Virtual Assistance

Come and get your love

Posted by on Oct 5, 2011 in Celebration, Connections, Inspiration, Love, Virtual Assistance, Wholehearted | 2 comments

Last year AssistU’s Community Recognition Awards were held in Reston, VA and Anastacia  aptly renamed the event Homecoming. I knew after a year of caretaking responsibilities I desperately needed to attend in order to rejuvenate myself and to give and receive love, hugs, and laughter. My experience although wonderful was that I wasn’t really present for the event—I was worried about my mom and how she and my family were handling my absence. Unfortunately not well and even though there was nothing I could do about that I struggled with feelings of guilt and selfishness amidst the outpouring of love I received from my virtual family. After connecting virtually for over a year I met Beatrice Ten-Thye (whom my aunt in Canada had referred to me and AssistU) at that event which made every negative thought and doubt flee in the joy and happiness of our connection. That’s what Homecoming is about! In the groovy words of of the ultimate Native American rock band, Redbone, “Come and get your love.” I traveled to distant cities three times this year (huge for this homebody) and had not budgeted for a trip to San Diego in September. I waivered and listed pros and cons and sat on the fence whining about the view. Then I spoke to my childhood friend, we met in the Bahamas when we were ten, who has lived in San Diego for ten years and raved about it, but I had never visited her new city. I heard the excitement in her voice when I told her our community in person event would be held there and that I was considering coming. She really wanted me to come but she also said it was the perfect place to hold our Homecoming event. That decided me. The attraction of an old friend sharing her beloved city was the kick in the butt I needed to create the resources of time, finances, and energy to make it happen. I had been focusing on what it would cost me to go instead of what it would pay me to go. That’s what Homecoming is about, “Come and get your love.” When I arrived at the restaurant for the educational portion of the event (a most excellent addition) I was greeted in the foyer by dearly familiar faces that I have met over the past five years of CRA events. We rush to hug, quite often we scream or jump up and down with joy! And then a tiny blonde woman came up to me and said, “Laura? It’s Lisa!” My latest lovely intern from Colorado—we had just spent the past two months working together and getting to know each other. Oh, how wonderful it is to go from vugs (virtual hugs) to warm, tight, long, loving HUGS! That’s what Homecoming is about, “Come and get your love.”               Bumper sticker we received at Homecoming! 🙂 I made my way through this crowd of twenty-five or so women and then recognized (only because we had finally Skyped together the past week) another dear friend I’d never met. Karen interned with me four years ago when she graduated AssistU’s Virtual Training Program. She had delayed starting her business until this year to support her parents and her in-laws, and moved to two States in the process. We were there for each other when we were caretakers for our moms and became very close. Joy of joys to hug dear Karen and look into her eyes and smile from my soul. That’s what Homecoming is about, “Come and get your love.” When hands...

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Rachael Rocks!

Posted by on Sep 26, 2011 in Celebration, Connections, Travel, Virtual Assistance, Wholehearted | 0 comments

AssistU now calls our annual Community Recognition Awards Homecoming. This years Homecoming was hosted in San Diego and I have just returned from a fabulous week in an awesome city. Our own Rachael Davila co-ordinated the event for her Certified Professional Virtual Assistant (CPVA) project and went ALL out for every aspect of the events—from our 'goody bag' at the educational portion on Friday to her dad's paticipation as official photographer and videographer at the awards luncheon.     Me & Bea in our hats at Hotel Del. Rachael specializes in email marketing and promotional products and is a truly dedicated and talented Virtual Assistant. I'm biased because I already knew she rocked but now the entire community knows! Check out these brilliant promotional products she donated; tissue packet, magentized to-do-list, and I especially liked the tic-tac box in her logo colors with a pocket to slide in her business card. Thank you Rach for all you give to this wonderful community, and for all your hard work on this spectacular event! You are deeply loved and appreciated my friend and I am so happy to see you come into your own. Big congrats on your CPVA! You ROCK Rach! Rachael and her wonderful dad, Nowell....

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Away I go…again

Posted by on Aug 19, 2011 in Caretaking, Connections, Travel, Virtual Assistance | 1 comment

by David Erickson Before I became a VA I didn’t travel very far from home. I get antsy on long road trips and I’ve flown a fair amount (I grew up on an island!) but never embraced being up in the sky.  When I first began my practice I didn’t plan to travel for my clients and since I worked virtually—there was no need. Six years later I’m happy to say that coordinating, traveling to, and executing live events for my clients brings me great pleasure and satisfaction. Last year I juggled my personal and professional commitments and let my clients know that as my mom’s caretaker I wasn’t as flexible to travel. They missed me but were completely supportive. I did travel to AssistU’s Community Recognition Awards (CRA) last September and left my family in charge of mom, but it didn’t go smoothly for them and as much as I needed to get away I wasn’t able to relax and enjoy myself. That was my last trip away from home while mom was with us. Without mom I now have a bittersweet freedom and I have availed myself to take WOWVA on the road several times this year. In March my hubby and I had a grand road trip driving my client’s car from Atlanta to Boston and culminating in a visit to our friend’s in Maine and a flight home to Florida. In May I visited my Aunt and cousins in Toronto along with a new and dear VA friend, Beatrice and her husband. June arrived so quickly and I flew to Maryland for an in person client event along with three days of client meet-ups to strategize for 2011. I was able to mix business with pleasure on this trip and see my awesome fellow Maryland AssistU friends who have loved and supported me over the past six years. The finale for 2011 is ideal: AssistU’s CRA in….San Diego! I’ll spend a weekend in America’s Finest City with fellow VAs gathering for meals, a bus tour of the city, and the awards luncheon will be held at Il Fornaio on Coronado Island.  I’ll be meeting some beautiful faces for the first time even though we’ve known each other for several years. This amazing weekend will be followed by several days playing tourist with my childhood friend who is so excited to show me her hometown!  My travels have allowed me to deepen my relationships and connections with clients, friends, and family and I am immensely grateful to have a business that’s mobile plus access to the technology to work from practically any location. I must mention that I have come to treasure those miraculous moments in the clouds while on route to my next destination. On a clear day the perspective from up in the air is grounding—the little problems don’t seem so big and the small details become magnified in importance. Where have you traveled to this year dear reader, any adventures to share?  If you’re a homebody like I am I encourage you to spread your wings and see where they take you. Here’s to...

