Category Archives: Virtual Assistant

Running Late? – Share Your Where with Glympse

A free service for cellphones, called Glympse, lets you share your location in small increments of time. By fall, it will be available for most phones.

This software from Android Market shows where you are on a map and will allow you to share your location by sending a Glympse to a person or people. It’s available for blocks of time up to four hours. Selecting four hours means recipients can track you for that period, no matter where you go, including the speed of the car. You can share your location with a business partner, client or your family.

Glympses can also include a short message.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Working Anywhere and Everywhere

digital-nomad.jpg

Digital nomad is not a title or a profession. It represents the mindset and lifestyle of people who have chosen or allowed to break free from a cubicle and make their living working anywhere and everywhere.  New technologies enable us to do so. One of my recurring nightmares now and then is a dream where I find myself working in a gray cubicle covered
with yellow sticky notes,  eight pairs of eyes looking at me all at once. This dream motivates me to get back on my laptop and learn new software in addition to developing  multitude of other new skills. Wikipedia states that “traditional nomadic behavior is increasingly rare in industrialized countries.”  Times are changing partially driven by corporate economies
of scale and societal circumstances.  I see this trend from cubicle to home based work expand in the future across national economies both in developed and emerging markets.

Read more about Digital Nomads on digitalnomads.com.

Google Docs – Create documents, spreadsheets and presentations online

I am very impressed with the increased capabilities of GoogleDocs application. Not only can you upload, store and edit your existing files, you can also use well designed templates,  collaborate as well as edit and present with others in real time. 

Templates include business plan, resume, letterhead, business cards, presentations and more. 

Are you stuck in an airport for hours and would like to use your time wisely by working on your schedules, albums, or wedding plans? Google Docs enables you to do that as well if you have a gmail or Google account, accessible via web from any place with an Internet connection.

GoogleDocs Help Center provides answers to your burning questions. You will find how-to videos and easy to read instructions.

Virtual Businesses Can Be “Green”

bulb.JPG

Virtual Businesses may have local clients, but they mostly conduct their business virtually. Their employees don’t have to travel the road more than couple times a week, therefore contributing to less traffic and air pollution. Remote workers working from home don’t take up parking spaces and therefore they don’t add stress to other people.

Did you know that a typical office worker uses 12,000 sheets of paper annually? Virtual businesses and remote workers conduct business via phone, email, online workspaces and webinars. They could print on both sides of paper whenever possible.

Sunshine is free – virtual workers can do most of their work during daylight hours and use Energy Star-qualified compact fluorescent lights.

They can set their thermostats to 65 degrees during working hours. No need to discuss the “right” temperature with several co-workers.

They can turn computers and printers off after work and use sleepmode features.

They can work in their PJs, do less laundry and use less make up – better for them and for the environment!

Free Online Office in Less Than A Day

laptops.JPG

If you are like many other busy small business owners, you wear many hats and may easily find yourself in a situation where you need to leave your primary place of business during a busy season to attend a weeklong  training in another state or help out a sick family member who lives 500 miles away.  Small business owners often don’t have corporate Intranets set up, but they need access to certain files from remote locations in order to finish a project or collaborate with other team members while travelling. It can be complicated to call the home office and stay on top of all projects. It is often a hassle to keep sending large files back and forth.  What alternatives do busy professionals have?

Anyone can set up a free online workspace for ongoing projects at BlueTie . You can customize your workplace, upload your files, contacts, calendar, and create to-do lists. A free account lets you have 20 users and as an administrator you can grant access and deny access if necessary.  And you can access your online workspace from any place with an Internet connection. Don’t like the interface of BlueTie?  There are other free options out there, such as Basecamp.  With a free account, you can work on one project and give access to team members and clients. Customization is limited, but isn’t a workspace mainly for getting the job done?  Still not satisfied?   Try Wrike.  It is built with the understanding that e-mail collaboration is crucial to completion of most projects.  All members of your team get e-mail notifications about changes posted to your projects.  I like their Timeline feature, it is easy to track the progress of any project.  In need of more features?  You can test drive WebEx Office by signing up for a free trial.  

 HyperOffice offers a Pay As You Go option that you can choose after your free trial expires. HyperOffice may also be an affordable alternative to Microsoft Exchange and SharePoint. 

Google Docs (formerly Google Docs & Spreadsheets) makes it possible for several users to view or edit a presentation online. Users can create a presentation from scratch or import and share an existing PowerPoint presentation. During a web-based presentation, participants have a chat room to the right side of the presentation slides. Participants need a Google account. Streaming audio or video and screen sharing features are not available.

Some of us like to travel everywhere with our laptops and wireless cards.  It is possible to send and receive faxes as well as make phone calls from your laptop when you sign up for RingCentral. A free trial is available.

Need to schedule a conference call with several participants while travelling? Try freeconference.com. Their “Web-Scheduled Standard” and “Reservationless Standard” conferencing services are free, but Toll-Free (800) Dial-in Numbers are not provided.  Most callers should expect to dial a long distance number to access conference bridges therefore should expect to pay domestic long distance rates charged by each caller’s long distance carrier for the length of time they are on the call.

Don’t let technology enslave you, let it free you up to work wherever you would like.

How do I choose my Virtual Assistant?

In the process of choosing a VA or Multi-VA practice you need to make sure they are the best fit for you or your company, capable of doing the work you want completed. Check them out by going to their websites and the websites of any organizations the VA belongs to. Make sure to ask many questions to become familiar and comfortable with your choice. Be ready to answer the following questions during the first interview with your Virtual Assistant candidates:

What does your company do?

Can you describe your business processes (office hours, preferred methods of communication, computer hardware and software you use, filing systems, contact management)?

What are your business goals for the next year? 

How do you process the information coming to you?

What are your strengths and weaknesses?

Do you have an assistant at this time?

What tasks would you like to assign to your Virtual Assistant?

What is a Virtual Assistant?

Virtual Assistants are entrepreneurs providing administrative, creative, and/or technical services. Utilizing advanced technological modes of communication and data delivery, they assist clients in their area of expertise form their own offices on a contractual basis.

Virtual Assistants are not employees of your company. They partner with your firm , get to know you personally and may assist you in maintaining close contact with your customer base. Communication between a business owner and his/her VA is accomplished using phone, fax, email, overnight mail and instant/text messaging.

Virtual Assistants can be contracted to do the work of: Executive Assistants, Secretaries, Data Entry Specialists, Clerks, Tax Advisors, Bookkeepers, Medical Transcriptionists, Web Designers, Real Estate Sales Assistants, Internet Researchers, Event Planners, Project Managers, Marketers, and for multitude of other assignments.

Education and experience levels of Virtual Assistants vary. Generally they have multiple skills including advanced computer skills in addition to experience in office management

They are small bsuiness owners who define their success by customer satisfaction.

Sources: ivaa.org and iavoa.com