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More Reason’s To Love iThemes

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I love writing about things I love and one of the things I love is iThemes. There are many, many reason’s why I feel this way however the most important one is because they make the ULTIMATE WordPress Themes.

Honestly, I have worked with tonnes of WordPress Themes and can say without a doubt that iThemes ROCK!

Recently, iThemes was featured in the WordPress for dummies book, published some new customer testimonials on their site, and also James Dalman released a caricature of Cory Miller!

The most recent WordPress site I developed using the Flexx theme by iThemes is for the Forum on Virtual Assistance (FoVA 2009) conference. This event will bring together many of the virtual assistance industry leaders into 5 action packed days of education, fun, and networking. I can’t wait!!!!

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Forum on Virtual Assistance 2009 Launches New Site!

FoVA 2009 Yes indeed, the Forum on Virtual Assistance (FoVA 2009) has launched a new WordPress based site. Personally, I think it looks pretty great as I was lucky enough to use my favourite skills to setup the entire site.

Although we did choose the iThemes flexx theme for the core, a lot of customization was done to mold it into it’s own unique FoVA style. Keeping with the yellow and black color scheme made it fun to design the graphics to really stand out.

I also took full advantage of the hot new billboard plugin designed by iThemes to generate the custom thumbnails along the bottom of the site that profile the FoVA 2009 Session Leaders.

The blog certainly enhances the event and will make it easy to post information and resources that will be of benefit to anyone who is attending or thinking about attending the event.

I am really excited to attend FoVA again this year and have been given the opportunity to do a WordPress Workshop – ya! I am so excited to package up and share information on “How To Offer WordPress as a Service“.

I look forward to seeing everyone at the event.

Oh, and all FoVA 2009 Attendees… Don’t forget to Map yourself please.

:)

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What Do 8 Amazing Virtual Assistants Have in Common?

question markWhy did I choose the number 8 you ask?

I was inspired by a secret tip directly from Chris Brogan. Chris says, posts with numbers seem to work – especially weird or odd numbers. 27 is odd. Of course Chris didn’t directly tell me this tip however, he did post an inspiring article titled, “27 blogging secrets to power your community“. It’s really good you must read it!

Since a large part of my community are virtual assistants and of course my clients I wanted to point the spotlight on 8 amazing virtual assistants and take a look at what they all have in common. I enjoy following these VAs and have most of them captured in my Google Reader (thanks Google!) which makes it easy for me to keep up to date on their accomplishments and developments.

Are you ready?

8 Amazing Virtual Assistants:

  • Barbara Lang
  • Dawn Goldberg
  • Erin Blaskie
  • Kathy M Thomas
  • Michelle Jamison
  • Pam Ivey
  • Sharon Williams
  • Tawnya Sutherland

If you are a seasoned virtual assistant who converses online then you will most likely see where I am heading with this. Perhaps you are someone who is looking for a virtual assistant or even someone who is aspiring to be a virtual assistant. Regardless of your situation, the main ingredient that I feel these 8 amazing virtual assistants have in common is:

Each and every one of them have taken action to move the virtual assistance industry forward and inevitably pave the way for the future growth of this industry period.

It would take me a long time to write about all of their individual accomplishments (and a lot of accomplishments there are) so instead, I will provide a link to a few places where you can learn all about them just as I have.

Barbara Lang, Virtually Anything Administrative Services, Forum on Virtual Assistance, twitter.com/input2outputh
Dawn Goldberg, Virtual Angel, Blog, Write Well University, twitter.com/dawngoldberg
Erin Blaskie, Business Services ETC, The VA Coach, VA Training Club, twitter.com/ErinBlaskie
Kathie M Thomas, A Clyaton’s Secretary, Worth More Than Rubies, twitter.com/kathiemt
Michelle Jamison, MJVA, The VA Voice, twitter.com/mjva
Pam Ivey, My Creative Assistant, Visual Persuasions Canada, CVANtwitter.com/pamivey
Sharon Williams, The 24 Hour Secretary, Blog, OIVAC, Alliance for Virtual Businesses
Tawnya Sutherland, MediaMage Business Solutions, VAnetworking.com, Partnering With a Virtual Assistanttwitter.com/VAnetworking

There are thousands of multi talented and successful Virtual Assistants around the entire globe.  Help grow this list and let me know who you think is an amazing virtual assistant…

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My Accomplishments to Date and Strategies for 2009

Success in 2009!
Success in 2009!

Wow, it’s already mid December 2008. I hardly can believe this year is coming to an end. I would like to take some time to reflect on what actually transpired throughout the year and actually since the whole concept of being a virtual assistant was introduced to me.

It all started about 5 or 6 years ago when my husband I decided we wanted to start our family. I was fortunate to have my Mom stay at home with my 3 Sisters, Brother and I throughout our entire childhood. I knew that this is something that I wanted to be able to provide for my kids as well. I also knew I had 10 years experience at that time in office administration and real estate administration and that I loved the Internet. I had a desire to be a webmaster. So, I started my research and came across VAnetworking.com and joined in 2005. I launched my first website (which is long gone now) and prepared all my marketing materials while working full time.

