Dawn At Your Service’s Blog

Seeking Local Website Promotion Ideas

Different types of marketing work for different businesses. The table below lists the different types of tactics that I have, or currently practice in my virtual assistance business website and specialty directory of niche directories. My expertise is in increasing traffic and page rank. I also utilize these strategies for clients. This works well for an online business, but how effective is it for conversion when your target audience is local? What types of Internet Marketing or Website Promotion are effective strategies for something like a heating and air conditioning business or a painting company? Is it worth their time and effort or money to utilize these approaches? If not, where do you think they would see more bang for their buck?

Type: Purpose:
Article Marketing To build credibility, visibility & website traffic (people are naturally curious about the author), and increased back links.  A valuable article in a valuable directory is highly recognized by search engines.
Back linking (An external website that links to your website.) Search engines determine a website’s importance by the amount of “good” sites that link back to them. Posting comments on other blogs relevant to your website using a signature is a good way to increase back links.
Blogging To increase credibility, inform the readers about the person behind the business and their expertise. Fresh content is highly recognized by search engines. Informative and/or entertaining compositions attract people and increase traffic.
Directory Submissions-Major Directories To increases visibility, search engine recognition and website traffic.
Quality Directory Submissions-general & specialty directories To increase back links (Watch out for “spammy” directories.)
Forum Participation To build credibility, business relationships and back links (using a signature).
Micro-Blogging To gain exposure, announcement portal, build relationships and gain credibility as an expert in your field.
Search Engine Optimization Add title tag, meta tags and modify content arrangement and keywords.
Social Bookmarking To gain quality back link(s), niche specific increased visibility (based on relevancy) and increase traffic. Works well for valuable blogs.
Social Networking Sites To gain exposure, announcement portal, build relationships and gain credibility as an expert in your field. Increases back links.
Press Releases To builds visibility and exposure. Generally feeds through news which is good for an SEO boost and temporarily increase web traffic. Increases back links.

June 12, 2009 Posted by | Business Development, Business Management, Marketing, Time Management | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Time Management Tips for the Growing Business

A growing business can be both exciting and stressful for the owner. Here are some time saving tips to help things run a little smoother.
(These tips may not apply to all businesses.)


Be realistic about turn over time and don’t stretch yourself too thin. When juggling multiple projects, it is better to tell your clients that you will have their assignment(s) completed in 7 days and get it to them in 3, rather then telling them it will be completed in 3 days and getting it to them in 7. It is important for your clients to understand that they are not your only client. They are business owners themselves and should understand that ALL client assignments are a priority and each deserves equal attention. Granted some clients are more laid back than others. But that should not be a factor. Each client is valued equally and should be treated the same way. Hopefully your clients respect you enough to understand that.

Prioritize Time

Most people have certain times in the day when their energy levels and focus are high. Tasks that require the most concentration should be scheduled during those periods. Save the tedious and repetitious tasks that you could do in your sleep for the periods of time throughout the day when you feel like you’re hitting the wall.

For example, I feel my most creative and focused in the morning after I’ve had my cup of coffee and energy friendly breakfast. Assignments that require a lot of thought and concentration are usually attended to at this time. If I wait until later in the day when my brain is fuzzy and my eyes start to hurt from staring at the computer all day, it will take me twice as long to accomplish the task.

Consolidate Tasks

Multi-tasking comes natural to me and consolidating tasks is a tactic I have practiced in every career I have ever been in.

Kill 2 birds with one stone. If you have different clients with similar tasks, working on them in bundles can be time efficient. For instance, if you have images to scale for multiple clients, do them all at once. (Hopefully you have a convenient time tracking tool like myhours so you can keep it up in a separate window and track how long you spend on each client.) Rather then opening and closing your image manipulation program and document files several times, open them up, scale all of the images and BAM, you’re done. Although it may only save you a few minutes, every minute counts.

This is also a big help for me when I submit to website directories, create networking profiles or submit articles. This tactic works best for niche specific businesses.

Another example for consolidating tasks is when you write an informational e-mail or forum post, use an elaborated version for a blog post, newsletter or article. Chance are if one person was interested in the information, others are too. This is a good way to consolidate some of your marketing strategies, saving time and creative energy.

Avoid Distractions

Turn off the Television. Just having it on in the background causes your brain to work harder and sucks a little juice from where you need it most; whether is be reading, logic, artistic etc…

Turn the telephone ringer off. OK, this may not be applicable when you’re trying to run a business so rely on your caller i.d. Save conversation with chatty girlfriends for your free time. My friends know that I’m not trying to be rude when I don’t answer their calls during the day. I’m working and my boss prohibits personal phone calls. 😉

Close out your E-mail. Check e-mail at specific times of the day and keep out! E-mail is a big time distraction for many business owners! We can get lost in it all day long and wonder where in the world the day went. Luckily for me, I don’t have a problem closing Outlook. I have to or I won’t get my work done.

Shut down TweetDeck. Twitter can be extremely distracting. Allow certain times of the day for “play” or as we call it….marketing. Let your brain focus on one thing at a time. All of that beeping from TweetDeck compels us to check if we missed something and can cause quick and easy tasks to drag on for hours.


Micro business owners often see slim to no profit in the beginning stages of ownership. We are excited to start rolling in the dough and the idea of outsourcing  feels undesirable. But the important thing to remember is customer loyalty grows our businesses. If we provide efficiency, reliability and excellent customer service, our clients will not only give us more business in the future, but refer us to their friends, family and colleagues. When we take on more work then we should manage, our stress bleeds through correspondence, we fall behind on response time, deadlines and often make mistakes. Outsourcing is an investment. It costs money to make money. And the highlight of outsourcing is it’s only necessary during high peek times. We won’t be crazy busy all of the time. And our chances of experiencing lulls will reduce if we take good care of our clients, even if it means sacrificing a little profit from time to time.

Eat Energy/Focus Food Frequently

Yes, this is actually coming out of my mouth! The reason why is because it works! When you’re blood sugar starts to drop, fatigue increases and concentration plummets resulting in tasks taking much longer then normal. Focus and energy result in higher productivity.

The energy food theory is accurate and has worked wonders for me by eliminating crashes throughout the day. Reducing coffee has also helped reduce headaches and energy crashes. Balanced meals and snacks work well. I need protein combined with carbs or I feel very sleepy. I snack on granolla bars, yogurt with nuts and granolla, crackers and peanut butter, and string cheese wrapped in ham or Turkey. Studies show that omega-3 fatty acids also improve energy and concentration. Everyone’s body is different so it’s important to decipher what works best for you.

To learn more about energy boosting foods, click here.

May 11, 2009 Posted by | Business Management, Time Management | , , , , , , | 2 Comments

My Marketing Pie

I am a big fan of Fabienne Fredirickson and The Client Attraction System. She was my marketing inspiration at the birth of my business. Her model teaches to choose eight marketing strategies, start with a few and slowly integrate the additional strategies. Assess through trial and error what works best for your business. Ultimately this is a great plan. Unfortunately, I am one person running a micro-business with next to nothing for a marketing budget, let alone outsourcing. I am the business operations manager, bookkeeper, marketing director, web designer, client relations manager, janitor, supplies delivery person and being a service based business, I have services to deliver.

Being the rookie that I was, I followed Fabienne’s recommendation and chose eight pieces with the intent of starting off with a few. I started with forum participation, direct mail and website directory submissions. Before I knew it I was posting classifieds, article marketing, social networking and blogging.  I still have newsletters untouched. My eagerness led me to just about devour that pie in a year! I don’t think that is quite what she meant by starting with a few, assess the return and add more in. Perhaps I should have spent the money on the full program!

Needless to say, I have learned a very big lesson about marketing! Time is money! I need to focus on what I am best at that I can accomplish in the least amount of time, that will give me the most in return.

I am not a good writer. (SURPRISE!!!) It takes me a really long time to write. I struggle with translating my feelings into words. I always read, edit, reread, edit again and continue until I’m satisfied. This is the reason I don’t offer content writing as a service. (I offer a ton of services, buy copy is not one of them!) I don’t mind blogging because I feel it builds credibility and is worth my time for several reasons. I can be who I am and if I misspell a word, oops, I’m human and I make mistakes. I don’t feel pressured. I am honestly not trying to impress anyone here. I think it is very important for any potential clients to know who I truly am, what I believe in and what I’m knowledgeable about. I feel that being just who I am is valuable to other small business owners. I would hope that someone considering my services would be able to determine if we would be the right fit for each other by reading through my posts. It will save us both a lot of grief! With that being said, yes it is worth the 1-2 hours it takes me per post, per week. LOL

I am a total social butterfly. I make friends everywhere I go. My family finds it annoying  that I’ve befriended the Dunkin Doughnuts worker, the gas station clerk, lifeguards, etc. It’s who I am and who I’ve always been. I really believe that somewhere across my head it says, “tell me your life story” because sometimes strangers will just walk up to me and start telling me their life stories. I am a people magnet. Maybe because I listen, I respond and I care. This is the gift I’ve been blessed with.

After evaluating what I am good at and not so good at, I have discovered which marketing methods are most beneficial for me. Anything “social” is worth my time and I love it! I enjoy talking to other people, learning about them and their lives. I love learning about other cultures and ways of life in distant places. I find great reward in sharing knowledge and experiences. None of it feels like work and I am good at it. So I’m on a marketing pie diet (cheesy joke-sorry. lol). Until I can afford to outsource, I am cutting out the marketing strategies that deeply involve writing (excluding blogging) and focusing on anything that starts with “social”.

MARKETING TIP: If you’re a micro-business owner without a marketing budget, practice marketing tactics that are right for you. Don’t scatter yourself all over the board. Choose marketing stratagies that compliment your talents.

May 1, 2009 Posted by | Business Development, Marketing | , , , | Leave a comment

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

Free Resources for Virtual Assistants and More

Some people are anal about sharing trade secrets. I’m all about sharing knowledge and helping others succeed.

There are so many free alternative resources out here in cyberspace that it blows me away! Thank goodness for Delicious bookmarks! I will continue to edit and update this post as I continue to learn more about what is available, my experiences with the resources and/or any changes in availability. There is an extensive thread on VA resources on Virtual Assistant Forums and more here (not sure if you have to be a member to view).

Quick Books Simple Start

Administrative Resources
Google Docs-A convenient way to share documents and calendars (I wish Google had more color coding options with the calendar)
Dictionary.com-Have to throw this one in….don’t know where I’d be without my thesaurus!
OpenOffice.org-Free open source alternative to Microsoft Office
Microsoft Office Online-Free templates of pretty much anything you can think of, along with free website hosting and sitebuilder

CurdBee-Online billing for small business owners and freelancers.

Blog Resources
blogger.com-Free Blog Site
BTemplate-Free Blogger Templates
WordPress.com-Free Blog site
WP Generator Blog-Word Press Theme Generator
WP Classic-Free WordPress Themes
Artisteer-Free platform to build custom WordPress (Joomla & Drupal) Themes (Free Trial Only)
Twitter Image.com-Free Twitter Backgrounds
freeCSS Templates.org-Free CSS templates that require a link back (I think you can use these CSS templates for most web design programs.)
13 Premium-Like WordPress Themes That are Free and Stunning
Free Themes Directory– WordPress themes. At the time of this post, Free themes Directory states they have 791 themes!

Fax Zero-Free Internet faxing in the U.S. and Canada-Fax 1 document (max 3 pages), 2 free faxes per day

File Storage, Management & Transfer
Mozy.com-Back up space free for 2 GB
4Shared.com-Back up and shared space free for 5 GB
YouSendit.com-Large file transfers-send only Free version maximum 100 MB
Zamar-Free file conversion
Firezilla-Free FTP Solution-Transfer >4GB
Altools.com-They have a few great PC utilities but I use alzip to unpack zip files

Filehippo-Yeah….I don’t know where to stick this one. It’s a site loaded with free software. Basically a very extended version of this post.
VirtualAssistantsGuide-Looks like I stumbled upon someone else with the same idea 🙂
Tiny URL-I use this URL shorten tool all of the time.
Smashingapps.com– Awesome array of free resources and online tools dedicated to web designers and developers, but useful for all!
Shoestring Small Business-Business resource guide. This site has a products and services directory of free and low cost business tools. One thing I like about it most is it’s also a free business-to-business directory. Good quality directories are great for search engine juice and exposure!

Photo Editing Software
10 Excellent Open Source and Free Alternatives to Photoshop-Thank you Daniel Shain for this resource. I love Gimp! It rocks!
Photoshop Alternatives: Another 14 Free Image Manipulation Tools-Thank you hongkiat.com

PDF Creators-Converters
PDF 995
Primo PDF
PDF Converter-PDF to Word/Excel (Only allowed one every 30 mins so make sure to get it right the first time!)

Project Management
Ace Project-BaseCamp alternative. Up to 5 users, 5 projects and 50 tasks
1st Manager.com
DotProject-Open source project management software
Client Spot– Up to 5 users and 2 projects

OpenZine-Create a free online magazine

Remote Access
Real VNC

Screen Shots
Gadwin PrintScreen 4.3 freeware-Make sure to download the correct (free) version
FireShot-Firefox print screen extension for Mozilla users

Stock Images
100 (Legal) Sources for Free Stock Images-Thank you Laura Milligan for putting the time into this!

Time Tracking
myhours-Time tracking system that I use daily. It allows me to run reports and export time sheets to Excel.
Cashboard-Financial time tracking software that allows unlimited invoices, estimates, payments and one employee log-in.
ManicTime-Time tracking system that logs computer and application usage.

Twitter Buttons -A variety of Follow me coded images.
TweetDeck– Organization interface for twitter users-Makes it a whole lot easier, but can be distracting.
Twellow– The Yellow oages for Twitter users-Great way to follow interesting people and target audience by category. Just Don’t spam….we don’t like that.

Video & Conference Calling
Skype-a head-set is recommended to improve sound quality
ooVoo – video chat & conferencing up to 6 people (make sure to review system requirements)

Web Design & Development (Some template/CSS sites are listed under Blogs Category)
Open Source Flash Projectsa lot of great resources, especially for the more advanced web developer.
CMS Made Simple-Open Source Content Management System
FreePHPLD Templates
Joomla-Content Management System that is a bit more advanced than CMS Made Simple.
Max’s HTML Beauty-Free wysiwyg editor that color codes HTML/PHP Code
FavIcon From Pics-Display your picture or logo in browser tabs or address bar.

March 27, 2009 Posted by | Business Development, Business Management, Free Resources, Work From Home | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Article Marketing

Recently, I have come across several inquiries regarding article marketing. Here is what I know.

Article marketing is used for building trust, credibility and recognition. Writing valuable and intriguing content will have your readers perceiving you as an expert in your field. Most people prefer to do business with knowledgeable and experienced professionals. Article marketing is a way to expose your brilliance.

At the end of your articles, it is important to always include an author resource box containing a link back to your website. An author resource box is a short 2-3 sentence description about you and/or your business. It should be sharp, professional and powerful.

High quality articles may be read and referenced on several other websites or blogs without you even knowing it. Article marketing generally has a viral effect. Think of it like a virus (but a good one :)) that spreads. Most article submission websites offer a reprint option. If someone reads your article and finds the content valuable, they may use it in their newsletter, e-zine, blog, website, or tweet about it. If they reprint it in a publication or on a website, they are required to include your author resource box, resulting in more back links and more traffic to your website. Quality back links are good for search engine juice.

There is some controversy over Google’s Duplicate Content rules. My theory is don’t spam one article to 20 websites. Submit one article to about no more then 4-5 QUALITY sites. I also suggest article directories with higher rankings such as http://ezinearticles.com/. They have a PageRank of 6, get tons of traffic and only accept quality articles. I think it’s one of the largest reprint article directories out there. http://biznik.com/articles is another good one. Although it is more of a social networking site, there are great articles on there and a lot of professional people. I guess you would have to consider your target market and weigh out where submitting your articles would be the most beneficial.

The bottom line is, you’re wasting your time submitting to disreputable websites that no one visits. If you see an article directory that accepts poorly written content or “adult” articles, chances are business professionals are not going to be looking there for content for their newsletters, blogs or websites.

One last thing before I pass on the Article Directory info, people submit the most unbelievable crap articles so don’t put too much pressure on yourself like I did. Here is the criteria I have for my article directory and any quality directory is pretty much the same:

Articles are denied on my directory if any of the following occur:
Incorrect spelling/grammar errors
Incorrect sentence structure
Keyword stuffing
Multiple article submissions on the same topic submitted at once
Article sounds like an promotional ad
Article contains content not promoted on Nichelister such as adult, gambling, weapons, alcohol or anything at the discretion of the website’s owner
Hyperlinks in the body of the article
More than two hyperlinks in the Author Resource box
404 Page error during website review

I’m not an English major or anything so article submissions do not have to be perfect. But the sentences at least have to make sense and the content informative.

On to the good stuff….Article Directories

Here is a directory with 729 Article Directories http://www.web-directories.ws/Press/Articles/
My article directory http://www.nichelister.com
Lots of wonderful women here at this directory http://www.wahm-articles.com/
Good Quality…http://www.mygreencorner.com/


UPDATE: February 23rd, 2010

This update is being added as a result of a recent misunderstanding I witnessed (indirectly).
Please understand that when you submit articles to directories, you are generally giving consent for OTHER PEOPLE to publish your article on their blog, website, newsletter, etc… This is pretty much the purpose of these directories. This is a GOOD thing, not a bad thing. You are gaining more and more exposure and backlinks every time someone publishes your article. This is the point. It’s free marketing, kind of like a referral. Someone found your information worthy enough to share it with others.

Your content and author resource box is required to remain fully intact without ANY modifications. It is only a violation if these rules are not followed. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE people, read your terms of service when submitting your articles. If you do not wish to grant others permission to use your article, your best bet is not to submit it!

March 9, 2009 Posted by | Business Development, Marketing | , | 2 Comments

Boni Jovi Video filmed at My Part Time Work Place

This is something I think is really neat and would like to share. I just found out that Bon Jovi’s video Lost Highway (2007) was filmed at my part time place of employment Fitzgerald’s. There have actually been quite a few films that have scenes filmed at Fitzgerald’s including The Color of Money (1986), Adventures in Babysitting (1986) and a recent debut, Express (2008).

All of the scenes of Bon Jovi playing in a club were shot at Fitzgerlds. The waitress wiping the table down at the end….an actress. 🙂

Embedding has been disabled for this video. 😦 You’ll have to visit http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6s4xQ6dqdhQ if you’re interested in viewing it. That’s disappointing.

March 2, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The Twitter Craze


Every time I turn around I see another article, blog, seminar, teleseminar, webinar and even television news clips about using Twitter for  business. I have heard several success stories so of course I jumped on the bandwagon. I’m all about Web 2.0 and social marketing.

For those of you who are not familiar with Twitter, it is a social networking website where you chat (proper term: micro-blog) with other users that you follow and whom follow you. There is a limit of 140 characters so you have to keep it short and sweet.

I have been on Twitter for roughly 2 months. I think I have finally got the hang of it. I use TweetDeck which is an application that splits up the messages of people you are following, people who are responding to your tweets and direct messages you receive. I find it is easier to manage when the information is broken down.

Now who do you follow?

You follow people who may provide interesting tidbits of knowledge or information.  Just search on a keyword or phrase and there is no doubt you’ll find some interesting characters to follow. As you know I’m an SEO nerd so I follow people like Matt Cutts (a big dog at Google) and other SEO experts. I am a woman entrepreneur and like following other successful women to exchange thoughts and experiences throughout the day. I follow all different types of people mostly related to my professional industry. I do not follow everyone whom follows me. I review their profile and website to determine whether or not I am interested in following them back. If their website appears spammy or is a get rich quick site, I do not follow back.

Who would want to follow you?

I still ask myself that question daily. I don’t know why in the world anyone would care what I do! LOL Especially since I pretty much do the same things daily. But since I have amazingly gained 136 followers, I try to come up with something appealing to say. If I read something interesting, get stuck on a project or eat a bad piece of meat (yikes!) I tweet about it.

PROS of Using Twitter

Stronger Relationships: So far I have not retained any new clients from Twitter. Although, I feel a more personal level developing in the relationships I have built with people I know from forums. I see their regular posts of activities and experiences daily. I tweet back and engage in a chat type conversation. I am building and strengthening my relationships with other small business owners, gaining trust and credibility.

Gained Knowledge: A few weeks ago I was able to hear 1st hand from Matt Cutts the juicy details of what was going on at the Search Marketing Expo (SMX) in California. I would have loved to attend that expo!  Reading up-to-date tweets from an influential attendee gave me a slight feeling of involvement.

Sometimes people post inspirational, goofy or informative messages. I find it enjoyable to interact with interesting people from all over the world throughout my day.

Increased Visibility: Every time I submit a new post via Twitter, it appears to all of my followers who are on Twitter at the time. The more they see my face, the more they will recognize me and get to know who I am and what I do. I often post assignments I’m working on to give people an idea of the type of work I do as a Virtual assistant. Basically, it is a way for me to publicize my services without sounding pushy.

My profile and engagement on Twitter has brought traffic to my website. More traffic is good!

Many social networking sites are now adding a Twitter feed. For example, Facebook has a feed application. Every time I submit a post on Twitter, my status on Facebook gets updated. When status is updated, it appears on my Facebook friends’ profiles, which all of their friends can see. This may sound confusing if you are not familiar with Facebook. But the point is, the more people see your face the more you will be remembered. Especially if your content is memorable!

Cons of Using Twitter

Time Consuming: I find using Twitter to be very time consuming and slightly distracting. I’ve had TweetDeck up while writing this blog and I can’t tell you how many times I’ve stopped to engage in conversation. I obviously wouldn’t have TweetDeck up while on a client’s dollar, therefore when I have a full workload, I do not have time to tweet. I wonder how so many self-employed professionals manage to find so much time to spend on Twitter. I know some VA’s who offer it as a service, but it kind of defeats the purpose of genuineness and building relationships. Of course if a client wanted me to post a number of superficial tweets for them I wouldn’t mind doing it. I personally just don’t see it being as effective.

Safety Issues: This is something I have not seen explored publicly yet. I am sure it has been; I just have not come across any information regarding safety concerns. Perhaps it is my previous law enforcement training in my career as a dispatcher or I just watch the news way too much, but there really should be more attention focused on safety using Twitter.

A majority of Twitter users post personal things such as what they are doing, where they are at, where they are going, who they are doing it with, when and so forth. I’m guilty, I supply the same information. If a serial killer wanted to hack me up, it wouldn’t be too difficult.

There are also a lot of Twitter Meet-Ups including vacations and cruises. I think it’s a really cool and fun idea, but what about the potential risks? I hate to say this and sound negative; the truth is we live in a scary world. I won’t get into the types of things I have seen in training or on the job. Just keep in mind that sick people exist all over the world (especially cyberspace) so be cautious!

For more information on using Twitter for business, check out this informative article written by Zeke Camusio Twitter Marketing – Using Twitter to Promote Your Business

Another Good Resource written by C.G. Lynch: Twitter: How to Get Started Guide for Business People

February 26, 2009 Posted by | Marketing | 3 Comments