Changing Gears

This year has been a booger. My life – both personally and professionally – has been a jigsaw puzzle, a convoluted jumbled mess of life, death, tragedy and triumph for several months now.

Now, with the warmer days and sunlight returning us to the season of spring – my home, my soul and holding my breath in my lungs (without being aware) is also returning to a more natural, relaxed state.

I am proud to announce, after changing my mind and changing gears, I am in active pursuit of something, a little more challenging perhaps, in my career. Which could prove a risky business move (commission based still independent contractor), considering my historical preference, and my emotional deep need for home, family and domestic security.

For more than 20 years, I have been tied to a desk: answering telephones, managing facilities and personnel, working with people and offering exceptional customer service and support services all the while. But I need change, and in the true nature of life’s wonderful experience, I have manifested change in my life, yes as a result of being subjected to another human being and living with the consequences of their decisions.

My newest adventures will finally allow for real potential for, and possibility of, working less and playing more (ideally with my children).

In addition, exploring the concept of myself realizing financial security is mindboggling in a way. Maybe just so far beyond reality that I can’t even grasp the concept.

Please accept my sincere appreciation and apology for taking leave (and absence). I look forward to our future!

Virtually Celebrating 100!

100 likes a

Virtually Celebrating 100 Fans

Virtually Self Employed opened for business Oct. 2, 2013.

Patricia Shoffner, Owner and Executive Virtual Assistant brings more than 20 years professional career experience in business and office administration, management, bookkeeping, computer information systems, customer service and support.

A milestone achievement for VSE, as fans of the page hit 100 on Monday.

“I had hoped to reach 100 in the first month, however, I am not disappointed. We met our target goal merely 2 days beyond the mark. I am more than pleased with the numbers.”

Virtually Self Employed has been busy, providing client services as well as branding the name, domain, WordPress blog and several other social media channels, professional networks, and digital media outlets.

Virtually Self Employed would like for you to consider the following when you’re unsure of your needs or question value of service.

Ask yourself a few simple questions, then decide:

  • How much is my time worth? The average rate to hire a Virtual Assistant is $20-$40 per hour?
  • The average Virtual Assistant can type 70-90 words per minute. How well do you type?
  • Can you afford to hire a Virtual Assistant? Can you afford not to? Consider the following:
  1. Amount of time it will take you (you know, the time you already  don’t have)
  2. Amount of energy it will take to get it done (exhausted at the end of the day)
  3. Equivalent costs (supplies, paper, ink, overhead, wages or equivalent, taxes, insurance, general liability, etc.)
  • Projects are serviced off-site, rarely an imposition for you or your staff
  • Qualified, skilled professionals often complete project tasks in less time, and still cost less than a regular or temporary employee
  • Virtual Assistants own their own equipment, hardware, software, machines, and supplies
  • V.A.’s experience, knowledge, frequent practice and skills repetition is constantly maintaining and improving, tasks often are complete and back in your hands professionally prepared, prompt attention and quick turn around time (TAT), almost hassle-free
  • Clients rarely incur expenses outside the scope of project contract, very few exceptions to the rule do exist, depending on services
  • Client pays for hours specific to your project, not coffee, lunch or restroom breaks
  • Virtual Assistants pay their own payroll taxes, health insurance and workers compensation. In 2014, new legislation, crucial to your business, goes into effect.

“In honor of our clients, fans, supporters and cheerleaders, Virtually Self Employed, along with Patricia Shoffner, express our most sincere gratitude and appreciation. Thank you.”

Patricia Shoffner  © 2013

Personal Touch ~ Professional Care

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What? Pay Ransom For My Data?

wordle

A large majority of my life is spent on a keyboard as a Virtual Assistant, and as my title implies, using computers while conducting business on behalf of my clients is imperative for me.

Thankfully, the natural geek in me has an insatiable appetite for technological information and seeks knowledge beyond the comfort of my desk, continually growing, maintaining awareness, and expanding my personal FAQ knowledge base.

However, even my thirsty brain cannot absorb information fast enough to keep up with the racing torrent and speed of technological headlines. Most products in the computer and electronics industry are obsolete before ever hitting the retail floor.

Consumers are constantly flooded as advertising announces new releases of hardware, software, mobile apps, devices among other products. Effective methods of advertising suggests we run out to the nearest place where we can get our hands on the latest, greatest phone, gadget or video game.

