Why I love having a virtual business

Why I love having a virtual business

Once upon a time, pre-children, I worked in the blue-collar corporate sector. I was a Personal Assistant to the Managing Director and the Chief Financial Officer, along with supporting the Executive Team and liaising with the Board of Directors.

I also wore the hat of Office Manager, attending to all things office-related from corporate events, office maintenance and renovations, and the day-to-day functions. I liked my job, but truthfully I never really loved my job. Like all jobs, there were functions you had to do that you didn’t like, and occasionally working with people you didn’t necessarily see eye to eye with or enjoyed being around.

Whilst on maternity leave, I was getting nearer to returning to work. For various reasons, I decided to explore the avenue of becoming a virtual assistant. My thoughts were ‘I can type, surely anyone would want that skill’, but there were many lessons to be learned along the way.

Things I learned along the way

  • Boundaries (mine and clients)
  • Networking (the good, bad and interesting!)
  • Working to meet my needs in business, family and clients
  • Saying ‘No’
  • Getting back on ‘the horse’ when you’ve fallen off
  • Learning to identify what I want for me, my business and what direction I want to head in
  • And the list goes on.

Like with any journey or adventure we take in life, there are some cringe-worthy moments, some high five (or fist pumps) and some enlightening moments.

I have had my virtual business for 5 years, and I can easily say I LOVE who I work with, what I do in and where I’m heading.

The things I love most about my business are

  • I’m fulfilling a dream
  • Being readily available for my children
  • Staying at home with my children and not missing those special moments
  • I get to be a role model for my children
  • Work the hours that meet my needs
  • I work with the most amazing clients
  • I earn my own income
  • I get to stay in my casual or pyjamas some days
  • I am not being questioned by a boss on what I’m doing, or not doing
  • I am recognised for my skills, services and expertise
  • I have created my own brand, which of course is 100% me
  • I get to choose who I’ll work with and what services I offer
  • I can work from any location with the assistance of a mobile, Wi-Fi and laptop
  • I get to create the vibe and feel for my business that resonates with me
  • I work harder now than I ever did in a corporate job and I love every single minute of it, even the crazy ones.

Running your own virtual business isn’t for everyone, and it does take commitment and openness to always learning. You need to learn and understand your customers and their needs, along with establishing your own boundaries. You need to create support around you that meets your needs, and you need to have the drive to see it succeed.

If you think you’ve got what it takes and want to establish a virtual business, and avoid the ‘time wasters’ I experienced, please feel free to visit my ecourse ‘How To Become a Virtual Assistant‘, or my 1:1 private VA mentoring, and together we can get you on the road to success.

Perhaps you are unsure of your direction, then let’s chat and get some clarity happening for you.

30 Blog Topic Ideas

30 Blog Topic Ideas

Writing a blog can feel daunting for business start-ups, or even those who are frequent bloggers and finding themselves block on topics to write about.  Here are 30 blog topic ideas to help you get your blogging on track.

For the start-up business, you feel you want to write blogs for your business but you don’t feel confident in doing so. Many people have the perception that blogs need to be lengthy masterpieces, but that is not necessarily the case. The purpose of blogs is to educate, inspire or communicate your audience about your expertise and to help drive traffic to your website.

To help you get started or back on track, I have put together ideas and suggestions you can use to help create content for your website without having to be an award-winning writer.

Before you start going crazy, determine what type of information your target wants to learn from you. What is that they are most likely going to seek from you, or what is the expertise they need from you.

 

How To Instructions

Give instruction on how to do something that is relevant for your business and audience. Include things like screenshots of what people can expect to see.

Latest Industry News or Information

Share with your audience important information that is relevant to them.

Topical Latest News

I was listening to a podcast by Darren Prowse from Probloggers, and he talked about how he wrote a blog predicting the winner of the American Idol show (or maybe it was Australia Idol, whichever!). Because the show was nearing its end and people were dying to find out who won, and of course, searching the net for answers, his blog traffic was huge.  So don’t be afraid to add completely un-business-related topics, you never know how they might pay off.

Lists

People love lists and quick and easy ones at that.  Here is a blog I wrote which is 50 call to actions phrases. Quick and easy.

Controversial Topics

Something bugging you, why not write about it.  But be warned, social media does bring out the worst in some people!

Checklists

Give your audience a checklist of what they need to ensure something runs smoothly. A little freebie download always helps too.

Cheat Sheets

We are always looking for a better way to do some of the things in our business, so got a hack on how they do it, share it!

Case Studies

Case studies are a great way to teach people things and give examples to enable them to learn and understand better.

External Resource Lists

Have your own list of going to’s for your business, why not give your audience one. 

Interviews

Interviews are a great way to build exposure for your business, those you interview will share your post with their audience too.

Reviews

Using a product or service you love, rave about it. Or perhaps you want to review two products against each other weighing up the pros and cons. Also, this is an effective way to review a product that you have an affiliation with.

Advice

Find out what your audience wants advice on, and write about it.

Monthly Summaries

Write a monthly summary on those who have been inspiring you, or teaching you new things.

Problem Solving

What are the most likely issues your audience has, problem-solve for them. Give them suggestions on what they can do to resolve the issue.

Video Blogs

Create a video if you don’t like writing/typing. Or create a stream of videos you find inspiration and share them with your audience.

Guest Blogs

Invite others to come and guest blog on your website.

Inspirational Stories

Everyone loves to be inspired, so share real life inspirational stories. Yours or others.

Quiz

Give them a quiz to complete relevant to your expertise.

Facts / Statistics

Share the latest important facts and statistics relevant to your audience and/or industry.

Contests

Prizes!!!!! Yes every sure does love to win something for nothing! 

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the most commonly asked questions you receive in yoru business?  Answer them. Feature one per week or month and make it a series.

Event Summaries

Attended any events? Talk about them, link to them and share photos from the event. (psst….links are good for SEO!)

Infographics

Sometimes pictures tell a thousand words, rather than type a 1000….draw it!  Pictures are great for giving people overviews or quick summation on topics. You can use free online tools like Canva to create infographics….they even have templates.  

Podcast Show Notes

Got a podcast, post it on your blog page with additional notes or references for readers. 

Round Ups

What’s been happening? Do a monthly round-up of what or who you’ve been dealing with, watching, talking to, learning from, following, stalking (just kidding) and admiring.

Behind the Scenes

People love to learn and gain an understanding on how things happen.  So why not share with them.

Quotes

Looking for quotes to share with your audience? I know I always go searching. So why not do one better, and create a list of your favourites so when others go searching for quotes, they land at your website.

Affiliate Product Review

Affiliate products are a great way to get extra money in your pocket. So why not write about the product or topic and embed the affiliate links so you can convert sales.

Blog Series on a specific topic

Got a big juicy topic, don’t just write about it. Break it down down down and make a series on the topic.  Keep them coming back for more.

Your own real-life story

Nothing connects better than real-life adventures or stories, so don’t be afraid to share them. Be a storyteller.

 

I hope this blog has given you lots of ideas. Psst…wish you to outsource them, then please check out my blogging service here.

Social Media Image Sizes for 2021

Social Media Image Sizes for 2021

As we know when it comes to Social Media, what is happening today, won’t necessarily be there tomorrow. Exhausting right!

The sizing of your images does impact how it’s looking on various platforms, for Hootsuite has taken the work out for us, and created an infographic with all the sizes.

Hootsuite also reminds us of the importance of ensuring we have the right sizing:

  • It avoids pixelation and awkward image stretching. And avoiding that keeps your images looking professional.
  • Your photos will be optimized for each social channel’s feed. This can help increase engagement.
  • It ensures your audience sees the full photo. Incorrect sizing could cut off some of your brand’s messaging.
  • It can future-proof your content. Being in-the-know with social media image sizes now could mean less work for your brand in the future, when network change up how images display again.

Your Quick Reference Guide 

Instagram

Instagram image sizes for feed photos:

  • Landscape: 1080 x 566 pixels
  • Portrait: 1080 x 1350 pixels
  • Square: 1080 x 1080 pixels
  • Supported aspect ratios: Anywhere between 1.91:1 and 4:5
  • Recommended image size: Width of 1080 pixels, height between 566 and 1350 pixels (depending on whether the image is landscape or portrait)

Instagram carousel image sizes:

  • Landscape: 1080 x 566 pixels
  • Portrait: 1080 x 1350 pixels
  • Square: 1080 x 1080 pixels
  • Aspect ratio: landscape (1.91:1), square (1:1), vertical (4:5)
  • Recommended image size: Width of 1080 pixels, height between 566 and 1350 pixels (depending on whether the image is landscape or portrait)

