So what does my cleaning lady have to do with anything VA related? Well, the lovely lady who has the unpleasant task of cleaning my house every couple of weeks LOVES to talk and debate issues and let me tell you, the current debate is strong between her and I, and it’s been ongoing for months.

There is no end in sight.

We just don’t agree.

Are you for technology or against it?

She is against it. Really against it. She is against things like online banking (for safety and security reasons), she is against doing almost anything online because of “Big Brother”, fraud, etc. She still prefers to do business in person or on the telephone and believes that technology for children is bad news. They should be outside playing and interacting, as should adults.

Listen, I totally get it. I really do. But honestly, I prefer to think of all the ways that technology can help rather than the ways it can harm. I know she has valid points and I know those horrible things are out there, I just choose not to focus on that. I prefer to think about the ways technology is helping us rather than hindering us.

First and foremost, let’s talk business. Without technology I wouldn’t have my Virtual Assistant business! Duh. I wouldn’t be able to communicate easily with my clients through email, Skype, Zoom, Facebook, client management apps and more. And don’t even get me starting with accounting. My bookkeeper can access my accounting program online and do her thing. I just keep my receipts for tax time and we’re good to go!

Without technology I wouldn’t be able to buy gifts online and pay for them instantly. I don’t always have time to run into London to peruse the stores for a good gift. I love being able to shop online and use local entrepreneurs to make and purchase items. Online banking is super easy, allows me to e-transfer local entrepreneurs for purchase of their goods and services, and I check my accounts every day to ensure there is no strange or fraudulent activity happening.

On a personal level, without technology I wouldn’t be able to keep my phone with me at all times in case my (ageing) parents or my kids need me urgently. I wouldn’t be able to keep in touch with my nieces and nephews who live in the states and see their fun goings-on through Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and Twitter. Even though they all live in a different country, I’ve been able to see and experience them growing into amazing young adults. My 7yo Sam LOVES to Facetime his older sister when she’s away from us for a few days. Without technology, Sam wouldn’t be able to Skype his dad when he’s away on a business trip.

And let’s talk about convenience! I absolutely LOVE being able to do mundane tasks online instead of having to Screenshot_20170621-092538pick up the phone. For example, my vet texts me when it’s time for my dogs appointment. Hello! How awesome is that! I can now renew prescriptions online through Shoppers AND it sends me a text reminder to pick it up.

My Fitbit reminds me to move my ass every hour because some days I get so caught up in my work that I literally forget to get up and move (it just buzzed too!). lol

My Calm app send me gentle reminders to take a few minutes to clear my head.

My calendar app reminds me of the other 100 things I have to do today, not just work.

My Netflix app helps me unwind at night and I can watch some of my favourite shows.

My Shoppers Drug Mart, PC Plus and Canadian Tire apps allow me to collect points when I’m shopping to be used for future discounts.

My What’sApp app allows me to talk to my family in the US wherever we are since we don’t have a home telephone at the moment.

My mom (76) and my dad (81) love their tech. My mom has a tablet that she plays Sudoku and does her crossword puzzles, and she loves Facebook for keeping in touch with her grandchildren. My dad streams world soccer on his Mac computer, loves to Skype his relatives in Italy and get his soccer news on the Juventus app on his smartphone.

I think you get the picture. We love, love, love our tech. Do we unplug? Absolutely! At least once a day, we all get off our devices and do something like go for a walk, a bike ride, play a board game, sit outside and just chat, and dinner is always tech-free.

While I do think that our lives can be affected negatively with too much technology, I still believe that for our family, and for my business, it does more good than harm, and I’m on board 100%.

I’m curious, what are your thoughts about technology? Are you for or against, or somewhere in the middle? What are some of your favourite technology items? I would be lost without my laptop and my Samsung Smartphone.

Let me know what you think in the comments below.

Flawsomely yours,

Michelle

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3 years ago today, I received my official business licence to operate as MSC Business Solutions, Virtual Assistant Service.  3 years!!

I’m sure you’ve heard people say this before, but starting a business is a crazy journey. A lot of ups and downs. So much to learn.  Some of it was pure luck, not gonna lie.  Meeting certain people at certain points through my journey, well if you ask me, it’s divine intervention.  You ask for guidance and assistance often enough, it will come.  You continue to put yourself out there and meet new people, you will eventually meet the ones that come into your life for a reason.

It’s not easy starting a business. It’s not easy starting a business while raising a family. It’s not easy starting a Entrepreneurbusiness with anxiety and depression.  Hell, it’s not easy keeping a business when you have anxiety and depression because your brain is telling you that you can’t do it, you’re not smart enough, people won’t hire you, you can’t make it work. But if you have the right people in your corner, you keep going. You hang onto them through the tidal waves of negative feelings, you hang on tight and when the waves subside you keep pushing and get back to work.

My first year in business, I didn’t make any money.  You know what? I didn’t matter to me one bit.  My husband will disagree, but money was not my main goal during that first year.  Money is great, and making some is even better, but that wasn’t my primary focus.  My focus was learning, meeting people and figuring this business thing out.

My first year was a dream and a nightmare, both at the same time.  I honestly had no idea what I was doing. I didn’t know about any of the amazing resources available to me like the Small Business Centre or the Business Help Centre of Middlesex County.  I didn’t even know how to work “virtually” (kind of important don’t you think?).  All I knew was that I had a strong desire to make it work.

