My Most Important Business Tool?

Tools-1.5

Today I was asked us to consider the Number ONE  tool that I use and cannot do without, in my business.

This challenge has had me a bit stumped.  Just when I identify one, another comes to mind.

First, I cannot do without my computer.  My MacBookPro has become my right hand, so to speak.  Without it, I cannot gain access to the internet, or the other tools that I use daily.  I’d always been a PC girl until I finally decided to give the Mac a try… and this was based on all the rave reviews by other Mac users.  They are especially well-liked by creatives who use it’s built-in suite of tools.  I don’t actually use many of them… as I have my own and have had my favourites for years… but back to that shortly.

Next, I cannot be without a camera.  The camera in the graphic above is my older Canon  Powershot SX40, an awesome little ‘instant’ camera with an amazing optical zoom and great effects built in.  Lot’s of fun, easy to use and very portable.  When I first got it, it was top of the line for instant cameras and I’d been looking at it for a while… and no regrets.  I also LOVE my Canon T5i, DSLR.  What a beauty. It never leaves my side.  I use cameras to capture my day, sometimes thoughts… to create images I need for my business or clients.  I cannot be without a camera.

Another important thing for me, in running my business, is planning and although I do use a couple of online tools, first and foremost, I use a whiteboard (because I am definitely a VISUAL creator – I need to see what I am doing and what I’ve got planned) and I have my Daily Planner and notebooks…  I use the dollar store notebooks to make notes whenever I speak with new clients…  Then, later I can gather my notes and thoughts and type them out into Notes on my MacBookPro.

Adobe Creative Suites… Creative Cloud!  Where would I be without Photoshop or Illustrator?  These are tools I use every day!  Great for manipulating images, cleaning images and creating new graphics.  Love me some P.S. & Illustrator.

So the next important tool for me, actually, would be Notes.  I have an iPhone, a iPad Air, and my Mac Computer and Notes syncs seamlessly between all three.  With all those online tools out there (there are some great free to use tools like Asana & TeamworkPM), I still come back to my Notes.  They are always right where I need them.
Notes-Screenshot

Another favourite tool for me, is Pocket.  I Love Love Love Pocket!!  If you haven’t heard of it, check it out!  It’s an awesome little tool for grabbing websites and webpages and holding them for you.  If you log in to Pocket, you can organize the pages you’ve put in pocket and you can use tags as well… but it has it’s own handy little search and it works like a charm!  I save and organize videos and tutorials, websites I’d like to check out… If I’ve read something somewhere about a new program or tool and want to look at but don’t have time to, there and then… I just Save to Pocket.

So, there you have it. I’ve failed the challenge. I could not come up with just one tool… It is like raising a child. It takes a village and these tools are my part of my personal arsenal.   There are several other tools that I do use, but more on them later.

I would love to hear from you.  Let me know if you use any tools I’ve mentioned and what your favourite is!

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Back at it…

I’m back!  I haven’t blogged in a number of months, but the time has come.  I was writing quite regularly but something (I can’t even remember what), threw me off my schedule… and before I knew it I had stopped.

When I was writing before, it was a personal blog that I slowly tried to shift more to business but at the time I wasn’t confident about posting business related information, or tips and tricks because I really felt I was still in the development stage of my own new career.

Back then, I would wonder when I would turn the corner from feeling, almost, like a fake or a fraud.  Do you know that feeling?   Have you ever thought to yourself,  “who am I to tell people that I am a business owner?”?  I didn’t always see myself as a ‘Solopreneur’.

The key for me was not giving up on my dream.  That truly kept me going…  When I would let my mind wander, I would find self-doubt.  Had I made a mistake… giving up a pretty good job that I had had for over 10 years?   I’m lucky… I’ve always been the kind of person who is hopeful and that self-doubt never lasts very long.  I kept my eye on the prize by reminding myself EXACTLY why I wanted this career.

Now, here I am, a year and half since the launch of JenSheaVA and I recently realized that things really are moving in the right direction and in fact,  I have organically found my niches.

I’ve always known that what ever I do, I really wanted to be able to be creative and help people.  After a couple of recent conversations with another VA and friend, I realized I that I am doing both.

My business really is taking off…  people are finding me!!!

I am feeling blessed. I’ve met some wonderful people since starting this journey in the Virtual World.  Women who were starting around the same time as me… women (and men) who so very generously shared their time and knowledge  and others who became clients… and I feel confident in calling all these people, friends.

I will only look back now with a huge smile on my face, and look forward to all the exciting things to come.

2014 has already become my year!

Awesome…

Looking back at 2013, I realize it really was a year of transition.

I’d been planning to become a VA since 2010.  I took an 8 week course through Your VA Mentor, which was full of great information and tips to get my business started.  I was also working full time though.  So, I took the slow road to becoming a VA.  I continued to work as a lot of things were happening in my personal life, and in 2011 I left a job that I had had for a number of years, to take a one-year position covering a maternity leave.  It was a big step, and although I kept thinking I should be scared (or at least have my head checked), I never looked back.  I knew I could never just quit my regular job to start my business because I didn’t really make enough money to ‘save’ a nest egg.  With the Mat Leave position, I could. 

That brought me to the end of the summer of 2012, when I really got going.  Like most VA’s it took me some time to figure out what my niche was going to be.  I knew already what I enjoyed doing, but could I market myself with those credentials?  Then of course, there are the inevitable moments of self-doubt and concern.  But, I am really proud of myself… I persevered.

Certainly there was the occasional self-questioning.  Should I go back to work?  I made pretty good money but when I decided to take on this new life, I had to give up my apartment in one of my favourite parts of Ottawa, to move into a teeny-tiny room (with my cat) in my sister’s apartment.  That lasted a few months then went to stay with a friend (in her lovely large house). 

