Issuu on Google+

Today’s VA! Volume 1, July 2011

FEATURES

Sure Fire Ways To Your Success Online! How you can work from anywhere in the world! Virtual Business: Why it’s getting more popular!

The Face of Virtual Freedom?

Pioneering an Industry


Contents

Features 3

Sure Fire Ways to Your Online Success

6

4 Ergo Check - Tips for

7

managing your work station

9

Mobile Business - Work from anywhere!

11

Core Competencies

13- 16

Business Owner of The Admin Chick Founder & Chief Editor of Today’s VA! Magazine

HOW TO: Keep your business Eco-friendly Online Toolbox

8 Ten Minutes with... 10 Congratulations 18

Cover Story

20

Pioneering an Industry, The Women behind their business

25

21 - The Power of Niche

Reviews - Bookkeeping

Classifieds - Trades & Services Time-wasters

26

Marketing

Opinions - Letters to the Editor

23 - Virtual Business

27 -

From The Editor

Renee Chapman:

Regulars

Hi and welcome to the first official magazine for virtual businesses in Australia. As far as I know there isn’t any other Industry magazines dedicated to Virtual Businesses in Australia but please let me know if there is. I will be publishing 4 Editions of Today’s VA! magazine full of fantastic articles, columns, special features, regular content and advertising. I hope you enjoy the mag and I have to say that I am very excited to hear your comments on the first issue and looking forward to making

Feel Good Factor

more issue for you to read. I was contemplating publishing the magazine as a hard copy and sending it to each postal address I received but I figured that because we are all online businesses I would publish it as an online document that you can download and print if you wish to. I really hope that you enjoy the articles and features I have in store for you in this edition and please feel free to contact me for any information about any of the articles or comments you have.


Is Business is Booming?

Sure Fire Ways to Your Success Online

Meet Your Deadlines Don’t promise something that you cannot deliver. Be honest and with yourself and your client and make sure the deadlines you set are realistic. Feedback Always ask for feedback. Someone once told me that a Complaint is a good thing because it’s an opportunity to make improvements. Go Out of Your Way Customer Service is something that I feel is lacking for some businesses on the web. Make sure that you are a business that enjoys giving their customers a little bit more, if you can't help them refer them to someone who can and then follow up so they know you care & you still might get their business in the future. Be Real Let your clients know that you are genuine and care. It could be a birthday card, anything.

I guess you could say I’m a bit of a researcher. I love to get to the bottom of things. I love taking notes, collecting resources, and finding out everything I can about a subject of interest. So when I delved into conducting my own small business, needless to say I did a great deal of research. I found that there are so many different sources of information out there that you can take in order to ‘succeed’ in your business choice so I thought I would share some in order for you to succeed at what you do.

by Renee Chapman

Make Sure you really love what you do. Write down a list of what you really love working on. Once you have a list of things you just absolutely love to do, write another list of the industries or experience you have, including contacts & companies you’ve worked with. Once you have these two lists write another list of all the aspects of your perfect client. It could be that you love working with people that are in certain industries or share your values & beliefs or they pay early, anything. Lastly, write down all the problems or mistakes that you can see them doing or what they may need help with. Try to remember all the comments you got from others when you helped them out with an task. What did they say? Did they say “You’re so organised!” or “I love the way you that so easily”. Notice how they are complimenting you on what you may be known for. E.g. Organising others. These lists will give you an idea of what kind of Business might be best for you. For example, you might be interested in Wildlife Conservation, you have a lot of experience in Bookkeeping and maybe you like to work with Consultants, some of the issues you could help them with might be organising their financial records . So what I ‘m saying is pick one item from each list that you could see yourself doing for a long time & love doing and focus on that. The more you do something you love to do the easier it will be to do it & will be well known in that particular job.

4 Quick Ways to get Business Fast 1. Contact your ex-employers to see if you can do some temp work or train your replacement for a fee.

2. Subcontract your services to your competitors so you work with them and not against them. They might refer back to you. 3. Pick up some casual work in a related field. 4. Volunteer your services to others so that you can gain experience and show what you can do.


Ergo Check

Posture Perfect!

By Renee Chapman

Stretch. Do a few stretches of your arms, neck, back and legs. It will hep your circulation and there are heaps of stretching exercises you can find on the internet. Invest in a great chair Buying an ergonomically chair can be expensive but the sessions you might get from a Chiropractor could be worse. Better to be safe then sorry.

If you work in an office, chances are you have in some instances, experienced symptoms of Occupational Overuse Syndrome (OOS). OOS covers a range of hand, arm & neck issues such as Carpal Tunnel Syndrome & is becoming more common than ever. With the increased use of computer related activities in the workplace, and at home, there is a huge rise in related injuries and as office professionals we need to look after ourselves. A lot of co-workers seem to think that admin officers, etc, just sit on their butt & answer the phone & I totally disagree with this. We are the bread & butter to any organisation & our profession is one of the most important, so it is essential to look after ourselves. With that in mind, I have a few tips that may

help to relieve some of the problems associated office work. • Take a break, frequently - if you take a 10-15 min break every 2 hours or so you'll be surprised how refreshed you’ll feel, if you can get outside & get a bit of natural Vitamin D (Sun), thats even better! • Look away - Sitting in front of a screen all day can take its toll on your eyes, make sure that your monitor is at the correct height & not too far away. Invest in a good screen filter & new monitor if need be. • Posture - Try to sit up straight and keep your shoulders back. More importantly invest a great chair that has lumbar support and is comfortable, your back will thank you for it. Remember, you only have 1 body, so look after it.

