Purchasing Images: Buy the Best that You Can Afford


When searching for and purchasing images, buy the best size you can afford – the largest image at the best resolution. This will give you lots of options for using and re-using that image in multiple places (ebooks, your website, social media, print materials, etc.) and well as making sure it looks good. Using a small image and then trying to resize it so it’s bigger often ends up with the image appearing fuzzy and out of focus online, and looks even worse when printed. Not the best image for your business (no pun intended :-).

There are lots of resources available that have affordable images for purchase. Some of these include:

…and there are plenty more to choose from. You just have to do a little searching to find exactly what you’re looking for.

Buy with the image in mind that you want your customers to have in their head when they see your work and think of you later. I promise it will pay off in the long run.

Do you have a favorite inexpensive image resource? Leave your pick below in the comments!



How to Save an Image Embedded into an Outlook Email Message


Someone has sent you an image through email but instead of attaching the image as a file, they’ve embedded it directly into the email message. You use Outlook for as your email client on your PC. How do you grab the picture and save it to your desktop?


1. Open the email message in Outlook (I’m using Outlook 2007)

2. In the toolbar at the top of your screen, choose Other Actions, View in Browser. Your email will open in your browser window.

3. In the message opened in your browser window, hover your mouse/cursor over the image and right-click. Choose “save picture as” from the list of options that comes up.

4. A Save dialogue box will open. Navigate to the folder where you want to store the image, name it, and click save.

Now you can close this browser window (and your email message), go to that folder on your computer and, Voila!,access the image.


Working with a VA: How to Schedule Your Projects and Tasks

WomanPlanning2-275One of the keys to successfully working with a virtual professional is communication. Part of that communication is deciding the timing of when your projects and tasks will be completed and getting them on the calendar. Here are my thoughts about this process, which are based on the way I work with my clients.

From the client perspective:

1. Be clear about what you need and want done. Be sure to keep a clear and handy list of projects and tasks that can be easily and regularly updated and shared with your VA.

2. Based on your goals for those projects and tasks, be clear about when they need to be completed, or when you’d like them to be completed. This information should be stored on the same worksheet as the items from #1 above.

3. Ask your VA for help fleshing out certain projects. If you are not sure what all goes into, say, a program launch, or you want to make sure you are not missing anything, getting your VA involved from the beginning is a best practice to ensure that nothing is missed and that they are aware of what is coming up for you.

4. Be prepared to be a little bit flexible. Understand that your VA has other clients as well and is scheduling everyone’s work in the best way possible, taking everyone’s goals and schedules into account, with an eye on success for everyone.

From the VA perspective:

1. VAs do their best to accommodate all their clients’ projects and schedules. Understand that there may (albeit rarely) be an emergency that arises that may shift your project or task off schedule a little bit. These situations are never ideal, and are always managed as best as possible. Again, communication is key in making sure that all parties are getting what they need in the best way possible. And know that should you have an emergency, you will receive the same consideration that another may have received.

2. Regular tasks, long-term projects, scheduled projects, occasional projects. Regular tasks include items like a weekly ezine, or anything that is scheduled to be completed on a regular basis. These are easy to insert into a calendar. Depending on the task and the process set up with your VA, the data for these regular tasks should be provided to your VA a least 3 days ahead of time. This allows time to get everything done, reviewed, and set-up  in time for distribution (i.e., a weekly ezine). (Note that these regularly scheduled tasks are never shuffled aside in the case of an emergency – they get done, on time, regardless.)

Long-term projects are projects that are larger in scope, they need to be done, and while there is no rush, per se, there is a targeted completion date. These are placed in the schedule and worked on along with the other tasks and projects in the VA’s schedule. Regular status updates are provided so that both parties know where the project stands at all times.

Scheduled projects include things such as product and program launches, where the end dates are defined and there is a list of tasks that need to be completed along the way. There may be more than one or two important dates as social media postings need to be done, emails advertising the upcoming launch or teleseminar need to go out, etc. Choose your end dates, identify the tasks that need to happen along the way, and work backwards to apply due dates for each piece. Work with your VA to help establish the best schedule for success.

Occasional projects: If you don’t use your VA on a regular basis, know that your occasional project may need to be fit in with the rest of the schedule. Occasional projects are no less important than the others, but do need to have a good timeline established.

3. Understand when your VA’s schedule fills up. For example, by Friday, my schedule for the following week is set (as much as it can be). That doesn’t mean that other items cannot be accommodated; in fact, additional requests and tasks come in and are accommodated quite often. Sometimes it requires a little bit of shuffling and creative management. Because of this, by Wednesday evening, it is often not possible to add in additional tasks for Thursday or Friday, and anything new will have to wait until the next week. You should consider this type of thing as well when working with a VA and if you are not sure of how your VA works in this regard, be sure to ask.

