Elite Heartbeat

Good News and Views for VAs and SBOs

Visit Me at A Balanced Alternative

Posted by A Balanced Alternative on June 19, 2007

Just in case you missed the announcement, I am now blogging directly from my new website. You can check it out at Perspectives. The website is A Balanced Alternative.

And don’t forget to subscribe over there so you don’t miss any blogs. I look forward to seeing you over there!

Vickie

Posted in A Balanced Alternative, blogs, Perspectives, website | Leave a Comment »

Perspectives Blog Up and Running

Posted by A Balanced Alternative on June 5, 2007

My new blog on my new website is now up and running.

I will be posting on the Perspectives blog from now on at http://www.abalancedalternative.com/blog. I hope you all join me there. I’ll have a sign-up soon so you can receive my new posts automatically and therefore not miss anything.

I look forward to all my old friends from here at Elite Heartbeat to check me out over at Perspectives. I also invite and welcome any and all new friends to my new website!

Let me know what you think.

Vickie

Posted in A Balanced Alternative, Blogging, Elite Heartbeat, Perspectives blog | Leave a Comment »

“Training” the assistant, virtual assistant and intern – and why I’m not interested!

Posted by A Balanced Alternative on May 31, 2007

Well, I was going to take a nice, leisurely afternoon – visit my forums, do some posting, enjoy the serenity and peaceful day. WOW, was I mistaken!

I was on a VA forum (the VACOC) and I’ve just found out about a new “training” program designed to “help” the VA industry. Now look, I am all for training. I try to take teleseminars and marketing classes, I subscribe to newsletters and ezines, I belong to forums where I can learn and grow. But when I see promotion materials that show a woman with eight arms pouring coffee, typing, answering the phone, and so on (you get the picture) and the caption reads, “The Problem with Most Assistants, and Why It’s Not Their Fault,” I have to say I take offense. Here are just a few themes I found in this program that I feel demeans and demotes the VA industry:
#1 – I am not an employee – so why would you have one message to different industries with different ways of working and different thought patterns. I am not an employee nor am I an intern. I do not have bosses or employers. I am a business owner.

#2 – I am not embarrassed by a potential client asking if I can provide a service that I don’t provide. I cannot be “all things to all people” nor do I want to. When I am talking with a potential client, I explain the services I offer. If there’s not something I offer, I can give them names of VAs who do offer that service.

#3 – I don’t get “trained” by my clients (and that isn’t an offensive statement). When I partner with a client, they expect me to be well-versed in certain tasks. After all, that’s why we are working together – to take some of their burden so they can concentrate on growing their business. I know what I am doing or I don’t take on the task. If I see a need that many of my clients are looking for, and I feel it is an area I would enjoy providing, I take the initiative to search out training in that area. No one sends me to “school.”

#4 – The whole tone of this “training” program is condescending, not only to VAs, but to all administrative assistants. I have over 25 years of experience in administrative assistance, executive assistance, legal assistance, and now virtual assistance. I have trained, learned, worked hard and become an expert in my field. I find the wording in this training program to demean and debase what an assistant is and does. I am proud of what I’ve accomplished and am continuing to accomplish.

There is much more I could say, but – my point here is that I feel assistants, virtual and otherwise, have been done a huge injustice by this “university” program. I for one will not be a part of this.

I urge everyone to look carefully before you join any training program. There are many programs on the Internet that promise to make you an expert for a fee. Read carefully, be wary, be cautious. If it sounds too good to be true, it usually is!

Vickie

Posted in administrative assistance, assistant, blogs, intern, Marketing, training, VACOC, VAs, Virtual Assistant | 5 Comments »

Do You Think About your First Full-time Job?

Posted by A Balanced Alternative on May 29, 2007

Well, my son graduated high school Sunday evening!It was a beautiful evening and many of his family and friends were there to share it with him.

This morning, he got up, got ready, and started his full-time job for the summer. It’s his first full-time job and I am excited for him. I remember my first time job – how it made me feel that I was a contributing member to the human race, how it made me feel grown-up, how it made me feel important in some way. I hope it’s the same for him.

I hope he has learned the values of hard work and integrity in a job – to work hard at whatever you’re doing, to respect your bosses, to learn from your co-workers, to be on time to work. I hope he has learned the importance of saving some of that money he will now have. I hope he has learned that this is a whole new chapter in his life and to enjoy it, savor it, take it all in.

