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Kathy McCabe named the Thomas Leonard Virtual Assistant of Distinction for 2013!
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Reliability

What is Reliable?  Transportation should be reliable, enabling us to get from point a to point b safely and on time. Technology should be reliable, coming to you in such a way that it doesn’t destroy your computer… (Of course we all know about updates and fixes or patches so we’ve pretty much accepted that software can be reliable but still need updating.)

The Free Online Dictionary says:

re·li·a·ble  (r-l-bl)

adj.

1. Capable of being relied on; dependable: a reliable assistant; a reliable car.

2. Yielding the same or compatible results in different clinical experiments or statistical trials.

When you are working your virtual assistant business, do you endeavor to come in and leave at specific times?  Are you available when you state?  When you quote a job do you let the client know you’re approaching the top threshold?

Being reliable is being trustworthy. Your clients trust you will complete their work on time and within budget. Your colleagues trust you will do the things you say you will do.

I once had a client who initially sent their work ‘offshore’, believing that the low price and the ‘we work while you sleep’ slogan would take care of the project both timely and affordably.  They were wrong; the client was entirely unhappy with the project and contacted me to fix it. I think it would have been simpler for me to start fresh and complete the project from scratch but they wanted me to work with what the client received back from the offshore company.  Honestly, it was terrible. The project demanded I go line by line and correct where needed – which was extensive.

My point is sometimes less is not more.  Being reliable, but not the cheapest is often the less expensive way to go.

I had another client who was completely floored by the cost of their supposedly affordable assistant and contacted me to simply provide an honest assessment of how long a project should have cost. That’s not easy to do especially since no two assistants are the same. In the end, I got opinions from several VAs I trust and we averaged out the cost and the client was still significantly overcharged.

Here’s some on Reliability:

State your hours of operation and stick to them.  If you aren’t available on a certain day, have a calendar your clients can see so they don’t have to wonder. Email them with your calendar periodically, especially if you have out of office appointments.

State your rates to your clients and stick to them.  If you feel the project will require more time than you originally estimated, be sure to let your client know.

 Follow Through!  If you say you’ll do something, do it! If someone is making their plans based on what you said you would be doing, be sure to complete your part as soon as possible to not delay the project.

Your credibility is crucial to building your business. If you aren’t reliable, you aren’t credible and your business will not survive.

Must Have iPad App: Air Display

WP_20130822_008I am in love with a new (new to me!) iPad app!  Air Display allows you to add an additional screen to your desktop (PC or Mac) and at $9.99 is far less expensive than a new monitor (available in the iTunes store).

Anyone who knows me also knows I love screen real estate.  I have an extra monitor on my desktop, my phone system is digital and on my laptop, and now, with Air Display, I can drag windows from my desktop right onto my iPad (I use it for my website visitor monitoring, webcam window so far I’m sure I’ll find more!) and be even more productive!

For me it’s a no-brainer, this is one of the best investments I’ve ever made.

So now, I’m using my iPad even more as an extension to my office. When I’m away from the office, I log in using Logmein.com’s Ignition, and at the desk, I easily incorporate a third screen. Now that I have it, I wonder why I never invested in a third screen before! 🙂

Thank you Ed Kaplan for the heads up!
(One thing to note, it would be efficient to use a power supply with it since it is always ‘on’ and doesn’t allow the iPad to sleep.)

WP_20130823_007 WP_20130823_006 WP_20130823_002

Make it a great day!

Kathy McCabe

Fun in the Office

Working from your home office gives you the advantage of having fun in your office in a way you never could in most traditional offices. Sometimes when we work from our home offices, it can become more of a chore than a joy. Make it a fun place, and inspiring place, and if you don’t normally see clients, it doesn’t have to match anyone else’s perspective professional. I would personally love my

office to resemble a room in a castle, complete with balcony. Not possible at the moment so I make the most fun with what I’ve got. Here are some ideas to accomplish this:

  • Play your favorite music – just be sure to mute it during client phone calls. It doesn’t matter how loud you play it, who are you going to disturb? (Sometimes my husband will work from home too so I have to be quieter then)
  • Put up fun twinkle lights around your desk
  • Deck out your office with fun gadgets from places like Office Playground
  • Put up artwork from your kids and favorite pictures of playtime
  • I have a stuffed animal collection – all the adorable little cuties Michael’s given me since we met
  • Create nooks in your office that inspire you and bring happiness to your soul (here is where I’ve created my Castle).
  • Have your pet provide comic relief – our pet Patches is a nut, and we’ve decided she’s our Director of Puplick Relations.

patches-ovalThe list of things you can do to make your day fun while working from home are endless. Use your imagination, and remember, it’s YOUR space – go crazy!

Castle Nook

Castle Nook

Customer Comments

"Kathy supports both of my companies, StaffingU and simplyEffective(tm). Using her services was not only a wise investment, but also brought immediate returns in increased revenues right from the first month. I can't imagine what it would be like without her. Run, don't walk, to talk with this savvy lady about what she can do for you."
Scott Wintrip, StaffingU.net -

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