How to be in Two Places at One Time

Okay, how do you manage to be in two places at one time?  Sometimes as a virtual assistant people ask me how do I manage to get so much done.  It seems I’m on the computer a ton of hours and yet, I do make meetings and do some networking, have a family and love to volunteer my time to help others.  How do I manage?  Well, sometimes, I don’t.   But, to help with social  media – one way to give the appearance of being in two places at the same time is to use  a scheduling tool.  dragonfly blue green

There are Free services like Social Oomph and Hoot Suite where you can schedule your posts and content to your social media sites.  This will give you an ability to do all your posts at one time of the day, week or month.  You then tell the scheduling tool when to post and it does it automatically for you.  This is how a very good friend of mine has 7 to 10 posts a day and yet is always meeting people!

The two I’ve listed above are just a few of these types of services out there.  TweetDeck and many others are available through Twitter and there are many more out there.  I especially like Hoot Suite and Social Oomph but for different reasons.   I really love Hoot Suite for posting and content.  I can administer many fan pages for Facebook and various Twitter accounts besides my own from this great site.  Hoot Suite is user friendly for the most part, as it does take a bit of learning to set up. 🙂  Sometimes it has some issues actually feeding but about 90% of the time I am very happy!  I like Social Oomph because it has a few unique and helpful other tools.  For instance, I can use Social oomph to automatically follow those who follow me on Twitter.  Although sometimes you have to glean those out which are not a ‘good fit’, this seems to work for me to auto follow others!

So this is how I am at a network event and yet, posting for 10 clients and myself at Facebook and Twitter and Linked In!

Shhh – don’t tell my secret to anyone of how to be in 2 places at 1 time!  LOL! 🙂

Brrr… It’s cold outside

Snow flakeYes, about November in Maryland, I begin to say this Brrrr” I am so cold“.  The winter time never really was my favorite as I am a summer gal and love the beach.  But, recently I realized through a special friend what a difference the weather and season of the year has on your life.  I used to get so frustrated in November when I wanted to rearrange all the storage stuff with my husband and prepare for the holidays, and it would never happen.  I can remember back a few years trying to coordinate some type of activity for Girl Scouts in January and again experiencing that wondering  thought – “Why is this not working?

Recently, my wonderful friend, Shari Sternberger, connected the dots for me.  Winter is not a time of renewal or moving forward that is spring.  Why am I fighting against the seasons to do spring cleaning in the fall?  No wonder it would never work.  This year I accepted that the cleaning for Christmas and the decoration organization would happen in December.  I had so much less stress when the tree did not come out in November.  I just accepted it.  I enjoyed Thanksgiving and did not give it a thought. Ok, for a second I thought about it and then I remembered –   Shari says this is not the time.  Here is a great article she wrote about this in The Village Connector Community News – “Are you Listening to Mother Nature?”

It made my life so much more joyful.  Maybe it is just the ability to ‘let it go’ after all these years, but whatever it is – I am happier.  My acceptance that during the holidays is not the time to prepare for January’s Girl Scout meeting has given my kids and hubby a much more peaceful time.  We’ve actually played a few family games together.

The snow that usually puts me in a ‘tizzy’ worrying about the husband who has to drive in it and the kids being home while I’m trying to work.  Ah, well is this year’s attitude from me.  It’s snowing – Danny will be fine – he’s been driving in it for 20 + years and the kids Have to be respectful or I’ll take away their computers!  Acceptance that it is going to snow – I cannot change the season!  This is working for me.

Yes, Brrrr, it IS cold, so I’ll get another cup of tea and put on my warmer socks.  I’ll check the antifreeze in the mini-van and make sure the kids have extra stuff to eat.

But, I will not try to make winter into spring anymore. Thanks Shari! 🙂

Happy New Year & Facebook Changes!

balloonsHappy New Year to All!


It is a New year – 2011!  New possibilities, New abundance and a New Hope for 2011!!

