Snack vending machines come in all shapes and sizes. Some are small enough to hang on a wall and some are the full size floor models like the one I had. Some are electronic that you plug into an electric wall socket. Some are manually operated that don’t require any electricity at all.There are snack vending machines that offer user’s the chance to buy a coffee right out of the same machine, while others can vend soda and other cold beverages. There is snack vending machines that do all three! That’s right, these machines offer customers the chance to buy coffee, cold beverages and snack products out of the same machine.I’ve seen a snack vending machine that sells cigarettes.I’ve seen a snack vending machine that sells hockey cards.I’ve also seen a snack vending machine that sell bus passes to access the local transit system.And I’ve even seen a demo where one of my local distributors showed me how he could vend a can of three (3) tennis balls out of a snack vending machine! That actually impressed me.So what does this all mean and how do you choose the right kind of snack vending machine?You need to have as much flexibility with your snack machine as possible. I wanted my machines to be able to have maximum flexibility to sell my customers whatever they wanted (within reason and legal parameters) and I needed to have the machine that was capable of doing that.This meant I needed…Pricing flexibility. I needed to be able to raise or lower my prices according to my supplier costs or customer demands. That meant I needed to have snack vending machines that gave me that option without any additional equipment upgrades. That meant mechanical was out, you just don’t have the kind of pricing flexibility with mechanical as you do with electronic. With electronic you can raise or lower prices of individual selections and do that within seconds. With a mechanical snack vending machine you might have a customer stand in front of your machine with a pocket full of coins but your mechanical machine can’t sell her anything because it isn’t configured to accept certain coins.Payment options. All my snack vending machines came with built in capabilities to add payment options. I could have added a bill acceptor if I wanted to. This may have boosted sales if the customer had bills in her pocket instead of coins. Some machines may allow you to add credit card or smart card capabilities.Product options. Have you seen the Pringles chips business opportunity? How about the Campbell’s soup business opportunity? There are others and in my view Pringles chips are good products as is Campbell’s soup, but the business opportunity is garbage.For $100 at the time I owned my business I could have purchased an add-on to install that would have given me the ability to sell cans of Campbell’s soup if I wanted to. I would have had to sell a lot of soup to pay for it though. Plus when the Pringles chip business opportunity was going around I bought a coil for one of my snack vending machines that allowed me to sell that product. For $20 at the time I was selling the same thing those so-called ” Pringles Vending Machines ” were doing!A lot of people lost a lot of money buying into those so-called business opportunities. I know because I saw the machines for sale months after I saw those so called business opportunities advertised.The bottom line with snack vending machines is that they can be extremely versatile. You can sell a lot of different types of products other than just snacks. The ability to change your prices quickly and easily are vital and the option of installing additional payment capabilities is also a necessity.Don’t limit your options when you purchase snack vending machines. At some point in your business you may want to sell a higher cost item(s) and there is a good chance that snack vending machines may be able to do that for you.
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In Part 1 of this article we discussed how to select office furnishings and why making the right choices were crucial to your comfort and ability to remain organized. In Part 2 we will take a look at your basic home office equipment needs.1. ComputersThe type of computer that’s best for you depends upon the type of work that you do, and whether you spend all of your time in your home office, or go out on the road to meet clients. While there are a seemingly endless choice of makes and models, there are essentially only three basic choices.For most home office situations, the desktop computer reigns supreme. However, if you are on the road a lot then you can find notebook computers with nearly the same horsepower as the best desktop. If you do choose a notebook, the consider one that has an available docking station. That way, when you are in your home office, you can easily use a standard keyboard, mouse, and monitor.Even if you have a desktop or notebook, you might have room in your life for a Personal Digital Assistant (PDA). PDAs, such as those from Palm Computing, can be a very valuable personal productivity tool especially if you need real-time access to your appointments, to-do lists, and phone numbers. With the growing popularity of wireless Internet access you can even use your PDA to connect to your home office computer no matter where you are.2. PrintersYour first decision is what type of technology to go with –laser or ink jet. Laser milf porn printers use a toner cartridge/drum assembly while ink jets accept ink tank cartridges. Lasers are generally better for high-volume printing and have higher duty cycles–the manufacturer’s rating for the unit’s recommended monthly workload. Lasers also produce better-quality black text than most ink jets, though some ink-jet models rival low-end lasers.Lasers are also faster than ink jets, but ink jets offer a lower cost model if you need to print in color. Color laser printers are still very expensive. Since the prices for laser and ink jets are so low, you could consider buying one of each.Another important item to consider is resolution. A printer’s resolution determines the overall print quality of your documents. Resolution means the number of dots per inch that appear on the page as a horizontal and vertical measurement such as 600 x 600 dots-per-inch or dpi. A 600 x 600 dpi resolution produces adequate quality for most projects.Your final deciding factor is speed. While printers rarely perform up to the manufacturer’s claims, you should still use the printer’s posted performance specifications as a guideline. An acceptable speed for personal laser printers is around 6 to 10 pages per minute. An acceptable range for ink jet printers is 4 ppm or above.There are printers that do double, triple, or even quadruple duty as a fax, copier, and scanner as well. You should consider buying one of these models if you have a need for all of this equipment.3. Internet accessToday you have a wide choice of Internet access protocols. If you access the Internet only to check your email, and browse the web a bit, then you might be able to get by with an inexpensive dial-up account. This type of access generally runs around $9.95 per month and up.If constant, high-speed Internet access is a requirement for your home office business, then you need to step up to either Digital subscriber lines (DSL), or a cable modem. Both provide sufficient speed for any type of business that you are likely to run out of a home office.DSL utilizes unused bandwidth on your existing telephone lines to provide a constant connection, while cable modems use your existing cable television network. DSL may not be available in your area. It depends upon your telephone company’s technology and how far you are from a DSL access point.Cable, on the other hand, is available in all but the most remote markets. Still, if you can’t get either, then there is always the possibility of a satellite uplink. While this was considered extravagant only a few years ago, it’s affordable and no more trouble than installing a small dish antenna on your home and signing up for the service.4. TelephonesNo matter how high-tech your home office is, the telephone is still the most basic and essential of your business tools. Available features are at an all-time high and prices are at an all time low. Almost any home office phone on the market comes equipped with programmable speed-dial numbers, multiple-line capability, speakerphone operation, conference call capability, and headset jacks. In addition, your local phone company offers a wide array of add-on services such as called id, voice mail, flat-rate long distance and more.If your work keeps you up and around your home office, or if you like to take business calls while out on your patio or while walking around your home, then a cordless phone is a joy to have. There are so many makes and models to choose from that it almost seems like you need a consultant to help you make the right choice. It’s not really that hard. Just keep the following in mind:a) Choose the right technologyAvoid analog phones at all costs. Analog phones are susceptible to interference from other devices and range is very limited. Also, analog phones permit eavesdropping through baby monitors and other cordless phones.Digital phones have greater range than analog phones plus they offer better call privacy through the use of random codes that scramble communications between handset and base unit.Digital Spread Spectrum (DSS) is the best of breed for right now. The Spread Spectrum technology uses multiple channels and frequency hopping to thoroughly scramble communicate between the handset and base unit. You also get increased range due to decreased electrical interference, plus DSS phones are permitted to use more powerful transmitters.b) FrequencyThe range of your cordless phone also depends upon its assigned radio frequency. Most home office phones fall into three frequencies.900 MHz: This is by far the worst choice. This frequency is crowded with devices such as baby monitors, pagers, and cell phones, and is subject to maximum interference. A 900-MHz phone has a range of around 1,500 feet and prices start at $20.2.4 GHz: While once the best choice available, the 2.4-GHz spectrum is overrun with wireless networking, microwaves, and other devices. A 2.4-GHz phone has a range of 2,200 feet and pricing starts around $50.5.8 GHz: This is the latest unlicensed spectrum available for wireless devices. Very few devices operate in this spectrum so there is a marked reduction in interference. A 5.8-GHz phone also boasts a range of around 2,200 feet and start at about $150.c) Other considerationsMake sure that any phone you select has a headset jack, and then invest in a headset. There is nothing worse than cradling your phone on your shoulder while you consult your files or try to type something on your keyboard. A headset frees both hands while you talk.Don’t forget to take a look at your potential phone’s battery life as well. Most cordless phones offer at least four hours of talk time and seven days of standby. Make sure that your phone uses replaceable battery packs, and that the battery packs are widely available.One last thought. Cordless phones are useless without power, so always keep a regular corded phone handy for blackout emergencies.In SummaryThere is a lot more to equipping an efficient home office than first meets the eye. Hopefully this two-part series gets you going in the right direction. Chances are everything that you buy for your home office is tax deductible. Check with your accountant to be sure.© Vishal P. Rao
