (and sometimes money) when networking. Make the time you spend connecting with other businesses more efficient and perfect your networking savvy!


Feeling Out Of Joint? Try Deskercising!

So, I’ve talked about how working from home can be hazardous to your health on so many levels, but did you know that working from your desk, regardless of where that desk is located can also be detrimental to your health? We all know to look away from the monitor every 20 minutes to give our eyes a break, and to walk around every hour (if you can squeeze in a 30-1 hour long exercise routine of walking or regular exercise, the benefits are insurmountable).  But what do you do when your neck is stiff as a board, and your back hurts like you’ve been carrying bricks all day?


Workout your kinks with these deskercise routines to avoid pain in your back and neck!


-Raise your arms, and gently pull the elbow towards the opposite shoulder above the head. Count to 5 and repeat on the other side.

-Remaining seated, extend legs and reach towards those toes. Count to 20 and repeat 3 times.


-Hug your knee towards your chest.



Cluttered Office-Cluttered Mind. Organize For Success!

I recently felt like my home office had turned into the family dumping ground. Everyone’s stuff from house bills, to permission slips and homework landed on my office. Because the logical place to put these things are on my OFFICE desk, and not in the area of the kitchen I organized with great detail for all personal items to be placed, right? It’s an uphill battle to get these horses to drink the water I’ve led them to, so I decided it was time to force them into organization. Why? Because my cluttered work space has caused me to slack off-I don’t even want to look at my desk, much less work here. I bought a few things to help my family become more organized and keep my desk clutter free!


I find inspiration in the strangest things. I like to use old glasses and unique items to bring interest to my table so when I look at them I smirk, or at least feel like if Better Homes and Gardens were to do a surprise photo shoot of my office, they’d find it interesting too. I have a gold dachshund tape dispenser from Target, a vintage green goblet that belonged to my late in-laws to hold paper clips and rubber bands, and a mesh metal cup for pens. There’s a really cool gold leaf bowl that holds lotions, hand sanitizers, cards, and other miscellaneous things too. I also bought Nate Berkus push pins that look like the earrings I used to wear in the 80’s. Having these interesting things for my mundane items make me feel creative, and glamorous even if what I’m doing isn’t the most glamorous of jobs.


I have a Threshold double layer organizer that acts as a holding station. One layer is for home, and the other layer is for office. This way, I’m not accidentally handing a pile of papers to my client that has a drawing from my 9 year old stuck in there (not that that’s EVER happened, or anything). Even though I don’t need it yet, I also got a Threshold desk organizer from Target. Having this greatly reduces the possibility of my desk becoming too cluttered. Taking these precautions and using these items makes my desk feel more upscale, and forces my family to put things where they belong (otherwise, they end up on my keyboard, and if that were to happen, I’d truly be on monkey tilt).


Working from home can be a challenge within yourself; finding inspiration and motivation on the daily can be a daunting task. But, when you work from home it makes it easy for the other members of your family to take advantage of your workspace and make it their own as well. Setting clear boundaries by using organizers, and using office products that put a smile on your face will both keep you fresh and creative, and your family behind within the parameters you set.

How To Transition From A Full Time Job To A Full Time Business

I get asked all the time how I got started. I get phone calls from people I don’t know, I get stopped at business events, and I even get questioned when I’m involved in events with my kids. It’s as though what I’ve done is this amazing feat and how could anyone possibly do it? Well, frankly, it’s not that difficult, and I personally don’t see the transition as being that scary; it’s all about how much you want it. When you’re heart and head aren’t in your full time job anymore, it’s pretty easy to transition into your new life. The only issue, which is the biggest issue is money. So, how do you keep your full time job while trying to build what will hopefully become your full time business? Well, that part? That’s not as easy. It’s all about how bad you want it.


Most full time jobs are between 9-5, Monday through Friday. When you’re building your new business, the rest of your time must be committed to creating a solid foundation for that new business. This means researching your new field, your new competition, your new potential clients and their habits, and where you may find a majority of them. For example, Northern Virginia is overflowing with solopreneurs, and my company fully caters to them. I know what they like, who will most likely become a client, and what my competition can do to take away those clients from me (which keeps me on my toes!)


You have to commit to working early in the morning, late at night, and throughout the weekends. Attend as many networking events as you can, and most of all, truly believe in yourself. If you think you can you can, if you think you can’t, you’re right! No truer words were ever spoken, Mr. Ford, and the adage stands true for your business. If you think it will succeed, it will! If you don’t, well…you know the rest.


There was a point when I was working three jobs, falling asleep in front of my laptop, making sure my home was run like a tight ship, and YES it was exhausting, and YES it’s frustrating, and NO there’s never any security, but so long as you love what you do, it will never become a job. Keep your goals realistic and small too, and it won’t become overwhelming either. Remember, “just keep swimming, just keep swimming” and you will eventually get everything you want! So, how do you eat an elephant? You take small bites 🙂


What’s The Difference Between a Virtual Administrator And an In Office Administrator? Get The Scoop Before You Choose.

