Why use a virtual assistant?

The decision to use a virtual assistant is a huge choice for many companies. However, once they go over the pros and cons, the decision becomes a no brainer.  Let’s just say that most businesses look at the bottom line to make their choices and a virtual assistant makes that bottom line look that much more attractive. Virtual assistants (VA) are cost effective. The company does not have to pay for office equipment, office space, and insurance for the VA. Yet, the company still gets full business support. The worker completes all tasks assigned under the contract and represents him or herself as a longtime member of the company. No one would know that this person is a VA. Frankly, if the VA does their job correctly, no one should.

When you purchase a VA, you can specify the length of time along with the specific needs of your company. The VA is able to provide quality work with very little overhead. The best thing about the VA/company relationship is that it is on an as needed basis. Companies never have to worry about laying off the VA. You only buy what you need. For these reasons and many more, VA’s are becoming the norm. Many company’s even have their workers working remotely. Why? As stated above, it enhances the bottom line while keeping the quality the same or better. So, if you are in the market for a VA, don’t wait. Pick the right VA for you or your company and reap all of the benefits of the quality they provide.

If you have any questions or concerns please contact us and we can help you to figure out what virtual assistant is right for you.  We love to help others because that’s the business we are in.

Quality and Virtual Assistants

You’ve decided that you want to hire or need to hire a virtual assistant. You’re overloaded with work, but don’t have the money or need for a full-time employee. So, immediately you do your due diligence and begin to research virtual assistants. You go to the Internet, pull up the search engine and enter the term into the search bar. The search engine returns all of these paid advertisers along with some people who ranked high in the search engine. As you look through these sites you begin to feel lost. You start to ask yourself, “What am I looking for? How do I know which person would be best?” The easy answer, probably no one you’ve seen thus far. The reason for this is simple; you haven’t developed any requirements yet.

First and foremost, think about the virtual assistant as an extension of you and your business. What qualities and background experiences will this person need to properly integrate into your business? Does the virtual assistant need real estate, project management, programming, or a marketing background? Keep in mind that every virtual assistant does not have the skillsets you require. Once you figure out if they do, you can get more detailed with your requirements. You can begin to think about your contact with this person. How often do you need updates from the virtual assistant? Do you need to video chat with him/her? All of these details begin to build a company requirement that you can then present to a potential virtual assistant.

Second and most important, you need to get proof of qualifications. After presenting your potential virtual assistant with your requirement, you can now request “samples of quality.” Put together a task and request that your potential virtual assistant give you a sample of their work by completing your task. Keep it straightforward. A good virtual assistant should have no problem with the opportunity prove that they do quality work, which is very important. However, virtual assistants are privy to those who try to get something for nothing, so keep in straight forward. Don’t try to give them a day’s work. The task should be something that takes no longer than 15-30 minutes. Once you receive the task back, you can now make a decision.

The quality of the virtual assistants work should be one of the most important things for you.

The Virtual Experience

Historically, in the employment sector, there has been a requirement that employees work at the company office. This has been the norm for some time, but times are changing. There seems to be a new phenomenon that is replacing what was once the norm and it’s called virtualization. Many companies have decided to include virtual work options for their employees, while others have moved toward companywide virtualization. Why is this happening? There are many reasons for this new trend.

One of the main reasons for this trend is financial. Companies save large amounts of money by eliminating overhead. When an employee works from home, the company no longer needs to provide office supplies, utilities, or a place to work. The savings from removing the theses expenses alone are tremendous. Yet, these are not the only savings that many companies are able to reap.

If the employee is not a full-time employee or if the employee is contracted, the company can also eliminate insurance. Insurance is a huge cost for many companies and dropping this expense can be a huge bump to a company’s bottom line. Another reason that the virtual experience is so popular may be due to the wider employee pool. Allowing virtualization opens up a world of potential. A company is able to interview potential workers from around the world, if need be, in order to find the best person to fill a position.  This option can be a win for all parties involved. The company gets the best of the best and the employee gains a job that does not require moving or daily travel.

However, what is so great about virtualization is the way its helps startups to succeed. Virtualization allows startup to focus on client building and marketing while someone else handles the day to day.

