Sarah's Blog

A Success Story - The Solopreneur

Last year I started working with a gentleman who sold life insurance and who advised people with their finances. At first he needed help with scheduling. Google Voice allowed me to call on behalf of his "office". Google Calendar allowed me to maintain his calendar. And Google Contacts allowed me to have access to the information I needed to get the job done. THANK YOU GOOGLE!

With in a short time he started adding a task at a time; scheduling medicals, calling warm prospects, mailing out appointment reminder letters and mail merge. From time to time he would call and need me to research something or create a flier or make an urgent call. The system worked well. The tasks I did for him on a daily basis allowed him more time to focus on growing his business. He was able to get out in the world and make connections, give seminars, prospect.

In just over a years time he got to a point where he did not need a virtual assistant and needed an office with staff. He outgrew me!!

I do miss working with him but it is wonderful to know that I helped him grow professionally. That is why I got into this business.

If you are a new, small business or budding solopreneur I want to talk to you! Let's chat about how virtual assistance can help your business grow.


What do you say?

When I say "Happy Holidays" people respond with "Merry Christmas". When I say "Merry Christmas" people respond with "Happy Holidays". So today I say, Feliz Navidad (Spain, Mexico), God Jul (Norway), Mele Kalikimaka ame Hauoli Makahiki Hou (Hawaii) and Boas Festas (Portugal)!

Wishing you all a peaceful and relaxing holiday, however you do celebrate!

Social Media Special Characters - Copy & Paste

 Do you ever wonder how people include special characters to their social media profiles and posts? Owls, smiley’s, hearts, clovers, clouds…it really is as easy and copying and pasting. I found this out while creating a profile for a shop I sell my creative wares on and felt I needed to share this with the world!

Here are some of the more common symbols you can use. Just copy them from this blog (or the sources at the end of this blog) and paste them into you social media posts and/or profiles. I have tested this for Twitter, Facebook and Linked In.

When is the best time to use these symbols? Well, that depends upon your purpose. I highly suggest them in personal correspondence like birthday and get well wishes. I strongly discourage them when you are trying to portray yourself as a serious professional. For businesses, they are useful at adding a little visual appeal to your dialog or to help with instruction. However, do not neglect symbols from time to time for business as they can establish that fact that you are human.

What are your thoughts? When should you use/stay clear from HTML symbols for social media?


☺ ☻


❀ ✿ ❁ ✾

Card Suits

♠ ♣ ♥ ♦


► ◄ ← ↑ → ↓ ☚ ☛ ☜ ☝ ☞ ☟


☼ ☀ ☁ ☂ ☃ ☄❇ ❈ ❅ ❄ ❆


★ ☆ ⋆ ✩ ✮ ✯ ✰


☯☮✌✉☏✔ ● ○ εïз ☠



Different Smiley’s






♨ Dinner

Ѽ Pumpkin

For Business

™ - Trademark

® - Registered

© - Copyright

§ - section

¢ - cent
£ - pound
¤ - currency
¥ - yen
€ - euro sign
§ - section

Astrological signs

♈ – Aries
♉ – Taurus
♊ – Gemini
♋ – Cancer
♌ – Leo
♍ – Virgo
♎ – Libra
♏ – Scorpio
♐ – Sagitarius
♑ – Capricorn
♒ – Aquarius
♓ – Pisces

Add your own text
¸.·'★¸.·'★*·~-.¸-(★Put your text here ★)-,.-~*¸.·'★¸.·'★

•(♥).•*´¨`*•♥•(★) Put your text here (★)•♥•*´¨`*•.(♥)•

..♩.¸¸♬´¯`♬.¸¸¤ Put your text here ¤¸¸.♬´¯`♬¸¸.♩..

`•.¸¸.•´´¯`••._.• Put your text here •.¸¸.•´´¯`••._.•



New service offered!

SHVS is now offering Info Graphics and Graphic Quotes. What are they?

Info Graphics are images that give your audience or market information. An example; say you are a non profit that helps the blind, you could do an info graphic letting your audience know that Cataract Awareness Month is coming up. Or you are a business that has a special, you can use a graphic to let them know.

Graphic Quotes are similar in that you are getting information across in the form of a graphic. The information you share is a quote. Here is an example of both types:

This is an Info Graphic I did for Sierra Services for the Blind to use on their Facebook page.

This is a Graphic Quote I made for this blog.

The possibilities are endless! I take many photos that you can use or you can provide your own. Let's chat! (530) 575-2916 or shoot me an email at!


Keeping momentum during the work week

Maintaining work/life balance when you work from home can be challenging at times. We could all use a little reminder on how to keep the momentum going during the work week, especially now that Spring Fever is in the air. Oh, look at that butterfly!

Here are a few tips I have found along my journey as an entrepreneur that I wish to share with you…

Utilize your network

If you are stuck reach out to those who can help you. Whether you just need to brainstorm or if you need someone's skill, asking them for help will keep you moving along. Sometimes all you need is an objective eye.


