The year that was 2018

The year that was 2018

The year that was 2018

A new year has started, for many, it represents a fresh start, a chance to pursue new opportunities or it may even mean time to finally get training for that big race you’ve always wanted to do. As the saying goes “new year, new beginnings”, and boy are new beginnings exciting! My question however is, have you taken a moment to take a step back in order to reflect on the year that was? To appreciate your successes and be thankful for the obstacles that taught you some great lessons?

Looking back in order to move forward

The minute the clock struck 12h00, on the 31st December 2018, my brain went into automatic mode planning and thinking up all the things I want to get done in this year and I was full of adrenaline, ready to take on 2019. I kept saying to my myself – “This is going to be “my” year”, which considering I am expecting my first child in a couple of months, is already making this
year AMAZING for me. I quickly saw however, I was not alone in saying, this was going to be my year – numerous family and friends shared the same sentiment, combined with the fact they were glad 2018 was over with. This got me thinking was 2018 that bad? I mean, it was the different challenges and life lessons that I experienced in 2018 that had fueled my ambitions
and plans for 2019. I then remembered a quote I had read not so long ago by an unknown author that says “If you want to move forward, often look back. Otherwise, you’ll forget where you came from and where you need to go” Reflecting on 2018
All of this got me thinking, and I decided to take a step back and really reflect on my life during 2018. 2018 had started off quite roughly with my fiance being hospitalized for a lengthy period of time, I was in a work environment that I did not enjoy, was in over my head with assignments due for varsity and was planning a wedding amongst other things – a true mix of highs and lows.

Giving new perspective on life

But looking at all of this carefully, these very things that had me experience a mixture of emotions both negative and positive, turned out to be the best possible things that could have happened to me in 2018. Why? Well, On the 14th April 2018, the most beautiful and magical day of my life thus far surrounded by the people that mean the world me, I married my best friend. My now husband who thankfully is back to full health, learned to take a step back every now and then, now lives by the motto YOLO – you only live once, something that rubbed off on me. His new outlook on things gave me the courage to make the changes I wanted to make in my career, I always wanted to be an entrepreneur but was always too scared to take the risk, in
June, I took that risk and even though it’s been challenging, I am now my own boss, doing what I love daily. The hard work on my studies during the year last year will allow me to make my dream of graduating this year a reality. Above all, I rediscovered the power of faith & gratitude and how lucky I am to have the family and quality of friends I do in my life.

Grateful and Blessed

Personally, I am glad I reflected back on the amazing year that was 2018, I am so grateful for all the lessons and blessings I received during the year. Looking forward to 2019, I know I am going into it a stronger, happier, healthier and humbler person and for that, I say thank you to the year that was 2018.

Using New Year’s Resolutions to embrace 2019 and become the best you!

Using New Year’s Resolutions to embrace 2019 and become the best you!

Using New Year’s Resolutions to embrace 2019 and become the best you!

Can you believe 2019 if finally here? It’s been a long and exciting 2018, but as all good things, this too has come to an end. It’s time to reflect on things that helped shape us and brought us were we are today but it’s also time for new things so you can make 2019 just as memorable, and more importantly a huge success.

I don’t have a long list of new year’s resolutions. I don’t trust myself to keep with them and hate disappointment. So three things tops my list this year and hopefully I’ll be able to keep up.

My 2019 strategy

Resolution #1

In 2019 I will be working harder towards my health. My health journey started in August 2018, took a plunge in December and I’m picking it up again in Jan. I’m not only talking about physical health but mental health as well. Healthy body, healthy mind. Looking after your mental health is vital as it affects every aspect of your life, social, family and career. I plan on working on my focus and my planning abilities. I’m not quite sure how to go about it yet but I guess that’s part of the journey. I’ve already started getting some tools together like my shiny new 2019 diary, I’ve used the Headspace app before for meditation and realized that I don’t even have 5 minutes of peace and quite in my house… I’ll try and pick that up again. I’m also reading Getting Things Done by David Allan. I’ve only heard great things about him and this book so hopefully I’ll be able to implement his strategies into my own work-life balance.

Resolution #2

The second resolution is to be a better human being. Upskilling yourself is so easy, all you need is the will power and the drive (the time as well but if you have enough drive, you will make the time). I’ve planned out 12 courses I want to take this year to help me broaden my skillset. They range from digital marketing to nutrition (bonus because it helps with resolution number one). I’ve had the same resolution last year and only managed to complete one. It feels as though I stumbled into and through 2018 but with some help I’m sure I’ll be able to master the goal this year.

Resolution #3

Finally, yet importantly, the easiest resolution… To make a bucket list and start ticking of some stuff I’ve always wanted to do but have never gotten to. The idea is to get out in the world and make yourself heard. I’m sure that finally visiting that networking event or contacting that client will boost my career in the right direction.

The New Year is usually a time to reflect but also a time for new things, a fresh start, a blank slate. Why not take it with both hands and embrace this gift you get to open each year and become the best you that you can possibly be!

Being a Virtual Assistant. This is my Why…

Being a Virtual Assistant. This is my Why…

Being a . This is my Why…

What is a Virtual Assistant

According to the balance small business website, a virtual assistant (VA) is a person who provides support services to other businesses from a remote location. The term originated in the 1990s as the ability to work virtually due to technology improvements, such as high-speed Internet, document sharing, and other advancements, made working remotely a reality.

Virtual assistants are especially in demand by entrepreneurs and online businesses that need help but don’t want to bring on staff in their location. However, many small and mid-size businesses use virtual support, especially for specific tasks such as social media management.

My Why…

Earlier in 2018, I decided to kick the corporate bucket and venture on a solo career path.  I just didn’t know what I was going to do though.  It wasn’t the first time I’d tried my hand at entrepreneurship either.  No, I’m a sucker for pursuing my goals, hopes and dreams.  Have I failed and bumped my head?  You better believe I have.  Has my confidence wavered?  Oh yes, many times. It still does. I have days when I sit back and question my choice, but usually, it takes a drive during peak hour traffic to reaffirm my belief in what I’m doing.

I knew I had to change what I was doing.  There were a few personal reasons for my decision but the main driving force for me is the fact that misogyny is still rife in the workplace.  This is a global phenomenon and a topic not discussed openly for fear of reprisal.

Working hard, long hours has always been a trait I’m proud of, but, as I approach my 50’s, I don’t gel with the rules.  Not that I really embraced these to begin with.  Boundaries create security, this is psychology 101 – but micromanagement and a draconian, authoritarian management style is on another level.  One I don’t tolerate.  Perhaps it’s just my personality, but I have a visceral dislike toward those who deploy this management style.  Nor do I take kindly to whipper snapper millennials boasting their degrees and exploiting others, especially mature women in the workplace.  Don’t get me wrong, I respect the fact that people work hard to attain their degrees.  Point is, it does not entitle belligerence.

I am pleased to observe on many company websites, particularly the UK based companies that the gender pay gap is being addressed.  These modern companies are also addressing their menopause policy for their mature female employees.  This is liberating and makes us ‘oldies’ feel appreciated and still worthwhile in the office and not maligned for being female.

As I was planning my exit strategy, I researched online work opportunities.  I wasn’t overly enthused at the ‘genuine’ options I found.  Seems there’s many a scam artist out there preying on desperate and vulnerable job seekers.  Scrolling through Google I saw the term virtual assistant.  Intrigued, I read on.  Yes!  This was for me and rest as the saying goes, is history.

Another important factor that influenced my decision is my teenage son.  It’s reassuring for mums of small children to be at home.  Unfortunately, there’s not too many half day positions available and mums are forced to either take a pay cut, opt to work from home or find full time employment and utilise the primary school after-care facility.  The assumption is high school kids have it all figured out and cope on their own in the afternoons.  This is not the situation and left to their own devices, teens tend to not be as studious as we’d like them to be. Boys tend to take advantage of this fact…  To this I can attest.

Where to from here

Setting up shop is not easy, and it’s become a competitive work arena out there.  If starting and running a business is such a simple feat, everyone would be an entrepreneur.  When I started out, I floundered for a while and was startled at my lack of up to date techie experience.  This from someone who completed their A+, advanced networking and MCSE in the early 90’s.  A lot has changed, and it can be daunting!

