In the Spotlight: Jennifer Holstad

Over the next few weeks we are going to be featuring some of the people who have completed the Professional Author and Speaker Training and Certification Programs.

This week we’re shining the InstructionSmith spotlight on Jennifer Holstad.

Jennifer has been married for 28-1/2 years, has a 23-year-old son, and a Golden Retriever named Autumn. She is an elementary school spelling bee champion and loves doing jigsaw puzzles, Sudoku, spending time with family and friends, playing board games, watching movies, reading, and watching stock car races.

Jennifer has been in business for 22 years and has been blessed to have such wonderful clients (authors, speakers, and business owners).

Jennifer is a graduate of both the Professional Author Assistant and Speaker Assistant courses, completing PAA in August 2010 and PSA in April 2013. Before taking these courses, she had already been in business for 15+ years and had already done some work with authors and speakers. She also has an AA degree in Computer Information Systems.

We asked her what interested her most about the courses. She shared with us that she knew there was more to be learned about helping authors and speakers. She was also attracted to the flexibility of being able to work through the material and complete the courses at her own pace and in a timeframe that best fit her schedule. What appeals to her still today is having lifetime access to the material and resources as well as support if she ever has any questions.

Read moreIn the Spotlight: Jennifer Holstad

In the Spotlight: Colleen Wietmarschen

Over the next few weeks, we are going to be featuring some of the people who have completed the Professional Author and Speaker Training and Certification Programs.

This week we’re shining the InstructionSmith spotlight on Colleen Wietmarschen.

Colleen was the first recipient of the Jan B. King Memorial Scholarship in 2015. The 2017 Scholarship is currently open for application. We have provided more information about the scholarship award program below.

Colleen is married to Steve, her husband of 33 years and has one son, Peter. Peter is the light of her life and now a partner in her business. She enjoys walking and doing Hydrofit water aerobics. In May she walked her second half marathon and completed a sprint triathlon when she turned 50.

Before starting her own business, 21 years ago, Colleen worked for attorneys where attention to detail was a necessity. She lists editing and proofreading among her passions, which came in handy when she owned a medical transcription company.

After being awarded the Jan B. King Memorial Scholarship, Colleen completed the Professional Author Assistant Course in October 2015.

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Working with Authors and Speakers – Rewarding and Profitable

I often talk to Virtual Assistants who are struggling to find clients. When starting a business one of the most pressing concerns is generating revenue. In an effort to fill their practice they try to be all things to all people. In many cases, after years of experience in administrative roles in the corporate world, they have many skills and experience that can be valuable to many different kinds of clients. Casting a wide net will surely yield the best results in finding clients – right? Actually, the answer is no.

When I first started my business as a Virtual Assistant I developed a list of things that I could do to help busy entrepreneurs. With over 25 years in a variety of different industries, the list was VERY long. I even created a brochure that listed them all! But what I found was that it only confused potential clients about how they might use my services. There is an old adage in the marketing world that says, “A confused mind says no.” I found that to be true and a disappointingly small percentage of the people I spoke to about using my services actually became clients.

I did manage to establish some ongoing client relationships and my business was underway. I pitched my services to many people in networking and in replying to requests for proposals through several VA groups. My rates were not very high (after all, I was desperate for clients) and when I spoke to potential clients I always felt like I had to compete on price. I found myself struggling to make a real profit in my business.

Read moreWorking with Authors and Speakers – Rewarding and Profitable

Disaster Planning Continued…

Hurricane season officially starts today!

Last week we reminded you about the importance of making sure you have all your business affairs in order and being properly prepared in case of an emergency.

This week we’re continuing with ways for you to make sure your family and pets are taken care of as well.

People don’t expect to get caught in potentially dangerous and extreme situations, but when it happens, having a plan and knowing what to do could make a world of difference for you and your loved ones.

Risk Assessment

 Understanding potential risks that are likely in certain regions allows people to have an emergency plan specifically designed for the disasters most likely to occur in their area.

Certain areas of the country are more prone to specific types of disasters. As I mentioned, living in Florida we’re prepared for hurricanes. People in the Midwest probably have an emergency plan to prepare (as best they can) for tornadoes and on the west coast they plan for earthquakes.

Emergency Kits

Read moreDisaster Planning Continued…

Disaster Planning in Your Business

Living in Florida we hear a lot about the Atlantic hurricane season. From June 1st through November 30th is when most tropical cyclones are expected to develop across the northern Atlantic Ocean.

We’re fortunate that hurricanes can be forecast and tracked, but we don’t have that luxury with other emergency situations such as tornadoes, earthquakes, fires, flooding, or biological attacks, which can occur with little or no warning.

Having a preparedness plan is one of the most effective ways to prevent injuries or loss of life in the case of a disaster.

In order for your preparedness plan to be fully effective, it has to be thorough and well thought out.

Disaster preparedness for yourself and your business means protecting your personal items as well as critical business assets which includes your facilities, equipment, software, and data.

Have a plan

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