A Virtual Success!

Last August we held an event for virtual assistants in Vancouver British Columbia while house sitting in the area.

Kathy had found our event online and registered. We’ve kept in touch over the past year by email and calls. Today we received this email from Kathy:

Hi Sue & Joel,

Just wanted to let you know how appreciative I am for the encouragement you gave me last year when you were in Vancouver and the few months after when I was so unsure.

I have just landed my first “big” contract.  It is for a business coaching firm in San Jose.  We got together because of a LinkedIn VA discussion.  They were asking if it was possible for their meetings to be transcribed live.  All of the VAs that answered said, no, you had to record it first.  They said their meetings could not be recorded.  Then I came on and said it could be transcribed live.  I did a test run for them to show how it could work and we are now working together several times a week.

I never would have had the courage to go to these forums let alone say I could do it if it was not for the encouragement you had given to me.

Again, thanks, and enjoy your nomad life.

Kathy Andrews

Kathy told us the company was looking for 80% accuracy and she got 90% so they were very impressed! And as Joel told her, “Real-time transcription has to be nearly unique. In cases where there’s a need, you probably have NO competition!”

We’re glad to have been a part of helping Kathy succeed as a transcriptionist. Visit Kathy’s website at http://andrewsvirtualtranscripts.com/

 

The Long Haul: In Retrospect

A year ago I wrote about the beginnings of our adventure. Then I wasn’t sure exactly where we’d be in a year or if we’d even decide to leave behind a home and travel. I did know I wanted to do something different.

So we packed up, drove up to Vancouver and spent a glorious three weeks there. The trip made me realize the need for big change in our lives. I had gotten into a rut and the daily grind of getting up and sitting in our dark little home office wouldn’t cut it anymore. I needed to be outside, feeling the sun shine on my face, the wind blowing through my hair. I needed to spend time teaching Fiona about the great big outdoors.

It’s great to be able to go anywhere we want and to maintain our work and keep our clients happy. When our official “one year without a home” time comes at the end of September, I’ll write even more about all this has meant and how I feel. For today I want to thank all the wonderful clients we have who have worked with us even when we are so far apart. Below is just one testimonial from a satisfied client:

I have been truly amazed that with all of Sue’s travels, I haven’t experienced any interruptions in service whatsoever. She has consistently delivered her services to the same great level I’ve come to expect, all since becoming a road warrior! I’m not sure I’d be so resilient, but she and Joel really know how to operate mobile businesses. Well done!” ~ Stephanie Chandler, Author, Speaker, Publisher,

P.S. Stephanie later emailed to say, “It really is remarkable how you’ve managed to go mobile with your businesses. That should be your next book!!” Guess we’ve got more work to do and another book to publish! :)

Vancouver Review: Dates & Duration

We crossed the 49th parallel heading north at 9:15 am Monday the 2nd of August.

We crossed the 49th parallel heading south at 3:30 pm Wednesday the 25th of August after spending 3 weeks, 2 days, 6 hours & 15 minutes in Canada

Still to come: statistics (miles, dollars, etc.), impressions, achievements, and more.

Saturday’s Adventure: Skytrain, Seabus, & Stanley Park

Saturday we finally took Fiona on her long-promised Skytrain ride. We each got an all day pass that allowed us to ride the Skytrain, Seabus and city buses in any zones. So we took full advantage of it. After lunch we walked the block to the bus stop and then took the bus to the nearest Skytrain Station. From there we rode the Skytrain all the way to Vancouver.

Joel taking public transportation:

Joel taking public transportation

Fiona didn’t want to sit. She loved hanging on to the poles and getting jerked around as we came to a stop and started again. She had a blast! In Vancouver we took the Seabus across to North Vancouver. We walked around the Waterfront Park and then walked across the way to the other side of the Seabus station. There was a very high stair case we climbed which Fiona actually didn’t enjoy but she did it. Below there were kids playing in bubbles in water. I mean the children were enclosed in these huge plastic bubbles that were in the water and they had fun playing in them. We shot video and will have to post it later.

Fiona on the Seabus:

Fiona on the Seabus

We took the Seabus back to Vancouver and then chatted for a bit with a lady that’s originally from the UK. She’s traveled to Spain and Scotland as well where she has cousins. Then it was to the bus to go to Stanley Park. Where Joel will tell you in another post about our walk and how close we were to the Rose Gardens when we first arrived and how long it took us to actually get there.

