Customer relations

Your Virtual Assistant Doubles as an Accountability Partner

buddy up

buddy up

I was a guest on a podcast recently, discussing virtual assistance. I was explaining to the host how I help my clients and what I do. She responded, “Oh, so not only are you a Virtual Assistant, but you are a business coach for your clients too. You hold them accountable to tasks and items.”Wait, what? Hold the phone. Could she be right? It didn't really hit home, until I received the following testimonial from a client:

[Darlene] is extremely professional, organized, honest, fast and delightful to work with! Her preferred communication is email, which is perfect for me! She makes my ideas better and allows me to send out a professional, regularly scheduled newsletter every month.

Having Darlene on board also helps me stay on task because I’m held accountable. A huge benefit! -Pam Christenson, Pam Christenson Massage

When one thinks of partnering with a virtual assistant, many benefits come to mind. The most often-talked about benefit is having someone in which you can hand-off items.  Makes sense. But, what isn’t always clear and becomes so, after working together for a while; is that a virtual assistant can (and is) so much more.When you partner with a virtual assistant; one that provides a high-level of service (and most, if not all, do); you do gain an accountability partner.

Have you experienced any of the following:

  • Received a request or to-do from your V.A.?

  • Received an email from your V.A. to see how your blog post, podcast episode or newsletter content is coming along?

  • Or maybe, they’ve asked you how you’ve been implementing something they’ve created for you?

If you can answer yes to any of the above and you also get the feeling that you have to follow through because your V.A. is depending on you; then you, my friend; not only have a V.A., but a super awesome, secret weapon in your business: a virtual assistant, accountability partner extraordinaire.

Don’t have a Virtual Assistant yet? Well, what are you waiting for? I may be able to help you reign in the chaos of your busy-business life and help you stay on track. You can view a list of services that I offer to clients, here.

In Today's Online World, Remember What it Means to be Human



Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve been covering marketing as a topic on my podcast, “The Inspired Entrepreneur’s Guide.”  My guests have shared their insight and expertise about blogging, social media and networking, just to name a few.  Among all of the conversations I’ve had, there was one common theme my guests kept coming back to, as it related to online marketing. I’ll get to that in one moment. In today’s technological world, there is a misconception that we don’t connect with each other, our noses stuffed in our phones all the time. Yes, this is true.  But for many, we are still connecting.

Let’s circle back to the commonality that kept popping up in my conversations with my podcast guests about online marketing: they all said (in one form or another) that being authentic, honest and caring was the most important thing we can do to connect with our audience in today’s online world.

That’s right; the common thread had nothing to do with using a specific tool, device or a social network. It was not about the 80/20 rule of sharing on social media or how to send a specific,“tweet.”

It all came down to one simple thing: what it means to be human. It's so important to not fall into the practice of being a machine pushing out content or sending links haphazard on social media.  Be invested in what you put out into the online world and truly care.  Also, don’t be afraid to show your true self. Your audience will notice.  And, that will be the reason they choose to connect with you, the real you.

Check out recent episodes of The Inspired Entrepreneur’s Guide to hear some of the conversations with business owners about online marketing.

Podcasts, blog posts or e-newsletters are great ways to share relevant content in an authentic way. Contact me, I’d love to help.

4 Steps that Will Make Asking for Help, Easier


Asking for help isn't always easy.  It can make you feel vulnerable or inept. However, as a business owner, knowing when and how to ask for help is very important. You can’t do it all or more importantly, there may be areas you just aren’t an expert. Let’s get this out of the way real fast, it is okay to ask for help. You can and should, in fact! Realize that asking for help can sometimes be the determining factor between failure and success. If you are like many business owners, sometimes you know you need to ask for help, but go about it the wrong way. Not intentionally, of course. Here are some tips that will assist you well before hitting the SOS button:

  • Understand your weaknesses – This is the most important part of the process. You need to understand the areas you are less than stellar and also areas you just don’t like working.

  • Have a plan – All businesses should have a plan. In fact, most will have a few plans; a marketing plan, a business plan, etc. Have a plan in place and know where you want to go.

  • Determine your needs – Now that you know your weaknesses and your plans for the future, you’ll be able to clearly recognize where you may need help at any given point in your business.

  • Ask for help before you need it – It’s not uncommon for a business owner to reach out for help when they are needing to meet a deadline or in times of stress. We’ve all been there, in fact, I’ve been there a few times myself. Connecting with providers before you need them to assist you; will prove beneficial to your business and your stress levels! Less stress equals happier you. And, a happier you mean a better attitude towards business.

In summary: Understand your weaknesses, have a plan, know your needs and then get help before you need it!

Will you need help with your next digital media project or podcast? If so, let's chat. Contact me!

Is Your Networking, Working?


Being connected and connecting with people is great for business, but they are two entirely different things. Being connected means you know and associate with a specific and oftentimes large group of people. To be well-connected is a networker’s dream. Someone can be well-connected, but not necessarily always able to form a bond with their tribe. That could be problematic down the road. So while going to networking meetings is important, taking an interest in your connections, engaging them in conversation and truly caring about them will allow you to grow as a person, as well as, grow your business. Personally, networking (in the traditional sense), makes me super nervous. I don’t always ‘shine’ in group settings. I get quiet, nervous and sometimes simply act like an introverted fool. I know I am not alone. If this sounds like you – I have some tips for you! These are things I've learned over time.

  1. Think small – If large networking functions scare the heck out of you, start small. Locate small networking groups or functions in your area. Or form a small group of your own. In fact, as the group organizer, you immediately remove the ‘walking into a room full of strangers’ scenario. You’ll be there first and as the organizer, people will know of you before even stepping in the door. Stand at the door to greet them. Being the organizer will give you an extra confidence boost too!

  2. It’s not about you – This is the most important tip I can provide. Focus on the person you are talking to – ask them questions about their business, get to know them. This removes the self-conscious factor. If you are focusing on them, there is less time to focus on your appearance, your nerves or anything else that you may find distracting. Once you learn this trick, the nerves will start to subside.

  3. Engage, build and care – Once you’ve made a few connections with people, don’t ignore them. Build and foster those relationships. That’s the determining factor between being connected and connecting with your audience. If you truly understand and care about your connections, they’ll take notice. In fact, most will return the sentiment.

Here is one example of how and why forming connections with people is important. I stopped working on my business for four years. I recently re-launched it part-time, in February. Truth be told, I felt like I was starting my business from scratch. Worried that I would have to struggle to find clients was nothing less than nerve-wracking.  However, a funny thing happened. Because I believe it is so important to foster relationships and connect with your professional friends (to me all of my associates and clients are like professional friends), it wasn’t too hard at all. I am still flabbergasted at this fact: my business is growing and right now, 100% of my business has come from referrals from past clients and friends. All of my connections are important to me on a personal level, so I’ve always remained in touch. It’s good practice, for life, in general.

If the idea of networking still makes you shake in your boots, you can start slowly and online. Visit industry forums and join the conversation. Create a podcast (wink, wink)! Seriously, podcasting and interviewing people in your industry or an industry that interests you is a GREAT way for you to hone your conversational skills.

Bottom line: when it comes right down to it, networking for business is a lot like forming a friendship. You go through the awkward, “we’ve just met” stage at the beginning, followed by learning more about each other and then eventually forming a bond. If you are struggling to find that in your networking events or not interested in forming a professional friendship with the people you meet, then it sounds like you may be meeting the wrong people. Take a step back and define your ideal client and associates, first.

Now go on and start connecting with people! If you want to connect with me, you can find me on Twitter, Facebook or check out some of my podcasts at