A Re-Direction to a New Location

September 6, 2013

Hello Everyone,

It has been way to long since my last post! So sorry about that.

I have been working hard on obtaining new clients and once again re-branding my business. I think I am finally satisfied with my results. I hope you will feel the same.

I am happy to announce that I have created a new blog site. A one stop shop. Where all that I do will be in one location. For all of those who are following my blog I would like to re-direct you to a new site where I will be posting from: http://www.lmsremoteofficeservices.com/blog. You can follow me from this new site. I would appreciate your continued support. While you are there please feel free to sign up and receive your free eBook “Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Working With A Virtual Assistant A Time and Money Savings Guide for Small Business Owner’s and Entrepreneur’s”

Again I want to thank all my followers for your support. Your comments and opinions mean so much to me. So please click the click above and start following me from my new location.

Sincerely,

LMS Assist You LLC dba LMS Remote Office Services


Who Said Working from Home Is Easy?

June 10, 2013

royalty-free-business-clipart-illustration-96271[1] Back in May 2012 I started my own home business as a Virtual Administrative Assistant. I was under the impression that working from home and being a stay at home mom was going to be very easy. Boy was I wrong. My life became very complicated very quickly.

I had to be out of the house networking if I wanted any clients. I had to create and execute my own marketing if I wanted any clients. Blogging alone is a full-time position in itself. I still had to be a full-time mom and wife, which meant Guitar Lessons, Karate Lessons, Tutoring and all the normal full-time household wife duties. Wow! it was more than I really expected. Seeing it on paper in a business plan and actually living it was a shock to my body and mind. I was exhausted all the time. Usually I am extremely organized, I became very disorganized. I was overwhelmed like never before. I had to take control and take control quickly if I wanted to stay in business for myself and have a happy healthy family.

Now a little over a year later I am running a successful Virtual Administrative Assistant business and I have a happy healthy family. I am proof that working from home and being a full-time wife and mother can be easy. Here are a few lessons I learned along the way.

Stay organized:  I made a plan of everything that needs to be done on one piece of paper and I wrote down how everything was going to get done and when. I prioritized and work from start to finish. This included making a schedule of the days I would be out networking, calling prospect clients, working on client projects, and taking my son to guitar lessons, etc…, and even when the laundry gets done folded and put away.

Plan ahead: I plan at least two weeks ahead for meals; breakfast, lunch and dinners. I prepare all meals in advance for up to two weeks. Yes this might take up to two hours on a weekend, but it saves about five hours during the work week. I also organized my pantry, refrigerator and freezer, as well. This also saves time not having to rummage through to locate items needed for a meal. This is also a great way to stay healthy, by planning and preparing healthy meals and snacks.

Set limitations: You’ve heard the expression “A lack of preparation on your behalf does not constitute an emergency on my behalf” I say no to anything that is not important to me, my family, or my business. It’s just that simple. I used to think that “I need to help everyone so they will like me” not anymore. Having been burned on numerous occasions by this mentality, I’ve learned it is ok that not everyone likes me. My health and my families health and happiness does not depend on anyone but me. Why stress over someone else’s inability to be organized, plan ahead, or get caught up in their drama.

bigstockphoto_Woman_Relaxing_At_Spa_648614[1] (640x480) Don’t neglect yourself: I like to walk. I walk 3 days a week for 1 hour usually ends up being about 2.5 to 3 mile walk. I like soaking in a hot bubble bath after a hectic week. I take 5 minute breaks every couple of hours at my desk and do a little desk yoga, deep breathing and stretching. I love manicures and pedicures. A monthly massage is an excellent way to pamper yourself. Because I am so organized I am able to be in bed at a decent hour. I am not rushing to cleanup, check emails, or get that last load of laundry done at midnight. I make sure I am well rested for the following day. Whatever you enjoy; do it. Don’t neglect yourself and don’t feel guilty cause you did it for yourself and not a loved one. You will be no good to anyone, loved ones and clients if you are not happy and relaxed.

Keep in touch with your friends: I’ve made a lot of friends through school activities and other kid functions, prior to starting my business. I don’t want to lose touch or worse lose a friend, because I was too busy to keep in touch. I keep in touch with them by sending out a few texts, tweets, and Facebook comments, and message throughout the week. I schedule lunch or coffee. I even schedule walks with friends. Your friendships are just as important as your relationships with your loved ones. They provide support and encouragement and you can provide the same for them.

I feel being a Virtual Assistant was the perfect business to go into for myself. I love the attention to detail and organization. It took about 4 months for me to learn how to take control and balance work at home and home life. These five things were most important in helping me to succeed at that balance. I hope that they help you too.

If you like this post there is more to come weekly. I invite you to visit my website at http://www.lmsassistyou.net on the home page you will find a sign up form please feel free to join my mailing list by filling out that form. From there you can sign my guest book. Your questions and comments are important to me. You can also join my mailing list at http://www.facebook.com/lmsassistyou there you will find “join my list” tab under my cover photo


A Virtual Assistant’s Secrets

June 3, 2013

As a Virtual Assistant the question I get asked often is: “How does that work?” This question refers to when I am selling my services to a prospect. The prospect really doesn’t understand the concept of “Virtual Services” So I am exposing my secrets here for all prospects to have a good idea of how work is completed by a Virtual Assistant without having an Assistant physically in their office. I am going to share how I work for a client.

Here is a list of 10 services I can provide. I will tell you my secrets to getting the job done.

  1. Calendar – Scheduling and sharing is easy with programs such as Google Calendar and Outlook. This is achieved by the client already having systems in place and the Virtual Assistant obtains username and passwords. Second way to achieving this is for the Virtual Assistant to set up new accounts with username and passwords for the client and proceed with work. These work well, cause they integrate well with other software such as, MS Office. Other free calendar programs can work as well such as, Zoho, Cozi, Jibidee, and Keep and Share.
  2. Screening and responding to emails – Again, this is done by either using clients existing system by the Virtual Assistant obtaining username and passwords, or by creating new username and passwords. There are many, many email services to choose from, too many to list.
  3. Customer Support – The simplest and the quickest for a very small business is to have the capability to forward your business line to your Virtual Assistant. Most Virtual Assistants will charge in 15 min increments. Other services available that can be run by your Virtual Assistant is: Talkdesk, Zendesk, or LiveChatInc. All of these do have monthly service fees and are pretty reasonable to work with.
  4. Social Media – This is Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Google+, Google hangout, and YouTube, just to name a few. All these daily post can become very time-consuming and a distraction to a small business owner. Give your Virtual Assistant all your username and passwords and he/she will pick up where needed. Your Virtual Assistant can create all of these accounts, pages and profiles for you. He/she can post engaging content based on your business
  5. Blog – Most Virtual Assistants use WordPress, blogger, Typepad, and Squarespace. As with Social Media your Virtual Assistant can obtain your username and passwords and pick up where needed, or create new accounts, username and passwords.
  6. Bookkeeping – There are two very good accounting programs that can be used online and the in Cloud. Freshbooks is a cloud accounting system and has very effective and efficient apps for iPhone and iPad and are reasonably priced. QuickBooks uses an online server and in my opinion is pretty secure. Either one you use all your Virtual Assistant needs is your username and password. If this is a new concept to you and you’re not real comfortable with online or the cloud. Most VAs use an accounting system and create a new account/company. Another way to have your Virtual Assistant do your books on your system without having to be in your office is a remote desktop system. This is a program like GoToMyPC or PCAnywhere. All that is needed most of the time for this process is a IP Address to the targeted computer.
  7. Manage email marketing list – Same as the above Social Media, and Blog, most Virtual Assistants use programs such as, MailChimp and Constant Contact. These have a minimal monthly fees and can be accessed by you Virtual Assistant with your username and password or by creating new accounts, username and passwords. Your Virtual Assistant can update or create your email database, by adding contacts into these programs. He/she can also create your newsletters and email marketing campaigns, as well.
  8. Customer Relations Management – Todays technology allows us to efficiently and effectively manage our customer relations through programs such as, Zoho, Salesforce, Infusionsoft and many others. Long gone are the all time-consuming handwritten correspondence and sales letters, as well as postage cost. Now it is all automated. Your Virtual Assistant can set up a new automated system and manage it, or he/she can obtain the appropriate username and passwords and pick up where needed.
  9. Setup Webinar events and registries – There are a few programs that can accommodate a webinar event. A good free conferencing and webinar service is Anymeeting. It allows up to 200 attendees. Your Virtual Assistant can set up the event and the registry for the event. Same as above services either your VA can create a new account, username and passwords or he/she will obtain them from you. Another good service with a fee is gotomeeting. My experience has been awesome with both.
  10. Word Documents and Mail Merge Docs – Still not obsolete, and very important part of business. Your Virtual Assistant can create a word document for mail either email or direct using Microsoft Word and Outlook or Excel for email and physical addresses. Several ways to do this, is Outlook username and password, or list emailed to your VA. Or through remote desktop access. Dropbox file share is another option and a Virtual Assistant’s secret.

In conclusion as you can see from all 10 services a Virtual Assistant’s secret is: accounts, username and passwords. Here are a few more things to think about before hiring a Virtual Assistant. You want to make a connection with your Virtual Assistant, you have to be able to trust your Virtual Assistant and to be able to let go. If you feel you need to see your Virtual Assistant, there is always Skype. This program allows you to have a face to face conversation via the internet. There really is no need to spend extra for overhead, taxes and fringe benefits to have an assistant in your office. All you need, to have a successful business is technology and someone who understands it even better than you.


As the Year 2012 Comes to an End

December 10, 2012

As the year comes to an end, the excitement of all of the possibilities for 2013 are becoming a reality. I am so excited to get my refurbished website up and running. I can hardly wait for my new brochure to be completed. I am most excited about attending a large conference and networking with my fellow Virtual Assistants in April/May 2013 in Philadelphia, PA.

I am in the 6th month of starting my business and everyday I learn something new and creative about being a business owner. I’ve also learned some difficult business lessons, as well. All of which has made me stronger and a better Virtual Assistant for the year 2013.  The number #1 lesson I will continue with me into 2013 and all the years to follow is: to genuinely care about my client’s business. I feel that sincerely caring about them and their business will come back in ten fold. I keep in contact with them on a personal level, not just email or voicemail. I want to make a personal connection when I call.

My preparations for the new year have been, scheduling my time for networking, client contacts, and time spent on client projects. I have changed my pricing structure from an hourly rate to a block rate. I have re-branded my look, logo and style. Finally I will be joining the Chamber of Commerce in my City and look forward to all the possibilities, and opportunities that will come from them. I will definitely keep you all posted.

Please follow me as I take you through this journey with me.


Why is “Virtual” so hard to understand?

December 2, 2012

As my web designer and I discuss my website being targeted locally or broader, and going back and forth with this for quite a while. I find myself realizing that not everyone understands what “virtual” means or the concept of a Virtual Assistant (VA). While I agree with my web designer that local target is fine, I would also like my website to reach further. I mean I am virtual and I can do most things administrative from my own location. This is not to say that for all my local clients, that I would not offer a pickup and delivery, or even fill in for an absent staff member. This isn’t the first conversation where I found someone confused about the concept of being virtual. I was at a networking group luncheon and I was asked to give my elevator speech. After doing so I had a lady come to me and say “I don’t think you should be in this group,  we don’t like to duplicate professions we already have a Virtual Assistant. In fact I use her myself to take my elderly father for his hair cuts, pickup his prescriptions and walk my dog.” I almost fell on the floor. How is her assistant virtual? Was my elevator speech not clear enough? I asked the lady what she thought a virtual assistant was, just to see if she would use the one keyword “virtual”. She did. We then went on to have a great conversation and I described in detail what it is that I actually am. I hope that she has a greater understanding and I do believe that the way her business is growing, that it won’t be too long before she is calling me. I hope that one day that my web designer and I can find that happy medium as well.

So for those who are still confused about what a virtual assistant is, I have attached a few blog articles explaining the profession and how a Virtual Assistant could benefit your company. I also urge you to read “The Four Hour Work Week” by Tim Ferris. This book has a chapter dedicated to working with Virtual Assistants.

http://michaelhyatt.com/my-experience-using-a-virtual-assistant.html

http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/working-smarter/outsourcing/five-tips-for-working-with-a-virtual-assistant

http://www.blogworld.com/2011/05/06/25-brilliant-bloggers-talk-about-virtual-assistants/


What have I gotten myself into?

November 30, 2012

Well this is my first blog post. I am nervous, scared and very anxious. I must say this is a little intimidating to say the least. So I will just jump in with both feet!

My name is Lisa Marie Silva. I am the founder and President of LMS Assist You LLC. I am a Virtual Administrative Assistant. I have over 17 years in the administrative field five of those years I was a Office Manager. I have a passion for organization and creative administrative challenges. I left the workforce in July of 2003 to have my son in August of 2003. I have been a stay-at-home mom since then.

In 2007 like most in the US, my family was hit pretty hard by the drop in the economy. I needed to get back to work. The thought of interviewing and being an employee seemed very daunting to me. I wanted more. I just didn’t know what it was, until one day on a Good Morning America (GMA) show I watched an interview about how moms like myself are contributing financially to their home. http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/TakeControlOfYourLife/Story?id=3639793&page=1. A light went on and I thought that was for me!

Five years later after research, at least that is what I like to call it. It really was the fear of the unknown. I jumped in June 2012. Let me tell you, times have changed in the administrative world. Blog? What is a blog? A website created by a specialized web designer is how much? Wow! All of it is very overwhelming. Yet, it all seems worth it! I have never felt this sense of freedom. I wake in the morning and LOVE that I was given another day to work on growing my business, meeting new and interesting people, and most of all learning new and exciting technologies.

I want to thank you for taking the time to read my story. If you like this one, you will love the next. I invite you to stop by my facbook page and please “Like” www.facebook.com/lmsassistyou