Browsed by
Category: Work from Home

How to Find Your Blogging Niche

How to Find Your Blogging Niche

Starting a blog is hard on the front end. There are so many different decisions to make and it can often be hard to know that right answer. Choosing the niche that you want to write about is a hard decision because if you are like me, you have a lot of different things you like. It’s not a good idea to make a blog about everything (there’s no specific audience for that!) I’ve got a few questions for you to help you narrow your focus and choose a sustainable niche.

What do you enjoy?

It’s important to blog about something that you enjoy. It’s the first step to finding your niche. When I first sat down to figure out what I could blog about, I made a list of all the things I liked to do.  This included things like crocheting, reading, and productivity. It was a big brainstorming session for me.

Will you get sick of this quickly?

I knew right away that I would tire quickly of writing about crochet or reading. These were things that were good hobbies but exhausting business plans for me. There are probably several things on your list that fit in this category. This doesn’t mean that you stop doing them, you just don’t need to write about them on your blog.

Do you enjoy reading about this topic?

I read a lot of different blogs on various topics. Many of them talk about productivity and organization. I knew that it was really fun and easy for me to stay engaged with the productivity conversation on other blogs, so transferring that to my own blog would be pretty easy. If there are any blogs that you gravitate towards, consider their topic or a variation of it for your own. If you like it, you’ll write it.

Is this something people want to know about?

This is probably the biggest thing when choosing a blogging niche: Will people want to read about it. For instance, I love the lighthouses of Lake Superior. I could research them all day and be totally fulfilled. Unfortunately, the audience for a blog about lighthouses on Lake Superior is extremely small. It wouldn’t be a viable idea to make a business out of it. Productivity is definitely a topic that people are interested in and will probably be interested in in variations until the end of time. My sub-topics, travel and working from home, are also topics that with endure.

The biggest thing you want to remember for your niche is picking something that goes with your flow. I like making plans and checklists, so researching productivity is right in my wheelhouse. If you are having difficulty with this, try making a list of ideas for the niche you think you want and write a few posts. If you can see yourself wanting to do that on a monthly basis, it’s probably a good niche for you. Do you have any suggestions for someone looking for their blogging niche? What niche have you picked?

Proofreading Goals Update: November 2017

Proofreading Goals Update: November 2017

This post contains affiliate links. Please read our affiliate policy.

Every three months, I revisit my goals for the proofreading aspect of my business. It’s important for me to see my progress and where I’m trying to get to. If you have goals for your future, join me in going over them. It’ll help to keep you on track and show you how far you’ve come. I’m still working on the coursework for Proofread Anywhere and hope to finish it and expand my business. Here is a link to my previous goals post.

Goals Don’t Always Work

Usually, I start this post by telling you some of the goals I’ve achieved in the past three months. Unfortunately, I haven’t achieved any or them. I have worked on the course and made progress, but by this time I wanted to finish the practice transcripts. In retrospect, this was too big of a goal. I’m currently on PT 18 of 50, so not even close. It’s important to use measurable and actionable goals. I needed to measure this goal a little better before I committed to it.

3 Months – February 2018

These are the milestones I would like to reach by my next update in February:

  • Complete Practice Transcripts 19-35
    • This is roughly a transcript and a half a week excluding the week of Christmas. This is a much more doable goal.
  • Complete 11 Practice Sheets
    • Again, this is about one per a week excluding Christmas. This is in the punctuation practice book I have.

 

6 Months – May 2018

These are longer-term goals. Usually, they build upon the previous goals and should be my primary goals next time.

  • Complete Practice Transcripts
    • There should be only 15 left after my three-month goals are done.
  • Complete Midterm Exam
    • In my course, to move on after the practice transcripts. I need to get 100% on the midterm exam. It’s a little nerve wrecking, but hopefully, after 50 practices, I can ace it.

 

12 Months – November 2018

These are my biggest goals. Eventually, they will fit in, but for now, they are mostly big-time goals, with no major action needed right now.

  • Finish Proofread Anywhere Course
  • Have One Proofreading Client
  • Replace iPad

Now that I’ve scaled these goals back to be a bit more mangeable, I feel a lot better about acheiveing them. I make sure to keep my goals visable to keep me on track when I get lazy. I hang mine on my computer. If you have any goals, put them somewhere where you will be reminded of them. And if you want to see about getting into proofreading check out Caitlin Pyle’s courses. She has a general proofreading course I would recommend if you want to do book or paper editing.

Blogging Resources That Save My Sanity

Blogging Resources That Save My Sanity

This post contains affiliate links. Please read our affiliate policy.

Setting up a blog is relatively straightforward, but only after you do a little research. I know that I was completely lost when I first conceived of the idea. In this article, I’ll go through all of my common resources that I have used and recommend.

Setting Up Your Blog

There are three things you need to set up a blog: a domain, hosting, and WordPress. Getting a domain and hosting can come out of the same place. I use BlueHost for my hosting and I love them! It was easy to sign up and relatively inexpensive. I also use WordPress.org to build my blog. There are a lot of places that will teach you how to build a blog. I used The Blog Starter to set mine up. Building a Framework is also an awesome resource that I’ve used.

Plugins

Plugins help your site to function differently without you having to code. I’m no good at coding, so I use a lot of plugins to help me out. Here are a few that every blog should probably have (or at least a form of them.)

Akismet Anti-Spam: It filters out spam comments. A lifesaver!

Google Analytics Dashboard for WP: Google Analytics is important, especially if you want to monetize. This plugin makes viewing them easy.

Jetpack by WordPress.com: You can get all of the perks of WordPress.com on WordPress.org.

UpdraftPlus Backup: My whole site is backed up weekly to Dropbox.

WP Forms: This is a super simple plugin that makes forms for your readers to fill out. Check it out on my contact page.

Yoast SEO: This plugin helps me to view the readability of my posts and optimize for SEO.

Other Resources

Scheduling my social media posts gives me a lot more time in my week to do other things. I use Buffer to schedule Facebook and Instagram and have had awesome success with them. I just got into Later for my Pinterest scheduling. The jury is still out on them, so I’ll keep you posted if they are any good.

My last two resources don’t really fit in anywhere but are very important. I use Photoshop for all my photo editing and graphics creation. I’ve been working with Adobe products for years and have always liked them (even if I don’t like the pricing structure.) I also use Grammarly to check the spelling and grammar of my posts. It’s an awesome tool and everyone with a computer should use it even if you don’t have a blog.

If you are thinking of starting a blog, I would love to hear about it. If you have any questions or suggestions, please comment! I would love to hear what you think!

How I Schedule My Day as a Virtual Assistant

How I Schedule My Day as a Virtual Assistant

One of the joys of being a virtual assistant is that I don’t have a boss. There is no one looking over my shoulder as I go about my days, I’m in charge of my own time. I’m going to tell you the way I spend my days as a virtual assistant.

Morning

I’m usually out of bed by 8:00. I’ll usually shower, eat breakfast, and plan out my day. I use three things to structure my day. First, I look at my to-dos in my OmniFocus. Then I add the things I want to get done into my bullet journal so I can see them all on one page. Then I use Google Calendar to map out how long I want things to take throughout my day. This also reminds me of any appointments I might have. Usually, this step takes me about 10 to 15 minutes.

Business Work

I use the first hour of my day, from 9-10, to work on my own business. I’m still in the process of finding clients, so it’s important I prioritize this, which is why it’s the first thing in my day. I usually check my email and send any emails I need to. I also source clients and brainstorm improvements I can make to my current business plan. Once I have the number of clients I want, I’ll move this to later in the day or make it fewer days in the week. Until then, it will continue to be in the most important slot in my day.

Client Work

I then do client work. The duration of this is different every day depending on what I currently need to accomplish for my clients and potential clients. It’s hard to generalize since each day is different, but I prioritize based on deadlines and work hard during my client’s time. I want to get the most amount of work done while I’m on their dime.

Other Work

During the remaining part of the day, I get my odds and ends done. I usually spend time working on my proofreading course and on this blog. I also babysit three days a week, so I spend time with a baby most afternoons. These odds and ends are less important to get done, so I put them later in the day.

Fun

Around 4 or 5 I usually complete my day and then I can do things purely because I like them (though I do enjoy my job quite a bit.) Usually, that means crocheting in front of the TV (the show I’m watching right now is NCIS.) I also enjoy baking and hanging out with my friends. It’s whatever I want to do. Since I don’t have set hours in an office, I need to make sure I’m not always hustling and have time to relax.

Nightime

I start my bedtime routine around 9:00. I have a pretty strict evening routine. I shut down my computer, tidy my house, layout my breakfast for the morning, and brush my teeth. I usually get to sleep around 10 or 11. I know that I need a lot of sleep so I try to get to bed as early as I can.