As we all settle back into a regular work schedule from the holidays, remember that 2011 means many New changes at Facebook.  Mark Zuckerberg and his team have been informing us through Facebook reminders and many media outlets that 2011 will have new software changes allowing users to connect more easily.  In this You Tube video, by CBS titled, Mark Zuckerberg & Facebook, we are told Facebook is moving forward!

What do these changes mean?  Oh, you want it in English not Facebook language? facebook_cloud

Okay – here’s what I can do for you – Facebook changes will include a few of these things –

  • New Profiles for both Personal and Business pages
  • No more Boxes or Customized Tabs
  • New Page coding changes – No more FBML boxes by January, 2011

Here are the few things we know about the new profiles and pages.  Many of the almost 600 million users are now experiencing the new profile pages.  These are showing the work, education and location information from the “Info” tab right at the top of your profile.  Your featured photos are the ones based on who has tagged you recently in a photo.  The new profiles will also give you to the left the important people in your life.  You can manipulate this data by inputting or removing the data from the Info tab.  Or by clicking on “Featured” Photos and move them around.  Your family pics only show if you give that info.

These new changes will become the profile template for business pages soon.

Well, it sounds pretty good so far, what are we missing?  Okay, did you have a “Flair”, “Sports Favorite Page” or any other customized navigational tab before the new profile?  Well – ta dah – they are gone!  Did you like being able to put your status in the left ‘status’ box and at the top of your profile?  Too bad, they are gone.  The status was a ‘box’ and remember, boxes are gone!

As far as Facebook Pages for Business (new name they are calling them now – no longer ‘Fan Pages’) – there are going to be changes to the way “Welcome pages” are created.  Any custom page or navigational tab is creating through Facebook’s code (FBML).  During the first week of January, the FBML will be eliminated.  Any pages created prior to that will be fine!  But, if you are a virtual assistant or computer programmer / designer of Facebook pages, you had better begin learning Java Script or IFrames ASAP!

Those folks who have custom tabs for their testimonials, charts or data for your business or any other personalized tabs may experience some sizing issues after the first of the year, also.  The 500 pixels existing size is still under review by Facebook.

Welcome to the New Year!  Here’s wishing you the most abundant 2011 possible! 🙂

Virtual Assistance by Anita is One Year Old!

dragonfly - mooonYes, It’s true. My business, Virtual Assistance by Anita will celebrate a one year anniversary on 12-31-2010. One year ago on New Year’s Eve, I launched my website. It was the first week of January 2010 that I received my business cards!

I cannot type one document in the past month where I add the date without thinking about it. Last year at this time I was creating my website; I was learning Word Press, and I was still wondering if this ‘new’ business was going to work.  Were clients really going to come?  Was I really going to be able to provide the services that I envisioned.  During this time, many other Virtual Assistants (VAs), friends, and business associates were helping me.  In one year, I have realized success by having many new, wonderful clients, but also I realized strength within me I never realized I possessed.

When you factor in that one year ago, I was still learning to be a virtual assistant and most of my income was being derived from my cleaning business. One year ago, I was still struggling with the major health issues in my life. But, in May, 2010, I began to have enough clients and income to close the cleaning business which I totally disliked. My cleaning clients were angels of people, but the work was so physically hard and wrecking my health so badly, that in the end I totally hated getting out of bed on the days I had to clean. Now, my health is 100% improved. I have even begun to rebuild my immune system and gain a few pounds. 🙂

Wow – that is quite a lot for one year. You wonder why I keeping thinking about it at every turn; with every new client. I sure didn’t get here by myself – granted there was a bunch of hard work; long hours and heart that I’ve put into this business, but I have loved every moment. BUT, I would never have made it to this place without my helpers – my Earth Angels – the Givers in my life.  I read,  The Go-Giver, an inspirational and wonderful book, by Bob Burg and John David Mann,  just a little over one year ago.

