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Work at Home
05/07/2010
IconHow to Create a 'Virtual Assistant' Business By Glory Borgeson Virtual assistants are one of the newest careers in work-at-home businesses. Using a personal computer, a phone, and a fax machine, virtual assistants (VAs) create value for their clients from their home office. They create their own hours, have no commute to a job, and call the shots in their own business. Some of the work a VA does during the day is administration. They do various tasks for their client as if they were at their client's office. This could include mailings to their clients' customers and prospects, creating presentations, and making reminder phone calls for appointments. The beauty of the VA business is that it is "virtual". Your clients can be anywhere: they don't even have to be in your vicinity! They can even be in a different state! In my companion article, " Could You Be a Virtual Assistant? ", I discussed the skills you need before deciding to become a VA. These include being organized, excellent grammar and spelling skills, good communication skills, and computer hardware and software knowledge. How to Get Training Some VAs learn the business from another VA. Other VAs attend a school that trains them how to be a VA. Most such schools conduct teleclasses, so you can attend from anywhere. One VA school is called AssistU ( www.assistu.com ). Their virtual training program lasts 20 weeks. Another school is Virtual Assistance U ( www.virtualassistanceu.com ). Their virtual training program lasts 16 weeks. A third training program to look into is with The Virtual Wizards ( www.thevirtualwizards.com ; e-mail: info@thevirtualwizards.com , or call 352-242-2234). Support If you attend one of the VA schools, you will automatically be introduced to a support network of other VAs. You will also want to check the International Virtual Assistants Association (IVAA) ( www.ivaa.org ), The Virtual Business Group ( www.virtualbizgroup.com ), and for military spouses who are VAs, look into Staffcentrix ( www.staffcentrix.com ). Clients and Fees Most VAs bill at about $30 an hour or more. The rate you charge can go higher if you: Have industry-specific education and your clients are in that industry Gain more experience as a VA Can do many types of work for a client without requiring supervision from the client Have many resources and skills at your disposal Know a little html code and can update your client's website Some VAs bill clients for actual hours worked and break it down to 30-minute increments. They may invoice weekly or bi-weekly. Others work on retainer. They plan a certain number of hours per month for a particular client. The client pays the retainer fee at the beginning of the month. During the month, the VA keeps a log of hours worked for each client to make certain that retainer clients do not go over their allotted amounts (or, they may have an agreement in place for billing additional time). Unused hours do not roll over to the next month. VAs will often discount their hourly rate by 10% for clients paying on retainer. You can invoice your clients using a software program such as Quickbooks, which also allows you to easily keep track of unpaid invoices. (You would also use Quickbooks to enter all of your expenses, whether paid for by cash, check, or credit card, reconcile your bank statements and credit card statements, and keep all of your data together for monthly [or quarterly] and annual tax reporting.) You can also receive payments by credit card, if that is how your clients prefer to pay. If you sign up to use an online system, such as Practice Pay Solutions ( www.practicepaysolutions.com ), the client will get a receipt by e-mail to notify him or her of their purchase of your services after you enter the charge online. If you give your invoiced clients, for example, "net 15" terms, you need to decide how many days past due is too long, and start contacting the client to request payment. You will find that some clients pay on time and others pay late. You will need to decide how late is too late. If a new client wants you to just work on a project, consider asking for some money up-front. First, think about how much time the project will take, multiply that by your hourly rate, and then ask the client for one-third of that amount up front. Trust your instincts on this issue. If a client asks you about how long a project will take you to complete, you will need to use your experience to arrive at your best estimate. It is generally a good idea to give them a range (for example, "It will probably take somewhere between 4 and 8 hours."). Also, it is best to give your estimate on the high side. This is a customer satisfaction principle in action. If you estimate on the high side, and the actual comes close to that or lower, your client will be happy. If you estimate too low and the actual comes out higher (for example, you estimate that some work will take 8 hours, but it actually takes 11 hours), your client will get a "bad" surprise and his "customer satisfaction" level will be lower. Who Will Be My Client, and How Will I Find Them? Who can use the services of a virtual assistant? Just about any "solo-preneur" who does not have office support staff! For example: Insurance agents, consultants, coaches, speakers, authors, caterers, artists, etc., may be able to use the services of a VA. When you are first starting out, tell everyone you know about your new business and the services you