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How to Build a Successful Virtual Assistant Business
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How to Build a Successful Virtual Assistant BusinessWritten by Janice Byer and Elayne Whitfield-Parr, this NEW book includes information and tips to help aspiring and established VAs with every aspect of starting and building a Virtual Assistant business.

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Creative Christmas Cards – A Great Gift Idea on a Limited Budget
By Janice Byer, CCVA, MVA 
Docu-Type Administrative & Web Design Services 

Little Billie wants the latest Power Ranger. You know, the one that shoots lasers and turns into an ‘Incredible Hulk’ kind of thing. And little Sarah, she wants the newest Barbie, the one that ‘all her friends have’. And then, of course, there’s your beloved spouse who thinks he will just die if he doesn’t get a new set of torque wrenches.

Ah… the joys of Christmas gift giving and the terror of going way over budget.

But wait…. don’t forget that not only do you need to get that something special for your family and friends, you also need to take this time of year to show your clients that you truly appreciate and value them as well.

By now the question of going over budget is really starting to get scary. But it doesn’t have to. Showing your appreciation doesn’t mean you have to max out your credit card or take out a second mortgage on the house. All you need to do is show your true feelings and be creative.

Let’s start with the usual Christmas card. These are a given, and every entrepreneur should send these. And, if your limited budget means that this may be the only form of holiday cheer that you can share this year, let’s make it special.

Most business professionals believe that it is not tactful to include your business card in with a Christmas card. The holiday card is supposed to be a means of showing appreciation, not a form of advertising. So, there are other subtle and creative ways to keep your name on their minds while still showing them that you care.

First, let’s look at the envelope that you send the card in. They are usually pretty plain and blank. Ah, blank…. the perfect canvas, so what can we put there to ‘fill some space’ and show your creativeness?

Get your trusty word processor or graphics design program up and running and create a holiday image to print on the back of the envelope. Or perhaps put your favorite Christmas poem on there or a coupon for one your products or services. You can include your website address in small print at the bottom. Oh, and don’t forget to have the envelope in the closed (but not sealed) position when you run it through your printer. If the envelope is white, try to include some colour. But if the envelope is green or red (or any other colour), then it would be best to do the printing in black.

On the front of the envelope, don’t forget to put your return address in the top left hand corner and perhaps add a little graphic of holly or bells at the bottom. If you can, put your website address or phone number in your return address.

These last two suggestions will not only show your creativeness to your clients, it will also be seen by everyone that handles your envelope, from the time it leaves your office until the time your client actually opens it.

Another way to show your appreciation at this special time of year without spending a lot of money is to offer a special to your clients. Include a coupon with the card offering them free products or services. Remember to make it a limited time offer. This will help to generate some sales after the Christmas rush is over.

Speaking of including something in with the card, why not put together a list of websites that would be helpful to them, or perhaps a gift certificate from one of their favorite sites?

Also, if you have a small piece of promotional material (ie. pen, pencil, notepad, etc.), you can include it. Anything that will not be offensive at this time of year, will not be too ‘advertisey’, and something that will fit in the envelope.

If your budget is so limited that you can’t afford to mail out cards, why not send some (or all) of them by email? There are some wonderful sites where you can send all kinds of  cards, including animated or interactive ones.

These include,,, and of course, Kathy Ritchie’s site at

If you have ever read any of my other articles ( you know that I truly believe that creativeness, and not the size of your wallet, makes for good communication between you and your clients. One of my favorite stores is the dollar store in town and you would be amazed at the ideas that you can come up with to help promote your business, on a limited budget, by just walking through the isles.

Please remember to take each client into consideration when you send him or her something. Be creative and show a personal touch on your holiday sentiments and the rewards will come, not the credit card bill.

Janice Byer, owner of Docu-Type Administrative & Web Design Services, provides professional, creative and affordable virtual office assistance and small business website design. She is a Certified Canadian Virtual Assistant (CCVA) and Master Virtual Assistant (MVA). She is also the author of Surfin' The Net - Docu-Type's Virtual Collection of Links, which is filled with the secrets of her success. Visit her website for more information and to get your copy.


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