Archive | January 2013

Was I Too Honest?

What do you tell a prospective client? Sometimes it’s hard to tell what’s too much and what’s not enough. Especially when you communicate via the internet (international calling is challenging sometimes). I will honestly tell you, this is what recently happened to me. A potential client didn’t know what to ask – had made a general statement of: I’ve never worked with a VA before and have no idea of how to choose the right person. Don’t know which tasks to effectively delegate and what systems to create. Then asked (and rightly so) “to VA’s out there, how do you help your clients? How do you help them figure out what to delegate and what systems to use? What do you want to know from a potential client?

All very good questions. But when I answered, did I give away too much? You decide.

woman pointing at the clockWell, who ever you hire as your VA (whether it’s me or someone else), you need to say just what it is you want your VA to do, at least an idea. I’m presuming you would want me (easier than saying “a VA” all the time) for the back-end of things: checking emails, following up on messages, schedules and such. I cannot give you an idea of charges and whether or not I am the one to help until I know what it is you need done. Also, I understand the desire to check in just once a week, but at the very start at least a few times within the week to get to know/understand what is expected.

As an example, for one client, I help her with editing articles and post them for her. Since she wants to set up the various accounts to be used, I have suggested a calendar program /website for her to set up allowing both of us access to her calendar so I know what her schedule is like to better assist her, and it will help her keep everything she needs to do in order. I am learning more of Volusion to better assist her with her shopping cart. I (currently) haven’t the knowledge to work/create her individual ad pages. However, if things are set up as a template in WordPress, I can work with that. I can work with website editing. My website: http://www.virtually-helps.com is basically handled by a company, but I use their templates to select the design I want, if I don’t like the pictures they have in their library – I look for (and buy) what I want. My blog: https://blogwithvhelps.wordpress.com/ is the same – I use their templates.

And honestly, if what you want/need isn’t something I can provide for you, I do have sources I can contact to put in touch with you. I have done this with others.

Then (of course) the potential client wanted to know what I charged, and how that worked. I explained that they could go to my website and select the package that will work best (5, 10 or 20 hours per month), then told them the best way to reach me – instead of using social media.

The person then told me would want to follow up with a couple of others. Of course I responded “Good, I would expect you to talk with others to make sure of who/what you want. Makes perfect sense to me.” This is what you really want, you don’t want a person wondering if you really are the best “fit.”

Well, it turned out that the potential client chose a different VA. Did I “give away” too much information? Did this help them know what to ask others and eliminate me because (perhaps – but not necessarily) they got what they needed and thought I was weak? Too willing to give so much information? I believe in being honest – but was I too honest?

Is It Still Hip To Be Square?

I keep wondering strange things like:

  • Why do designers think that women don’t want functional pockets in our jeans?
  • Just what is up with the waistband of pants being down around the upper thigh? (I really don’t care to see boxer shorts)
  • Why can’t people wear their baseball caps the “right” way? There’s a reason for the brim’s design – keeps the sun out of your eyes. (duh) Does the hat have to go off to the side or the back?
  • Does fashion have to be expensive and (in some cases) uncomfortable?
  • Do we have to change the name of a style? When I was a kid “Capri” pants were called “pedal pushers” – the same pant design.

Huey Lewis and the News did this fun song: It’s Hip to be Square. I keep wondering, am I that square? I really liked the BIG bells when they were out. Even now I insist on finding boot cut jeans, because I like the look much better than peg-legs (always have). And since I mentioned Capri pants/pedal pushers, I suppose it’s a compromise on shorts. I’m not comfortable in them – but I have a few pair.

As for the comment on fashion being uncomfortable. I will admit that when I was in my 20’s I used to wear (at least) a 3″ heel – to work. Work then for me was in a doctor’s office as a medical assistant (being the only one) and was on my feet a lot! But that’s another story. When I met my husband, a group of us went to a bar and I was wearing my boots with a 3″ heel, tight bell bottom jeans and a form-fitting top. (I was a lot thinner and in better shape then) Now I have issues with 2″ heels! They’re just not terribly comfortable. Sigh. Don’t get me wrong, I do remember how to dress nicely, I just don’t have to right now.

butt crackI do have to say, I like the “joke” t-shirts for the issue of plumber’s crack. They show imagination and make for a chuckle.

Hmm, while I’m writing this It’s Hip to be Square started playing on the radio. Maybe the Universe is trying to tell me something?

Turning 20 is Turning Old(?!)

