Dec 27

The world is moving fast, and the virtual world, even faster.

As the internet became ubiquitous, and the world grew flatter, and the concept of the virtual assistant took off. What is a virtual assistant?  He or she is usually a contract or freelance worker who does their job from their home, often, but not always, in a country different from their employer. They focus on the type of tasks that an administrative assistant or secretary would perform, such as managing email, helping to put together presentations, scheduling meetings, and online research. While the debate goes on in the US regarding our $7.25/hr minimum wage, there are countries where such an income is not only a living wage, but a good one, relatively speaking. The Philippines has a median monthly wage of 30,000 PHP which converts to approximately US$675. Less than US$5 per hour, it’s a bit above what the average teacher makes in the Philippines. This creates an interesting opportunity; the ability to hire someone to perform tasks to help grow your business before you are able to afford to hire a local full time person.

There comes a point in the evolution of your business when you need a presence, a physical address, a conference room to meet a client. A full time rented office might set you back thousands per month, far more than you’re ready to spend, and you might not need a full office just yet. The time may be right to consider a virtual office. A virtual office such as the ones offered by the Australia-based Servcorp  offer a variety of packages to give your business a presence at a prestigious address.  A meeting package gives you access to beautiful boardrooms on a pay-as-you-go plan as well as access to business lounges worldwide. A communications package offers a local phone number with dedicated receptionist and call forwarding to a number of your choosing. An address package can offer you an address for your business card and correspondence, as well as a location for your mail and packages to be shipped.

When you consider the cost of a physical full time office along with the overhead it entails, you might decide that the combination of employees working from home or customer site combined with a virtual office presence for high level meetings can offer the best of both worlds at a significant cost savings.

written by Joe \\ tags:

Nov 28

I may be showing my age here, this Norman Rockwell piece is the one that I think of when conjuring up images of Thanksgiving. I wish all my readers a healthy and Happy Thanksgiving.

written by Joe \\ tags:

Nov 16


The cartoon says it all, Black Friday is creeping right into Thanksgiving, and ruining the holiday for many who are forced to work on this day we should all be home.

written by Joe \\ tags: ,

Nov 11

A Guest Post From Crystal -

It’s no surprise that every business wants to bring in more sales – that is kind of the whole idea of running a company. However, few outlets, both large and small, utilize everything at their disposal to bring in these sales. Instead, the same old tactics and services get the nod and customers just don’t respond to boring advances. To counter this malaise, try to break the mold and reach out in different ways. Once the sales start rolling in, you won’t be disappointed with the time and effort you put in to try something new.

Connecting with Facebook and Twitter

At the heart of eCommerce is the social media explosion. Sure, your website is a big part of the picture, but if you can’t connect with your customers in a meaningful way, you can kiss their expendable income goodbye. To reel them in, try building a Facebook and/or Twitter account. With these tools at your disposal, you can offer content and information that draws in shoppers from across the Internet. An added bonus is that every time someone likes, retweets, or saves your posts in “favorites”, their social network is exposed to your product, creating a self-propagating campaign.

Build a Better In-store Experience

For the more traditional shoppers, the in-store experience still counts for quite a bit. To cater to these customers, consider adding in new point of sale machines and other comforts to the store. These machines, in conjunction with computer terminals that can access the online store, create a full-service approach that covers every need imaginable for those who visit your store. On your side of the equation, you can gather more information on the shopping habits and trends in the consumer base. But more on that later.

Offer Online Discounts

Getting back to the eCommerce initiative, spice things up with coupons and discounts that are only available to shoppers who make purchases on your official website. This action not only helps pump up sales, but also spurs overall sales numbers to higher levels. Consumers love a good deal, and if you give it to them, you can reap the rewards via enhanced volume over higher margins on individual sales. If you need to give your website a jolt after its initial launch, this approach can pump in traffic and get your page on the map.

Up Your Analytics

All of these tools, from pushing social media to building a better in-store experience, lead to a better, more viable business. However, this final result can be rather elusive if you don’t know how to interpret changes and trends that occur through these channels. To avert this issue, look into the analytics of the business process. This means reading into website and social media traffic, as well as pinpointing trends in the greater Internet realm. By knowing what shoppers like, before the fad or trend ends, you can match your products and services to these changes and maximize your profits. Combining these two factors is a clear and simple recipe for business success.

written by Joe

Nov 10

A guest post today -

I was moving to Chicago last winter, and neither my girlfriend nor I had a car. I did have a motorcycle, but it presented a problem. You see, we were coming from sunny Southern California, and were not yet prepared for weather prone Chicago.

Upon arrival, we realized our storage situation wasn’t going to work. Our apartment had street parking only, and the space we rented was smaller when we had our stuff in it than it was when we measured the first time. Self-storage became a viable option for a few reasons:

·  It kept my bike out of the cold

·  It gave us some extra space to work with

·  It eased our transition, giving us less to unload

Here are some more reasons self-storage is something you should look into.

Downsizing a Home

If you’re moving to try and reduce the space you consume, storage can provide some solutions that are cost effective. Remember that you can purchase onsite storage units to give you a small garage space that you can use in your back yard.

If you’re downsizing to bring another child into the family, you can clear an entire bedroom into a storage container, retrieving or selling those items as needed. Hopefully, your downsizing is temporary, in which case storage will hold the things your new home cannot until you can afford a bigger space to store your possessions.

Creating More Space

Extra storage creates space in busy cities, where square footage is a commodity. Storage can pay for itself if you sell the items you are storing in a garage sale. Try holding items you no longer use in storage while you wait to sell them on Craigslist or eBay. Baseball cards, comics, and collectibles all accumulate value as they age. Storage long-term may be worth the investment if you can sell the items at a profit while clearing closet space for the things you use daily.

Storing Old Furniture

There is no reason to keep two desks in a one bedroom apartment. Furniture like that can find a new home in your storage unit while you update your décor bit by bit. Remember that you can store similarly sized items layered near each other to conserve space. You can also store antiques, and prep them for sale too.


Storage units are good places to keep your items if you are considering a move. You can pack delicate dinnerware like fine china or wine glasses, and store them until you find the new place. This helps you keep minimal supplies on hand, useful if you need to show your current home for sale, and it makes the initial move easier. Take advantage of first month rent deals and time your move accordingly.

Moving the Kids

Moving the kids to college is another great reason to grab a storage unit. Your kids won’t want to haul their bed, their dresser and all of their other things with them to school. Moving their things to a storage unit also lets you rent the space out to someone else in need.

Storing Bulky Items

Storage units are useful for things you can’t practically store in your home for everyday use. Musicians can keep their instruments and sound mixing equipment in a storage unit, taking them out as necessary, or just using the space to rehearse. They also make for good places to keep records that build up over time, like tax forms, receipts and other paperwork. If you want to save money, carefully measure the size of the items you plan to store, staging them in a garage if possible, to rent only the space you need.


A storage unit can be one of many inexpensive ways to store your valuables. Storage units utilize coded locks for entry, and the public is not freely allowed. Also ask if your unit has cameras recording entries and exits.

Start a Business

Outdoor storage units may have a policy that permits you to start a small furniture refinishing shop out of your unit. You’ll need to take precautions to protect the unit, like draping plastic around the walls and on the floor, but you can turn a profit with your unit if the terms allow.

Perks to Storage

Membership may come with perks, like discounts for a moving truck or boxes. These small costs help cut down on the price tag for your next move.

Storage is a small addition to your budget that can bring some big benefits to you, depending on how you choose to use the space.

written by Joe \\ tags: