Dawn At Your Service’s Blog

Networking Turn Offs

Aggressively advertising on social networking sites, Twitter or at networking events is a total turn off to me. It doesn’t matter how much material is composed on this topic, many people simply don’t seem to care.

Social Networking Sites

I find great value in forums that have a zero tolerance policy for this type of behavior. Some forums allow specific days to post announcements which I find to be a happy medium. We all like to share our current news and specials. But I have found too often people abuse direct messaging, especially on Facebook and ning sites.

As you can tell, I am pretty involved in social media networking. I’m a junkie; I’m not ashamed. 🙂  I utilize these portals as a way to establish business relationships, gain exposure and make new friends. If someone can use my services, that’s great. If not, a few good laughs is worth the time I put into it. I belong to numerous social networking sites. Seldom do I send friend requests unless the person intrigues me or is a fellow Virtual Assistant. I am pretty open to accepting new friends and connections unless their business is a Get Rich Quick Scheme. I always screen their profiles and try to determine if they are apparent spammers. If nothing stands out, I accept. But the moment I start getting hit with comments and/or direct messages of blatant advertising, that person is off my list. If I find forums where these activities are acceptable in posts, I rarely go back.


Twitter is another example. It can be a good way to gain exposure, post announcements and have a little fun. But I really don’t have any interest in following people that ONLY post ads. If they don’t contribute knowledge, insight or engage in conversation I have no desire to follow their activity. I always prescreen Twitter profiles and their related websites before following. I also do a quick scan of their updates to make sure they are not all ads.

Nowadays, a lot of Virtual Assistants and marketing firms provide Social Media Management as a service (including myself). I totally get that it is very time consuming and see the benefits of outsourcing this aspect of business. But it’s important to make sure that whomever is handling this for you does more than just post ads if you want to reap the benefits. It has to come with a personalized touch. Why would someone want to follow you when it’s obvious your ad company is just posting ads, unless you are Adam Sandler? (I heart Adam Sandler :)) I received a notification today that Many Moore of Gossip Girls is now following me on Twitter. Yeah….OK….delete.

Social Networking Events

Most of us, with the exception of newbies know the etiquette of social networking events. We introduce ourselves, listen, chat, pass everyone a business card and sometimes eat and drink. During conversation we answer questions and offer knowledge on topics we are familiar with. I find networking events very enjoyable and a great excuse to sneak out of the house. What I don’t think is cool is coming across people who are like aggressive car salesmen. They make me feel like I’m on trial bombarding me with questions in their tactics of trying to sell me their product or service. It reminds me of being in my 20s and trying to escape a guy hitting on me at a bar. I look for any excuse to get away. Don’t people realize I have their card and all of their contact information. I heard their elevator pitch. If I need something they offer, I know where to find them. But if they are annoyingly pushy, I will toss their card right in the trash can.

As I mentioned, business cards are distributed to all event attendees. I know that this opens me up to being on marketing lists. It’s part of the deal and there is no way around it if I want to pass my cards out. Everyone has their own marketing methods and I can respect that. I don’t cold call or list build. That doesn’t mean it doesn’t work for other people. But it is not very nice or legal to spam me with ads without giving me the option to opt out. Nor is it nice to cold call me at 8pm. These type of tactics will ensure no business or referrals will ever come from me.


April 22, 2009 Posted by | Business Development, Marketing | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

At Your Service Celebrates 1st Anniversary

anniversarycelebrationToday is one year since I opened the virtual doors of At Your Service Freelance Administrative Support. I can’t believe the year has gone by so fast!

I am proud to say I am where I had hoped to be at this time. There are no words to describe the gratitude I feel for having left my former career and running my virtual assistance business full time. It is a dream come true and I am so proud of myself! Hooray for me!

As I have mentioned previously, one of the biggest reasons I wanted to leave my previous career was because I needed to surround myself in a more positive environment. I wanted to work with genuine, honest, warm and kindhearted people like myself. I love helping others, but when they are dishonest and self centered I am demotivated BIG TIME.

I have been truly blessed to have retained some of the best clients ever. They have become my friends and I actually look forward to working on their projects. It feels great to make their lives a little easier. My clients trust me, rely on me and treat me with the utmost respect. They are truthful and considerate. I couldn’t ask for anything more other than continuing to attract more wonderful people. 🙂

Although I have yet to discover my niche, I believe I have advanced a lot. I am much more confident, have implemented policies and procedures and can whip out a proposal much quicker these days! My internet marketing skills have increased tremendously and I have adapted to small business ownership. I think it will probably take me about another year to discover my niche. I know it’s beneficial to offer specific services as oppose to being the jack-of-all trades VA (like me). But I have a variety of skills to offer and haven’t determined what my favorite types of projects are yet. Like I said, I love working for my clients. They know my skill sets and easily find work for me to do. When I see an RFP or someone contacts me directly for a project in which I feel competent, I go for it.

All in all, I am very excited to celebrate my 1st anniversary as founder and chief operator of At Your Service and couldn’t be happier with how far I’ve come in the 1st year of owning my own business. Happy Anniversary to me!!


April 16, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

ShareO For Outlook-Not a Fan

ShareO for Outlook is a program that allows users to share and synchronize Outlook folders such as e-mail, tasks, contacts, calendars, notes, documents and files. There is a 14 days free trial period and costs about $35 per PC that uses the program.

When I first used the program during the trial period and had problems with the data not synchronizing, I should have decided right then and there to try another option. But a lot of time was spent creating folders and sending (and resending and resending) data. I blamed the issues on my lack of experience with the program. There isn’t a lot of user information posted online or in the help section that could have helped me. Fortunately, I was at least able to get online support. The ShareO Representative Don whom helped me several times was absolutely wonderful! He was patient and helped the best he could.

After a few days of e-mails not coming through, Don was able to to resolve the issue by resending the data and changing some configurations remotely. Everything seemed to be working properly so we purchased the licenses. Then again, e-mails and tasks were not synchronizing. I kept getting calendar reminders that I repetitively disabled. Mail and folders came through in duplicates and multiples and some didn’t come through at all. I would move e-mails into folders and tasks and they wouldn’t display on the other shared PC. Attachments were getting lost and some e-mails disappearing completely.

ShareO was contacted again and their first solution was to check if shared sub-folders were set under inbox sharing options and if so, disable this option and then one by one re-send the data from all folders.

That didn’t work out so the next steps were to:

  1. Open MS Outlook on the machine which has all shared folder items
  2. Click on ShareO menu > Management Panel.
  3. Select shared folder on the left side of Management Panel
  4. Click on the e-mail address of the user who is missing shared folder items
  5. Click Re-send Data… Check option ‘All’.
  6. After resending is done, please click on Send\Receive on sending machine
  7. Wait a couple of minutes and click on Send\Receive on receiving machine

Notice that there are “Do not send private or personal items”, “Do not send birthday and anniversaries” and “Do not send holiday appointments” options in ShareO > Management Panel

If that does not resolve the problem:

Perform this on all machines involved in sharing:  – Close MS Outlook – Go to Start > Run > Type %appdata% click enter > Go to 4Team folder > Rename ShareO folder to ShareO_bak – Go to My Documents – Rename ShareO folder to ShareO_bak – Start MS Outlook * You will get a pop-up warning that ShareO database cannot be found. Please do not point it to ShareO_bak folder, just accept it by clicking OK After this is done on all machines, please share the folders again.

Guess what? None of that resolved the problems either. We had to both uninstall and reinstall the progams. ShareO still didn’t work. We got our favorite ShareO representative Don back on live chat and he took remote access to both PCs, reconfigured the systems and resent the data AGAIN!

The shared inbox messages finally came through again but still in multiples at times, deletions were not applying (although they were configured to) and messages and attachments were getting lost.

The money isn’t worth the frustration. The result of losing a client’s important e-mail is priceless. There comes a time when you just have to let it go. Cut the losses and move on!

April 3, 2009 Posted by | Business Management, Business Operations | , , , | Leave a comment