A successful VA/client relationship is a great thing. If you’re just starting with a VA, be sure to give it enough time to work out the communication and scheduling kinks. Once the working relationship and rhythm is established, it’s a wonderful thing.

Do you have a comment, question, or experience you’d like to share? Please leave your comment below!


Interested in learning more? Schedule a Business Inspiration Call and we can chat!




You Really “Like” Me!

“You like me, right now, you like me!”

~ Sally Field, on winning her first Oscar in 1980 for her role in Norma Rae

Share_or_Like2_tr_250As I began to write this article and I reviewed great explanations of the difference between the Like and the Share buttons on Facebook to make sure I captured everything that my readers would need, I came across this explanation which, quite frankly, says it all, simply, and quite well.

Not wishing to reinvent the wheel, nor feeling the need to put this into my own words to make it, well, mine, I’ll simply focus my entry here mostly on this well-written article from eHow*below. Here’s what you need to know about using the Like and the Share buttons:

Like Button

The Like feature is a quick way to add good feedback to content on or off Facebook. When you click the Like button on a page or item, such as a photo or comment, several things happen at the same time: a post is created on your Wall, your friends will see a story about it in their News Feeds, and the “like” action appears below the item you liked. If you “like” a Facebook page, you effectively subscribe to that Page. Status updates from that Page will stream into your News Feed. The Like button is a single-click operation — you click it once and instantly “vote” for the content.

Share Button

The Share feature on Facebook allows you to share a page or content on- or off-site. When you “share” an item, you create a post about that content and have the ability to add a comment to it. For example, when you share a Web page via a Share button on that page, the page appears with its title, address, an excerpt of the page and a thumbnail picture if you choose to add one. When you type a message or comment in the input box, it appears together with the link. You can decide with whom to share the post with by clicking the privacy button.


The Like and Share buttons serve different purposes and both have their own uses. The Like button is akin to a vote of confidence, an informal endorsement or support of a page or content, without comment. On the other hand, a Share button is used to share content that you may or may not like. While the Like feature creates a one-line story, a Share may include remarks or a picture from that page.


So here’s the next question: Is one better than the other?

If you simply must choose, Shares, by virtue of how they work (a one-liner or instant vote [Like] versus the ability to comment and share links, and other important information about that content [Share]) seem to be the best choice.

Shares are more visible on Facebook. They encourage ongoing conversation by opening up a new thread on your news feed, which, in turn, encourages others to like or share and comment as well, all leading to more traffic to your Facebook page and hopefully, to your website.

So as you add these buttons/this functionality to your website, ezines, sales pages, etc., keep in mind that you’ll most likely want to have both buttons available to your readers. Both do the job of spreading the word about your website and products/services, your articles, your Facebook posts, etc., albeit in slightly different ways.

Be sure to give your visitors and loyal readers the best options (which is to have both at the ready) to share what they’ve learned about you and to help continue the conversation about what you have to offer.

Like and Share buttons – we really like them!

 *Ref: http://www.ehow.com/info_8743456_difference-facebook-like-share-buttons.html

What’s Your Story?

NoLongerAnOption_250Waaaay back, in like 1987, I interviewed with the Vice President at a large pharmaceutical company for an Executive Secretary position. One of the questions she asked me was, “Where do you want to be in 5 – 10 years? What do you want to do?” My response was “I want to start my own desktop publishing company.”

The years went by and I steadily moved up the ladder at the company with ever increasing levels of responsibility and pay. It was a good company, a good organization. I enjoyed my work.

During these years, I collected books on freelancing, desktop publishing, working alone, and working part-time, and telecommuting was coming into play more and more in the business world.

Soon the company started going to its yearly rounds of layoffs. The workload increased beyond the already heavy 50 – 60 hours per week. Choosing my work as a priority and working a consistent 70 – 80 hours per week, I soon became ill and found I needed to make myself first focus.

As I started to learn to put myself first, I learned what I knew I had always known: that according to the organization, it was only the company and its goals that mattered to them. I was going to have to decide whether or not I could stay, physically and mentally, with the company.

As luck would have it, another organizational change left me with a supervisor that was a data-person, not a people-person. She did not understand me or what I did.

I was a classic over-achiever and had won awards, “consistently superior” performance gradings, etc., throughout my time with the company. Being saddled with the wrong supervisor was frustrating and degrading.

One day, a huge snow storm left me stranded at home, unable to get my car out of the mound of snow the plows had buried me under. I missed a training course at work that morning, something that I had very much wanted to do. By the time I got to work, I found myself in my supervisor’s office being yelled at for missing the training.

