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Why choose A Virtual Assistant in Paradise?

At A Virtual Assistant in Paradise our business is about making your business better by saving you time and money.Every successful business is built on a strong administrative foundation. As a business owner or busy executive, you are well aware that your valuable time should be focused on developing and building relationships with your own customers and clients but the administrative tasks that need to be managed on a daily or weekly basis are a vital element of your business growth.

Delegating clerical tasks to A Virtual Assistant in Paradise is the perfect solution for entrepreneurs and business owners who wish to save time and money while increasing productivity, and more efficiently managing the administrative aspects of a growing business.

A Virtual Assistant in Paradise provides exceptional business management, marketing, bookkeeping, and public relations services to small businesses and busy executives.

Contact us today to take advantage of all that our professional virtual assistance practice has to offer you and your company. At A Virtual Assistant in Paradise, our business is about making your business better!

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Guide to Google Plus

VAinParadise Guide to Google Plus

Google Plus is now the second-largest social media site in the world.  Because Google added products like Hangouts and Communities, along with Google News, Google Plus is an intriguing site for users.

Creating a Google Account
Before you can create a Google Plus account, you will need to set up a Google account. To do that, click the “Create an Account” button on the plus.google.com. From there you will be asked to answer a few pieces of information. Then you’ll be asked to add a profile photo to go with your new account. The image must be a minimum size of 250 x 250 pixels. Then you’ll be directed to your new Gmail account and you can navigate to Google Plus from the dashboard. Now, you’re ready to add friends, family and others to your Circles.

Creating Circles
The first time you are on Google Plus, a screen will ask you to add people you know or want to follow, as well as suggested users Google has curated for you to follow- which is known as a Circle. When you would like to select someone for your Circle, you can choose from, “Family”, “Friends”, “Acquaintances” and “Following”. You can also create a new Circle if you would like to add someone to a Circle that isn’t listed. Circles are like filters in that you can share content with those in your Circles and you can see what you would like to share publicly.  People will know when you have added them to your circle but they won’t know who else is in it with them.

Adding Extras to Your Profile
After you’ve added people to your Circles, Google will then ask you to share more about yourself, like employment, education and location. They will initially be public, but you can edit the privacy once your profile is set.

Exploring the Stream
When you get to the Google Plus homepage, you’ll see posts, products and then some.  On the left side of the site, you will see options to choose from like, “What’s Hot,” “Communities” and “Events”, with many others. On the right side of the screen is the Hangout box, you can view the people and brands that are in your Circle. From there you can text or video chat with them. In the middle, you will see the posts from your Circle. You can go through these posts by choosing a Circle of your choice. The section will also include posts that Google thought were popular in this network. You can +1 a post, which is similar to liking a post basically. You can also view the post’s activity; embed the post, or link to the post.  There are also several other options you will have by clicking the downward carrot symbol at the top right of each post.

Google Plus makes it very easy to post and for you to be able to target a larger or small group of accounts when you post on the platform. When you post, you need to select who you would like to share it with – You can choose to post Public, an entire Circle or just one person.  As with  Facebook, you can tag individuals or brands and those who are tagged will receive a notification. A post can also be a private message.

Communities are where the conversations take place on Google Plus. This is where users can find discussions on specific topics with other users who are interested in the conversation. The topics are endless and all you have to do is request to join.  There are public and private communities.  If you post on a public community, your comment will be posted on your profile. If you post on a private community, it remains just between you and the other users in that community.

Hangouts are one of the most popular features on the platform. There are three types: the text chat version that has basically replaced Gchat, private Hangouts and Hangouts On Air. Hangouts are great options for people or companies who want to have a private video chat with 10 different accounts.  This is not publicly viewable and is only seen by those who are invited to join.  Hangouts On Air are public Hangouts that can be viewed by all and are archived on YouTube.

What’s Hot
This section of Google Plus is one of its major standouts. This is also located on the left sidebar of the platform. “What’s Hot” shows the posts, topics and hashtags that are trending on Google at any time. Hashtags are really big on Google Plus and are very helpful for social search. Google will also suggest related hashtags for your post to make them resonate more.


2014 Marketing Trends: Content Marketing

VAinParadise content marketingThe idea of content marketing has been developing and gaining popularity in the last few years. Just as cold calling is out and inbound marketing is in, content marketing is an inevitable piece of the future marketing puzzle. In fact, it is one of the top growing fields in marketing with an increase of marketers relying on content marketing for overall marketing success within their organizations.

Content marketing involves consistently creating and sharing any type of content to attract and retain customers. The key to good content marketing is not only providing content to your audiences but also providing interesting and unique content that informs, entertains and engages; news, tips, videos, infographics and blogs are a variety of strong content types. The belief is that if organizations can consistently deliver valuable information, customers will reward them with their business and loyalty.

Content created by your organization should show your voice and brand in a personal way. Provide content that is searchable, do it from the start and build search engine optimization. People’s attention spans have dropped considerably, with their busy schedules; they are constantly on the go using mobile devices to consume their information. With that said, it needs to be small amounts of information delivered in a creative way. Keep content short and simple, and make sure to share it!