What type are you? There are actually three different ways a spine aligns. The Swayback, The Slumper & The Sideways Curve. Look at the Book by Anna-Louise Bouvier called ‘Fix Your Back’ to learn more about your specific type. Workstation Check your Screen and make sure it’s at the right height, and length from where you sit, Also make sure that you have all the necessary items at arms length so you don’t have stretch out to reach them. Exercise It doesn’t have to be strenuous, just a few exercises to help strengthen your back, legs, neck & arm muscles. You could also try Yoga which is very easy to learn and very popular.


A4VB Australia is the Alliance for Virtual Businesses’ chapter in Australia and its role is to provide a local support base for its Australian members under the umbrella of the US-based Alliance for Virtual Businesses. Any A4VB Australian Alliance members will have all the same rights, privileges and training opportunities that the host Membership Organisation has but with a local flavour and a local committee. The role of the host organisation, A4VB, is to provide appropriate information, education, coaching, training, networking and mentoring for up and coming and also existing virtual businesses. A4VB is about learning, sharing and networking to support each other in our business goals and needs. The A4VB is also about building relationships to enable us to work together to further grow and develop our businesses and help them to become strong and profitable. The Alliance is also a place where existing business owners can find their perfect match when looking for their virtual business needs. If you are an aspiring, emerging, or seasoned virtual business we invite you to join our community and share your knowledge, experience and expertise with other encouraging entrepreneurs.

Join us today! www.a4vb.com.au


HOW TO: Keep your Business Eco-Friendly By Renee Chapman

If you want to do your eco bit in the office but not sure where to start then maybe this article might help. To be honest going green is easier than what some people think. All it takes is bit of common sense & openness to the idea of change. Not only will you help save the planet but you’ll also save money. automatically as well, if you More importantly, is being forget. I can get 4 pages a role model for others to do printed on 1 sheet of paper. the right thing. Most people So I save 3 sheets each just don’t want to change. I time. Use paper that you worked with a colleague only have one sided as some years ago & while I was note pads by collecting on a break I saw her printing them all, cutting them in out a document that was half and stapling them about 100 pages. I noticed together. that she hadn’t used the double sided option. She • Stationery - Recycle your knew how to do it but she just cartridges, paper & forgot, even containers & try to buy though I had stationery that is made Recycle your put signs from recycled everywhere. Cartridges & mobiles. material (Neco, Here are Buy recycled Furniture Todae, even Office a few simple or improvise with what National are great tips to use in stores to buy from). you have. your office: Volunteer to groups •Computers - Switch like Clean up Australia off the Screen saver • Printing Sponsor or Promote - Use the it uses more energy eco-friendly groups. Print when you have it on. Preview & Especially if your not Go for double sided printing using for a while. Upgrade where-ever possible, you the memory in your PC will save much more paper instead of buying a new and you could also try one. printing numerous pages on one sheet. You can set up • Office - Use natural light your printer to do this and invest in a few indoor

plants & make sure the aircon doesn’t go lower than 24 degrees, any higher & it will overwork & cost you more. • Travel - Set up a car pool or better yet walk or ride to work, maybe you can even work mobile on your iPad or laptop where ever you are. If you need to have face to face contact think about using Skype or something instead of travel. • Go paperless - use online storage like Dropbox or Google Docs to store your files. Cloud Computing is becoming more & more popular, because you can access your files from anywhere and you don’t need CD’s. • Equipment - get your equipment serviced regularly and try to buy high energy star rated items. Also know how to use them properly to get the most out of them.


ONLINE TOOLBOX

www.dsbn.com.au Dynamic Small Business Network

Well I don’t know about you but I love free stuff and good resources. So I have dedicated a page to give you some of the websites I have visited which are worthy of a mention for their content, information and the resources you can use. Here is a list of many great websites you can visit with loads of info, free stuff, resources, and all kinds of other interesting links and content.

www.theadminchick.com.au The Admin Chick

www.contractworld.com.au Independent Contractors Australia

Enjoy!

www.freelanceswitch.com

www.smartstartup.com.au

Freelance Switch

Start Up Smart


10 Minutes with...

Rosie Shilo

I had the pleasure of getting to know one of my favourite virtual assistants of all time recently. Rosie Shilo is the owner and founder of the Virtually Yours VA Network in Victoria, she has been instrumental in bringing other VA’s together and has been working as a VA for the last 10 years. Here’s what we found out about her on our 10 minutes with Rosie Shilo! 1. Why are you in the business you’re in? I started VYVA because I wanted to work for myself and be creative. I have stayed with VYVA because I have choices with my business and can grow and adapt as I like, and it’s an Industry full of fabulous people. 2. What was the hardest aspect of starting your virtual business? Getting that first quality client. The one that provides you with opportunities and allows you to grow. Once you have that, you can really gain confidence and get your teeth into it. 3. What’s your Best Business Tip of all time? Choose your focus! Diana Pettie from Hopscotch Coaching has taught me so much and by choosing my focus I can have more control over situations that I didn’t plan for or don’t particularly like. 4. How do you relax & unwind after a busy day? Sadly, I am addicted to my iPhone so I chill on the couch with a coffee, telly on, and my phone. Too much stimulus I know! The most relaxing part of my day is giving my daughter her last bottle for the day – but I often have to do more work after that! 5. Who Inspires you the most? Actually my husband does. He is so committed to his business and he works so hard but then he is also a great Dad and husband. 6. What’s something you can’t live without? My family. I can lose everything, but my husband and daughter are my oxygen. Coffee is good too…. 7. What’s one word that could describe your life up to now? Full!!! 8. What’s your Favourite... Colour: Red Number: 42 Computer Program: InDesign Type of Work: Developing ideas for VYVA Business Book: Feel the fear, and do it anyway! Susan Jeffers Inspiring Song: Land DownUnder – Men at Work! LOL!


