Welcome to another edition of The Virtual Edge. So many fabulous things are happening at Virtual Word Publishing. 2006 Promises to be The BEST YEAR EVER. How about for your business? Do you feel the same?
For 2006, as with every year we find ourselves thinking about how we can improve our lives. Maybe we want to start a business, grow our business or just find more time for our families. Well all those things are possible with time and dedication. So this month I have a couple items to help you do achieve these things.
Thinking About Becoming A Virtual Assistant?
Stop by Publicity-VA.com -- New Message Boards!
If you've been contemplating becoming a virtual assistant, there's no better time to get started. Virtual Assisting is one of the fastest growing professions. My new site at www.publicity-VA.com offers a message board, how-to books, free resources such as marketing letters and a booklet on obtaining clients and also a free sample of our book, Virtual Assistant the Series.
See our latest release:
The numbers are staggering as more and more are choosing to forego corporate
In 1985 Ennen started her word processing business and was able to establish a full time client base within six months. In 1996 she wrote the first edition of Words from Home right at the same time the virtual assisting industry was getting its start. The book has recently been updated in its 2nd edition to meet the growth of new technology and advancements.
What can a word processor do at home? Among the many tasks they can accomplish would be typing resumes, manuscripts, medical and legal transcription, student papers, etc. Also, many word processors have also taken it one step further to work globally and also expand their skills and specialties to become a virtual assistant. Virtual assistants can work for clients anywhere in the world and specialize in other areas including publicity, marketing, web design, bookkeeping, e-mail handling, and so much more. Lawyers, doctors, businesses, and best selling authors are utilizing our services to get their work done faster and more efficiently. Also, other virtual assistants are finding they can grow their businesses more by using other virtual assistants and word processors and subcontracting the work out. They can then specialize in what they do best and leave the other tasks to their qualified subcontractors.
Ennen's motivational book, Words from Home, Start, Run and Profit from a Home-Based Word Processing Business offers a complete reference guide on how to start, run and profit from a home-based word processing business. It’s 208 pages on everything you need to succeed and targeted to work-at-home moms with good secretarial skills.
“Our goal with this book is to not only show how to start your own word processing business at home, but also how to do a brilliant job at it,” says Ennen. “You will take pride in the fact that your business will be a cut above the others. Anyone can run a home-based word processing business. What we want to show you is how to operate the best word processing business.”
To get advice on starting a word processing business and to receive our free booklet on how to obtain clients go to http://www.virtualwordpublishing.com. Start your business today and enjoy the financial security you always dreamed of.
Contact: Diana Ennen http://www.virtualwordpublishing.com http://www.Publicity-VA.com (954) 971-4025 firstname.lastname@example.org
Growing Your Business
Articles, Press Releases, Newsletters and ezines, can all be extremely effective marketing tools for your business. They put your name in front of your potential clients, regular clients, and peers while showing your expertise and professionalism. They are an excellent means to both market and grow your business and also show your existing clients your creative abilities.
Now the trick is to make them professional, newsworthy and interesting to read. If you don't know how, don't have time or just don't want to write your own, there are many freelance writers and virtual assistants available to help you out for a very reasonable rate.
Steps to a Writing an Effective Press Releases
Want to get the most media attention and spotlight for your business? Then the first place to start is with a GREAT press release. Now I can almost see half of you leaving now, dreading the thought of having to write one of these. But wait!! I’m going to show you easy methods to make your press release work for you and get the attention it deserves. Ready? Let’s go.
We’ll briefly go over the basics because of their importance. Editors want to see things done the RIGHT way. I would bet that a lot of good releases simply get tossed out just because they aren’t set up properly. To a busy editor, that all too familiar “10 second glance” says a lot for you and your business; it let’s them know if you’ve done your research enough to warrant that release to be placed in their newspaper or magazine.
Here are your essentials:
"FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE" on the top left of the page. Your contact name, phone number, e-mail address, and website follows. Headline is next, normally in bold and centered on the page. Summarize what the release is about and capture their attention. Spend almost as much time on your headline as you do writing the release. It’s that important.
The press release body starts with the location of the release and the date (
Most press releases are between 200-500 words, and no more than a page. The first paragraph has the most important information. Don’t save the best for last, it won’t get read. In this paragraph answer the questions, who, what, when, where and why? It is recommended that you write press releases in the 3rd person and use short sentences and paragraphs. Do not go over board, trying to dazzle the editor, it won’t work.
Target your release. You will be sending your release to a specific audience so make sure that in your release you keep to what would appeal to that audience. What don’t they know that you can add? Nothing works better than getting an “AAH HAA” when an editor is reviewing your release. Provide statistics. Do some research and find some relevant information that applies. You can easily do this through Google. Once you find your quote, do a Google search or Yahoo quote on that particular topic. However, don’t stop on the first Google link and take that for gospel. Research it a bit further. Have it come from a respectable company or magazine.
Include relevant quotes from experts in your field that will reinforce what you are saying. Approach authors, leaders in your Industry, and other experts that back up the facts you are stating in your release. They will normally appreciate the added publicity and you get the quote you’re looking for. For example, as an author I’ll often get asked to provide a quote for an article on home-based businesses or the virtual assistant industry. I welcome the opportunity as it provides me more publicity.
Also, if you have a satisfied client that you feel will add credibility to your Release, add a quote from them as well. The first time you mention the expert, write out their full name. Then list them by last name or Mr. and Mrs. Smith only. I normally prefer the last name.