I would be typing for hours if I listed every person here that has been a giver in my life and my business this past year, so if I missed you – I appreciate you and know that you were a part of my journey!  It truly has been an amazing journey as if I made a list of the many people who have helped me in one way or another in the past year, I KNOW the list would be over 100, maybe even 200 people… possibly more.

The beginning was because of that one person who just loves you; gives you that extra encouragement and a ‘gentle’ push. That person for me was Kim Wesley. She reached out to me and gave me the idea. A business of my own and a new career seemed mighty scary to me. But, Kim is the kind of friend that never gives up on you. She spent about a month last August talking to me on email about it. Kim then created a subcontractor position for me with her company, TKM Virtual Services. She helped, taught and mentored me. When December rolled around, she decided it was time for this dragonfly to fly on her own. With love, and firm determination, she gave me that final push. Kim is that one person in my life who believed in me and encouraged me. Weeks can go by and Kim and I may not talk, but I know she always there for me. She is truly the sister God didn’t give me and I am thankful every day.

Kim introduced me to Glenn Garnes. Glenn is the kind of person who always has a positive attitude! He helped me, mentored me, taught me and was one of my first clients. Glenn is the founder of The Village Connector Community News. This online newspaper only publishes the good news – no crime, politics or controversial subjects. Glenn has been instrumental in the past year of my success in this business.  Many of the clients who I am now so thrilled to work with each day are because Glenn referred them to me.  He has many special gifts and I appreciate all of them that he has shared with me.

Then there were so many people who I’ve met online. Through Twitter and Facebook, we have connected and although I never have met them in ‘person’, they are my friends. A few of these special people were Michelle Mangen of Your Virtual Assistant. Michelle taught me many things about how to be a VA. She also taught me how caring people can be. One Sunday last December when my website crashed and I was ‘freaking out’, she called me calmly, and restored Word Press, like Magic! Michelle even outsourced VA work to me in my early days as a VA last year. Another example of a ‘Giver’ in my life.

Another instrumental person in my business life this year is my friend Deneen Wilson of The Typing Bug. She gave me a month of free mentoring. Her knowledge, caring and friendship are worth more to me than all the gold in the world. Deneen has a very special place in my heart as she is always there for me.  If I sent her an email anytime, she’s there to help!

In talking about my ‘online’ friends, I must mention Marie Riddle Walker as she is the “Twitter” lady! Marie and her beautiful family live in California – all the way across the country from me, but I feel as if we are neighbors. Social media can be a wonderful place to make ‘friends’ and I have been very blessed to have some special folks reach out to me. Thanks to all of you!!!

Last January I joined a Mastermind Group facilitated by Mia & Ernest Reed. This group of folks have supported, helped and cared for me this past year. There were times they gave me the ‘courage’ I needed to take the next step of growth! Many thanks to them all for their support.  A huge hug to both Mia and Ernest as they are some of my wonderful clients and a part of my heart and family now.

The list could go on and on of all the many wonderful clients, friends and people who have touched my life and business this year, but — The point is – I have been truly given the gift of a community of love and support. As I celebrate one year as a business, I give thanks for all of you – those mentioned here and the many, many more who I have not mentioned, also!

Before I close, I must say that my Family has truly given me the wind beneath my wings to soar as a dragonfly.  My daughter, Hannah has filed for me, made labels and sometimes she knows those little tricks of Facebook that only a 12 year old knows. 🙂  My sons have been supportive in many ways, but especially as they’ve cooked and cleaned for themselves much more than ever before in their lives.  My husband, Danny, has been truly a gift to me all year; encouraging me, reading and learning more about HTML code than he ever knew before and being my partner in business!

As each of you celebrate a Happy New Year on 12-31-2010,  I will also be celebrating my one year anniversary, thanks to a ‘village’ of people! Many Hugs to all! 🙂

Thanksgiving – Every Day

happy-thanksgiving-pookin“Thanksgiving Day comes, by statute, once a year; to the honest man it comes as frequently as the heart of gratitude will allow.”  ~Edward Sandford Martin

When I was a little girl growing up, my dad used to say that every day of the year is a day of Thanksgiving.  I did not completely understand that then but I certainly do now.  As an adult with a husband, three children and especially as a business owner,   Every day is a day of thanksgiving.