IGTV sizes:

  • 1080 x 1920 pixels
  • This is an aspect ratio of 9:16.
  • Cover photo: 420 x 654 pixels

Instagram ads image sizes:

  • Landscape: 1080 x 566 pixels
  • Square: 1080 x 1080 pixels
  • Minimum width: 320 pixels
  • Maximum width: 1080 pixels
  • Supported aspect ratios: Anywhere between 1.91:1 and 4:5

 

Twitter

Twitter image sizes for profile photos: 400 x 400 (recommended)

  • Minimum image size: 200 by 200 pixels
  • Maximum file size: 2MB

 

Twitter images sizes for in-stream photos: 1600 x 900 pixels (recommended)

  • Minimum size: 600 by 335 pixels
  • Recommended aspect ratio: any aspect between 2:1 and 1:1 on desktop, 16:9 on mobile
  • Supported formats: GIF, JPG and PNG
  • Maximum file size: Up to 5MB for photos and GIFs on mobile. Up to 15MB on the web.

Twitter image sizes for ads:

  • Single and multi-image tweets: Minimum 600 x 335 pixels, but use larger images for the best results.
  • Website card image: 800 x 418 pixels for 1.91:1 aspect ratio. 800 x 800 for 1:1 aspect ratio. Max file size of 20MB.
  • App card image: 800 x 800 pixels for 1:1 aspect ratio. 800 x 418 pixels for 1.91:1 aspect ratio. Max file size of 3MB.
  • Carousels: 800 x 800 pixels for 1:1 aspect ratio. 800 x 418 pixels for 1.91:1 aspect ratio. Max file size of 20MB for 2-6 image cards.
  • Direct Message card: 800 x 418 pixels for 1.91:1 aspect ratio. Max file size of 3MB.
  • Conversation card: 800 x 418 pixels for 1.91:1 aspect ratio. Max file size of 3MB.

 

Facebook

Facebook image sizes for cover photos: 851 x 315 pixels (recommended)

  • Display size desktop: 820 x 312 pixels
  • Display size smartphone: 640 x 360 pixels
  • Minimum size: 400 x 150 pixels
  • Ideal file size: Less than 100KB

Facebook image sizes for posts and timeline photos:

Facebook automatically resizes and formats your photos when they are uploaded for the timeline to be 500 pixels wide and to fit the 1.91:1 aspect ratio.

But avoid pixelation or slow load times by remembering these sizes:

  • Recommended size: 1200 x 630 pixels
  • Minimum size: 600 x 315 pixels

 

Facebook image sizes for event cover photos: 1200 x 628 pixels (recommended)

Facebook image sizes for Facebook Stories: 1080 x 1920 pixels (recommended)

Facebook image sizes for ads:

  • Sizes for Facebook Feed ads: At least 1080 x 1080 pixels. Minimum size 600 x 600 pixels. Ratio 1.91:1 to 1:1. Maximum file size of 30 MB.
  • Sizes for Facebook Right Column ads: At least 1080 x 1080 pixels. Minimum size 254 x 133 pixels. Ratio 1:1. (Remember: These are a desktop-only ad format.)
  • Facebook image sizes for Instant Articles: At least 1080 x 1080 pixels. Ratio 1.91:1 to 1:1. Maximum file size of 30 MB.
  • Image sizes for Facebook Marketplace ads: At least 1080 x 1080 pixels. Ratio 1:1. Maximum file size of 30 MB.
  • Image sizes for Facebook Search: At least 1080 x 1080 pixels. Minimum size 600 x 600 pixels. Ratio 1.91:1 to 1:1. Maximum file size of 30 MB.
  • Facebook image sizes for Sponsored Messages: At least 1080 x 1080 pixels. Ratio 1.91:1 to 1:1. Maximum file size of 30 MB.
  • Sizes for Messenger inbox ads: At least 1080 x 1080 pixels. Ratio 1:1. Minimum size 254 x 133 pixels. Maximum file size of 30 MB.
  • Sizes for Messenger Stories ads: At least 1080 x 1080 pixels. Ratio 9:16. Minimum width of 500 pixels.

