Tips and Tricks for March


Occasionally I do a post on short tips and tricks I’ve picked up. I often find the most useful information while I’m looking for something else.

Good, short comparison of social media sites

If you’re just getting started in social media, this article by Scott Levy in Entrepreneur gives a brief overview of social media platforms. “How to Choose the Best Social Media Platform for Your Business

Calendar tool

Calendly,  calendar tool, used by one of my fellow virtual assistants, is a simple, clean scheduling tool that syncs with Google calendars and is free.

Screen sharing

Back in the day (okay yesterday), I was having a meeting with a client and we each needed to be able to “see” what the other was doing. We used FuzeBox and we were able to share screens and switch screens. Both of us are visual people so it was great to be able to see what we were each doing. FuzeBox is free for the first 60 days; so if you need to have an on-line meeting, give it a try.

Mother of Invention

It’s said that necessity is the mother of invention. I have quite a few clients that wanted business cards entered into spreadsheets. I discovered that spreading the cards out on my desk was not exactly the best thing for my posture. I “invented” a card holder (pictured). Now you know that if you ever need business cards entered into a database, you can contact me, and if you ever need to borrow a copy of Conceptual Physics, you can also call me.

Public Service Announcement

For those of you in Illinois, Tuesday, March 18 is primary election day.

  • Why does this matter? In the primary you get to determine who will run for office in November. In Illinois you can declare your party for EACH primary election so you can determine which ballot you want by election (not by party affiliation).
  • Why does this matter to Mary? During the election season I am a field representative for the DuPage County Election commission. This means that prior to each election I spend time training technical judges on any changes that have happened since the previous election and reviewing the policies and procedures that are in place (especially in regards to the machines that are used in the polling place on election day.) A large number of people spend a large number of hours working not only on election day but in the months before an election and the weeks after an election. Think of it this way, the more people placing votes for an election, the less the process costs per vote.
  • What on earth does being a Field Representative have to do with being a Virtual Assistant? More than you realize. Training election judges to use the various electronic machines is very similar to training clients on the use of social media tools. Making sure policies are followed is very similar to following procedures for client work (or for my own work). And there’s an awful lot of trouble shooting, problem solving, and thinking on my feet.
  • But what if I need one really good reason to vote? This is Illinois and this is the year we elect our new governor (or reelect our current governor). The way things have gone lately, it’s really important to decide who to put in office, because there’s a non-zero chance we’ll be paying for the prison sentence at some point in time.