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Tips for Choosing and Using a Virtual Assistant

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Good news: Your business is growing so quickly that it’s become difficult for you to stay on top of all of your emails and administrative tasks. But at the same time, perhaps you’re not profitable enough to hire a full-time assistant.

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In the Trenches: Getting Help with Hiring

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Having been overwhelmed with the avalanche of rules and regulations surrounding hiring even a part-time employee, I pulled myself out of the fetal position (no, that picture in last week-s post was not actually me) and started surveying my options. There are a lot of ways to get help here. It-s just a matter of how much it-ll cost.

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Hiring A GREAT Copywriter

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By Jon Wuebben, Professional Website Copywriter

Wednesday, May 25, 2005; 11:00am EST

Hiring a great copywriter can be a challenge.

There are a lot of good writers out there. There are even a lot of great writers out there. But a copywriter - a great copywriter, does more than just write. A great copywriter has the ability to write persuasively, research facts, and think in terms of the 'total marketing piece'- because copy is only a part of the ad, brochure, website, or flyer.

Many times, they see a business or idea in a new light. They draw out the key benefits of your product or service. Ultimately, a great copywriter communicates those benefits with excitement and has the ability to create that feeling in the consumers mind.

We've all read an ad that was so incredibly compelling that it literally made us pick up the phone or jump online, and order the product. Advertising is the science and art of convincing consumers to give up their hard earned money for a particular product or service.

Copywriters really only write for one purpose. To persuade.

They increase your sales and generate sales leads when their ad and direct mail copy persuade prospects that your product is better than the competition. A great copywriter is a GREAT persuader.

The best copywriters in the business are tireless researchers. Those who become the best have an insatiable interest about products, services, new ideas, consumers and advertising. Copywriters are curious people. They study human nature and try and find the best angle. They like to uncover new ways to represent a product. They get a rush when they ultimately find the unique selling proposition for your product or service. A great copywriter is a GREAT researcher.

Copywriters are creators. They think up compelling ideas and have the innate ability to turn them into powerful prose. Copywriters think visually. Many people don't see them in these terms, but they are artists too'artists of the written word. They also think in terms of words. When coming up with a headline, they're simultaneously thinking of an image that will complement the copy. Copywriters enjoy working with graphic designers, art directors and creative directors in creating great advertising and direct marketing. A great copywriter has a GREAT ability to think in terms of the total marketing piece.

Sometimes trying to find the right angle for a product or service can be frustrating. A great copywriter can come into a new situation, quickly assess the facts, and see what others cannot. A great copywriter brings a fresh perspective. They have the ability to see things in a new light. That's why a headline that never worked suddenly starts working like a miracle after being changed. Sometimes it's simple. Other times, it can be a little more complex. Either way, a GREAT copywriter has the ability to cast a product or service in the right light.

Copywriters focus on benefits. Great copywriters find the right set of benefits and focus on them like a laser. When a consumer reads the copy, they find they are agreeing with what the copy is saying. They may have never even realized they needed the product or service. But, the copywriter knew it. And they knew how to get inside the consumers head. Great copywriters know people inside and out - and they know what motivates them.

Working with a GREAT Copywriter

The first thing to keep in mind is that a great copywriter is easy to work with. They are experienced in dealing with professionals. It helps to know what can make the difference in working with a great copywriter.

First, get your agreement in writing. A written contract is always a good idea, and can prevent difficult situations or misunderstandings from happening in the first place. A solid contract outlines the work to be performed, fees, due dates, terms and conditions.

Next, always know how much it's going to cost. Try to get your copywriter to commit to a flat fee before the project begins. This way, both parties are protected. Hourly writers should be avoided. There's no incentive for them to get the job done in a timely manner.

Quality copy isn't cheap. Be prepared to pay for that quality. Great copy is worth its weight in gold, because it can make the difference between a product that sells five units, and that same product selling five thousand units. Great copywriters are worth every dollar they make.

It's also a good idea to have one person - and one person only, appointed to deal with your copywriter. It can be very confusing to have a whole team of people interacting with a copywriter. Conflicting ideas can arise and confusion is usually the only outcome. Designate one person to handle all communications.

Great copywriters like to know exactly what they will be writing. Many times, assignments are vague. It's important to spell out in clear, simple terms, what the writer needs to know to do his best work. Sometimes the target audience is vague. Other times the features and benefits of the product are unclear. In addition, a great copywriter needs to know the reason for the assignment. Is the client introducing a new product or service? Are they trying to qualify prospects? This is a critically significant piece of the project.

Make sure you give the copywriter all the background material they need to write the copy. Types of things they need are previous ads, testimonials, product brochures, market research, and information on the competitors. Having these materials makes the project so much easier.

One issue that almost goes without saying, but is also sometimes overlooked is payment. If you're a professional, one of the most frustrating elements of business can be issues around payment, and late payment. If you want to work with a great copywriter, it's important to make this a non-issue.

Finally, give feedback. Copywriters know all about constructive criticism. It's a big part of making the marketing piece the best possible. A great copywriter will always be receptive to it. But more than that, a great copywriter wants to know your feedback. Good or bad. It's the only way to make it better.

