Category Archives: Career

The Modern Entrepreneur: An Owner Who’s Mobile, Cost Effective & Visible | Davinci Virtual

The Modern Entrepreneur: An Owner Who’s Mobile, Cost Effective And Visible

Today’s entrepreneur has a much wider reach thanks to mobile solutions that give them the ability to do more with less. The bottom line?  These up-and-comers are competing with the big dogs like never before—and sometimes they even become big dogs, too.

But it all starts with using new and emerging technology to save money and increase market presence.

The Mobility MovementThe Modern Entrepreneur: An Owner Who’s Mobile, Cost Effective & Visible | Davinci Virtual

Armed with the ability to accomplish nearly every single business-related task by using a smartphone or tablet, today’s entrepreneur is nothing if not mobile. Technology is fueling this movement, thanks to cloud-sharing software, apps that enable real-time collaboration and GPS systems that allow you to virtually travel more efficiently with coworkers by signing into Facebook. And when small-business owners and entrepreneurs need work spaces, they can rent them for small one-time fees through virtual office services like Davinci Virtual.

Davinci Meeting and Conference Roomsgives mobile or home-operated businesses the option of renting meeting spaces with all the perks. You can reserve day offices, conference rooms or board rooms as you need them. Workspaces and meeting facilities are fully equipped with the latest technologies including video conferencing and Wi-Fi.

Doing More, Costing Less

For every entrepreneur, reducing overhead is central to the success of their business. Some work from home to save on large-scale rental costs while using mobile technology to work with employees and partners remotely.

But this can be time consuming. Getting everything done without things falling through the cracks is an around-the-clock job. Rather than hiring a full time assistant, consider contracting a virtual receptionist for a low monthly cost.

Live virtual receptionists can take care of administrative tasks, like answering phone calls, so entrepreneurs can concentrate on growing their client base. Davinci Virtual Receptionists are U.S.-based and industry trained to manage incoming calls, provide outbound services (lead generation, appointment scheduling, follow-up calls, surveys and market research, third-party verification services), scheduling, and conference-call assistance.  This way small businesses can save time and money without the need for a heavy-duty telephone infrastructure.

Setting Yourself Apart

To stay competitive, modern entrepreneurs understand that they need an effective marketing campaign that includes a killer website. They know how to access free advertising by promoting their services on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and Instagram, among others. That way they have a rock-solid online presence that generates new business.

And they take advantage of tech-startup services that can help set them apart, like Shakr. Based in Seoul and San Francisco, Skakr helps modern entrepreneurs and small businesses create professional video advertisements. It’s easy and takes little time. By using video templates created by graphic designers who have worked on ad campaigns for major brands, Shakr produces first-rate results.

For a strong offline presence, consider a virtual office package. Davinci Virtual Office Solutions provide you with a business address, mail forwarding services, optional lobby directory listings, access to fully loaded meeting spaces and a wide variety of cutting-edge business services. You can use your address for business licensing or registration and market your new company address on search engines and Internet directories.

Smart Choices

Even though there are more resources available to entrepreneurs than there were ten years ago, it’s still a challenging endeavor to own your own business. But by wisely using the resources afforded by technology, you can increase your reach, lower your overhead, and stand out from the crowd.

Let Davinci Virtual help give you the strongest presence possible. Learn more by speaking with a member of our expert team today.

Seven Challenges Of Owning A Small Firm Or Solo Practice

 

Seven Challenges Of Owning A Small Firm Or Solo Practice | Davinci VirtualRunning your own small firm or solo law practice isn’t easy. You must constantly increase your client base, work to stay current with practices in your area and learn marketing skills — all in addition to running a business. It’s time-consuming and uncertain. But there are plenty of positives, too—like being your own boss. Fortunately, resources are available to help you meet these top seven challenges.

1. Modest Salaries

Especially in the beginning, small firms offer smaller salaries than larger firms. But the almighty dollar isn’t the driving force for many attorneys. Just like in other professions, some people put themselves through school, incur large student loans and work long hours because they love what they do and enjoy helping people. Keep this in mind when you’re working long hours to build your business.

2. No Experience Running A Business

Running a small business in and of itself is a challenge. Understanding everything it will entail before you take the plunge will be immensely helpful. The U.S. Small Business Administration offers resources to help you create a business plan and apply for loans. 