Sure there are lots of things in my life that I could ‘complain’ about, but what good will that do for me or anyone else around me? Instead, I try to find something to be grateful about or thankful for each day.  In the month of November, I usually tell my family each day what I am thankful for as they need to hear it.  I ask them to try to do the same – my kids just ‘love’ this – haha – but being thankful, outloud or in writing, affirms this feeling!

My way of thinking seems to be working for me.  I have been very blessed with new paths to fly at in business, in my personal life and health and in my friendships.  Each day of this past year, I  seem to find a new person who helps me, a new piece of technology to help my life to be better; and to help the lives of others to be better! Although there are still ‘challenges’ in my life, I am so thankful for all that I have been given.

This is truly the way Thanksgiving should be – A time of the year that we remember more often to be thankful for all the gifts in our lives – But mostly I want to remember, to be thankful Every day of the year.

I guess Daddy was right, Every Day of the Year is Thanksgiving!  Happy Thanksgiving to you all!  🙂

Virtual Assistant travels on new adventure

Travel has always been something that I said I would do when I was older and the children were raised, but here I am journeying on a new adventure.  Snowy road This travel is as a Virtual Assistant and my path is the world wide web! Like the snowy, icy road above, it has been a slippery way, but in this New Year and with my friends, I will take flight, like the dragonfly over the Ocean!

I have been given an opportunity to travel along with other self employed, small business owners as I launch my own business!   I have told quite a few folks lately,  “I am flying on my own now.”   This is inspired by the dragonfly that I so love.

Seriously though, Here I am.  I am starting a new Virtual Assistant business with a new self hosted website – www.anitamhicks.com !  The road here has been a bit rough and I think my dragonfly’s wings are still damp!   No matter – onward!   In 2010,  Virtual Assistance by Anita will take flight and soar into business.

This flight so far has been supported and guided by my wonderful husband, Danny.  He has, out of necessity, become my web designer, my ‘how does this code work’ person, my co-pilot and my encouragement!  A big thanks to him!

It is by the blessing of my friends and their excellent advice, help and encouragement that my business, like my beautiful blue dragonfly, is flying along this new path!  Great thanks must go to Kim Wesley and Glenn Garnes.  They are my solid rock that all dragonflies must have before taking flight.   A huge thank you to my awesome friend, help and WordPress Super Woman, Michelle Mangen.   Another amazing person in the creation and design of the new website, Deneen Wilson!  A huge hug goes to her for the beautiful, blue dragonfly and for many hours of support to me!  These folks are the reason that Virtual Assistance by Anita will fly over the snowy places and into the warmth of the sun  in 2010!

There are many more folks who have reached out to me via the Internet to give me their honest input and help with regard to my business.  I really appreciate you all — Marie, Sandra, and Kathleen, are  just a few!  It is a truly amazing place here in my virtual world.

Just a few short months ago, I read the book  The Go-Giver.  The principles of giving, without expecting anything in return, are outlined in this book!  It was one of my first inspirations for becoming a Virtual Assistant.  I can see that there are people in the world who are willing to help you, just because, without expecting anything in return.   It has been my personal experience in the past month alone that dozens of folks have reached out to me.   A select few have become my close friends.

Happy 2010!  Happy New Year!  Come on over and visit me at www.anitamhicks.com!  Leave a comment,  Please !  Tell me what you think!  I love input! 🙂

Let's Not Be Partners, by Glenn Garnes, (2nd half)

This book has been fabulous! Again, I have to say that I’m not in any place in my life  to have a partner, but the words of wisdom that Glenn writes in the book, Let’s Not Be Partners, are very useful in life!

“You’re dreams will be realized when you get connected with people that are on the way, not in the way.” Anon.  This was from Chapter VI and it is very true in my opinion.