I made many, many mistakes, too many too count, but I also had some huge successes.  More importantly, I met amazing people that have been instrumental to my growth and success, and most of those people are still in my life today.

Here are a few things I’ve learned in my own journey:

  1. Find the people who will be (and stay) in your corner.  They may not understand your vision 100%, but they have your back regardless.  These people are my family and my close friends.  They get what I’m doing even though they may not understand exactly what I do every day. lol  My sister has talked me off of more than one ledge over the years.
  2. Hire a business coach. I realize that funds are tight at the beginning, but you don’t know what you don’t know, and a business coach will help you get on the right track and keep you there.
  3. Hire the RIGHT business coach for you.  I have met so many amazing business coaches, but you have to find the one that suits you.  Suits your personality, your learning style and (frankly) your budget.  I met my business coach Shelagh Cummins at the very beginning of my journey, but it took me 2 years to hire her.  Silly, silly me.  But it took me a few interactions with Shelagh to make sure it was the right fit for me. It’s not all about the money, it’s about the support you (should) receive from your business coach.  A good coach will get to you know you as a person, as well as your goals for your business.  They will get you on the right track and keep you there. I will tell you that the return on investment (not just financially), is more than worth it.
  4. Learn. Learn. Learn.  I’ve done online courses, webinars, in-person workshops, live conferences, you name it. Keep learning.  It keeps you relevant and keeps it interesting.
  5. Give back.  Even though my brain keeps telling me that I’m not smart enough or good enough at this, I’ve had enough clients over the years tell me the exact opposite.  One of the ways I keep my brain positive, is by volunteering and helping other people.  Currently I volunteer with IVAA (the International Virtual Assistant Association).  It’s just a small way I can help other VA’s get started.
  6. Don’t give up. If it is something you really love and really believe in, just keep going.  There are definitely a tonne more good days than bad days.

Through it all, the absolute best part is the people I have met along the way. For every one of you that has helped me, or supported me in any way, I deeply and truly thank you (I just got goosebumps when I typed that).  I hope that I have been able to give something positive back to you in some way.

Enough of my sappiness… now to the good part! My 3 Year Anniversary Special!

* Do you own a business?

* Do you do everything in your business?

* Are you excited for the kids to be on summer break, but not sure how you’re going to actually get any work done?

* Would you like to have some extra time off this summer?

If you have said YES to any of the above questions, then I may have the solution for you.

Let me do the work, so you can enjoy the summer.  

Starting today, June 16th, get 10 hours of Virtual Assistant support for the price of 7 hours!

You only have 3 days to take advantage of this amazing offer,

so contact me today to see if this offer is right for you!

AnniversaryFinal

Terms and conditions: Special only available until midnight EST on Monday, June 19th.  Must be a new 10 hour package and paid for in full.  Package hours must be used prior to August 31, 2017. Special is also available to current clients!

Thank you again and I am excited to see what year #4 brings!

xoxo

Michelle

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I am a very lucky lady.  I just returned from a fun-packed 2-day business retreat with my client, the knowledgeable and inspiring Leigh Fowler, at the White Oaks Resort and Spa in Niagara.

I was hired by Leigh to act as her event assistant for this retreat and I enjoyed every moment.  As her event assistant, I was The Idea Loftthere to be Leigh’s right-hand. My goal was to ensure that she had as much quality time with her retreat participants as possible, and not have to worry about all the other “stuff”. I helped with set-up, I was the “go-between” with the event co-ordinator and a/v staff, registration of her guests, time-keeping to ensure the sessions stayed on track (that’s always a fun one right Leigh? LOL), assisted her clients with any questions about the event, the hotel and the area in general, among many other things.

I really enjoyed working with Leigh and meeting her attendees, and the White Oaks Resort is spectacular.

A few of my favourite things about being an event assistant:

1) Meeting new people and helping ensure everyone has a wonderful event.

2) Learning by accident.  As the event assistant, I spend most of my time in the room with everyone while they are doing their workshops. I am there in case the Event Host needs something. Therefore, I get to hear and see the actual training and workshops. Talk about a huge bonus!

3) Giving the Event Host peace of mind and helping ensure that their event is a success.

Why do you need an Event Assistant?

There are so many reasons you should hire an event assistant, so let’s play a little game of Would Your Rather (can  you tell I hang out with a 7yo):

Would you rather…

a) Fumble around with registration lists and name tags? OR

b) Greet your clients/participants with hugs and conversation?

Would you rather…

a) Spend time running around looking for the right cable for your projector or messing with the air conditioning because the room is too cold? OR

b) Get your workshop/seminar started while your Event Assistant connects with the a/v crew and the hotel event co-ordinator?

Would you rather…

a) Run around worrying about where the Coffee Break is being set up and if there is something available for your client who can’t have gluten?

b) Enjoy the coffee break while chatting with your attendees, or sneak off for a bit of rest.

Would you rather…

a) Worry about keeping your event running on schedule? OR

b) Enjoy your workshop and not have to worry about the time.

The main reason is this…

As the Event Host, your main focus should be on your participants, not on technical issues, catering, registration and finding extra pencils.

If you’d like to know more about how I can help you at your next event, just click here to schedule a quick call with me.

Be Flawsome Every Day!

Michelle

Not already receiving my monthly Tips directly to your Inbox? I have a gift just for you!  Click here to receive my free guide, 5 Ways to Free up 10 Hours a Week, So you can Increase your Revenue & Fall Back in Love with your Business!