Believe it or not, it takes a long time to become an overnight success! Once you have chosen your particular home based business, the two most important things to remember are to stay focused and not to get discouraged.I’ve had many active and enthusiastic business team members that were their own worst enemies because they exhibited the classic “flea on a griddle” behavior pattern and jumped around chasing one business opportunity today, and then another one tomorrow without ever putting in enough sustained and focused effort to reasonably give themselves a chance to succeed at any of them.I can really relate to this situation since I briefly fell preyto this same “dog in a meat market” syndrome when I first started my own home based business a few years ago. I caught myselftrying to chase several different opportunities at once and not being very successful with any of them.There are so many home business opportunities (some real, some not) that it takes real personal discipline to avoid the scattergun approach…you know, throw enough against the wall and something is bound to stick. In the early going, it is really important to resist this temptation and to stay tightly focused on a single business.Some will argue that “I don’t want to have all my eggs in one basket”. To those people I say, diversification is fine, but only after you have achieved solid success with your initialbusiness. A premature attempt at diversification will quitelikely cause a loss of focus and actually slow down yoursuccess rate.If your main marketing vehicle is a website, you can fairly easily leverage your initial success and effectively promote a few other complimentary and closely related home based business propositions from the same website.However, it is important not to go overboard and offer too manychoices to visitors to your website. If you do, there is a goodchance of confusing your visitors to the point where they willtake no action and you have, in effect, diluted the effectivenessof your website.Whatever you decide to do, you will need to stick with it for a reasonable length of time (give it at least one year) and put in a solid and sustained effort. Stay focused and don’t get discouraged. As much as you would like it to be, starting and developing a real home based business is certainly not an instant gratification situation.
Do you like to create pictures and designs, or writing? Do you love to look at the greeting cards in your local stores? Then a greeting cards home business could be for you. This is a business with incredible growth, and income potential. It also gives the greeting card home based business owner several options in the business itself.A greeting card home business opportunity can have you doing only one part, such as drawing or writing. This same business can be selling e-cards or cards sold in stores. It could also entail purchasing a territory from a larger card distributor.The first step in how to start a greeting card company is to decide what part of the greeting card business you want to focus on. As a freelance greeting card artist, you would focus only on designing cards for other companies. There are costs associated with this option and could include the purchase of a computer and graphic art software if you don’t already have these items.If you decide to be a freelance greeting card writer, your home based greeting card business would focus on only writing the phrases to be used on greeting cards. For this, you only need a computer and quick turn around time.Of course, you can always freelance as both a writer and artist. To get jobs you must contact companies to see if they are in need of freelancers. They pay from $50 an assignment to several hundred dollars per assignment. However, until you build up a portfolio of samples, and sometimes even after, jobs can be hard to find.Another option is to purchase a vending route from a larger greeting card company. This route becomes your way of starting a greeting card company. You are required to keep current clients stocked in cards, replace old cards with new ones and get new clients to build your income. You have start up costs that can run from several hundred to several thousand dollars in inventory. However, when you take the cards to the clients, you receive your payments right then.If you want to start your own line of cards, your greeting card business plan would focus on all aspects of greeting card businesses. You will design and write each greeting card inside and out. Your creative freedom would not be hindered by someone telling you what they want. You would make all the decisions and it would truly be your greeting cards business.Being a greeting cards home business owner would make the internet your best marketing tool. You wouldn’t be able to compete with larger greeting card companies, so you will want to create a special niche for your cards on the web and in small local stores.This option requires research before beginning the creation of cards for your greeting cards home business. You will need to price printing services and software. Once you have these ready, you can being creating. Go ahead a start creating cards, but at the same time, think of a name for your greeting cards home business and create a website.Websites are very easy to create, depending on the provider you decide on. Research domain name registries and web site providers. The more web pages and information you want to provide will influence the charge of the web site. A greeting cards home business web site should be able to be effective without many extras at first. The extras can come later.Once your website is ready, put pictures of your cards and ordering information into it. If you create the web site yourself or pay someone else to do it, make sure the site is search engine optimized. This will bring more people to your greeting card web site and start selling your cards.Since some people like to hold cards and feel their quality before purchasing, it may be best to have your greeting cards home business web site offer one free card, or one free sample package per household. This gets your cards on the market and helps drive customers to your web site. Also, consider creating a special “Thank You” card that you personalized by you for all inquiries and orders. This is another way to let people know the quality of your cards.Have the cards printed as the orders come in to the web site. Offer personalized cards to increase sales. Make sure you have plenty of designs for each category. You want your greeting cards home business website to look full, but not cluttered.You now know several of the options available to start your greeting cards home business. Now all you have to do is to decide which is the best option for you. This business can grow to be as large or as small as you want it.
