Conferences That Empower:

In the last couple months I’ve had the pleasure of attending two online business conferences. The first was for my outside-the-home job, as a school district business service coordinator. I belong to the Wisconsin Association of School Business Officials, or WASBO for short. The other was in relation to my virtual service business, the Online International Virtual Assistants Convention 2017, or OIVAC. Another organization I belong to is IVAA, the International Virtual Assistants Association. So I’d like to chat about why these conferences and associations are so valuable to me, and why any virtual service providers or subcontractors should consider joining.

It’s important to note that the purpose of an organization is not simply to charge a fee for a basic, static membership. You need to know, and understand, the benefits of joining, and how best to take advantage of it. You gain the most benefit by putting forth effort into the organization, rather than waiting to see what it’s going to give you. This is a good principle in business regardless: take the initiative to reap the greatest benefits.

So many of these associations offer fantastic resources, such as job boards, forums, worksheets, and templates for a variety of purposes, and give answers to both common and complicated questions. These are the places to go in order to become well-known in your industry. I’ve been able to attend conferences and do networking in person, but you can make connections that are just as valuable virtually, such as with OIVAC. With any organization be sure to check if they offer any local get-togethers or other opportunities to meet fellow business owners.

The WASBO conference was a 2-day event packed full of great information and ideas. We had an opportunity to go through a program called A Year of Success, which assisted those of us who were business managers in the school to be as productive as possible through the year. In the district, there are different times of the year where you’re responsible for specific reports. So we have conferences throughout the year, focused on the upcoming reports. This information helps us with things like how to streamline our processes. It was very beneficial, and by meeting the other participants, we became somewhat of a family. It was just an overall great networking opportunity.

The other conference, which was for online virtual service providers, provided attendees with recordings that we could reference again in the future. Not only did I attend, but I also had the honor of being a speaker! I discussed the future of subcontracting, and was able to share my personal experience with others who were very interested in the topic. When you talk about having an opportunity to empower yourself, that was the sort of moment you’re looking for. I had a great time doing that.

Even through this virtual conference, I made 2 solid contacts, if not more. And I’m confident that I’ll be able to connect with more of them as I listen to the rest of the recordings. If you think you can’t get anything out of a virtual conference, I hope this shows you that so many valuable things can come from it.

Joining an organization or association is a great way to step out of your comfort zone. You’ll never make it big unless you’re willing to take risks, and these are the perfect opportunities to get out there! I’m sure that if you put in the effort, you’ll find that you’ll get your money’s worth. So go check them out, get out there, and start connecting!

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Subcontract Team A Source For Remote Jobs

With more and more professionals searching for remote job opportunities, turning to a reliable source of information is quite a blessing. 

And this is precisely what VirtualVocations.com offers. Created a decade ago by Laura Spawn and her brother offers a curated database of telecommute jobs for job seekers, in addition to e-courses and various key resources.

Listen to this podcast to learn how Laura’s team does the groundwork so you can apply to jobs with confidence. You’ll also learn how Virtual Vocations morphed over the years, its story and what to expect when subscribing to this website.

Enjoy and remember do provide feedback!    

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What You Can Learn From Internships

Sharing The Virtual Experience

Members of the Air Force’s Kessel Run pre-employment team process canidate application packages during a hiring event at the Air Force’s Kessel Run facility, Boston Mass., Jan. 24. The KREL space house’s teams of Airmen tasked to create software specifically for use in AOCs.

The way I began my virtual subcontracting career was no officially an intern but much of the same concept. I had a mentor who I learned a ton from. Interns can be a win win for both parties. The virtual service provider giving the team member the opportunity to work under them is priceless. So I highly suggest providing an intern program or participating in one if at all possible.

Eden Spodak, who was a guest on Virtual Team 360 podcast 005, in this article one of her interns talks about what they learned during an intern experience at Spodek & Company. The company’s expertise is in digital marketing and communication. Eden was the service provider that gave someone the chance to experience her expertise. What a kind gesture.

Just like other things having an intern program takes work. You’ve got to research, plan, seek and be consistant at it It’s a way to give back in a sense. It can also be a way to figure out what parts of your business to start subcontracting. Will it make more sense to have someone else provide your clients’ social media, admin tasks, website services or online bookkeeping just to name a few services you may provide.

So how about you? Have you had interns on staff? Were the results positive? Or are you someone considering an internship in digital marketing and communications? I would love to hear more below!

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Who Hasn’t Been Banned From A Group Forum?

My podcast guest, MaAnna Stephenson, from episode 004 “Creating More Than Just A Website” shares an article about simple tips on using content, copywright language and why she was banned from a social media group. She even goes in depth about Pinterest.

However, like most of us we have at one time or another. So move forward and use it as a learning experience versus getting upset.