3. Limited Resources

With little or no support staff, lawyers may need to file court papers or perform other non-billable tasks themselves.And with fewer available resources, small firms often assume roles outside their traditional job description. But there are outsourcing options available to help you mitigate costs and save time while growing your client base.

Davinci Virtual Receptionists allow you to deliver high-quality service at a small cost so you can better connect with clients and meet their needs. Each of Davinci’s office receptionists is well educated, U.S.-based and specifically trained on your business and all of your specific needs. Here are just some of the benefits they can offer:

  • manage incoming calls
  • provide outbound services (lead generation, appointment scheduling, follow-up calls, surveys and market research, third-party verification services)
  • scheduling
  • conference-call assistance.

4. Modest Office Space

Small firms may contain fewer amenities than those of large corporations and law firms. In addition, the office may be located outside high-rent areas, further from the city and the courthouse and, often, operated from home. Virtual office solutions give you low-cost resources to help.

Davinci is the number-one provider of virtual office solutions with over 950 business locations around the world. Davinci virtual office locations provide you with a killer business address, mail-forwarding services, optional lobby directory listings, access to fully loaded meeting spaces and a wide variety of cutting-edge business services. Use your address for business licensing or registration and market your new company address on search engines and Internet directories.

5. Exposure To Market Fluctuations

Small law firm stability and revenue may rest on a few clients; the loss of a major one could affect the future of your business. That’s why expanding your client base is so crucial and networking and advertising are musts. Contact other attorneys you know and ask them to refer you and add you to their LinkedIn account—and any other professional social-media outlet. Create a professional website (there are low-cost options available like Web.com and GoDaddy) and take out ads in local publications.  Your legal association can connect you with listservs as well.

6. Less Prestige

Small law firms typically lack the name recognition of the mega-firms. Set yourself apart from the small firms by touting your wins. Ask clients to spread the good word either verbally or ask them to post a recommendation on your LinkedIn profile and include your wins in advertisements.

7.  Local Perspective

Small law firms generally have a local client base and lack the multi-jurisdictional presence of larger firms, thus limiting the types of legal work they can do and the types of clients they serve. Take the opportunity to research how you can expand your jurisdiction in other states and internationally. Davinci Virtual Office Solutions offers services to help gain a larger client base in far-flung regions.

Michael Labertew, owner of Labertew & Associates, LLC, has used Davinci Meeting and Conference Rooms to expand his small business. “As an attorney with a focus in international business, the majority of my clients are out of state and out of the country. Davinci’s virtual office allows me to service these clients from anywhere in the world, while maintaining a presence in Utah. Their staff’s professionalism, as well as their A+ prime office facilities and locations allow me the flexibility I need without sacrificing quality,” he says.

Stand The Test Of Time

By using all the resources available, your small or solo practice can enjoy a long and lucrative life. And when a judge rules in your favor, a client thanks you for finding a contract clause that results in a win, or when the legal advice you offered to a client months ago helped them in very significant ways, you’ll enjoy knowing you did it all on your own…

Learn more about how Davinci virtual office spaces and virtual receptionists can help your law firm succeed by speaking with a member of our expert team today.

Every Career Challenge Is Tough. Can Virtual Offices Make it Easier?

LOS ANGELES-Are you facing a challenge in your career that seems insurmountable? Are you unsure how to handle it? Do you wish that overcoming your challenge was easier? Even if you work in a virtual office—away from the office politics and distractions—you are still bound to face career challenges.

“Many people I speak to are struggling in their career and my heart goes out to them. I know they want more and want things to be different. Is there a magic pill that will save them? No. Is there a way out? Yes,” says Deborah Brown-Volkman, president of Surpass Your Dreams. “It’s called hard work. But hard work is called hard for a reason. It means career transformation is not going to be easy. The good news is hard work will provide real results.”

So how can an alone but never isolated virtual office worker begin? Brown-Volkman suggests putting one foot in front of the other. Here are four steps for virtual office workers in need of some advice.

1. Expect To Be Uncomfortable
You might be comfortable working from your virtual office space, but you have to expect to be uncomfortable if you are going to reach for your goals. Brown-Volkman says discomfort means you are being challenged and are growing.

