February 2013
Volume 10, Issue #2

I'm Back!

I’m fresh back from the 2013 Virtual Assistance League retreat. What an absolutely amazing experience! I was part of the team that put this thing together (a new and educational experience for me!) and I still got a lot out of it.

Retreats are not conferences. A conference is often huge, overwhelming, and it can take attendees weeks after the event to process it all. A retreat is a much smaller event, usually with a single goal. The size and laser focus of a smaller event allows attendees to focus on the goal and build meaningful relationships with their peers. The latter was one of my main goals for the retreat because VA League is about building relationships. Lanel and I both thought this was the best format to promote that goal.

You put several women in a house for three days and, well, most people would be afraid. I was amazed at how warm and welcoming everyone was. Everyone banded together to help each other accomplish their individual goals. I know I got a LOT done for my business. In fact, it went so well that we’re already planning the next one! Watch this space!

And, of course, it’s February, so I have to give a big birthday shout out to my youngest - who hit the double digits this year! Happy 10th Birthday, Cassie!


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In this issue...

Article: Are You Ready to Grow Your Business?

Bookkeeping Tip: Memorizing Transactions in QuickBooks

Tax Deadlines February 2013 / March 2013

Spotlight on Serendipity Confections

Tech Talk: Windows Calculators New Life

Humor: Tax Cut Promise?

Are You Ready to Grow Your Business?

By Donna Toothaker

Wow, I can't believe we are charging into a new year already! Exciting things are happening, and I'm looking forward to a wonderful year in my business. How about you? Are you anticipating a breakout year in your business? Are you ready to grow your client base, expand your resources and your income? If so, good for you! Of course you have a solid plan for making those things happen, right? Because, sitting back and just hoping something happens usually doesn't work out very well.

As with anything worth having, it takes a lot of work to prepare for growth in your business. You can't just want it; you have to be ready-mentally, since growing your business is one of those decisions that requires both your head and your heart. You have to be ready physically, as well, meaning that the operations side of your business needs to be ready for the additional work that you bring in. And it will take your unwavering commitment to keep forging ahead even when things don't happen quite as planned. These are all important aspects of building and growing your company. Let's break them down.

Be mentally ready. You've heard me talk before about how important it is to make decisions using both your head and your heart. First and foremost, your head and your heart have to be on the same page as far as what you really want, and how you plan to get it. Don't say you want clients, but then subconsciously think "I don't have time for a new client" or "I'm not ready to take on more work." It's a mindset; and trust me, if you have a negative mindset, you certainly won't get those new clients.

Instead of telling yourself all the reasons why you're not ready for new clients... get yourself ready! Tackle those reasons one by one, and eliminate the ones that are truly holding you back. Change your mindset from one of apprehension to one of expectation. Expect to work hard and then expect to secure new clients because of that hard work. Put together your plan of action, and start implementing it.

Prepare your operations. Once you're mentally ready, you'll want to have your operations ready for all the new work you're going to bring in. Make sure you have your contracts in order and ready to go, as well as your welcome package for new clients. Check your systems and processes to make sure they are current and effective, and build your team so you have the resources to service your clients. Don't wait until the clients come before you prepare. Anticipate the needs, and prepare your business so you are ready to go when the contract is signed.

It's the same for anything you want. Want great team members? Be ready with your project management system, associate contract, etc. Show them that you are professional, organized and serious about working with them. Give them a reason to want to work with you.

Make the commitment. This is where your heart really comes in. When the going gets tough, the tough get going, right? So, commit to making this happen. Do whatever it takes. Keep your plan in mind, your goals within reach, and see it through. Maybe your big push this year will be through marketing; social media, networking events, mailouts, whatever. Work your plan from beginning to end, and do it over and over as long as it brings you positive results that you can build on. When you're thrown a curve ball, re-evaluate your plan and adjust accordingly, but don't give up.

You absolutely can have a breakout year. You have to plan; you have to be ready; you have to commit. No one else is going to do it for you. It's your business, your future, your life. Make it happen. Here's to your success this year!

About The Author: Donna Toothaker is a Virtual Assistant, Author, Speaker and VA Success Coach. She is CEO, founder and coach of Step It UP VA Coaching, and the creator of the 6 Steps to 6-Figure VA Success System. Her highly sought-after VA coaching programs have been created for success-driven VAs who wish to create the 6-figure business of their dreams. Visit http://www.stepitupva.com to receive the free report, Top 3 Mistakes to Avoid in Creating a 6-Figure VA Business.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/7465112

Bookkeeping Tip: Memorizing Transactions in QuickBooks

Any transaction can be memorized in QuickBooks. Examples of good transactions to memorize are: the mortgage payment you pay each month, the invoice to your client for a packaged service you provide to them each month, and credit card transactions for automatic payments such as your monthly hosting service. You don’t have to set up all repeat transactions in one sitting. When you find yourself entering the same transaction over and over, just follow the tips below, based on your version of QuickBooks, to add it. You can edit the memorized/repeating transaction list at any time.