offer. Send them a letter with your business card, and then follow up with a phone call. Ask people who they know who might be able to use your services (and give them examples of the types of businesses that might be interested). Ask your friends for introductions to people who might be interested in your work. Join a local chamber of commerce and attend networking events. Make certain that your business card includes a brief list of your services, even if it's printed on the back of the card. Two or three months after you first notify all of your friends about your business, contact them again. Stay in front of them, reminding them of your new business. Frequent networking in your current circles and in new groups will ensure that people are reminded of the work you are doing, and they will be more likely to remember to refer you to people they meet. Tips for Doing the Work Some VAs agree that they do their best work with clients who have established long-term business relationships with them, as opposed to project work or piece work. They enjoy working in 'partnership' with their clients. The longer a VA works with a client, the more she gets to know the client. This is especially important when, for example, a client gives you documentation that has errors. If you have worked with him or her for some time, you will be more likely to catch the errors than if you rarely work with them. An area where your organization skills become of utmost importance is in following up on phone conversations with your clients. Since you have no visual cues when you are on the phone, taking detailed notes during a call with your client is very important. Just as crucial is sending an e-mail or fax to the client after the call to confirm what you've agreed to in the call. Your organization of your clients' projects must be done as if you're a project manager. You will have tight "to do" lists. Keep as much work as possible in soft copy so that you do not accumulate too much paper. Have a good PC "filing system" in Windows Explorer. Remember to back up your PC regularly. What Software Should You Know? Most VAs agree that you should have and know how to use Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, ACT, and Adobe Acrobat PDFWriter. Some VAs do very little PowerPoint, while others create several presentations a month. Many clients will want their documents given to them in a pdf format. Adobe's PDFWriter is very easy to use to create documents in pdf. Some VAs have learned some html code in order to make minor changes to their clients' websites. Most recommend using software such as Dreamweaver, but do not use FrontPage. Others use FrontPage for ease and convenience's sake. You need to get to know your clients and what products you need to know in order to serve them well. Take intermediate and advanced classes in these software titles to provide a great level of skill for your clients. Are You Ready? Is it time to create your own "to do" list about taking steps to begin your virtual assistant business? Print this article and then start a list of the tasks you need to do to get started! Review how much time you have to devote to this business: How much time do you have now, in 6 months, in 12 months? How many hours per week to you want to work? What skills do you currently have, and which need improvement? Is your PC ready for this business? After you print out this article, go through it and note what you need to do, first, to decide if this is the business for you (also see my article titled, " Could You Be a Virtual Assistant? "). Second, go through this article again and note what you need to do to get the business going. Make a "to do" list out of it and schedule those "to do's" into your calendar. Then follow through. And let me know about your success! Glory Borgeson is a small business consultant and coach who loves to work with clients by phone from her Chicago-area home office. Please contact her at 630-653-0992 or by e-mail at glory.borgeson@borgesonconsulting.com for more information about your home-based business. Permission granted for use on DrLaura.com More >>

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05/07/2010
IconGetting It Right Robert G. Allen boballen@robertallen.com In the field of marketing, "getting it right" is very important. Sometimes success can hinge on just a single digit. Take this story for example: About thirty years ago, Joe Karbo wrote a book called The Lazy Man's Way to Riches . He launched his $10 book with a full-page ad in the Los Angeles Times with the headline, "How to earn $50,000 a year the lazy way". Not a single person responded! Joe didn't give up. He was a master at marketing; he knew he had a good idea and if he could only get it right, then he would succeed. He placed his ad again but with a slight change. Instead of offering people an easy way to earn $50,000 a year, he changed it to $20,000 a year. His book was a huge hit making him hundreds of thousands of dollars. Why did such a small change make such a huge difference? At the time, a good income was $10,000 a year. Earning ten times that was not believable, but earning twice that amount was. When it became more believable, then people were able to "see" what he was offering and responded. Extracted from Multiple Streams of Income by Robert G. Allen. Contact Robert G. Allen at boballen@robertallen.com or visit his website at www.robertallen.com for more information. Permission granted for this article for use on DrLaura.com. More >>