Mobile Business By Renee Chapman

For many people, starting a business means that you must have a place or premises in order to carry out work. This is true; however on the rare occasion it may be possible to conduct business in a more mobile setting. With technology becoming even more improved in the future, the possibility of mobile businesses will soon (if not already) take off. What I’m talking about is a business model where you can travel around Australia in hopes to get clients or work. In my business setup, I have chosen to conduct a service to potential clients and have the advantage of acquiring most of the necessary equipment, devices and skills to utilise mobile friendly sources. So, I thought I would share my tips with you.

Cloud Storage - You can upload your important files onto a server on the internet and access them from wherever you are, anywhere. With Dropbox you can get a free account with 2 GB of data and for every person you refer you can get up to 8GB free. All you need to do is login from a computer to access your files. The other benefit is that if you have an IPad or IPhone you can download the free App and access your files from your IPad as well. I would be lost without Dropbox and Google Docs as I use three computers sometimes and if I can’t find the Flash Drive or Hard Drive that has the file I want to access I can just look in my online accounts and access it from there. You can also edit files from Dropbox or Google Docs which means if you edit a document from your laptop, when you logon to your PC, the updated file will be there ready.

Internet Connectivity – There are many options now to access the internet, including Mobile Broadband, 3G Mobile Networks, Satellite Internet, Hot Spots, PIE Internet Kiosks, and Internet Cafes. With more and more access points for connectivity you are sure to get some kind of internet capability in about 95% of Australia, which makes mobile business even easier. UNfortunately the other 5% is not that lucky, but hopefully that will change soon.

Other things you could get:

•A small digital camera, Digital Note-taker, •A Briefcase, Mini Potable Filing System, Portable Hard Drive, Portable Printer

IPad – I have to say that the most wonderful thing I have invested in is the new 3G Apple IPad. I’m hooked. Buying this device for my business was probably the best thing I could have done in regards to setting up a mobile business. There is literally thousands of Apps that you can download (a lot of free ones too) that can allow you to conduct business on the go and below you will see the top apps that I use when travelling. • Accounting – Easy Books (Free), Bookkeeping • Client Management – My CRM, Mobile CRM (Both Free) • Time Management – Time Master & Billing • To Do List – Manage, Todo for IPad, Easy Note (Free), Sorted • Notes – Daily Notes, Chronicle, Evernote (Free) • Documents – Quick Office Mobile Suite, Documents Mobile Office (Free) • Productivity – Good Reader, My Thoughts (Free) •Templates – 1001 Letters, Email Templates •Databases – Bento, IDatabase, Database for IPad (Free) •Remote Desktop – Wyse, Teamviewer (Free) •Decisions – IThoughts, SWOT Maker, SWOT by IdeasWallets (Free)

Phones - Your mobile can be one of the best devices you could get. With Smart Phones, Blackberries, IPhones and other mobiles you can access not only the internet but also your emails, applications and all sorts of business & personal tasks that you can use while travelling. Virtual Office – There is a service that you can buy

that can help you manage your contacts and clients (like ServeCorp). You pay a monthly fee to an agency & what happens is, depending on the services you require; you can get a virtual address in a capital city of the state you wish, where all your mail can be redirected. A virtual receptionist can monitor your calls for you and when you’re in range he/she can relay those messages to you so you can call them back when you get to the next town.

Telecentres – would have to be the most under

utilised resource you can use. They are in almost every town, have office equipment that you can hire to use, you can print, laminate, type, browse the internet, use the computer, use the fax machine and all kinds of things that you would usually need in an office setting but not essential while on the road. •VMware software for Multiple Operating Systems •Buy Tricolor Pens so you have 4 colours in the 1 pen, Wireless Mouse & Mouse Pad, •A Solar Powered Laptop Bag (from Todae or Neco)


Congratulations goes out the following people who have won big awards in the last six months. For all your hard work and efforts we thought we would share your success with everyone else!

Sustainable Business Leader -

Janet Jordan Achievement

Yarra Ranges

Award - International Virtual

Kathie Thomas (A Clayton

Assistant Day

Secretary)

Denise Joy Marron (DJM Training Services)

Heritage Building Society Business Excellence Awards - Warwick) Lyn Prowse-Bishop (Executive Stress Office Support)


This bulleted list is courtesy of The Alliance of Virtual Business: Professional Skills: Client Success: • Drive and determination to see their clients succeed • Understands their target market client and how their strengths can greatly improve the ideal client's life and business • Puts the client first by being very resourceful in finding appropriate solutions for the client, whether those solutions include the VA or not • Good fit for their client Collaboration: • Ability to work as part of a team • Can effectively contribute solutions/suggestions/make recommendations to arising problems Communication: • Excellent customer service skills • Excellent verbal, non-verbal and written communication skills with the ability to drive a discussion to a positive outcome • Excellent listening skills  Delegation: • The ability to accept and delegate effectively and wisely   • Established Productivity: • Quality of the work