Google SSL Requirements Potentially Affect Search Engine Results Pages

Google SSL Requirements Potentially Affect Search Engine Results Pages

On August 6, 2014 Google released a blog post which discussed a move towards Secure Socket Layer (SSL) requirements for all websites. Googles purpose was to protect searchers from malicious attackers. They wanted to use SSL to assure authentication, data integrity and encryption of website data to protect those searching the internet. In conjunction with the former, Google provided best practices for webmasters in order to ensure compliance with Google standards. So, what does all of this mean to the laymen?

It essentially means that your site needs to move toward SSL encryption in order to meet Googles requirements or your sites search engine results will be affected. According to Google and I quote, “they started running tests taking into account whether sites use secure, encrypted connections as a signal in our search ranking algorithms.” This means that Search Engine Results Pages (SERP’s) are definitely affected by a sites lack of security.

For those sites that do not have a SSL certificate, but have had a stable placement within the search engine rankings, things will change. For those who struggle to upgrade their ranking, this is just another hurdle to jump. Some people have suggested that there are some sites that do not need SSL because of the nature of their business. Those who support SSL reply with a clear belief that any data transmitted should be protected. Since the announcement of this new direction, many SSL users say that they’ve seen a spike in their rankings. While non SSL users say this is just a bonanza for the SSL issuance authorities and the effects on SERP’s have been minimal. In essence, the relationship of SSL’s and SERP’s were determined by Google when they decided to add SSL to the ranking algorithms. It is very clear that SERP’s are affected by SSL. Nevertheless, whatever side you fall on, Google is a necessary evil for most business owners, therefore compliance is a must. If you don’t want your site deemed as unsafe or moved down the rankings list, this issue should be on your mind.

How can you move towards compliance? How can you ensure that your site is not demoted because of a lack of security? The answers may be much easier than you think.

  1. The easiest way to make this a non-issue is to host with a service that gives SSL by default. For instance, Qdhosts gives all of their clients SSL certificates and even auto installs them. This means that clients on this type of service do not need to do anything because they are for the most part “in compliance” if their site structure is correct.
  2. You can also download and install a free SSL certificate depending on the kind of site you have. Simply do a search on free SSL certificates and a list will come up.
    1. Letsencrypt
    2. Comodo
    3. InstantSSL

These are just a few of the companies you will find.

  1. You can also purchase a SSL certificate for about $10-$12.
    1. Qdhosts
    2. Comodo
    3. Geotrust

These are just a few of the companies that sell SSL certificates.

Keep in mind, in most cases you will have to install the SSL certificate yourself. However, once you’ve installed your certificate, you should be ready to go. You can test your sites SSL setup and configuration. Just go to Qualys SSL Labs. Qualys will grade your SSL setup. You can even find out about any errors or changes that need to be made.

Don’t fret too much about the SSL requirements because getting in compliance is easier than you think. Remember there is help out there. If you need more details on SSL certificates and install please read our blog called understanding SSL.

Understanding Secure Socket Layer (SSL)

What is SSL?

SSL is an acronym for Secure Socket Layer. A SSL helps to encrypt data over a computer network. On the web this is handled through a purchase or download of a certificate that contains an encryption key which is installed on the webserver who handles client requests.

How do HTTPS and SSL work together?

HTTPS is an acronym for Hyper Text Transfer Protocol Secure. The HTTP protocol uses the SSL certificate to encrypt the communication between client and server. When a client types HTTPS in front of the domain, the connection is secured.

How do I know if my security certificate is active?

SSL SECURE
SSL SECURE

Fire Fox and Chrome

In the uniform resource locator (URL) field off the left of the domain name, you should see a green lock next to it. If you do not see this, something is wrong and your connection is NOT secure.

Safari

In the uniform resource locator (URL) field off the left of the domain name, you should see a lock next to it. If you do not see this, something is wrong and your connection is NOT secure.

Internet Explorer

In the uniform resource locator (URL) field off the right of the domain name, you should see a lock next to it. If you do not see this, something is wrong and your connection is NOT secure.

NOTE: You can click on the lock to look at the details of the SSL certificate and validate that it belongs to the site that you are on.

How do I install a SSL certificate?

The installation of an SSL certificate depends on the hosting company you are using. In general, the customer finds the place they want to purchase the SSL from. You generate and supply your signing request. The SSL certificate is then created based on that request and sent back to the customer. Once you receive the SSL certificate, you install it on your server through your hosting panel. Qdhosts has a video on how to create a CSR and you can check it out here.

