Tag Archives: Guest Blog Posts

Does This Header Make My Brand Look Big? 5 Ways to Assess Your Online Image

Shalon IronRoadIn the spotlight today is Virtual Assistant Shalon Ironroad, Human Swiss Army Knife.

“You never get a second chance to make a first impression.”
- Author Unknown

This weekend, I was invited to a presentation about a “Work from Home Opportunity” for stay-at-home moms (sound familiar?). I am hugely skeptical about any kind of “opportunity”, so I got the URL prior to the presentation so I could do my homework. My findings were my inspiration for this post.

I was told that the goal of the company was to help young moms make money from home. With that information, I expected to see a website that was professional, fun, and appealing to Gen X mommies. Not so much. The website was a standard sales page (white background, blue text, cheesy graphics), with broken links and typos. I was turned off immediately. While this is an extreme example, it got me thinking about the message we project through our websites. In the offline world, it has been proven that the bulk of our communication is non-verbal. How does that translate to the online world, where most of what we see is written text? The overall feeling you get within the first 3 seconds on a website is that non-verbal aspect, and it can either help businesses or hurt them.

Is your Online Image helping you or hurting you? Here are 5 areas to check:

1) Website Layout
Is your website too cluttered? Is it too simple? Go to your website on your computer, then take 5 steps back. From a distance, where does your eye go? Is there a focal point, or does your eye wander? Now figuratively step back and look at your business. If your message and your personality is simple and clean, make sure your site reflects that.

2) Color
Take a look at your color scheme. Now think about your personality. Now your color scheme. Now personality. (sorry…just thinking about the Old Spice guy) If your personality is more subdued and mellow, don’t use hot pink or neon yellow on your website. People will be confused! Instead, go with softer tones like pastels. Same goes for you more outgoing and bubbly ones. Using black and all neutral/muted tones does not automatically make you look professional. Be yourself, and your clients will love you for it.

3) Graphics
There is a common myth that all graphics have to be flashy and complex (and expensive). Wrong. Think about your personality and what you want people to know about you, then work those pieces into your graphics, especially your logo and header. Symbolism is fun…get creative!

4) Voice
When a client calls you for the first time, wouldn’t it be great if he/she felt like it was a continuation of a previous conversation? This is do-able if you use your own voice on your website (and in social media). If you’re not used to writing this way, record yourself speaking, then transcribe the recording word for word. I guarantee your clients will feel more comfortable during that initial phone call!

5) Energy/Movement
The web is full of some really cool (and free!) ways to add energy and movement to your website. You want the energy level to reflect the same energy level you naturally have. This helps people get to know you before they even meet you. YouTube videos are always fantastic, or try checking out Widgetbox.

For more tips, tricks, tools, or just to get to know me better, visit my blog or my business website.

Wishing you the very best in your Work at Home Life!

Shalon Ironroad
Human Swiss Army Knife

Time… Our Most Valuable Asset

Maureen FlorisIn the spotlight today is Maureen Floris, Virtual Assistant at Kairos Business Solutions.

Time is the most valuable asset we have. We cannot make it go faster, make it slow down or go back and do it over again.

How do we spend this valuable asset? Do we really understand it? If you’ve watched the movie ‘The Bucket List’ you’ll have an idea of what I’m talking about. It seems like people who are dealing with an illness are the ones who really ‘get it’. They know how precious our time is here on earth so they make each moment last, taking slow breaths to make it last longer.

We may catch glimpses of what it would be like to enjoy each moment when we are on vacation (unless you’re like my sister and her husband who hike for hours, but even they stop at the top of the mountain to catch their breath – literally!) or visiting another country that understands life is not just about getting things done. I experienced this while in Mexico. For them, life is about relationships – family and friends. Everything else is secondary. While this may seem to our North American culture as lazy, I found it refreshing. They had less things but they were less stressed and much happier. So how can we, living here in a culture that demands our constant attention, immediate replies to emails, twitter and phone calls, remember to slow down, breathe and enjoy the moment?

Start Quote MeWhile living in a culture that demands our constant attention, immediate replies to emails, twitter and phone calls; how can we remember to slow down, breathe and enjoy the moment?Quote Me End

I’m not the first person to ask this, nor will I be the last, but hopefully this will evoke some thought in you to take action – or perhaps inaction, as it were. Also, I won’t pretend I came up with the following suggestion, but I thought it was brilliant and wanted to share it with you.

  • Delete it: Is there something you’re doing over and over again that really is a time waster and not moving you forward in your business (or your life)?
  • Delegate: You may be at that point where you really can’t do all the work. It’s time to think about hiring someone. Hiring a Virtual Assistant is a great option, as she provides expertise in many administrative duties and really does care about your success.
  • Date it: If it needs to get done, schedule it! Give yourself lots of lead time, especially if it’s for a client. In case you are sick or an emergency arises, you don’t want to leave yourself short of time.
  • Do it: What needs to be done now? Stop procrastinating and just do it! Begin your day with your least favorite task. This will allow the rest of the day to be free to do what you love to do. It’s amazing how much better you’ll feel and how much harder you’ll work!

