Stand Up And FIGHT For Your Future And Your Family’s Future

To be destined for success, you have to believe in YOURSELF!!  If you WANT something that you’ve NEVER had, then  you must do something that you’ve NEVER done! I’m so over listening to excuses, I could shriek! [embedyt][/embedyt]    

Virtual Assistants-Taking Your Online Marketing to the Next Level

In this era of the Digital Age, more and more people are turning to the Internet to increase their marketing exposure. The problem? Every day the ways to use online marketing seem to grow exponentially. In one blog post at, they offer a guide to the top 99 Online Marketing Tools. You read that right, 99! And, they are only listing the TOP 99. From Clothing Boutiques to Real Estate Agents, Social Media Marketing has become a necessity to keep up in today’s marketplace. So, as an entrepreneur or small business owner, how do you find the time to run your business, increase your productivity, have a personal life, and keep up with the ever-evolving online marketing field? The short answer? You don’t. You hire someone to do it for you. Enter the Virtual Assistant (VA). Who are Virtual Assistants? Virtual assistants are home-based, skilled professionals, offering businesses, and entrepreneurs support remotely instead of within the traditional office setting. Communication is usually done via email, phone, or even face to face services like Skype. This alleviates the need to provide additional work space at your office or other business location. Don’t Virtual Assistants Just Provide Basic Admin Support? Back when remote assistants first came on the scene, the majority of their services focused on administrative tasks that were similar to those of an executive assistant or secretary. They were just done from home. However, with the growing number of VAs available, their offerings now run the gamut, and thanks to the incredible increase in popularity of Social Media Marketing and other Online Marketing, specialists in that area have become easier to find, and are extremely beneficial to have working with you. In fact, just a few years ago, the University of Florida created the first Bachelor and Masters degree programs to provide accredited education in Social Media Marketing and other schools followed quickly after that. A Few Things to Consider When Hiring a Virtual Assistant When you choose to hire a virtual assistant the first thing you’ll want to determine is whether you want them to be an employee or a self-employed contractor. There are pros and cons with each arrangement. When you hire an employee, even a remote one, you’ll need to provide any benefits your other employees receive, based on their employee status, ie: Full-time, Part-time, or hourly, as well as add them to the regular payroll. A real estate agent in the northern California area reported he has a full-time person who’s only job entails maintaining all Social Media postings for active If you choose to work with independent contractors or a freelancer you will have none of those responsibilities. But, you will have little control over what hours they work or be able to demand when they can be available. To be designated as an independent contractor, an individual must be free to determine how the work will be done to completion, free from the client/company’s control. The contractor is responsible for the final product only as far as the terms of their contract requires. Where Can I find a Virtual Assistant? Just as the internet provides the opportunity for the concept of a VA to work, it also provides locations, and even platforms to easily find, hire and pay your VA. Here’s a short list of websites that provide freelancers and businesses a way to find each 24/7 Virtual Assistant Assistant Match eaHelp Fancy Hands Freelancer FlexJobs People Per Hour Red Butler Time Etc. Me Upwork Virtual Assistant USA Virtual Staff Finder Worldwide 101 Ziptask Zirtual Hiring a virtual assistant will leave you with more time and energy on your hands to focus on the other aspects of your business. For more information on finding the best Virtual Assistant for your needs, check out Virtual Assistant Assistant for reviews of the best virtual assistant companies.

How to Market Your Service Based Business

What is a Sales Promotion? When selling a product, marketing usually comes fairly easy. Your marketing campaign revolves around the product for sale and how it can be used. When you own a service-based business, the marketing may require a different approach. Instead of marketing product features, you have to market yourself and your team.  The good news is, people are always looking for reliable services, no matter the type.  You just need to make sure they find you and not your competitors.   Here are some techniques that will help you accomplish this. Connect with Your Own Community Established local businesses have their own clientele.  And, they may only be able to handle a certain number of clients.  So, if you treat these businesses respectfully, they may refer clients to you when they are at their capacity.  A good way to connect with your community is to be involved with the local Rotary Club or Chamber of Commerce. These associations will connect you with other businesses that welcome assistance from a peer. Use Social Media and Networking By now you’ve probably created your business website.  Now, you need to consider establishing your presence on Social Media.  Starting with each of the following will give you a strong foothold:  
  • Facebook Business Page
  • Twitter Account
  • LinkedIn profile
There are a number of other social networks out there you may also find suitable. Once your pages are all set up, stay on top of them.  This can be achieved by responding to customer inquiries, posting valuable information, and providing relevant updates. As you cultivate this audience, you will build a following that will continue to reach more and more people over time. Offer Incentives Customers like to take advantage of a good deal.  Special promotions are a great way to let them. While a promotion might cut into your profits initially if it brings in new customers the payoff could be worth it.  You need to make sure you find a balance between your pricing needs and your customer’s idea of a good deal.  You can even utilize your Social Media presence to promote your incentives without extra cost to you. Empower Your Clients Often with services, the service providers have so much control over how the service is provided, this can sometimes cause a feeling of detachment for the clients.  To prevent this separation, try to make your clients feel involved in the process by underlining their significance in the process and reducing the visible influence of your own position. Stock Up on Business Cards Even within the Digital Age, business cards are still a valuable tool, especially if you are an individual or small business.  You can network with other local businesses, asking if you can leave a stack of cards in their lobbies.  You can also pass them out to other business owners at networking events, social engagements, and class reunions.  They can also be passed from customer to customer the way word-of-mouth advertising is accomplished.  These days you can even get your first set the same day by taking advantage of in-store printers, like the ones found at Staples and Office Depot. In the long run, the success of your business will depend on the quality of your services.  Here we’ve provided a few easy ways to get your marketing and your service-based business off the ground and increase your ability to communicate what you have to offer to a potential client. For more ideas on how to market your service business check out this post at the blog: 5 Ways to Market Your Service Business Like a Stellar Product You may find that not all marketing techniques will work with every target market, but, with patience you will find what methods will work for you and help you develop an effective strategy.

Increase Your Traffic with Improved Image Names

We all know the old cliché, “A Picture Speaks a Thousand Words.”  From the oldest cave paintings and Egyptian hieroglyphs to today’s social media shares, we are consistently finding new ways to use images to communicate, tell stories, and make sales. When it comes to e-commerce, companies like Amazon owe a large part of their success to imagery.  To hold the customer’s attention, most product descriptions need to be short and to the point.  This means you want the photos to speak volumes. Imagine if you will, you’ve gone through the effort to create the right product, buy the ideal domain name, paid for marketing ads, and launched the perfect website.  So, why isn’t traffic to your site what you want it to be? You need to make sure your buyers can find you, or more importantly, your product.  One way to do this is through Image Optimization or, Image SEO. Choose a Descriptive Filename By now in your journey through online marketing you’ve probably heard the word “Keyword” from a vast number of sources.  According to most experts in the SEO field, keywords appear to be the end all be all of SEO.  Primary Keywords, secondary Keywords…Google “Keyword” and the list of sources of info will probably go on forever. With Image SEO the first location to use your primary keyword will be the image filename. This means if your image is a women’s top in a specific abstract design, the file name shouldn’t be DSC12345.jpg. Instead, you want to rename it: “ann-monique-womens-top-abstract-v.” This gives the search engine spiders something to grab onto and take back to their part of the web. Start a file name with a lowercase letter or a number and remove all spaces.  For multiple words, join them with a dash. Make the Image File as Small as Reasonably Possible Loading times can be crucial for websites to maintain traffic. The faster the site, the easier to visit it. Images can have a huge impact on this.  Standard resolution for a screen image is 72ppi and most web pages won’t need an image to be more than 1000-1200 pixels wide. To put that into perspective, a typical smart phone camera today will give you an image at 72 ppi but the file will often be over 3000 pixels wide (or more). When you are using a website builder online, you may have the advantage of the builder site doing some downsizing work for you.  If you aren’t sure yours will, or if you expect to have a lot of images to process, getting a program like Adobe Photoshop would be a good investment. There are also a few online image editors that work quite well and often don’t cost a thing or have a minimal membership fee with added benefits.  Two of my favourites are PicMonkey and Pixl. Alt Text-aka-Alt Tags When you get to the point you are ready to upload your image, you will often be given an option to add “alt text” or “alt tags.” This is another good place to use keyword placement. In one of Google’s articles about image publishing guidelines, they include a section on creating great alt text. Google places a high value on alt texts.  In the article, they give the following reasons to consider: Alt Text provides Google with useful information about the subject matter of the image. They use this information to help determine the best image to return for a user’s search. Many people, like users with visual impairments, may not be able to see images on web pages. Descriptive alt text provides these users with important information. To JPEG or PNG? In most e-commerce catalogue pages, the product is shown in a specific place on the page that doesn’t overlap any other image or text.  JPEG images are most commonly used for this.  I’m adding this quick highlight in case a need arises for you to remove the background of a photo. JPEG images include a visible background showing behind any curves or irregular lines. If you’ve taken the trouble to remove the background of the photo of a product but, save it as a JPEG (JPG), you will still be stuck with a background colour when you re-open it. PNGs allow you to make the background transparent so the image can be used on top of any colour, texture or other text.  This can be helpful if you decide to show multiple products in one virtual shot but don’t have the means to retake the photo. So Now You are Ready As history shows us, images will continue to be a primary tool of our culture and the world around us. Now you have the right knowledge to take your products to the next step.  Taking the time to Incorporate these into your regular marketing routine will assist your product’s ability to be seen in your customer’s searches and get you the traffic you desire. So, get your images together and make them work even harder for you.

Finding Your Passion During Major Catastrophes

[embedyt][/embedyt] I become so frustrated listening to people after a major catastrophe telling some that people are more important than the pets who were abandoned during a hurricane or a flood. All lives are precious folks. No matter if you have 2 legs or four. Not everyone has the same feelings about this. I want to help people and pets. I have a passion for all living creatures. Does that make me feel like a jerk? Not a chance. Just makes me wonder what type of person would criticize anyone for helping in any way possible. We all have our own strengths that have guided us through our journeys, but that doesn't make one person better than another. We find our passions along the way. No one should be criticized for how they are helping another living being. It is better to help than to do nothing at all.  My passion has always been pets as far back as I can remember. As I grew older, I developed a love for helping people. That is why I went thru clinical health programs. Did I make a huge difference in those lives that were in my path on my journey? Maybe. But even working in this field never replaced the love that I have for animals.  Most of us who use social media or watch the news, have watched stories of how Floridians came together to help stranded manatees that had washed up in the mud when the surf water disappeared during the low tides caused by Hurricane Irma Or how folks in Texas were cruising around in canoes scooping up abandoned pets and people who could not get out of Hurricane Harvey's path in time. How about the people who came in from out of state to help ranchers move their horses and cattle to higher ground?  When I had mentioned that I had donated money to an animal rescue and local shelters in Texas and in Florida in lieu of the Red Cross, I was criticized. I mean why would someone criticize for that? Why would anyone care who I donated to? I mean I was asked how I had helped. So I answered and was criticized. I guess I can give blood when they take me off of their hot list for living overseas for over half my life.  The Red Cross is an okay organization, but researching them over the last few years they are just not one that I want to donate to anymore. Especially when you read that they are tax exempt, yet pay salaries that are just gets a bit muddy from there. It seems to me that the Red Cross was being critical of the people who were trying to help their neighbors BEFORE their organization arrived in the flood zones of Texas and Louisiana by bringing meals and supplies to those who had lost their homes or who had no power. They swooped in after the storm and told folks WHO WERE HELPING THEIR NEIGHBORS, to go home and had the "we'll take over from here" attitude.  Well!! WHERE WERE THEY WHEN THESE FOLKS NEEDED FRESH WATER AND FOOD DURING THE STORM? Of course this is not a first hand account. I was not there. But I do know folks who were in those areas who witnessed this for themselves, and they have nothing to gain by exaggerating what they saw.  I also noticed that living in a country that has been so divided by politics, bigotry, and race wars, that people came together to help each other and animals. If there is ever a time when Americans unite, it is during a time of crisis. We have all seen it time and time again after 9/11 and the various catastrophes in recent memory. This is the part that I love when I think of the U.S. We really pull out all the stops when our neighbors are in need. And if we see an abandoned pet in the midst of it all, well, we will help them too.  Being passionate about anything, is not something you learn in a textbook. Being passionate comes from the deepest parts of our hearts and souls. Seeing the photos of people stranded and pets abandoned is heart wrenching and can make even the most solid people wince. It's what we do about it when we see those images that make us all decent human beings.