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3 Pillars of a Successful Business – Start on the Right Foot!

For most people a New Year and new beginnings means setting goals, resolutions, making lists with checkmarks that most times remain unchecked. So, instead of putting the pressure of achieving goals, I invite you to look at three aspects of your business, which tackled properly, will guide you toward making those goals a reality. 

There are three main aspects that I look at, or, as I like to call them, the three pillars to set the foundation of my business. Especially now, when the subcontracting business is at a turning point (and you can read more about this in my previous blog), I believe these strategies will give you the head start needed to make your business a success. 

The three pillars that we will look at are: creating your work space, setting the layout and vision for your business, and budgeting

Let’s start with the work space. Why is it so important? You may have heard the expression that context creates content. Imagine the context of your productivity being the work space. You are technically working from home 24/7 – hopefully not very long hours, but you are ‘on call’ in this business, aren’t you? Creating the space to fit your needs, from an organizational and emotional point of view, is key to productivity. Everything that surrounds you needs to support you in getting the creative juices flowing, staying focused and energized. So how can you accomplish this? First, note what sort of space appeals to you and helps you accomplish tasks quickly. Do you prefer a minimalistic decor, focused only on efficiency? Or, do you like being organized and having a warm, welcoming environment to maintain positive vibes at all times? Once you have found the answers, find an area in your house where to set up your work space. Look for ideas on Pinterest and Instagram, and remember that your work space is where your mindset changes. The moment you cross “the border” you must be in work mode, fully charged and committed to your business. 

The second pillar refers to envisioning and creating the layout of your business. You are, so to speak, in luck! Because this is what I have been doing lately for my own business and I have the knowledge to answer any questions, provide any tips to help you create your own layout. I started with a workflow of my vision for my business, which has helped me in putting together the plan. I recommend you follow the same steps. So far it has been working perfectly. To further help you, I have created a video with tips to setting up your work space and the project management layout in Asana, a project management tool that will become your best little helper, if it hasn’t happened yet. Click here to access the video and get ready to start your project, add team members, assign tasks, keep track of workflow and manage at ease.  

Last, but definitely not least, create a budget. From all aspects of your subcontracting business, budgeting may not be the most glamorous one, but for sure is necessary. Whether you set a budget at the beginning of the year, or per each project, knowing how to allocate your money, where to invest, where not to is crucial to generating profit each month. You will always have things to account for, either purchases or planning events, having to pay for certain products or services. A budget will help you stay on track and control your expenses, so you don’t finish the month with a negative balance! 

Now you have the tools to get started on your subcontracting business, and remember that I am your resource for questions if you get stuck. Furthermore, feel free to research and learn from other virtual entrepreneurs, like the amazing Laura Spawn, owner of Virtual Vocations – a tool for matching employers and job seekers with the best virtual job. Check out her website, her story, and don’t be afraid to learn from like-minded business people. 

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Subcontract Tech Tip – ASANA Create Workspace & Project

In the subcontracting niche having a project management tool to organize and collaborate with a team is a must have. This tutorial creates from a free version of ASANA the steps to create workspace and project to help you get your subcontracting team off on the right foot.

Podcast

Why Transcribing Services Are Better Than Inhouse

Podcast guest, Ajay Prasad , from podcast episode 14 discussing his transcribing team has a great article why transcribing isn’t always best to have in house.

In today’s digital age, most firms have adopted remote collaboration to cut costs. This trend is expected to continue in 2020. 

Remote workers can now communicate in a secure, reliable, and affordable manner thanks to communication technology advancements. The transcription industry is part of the industries where remote working is typical. Firms are often outsourcing their transcription work to reliable third-party professionals to save time and money.

Wondering whether to train an in-house transcription team or to outsource your transcription services in 2020? Here are four reasons why you should choose transcription services:

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Watch How Subcontracting Is At A Turning Point

So excited you’re on this journey with me in subcontracting. We’re turning the corner and this You Tube video allows me to give you the tour of where we’re turning the corner. It comes down to tips, networking, podcasts and dedication to help you turn your time into profits with the subcontracting concept. Take a look.

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Subcontracting is at a turning point – Be a part of it

In the past decade, small and bigger businesses have turned to subcontracting for a series of benefits. When deciding to subcontract, businesses save money. A subcontractor may seem more expensive than a regular employee, but in the long run it saves businesses money. 

My passion is helping businesses make the right decision when subcontracting. You can turn to me for support and advice either as a business owner who needs to subcontract work, or a subcontractor looking for the work. And one thing I truly understand is that doing business is all about the right people. Especially in a service-based business, virtual, or brick and mortar.  One cannot grow a business without its most valuable commodity: people. Whether employed full-time, per project or per a period of time, the right job will be done by the right people

This may sound incredibly simple and true, yet one thing that I have learned is that business owners who take their team seriously grow. Without showing dedication, trust, and a personal side, your business will go no where. Although I have been “away” from my audience so to speak for a little while, I have observed, helped, and learned a lot during this time. And I am very excited to be back sharing from my experience with you.

