The Transcriptionists and Virtual Assistants Forum of South Africa
T A VA S A
http://finance.groups.yahoo.com/group/tavasa/ Yahoo group email based discussion forum

From Wikipedia:
An Internet forum, or message board, is a bulletin board system in the form of a discussion site. People participating in an Internet forum will usually build bonds with each other and interest groups will easily form around a topic’s discussion, subjects dealt with in or around sections in the forum.

Belonging to a forum is like being part of a family, you get to know everyone on the forum and it is a great place to discuss work problems, issues, advice, software problems, advertise events, courses etc. It is a great place to spread industry news.
Our forum was founded by Gaynor Paynter (Transcriptionist) and Alison Fourie (Virtual Assistant). This forum is very chatty with Vas and Transcriptionists asking many questions.

An example being;
Question: What in your opinion is the best digital recorder to advise a client to buy?
Answer: I think the most used one is Olympus, anybody have a closer idea than that? Thanks.

Other forums members will answer with their options and often a discussion will ensure. It is also a great place to vent your frustrations on when you have a bad day, there is always someone on the forum who will reply and give you encouragement that things will get better.
Forums are an excellent way of communicating with groups of people, especially so in the working environment.

The benefits of forums:
1. Working from a virtual location, you can keep in touch with what is happening with the industry you work in.
2. No need to get lonely as often there is always someone around on the forum who will reply.
3. It is an excellent way of passing information around a group of people.
4. You can use the forum for pc problems, questions you need to know about the industry you work in.
5. A means of communicating.
6. A forum is an excellent support tool.
7. A good networking tool for small businesses.

Since the creation of Tavasa, we have helped many people working from home with questions and answers that they do not know. The more established people on the forum have been able to answer questions which helps the newbie members and assists them in setting up their own businesses.
Tavasa has been successful in that it also provides job leads and contractor positions, anyone who is part of the group can apply for a contracting position if they have the skill needed. It is a great way of getting help with projects that you need and it’s a good starting point for newbies contracting out, as they grow their own businesses.

Written by Alison Fourie, AMF Typing Services cc, © Copyright 2001 AMF Typing Services cc®, Ck2001/083866/23. All rights reserved.

How to cope with work and your family

Being a VA the one thing you need behind you is your family’s support. Your family needs to be understanding when it comes to you working longer hours, working weekends and public holidays. Children need to know there are boundaries within your office.
Work to a schedule/routine this makes it easier.
If you do housework then get a maid, get some assistance, you can employ a maid for your company like I have done with my maid, (for tax purpose my maid works for AMF Typing Services http://www.amftyping.co.za), or you can contact an agency that supplies maids, but the main thing is to get assistance with the housework, now you are working full time you will not have time to do this.
When you close your office door it means you do not want to be disturbed let the family know this and ask them to abide by it unless there is an emergency that they need you to deal with. The kids can answer the phone and say you are busy and take a message. Make your kids self sufficient, teach them how to get/make their own lunch, cold drinks etc. Get them into a homework routine; be there to assist when they need you.
Make sure your husband/partner is on board with you working as a VA. It is very difficult working as a VA if your husband/partner is not happy with you doing this. If your husband can’t cook teach him to cook, if you can look after the kids so can he, he is capable of doing what you do for the kids, if he works and you work then work together to make things work, share tasks. A supportive husband will be willing to share as they will understand how important your business is it you.
Do your washing when you get up, put your washing on the line early morning, and take it off at the end of the day when you finish work, or run outside like me when a storm draws in. If you have a maid then she can do this for you and also do the ironing, or your husband can assist with the ironing if you are busy, ironing is not just a task for women, show your husband how to do it, share this task it makes it easier if you don’t have a maid.
Share cooking with your husband and your kids if they are old enough, plan a menu in advance, I cook in my slow cooker a few times a week, this way I only have to prepare rice, potatoes etc to go with later in the day. Know what you are going to eat that day, you can prepare everything early on a morning so that all you need to do is cook it later in the day. Your husband and kids can turn on a stove for you so that things can cook while you are busy. Your maid can start dinner for you and you only have to end it after work. Family can assist when you are busy, they should not have to rely on you to do everything. Sharing is caring.
Let friends and family know they can’t just pop in for coffee, ask them to ring you first to see if you are available, you can’t stop for coffee and a chat if you have an important deadline. Work as though you are working in the corporate world, have set work hours, set breaks, lunch etc. When you work for many clients you need to jiggle your time so that work is done for each clients when required, know how to prioritise and schedule your work, see what is urgent, its deadline, maybe smaller tasks can be fitted in between larger tasks.

Be disciplined, if you work to a routine things will work.

Answers to Comments

Here are a few answers to your comments: A huge thank you for your comments but please leave your email address and I will contact you further.

Q: With having so much written content do you ever run into any problems of
plagorism or copyright violation?
A: I write all my own material and do not copy from others, all my info is original from my own experiences over the years of being a VA. If I use information from other people/sites etc I make sure I get permission to do so first.

Q: Is your theme custom made or did you download it from somewhere?
A: My template is from Blogger.com, I went through the template designs they have available and picked one I liked, I change it periodically.

Q: What is your experience?
A: I have been working in the corporate world for about 20 years and as a Virtual Assistant since 2001 and have gained lots of experience along the way, most of my experience has been written down in an ebook guide: How to start up your own VA Business, which I have available for new VAs starting out in the business, its is full of everything you need to know to start up your own business. Send me an email if you would like a copy and please enclose your email address.

Q: Do you except guess articles?
A: Yes send me your articles amftyping@mweb.co.za including your email address. I am happy to except articles as long as they are relevent to my topic.