As much as I love what I do, spending most of my time typing does have its drawbacks. Yes, I'm referring to Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI), carpel tunnel syndrome, or whatever else the condition may be that causes pain in the fingers, hands, wrists, elbows and shoulders etc. This means that I am usually looking for ways of minimising the need for me to typing and clicking on a standard mouse, which basically means using an ergonomic mouse.
Previously, I've been using an Anker Vertical Mouse, which certainly seemed a lot easier on my hand than a standard flat mouse, but I'll admit it wasn't the prettiest of things on my desk. Then i became aware of the Microsoft Sculpt mouse and this looked a lot more attractive.
It's shaped like a pebble and is supposed to replicate the natural curve of the hand. Initially, I thought it wasn't going to be any good - if anything, my arm ached even more in the first few days of use - but I think that was just me getting used to it. It really does feel a lot more natural now, with my fingers and palm literally just settling over it rather than clutching or grasping.
It's early days and I do still try to cut down the amount of use I give a mouse - I use keyboard shortcuts where I can and because I'm left handed, I also have a pen mouse that I use when I really want to give my right arm a break - but I think the Microsoft Sculpt Ergonomic Mouse is really rather good and a useful addition to my desk.
Do you have a blog on your business website? You do? Great. Tell me, when was the last time you wrote something for it?
Most people understand the value of a blog but can’t seem to find the time to keep writing articles or posts for it. And this is bad for business because a blog is the best way of ensuring your website has regular fresh content – that search engines love – and of engaging with your customers.
Business blogs are a lot harder to write than personal blogs. With a personal blog, you can write about your day, your feelings, your shopping purchases, your favourite foods, pretty much anything you like, but with a business blog, the blogs have to be appropriate. You have to consider your audience’s needs and interests and be careful not to offend. You should include links and keywords while still writing engaging and informative content.
If you want to get your blog back on track but don’t want to have to do the blog writing, then get in touch with me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll become your blog writer.
Students and other academics are often writing to a deadline, which can mean they take a final draft of their essay, thesis or dissertation up to the wire. But this can pose a problem if they want to get their document proofread prior to submission. Anyone wanting to book academic proofreading services should do so early because proofreading is not a job that should be rushed.
Accurate, professional proofreading takes time. Each letter, each word, each sentence, each paragraph has to be read carefully, checked for errors and corrected. While a trained proofreader has been taught to spot mistakes in a text that untrained people will not notice, rushing through a document will naturally lead to errors being missed.
Personally, I like to perform a minimum two readthroughs of a document; the first readthrough will pick up the majority of errors and a second readthrough should catch those that slipped through the net. So, as you can appreciate, two readthroughs take a little time, depending on the length of the document. It is also important that any student or academic has the time to make the changes to their text that the proofreader recommends.
So, my advice if you want to book a proofreader for your academic document is to get your chosen proofreader in place before your text is actually ready. In this way, the proofreader can let you know the latest date they need it by, how long it will take to do a proper job and how much it will cost, all without you having to worry about missing your deadline.
Plan ahead and book academic proofreading services by emailing email@example.com
The acronym for a Personal Assistant - PA - has become so well known that many people assume any type of administrative assistant is a PA, but there are differences between a PA and a secretary.
A PA is someone who basically runs your working life for you. CEOs and presidents of companies have PAs, so do some managers and some sole traders because the PA takes all the phone calls that come in and deals with them, sends out emails on behalf of their boss, schedules trips, makes hotel bookings and travel arrangements. A PA is usually – but not always – a regular employee because they have to know their boss very well professionally, understand their business and know their plans. A PA does not have to work literally side by side with the employer if the employer is constantly on the move or works from home. In such cases, the PA is called a VA, a Virtual Assistant.
A Secretary, on the other hand, does not need to be so professionally intimate with their employer. A secretary needs only to be provided with the relevant information to do his or her job, such as being given a spreadsheet that needs formatting and completing, handwritten letters or documents that need to be typed, or interviews that need to be transcribed. He or she can carry on with the job without having to refer to the boss unless there is a query. This makes the Virtual Secretary a perfect choice to take over the tasks that are relatively straightforward, repetitive or time-consuming.
If you have projects that will take up too much of your valuable time and can be handled by a virtual secretary, then get in touch with me by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
Every business, but particularly sole traders, are looking for ways to keep their business overheads down and thereby increase their profits. But cost savings don’t only come from the larger elements in your business; they can be found in some of the smallest, too. Here are 8 ways you can reduce your overheads without compromising your business.
The paperless office
Nowadays, offices can become paperless without losing vital information. Keeping all your files digital will mean that your purchase of paper will be greatly reduced and you need not have to find somewhere suitable to store it. you will also find that information sharing becomes faster and easier through using emailing and other ‘sharing’ technology.