• Testimonials • Verifiable References  Executive Presence: • The ability to be professional (both in person and virtually)  • Professional Attitude and Aptitude • A basic understanding of business operation • Budgeting • Creating a business plan • Creating a marketing plan • Basic understanding of bookkeeping/ability to maintain accurate records • Contracts and agreements • Time management Professional Integrity: • Abide by a set of ethics binding on your conscience • Communicates well with clients, subcontractors and project managers • Willingness to admit and correct mistakes • Outsource or pass on a client/clients who require services you lack the skills to provide • Never knowingly take another VA’s client or subcontracted client • Never discuss subcontracted rates with contractor’s client • Respect copyright of colleagues • Be respectful of others’ intellectual property (i.e. plagiarism, software piracy, etc.) • Uphold strict client and colleague confidentiality 

Personal Skills: • Competent with Skill Set: • High level of proficiency of the services in their chosen niche • Good organization skills • Good spelling, grammar and punctuation skills • Understanding of basic web and computer technology People Skills: • Articulate • Respectful • Tactful • Confident • Passionate  Education: • Structured: • Five years of relevant work experience or completion of a recognized virtual assistant training program • Basic office skills • Continuing education for professional development • Proficient with software programs used • Proficient with email, Internet and instant messaging (IM)  Education of Marketplace: • Willing to share their knowledge with the VA community Office Standards: • A reliable computer •  Internet connection • Phone • Currently accepted and widely used business software programs/suite • Antivirus software To find out more about the Core Competencies of Emerging VA’s Visit the Alliance for Virtual Business at www.allianceforvirtualbiz.com


Are you in need of Virtual Assistant Support? Are you drowning in paperwork and admin? Find a Virtual Assistant in our FREE directory today! Are you looking for work as a Virtual Assistant or Virtual PA? For new and established VirtualAssistants Get listed on our VA Directory today. www.vadirectory.net What is “A Clayton’s Secretary”®? Registered in 1994 “A Clayton’s Secretary”® began as a home-based secretarial support business which expanded to providing online admin and office support services early 1996. That makes us one of the oldest VA Networks in the world. This means we have experience and knowledge on our side and can provide you with the best possible support service for your business – as a client of a VA or as a VA member of our team

Clayton's was the drink you had when you weren't having a drink in the 1980's in Australia and ever since then a 'Clayton's' was something you had when you didn't have whatever was the normal, in this case when you don't have a secretary of your own! We become your secretary. Of course, many of our team provide services other than secretarial, but the principal remains the same.


Cover Story I’m taking a look at the women who pioneered the Virtual Business Industry in Australia and even though the Virtual Business

Women Who

network is something new, it is very much thriving in other countries around the world, such as the U.S. Canada, The U.K. and Australia is the marching forward leaps and bounds. With the Online International Virtual Assistants Convention a few months ago it was obvious to me that the Aussies are

Shaped the VA Industry

definitely strutting their stuff in the global virtual world and I thought I would show case some of the women who pioneered the idea of the online secretary or virtual assistant in Australia. Renee Chapman

in Australia


Kathie Thomas Kathie pioneered the Virtual Assistant industry in Australia and established the first VA network in the southern hemisphere. Through a desire to work at home and be present for her family, she registered her business in March 1994 and took it online in January 1996. Kathie has written many articles online and has been published in many books and magazines world-wide. “I was a home-based secretary pre-internet. This was at a time when home-based operators were seen as 'backyard shonkies' so it was hard to convince people that I knew what I was doing, that I was a professional with well over 20 years corporate experience behind me in senior PA roles and that I had the equipment to handle the work at home. Initially I did word-processing and data entry (spreadsheets and databases) and I did go to other people's offices, or picked up the work and brought it home then delivered it back. I stopped working in other people's offices when around 18 months later I was getting more hang-ups on my phone (premobile) than messages being left and decided I was losing more work than I could afford. Around that time the internet entered the scene. Fortunately for me I'd bought a fax modem so I could receive faxes on my computer so I already had what was needed to get connected online. This was January 1996. I'd been in business almost 2 years by that stage. I was told about the internet and how I could run a national business. I thought the person telling me (a Telecom technician) was a bit mad but I did purchase a magazine with '8 hours free' internet connection with Compuserve and tried it out. I had a full client base at the time but somehow I wanted to explore how the internet could add to my business. At the same time I had women start to contact me to find out how they could do what I was doing. They saw my meagre 1 page website and wanted to work from home too. Discussions with my Accountant proved that running a industrystyle network for these home based operators was my best option. That way any clients I couldn't handle could be passed to them without them becoming my employees and having tax issues, super, etc to have to deal with. I didn't want to become a recruiting agency. The network I set up here in Australia was the first of its kind in the southern hemisphere online and I soon found out there was one other based in the U.S. She had just put hers online in 1996. The network I run is now one of just over 30 worldwide and our name changed from 'homebased Secretaries' to 'Virtual Assistants'. The reason for this is because those who wanted to join us had different skill-sets - some Graphic Designing, Bookkeeping, Transcriptionists, you name it, whatever can be done on a computer and

received/delivered online, became a possibility for our industry.” When you engage the services of a self-employed Virtual Assistant, whether it be direct or via a Network you get to keep the VA for however long you want. It's not like getting a temp from an agency where they might move onto another client next week. Some clients have been with me for 10 or 11 years. I know their businesses well and they know my capabilities. A self-employed VA has a vested interest in your business because like you, they are business owners, and they know that you are their business.