So, you need an administrator, but aren’t sure which path to choose: virtual or in office? There are many advantages to having an in office assistant; however there’s even more to having a virtual one. Not sure? Feel like you have to have someone right outside your door to make it feel real? Well, let’s take a look at these points, shall we?


  1. Cost:  In order to have an in office assistant, you have to put them on your payroll. Putting someone on your payroll means you pay workman’s comp, holiday, vacation, FUTA, SUTA, SS, and taxes. So, that $15.00 an hour college kid, is actually costing you more like $20.00-$22.00. Then, you have to provide that person with a computer, buy all the software they need, buy the desk and chair, and hope they are committed to working solely on your business for the 20 hours a week you’ve hired them for (which, chances are, you don’t really have 20 hours of admin work, and they end up spending half of that time on Facebook).  All virtual admins come fully equipped, and most are contracted which means no payroll which means no tax nightmares.


  1. Productivity: Touching on that Facebook comment, you have to be sure the person you’ve hired doesn’t get paid for doing nothing. You’ll find quite quickly that you really don’t have that much admin work (unless you’re incredibly unorganized, in which case you should consider an organizer or life coach to help you out). Most virtual admins work 5-10 a week, and since it’s on their time schedule, they only charge for the amount of time they actually work.


  1. Professionalism: Let’s say you look at what a virtual admin charges and you figure “Well, I can get someone to do the same thing for $10.00-you’re not worth that!” Ok, fair enough-however, for $10.00 an hour you’re hiring someone who is likely unskilled and unprofessional otherwise, why would they take such low pay? Someone who is skilled, experienced, and comes equipped with all the technology you need (of which you’re not paying for), and only charges for the hours they work, PLUS do not require holiday or vacation pay to me is a higher profit in the end than the person who sits in your office for a base $10 an hour who you do most of the work for.


  1. Commonality: You are a business owner, and expect those that work for you to have the same level of commitment to your business. But how will you know if an in house assistant cares as much about your business as you do? You can’t. A virtual admin, however, is a business owner as well, and wants you to do well to continue the relationship. It’s a giving circle, of which you can be secure in.


Think about the level of work you have, and the amount of space you have as well. Taking on an administrator for your business is a serious commitment, especially when almost everything can be done virtually. Take the time to research virtual admins, and of course, take a look at my website as well, to learn what a great value a virtual admin can be for your business. Hiring one company to take care of all your business needs so  you can focus on growing your business is the wisest investment you can make:

Do You Need Insurance For Your Home-Based Business?

It seems these days you have to have insurance for everything: there’s car and health; homeowners and rental; business and even pet insurance. You have to make sure your bread and butter-the thing that pays for everything else-is covered tightly and securely by an insurance policy, but where do you start, and what do you consider?

First, you have to ask yourself what you would want to have covered. If you’re a photographer, you would have your cameras and other tools of your trade; a graphic designer, and all your software and computers would have to be covered. It’s important to identify what kind of business you run from your home, who enters your place of business, and what you have that could potentially be broken or stolen.

But, you have business insurance coverage, you say? Well, take a look at your policy and be certain you are covered according to the specifics of your business, not just the generic coverage you generally get with a business insurance package. Also, don’t think that if you don’t have business insurance, that surely your homeowners insurance will cover the costs; most homeowner policies limit loss of business property to $2,500 and don’t cover losses away from the home, and exclude liability coverage for business related activity.

  • There are three different types of insurance. To determine which you need you must ask yourself the following:
  • How much would it cost me to replace all my equipment?
  • How often do I take my laptop and cellphone out to meet with a client?
  • How often do clients meet me at home?
  • How often are there business deliveries to my home?
  • Do the products I sell have the potential to harm or cause someone to claim harm?
  • What would happen to my business if I were temporarily displaced from my home?


Types Of Insurance:

  1. Business Owner’s Policy: This includes both liability and property damage coverage, and also provides some off-premises coverage. Things like flood protection or insurance for outdoor signs are optional.
  2. Home Office Policy-this policy combines homeowners and business insurance, eliminating duplicate coverage or gaps.  It also covers general business liability, lost income and ongoing expenses like payroll for up to one year if your business can’t operate due to damage to your home. Loss of records, accounts receivable, and even some off-site business property, fire theft and personal liability are also covered.  Flood insurance is, again, optional.
  3. Business Pursuits Endorsement: This is part of your homeowner’s policy and offers the least amount of protection. Not recommended if you have costly equipment or if you have any onsite visits.

Of course, be smart about your business, and be smart about your insurance. Choose the one that fits best for you, and take the necessary precautions to keep from ever having to use it.


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