About the Author

Jon Wuebben is a professional Website Copywriter, SEO Copywriter and Advertising Copywriter with 10 years experience in B2B & B2C copywriting and marketing. He can be reached at (909) 437-7015, or online at http://www. CustomCopywriting. com for any copywriting project you may have or if you would like more articles or a Complimentary Website Copy analysis.

Need a custom newsletter or e-zine article written? Call Jon Today at (909) 437-7015 or email jon@customcopywriting. com for a professional Website Copywriter, SEO Copywriter, or Advertising Copywriter.

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GoPayment Brings Mobile Payments to Android 3.0

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Intuit is thrilled to announce that GoPayment will be one of the first mobile payment apps available for Android 3.0-based tablets. You can check out GoPayment for Honeycomb in action at Google-s Android 3.0 event on the Google YouTube channel.

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Georgia: The -Entrepreneur Friendly- State

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The better equipped a community is to help its local businesses, the more its businesses will be helped — and the more sustainable its economy will be. It’s a simple concept, really, and one that the state of Georgia has put into practice with remarkable results.

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Three Tips for Better Managing Your Business-s Money

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Business owners don’t always have the time, tools, or resources to gain the critical financial insights to manage cash flow and grow their business. Here are three important considerations to help you better understand your numbers and grow profits this year.

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5 Tips for Getting Your Business into Virtual Goods

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To some people, it seems like a silly idea to shell out actual cash for things that don-t really exist. After all, how many times will you take a dip in your Frontierville Fancy Gold Hot Tub? (You can only get it by spending 430 American Express membership reward points.)

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4 Tips for Working With Print Media

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Despite what you may hear about content moving to the web, don’t sound the death knell for newspapers and magazines yet. In fact, in many areas print continues to boom, and for a small business, a mention in a top publication can mean a big bump in sales.

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Small Biz Leads Job Recovery in U. S

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Small businesses in the U. S. added 70,000 jobs in January, continuing their upward trend in employment growth that began in October 2009, according to the Intuit Small Business Employment Index. In fact, since October 2009, small businesses have created more than one million jobs.

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5 Ways to Bring Creativity Into Your Work Day

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Even the leftiest-brained thinkers can use a jolt of creativity every now and then. Author and creative consultant Edward de Bono has said, “There is no doubt that creativity is the most important human resource of all. Without creativity, there would be no progress, and we would be forever repeating the same patterns.” His theory of lateral thinking or “thinking outside the box” has benefited government agencies, corporate clients, organizations as well as individuals for nearly four decades.

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Small Businesses Can Also Score with Super Bowl Marketing

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As Super Bowl XLV rapidly approaches, the marketing gurus behind the world-s most iconic brands are feverishly readying what amounts to an attraction every bit as highly-anticipated as the game itself - the 2011 slate of Super Bowl commercials. Of course, if you-re a small business owner lacking the estimated $2.5 million needed to score such prestigious ad space, Super Bowl Sunday is just another Sunday.

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How to Get Your Press Releases to Spread Online

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Generating publicity for your business through press releases requires two key steps: Writing your press releases well and distributing your press releases smartly. We covered the first part recently, now we turn our attention to the second, looking at both free and paid ways that you can spread your content across the web in an effort to drive conversations and buzz about your business and brand.

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How to Make Working From Home Work for You

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Working from home is tougher than just putting a desk in your garage and calling it an office. It takes discipline and requires you be honest with yourself. Can you meet deadlines with no one around to help you out or motivate your progress? Can you be happy working by yourself?

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Five Tips for Raising a Young Entrepreneur

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In today’s economy, jobs remain scarce for young people just getting their start. Getting ahead doesn-t mean getting a good education any more and having a good resume, it means starting young. Through youthful entrepreneurship, kids can learn the true meaning of hard work, and this can ultimately help them find far more lucrative opportunities than an entry-level position straight out of college would ever provide.

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Ten Years of QuickBooks Online

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Since we first introduced QuickBooks Online ten years ago, small businesses have sent 155 million invoices, logged $1.3 trillion in expenses, and entered a whopping $5 trillion in revenue - a sum equivalent to one-third the U. S. Gross Domestic Product - using the service.

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In the Trenches: The Difficult Process of Hiring

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Last week I mentioned that I had a plan for avoiding burn-out. The plan seemed simple; I was going to shift my time around somewhat, but the centerpiece was to hire a part-time admin to help take some work off my plate. Only one problem. Hiring someone is one of the most difficult things on the planet. Now I find myself looking for alternatives.

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In the Trenches: Burning Out

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I was on the road last week, and it pushed me to my limits. I can-t imagine I-m the only one who hits a breaking point and seriously ponders throwing everything away to go live on some remote desert island, right? Burnout is a huge threat in a small business, especially one where the founder dominates. And I was starting to feel it.

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A Mom Promoting Oral Care Candy

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Nan Elvia is a mother who had horrible teeth and painful problems as a child. Because of that, she has a vision of wanting to help all kids – as well as adults – have healthier chompers… and she wants to do this by building her own brand of oral health products.