This is a general idea for my day. Every day is a little different and I can bend this day however I need to, would like, which is one of the greatest perks of being a virtual assistant. If becoming a virtual assistant is something you want to look into check out this article by Gina Horkey. If you have any questions, just leave a comment. I always respond.

Save

Save

How to Create a Content Calendar

How to Create a Content Calendar

If you are serious about your blog, you need a content calendar. Hands down. Creating a consistent posting schedule is the first step to having a successful blog. It gives you structure and goals to work towards. It also encourages you to post more often. Here is my content calendar and the various tools I use in it.

I use an Excel spreadsheet to track my content for my blog and social media accounts. You could use Google Calendar, too, if you are a visual person. I have my blog’s content calendar in the picture above. The columns are pretty self-explanatory; I like to keep it simple.

I usually plan out for the next month at the beginning of the month previous. The first post for a month is always the thoughts from the previous month. After that, I fill in the rest of the month from my list of ideas. I try to have an equal amount of all the categories in each month, which is easy to see when I have it laid in front of me like this.

The notes column is probably the most important. I use this to track where I am in the course of making a post. As I complete different pieces, I delete them from the list. This way I can quickly look at my list to see what I need to do next. Once a post is completed, I color it green. Until then, it’s orange.

You can use a similar model for posting on social media. I have rough categories for each day of the week to make it easier for me to brainstorm and I write out what the post will say. I schedule all of my content using Buffer.

I got started on my content calendar using a post from Mommy Sanest. Hers is a little more complicated than mine. I’ve made a Google Doc of my content calendar, which I encourage you to save and modify for yourself.

Please tell me about your own content calendars! Has it helped you with your blogging? Do you have any suggestions for someone getting started? Do you have any questions about getting started?

Save

Save

Save

Blogging Goals: 3 Month Update

Blogging Goals: 3 Month Update

I’ve been hard at work making my blog a more successful endeavor. It’s definitely not easy getting a blog up off of the ground, but I have to say that I love this work! That makes it worth the time and effort. Here are my new and improved goals, which is an update to my post where I discuss my previous goals.

Completed Goals:

  • Build Confidence
    • I want to shout about my blog from the rooftops!
  • Maintain Posting Schedule
  • Complete Needed Admin Work
    • I’ve done a lot behind the scenes, like making pictures easier to edit and actually having a social media presence.

Short Term Goals (3 Months, December)

  • Start Sharing Posts on Pinterest
    • I’ve found a lot of the blogs that I follow on Pinterest, so I need to establish a presence on there.
  • Finish Blogging Books
    • I have several blogging books that I need to finish.

Medium Term Goals (6 Months, March)

  • Add a Newsletter
    • This one requires some research on my part, but I’m starting to build an email database.
  • Connect with Other Bloggers
    • Time to start following and commenting!

Long Term Goals (1 Year, August)

  • Have Preliminary Monetization in Place
    • I want to be making some amount of money by this point. Even if it’s very small.
  • Have Readers I Don’t Know Personally
    • I want to have readers I don’t know in real life; it’s that simple!

If you have started a blog, please tell me how it’s going! I would love to hear the advice of more experienced bloggers. And if you are thinking of starting a blog, please let me know!

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Virtual Assistant Goals: 3 Month Update

Virtual Assistant Goals: 3 Month Update

I’m updating my last post: My Virtual Assistant Goals. I’ve achieved a few goals, worked on a few more, and added some more still. It’s important to keep these goals at the front of my mind, so I’ll be updating them every three months or so. I hope these goals might be able to help you envision your virtual assistant journey.

Completed Goals:

 

Short Term Goals (3 Months, December)

  • Get More Clients
    • Getting my first client is awesome! Now I need to keep working on getting more.
  • Build Social Media Skills
    • I do social media management for my client. I need to do a deeper skill dive so I am ready for how her business will grow.

Medium Term Goals (6 Months, March)

  • Get (Even More) Clients
    • I want to be able to fill my time working for my clients. I’ll probably be working on recruitment for a while.
  • Build Needed Skills
    • I know that there will be more skills I will need to expand on going forward.

Long Term Goals (August)

  • Be Part-Time Working at Home
    • It can take up to two years to build a strong virtual assistant business, I hope to be working part-time at home with a solid income at the end of a year.

