Wednesday, August 20, 2014

My 5 Favorite ‘Work From Anywhere’ Places

The main reason I started my virtual assistant business (Top Notch Admin) was because I wanted to be able to work from anywhere. I’ve always enjoyed traveling and with today’s technology, I can generate an income and be productive while enjoying a change of scenery and spending time with family and friends. Here are my top five favorite places to plug-in and get the job done!!


My home office – I loved creating my home office!! It may not be ‘traditional’ but it’s ME and it’s relaxing and comfy.

The back porch – This is where I like to work from if I want to be surrounded by nature, but still be comfortable and feel at home (i.e. sweats and no make-up!). Listening to birds chirp and feeling a breeze while working is bringing the best of both worlds together.

Library – I love, love, love books and the smell of a library!! I probably visit a library a couple of times a week. It doesn’t matter what town or city I’m in, I know where the closest library is and their hours of operation. And although technology is important to working virtually and I keep up with all the latest, I still enjoy holding and reading a good book. 

Beach front café – Location, location, location. There is nothing more relaxing to me than seeing and hearing the waves hit the shore. I seem to be more focused and therefore more productive when the waves are my ‘white noise.’

Best friend’s kitchen – The ambience, the company, the smells….what more is there to say? As long as you can keep interruptions to a minimum this is a great place to work. I seem to stay focused and on-task working here because I know there is going to be a great reward after a good day’s work – quality time with someone who means the world to me!

Having the ability to ‘work from anywhere’ has made me a happier person and therefore more productive. I know each day I’m going to enjoy my work environment and that makes me more enthusiastic! Don’t you want to partner with a happy and enthusiastic VA?

Let’s talk, formulate a plan and start building a long-term working relationship that is prosperous and gratifying for both of us ~~ Susan

Friday, August 15, 2014

How Dropbox Can Help You Take Your Law Practice Virtual

File sharing is a necessity for your law practice if you have a virtual office or are partnered with a legal virtual assistant. Dropbox is easy to use and is available for Windows, Mac and Linux and has applications available for iPhone, iPad, Android and Blackberry. Because Dropbox syncs your files on any device you use, you can literally access and edit your files from anywhere you have internet access. Dropbox offers both personal and business use plans starting at $9.99 per month.

Of course, because of the sensitivity and confidentiality of client flies here is an article by Legal Productivity on how to secure your Dropbox account.

I’ve been using Dropbox for two years and have had no problems at all with file sharing or security issues. The days of emailing files to your secretary or legal assistant are over!!

Let’s talk, formulate a plan and start building a long-term working relationship that is prosperous and gratifying for both of us ~~ Susan

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

4 Benefits of Using a Specialized Virtual Assistant Rather Than a Virtual Receptionist to Answer Your Phone

As a solo practice lawyer in the process of building your practice, having your telephone answered appropriately should be one of your top priorities. After all, this is most people’s first impression of you and your business.  There are a lot of options out there for virtual receptionist services but before you make a decision consider the options of using an experienced virtual assistant.

Cost Effectiveness – When paying for a virtual receptionist most services charge either a flat fee or a per call fee. When using an experienced virtual assistant you can pay a monthly retainer for bundled services and have more tasks completed than just your phone answered. You may end up paying more, but you will benefit by having more time to focus on your cases and billable hours.

Personal Touch and Call Filtering – Having your phone answered by a real live person provides a personal touch that leaving a voice mail can’t do.  It also saves you the time later of having to return calls that could possibly be a waste of your time like wrong numbers, sales calls or recorded messages.

Experience and Knowledge – When choosing a legal virtual assistant you are getting an expert in the area of law firm administration and therefore your callers will feel they have a knowledgeable person taking their call. Someone with legal experience will be able to ask the right questions so you spend less time on the phone asking your callers basic questions and more time getting the useful information you need for the case.

Flexibility – If you partner with a virtual assistant you will have an on-going relationship and daily or weekly dialogue (depending on your needs) and therefore will be able have flexibility in regards to who to take messages from and when and who you speak with directly. You can also have your virtual assistant return phone calls for you freeing up even more time for you to spend on billable hours.

Let’s talk, formulate a plan and start building a long-term working relationship that is prosperous and gratifying for both of us ~~ Susan

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Virtual Assistant vs Employee – Part 4 – A Niche for Everyone

Most Virtual Assistants (VA) work within a niche market chosen because of a passion they have.  As everyone knows, you learn everything you can about your passion and become an expert at it! I chose my niche market of solo practice lawyers and small law firms because of my love of the law and the legal system and because most lawyers are no-nonsense, straight shooting people who appreciate the same in someone they work with.  

Here are a few of the different types of VAs:

  • General VAs – Email and contact management, general correspondence, transcription, data entry and travel arrangements (just to name a few of the tasks they do)
  • Legal VAs –knowledge of law firm administration, legal procedures and legal terminology
  • Medical VAs – knowledge of medical office administration and medical terminology
  • Real Estate VAs – listing coordination,  manages transactions, marketing assistance
  • Technical VAs – creates and manages websites, blogs, newsletters, social media, etc.

When choosing a VA you want to research the different types and find one that is an expert in the area you need assistance in.  Before retaining a VA ask questions, get all of the facts and make sure you have a contract outlining the services to be provided. You won’t be disappointed!!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Virtual Assistant vs Employee – Part 3 – Knowledge and Skills

When you contract with a Virtual Assistant (VA) you are pairing yourself and business with another business owner, so you are gaining the knowledge of a professional who has business management experience.  Before you begin working with a VA set forth in a contract the description of services to be provided so your virtual assistant will be productive from the minute they begin working for you.

You will find that VAs have a wider skill set than traditional employees and you won’t need to spend days training them as you would an employee. When you are hiring an employee, you usually don’t hire the same person to take care of your correspondence and contact management as you do to build or update your business website. Because Virtual Assistants rely on technology to run their businesses they are up to date on the latest, which means your VA may be able to provide both types of services. 

The knowledge and skills that a Virtual Assistant brings to your business is invaluable!

Photo by: Custom Courses | DLC Worldwide

Monday, July 7, 2014

Virtual Assistant vs Employee - Part 2 - DEDICATION!!

Most virtual assistants are business owners and therefore are more dedicated to delivering a better work product, whereas most employees get paid regardless of their effort and work product. If a VA doesn't deliver they don't get paid and/or lose a client! And because VAs are business owners they understand the importance of time management and productivity so they will look for tasks to do for you so you can focus on business development.

Your benefit to hiring a VA? More DEDICATION to getting the job done well and less micro-managing of office employees!

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

VA vs Employee-Part 1-Saving $60,000 a Year!

In the two years that I've been in business as a virtual assistant (VA) I've spent a lot of time explaining what a virtual assistant is - what they do and don't do and the benefits of using a virtual assistant as opposed to an employee. I decided to devote the month of July to getting into the habit of blogging regularly so I'm going to do a series on VA vs Employee. Since money is the bottom line for most people, Part 1 is about the cost effectiveness of using a VA.

Most people who are considering a VA may look at their hourly rate or monthly retainer fee and think the cost is too high, but actually you're saving over $60,000 a year by using a VA. Check this out before you dismiss the idea!!

A cost comparison for a full-time employee versus a Virtual Assistant
Virtual Assistant
Hourly Rate of Pay
Fringe Benefits @ 35%
(Health/Dental/Life Insurance, Retirement Plans)
Overhead Rate @ 50%
(Office Space, Equipment & Office Supply expense, UI Insurance, Worker’s Compensation, Overtime Pay, Administration Costs)
Total Effective Rate of Pay
**Hours Per Year
2,080 hrs.
480 hrs.
TOTAL Annual Labour Cost

Difference = $60,160.00 per year

*Souce: Virtual Assistant Networking Association