New Internship Program

Over my past 6 years of working from home I have hosted multiple internship programs.  You can see a testimonial from one of my past interns below:

rhonda

Alyssa was a true God send when I wanted to expand my skills to learning the more technical side of the business. She taught me step by step how to create WordPress sites and other technical stuff that has helped me to expand my business and service offerings to my clients. I couldn’t have done it without her! Thanks Alyssa for all your help!
-Rhonda Holscher

 

Internships are a win-win for the intern and the business owner.  I feel that you can learn a lot learning from a professional online business owner.  I am not only a business owner, but also a mom and a blogger.  My experiences working online are vast and I will attempt to share with you the good and bad from my experience over the years.  If you are serious about learning to earn an income from home then this internship program may be for you.

Here is a list of skills that you will learn through this internship.  There are two sets of skills one is for someone wanting to become a virtual assistant the other is for someone wishing to make money from their blog.

The intern for AlyssaAvant.com will learn the following:

  • Business 101
  • Developing Your Online Presence
  •  Marketing
  • Time Management
  • Customer Service 101
  • Tracking
  • WordPress A-Z

The intern for LifefrommyLaptop.com will learn the following:

  • Keyword Research
  • Writing Skills
  • Properly Formatting a Post
  • Using SEO
  • Participating in Link Parties
  • WordPress A-Z

Both interns will learn and be responsible for tasks including:

  • Email communication
  • Social Media
  • Research

Requirements for the internship:

  • A computer with a fast internet connection
  • Some knowledge of WordPress
  • Some knowledge of Social Media
  • A proper understanding of the English language
  • A desire and ability to learn
  • Be a self-starter
  • Must be organized
  • You must commit to 10-15 hours per week including at least 1 hour of training per week for the next 10 weeks.
  • You must be available on Skype Monday – Friday for daily communication
  • You will be asked to sign a non-disclosure agreement

This is a 3 month time intensive Internship Training Program for the months of July, August and September.  There will be one orientation week, 10 weeks of training and one graduation week!

At the end of the 3 months you will have:

  • My recommendation to others (if you successfully complete the program in its totality)
  • New skills to add to your resume

Please fill out the form below – remember, I will be accepting applications for the rest of June.

Google + Hangout Week 1: Business 101 – Setting Goals

Our first Getting Started as a Virtual Assistant Hangout is in the books.  This week we talked about Business 101- Setting Goals.  I believe this is a super important first step.  We talked about the reason that we set goals is that “if you fail to plan,  you plan to fail”.  I hope that you will take the time to watch this week’s episode if you missed it and join me for future Hangouts.

Getting Started as a Virtual Assistant:  Business 101 – Goal Setting


I gave a couple of Homework assignments this week, which included:

Set some goals!

Create a budget.

Also we talked about a couple of tools.  One of those was the business plan from http://sba.gov.  Another was the super easy to use bookkeeping software, Outright.  I am not compensated in any way for either of these recommendations, but I have used them and I recommend them.

Here’s some social proof from today’s episode:

social proof

Also, I will be creating a series of templates, worksheets, and / or handouts for you all. Please leave me a comment below with your wishes for these as well as any questions you might have.  Then, join us next week for Getting Started as a Virtual Assistant: Business 101 – How to Find Your Niche at the same time Thursday, June 6 at 10 am CST / 11 am EST.

How to Set Up Your Own Service Based Business – #WAHMStrategy Hour

Yesterday I had the privilege of participating in my first Google Hangout with Kelli of 3BoysandaDog.com and Susan of 5MinutesforMom.com.  We discussed how to set up your own service based business in their WAHM Strategy Hour.  We shared so much valuable info that we actually discussed doing another one of these strategy hours to finish up our conversation.

I was really excited to have been a part of the hour and will definitely be looking into doing more of the Google Hangouts in the future.  Watch the strategy hour below:

Would You Love to Work from Home?

Hey moms!

I recently conducted a survey for moms where I discovered that an overwhelming number of you want to make an income working from home, whether it be part-time or full time.  Many of you were, however leery of the many scams that are out there.  Hands down, I understand and can empathize with you as I was in your shoes approximately 6 years ago when I began my work at home journey.

What I have discovered through my years of trial and error, is that creating your own business from scratch is a much more productive and profitable endeavor than weeding through the many scams that are out there.  Creating your own business especially when you are providing a service is easy to set up, has low start up costs, and is one of the fastest ways to create an income fast!

The type of business I chose to create was a virtual assistant’s business. According to Wikipedia.com, a virtual assistant (typically abbreviated to VA, also called a virtual office assistant) is generally self-employed and provides professional administrative, technical, or creative (social) assistance to clients remotely from a home office. As a Virtual Assistant you can set your own hours, your own rates and decide what you will or will not offer. But, it’s also an advantage to the business owners who will hire you because they will now have someone to take care of the many tasks in their business they don’t have the time or skillset for without having to provide an office, or be responsible for employee-taxes, insurance, and other benefits.

