July 2011  
Real Bookkeeping. Virtual Assistance.
Volume 8 Issue 6  www.offassist.com

Playing Catch-Up

Last month I asked for tips on how to get caught up after vacation, medical leave, etc., and here's what some of you had to say, starting with my own personal top tip:

  • Get Out of (Mail) Jail

Process the mail first. Ours is an almost paperless office and mail, actual physical snail mail means that there is unwanted tree pulp with words on it in my office. Because mail makes physical clutter in my workspace I go through it first. Open envelopes, toss trash, scan in documents that we need to keep, etc. For me clearing the physical desktop makes it much easier to tackle the virtual one.

  • Be DAFT!

Andrea Cannavina, of Legal Typist, Inc., recommends a system she calls, "DAFT." It's a lot like Dave Allen's GTD, but allows for the fact that sometimes you have to delay things. Andrea has a nifty e-book on her site (linked above) that explains it all -- and it's a freebie!

  • All Business

Julia Lilly, of 360 Admin, reminds us that on the first day back on the job we need to really be on the job, saying, "Avoid all personal emails, calls and social media on that first day back. It will be too easy to get distracted when you are already coming down off 'vacation mode'."

Thanks Andrea and Julia! Since I'm out quite a bit this summer for both personal and business/conference reasons, I'm taking all the tips I can get.

Got a tip or an idea we missed and want to share it with my readers? Send it to Patty at patty@offassist.com with a link and you may see it in a future newsletter.

In this issue...


Why Podcasting Is Essential to Marketing
By Fred Meek

If you are looking to help your business by using a podcast then you are doing one of the best marketing things you can for your business. First you should know a bit about what podcast marketing is and how it works before you've made your full decision to try this marketing plan. Podcast marketing is defines as an audio file that can be shared from your website or social network. The podcast can be a recording of you talking about your business, building your bramd name or simply info type commercials.

Podcasts are meant to be give out information to your consumers and give a more personal aspect using your business to customer relationship. By giving them a personal voice to listen to, you are giving them someone to associate with.

A very important thing to remember about podcasting when it comes to marketing is that it's a very cheap way to get your message across the world. All that you will need in order to begin your podcast is a microphone, editing software, and a computer of some sort. Currently most computers already have an audio recording device built in to them. If the computer you have does not then you can purchase a headset for a rather cheap price.

Before creating your podcast you should be sure that you are going to focus on one single subject and you are speaking clear and well enough for your listeners to understand. The best way to gain any market from your podcasts is by keeping them pertaining towards your company.

Depending on where you host your podcast can also depend on how well it does with the market. Often iTunes is used for hosting podcasts. Thought iTunes is the one that is most often used there are other sites that can host your podcast such as Podcast.com and PodcastDirectory.com.

After the podcast has been created and uploaded it is best to put the podcast also on your company's website or blog that way your customers can also listen to them from the home page. Another great idea for getting your podcasts out there is by putting them on your company's social network site..

By creating a following you can be sure that your company is almost always being listened to and though of by your consumers. The more often you upload a new podcast the more visitors you may get.

As you can tell from this article, podcasting is a great way to get your company out on the market. Getting your company's name on people's lips and getting yourself out there by word of mouth, you are helping your company. The key strategy of this market plan is to make sure that you are completely prepared to publish any podcast and that you want them to hear.

Before you have fully decided to use a podcast as marketing for your company, be sure that you have some ideas planned out for a few of the different podcasts you are going to create. The goal is to be prepared and have your information out there for all of your current customers and future customers to have.

Fred Meek is a professional Austin SEO consultant in Austin Texas. For more information go to Austin Search Engine Optimization.

Article Source: ezinearticles.com

QuickBooks Tip

Editing a check that's in the wrong account

Q: I have multiple checking accounts and just realized that a check I need to print is in the wrong account. Is there an easier way to correct that rather than delete and rewrite the check?

A: If you edit the check (either double click it from the register or click “edit transaction” from the register), you can quickly and easily change the checking account by using the pulldown menu at the top and choosing the right account.

Note: Check with your accounting professional before doing this to be sure that's how they'd like it done. YMMV!

Humor

She was sooooooooo Blonde…….