• 2010-2011 Listed in Australia's Who's Who of Women • 2009 Nominee Australian of the Year • 2008 Nominee Australian of the Year • 2007 Highly Commended Women in Business Award (Top 100 Australian Bloggers for Virtual Assistant THE Blog) • 2006 Nominee for the Thomas Leonard International Virtual Assistant of Distinction Award • 2004 Highly Commended Australian Achievers Award (Office Services and Supplies)

• 2003 Highly Commended Australian Achievers Award (Office Services and Supplies) • 2002 MBN Virtual Business of the Year • 2001 Highly Recommended AIOP Award of Excellence, • 2000 Highly Commended Australian Achiever Award (Office, Secretarial & Desktop Publishing Services) • 1999 Australian Achiever Award Melbourne (Secretarial & Word Processing Services) • 1993 Member of the Year, Victoria by (IPSA)


• Australia's first Certified Master VA • Certified Australian Virtual Business • Professional Virtual Authors Assistant • EthicsChecked VA • Certified Virtual Assistant VAcertified • Accredited Secretary Online • 2008 Australian Achiever Award (Office Services) winner • 2007 Business Achiever's Award Winner - Professional Services Category • 2006 Thomas Leonard International • VA of Distinction Award Nominee • 2004/2005 Telstra Business Women's Awards Nominee • 2003 Business Achiever's Finalist

Lyn ProwseBishop In 1985, after graduating DUX from the Metropolitan Business College, Sydney with a shorthand speed of 120 words per minute, Lyn Prowse-Bishop was being encouraged into a life as a Court Reporter, but opted for 7½ years as, first, a Legal Secretary, and later as PA to a criminal lawyer in East Sydney. In 1993 she moved to Brisbane where she secured a job as Executive Assistant to the GM of the Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre. 6½ years later her entrepreneurial spirit took over and, motivated by the birth of her daughter, started a Virtual Assistant practice – Executive Stress Office Support in February 2000 to utilise her skills in a home-based environment so that she could meet the dual needs of her growing family and those of a niche market of entrepreneurs requiring support services. Lyn is founder of the Australian Virtual Business Network, serves as Australian representative on international committees looking at standards and certification for the VA industry, and is a foundation steering committee member of the annual Online International Virtual Assistants Convention. In 2010 she became Queensland Representative on the national board of Independent Contractors Australia and is the Contributing Editor of Better Business on Womens Radio. Better Business is a column that shares news, views and information for small business owners, home-based businesses and virtual/remote business support service providers.

• Australian representative on VAcertified.com board, OIVAC steering committee, and the VA Industry Standards Committee

In 2010 she became host of Australia’s first-ever internet radio show/ podcast for the VA industry: The Virtual Business Show- http:// www.virtualbizshow.com.au In 2011 Lyn was asked to chair the steering committee of the Australian Chapter of the Alliance for Virtual Businesses(http:// a4vb.com.au/) and has been instrumental in driving the chapter’s formation and ongoing activities with the help of a dedicated committee of Australian VAs.

• Steering Committee for the Alliance for Virtual Business Australian Chapter

Lyn is a regular speaker at the Online VA Convention, and was also invited to speak at the inaugural Australian VA Convention in March 2010. She has appeared in several print publications since 2006 and been interviewed by Pat Lynch at Women’s Radio on working as a virtual assistant.


History of the VA Industry as seen in Australia: The history of the virtual assistant is quite short and it’s very hard to find any statistics about the industry because of the short time it has been around. Experts estimate that the term Virtual Assistant was first used between 1995. Most virtual assistants reside in the US, but the number of VA's are growing world wide most noticeably in places such as the U.K., Australia and Canada although there are many other countries that now have virtual assistants popping up. Some experts say that the total number of virtual assistants world wide is around 1500 and growing. 24 March 1994 - Kathie Thomas, registered on National Secretaries Day. January 1996 - Kathie joined the internet and 'met' Linda Anderson of Home Secretary. Linda had already built a network of home based secretaries in LA since the 1980s. Between Jan and Mar 1996 - Kathie received a number of enquiries about wanting to ‣ do the same thing & she developed a membership based network. April 1996 - launch of the network on the internet with first members accepted, ‣ including Linda Anderson from the US and a couple of ladies in Australia. Late 1996 - First discussion forum online established for the network. ‣ 1996 - 1998 - More members joined the network & the name A Clayton's Secretary was ‣ registered. July 1998 - Knowledge of the network spreaded throughout Australia, due to Kathie‘s ‣ regular writings for the ’Home Based Income & Small Business’ magazine. Members from several states of Australia, UK, USA & India were signing up. 1999 - Another VA network is established in Australia but only exists for a couple of years. ‣ 2000 - ACS News went online to a subscription list. ‣ March 2001 - Accredited Secretary Online is launched at the same time as ‣ VACertification.com in the US. 2005 - The VA Directory starts its regular blog to share resources with it’s members ‣ 2006 - The Australian Virtual Business Network (AVBN) was founded & launched by Lyn ‣ Prowse-Bishop 2007 - Virtually Yours Virtual Assistant Network (VYVA) was launched by the lovely Rosie ‣ Shilo 2009 - The VIVA (Vital Issues for Virtual Assistants) held it’s first annual conference ‣ 2010 - The Australian Virtual Assistant’s Conference (AVAC) was founded in ‣ collaboration with Kathie Thomas & Anita Kilkenny (AKA Virtual PA) 2011 - The International Virtual Assistant Association (IVAA) Australian Chapter was ‣ launched in March and the Alliance for Virtual Business Australian Chapter was launched at the International VA Day Celebrations at OIVAC. Today there are 4 Australian networks and over 400 virtual assistants/businesses and growing! ‣ ‣