Why is the so important?

If you are in business, your customer’s security along with your company’s security should be your top priority. Keep in mind, that most sites collect address and financial information which MUST be protected. In order to do this, you need to install security. This encrypts the data and makes it private. An insecure site can cost you money and trust. Why not protect against this with a low cost SSL certificate which protects everyone involved?

What if I install my certificate and find that I have errors on my site that are preventing it from working properly?

The most common reason your SSL could be throwing off errors is because you are sending non secure items into a secure page. One of the easiest ways to track this issue down is to use Chrome and hit Ctrl + Shift + J. The console will give you an idea of what could be causing your SSL issues. If you are code savvy, you can track down the culprit and correct your issues. If not, there are companies that can do this for a nominal fee including Qwoffices. Trust me, getting your security up and running correct can only benefit you and your reputation.

Q. Williams
Qwoffice.com (A Quadjam Enterprises Company)

The importance of a good team

Building the team

Every company needs a crackpot team to ensure success. The problem with this concept is that it takes time and money to build this kind of team. For most companies, the human resources department is tasked with finding a candidate for an open position. The job description and qualifications are drawn up and a posting is then put out for potential candidates to see. Once the posting is out, it hopefully begins to attract some qualified individuals. As the resume’s and cover letters come in, the human resources team begins to compile a contenders list. Now many company’s use an applicant tracking systems to filter their candidates which in essence leaves out a lot of great candidates. The reality is that you are not getting the best of the best but the best the computer shows you. Here at Qwoffices we look closely at our applicants and our human resources team does their job. We review every resume that comes in to ensure that we find top notch people. Now let’s say that a company is okay with their applicant tracking systems. Well, that’s just the beginning of team building. You now have to go through the process of W4’s, paperwork, and applicable overhead needed to hire this employee. With insurance, employee supplies and wages, the company now has put a lot of money into this team member. Remember that no work has taken place. Eventually, the worker will begin to work for your company. However, the average worker stays on a job less than five years. This means that a company who has put all of their money into this new hire has really just prepared him or her to be successful at their new job. Here at Qwoffices we have a different option.
We train and select the best workers for our clients. All they have to do is pay the hourly, weekly, or monthly rate. There is no overhead for the client at all. The client orders what they need and only pay for that. Maybe they have a lot of work four months out of the year and the rest they only need someone part time. We can accommodate this. There are no worries about layoffs or rehiring because we do it all for you. The beauty is that our clients can even select specific workers after they get to know them. Our service is really self-service. Qwoffices helps you build a team that is all yours and on your own terms. As a business owner there is nothing better than saving money and increasing your bottom line. Working with Qwoffices does just that.

Why is all of this important?

Simply said, “The better your team is, the more your company can produce.” A crackpot team can help a company to rise to higher levels of success. When you have key people in key positions that can deliver, your company is ahead of the pack. Why, because a good team helps you to be prepared and ahead of the competition. Qwofffices can help you to build that coveted team while helping you to understand the importance of a good team.

How to Write a Proper Resume

How to Write a Proper Resume

I’m asked this question all the time because I’ve edited so many resumes in my time. I wrote a quick list of do’s and don’ts to the art of resume writing, so you can stand out and hopefully get the job you’re applying for.

Rule 1: Keep it concise and short! Nobody is going to read your life story. You have to grab the person reading your resume’s attention almost immediately and some long story is not going to achieve that. (However. You do not want time gaps. Use white space as skills filler).

Rule 2: Only write about pertinent experiences relevant to your current skill sets or the job your applying for skill qualifications. Highlight your specifications. It’s ok to cite awards, or brief situational aspects that make you a good candidate for the position; but don’t talk about rock climbing if the job isn’t about rock climbing…

Rule 3: I can’t stress this rule enough. Do not write down any illegal or negative behavior, flaws or personal problems on a resume. It may sound like a no brainer, but I’ve seen resumes where people have actually put down their past legal problems and negative activity. That resume is almost always going in the trash. Remember. You’re trying to get the job. I know you’re trying to be fourth right, but do not disclose any information on a resume that places you in an unflattering light.