I am certain that, as a business owner, you have often entertained the question as to how much to spend and where to spend your advertising dollars. For most small business owners, these questions can add to the headaches suffered in the course of normal everyday operations of their business.THERE ARE NO SIMPLE ANSWERSThe how much to spend and where to spend it questions have no easy answers.Depending on your type of business, many people suggest that the *how much* should be equal to anywhere from 4% to 10% of your gross receipts.The quandary is that a business cannot survive without a fresh flow of incoming customers. But, a business can seldom generate a fresh stream of customers without spending money to get the word out about their business.THE CHALLENGE OF DEVELOPING EFFECTIVE ADVERTISINGHave you ever paid for advertising and sat back to await the fresh flow of customers, only to find yourself sitting and sitting and then sitting some more?Don’t feel bad about that. It has happened to many of us before.See, knowing where to spend the advertising money is not enough to get the job done.Where to spend the money only begins to highlight the other issues connected with advertising:
Headlines, Ad black porn Copy and Visual Presentation
Tracking the Success of Your Advertising Campaigns
THE MARKETING PLANThe Marketing Plan is used primarily to identify your own products cartoon porn and services, costs, strengths, weaknesses and the strengths and weaknesses of your competitors.To learn more about constructing your own marketing plan, visit the Small Business Administration website for a comprehensive study of the elements of a Marketing Plan:[http://www.home-business.com/nav/articles/links/sba_plan.html]ADVERTISING STRATEGYIt is important to understand what you expect to gain from your advertising.Do you simply wish to get your name known so that when your customer will need you, they will think of you first? Or, do you wish to get your customers in your front door on Saturday?Do you want your customers to come in and take a look around to discover the next object that they cannot live without? Or, do you want them to come in and buy a specific widget?Do you hope that enough people will come in to buy enough products or services to pay for your single ad? Or, do you expect to gain a lifelong customer who will help pay for your advertising over the course of several years?When you know what you want, then you will better understand just how to do it.HEADLINES, AD COPY AND VISUAL PRESENTATIONYou might be surprised how many business owners put out advertising without regard for the quality of the sales pitch or presentation. The quality of your distribution outlet or the amount of money you spent to get there will do little for you if the advertising vehicle is a junker.Test all of your advertising materials in smaller markets before blowing your advertising bank roll on it. You must absolutely know the value of your advertising before putting large sums of money behind it.TRACKING THE SUCCESS OF YOUR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNSTell your customers to save another 10% when they tell you they heard or saw your ad in such-and-such location. Suggest that they can register to win a free widget if they fill out a form and have them to tell you how they heard of your business. Advertise a specific widget in your ad and track the sales of that widget.It does not matter how you track your advertising — just make sure you do it!IN SUMMARYThe ideal way to spend your advertising budget is to buy a rifle with a high-powered scope and to only shoot your targets in the light of day.If you are not tracking your advertising, then you are shooting a pellet gun without an attached scope, with blinders on, and shooting in the dead darkness of night.Even with a bigger gun, the blinders in the dark constitute the single largest mistake made by advertisers. If you are unable to track your advertising to learn what is working well, what is working somewhat, and what is a money pit, then you are condemned to repeat your mistakes over and again.By relying only on gut instinct, you may be choosing to spend more money in the money pit and to lose all of your money in the process.When you get down to the nuts and bolts of making money from your advertising, you should plan, prepare, track and study your results. You must have factual information on which to base your advertising decisions. When you are making the right advertising decisions, then making money from your business might just come easy.Copyright 2004 Stone Evans
It’s been a long time since shoulder-padded yuppies “worked the room” with their slick business cards. And we’re all glad that those days are over. Today networking is a much more relaxed and informal way of meeting new contacts and friends, learning about what makes other people tick and investigating to see if you’ve got common ground, whether that is a business referral or the name of a fantastic osteopath who “fixes shoulders”.Today conversation at a networking event is just as likely to be about the latest bestseller or celebrity scandal as it is about work. It’s about connecting as people and finding out if you would like to do business with each other. And if not business, then you may be just as likely to offer business advice or the name of a good printer who can make your brochures look divine.To some extent the pressure is off. But there are still people out there who just aren’t comfortable with networking, yet. Or those who make it uncomfortable for others.We’ve put together a list of some of the common faces you may see at a networking group. In fact, you may even be a little like one or two of them. But, just like any good networking host, our aim is to help, so we’ve also pointed out ways to avoid succumbing to the common mistakes. Hopefully they will help you enjoy and make the most out of your networking.Nervous NewbieThis poor lad is out for the first time, having read that networking is the thing to do. He has a plastic carton of brand new business cards palmed in one hand and a nerve-strengthening drink in the other. He’s not quite sure how to join in so hangs around nervously on the edge of a group that seems to be having a thoroughly good conversation. Unfortunately, he’s just out of earshot so he doesn’t know what it’s about and misses the signals, laughing about three seconds after everyone else.Advice for NewbiesThere’s nothing wrong with being nervous. In fact walking up to a two or three people and announcing that it’s your first time here and would they mind if you come and say hello is a great (and honest) way to break the ice. Keep the business cards handy – one pocket for yours and one for those you collect. Finally, watch the booze!Party PeopleParty people look like they are having fun. Darn it, they are having fun. They’re laughing with their mates, getting stuck into the nibbles (they’re the first to the table) and lean forward to have conversations so obscure that no one else knows what they’re on about. But watch a party person closely and you’ll see that they hardly move from the same spot all night and they rarely talk to anyone new. What’s the point? They could be out having a fantastic meal together and avoiding the lukewarm wine and dry canapés!Advice for party people:Spending time with your friends isn’t a bad thing. If it gets you out of the office it’s a great motivator. But make the effort to mix. Tell your mates that you’re off for half an hour to meet some new people and that you’ll see them later. You’ll get both your networking and socialising done at the same time.Tunnel Vision Talkers.A tunnel vision talker has never heard of the idea that networking is an exchange. Instead a tunnel vision talker moves straight from “hello my name is” to sales patter, regardless of whether you’ve expressed an interest or not. They don’t seem to notice the subtle signs that people aren’t interested (eyes glazing over, snoring, people downing their drinks in one so that they’ve got an excuse to go to the bar) and sadly never quite understand why their networking attempts never result in any success.Advice for Tunnel Vision Talkers.Forget all the trendy talk about elevator pitches and 60 second summaries – just for the moment – and practice listening to others and asking about what they do. Learn some body language – watch other people having conversations and notice the subtle signs that show when they are interested, and when they are not. Do it right and you’ll be such a great listener that people will become genuinely interested in what you do.Moaning MembersEvery group has one of these. It’s the person who always complains (loudly) about coming along (“I’m not convinced it’s worth the fee/I never get any business or contacts out of this/ I feel networking is just a waste of time) and then they wonder why everyone tries their best to avoid standing next to them. Sometimes moaning members come across other moaning members and the whole thing turns into a bit of a moaning clique.Advice for Moaning MembersWe all have our reasons to moan, especially when business is going through a bit of a quiet phase, but whining will do nothing for your credibility or popularity rating. Stick a smile on your face and get on with it. Or stay at home until you’re in a better mood.If you share any traits with any of our stars we’ve hopefully given you a few ideas that will polish and hone your networking. mobile porn And, if you ever spot our Nervous Newbie at a future event do go over and break the ice.
