Mary Wu, Virtual Assistant

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Top Three Things to do on LinkedIn This Week

Hi, my name is Mary and I am a self-avowed LinkedIn fan girl. Time For Technology Message Shows Innovation Improvement And Hi Tech

As a Virtual Assistant, I help a number of clients with social media communication. I spend a lot of time on Facebook and other platforms like Twitter and Pinterest and Google+. While I spend fewer hours per week on LinkedIn, I find that LinkedIn has values that are not offered on the other social media sites. Some examples are:

  • E-introductions.    More than once I’ve referred to someone’s LinkedIn Profile when I was looking for that “just right” turn of a phrase for a virtual introduction.
  • Memory jogging. Have you ever had that person that you met once at a networking event six months ago contacts you interested in your services? And you realize that you don’t remember them at all? If you take a quick at their LinkedIn profile, you’ll find out who they are, what they’re doing, and you’ll even (more often than not) get a picture to go along with it.
  • Background Checks. Have you ever gotten a tip about someone who is “great” at “something.” You can look up the person on LinkedIn, find their history, read their recommendations, and see if you have any common connections.
  • Search. If you’re looking for a service and type in the proper search term (and then narrow things down) you might have luck finding a service provider. Just today someone I know was looking for someone to do mold removal – I found a local contractor who had 3 people in common with me.

So – what THREE THINGS should you do on LinkedIn THIS WEEK?

  1. Make sure your profile photo is up to date and recognizable. If you’ve still got the same selfie that you took when you first signed up for LinkedIn in 2009, it’s time to update (consider a professional profile photo).
  2. Make sure your summary is clear, current, and concise (in case anyone wants to use it to e-introduce you to someone.)
  3. ASK for (and give) recommendations. Request recommendations from former employers, current customers, or anyone you’ve done business with. And look for a person or two that has done great work for you, whether it be a lawyer, an insurance agent, a virtual assistant, or a mold removal service.

LinkedIn might not be the platform you spend the most time on, but it might be the platform you spend the most valuable time on.

 

3 Tips on Who To Delegate To

Yes, I’ve talked about delegdelegateation before. It’s a topic that comes up often. The other day I was reading a Facebook Status from a friend that has a spouse in the construction business.

“Watching all these shady contractors on the news ripping people off makes me sick when there are good guys out there like ____________ who follow all the guidelines and have insurance and proper registration and do a great job for their customers and lose jobs to these clowns that rip people off. If the bid is low, there is a reason. You get what you pay for.”

Sometimes we think it’s hard to find the “good guys,” but if you do your research ahead of time, you’ll save time and frustration in the long run.

Here are three tips that should help you whether you’re looking for a plumber, a lawyer, or a virtual assistant:

  1.  Just ask. Ask everybody you know. Ask your friends, ask your neighbors, post a request to Facebook. Rest assured, if you don’t know somebody, you know somebody that knows somebody.
  2. Do background checks. I’m not talking about the background checks that go with hiring bank employees or Sunday School teachers*. But if you do a Google search on a name, look at a service like Angie’s List, or look at a person’s profile on LinkedIn, that will give you an idea of their professional persona.
  3. Interview. Most reliable service providers, in any area, are more than willing to sit down and talk to you for some amount of time for free (or at a greatly reduced rate) so that you can see if a working relationship is possible.

I honestly can’t think of a single time I’ve made a decision based solely on cost that I’ve been happy with that choice. On the other hand, I’ve often been happy with work done by people that have come with strong personal referrals.

Think about what you can do if you release some of the things that make your life difficult. No dollar amount can be placed on time with your family or on peace of mind.

No Secrets (Carly Simon album)

No Secrets (Carly Simon album) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 *As an adoptive parent what I often tell people is that if I had any skeletons in my closet, they would have been found during the background check process. I’m like Carly Simon and I have no secrets.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What IS a “Virtual Assistant” anyway?

ID-100107221A virtual assistant is an independent contractor that provides administrative, creative, or technical services remotely.

There are many types of assistants, but for a moment let’s look to the dictionary:

administrative assistant
noun
a person employed to aid an executive, as in a corporate department, by coordinating such office services and procedures as the supervision, maintenance, and control of the flow of work and programs, personnel, budgeting, records, etc., for the entire department. (1)

personal assistant
noun
a secretary or administrative to an individual (2)

As of this date, neither merriam-webster.com nor Dictionary.Reference.com has an “official” definition for a virtual assistant. One major difference between a virtual assistant and an administrative (or executive) assistant is that a virtual assistant does not work “in-house.” An entrepreneur (or solopreneur) does not need to have workspace available for this person and they do not need to pay a person for “down time,” or benefits.  A virtual assistant does not work exclusively for one company or person, and thus might not be available at a moment’s notice. (However, most VAs know their schedule and can give a realistic time frame for any tasks.

Each person has many tasks which they outsource in their day to day lives. For example, I have the ability, but I have no desire, to change the oil in my car (and try to figure out where to dispose of the oil). There are some  jobs I do not have the ability to perform; for example the house electrical wiring.

For ideas, there is an informative article from Entrepreneur.com titled 10 Things to Outsource to a Virtual Assistant.

Some questions to ask yourself are:

  1. What tasks do I find overwhelming? 
  2. What tasks do I find boring?
  3. Are there areas in my business on which I should focus? (As an entrepreneur, if you need to focus more in one area, perhaps you can hire someone to work on other areas).
  4. Are there areas in my business needing more attention that I need to outsource? (Admit it, that shoe box full of business cards would be more useful in an Access database or on an Excel spreadsheet).
  5. Do I have administrative tasks that I would like to delegate but don’t have the infrastructure to do so?

After all, we all need some help sometimes.

Image Courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

(1) administrative assistant. Dictionary.com. Dictionary.com Unabridged. Random House, Inc.
http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/administrative+assistant?s=t (accessed: May 17, 2013)

(2) personal assistant. Dictionary.com Dictionary.com’s 21st Century Lexicon. Dictionary.com, LLC. http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/personal+assistant?s=t (accessed: May 17, 2013)