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05/07/2010
IconMaking Money by Making Sandwiches: Boxed Lunch Catering Is A Tasty Business! Michelle Couch mgcouch@mindspring.com In true Dr. Laura form I have always longed to proclaim "I am my kids' mom!", but could not financially figure out how to do so. As a 30 year old woman, I guess you could say I was the victim of my own success. I focused on my career in my early twenties and by the time I married at 27 years old I was making more than my spouse in my corporate consulting job. This was fine until we decided to have children and I found it impossible to find any work that would allow me to provide the income that our family needed while allowing me to stay at home with my children. Throughout high-school and college I was always told that I could do anything that I wanted to do and be anything that I wanted to be#133;but no one told me that what I would want most of all was to be a stay at home mom. I have never really thought of myself as "exceptional" in the kitchen and quite frankly I have never spent a lot of time cooking, but I've spent a tremendous amount of time in the Boardrooms of the firms that I consulted for in my corporate career. More times than not we held "working lunch" meetings and sandwiches were catered in for these events. So, I decided to launch my own boxed lunch catering business to cater (literally) to the corporate world that I had left behind. With an emphasis on providing upscale, gourmet boxed meals and specialty party trays, we have catered business lunches, training meetings, group outings and special events. The business is perfectly suited for stay at home moms (or moms wanting to work just a few hours per day) because of the ability to start things on a small scale and grow at a rate and pace that fits with your lifestyle. Depending on the amount of work that you are willing to do, profits could range from $100 to $1000 per week. I have outlined for you below a few things that need to be done in order to get started: Check with your local Health Department regarding the specific rules and regulations that apply to caterers in your area. Legally register your business within your state and/or municipality and acquire the appropriate licenses to operate. Identify businesses and professionals in your area who use catering services. Go for it! Start prospecting for clients from your prospect list and start making sandwiches! You are certain to be surprised at the opportunity that exists. ---As a former consultant, Michelle welcomes the opportunity to work with you on developing a strategy to start your own catering business. She has also developed an implementation workbook which provides step by step instructions for getting your own boxed lunch catering business off the ground (based on what she has learned on her own journey). For more information, please contact her by e-mail at mgcouch@mindspring.com Permission granted for use on DrLaura.com More >>

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05/07/2010
IconLife#146;s Problem Solvers: Duct Tape and WD40 By Chellie Campbell www.chellie.com #147;All of life#146;s problems can be solved with two things#151;duct tape and WD40. If it moves and it shouldn#146;t, you need duct tape. And if it doesn#146;t move and it should, you need WD40.#148;#151;Unknown This quote makes me laugh every time I think of it. It#146;s a great image that really can be applied to life: you need duct tape to keep you on purpose in your life; to stick to your guns, stick to your ideals, stick to your goals . You need WD40 to get you up and moving; to get out of bed in the morning, to get you to the gym, get you #147;out of the box.#148; Distinguishing when you need to use duct tape and when you need to use WD40 is vitally important. Many businesses have failed because they didn#146;t see a new product or technology on the rise and stuck to the old way of doing things playing it safe. Just like food kept in the refrigerator long past it#146;s expiration date, sometimes people stay in jobs, neighborhoods, or relationships beyond their fruitfulness. When the ship is sinking, it#146;s appropriate to #147;jump ship!#148; Then again, it#146;s very important to use that duct tape and stay the course#151;you don#146;t want to give up on your dream just before it#146;s fulfilled. Maybe the next ship you send out is the one that will bring home the treasure, so heed the cry: #147;Don#146;t give up the ship!#148; The creator of the copier machine took his new invention to Kodak first. The copier is a kind of camera, so it seemed a natural connection. However, the Kodak executives rejected it#151;after all, they had better quality photographic equipment already. They just didn#146;t see the business application of the invention. So the inventor went to Xerox and that#146;s why we Xerox documents rather than Kodak them. The Kodak executives had too much duct tape holding them to their known business model#151;they needed a squirt or two of WD40 to rouse them to act on a new idea. The inventor had plenty of WD40, which helped him create a new business machine, and enough duct tape to refuse to give up in the face of rejection. So how do you know #147;when to hold #145;em and when to fold #145;em#148;? You use the duct tape and stick to your goals as long as you passionately believe in them and are committed to the process of making them happen. When you enjoy the pursuit of the dream, whether or not it is realized. When your intuition tells you to keep going. And most of all, when you know that you will succeed because you#146;re willing to do whatever it takes to make it happen. Behind every #147;overnight sensation#148; there were years of study, failed attempts, more learning, small successes, and dogged persistence. Lots of duct tape. This is the path of achievement, and every successful person walks it. Succeed or fail, your passion and commitment to your purpose will be the WD40 that moves and inspires you to get up each day, excited about the new possibilities today will bring. If you enjoy your dream and each daily activity, you#146;ll be happy, and that will mean you are a success every day of your life. Chellie Campbell is the author of The Wealthy Spirit: Daily Affirmations for Financial Stress Reduction , selected as one of Dr. Laura#146;s book recommendations. She created and teaches the Financial Stress Reductionreg; Workshops on which her book is based in the Los Angeles area and gives programs throughout the country. Her free e-newsletter is available at www.thewealthyspirit.com . Permission granted for use on Dr.Laura.com. More >>

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05/07/2010
IconStaying on Track When You Work From Home by Leslie Godwin When I had a 40 minute commute, and a long workday, I fantasized about those lucky people who worked from home. I pictured people relaxing with a cup of coffee and the newspaper each morning, since they didn't need to rush onto crowded freeways. Then, I figured, they got plenty of work done (since they had no distractions) until it was time to break for a festive lunch with the family. Then, it was back to being extremely productive until the end of the work day. It never occurred to me that without a deadline to leave the house, that by the time I finished my coffee, ate breakfast, walked 2 Great Danes, and showered, that it would be time for lunch. TIPS FOR STAYING MOTIVATED WHEN YOU'RE WORKING 'HOME ALONE' Do your plans include working out of a home office, or in a home-based business? Or do you already work from home and want to be more productive?Here are some tips that have helped me stay on task instead of surfing the net or watching a high-speed car chase all afternoon. Know what you need to accomplish each day: Staying focused on your top priorities is especially important when you don't have an on-site supervisor to keep your attention on the big picture, or when YOU are the supervisor. It's way too easy to get distracted by what Stephen Covey calls "urgent but not important" items and lose sight of "important but not urgent" ones. In other words, don't take a non-critical phone call when you should be working on your marketing plan. Start each day with a review of your schedule and to-do list. Do you need to write a Mission Statement? Will some market research help you better assess a new aspect of your business? Should you write a rough draft of the talk you'll be giving next week? Get your top priority items done when you're most productive, and you won't have to go back to work after dinner to finish up something important. Give yourself some structure You're more likely to get that "important but not urgent" item checked off your to-do list if it's scheduled for 11 AM on Tuesday, and not just in a file somewhere on your desk. Help your family and friends understand that you're working When your spouse, neighbor, or mother-in-law pops in, say, "I'm working now, but I can take a break at [specify time]." Your mother-in-law may never fully grasp that you're on the job, but your spouse, neighbors, and friends should respect this boundary. Type up a sign that you can tape to your front door when you're on an important call or on a deadline that says, "In meeting, please don't interrupt." When a child pops in: If you're the primary caretaker of children, working at home with kids is like bringing them to work with you, only worse. Working from home is NOT the same as being a stay-at-home parent. If you're NOT the main person responsible for childcare duties during the workday, and your child pops in, please don't say, "I can't now, I'm working." Your child will always remember that mantra, and it'll eventually cost you thousands of dollars for their psychotherapy. It's better to give them your full attention for a few minutes, then either invite them to bring a book or homework in and join you, or tell them you'll see them at [specify time] ... and stick to it! Remember why you wanted to work from home Build some fun activities into your day. Schedule breakfast with one child one week, another the next. Walk your dog when you hit the wall on a project to get a fresh perspective. And try not to make your friends and colleagues envious that your commute takes less than a minute. Leslie Godwin, MFCC, is a Career Life-Transition Coach specializing in helping people put their families, faith, and principles first when making career and life choices. She publishes a free email newsletter on career and life transition. To subscribe, email godwinpss@aol.com and mention that you'd like to be on the email newsletter list. Permission granted for use on DrLaura.com. More >>

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05/07/2010
IconCash in on Your Expertise Jillian Coleman copy;2003 www.GrantMeRich.com Even though I#146;ve never met you, I know one thing about you. You are an expert. Don#146;t shake your head and smile that shy, self-deprecating smile. Modesty is not the name of the game here. This is about identifying your expertise, owning it, and parlaying it into money. How can I be so sure you#146;re an expert? Easy. Everyone is. Think about it. It#146;s impossible for any of us to go through life without developing a high level of competence in at least one area, and probably more than one. What is yours? Maybe you cook amazing Mexican food. Maybe you convinced your two-year-old to sleep in his own bed. Maybe you make your own clothes, and could show someone else how to do it, too. Maybe you recently bought a sound system, but first you spent months comparing products and features. Maybe you can do ten basic repairs on your car, or your bike. Maybe you know everything there is to know about Pink Floyd. No matter what your area of expertise, there are people out there who want to learn what you already know. And tens of thousands of them are surfing the Internet, right now, looking for you. Despite early belief that the Internet was going to be all about shopping, recent marketing reports show that most people go online for one reason: information. Information products are the hottest products on the Internet today. Increasingly, this information is delivered in the form of e-books. All right, I saw you wince. Writing a book takes years, doesn#146;t it? Well, writing the Great American Novel might take a while, but writing an e-book is very different. Electronic books are a form unto themselves, written with a different goal than printed books. With e-books, the sole objective is to transmit information. Visitors to the Internet want to locate information, get access to it, read it and absorb it #150; quickly. They don#146;t care about a beautiful cover, or the heft and feel of the paper and binding, or how a book looks on a shelf. They want information, succinctly presented. An e-book must be only as long as it needs to be, to transmit the information. Many e-books are thirty pages of 16-point type, but each page is packed with the information the reader wants, and nothing else. A good e-book is a quick, enjoyable read. After you write your e-book, publishing and selling it are much simpler than you may imagine. The Internet marketplace is responding to the demand for information with an array of resources for the e-book publisher. You can take the text from your word processing program and put it into a PDF file such as Adobe Acrobat, or you can use one of the web-based publishing programs. The whole process can be completed in less than half an hour. You don#146;t need your own website to sell your e-book. There are a number of sites that, in return for a percentage of the sales price, will display your e-book and allow buyers to pay by credit card and download their purchase immediately. Some of these sites have affiliate programs, so that website owners who believe your book might be of interest to their visitors can also offer it for sale. In those cases, you share a percentage of the sales price with the affiliate. What you do need is a good sales letter. In fact, I#146;d suggest that you learn the basics of writing a good sales letter and put as much effort into that as you do into writing the e-book. The sales letter introduces the potential buyer to the book, and is displayed on the sales site. You can also develop affiliate sellers yourself, by offering your book through websites you identify. For example, if you are an expert golfer, and you#146;ve written a book describing your techniques, approach the owner of golf or sports-related sites. Many of these sites offer a newsletter to their visitors, and might want to feature your book in their e-zine. So there you have it. Identify your area of expertise, spend a week or two putting it down on paper, format it, write your sales letter, and put it up for sale. Then spend five or ten hours each week marketing it. When those monthly checks start rolling in, you might decide to get to work on book number two! Jillian Coleman is a consultant to businesses and non-profit agencies. Her website, www.GrantMeRich.com is a resource site for small business, grant writers, and consultants. To learn more about this topic, visit the site and click on #147;e-Books#148;. Jillian is the author of books related to grants and business, including Big Bucks for Free: The Complete e-Guide to U.S. Government Grants, and Build Your Small Business Now! Secrets of Success for Entrepreneurs. Permission granted for use on DrLaura.com. More >>

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05/07/2010
IconTop 10 Components of your Entrepreneurial Marketing Plan and 21 Key Items to Track for Results! Kristie Tamsevicius www.WebMomz.com The key to any success business venture is havinga solid plan. While many entrepreneurs have abusiness plan, they fail to plan their promotionalefforts. A marketing plan will help you to create a cohesive approachthat best helps you to meet your goals. It should include specificobjectives, strategies for realizing each objective, and benchmarks formeasuring your results. Below are the 10 key items to include in yourmarketing plan and 21 ways to track your promotional results! EXECUTIVE SUMMARY - Create a mission statementabout what specific objectives you are trying toachieve with your marketing campaign. Includewhether the scope of the campaign is local, regional,national, or international. "SWOT" ANALYSIS (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities,and threats). This will include information aboutdirectly competitive and indirectly competitivebusinesses in your industry. TARGET MARKET: Write a clear definition of your target market, marketsegments, and major market trends and influences. MARKET RESEARCH: This will tell why your product isneeded in the marketplace and what specific ways yourproduct will fill that need. This will include uniqueselling points, competitive advantage, and productbenefits to consumers. MARKETING OBJECTIVES: Your marketing objectives andgoals will include measurable and deadlines by whichyou wish to achieve them. MARKETING TACTICS: Which promotional vehicles you willuse to meet the marketing objectives. DISTRIBUTION CHANNELS: What channels of distribution you will use tobring your product to the marketplace? ACTION PLAN: Here you will includes budgets, costs, and outlinesresources will be required to implement the marketing tactics. This willinclude financial, monetary, personnel, vendors, systems, resources andpartners you need to realize your marketing plan. TEST MARKETING: Make a list of any product research ortest marketing you need you will perform. TRACKING RESULTS: Method of tracking results to determine if yourpromotional efforts are effective. TRACKING YOUR PROMOTIONAL CAMPAIGNSAnother idea to keep in mind is testing and trackingyour publicity and promotional efforts. Measuring the effectiveness ofvarious ad campaigns will tell you which ads are working, which onesaren't, and will give you an opportunity to adjust your efforts toobtain optimal results. 21 Key items to track in your publicityand promotional efforts: name of campaign date the campaign was launched cost of campaign newsletters, sales letters, magazines, television, radio stations, or web sites where the advertising, stories, or press releases were sent and run where news story was published list of interviews generated sales inquiries generated new sales generated return customers generated new contacts added to your network new business partners created web traffic generated new newsletter subscribers overall revenue increase increased product revenues market share increase improvement in search engine rankings increase in sites linking to yours number of search engines listed in new speaking engagements obtained number of articles published prospects called Additionally, surveys can provide real-time feedback onproduct titles, product offerings, price points, preferred method ofcontact, and other key items. Survey Monkey ( www.surveymonkey.com ) is a free servicethat allows you to create surveys. What better way to findout what your audience needs them to ask them? Article by Kristie Tamsevicius, America's Favorite Small Business Success Story.This article is an excerpt from Chapter 8 of the new book " I LOVE MY LIFE: A Mom's Guide to Working from Home " by Kristie Tamsevicius - (Wyatt MacKenzie Publishing March 2003Available at Amazon.com Join our community of Work at Home parents at www.WebMomz.com . Permission granted for use on DrLaura.com More >>

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05/07/2010
IconDream Job By Sarah Costa Upon graduating with a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Management from San Diego State University in 2000, I found myself with a dilemma. I wanted to be at home with my then 9-month old daughter as my husband and I agreed that staying at home with her would bring the most value to all of our lives; however, I also wanted to find a part time job to validate my degree I had recently completed and worked so hard to earn. Once Taylor turned a year old, I begin searching for a little part-time work from my home computer. Being only 23 at the time, I felt upon completing my graduation from college, that I seek some sort of position where I would be able to contribute to my family#146;s income at least in a small way and still be able to stay at home with our daughter. I stumbled upon a website called www.moneymakingmommy.com . Listed under available jobs was a remote concierge position for VIPdesk.com , Inc. I immediately was interested as I had just spent the previous few years before my daughter was born working as a concierge at a resort on Coronado Island, CA. At first, I admit I was somewhat hesitant about contacting the company as I had read and heard so much about non-legitimate work at home jobs. I decided to take a chance and just send in my resume. I immediately received a call from a manager at VIPdesk whom interviewed me right over the phone. Talk about convenience! He detailed the job position and the required duties. I had a good feeling about this new opportunity as they offered to train me in Los Angeles, pay for all my expenses in getting there as well as during my stay and never once asked for money upfront. Needless to say I was very excited about this new adventure. A few weeks later I was sent to LA for a few days of training. I had somewhat of a dilemma as to what to do with my daughter, as I was a stay-at-home mom with her being my first priority. They offered to give me a separate room and allow my daughter to come as well as my mother to act as my babysitter during the training. WOW!!! I thought that was the nicest gesture and very accommodating. After meeting my co-workers and completing the hands-on computer training at a computer training facility in Los Angeles, I had such a great feeling about this company and this new opportunity given to me. Basically my job tasks would include assisting clients via phone and email. Clients would send in requests for things such as travel information to restaurant reservations to flower orders to tourist information for cities ranging all over the United States via phone or email where I would be on the other end sending them recommendations. I began working a few weeks later and instantly fell in love with my job. Everything we did was over the computer from assisting clients, to checking our schedules, asking for time off, talking with other co-workers via instant messenger and researching requests. At that time, little phone interaction was even needed, as the Internet was an endless sea of information to sift through. Needless to say, I very much enjoy my job and feel blessed to have had the opportunity to work at such a rewarding position. My company truly values the family unit and the need for positions available for people whom believe in the importance of raising a family as well as seeking a career. I have been with the company now for almost 3 years and have experienced a lot of changes. I would have to say my company really values promoting from within and asking advice from all of its employees when change is needed. My company is based in Alexandria, VA so I had the opportunity to begin my shifts on Eastern Standard Time. I work 4 days a week from 5:00am-10:00am PST from my home computer in San Diego, CA. I now have an 8-month old son as well and have been able to adjust perfectly having two kids#146; home with me while completing my job tasks. This past year I was promoted to Senior Concierge. I feel that I make great money, have the flexibility of working part-time from my home computer while staying at home with my kids, as well as provide a necessary service to our clients. In today#146;s fast paced economy, people don#146;t have enough time in the day to hold down a full time job and make that needed restaurant reservation, purchase those flowers for a loved one, plan a family vacation, research prices and information on household service providers as well as a variety of other tasks that bombard a person on a daily basis. Our service provides that much needed relief for the everyday busy person. Working for VIPdesk has provided me with a sense of accomplishment to be able to juggle both a family and a career as well as contribute to my family#146;s income without any added stress. I feel my journey thus far has been exciting, rich in information and very rewarding. A large part of my co-workers chose to work from home without having to juggle a family or children as well but feel the importance of being able to telecommute in today#146;s hectic economy. I wish others would be so fortunate to be given the opportunity to work for such an appreciated company offering a valuable service to all of its clients. For more information about employment opportunities contact us at www.vipdesk.com . Headquarters: VIPdesk.com, Inc., 324 North Fairfax Street, Alexandria, VA 22314, Telephone: 703-299-4422, Fax: 703-299-9767. Permission granted for use on DrLaura.com More >>

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05/07/2010
IconTelevision's Kurt The Cyberguy Picks MYCOOLCAREER.com , Press Release: This Wednesday, April 16, Kurt The Cyberguy's television news segment will feature MYCOOLCAREER.com , a new career exploration site for teens 20s! In late 2002, the site enlarged its scope, overhauled its look to "awesome", and just finished archiving it's 75+ web radio career shows for streaming 24x7 one week ago. And, it caught the eye of Kurt The Cyberguy. The 90-second segment will highlight high school senior, Erin Loveridge of San Pedro, California, talking about how MYCOOLCAREER.com , has helped her. The segment will air on Tribune Company television stations in Los Angeles (KTLA 5), New York City (WPIX), Chicago (WGN), Denver (KWGN), and Indianapolis in the morning and nightly news. It may also air on other Tribune television stations around the country as well. Jill Sanborne, site creator says, "I'm hoping we're helping lots of teenagers! Erin's concerns are typical of many high school students who want to pursue a career that they will love." Sanborne expands, "Erin needs to choose a college that fits her career dreams, she wants to figure out how to narrow the variety of dreams swirling around in her intelligent head, decide on which dreams to focus, get financial aid, and on and on." Sanborne is often heard on radio shows around the country talking about teens and their desperate search for more and better career information, why television is good, how today's workplace has dramatically changed, but the way we prepare our teens for the workplace hasn't, and how parents need to take on a new role: #1 Career Guidance Leader. This week's web radio interview is with Rebecca Morse, Art Curator at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, California. This career was requested by a teen in New York who can't decide between being an art curator or a graphic designer. Sanborne says, "I get these kinds of questions all the time! MYCOOLCAREER.com , is designed to help these teens get to know themselves better and shows them how to explore their career ideas so that they can make the best decisions possible by the time they graduate from high school, and provides them with tools for a lifetime." MYCOOLCAREER.com ,, popular career exploration website for teens and 20's, features The 3 Steps To Your Cool Career and the info-packed 30-minute career interviews. Sanborne researches teens' needs and provides solutions to the challenges they face in preparing for rewarding careers, is a regular guest on talk shows, and speaks to teens and parent audiences about how teens can prepare for an awesome future. The site is recommended by CareerProNews.com , endorsed by Barbara Sher and the Los Angeles Unified School District Counseling Services K-12. More >>

