Mary Wu, Virtual Assistant

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Outsourcing: A Worthy Investment

Outsource Definition Closeup Showing SubcontractingDuring the past two posts I might have convinced you to think about looking for some help. You might call people, get some quotes for some assistance, and then have sticker shock (especially if you have not had contractors working for you).

A few things to keep in mind. (more…)

3 Ways to Handle LinkedIn Connections

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m a solopreneur that finds a great deal of value in LinkedIn.

Today, however, we’re going to focus on connections.

The first way to add connections is to go to your LinkedIn profile and click on “Connections”

connections

If you then go down to “add connections,” you can connect your address book to LinkedIn.

You can then add everybody in your address book. If you have an address book that is strictly for business, then you will only get business connections. But, if you use the same email for both (or have Gmail and it just grabs all of your contacts), then you will get a listing of

*E*V*E*R*Y*B*O*D*Y*

…your son’s soccer coach from when he was 6, your daughter’s third grade teacher, the health tech from the middle school.

You get the idea. There might be some people in there that might not really be considered business contacts.

So it might be time to step back and see who you WANT to actually add to your connections.

From what I can gather from what I’ve read and what I’ve seen, there seems to be three schools of thought.

  1. Grab for ALL the connections you possibly can. This is where you would add your son’s soccer coach and the ex-boyfriend of your second cousin once removed.
  2. Be purposeful and specific in the people you do or do not add.
  3. Change with your whim week by week. 

As you can see, I’ve put a strikethrough through #3. This plan doesn’t have any logic.

#1 has some benefits, and there are advantages to having a large number of LinkedIn connections. This is spelled out in the first article below (9 Reasons Why LinkedIn Friendship is the Mightiest of Magics). This was written by someone that does Online advertising so increasing the size of a market is a significant part of their business. (As a complete aside, as the mother of a “brony”, I have got to admire someone that manages to write a blog post outlining their professional services while using lessons from My Little Pony – props to Larry).

The second option is the one that I’ve personally chosen. I want to have the ability to speak to the business acumen or character of my connections.

As I was working on this blog post, a call came in from another member of the Virtual Assistant community looking for graphic artists. I sent her information about 3 graphic artists that I know and their LinkedIn profiles. This way she can see their experience and recommendations right off the bat.

What will you “give up”?

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Laissez Les Bon Temps Rouler

As I’m writing this it’s Mardi Gras, and in some parts of the world, people from some Christian traditions are discussing what they are “giving up” for Lent.

So, inspired by that and also by a post from Michelle Combs at Huffington Post, I’m going to state what I’m “giving up” for the next 40 (or more) days.

  • PERFECTION 
    Have you ever started something but couldn’t get it finished because it wasn’t “perfect?” This can happen with blog posts, artwork, graphic design, or insert your own challenge here. I am here to assure you that you can do more “skating by” in life at an 80% or 90% efficiency than you can by sitting quietly in your room WAITING for things to be 100%.
  • WORKING BACKWARDS 
    This is one of my challenges. Sometimes you have plans, goals, or projects that you have an outline for and something happens and you fall behind and you realize that you will NEVER catch up to where you were SUPPOSED to be. I’ll give an example. I have a pedometer and I have challenged myself to do 10,000 steps a day. I’ll be quite honest and say that I don’t always make it. The real problem comes if I decide that I’m going to do 70,000 steps a week. Let’s say Sunday comes and I get busy and I only make it to 7,500 steps. So that means MONDAY I have to do 10,000 steps + the 2,500 steps I’m behind from Sunday. So let’s say there’s an emergency and I have to pick up a child from school and take them to the doctor and I only make 6,000 steps. So that would mean on TUESDAY I’d have to do the 12,500 steps I was supposed to do MONDAY and then the extra 4,000 steps and … I completely throw in the towel because now I’m so far behind I’ll never catch up. I suppose there are some people out there that can work backwards and manage to make up the steps (or the time or the ….), but it’s really okay to look FORWARD and say, “Well, I fell behind and instead of trying to catch up, I’ll just move forward from here and do …”

Additionally, there is one thing I am not giving up (with an exception for emergencies).

  • SLEEP
    Girl Asleep On Her Notebook ComputerIn theory, middle-aged adults are supposed to spend 7-9 hours a night resting. I find if I don’t do that, everything else suffers. I have less focus, less energy, less patience, and I’m less healthy. At the beginning of 2015, many people I know were setting intentions with a “word of the year” and I realized I didn’t have a major insight into that. And then one day it came to me.

    REST

    Because the 1/3 of my life I’m schedule to spend rejuvenating my body and my mind is really the most important part of the day.

Is there anything you can “give up” that will improve your life?

Related articles:

Thursday Tea Time Tip

IMG_5364People who know me, especially those who know me well, know that I’m rather a coffeeaholic*. I don’t function in the morning without my java. Usually the coffee is made (in the programmable coffeemaker) the evening before, and I’m greeted in the morning with that lovely smell of the bean. Some days it’s the only thing that gets me moving.