I was told last night by a 19 year old: “Tomorrow is my birthday and I’ll be 20.” This is a good thing, when I wished her a happy birthday she had a strange reaction.  She wasn’t happy – “I’m getting OLD” I said “Child, please you’re just getting started!” “Yeah but it’s been three years since I was 17 and look at where I am!” I told her “You will always have MORE learning in life, if you find this situation as bad – learn from it! You can’t expect to be at the BEST in your life right now – because you’ll always be evolving. Relax and 20 isn’t old! Oh and another thing…don’t EVER say that to someone who’s 53.”

turning 20That whole conversation (to me) was disheartening. To have a kid feel that way about life, should I have told her any of my life changes? I posted the above statement on my facebook page and got some great feedback/comments and I will share them here. I will not use the names of the people making the comments, just their first initial.

B: I changed my entire direction when I was 40.
L: Don’t ever say that to anyone who is 62. Like B, I find myself changing directions when there is something I need or want to change. Life really is an adventure and the new year always gives you a blank sheet to write upon, but in reality, each day is a new blank sheet to do with what you will…do well, because you have exchanged a day of your life for it…make it count. Liz, I had to smile at your post because I remember being in such a hurry to conquer the world… wish I had a mentor like you to have given me the advice you did to the young lady.
T: What can a 78 “AWAKE! ALERT! ALIVE! & ENTHUSIASTIC ONE” remark about your comments – B, L and Liz LaClair?…really curious!…. ‘Cuz don’t know what to say.
Me: T, every person has something great to add to another person through their experiences in life and I am sure you could teach L, B and me things that we did not know.
J: Oh Liz, that ain’t even right.
T: J, now I’m more tongue-tied! Maybe, reaching this age tires one to recite life’s litany anymore…having been a mentor-coach, etc., for decades now and just getting set to retire from active Toastmaster volunteer work!
B: T, I have a friend that is 92 and still shows up every Sunday for the ballroom dance practice my wife and I run. He remains both physically and mentally alert by constantly giving of his knowledge and skills to others. He is my role model. At 78 you have many productive years yet if you chose to use them in that manner.
Me: It concerns me that she is from a generation that was told everyone is equal (as in there are no “winners” or “losers”). That’s not how real life works. Her generation (and the ones that follow) will have a very hard time facing life when they’re taught everything is fair and equal. I hope she’s just one in a large group of kids. Just have to reach out to her. I should have told her that I’ve changed my life path a few times already. I definitely haven’t done what I set out to do – the world hasn’t been conquered. Thanks for your compliment L! T, J was referring to the teenager’s attitude – that’s what isn’t right.
J: That’s it Liz! The girl isn’t even of legal drinking age yet… Geez
T: Oh! …Liz, yes…the thinking of the youth today’s rather not focused as well as we elders were in our time back then…(of course for you guys not too long ago yet except for me. hehehe!)…especially those unfortunate ones who are left without guidance and proper counseling!

WOW! It seems that I’m not far off in my thinking: the changes “for the better” (?) in how parents punish children for misdeeds, telling children that no one is better than anyone else (we’re all equals) doesn’t work. No, I don’t have children – but I do have eyes and common sense. If a child isn’t punished starting at an early age for misdeeds, how will they learn acceptable behavior? Especially in public. I know I can’t be the only person “out there” who thinks are you kidding me? why is that kid’s parents allowing him/her to do that??!!! How else can anyone learn to take responsibility for their OWN actions?

Teaching kids that there aren’t any “winners” or “losers” – a prime/easy example: no strikeouts in a baseball game. Why?? “Because we don’t want to lower the little tyke’s self-esteem.” Huh? How will that child ever grow up and be prepared for the real world. No one will pat you on the head and say “there, there, that’s OK – you’re doing good, it’s OK that your oops cost the company thousands of dollars.”

I don’t believe that I’m being harsh. I’m not saying I had a horrible childhood because my parents believed in corporal punishment, because that would be a lie. We all need to know that we will always (if we’re smart) be learning and that failure in any form is a type of learning. I will never say that I’m perfect. PUL-EEZE! I’m no where near that level. But if I can offer advice, then I will, it’s up to who ever whether or not they accept it.

And to my young friend? All I can say is: life’s too short to worry/stress over the little shit, get over yourself and when you find your life isn’t going the way you want, change it! OR, follow that path and see where it takes you – it could be the better path.

(Oops, large soap box today. Picture from Google images)