If you have any questions, please leave a comment. If you want to see the services I offer, please check out my Hire Me page.

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

How I Got My First Virtual Assistant Client

How I Got My First Virtual Assistant Client

I’m just starting out as a virtual assistant and it’s scary. I know who my ideal clients are, but I have very little idea about finding them. I’m sure if you are starting out on your journey, you are feeling the same way. This is how I found my first client.

Cold Emails

I started my virtual assistant search by sending out cold emails. This means that I basically just started emailing bloggers and other people that I have services they might be interested in. I stayed with people that I already follow and fit within my demographic (web-based small business owners). That’s when I decided to email my current client. She literally emailed me back with “Call me” and her phone number.

It’s Who You Know

I know that old adage is frustrating to read again and again, but it’s true; it’s all about who you know. My client is a life coach that I met through my last job. I worked with her several times over the two years I had been there and had recently met with her. I knew that she owned her own business that appeared to be out of her home. She’s the kind of client I was looking for, so I decided to take the plunge and email her. As you read above, it paid off.

That First Talk

She said, in our first conversation, that she had been looking for someone to help her with her social media accounts and her website for a while, but hadn’t found someone she knew she could trust. My email was like a godsend to her (and her accounts definitely need some help, she’ll be the first to tell you). After that first conversation where we set my wage and hours, I got started. I already know I love this and I’m so excited to see where this leads her and her business.

If you are setting out on your virtual assistant journey, keep your mind open about the people you know. Sending a polite email never hurt anyone and the worst they can say is no! I’m going to be brainstorming any more people I might know who fit into my demographics. If you want help starting your business, please try out 30 Days or Less to Virtual Assistant Success. It is an awesome resource and has helped me so much in starting this journey. Good luck!

My Proofreading Goals

My Proofreading Goals

Proofreading for court reporters can be a really great way to make money at home. Since I’m done moving across the country, I finally have the time to devote to being a kick-butt proofreader. I’m working my way through Proofread Anywhere and once I’m done with that I can begin to make money from proofreading. Here are my goals for getting that done.

3 Month Goals (November)

  • Finish the practice transcripts in Proofread Anywhere (there are over 3,000 pages!)
  • Continue to work on my punctuation and spelling skills with Bad Grammer, Good Punctuation.

6 Month Goals (February)

  • Finish the Proofread Anywhere course and pass the final exam.
  • Obtain at least one client for proofreading.

1 Year Goals (August)

  • Be making a full-time income from proofreading.
  • Replace my iPad.

These are pretty simple goals, but I hope by making them simple they’ll be very achievable. If you have any thoughts or questions on these goals or the world of proofreading, please let me know!

Save

Save

My Virtual Assistant Goals

My Virtual Assistant Goals

Before I share my goals with you, I think I should tell you what exactly a virtual assistant is. At it’s most basic, a virtual assistant is someone who works online for either a person or business to help them move their business forward or help them work less. This can include a lot of different things. It can be managing social media, proofing content, bookkeeping, or basically any skill you can show virtually. It’s almost anything you need it to be.

I want to work from home. I have or can build the skills that a lot of virtual assistants have. Recently, I started an online course called 30 Days or Less to Virtual Assistant Success in order to have a basis to launch my virtual assistant business. And with that basis building, I have some goals for my future.

Short Term Goals (3 Months)

  • Complete 30 Days or Less to Virtual Assistant Success
    • I’m giving myself plenty of time since I have a full-time job and am moving across the country.
  • Get (at least) One Client
    • It scares me to even write that! But I think throwing myself in is the best way to go.

Medium Term Goals (6 Months)

  • Have More Than One Client
    • The only way to build a business is to build the client base.
  • Build My Skills
    • I’m purposefully leaving this one open ended. I don’t know which skills are going to help me the most until I get through 30 Days and start working.

Long Term Goals (1 Year)

  • Be Part-Time Working at Home
    • It can take up to two years to build a strong virtual assistant business, so I’m hoping I can switch to a part-time job once I’ve been working on this a year.

Right now, this seems to be the most viable of my work at home ideas, or at least, it requires the least amount of training. I’m hoping to grow it a bit before I move, so I might be able to move with only a part-time job. We’ll see because the biggest thing I need to be while building this business is realistic. I definitely don’t want to be trapped in my big dreams and forget to look at the bigger picture.

If you have any questions or suggestions, please comment!

Save