The subcontracting business is a living and breathing thing, like any other business. 

So, what has happened lately to bring more value to the idea of subcontracting? Below you will find my major conclusions after this hiatus. 

1. One shift that I have noticed, is that the perception of outsourcing has changed and improved considerably. Outsourcing has continued to acquire a positive aura, and businesses understand that outsourcing can be done locally, at a state-level or nationally, it does not have to mean going overseas. The advantage of outsourcing? 

Outsourcing is a cost that only occurs when you need help, rather than being a regular cost. In addition, it saves businesses from paying a number of fees, like employment insurance, social benefits and union fees.

2. Virtual assistance has become more and more popular. Depending on the industry, “virtual help” is sought and valued. But what does it mean to be a Virtual Assistant? Being a Virtual Assistant subcontractor means that an experienced Virtual Assistant hires you to complete projects that they have under contract.

3. Increased product quality and problem prevention. I feel these two go hand-in-hand. Furthermore, as the selection process is rigorous, choosing the right subcontractor will guarantee a quality product that will meet all expectations. Remember that contractors are specialized in their area; and this is where I come in place, as well, making sure you will be connected with the best subcontractor, or the right business, depending on your role.  

Another wonderful thing that I have experienced, is the endless opportunities! In the subcontracting world, when one door closes other doors open. Although I have witnessed the retirement of a long-time customer of 10 years, I counted my blessings, and looked for new clients. And my perseverance has paid off! Which brings me to the reality of transitioning from working outside the home full-time to coming home and working remotely, providing subcontracting services.

You too are probably in love with being a part of a team that creates success. What has worked for you?  How are you creating new client opportunities?  Before you share your thoughts, I can tell you what has worked for me: Networking.  One of the organizations that I belong to is the International Virtual Association of Virtual Assistants (IVAA).  Rather than reinventing the wheel, the members share their “a-ha” moments and tips.  Using Linkedin, I acquire new clients consistently and have the opportunity to work on exciting projects, all the time. 

If you are in need of advice or resources, feel free to reach out and I will make sure to get those resources ready for you. Also, for any questions or suggestions specific to subcontracting, email me at info@virtualteam360.com  

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A Proven Side Hustle

When it comes to side hustles, we all want to find something that will last. It’s absolutely possible, and it’s exactly what I’ve been doing. I’m reflecting on my journey as I approach my tenth year of being a part-time virtual service provider. Don’t get me wrong, things haven’t always been a breeze. Nothing starts out perfectly, and there will always be periods of trial-and-error while you figure things out. But if you keep persevering, as I have, things will start to work out, and even prosper. Lately I’ve been gaining more clients, but without adding on more work, and best of all, I’m enjoying what I do. This is precisely what I’ve aimed for, and it’s in reach for you, too!

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Many of you know that my virtual service niche is subcontracting. This grew as I saw the need for subcontracting: how it can help a business grow, increase profits, and bring greater satisfaction. So, that’s what I decided to focus on. Over the last ten years, I’ve been amazed by the various individuals I’ve met.

First of all, there’s my mentor Diane Hess, who offers a variety of virtual services and has taught me so much along the way. Her experiences have been instrumental to my own success. Additionally, I’m grateful that my first client is still with me after seven years. He’s an older gentleman who owns a virtual desktop company, and I’ve gained valuable knowledge by working with him. And finally, my most recent client has taught me about social media management, which I didn’t have the skills for in the past. All three have led me into places I’ve enjoyed learning from, and I plan to continue to improve myself.

Without people like that (whether it’s clients, networking groups, or the like) you won’t get anywhere in business. To gain the most value, you also want to teach others. Even just sharing the story of how you got started can lead to interesting and beneficial discussions. An interchange of encouragement and knowledge can lead to big steps in terms of growing your business. Most recently I was able to be on the OIVAC (Online International Virtual Assistants Convention) committee with Sharon Williams, of The 24-Hour Secretary. Now that was a huge step for my business! It led to networking with even more people, widening my circle of opportunities, and being able to learn from their expertise, as well as sharing my own.

For myself (and this may be the case with you too) this supplements my income, rather than being the bread-and-butter of my family. My full-time outside job enables my family to have health insurance, which is an important benefit for us. But this side hustle has given me so much freedom when it comes to spending time with my family. It’s part of why I’m able to visit Mackinac Island this summer, both for our 20th wedding anniversary, as well as for my 10th business anniversary.

Don’t be afraid to start out small, like I did, and slowly build your side hustle into something that will bring you significant gains in the end!

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