Re-energizing your being is essential to maintaining your momentum in any project. Take a walk, watch a movie, read a something for you. When we take care of ourselves we are able to better deal with the work day/week/month ahead of us!

Avoiding Distractions

Truth is, what you consider to be a distraction might not be the same for others. What do you feel is your #1 distraction and how do you deal with it?

The number one motivation killer, in my book, are distractions. Some cannot be avoided but others certainly can. After starting business #3 it was very apparent that I was my own distraction and that turning off the social media notifications, scheduling two times a day to check email and screening calls was going to be the only way that things got done. The local coffee shop has also become a haven for uninterrupted time slots.

Know your limits

If you know you have more energy the first half of the week, plan accordingly. Schedule the more challenging tasks and projects for Monday - Wednesday. Leave Thursday and Friday for touch ups and the easier tasks. AND do not forget to break when you are feeling overloaded or at a standstill. Clearing your mind is often the best way to find the answer you are looking for.

For the parents entrepreneurs

Don’t get me wrong, I love my daughter but she is at an age where I have to try and get most of my work done while she is sleeping or at school because there are too many distractions. She does not understand that I need that time to work and I understand that. So, adjust your schedule around your child’s schedule. That is one of the reasons why you work from home, isn’t it?


Quotes for every entreprenuer

“ A smooth sea never made a skilled mariner. ” ~ English Proverb

"It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change." ~ Charles Darwin

"Your customers aren't demographics. ... They're human beings."-- James Archer, CEO of Forty, writing at Inc. online.

“Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere.” – Albert Einstein

"Without labor nothing prospers." ~Sophocles

“Be the change you want to see in the world.” ~ Mahatma Gandhi

"You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself in any direction you choose. You're on your own. And you know what you know. You are the guy who'll decide where to go."~Dr. Seuss

"Self-trust is the first secret of success."-Ralph Waldo Emerson

"All lasting business is built on friendship." ~Alfred A. Montapert

"Everybody gets so much information all day long that they lose their common sense."~ Gertrude Stein

Quotes are grand, aren't they? So full of wisdom. This collection has spoke to me in way or another in the past two years that I have been in business. Which one can you relate to?

How to find the right person to help with your businesses social media marketing?

Almost everybody engages in social media. It is a fact. Grandma is now to Facebook and uses Pinterest to organize the information she has gathered on quilting and crafts. Uncle is on Linked In for his business but enjoys HubPages on the weekend. Mom and Dad are now "hanging out" with Google+ and tweeting real time with Twitter. And the youngsters are now meeting people all over the world through all the platforms.

Truth is, everyone's lives are touched in one way or another by social media. Either you love it or you hate it (just like anything else). It is part of our culture now and there is no going back. So for those of you who are still trying to grasp the concept of this new way of communicating, how do you get the trusted help you need to get started?

If you are using it for personal motives there is most likely a loved one near by who can lead you along the way. Start with the youngest family member and ask them for help. They most likely know how to help you. If that does not work, there is a plethora of classes and workshops to help you.

If you are planning this to integrate into your business, there are a number employees who could help, but do they have the time? You could also hire an intern, a consultant or a virtual assistant to help you. With the abundance of professionals who strive to keep up with this ever changing industry, how do you know you have hired the right one?

You don't, really. You are taking a leap of faith just as you do when hiring new employees. Businesses are like people, as they are all different. Each business has their own needs just as humans do. Businesses have their own image, just as humans do. And more so, businesses have their own "personality", just as humans do.

My advice to you is to research and get to know each prospective professional, just as you would before buying a car. You are not likely to find the perfect make and model at the first dealership you visit so ask around, test drive and think the decision over.

Ask the appropriate questions...

  • How long have you been doing social media?
  • What is your favorite social media platform for business and why?
  • Do you enjoy marketing with social media?
  • What are your views on sharing information on news and tragedy?
  • Do they seem to know your business and/or industry?

Watch what they are doing on their own profiles and pages...

  • Are they positive? Negative?
  • Do their ethics seem to jive with yours?
  • Do they operate with good online etiquette?

And you must ask around...

  • Do they have testimonials and/or been referred to you by another trusted business person?
  • Have they worked with other businesses with in your industry? Do they have a portfolio?
  • Do their business references pan out?

After talking with many people I have come to one conclusion; finding a professional to help you with your businesses social media is like finding an accessory to go with your outfit, you have to try a few out to find the one that fits with what you already have going on.

Do you agree?

Thanks for reading,



Passion is what makes the world go 'round!

I am passionate about family, business and beauty; each for their own reasons. Family is what gives life substance and meaning. Where would we be without family? Business is fascinating to me. I am fascinated with the different types of businesses, the people behind them and how they operate and market themselves. Beauty is what inspires me to love, understand and let go. Each of the three completes me and my life without either feels empty.