But how effective is your subconscious when it comes to communicating the urgency and need for anti-virus software? Do you have protection on all your Android devices, mobile phones and tablets? My mobile anti-virus scan recently found two Malware (Malicious Software) threats on my Droid. Unless you’re using Apple products like an iPhone, iPad, etc. you run a high risk every time you download that next app.

“23 of the top 500 apps on Google Play were found to be high risk” See Infographic Below

Would you know how to live your life without the gadgets you use regularly? Anti-Virus software is essential for keeping your data safe from intrusions and protected from threats. Malicious software technology, just like everything else, unleashes new malicious threats upon consumers daily. Are you and your data protected?

UPDATE By STOPzilla: Nov. 4, 2013
A new kind of computer virus is making the rounds. The Cryptolocker virus is what’s known as “Ransomware.” It encrypts the files on a user’s computer and then demands a payment to get it back. Data is encrypted using a very strong key that’s extremely hard to break. For users, that means that unless they pay the ransom, their files are pretty much gone. To get the files back, they demand payments of anywhere from $300 to $1000. Cryptolocker is being spread by malicious files attached to “phishing” e-mails. The e-mails purport to come from banking or shipping companies, and include attached files which appear to be PDF text files. Clicking on those files will install the virus on recipient’s PC. At this point detection rate is pretty much 0% by all major Antivirus programs. What that means is that by the time it shows up on your machine, it’s too late to stop it.  The standard advice is more important than ever. If you have ANY question at all about whether an e-mail is legitimate, do NOT click on any attached files.
©2013 – Patricia C. ShoffnerCreative Commons License This work by Patricia C. Shoffner is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License. Based on a work at http://www.virtuallyselfemployed.wordpress.com.
facts-about-mobile-malware-900

The Business Card

While running errands for a client yesterday, two individuals asked for my business card and I did not have one. I hadn’t actually ordered them yet. I know it’s crazy, but I have been quite busy lately. Thankfully, those people were patient, allowing time for me to write my contact information on a piece of paper. I should have done this weeks ago.

I am still contemplating logo design, eventually branding it with the business name.
However, this will do for now.

“This is not going to stay a best-kept

“This is not going to stay a best-kept secret for long. Working without the commute, without the shackled office, and living in the place of your dreams, with access to all the world’s culture, sounds like a science fiction utopia. But it’s very real indeed. It’s the future of luxury, and it’s called remote work.”

A New Workplace Manifesto: In Praise Of Freedom, Time, Space, And Working Remotely | Fast Company | Business + Innovation http://ow.ly/qkKCk

“Life is an F-Word”

Farouche

My newest adventure is another blog, still brand new in it’s infancy – but already something I know I can invest a little time in each day.

It’s where you can find daily writing exercises prompted by words that begin with the letter F. Simple. Fun. And I am having a wonderful time exploring something I enjoy – writing. Take a look!

Reckless Abandon: Life is an F-Word

Crawling From Under Your Feet

feet pictureHate is a strong word, and in most cases it’s too strong a word for me to use. However, there are a few things I have an aversion to in this world: whiners, spiders, liars, thieves and feet.

Today, I will talk about feet.

I am a foot-watcher. I look at people’s feet all the time. In fact, I could say that what I dislike about feet is my obsession with looking at feet. If exposed feet are within my field of view, my gaze immediately falls upon them. It’s an involuntary reflexive act and I don’t realize I’m doing it until after I have already fed upon my obsessive, compulsive need.

I admire pretty feet. Perfect toes make me smile. Babies’ feet, those are some amazing little eye-candy. It’s funny, how I can’t recall ever laying eyes on a baby’s foot that was ugly or rough or unsightly. They are soft and beautiful, no matter the child. I have found myself even reaching out to touch babies’ feet, just to remind myself that feet were not always the most disgusting features on the human body.

Most feet repel me. I see more of the ugly, misshapen, calloused and rough versions than I do the faultless ones. Toes that twist and bend in unnatural ways, or lengthy ones that curl off the end of the sandal to touch the earth below. Gnarled knuckles and bunions make me want to puke. So do rippled toenails hued jaundice yellow, whose thickness and texture would only liken to Ruffles® brand cheddar potato chips.

My father’s feet were not bad-looking, but oh my goodness, the smell would permeate the room in two seconds flat after removing his work boots at the end of a hard day. I would almost bet his socks would have stuck to the wall if I had thrown them at one. Yuck. The thought, the memory, of my dad’s feet jolts me back in time. He passed away years ago, and so did the stench.

My feet are not the ideal perfection I so often seek in the world. My second toe is slightly longer than my big toe (but it doesn’t hang off the end of my sandal). Once, when I was a little girl, a cousin once compared that second toe to her pinky finger. Snuggled together, side by side, they were the same length. I think I was eight or nine years old then, young enough to know embarrassment and avoided wearing sandals with open toes again until l was twenty-six years old.

Yes, I stare at feet. I admit it. Am I proud of myself? Definitely not. Maybe what I seek to find are those rare examples of natural beauty – so few among the masses – and from those I have seen, most are simply repulsive.

Will I ever find the cure to my rotten obsession? I often daydream of a day sometime in my future, where I can actually look someone in the eye when I’m speaking to them.

For now, all I can say with relative certainty is, “If you’re wearing sandals, I’m crawling from under your feet.”

P.C. Shoffner – ©2012

[This was an exercise from last year’s Gotham Writing Course’s Creative Writing Class. I had so much fun writing this one.]

Creative Commons License This work by Patricia C. Shoffner is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License. Based on a work at http://www.virtuallyselfemployed.wordpress.com.

The Darker Side of Blogging: A Spooky Roundup, Part One

As the Day of the Dead approaches…

The WordPress.com Blog

All Hallow’s Eve, Halloween, Samhain, and the Day of the Dead are nearly upon us. What better time to take a look at the darker side of WordPress.com?

Our bloggers cover the spooky spectrum, from horror film reviewers to Wiccans to Halloween crafters to bioarchaeologists (they study bones!). This weekend we’re bringing you a double dose of the heebie-jeebies, with Halloween and witchcraft bloggers today, and other offbeat spooky topics tomorrow.

If you’re a fan of fright or just want to explore something new, get ready for the creepiest holiday season with these eerie entries:

Halloween Howlers

Are costumes and crafts more your speed than monsters and mayhem? There’s no shortage of inspiration on WordPress.com, with tons of bloggers dedicated to getting you and your little ones ready for an epic night of trick or treating.

DIY Halloween

The bloggers behind D.I.Y. Halloween take October 31st very seriously:

Every year…

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Fast Company Keeps Me Coming Back

Fast Company Keeps Me Coming Back For More!

A Scientific Guide To Writing Popular–And Shareable–Headlines For Twitter, Facebook, And Your Blog | Fast Company | business + innovation http://ow.ly/qc5iI ^PS

 

Article Writing & Marketing Insights

418733_3268018033480_1218417195_nI am letting my geek flag fly! Great resource for content writing, editing, grammar and more.

Article Writing & Marketing Insights – EzineArticles Blog http://ow.ly/q8VII

About Me: Doing What I Love

In 2002 I read a book that was so poorly written, I picked up a pen and started writing – hell bent and purpose driven to prove I could write better than “Lisa” whatever her name was.

I’ve always enjoyed writing,and when my husband Robby and I learned we were expecting our third child, my focus shifted. I left the jobligation. The opportunity to raise my children at home  was something I’d never dreamed I’d have.

During that time, to make a little play money, I began working from my home as Professional Client Services – a virtual Bookkeeping, Payroll and Administrative contractor who provided various  services independently. Now, that was cool! To stay home, take care of those needing care (my family) and give care to those needing help (my clients). It was fabulous.

That was nearly 10 years ago. The next four years I spent at home, then when the youngest started kindergarten, I spent another year looking for work. The last four as the Visitor Center Coordinator with the Pagosa Springs Chamber of Commerce, and now I am home again.

Unless an employer advertises an extremely lucrative opportunity that includes health insurance for my family and retirement benefits for me, I am going to give Virtual Assistance another go. This time with the added benefit of high-speed internet, virtual social and professional networks and opportunity to succeed at warp speed. My children are growing quickly and I just want to do what I love – work when I want to, provide for my family, write great pieces, and make enough money to end my husband’s worry and fill the fridge with food.

Virtually Self Employed (catchy isn’t it) provides Virtual Assistance & Computer Administration services. With more than 20 years professional career experience in business and office management, bookkeeping, and computer systems administration, you can expect exceptional results, efficient service, one eye focused on accuracy and the other on your satisfaction. You can contact me at VirtualSelf@VirtuallySelfEmployed.com.

Now that I have published my blog, my writing conscience wants to explode, chomping at the bit, waiting to unleash itself. So who knows what will happen next. Will my writing reveal epic failure, deliver delicious short stories, express a crazed brain full of weird or fanciful ideas? Will I someday publish that secret work of fiction (a novel idea) that sits unfinished in my office?

