I Heart Organic!

This is what's left of what I got from HNN.

This is the first time I have ever gone organic. I’ve been reading articles about this and its benefits for years, I have even wrote a few articles about going organic but I never really tried one. A client of mine introduced me and convinced me to become a distributor of Human Heart Nature’s organic beauty products. Since I am looking for additional ways to earn money, I gave in! In order to be a distributor I have to pay Php 825.00.

Just last weekend a package arrived in the mail, I thought it was purely marketing materials from Human Heart Nature.  I was surprised to know that my 825.00 includes sample beauty products. So I instantly chose the products we want to try. I got the Banana Shampoo and Body wash for Mikee, Lemongrass Massage oil for my mom, Deet-FREE bug spray for my dad and a nourishing shampoo for me!

Mikee's New Favorite Shampoo

Instantly Mikee fell in love with the smell of the banana shampoo. She immediately took off her clothes and headed to the shower.The bathroom was filled with yummy banana scent that lasted for more than 30 minutes. The only downside to it is that you would need larger amounts of shampoo in your palm to lather it up compared to ordinary chemical shampoos in the market. I guess its probably because there are no chemicals used. No big deal! After drying her hair, her hair still smells like a banana and more importantly it looked shinier than it used to. (This is really true!) At first I thought, since it is just a shampoo, I will have a hard time combing and fixing her hair that maybe I would need to use a conditioner for her, but I was wrong, it was soft and easy to manage.

We rode to Kalibo on a motorbike with hubby (20 mins ride) and Mikee’s hair is still soft and shiny. It has tangles yes, but not like the ordinary shampoos that we use. I am loving the product! I will definitely order another bottle as soon as we used it all up.

I will be posting regular reviews of the Human Heart Natures organic beauty products every now and then.

Have you tried going organic? What beauty products do you use?

I’m going to start saying goodbye to chemicals 🙂

Pink Fave Friday: Pink General Tool Set

Our house is almost finished. Our Pink Bathroom is almost done and now we’re off to clean the house and start building our dirty kitchen. I was engrossed researching for “pink kitchens” when I remembered its Friday today and I should share my Pink Fave tool. So, because of that, I started looking for Pink tools.

I found this Pink General Tool Set from Apollo Precision Tools. I absolutely love it. Not only because its pink and but its complete! Perfect for girly crafts as well and my home organizing! Pink color definitely makes a girly statement. I just wish it comes with a pink toolbox too!.

Now Im off to our house. What about you, what’s your favorite pink tool this week?

 

Tuesday Tool Madness: An Offshore Virtual Assistant’s Must Have

Working from home has kept me pre-occupied for almost 4 years now. In fact, I found myself working 10-16 hours a day in front of my computer. It is in fact more than work, but its a business.

If you are planning to start working from home and putting up your very own virtual assistant business, there are some key tools that will help you establish your business. Here are some of the most important tool that I currently use which I find very effective.

1. A separate workspace. Yes you really need one. Whether it is a closet turned home office or a small corner in your room, you need to establish a separate work area for your business. Working from home means a lot of distraction from the people around you – husband, kids, and even family and friends. Most of the time they wont actually feel that you are working because they will take it that you are only playing or sitting for hours in front of your computer.  It is important that you set your working schedule. Let them know that at this time schedule you will be working and should NOT be disturbed unless it is an emergency. It may not be as easy to start this with, but as soon as they see that you are serious about this and you follow your schedule yourself, then they will start respecting your schedule.

2.  Phone System – as an offshore virtual assistant, most of your clients will contact you through email or skype. However, it is important that you connect with your clients over the phone even once a week or once a month to discuss work and project status. Overseas calls are very very expensive. Thanks to technology cause you now have other options other than IDD calling. What I use is a cool tool called Magic Jack. It is very handy, comes with USB plug in and all you need to do is to connect an actual phone in it. It will come with your very own US Phone number so your clients can contact you, and a voicemail service. You can do unlimited calls to the US for free for the first year. I bought mine from a friend in high school and ordered through ebay, and got it the following day.