  • she sent me a fax with a stamp on it
  • she thought a quarterback was a refund
  • she tried to put M&M’s in alphabetical order
    under “education” on her job application, she put “Hooked On Phonics”
  • she spent 20 minutes looking at the orange juice box because it said “concentrate”
  • she put lipsick on her forehead because she wanted to make up her mind
  • if you gave her a penny for intelligence, you’d get change back
  • she took a ruler to bed to see how long she slept
  • at the bottom of the application where it says “sign here”..she put “Sagittarius”
  • it takes her two hours to watch 60 Minutes
  • if she spoke her mind, she’d be speechless
  • she studied for a blood test – and failed
  • she sold her car for gas money
  • when she heard that 90% of all crimes occur around the home, she moved
  • she thinks Taco Bell is where you pay your phone bill
  • when she missed the 44 bus, she took the 22 bus twice instead
  • when she went to the airport and saw a sign that read “Airport Left” she turned around and went back home
 
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Tax Deadlines

Julu 15

- Employers Make Monthly Payroll tax deposit on the 15th of each month

August 1

- 2nd Quarter Payroll Taxes Due
- Deposit FUTA tax if more than $500 was paid through June 30th
- Employer's Deposit Federal Unemployment (FUTA)
- Employers File Annual Return for Employee Benefits Plan 5500
- Employers File Annual Return for Employee Benefits Plan 5500-EZ
- Employers File request for Extension filing Employee Benefits Plan Return
- 2nd Quarter Federal Excise Tax Return & Payment Voucher

August 15

- Employers Make Monthly Payroll tax deposit on the 15th of each month

August 30

- Time for businesses to consider setting up retirement plans

IRS Increases 2011 Mileage Rates
Courtesy of IRS

The following standard mileage rates will apply:

  • January 1 – June 30: 51 cents per mile for business miles driven
  • July 1 – December 31: 55.5 cents per mile for business miles driven
  • January 1 – June 30: 19 cents per mile driven for medical or moving purposes
  • July 1 – December 31: 23.5 cents per mile driven for medical or moving purposes
  • January 1 – December 31: 14 cents per mile driven in service of charitable organizations

These rates apply to the use of cars, vans, pickups, or panel trucks.

Tech Talk With Tom...

Shortcut Keys

Sometimes it is good to take a step back and look at the basics. I’ve been talking with a lot of people about how they do things on their computer, and I was surprised at the number of them that did not know some of the shortcut keys that I’ve always taken for granted. Seeing as I started with Windows at version 3.1, I’ve had a lot of time to learn the shortcuts as they became available.

Here are 3 common keyboard shortcuts that you may know, and a one obscure one that just might help you in the future:

Shift+Left-Click: If you want to move, copy, or delete files, this shortcut is really useful. Shift+Left-Click on the first file in the chain, then Shift+Left-Click on the last file. Then Right-Click on the selected files and select your action.

Control+Left-Click: Instead of selecting an entire group of files, this shortcut lets you pick and choose. Control+Left-Click on each file you want to manipulate. Then, Right-Click and choose what you want to do.

(The above two shortcuts also USUALLY work in selection boxes on forms as well, but it depends on the developer.)

Ctrl-Alt-Del: Everyone’s favorite shortcut, it shows you a list of running programs in Windows Task Manager. It also lets you see what processes and services are running (useful if your computer is running slow and you want to know why). It also shows you your computers CPU, memory, and network usage.

Ctrl-Alt-End: This one I just learned about. With the rise of remote computing, this shortcut has become much more useful. If you are running a Remote Desktop Connection and it gets hung up, try pressing Ctrl-Alt-End. This should allow you to log off the remote computer so that you can log into a fresh connection.

In my chats, I was really surprised at just how many people didn’t know about the first two shortcuts. And even those that did know about them didn’t know they worked in some forms and software packages. So if you see someone taking a while just moving around files, give’em a hand and share these shortcuts.

Of course, if you have any secrets you’d like to share with me, send them over! I’m always looking to make my life easier.

Tom Beauchamp is the marketing and tech expert behind OffAssist. He can be reached at tom@offassist.com.

Spotlight On...

Spotlight: Megaventory

One of the great things about being a VA is being able to work from just about anywhere with an Internet connection. That's great for us, since VAs are primarily in the service business. But what about people selling an actual product? Can they enjoy the freedom a VA does?

Maybe they can. Our spotlight this month is on Megaventory, a company harvesting the power of Internet to make inventory management something a business owner can do from anywhere. They offer a customizable program to help their clients take control of inventory management, invoicing, and more, from anywhere with an Internet connection.

That's right, inventory management with no dedicated computer in the back office, no constantly-in-need-of-upgrading inventory software. If you want to learn more about Megaventory's products and plan options, check out their website at www.megaventory.com.

Have you nursed a secret longing to be in the spotlight, center-stage, all eyes on you?

If you would like to be featured in the OffAssist spotlight column, and have not been featured in the past twelve months, contact Patty@OffAssist.com and we'll see if we can put you in the limelight.

Fine print: We do reserve the right not to feature anyone and a request is not a guarantee that you will make it into the newsletter. Also, if your news, announcement, etc. is time sensitive or tied to a specific date, please let Patty know in your email.


Have an article you'd like to write for our monthly newsletter or want to be spotlighted? Have a QuickBooks question or something you'd like to see in the Tech Tip?

Email candy@offassist.com.

The OffAssist newsletter is made possible by the copywriting/editing skills of Ink Think VA, and the coding talents of Time Is Of The Es-Cents.