 

LinkedIn 

LinkedIn image sizes for company pages:

  • Company logo size: 300 x 300 pixels
  • Page cover image size: 1128 x 191 pixels
  • Life tab main image size: 1128 x 376 pixels
  • Life tab custom modules image size: 502 x 282 pixels
  • Life tab company photos image sizes: 900 x 600 pixels
  • Square logo: At least 60 x 60 pixels

LinkedIn image sizes for blog post link images: 1200 x 627 pixels (recommended)

LinkedIn custom image size for sharing a link in an update: 1200 x 627 pixels (recommended)

LinkedIn Stories image sizes:

  • Aspect ratio: 9:16
  • Resolution: 1080 x 1920 pixels
  • File types: JPEG and PNG

LinkedIn image sizes for ads:

  • Company logo size for ads: 100 x 100 pixels
  • Spotlight ads logo size: 100 x 100 pixels
  • Spotlight ads custom background image: 300 x 250 pixels
  • Sponsored content images: 1200 x 627 pixels (1.91:1 aspect ratio)
  • Sponsored content carousel images: 1080 x 1080 pixels (1:1 aspect ratio)

Pinterest

Pinterest image size for profile cover photo: 800 x 450 pixels (at minimum)

Pinterest image sizes for Pins:

  • Aspect ratio: 2:3 (recommended)
  • Square pins: 1000 x 1000 pixels
  • Recommended size: 1000 x 1500 pixels
  • Max file size: 20MB

Pinterest image size for Story Pins:

  • Aspect ratio: 9:16
  • Recommended size: 1080 x 1920 pixels
  • Max file size: 20MB

 

YouTube

YouTube banner image size: 2048 x 1152 pixels (at minimum)

  • Aspect ratio: 16:9
  • Minimum area for text and logos without being cut off: 1235 x 338 pixels
  • Maximum file size: 6MB

 

TikTok

TikTok profile photo size: 20 x 20 pixels (minimum size to upload)

TikTok video size: 1080 x 1920

5 ways I use Evernote in my business

5 ways I use Evernote in my business

Evernote is known as the modern day workspace, and it is definitely a program I use daily within my business and highly recommend it my clients.

How Evernote has helped me in my business.

Accessibility and Control

I operate form a desktop, laptop, ipad and iphone. Evernote allows my notes to sync across all devices, so I always have all my data available to me at all times. It allows my clients and I to share specific projects with teams, and always have the information at our finger tips.

If you’re a business and have multiple team members working on a project. Under an Evernote Business account, you can control who is accessing what information, and if anyone was to leave the team, the information collated by that person remains with your business (not them). Which is always a great reassurance for businesses who could be at risk of losing their valuable research information and time.

 

Taking notes whenever and wherever

I attended an event recently and wanted to captures note and pictures from the event. I had left my writing pad and pen behind and then remembered I had Evernote on my phone. So, rather than having pieces of paper, and then photos on my camera. I was able to use Evernote on my iphone and capture everything, and house it all in the one location (no more searching for where I had put them). Time saver and definitely efficient.

 

Sharing Research

Working with clients and conducting research on their behalf, we are able to collaborate together compiling all our researching the one spot. This allows all those involved in the project to know what information has been collated to date and what is still outstanding. Reducing double on work and opening the communication doors.

With Evernote all the file note written can be created into a table of content for easy access. You can create project specific tags. And keep them all in the one folder.

Business Evernote also allows you to add and remove people from various projects.

 

Writing notes/drafting reports & blogs

Our ideas often come to us at the worst time, and prior to Evernote I was forever forgetting those brilliant ideas. (Drove me crazy!)  Now, I’m able to voice record my notes, type my notes, add articles/research, photos, whatever I find to my ideas folder in Evernote.

I can then go back to my ideas folder later and then convert my notes into a project folder and get things happening.

 

Presentations

Need to quickly show a client or colleagues an update on a project. Rather than spending hours creating a Powerpoint presentation, you can actually use Evernote to create the presentation super fast. This is a fantastic function, than save you time, doubling up on work or replication what you’ve already create, and you can present it from your computer, phone or iPad…wherever you have Evernote installed.

 

Evernote Consultant

My love for using Evernote, make me take it a step further and undertake training so I can help others utilise the benefits like I am. If you’re interested in learning more or signing up to Evernote. Please let me know.

No more waiting download you copy of Evernote today.

 

How to archive your mailchimp contacts

How to archive your mailchimp contacts

Here are simple instructions to archive contacts in your Mailchimp.

