From The Virtual Assistant Forums

http://www.virtualassistantforums.com/

We’ve started a new Lending Group on Kiva for the Virtual Assistant Forums community!

It’s easy to join – just go to http://www.kiva.org/community/viewTeam?team_id=2195 to view the Group page and click the ‘Join Team’ link – you will be directed to a page where you can register if you’re new to Kiva or log in if you’re already a member.

Then, every time you make a micro-lending contribution through Kiva you can choose to do so as part of the VAF lending group!

Did you know that every single dollar you donate is RETURNED to you when the loan recipient pays the funds back!!

Some of our members have already made a number of loans through Kiva to entrepreneurs all over the world, often in the third world, and have already seen some of those funds repaid so that they could loan out that same $25 or $50 to another growing business in an impoverished area across the globe.

Please sign up to be a part of our Lending Team on Kiva – this is a great way to show gratitude for the abundance in your own growing business. http://www.kiva.org/community/viewTeam?team_id=2195

Blogging members, please take a moment to make note of this on your Virtual Assistant business blog! It’s an open group and we want as many VA members as possible to join.

Thank you!!

Our new industry continues to benefit from increased exposure in the media. I think it’s important to share some of this information with our clients, who have taken a risk with us. It’s also important to have access to some of these stories for prospective clients, to show them that what we are offering is legitimate. The reason I say this is that even though there are over 1,600,000 hits on Google for “Virtual Assistant”, the most common question I get when introducing myself or sharing about my new business is, “What’s a virtual assistant?”

Most people are still largely unaware that this industry even exists. Some of those people could be excellent clients, if they had a clue that someone like us existed. So, here’s a link I found that brings together many of the recent media articles about Virtual Assistance, and I share it here to increase exposure and awareness:

http://www.thevirtuallink.com/tvlinthenews2.htm

I just received an email yesterday from someone participating in the Virtual Assistants’ High Heels Day, during which VAs working from home are encouraged to don the high heels that they might have worn to their corporate office (when they still worked for someone else) and to submit their pictures in some sort of charity fundraiser.

http://www.vanetworking.com/highheelsday/

Unfortunately, my immediate reaction to this is one of dismay, on a couple of levels. For one thing, this seems to imply that all VAs are women. While it may be true that the vast majority of VAs, as in all other support industries, are women, I can’t believe that ALL of them are, and this campaign dismisses the possibility of including male VAs in their celebration.

Secondly, this campaign also suggests that high heels are an appropriate symbol of status and implies that we all miss wearing those high heels, even though we may miss nothing else about working in a corporate atmosphere. I can say that at least for myself, this is patently untrue. I cannot wear heels (due to a problem with one of my feet), but even when I could, I thought it was ridiculous that heels were considered professional dress. To me, heels are good for evening wear, not for running all over the office, possibly up and down stairs, damaging one’s feet, making one’s back, knees, and ankles ache.

So, while supporting a charity is always a good thing, I disagree with this particular fundraising campaign. It seems demeaning and possibly even damaging. I welcome comments about this – I’m willing to change my mind if someone can offer compelling reasoning to the contrary.

In the meantime, happy Work-In-Your-Pajamas day! 🙂

Rebecca

http://www.FlexibleAsst.com

In the beginning

July 9, 2008

I have found, in these first few weeks of getting this business under way, that it takes time to get everything set up so that I can effectively assist my new clients. If they’re wanting me to create a contact management system, I have to wait for them to send me their contacts or contact lists. And sometimes, I even need to walk them through how to export contacts from different email accounts. If someone is wanting me to help them set appointments, I need them to forward me their schedules, before I can start filling those time slots.

I also have to spend some time talking with my new clients to get a feel for their particular business and style, so that I have a better idea about what they’re wanting, where they’re trying to go, and how exactly I can help them. This initial time period, which includes live discussions, also begins to create the bond, the working relationship, that we absolutely need to have in order to make this work. Since we’re both human beings, working as equals, that bond or relationship is imperative to our ability to work together and to have patience with each other. I also use this time to figure out how best to approach a new client with suggestions, critiques, and reminders.

All in all, I’m enjoying this discovery process, especially since it’s different with each client. Of course, I already have one client who is a challenge – she has an air of arrogant expectation, and that attitude is tinged with an expectation that I will fail her. It seems that she has been disappointed many times in the past by people who have promised to help her in some way, and who have ultimately let her down. In this case, I strive for compassion, to understand her feelings of worry and anxiety, and to not take personally her fatalistic attitude. So far, it seems to be working.

Rebecca, The Flexible Assistant

http://www.FlexibleAsst.com

Hello world!

June 27, 2008

My very first post on my new blog related to my new business! I have just started contracting out as a virtual assistant and I’m very excited to be entering this industry. Most of my adult life has been spent doing administrative support as an employee, and largely feeling unsatisfied with working for someone else. I look forward to being able to serve and support those whose work I can believe in, and to being my own boss. Although I appreciate that I’ll probably work harder working for myself, at least it will be more fulfilling.

I plan to use this blog to share my trials and tribulations, as well as my joys and successes, in relation to this new venture. I also will post tips and suggestions to potential clients and fellow VA’s. Please feel free to comment and to exchange links with me.  🙂