Why You Should Avoid Digital Sharecropping

In the bad old days, some folks were trapped in a poverty-inducing cycle, farming land they could never own. Rich landowners allowed ("allowed" !) tenant farmers to work the land in exchange for a share of the crop. The rich landowner, simply because he owned the land, received a share of the crops as well.

The sharecropper could never make enough to buy the land. The system was designed to keep the rich rich and the poor poor.

Eleven times a week I hear questions about "the best blogging platform." And I read recommendations of, not only various free blogging tools, but even folks who consider their Facebook page or other social media presence to be their online marketing.

If you don't own the land, you're sharecropping, building someone else's empire.

… more … "Why You Should Avoid Digital Sharecropping"

Interview: Belinda Stringer, VirtualAssistants.com

Belinda Stringer is the founder of VirtualAssistants.com. Belinda sends out a regular newsletter and has graciously used several of my articles in her newsletter. She's also listed my book, The Commonsense Virtual Assistant - Becoming an Employee, Not an Entrepreneur, in her Recommended Reading list. I asked Belinda to answer a few questions for an interview here at the Chief Virtual Officer blog.

virtualassistants.com logoWhy did you start VirtualAssistants.com and when did you start it?
VirtualAssistants.com was started in February of 1999, mainly because of getting scammed a few times when I was looking for a real virtual assistant job. I thought it would be great if there was a job site with screened jobs that I would feel safe in applying to, so I created VirtualAssistants.com.

What is the purpose of VirtualAssistants.com?
What we do is to prescreen the jobs before they can be posted to our job board. We wanted a safe place where you did not have to worry about the job you were applying to. We have alot of repeat VA's who pick up extra clients from our job board. With over 800+ job virtual job openings that are posted, there is something for everyone from admin, customer service, transcription to tech jobs.

What challenges did you face starting VirtualAssistants.com and how did you overcome them?
Well, in 1999, it was very difficult finding companies that would consider a 'virtual assistant'. With a lot of determination and hard work, we were able to find the jobs and make companies aware of the concept of working with a virtual assistant.

How do you become a Virtual Assistant? Can anyone become a member of VirtualAssistants.com and what is the fee?
If you have job skills you can use them to work virtually. So you do not have to already be a Virtual Assistant to get a virtual job. You can join, view the job board, apply to jobs and also post a VA ad listing what services you are offering for either a small monthly rate of 9.99 or you can choose the yearly rate of just 49.99. You can view the register info at http://www.VirtualAssistants.com/virtual-assistant-jobs.html

How can a business owner post on your site that they are looking for a Virtual Assistant?
We have a great email job form they can use that is very easy, and it is free to post a job at http://www.VirtualAssistants.com/post-your-virtual-assistant-jobs.html. Once we have reviewed the job and deemed it safe, we will then post it to our private job board.

Commit to Posting at Your Blog Regularly

commit to posting regularly at your blogOne of your goals this year should be to commit to posting at your blog regularly. How often should that be? It could be daily, weekly, monthly. The important thing is to be consistent. You'll lose readers if you don't post regularly.

Over the years I've posted daily at times, weekly other times, monthly at other times. When I post daily I see an increase in traffic, comments, and interaction with others. When I've been irregular, sure enough, there's a significant decline in traffic, comments, and interaction.

If you haven't been blogging much, I suggest you start with once a month and work up to at least once a week. Blogging every single day can become exhausting - especially if you try to do it seven days a week. Give yourself a break!

It's much more to be consistent than to try to blog more often than you reasonably can.

How often do you post at your blog? I want to hear from you!

VA Interview: Paula Hill, Virtual Assistant

When Joel and I first met Paula online we knew she was our kind of people. She's smart, fun and easy to talk to. I hope you enjoy her interview.

Paual Hill

1. When did you start your business?
January 2008

2. Why did you choose to become a Virtual Assistant?
In 2007 I realized I had hit a “brick wall” in my corporate career. I began looking for a new job but wasn’t excited about getting another j-o-b. Then one day I watched a TV news interview of a successful VA out in Montana and realized I could do that! I purchased a couple of books on how to be a VA and with a little prior planning I quit my corporate job and established my new business.

3. What advice would you give new and aspiring VAs?
I have two:
Polish your networking skills and force yourself to get out of the house and meet people.
Do not buy anything at the office supply store until you absolutely have to!

4. What resources have helped you in your business?
I recently read The Commonsense Virtual Assistant and recommend it to new VAs. My local business assistance center and my local chamber of commerce have been a huge help in getting me clients.

5. Share something about yourself.
Being self-employed I tend to work too much. I am not comfortable “just sitting around”. Realizing I need to relax more I recently took a knitting class. It’s the perfect hobby for fidgety people and it gives me the mental break I need.

6. Additional comments you'd like to share.
If you are considering a career change I highly recommend becoming a Virtual Assistant. There is plenty of work for all of us!

Paula's Contact Information:
Paula Hill - Virtual Assistant
Website:
http://paulahill.com
Blog: http://paulahill.com/paulas-blog/
Twitter: http://twitter.com/paula_hill
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/panther.city.paula
LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/paulahill

VA Interview: Joanne Jinks - HRVA

Jo first contacted me after being referred by a fellow member of Find Virtual. Joel and I immediately knew she was the type of person we would enjoy working with. It's been a pleasure to coach Jo as she's growing her business in the UK.

Joanne Jinks
1. When did you start your business?
I started the business in October 2008.

2. Why did you choose to become a Virtual Assistant?
I have a family and wanted to continue working whilst being there for my children.

3. What advice would you give new and aspiring VAs?
Have faith that you can do it and have faith in your abilities. Its hard work but the benefits for my family have been immense!

4. What resources have helped you in your business?
I have had experience of all of these but have found a real gem in 2 VA business coaches that helped me focus when I had lost my way and their advice has been invaluable. I didn't read many books but did subscribe to other VA blogs and forums.

5. Share a success story or something about yourself.
I have changed my focus to being a Virtual HR Officer and am now on the verge of signing a contract with a company for over £10k a year... I still get to work from home and be with my children!

Here's to your continued success Jo!

Joanne Jinks,  HRVA
Website - hrva.co.uk
Blog - hrva.co.uk
Twitter - Do You Need My Help
Facebook - Joanne Jinks
LinkedIn - http://uk.linkedin.com/in/jojinks