The last paragraph should be your call to action. You’ve talked the whole release about your business or product, now tell them what to do with the knowledge they just acquired. At the bottom of the release include ### to indicate you are done, followed by a short bio. Make sure if you include your website that you include http:// in front of it for search engine recognition. Your bio should include your information, any books authored, etc. Double check this for accuracy. At this point, you’re tired and done with the Release. But if it goes out to the world with the wrong web address, the valuable time spent even writing the Release has been wasted.
That’s it! The basics for writing a press release. Now one other thing I’d like to add in, they work! They truly work. I’ve had a recent release get accepted by PRWeb (and yes they do reject bad ones!), and then go on to hit several other major newspapers and media outlines and the Google alert, which resulted in our paper in the area contacting me. You want to set up a Google news alert for your name so that you can follow the path and see when you make the news so you can follow up. Also, PRWeb at http://www.prweb.com has complete guidelines for setting up a good press release. Go with the extra money and spend $20.00 It’s worth it to get the additional exposure.
Finding Extra Time In Your Day
Boy do I wish each day was 30 hours long. Just think of all the wonderful things you could accomplish with that extra 6 hrs. Yeah Right! If you're anything like me, you'd still be sitting at your desk working away oblivious of the time. So instead of wishing for more time, why not create it by eliminating one of the top time wasters during your day.
Yes, I'm talking about that dreaded word... Organization (or lack of in our case). Being unorganized can eat up as much as 2 hours a day of your time. So why not spend a few hours on Saturday organizing your office then schedule in 5 minutes a day to return things to their proper places so you can start fresh in the morning. See, it's that simple - Now go enjoy your new found free time!
Organized and Loving It – Working at Home In Style
Over the years, I’ve tried it all, different ways to get organized, with much trial and error. Some worked, some didn’t. I tried some of those fancy looking matching desk sets. They looked beautiful and for some, I’m sure they are perfect. But for me, they took up too much valuable space. Space I needed to proof my work, keep my reference books, or keep those essentials that I use on a regular basis. For me, when I work I want everything within an arms reach. I want to have immediate access to the tools I need to complete my assignments.
I have a corner desk, and on it I have my computer, printer, fax, phone, etc. Beside my desk I have a two-drawer filing cabinet. This was possibly the greatest thing I’ve ever done to organize my business. In it I have my files and supplies that I use on a regular basis, such as, client stationery, client files, a file for my receipts, all personal correspondence, paper, folders, etc. Whenever these files get bulky with client documents, I simply empty them into the main filing cabinet. For example, my main clients, whom I’ve been working with for 20 years, their files in the main cabinet are quite large. It’s nice to have the smaller file close by with just their recent correspondence. Plus, when I need a folder, an order slip for my books, a copy of my stationery, it’s all right there. AAAHHH, now that’s convenience.
Now for the receipts’ file. I keep it monthly. At the beginning of the month, I simply replace the file with the new month’s file. That way, at tax time, I don’t have to go through a whole year’s receipts and divide it up. It’s already separated.
Here are some other organizational tips you might find beneficial:
Mail—We have a round basket by a small table by the front door. All incoming mail goes in there first. Then when I have the opportunity to sort through it, I get it and put it in its appropriate place. Always pitch anything you aren’t keeping. All business-related mail is sorted and put away immediately. Anything that might need work done on it is logged into my Daytimer and then put in the To Do Bin.
Desk—Your desk should have on it only those items that you use on a regular basis. Look around. What haven’t you used in the last month or two? Start dumping. Find another spot for it. But find the RIGHT spot for it.
No Piling of Anything Allowed. This is one of those habits that can be so easy to get into. Definitely one that I catch myself doing a lot! But I stop myself now because I know it will just be brushed off to the side and forgotten. Too often I miss something important and regret the piling blunder again. You will be amazed how much more organized you will feel if you just don’t do this one thing. And time yourself. You think you are too busy, but it takes seconds and how long does it take to look for that missing document.
Daytimer—Now this isn’t only for Time Management. Your Daytimer can have a space for all your business cards, appointment cards, etc. How great it is to have all these cards right in the same place. On the date of your appointment, you simply grab the card and off you go. Also, recently I’ve started using the Outlook Express to log in appointments as well. It has a calendar and I can look to it to get a feel for the day and the week to follow.
Three-ring Binders – I saved my best for last. I do a lot of research in doing publicity for clients and also have a lot of e-mails that I need to print and save. I use paper that already has the wholes punched for insertion into a 3 ring binder. I will print out important research, client e-mails I need to save, work that I’ve done so I can review it later, etc., on this paper and then put it into the proper binders. I have a binder for all clients, research, PR, myself, and miscellaneous. You would be amazed how clearer things are in a binder than tossed in a file cabinet. For my business it works tremendously.
Start the beginning of the day and the end of the day with a clean-up. What a tremendous feeling that is. When you are done with a project, away it goes. When you start the next project, out comes all the material you need.
There’s nothing like the feeling of sitting down in the morning to a nice clean organized desk and office. Once you feel this a couple of days, you want to experience this every day so you’ll take the appropriate steps to make it happen.
**** Diana Ennen is the author of numerous books including Virtual Assistant: the Series, Become a Highly Successful, Sought After VA, Words From Home, Start, Run and Profit from a Home-Based Word Processing Business & the Home Office Recovery Plan. She specializes in publicity and book marketing and is president of Virtual Word Publishing http://www.virtualwordpublishing.com and http://www.Publicity-VA.com. Articles are free to be reprinted as long as the author’s bio remains intact.