Glenn writes in the final chapters of the book about the evaluation of relationships and what to do when the relationship falls apart. He brings his caring of people to the words on the page.

After Chapter X, there is a terrific set of forms to use as discussed in the book.

If you have a copy of the book and have not read it, you should set the time aside Now!  If you do not have a copy, follow the link and purchase one at Glenn Garnes’ website.

As always, I love input – Please tell me what you think 🙂

New Book I'm reading – Let's Not be Partners

I am reading this new book that I just had to share with everyone.  It is –  Let’s Not Be Partners, Things you must do before you tie the Knot (Not), by Glenn Garnes.

Being an honest person, I must first say that Glenn is my new friend.  My life was blessed this past October when he became my new friend.  The first time I met Glenn, I already knew quite a bit about him.  One of my most trusted friends recommended Glenn.  She was singing his praises as a Connector, as a friend and as a mentor.  I had learned that Glenn had been a lawyer and had done some really impressive things in connecting business professionals with each other.   When I met Glenn, the man immediately made me feel as if we had known each other forever.  His love of people shines through just like the warm sunshine of a summer day.

Having said all that about the author of this book, now let me tell you about the book !  I’ve only read 5 chapters, but I had to sit down and blog about it.  It is inspiring, whether or not you are considering a business partner, it has valuable information that we all should know.    The book is packed full of ideas of how to build relationships;  what to avoid in business relationships and generally will help you to focus your efforts.

I love Glenn’s quotes as they are always something that motivates, inspires or makes you think.  This book has them sprinkled in and here is one I especially like “All the ideas in the world are worthless without quality people to help you implement them.”

I’ll keep you updated on the rest of the book, but I suggest you all run to his website and buy one and Yes, I mean Now!

Then, Let me know what You Think – I love input 🙂 – Anita

Blogs – Everyone's got one?

I have had this blog for about 3 months now.  I am forever wondering what other folks are blogging about.  I decided to do some investigating today, as my curiosity just could not stand it any longer.

I researched and found so many options but here are a few that really impressed me.  This gentleman, Evan Carmichael, has this nifty little guide – “The Top 50 Social Media Blogs of the Year“!  It has links to many other blogs of all types and subjects.  It’s pretty interesting.  It is one of those places that you can connect to a bunch more helpful sites.

One thing I thought was really interesting was that there are so many Women’s Blogs.  There is even a website that is a Directory of Blogs by Women – BlogHer.com.   I think this is so coool!  I suppose that is because I am a Woman – LOL!

There are so many seasonal blogs; like Thanksgiving sent out a pouring of “I am thankful for” so will the holidays coming in December: Christmas, Hannakah and Kwanzaa, as it is at Valentines’ Day or St. Patty’s day, my personal favorite, being Irish!

But I was actually shocked at how many of us are blogging about helping others.  We are blogging about paying it forward, about charities that we support, about videos that others are posting that are about helping others, and about our favorite organizations that we love to help.  Helping others is a top of the list subject for blogs!  Yea, this is great news as it means that many of us are doing  this – Helping others!

It seems that Everyone’s Got a Blog.  Many of us seem to be using them to communicate.

I love input – What are you blogging about? – What is your favorite subject to read about?

B  Well – Anita

Helping Others..

Since I can remember as a little girl in First Grade, in Western Maryland, I have always been of belief that you should help others.  As a little girl I participated in many church and Girl Scout activities that I had the joy to help others.  From soup kitchens to sorting clothing for homeless, I believe  I’ve experienced a wide variety of helping others.  I have received more joy in these moments than in any other.

As a Virtual Assistant now, I am always searching through Social Media sites and I watch for those that are promoting helping others.  I was impressed with this video on YouTube about students helping others.  As a Girl Scout Troop Leader, I believe strongly in the Girls giving back to their communities and helping others.  I hope you will spend just a moment to watch this video:

Please – I’m always looking for feedback – Tell me Your Thoughts, ~ Anita