To fulfill this need to create, market and give, each month I draw attention to a business and an artist that I feel passionate about on the home page of my website. There is no real criterion to the selection. The business owner or artist has to be passionate about what they do and doing it with compassion, integrity and in good nature.

This month I will begin blogging about each business chosen but first wanted to take a minute to reflect on the passionate people that I have highlighted in the past few months.

Business Worth the Buzz

May: Brigitte’s Arbonne Experience-“Be the best you”-Natural skin care for the entire family-

June: Simply Divine Cupcakes-“Vegan never tasted so…divine!”-Organic and Vegan cupcakes-

 July:Gold Country Cakes-Whatever kind of cake you can dream up, Gold Country Cakes will make it a

Creative Corner

May: 'Footpath to Mitford' By artist David Mooney-David is a self-taught artist and is was gifted with his

June: 'Rocky Mountain Lakeside' By artist David Mooney- David sat as the Artist-in-Residence at Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado-

July: JKA Photography-This young photographer is creative and has a successful career in photography ahead of her-

You can find more information about these businesses or artists on my Facebook Business page at Keep your eye out for the blog on Augusts’ Business Worth the Buzz and Creative Corner.

Until then, onward and upward!

School is out for the Summer!

By Sarah Herbert
Another semester has come and gone at Sierra College. Thousands of students are feeling tired, overwhelmed and ready to bask in the sunshine! Hopefully, these students are also feeling like they are concluding the semester with a vast amount of information and that they are one step closer to their educational goal.

I am certainly feeling all of those things. Information overload, I guess you could call it. It is exciting, though. I have not looked at post secondary education the same since I enlisted in the VOP Certificate Program at Sierra College. This program has made me realize a lot about myself, personally and professionally. I hope that every student walks away feeling the euphoria of a job well done this semester. Otherwise, what is the point?

Have a great summer everyone!

My blogging and article writing experience

By Sarah Herbert
This was my first experience with writing articles and blogs. Although it was different and harder than anything we have encountered thus far, I like it. It will be a very useful tool in managing and marketing my business (and maybe my clients businesses). I chose to use and to publish an article I wrote and blogged earlier, “6 Tips for a Mind-Blowing Resume”. Although it was not mentioned in the lecture or reading, I thought Facebook would be a great venue to publish an article. On Facebook you already have a network of people who are interested in what you have to offer. Your network will most likely read the article and maybe pass it on. On a venue like E-zine Articles, the odds could be more competitive.

6 Tips for a Mind-Blowing Resume

By Sarah Herbert

When it comes to looking for a job in this economy it is apparent that jobs are scarce and the environment is competitive. Having a resume that stands out and portrays you at your best is essential when landing a new position. Here are a few tips that will help you in your search.

1. Use an easy to read format. Remember, sometimes your resume is what will mark your first impression. Make sure that your resume contains information that is relevant to your prospective employer and arrange it on the paper so that there is plenty of white space.

2. Always include a Job Objective. Employers not only want to see where you have been but also where you plan to go. It does not have to be long, one carefully worded sentence is enough.

3. Always include a cover letter. This is where you can show your savvy communication and writing skills.

4. Don’t hesitate to change your resume so that it addresses the needs of the employer and the specific skills they are looking for.

5. According to Yana Parker, author of Damn Good Resume (, your resume is about you and your undertakings. Parker states, “It’s not just about past jobs! It’s about YOU, and how you performed and what you accomplished in those past jobs—especially those accomplishments that are most relevant to the work you want to do next” (

6. Follow up, follow up, follow up! When you drop off your resume, ask if you can follow up and who to contact. This shows diligence and persistence.

Good Luck!

Almost there!

By Sarah Herbert

When I first decided to go back to school, I had no idea what I wanted to do. The only thing I knew was that I wanted to spend more time with my family and be my own boss. The academic counselor at Sierra College told me about the Virtual Office Professional Certificate Program. I was apprehensive to commit to a program that I was not sure was for me, but I did and life has not been the same ever since.

Coming into the program I was a little uncertain about how it all worked. There were so many questions at first, but now that program is progressing along it is all coming together. There is a lot to be learned about the industry and all the tools that make working from home possible. Most importantly, I have learned a lot about myself; personally and professionally. Completion of the certificate and opening up shop is scheduled for Spring of 2011. I plan to continue at Sierra College to obtain Associate’s Degrees in General Business and Business Marketing. From there, who knows?

The best thing about the program is learning about the services available and the people who provide them. I have met some extraordinary people without having to leave my home! The services that they provide is all across the board, from accounting and administrative work to wedding officiates and veteran’s portfolios. If you are ready for a career change and just not sure where to start, talk to a Sierra College academic counselor about your options. Here is a link to their website, For more information about the VOP Certificate Program visit,

Almost there!

By Sarah Herbert


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You can also find Sarah hanging out at Hubpages!