To really grow and engage your audience, make the information interesting and entertaining enough that your audience will share it on their social networks. That way your organization is steadily increasing your audience.

Some of the most popular content marketing tactics that are being used include:

Social Media Platforms
These platforms make it easy for you to distribute your content and share content with your audience that has already been created.

By writing and publishing articles on your website you can offer your audience important information about your products and services. By sharing articles from other websites, your company spends less time self-promoting but at the same time is sharing pertinent information.

This type of content marketing offers a continual, on-going communication with your audience.

Blog posts about your industry position your company as a industry leader and educator.

Case studies
Similar to blog posts, case studies focus even more on the benefits and advantages of your product or services while also including testimonials.

These are an up and coming content marketing tactic. Videos allow companies to be creative and reach their audiences without making them read.

White Papers
These offer an in-depth look at a specific part of a companies industry. They can often be submitted to larger, more authoritative websites and new sources for exposure.

Virtual presentations like webinars allows companies to directly interact with their audiences while allowing those audiences to ask questions and make comments.

Instead of listing facts and statistics, format them as an infographic, which displays information in a visually appealing way.

A good content marketing initiative can building brand awareness, help acquire new customers as well as retain customers and increase their loyalty. And most importantly, good content marketing can generate leads.



5 Major Myths About Productivity

VA in Paradise 5 Major Myths About ProductivityIf you were to Google “productivity tips” the number of articles will overwhelm you. You might spend hours reading and reading, trying to find ways to be more productive. Some tips would be beneficial, while others are sure to be a stretch. These are several myths that once and for all need to be put to rest so real productivity can happen!

Myth #1: Make a To-Do list and work your way down.

Instead of slowly making your way down your ever-growing list of tasks, find a time of day that you are most productive. Everyone has a time of day that they work their best; when they are more willing to pursue a new task or take on a more stressful task. Pick a few tasks on your list that you aren’t looking forward to then do one in the morning, midmorning, mid-day, afternoon, mid-afternoon and late afternoon. Make notes about how the project went and the level of difficulty for you to remain focused. Once you’ve found your optimum productive time, make that the time to work on your most daunting task.

Myth #2: Multitask your phone and emails.
This is one of the most common productivity myths. Instead of answering phone calls and emails amidst your mountain of work, avoid them. The vibrating or ringing sounds, the irritating frequent popups – all of it. They are not helpful, just distractions. Specify times for when you will check your email throughout the day. Once in the morning, one after lunch and one about an hour before can be a great schedule. You’ll be surprised how much work you get done when you aren’t constantly interrupted with calls and emails.

Myth #3: Taking breaks just slows you down.
A quick walk around the office, parking lot, or even getting up to grab a cup of coffee will give your body and mind a chance to relax and think about something other than work for a little while.  Studies have found that people who take breaks accomplish more. They don’t get overworked or burnt out. If you don’t take breaks or let yourself do other things besides work, work, work, you won’t give your brain time to recharge.

Myth #4: Productivity means more work.
Being productive doesn’t necessarily means getting more work accomplished. Sometimes being more productive means producing a better quality of work. Break big projects into smaller pieces that are easier to concentrate on.  Instead of writing, “start project” on your to-do list, try breaking it into individual tasks that you will be more likely to tackle and complete thoroughly.

Myth #5: Deadlines are harmful.
Behold, the dreaded deadline. You should actually embrace deadlines instead of being afraid of them!  It’s a good idea to ask for deadlines. This is very important when it comes to finishing tasks and moving on to the next task. Deadlines give a better understanding of how intense your energy should be when doing that task. It will determine when and where it will fall on your to-do list. If you are delegating tasks, be sure to give deadlines. Having to complete a certain task by a certain time, by default, makes you more productive. 


VAinParadise Work Life BalanceEveryone is talking about work/life balance. But what does that really mean, why is it important? And how does one achieve it?

The work/life balance is a concept that incorporates the proper prioritizing between work, which includes careers and ambitions, and life, which includes health, leisure, family etc. Creating the right balance between these two pieces can be complicated, but is dependent on each individual for what is the correct balance.

Some individuals’ perfect balance is more life and less work, where many other individuals find balance in the exact opposite.  However, no matter what the perfect balance is between work and life for any given person, having this balance is important to everyone in relation to their ultimate success.

The work/life balance is important because when an individual’s life is organized and balanced they feel happier and more energized. They are able to accomplish more, in less time, while focusing on the significant things in their lives. These significant things include the goals that are important to them.  All of these benefits combine, allowing for focus, determination and health leading an individual to their ultimate success.

If you would like to reach your ultimate success but feel that your work/life balance isn’t exactly where you would like it to be, here are a few ways to shift that balance:

Learn to eliminate negative and stressful things from your life. By eliminating the thoughts and things you do not want in your life, you make room for and attract and attain the thoughts and things you do want in your life.

Delegate tasks to increase balance in both your work and life. Allowing members of your work and life team to help you complete tasks can reduce your stress and increase your positive thoughts and energy.

