When I work with clients as a Virtual Assistant, my clients get me. I’ve never worried that  my clients think I operate a rinky dink operation because it’s just me taking care of their administrative business needs.

As a consumer, I find it misleading and annoying when any business markets as “we”  only to learn that the business is a one person operation. I truly don’t think that people who market this way are trying to mislead – I actually think they equate bigger with better. Bigger isn’t always better – quality is what matters – big or small.

This isn’t a post to advocate working alone. I actually think that all business owners need to delegate parts of operating their business to an assistant. I have an assistant to help me market and grow my businesses, but my assistant has nothing to do with my VA client relationships and it would be less than truthful for me to suggest otherwise.

Business owners, put your most authentic business foot forward when you market – it will serve you well in the long run.

This blog is quickly becoming a place for all books about virtual assistance, and that thrills me to no end! Today we have another Virtual Book Tour stop here at the blog and in full disclosure, the book belongs to ME! 

I have recently launched my book Exploring A Career As A Virtual Assistant and I’m currently on virtual tour to promote it! The book was a natural next step from the class I teach at the University of Wisconsin through the Minicourse departmentcalled Exploring A Career As A Virtual Assistant (new class dates coming up in September and October!). The class has had great response based on the ever growing interest in the Virtual Assistance industry and the current job market conditions that have people exploring their career options more vigorously than ever before. I wrote the book so that people beyond driving distance to the University can learn much of the same information that I share in class from the comfort and convenience of their own home. After all, this is a book about working virtually, so sharing the information off site is a natural fit! You can read a free sample from the book by clicking here.

As part of this tour stop, I am available today to answer your burning questions about the Virtual Assistance industry! Post your question by leaving a Comment below. I will respond in the Comments section so be sure to check back!

To celebrate the book’s launch, I have a few goodies to offer my readers. The first is a 20% discount off the purchase of the book. Simply use the promo code THANKYOU during check out.

The second is that one lucky ready will receive a free copy of the eBook version of the book! To be eligible to win, you simply need to post a question about Virtual Assistance in the comments section of this post. The winner will be chosen at random and announced here in a couple of days.

The book is currently available for immediate download via an eBook (pdf) format and in hard copy. To purchase the book, click here.

Jessica: Thanks for stopping by today, Vanessa.

Vanessa: Thanks for the invitation, Jessica. I know you’re very busy with your work, newsletter, classes and teleclasses. I appreciate you taking the time to talk with me.

J: It’s my pleasure. Tell me, how did your e-books come about?

V: When I was thinking of becoming a Virtual Assistant, I researched everything – what kind of business structure was best for me, how to set up my home office, how to determine my rates, the best ways to market my business, getting over my fear of networking, and how to blog. It was quite a lot of work to gather all of that information! That’s why I’ve created The Adventures of Vanessa Andruz, Virtual Assistant series. It’s a way to make the transition to Virtual Assistant easier and faster for others.

J: Are you writing the e-books yourself?

V: Actually, they’re the result of a collaborative effort between me and my writing partner, Melodee Patterson of Short-term Solutions. So far, we’ve released the first three e-books and we’re working hard on the rest. If a prospective VA follows me through the entire series, they’ll have a completed business plan for their own business.

J: Can you describe your e-books?

V: Of course! The first one, Vanessa Has a Dream, is free to download. It describes how I left my job and decided to become a Virtual Assistant. It’s an unbelievable story, but I swear my adventures are as real as I am. In the second e-book, Vanessa Becomes a Virtual Assistant, I discovered my company name – with a little help from the Universe, created a business plan template, and decided on a business structure. And the business plan template is downloadable. The third e-book, Vanessa Sets Up Her Home Office, is full of practical advice on choosing the right office equipment and supplies for your own VA business. There are research notes about computers, fax machines, scanners, ways to access the internet, and lots of other good stuff. I even describe my visit to my hometown’s office supply store. What a fun place to shop!

J: Most people think of VAs as young mothers who want to stay home with their small children. Why did you want to become a VA?

V: You’re right – a lot of VAs are young mothers, but Baby Boomers like myself are perfect for this industry. We have the experience, dedication and great work ethic needed to become successful business owners. Boomers rock!

J: I have to agree with that. Where can my readers download your e-books?

V: They can go to the E-books page of my current website here.

J: How can they contact you if they have any questions?

V: They can email me, and I’m also on Facebook.

J: Your books contain more than just information on starting a Virtual Assistance business, right?