I stuck through it and gradually things came together, as they say.  I am doing what I love, and meeting fantastic people along the way.  I don’t miss working in an office…   I have made so many wonderful like-minded friends, from around the world.    Some have become colleagues others clients.  How lucky am I?

One word, I found myself saying a lot last year, was “Awesome”…  It’s true – so much seemed new and exciting and awesome!

I’m pretty excited about this year… for me, the year of determination.

Jen    🙂 
Quick… Get Rich!

Quick… Get Rich!

Or is it, Get Rich Quick?
Now that I am online all day (and night) I keep running into people ‘selling’ concepts on how to work little and make millions… or in other words, Get Rich Quick.
Honestly, my head is spinning.  I Do NOT like sneaky! They peak your interest by not blatantly advertising the ‘get rich quick’ theme… but offer something ‘different, and it is enough that you will  watch their videos, sometimes right to the end… and then it’s the pitch.
I’d like to believe that some of these people are real, and truly believe that they have the answers on how to change my life.  That would be really cool, eh?  However, the minute you tell me that I am going to make it big, and don’t even have to work hard – well, then you have lost me!
First of all, I love working hard.  It makes me feel really good.  Second, I never, ever want to take advantage of anyone.  Do not do unto others… 
Certainly, I want to be successful. It is my goal! But I will do it the old fashioned way.  This doesn’t mean that I have any desire to slog it out working 80 hours a week for minimum wage… but it means paying my dues and learning my lessons.  I consider myself a bit of a human sponge, so I am happy to listen to someone who actually speaks to ME. Talks my language. 
TRUST is KEY! 
I am curious, have you fallen for any of the new ‘Get Rich Quick’ schemes out there, or do you work with a Mentor and someone you trust to be ‘real’ with you and to give you honest feedback?  
Let me know.
Cheers all, have a super night!
Jen 🙂 
http://www.jensheava.com
 
News Release

News Release

News Release

I finally finished my News Release.  Here it is:

NEWS RELEASE

 

February 18, 2013

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Jen Shea VA

My Job is a Virtual Reality.

 

 

Small business owners, could you be spending more time generating new business? Are admin or social media tasks filling up your networking and sales time?

 

An enterprising Ottawa, (Ontario) area woman has recently launched a business perfect for the technological age:   Virtual Administrative Consultant ~ more commonly known as a Virtual Assistant.

Jen Shea recently started her business, after working in office administration for more than 20 years.

“Just like a traditional personal assistant, I handle a wide variety of tasks using today’s technology.  The only thing I can’t do is get your coffee.   My tag line is ‘Your Virtual Collaborator’.  I want to work with people who are building and growing their businesses and I feel very strongly about developing a relationship based on trust and compatibility.”

“I specialize in creating & maintaining websites using WordPress, and also in desktop publishing, client services and social media set up, and other time-saving administrative tasks.”

With software programs such as Skype, email, e-fax and secure file sharing sites (for example Dropbox) almost anything can be done virtually.

Small business owners can hire a ‘VA’ to keep costs down.  A VA is a self-employed contractor, not an employee, so you don’t have the expense of overhead costs such as office space, equipment and computers, etc.   The most appealing part of outsourcing to a VA is that the client is only billed for the actual time spent working on that particular task or project.

“We are always furthering our skills and perfecting our techniques so that we can deliver superior work.  My clients do not pay me when I go on a personal appointment, take a holiday, or get sick.  Virtual Assistants are only paid for time actually worked”, offers Ms. Shea.

“You would be amazed at how much it costs to hire a full-time, or even a part time, employee.”

Ms Shea explains that some clients hire her to do one-time projects and others work with her on a retainer basis.  You can hire her to work a couple of hours a day, a few hours a week, or several hours a month.

“Every client is unique and so are their needs.  After our initial discussion, a plan is put in place and a contract is signed.  Adjustments can easily be made along the way.”

Ms. Shea also works with a team of other VAs with specialties of their own and this enables her to offer a ‘Total Client Experience’.  The client doesn’t have to spend precious time looking for different VAs because she can do that for you.  “I only work with VAs who share my work ethics and whatever your need is, I have an expert who can make it happen”, she explains.

 

Contact Jen at jen@jensheava.com to set up a free consultation.  You can also visit her website at http://www.JenSheaVA.com for details on services, packages and rates.

Thoughts for Today…

How as your day?  

I had a pretty productive day, and accomplished a lot.  I did some research, I completed some administrative tasks and I did some networking.

I was reading the blog of a friend of mine and one of her posts was about having a theme song… and it reminded me of mine.  I think it ‘fits’ me and I have loved it since I was a little girl. It has taken me a while to get here…  I finally feel as though I have arrived. 

Here are the words:  

Who can turn the world on with her smile?
Who can take a nothing day, and suddenly make it all seem worthwhile?
Well it’s you girl, and you should know it
With each glance and every little movement you show it

Love is all around, no need to waste it
You can have a town, why don’t you take it
You’re gonna make it after all
You’re gonna make it after all

How will you make it on your own?
This world is awfully big, girl this time you’re all alone
But it’s time you started living
It’s time you let someone else do some giving

Love is all around, no need to waste it
You can have a town, why don’t you take it
You’re gonna make it after all
You’re gonna make it after all

Do you recognize it?  It’s the theme song to the Mary Tyler Moore show.  When I was young, I wanted to grow up to be Mary Richards.  I loved everything about her.  She was fun, and sassy, had great style and was Independent!   And, for those of you who remember the show, she had that great little apartment.

Here’s a clip.  Have a super night world, catch you soon.

Jen 🙂 

http://JenSheaVA.com