Creating Your Dream Team

27 12 2009

The size of your dream (for your business and/or personal life) often determines the size of your team. Who have you included in your team and why?

Share Your Business Passion – I truly believe you are as good as your team.  I myself am a very motivated upbeat person so I need people on my team who share that passion with me. They are always striving to get better, learn more, and also most importantly, have fun while we do it.  I also want my team to truly be the best at what they do.  Not everyone can excel at everything, but if you find those who excel at the areas you need most, you have a winning combination.     Diana Ennen

Supportive Family & Committed Team Members – First and foremost my family is an integral part of my personal and work team. Without the support of loved ones, success in any field can be difficult to achieve.  My family has given me the love, support and freedom to spread my wings, reach my goals and has allowed me to set new ones. Along with a supportive family, I also have a fantastic team of VAs who without a doubt are the hardest working and commitment-minded individuals I’ve had the pleasure of working with.  Their love of the profession shows in everything they do and obviously contributes to the success of my business and the client’s happiness, satisfaction and what keeps our clients, long term clients!    Michelle Jamison

Same Business Ethics & Cover Your Weak Areas – Alignment with the right people to complement your business is one secret to achieving your dream goals.  You should align yourself with people who have the same business ethics, morals and practices that you believe in so that your business grows towards your goals.  Also, it is very important to have members on your team that may fill your weak areas.  An example, if you find yourself disorganized then a business partner who is very organized may teach you the skills you need to attain your productivity goals.  Monkey see, monkey do.  Another way to reach your dreams is to do what you love to do and are passionate about and outsource work that you don’t love doing to other team members who do.  Follow your passions and you’ll find success.     Tawnya Sutherland

Bev McCrostie, M.Ed.
Virtual Assistant Certificate
Red Deer College


The Most Important Hour of Your Day

22 12 2009

Author Brian Tracy has stated that the first hour of your day is the golden hour; the rudder that determines the course of the rest of your day. What do you do for the first hour of your day?

I questioned  four of my favorite Virtual Assistants, who are experts in the Virtual Assistant field, about their successful business strategies. VAs are skilled professionals who provide administrative support and other specialized services to businesses, entrepreneurs, sales professionals, and others who have more work to do than time to do it. Using the latest technology, VAs operate their online businesses from their own homes.

Plan, Organize Team & Write – I’m a morning person so the first hour of my day is always my best work.   I plan my day well during that time, using a Daytimer and dividing the day into ½ hour increments of what needs done.  I also try and organize my team and decide who will do what that day. I also ensure that my desk is cleared and free of clutter.  I work better in those surroundings.  I will look to emails, but not answer at that time unless it’s urgent.  I love to write at this time.  If anything needs proofed, that’s when I can do it best as I have a clear head and the day’s events haven’t started yet.     Diana Ennen (Florida, USA)

Email & Voice Mail – My first hour of work always determines the course of my day. No surprise that messages – email and voice mail – are the first items on my agenda. It is normally these items that set the day’s schedule. I’m a firm believer in prioritizing the day’s work within that first hour and making a list of the items that are urgent, semi-urgent and items that can wait.  Of course as we know in this profession, items can come up unexpectedly, so I plan for this by allowing myself a little wiggle room and then if nothing does come up…I have some “me time”.     Michelle Jamison (Ontario, Canada)

Networking – During the first hour of my day, I spend time motivating myself for the day ahead by networking with others in the business of working virtually.  I grab a cup of tea, relax and read forum and elist posts from other Virtual Assistants that interest me and may help my business succeed even further.  It never fails, I will always find a topic from these posts that may teach me something new or it may just get me thinking about an opinion surrounding a comment which inspires me throughout the rest of my day.     Tawnya Sutherland (British Columbia, Canada)

Walk My Dog – My typical first hour consists of taking my dog for a walk – yes, I see this as an important element of the day because it helps transition my thoughts from home-life to work and gets the blood circulating. When I return, I’m flush from the exercise and enjoyment of talking with someone who is always positive and receptive to hearing my thoughts. Once in my office, I tackle the tons of emails I’ve received overnight, and begin setting up and sending work to clients. Actually, the first three hours of the day are golden, because those are “my hours” (5 a.m. to 8 a.m.), when I can develop my agenda and start working on my daily “to do” list. Once 8 o’clock hits, the phones are ringing and the office is at the beck and call of our myriad of clients.     Sharon Williams (Maryland, USA)

 So how are you spending the first hour of your day? With a new year just days away, perhaps it’s time to reflect on your past business practices and try something new. Will it be planning out your day, answering emails, connecting with others, walking your dog, or even making those difficult telephone calls?

Bev McCrostie, M.Ed.
Virtual Assistant Certificate
Red Deer College

Yikes! I Am Becoming My Mother

10 12 2009

Recently I attended the Startup Princess Annual Conference for Women Entrepreneurs in Salt Lake City, Utah. During Heather Bailey’s Keynote address (, she asked if anyone had a tissue. I quickly reached into my bag and pulled out a package of Kleenex.

While Heather might have appreciated the opportunity to wipe away her tears (she had an inspiring message for women entrepreneurs that touched everyone’s heart), I had one of those “oh, boy” moments. Exactly when did I start loading into my bag:  a mending kit, hand cream, Tylenol, whiteboard markers, toothpaste, AA batteries,  3 rulers, 2 jumpsticks, a handful of mints – to name just a few. Do I need all those things? Well, you just never know when they might come in handy.

But that’s not my only resemblance to my mother. My sisters tease me that just like mom, I can strike up a conversation with virtual strangers. My response is, “Have you never heard of networking?!” What better way to connect with other women entrepreneurs than striking up conversations with the conference attendees. I came away with new contacts and ideas for reaching other markets.

Networking doesn’t have to be just at face-to-face events where you hand out and collect business cards, trying out your various elevator speeches to see which are the most effective. Networking is also being seen online with a blog, Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. It’s writing articles, commenting on other’s blogs, and sponsoring local and online events. For a small dollar amount, you can get the word out about your unique business offering.

So yes, I do talk to strangers and I do have a spare (clean) Kleenex in my bag – just in case.

Bev McCrostie, M.Ed.
Virtual Assistant Certificate
Red Deer College