2. Embrace Your Challenge
Yes, you’ll face challenges even from your virtual office. Brown-Volkman says the pain your challenge produces tells you that something is not working. Facing what needs to be faced will bring you relief and freedom. Running will not.

3. Be Open
Are you attached to what happens next? Since you are working from a virtual office, chances are you are more flexible than most. Brown-Volkman says sometimes you have to let go of the ending.

4. Remember That Things Get Easier Over Time
What knocks you off your feet in the beginning becomes more manageable as you go through the process, Brown-Volkman says. Get ready to find a new groove and a new routine.

Virtual offices are a good option for people in career transition. Maybe you are a bootstrapping entrepreneur or a fledgling small business owner. A virtual office can take some of the pressure off your transition. Embrace them.

Get the Balance Back In Your Career With a Virtual Office

NEW YORK-Are you out of balance in your career? That’s the question Deborah Brown-Volkman, president of Surpass Your Dreams, is asking. As we explore this question and its answer, let’s consider how a virtual office could help.

So, again, are you out of balance in your career? Brown-Volkman says you know you are when your career is all you think about; when you worry constantly about where your career is headed; and when you believe that you can’t be happy until your career problems are solved.

“Balance is a tough concept is today’s workplace. There are more demands, more stress, and more reasons to feel dissatisfied or unfulfilled by what you do. You may want to be balanced, but don’t know where to start. Or, you may have tried, but balance seems to be this elusive concept you can’t achieve,” says Brown-Volkman. “Being out of balance from time to time is normal. But when your career takes over your life and becomes your sole focus, it’s time to do something about it. Balance is important because it gives you the ability to see your situation clearly. Clarity brings focus. Focus brings options. Options bring solutions.”

So how do you get back into balance? Volkman-Brown offers three steps: recognize that your career is only a slice of the pie, stop obsessing, and take your focus off your career. A virtual office can help you get back into balance.

For example, Brown-Volkman says when you focus solely on one aspect of your life, you lose perspective and when perspective is lost, so is hope and momentum. When you work from a virtual office you set yourself up for greater work-life balance. You are more productive because you aren’t commuting. And you can workshift in response to emerging family needs, even something as simple as an morning recital at your daughter’s elementary school.

With the stronger work-life balance that virtual offices can bring, you can stop obsessing over what you aren’t getting done and get your mind on what you can do for others. “Life is about making a difference and helping others,” Volkman-Brown says. “When you take the focus off yourself, that’s when the miracles happen. Your career gets better when you get better and when you feel better about yourself.”

Are You Making A Difference In Your Career?

NEW YORK-Many people I speak with tell me they want to make a difference. They want to contribute at work, do more, and make an impact in their career. But when asked if they are making that difference, the answer is usually NO. Not due to lack of want, but lack of courage, direction, or a plan.

During the course of their careers, many people wait for things to happen. They wait for a raise, promotion, or ideal assignment. They wait to be called back on an interview or to hear about a job they’ve applied to. A lot of waiting. Not always a lot of doing.

People also wait for permission. Many people tell me they want to do more, but no one “told” them they could do more. Maybe they want to mentor someone at work. Or, volunteer to train a new co-worker. But they don’t, and they wait some more. Why do you need permission to help someone out?

Making a difference is not a “sit back and wait” endeavor.  It’s not usually something that will be given to you to do; it’s something you go after. The good news about choosing to make a difference is you go from re-active to pro-active and dissatisfied to fulfilled in your career. The scary (and exciting) news is you may have to create an idea or come up with it yourself.

So How Do You Make A Difference In Your Career? Follow These 3 Steps Below.

1. Decide To Make Difference

Without a decision, you will never begin. You can’t make a difference until you decide you want to make a difference; that you are tired of being unfulfilled and wondering what is missing. Once you make your decision, you will no longer think only about yourself, and will begin to think about others. You will not wait for someone to tell you what to do; you will give yourself that information. You will be deciding to have more say about where your career is headed. Deciding is powerful. It gives you strength and purpose. Now, you need your plan.

