What’s So Interesting about Data Entry?


Data entry is one of the services I offered in my virtual assistant business, Virtual Colleague, LLC. While it appears as simplistic, data entry and an integral part of any business. Data entry is important for two reasons. First, it is a list of names, dates, amounts, descriptions, and other information pertinent to the business. Businesses thrive on lists of information. Lists are necessary to target customers, record what is the top seller, and other information.


The second important feature of Data entry is the realtime update of information. Data entry lists are updated almost immediately. They’re in invaluable source of information and can be access with one click. That’s why I offer Data entry as a service. It is vital to most businesses, yet it is something that is simple to do, time consuming, and repetitive in nature. Fast typing and getting it done quickly is easy money, but accuracy is expected and errors are inexcusable. While most virtual assistants shy away from typing long lists of information, it is part of the brain of the business. This information is used for marketing, promotions, selective offerings, surveys and other business ventures.


As a virtual assistant, I do a lot of typing and I give myself a typing test every month, just to make sure that I am in top form and not getting lazy with my strokes. It is also good for hand-eye coordination. Dexterity is important, when working in Data entry or figures. It saves a lot of corrections and brings a rhythm to the project.

Not to be confused with transcription, data entry is the creation of a list of information provided by the business or its clients. Transcription is typing words or figures that is created from some type of voice mechanism. Transcription involves additional equipment. Projects are transmitted online through special software programs. Then there is the foot pedal. This is connected to the computer, so the transcriptionist or virtual assistant can control the speed of the voice recording. It may be necessary to replay or slow down the speed, so the foot pedal is essential.


Both data entry and transcription are similar, but data entry is a more relaxed style of working. Transcription definitely requires specific equipment and rates are charged by the minute instead of by the hour. Data entry depends more on eyesight, but transcription relies on good listening.

Every time you receive an email or advertisement in the mail, you know your name and contact information is included on someone’s business list. As a virtual assistant, I think of all the opportunities for my business, when I receive one of these emails or mail. That’s why data entry should be part of most virtual assistant businesses. It is easy to do. You can always check your accuracy against the list provided, and it is a constant source of work for your business.

If you would like to know more about my virtual assistant business, Virtual Colleague, LLC, please click here.



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Write it, Read it, Do it!

As part of the services I offer in my virtual assistant business, Virtual Colleague, LLC, I create training manuals and instructional material. Now, this sounds easy to do. Right? All you have to do it just take it one step at a time and write down what you’re supposed to do. Whether it’s hit a specific button on a computer, pull on a lever, or speak in commands; this should be very simple to create. Not really!

Scrabble Guide

There is more to writing training manuals and instructional material than just writing down step-by-step tasks. Let’s take each project one at a time.


An instructional manual can be a booklet, card, or video, sometimes written in different languages, that describes how to use a widget. The manual starts with how to unpack the widget and tells the user how to get it ready for use, if that needs to be done. The manual also gives step-by-step instructions on how to use the widget with many caution and safety comments interspersed between the steps. It also lists do’s and don’ts and gives advice on how to care for the widget, warranty information, where to find replacement parts, where to take it for service and other information.


Examples of manuals are how to operate a lawn mower, how to connect your television to your computer, and many other things. Pinterest is a mini-instructional guide to how to do things including shortcuts.


A training manual is very different. The purpose of a training manual is to describe to the user how to actually use it to do the work. For example, if you want to create an excel spreadsheet and you’ve never used excel before, you can find instructions online that describe each step and click to create a spreadsheet. Training manuals teach without bringing in all the safety and cautionary advice. It is a clear-cut systematic description of what to do and how to do it.


There may be times when the user has a choice about certain options. For example, in the spreadsheet, the creator may want to change the font. This action is described, but the user is told that the change can be made at any time. It is at the discretion of the creator. Training manuals are geared to quickly learning how to do something without distracting details. It is clear, simple, concise steps to achieve the end result. Examples of training manuals are SOPs (Standard Operating Procedures), logging in to a specific software program, creating a blog with WordPress or BlogSpot.

What starts out as something simple can turn into a complex project in minutes. I always start with an outline and then write up one section at a time. Then I condense or expand each section according to difficulty or available options. Formatting and visual presentation is not so important, because my client usually has a specific font, size, and format in mind for the project.