I wasn’t and am not deterred to work for myself and on my own.  As a Virtual Assistant, you cannot offer everything skills wise and there will always be other VA’s who offer more than you do and are better at a task than you are.  It’s about streamlining your skills and finding your niche.  If you don’t know something, say so.  But, turn your not knowing into a positive and learn how to do the task.  There are many online resources to be researched and honing your skills is do-able, without breaking the proverbial bank.

Be honest and upfront with your client and with yourself.  It’s no use struggling to fulfill a task or commitment you know full well won’t be done correctly.  The concept of working online requires open communication channels and engaging regularly with your client or clients.  Learn to manage your time.  When you’re on the clock and responsible for task management and key deliverables, you quickly realize how valuable time is.  There’s no chatting with colleagues round the coffee station or checking your social media profiles.  Accountability is tantamount.

Being on the cutting edge of technology and offering a bespoke service will ensure the global Virtual Assistant market succeeds.  This is an exciting career path and the industry is set to grow, exponentially so.

Follow these great benefits to improve your blogging

Follow these great benefits to improve your blogging

Follow these great benefits to improve your blogging

Blogging can help drive internet traffic to your website. A blog gives you the chance to create original and relevant content to your customers, which can be a tactic to drive traffic to your website.

Blogging also helps your SEO or Search Engine Optimization. By consistently putting out new content in your blogs, you boost your rankings in different search engines, making you and your business more visible on the internet. You can also include various keywords, topics, and categories that you want to be found with your business when you write your blog. That way, when someone searches something related to that word or phrase, you will come up in earlier in search engines.

Blogs are no longer just an expression of an individual or a platform to share one’s ideas and thoughts. Blogs have started to be one of the most influential and useful tools in the market space. It’s an excellent way to showcase thought leadership as well as keep consumers updated on what’s happening in the company

Companies that maintain a blog seek:

  • Brand awareness and visibility
  • Authority and trustworthiness
  • Site traffic and higher SEO ranking
  • Leads and sales

The 4 benefits of blogging

  1. Blogging drives traffic to your website

The content you create for your blog can be shared on all your social media platforms. If it’s good-quality, valuable information, people will be encouraged to click through to your website to learn more about your products and services.

  1. Blogging can increase your SEO

If you use keywords in your blog posts, you can enhance your organic search results. Search engines use content to help them determine the subject of web pages. By continually adding fresh content to your site, you make it easier for these search engines to index your page correctly.

  1. Blogging establishes you as an industry authority

Sharing industry information with your customers is the perfect way to demonstrate    your knowledge and skills. It sets you up as a leader in your field while giving you the opportunity to market your product or service in a subtle way. With a blog post you can simultaneously educate your customers and provide them with useful information about your business.

  1. Blogging helps you build a community

Your blog provides your customers with a place to ask questions, share opinions and         engage with you. This makes it the ideal place to build a loyal following. All the comments remain on your site permanently, which means that new visitors will be able to see them. Compare this to social media where any posts or comments are quickly lost in the ever changing newsfeed.

Conclusion

A blog is much more than a way to share information and ideas. It is also a marketing tool and a very powerful one at that.  If you have yet to start a blog, it’s never too late to get started.  There’s really no excuse why you shouldn’t start one today, whether it’s a business, corporate, or a personal blog.  Somewhere out there, someone is waiting to hear from you.

Where to start in writing a blog post? This is how.

Where to start in writing a blog post? This is how.

Where to start in writing a blog post? This is how

They say writing blogs are important in the success of your marketing. I get that… BUT I have not done this a lot. I wrote lots of stories as a kid, but since I grew up my imagination and creativity…went in hiding.

I have not been challenged in years to write, so I myself had to go back and learn. As I was doing my research I decided to write about it as I go and share it with you.

I hope this will help you 🙂

This is what I normally do to write a blog.

  1. Coffee is my breath, my “haaa”, it takes me to that place of ease. So I will make myself a warm cup of coffee, clear out my desk and sit back, close my eyes and think of the topic ahead or a topic.
  2. Once I am clear about the topic I will start with research, making sure I know what I am writing about.
  3. Get some images for the blog and some for inspiration.
  4. Craft your headline that is preferably both informative and will capture your readers attention.
  5. Type away! Just let it “flow”, remembering this is only a draft, it does not need to be perfect. Not even close.