2. Identify How &Whom You’ll Impact

Many people I speak with tell me about their ideas. Some have just one, and others have many. Rarely, does someone not have any idea circling around in their head. People tell me the big impact they want to make, or the smaller impact that will affect only a few people. What they all have in common is a desire to make a difference. You have ideas too. Write them down. Now, ask yourself, “who will I impact?” Write their names down, so you can see them clearly. Once you can see, then you can do. You also want to write down the steps you will take to make your impact. List the steps, then prioritize them. This is your plan.

3. Make a Difference

No more waiting; it’s time to start doing. You know what you need to do, so get out there and do it. Start with the people on your list, those in your plan. Begin with the first person, then the second, etc. People believe that they can’t focus on anyone else when they are worried about themselves. It’s actually the opposite; you feel better when you take the focus off yourself. That’s when opportunities appear; when your career is not so much about you. If your career is not where you want it to be, and you’ve wanted to shake it up, this will be your opportunity to do some shaking.

So, what do you say? You only have one life to live, so it might as well be a life you love!

Deborah Brown-Volkman, PCC, is the President of Surpass Your Dreams, Inc. a successful career, life, and mentor coaching company that works with Senior Executives,  Vice Presidents, and Managers who are looking for new career opportunities or seek to become more productive  in their current role. She is the author of “Coach Yourself To A New Career”, “Don’t Blow It! The Right Words For The Right Job” and “How To Feel Great At Work Everyday.

Is Your Small Business All Work, No Play?

Flexibility seems to be a 21st Century virtue.

In order to spend time with family and to maximize business opportunities, small business owners are flexible about work-life balance. So says a new study from Hiscox.

In fact, 51 percent of small business owners cite flexible working hours as their main way of achieving a healthy work/life balance. Another 21 percent point to scheduling time with family and friends and 11 percent leave their work at the office.

Sounds admirable. Bu the truth is the office is never far away for small business owners. Only 5 percent said they don’t work on weekends and only 3 percent keep their BlackBerry, or other mobile device, away from the bedroom and the dinner table.

“The wide range of communications channels available today means that small business owners can always be connected, and the research shows that this is how they’re operating,” says Kevin Kerridge, small business expert for Hiscox. “Our clients live and breathe their businesses, wherever they are and whoever they’re communicating with.”

Indeed, some small business owners’ use of social media across their personal and business life is also blurred. While 26 percent said that they used separate business and personal accounts to avoid confusion, more than 13 percent have no separation and live their brand in everything they do. This makes sense as 8 percent of all respondents and 10 percent of micro small businesses (less than 10 employees) reported that they don’t achieve a good work/life balance.

Exploring what drives small business owners offers some clues to this lack of work-life balance. The survey asked, what motivates small businesses to drive their business forward most?

  • 37% said providing financial stability for themselves and their family
  • 24% said personal ambition/recognition
  • 22% said belief in their product/service
  • 14% said desire for wealth

“These results highlight the innate drive we see in our startup clients,” Kevin Kerridge says.  “Starting a small business requires a high level of commitment, and there are few times when they’re not focused on their business and looking for opportunities to drive it forward.”

Check out this video for some work-life balance tips:

How Self-Confidence Impacts Small Business Success

Many people believe that outside perceptions shape their career, and if others had a better view of them, they would be further along in their career.

The truth is that your own opinion of yourself has a bigger impact on your career than the opinions of others. Your inner voice determines how you act, and how you act determines whether you are successful or not. Your view of yourself determines whether you will live into your career potential or you will have life long career difficulties.

Many people I speak with don’t like themselves very much. You can’t tell from the outside. They are accomplished people. But when you dig a little deeper, you uncover the truth, the scars, the wounds, and the emotional pain. The belief that they are not good enough; that no matter what they do, or what they achieve, it will not be enough. That there is somewhere else to get to, or once they are perfect, everything will fall into place.

Would you like to like yourself more? It would help your career and take you places you’ve never been. Whether a negative self-view is temporary due to something that happened, or part of a bigger problem of career challenges, you can change it by following these 3 steps below.

1. Recognize the self-inflicted harm of having a negative self view.

The result is you are not going after what you want, you are not happy, and you are unfulfilled in your career. Begin your journey to change by being honest with yourself. Ask why am I so hard on myself? Where did this high standard come from? And, why don’t I like myself more? These are hard questions to ask, but your answers will set you free. What you keep inside festers and grows. What you release can’t hurt you anymore. Everyone has something they wish they would have done differently in their career, but if your mistakes are overshadowing your accomplishments, then your career will continue to be hard for you.

2. Decide to like yourself.

All change begins with a decision to make that change. No one can make this decision for you. It has to come from you, not because you should, but because you want to. This is important. You may not want to change. Maybe being hard on yourself keeps you safe because you don’t have to fail or feel the pain that failure brings. Or, you may want to change, but because someone keeps pushing you, you’ve decided to stand still. Liking yourself comes from an internal place. We look to the outside to feel better about ourselves, but only you can do that for you. When you tell yourself that you will think better of yourself, you can begin to formulate a career plan that will be backed with a belief that you can do anything with confident and persistent.

3. Move forward.

Because your career spans many years, your goal at certain points is to get back on the horse after you have fallen off. It’s about giving it another try because you want to be happy, want to help others, and want to make an impact on the world. You may be afraid to move forward, but aren’t you more afraid of staying where you are? Tell yourself that you are good enough, and your accomplishments mean something. Remind yourself of your career wins, and how good they felt when you obtained them. Decide that you will feel that good again. Then, go after what you want step by step until you get there.

So, what do you say? You only have one life to live, so it might as well be a life you love!

Looking for more self-confidence tips? Check out this classic Brian Tracy video:

Deborah Brown-Volkman is the president of Surpass Your Dreams, a career, life, and mentor coaching company. She is also the author of “Coach Yourself To A New Career”, “Don’t Blow It! The Right Words For The Right Job” and “How To Feel Great At Work Everyday.”

Study: Employees Happier Working From Home

Want happier, loyal and more productive employees? Send them home. No, don’t fire them. Just allow them to work from home—at least some of the time.

Those are among the findings of a recent Staples Advantage survey. In the survey, telecommuters say they feel and work better when they can do business from home. Specifically, 86 percent of telecommuters say they are more productive in their home office.

Why are they happier? Consider the statistics:

  • Stress levels have dropped 25 percent on average since working from home.
  • 73% say they eat healthier when working from home.
  • 76% of telecommuters are more willing to put in extra time on work and say they are more loyal to their company since telecommuting.
  • More than 80% say they now maintain a better work-life balance.

It’s no surprise, then, that telecommuting is on the rise. According to Forrester Research, the number of telecommuters is expected to reach 63 million in the U.S. by 2016. But what could your small business do to make these employee even happier working from home?

The Forrester survey offers some ideas: Most telecommuters said their companies don’t provide furniture (87%), office equipment (60%) or supplies (57%). Improving in these areas can help create an environment that simulates corporate office conditions and maximizes productivity.

With the right set-up and support from small businesses, telecommuting programs can be rewarding and productive options for employees. In fact, telecommuters claim they’d even be willing to sacrifice a few of their favorite things to continue working from home:

  • 54% would give up their favorite TV show
  • 48% would forgo an extra hour of sleep
  • 40% would swear off a favorite food
  • 40% would take a pay cut

Telecommuting is not an option for all small business employees. But with these statistics in mind, it may be time to consider how you might fit telecommuting into your scheduling paradigm.

Career Approval Comes From Within

Most people look for approval from the outside. They want to feel good about their choices and career path. They want validation that they are doing the right things at the right time and are being understood and respected for their decisions. After all, who doesn’t want to hear the sound of applause or cheers due to their efforts? The truth is approval makes us feel better about ourselves.

Approval becomes a problem when you need it too much. Or, when it holds you back because you can’t move forward without it. Many people believe approval means they are loved and accepted; words that make them feel warm and fuzzy inside.

True approval comes from you; your inside opinion and view of what you are doing and where you are headed. Outside views may give you validation, but inside approval gives you peace, calm, and a sense of direction.

So how do you give yourself career approval? Follow these 3 steps:

1. Ask Yourself What Would Make You Happy In Your Career

Write your answer down. List the duties you wish you were performing. The environment you wish you were working in. The boss and co-workers you wish you would have. The best location and the amount of money you want to make. Your goal is to get your thoughts out of your head and down on paper. This way you can clearly see your thoughts, and once you can see them, you can do something with them.  Do not screen or talk yourself out of your ideas as you write. What would make you happy is inside you. You just need to open the cage door so it can get out.