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05/07/2010
IconWork Less and Earn More by Joan Sotkin Mary B. is a talented graphic artist. For years, she worked for a large corporation where her work was appreciated. Yet she yearned to be in business for herself. In September, 1995, she took the plunge and opened an independent graphic arts studio. Unlike many new entrepreneurs, Mary had a large enough bank account to survive for six months with a minimum amount of income. She also had many contacts from the corporate world that she could use to establish her customer base. Mary was in great shape to start her own business. Mary knew she was in a good position for success. She was also very conscientious and wanted to make sure that she did everything possible to make her business work. She put in long hours on the phone, going to networking meetings and planning her marketing. She wrote articles for local publications, volunteered her time when she had something to offer, and even appeared as a guest on a local talk show that had a business focus. When she did work for a client, Mary often worked to exhaustion to get the job done as quickly as possible. Mary began to realize that something was out of balance. Her whole life was wrapped around her business, and, although she had created a positive cash flow, she was no where near her earning potential. After a year in business, she was exhausted and constantly worried about where her next client was coming from. What Mary needed was to learn to let go and allow her life to happen -- rather than pushing to make it happen. She also needed to see her work as something she did during the day and not what defined her as a person. Although it was scary at first, Mary learned to set boundaries. She established specific hours that she would work. During the week, she limited herself to eight or nine work-related hours per day. Weekends were for her, not for the business, unless she chose to take a day off during the week. She set aside days that were specifically for her spiritual growth. During these days, business of any sort was entirely off limits.During the hours designated for work, Mary often took people breaks: having lunch with a friend, meeting with another graphic artist, talking to a far-away friend. She learned to have short breaks within her workday when she would focus on something other than her work. Mary also learned to spend 10 to 15 minutes each morning and 20 to 30 minutes every night, sitting quietly and letting her mind slow down. After a few months, she began doing specific meditation techniques. Because Mary had more time for herself, she started exercising regularly and found her energy levels increased rapidly. The big change for Mary was learning to let go in order for her business to take shape by itself. If she really wanted to go to networking meetings to be with other people she did. But she didn't push as hard to get new clients. Whenever she felt the fear of not earning enough coming up, she learned to take deep breaths and not take any overt action. Mary was amazed at the results of her new approach to life. It didn't take long for enjoyable projects to come her way. New clients started coming as a result of referrals rather than her marketing efforts. Within a few months, she was able to vendor out some of the work that came her way so that she could earn more without putting in extra hours. Mary also noticed that her business was moving in a new direction -- one she could not have foreseen if she kept plugging away and doing everything she thought she had to do before. Mary learned to take care of herself and her life became a reflection of that care. The less she pushed to make her business happen, the easier it was for it to support her. Mary's new-found trust in herself and how life works paid off for her. Mary never stopped paying attention to her business. She also had clear income goals and a picture in her mind of what she wanted her life to look like. What she stopped doing was pushing to create what she wanted in the way she thought she had to do it. She let herself believe that she could have what she wanted and let her life take shape. When we aim for a goal, if we don't take pauses in order for the energy of our life to reshape itself, everything we do comes from a previously known point of view. In order for something new to take form, we have to give it time for the energies to gather -- and shape themselves. What we have to do is not do anything and give our creation room to breathe. It may look like goofing off, but there is a lot going on deep within our creative being. Try taking longer pauses in your life. If you find the concept frightening, ask yourself what you are afraid of. Don't let the actions you take come from fear. Let them come from knowing that the action is the right one to take. That knowing can only come from a silent space that you create by not doing. Joan Sotkin is the creator of ProsperityPlace.com , author of "Build Your Money Muscles:9 Simple Exercises for Creating Wealth Prosperity" and "Prosperity Is an Inside Job" and publisher of Prosperity Tips, a free monthly ezine. Visit ProsperityPlace.com .Copyright copy;2003 by Joan Sotkin. Permission granted for use on DrLaura.com More >>

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