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Detect, Protect, Dis-infect Viruses. SCAMS SPECIAL INVESTIGATION SERIES

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By Robert Rogers

Wednesday, January 05, 2005; 6:40pm EST

Online Face Wide Choices in Security Products

With new threats to computer security and data integrity a regular feature of the evening news, a panoply of products that promise to detect, protect, and dis-infect are being marketed to consumers. Intrusion detection systems, firewalls and anti-virus software are critical to online security, but the Federal Trade Commission, the nation's consumer protection agency, says computer users ' from grade school kids to grandparents ' need to know exactly why they need online security products and what they're buying.

Why the Need

Computers 'talk' to each other over the Internet by sending data through their communications ports. If a port is open, it 'listens' for communications from the Internet. A computer has thousands of ports: which ones are open depends on the software the computer is running. Hackers can 'eavesdrop' or scan the ports to determine which are open and vulnerable to unauthorized access.

Detection

An intrusion detection system (IDS) monitors incoming Internet traffic, much like a security camera 'watches' your front door to see who might be trying to come in. When the IDS detects a suspicious pattern, it sends an alert (and creates a record) that an intruder may be trying to break in to your computer. Some IDS alerts ' but not all ' show a pop-up message on your screen. An IDS alone cannot prevent an unauthorized entry into your computer; only a firewall can do that.

Protection Firewalls block hackers' access to your computer by creating a barrier ' like a wall ' between your ports and the Internet that allows you to control the data that comes and goes through your ports. Your firewall protects your ports even if you don't have an IDS. Sometimes a firewall is bundled with an IDS. If not, and if you want an IDS, be sure it's compatible with your firewall.

Dis-infection Anti-virus software detects and deletes viruses that are in your computer. Viruses often attach themselves to your computer through email attachments and floppy disks. That means a firewall can't catch them. Similarly, an IDS won't alert you when a virus is attacking your computer. Look for anti-virus software that recognizes current viruses, as well as older ones; that can effectively reverse the damage; and that updates automatically.

About the Author

Robert Rogers is a writer in the Washington DC area and specializes in computer security. For More Information - Visit http://spycollege. com.

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Love a Local Business Follow-Up: Xtreme Wheels

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Even before owner Virginia Clark of Buffalo learned that she had won a $5,000 Love a Local Business grant in January 2010, she was overwhelmed by the outpouring of support expressed by the 973 fans who nominated her business.

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Tony Hawk on Branding, Social Media, and Succeeding in Small Business

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Extreme sports icon Tony Hawk may appear to have seamlessly transitioned from the skateboard to the board room, but his meteoric ascension to CEO was a journey paved with invaluable lessons for fellow entrepreneurs. According to Hawk, his so-called ramps-to-riches success story illustrates many parallels between skateboarding and small business ownership.

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BookSmart Wins July Love A Local Business Grant

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In July, thousands of fans voted for their favorite businesses to win small business grants on LoveALocalBusiness. com. BookSmart in Morgan Hill, California, is the loved-lucky-local business randomly selected to win a $5,000 grant. Plus, Booksmart is now the first of three Finalists who may win the additional Grand Prize that increases their grant to $30,000.

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Best and Worst Interview Questions

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How good an interviewer are you? The questions you ask during the interview process are your only real chance to get to know the person you-re about to give tens of thousands of dollars per year to.

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How Flexible Work Schedules Can Benefit Your Small Business

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Work-life balance. Flex-time. Job-sharing. Summer hours. Perhaps these buzzwords help explain why you started your own business in the first place: You grew tired of operating on someone else’s unyielding clock. As your small enterprise grows, it’s important to remember how stifling that was and to avoid re-creating it for your employees. Eight out of ten American workers today say they want more flexibility on the job, and offering it can help your business thrive, whether you manage two people or twenty.

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The 10 Best Entrepreneurs from the Movies

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Even on the silver screen it takes small business to keep things running. With Oscar season officially underway, we took a look some of the best — or at least the most memorable — business owners and entrepreneurs that the movies have given us over the years. (The name of the movie, if you haven-t already guessed it, comes last.)

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Interviews that Click: The Employer Perspective

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In our latest payroll * - from Intuit Online Payroll, Rhonda Abrams gives some great tips on how you, as an employer, can best manage the process of interviewing candidates and ensure you-re finding the perfect employee for your organization.

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Where to Find Case Studies for Social Media

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We all learn from others. Even our innovations come from putting together ideas in new ways. This applies to social media as well, but where can you find ideas? I-ve gathered up a few sources of inspiration for your social media marketing.

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Innovation Lessons from the Printing Press

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The invention of the movable type printing press in 1440 by Johannes Gutenberg is considered one of the greatest innovations of all time. Gutenberg-s printing press revolutionized the creation and distribution of information and movable type presses are still in use today.

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Four Tips to Build an Effective Business Website

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This blog post offers website building tips from an Intuit Web Advisor. For more information on building a small business website, see our free Online Marketing Toolkit for Small Businesses. It offers guidance on topics from building a website to search engine optimization to social media marketing.

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