We should all spend more time thinking about our first full-time job. We should once again be excited about what we do. And I have to say, I am. I love what I do; I love the thought of helping people; I love the new friendships made by working with different clients; I love being able to do it on my time schedule and from where I choose to be.

I am doing what I love at this point in my life. I can only wish for the same when my son is my age. And I wish the same for you.

Vickie

For more information on working with a virtual assistant, visit my website at A Balanced Alternative. I’d love to talk with you.

Posted in bosses, clients, co-workers, contributing member, full-time job, graduated, hard work and integrity, human race, respect, son, Work | Leave a Comment »

Transitions

Posted by A Balanced Alternative on May 25, 2007

My youngest son is graduating from high school this weekend. It has been a tough few months for me as he transitions from being an 18-year old high school kid to being an 18-year old young adult. I started thinking today about the transitions we make in our lives.

I think we’re constantly changing, moving, progressing, but it’s usually on such a slow, steady basis, we really don’t notice it. Then we turn around and we’re 50 (yes, it’s my 50th in July). How did I get to be 50? When did I pass 30, 40?

My business has been in transition lately. I changed my company name, I changed my focus, I changed my niche.

And still, time marches on! I think about my dreams of my future when I was young – where did I want to be at this stage of my life, have I done the things I wanted to do?

Maybe life isn’t the way I planned. Maybe I didn’t marry rich. Maybe I didn’t have a girl to break up all the boys. But you know what? I feel I’m exactly where I should be. I’m doing what I should be doing. I’m loving life, I love my husband, I love my boys.

So maybe this is the way it should be. Maybe my youngest son is supposed to be having these excited feelings about adulthood. Maybe the world is supposed to be getting older. Maybe we’re doing exactly what we’re supposed to be doing. As for me, I will enjoy Ryan’s graduation this weekend. I will embrace his adulthood. I will be happy for his new opportunities. Because at some point, they will bring him the fulfillment and joy I find in life.

Yes, this is a lot more philosophical than I usually talk – but that’s the way I was feeling today.

Have a safe and happy Memorial Day weekend!

Vickie

Posted in company name, focus, fulfillment, graduation, high school, joy, niche, philosophical, transitions, youngest son | 2 Comments »

New Website is Up and Running!

Posted by A Balanced Alternative on May 24, 2007

Well, it’s here!

My new website is finally here! My web designer has been working hard and fast to get it up and running by June 1st. And I am so pleased with the results.

When we started this process, my thoughts and ideas were very fragmented. I knew what I wanted, I just didn’t know how to relate that to a presence on the web. But Jonathan Gabriel, owner of Distant Support, took my ideas and ran with them. He listened to me and implemented the things I told him were important to get my message out.

He started by creating a wonderful new logo for me, something which embodied balance, harmony, those things that create peace. And he built the website around those words.

I want to say a public Thank You to Jonathan (known as Gabs to his friends) for his great work on this project. Gabs, I was concerned when we began that you might not “get me” and what I wanted to say on my site. But you immediately showed me that I didn’t need to worry. The attention you gave, the listening ear you provided, all show me that you are an excellent business person who has amazing skills! I’m so happy that I am working with you.

Okay, everyone, check out my new website and let me know what you think. I hope you’ll be as pleased as I am. And be on the lookout for my blog to be moving to my new site very soon. The name will be Perspectives and I hope you’ll join me there as soon as it’s ready!

Vickie

Posted in A Balanced Alternative, blog, Distant Support, Jonathan Gabriel, web designer, website | Leave a Comment »

Affecting Change in our Country

Posted by A Balanced Alternative on May 22, 2007

Today is the day for Primary Elections in Kentucky. This gives me a chance to get on my soapbox for a minute or two. But this is not a political statement. I just want to speak my piece about our rights to vote.

We as a nation have the opportunity to affect change in our country. One of the ways we do this is by voting. We decide who our leaders are going to be in this nation. But if we don’t vote, we have no right to gripe and complain about the way the government is handling things.

We tell ourselves and others, “It won’t do any good to vote. My vote doesn’t count. No one I know is running for anything.” Then we want to sit back and talk about how our government is not doing what we want it to do. Our apathy has become appalling.

If we want to make a difference; if we want to be able to affect change; if we want to just sit and complain, we have to be willing to go to the polls.

So I for one will be leaving soon to go vote. And I hope when the time comes in your State to do the same, you think just a bit before you decide it’s not worth your time. Let’s see what would happen if everyone decided TO vote this year. What changes would we see?