Another perk of owning your own virtual assistant’s business is that you can choose the type of work you will specialize in as well as the type of client you will market your services to and work with.  For example, you might choose to specialize in WordPress websites, social media, email management using Aweber or Mailchimp, or 1Shopping Cart.

As an experienced virtual assistant I would like to share my knowledge with others and in order to do so need to hear from those moms out there who might be interested in the field as an option for making an income from home.

If you have any interest at all in this please take the following survey:

Create your free online surveys with SurveyMonkey , the world’s leading questionnaire tool.

Thanks so much,
my-signature

Want to Make Money Working from Home?

Survey

As a mom I know what it is like to want to be at home with your children, but need to make money working  from home in order to make that dream a reality.  This is what originally began my journey in business was the need to make an income.  It is also the reasons I wrote my new book, FaithLeaps: The Christian Mom’s Guide to Passion, Purpose and Profits.  My desire is to help you to make your dream a reality too.

In order to find out what you’re struggling with and how I can help I have created the following survey.  The survey is now closed.  I have reached my goal of 100.  Thank you for your help!

The first few people this survey did not get their free copy because the survey was messed up. Please email me at info@alyssaavant.com to get yours. Thanks

Choosing a Domain Name Checklist

artist-website-checklistChoosing a domain name is no small task. Once you’ve picked a domain name, it’s very hard to change to another domain down the line. It’s what other people will remember you by. It’s what other websites will use to link to you. It’s the crux of your whole online business.

What should you look for when choosing a domain name.

  • Is it easy to remember? Your domain name should have a nice ring to it. It should roll off your tongue and be easily memorable.
  • Short. The shorter the domain name, the more likely you are to get someone to remember the domain. Single-word domains are considered premium domains for this reason. That said, getting your hands on a single word domain name in your market is quite difficult. You’ll likely have to settle for a two word or three word domain. Still, try to make the domain as short and easy to remember as possible.
  • No numbers, no dashes. It’s very confusing to have to say to someone “its 3 cubes dot com, with the number three” or “it’s three spelled out.” It’s also confusing to say “the domain is domain dash word dot com.” It’s hard to remember and just doesn’t work very well for word of mouth referrals.
  • One possible spelling. Avoid words that are spelled differently in other countries. For example, “colors” can also be spelled “colours.” Again, passing the domain along with word of mouth becomes very difficult with such words. Also avoid domains that have to be plural. Only register a domain name with an “s” in it if you can also get the domain without the “s” and redirect it.
  • Make sure it looks good lowercase. A lot of domains only look good when they’re uppercase. For example, BirdsStore.com might look great upper case, but looks odd when birdsstore.com is lowercase.
  •  Top level domain matters. In general, you should stick with only .com domains. If you can get your hands on a really great .net or .org domain that’s better than any .com you can find, go ahead and grab it. But you should generally avoid any other TLD. The only exception is if you’re actually starting a local website. For example, if you’re starting a site in the UK, you may very well want to register a .co.uk domain.
  • Search engine keywords. Your domain name can play a significant role in getting ranked well in search engines. If you can get the exact domain name for a keyword you want to rank for in the search engines, your domain name alone can give you a nice boost. The trick is in selecting a search engine friendly domain that also has a nice ring to it.
  • Try alternate words. If you’re having trouble coming up with good domain names, try finding similar words to the words in your keyword using tools like Thesaurus.com or the Google Keyword Tool.
  • Compile a list of potential domains. You might not always be able to get the exact domain you want. Instead of coming up with just one domain name you want, try to come up with a list of 20. Then use a mass checker, available free on many domain registrars to find out which one(s) are available.
  • Ask your friends what they think about your domain name. No matter how great you think the domain name is, the real test is other people in the real world. Try to ask friends who’ll give you their real opinions, not just tell you that they think it’s really great even when it’s not. Make sure they’re able to actually figure out the typed in domain name easily based on you telling the domain verbally.
  • Browse forums and auctions. Look at sites like GoDaddy Auctions, Sedo, NamePros forums and other such sites for premium domains. For example, if you wanted to pick up a domain like “renovation.com,” you’re probably never going to find it available for registration. On the other hand, you might be able to pick up some true winners in expired auction auctions or domain name forum sales.

As you can tell a lot can go into picking a domain name. Don’t rush the process and make sure you really pick a domain name that you can be proud of in the long run.

Important Pieces of WordPress to Update

Many business owners do not realize that when they have a website designed on WordPress that there are some maintenance issues that you have to deal with on a regular basis.  Of course, in my humble opinion these issues are minor compared to having an HTML site.  Also these maintenance pieces can be taken care of by the business owner or their assistant easily without having to pay the designer.

There are a few important pieces of WordPress that must be updated.  Usually WordPress in all its greatness alerts you of these pieces.  Popular updates which my WordPress alerts me of on a regular basis are plugin updates, theme updates and WordPress installation updates.

You can simple follow the prompts to make these updates.  It is really simple.  Watch the following screencast where I will show you how to make a couple quick and easily updates.


