A little bit of R&R

A little bit more about R&R VA Services........


Tuesday, 9 March 2010

Is your blog focused???

It is very easy for your blog to go off focus, I am as guilty of this as anyone. It helps to have a clear idea of who you are writing for. You need to remember his and work out what you then want to say to them, for example this blog is intended to my clients and potential clients useful information for their businesses, things that are going on locally that are relevant to them and also give them an insight into me and what interests/stimulates me.

This last point may seem a little frivolous, particularly when I have talked about my love of shoes on here (see this post), but it tells you about my personality and you may even then recognise me from my shoes should we meet in future (believe me, this has happened!). People do business with other people and this is one way in which you can find out about me as a person.

So to keep your blog focused:
  • know your audience
  • know what you want to say to them
  • being a visual person I also like to use Wordle's (above is my one for February) - they highlight the most frequently used words on your blog so you can see at a glance if you are staying on topic
  • periodically re-read and re-evaluate  your blog (as I am currently doing) to see if that's what you want to talk about, is relevant to your audience and whether you need to change it.

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Wednesday, 3 March 2010

Creative Coffee Club - If you're there today...

Coffee cup and bundle of pencils on table-top

Today from 10am to 12 noon at Phoenix Square its the ever brilliant Creative Coffee Club. I haven't managed to go due to childcare and other commitments for the last couple of meetings but today that all changes!!!

If you're there today please do say hello! I am interested in making some new connections, talking about art, creativity and anything interesting basically. I am also looking for another speaker for Mums the Boss Leicestershire in July and for anyone who wants to feature or contribute to Creative Boom Leicester.

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Monday, 1 March 2010

I now have a Business Coach!!

businessman talking through megaphone, low angle view

Due to a pretty random and fortuitous set of circumstances I now have a wonderful Business Coach called Liz Archer. I have my first proper session with her tomorrow and this has made me think about RRVA in more detail than I have for quite some time.

I decided it would be good to work with someone who will make me stay focused, who will question my goals, my dedication and mostly my methods of how I'm going to achieve these targets I have set myself. It is not that I do not believe I can succeed ( I really do think I am well on the way to that) but that I am aware that I can be too easily sidetracked by interesting ideas and that I NEED someone to keep me motivated. I also think that it is a good thing that the person who does this is not a member of my family or one of my friends. I need a dispassionate and businesslike viewpoint on what I am doing to grow and maintain my business.

This has led me to evaluate the business goals I set myself in January 2009 when I first started conceiving of RRVA, I actually set it up in April 2009, before I go and meet her for the first time. I have been in business for nearly a year now and upon reflection I have achieved the 3 of my original 4 goals that I set myself for my first year and I'm rather pleased about that. I have also achieved 1 of the goals I set myself for my second year which is going full time as a creative VA! 

I hope she thinks well of this and helps me realise new successes and areas to work on as I approach my second year in business.

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Friday, 26 February 2010

My current top 5 favourite web resources

When reviewing my blog and its purpose I realised I wasn't posting very much that you, my readers, may find helpful. I thought I'd kick off my renewed focus on my blog by listing my current top 5 favourite resources on the web:

Number 1 is: FreeDigitalPhotos.net Which is a brilliant resource for royalty free pictures to use on your blog. Just make sure you do put on the acknowledgement!

Number 2 is: Wordle.net You are probably aware of my love of the wordle if you've read this blog before!!!

Number 3 is: MailChimp a free and easy way to create and distribute fabulous email newsletters and marketing.

Number 4 is: a perennially favourite resources of the ever useful Googledocs. Just a fantastic way of working on and sharing documents with your clients whilst maintaining version control. 

An finally this time Number 5 is: 1001FreeFonts.com which is currently feeding my font habit when it comes to finding just the right font for a client.

I intend to make this a regular monthly post so I hope you find it helpful.

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Sunday, 21 February 2010

The First Mums the Boss Leicestershire meeting review

As you will know from my previous post I have taken on running Mums the Boss, child friendly and supportive business networking for mums in business fro Leicestershire. The first meeting took place on Friday 19th February at Soar Valley Leisure Centre and I think I will class it as a success!

There were only 5 business women that attended but I would have had at least 3 more if it hadn't decided to snow and I had realised the Baby Show was on the same day. It  was also Half Term which I know made it difficult for some to attend. But those who were there were very supportive of the event and helped me come up with further marketing avenues to grow our profile.

The next meeting is on Friday 26th March 10am to 12 noon at the same venue and if you are a mum/dad/obsessed dog owner in business who would appreciate the affordable nature and supportive atmosphere of these networking events please get in touch or turn up on the day.

Our speaker is Sadie Knight of Glass Raven who will be talking to us about who to best optimise our websites.

The amazing Rakhee of Fashion Cake will also be providing more of these to aid our discussions!

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Tuesday, 19 January 2010

RRVA and Mums the Boss -New Leicestershire meeting

I am very excited to announce that I am now officially part of the Mums the Boss team as they are expanding into Leicestershire (which I'll be running) and Warwickshire (which Amanda Farren of Ella Announcements is running). This is a fantastic opportunity for me to play to my strengths in running the events but most importantly in celebrating our shared ethos concerning motherhood and business.

All events will be child-friendly, low cost, informal, supportive and informative. I know quite a few amazing business mums in Leicestershire via the wonderful medium of Twitter and hope to encourage them and others like them to come along to our monthly meetings. I have already managed to secure a speaker on Marketing and am in discussions with people to come and talk about tax, business branding and hopefully SEO. Business Mums (and Dads!) please tell me if there is an area of running your business that you are desperate to learn more about and I will exploit my network and try to bring someone in!

I expect being part of Mums the Boss to be an immensely rewarding experience too. Being a mother who has set up her own business I find it important to be taken seriously as a businesswoman by potential clients and peers so having the support available from others who have done a similar thing has been both inspirational and, on a very practical level, very useful! I am very keen to bring this support to others and create an environment within Mums the Boss Leicestershire that is memorable for all the right reasons and pay back the support that I have received in some small way.

I am aiming for the first event to be in February and when it is confirmed I will announce the date by all means possible. I look forward to seeing some of you there.

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Tuesday, 12 January 2010

The VA industry on Radio 4 Women's hour today

Today I have both listened to the Radio 4 Woman's Hour podcast which discusses the Virtual Assistant industry and interviews 2 VA's who influenced my decision to become a VA, Emma Walker and Justine Curtis, and read Maggie Berney's (of Maggie Berney Office Services) thoughts about it here. I want to support what Maggie has said in response to Dr Brendan Burchall's comments in particular and extend them somewhat as it felt he was being very patronising to VAs as business owners.

Firstly we are not shut up in our home offices all the time, as Maggie says, we meet clients, each other and regularly attend networking events otherwise we wouldn't have any clients in the first place. Also we communicate rapidly, instantly and often (well in my case massively, you'll already know that if you follow me on Twitter!!!) using social media. It may not be face to face most of the time but it is conversation of both business and chit chat as well as being members of varying support forums and groups for our industry. Like Maggie I am also a member of VASG which offers support, business opportunities, collaboration and chat.

My second issue is that his comments regarding the marginalisation of 'people like this' and that we will find it hard to re-enter the work place seem misplaced and based on the really aggravating assumption that we are all dabbling in business around our other (often family and children) commitments. Speaking for myself I am a mother with young children and yes the flexibility of being a VA based at home is very desirable BUT it does NOT mean I take my business any less seriously. In fact I take it more so than my old day job. I am more driven, more willing to work into the small hours to make my clients businesses successful and exceed their expectations than I was when I was employed. I have a passion for what I do and the sector I cater for that drives me and means I have exacting standards for the quality of my work. Flexibility is desirable but does not equal a less committed business owner.

I have no desire to reenter the workplace but should I choose to I hope that a prospective employer would view someone with the ambition and organisational ability to start and run their own business is a damn good prospect! It demonstrates vision and self belief which will benefit their company.

I think Maggie has sufficiently covered his remarks about needing to employ somebody to entrust them with confidential information and work! Suffice it to say that his statements are misplaced and he is more than welcome to connect with UK VAs further if he would like to conduct some more up to date research!!!

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