November 2007  
All of your business needs. One easy solution.
Volume 4 Issue 11   www.offassist.com
Thank you.

It's November, the month of Thanksgiving here in the States, and a time we are supposed to think about all the things we are thankful for. This year OffAssist and I both have a lot to be thankful for.

Earlier this year OA celebrated its fifth anniversary. If you know anything about small business statistics you know how few new businesses make this milestone. We made it, we've moved past it, and things look brighter than ever.

In September of this year Tom and I bought a house. Not an out of the ordinary event in the great grand scheme of things, but momentous to me. Why? It's not even our first house after all. It is a big deal to us because we work at home and were able to buy the home we work in based solely on how our business is doing. Five and a half years ago when I started doing people's books from the dining room table I never dreamed it would go this well.

Why is it going so well? Because of YOU, my clients. So, again, let me just say, "Thank You!"

In this issue...
Web Site Marketing With a Little Help of a Professional Headshot
by Tawnya Sutherland

Like they say, a picture is worth a thousand words and your headshot on your Web site can either capture the essence of what your market desires or not. A virtual assistant should have a professional picture on their Web site that conveys their confidence and success in their business and attracts new clients.

Not only can you use the headshot for your Web site, it is excellent tool to have for use in trade magazines and other media and a valuable asset to add to your marketing budget regularly. Yes regularly keep this photo updated.
Don't deceive your clients by putting up a photo 10 years younger than you are or 50 lbs lighter than what you actually weigh. You may one day meet them and feel like a fool! Be confident in what you look like and that confidence will shine through to your clients. Why? If you ever meet a colleague or client, first, they won't recognize you and then secondly, when they do, they will feel cheated by you if you don't look like what they expected. I recently attended a Virtual Assistant conference and there were many people I couldn't indentify by their Web site pictures. There were also a few who I knew right away and could go up and introduce myself to easily. Guess who I choose to outsource to in future business dealings?

Your headshot should look like you!

Headshots don't have to be expensive either. Your local department stores (Sears, Wal-Mart, etc) sometimes have great low sitting fee packages to choose from. If you do choose to hire a professional photographer your picture will be even better since they know exact poses and tips that work for business headshots. Don't forget to make sure that you are given all rights from any photographer to your pictures to use in any way you wish. Have them also put on CD-Rom in high resolution .jpg format and not in .gif format which is used for vector images (cartoons)!

A few tips for a professional headshot for your Web page:
  • Don't go for the overly glamorized shot as this will detract from your professional stance. Being too sexy or for that matter too nerdy will not embrace your business like qualities.
  • Avoid dangly earrings, chunky collar jewelry, hairpieces, hats, etc. Keep it simple yet professional. If you regularly wear your eyeglasses, then include them in your picture else leave them out too as they can distract the viewer.
  • Dress professionally in modern (not the time for your goth dress ladies) office attire suited to the corporate world. Also leave the housecoat or sweats at home. Avoid patterned or white and black clothing. Pattern clothing distracts the eye and white or black clothing can blend too easily into the backdrop causing the opposite effect.
  • Choose a plain background color that can easily be edited out in case your Web designer ever wants to add a different color background to it.
  • Consider headshots poses at all angles looking left, right and center. This way when you place your picture on your Web site it will have you looking interested into the content no matter where you place it. Nothing worse then coming to a Web site and seeing the person looking away at the scroll bar outside of their Web site instead of focused onto the content to entice the reader to read their copy.
  • While you are there and if your budget permits, get some bonus full standing poses looking at all angles. You never know when you may use it on the Web to help promote your business online.
  • Your headshot will visually attract your clients to funnel through your Web site and read more. Make sure you pose with confidence so your business strengths shine forth to entice new clients.
Tawnya Sutherland is the Founder of Virtual Assistant Networking Association, the largest web portal for everything to do with virtual assistance dedicated to helping small business owners and entrepreneurs be successful online. A Certified Internet Marketing Specialist, Tawnya also runs Mediamage Business Solutions helping turn her clients clicks into cash.


Accountant Humor

Deductions
What did the accountant say when he got a blank check?

My deductions have at last caught up with my salary.

Concentration
Why did the accountant stare at his glass of orange juice for three hours?

Because on the box it said "concentrate".
 

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 VA Lab Designs.

     
 
 
Important Tax Deadlines
November 15 - Texas Franchise Tax return final due date (if extension filed 5/15)

November 15 - IRS Monthly payroll tax deposits due for October issued payroll

November 20 - Texas Sales & Use Tax Return due for monthly filers

December 15 - IRS Monthly payroll tax deposits due for November issued payroll

December 20 - Texas Sales & Use Tax Return due for monthly filers
Spotlight On...
Exit Exceptional Properties

This month's spotlight shines on Exit Exceptional Properties, a truly exceptional real estate team based in Austin, Texas.

EXIT Exceptional Properties is the brainchild of life and business partners Dawn Krantz and Scott Antcliff. Dawn has been selling real estate in Central Texas for some time now and has been a Top Producer every year. She is currently one of the top ten top producers in the Austin area.

Together, she and Scott (also licensed) have created a team of over 30 agents trained to put their customers' needs first. Dawn loves what she does, and strives to pass on her knowledge and enthusiasm to other real estate professionals by mentoring all of her agents personally.

EXIT Exceptional Properties does it all, from helping first-time buyers find a home to commercial property sales and working with real estate investors to maximize the Central Texas market potential.

For more information on Dawn Krantx and EXIT Exceptional Properties, give them a call at (512) 263-EXIT (3948) or visit them on the web at www.exitrealtyofaustin.com.
 
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 Candy@OffAssist.com and we'll see if we can put you in the limelight in 2007.

Tech Talk With Tom...
Yar! Internet Piracy Glossary

Over the next few months I want to talk about Internet Piracy.

I started to write a long, drawn out article with a lot of keywords and tricky phrases when I realized even I didn't understand what I was trying to say. Internet Piracy comes in many forms, and some of it is not even intentional.

This month I present a short glossary of piracy terminology. Next month, we'll take a look at how to protect yourself from piracy and how to ensure that you are not accidentally pirating from someone else.

Piracy Glossary

Copyright:
Protects ways or forms of expression. Does not protect actual information, ideas, or systems.

Counterfeit: A copy of an original work. May appear to be produced by a legitimate dealer.

DMCA: Digital Millennium Copyright Act

Digital Rights: Rights that affect property defined as digital media. Property rights of digital media formats

Dilution: Using a trademark or intellectual property owned by another in your own work without permission. This can reduce the possible income from the property for the original owner.

Fair Use: Referencing or providing a sample of intellectual property with the intent of criticism, comment, new reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research.

Infringement: Use of another's work or trademark that creates the appearance of affiliation.

Organized Piracy: Criminal organizations made to copy and distribute another intellectual property or goods.

Patent: Protects the intellectual property of an inventor so that public disclosure of the invention will not result in loss of income.

Piracy: Copying or distributing protected works without the authorization of the owner.

Public Domain: Intellectual property freely available for public or commercial use. These works are not protected by copyright restrictions.

Streaming: Technology that allows the real-time distribution of digital media via the Internet. Users typically view the media as it is being streamed.

In December we'll take a look at protecting yourself, your business, and your family from Internet Piracy. As you can see from the glossary above, piracy comes in many forms and is not always readily apparent.

Tom Beauchamp is the marketing and tech expert behind OffAssist. He can be reached at tom@offassist.com.
QuickBooks Q&A
Q: Can I create company-branded form templates in QuickBooks?

A: Absolutely! QuickBooks gives you the ability to easily customize the standard templates to match your company branding such as font style or size, and you can even include your company logo.

Always start by making a duplicate template from the Lists menu, selecting Templates and Duplicate. QuickBooks will ask for your Template Type choice of estimate, purchase order, invoice, sales order, credit memo or sales receipt. Your selection determines the default fields of information that appear for on-screen input and printing. Using an invoice for example, select Basic Customization to change the template name under Managing Your Templates. Fields can be added, changed or deleted as needed by your company under Additional Customization. Select Layout Designer to arrange your invoice template components, insert an image of your company logo, and add custom text boxes. All elements can be moved and properties can be modified. Remember to save the invoice template as you go.

Once you've created your first customized template, you can duplicate it and select a different template type, such as an estimate, following the same process. QuickBooks keeps the formatting structure and adjusts the information fields for that template type. These elements can be modified in the same way.

Developing custom templates is an easy means of supporting your company's branding efforts by maintaining consistency throughout your business forms.