Do the things that make you happy. Spend some time figuring out what things in life bring you the most joy. Whether it is hiking, reading or exercising, identify these activities and do them more often.

Spend time determining your goals and aspirations, which can be very inspirational and informative. Once you have goals and aspirations you can put together a plan, that compliments your work/life balance to achieve them, ultimately helping your overall success.

Plan ahead to make work and life easier. Create lists and schedules that allow for your work to get done while enabling you to enjoy your life as well. The better planned your days are, the more you will be able to accomplish.

With the goal of achievement and accomplishment of ultimate success, the first step is an effective work/life balance. When our lives are balanced, we develop healthy habits in both work and life. We can get more done, reach more goals and find more success. This balance can help us create a healthy life and result in more happiness in both aspects of the balance.


How To Set Better Business Boundaries

VAinParadise Boundaries

“You teach people how to treat you.” 

This quote is applicable to so many of us throughout our lives, both personally and professionally. Sometimes boundaries aren’t so enjoyable to create or enforce; however they are necessary, especially in business. Some of the most important boundaries, when it comes to business, lie between our business and our clients.

To have a healthy and successful business relationship with your clients, boundaries must be developed and continually implemented.  These boundaries will help the variety of different clients that work with your business to be managed and interacted with properly. They will create routines and expectations that carry from client to client creating consistency.

Here are a few boundaries that your business can set to achieve all that was mentioned above.

Manage Business Communication
Good client/business communications can help build and maintain a great relationship, whereas, lack of communication can ruin a relationship and in turn, ruin your business.

Communicating clearly and concisely with your client saves time and money as it eliminates misunderstandings and mistakes. Creating a plan about when you and your client will communicate, whether it is daily or weekly, will keep things organized and the communication channels clear.

Set Consistent Business Hours
By setting business hours that are consistent, clients will be able to know when you will and will not be available. Letting your clients know about your concrete hours is a great way to start continual communication between them and your business.

Establishing clear work and response times, creates habits and expectations that are beneficial for the client and businesses. Make sure you don’t work outside of your availability, as clients will quickly expect your business to be available to them whenever they need it.

Coordinate Business Tasks
Staying organized is a very important boundary to have. Don’t let tasks get tangled together, lost or forgotten because of disorganization. An organized list of tasks allows for changes to easily be made and progress to be reported to the client.

Enforce Payment Deadlines
It is very easy to let time slip away when it comes to billing and payment from clients. Setting payment deadlines, that are made clear to clients, ensure that your business is getting paid the amount it should on the correct date. Also, make it clear to clients when businesses services will be cut off if they do not meet their deadlines.  This may seem like a harsh boundary, but it is necessary for both the success and respect of your business and to continue a good relationship with your client.

There are many more boundaries that can be added to a business, and boundaries can come in many different forms. Each boundary, however, should help keep your business successful and keep creating and maintaining relationships with your clients.

By giving your clients clearly outlined boundaries, you are teaching them how to treat you and your business. If you let a client cross the boundaries that you have created, they will think it is acceptable and continue to do so which can hurt your relationship and business.  Set your business boundaries and stick to them to ensure a better business that you and your clients can benefit from.


Implementing New Business Systems

VAinParadisesytemsEach New Year is a new beginning, and a new beginning is the chance to do things better than the year before. In the business world, you can do this in many different ways. One way is to create and implement new systems to increase efficiency and effectiveness of your business and decrease spending.

Putting a great system in place takes time and effort, but the rewards that come from this system can be significant. And with today’s technology, new systems are easier to set up, implement and use than ever before.

It is very common to have systems set up within a business to be used in key areas like finance, marketing, sales, customer service and project management. No matter what area of your business you are going to be setting up a new system for, there are guidelines for what a great system should be and include.

A great system includes all adequate information. When using a given system, the user should not be left with questions, but should also not have to sift through information to find what they need. For example, when using a task management system it is important that the tasks, details and deadline are all provided to the users. However, information that pertains to other companies or users should not be provided.

A great system is documented. Make sure every step of the system is being recorded for consistency and records. If you can’t go back and look at a document or piece of work through your system, a change has to be made so this is possible. An example of this can be seen in a customer service system. When a customer calls, the user of the system should be able to find a record of any other time that customer was serviced.

A great system has been tested. Setting up and implementing a system is not enough. Before users can really delve into a system it must be tested for bugs and errors. Finding the bugs and errors before users helps eliminate frustration and problems within the system. If information isn’t being saved properly or certain steps of the system don’t work, these problems need to be fixed before the system is open for use.

A great system is utilized by properly trained users. As great as a system is, it cannot be properly and efficiently utilized without properly trained users. Users that use a system blindly can make errors and miss important steps, which can decrease the effectiveness of the system. Training workshops are key to this step and key to a great system.

A great system increases the efficiency and productivity of any process. They can eliminate errors while mapping processes. If your business is running without any systems, it could greatly benefit from their organization and advantages.

Whether you create each system yourself, or contact A Virtual Assistant in Paradise to create and help implement these systems, they add additional benefits to your business, employees and customers.