Rule 4: This is not your social media page. Do not use photos, pics or any type of art, emojis or anything like that. This is a resume for a job. You must keep things professional unless previously stated otherwise from the employer, i.e. entertainment industry or related field. Even if the employer says it’s ok, I still would avoid turning my resume into my social media page.

Rule 5: You are selling yourself, so make sure your resume looks neat and professional. Do not write your resume, (they should never be handwritten). Type your resume using normal sized font. Avoid using too much bolding. I’ve seen resumes where things were bolded that didn’t need to be. I understand that you’re trying to make your skills, abilities, acheivements standout, but don’t over do it. Also, keep the resume as unwrinkled as possible. I’ve seen resumes with food stains plus crumbled up. Why?

Rule 6: In rule 3 I said don’t place yourself in an unflattering light by disclosing negative information.  It’s also not a good idea to exaggerate your resume. Employers are hip to that game and they understand that the candidate is trying to put his/her best foot forward, but if you lie about a skill set and you get into the interview process and the interviewer asks you about it; you’re going to look pretty foolish when you can’t explain the basic theory of quantum physics, yet you said you were a scientist. Avoid that action.

Rule 7: When submitting your resume online, be sure that the job duties include the key words that fit the job descriptions. Here’s why?… A HRIS, which is also known as a human resource information system or human resource management system (HRMS), is the tool that most companies use to streamline the hiring process. (You’ll have to look up HRMS. I’m not going to do all the work for you)…This means that the software uses keywords to test against the submitted resume. It is very important to use the keywords from the job description, or your resume will go completely overlooked by the company. This is a common, (an mostly an unknown), mistake candidates make when submitting online and the reason they never get a call back.

Rule 8: In this age of the computer, there is no reason your resume should not be spelled correctly. I get resumes with grammatical or syntax errors more than I should and it’s only because the person hasn’t taken the time to simply go over their resume, checking for typos, misspellings etc…I’ll be honest with you. If you didn’t catch it, the person going over your resume probably won’t either. They’re looking at tons of resumes a day and basically are looking for key things that stand out. Make sure it’s a not mistake that stands out. See. I bet you didn’t catch that did you? I meant, “not a mistake”

Rule 9: This next one might be a no brainer, but I’m only telling you what I’ve seen. Avoid any kind of religious, racial or slang phrases on a resume. Your resume is not a place for politics, race, street lingo or religous talk. Stay away from it. While I’m on the topic, avoid bragging and appearing rude as well, or you will never get a call back.

Rule 10: This is my final rule or tip. The most common mistake I’ve seen on resumes…No name, date or address. I’ve seen them without return email addresses or contact numbers. Don’t forget rule 8. Follow these 10 simple guidelines and although I can’t guarantee you a job; I can guarantee you that your resume will stand out and may increase your chances of getting a call for a job interview, then, who knows?

Good luck.

Global Communication

Everywhere you search these days all you read about is global communication. Why is this so important? How can global communication help me and my business? These are questions that many business owners ask. Well, the answers to these questions are not so simple and then again they are very simple. First let’s talk about the definition of global communication. By definition the term global communication means communicating across international borders. In essence, global communication should make the world feel smaller. You can connect with a person in Japan while living in Philadelphia. But, what does this mean for your business? For most companies it means that your customer base can grow exponentially. You are no longer relegated to your local community. That is the simple part. However, what is more complicated is reaching this global market. In the 2015 market, Google holds the key to this connection along with some social media sites. Your business must understand how to rank in the search engines and promote properly within the social atmosphere. One of the most important items you must master is called SEO which stands for search engine optimization. This is the process of setting focus keywords and metadata along with your content for search engines to index and rank. If you want to learn more about search engine optimization click here.

Once your search engine optimization is completed, you can then submit your site to the search engines you choose. The hope is that you have done  enough SEO to increase your sites ranking in the search engines so that people can find you. Since the search engines are global, if you’ve done your job, you’ve taken one of the first steps into global communication. Hopefully, people from all around the globe will log onto your site and engage you after finding you on the search engines. There is also another place that you can expand your market and it’s called social media. Like the search engines, social media sites allow you to connect with people from all over the world. They can be very useful when trying to expand your customer base. For information on social media click here. These sites allow you to run ads, respond to posts, and even add images or videos that help others to get to know your company without ever physically visiting it. Taking the time learn a little about search engines and social media will help you to foray into the world of global communication.