With the holidays around the corner, you may find yourself struggling to keep your home-based business and your home life separate and running smoothly. And you’re not alone.Operating a home-based business has many benefits as you already know, but its main drawback is that it often causes the line between your work and your personal life to become permanently blurred. Unlike those individuals who work outside the home and who know their day at the office ends when they get in their car and start the commute home, home business operators do not usually have a definite end to their day.The reverse situation is also possible: they may not have a definite start to their day either. If you have a hard time breaking free of your work responsibilities or if you sometimes have trouble settling in to tackle them, these tips will help you bring both aspects of your life into equilibrium.Separate Your Office From Your HomeIf your work computer is in the living room where everyone in the family congregates, chances are you are being bombarded by distractions. Plus, when it is time for you to relax, you may find it difficult with the computer right there as a constant reminder of all the work you still need to finish and all of the communications you still need to respond to.The answer is to set aside an area of your home just for work. If you have an office or an extra bedroom where you can set up your space, then you can block out the distractions simply by shutting the door. Also avoid putting anything in your home office that might prevent you from getting your work done, such as a television.If you don’t have an entire room to dedicate to your office, move your computer and materials into a room that is rarely used or that is normally unoccupied when you need to be working, such as a bedroom. Once you have separated your home from your office, you will find it easier to stay focused on your work but also to leave your work in its space so you can relax and enjoy the remainder of your home.Create Specific Working HoursOne of the best things about running a home-based business is undoubtedly the flexible schedule, but it can also have negative consequences. On the one hand, your schedule may be so flexible that you only work 30 minutes a day or so hectic that you find yourself working at all hours of the day without taking a break.The answer is to set your own office hours. Creating your own schedule still has benefits. For one, you can decide what time of the day you start, so if you’re not a morning person, you don’t have to get up at the break of dawn. Also, if you prefer to stop working when your children come home from school, you can consider that when you decide when to stop for the day.Another benefit is that you provide clients and customers with a specific times when you are available to work with them. The most important thing to remember, however, is to set hours for yourself that you can live with. Once you decide on a schedule, you need to stick with it long-term, so be realistic about how long you can work without taking a break and how much time you’ll need to accomplish everything that needs to get done.And, no matter how much you may be tempted to keep working, you need to stop when you say you are going to stop. Taking a break allows you to come back refreshed and more alert, so you can be more productive. An overworked, overly stressed person simply is not an effective worker at home or in an office.Draw the Line Between Home and Work CommunicationsHas this ever happened to you? You and your family have just sat down for a dinner around the table when a client calls to talk about your current project or a customer phones with questions about a recent purchase.The easiest way to prevent work from interfering with your family is to keep communications separate. Start by having a second phone line dedicated to your work and attaching an answering machine or voice mail to the line.When your work day ends, you can turn on the machine and let it handle any after-hour calls. An extra phone line also allows you to maintain professionalism. Imagine the embarrassment of having your young child answer the phone when an important customer calls.You may also want to set up a post office box for all of your business-related mail. Not only will this prevent your important mail from accidentally getting thrown away with the junk, but it will also offer you and your family a level of privacy.After all, you do not want to make your home address available to everyone; it’s just not safe. If you use email or instant messaging as part of your business communications, you’ll also want to establish separate accounts for those as well.The key to running a home-based business is balance. While it may be difficult to stop working on that important project or to concentrate on work while your preparing for the holidays, striking that balance is essential for your well-being, your family’s security, and your business’s success.
You have always had an interest in starting a particulartype of business. However, realistically you know thatyou lack the expertise required. How can you startup the desired business from scratch and begin making profits without the steep learning curve? Your answer might be to buy a business kit or startup guide.For example, let`s say you wanted to start your own import and export business. You will find business kits and startup guides written by persons who have already successfully ran an import-export business. Sometimes these kits consist of actual books, courses, forms, videos, audio cassettes, and other media. Other times, the information may be in the form of a downloadable e-book or a website.Whatever their form, business kits and startup guides can shave years off your learning curve. Find out the tricks of the trade for your selected business. Avoid costly errors and years of frustration by learning from the mistakes of others.Some of the businesses covered in these business kits andstartup guides include consulting, finder`s fees, drop shipping, import-export, bed and breakfast, mystery shopping (also known as secret shopping), various cleaning businesses, catering, day care, graphic and web design, crafts business,licensing, inventions, mail order, medical transcription, newsletter publishing, professional organizer, public speaking, real estate, self-publishing, surveys, writing, and just about any other specific business you might be interested in.Often, for less than one hundred dollars, you can have thebenefit of years or even decades of experience from successful entrepreneurs.Therefore, if you wish to enjoy quicker success, consider buying a business kit or startup guide.