In order to improve both my sleep and energy levels, I need to be caffeine-free in the afternoon. Some afternoons though, I either run into a wall or get frustrated or get overwhelmed and can’t figure out what my next step should be. Often when that happens I find that my best next step is

DOING NOTHING!

More specifically, doing nothing while making myself a nice, hot cuppa.

Because sometimes (whether it’s a Thursday or a Monday or a Saturday), you can find yourself about to spin out of control; you need to just stop and get re-centered.

*Really dictionary? Coffeeaholic isn’t a word. I have to talk to the Merriam Webster people about that.

The Best Laid Plans

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The Best Laid Plans (or Drop Back Ten Yards and Punt)

“Each problem that I solved became a rule which served afterwards to solve other problems.” Rene Descartes

“A positive attitude may not solve all your problems, but it will annoy enough people to make it worth the effort.” Herm Albright

Many business owners have plans. You can have a business plan, you can have action steps, and you can have detailed descriptions for every aspect of your business. Sometimes, of course, things don’t go as planned. I have two examples from different business owners I know that had “glitches” in the past week and how they overcame these.

5169634I’m in a Mastermind group run by Michelle Smith at Z and B Consulting. We meet once a month for this group, and we were scheduled to meet on February 2, 2015. A few days before our scheduled meeting Michelle looked at the weather forecast and, well, the forecast didn’t look real pretty. As you can see from the attached photo (or from the photos many of my friends took out of their window over the weekend), it does look REAL PRETTY – but not very travel friendly.

Michelle, using the information she had available, decided that our monthly “meeting” would be held “virtually” using Fuze. I look forward to seeing and working with this fabulous group of people every month.

Meanwhile, in a completely different corner of the country (where snow is never an issue), another friend was preparing for a client call. This woman works with many of her clients virtually so often all she needs is a quiet place (like her home office) and a good Internet connection.

Of course, if she decides to upgrade her service (to BETTER help her fabulous clients) and there’s a “glitch” with the upgrade, this leaves no Internet connection for her client call (which she records as part of her best practices).

After discovering that the issue was with the upgrade, she managed to negotiate a free cellular Hotspot connection until the upgrade was completed on Tuesday.

We’re all going to run into glitches; let’s hope we all handle them as well as these two business women.

Photo courtesy of Amanda Wu at Amanda Wu, Photography, Copyright 2015

 RELATED ARTICLE

Yesterday I met a new person at a coaching event, and glanced at her blog. One of her articles:

Mistakes … Or Are They? Tashony Nalyse at tashonyalyse.com

I guess sometimes we all need a lesson.

 

Thursday Tip – The Why and How of LinkedIn Recommendations

If you’ve done business with a person and are extremely satisfied, you may want to tell the world. There are a number of ways to do this:

  1. You can pick up a megaphone (which will only tell a few neighbors).
  2. You can pick up a phonebook (that might take a while – heck in 2015 it might take a while to FIND a phonebook).
  3. You can post on their Facebook page (which will soon disappear further down on the timeline).
  4. You can post a recommendation on their LinkedIn Page. This will be permanently on their LinkedIn Profile page and easy to find for anyone wanting to use their services.

Click here to go to a page (on LinkedIn) that gives details on how to give a recommendation.

Let’s say you’ve given a colleague a recommendation but there’s something you want to change. Perhaps you’ve done more work with a person and you want to change some details, or maybe you were looking at their profile and noticed that you made a typographical error.

Click here to go to a page (on LinkedIn) that gives details on how to EDIT or REMOVE a recommendation.

NOTE: Olike-elements-glossy-icon_zy7r0hIdn the above link step 1 reads “go to your profile” and step 2 reads “scroll to the recommendations section.” This is missing step 1.5 which is “enter edit your profile mode.” If you go straight to your recommendations without entering “edit” mode you will not be able to edit.

Whether you want to give your colleague some “stars” or a “thumbs up,” LinkedIn is the place to go.

 

 

How to Add a Video on LinkedIn

Nederlands: Linked In icon

Nederlands: Linked In icon (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In order to give potential clients (or employers) an idea of the type of work you do LinkedIn allows you to show media samples on your profile.

One of the notes from the LinkedIn help center states:

“You must use a compatible file type or content provider for best results.”

Or – to quote William Shakespeare, “ay, there’s the rub.”

The (amazingly simple) trick to this is to know what content providers work well with LinkedIn. Two that I’ve found work for all purposes that I need are slideshare.net and YouTube.com

So, first step is to upload a slide show to slideshare or upload a video to YouTube. (If anyone needs tips on that let me know, I’m always looking for more blog posts).

Now it’s 5 easy steps:

  1. Go to your LinkedIn profile page.
    (It’s the second tab on the top)
  2. Now, hover over where it says “Profile” and click on “Edit Profile.” This will put you in edit mode.
  3. Go to the section you’d like to add the video or slideshow to (I often use the “Summary” section.)
  4. Click on the icon that looks like a box with a “+” sign. LinkedInicon
  5. Now, add the link.
    After you’ve added the link it will give you a chance to change the title and the description.

Thanks to Beth Tomas of BTomasDesign for the question.