V: Oh, Lordy – yes. You’ll also meet my mother and father, who live in Sedona, Arizona; my friend Marci; and my ex-husband and his new beach bunny, Juanita. They’re quite a cast of characters!

J: Speaking of a cast of characters…you’re actually a character yourself, aren’t you?

V: (giggles) Yes, I’m a “character” in more ways than one. First, my personality is unique and a little strange at times. Then there’s the fact that I’m not a real person, but a figment of Melodee’s imagination.

J: Well, we all have our own quirks so I don’t think anyone can fault you for that.

V: That’s so sweet – thank you!

J: I enjoyed talking with you today, Vanessa. Good luck on your interesting and informative e-books.

V: Thanks, Jessica. I appreciate the kind words.

On July 3rd I’ll be hosting Vanessa Andruz as she travels through cyberspace on her Virtual E-book Tour. Vanessa is a fictional character created by Writer and Virtual Assistant Melodee Patterson. Post your questions about Virtual Assistance in the Comments section of this post, and Vanessa will answer the questions when she makes her tour stop this week!

Vanessa Andruz is a Virtual Assistant and owner of Andruz Business Solutions LLC. She was an Executive Assistant for many years, but after turning 50, she became tired of corporate politics and decided it was time for a change. After researching different career moves, she became a Virtual Assistant. She had some challenges while setting up her business – her mother insisted on “helping” and her ex-husband gave her grief about quitting her job – but she persevered and now has a successful Virtual Assistance business.

With the help of Melodee Patterson of Short-term Solutions, she has created a series of e-books (The Adventures of Vanessa Andruz, Virtual Assistant) which chronicle her VA journey – ex-husband and all. The series provides timely information on discovering your company name, setting up your home office, determining your services and rates, becoming a marketing maven, and much, much more.  If you’re thinking of joining the fast-growing Virtual Assistance industry or any home-based business, you won’t want to miss my interview with Vanessa.

Today is my big day. Love it. Had I known I would get so much bday love on Facebook, I would have signed up years ago ;)!

I was interviewed for the newspaper a few months ago and when the writer asked my age to include in the story, I had to do the math real quick to answer her. I told her that I have no idea how old I am at any given time, and I don’t care. I don’t say this with fear of growing older, I say this because it really doesn’t matter to me what my age is on a given day.

I know that my life has only improved with each passing year. I am in a place of such peace and joy right now, and it has a lot to do with a lot of things, one of which is getting older.

I have experience under my belt. I have a much larger database for cause and effect than I did 10 years ago. I spend my time only doing what I love these days, and when that is how you spend your time, there is nothing that can really bring you down.

I’m not perfect. I get annoyed and sense a crappy day on the horizon sometimes. Growing older means I have less loved ones in my life than I did 1, 10, and 20+ years ago.  But those challenges have given me perspective so that I can always say: there is something good in this passing moment, and that’s what I spend my time giving attention to.

Today’s my bday and I’m having a blast. I can’t wait for my next one. But I also can’t wait for the 364 days until the big day comes rolling back around.

Cheers!

You Just Never Know

April 19, 2009

My office has windows on three sides – it really rocks. Outside my window is a deck. And on that deck I made this 6-7′ tall ornamental tree out of dried sticks from my yard that look like bamboo. It looks awesome and fits right into the look I was going for this season.

So yesterday I’m sitting in my office, admiring all of my “stuff” when what do you know, the cutest little bird landed in my deck tree. First of all he looked gorgeous sitting there, but more importantly, I had unknowingly provided him a new little squirrel free perch – hard to come by in this area.

You just never know when something you for yourself will impact another in a positive way.

Happy New Year!

January 1, 2009

I watched all of the countdown to the New Year shows last night.

Anderson Cooper and Kathy Griffin on CNN is my fav because it’s so awkward it makes me crack up.

A common theme on every program was: ugh, let’s get out of 2008. It was the worst. Let’s make 2009 a whole lot better.

I like the part where they are looking forward.

And I appreciate that 2008 had a lot of rough times.

But 2008 was a year in my life and the lives of everyone that I hold dear.

I wouldn’t change anything that happened to me in 2008.

My business grew tremendously.

My husband and I got healthier.

My son got cuter (3 years old has truly been the best thus far).

I visited a friend in AZ that I hadn’t seen in nearly 10 years.

The list truly could go on and on.

I know there was a lot of crummy stuff that happened in 2008 – there were rough patches for me too. But every day last year contributed to the gal I am right now.

Happy New Year!

All the best,

Jessica