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For more tools and tips please grab our free report 30 Plus Tools to be More Productive in Business

Avoiding Time Traps

Time Traps

One of the hardest things about working from home is that you have so many distractions vying for your attention.  There are the tasks that you need to be doing, there are the tasks you should do at some point,  there are possibly the kids, the laundry, a sink full of dirty dishes and any other number of distractions there.  You have to turn off the noises in your head and ignore the buzzing dryer and get down to work.

So, how do you avoid the time traps that can so easily suck away all your time?  While there are some things you cannot avoid – feeding the baby or changing a diaper.  There are a lot of other things you can avoid – - spending too much time on social media, checking your email every five minutes, etc.

Here’s a great plan:

Work in time chunks – Determine how much time you need for each project or tasks and chunk your time.  Need to process email, set aside 15-30 minutes in the morning and another 30 minutes in the afternoon.  Set a timer and go to work.  Avoid checking email constantly throughout the day.  Turn off email alert notifications on your computer and phone so it won’t distract you.

Turn off social media.  I love social media as much as the next guy, but it is a huge distraction and a time sucker.  In order to get work done I recommend turning it off completely while working.  Set aside time specifically to work on it just like anything else.

Have schedule routines.  The best way to be able to ignore the buzzing dryer or the pile of dishes is to have a specific routine for taking care of household tasks.  You do housework during your scheduled time for housework and you do business work during its scheduled time.  If it helps to have the housework done first thing in the morning so you won’t be bugged by the dishes in the sink then do so.

We all have time traps that tend to suck us in.  Yours may be different than mind, but the same concepts can be applied.  What do you do to avoid time traps?  Share in the comments below.

What You Need to Create a Website

Create a Website

Over the years, I have created more than 100 websites and blogs for clients.  Each time a new client would come to me I would give them a list of items that I would need to get started.  Many people were not aware of the individual pieces and steps that were necessary to get a website up and running.  Though the steps aren’t difficult they are necessary in order to get your website ready for the public eye.

The first item that you will need to create a website is a web address or URL.  This can be purchased from a domain registration company. Many times you can purchase your domain and hosting (your next item) from the same company.  I recommend GoDaddy for registering your domain name.  However, I do not choose to use GoDaddy for hosting for other reasons.  A domain name is a yearly fee of approximately $9 a year.

The second item that you will need to create a website is web hosting.  This is one of the most important pieces of your website because it is what keeps your website up and running.  Many people do not know the difference between a domain name and hosting.  Think of it this way.  A domain name is your address, while hosting is the rent that you pay to stay at an address.  Your web hosting hosts your website.  Hosting is a monthly fee (though you can pay yearly).  Most hosting is less than $10 per month.

The next item that you will need is a platform.  There are a variety of platforms out there for creating a website.  From site builders to Drupal, from Tumblr to WordPress.  My favorite platform is WordPress and I believe it has the most benefits as well.  You can see the benefits in this post.

Once you choose a blogging platform you will then need a theme (if you choose WordPress), graphics and of course content.  Preparing  ahead of time is important, especially if you are hiring someone to create your website for you. It will be a much easier process for you and the webdesigner if you have everything in place from the start of the project.

There is a lot to consider when you begin to create your website.  Remember you want it to be as professional looking as possible so do the work necessary to make this happen.

Why Internship Programs ROCK!

I started my first internship program several years ago.  I had been a part of a blogging internship the year before and the benefits that it gave me were many.  I learned so much in the process and really appreciated the opportunities it had given me.  As a result, I knew that creating an internship program to help others would be a win-win situation.

The way my internship program works is that I put the word out that I was going to be recruiting an intern.  The first time I did this I actually took on several interns, but all but one of them dropped out due to time constraints.  For the intern who stayed she benefited even more due to my one on one time with her.  So for future internships I held interviews and narrowed my applications down.  I then chose only one intern and held the program one-to-one.

I also had a specific set of skills that I required the intern to already have as well as a set of skills I was promising to teach them.  They would benefit from the skills that they were able to add to their business.  In return I would use their present skills to help me in my business.  They received the training of the intern program in exchange for doing simple tasks in my business.  I require up to 10 hours weekly in exchange for over 24 hours of training and 12 weeks of 24 hour support.  I am available via email for any questions that my intern has.

My first intern and I not only maintained a great working relationship, we also formed a wonderful friendship that still exists today.  She was my right arm in my business for over a year, because she chose to continue working with me even after the 12 week internship program had ended.

My current internship program includes the following training topics:

  • Business 101
  • Business 101 – part 2
  • Product / Service Option
  • Tech 101 Domains and Hosting, Newsletter and List Development
  • Website 101 Part 1 – WordPress Setup
  • Website 101 Part 2 – Plugins, Widgets and Google Analytics
  • Marketing 101 – Traffic Generation and Followup
  • Social Media
  • Time Management
  • Customer Service 101 Part 1 – Policies and Procedures
  • Customer Service 101 Part 2 – Contact Form, Followup Emails