2. Listen To Your Answer

The pathway to a fulfilling career is when you listen to yourself. Think back to a time in your career when you did listen. Did things work out well? I have a feeling the answer is yes. Now, recall a time when you did not listen to your inner voice. I bet things worked out differently. No matter what messages you’ve heard when you were younger, or now as an adult, they are just someone’s opinion. People have their own perspectives and experiences and we can learn from them. Sometimes someone’s words of wisdom can be very helpful in our journey to a great career. But ultimately the person you need to listen to is yourself. You won’t be happy in your career until you do.

3. Expect To Be Misunderstood

This way, it won’t surprise you. I know it’s hard when you are going after a goal and people don’t approve of what you are doing. Or, they don’t give you the support and reinforcement you need to achieve it. The people in your life mean a lot to you, and their words of encouragement can make a difference. But if you are waiting until everyone rallies behind you before you act, you may be waiting a long time. I believe that the people in our lives mean well and usually do come from a good place when giving advice. But, they are not you. They don’t have the same dreams as you, and as a result, may not understand them. When you expect that not everyone will understand you, then you can learn to rely on yourself. And when you have those moments of doubt, (we all do) you can rely on the person who knows you best, and that person is you.

Getting approval from yourself takes courage and I know you have that courage in you. Good luck.

So, what do you say? You only have one life to live, so it might as well be a life you love!

Check out this video on creating life boards”


Deborah Brown-Volkman, PCC, is president of Surpass Your Dreams, a career, life, and mentor coaching company, and author of “Coach Yourself To A New Career,” “Don’t Blow It! The Right Words For The Right Job” and “How To Feel Great At Work Everyday.”

Dealing With the Realities of Workplace Bullying

Did you ever have to deal with a schoolyard bully? If so, then you probably have bad memories of the taunting and teasing. Now that you are all grown up, though, bullies are a thing of the past—or are they?

Workplace Options recently conducted a survey that reveals bullies are alive and well—in the workplace! Indeed, 47 percent of workers say they have witnessed, or know someone who has been a victim of workplace bullying. What’s more, 31 percent say they have personally been a victim of bullying in the office.

What is workplace bullying? In many ways, it’s much like the bullying you remember from the schoolyard. The simplest definition is when individuals or groups use persistent aggressive or unreasonable behavior against a co-worker or subordinate.

Workplace bullying may manifest as verbal, non-verbal, psychological or physical abuse and humiliation. According to the survey, 38 percent of respondents feel verbal abuse, including disrespect and malicious rumors, is the most debilitating form of bullying in the workplace, followed closely by harassment from superiors, at 23 percent.

“When individuals are treated negatively at work, it can significantly affect their ability to concentrate or function in a healthy and productive manner,” says Dean Debnam, CEO of Workplace Options. “Many employees may be uncomfortable or embarrassed discussing this abuse with their direct supervisor or HR director. If an employer can offer a third party for the individual to use as a sounding board, it may give them the confidence they need to speak up.”

So how do you deal with workplace bullying? The survey reveals that individuals are more likely to report incidents of bullying if they can speak to a third party source as opposed to someone internal to the company. Specifically, when individuals witness a co-worker being bullied, 37 percent say they are not comfortable discussing the incident with human resources or their supervisor. However, if an employer were to offer assistance dealing with a bully in the form of a third party, 65 percent would take advantage of this service.

In another significant finding, more than 90 percent of respondents believe workplace bullying can cause feelings of frustration and hopelessness, panic or anxiety about going to work, and physical symptoms such as an inability to sleep or loss of appetite. According to the survey, half of respondents do not think their employer takes appropriate measures to discourage and reprimand bullies, or are unsure if any measures are taken.

“If employers do not ensure that workplace bullies are acknowledged and held accountable for their actions, members of their staff may begin to suffer mental and emotional damage,” says Alan King, president and COO of Workplace Options. “The quickest way to identify a bully is to provide your employees with an outlet to report the abuse, whether they are a witness or a victim.”

Check out this video on workplace bullying: