Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Learn to Delegate

One of my biggest challenges as a business owner is delegating work to others. This is primarily because I am a sole proprietor and I work alone. It is also because it seems easier to do something myself than hire someone else to do it for me. After all, by the time I show them how to do it, I could have it done myself, right? This type of thinking, unfortunately, has kept me stuck.

Fortunately, however, I have recently had so much business (yeah!) that I've had to hire someone to help me with research, editing and writing tasks. It was a tough call to make, as well as an unexpected investment, but it has allowed me to take on more new clients and to continue meeting deadlines. Here are my tips on how you might delegate more in your business:

1) Make a list of tasks that absolutely MUST be done by you, as well as a list of tasks that you might delegate (bookkeeping, appointment setting, filing, shredding, marketing, etc.).

2) Make a list of people who might be able to assist with the duties you might delegate. For example, do you know someone who does bookkeeping or who has a virtual assistant? If so, start there.

3) Talk preliminarily with those people to see what their availability and rates are. Can you afford them? Are they available when you need them? If you aren't sure if you can afford an assistant or to outsource your work, consider what you'll lose if you don't - clients? time? sanity?
And think of what you'll gain by sharing some of your growing workload - clients? time? sanity? Win, win!

4) Interview several people and see which of them match or complement your working style. Choose the one that seems to be the best fit.

5) Once you make your selection(s), try a test project to test the waters. Explain each project clearly, provide the necessary information or tools to do the job, state a clear deadline and how and when you will pay for the work. After the project is complete, evaluate the quality, timeliness and ease of working with the person. If each item is rated an A+, hire away! If not, keep looking.

Virtually Yourz,
Dana Blozis

Friday, September 26, 2008

Virtually Yourz Featured on The Cuckleburr Times

One of my recent articles made the home page of The Cuckleburr Times this week. Click here to read my Seven Simple Steps to Flawless Marketing Copy.

Virtually Yourz,
Dana Blozis

Always Be Prepared to Recruit New Clients

The other day I was asked to speak at a networking function. With just two days notice, I scrambled to put together a set of marketing materials for those who might want more information about my services. I had some older versions already prepared, but I needed to update them. How could I have been better prepared?

On a quarterly basis - or more often if needed - put together "recruitment packets" to tell prospective clients more about what you do. Include a business card, bio sheet and menu of services along with any brochures or other printed material you have on hand.

I like to put mine in a simple colored folder that matches my logo and has space for a business card. I stock up on my favorite color - red - during back-to-school sales. That way I can get the best price, and I can find plenty of folders that match by business cards!

By putting together these packets ahead of time, you'll be ready on the fly if you have a last minute meeting or function to attend!

Virtually Yourz,
Dana Blozis

Monday, September 22, 2008

Make Time for Marketing

When business owners are busy, marketing is often the first thing to be set aside, but its importance remains key to business success. To make time for marketing, try scheduling your marketing activities on a daily basis so that you accomplish a little bit every day. For example, try something like this:

Monday - Client and prospect follow-up
Tuesday - Networking, new blog post
Wednesday - E-mail marketing (newsletter, promos, coupons, etc.)
Thursday - Change voice mail message to talk about newest product or service.
Friday - New blog post, place ad in local paper

By biting off your marketing activities in small chunks, marketing suddenly becomes easier to manage and less overwhelming. Stay tuned for more free marketing ideas!

Virtually Yourz,


Thursday, September 18, 2008

Everyone's Talking About Twitter

I recently attended a journalism conference in Atlanta, and everyone was talking about Twitter and how great it is. One reporter, for example, posted "tweets" during a notorious trial. I'm not sure if I'm ready for Twitter yet, but I ran across a great article today that explains the ins and the outs. Hope you find it helpful!

Dana Blozis
Virtually Yourz

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Time Management Tips from Virtually Yourz

After doing some travel for business over the last several weeks, I have pending projects crying out for my time, as well as clients and prospects who want to see me. It's been tough to juggle it all, but I've found some ways to manage my time that are helping me to meet everybody's needs, including my own:

1) I schedule my appointments in blocks. For example, on Monday, I had an appointment in Tacoma and a business-related errand to run in Renton. I went to Tacoma and, on my way home, I went to Renton. That not only saved gas, but it also saved time if I'd made separate trips from home.

2) I've had some serious, deadline-based writing to do. To ensure that I can sit down and write uninterrupted, I close my e-mail inbox, shut off my cell phone and wait until my family leaves the house for the day. Then I sit down and get to work, finishing the assignments off one after the other. Knowing that I've tackled these big tasks, I can enjoy a leisurely lunch outside before I start my next project.

3) In conjunction with item #1, I leave at least 2 days during the week appointment-free. This allows me to have some committed, noninterrupted time in my office to get work done, as well as catch up on my bookkeeping work and organizing my office. I look forward to these days, where I can dress casually, work at my own pace and check things off of my "to do" list.

4) I also make time for exercise in the mornings when possible. This helps me to make time for myself, but it also energizes me. The natural high I get from working out keeps me going for hours afterward. It's a great way to fuel my productivity!

How do you manage your time? If you have tips to share with my readers, I'd love to hear them!

Virtually Yourz,
Dana Blozis

Monday, September 8, 2008

How to Overcome Procrastination

This tip on overcoming procrastination comes from Paula Eder, Ph.D., The Time Finder.

When you just can't budge on a task that you're procrastinating about, let go and create a question to develop a better strategy.


Ask yourself "What am I waiting for?" or "What will happen if I get started?" Write down your answer and tackle the issue realistically.

Material used with permission from Paula Eder, Ph.D., who develops customized, practical guides to help individuals and organizations find time to achieve personal, professional, and academic goals, and achieve career success. Register for her free, Finding Time Tips and Award-Winning Finding Time E-Zine at http://www.findingtime.net.

Virtually Yourz Back from Hiatus

Hello, loyal readers!

I've been doing some business traveling these past two weeks, so I haven't been able to keep up my blog. Fortunately, my creativity is high so the ideas are flowing. Stay tuned for more useful marketing and business tips later this week!

Virtually Yourz,