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www.paperlessentrepreneur.com

Paperless Entrepreneur is brought to you by VMF Ltd. - www.VMFLtd.com & www.VirtualAssistant-Live.com


contents

www.PaperlessEntrepreneur.com

3| Editor’s Letter

4| Paperless Entrepreneur

16

6| the Google Apps Guide for small business

12| the Secret Diary

of an entreprenuer’s dream

6

14| why SpiderOak’s Solution inspires serious confidence

16| Location Independence

is it time to make it permanent?

22| Facebook Ads demystifyed

24| Paperless Pins by Pinterest

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paperless office

work environment in which the use of paper is eliminated or greatly reduced. This is done by converting documents and other papers into digital form. Proponents claim that “going paperless” can save money, boost productivity, save space, make documentation and information sharing easier, keep personal information more secure, and help the environment. The “A

is a

concept can also be extended to communications

outside the office.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paperless

entrepreneur

owner or manager of a business enterprise who makes money through risk and initiative. The term was originally a loanword from French and was first defined by the IrishFrench economist Richard Cantillon. Entrepreneur in English is a term applied to a person who is willing to help launch a new venture or enterprise and accept full responsibility for the outcome.” “An

is an

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Entrepreneur


editor’s

Letter Welcome to Paperless Entrepreneur

“Paperless Entrepreneur” is my contribution to the Online Business World, based on my sheer love for it. Specifically, in this magazine, I am speaking to anyone looking to create a completely mobile lifestyle and business. I’m sitting here right now writing this from an apartment in Italy, overlooking the rolling hills of the Italian countryside... Why? Well, when my husband and I were sitting outside a small villa in Spain one night with a glass of Rioja, we said, “It’s time to move on”... “Where shall we go next?”... “Let’s try Italy”... and here I am. This is a completely obtainable lifestyle when you have a paperless online business.

The Introduction By Michelle Dale

So - Wow... Where do I begin? I am Michelle Dale - I was born in England in 1981, and I stayed there for the first 23 years of my life. If you’re interested in learning more about my endeavours and my travels, you can visit www.MichelleDale.me. I am what you call ‘Nomadic’ - I haven’t had a place to call home since 2005, I have been living country to country, working online as a ‘Digital Nomad’ and I have discovered that this life is one which is fairly sought after, and I can of course understand why... As I mentioned before, I’m sitting here writing this Editors Letter from Italy, where I have been since August 2011. The next editors letter for this magazine, I’ll be writing from Crete. I go wherever I want to live, and that’s only the beginning of my story...

But let’s get back to business. In 2005, with only a laptop and an Internet connection, in Egypt, I began creating my online services business, “Virtual Miss Friday.” With the Internet and an 11inch screen, I learnt how to set up, run, and market a business entirely online. No paper, means no ties, and a degree of freedom which is difficult to convey.

Dedication to progress. It’s now 2012, and here we are, the first edition of the first magazine I have ever published in my 30 years on this planet. There have been several ups and downs to this project, some concerns, some worries about whether this would be a silly investment of time and money, or a positive way of making a difference to the lives of entrepreneurs who want to live the kind of life I have been embracing since 2005. I mean, why would I want to embark into a project which would drain my resources, in every sense of the word for, in a word, nothing - if it didn’t happen to “work?” We all ask ourselves this question as business owners -- that’s why some of us will always hold ourselves back, and listen to other people who are telling us we must be a bit mad to live our dreams. Do you want to know what the conclusion always was, for me, throughout my own entrepreneurial journey -- it’s the same conclusion I have always come to in everything I do in my life -- and in my business. If I don’t try, I’ll never know if this is something I am capable of. And if I never know, I will never discover how far it could have been taken, the possibilities are there, but the outcome has not yet been realised... So there you have it, how could I ever back down on myself, and the idea that Paperless Entrepreneur could be a resounding success? I can’t. Never back down on yourself, on something you believe in. Money can always be made, but time gone by can never be relived.

And So It Begins... So here we are with my first edition, and I AM SO EXCITED!!! With the wonderful contributions from the amazing individuals in my online service provider members site, “The VA Passport,” and some awesome online entrepreneurs and digital nomads, we all have the possibility of coming together and doing something really amazing, which will help people on a global scale, from all walks of life. I also of course have the possibility of failing miserably, nobody liking the Magazine and then I am left falling flat on my face, which is also fine too.

Why? Because at the end of the day, at least I can say I tried. And this is what you’ll see a lot of from me, encouragement to fulfil your dreams, exceed your goals, reach for the stars, and occasionally, a boost to pick yourself up after you’ve taken a fall. You just have to TRY! Business is not that easy, becoming paperless is not that easy, travelling the world with a family is not that easy - but reading this magazine will be, and the more you read from this magazine, or from any of my sites, or content I produce, the more potential you’ll have to take the leap of faith into a new life! Somebody always has to make the journey first, they pave the way, learn the danger spots, find the twists and turns, stumble and then learn how to overcome the challenges before they get to the other side. When it comes to online business as a service, I am one of these people. If you have the desire to become a paperless, mobile entrepreneur, then I have the “energy and the will” to try and help you make that happen. So as we embark on the first issue of this magazine, I ask you to please provide me with as much feedback as you can, as many comments as you can, and help me improve wherever I can - to bring you not just what you want, but what you truly need. Please make the most of this magazine wherever you can. I made it for you...

Thank you so much for your support -goodbye paper, hello freedom! Please share this magazine with anyone and everyone you can. How to Share: You can share this link through social media: http://www.PaperlessEntrepreneur.com You can use the share options from within the magazine. You can invite friends and colleagues to our LinkedIn Group. You can embed this Magazine on your website or blog. You can add this Magazine to your blogroll: http://www.PaperlessEntrepreneur.com

Please support this magazine wherever you can. How to Provide Feedback:

You can join the LinkedIn Group and post. You can email: info@virtualassistant-live.com You can leave a comment on my Facebook Wall: MichelleOnFacebook.me You can Tweet me on: MichelleOnTwitter.me or my company on: @VMFLtd You can leave a comment on the Blog Post. http://www.VirtualAssistant-Live.com/PEM


“I love being a writer. What I can’t stand is the paperwork.” ~ Peter De Vries

Quick Tip!

Not everyone in the consumer world has cottoned on to the fact that digital signatures are "happening." On occasion we might receive requests for signing and sending documents back via post or fax. Here is a quick tip for how you can handle those tasks - Paperless! Step 1 - Write your signature. Step 2 - Scan it into your computer.

Check Out “Developing Real Skills For Virtual Teams” from MBA@UNC. Courtesy of Harrison Kratz, Community Manager, MBA@UNC who recently contacted me... “I am the Community Manager for MBA@UNC, the University of North Carolina’s online mba program. Our team of career experts at the Kenan-Flagler business school recently created a white paper focused on developing skills for virtual teams. I wanted to share this with you because I’ve used your site as a resource in the past and I thought that this white paper would be a valuable piece of information for your community. If you are in fact interested in the topic of managing virtual teams, please feel free to share this white paper.” Direct PDF Download. Enjoy!

Michelle Dale.

Step 3 - A  sk your Virtual Assistant or a Graphic Designer to create an image of your signature with a transparent background. When you receive documents via email, instead of printing them off, signing them and sending them back - (or scanning them and then faxing them), you (or your online assistant) could instead simply add the graphic of your signature to the PDF or image, to the PDF or image, then eFax it back. Simple!

Paperless Entrepreneurs LOVE Paperless Post Staying in touch with clients, customer and colleagues has traditionally involved greetings cards and marketing materials. Say what you need to say the paperless way! PaperlessPost.com is an online service that allows you to send greeting cards, invitations and even tickets to events right from your computer. Cost effective, quick, and safer for the environment. Paperless Post say, “Paperless Post’s invitations and announcements have the beauty and thoughtfulness of traditional cardstock, with the convenience and accessibility of today. Additionally, in a world of environmental consciousness, every piece of paper mail squanders energy and trees. Go Paperless. It’s sustainable and convenient. Your other mother (Earth) will approve.” Paperless Post are redefining the traditional paper stationery online - perfect for Paperless Entrepreneurs.

“The first step in getting to a paperless society is getting rid of the lawyers.” ~ Carl Stoddard

Paperless entrepreneur/ April, 2012

5


The

Google Apps Guide

for small business By Michelle Dale

T

he gloves are really starting to come off in the battle between online communications giants Google and Microsoft. It’s been no secret that Google is going after the supremacy of Microsoft in the world of productivity and communications tools, challenging such stalwarts as Office and Exchange in the larger corporate environment. In what may be one of the biggest achievements for Google in this frenetic battle we learn of an evident agreement by the world’s biggest auto manufacturer General Motors to provide access to Google Apps for more than 100,000 of their employees. Google Apps is still a relatively small but growing part of that company’s massive empire and adoption by General Motors would certainly mark a milestone in its development. In the meantime the solution is attracting a lot of interest from independent entrepreneurs and small business owners. Let’s have a look at what it’s all about.

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O

nce upon a time, Google developed a cutting-edge e-mail programme called, not surprisingly, Gmail. This essentially formed the foundation for what has now become Google Apps. In its most basic iteration, Google Apps can be completely free to use, but it is never really expensive even at $50 per user per year, if you want to access the full power of Google Apps for Business. These kinds of solutions should really be of interest to small business owners and entrepreneurs because they use the undoubted advantage of cloud-based computing. In short, you don’t need to worry about software development, hosting and accessibility problems, as you and all your employees, outsourcers and all other collaborators can access all the tools and solutions through a simple Web browser. Gmail can be configured to function as your business e-mail client through your existing domain name, so you don’t have to worry about having a generic “@gmail.com” address. Once it’s set up one of the main advantages is that downloaded messages are held at a single cloud location, rather than on the hard drive. You can sync numerous devices and always have access to e-mail, from wherever you are. Here is a big benefit associated with Gmail. Conversations are essentially threaded, meaning that you don’t have to hunt back and forth to find related e-mails on the same subject. Typically complex and multiple party conversations are tightly held together in a thread. There’s also a chat feature built right into the interface and you can use the undoubted power of this company’s very advanced search engine to trace references to particular subjects or issues within any e-mail conversation, no matter how old.