Yes… being.yelled.at.

And as if being yelled at was not humiliating enough, we all had cubicles. Which meant EVERYONE heard my supervisor yelling at me.

While I was looking at my supervisor, stunned (and probably like she had two heads), a bright light appeared above her head, a voice appeared and I heard, “You don’t belong here anymore.” Weird, right? I agree. I get chills just remembering.

It was at that point that I knew I was leaving. That it absolutely was the right thing to do. I made my plan, left the company, and never looked back.

One month after leaving, I started my desktop publishing business. It has evolved and grown with the internet into the business I’m very happy with today. Fifteen years later, I’m still my own boss and I love helping my clients make their own businesses work and freeing them up to do their genius work. Everyone is happy. That’s the way it should be.

Sometimes we have to listen to ourselves. Sometimes we get a little outside intervention to help us decide what our next step is.

How about you? Do you have a story? Go to my Comments section and leave a little blurb (or send me an email if you’d like to share it privately) – I’d love to hear how you all got started. And if you haven’t gotten started yet, I’m sending you your own little voice and light to help lead the way.


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Janice Wlodarski is a Business Support Specialist and certified Master Virtual Assistant with a BSBA/Finance from Roosevelt University in Chicago, IL. She has over 25 years of business training, skills, and experience. Areas of expertise include web presence development, communications, and document layout and design. Inspired Design (formerly Progressive Publishing Services) has been providing entrepreneurs and businesses high quality, professional business support since 1999. Jan can be reached at greatresults@inspireddesignbusiness.com or via your very own complimentary Business Development Assessment Call.



Navigating Business Growth with Poise and Grace…

SuccessCompass_250Building and running a business is not for the faint of heart. It can be frustrating, rewarding, challenging, and a struggle. There is always a lot to learn and tons to do. And usually in half the time that we’d ideally want.

Sometimes it’s easy; other times it’s just plain hard. How we handle these times says a lot about us as human beings, good and bad. And if we can handle the good and the bad with poise and grace, I think we come out great, no matter what.

I can hear you.

“Poise and grace? Really?”

“Have you seen me lately? There’s nothing graceful here. I’m a mess. And EVERYONE knows it!”

I promise you… [Read more…]

What Do You Look For in A Virtual Assistant?

WomanwithMicrophone_225As someone who runs her own team of virtual assistants, I know how important the answer to this question is. Knowing what qualities and skills you are looking for, as well as being able to assess whether or not the VA is meeting those expectations after they begin is essential to finding the business support you need.

After you’ve determined what projects and tasks you want help with, create a list of qualities and skills you want them to have, and a list of questions to ask them during your interview. Your goal is to get a feel for each other and for what you’re looking for in a partner that is going to help you grow your business. Focus on things like: [Read more…]

Start Where You Are

WhiteGuyHamsterWheel_300We go into business for ourselves for many reasons – to gain control over our lives; take care of children or elderly parents while bringing in an income; do something for the world that is meaningful and calling to us; to manage an illness and remain a productive, member of society, to name a few.

In striving to achieve our new work/life balance, things often go awry. We find ourselves working more than ever, wearing many hats in our new role as business owner: manager, marketer, salesperson, accountant, file clerk, program designer, graphic designer, systems developer, web designer, customer service representative, student…

And the business grows – yay! Money is coming in, customers are happy, demand for your products and services increases, and you meet every challenge with excitement and energy. [Read more…]

My Writing Process Blog Tour

Girlwritinginafield_250This post is part of the My Writing Process Blog Tour.

One day, my friend and colleague Nozomi Morgan asked if I would like to participate in the Writing Process Blog Tour. To be honest, I was a little apprehensive with being new to the whole writing-for-everyone-to-read-thing, but with my ezine newly published at the beginning of this year, it was a chance to expand my horizons so I said Yes! Nozomi is a great friend and an exceptional coach. You can click here to read her blog tour post and read on to learn a little bit about my writing process.

What am I working on?

Currently I am working on the VFO (valuable free offer) for my business (and website). I keep changing my mind about the topic (LOL) and have to nail it down soon. [Read more…]

5 Easy Steps to Reclaim Fun and Satisfaction in Your Business

??????????????????????????????????????????????????We’ve all been there, right? Too much to do, too little time? Working our business, serving our clients and customers, building our business so we can serve MORE clients and customers, all while trying to balance the rest of our life:  spouse, family, friends, good physical and emotional health. It can be stressful, exhausting, and overwhelming.

On top of that, having all these things you want to do and feeling like you’re not being effective at managing or achieving any of it, can drag you down further.

The fun and satisfaction you were looking for from your business wanes… [Read more…]