Either way, I am moving forward!

If you care to, please offer feedback below. I would like to know if my writing moves you or needs critique. I am looking to grow tomorrow beyond the boundaries of who I am today. Thank you for visiting.

Patricia “Tish” Shoffner

Fountain and me

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This work by Patricia C. Shoffner is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
Based on a work at http://www.virtuallyselfemployed.wordpress.com.

 

Making the Connection

On this night, just a moment ago, Peace found me.
Worries of yesterday floated away with a breeze.
Tomorrow promises nothing, if more than appearance.
Love holds no boundaries among the living.

Whispered kisses, honey sweet, fill the air around me.
Held gently in comfort, protected by Saints.
A child of sunshine, of moonlight, of stars.
Patrons of humanity, honored by love for us all.

Golden waves of silence, joyful splendor within.
Aromatic pleasures awaken the senses with love.
Musical rhythms delight in a soulful dance.
Our spirit shares no bond with material things.

Safely guarded by Angels sent expressly for me.
Disguised character dares not enter here.
Joyful and blessed are precious moments like these
Physically lighter on Earth, spiritually anchored above.

Universal connections explode in rainbows of light.
Transcending dimensions in parallels of flight.
Soaring evermore upward from quiet within.
Momentum served only by pure love and intention.

On this night, Peace found me resting quietly nearby.
Songs become sweet when mindfulness evades.
Happiness sought after, found in a single heartbeat.
Understanding the silence, listening for it, is truly magical.

Honor holds me to believing in all things beautiful in life.
Love is the vessel for making the magic happen.

P.C. Shoffner – ©2011

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This work by Patricia C. Shoffner is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
Based on a work at http://www.virtuallyselfemployed.wordpress.com.

My Social Love Affair

100_2024“Money and Success is now following you…”

While scanning through my email in box yesterday, the phrase shown above caught my attention. I read through it a few times, my mind filled with purpose and intention. The words and I shared a brief exchange, a romantic interlude – Law of Attraction style – right there on the living room vision board.

I imagined briefly the myriad possibilities, wanton hopes and fanciful thoughts, allowing myself to fully experience the moment the universe would manifest its plan for us. As I read those words again now, they are just as satisfying and delicious as they were then.

Opening the email revealed the true meaning of it. Curiosity – and that poor, cute little fuzzy cat.

“Money and Success is now following you [on Twitter]”

I had to giggle and if my wide Cheshire grin was any indication, I had eaten a la petite curious cat for lunch.

Still invigorated by the heat and lingering aroma of sweat from my afternoon love affair, I realized that the universe had bestowed a gift upon me.

The day before had been an extremely long day, filled with one personal challenge after another. My goal was to educate myself in other Social Media applications and merge them into my new life as a freelance professional. Now “Virtually Self Employed” I felt the need to explore new areas of Social life and experience the culture. So I forced myself out into the world with the intent to play the field a bit.

LinkedIn and I met a couple of weeks earlier. Initially, I found myself bored and unsatisfied, running back into Facebook’s arms at every turn. But after getting to know one another I found myself appreciating who he is at the core and the purpose he serves. LinkedIn, Facebook I visit often and the three of us a have integrated nicely.

After putting on some fancy clothes and tightening my belt, I got right down to business with WordPress. I had read somewhere that building a relationship with a website or blog would make an honest woman out of me and I would quickly climb the ranks in Google. It took a while to make it the magic happen, but hit the dashboard running. WordPress and I happily bonded and we are expecting the arrival of our first domain any day.

Then I met Twitter. Life moved quickly at a downward angle after he forced me to sell myself a thousand times over, one click at a time. I was not able to satisfy that Social beast. It was so exhausting. After a Twitter Tantrum nuclear meltdown and humiliated after throwing a Twit right there in the middle of our Tweet, my hands flew up in defeated surrender. Battered, bruised and torn, I Twit and I left. And after cooling off and a short separation, Twitter and I worked through our differences and got the job done.

I realize now why my attraction was so strong with email. After reconsidering my history with Twitter, I needed to see those words to realize it had been worth the effort. I know now that the affair with email was born of fantasy, not from my heart.

I am grateful for the lesson and experience and can now appreciate the message the universe was sending to me.

P.C. Shoffner – ©2013

Creative Commons License
This work by Patricia C. Shoffner is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
Based on a work at http://www.virtuallyselfemployed.wordpress.com.