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Nods that knock your socks off

Posted by on Aug 2, 2011 in Authenticity, Celebration, Connections, Virtual Assistance | 0 comments

You never really know the impact you make on other people unless of course they share directly. But actions speak louder than words. They echo off the mountaintops don’t they? My Virtual Assistance community AssistU hosts an annual Community Recognition Awards and I was nominated for Most Supportive Community Member and also Virtual Assistant of the Year. Wow! I recently wrote about accepting the gift of a compliment with grace and positivity. Here’s my opportunity to put love into action: I’m honored. I’m awed. I’m touched. I’m blown away by your support, belief, and love. I am thrilled to be in such stellar company as these amazing VAs: VA of the Year nominees:Heather HinsonPat MatsonLaura AllenMonique CunninghamAlicia MooreSusan SullivanRachael DavilaLarissa ParksBeatrice Ten-ThyeKyle Sheldon-ChandlerKaren ClevelandSharon BroughtonGinger DerricksonKim GrayLorri MorinSarah NeumannSandra Trca-Black Most Supportive Community Member of the Year:Lauray WalshHeather HinsonAntonette ArtizAnne Marie FergusonKristy SchnabelPat MatsonKathy WatkinsErin WentworthJeri JensenLaura AllenMerri TaylorRachael DavilaLarissa ParksBeatrice Ten-ThyeKelly MorrisonKyle Sheldon-ChandlerKaren ClevelandKaren Brockman Thank you. Truly. Madly. Deeply. I love this...

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Learning 2011

Posted by on Jul 22, 2011 in Connections, Current Affairs, Virtual Assistance | 0 comments

Elliott Masie is the founder of The MASIE Center Learning Lab & ThinkTank and hosts an annual conference in Orlando, Florida called Learning 2011 to discuss the future of Learning. His online bio states, “Elliott is acknowledged as the first analyst to use the term e-Learning and has advocated for a sane deployment of learning and collaboration technology as a means of supporting the effectiveness and profitability of enterprises.” I only live a little over an hour from Orlando so my client asked if I would be interested in attending this all-expense paid weekend and reporting back on my knowledge and experience. Now there’s a ‘no-brainer’, heck yeah! I am over the M-O-O-N about this invitation and opportunity! What an awesome client relationship, what an amazing resource for networking, what an awe inspiring learning adventure. Plus, I may get to meet Bill!...

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Stellar service

Posted by on Jul 8, 2011 in Challenges, Connections, Virtual Assistance, Web/Tech | 0 comments

I must admit I have zero tolerance for less than stellar customer service.  If the bag person at the grocery store is not bagging my items with care I will step in and assist. However if the cashier is grumpy I don’t take it personally, I really get ‘if you walk a mile in her shoes’, and I send her some extra love and do my best to spread my inner joy outwardly and give her a big smile or kind word. Gandhi’s wise words reverberate in my head in these instances: “Be the change you want to see.” When service people are uncaring or rude I am judgmental. Perhaps it’s my long employment as a public business manager that provokes me—I expect to be taken care of in a particular way. I had provided and made sure my staff provided eccellent customer service. Why would a company that I am supporting with my business hire a person who is uncaring, lazy, or rude? Unfortunately because I have this issue and am aware of it the Universe sees fit to send me many opportunities to grow beyond it. So when a customer service person goes above and beyond I simply have to share! I opened an account with MailStreet so my Outlook email, calendar, and folders would all synch between my desktop and my laptop. The first step was easy and I was excited. One quick phone call and then I followed the directions to move my email from its current host 1&1 Internet to MailStreet which is now a division of Apptix. When I called 1&1 with my request I was connected with a representative that spoke halting English and I had tremendous difficulty understanding him. He also gave me the incorrect information assuring me I only needed to change one thing on my account and did not need to host it with MailStreet. (Sigh) I made that change and emailed MailStreet to see what my next step was. MailStreet informed me I did need to make the hosting change and advised me to call 1&1 back. I did. My next representative spoke better English and was polite but explained only one change could be made to the account at a time. It would take 24-48 hours to update. (Double sigh) I moved on to the rest of the MailStreet setup instructions which eluded me (I’m only so techy) which added to my frustration and finally gave up. I emailed MailStreet to give them an update and explained I was frustrated and had turned everything off. Sometimes ya gotta know when to walk away. About an hour later I got a call from customer service at Apptix, she introduced herself as Lilly and said she’d received my email and was calling to see how I was doing. Would it help if she walked me through the process? OMG, yes! How refreshing. Lilly was patient and engaging and we made it through set up successfully. Finally I only had to wait for 1&1 to update the unneeded change so I could make the correct change. Lilly walked me through that portion since I’d be doing it on my own. I expressed my gratitude and she sounded sweet and young and said it was no problem.  Twenty-four hours later 1&1 still had not updated my account. I received an email from Lilly saying she would be off for a day but that my account was ready and waiting for the final step and she would check on it as soon as she returned to work. The next day when my...

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