So, as you can see I knew for a long time that I wanted to be an entrepreneur offering virtual support services.

I officially opened my doors for business in January 2008. I had already launched my website/blog in August 2007 using WordPress. I came across Erin Blaskie’s WordPress based site in early 2007 and like she did, I found WordPress to be absolutely amazing.  So, from early 2007 until about August I took the time to teach myself everything about installing, working with, and tweaking WordPress for my own site. Once, I felt totally confident working with it, I then starting to create and maintain sites for my clients.

Back in August 2007 a message went up at VAnetworking.com that said they were looking for someone to write a book about “Finding and Working with a Virtual Assistant”. So, I volunteered for that and as a result there is a free downloadable ebook available to everyone titled “Finding the Ultimate Virtual Assistant for your Business“. I put a lot of time and effort into this project. First, I generated the table of contents and then wrote each section accordingly. I don’t think the final title was decided upon until the whole book was finished. I used my years of experience working as a CEO’s and Director’s assistant, and ultimately as a “remote” team member for a large corporation over the course of  5 years to compile the information for the book.

In January 2008, I submitted my first press release and attracted my first client, a local author.

By the end of May, I had completed the Internet Marketing Virtual Assistant certification program at VAclassroom.com plus, The VA Coach’s 6 Week Skyrocket Your VA Business Coaching Program, and had attended the Forum on Virtual Assistance (FoVA) and was feeling very confident with my new found skills and development.

By the end of June, I had built up a good client base of about 24 clients ranging from authors to Internet Marketers.

By end of July, I finished a 12 month entrepreneurship training program and had a solid business plan in place.

During July and August something started happening to me. I was not able to sleep at night and would lie awake visualizing all the great ideas I had for business development. I was very excited about the opportunities I was being presented and very eager to implement them. Out of everything, I implemented one – an online family news magazine portal for my City called, The2Beagles.com. I spent hours and hours working on it.

Then, I started putting together tons of templates. These templates were basically an outline/checklists/guide’s on how to process all these new services such as Affiliate marketing management, Keyword research, Competitive analysis, WordPress Blog Design, Newsletter management, Webinar coordination,Social media coordination, blog, article, PR and Video submissions, Video editing and optimizing, you name it I have a spreadsheet created a system to process it.

After that, I would start thinking about how to attract more and more clients, and I did I.

What I wasn’t aware of, that was actually happening to me, was that I was setting myself up for disaster…

I was taking on too much too fast while still feeling overwhelmed. This overwhelm left me feeling stessed out, and my confidence faded. I wasn’t able to processes everything on my own and had not setup my business to be able to run “without” me.

Not only did I not account for any of my accomplishments to date, but I also was blaming myself for not being able to keep up with everything. So, I spent some time over the last few months to reflect on what went wrong and figure out a plan on how to move forward successfully.

Today, it’s December – year end.

I have secured the services a wonderful business coach who specializes in helping virtual assistants succeed and together we will formulate an action plan for me going forward. She says I have to take baby steps and remember to celebrate my successes while having FUN!

Some of the area’s I was struggling with in my business where project management, bookkeeping, and saying NO! So, to start with I will be outsourcing all of my bookkeeping to a great virtual assistant who loves numbers, researching and implementing an effective project management system that works for me and my clients, and re-working my client intake processes with a focus on “setting expectations”.

I will certainly keep you updated on my progress as we move forward!

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Forum on Virtual Assistance – FoVA; A Virtual Assistants Dream

I am so excited that I have the opportunity to attend the Forum on Virtual Assistance (FoVA).

For me there is only one, well maybe two, pitfalls to working as a virtual professional and they include:

  1. I miss shopping! Seriously, I use to buy at least one nice outfit a week to wear to the office and now I find myself looking in the comfort zones instead of the suit sections, yuk!
  2. I miss my colleagues so much! I worked at a customer care centre of a major Canadian telecommunications company for 6 years in the business office. My role, admin assistant supporting 2 busy directors allowed me to collaborate with all levels of staff and build many relationships.

That’s why I see FoVA as a Virtual Assistants Dream.

Having 3 days of face to face networking and brainstorming with the virtual assistance industries leading edge Virtual Business Professionals is truly incredible. If you think about this way, all of our clients, peers, mentors, associates and contacts are virtual. And like most VAs, I have built a strong and growing network of peers whom I call on everyday that I have never met!

And, did I mention that I will be attending workshops faciliated by industry leaders on the hottest topics in the virtual assistance industry today including:

  • Business Ethics For the Established Virtual Business.
  • Contingency Planning and Disaster Recovery for Your Business.
  • Grow Your Business by Understanding Personalities.
  • Time Management in a Wired World.
  • Alternate Streams of Income – Ideas for Residual Income. Work Smarter Not Harder.