Monday, December 29, 2014

Grow your business in 2015, partner with EVA

Well, 2014 is almost over and we can see the dawning of the new year. We are looking at the festivities of the Christmas season through the rearview mirror and speeding ahead toward the horizon... ready or not here comes 2015. Sooner than later, we will pack up our toys and celebration and head to the wheel - it's business as usual and bills must be paid. We are back in work mode but the challenges remain the same.

Have you found that there's a struggle to get your business going on your own? From business meetings, trying to close a sale, strategizing for a new marketing plan, responding to customer's queries and all the mundane tasks that come with running a business - there's just not enough time in your day and your to do's is growing faster than the business itself. If you can identify with these situations, it's a common symptom of being an entrepreneur but those with the competitive edge learn quickly that they can't do it alone... successfully.

Research has shown that the virtual assistant community has been playing an integral role in the success of entrepreneurs and small business owners. Virtual Assistants (VA) are qualified professionals with a varied range of expertise in administration, technical and creative services. Small business owners and entrepreneurs alike can partner with a VA and outsource mundane tasks when the need arises and free up time to focus strategically on moving the business forward.

It should be clear that these tasks being outsourced is just as important to the operation of the business; like managing customer queries, preparing documents, updating social media, bookkeeping, website management and designing etc. However, these can be very taxing on time which can be better spent on strategic planning and business negotiations. This is where a VA can help by managing these tasks and for added convenience you only pay for the job done, no slack time, no employee benefits... creating an increasing profit margin.

So there you have it, the secret is out!

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Saturday, October 25, 2014

Let's fight - Breast Cancer is a word not a sentence.

Cancer 5k Run

Let's reach for recovery one step or jog at a time... we must overcome Breast Cancer! Whew! A little encouragement goes a far way, especially when you're not inclined to exercise (like yours truly) but once the wheel starts turning you find strength like you never known you had. That was my experience today, I must admit that it felt good walking 5K, not only because I am participating in the cause but it felt good walking at a very cool temperature in the morning. It has been a while since my lungs were so refreshed. I am motivated to continue with an early morning exercise routine for the burst of energy to go through the day.

We had a little warm-up session which I think was very good but at one point I couldn't keep up with all the different stretches and all but I did what I could - I couldn't touch my toes. Other than that I was a good sport doing jumping jacks, squats and all. Then we set out to the starting line and the runners took to the course after which the walkers followed behind. It was a pink run indeed for as far as the eyes could see with touches of other colors here and there; mostly among the men though (I guess it was too much pink for them). Later, I realized that I was well prepared with my umbrella that was tucked in my little backpack; since it started to rain from the 3k mark. It is always good to be in the loop with the weather so you can be prepared just in case their prediction of morning showers is correct. And might I add that a comfortable pair of walking shoes augurs well with the experience.

There is one thing I realize today, that can be a lesson for all of us even in other areas of our lives. Never let your present condition/circumstance dictate what you can and cannot do. I was always adamant that I couldn't participate in these long walking/running events because of a bad knee I have resulting from a hiking trip to Blue Mountain Peak. Needless to say, I kept using that as an excuse and was conscious that I may not finish but I started the journey, paced myself and once I got my momentum going there was no turning back... no stopping - forward still to the end. At the 4K point, I felt like my knee awoke but nothing to cry about, my MO was to finish and I hardly broke a sweat. EVA (yours truly) was there leading the charge and Team FIRM really stood FIRM to the challenge. The journey ended - bad knee or no bad knee, it may have just been mind over matter. 
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Thursday, October 2, 2014

Chikungunya the enemy of performance


I wonder where was I when I was bitten; at work, home or in transit? I don't recall being anywhere else (boring, I know) but today, my right knee has been really sore then, a little later my right wrist. By the time I got home my whole body feels like I've been hit by a truck. My head hurts and my eyes are burning and my neck and back are stiff with pain. And to think it couldn't get any worse, all the pharmacies are out of paracetamol; which is said to help with the pain. All because of some mosquitos.

I am barely managing to write this article because my fingers don't function like they used to and I am starting to recognize some rash on my legs and hands. This is definitely not happening to me or is it? I've got stuff I have to do and I can't be hostage to this virus. I hope willpower can overcome it because that is as much as I have right now. There is not one person I know that hasn't yet contracted the virus or have some immediate relative who has. 

This chikungunya virus have been reaping havoc in Jamaica and businesses and customers alike are impacted by the effects of the virus, and might I add; even babies and the elderly. Chikungunya is no respecter of persons. I must get something to deal with this because the potion I temporarily concocted doesn't seem to be working. 

What about you? Yes, you? Are you affected by Chikungunya? I hope not, but here are a few tips that could (and note I said could) prevent you from getting the virus:

  • Use air conditioning or window/door screens to keep mosquitoes outside. If you are not able to protect yourself from mosquitoes inside your home, sleep under a mosquito bed net.

  • Help reduce the number of mosquitoes outside your home by emptying standing water from containers such as flowerpots or buckets and cut the grass.

  • When weather permits, wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants.

  • Use insect repellents

Click here to view full details on World Health Organization fact sheet.