Once you get in the habit of doing this, you will create for yourself time to do what you really want to do. And maybe for you that just means breathing…

Wishing you the best,

twitter: @KairosBusiness

Say What? Tips for Public Speaking

Darlene GonzalezIn the spotlight today is Darlene Victoria Gonzalez, host and producer of “A Virtual Perception” podcast.

I love what I do. I am a public speaker, a podcast host to be exact. A podcast is much like a radio show, but it is accessed online.   As a podcast host I share my insights on a variety of topics and I also talk to people almost every single day; most of whom are strangers to me, and people I have never had a conversation with prior to them being on my podcast.

So, how surprised would you be if I told you that I was once a shy individual? I am not simply talking shy, I am talking super shy. I was once someone who cringed at the thought of getting up in front of a roomful of strangers and talking. A childhood friend’s father nicknamed me “Mousey” because I was always so quiet. And, in 1991 I was voted “Most Shyest” in my Middle School yearbook.

So, how did I go from being “Most Shyest” to someone who loves talking to complete strangers and the host of several successful podcasts? The secrets are simple really.

  1. I stopped worrying about what people thought about me; this enabled me take a real interest in what people were saying to me instead.
  2. Start Quote MeHow does one go from being voted “Most Shyest” to someone who loves public speaking?Quote Me End
  3. I have also learned to relax.
  4. Still to this day I get a bit anxious when it comes time to do a podcast interview. So, before I start an interview, I take a few moments to do some deep breathing exercises.

  5. I clear my mind and simply relax.
  6. This way, when I start the interview I am in a calm, relaxed state and can totally focus on what my guest is saying.

  7. The last thing that has helped me with my shyness and becoming a better public speaker is to simply be prepared.
  8. A lot of the times I will write out what I would like to say or ask prior to an interview. Most of the time I deviate from my original plan,  but having that piece of paper to fall back on helps me if I start to feel anxious or shy.

So, the next time you find yourself faced with a public speaking engagement of any sort (even if it is creating your very own podcast or video production), remember these three things: flip the situation so it is more about your audience and less about you, relax and be prepared. You’ll do great!

 More information about Darlene Victoria Gonzalez:

Darlene Victoria Gonzalez is the host and producer of A Virtual Perception podcast, a podcast for Virtual Assistants. She is also a multimedia specialist helping small business owners with their audio and video production needs. Visit her website and blog at: http://www.yourtrueharmony.com for more information and multimedia tips.

Looking for Virtual Assistants to Spotlight

We have posted so many tools, trials, and successes of our virtual businesses this year. Now we want to share the stage with you!

How Being a Guest Blogger Helps You:

This is a free blog resource and it is not a paid opportunity, it is simply an opportunity to share your knowledge with other virtual business owners and get some exposure for yourself. We currently have built up more than two hundred weekly visitors to our blog posts and that number is growing every week. You are welcome to include a banner of no bigger than 468 x 60 or 200 x 200 at the bottom of your post. However, this is not a request for sales posts, it is a request to share experience. You are also welcome to link back to your business site or blog (a maximum of two linkbacks per contributed post will apply).

What We are Looking for in a Guest Blog Post:

Eventually we hope to be inviting two or more bloggers to post weekly or monthly as we do. We need one person for Tuesdays and one person for Thursdays, but for now we are leaving these days open for guest writers. We are inviting all virtual business owners, virtual assistants, and other solo entrepreneurs to take the spotlight and write a guest post on this blog. We are looking for many types of businesses like:

  • financial investment advisers
  • YouTube channel operators
  • podcasters
  • copyright editors
  • legal advisers

or even just a new viewpoint of the virtual assistant businesses that we already write about every week.

These posts are to be real life, original posts about you or your work at home life. If you want to rant or rave about a particular application or virtual business resource, you must write about your experience with the product or service in first person. Unless someone is officially charged with doing something illegal, we will probably not accept negative posts about a specific person or small business. Even though we all love a juicy bit of gossip now and then, we are not in the business of starting rumors. ;)

Quality Assurance:

Before writing the post about any specific topic, you are welcome to contact us and make sure that it is appropriate for our blog. We are welcoming all kinds of input. However, in the interest of protecting our reputation, we will have to approve any content before it is posted.

All posts must be proofread using professional etiquette and grammatically correct. All material must be non-offensive and viewable to the general public. If you do not have a proofreader, Jen has been gracious enough to offer professional proofreading for five dollars per post (with a maximum of two hundred and fifty words). This unheard of deal is only available for contributors to the “It’s a Work at Home Life” blog, for this special or other editing services, contact Jen.

Contact us to contribute to “It’s a Work at Home Life” blog