Tag Archives: Education

RESEARCH VERSUS WEB RESEARCH

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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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DOWNTIME BETWEEN CLIENTS

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I don’t know about any other virtual assistants, but in my business either I have several clients at once or a gap in clients. I try to systematically advertise, so this situation will not occur, but most of my clients only have projects for me to do at intervals, so I don’t have the luxury of setting up a schedule and keeping to it and having a constant cash flow.

This creates downtime for me and I’ve been struggling to find a way around this. Sometimes I feel stressed working for my clients, because I have so many deadlines and so much work to do. I thought about sharing the workload with another virtual assistant, but then, I need to keep the money for my own business.

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After reviewing my business plan for 2015, something I do every year, I realized that I was not utilizing my time efficiently and that is the cause for my stress. I’m trying a new tactic. When I’m not engaged with a client, I schedule to do the following:

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Archiving emails – going through ALL of my emails and only keeping the pertinent ones, archiving the others. I have three separate email accounts, so this is good time to go through all of them and save or delete them.

organizing-files

Storing files and deleting any documents I won’t use – even though I use the cloud, I still have so many documents and sometimes they’re difficult to find, so backing up files and storing them in a secure location is a great help and it makes finding them much easier.

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Taking inventory of my supplies – I don’t print that much, but I do use some office supplies and there’s nothing worse than running out of something you need, when you’re in crunch time. Even if I use the supplies for my clients, I still need some marketing materials on hand at all times. Business cards, handouts, and giveaway items should be ready to take with me and use at an event.

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Staying up to date with my accounts – bookkeeping was never one of my best skills, but I’ve set up a spreadsheet for my business transactions this year and I keep track of every transaction. Whether it’s purchases, income, travel, education, or credit card payments and banking, I have each transaction on my spreadsheet, but I need keep them up to date. It also helps at tax time.

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Cleaning my work area – I mean physically cleaning all of my equipment including the office furniture, window, my keyboard, any peripherals, the walls and floor. I also clean my computer software by using disk defrag and disk cleaner and other cleaning software. I take care not to mix or spill chemicals on my computer or any parts of it.

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Taking online courses and webinars in areas of need – Without client deadlines looming, I have the opportunity to attend webinars listen to podcasts, and take a few simple online courses, so I can keep myself current and learn something new in case a future client needs that expertise.

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Reading about networking, technology, and social media trends – I’ve downloaded so many eBooks on topics I’m interested in, but never have the time to read them. During this downtime, I schedule time to read for a specific period of time. I catch up on my reading and can pursue any topic that interests me.

This is how I spend my time between clients. Oprah Winfrey once said, “You can have it all, but you can’t have it all at one time.” She is right, so I’m organizing my time to get the most out of my work and my personal growth.

 

To learn more about me and the services I offer, go to www.VirtualColleagueLLC.com.

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