In desktop versions, you can memorize a transaction by using Ctrl-M or by right clicking and choosing Memorize Transaction. To use these transactions in QB desktop version, hit Ctrl-t or go to Lists > Memorized Transaction List.

In the online version, they are called Recurring Transactions. At the bottom of every transaction, there is a button named Make Recurring. To use a recurring transaction, go to Company > Recurring Transactions.

Note: Check with your accounting professional before doing this to be sure that's how they'd like it done. YMMV!

Susan Kovalesky is the owner of Balanced Bookkeeping Solutions and is a Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor, a certification updated annually. She is also a team member of OffAssist. Follow her on Facebook.

Tax Deadlines

February 15
- Employers Make Monthly Payroll tax deposit on the 15th of each month

February 28
- File W-3, W-2's with Social Security Admin
- File US transmittal of US information Returns
- Mortgage Interest file Form 1098s with IRS

March 15
- Foreign Persons US Income subject to withholdings
- Employers Make Monthly Payroll tax deposit on the 15th of each month

Spotlight: Serendipity Confections

Spotlight: Serendipity Confections

Who doesn’t have a sweet tooth in February? It’s hard not to with the stores throwing chocolate in front of us everywhere we go. If you could satisfy that craving with something that is delicious, locally-sourced, and chemical-free, would you?

We hope so, because this month’s spotlight is on Serendipity Confections, an artisan confectioner based in Colorado that makes caramels that we don’t have words to describe. Probably because we’re too busy eating them and it’s rude to talk with your mouth full.

A 2013 Good Food Awards winner, Serendipity makes all their caramels by hand, in small batches. Treats from these folks are always freshly made for their customers. With a variety of flavors (cinnamon, chocolate, butter, sea salt) and available with or without a luscious chocolate coating, they make something for everyone.

Check Serendipity Confections out on their site, on Twitter, or visit their Facebook page.

Have you nursed a secret longing to be in the spotlight, center-stage, all eyes on you?

If you would like to be featured in the OffAssist spotlight column, and have not been featured in the past twelve months, contact Patty@OffAssist.com and we'll see if we can put you in the limelight.

Fine print: We do reserve the right not to feature anyone and a request is not a guarantee that you will make it into the newsletter. Also, if your news, announcement, etc. is time sensitive or tied to a specific date, please let Patty know in your email.

Tech Talk: Windows Calculators New Life

By Tom Beauchamp

Oh, how I love Google! Google has become my default one-stop shop for all sorts of information. In the distant past I used the built-in Windows calculator, but I found myself more frequently just typing the equation on Google’s search bar. BINGO! My answer pops up. No more built-in calculator for me.

That’s how it used to be. However, beginning last December, I’ve found myself returning to Windows’ built-in calculator. Why? The Windows 7 calculator is a whole new animal. It’s no longer the virtual equivalent of a cheap throwaway calculator –like those found in desk drawers across the country.

The new and improved Windows Calculator is actually a powerful suite of calculators offering Standard, Scientific, Programmer, or Statistics versions. Additional functions include unit conversion, date calculation, and the new “Worksheets” tool. Mortgages, vehicle leases, and gas mileage can be easily computed.

While Google is still my tool of choice for many things, the Windows Calculator has once again earned a place on my desktop. Now if only it included a “financial” option, then maybe I could get Candy to throw out the ancient adding machine on her desk.

How to test drive the new Windows Calculator:

Open the Calculator. You’ll find it under Accessories in your program menu, or you can just type “calc” into the search box and it will run automatically. Next, go to the “View” dropdown box. Now you can select one of 4 spiffy new options.

Tom Beauchamp is the marketing and tech expert behind OffAssist. He can be reached at tom@offassist.com.

Humor: Tax Cut Promise?

Have an article you'd like to write for our monthly newsletter or want to be spotlighted? Have a QuickBooks question or something you'd like to see in the Tech Tip? Email candy@offassist.com.

The OffAssist newsletter is made possible by the copywriting/editing skills of Ink Think VA, and the coding talents of Time Is Of The Es-Cents.


This newsletter is published monthly by Candy Beauchamp of OffAssist. © 2013

Much of the advice in this newsletter is based upon the research, professional and personal experiences of the authors. If the reader has any questions concerning any material or procedure mentioned, the publisher and authors strongly suggest seeking the advice of a qualified CPA or other professional.