Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Meet Tiffany Haynes, Virtual Assistant

Tiffany Haynes is a virtual assistant and owner of Virtual Business Solutions. She has worked as a real estate broker's assistant where she taught herself marketing development and graphic / print design, and she created an in-house aerial printing shop to facilitate clients with large land listings and commercial sites. Tiffany went on to work in corporate banking, where she excelled in everything from appraisal support to managing all high-risk issues within foreclosure finance, claims, and bookloss. Throughout her professional career, she has developed a wide network of trusted contacts and leverages their expertise to enhance projects, solidifying why she is the hottest virtual assistant in today's market!

Keep up with Tiffany on Facebook and Twitter.

1. How did you first become interested in setting up your own business as a virtual assistant?

I naturally helped entrepreneurs prior to being paid for it. I remember wondering why people that barely knew me would ask me to look at their resume and see if there were any tips I could offer. Friends and family members starting a new business would ask my opinion about crucial decisions. I think that what I do now has always been my calling even before I was even aware of it. I happened to stumble across a description of the industry reading a book in the library and could not rest! I knew from the moment I read the description that not only could I do it; I would be successful at it. I begin to do my research on how I could make that business work for me, and the rest is history!

2. You offer a diversity of services, including specific services for people in real estate. How did you decide what services to offer to clients?

I started off offering anything I knew how to do! So I have an extensive background in the real estate field, and I knew that support in that field is something that I wanted to offer. I have background in project management, so I knew that I wanted to offer strategic and management support. As time passed, I begin to call on experts about things that I was not a subject matter expert in and pull them into my projects, and from there my company has evolved to what it is today.

3. What are some of the challenges of working with people remotely, and what are some tools and techniques you use to communicate/share effectively with clients?

Sometimes when you have a presentation, you want to walk someone through it in person. But it is the technology age, so by utilizing software like GoToMeeting and LogMeIn, I am able to have a very close comparison to an-in person meeting when I meet with my clients.

4. What are some common misconceptions you see about the costs, services, etc involved in hiring a virtual assistant?

Some people believe virtual assistants are too expensive. However, unlike temporary staff and employees, hiring virtual assistants does not incur traditional human resource expenses such as insurance, taxes, and vacation or sick leave. What's more, virtual assistants function independently, without the business owner having to provide an office, equipment, or relevant training. As for remuneration, virtual assistants are paid only in respect of the number of hours or projects for which the business owner requires their services. If you only need 15 hours of assistance a month, that is exactly what you pay for. In essence, you are removing the wasted costs of paying for idle time, which translates into 100 percent productivity!

5. If you were talking to someone who runs a small business--maybe even a solo project!--what advice would you offer in terms of how a virtual assistant could help their business grow?

Big business is successful for many reasons, but one of those reasons is because it has assigned departments and responsibilities: human resources, marketing, admin support, etc.

As a small business owner or entrepreneur, it is your job to be all these things, and if you are waking up and just reacting to deliverables instead of being proactive to the bigger picture, this can hinder your forward motion. Hiring a virtual assistant allows you to distribute tasks to ensure that you can handle all aspects of your endeavors and aspirations that are required to reach your maximum potential. If being tied up responding to calls and emails prevents you from marketing and/or training to learn new skills, you need to assign the calls and emails to someone else. You need a strategic mind to help with marketing; you need a trusted partner to research and find you the best training that is cost effective--this is where my company comes in and does it for a fraction of the cost of what most people think!

Thanks, Tiffany!

Monday, November 24, 2014

London Drivers for Sightseeing and Private Transfers

Followers of this blog might remember when I posted before about custom tours of Italy where you travel in a minivan. So here's another post about an inconspicuous way to travel abroad. Did you know that there are licensed private car services in and around London that can cost you 40% less than a taxi? If you need to get to an airport or a cruise ship port, or if you just want to do some sightseeing, you can hire a car for less.

For example, for a cab Manchester to London (or London to Manchester, of course), you can find an affordable transfer fare, especially if you book ahead of time. You can also choose from different types of cars, from an executive car that carries three passengers, up to a minibus which carries up to eight passengers.

The drivers are licensed professionals, and they can pick you up at all sorts of popular points in and around London. They have fixed prices for common journeys, so you know what to expect, and nobody will be playing any games with the meter! Submit the info about your journey using the "request quote" feature on the London Drivers site, and plan your travel budget accordingly.

Learn more about London Drivers on YouTube.

Shop iCarryAlls for Leather iPad Cases and More

If you are looking for a unique gift idea, iCarryalls offers business cases for iPads, MacBooks, Galaxy tablets, and other popular devices. These are great gifts for students, businesspeople, writers, and anybody, really, who wants to take good care of their digital devices!

iCarryAlls stocks a huge selection of genuine leather products: padfolios, conference folders, sleeves and pouch cases, business tote bags, briefcases, duffel bags and more. They also invite you work with them to create customized products if you want to create a one of a kind case.

Check out this video for more details about iCarryAll's padfolio specially designed for the iPad mini. This secure, zippered folder is a useful product for keeping your iPad safe while traveling. It contains space for a notepad as well as business cards and printed documents. This leather folder measures 13x10.2x2 inches.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Marketing Strategy: The Use of Cheap Promotional Pens to Get Customer Loyalty

The following is a guest post provided by Supreme Pens: The King of Promotional Pens.

Promoting your products and services is a must if you wish to get ahead of the competition. It is not enough that your target customers know your products and services exist. You should also be sure that the consumers will choose you among all other products and services out there. One of the best marketing strategies is providing promotional items to the consumers. Everybody loves getting free items. This is a fact that you should take advantage of. By giving out freebies to the consumers, you can get customer loyalty. If you are thinking of the best promotional item to use, you should go for cheap promotional pens. This is really recommended, especially if you are on a tight advertising budget.

The first thing that you need to do is to set your marketing budget. You don't have to set a huge budget with cheap promotional pens, so you have nothing to worry about. Once your budget is already set, the next thing that you need to do is to look for a company that could manufacture cheap promotional pens for you. Choose a company that could offer you cheap branded pens, fast turnaround time, and good service. There are many companies who offer cheap promotional pens. You can start by looking online.

Once you have already chosen the company that you would hire, provide your design so they could print it out. Remember that the design is really important. It should be something that can easily be remembered. Your design could include your company's logo or the name of the product or service you are promoting. After this, you could start planning for the logistics. You need to determine how you would distribute the promotional items. This is another good thing about the use of cheap promotional pens. Since pens are very useful and very handy, point of distribution will not be a problem because you can distribute it almost everywhere.

Doing these things will surely help your company in positioning your products and services. Promotional pens can reach a lot of people. This is why pens are considered one of the best item when it comes to promotional merchandise. If you have a bigger marketing budget, aside from the promotional pens, you can also include promotional mugs, bags, fans, lanyards, and calendars. These are other great promotional merchandise that you could use. If you wish to know more about how you can use promotional items in advertising your products and services, look for providers online. 

Friday, November 21, 2014

Meet Patty Dole, Blogger

Abigail (Patty) Dole lives on a boat with her husband (who is a retired sea captain) and their cat named Daxxy. They live a fairly simple self-sufficient life on an old Tjalk that is about 130 years old. Visit Patty online on her informative blog at

1. When did you first start living aboard a boat, and what inspired your decision?

I was strictly a land dweller until I met my husband who has basically lived and worked at sea since he was about 17 years old, so he was my influence and I have to admit I love it!

2. Why is self-sufficiency so important in your life?

Self-sufficiency means freedom to us. We just want to be free to live our lives on our own terms, not being dependent on any entities. For example, in bad weather if you have a solar wind, or a good generator and some batteries, you are all set if the electricity goes out and the electric company can't get to you for a few days or weeks. People who live in houses that don't have any of those things are at the mercy of the electric company that may not be able to reach them due to circumstances beyond their control. That is something that people like us don't have to worry so much about.

3. How did you select your top five products that you recommend for saving money?

We are not wealthy people. My husband is retired and living on a pension which isn't as much as we would like; so saving money is important to us. I have found that often the more money that people make, the greater the debt that they get into because they haven't altered how they viewed their money or their time. We love spending time together and doing the simple things in life, so the products that I recommend are actually coming from how we are learning to live our lives. We actually save more money this way, and it frees up our time to do the things that we value in life.

In other words, we really believe that managing the money that we have is far more important than making more money that we don't adequately manage.

So I am making these recommendations to anyone who wants to learn to manage what they have and learn to live within their means. That is very empowering.

4. What do you say to people who don't believe that couponing is an effective way to save money?

I say that they are really missing out on an effective opportunity to not only save money but get top brands. I have found that effectively using coupons frees up my income so that I can pay more on debts that I owe, and yes we still have debts.

It makes our lives less complicated. For example, if I use buy "ones or twos, get ones or twos for free" on things that we use like laundry soap, razors, toothpaste, deodorant, dish detergent, etc for three months straight, then I don't need to spend any money on those products for the next six months to a year, and that frees up at least $40 to $100 per month on those products alone. It is not about being a hoarder; it is about being prepared. Notice that I have not even mentioned how much we save on our pet products or food. Also remember, we are only two people with a cat. A family has the opportunity to see even more savings because they tend to spend more money.

5. What do you enjoy the most about living on a boat--and what do you find most challenging?

The things that you don't really think about living in a house, you have to think about while living on a boat. How and where to dispose of your waste, generating your own power, keeping your batteries up to date are all challenging, but at the same time, it is these very things that keep me independent. It makes me think that there is and has always been a high price for our conveniences, and I would not trade the life that I have.

Thanks, Patty!