Vickie

Posted in Affecting change in our country, apathy is appalling, change, Kentucky, primary elections, vote | 2 Comments »

Productivity Group Writing Project

Posted by A Balanced Alternative on May 20, 2007

The ultimate guide to producitivity meme was started by Ben Yoskovitz. I have now been tagged by Joy Slaughter, my good friend from the VACOC. Be sure to check out her blog here.The question is:

So what’s your secret to being productive?

I believe for me, what helps the most is that I put everything on my calendar, from personal to business.

I schedule my exercise, my blogging, my client work, my breaks, my time to work ON my business, my networking, my personal appointments and my teleseminars. Everything goes on my calendar.

I use a wonderful program called AirSet. It allows me to create as many calendars as I want, then it has different ways to view them, separately or all in one calendar. You can see at a glance everything that’s going on that day or week or month, from my son’s graduation to my client weekly check-in call.

I used to think it was crazy to schedule breaks and exercise and blogging, but I realized that if it’s not on my calendar, it’s either not going to get done or it’s going to be pushed back and pushed back, until I’m not doing it at all.

Joy’s tip was to always have a pad of paper and pencil nearby. Then, anytime she’s struck with ideas when she’s involved in relaxing activities, she doesn’t have to try and remember it until she gets back to her office. That’s a great tip. I find myself doing that – thinking of something I need to do as I’m riding in a car, or working outside. I’ll have to find a place to put some supplies. Thanks, Joy, for that great tip!

OK – I think I’m going to tag Karen Del’Marmol and Suzanne Evans. You’re up, girls!

Well, here are the “rules” of this project from Ben’s Instigator Blog:

  1. Write a post on your best productivity tips. Challenge yourself by picking your single best productivity tip (although this isn’t a requirement; you can give us more if you want!)
  2. Include links to other people that have written posts, or include their tips in your post with proper attribution.

    Note: I’m not asking that you link to everyone in the group writing project meme; pick the ones you want to connect with. You certainly can link to everyone, but it’s not a requirement. I like leaving more decision making power in your hands so this isn’t just a link grab, but you’re thinking about what your audience & community wants to read about.

    A link back to this post is appreciated though, to help spread the word!

  3. If you use Technorati Tags then tag your post “ultimate guide to productivity”.
  4. Tag others in your post to spread the meme. Tag as many people as you like!
  5. If you link back to Instigator Blog and email me at byosko@gmail.com, I’ll make sure to include at least 2 links back to you. But this isn’t a requirement, it just helps me keep track of what’s going on.

Posted in AirSet, Ben Yoskovitz, Ben's Instigator Blog, Blogging, Joy Slaughter, Karen Del'Marmol, productivity tips, Suzanne Evans, VACOC | 4 Comments »

It’s Time to Participate in Life

Posted by A Balanced Alternative on May 18, 2007

What a roller-coaster of a week!

I wrote on Tuesday about the day I had on Monday – not so good to say the least. Yet Tuesday was the same way. By Wednesday I was really wondering what was going on.

It’s so easy, especially as small business owners, to be discouraged and start questioning yourself. Nothing is going as planned, you seem to be spinning your wheels, you’re out of sorts with the universe. That’s how I felt through Wednesday. I wondered if I really knew what I was doing; I wondered if this was going to work; I wondered if I was really doing what I wanted to do.

Then I noticed something about those days. I had worked so much in the business – doing the client work – that I had left out working on the business.

I had not networked, I had basically isolated myself here in my office. The time I had been out was to help a sick family member so that was tough in itself. Then I had spoke to a sister who was upset about something so that again was not a pleasant conversation.

So Wednesday night I tried to catch up on my networking. I posted on the forums, I tried to contribute to conversations. I talked to family members and tried to cheer them up and be positive. In essence, I put myself out in the world in a supportive and uplifting manner.

So I bet you can guess what happened! Thursday was a great day. I woke up determined to joyfully participate in life. It was a productive day, I felt in charge, things were moving along, and I got a new client!

I’ve realized (and it keeps coming home to me) that so much of what you get out of life is determined by what you put in. You may be having a bad day, but how you choose to react to it determines how you will feel at the end of that day. Be determined to actively, joyfully participate today – and let me know how it goes for you.

Vickie

Posted in clients, determined, family member, joyfully, network, participate in life, Small Business Owners, supportive, universe, uplifting, working in the business, working on the business | Leave a Comment »

 
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