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Review of “Hello Post” by Honizukle Press

One of the best things about being a virtual assistant to creative entrepreneurs is that I get to work with super rockin’ clients like Kimberly Costa.

Not only is she an amazing web designer but she also has an online letterpress shop, “Honizukle Press” (pronounced like ‘honeysuckle’). And now she’s launching a monthly subscription box with her awesome letterpress products called “Hello Post.”

Kimberly was kind enough to send me a box from the first shipment so I could check it out. We’re going to be working together on marketing for her Honizukle Press and Hello Post.

I was so excited to receive my Hello Post! Don’t you just love getting something purely fun in the mail as a break from bills and ads? GET OUT! Me too!

So here’s the cute box that Hello Post arrived in.

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When I opened it up, I was greeted with aqua sparkly tissue paper that made me smile :) There aren’t many problems in the world that aqua sparkly tissue won’t solve, am I right?DSCN7663

 

Underneath, you can see the happy yellow crinkle paper. Between the perfectly-sized box, the tissue, and the crinkle paper, Hello Post is packaged so well. It’s pretty AND functional; all the products were in perfect condition with no bent corners, wrinkles, or tears.DSCN7664

 

Here are all the items spread out so you can get a better look. Counterclockwise from top right: A cute little paper bag sealed with washi and containing 3 custom-made sticker sheets (10 stickers total); a letterpress thank you card w/envelope; a letterpress Mother’s Day card w/envelope; and a set of personalized notecards and envelopes, tied with silvery twine.DSCN7667

 

Is this cool or what? Thick white notecards with my name letterpressed in a gorgeous green color (can you tell from my website that I love green?). They have a nice clear storage box to keep them in great shape until I’m ready to send one to a special friend or client. It’s really hard to choose but I think this is my favorite item in the Hello Post box.DSCN7668

There were 8 of the personalized notecards and 8 envelopes. Here’s another look at the stickers – which you can use as envelope seals – and I forgot to mention the adorable flair button that was also included! Did you notice that both greeting cards were in clear sleeves as well? Kimberly really covered every detail, didn’t she?

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Lookie, lookie at the gorgeous sea green letterpress on “my” notecards. I love the mix of the pretty script font on top with the more straightforward font on the bottom and the 5 dots underneath add that special touch. I can’t believe you get 8 personalized items with each Hello Box.

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My photos just can’t do these cards justice. So so pretty! I wish you could see the depth in the letterpress like it shows in person. You can run your fingers over it and it’s so special, so classy, so perfect for my mama.

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Both of the greeting cards had a colorful “Honizukle Press” letterpress mark on the back. So when someone receives one of these cards from me, they’ll know where to go and order their own. Perfect :)

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I got another sweet surprise when I opened the envelope for the Mother’s Day card. Look at that gorgeous print lining the envelope! My goodness, I just love all these special touches and can’t believe (don’t kill me, Kimberly) that she doesn’t charge more for these boxes plus includes free shipping.

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If you’re wondering about getting Hello Post for yourself or as a gift, this is what is sent each month:

Hello Post will come right to your door in a lovely, custom designed box that will include a set of 8 personalized, letterpress stationery & envelopes, 2 greeting cards and 10 custom designed stickers to seal all of your correspondence.

Check out this animated video Kimberly made about Hello Post:

Yep, she MADE that herself. This lady is mad talented, people! And I’m not just kissing up because she’s my client and fellow B-Schooler :D

So that’s my review of the Hello Post monthly box. I hope you enjoyed it. If you have any questions about Kimberly’s products or my virtual assistant services, don’t hesitate to ask, love <3

Super Soul Sessions 2: Oprah, Marie Forleo, Cheryl Strayed, and More … Amazing Day!

On Saturday, April 9, 2016, I was lucky enough to attend Oprah’s “Super Soul Sessions 2” at Royce Hall, UCLA. Here’s my diary of the event, to share with you and because I never want to forget it :) Please grab your favorite beverage and get comfortable – this is a long one!