This whole page could be Yours! Contact The Admin Chick for Cheap and Effective Advertising Options in Today’s VA! Magazine. reneech@westnet.com.au


Reviews

Book-keeping Systems Most people know that bookkeeping is any process that involves the recording of financial transactions. I think biggest hurdle is trying to get the ‘best’ system out there for a reasonable price. Here I’ve listed 3 ways that have been popular for a long while & the pros & cons of each. • Software Programs- I think just about everyone has heard of the software giants, Quickbooks and MYOB, these are the most favoured programs among bookkeepers. The good thing about these types of software is that they have been around for a long time & are easy to get your hands on. The worst thing is that some of them do cost a lot & are mostly only accessible to Windows Users. I also have found that some of the programs out there are very hard to use and are not really easy to learn. Some times you need to have trained in a Quickbooks or MYOB training program just to use their software. • Online - Xero is a system that runs online and is fairly simple to use. You don’t have to worry about backups, etc, or need to have a certain type of computer, but there are some drawbacks. Internet connections may cause a loss of data if your in the middle of working & internet security measures is a must nowadays. Quickbooks & MYOB are also going online to provide a universal way of doing your books. You can also connect the ATO & your

accountant easily and even lodge your BAS or get instant bank online bank balances, etc. • Do it Yourself - Personally I have my own system of spreadsheets & charts which I find is the easiest way for me to learn about the process of accounting & bookkeeping. I do my own financial reports, accounting, BAS, Tax etc. I know you might be thinking that’s so much more work & it is, but I’m the type of person who likes to know where my money is going & where it comes from & it is definitely cheaper than the other alternatives for me at the moment. It also makes me feel that i have a good understanding of the processes involved in having my own business. I like to know how things work and learning about the whole process as it happens. So which is better? Well, to be honest it really depends on the way you want to work. I’m sure that in time I would more than likely adopt one of the software programs as I feel this is probably a safer option, in terms of security. But in saying that I more than likely won’t be going with the likes of Quickbooks or MYOB as I’d rather be different & look for a program that is very simple, easy to use, affordable, tailored to my specific needs and can be used on a range of different platforms. But that’s just me.

***** ***** *****

Software Online DIY


The Australian Virtual Business Network (AVBN) was created to offer Australian virtual businesses a place to partner with their ideal client, showcasing their services in a professional environment. It is also a place where those businesses can learn about matters pertinent to running a business in Australia, give them access to resources for growing their business ... and a forum where they can share knowledge and experiences with each other, as well as aspiring virtual business operators. The network is not a lead generating network alone as there are lots of these already in existence. Membership of the network is a way for virtual businesses to show their clients and potential clients they have met a very high level of expertise, experience and service delivery.  The AVBN strives to provide new and seasoned VAs and virtual business owners access to ongoing business support and online training. Our mission is to set the standard for virtual assistance in Australia. When a business is approved for membership of AVBN they can be proud of having achieved a standard of excellence not often reached. We are also committed to providing clients with the best, pre-screened virtual support services. With the trend towards 'outsourcing your life' and 'the 4 hour work week', clients run an increased risk of outsourcing to freelancers who aren't all they say they are. How do you know you're getting what you pay for? At AVBN clients are assured that they are partnering with the best virtual business operators in Australia. For more info visit www.avbn.com.au


Trades & Services

ADVERTISE WITH US!

ADVERTISE WITH US!

ADVERTISE WITH US!

ADVERTISE WITH US!

Advertise with us Today Today’s VA! is published quarterly by The Admin Chick to share stories,opinions, promote the industry and it’s members. Views expressed in this magazine are not necessarily that of The Director and content is under copyright and permission must be granted to use any of the content.

Contact: Director: Renee Chapman PO Box 528 KUNUNURRA WA 6743 Ph: 0437 485 750 Fax: 08)6230 5294 Email: reneech@westnet.com.au


The Power of Niche Marketing by Lyn Prowse-Bishop As a successful Virtual Assistant, the question I am asked most frequently by new VAs is what is the one thing you wish you knew when you started. Without doubt, the answer is the power of niche marketing. When starting out, most new businesses try to be all things to all people. This just is not feasible when you are running a business and leads to countless wasted hours not to mention dollars chasing clients and generally getting nowhere. Niche marketing simply means choosing that one thing you are particularly skilled at, or the one industry you know most about, and then marketing that skill to that industry. As an industry grows such as the virtual assistant industry, you will need to differentiate yourself from the countless others who are doing the same thing as you. What is it that sets you apart? What do you want to be known for? For example, you may have spent a lot of your working life in a word-processing pool in a large law firm and decide you want to start up a Virtual Assistant practice. So your target market might then be legal, and your skill would be transcription. You would market legal transcription to law offices perhaps you might further specialise within a particular area of the law (family, conveyancing, litigation); or you might target sole

