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One in four Internet users is involved in social networking by Tia Peterson/All American Admin

In a recent technology news article cited in a blog, it was quoted that one out of every four online users is engaged in social networking.

Additionally,

– Among the 30 and over working-age population, one out of eight uses social networking sites to conduct business.

I’ve been part of the social networking community for years, so… my prediction? It’s only a matter of time before it becomes one out of every four who are among the 30+ working age population who will use social networking sites to conduct business.

What does that mean for you? It means, when in Rome, do as the Romans do. If you’re going to conduct business online, conduct it successfully by doing what many other e-marketers have already discovered. Find a social network that’s right for you and go to town!

Cheers,

Tia

All American Admin

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Late night makeovers and StumbleUpon.com by Tia Peterson/All American Admin

I think it’s so funny that Sandra just recently posted about getting a lovely long night of sleep, because it’s after midnight at the moment (on the East Coast) and I’m still awake, day-dreaming of sleep…

I just gave my company website a quick makeover. Not in terms of design or personality, but in content. I was finally able to streamline what I do into something I can “talk about at parties” (that was a nod to Jack Nicholson’s monologue in A Few Good Men…)

Seriously, though, I was able to spend some time while my son is down for (half) the night refining and describing my service offering in a way that finally makes sense. Being a virtual assistant is a wonderous and mysterious thing: people love what you do while at the same time not quite understanding what you do, no matter how many times you explain it.

On a totally different note, I want to brag that I was the first to “discover” Motherhood Incorporated and the Mother Incoporated blog on StumbleUpon. If you don’t know what StumbleUpon is, you should find out soon.

The main reason is that you should at least look to see whether someone has already discovered your site (it makes you feel good) and secondly you should know whether you’re getting thumbs ups or thumbs down – because your approval isn’t warranted with StumbleUpon. Your website could be getting rated and you wouldn’t be the wiser unless you are part of the StumbleUpon community.

It’s really a website ratings tool – people involved in StumbleUpon spend time “stumbling” websites that are presented to them based on a set of preferences. Then, we give the site a thumbs up or thumbs down. The more thumbs up a site is given, the more it is presented, thereby increasing the daily hits to that site exponentially.

If that kind of thing strikes your fancy, I say give it a try. I like it so far, but I caution against spending too much time “stumbling” – it’s very addictive!

Ciao,

Tia

All American Admin

Breaking Up the Routine by Tia Peterson/All American Admin

I’m working from Panera Bread today rather than from home, at least for a few hours, and already my thoughts are different than usual. My mood is lighter, almost carefree, and I’ve “found” some time to do some extra-curricular social networking while I was here. Funny how that works.

There’s something about seeing new faces, hearing new conversations and physically being in a new space that causes our mind to expand into all sorts of new ideas and thoughts.

Working from home can either be ultimately exhilarating or downright suffocating, depending on the amount of space, noise, and distraction you’re exposed to, or just according to your own boredom level. I become bored with myself quickly and so from time to time, I like to change it up.

Don’t be afraid to break up the routine every now and then – and be true to yourself. Working from home has its ups and downs and just like all things, you are not required to love it 100% of the time! Find a local co-working place (like Office Nomads – www.officenomads.com) or do what I do and make it excuse to buy high-priced bagels and coffee and just get out for an hour or two…and see what new ideas come your way. 🙂

Tia

http://www.allamericanadmin.com 

#1 Online Social Networking Tip: Be social! by Tia Peterson/All American Admin

This idea may seem utterly obvious but I assure you that there is wisdom in this advice.

The power in online social networking is the first half of the term, so be social!

Social networks were not originally created with businesses in mind, they were created for real people to make or reinforce or support connections with other real people.

I think online social networking is great fun. I’ve been part of MySpace and Plaxo for years now (along with some others) and have just gotten into Facebook and Twitter over the last couple years.

But online social networking can be good for business (hence, the reason I offer an e-course about it) and apparently the networks themselves agree: for example, Facebook Pages is specifically for services and products. There are even “business” social networks like Biznik and StartupNation.

But when businesses create profiles but forget to “connect” and be social, they are doing themselves a disservice. You will get a huge return on your time investment in social networking if you can connect with other members.
Here are a few key ways to connect:

  1. Participate in groups. This is the most effective way to grow your friends list. This takes time, but you need to find a couple groups to belong to, submit a few relevant comments every now and then, maybe participate in a forum discussion, AND THEN invite others in the group to be your friend.
  2. Get personal. Make sure there is something personal about you on your profile. You absolutely need a personal photograph of yourself first and foremost, but you could also include your marital status, whether or not you have children, where you went to college or high school, or some likes/dislikes or favorites.
  3. Respond to comments. I’m guilty of neglecting this key principle but it is really important if you want to use social networks for business growth. Make sure you respond to comments and messages. No one likes to feel ignored. Take the time to do this act of common courtesy at least once weekly.
  4. Invite your real friends/colleagues. Make sure you take advantage of every network’s feature that searches your contact lists to find people who are already part of the network. It’s quick, easy, and it’s a great way to make connects almost instantly.

If you’re concerned about time there are a number of ways to make it worth your while: you can outsource the setup and management or you can create a social network marketing plan that takes time into consideration. If you’re curious how to make it work for you, feel free to check out my free social networking e-course at http://blog.allamericanadmin.com. The link is in the left sidebar.

Happy networking!

Tia

Stop Chasing Clients: Let them come to you by Tia Peterson/All American Admin

Ever feel like you’re in a race against the competition for clients? Let me tell you this: constantly hounding them for their business is not the way to go.

But there are three sure-fire things you can do to set up shop so that clients are coming to YOU instead of you running after them all the time.

  1. ASK FOR IT. It may seem like the simplest, silliest thing to mention here, but I cannot emphasize enough how important it is for your marketing materials (including website and blog) to include a “call to action.” It’s OK to assume that your visitors and prospective clients want to know how to get in touch with you. So, help them out by telling them how to do it! You’ll notice that on every main page of my website, I include a call to action near the bottom. On every single page.
  2. DO A GOOD JOB. Another very simple (well, maybe not always) thing to do. This is not rocket science. If you do a good job, your clients will come back to you. You don’t even need a fancy shopping cart with autoresponders and all that jazz. Just be your amazingly fabulous self, do a great job, and you’ve locked in a client for life. Yes, it’s great to keep up with your clients to remind them that you’re still around, but you don’t need to chase them down with sales and discounts. In fact, your repeat clients will pay for you at a premium because they understand from experience how valuable you are.
  3. CLEARLY EXPLAIN WHAT YOU DO. Even I am guilty of not clearly explaining what I do, which is why I’m in the process of creating clear-cut proposals for each of my services and they will be available for prospective clients to download when they visit my services page. If your services are outlined clearly enough, clients will know what you do and won’t click away out of frustration, boredom or disinterest. If they need something you provide, they will contact you.

A fourth, bonus sure-fire way to get clients coming to you is to make sure you are easy to contact. Don’t be elusive. If you’re a virtual assistant, at least include an email address. But, including an actual contact form is best.

If you don’t have a contact form, download the freecontactform.com’s .zip file and get to work. You’ll need a webhost that supports .php (and not all plans do – don’t assume this – that’s why I like siteground).

Try these out! They work for me.

Cheers,

Tia
All American Admin

This article was re-posted here. Read the article as originally submitted here.

Self-Employed Moms Mastermind Group – Tia Peterson/All American Admin

When I first joined Biznik, I read an article by Kristen Marie Schuerlein about creating a Mastermind Group. I wholeheartedly admit that I had absolutely no clue what she was talking about when she said Mastermind, even though I actually have owned the book Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill who first promoted the concept. (Obviously I owned it but never really read it – I tried, though).

If you don’t know what a Mastermind Group is, Karyn Greenstreet’s article on the subject is very informative. You may even be convinced enough to buy her $12 e-book on how to create a for-profit mastermind group (I did). What I really like about the concept of a Mastermind is that it puts into practice the real “two heads are better than one” theory. Running your own business is tough stuff, so taking an hour a month to talk it out with some others who are in the same boat will be cathartic personally and professionally.

So, if my interested was kindled by Kristen Marie Schuerlein’s article, it was definitely solidified by Karyn Greenstreet’s. I am not starting a for-profit one at this time; perhaps in the future. But for now, I would like to start a “Self-Employed Moms Mastermind Group” – totally free – as a way to develop a team of like-minded moms that can build, grow, and succeed together. I’d like to limit the group number to five-seven moms at this time but I’m willing to facilitate the formation of additional groups if the demand is there.

This group will meet monthly over the phone. This is TRUE mastermind in that the group members set the agenda, spend almost the entire time sharing, swapping ideas, playing devil’s advocate and helping each other succeed. This is not a “club” masked as a mastermind, where you pay membership dues and listen to someone talk. The point of a mastermind is to participate! Right now it’s free. I’d like to keep it that way and give our wallets a break for a minute.

So, if you are interested in participating with me, please let me know and I’ll share the details. You can contact me by going to my website’s contact form or the contact form on my blog.

Cheers,

Tia, All American Admin

**This was re-posted from my home-based business blog, Standing Out.

An official hello! Tia Peterson/All American Admin

If there were a way to have a baby carrier physically attached to my back and a laptop carrier physically in front, I would be all set. It seems these days I am either attending to my five month old son Aidan or attending to my new business, All American Admin (I must like the letter “A”). 🙂

I am so happy to be part of Motherhood Incorporated’s blog team and am looking forward to reading and posting. I’m a new mom, a single mom, and a work at home mom, and the combination of the three is both extremely empowering and extremely overwhelming at times. So, groups and associations like this one are so vital to a healthy mind, and a healthy mind is vital to a successful business.

So, here’s my official hello! Aidan and I (after all, he is technically my first business partner) are excited to be here.

The Quick About me and About All American Admin:

I’m originally from the East Coast, born in New Hampshire and bred in Virginia. The furthest west I’ve ever really lived is Tulsa, OK – although I did spent sx quick months in Tucson, Arizona where Aidan was born. I received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Technical Writing from Oral Roberts University.

I’m back on the East Coast living on a tree-lined street in Erie, PA and absolutely loving it. My weekdays are spent working my new business and mothering Aidan (simultaneously) and my weekends are spent attempting the blended family thing with my boyfriend and his three year old son.

All American Admin is my virtual assistant business. I chose this business because it really suited me. I could have chosen to be a freelance technical writer or telecommuter-technologist, but I actually really like administrative work, and have found a way to put a spin on it: I mix technology with admin work and voila! Now I’m really a techno-assistant, since I mainly assist with technology-related projects. I’ve just recently (as in, today) realized that I could also mix technical writing with my offerings. Everyday I am learning something new.

I am going to selectively simul-post articles here and on my home-based business blog (geared toward other virtual assistants) which is located at http://blog.allamericanadmin.com. In case you are wondering, my company website is http://www.allamericanadmin.com. Again, we specialize in technical administrative services (like blog installation/maintenance, website design, simple graphic design, internet marketing, shopping cart work, etc) so if you need any of that, let me know!

Cheers,

Tia & Aidan