Speak to Me

To start, here’s a list of the amazing speakers, with links to their websites:
Shaka Senghor, author of Writing My Wrongs, prisoner activist, speaker
Marie Forleo, entrepreneur, star of MarieTV, and owner of Marie Forleo’s B-School
Cheryl Strayed, author of “Wild”, made into a movie with Reese Witherspoon
Caroline Myss, author, speaker, and medical intuitive
Amandla Stenberg, Hunger Games actress, activist, “New Progressive”
Kris Carr, “Crazy, Sexy, Healthy”, author, wellness advocate, cancer thriver
India.Arie, Grammy-winning singer/songwriter/producer
Dr. Shefali Tsabary, clinical psychologist and author of The Conscious Parent
Eckhart Tolle, spiritual teacher, author of New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose
Kerry Washington, ABC’s Scandal lead actress, activist

Sign-Up, Arrival, and Photos (or lack thereof)

As I’ve talked about before, I attended Marie Forleo’s B-School and that’s how I heard about this event. Marie e-mailed subscribers when she found out she’d be part of the event, and then again when pre-sale tickets went live. I knew they’d go fast so I jumped on and got my ticket before I had time to talk myself out of it. If I recall correctly, tickets ranged from $175-250 for the all-day event.

I live 3 1/2 hours from Los Angeles so the day of the event – after not much sleep because I was excited – I got up at 4am, left the house at 5am, and arrived at 8:30 for the 9am event. Phew!  I went alone and didn’t know anyone there but you could tell it was a good vibe, with everyone smiling and anxious to see what the day would bring. Here’s a Facebook Live recording of Oprah’s welcome to us. It was wonderful and really set the tone for the day. {You can see more video from SSS2 on the OWN Facebook Page}.

I was very disappointed that we weren’t allowed to bring in cameras. In fact, in e-mail instructions before the event, we were told to downsize our purses; no totes/larger purses and no cameras. Cell phones were allowed but, even with the decent camera on my iPhone 6+, it was impossible to get good photos due to lighting and distance. My pics are down at the bottom and you can find lots more online; use #SuperSoulSessions on the social media of your choice.

I’m gonna’ share my observations, some quotes, what I learned, etc. from my favorite speakers.

Oprah – Introduction

You saw part of it in the link above but she basically welcomed us, did a meditation, and then introduced the first guest. In telling about Shaka Senghour, she told a funny story about having his book for quite a while before she actually read it. She said she finds it so hard to get rid of hard copy books and that she needs a book rehab program. LOL, can totally relate.

Shaka Senghour

Shaka grew up in a very rough situation and, while living the gang lifestyle, committed murder. He served 19 years in prison, much of it in solitary confinement. He had a lot of time to think and many experiences that changed him into the man he is today, which he talks about in his book, Writing My Wrongs: Life, Death, and Redemption in an American Prison {all book links in this post are Amazon affiliate links; if you make a purchase after clicking on one, I receive a small commission}.

After receiving letters of forgiveness from his victim’s family members, Shaka learned “what forgiveness looks like in action” and that “humans by nature are capable of redemption.” To forgive himself, he had to break down everything he thought was his identity and he began that through his writing. He discovered that he was a man on the outside but really just a broken little boy with years of hurt and abandonment.

He asked us, “When was the last time you were completely honest and raw with yourself?” We don’t do this often enough. He said that “transformation comes when we can see the broken child in every person, their true self,” and he gave us permission to see the child in ourselves. He talked about how there are no better innovators than prisoners – making things out of nothing – but that in prison, innovation = breaking the rules. He encouraged us to use our raw materials to create our life’s vision.

Marie Forleo

Marie was the reason I went to Super Soul Sessions 2 and one of my favorites to hear. She was very fun and funny, more dramatic than we usually see her in B-School and on Marie.tv.  She used two personal stories to weave in her famous idea that “everything is figureoutable.” The saying came from her mother, who sounds like a hoot, with her Tropicana orange radio playing all over the house, even on the roof while making some repairs by herself :)

Marie told a hilarious story about her and her honey Josh racing through the airport carrying a huge duffle bag past “soccer playing Smurfs” to make a flight to Spain. At the airline counter, the woman clicked and clacked her computer, frowned, looked Marie in the eye, and said, “You’re never going to make it.”

For some crazy reason, my eyes filled instantly with tears. I don’t know if that was supposed to be our reaction and I didn’t understand why it WAS my reaction, given the frenzied tone Marie was using to share the funny story. After digesting it, I think it just hit that chord in me (I know you have it too) of all the years and all the naysayers, the lack of support even from friends and family (usually because they don’t understand, not because they don’t love us), and that deep fierceness we have that brings tears. “Yes, I AM gonna’ make it. I don’t care what you think.”

Marie’s message was that we are unstoppable, what we say in our minds matters, and that we are “divinely blessed and infinitely capable.” Amen.

Cheryl Strayed

Cheryl was the other main reason I’d gone to the event. Of all her books, I’ve only read Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Coast Trail but I thought it was fascinating and I identified with several things she’s been through (single parent upbringing, loss of a parent as a young adult, etc). Oprah said she’s been giving copies  of Cheryl’s new book, Brave Enough, to a lot of people. This is her favorite quote from the book:

“You let time pass. That’s the cure. You survive the days. You float like a rabid ghost through the weeks. You cry and wallow and lament and scratch your way back up through the months. And then one day you find yourself alone on a bench in the sun and you close your eyes and lean your head back and you realize you’re okay.” Yep, sounds like a book I need to buy.

Cheryl had a surprising message but one that I really liked, about having big but maybe unattainable dreams vs being happy where you are. She said that at yoga class, her poses never look like the instructor’s, who told her, “The goal is not to attain the perfect pose. The goal is to attempt it.” Cheryl’s goal now with her writing is not to be a famous author but to “make beauty and sorrow in other people’s hearts.”

When she was young, she was “arrogantly ambitious.” Then when she was a senior in college, her mom died at age 45 and Cheryl suddenly had no one who believed in her. She had to “propel her own engine.” She talked of attaining an MFA which these days can = waitress, and of being pregnant for the first time determined to work on her book and being distracted by her inaugural cable TV. This brought all kinds of doubt whether she was capable of attaining her huge goal of being a New York Times bestselling author; it just seemed “too big to hold” and that she was “too much of a failure to follow through.”

After these and other experiences, she decided that you have to “reckon with who you actually turned out to be,” despite these great plans you had as a young woman. She decided, “If I’m going to fall short of greatness, I need to redefine greatness.” That allowed her the belief, “I just had to write a book. That’s all.” Cheryl joked, “If you’re perfect, we don’t want to know you” and that her idea for a bumper sticker is “Surrender to Your Own Mediocrity.” Just make good on your intentions and it’s okay to hold two opposing truths in one hand.

I don’t think this message resonates with everyone but it did with me. I didn’t say as a child, “When I grow up, I want to be a virtual assistant!” LOL I had other dreams and plans, ranging from criminal psychologist to a writer living in Italy. I graduated from college and worked my way up to an impressive career position. Awesome. Then I had kids and everything shifted. My goal changed from “being successful at work” to “being more present in my children’s lives.” Like Cheryl said, I redefined greatness. Now I’m an amazing mom, which is my goal every day and my proudest achievement. So, needless to say, I LOVED Cheryl Strayed at Super Soul Sessions :) “Surrender to your own mediocrity!”

India.Arie

I arrived as someone who’d just “heard of” India.Arie and left as a huge fan! She was open, nervous, truthful, talented, beautiful, and had the voice of an angel. India told her story through a “SongVersation” which combined her speaking with her music. She included our voices as well while she told the story of her hugely successful career, feelings of overwhelm and loneliness, a breakdown, isolation, learning, and finally rebirth. She spoke so poetically about these difficult themes in a way you could see into her while applying them to yourself as well. On my Facebook profile, I shared the video from SSS2 where she sang “I Am Light” but it might not be visible to you. So HERE’s a link to watch her sing the same song on YouTube (song starts at 2:10). I think it gives a great view into who she is and I know you’ll love India.Arie as much as I now do.

Kerry Washington

I didn’t take notes while listening to Kerry but she was another favorite. Oprah interviewed her, asking her signature “deep” questions to elicit heartfelt answers. Kerry talked about her new movie “Confirmation” where she plays Anita Hill, how Anita was quite underwhelmed by Kerry when they first met, etc. Kerry remembers the case from her childhood because it was the first time her parents sort of disagreed at the dinner table discussion, because they came at it from different perspectives, as did Anita and Clarence Thomas. Kerry talked about wanting to be an actress but not “famous” because she values her private life and family. She decided early on that she’d be more of a character actor, have union insurance, hopefully steady work, but stay in the background. Well, oops, that didn’t exactly work out :) She was lovely and I like her even more than I already did.

Wrap Up

Overall, what an amazing day! Oprah was WAY funnier than I thought. She made me laugh a lot, like when she commented on all “the tinklers” heading up the aisle between speakers to use the restroom. The event felt relaxed and spiritual. I met such interesting people at lunch time, where we compared our perceptions of what we’d heard so far, learned about each other’s passions, and more.

The meal was a box lunch but healthy and delicious (a choice of turkey or chicken sandwich, handmade chips, salad, protein bar, desert, and drinks). At lunchtime, it absolutely poured rain but that didn’t seem to dampen anyone’s spirits. We just dealt with looking like drowned rats :) Afterward, I saw on social media that Danielle Laporte and Christiane Northrup were in the audience but I didn’t see them :(

The only downer about the day was that it took 40 minutes to get out of the parking garage afterward – but that’s not Oprah’s fault :P I thoroughly enjoyed Super Soul Sessions 2 and highly recommend you go the next time they have one.

iPhone Photo Gallery

 

 

How To Easily Add AND Collect Testimonials for Your WordPress Website or Blog

If you’re a service provider or have a product-based business, including testimonials on your site is a great way to instill confidence in potential clients. By linking to your past/current clients’ websites, it’s also a nice little “thank you” for their business by potentially directing traffic to them. If you have WordPress, this is easier to do than you think – just use a plug-in!

In the past, I used a plug-in called Handsome Testimonials. Here’s a screen shot of how it looked then:

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I liked the way it allowed me to choose the colors for each background. It was fairly easy to figure out how to implement but, honestly, each time I’d go back to add a testimonial a few months later, I’d forget how to do it. It was nice but not super intuitive.

One weird thing was that ever since I started using the plug-in, my site would have malicious files installed on it. Twice in the last year, it was bad enough that my web host shut my site down and the charge is $50 each time to repair it (not to mention the hit to my perceived professionalism when my site is down).

I’m not saying it was the Handsome Testimonials plug-in that was causing my site problems but I wanted to find a new testimonial plug-in just in case. Also, I hoped to find one that allowed my clients to add a testimonial themselves.

I did some Googling, then some searching within my WordPress site. (How to: Go to Plugins, Add New, and you can search “testimonials” to see many of the options you can install, including ratings, how many sites it’s currently being used on, and if it’s compatible with your version of WordPress).

I looked at a few and the new testimonial I chose is called Strong Testimonials. Here’s a screen shot of how they look now:

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This new plug-in was super easy to implement. I just copy/pasted the verbiage from my existing testimonials to the new setup. I easily uploaded each person’s photo which were already in my gallery. And away we go!

My new Testimonials page is right here. I kept the look very simple but there are options I can play around with later to refine the styling. Please tell me what you think! Is it easily viewable on your computer or device?

Clients can even add their own testimonials! They no longer have to go through me to do it. My old procedure was to have them e-mail their comments to me, I’d grab a photo from my files or their site (with permission), then e-mail them again with questions, and again when it was posted so they could approve it. This way is MUCH easier and more efficient for both of us.

I love that the form they fill in is totally customizable so I can add the fields I want/require and even ask questions that will prompt the kind of information I hope they’ll post.

When a client posts a testimonial, it isn’t automatically posted to my Testimonials page. First, I get an e-mail saying that a new one has been submitted, I review it, makes sure the links work, etc., then I approve it to go live on my site – AND send a big THANK YOU to the lovely client who posted it :)

If having customer or client testimonials would add to your business, I strongly suggest installing a WordPress plug-in like Strong Testimonials. It’s free and super easy.

Virtual Assistant: What Specific Tasks Can I Do for You?

If the concept of working with a VA is new to you, it may be hard to imagine what tasks you can turn over. I mean, what does a virtual assistant even do, right? You might hear “social media” or “WordPress” but what does that mean, specifically?

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Image courtesy of Feminine Stock

Here’s a list of some of the things I do for clients, to see if it triggers any ideas for you:

Note: A few of the links below are affiliate links; I may receive a small commission if you click on them and end up making a purchase from the site

  • Research: Blog post ideas, podcasts to appear on, guest posting opportunities, etc.
  • WordPress: Create blog editorial calendar (CoSchedule); draft blog posts with your text and images (or I can find/make images for you); add Categories and Tags; schedule posts to publish in future; create blog graphics to include in post then share across social media
  • Proofreading/copyediting: Anything written – emails, blog posts, e-books, brochures
  • Social media: Find like-minded people to follow/share; create graphics/memes in Canva; use a scheduler like Edgar or Buffer to pre-schedule social media posts; maximize your presence on social accounts (e.g., add hashtags to social media posts, improve your Pinterest boards, etc)
  • Transcribing: Transcribe podcasts or videos to provide transcripts to your audience or repurpose into a lead magnet; transcribe your voice notes to create blog posts, newsletters, or an e-book
  • Organization: Research/set up task management (Trello, Asana), appointment setting (Calendly, Acuity), and/or client management system (Dubsado*, 17 Hats)
  • Affiliate marketing: Find and sign you up for affiliate programs that align with your brand to generate passive income

*For 20% off your first month of Dubsado, use code ERIKAFRIDAY (all caps)

There are lots of other tasks I can do as well. I can’t possibly be experienced at ALL THE THINGS! However, I’m willing to learn new software, etc. (on my own time) and help you apply it to your business.

So don’t be afraid to ask if you have other areas you’d like assistance with. If I can’t do it, I usually have someone I can refer you to.

Social Media: How to Post Your Evergreen Tweets with Hootsuite

Evergreen content is a quote, link, comment, question, blog post, etc. that isn’t time sensitive and, therefore, can be used for marketing again and again.

So it follows that an evergreen Tweet is one that can be used over and over.

OpenClipartVectors / Pixabay

I’ve discovered an easy way to utilize evergreen Tweets with the help of a special feature of Twitter along with the social media scheduler in Hootsuite. I believe the bulk scheduler is only available in Hootsuite Pro.

First, you need to download your Twitter archive. Instructions for how to do that are HERE at the Twitter Help Center. Just a heads up that it can take a few days to get your archive, so allow time for this.

Depending on how long and how active you’ve been on Twitter, it could take some time to go through your archive but that’s what you need to do next. Delete any Tweets that were time sensitive (e.g., a sale or special offer you shared) or that no longer represent your business or persona.

When you’re done and have a list of your “evergreen” Tweets, you (or your virtual assistant) can create a .csv file with them, add or update hashtags, and make sure they conform to the 140-character limit. (Twitter may be lifting this limit soon, by the way).

Then in Hootsuite, use the bulk scheduler to schedule all your evergreen Tweets at once. HERE is Hootsuite’s Help File on that process. There’s also a video on the Hootsuite blog HERE if you’re a visual learner like I am :)

I hope this Twitter hack saves you time and increases your presence on social media! Please let me know if you have any questions.

I Believe . . .

I believe that times have changed. You are no longer beholden to employers – to someone else – for a job or career.

I believe that the internet has changed everything. YOU are now in power. YOU now get to decide. Everything. What work you do, when you work, where you work, when you’ll take time off, and how much you’re paid.

EF VAC-image 1 for I Believe

I believe that you CAN make a living from your passion if you choose to. You can take your loves, your hobbies, and your talents and make money from them online.

I believe that there is no such thing anymore as “I can’t find a job.” MAKE A JOB. Even if it’s temporary while you search for a job like your old one or the one you went to college for.

I believe that it’s not easy, you have a lot to learn, it won’t happen overnight, and you won’t be rich tomorrow. But you CAN do it. It WILL happen.

I believe in YOU because you’re smart, you’re driven, you work hard, you have talent, and you have passion.

EF VAC-image 2 for I Believe

I believe that this is a very exciting time in our world and the possibilities are endless!

Virtual Assistant: Why I Offer Free Consultations

You’re great at what you do but the time-consuming tasks of being a creative entrepreneur are bogging you down. You know you need help but how do you find the right person?

Photo by: Negative Space

It’s scary. I get it.

You have questions but how do you get them answered unless we talk?

From my persepective, at first I thought it would be risky to offer free consultations (lose my time = money). But I’ve booked almost every potential client I’ve spoken with.

And those I didn’t book, I think I left a favorable impression with and hopefully we’ll work together someday. Or they’ll refer me to their contacts. Or I made an online friend and we can support each other with Retweets, Likes, and Shares :)

I have yet to speak with anyone but amazing entrepreneurs.

With a free consultation, we get to feel each other out. Do we have the same work ethic? Do we “click”? Do we laugh at the same jokes? Do you mind if I sometimes quote 80s movies?

What about my rates? Is there room for negotiation? Are there packages? Yep. But we need to talk it through.

Do I believe in your mission? Do you believe I can effectively help you?

How are we going to know unless we talk? So don’t be shy. If you’re serious about working with a VA, give me a shout out via my contact page and we’ll get a 15-30 minute chat scheduled.

I look forward to speaking with you!

2016 Planner Round-Up ong-turq

2016 Planner Round-Up: 50+ Planners for Creatives and Entrepreneurs

Are you looking for a paper day planner? I’ve scoured the interwebs and found over 50 planners for you to check out.

Each planner name is a link to see more about that planner. Each photo shows just one of the options or views but the sites have a lot more information ranging from photos, videos, more versions and sizes, free printable pages, etc.

In other words, don’t just go by the photo shown; click the link and see all the other options and views :) There are blog, yoga, and business planners, mom planners, motivational planners, even a planner just for photographers. So many options for creatives, entrepreneurs, and more!

I hope this is a great resource that helps you to choose your perfect planner. Happy browsing!

Arc

arc planner

Ashley Shelly

ashley shelly planner

BanDo

The BASICS Notebook

the basics notebook planner

A Beautiful Mess

a beautiful mess planner

Blog + Life

blog and life planner

Bloom Daily Planners

bloom daily planner

Blue Sky

blue sky planner

Brilliant Business Planner

brilliant business planner

Bullet Journal

bullet journal

The Choices Notebook

choices notebook planner

Commit 30 Planner

commit 30 planner

Daily Greatness

daily greatness business planner

Daily Dream Creator

daily dream creator

Day Designer

day designer planner

Danielle Laporte

danielle laporte desire map planner

DaySpring

dayspring planner

Design Love

design love planner

Dream Planner

dream planner

Edited Year

edited year planners

Erin Condren

erin condren planner

Freedom Planner

freedom planner

Get to Work Book

get to work book planner

Goal Digger

goal digger planner

Holistic Day Design

holistic day design planner

I Am

i am planner

iBloom

ibloom planner

I Heart Planners

i heart planners

inkWELL Press

inkwell press planner

The Inner Guide

The Inner Guide planner

It’s That Kinda’ Day

it's that kinda day planner

Kate Spade

kate spade planner

Kikki-K
kikki k planner

Lara Casey

lara casey planner

Life is Messy Bootcamp

life is messy planner

Live Life Creative

live life creative planner

Making Ish Happen

making ish happen planner

Mama CEO

mama ceo planner

My Creative Year

my creative year planner

My Life Planners

my life planner

Paper and Prosper

paper and prosper briefcase planner

Paper Source

paper source planner

Passion Planner

passion planner

Photographer’s Planner

photographers planner colorvale

Planner Pad

planner pad

Plum Paper Designs

plum paper planner etsy

Posy Paper Co

posy paper co planner

Print & Go Planner

(no shareable image)

Purposeful Planner

purposeful planner

Rebel’s Agenda

rebels agenda planner

Recipes for Joy

recipes for joy planner

Refresh Planner

refresh planner

Rifle Paper Company

rifle paper co planner

Rituals for Living Dreambook and Planner

rituals for living dream book and planner

Savor the Success

savor the success planner

Scattered Squirrel

scattered squirrel planner

SELF Journal

self journal

She Plans

she plans planner

The Simplified Planner

emily ley simplified planner

Small Paper Things

The Spark Planner

spark planner

Start Planner

Sugar Paper

sugar paper planner

Text Agenda

text agenda quo vadis planner

Tools for Wisdom

tools for wisdom planner

Ultimate Business Planner

ultimate business planner

Uncalendar

uncalendar

Visionary Journal

visionary journal planner

Week Date

week date planner

Write It Designs

write it designs planner

The 7-Minute Life

the 7 minute life planner

If you’re also a scrapbooker or crafty type, try these:

Simple Stories, Webster’s PagesMAMBI, Dokibook, and Heidi Swapp. Then check out The Reset Girl for lots of fun accessories. I’m using an aqua Simple Stories “Carpe Diem” planner to track 2 of my niche blogs in 2016. Can’t wait to get crafty and organized at the same time!

If you know of any planners I’ve missed, please let me know in Comments and I’ll add them!

Photo by:  Morgan Sessions

Virtual Assistants and Creative Entrepreneurs: Making Time and Space for Real-Life Magic

I’m like you. I work solo from home. I’m often connected to my iMac or iPhone and feel very “in touch” with my clients and online business friends. I’m not lonely when I work and I have lots of conversations every day. “I love the computer. All my friends live in there.” However, while e-mails and Skype and WhatsApp are great for connecting, they’re not real.

Photo by: Aleksi Tappura

Last week, I had a lovely lunch with two mamapreneur clients / dear friends / mentors. These are wise women who are where I want to be in the cosmic scheme of work and life. I thought I was merely escaping a Friday afternoon at my desk and getting a meal with friends. Little did I know . . .

Not only did I receive free guidance and, essentially, coaching by two of the best, but I was affirmed in so many ways. They said I’m proactive, smart, and make things happen, that what I do is MORE than a virtual assistant typically does – oh, so much more. (Blushing ensued).

They teased about how, when the 3 of us meeting up “sometime” was mentioned, I had this lunch calendered so fast, they LOL’d. And how when one needed some press exposure, I had her booked on the local news pronto :) How I’ve helped them not just with essential tasks but with strategy and big picture conceptualizing. I like to think of myself as my clients’ right hand so that made me feel really good, like I’m on the right track.

They encouraged me and gave me ideas (including napkin notes!) for ways I can up-level my business by adding in a whole new direction!

We spoke about resistance, how where I am is comfortable and engrained in things from way back in my life and even those before me.

We talked about hermit crabs moving to larger shells – “the naked crawl” – and how change is scary but it’s already happening so go with it. Ride the wave; be accepting and joyful.

We shared the belief that we’re blessed by our husbands and children and asked, “How lucky are we that they chose us, and that they were chosen for us?” Each teaching us what we need to learn most, enveloped in unconditional love.