  1. Click on your Audience Icon
  2. Click on All Contacts, or on the right-hand side button ‘View All Contacts’
  3. In sub-menu, click on New Segment
  4. Click on Email Marketing Status is the status drop-down menu to show options
  5. Select Unsubscribed, Non-Subscribed and Cleaned
  6. In the next window view, in the first column click the arrow and select all
  7. A new menu will show up on top, click on the Actions drop down arrow
  8. Select Archive

Please note that you can always unarchive people later if needed.

If you need help managing your Mailchimp account, then please contact me today to chat about your needs. 

10 steps to ensure you correctly take risks in your business

10 steps to ensure you correctly take risks in your business

One of the biggest blocks business owners face is not willing to try something new or take a risk.  Some of the best risks do pay off. Taking a risk is about doing something in your business that truly resonates with you and that you are confidently willing to try to see how your audience feels.  It doesn’t mean doing things that you don’t wholeheartedly feel is right.

Tony Robbins says

“If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always gotten.”

 

For business owners, sometimes taking risks can just feel overwhelming and another added pressure they don’t want to deal with.  But risk isn’t a big ugly scary thing, risks can be small steps towards an end goal.  Taking risk is about trying something new to see how it’s accepted or not accepted by your target market.

Stepping outside your comfort zone and trying a new thing in business can actually be an exhilarating journey and one that has you asking why on earth you never tried it earlier.

In taking risks it’s about ensuring it’s done in a practical and safe guarded manner.

Being patient

For heaven sakes, taking a risk isn’t about taking your clothes off right this minute and running the streets naked. It’s about patiently waiting for the right time for YOU and when it feels right take the leap.

Be aware that any setbacks or blocks are not ones you’ve created because you’re scared of failure.  Remember it’s better to have tried than live with the regret you never tried.

Having risk assessment plans

What if? It’s a bit like planning for an event, whilst it might be a glorious sunny day, you still make sure you have a contingency plan for ‘in case it rains’.  Back up plans are smart and strategic.  They help eliminent any panic and reduce your stresses because you know you have it covered….just in case.

Gather your intel

Don’t just do something without at least doing your research on potential risks, what your audience possible reactions may be and how you can counter-measure them.  Gathering intel can be in the form of surveys with your target market, or market research to see what the latest trends are.

Identify your variables against your controls

As with many projects there are some risks that are 100% controllable and others that are variable and non-controllable.  Doing a risk assessment plan should enable you to clearly identify possible solutions for all.

Be ready and willing to step outside the norm

Take a deep breathe and be okay with doing something outside of the norm. We are always looking for the next best thing and you might just have it.  So no more thinking inside the box.  Go on, you CAN do it.

Financial backing or fallback

Perhaps your idea is needing financial support, think about how you can fund it if you personally can’t pay for it all yourself.  Perhaps a loan, if you believe in your project, and are will to back yourself with a loan then why not talk to your banks.  If they believe it’s a good risk, and they’ll do their own risk assessment, then provide the financial support.  However, be aware of what you’re up for if it goes south!  

Doing it alone versus bringing in a partner or investors

Sometime business owners can feel it’s just too overwhelming to do it alone, so consider others who might benefit in the project (how are not a competitor to you business) to join the venture.  Psst….don’t forget to make sure an agreement is signed and all is protected, so don’t share anything with anyone without having legal protection for you and your idea.

Safeguards

Of course, depending on your idea do you need to speak to your insurance provider for extra coverage for this project.  As it might not fall within the scope of your current insurance.  Insurance adds the extra security that you are covered for the worst possible scenario.  It adds great peace of mind.

Taking your time

Don’t rush things because everyone else says it needs to be there yesterday.  When you feel you have everything covered and are ready to go, then go for it.  You are the one it will fall back on, not those telling you what to do.

Assess

Every step of the way you should be assessing and re-assessing how the projects is progressing to ensure you are clearly identify any ‘changes’ that might have occurred or any unexpected obstacles.

 

AND, make sure you enjoy the ride.  This is your adventure and one risk you might come to love and encourage you to take further for the love of your people!

 

Risk assessments do not just apply to one area in business, it applies to ALL areas.  Consider adding this to your ‘To Do’ list as a priority and conduct a full risk assessment of your business.  You might learn some amazing things about you and your business that you hadn’t realised. 

 

You can find out lots of information on these websites.

www.riskmanagement.com.au/

www.standards.org.au/

www.safeworkaustralia.gov.au/

https://www.saiglobal.com