practitioners or barristers. In this way, when you head off to networking functions and are talking to prospective clients about what service you offer, you give that simple statement of your niche: “I provide specialist legal transcription services to sole practitioners”. Your goal is to be seen as one IN a million - not one OF a million. Niching is the same as setting yourself apart from the crowd as a specialist in your field of expertise. This act of specialising tends to make us more appealing to people in general. And just because you decide to target one particular market with one particular skill, does not mean you cannot still do other things or service other areas of the community. In addition, having a focused niche marketing plan means when you are making contacts, you are not confusing them with huge amounts of information, giving intricate details of all the types of things you can do. The contact loses interest very quickly in this situation. Giving a statement of your niche means the prospect has to do some of the work and make connections in their own mind as to what it is you do. Thus, there is more chance they will remember you than if you flood them with too much information. Using the above example,

after stating your niche to a prospect you may be asked the question: “So tell me more about the type of transcription you do? Is it tape or digital?” You move then into a more general discussion about your service, and this contact who may not be a lawyer at all - has just made a connection between you and a service (for example, report transcription) he might need himself. You might be asked a totally different type of question: “So does that mean you can do spreadsheets too?” This contact has now stated what their need is and even though ‘spreadsheets’ was not in your statement of niche, you can let them know this IS something else you offer and can help them with. By concentrating on your niche you are able to produce more focused marketing efforts and will not fall into the trap of throwing marketing dollars at every opportunity for very little return. For more articles by Lyn you can visit her website at www.execstress.com


Virtually Yours is a Network, and although it is managed by Rosie Shilo, it consists of a number of excellent Virtual Assistants from around the world. You can read about each of our members by visiting their individual pages via our “Find a Virtual Assistant!� page, or you can read about them in the media via our links below. Virtually Yours was founded in 2004 and has two elements. Supporting Business Owners Virtually Yours provides business owners with a one-stop-shop to source a fantastic Virtual Assistant to support them with their business. We also include a number of resources which we hope will help business owners, such as useful programs and applications, useful sites and useful training programs. Virtually Yours works with both business owners and Virtual Assistants to provide a professional connection, education and information about the VA industry. Network members are always consulted and feedback is always appreciated so that the network can develop better business ideas and business solutions. Supporting Virtual Assistants Virtually Yours is a supportive network which connects Virtual Assistants with their peers, offers training and mentoring solutions, provides opportunities for new or struggling VAs to connect and support each other and also provides access to jobleads for VAs who have a proven track record. Virtually Yours prides itself on being an incredibly supportive and fun environment for Virtual Assistants – our aim is to help VAs create sensational businesses and supporting them to achieve their goals and meet challenges. Visit us at www.virtuallyyours.com.au


So What exactly is a Virtual Business? A virtual business employs electronic means to transact business as opposed to a traditional brick & mortar business that relies on face-toface transactions with physical documents and physical currency or credit. Amazon.com was a virtual business pioneer. As an online bookstore, it delivered and brokered bookstore services without a physical retail store Virtual corporations presence; efficiently connecting buyers and Groups of people can assemble online and sellers without the overhead of a brick-andenter into an agreement to work together mortar location. toward a for-profit goal, with or without As Web 2.0 services have risen in popularity, having to formally incorporate or form a many businesses have begun to use these traditional company. communicative and collaborative technologies In 2008,Vermont amended its laws to reach their customers. With heightened governing corporations to accept electronic security, PSI DSS compliance regulations, and forms of legally required meetings, operating more stringent monitoring abilities, credit card agreements, documents, signatures, and transactions via the Internet are even more secure than other options such as phone or fax. record keeping. A Vermont corporation (S Corp of LLC) while required to maintain a Virtual services registered agent with a physical address in Along with connecting customers with physical the state, can be started, operated and products, virtual businesses are starting to terminated without any of the principals provide important services as well. Recently, ever being in each others' physical the online delivery of professional services such presence. as administration, design, and marketing Fair Software Inc. offers services to develop services have risen in popularity. Such and support collaboration of independent companies have refined their offerings to contractors under profit sharing agreements. include services such as a Virtual Assistant in Virtual enterprise which the person providing the service works out of his/her own office and provides services A virtual enterprise is network of via the Internet or other technology. independent companies—suppliers, customers, competitors, linked by Physical/virtual blending information technology to share skills, costs, Most brick and mortar companies reduce costs and access to one another's markets. Such and increase market share by engaging in eorganizations are usually formed on the basis commerce via web sites and by leveraging of a cooperative agreement with little or no their existing telecommunications infrastructure. hierarchy or vertical integration. This flexible In addition to sales and customer relations, such structure minimizes the impact of the e-commerce may also include agreement on the participants' individual outsourcing many of the business functions like organizations and facilitates adding new marketing, operations management and new participants with new skills and resources. product development, telecommuting Such arrangements are usually temporary collaborating with suppliers and competitors. and dissolve once a common goal is achieved. A virtual enterprise is rarely Virtual worlds associated with an independent legal Some virtual businesses operate solely in a corporation or brick and mortar identity of its virtual world environments such as Second Life own. have enough economical activity to be viable for commerce and one can make a living from From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia sales of virtual property, products and services to virtual customers in these virtual worlds.