Reduced printing costs
If you are not using paper as much as you once did, then it follows that your printing costs will reduce also. Whilst it is unlikely you can do without a printer altogether, you can cut the costs by using double-sided printing; refilling toner/ink cartridges; or using a compatible toner/ink cartridge rather than the more expensive genuine ones.
If you intend to go paperless, then the next step is to adopt the latest technology and store all your business data in a cloud storage system. Cloud-based technology is readily available, and comes as standard with take-up and subscriptions to Microsoft Office, Google and services like Dropbox. You will also discover that in many ways your data is safer when stored in the cloud rather than on a server in your office, and certainly easier to make use of because it can be accessed from anywhere there is a wired or wireless internet connection.
Business travel costs
If you have a lot of out-of-office business meetings resulting in high travel costs, whether public transport fares or petrol, you can and should use technology to make leaving the office unnecessary. Where possible, schedule face-to-face meetings using video conferring software. Some of these are free, such as Skype or Google Hangouts, while paid-for others may provide a more reliable and feature-full service, such as GoToMeeting or Powwownow.
Outsource when necessary
If you employ staff, then there will be times when they are absent, either sickness or holiday. Rather than hire a temp who will need to be brought up to speed to perform their job and who may be underutilised for part of their time with you, consider whether the absent staff member’s work can be handled temporarily by a freelancer who works from their own home. You could also cut out the need for a full-time employee if you consider outsourcing tasks such as bookkeeping to a specialist company, who will handle this important task at their own office, obviating the need for you to provide desk space.
Review your small outgoings
Finally, take a look at some of the regular and even irregular expenses you incur, but which often pass under your radar. For example, if you are in a specific trade, it may be that you pay a subscription to receive a trade magazine or a membership to a particular body. But review whether you actually read the magazines you receive, whether they add to your knowledge or do anything for your business. if you cancelled the subscription would you or your business suffer? If the answer is No, then cancel your subscription or membership fee. If you find that you do miss out, you can always renew.
If you need someone to type your letters when your secretary or administrator is on holiday, then email me at email@example.com
You may think that the best way to run your business and keep costs to a minimum is to do everything yourself, but as any successful entrepreneur will tell you, part of the secret of success is knowing when to outsource certain business tasks to specialists. Here are 4 ways in which outsourcing can benefit you and your business.
Allow you to focus
The more you try to do everything yourself, the greater the chance you will do most of those tasks inefficiently. Outsourcing a task to a specialist or expert, such as a bookkeeper, or even outsourcing a lengthy typing project, will free you up to focus on fewer tasks that you are better at.
Reduced labour costs
If you employ another specialist company or a freelancer to perform a particular business task for you, you are paying them on a project-by-project basis compared to hiring a person full time who may be underutilised for some of the working day.
So, if you are not paying out a full-time salary but only paying as and when you need a job done, your outgoings become variable rather than fixed. This means that you have more capital to spend on other areas of your business. you may even find that this available money enables you to grow your business.
Access to resources
When you outsource to a company or freelancer, you are tapping into their particular skillset or expertise that you may not have access to when you employ one person to sit at a desk in your office. This means you can do more, learn more and thereby benefit more.
If you find yourself snowed under with admin, get in touch to find out if I can help alleviate some of your burdens. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Thought I would post this very handy infographic provided by FreeAgent that shows what freelancers and sole traders should be including on their invoice.
One thing it doesn't say is that if you are a sole trader using a company name that isn't your own name, then you do need to include your name as well, so for me, my invoices need to show Laura Dowers, T/As LD Secretarial Services.
Hope this helps.
It is common practice to put an address on business cards so that people know where your office is or where you operate, but with so many people working from home these days, is this practice wise?
Working from home is great, but it can be a problem if clients know your home address and turn up unexpectedly. It isn’t just a question of having to entertain business clients in a domestic setting, which could be embarrassing if you haven’t had a chance to do the housework or have your laundry airing in the living room; there are other, more important, considerations. If you are going to have clients come to your home you need to take out insurance, which can be expensive and mostly unnecessary, especially if a client at your home is a relatively rare occurrence. Primarily, the insurance will protect you from being sued should your client trip over a dog toy or rug and injurie themselves.
There is a worry that a business will look dodgy if an address is not displayed on a business card or website, but I believe that working from home is such a common practice these days that most people simply understand the situation. Therefore, all that is needed on business cards for self-employed freelancers or contractors is their name, their contact details, website URL and possibly their social media handles.
If you are like most people, you will be looking forward with eager anticipation to your upcoming holiday. Whilst how your colleagues will fare during your absence may not be high on your mind, it can be worth your while to make it easy for them to do your job while you’re away so as not to return to a pile of work. Here’s 3 tips to manage your holiday handover.
Few businesses have the luxury of not having to watch every penny spent, but are your monthly bills frightening reading? If so, read on to discover 5 tips to save money in business.
I am a Copywriter, Proofreader, Virtual Secretary and Author.