Yellow Roses - Sue's favorite

At Stanley Park Fiona also saw ducks and raccoons. Then she got to play at the park and make a new friend while Joel and I swung on the swings. We finally took the Skytrain back into New Westminster and ended up walking home, much of it uphill. Joel will also share more of that story.

It was a great adventure day and we all had a lot of fun!

Updated August 19, 2010 with pictures!

Meeting Virtual Assistants in Person in Vancouver British Columbia

The Client Communication Clinic we hosted in Vancouver last Friday was great! We finally met Renee Shupe, The Redhead VA, in person. We also met an aspiring virtual assistant and are meeting her again Wednesday while we’re still in the Vancouver area.

We will be in the Vancouver area until August 23rd at least. We’d love to meet other local virtual assistants in person and chat with you about your business. If you were unable to attend the Client Communication Clinic and would like to receive the instructional materials, we’d love to meet with you and provide you all the materials for the same cost as the Clinic. Today we were able to meet with Maureen of Kairos Business and had a very nice chat about business. Maureen is a virtual assistant based in Maple Ridge.

We will meet with you in person anywhere within the Vancouver area at a time convenient to you for up to 3 hours and provide:

1. Client Communication Clinic CD package ($100.00 Value) – over 5 hours audio and 7 Special Reports on the following topics:

  • Identifying Your Ideal Client and Target Market
  • Networking Creates Word of Mouth Referrals
  • Converting Prospects to Clients
  • Effectively Marketing With Your Newsletter
  • Bonus Tips: Grow Your Business as a Chief Virtual Officer
  • 7 Steps to Small Business Marketing Success by John Jantsch, Duct Tape Marketing

2. Building Blocks: Succeed as a Chief Virtual Officer, a 72-page action guide. ($19.95 Value) We use this action guide during the Clinic. You will also receive an Implementation Checklist to help you implement what you learn from the CD and Action Guide  in your business right away!

3. Personalized business advice and answers to your questions about your Virtual Assistant business.

All this for $100.

If you’d like to take advantage of this special offer, use our contact form and let us know where and when you’d like to meet and we’ll work out all the details.

Working Remotely: Business as Usual

Someone sent me a message today wishing us a great vacation in Vancouver. We’re not on vacation! We’re working remotely and it’s business as usual. That’s what’s great about being a virtual worker. As long as we have internet access we  can work from any location on the globe.

Today we are doing a special event on location though. The Client Communication Clinic in Vancouver, BC at The Network Hub starts at 9 am. If you didn’t have a chance to register here, you can still get all the same great information – in person!

Joel and I will be in the Vancouver BC area through most of August. We’d love to meet you in person. We’ll come to you anywhere in the greater Vancouver area and meet with you as long as you like and provide you all the materials from the clinic for the same price as if you had attended the clinic – only you get personalized attention. Just use the contact form and let us know when and where you’d like to meet.

We’ll also be visiting various Waves Coffee Shops in the area so watch for us. We’ll be at the  one at Kingsway & Edmonds Monday August 9th at 12:30. See you then

Sisters Spend the Day Together Before We Leave for Oregon

Fiona has an older grown sister, Rachelle. Rachelle was at Fiona’s birth and is like a second mother to her since there’s a 16-year age difference. In fact four years ago when mommy ended up in the hospital for four month, Rachelle really took over as then 2-year old Fiona’s surrogate mommy. So they are very close. They’ve shared a room since Fiona was a baby. If Rachelle isn’t home when Fiona’s ready for bed, she doesn’t want to go to bed yet.

We”re about to leave in a couple of days to head first for Oregon and no, Rachelle is not coming with us. She’s all grown up with a job and can’t just take off. This will be the first time that Fiona and Rachelle have been separated for such a long period of time since Fiona was a baby. Of course they’ll stay in touch by phone, email, Skype, and Facebook. They’ll still miss each other.

So today they are spending the day together since Rachelle has off today and will be working the next few days before we leave for Oregon. Rachelle works at a children’s photography studio and later today they are going to go in and get their pictures taken together. Last night Rachelle bought donuts and yes, they had donuts for breakfast. Rachelle took a banana along when they left for the morning so she could have something ‘nutritious’ to give Fiona. I’m not worried about it. I just want them to have a lot of fun.

On another note, we’ve finalized the plans with the family we’ll be staying with in Washington before we reach Vancouver. But we’re still looking for a place to stay July 29 & 30 in Oregon. Any ideas?

Virtual Assistants in Vancouver Receive Training at Virtual Offices

Yes, we’re moving ahead with the Vancouver Virtual Assistant Workshop on August 6, 2010. Thanks to Renee Shupe, The Redhead VA, and Minna Van of The Network Hub, we have a great location and lots of great information to present. You can read the Press Release posted at PRLog.

The workshop will be very interactive and include exercises to help virtual assistants:

  • Clearly define their ideal client
  • Create marketing strategies to reach ideal clients
  • Learn how to convert prospects to ideal clients
  • Network in person in such a way as to create word of mouth referrals
  • Create a newsletter to engage with prospects and client

All attendees at the Vancouver workshop will also receive a copy of Building Blocks: Succeed as a Chief Virtual Officer. There will also be a drawing for 5 copies of the ebook on CD, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn – A Quick-Start Guide for Virtual Assistants by Christine Giri of Time Tamer Consulting.

Details and registration can be found at Event Brite.

Guest Post by Caitlyn James: Who Are These Canfields?

Caitlyn 'Smokie' James
Caitlyn 'Smokie' James
I’ve busted in here to ask you something. It’s Caitlyn … the Canfields will be staying at our place in August.

Joel & Sue agreed to give me some space to do a fun little post pre-launch of their nomad’s adventure. I’ll hit send before they can do a full proof-read. You’ll see why.

Seriously, folks, who are these Canfields? Have any of you met them in person? Would you let them stay in your house?

I don’t have time to be cautious and subtle so I apologize in advance for being a bit crass….

First, I get they’ll be living in the house so opening up the medicine cabinet is reasonable. We’ll take most of the anti-psychotic drugs with us; the Warfarin can be moved into the shed – we rarely use it for people, but we have friends with a tendency to forget to go home and at the right dose, the Warfarin just makes them feel a little woozy and they decide it’s time to go. Nothing serious. Of course, we use it on the pests, too, but it smells so nasty when they die in the walls. Anyway, my question is, are Joel and Sue the kind of people who will use up your Tylenol if you leave half a bottle sitting there?

Second, Fiona seems like a cute kid, but is she really 6? Apparently, she reads chapter books, flies at the sight of dogs, and has her own website. Makes me wonder if this is one of those sting operations the cops do when they pose as teenagers online to lure pedophiles. In this case, someone may have mentioned all the 6 foot deep holes we’ve been digging in the yard. The cops may have set up this kind-of-quirky family to infiltrate our home and networks. Fiona may very well be a donut eating 35-year-old with his own kid in kindergarten.

You see where I’m going with this. The Canfields might not be normal.

There’s this other thing. We LOVE our dog. Not in that nutty way that people can be with dog nail polish and bows in the hair; it’s just that we don’t see why people make their dogs eat on the floor. RK (Racoon Killer) has his dog dish on the table when we eat our dinner. I’m afraid Joel might try to change this. I dunno, I’m thinking he might be worried when RK takes an innocent little lick off Fiona’s plate. Problem is, RK has never taken direction all that well. Without a whole long story, let’s just point out that I only have 3 fingers on one hand. That’s 3 fingers total, out of 2 hands total. My question to you? Do you think I should tell them in advance about this?

As long as they don’t deviate from the regular routines nothing will go wrong.

In fact, I’m writing up some stuff for them (you can read about that at http://ImaginingBetter.com on July 7th) so they will know what the routines are and a few helpful hints. Don’t look Bruce, the neighbour, in the eye, that kind of thing. It’s a nice neighbourhood, but Bruce is a little touchy. Most of the rest of them just leave us alone. Walk on the other side of the street, skip us when collecting for charities – really respectful. Not too many nosey parkers.

Other than feeding the dog, we aren’t expecting much. Lock the doors when you leave, water the crop on schedule. Harvest time should coincide nicely with the Visa bill arrival, if the watering is done right. That’s it.

If there’s anything you believe is important for us to know before we turn our house and our dog and the crop over to Joel, Sue, and Fiona (if that’s even who they really are) can you leave some comments here… or send me an email, easy2remember@caitlynjames.com, you know, so they don’t intercept the communication?

Yikes, gotta go. Send.