All in all Chikungunya maybe here a little while more or until more collective efforts are made to control this blood-sucking monster of a virus. I really need to rest now so until next time... stay Chikungunya FREE!
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Saturday, August 30, 2014

Get COVERED now... then CLAIM later!

Are you covered

When you hear the word 'insurance' what comes to mind? For most young people I know today the response would probably be - motor vehicle insurance, and I assume this is only because its a requirement by law to secure motor vehicle insurance prior to driving on the roads. For the rest of us even if we are exposed to the knowledge of insurance we join the wagon labeled "insurance a tief" and dismiss the idea altogether. In a nutshell, the concept of insurance is "the collective contribution of many paying for the misfortune of a few". Now, because no one knows the future, we are uncertain of the misfortune that may befall us... so we protect ourselves against that risk.

Now let's put things into perspective. When it comes to insurance it's NOT a one size fits all kind of thing. The insurance needs amongst individuals vary depending on their current circumstances. For example, the insurance needs of a young single working man may differ from the needs of a married businessman. There are also other financial considerations that one should examine to determine your risk portfolio and it is best to discuss your insurance options with a registered insurance advisor.

Let's look at a few of such risk that one should include in their insurance portfolio.

Life Insurance - If you currently have dependents - what would happen to them in the event that you die? God forbid! We don't necessarily plan to die but people die every day... and one of these days it could be you. How will your children, widow/widower, parents cope? 

Health Insurance - I am convinced that everyone should have an active health insurance plan since sickness, accidents and the like have a way of sneaking up on us especially when funds are low. 

Critical Illness Insurance - Ok, so you already have health insurance... what if you should be diagnosed with some terminal illness? Consultations, tests, therapy, surgery etc; after these your health insurance will be no more.

Let me point out that the above is not an exhaustive list of risk to gain indemnity against but it is a good place to start for someone who has no insurance. Remember, if you fail to plan; plan to fail because if you don't have insurance you don't have a chance if/when the worst should happen. Get insured now and have the peace of mind that you can claim later when you need it most.

In my line of business as a virtual assistant, I have had the opportunity of working with professionals from diverse industries and have been able to learn a thing or two. So if you need help to get a qualified insurance advisor, I will be glad to refer one to you.
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Saturday, March 29, 2014

Passion to Small Business...

As Andrew Mason puts it - "Most small business owners are not particularly sophisticated business people. That's not a criticism; they're passionate about cutting hair, cooking food, and that's why they got in the business, not because they have an MBA."

I would like to believe that most of us have something that we are passionate about but then some of us are super passionate that we create a way to share our passion and before we know it there's a demand for what we have to offer. We can then decide to turn our passion into a small business venture; after all why not?

My vision of operating a virtual service enterprise started in 2010 when I realized that my friends and close associates, some of whom operated their own small business, from time to time would request my assistance on their projects. As a result of this, I decided to package my skills, technical know-how, and creative abilities and market myself as an executive virtual aide. Through this establishment, I avail myself to small business owners, entrepreneurs and independent contractors (or anyone who needs the service of VA) to help them achieve their business goals.

It brings great joy and a sense of contribution when other businesses' and individuals benefit from the services I provide; that in itself also motivates me to feed my passion and better my best at all times. For the most part, I can safely assume that the large business enterprises at some point were once a small business. So what are the chances of your vision translating to a small business grow into a conglomerate? It starts right here and now. Let us create the tomorrow we always dream of.
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Friday, February 7, 2014

How do you plan to retire?

How do you envision yourself during your retirement years when you are no longer able to work? Have you thought about maximizing the opportunities (time of plenty) God blessed you with (like your job, talents, business etc) to ensure that you can sustain yourself and help others during your retirement years (time of famine). One may say.. 'God will provide'. Yes He will, but remember that we are also responsible or should I say accountable for how we treat the resources God blessed us with. It's not by our might that we are blessed but by His power. So like Joseph, shouldn't we be wise and manage well our resources so that when the time comes when we are no longer receiving a monthly salary we can draw from our storehouses and even give to others. Acts 20:35 says, "It is more blessed to give than to receive". Do you plan to rely on others when you can no longer work?

We often fall in the trap to think that there is time and so we continue in a habit of procrastination until we are disillusioned and brought back to reality... which is, time lost cannot be regained. Therefore, now is the time to give serious thought and effort to lay aside some of your earnings no matter how small. Setting aside something continuously; no matter how insignificant it may seem; adds up to a tangible sum when it matters most. In Jamaica, we say, "one one coco full basket". 

One may also argue that the salary is not even enough to deal with monthly bills and expenses so how can I save towards retirement? My one advice to this question is... treat it as any other monthly bill which must be paid or else. It is amazing to realize that most of the things we spend on are unnecessary. Yes! unnecessary because we stock up on all the latest things which we hardly ever use or end up giving away. Or buying new furniture every year simply because it's Christmas and so on. Granted, not all of us may be employed but what about those who are? What about you? Have you thought about your retirement plan?

As a child, I was taught, "if you fail to plan, plan to fail". The reality is not all of us will live to our retirement years (God forbid) but if we do; how do you plan to get by without a salary then. If it is hard to save and pay your bills now when you have a regular salary; imagine how much harder it will be when the salary disappear and you and your bills stand alone.
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