3. Back Up and File Sharing tool – sending files and storing them can be very confusing especially if you are not organized with your files. When I first started as a virtual assistant almost 4 years ago, I didn’t have any system in place. I have lost countless files, missed deadlines all because I lost the file somewhere in my documents or lost it because of a hardware problem. This can cause a lot of negative feedback for your business. Now, I use Dropbox. It was first introduced to be even before they were officially launched online by a client. Since then me and my team have been using it ever since. The coolest thing about dropbox is that it is quick to install and quick to access! It works just like your “My Documents” in your computer. You can easily drag and drop files into folders and share folders with anyone or everyone 🙂

4.  Online Fax – Similar to IDD Calling, sending fax to clients as well as signed documents can be very expensive. I use j2Connect for receiving fax messages from my clients. You will be provided with a US Fax number that your clients can use for sending fax messages. All messages received will be forwarded to your email address in just minutes. Documents will be sent in PDF format. J2connect has free and paid services. Free accounts allows you to receive unlimited fax messages while the paid account allows you to send messages to your clients.

5. Echosign –  As an online business entrepreneur, one of the most common thing we do for clients are sending agreements or contracts. When I first started out, I used to do it the “old school way” > Print the contract >> sign >> scan the signed document >> then send it to the client. Echosign has made it a whole lot easier for me, saves me time and money! It allows you to upload the contract, sign it electronically and send it to your client for signature. No need to scan documents or print duplicate copies of your contract!

Working with clients who are thousand miles away from us may be very challenging. However, knowing the right tools to use will help you and your virtual assistant business be more efficient and successful.

What about you, What’s your favorite virtual assistant tools? (leave a comment!)

 

 

 

 

Panasonic Toughbook cf 30

panasonic-toughbook-cf301Wow! Searching for a new laptop is not easy. I’ve done hours of research, checked out consumer reports, looked at video reviews on you tube and apart from checking out each laptop specs there has been one thing that allot of consumers fail to put much weight into, which is the laptops durability. I know for a fact that I’m not going to risk not getting a piece of fragile technology, even though an iMac may look cool but rugged laptops maybe something that I’m more looking along the lines of.

I’ve seen some online demos of some of these machines and the amount of stress and torture you can put these notebooks through before it affects the performance of the machine is unbelievable. More specifically the Panasonic Toughbook cf 30 is a very impressive machine. I just finished watching some very impressive video reviews and demos of the Panasonic Toughbook cf 30, and there are some extreme testing being done. Almost every “extreme” type of review had the three of the same tests. One test that the CF 30 always seems to pass with flying color is the test where they lay the notebook on the pavement of some parking lot and run over it with both tires. When they pick up the sturdy little soldier, it runs perfectly, and without a scratch. The other test is the infamous liquid test, and this thing passes this puppy with no problem. A whole 16 oz of coffee, a water bottle, squirt gun and everything else has been dumped on the CF 30 and it has yet to fizz out from the looks of these videos, and I believe it.

I’m still whittling my future laptop purchase down to a few more options but due to the fact that I want something that lasts I’m definitely looking towards the Panasonic Toughbook 30, and I’m glad to know that a rugged notebook’s technology is going to last for a while, but is going to stand up to the test of time as well.

Maximize Your Time With Clientspot

As a VA there are many obstacles. As with many jobs organization is easily at the top of the list. I need to be able to grab all of my client’s information quickly and get to work on their projects. I also need to keep track of how much time I’m working on each task in the project in order to invoice correctly.

Previously I was using multiple programs to get this done. Having to open different files, emails, and sites to get all the information for one project and keep track of everything. But no longer! ClientSpot is my one location to keep everything needed.

Once I create a project I then added tasks, files and comments as I work. If it is a project that I need a lot of interaction from the client or I am working with a subcontractor then I can add them on as a user. They can also upload files in the project and I can create tasks for the subcontractor with a due date right for all of us to see. One of the biggest time savers in this section for me is the tasks.

Each task shows the time on it and any comments. I can create a due date for it and then it will show up on the calendar. But adding the time for each task in this same program cuts down on having yet another browser window open on my computer and creating spreadsheets. I have it broken down by the minute how long I or my subcontractors have worked on a project. At the end of the month or project I can easily pull all of the hours for invoicing. Again, saving me a ton of time by keeping track of it all in the same spot.

A major time waster I find is having to go back and forth in my emails for log ins and clients comments on projects. By adding them as a user I can have them comment directly in ClientSpot. I can upload any files they have sent me and I can go and put any log in info for projects right into the project comments. I open one program and have literally everything I need to get to work.

Now that I can grab everything quickly I can add more projects to my day. It’s amazing how much time you spend looking for all of this information in one day. Especially when you work on multiple projects in one day. Hours a week spent pulling up all of this information can now be spent on new clients and new projects for current clients. ClientSpot can give you more hours to your day!