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Archive for August, 2009

PostHeaderIcon 5th Anniversary….

In July 2004, Lana Newlander of Virtual Business Solutions and I held our first virtual assistant meeting in Austin. The story is kind of funny actually…

She posted to the listserv at IVAA that she was kind of new and had someone contact her wanting bookkeeping services and needed a contract. I replied and said I would send her one off-list. When the email went out to her address, I looked up as it was going out and noticed her email address ended in “” – which meant… out of all the people that are members of IVAA, she was LOCAL!

… and I had just quoted someone that sounded really familiar to who she was talking about so I quickly emailed her again saying I had used that contract for someone that same morning and his name was Elmo (I’m not making this up) so if it was the same person, she might want to alter it quite a bit.

Yes. It was the same guy (and she got the client – and I was super happy for her). We made plans to meet and have met at least quarterly since then. Now days the VA meetings are monthly and are attended by an average of 6 people. There were many times it was just Lana and I and other times there are 12 people.

I feel so lucky to know this person and be a partner with her at the meetings. We’ve worked together and celebrated both personal and business related triumphs as well as a few setbacks.

To my fellow VAs, If you have the opportunity to meet a Virtual Assistant in your area, DO IT. Meeting Lana truly changed not only my business, but parts of my life as well. She has become a great colleague, but an even better friend.

Here’s to 50 more years, Lana!


PostHeaderIcon Book Review – Groundswell: Winning in a World Transformed by Social Technologies by Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff

I don’t usually post my book reviews on my blog, but this was such a great book for business that I wanted to share it here as well…

Groundswell: Winning in a World Transformed by Social Technologies by Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff

Wow. They get it. I’ve read various articles and blogs and books about social media and networking and how big businesses should be doing XYZ and maybe even EFG, but most of them are really blowing hot air. I’m no expert and I don’t pretend to be, but I can spot junk a mile away and a lot of these “experts” are pure junk.

I purchased this book in a whim. I heard about it, shrugged my shoulders, grabbed my Kindle, clicked a button and started reading it. It got good reviews, but I really wasn’t expecting such a thoroughly researched and written book. These folks know what they are doing and they have the stats and research to back it up.

I love social media. I have a very small business but I’ve managed to use parts of it to my advantage, while still having fun doing it. I’ve often wondered how big businesses handle it. It seems like such a monumental task for a company like Dell to even begin to enter the, as they put it, groundswell (which is my new favorite word, by the way!). This book gave me not only insight into how they are listening to, speaking with, etc us little folks out here, but what they are doing with that data.

Again, I have a small business, my take on social media is a little different than Dell, but it gave me a few ideas for how I can more effectively use it to my advantage. I really do think this is a must read for anyone involved in social media. Just read it, don’t think twice. Buy it and read it.

I enjoyed this so much that I purchased 2 copies to send to clients of mine that I thought would enjoy it. I don’t do that often, so I know it was a hit with me!

Product Description
Corporate executives are struggling with a new trend: people using online social technologies (blogs, social networking sites, YouTube, podcasts) to discuss products and companies, write their own news, and find their own deals. This groundswell is global, it s unstoppable, it affects every industry and it s utterly foreign to the powerful companies running things now.

When consumers you ve never met are rating your company s products in public forums with which you have no experience or influence, your company is vulnerable. In Groundswell, Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff of Forrester, Inc. explain how to turn this threat into an opportunity.

Using tools and data straight from Forrester, you ll learn how to:

-Evaluate new social technologies as they emerge

-Determine how different groups of consumers are participating in social technology arenas

-Apply a four-step process for formulating your future strategy

-Build social technologies into your business including monitoring your brand value, talking with the groundswell through marketing and PR campaigns, and energizing your best customers to recruit their peers

Timely and insightful, this book is required reading for executives seeking to protect and strengthen their company s public image.