We talked about scarcity mindset vs. abundance, how to change patterns, how to bring loved ones along for the ride, and (for me) how to shift retirement dreams away from “the sensible place” and back to the beach, where my soul is fed and rested.

We ate well, drank bubbly, and toasted love & friendship. We saw signs like a lovely waiter named Jesus, and a delivery truck outside the window whose side read, “Oh, oh my, we are blessed.” Indeed.

We exchanged gifts that will continue to feed us, smiled and laughed, and hugged goodbye when it had to end. Three hours wasn’t enough; the words were still bubbling, the connections still firing.

Photo by: Morgan Sessions

Now it’s your turn, my love. Make the time and space to meet your online “true blues” in person. You simply must. Because this is the magic that happens.

*Photos courtesy of Unsplash

Social Media is Great for Business but How Do You Stay Consistent with It?

I guess this is kind of a funny question coming from a virtual assistant, huh? One of the services I provide is social media – anything from posting, monitoring, and research to scheduling.

And yet, for my own business, being consistent on social media is one of my biggest marketing struggles. On principle alone, I refuse to hire another VA to do this VAs social media :P I’m determined to improve my own habits. Social media is so great for any business but here are the top 3 reasons I want to improve my use of it:

1. Getting myself “out there” is a great way to find potential clients.

2. I’ve learned so much about online business and marketing in the last couple of years. I love sharing that knowledge by answering questions or posting helpful things on social media.

3. I’m not one who needs a lot of Followers to feel good about herself (heh) but they’re good for business. The more people who see what I post, the more potential clients it could lead to. Also, having more posts and followers adds credibility. If I’m asking to do YOUR social media, shouldn’t I appear to be blowing up my own?

My main struggle is time. It’s not that I don’t enjoy or want to do my social media, it’s that I’m – what do they call that? – time deficient. Ha, that’s a way of saying I’m busy, right? As a service provider, I tend to put my clients’ business needs above my own. I know, I know . . . boundaries, Erika! But it’s so hard to restrain myself sometimes. I love my work and helping creative entrepreneurs do awesome things!

Photo by:  William Iven

So what I need to do is figure out and implement a systemized approach to my own social media for VA Creatively. I use Hootsuite (for myself and clients) but it doesn’t do everything I need it to and it saves a lot of time but still takes a lot of time. It’s on my list to check out Buffer which is another social media scheduler I hear great things about. I’d also love to use Edgar but I need proof that the ROI is there for $50/month. Is it going to MAKE me more than $600/year or save me enough hours of my valuable time to justify its high cost?

These are things I’m still evaluating and one of the reasons I’m looking forward to an upcoming online boot camp by creative blogger April Bowles Olin. It runs for free from 9/29 to 10/30/15 on CreativeLive – that’s a 30- to 60-minute daily online class. It’s called Double Your Followers with Creative Marketing. I looked at the syllabus and was happy to see that the last module is called “Promoting Your Business on Social Media without Spending All Your Time on Social Media.” I’m so stoked about this course that I’m participating in April’s blog tour (see more info below).

If this is something you’d like to learn about too, join me for April’s class starting in 6 days. Just go HERE to RSVP for the free class and they’ll send you a reminder. During the live-recorded portion of the class, there’ll be a lively chat going on so if you join in, please say “hi”. My username there is VACreatively_Erika :) Happy learning, creative entrepreneurs!

This post is a part of the Double Your Followers blog tour to spread the word about April Bowles-Olin’s upcoming CreativeLive course. Does hearing the word ‘marketing’ make your armpits start to drip with anxiety? Are you terrified of sounding salesy or like you have the personality of a dead blowfish? If so, come join me and 2,500+ entrepreneurs who’re taking April’s latest CreativeLive course, Double Your Followers with Creative Marketing. You can RSVP and watch for FREE. Yep, free. High fives, wildflowers, wine samples. Who doesn’t love free?

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