As always, I try to offer my client more options, so they can choose what is right for them, whether it’s formatting, word choice, photos, and graphics; I always try to present the project from different perspectives.

The take-away is this: always hire professional writers to do your work. It may seem simple to you, but a professional writer will have an in-depth look at the project and may suggest other topics to cover. Your project will be written in a clear, easy-to-read style and contain all of the information needed, because the writer looks at your project with a new set of eyes.

To find out more about what Virtual Colleague, LLC can do for your business, click here.

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Did you ever consider making a video for your product or service?

Video posts are becoming more popular, because they make your product or service seem real. Videos create the opportunity to provide new information about your product/service and let’s your potential customers/clients SEE your product or service in action.

script clip

While most of us have phones that can create videos, it’s not enough to make a great impression.

A great video starts with an idea about how to present your product/service. The idea should focus on what makes your product or service different from your competition. Then, an outline should be created to present your product/service in a step-by-step process. This is accomplished by hiring a video scriptwriter.

Video scriptwriter

Can anyone write a video script?

Of course, they can! But you need someone, who not only writes passionately about your product or service, but understands how to sell your product or service through words. That’s where a qualified copywriter or video scriptwriter knows how to present your product/service and how to entice potential customers/clients to contact you and ask for more information. The video script is important, because 1) it lays out the benefits of the product or service, 2) highlights the features, and then 3) gives potential customers/clients a reason to want what you have to offer. The script has to flow and seem very natural to anyone watching and listening.

man with Mic

Another consideration for a video script is the rhythm of the speaker. Sometimes, the writer has to analyze the speech pattern of the speaker.  Using words or speech cadence that the speaker is unfamiliar with can ruin a video, if it is not carefully synced together. Background in video can be distracting, so the writer has to work with the graphics department to ensure that although the product or service is shown, the words have to add additional meaning to the visual.

Music Band

Time is also a factor. You have to determine how long you want the video to run. Music may be used, but again, it should complement your product/service or create a feeling of urgency. The music should do more than create a mood. It should appeal to the customer/client’s senses. You must be careful and get full permission to use music, graphics, or other elements in your video. The penalties can be steep and include jail time.

The video presentation has to be believable, enticing, realistic, plain speaking, and give the customer/client a reason to want to know more.

As technology continues to grow and push boundaries, some business owners are going totally video. They do this for two reasons: 1) they like the intimate feeling that is conveyed to the public by looking into the camera and speaking directly to the viewer and 2) they have the opportunity to sell something visually, verbally, and audibly. Three great ways to reach customers/clients in ways they can relate to.

Camera man

Making a video can be fun and a great team-building project, so if you’re looking for something to enhance your marketing, try creating a video, but make sure you hire qualified professionals. Virtual Colleague, LLC specializes in video script writing for any product or service. Contact Virtual Colleague, LLC at JPlante@VirtualColleagueLLC.com to schedule a free consultation.

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As a virtual business assistant, I do research on almost everything I work on. For my own business, I research my competition, rates, offers, services, and many more things. I like doing research, because it’s a learning tool. I always learn new information and ideas, when I’m researching.

I always research with a purpose.

Because researching is fun and interesting, I could spend many hours just looking up and reading, but that doesn’t get me where I need to go. I always research with a purpose – a clear purpose. That keeps me focused on what information I need to find and prevents me from wasting time reading information that I don’t really need to know.

Blog Search Engine

Web research is the most expedient way to find information.

 It’s fast and links to other pertinent information. It’s better than reading a book or magazine to extract information. Web research has all if not most of the information at the push of a button and the copy and paste feature ensures that I’ve captured the source and quote correctly.

Researching for my clients helps me to understand their businesses, products and services, and what makes them unique or stand out from the rest. I put myself in their shoes and look at their business offerings. Then I try to find the differences between the businesses themselves, the products and services, and their target markets. All of this factors into the way I research, the depth of research, and the type of research I perform.

Man posstive negative

For comparison research, the method and time involved is minimal, but for research that compares other businesses with my clients business. It is a long and tedious process. I have to not only find the information, but also verify that it is real and true. Many website today post information about other companies, but is it true? Maybe yes, maybe no.


It falls to me to provide accurate and honest information to my clients. They depend on me to site my sources and to provide multiple accounts of the same information. Businesses that take the easy way of researching or failing to verify the information, run the risk of losing their credibility and over time, the business usually dissolves for lack of trust and honesty.


Researching also provides me with an education. I may not always have an interest in the topic I’m researching for a client, but I will learn about it anyway. Who knows, somewhere down the road, I may need to use this new information for another client. I have to put myself in my client’s shoes, so I immerse myself in the research needed to provide reliable information for marketing and blogging purposes. When it’s an interesting topic, the time flies by, and I’m entertained. When it’s a little more intricate or technical, I have to put my full concentration on it and look up any words or terms I’m not familiar with.

Virtual Colleague LLC 4

Contact me at Virtual Colleague, LLC for a free consultation on how I can research for your business and products/services.

 Toll Free #: 401-384-0257

Local #: 401-595-0087

Email: JPlante@VirtualColleagueLLC.com


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What is a blog post?

A blog, a mixed word version of weblog, is a discussion or informational site published on the World Wide Web consisting of entries (posts) typically displayed in reverse chronological order (the most recent post appears first). A blog is also described as a frequently updated online personal journal or diary. It is a place to express yourself to the world. A place to share your thoughts and your passions. Really, it’s anything you want it to be.

Why is blogging important?

According to BlogBasics, “…the answer lies in the fact that every human has a voice and wishes their voice to be heard. The Internet is a medium that is unparalleled in its reach. Never before have average people been able to reach a global audience with so little trouble. Bloggers have the opportunity of reaching hundreds or even thousands of people each and every day.

There are still many people who like to share the details of their days. On the other hand, there are bloggers who give almost no detail about their lives, but write instead about a hobby or interest of theirs. They may dedicate their blog to something they are passionate about.

In fact, today’s blogs can provide hair tips, up-to-date news, technical information, celebrity scandal, political rumor, gets people involved in volunteering, advice on investments as well as there being blogs on cooking, health, gardening, sport, blogging blogs (this blog) and of course many personal blogs and quite a few strange blogs.

What is business blogging?

According to HubSpot:

1) It helps drive traffic to your website.

2) It helps convert that traffic into leads.

3) It helps establish authority.

4) It drives long-term results.


Did you know that 25% of all blogs are on WordPress?

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Virtual Colleague, LLC handles all blog topics. I discuss the topic with my client and find the uniqueness that my client has to offer. Then I research the web and other materials to compare and contrast my client’s product or service with the competition. At that point, I am able to write a compelling blog post that emphasizes the qualities, strengths and uniqueness of the product or service and my client’s business. I sometimes use graphs, charts, or images within the post to create a visual image of what the post is trying to convey.

Blogging enhances websites and calls attention to whatever the business wants to highlight. Put a certified writer to work for you. Contact Virtual Colleague LLC today to find how I can help you grow your business.

Toll Free #: 401-384-0257

Local #: 401-595-0087

Email: JPlante@VirtualColleagueLLC.com




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newsletter-According to Dictionary.com, a newsletter is “a written report, issued periodically, typically by a business, institution, or other organization, that presents information and news to people with a specific interest in the organization or subject.”

In other words, newsletter are a controlled way of getting the news out to customers, clients, employees, and anyone who signs up to receive them. Newsletters are distributed in print or online. Some software companies have specialized templates to help you create the perfect newsletter. There are fancy fonts, colors, and images, too.


What makes a newsletter interesting is the news that’s in it.

 No one wants to read about company gossip or how much better this product is without substantiation and comparison studies. Newsletters are created to give current news to readers, who have signed up to receive these updates. Employee promotions, new hires, company product information, description of services offered, new products, discounts, special member discounts or promotions, and product comparisons are what drives readers to keep reading the newsletters.


So what is the difference between a blog and a newsletter?

According to a Penn State article, “A blog (A contraction of the term “web log”) is a type of website, usually maintained by an individual with regular entries of commentary, descriptions of events, or other material such as graphics or video. Entries are commonly displayed in reverse-chronological order.”


Blogs originally had a negative effect, because people believed a blog was only one person’s opinion about a topic. This has changed greatly in the past several years. Blogging is done at the whim of the blog owner and is usually connected to a website for a specific purpose.


Newsletters are produced on a more rigid schedule. If you believe your product is the best, you need to back it up with updates and new information at regular intervals. If your company talks about warrantees and guarantees, but can’t produce a newsletter on time and on schedule, it does little to help the brand.

Newsletters also set the tone for the business or product. For example, if you run a yoga practice or meditation business, the tone of your newsletter will be soft, warm, calming, and soothing. If you want to sell in mass volume, your words should shout throughout the newsletter. Hype should definitely be used along with fear and timing to propel your customers to buy the product.

For most of us, a newsletter keeps us informed about topics or products we’re interested in. We learn from new information presented to us and in some cases, we become “ambassadors” for the product or service. The newsletter makes us experts about the company or product. We form a  connection with them.


Newsletters are not advertisements, direct-sales letters, or a copy of a website. They are meant to give the readers new information, comparison studies, new features, warn of possible issues, and provide content that the reader wants and needs to know. If a newsletter fails to do that, then readership will fall off or disappear. Using images, info graphs, Pinterest, Instagram, or graphs to create visuals is a good way to break up the words and reaches those readers, who prefer visuals over text.

Newsletters do not solicit comments or suggestions, but blog post do. Blogs can be an open forum, so some software enables comments to be approved before being posted. In that way, the blogger can control any negative comments.

As virtual assistant at Virtual Colleague, LLC, I specialize in writing projects and newsletters is one of the services I offer.

The next time you read a newsletter, ask yourself:

  •         Why are you reading it?
  •         What does it offer you? and
  •         How does it make the information interesting?


If you or anyone you know needs the service of a virtual assistance, I can be reached at 401-595-0087 or 401-384-0257

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document preparationWhat is meant by “document preparation”?

Question mark

It means different things to different people.

  • It can mean simply correcting grammar and spelling mistakes
  • Making sure the correct punctuation is used
  • Formatting the document without any corrections, but adhering to margins and pre-set formatting styles
  • It can also mean that you, as the document preparer, have to take a series of sentences and place them in logical order, incorporating good grammar and punctuation, and creating a visually-pleasing documentcolor-chart

Document preparation is all of the above and more.

Along with a firm command of the language and its parts, the visual is also important. There must be enough “white space” to make the document appeal to the average person. Small fonts, fancy fonts, and long paragraphs make the document difficult to read and/or comprehend.

Speaking of understanding and comprehension, technical, foreign, or archaic words add to the confusion and not many readers will take the time to look up their meanings. Words highlighted in a light color may be difficult for some people to read. On the other hand, you don’t want to BOLD AND CAPITALIZE too many words. It implies you’re shouting at the reader.


What’s the best method to prepare a document?

Ask who the target audience is. Is it the elderly, who need larger fonts? Is it the younger generation, who are already familiar with the information in the document? Is it a company document meant for internal use only or is it meant for the general public? Knowing this, will make document preparation much easier.

Does your client have a pre-set format or do they “wing it” depending on the document? Do they use a color scheme or color-coding to enhance their marketing materials? Most companies use a few select fonts, so customers will recognize their brand.

Virtual Colleague LLC 4

Virtual Colleague, LLC

As owner of Virtual Colleague, LLC, I offer document preparation as part of my list of services. Before I sign with a client, I ask all of the above questions and more. I need to know up front, if I’m working from a draft or a finished copy. If it is a final copy, has the entire copy been approved or is there room for change?

This information is important for two reasons. 1) It gives me an idea of how much time I have to spend on this project and 2) it determines the fee I charge for this service.


Artist and Canvas

As a document preparer, I am like an artist. The paint (words) were made by someone else, but the finished picture (the document) is a reflection on me. I can’t afford to do shoddy work or use the same format for every document. Each document is different and is meant to convey a different message by way of visual and presentation. It is my job as document preparer to capture the essence and tone of the document. This service is no different from the other services I offer.

Quality should always come before quantity.

Do you need document preparation? Check out my website www.VirtualColleagueLLC.com for more information about me and my work.

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