7 other tips to help you write a blog

#1 Own your first paragraph and the title

Having good compelling titles and introductions will make your readers want to read more. It wil inspire them.  Wishpond contributor James Scherer says, “recent studies show that while 80% of people will read headline copy, only 20% will read the rest. This is the hidden importance of great titles, and why getting them right is so vital to a successful blog.”

#2 Be the expert not the bragger

Build a trusting relationship with your audience, make it seem that you are a expert in this, not just bragging about it.

#3 Focus on a specific audience

When drafting your blog, think and focus on a certain audience. They say that good blogs are targeted to a particular audience.

#4 Be informative

Don’t just tell a boring story, tell your audience something that they can learn while they read your blog. Educate your reader.

#5 Optimize…

Most great blogs will follow basic SEO (search engine optimization) rules, using relevant keywords and anchor text.  Using SEO practices will make your blog more relevant to your targeted audience.

(Moz has some free tools which can help you with that)

#6 End your blog with a trigger

So this blog you are writing, you write it for a reason – mostly this reason is to connect with the readers.

Try ending a blog with something that moves or motivates the reader to action. In this case it would be to motivate readers to write a great blog.

#7 Be consistent

You will need to be consistent in writing, you will need to write blogs on a regular basis. This is especially important to grow your audience.

If your audience sees you writing a blog every week, you will get more and more website crawls which will improve your SEO.

In other words, blogging successfully takes a lot of work. But that doesn’t mean blogging has to be difficult.

Need inspiration?  Who better than Mel Robbins to help you with that?

Need inspiration? Who better than Mel Robbins to help you with that?

Need inspiration?  Who better than Mel Robbins to help you with that?

For this women’s month I have decided to feature a woman that truly inspires me in life and business.  She has adopted a no-BS lifestyle that has brought her to where she is today.

My inspiration!

If you haven’t heard about the 5-second rule, you probably don’t know who Mel Robbins is.

Need inspiration?  Who better than Mel Robbins to help you with that?

How Mel started out

Mel started out in a legal career at the Public Defender, left her job and moved to Boston so her husband could finish his MBA.  She then worked for a law firm and hated it.  After maternity leave she didn’t go back and worked in a couple of tech startups which she enjoyed.  Even though she enjoyed her job she felt like something was missing so she started seeing a life coach which inspired her to become one herself.  She started studying towards a certificate in life coaching, qualified and started her career.  When Ink magazine did a feature on her business she got a call from a big shot at CNBC for a job and that’s how her media career kicked off.  After having some issues with a deal with FOX everything came to an abrupt end.  Due to her contract restraints with them she couldn’t do anything in the media business for a year.  She felt like such a failure that she didn’t see it fit to go back to coaching.  On top of that her husband’s restaurant business was going under. Her world was falling apart.  One night she decided she’d had enough.  That morning when her alarm went off she didn’t hit snooze ten times as she usually did, she counted 5-4-3-2-1, launched herself out of bed and started putting the pieces of her life back together.  Today her achievements are awe-inspiring.

Where Mel Robbins is today

Through utilizing her own 5-second rule, Mel became one of the most booked speakers in the world.  Motivating people across the globe to get up and show up.  She’s the CEO and Co-Founder of The Confidence Project which is a media and digital learning company.  She is the Creator and Presenter of the Audible Series Kick ass with Mel Robbins.  In 2017 she published best seller The 5-Second Rule.  It was named the number one audiobook in the world and the fifth most read book on Amazon.  Her TedX Talk has been viewed on YouTube by over 14 million people.  She runs an award winning YouTube series #MelRobbinsLive giving advice and telling people about her life as a travelling CEO, motivational speaker, wife and mother of three.  On top of that she’s a CNN commentator as well.

In conclusion

The 5-second rule helped her to get her life back on track after she was dealt a bad hand and got stuck in a rut.  It teaches us that everything is achievable if you have the right mindset.

I’ve been following her on YouTube and getting daily motivation from her talks and advice.  I can recommend her to anyone that’s hungry for success or that needs to get back in the saddle and start kicking butt and taking names!