small business owner
As I write this I am in the process of multiple projects.
Now I know, you may be thinking, “But Felicia, I heard you’re supposed to focus on 1 thing at a time to be the most successful?”
That advice is only partially correct.
You see, just because I have several major projects happening at once doesn’t mean my focus is split. In fact, I’m able to focus even more clearly on on task at a time, allowing me to get the projects done. How? Read on.
I know as a small business owner or micro business if it’s just you, there are A LOT of tasks to keep up with. So how do you stay productive and focused with so much on your plate at one time? And how in the world can you get it all done?
With a little help.
Right now as I write this, my ezine is being prepared to go out this morning and I’m in the process of a major re-launch of a program I created from scratch. Yet, I’m writing this blog post confidently knowing the other work is getting done. Because I have help from 2 fabulous Virtual Assistants, Lisa Wells and Rebekah Zobel Jones. Both are members of an organization calledInternational Virtual Assistants Association, a group of dedicated administrative professionals whose sole task in their business is to help you with yours.
Pretty cool, right?
You can have the same secret weapon I do — and find your own highly qualified VA to help you with your specific needs by simply going to www.IVAA.org and completing a Request for Proposal (RFP). Likely within minutes you’ll have emails from VAs ready and able to do the tasks you need them to do.
Here are some of the tasks I have my VAs do for me, either regularly or as special projects both now and in the past:
- format & send my bi-weekly ezine Creating Connections
- manage my calendar and appointments
- send email reminders of appointments and events to my clients and group coaching members
- upload new files to my website
- format & upload sales pages to my website
- manage my shopping carts
- manage my affiliate programs
- deal with website tech issues such as hosting and URL management
- respond to email inquiries for affiliate promotion requests, appointment requests, etc.
- send me regular reports and updates on my various projects and provide me with a to-do list based on those projects
- handle customer service and technical issues
- maintain my website to keep it current
- manage my books
- handle all my travel details & create itineraries for when I travel
- format and create pdf files for various teleseminars
- format & create order forms for speaking events
- create and revise powerpoint presentations
- I could go on & on!
What that all means is in the middle of a super busy week I can take the time to write on my blog, Tweet, talk to clients, or any other number of tasks I’d rather be doing. Talk about a win-win situation!
IVAA.org is THE place to find someone to help you. Oh– and my budget for my VAs? One works 5 hours per month and the other is 10 hours per month. As you can see, because they are experts in what they do, it doesn’t take them long to do what needs to get done.
So now you know… my “secret weapon” isn’t a secret at all. It’s getting help from experts who can get the job done!
I received this email today and as I was rolling on the floor laughing, I though it could be relevant to business and communication messages aimed at our target audiences. According to the email, supposedly this is PC Magazine’s 2007 editors’ choice for best Webmail-award-winning letter.
Forgive the graphic language– it’s part of the letter.
Here’s the message in it’s entirety:
This is an ACTUAL letter from an Austin woman sent to Proctor and Gamble regarding their feminine products. She really gets rolling after the first paragraph.
Dear Mr. Thatcher:
I have been a loyal user of your “Always” maxi-pads for over 20 years, and I appreciate many of their features. Why, without the Leak-Guard Core or Dri-Weave absorbency, I’d probably never go horseback riding or salsa dancing, and I’d certainly steer clear of running up and down the beach in tight, white shorts.
But my favorite feature has to be your revolutionary Flex-Wings. Kudos on being the only company smart enough to realize how crucial it is that maxi-pads be aerodynamic. I can’t tell you how safe and secure I feel each month knowing there’s a little F-16 in my pants.
Have you ever had a menstrual period, Mr. Thatcher? Ever suffered from “the curse”? I’m guessing you haven’t. Well, my time of the month is starting right now. As I type, I can already feel hormonal forces violently surging through my body. Just a few minutes from now, my body will adjust and I’ll be transformed into what my husband likes to call “an inbred hillbilly with knife skills.” Isn’t the human body amazing?
As Brand Manager in the Feminine-Hygiene Division, you’ve no doubt seen quite a bit of research on what exactly happens during your customers’ monthly visits from “Aunt Flo.” Therefore, you must know about the bloating, puffiness, and cramping we endure, and about our intense mood swings, crying jags, and out-of-control behavior. You surely realize it’s a tough time for most women. In fact, only last week, my friend Jennifer fought the violent urge to shove her boyfriend’s testicles into a George Foreman Grill just because he told her he thought Grey’s Anatomy was written by drunken chimps.
The point is, sir, you of all people must realize that America is just crawling with homicidal maniacs in Capri pants…which brings me to the reason for my letter.
Last month, while in the throes of cramping so painful I wanted to reach inside my body and yank out my uterus, I opened an Always maxi-pad, and there, printed on the adhesive backing, were these words, “Have a Happy Period.”
Are you fu**ing kidding me? What I mean is, does any part of your tiny middle-manager brain really think happiness – actual smiling, laughing happiness is possible during a menstrual period? Did anything mentioned above sound the least bit pleasurable? Well…did it, James?
FYI, unless you’re some kind of sick S&M freak girl, there will never be anything “happy” about a day in which you have to jack yourself up on Motrin and Kahlua and lock yourself in your house just so you don’t march down to the local Walgreen’s armed with a hunting rifle and a sketchy plan to end your life in a blaze of glory.
For the love of God, pull your head out, man! If you just have to slap a moronic message on a maxi-pad, wouldn’t it make more sense to say something that’s actually pertinent, like “Put Down the Hammer” or “Vehicular Manslaughter is Wrong,” or are you just picking on us?
Sir, please inform your Accounting Department that, effective immediately, there will be an $8 drop in monthly profits, for I have chosen to take my maxi-pad business elsewhere. And though I will certainly miss your Flex-Wings, I will not for one minute miss your brand of condescending bull sh*t. And that’s a promise I will keep. Always.
Wendi Aarons, Austin, TX
Of course that letter got me to thinking. How well do you know your customers and their needs? Do you think you know them– or do you REALLY know them? One way to know for sure what your customers want and prefer: ask!
Do a survey, do an email campaign, call up a few folks on the phone. But whatever you do… find out for sure what clients want and then give it to them. And don’t make the same mistake P&G did!