Does it seem as if your business is running you, instead of you running your business? Do you find yourself spending more time on those daily administrative tasks that eat-up precious time and energy, and wish instead, that you could spend it on the more important aspects of actually running your business? Have you ever dreamed of having an assistant or an administrative support person, but sadly dismissed the idea because you didn’t have the space or the resources to hire one? Just imagine how great it would be to actually be able to put all of your time and energy into focusing on those things you love to do, your passion, the reason you went into business in the first place. Well hang onto your hat, your wish has been granted! Enter the realm of Virtual Assistance.Members of one of the fastest growing industries today, Virtual Assistants are skilled entrepreneurs expert in handling all of the day-to-day administrative tasks for a busy office. They provide the assistance you need, when you need it, so that you can get back to doing what you do best! Communicating with their clients via the internet, fax, phone, online meeting rooms, instant messaging, and a variety of other methods, VAs do your work from their remote office using the most advanced technology and software to provide seamless, transparent assistance to enhance your business and increase bottom line productivity. As self-employed entrepreneurs, Virtual Assistants have a vested interest in their client’s success. Unlike the employer/employee relationship, the relationship between a VA and their client is a partnership; one that is focused and has specific goals in mind. VAs are committed to developing long-term relationships that reflect their client’s business philosophy, and are built on mutual trust and respect.Gone are the days when an on-site employee was the only answer to your administrative support woes. Virtual Assistants come complete with their own offices and equipment. No longer bound by physical location, Virtual Assistants now have the ability to partner with clients around the corner, in another state, or on the other side of the world. Partnering with a VA eliminates the added expense and costs associated with hiring a permanent employee. No more salary and benefits, Social Security or payroll taxes. There is no supervision or training necessary, and no need to purchase office equipment or provide office space. No more downtime due to lunch breaks, telephone calls or personal problems. With a VA, you pay only for the time it takes to complete your work. There are no hidden costs!In general, VAs charge anywhere between $30 – $50 per hour, based on the complexity of your particular project, the type of service performed, and the level of skill required to complete the task. While an hourly or “project rate” is usually available, clients benefit most by taking advantage of special “retainer rates.” Retainer rates are discounted rates, paid monthly in advance for a specific number of hours per month, usually in blocks of 10. Rather than working project by project at the higher hourly rate, you are guaranteed a specific number of hours per month at the discounted retainer rate. Your VA can help you decide which plan would be best for you.Managing your own business is sometimes difficult enough, without trying to do it all yourself. The more time you spend on the administrative tasks, the less time you have to market and grow your business. There just aren’t enough hours in the day! Stop and think about all of the things you do in the course of a day that really don’t require your level of expertise. How many of those tasks could be handed over to an assistant, freeing up your valuable time for more important things? Whatever your particular administrative need, whether it’s a word processing or desktop publishing project, transcription of your last speaking engagement, follow-up phone calls, scheduling appointments, or posting your next teleclass on the internet, a VA can help.Just as businesses may differ in their services and the products they offer, the same is true regarding Virtual Assistants and the services they provide. Based on their individual level of skill and areas of expertise, VAs offer support to a variety of industries, including the Real Estate, Professional Speaking and Coaching industries. While someone in the Professional Speaking or Coaching industry might need an assistant to handle scheduling and registration for their upcoming teleclasses or speaking engagements, or need a second set of eyes to proof and edit their latest manuscript or article; someone in the Insurance industry might need an assistant to schedule meetings and appointments, and follow-up on policy applications to ensure that everything is processed in a timely manner. Whether or not you need an employee manual, new marketing materials (brochures, business cards, etc.), or reservations for your next business trip, a Virtual Assistant works with each client in a way that best meets their needs, getting to know as much as they can about their client’s businesses so that they can better serve them by providing solutions and strategies to overcome administrative obstacles, or targeting opportunities for growth.How do you determine whether or not a Virtual Assistant is right for you? Ask yourself a few questions.. Are there a number of tasks that could be delegated to an assistant, giving you more time to market and grow your business?. Would you be comfortable working with someone remotely, via email, fax, or instant messaging?. Are you looking for a partner that will take a proactive stance to help you succeed in your business?. Do you need quality administrative support, but don’t have the resources to hire a permanent employee?If you’ve answered yes to these questions, then a Virtual Assistant might be the logical solution to your administrative support needs. Give yourself the gift of time. Take control of your business before it takes control of you . . . partner with a VA, and find time you never knew you had!