Let’s look at how Google Apps is taking the battle to Microsoft Office.

D

ocs is the cloud-based suite for all of your donkey work. Anything that you might have ordinarily expected to use Word for, using spreadsheets, presentations and word processing tools can be done here and once again accessed through a Web browser. With all the data stored in the cloud and accessible to whomever needs to access it, you no longer have to worry about sending e-mails back and forth to outsourcers or virtual assistants, with various files that need to “be worked on.” Content can always be kept up-to-date and confusion can be averted due to streamlined document sharing and ultimate collaboration options.

Many small business owners use Google Docs as their daily project management and collaboration tool. So long as you always make sure that everything is kept neatly and tidily by creating folders to keep work organised professionally, you can use this tool as your daily workflow engine, to great effect. Inside of Google spreadsheets you have the option to create various customisable forms which can then be published as webpages, sent via e-mail or embedded within documents. This can be great for collecting data, registrations and when information is input via these forms it’s automatically updated within the relevant spreadsheet. You won’t come across any problems when it comes to working with the traditional file formats of old. In other words, all those Word formats such as xls, ppt and doc work seamlessly, enabling you to import, export and publish with ease. Calendar is a great way to ensure that important events and appointments are coordinated and kept “in sync” for your business. There’s nothing worse than having to go back and forth between various individuals to see who’s available for a certain meeting at a certain time. There is also nothing worse than finding out that an important meeting has been missed or a deadline overlooked because two people didn’t concur and confirm accordingly. Various individual calendars can be synced and coordinated with one master calendar to ensure that none of this ever happens. (continued on page 8)

Paperless entrepreneur/ April, 2012

7


Google Apps Guide

for small business

(continued from page 7)

I

f you’re looking for something even more dynamic, what about Google Sites? Here you can integrate data from various Google Apps and add-ons into dynamic sites and pages. Now, complex projects can be co-ordinated and all relevant individuals can be brought into the loop. The Sites App is based on a simple WYSIWYG editor and you can integrate information from spreadsheets with appropriate deadlines from within your calendar and ensure that threaded messages brought in from Gmail keep everyone informed. Use this as an internal informational or functional tool, or even as an outward facing website accessible to the general public or specific, interested parties. If you’ve got something really complicated going on and want to have your own internalised forum, Groups is for you. This can be a centralised think tank or discussion forum where you can collect ideas and share documents appropriate to the specific task in hand. This can be particularly handy when working on a “time sensitive” or very dynamic project that requires the active participation of a number of individuals in order to bring everything to fruition. Google Talk is an instant messaging tool that’s embedded within this suite of solutions. Nothing could be simpler as people from within your team can chat with each other right from their mail inbox either via simple audio or through video as well. Just imagine how useful this could be if you’re working on something which is particularly time pressing. You simply cannot wait for the normal course of an e-mail conversation to run and you may not want to have to rely on an external provider such as Skype, as these options can sometimes provide additional distractions or complications that you just don’t want to have to deal with.

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Google Apps Guide

G

oogle Video for business is another solution that we should all consider. Like it or not, video communication is becoming an integral and important part of every business and here all your, potentially large, video files are hosted securely by Google and can be accessed as and when required. No more having to worry about how to transfer a file and the difficulties associated with uploading and downloading large files sizes. Remember also that there are a number of other familiar and important Google applications that you can integrate here. Reader is a way to keep in touch with the latest developments in your industry or niche through organised display of various RSS feeds. You simply cannot afford to miss some news that is breaking these days and may need to curate a response with other team members, all handled through your centralised Google Apps solution. All in all, a powerful package of solutions for a very reasonable outlay. The company maintains that they have a 99.9% uptime guarantee and they use industry-standard security capability to ensure that everything is safe in the cloud. Furthermore, there is a whole new ecosystem of thirdparty solutions, based around the provision of Apps that coordinate and dovetail. Here you will find Apps dedicated to project management, education, CRM, accounting and an amazing array of solutions, all of which can be accessed very simply through a Google Apps account.



For example, Survey Monkey enables you to use a variety of established polling and questionnaire tools.

 

A free tool called Short Links enables you to provide links that are far more professional and relevant than those provided by other well-established link shortening services.

 

If you’ve still got a hankering for the good old days of Microsoft Office and are not sure whether you could sever your umbilical cord, you might be interested in OffiSync. If you really need to work within Excel or Word to take advantage of some of the admittedly more powerful features there, you can still do so and when you save such files this particular App automatically syncs into your Google Apps space.

I

n summary, it’s amazing just how many of the individual Google applications you may already use. It makes a lot of sense to bring everything together under one umbrella as it were from a stability, accessibility and security perspective. Remember that all members of your team are automatically “in sync” when it comes to communication and collaboration and that access to Google Apps for Business is relatively easy and cost-effective. It’s not surprising to see that organisations such as GM are beginning to provide major endorsements for this New Age approach, nor is it difficult to see why Google Apps is rapidly securing an ever-larger percentage of the market share, globally.

Are you using Google Apps yet?

Get Google Apps FREE

Paperless entrepreneur/ April, 2012

9


The Virtually Anywhere Roadmap HOW TO BECOME

A WORLD-CLASS ONLINE SERVICE PROVIDER

www.TheVARoadmap.com


The Complete Guide To Setting Up A Successful Online Services Business for the aspiring or more seasoned :

Freelancers Digital Nomads Online Business Managers Online Consultants Virtual Assistants

Whatever You Want To Be. Wherever You Want To Be It. 100% Paperless.

Paperless entrepreneur/ April, 2012

11


The Secret Diary Entrepreneur’s Dream

– a tongue in cheek diary of learning the art of world domination. Part I. By Maxine Fack

Sunny walked into the bare office. Single phone on the floor. Laptop in hand. Empty and echoing. It had taken quite some balls to hand in her notice from a good job and start again on her own, but somehow she had become disillusioned with working herself to death for somebody else and taking the rap with her clients for somebody else’s shoddy customer care. Time to pick yourself up girl and prove you can do it better. The phone rings and she stares at it…. it can’t be for me. Nobody knows about me. Tentatively picking it up a strident voice says, “Hello, is that Optimum? I need to speak to Sunny, a mate of mine referred me. I gather you know what you’re talking about.”

10 years later with an office staff of over 40 personnel and over 300 consultants out on client sites, £100 million turnover, the ambulance arrives. Sunny faded into the dark abyss hardly caring whether she lived or died. The pain and the fits made the darkness of morphine induced stupor and the beep of life support machines, welcoming. Only the love for her new husband and her small son kept her from climbing those “golden stairs” to eternal peace. Still just clinging onto something to fight for. The day had finally come, liquidators had left for the moment and a new horizon loomed in front of Sunny. “There must be millions of people in my position. Everything I have worked for and made so

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successful, in tatters. If only I hadn’t taken my eye off the ball, if only I had been better, stronger. If only I had recruited more wisely. IF ONLY…………….” Then she ponders again. She had been sick of the constant pressure and total responsibility. (She had always been a great believer in “the buck stops here” and “you can’t run and you can’t hide.”) She was sick of the long hours, she had never refused to take a call even in the dead of night. She was sick of the long commute and regular treks around the country to give clients the kind of customer care that they really should demand. She was sick of the constant arguments over bonuses and cars and appraisals amongst her employees; didn’t they realize that the customer came first? Why couldn’t they be as dedicated as she, after all she led by example. “Why did I get stuck with managing the accounts staff, the admin function, the IT ‘pointy heads’ personally? (Maybe because nobody else was capable and nobody else wanted to do it.) I never got to do what I enjoyed any more. I never got to do what I was really good at.” Sunny mused, “Why did I do it in the first place? Where did my passion go? What happened to my reason to believe? The things that made people believe in me.” She suddenly realized that she needed a drink to drown her sorrows. Maybe a little too much of that recently but she would cut down tomorrow. She would look for a job or something, to take her mind off the humiliation of failure. After checking out the wine rack (getting a bit low – note to self, “Maybe an economy drive - more bottles of cheaper wine may be in order to get me through this.”) She pondered the lessons learned...


Morning dawned and so did a new Sunny. It always made the world seem real getting up at 7.00 to feed the kids and get them to school. Sunny put her brain into family mode – laid back, tolerant, good cook and general all round nice fun person. Dropped the kids at school and lit a fag. She didn’t normally smoke in the car because the kids might cotton on but with the window open wide, even though the rain was whipping at her face maybe they wouldn’t notice by 4pm. When she got home she was greeted with an embrace, sweeping her off her feet, twirling her around the kitchen, then gently snuggling her into his arms with a kiss. Her wonderful, loving and supportive husband. Sunny wondered at how tolerant he had been throughout the last few months. How much he believed in her. She had spent her time recently helping him, unofficially and unpaid, with his own business. He had been overworked. Under pressure. Forced to carry out many functions and be “jack of all trades and master of none.” With Sunny’s help he had started to clear the decks and return to the marketing function that he enjoyed and was essential to grow the business. Sunny made coffee for both of them and suddenly felt humble to have such a great family. She started to re-evaluate. “What a lot I have learned. How to make it go right and how to let it go wrong. There must be loads of people who I could help with the benefit of my experience! (Maybe it’s time to stop doing the school run in my jimjams and find all those people that need a helping hand...)”

tbc

featured author

Maxine Fack Maxine Fack has personal experience of growing her own businesses from “one woman and an idea” to multi-million pound turnover; she now specialises in assisting and developing small and medium businesses.

www. businessassistuk.co.uk

Paperless entrepreneur/ April, 2012

13


Why SpiderOak’s Solution Inspires

Serious

Confidence By Michelle Dale

F

lexibility is the name of the game today for the executive. These are tumultuous times within virtually any business environment. In many respects the corporate world is reshaping itself as part of the economic “recovery” and there’s been a quantum shift in the mindset of consumers. To all intents and purposes we are all learning a new way of doing business, especially in light of the equally as tumultuous changes in the way that we communicate. The executive today has to be fleet of foot, able to understand what’s happening and know exactly how to modify a particular approach in the face of new information. In short, he or she needs to be flexible. You can’t hope to succeed if you don’t have the ability to master all the information relevant to the project under your control and have access to all the relevant files, no matter what medium you’re focusing on at that moment.

T

his is why it is essential for the executive to have access to an online solution that not only seeks to secure information first and foremost, but acts as a file sharing service, an automatic backup and a remote file access solution all rolled into one. Just such a solution is SpiderOak. This solution is rapidly becoming the de facto choice for the corporate executive, due to its flexibility, accessibility and undoubted focus on extremely tight security. What sets SpiderOak apart from the many other competitors in the marketplace? Let’s look at some of the individual parameters.

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D

ealing with security, which is undoubtedly the first consideration here, all the data is encrypted locally on the computer you’re working on before it is sent “into the cloud” to SpiderOak. The company promotes what they call a “zero knowledge” policy meaning that nobody at their organisation can gain access to your files or even the filenames. This encryption is so secure that you - and you alone - have access to the master password, or “key.” These days it’s not uncommon for the executive to work from time to time with a variety of different platforms. This particular software runs and behaves similarly on the three major platforms – Windows, Mac and Linux.

O

nce it has been configured, the software can be set up to automatically back up folders at a specific time. Also, it can regularly scan each relevant computer to look for changes and ensure that those particular changes are backed up. Now let’s look at collaboration, another important asset for the executive today. Sharing is very simple. All you need to do is create a unique share ID and open up a new “Shared Room.” Others with whom you wish to collaborate can then access that room and view the shared folders accordingly. The beauty of storing all your information in the cloud is that it is of course easy to access from any Web browser simply by entering your username and password at the SpiderOak site, in addition to your “key.”

W

hilst there are free versions of the software available with a limited amount of storage space attached, most business users will opt for the very affordable “plus” account. Here you are allowed 100 GB of space for just $10 per month or $100 per year and after that pricing goes up at $10 per 100 GB increments. However, you can back up several different computers within this pricing philosophy and may find that you’re able to encompass all of this within that 100 GB limit.

I

t’s great to be able to synchronize all your various devices and systems intuitively. The ability to automatically back up designated folders and files is of great interest within any dynamic operation, where information is constantly being updated and may be modified by a number of different individuals on an ongoing basis. Furthermore, backup and synchronization time is very streamlined through a quite advanced compression solution and by using a similarly advanced de-duplication trigger. You won’t be paying for duplicated data stored on the server and you’re only paying for the space taken up by the compressed data. There are a number of fail-safe options built in to the solution as well. For example, files that have been deleted are routinely stored in their “recycle bin.” We’ve all accidentally deleted the odd file before, haven’t we? Also, you can access the complete version history for every file according to a date stamp, once again should you need to refer to a particular version at some time in the future.

SpiderOak is undoubtedly one of the most comprehensive solutions available and their approach to the challenge inspires serious confidence, right from the start. Paperless entrepreneur/ April, 2012

15


Location

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independence

Is It Time To Make It Permanent? by Hannah Vallance

W

hen it comes to being ‘location independent’ there are plenty of different ways of blending travel and work into everyday life. For many people the prospect of living without a base or everyday ‘things’ can seem a bit daunting, but with a creative approach there’s usually a workable middle ground to fit most personal circumstances. Perhaps location independence doesn’t have to involve selling all your possessions and disappearing over the horizon in the manner of an over-sized snail after all. But despite the range of different approaches to this lifestyle, is being permanently nomadic actually the best way to successfully balance travel and business?

Our way. We’ve evolved our own compromise over the last 5 years which allows us to enjoy both time at ‘home’ in the UK and months in a variety of far flung locations. We’ve set up our business so we can take it on the road at a drop of a hat. Whether we are going for 3 days or 3 months the process is the same (read full article here). It means we can be exploring the mountains in Utah one month and hosting a networking event in Essex the next; snorkelling at sunset in Indonesia one week and attending a family birthday bash in the UK days later.

It’s always seemed the perfect solution to mix the unexpected and the excitement of running our business overseas with periods of suburban predictability. We’ve had a foot in both camps and it’s been a winning formula. Up until recently at least.

Falling into a nomadic lifestyle. We never set out to become ‘digital nomads.’ Within three weeks of my husband Chris quitting his job to help me out with a blossoming web-based business we had taken our first ‘working holiday.’ We suspected that if we could be building a business from our spare room we could do it from anywhere. We didn’t have a template, we didn’t know a soul who had ever contemplated such a novel idea but we were cautious; if it’s that easy, why aren’t more people doing it? We knew we had a big launch coming up so couldn’t justify taking a holiday at that point. That dilemma turned out to be a real blessing; it opened our minds to the possibility that work and travel could comfortably coexist. It wasn’t conventional but no one was watching. We found an off season country cottage in France with broadband, took a laptop and headed off to enjoy life in the sun (continued on page 18)

Paperless entrepreneur/ April, 2012

17


Location independence Is It Time To Make It Permanent? (Continued from page 17)

{

So it really is the best of both worlds. Or is it? Having it all, or too little of anything?

Like mothers who juggle 12 hour days in the office whilst still fitting in baking treats for their well adjusted children, maybe this balancing act is harder to achieve than it looks. Maybe having it all is hard to sustain long term.

Home sweet home.

The drawbacks of being a temporary nomad.

So what have been the advantages of a parttime approach to location independence? The biggest plus has been the comforting knowledge that after months of living in someone else’s house or renting a holiday home, we can come back to our own. It’s a novelty to take a trip to IKEA for some unnecessary knick-knacks or plant flowers on our balcony in spring. Professionally, coming home gives us the opportunity to crank up the consultancy side of our business with client meetings and hosted events. Personally, a spell in the UK eases any guilt or homesickness we might feel about being away

Apart from the credibility issue of our friends and family suspecting that we have actually retired and just swan about taking a lot of holidays (!), the main drawback to a part time approach is the cost. When our regular home exchanges comes off, it’s perfect. We have stayed in beautiful homes all over the world and would happily continue to do this - if there were enough options. The problem is, as frequent as the offers are in the summer, come winter time the offers dry up! Apart from a few Australians who recklessly decide they would like to experience a UK winter, the opportunities are

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thin on the ground. This means if we want to swap the drabness of the UK in November, we need to rent. And the expense of that really adds up when you are also paying a mortgage on your home. As the frequency of trips increases, in some respects so does the stress. Taking the business on the road is actually the least of our issues as the processes we have evolved are pretty seamless. But anyone who regularly has to pack and unpack, plan routes, arrange transfers, coordinate journeys and get over jet lag all without the context of staying on top of the business at all times (and there are always glitches of some sort!) knows that this isn’t the fun part. Whoever said, ‘it’s not about the destination, it’s the journey that matters’ clearly wasn’t a regular traveller.

{

{

What started out as an opportunistic jaunt quickly took on a life of its own. Since then we’ve worked in Guatemala to Geneva, Iceland to Australia, experiencing Mayan temples and swimming with turtles, mountain hiking and midnight kayaking in our time off. We often stay in new countries for as long as the visas will stretch, away from home for both weeks and month at a time.

from family for too long and allows us to share at least some special occasions with friends.

{

for a few weeks. We felt like we were playing truant from school. Except we weren’t, we were working. We just happened to be doing it in a place with a beautiful private swimming pool, lovely local fresh food markets, where we could barbecue every night and drink cheap French wine as the sun set over the hills.

In some respects the temporary nomadic lifestyle can almost be MORE nomadic than a permanent one.


As much as we miss home and relish our return when we have been away for a while, it doesn’t take too long before our feet start to itch again and opportunities for further adventure become harder to resist. And for every break away (of a month to three) there is a huge amount of organisation. Home exchanges need to be sourced, rental options need to be researched and negotiations carried out. Taking another flight every few weeks can put a big dent in your time, from tracking best deals to time spent in transit. Last year we took a ‘proper’ holiday with friends for a week in a Greek villa (of course we still took our laptops and had ensured WiFi was available indoors and out!) With the length of the flight, transfers and time spent settling in, only to turn round and come back again a few short days later we vowed never to go away for such a short time again. Having just come back from a 3 week trip to the US and have found ourselves saying the same. What will we consider the optimum duration for a trip by a few months from now?

the concern; interestingly, it’s the stresses and strains on us.

Building a more stable life somewhere else. One of our biggest concerns about a more permanent nomadic lifestyle is the thought that we can’t just return ‘home’ whenever we choose; that our home would be wherever we are, and what if it wasn’t as nice as the one we had left behind? The solution to that must be to put similar efforts as we spent finding 6 homes in 6 new locations over a year into finding two homes which we can be happy in for 6 months or so at a time. Somewhere we can put down some roots, where we can build connections and special places somewhere we will be for long enough that our friends and family can come and visit us - not a rushed, fleeting visit in between destinations but a relaxing, sun-filled break where we can all unwind and enjoy the pace together. (continued on page 20)

Perhaps a more permanent approach to location independence would, ironically, give us more stability. Maybe a temporary approach is a great way to break the ice, but realistically, it’s just not sustainable long term. But it isn’t the impact on the business that’s

Paperless entrepreneur/ April, 2012

19


Location independence Is It Time To Make It Permanent?

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(continued from page 19)

Maybe it’s time to try a new approach? After all, nothing is forever.

Irrespective of how long you go for, what does it take to make business truly mobile? We all get that a laptop was designed to be portable (even though most remain stubbornly static!) So when you decide to up sticks and head towards the sunshine or the mountains, what do you need to do to make sure your business isn’t going to go belly up in the process?

When you take your work away with you, you can go for months rather than weeks. You do get to switch off and enjoy your new surroundings, although you probably won’t really be fully ‘unplugged’ for any length of time. Given that most of us find it hard to unwind or even want to forget work entirely anyway (especially when it’s OUR business) the trade off seems pretty fair. In the same way you have to prepare yourself for a trip, you also need to prepare your business. As surprising as it might seem, this can be achieved with little more hassle than the packing for a ‘normal’ holiday entails, particularly when you have established a system around what you can and can’t do without.

Taking your business on the road. The main thing to remind yourself of is that you aren’t leaving your work behind; it’s coming with you! That can actually be a tough one to get your head round when tradition has always dictated that when you dust off your passport, you’d usually expect to put away your cares and responsibilities for a week or so. (The theory being that this frantic rush to get everything done before you go, followed by the growing sense of gloom as your trip nears an end is somehow meant to be a sufficiently relaxing reward for a year of hard work!)

Here are five essential areas which will keep your business travelling when you do:

1

20

Make sure that a strong Internet connection is going to be available wherever you go.

Making sure that where you’re going to be staying has high speed WiFi is obvious; but what about those times when you are out and about but don’t want to tie in to a local phone contract for your mobile and data signal?

Paperless entrepreneur/ April, 2012

There are handy backup devices available such as an external modem or ‘Internet dongle’ which mean that you are never without WiFi. Whether you are out hiking local trails or sat at the beach you can switch on your own Internet ‘bubble’ which means you and anyone sat near to you can access the Internet without needing a traditional WiFi facility. All you need is the gadget, a local SIM card and a mobile data signal (you can even research if there are any mobile service ‘dead spots’ for this signal before you go out if it’s really essential you get connected in the field!

2

Make sure your clients can reach you (even when they don’t know where you are!)

Set up a phone service which directs calls to your Skype account to make sure you can respond to clients wherever you are. This number can be generic to your home country, for instance, we have a London code number so clients can reach us expecting that we are in London, when really we can be anywhere. A drawback of this can be if the time zone limits how often we are awake when clients are, but a decent answer phone message, or even a VA to log in to your account and field calls during those hours are workable solutions. It’s a very inexpensive way of staying in touch.


3

Extra support.

4

Take the right ‘stuff.’

5

Even if it’s only for a couple of hours a week, a VA who understands your business and can jump in and deal with any issues which crop up is invaluable. Plenty of VA’s are prepared to troubleshoot and stay up-to-date, and it will give you peace of mind to know that there is a presence in your business even if you go off radar temporarily.

It depends on your business what you might need, but on the road you will need an awful lot less than you do in your usual office. When it comes to actually carrying it, you’ll be surprised how little you find you need. So forget staplers, ring binders and printers - you’ll probably only need a set of Skype headphones, a note pad, a couple of highlighter pens, an external mouse (if you prefer this to a touch pad), chargers and power supplies, your laptop, a smart phone, memory sticks, your Internet dongle and plug adapters. If you need printing, you’ll find a local shop. Same goes for faxing, scanning, posting, couriering. It’s amazing the resources you will find when you need to look.

Accessing your files.

You may have some ‘paper based’ information you’ll want to take but mainly you will need to be able to get your hands on electronic information wherever you are. There are all sorts of ‘cloud based’ or more advanced solutions for being able to safely store, back up, access and file essential information at a very reasonable cost. Our preferred choice is SOS online backup which can back up all your files from all the devices you use including an iPad plus these can be easily accessed and shared via the Internet. None of these processes are overly complex or time consuming once you have developed your own systems. And whether you are taking your office on the road permanently or making a more temporary move, the requirements will be almost identical.

Hannah Vallance www.loveplaywork.com

Hannah Vallance from Loveplaywork is a location independent Psychologist and dedicated traveller. With her husband she runs Loveplaywork.com and other (slightly less fun!) businesses from both home and overseas. To get a copy of their best advice and unusual strategies, head over to www.loveplaywork.com for a free copy of “7 Refreshing GetThere-Quick Shortcuts for Creating your own Internet Lifestyle.” http://www.vcaltd.co.uk/ www.loveplaywork.com


Facebook Ads Demystified by Alicia Rittenhouse

Facebook Ads are something you may not be aware of but you have probably seen them many times on the side of Facebook. Did you know that you can create your own targeted ad and very affordably too? Let’s face it; everyone has ideal clients that hang out on Facebook. Probably some who spend hours every week! You may not realize that even your low budget can afford Facebook advertisements that can lead to increasing your list and greater sales.

I am about to demystify Facebook Ads for you! 22

Paperless entrepreneur/ April, 2012

Alicia Rittenhouse

Tech Cheerleader + Digital Diva As the “Empress of Online Empires,” she’s a trend-spotting tech-junkie with a talent for unpacking digital mysteries into simple steps even non-geeks can master. She’s on a mission: to activate a new generation of tech-powered trailblazers--women who bust stereotypes, break glass ceilings, build six-figure empires from their living room sofas, and show the world who’s boss. Geek Out with Ali at www.aliciarittenhouse.com.


Facebook Ads Demystified A

ds are small on Facebook so you must be creative in targeting your audience. You have a small image and approximately 125 characters to captivate them and pull them in. There are 5 different sections of the ads. Each section is equally as important as the others so give them all strategic planning:

1. 2. 3. 4. 5.

Audience Headline Picture Copy Time/Day

the Audience

As I mentioned, each area is important but without this one – you have nothing! You must know who your audience is and whom you are targeting with the ad. Facebook gives you options to target the exact person you wish to reach. What if you are a wedding planner in Australia who wants to reach a wider audience? You can set your targeted demographics to reach women who are age 22-35 who live within 200 miles and are engaged! That’s a pretty narrow target market for your ad to appear for!

You must think of: · Where do they live – what is their time and location? · Are they male or female or both? · What is their age? · An interest or two that they have. · Are they a fan of your page? You can target only fans!

The Headline

This is in bold and will probably be the first thing that they may read and what grabs their attention. There is a 25 character limit so make this one count! This is the first area of appeal when trying to reach your readers.

The image

Give this a lot of thought and try a couple different options. You will want to resize your image before uploading to Facebook so you know what you are working with. The dimensions of the image are 110 x 80 pixels. You want to

by Alicia Rittenhouse

grab their attention with the image, and then they will go to the headline and then the copy. Images work best when they contrast the colors of Facebook. Something that is bright and stands out is what you want. Avoid using images that have zero relevancy for the ad. You also do not want to use images that could be deemed as spammy! Make it dramatic but not too busy. Do use logos for brand recognition! You can add a colorful border to add a pop of color to the image - this will help it stand out from the rest of the ads!

the copy

When creating your copy, there are a few things you must make sure to do. You must tell them exactly what to do in your ad. You also must make your message very clear and simple! Identify their problem with your ad copy. You only have 135 characters to use, so again, make it count. You have gotten their attention from the headline and image, now is the time to get them to click to find out what solution you have for them! It is great to ask a question in your copy. People will answer them in their heads. Don’t forget to include some energy in your copy too! You need their attention!

test! Now that you understand the different parts of the ads, here is the most seriously important piece of the puzzle. Do you do this in your marketing? Did you know you actually should do this with everything you offer? Every aspect of Facebook Ads should be tested as well.

The Picture The Headline The Copy The Time/Day The Audience

All should be tested to see what works and what does not. How can you measure your ROI without testing? I’ll admit it! The first ad that I posted, I We know what picture let run for days. All through the day and that yields the most clicknight. That was before I really dove into throughs and what headline understanding successful ad launches. is most appealing because You never want to do this - you want we test and test again. strategic time placement. When traffic is at its peak, you want to run your ads! Now that you understand You may need to test this out and your Facebook Ads, don’t slack audience’s location will depend on when off! You got them to click on you post. My audience’s most active your ad so make sure the time is exactly when I want these ads page they are landing on is showing up! The only way running just as awesome as your ads in the middle of the night ad! Don’t forget to will be effective is if you are capture their info Ads targeting an audience with a form so that is internationally are small on you now have located so you can reach them at their them on Facebook so you most active time. your email must be creative in marketing Even though your ad is list!

the time/day

small, it is mighty! We have seen success with increased sign-ups for webinars and increased sales for products! Do not ignore this opportunity to do more target marketing!

targeting your audience.

www.aliciarittenhouse.com


paperless

pins

by Pinterest

pa p e r l e s s l i v i n g

“The paperless office environment is perfect for narrow spaces!”

“The perfect example of a paperless office.”

Narrow It Down http://pinterest.com/pin/285345326360473711/

Paperless Perfection http://pinterest.com/pin/285345326360464623/

“Ditch the waste paper bin you won’t be needing it.”

“The paperless entrepreneur embraces minimalist living.”

The Minimalist http://pinterest.com/pin/285345326360469405/

Waste Paper Bin http://pinterest.com/pin/169588742187649532/

“By removing your paper, you’ll have less distraction.”

“Positioning your paperless office is simple.”

Creative Positioning http://pinterest.com/pin/285345326360474062/

Less Distraction http://pinterest.com/pin/285345326360474057/

“Our favourite

featured pin for this first issue is a step-by-step infographic

guide to the Paperless Office environment.” How To Run A Paperless Office

24

http://pinterest.com/pin/285345326360464620/

Paperless entrepreneur/ April, 2012


You’re no ordinary client, these are no ordinary VA’s

If you are looking to hire a professional virtual assistant company, an online service provider who has the commitment to support you with achieving your goals, both personally and professionally, you can select any of the virtual entrepreneurs listed in our Black Book and take comfort in knowing that they have the know-how, the credibility, the drive and WOW factor you have been searching for.

www.TheVABlackBook.com


Become A Part Of Paperless Entrepreneur. Network. If you have qu estions or would like to intera ct with others on a ny of the content in this issu e of Paperless Entrepreneu r, we have a special ‘Networking Group’ over on LinkedIn dedicated to the readers a nd contributors of the Magazine. It’s a n open group a nd you’re welcome to come in, say hi, browse, sta rt a discussion a nd contribute you r thoughts on the magazine. Click Here To Join The Group.

Contribute. This Magazine is put together through 3 sou rces: 1 - The Mind Of Michelle Dale. 2 - The Me mbers Of The VA Passport. 3 - Author Gu ests By Special Invitation. If you would like to contribute to the next edition of this magazine, please visit www.TheVAPassport.com where you ca n join, a nd receive a host of additional Paperless Entrepreneu r benefits, as well as the guidelines for su bmitting you r content. Simply click the “Contribute to Paperless Entrepreneu r” button, on the dashboa rd.

Get In Touch. We always welcome feedba ck, qu estions a nd comments. For fu rther information on this magazine, or for press enquiries please send a n e mail to: info@VirtualAssistant-Live.com

www.PaperlessEntrepreneur.com

[BETA] Issue #1 The Paperless E-preneur  

In this issue, the Google Apps Guide for small business, Spideroak's Solution, Location Independence & More!

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