Productivity at it’s Best By Renee Chapman

I must admit I’m a productivity fanatic. I enjoy wasting my time reading and researching ways to make my life more efficient. When I bought the not so new iPad last year, Productivity was one of the first categories that I looked in to see what was available in the App Store. The following list are some of my most favourite productivity Apps that I use on a daily basis and thought I would share with you. • Dropbox - Dropbox is one of my all time favourite apps that I use on a constant basis. You can download it for Windows or Mac and use is as an online storage for your files. You can also use it for clients if they need to send you a file but it’s too big to send by email they can instead upload it to your public folders in Dropbox. You can use it on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch and the best bit is not only is it free but for every person that you refer, you get more MB’s for storage. • ToDo for iPad - This is another App that I use on a daily basis. it is a fantastic app if you have a bad memory. I use this to check off what I need to do for the day, which tasks are priority and which ones I can leave for a while and it gives you alerts that show up on the screen if you’re doing something else so that it can remind you when something is due. It’s $5.99 but another that is just as good and works very similar is Sorted ($1.19) • Team Viewer - is a free app that you can use to get access to your or your client’s computer (with their permission of course). Install it on the computer you need to use it for and enter the unique set of digits so that you can access the computer. Very similar to VNC or Remote Desktop software, which also available for iPad, etc. • E-Task - This is a great project management tool that you can use to track leads, contacts, manage your projects, time, It’s another free app and you can use it on iPad, iPhone or iPod Touch. • Bento - is a great way to create lists or databases of different types. You could create and update your contact list, memberships, business inventory, plus heaps of other types of databases. Another type of database app is Handbase which is similar to Bento but not as slick looking I guess.


Time Wasters

ANAGRAM How many words can you find in the scrambled letters.

VORITFUFAILCE __________________________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________________________


Letters to the Editor

 - Your Opinions National Budget Concerns  I read a headline in the Financial Review this morning that "Small Business Wins Tax Write-Off"! Woo hoo I thought. Finally something for small biz. Don't count your chickens.... On further reading, what the budget actually says is that now I can claim $5000 instant tax deduction on the purchase of a car. Uhm.... I don't need a car. To fund the deduction, our Treasurer has decided to cut the Entrepreneurs Tax Offset which gave micro businesses (that's us) an automatic tax rebate of up to $2,750. Your accountant would've been all over this each year they do your tax return. The maximum refund amount ($2,750) is available when your total business income is under $50,000. As your business income increases, the refund decreases. Over 402,000 micro-businesses claimed that deduction in 2008-09. Once again, the majority of small business owners (the non-employing businesses who make up over 60% of small business in Australia) have been shafted. Lyn

Business Insurances I'm just wondering what your views are on getting Business Insurance for your VA business. I have been looking around at different brokers and companies and just thought I might see what other emerging VA's might be thinking about weather you should get it and which types of insurance you should consider. Renee  

Reply to Business Insurances I spoke with my house insurance provider GIO about coverage if my computer and office equipment was stolen or damaged. I am covered for that with my house insurance so no problems there.  I have also purchased public liability insurance for the times that I travel away from home on business. This is mainly for taking minutes but there will be other reasons besides minute taking as time goes on.  I looked into Professional Indemnity Insurance. This is only necessary if you are giving some sort of professional advice to clients. Accountants and graphic designers give out advice for example. I spoke with a very good broker in West Perth who basically talked himself out of a job! He agreed with me that my risk is very low.  This all relates to my particular situation. Linda

For replies or submission of letters to the Editor, email your opinions, comments or questions to Renee Chapman reneech@westnet.com.au


Feel Good Factor with Renee The Most Destructive habit .....................................................Worry The Greatest joy ......................................................................Giving The Greatest loss .....................................................................Self Respect The Most Satisfying Work ........................................................Helping Others The Ugliest Personality Trait ....................................................Selfishness The Greatest Problem to Overcome .....................................Fear The Most Effective Sleeping Pill..............................................Peace of Mind The Most Crippling Failure Disease .......................................Excuses The Most Powerful Force in Life ..............................................Love The Most Incredible Computer in The World ........................The Brain The Worse Thing To Be Without...............................................Hope The Most Deadliest Weapon ..................................................Words The Most Power-Filled Words .................................................“I Can” The Greatest Asset ..................................................................Faith The Most Worthless Emotion ...................................................Self Pity The Most Beautiful Attire .........................................................A Smile The Most Contagious Spirit .....................................................Enthusiasm


Do you need help with your admin work but don’t have the money or time to hire staff to do it? Then why not consider The Admin Chick? The Admin Chick is a dedicated admin & office support service based on a Pay As You Go system. Which means if you only have a few hours of admin work needed at one time, you can get it done and only pay for the few hours you need. No employment costs, no added taxes or fees and no employment conditions. It’s already been determined in the hourly rate. Let’s say you need some data entry done, but it will only take 1 hour and you just don’t have the time to do it yourself. Instead of hiring someone for 1 hours work and having to go through the rigmarole of employment obligations, processes & conditions, you can hire The Admin Chick and only pay for the 1 hour needed. That’s it. 1 hour is $45 so you only pay $45 (Plus GST). Annual Leave, Super, Tea Breaks, Office Space, Training & Employee Costs are no problem they’re all included in the set price. Plus if you have more than 5 hours work needed, you get a discounted rate per hour & pay even less.

The Admin Chick Supportive, Professional, Real!


Next Issue Get Your Copy Today! If you don’t want to miss out on the next edition of the “only magazine for virtual businesses in Australia”. Sign up for updates, news and advertising offers. Visit The Admin Chick’s website and go to the Today’s VA! Page. You can sign up for the magazine online, enter your details and pay a small price.

Next Issue out in October

2011

Once you’ve signed up, you will receive an email confirmation and details on what to do next. It’s that’s simple. Each magazine edition is $5.50 and there are four editions per year. You can access the magazine online and download or print it out if you like.

Advertising Full Page Advertisements = $550.00 Classified (Trades & Services) = $110.00 Visit www.theadminchick.com.au for details.



Today's VA! Magazine July 2011