5 Things to Know about Virtual Assistants

1. Why hire a high-level virtual assistant

Business owners use virtual assistants not only to reduce workload but also to increase revenue. Business owners accomplish more by outsourcing “or delegat[ing] the non-revenue generating or moneymaking tasks to a Virtual Assistant or ‘VA.’”[1]

2. How much to pay a virtual assistant

How much a business owner pays a VA will vary. The cost can range as widely as $5.50 to $30. However, the difference in cost can depend on skill level, reliability, whether the project is for short term or long term, and where the virtual assistant lives.[2]

3. Where to find a virtual assistant

Here are 20 websites to find a VA:

  1. Twitter
  2. Assistant Match
  3. Office Details
  4. Craigslist
  5. VA Networking
  6. Resource Nation
  7. Virtual Assistants
  8. International Virtual Assistants Association
  9. Virtual Assistance U
  10. Tasks EveryDay
  11. Virtual Assistance Chamber of Commerce
  12. Team Double Click
  13. AssistU
  14. Staff Centrix
  15. Elance
  16. Find Virtual
  17. Get Friday
  18. Longer Days
  19. Hire My Mom
  20. Guru[3]

4. What qualities to look for in a virtual assistant

Smart business owners do not hire just anyone. Of course, business owners want to hire high-level VA, who will charge higher prices probably. The VA needs to have certain qualities, such as the following:

  1. “Their own office space and equipment”
  2. “A flexible schedule”
  3. “Multiple communication options”
  4. “Internet experience”
  5. “Excellent written and verbal communication skills”
  6. “Independent critical-thinking ability”
  7. “Native English speaking”
  8. “Someone who can suggest a better way of accomplishing a task”[4]

5. What to outsource to a virtual assistant

Here are 10 things to outsource to a VA:

  1. Bookkeeping
  2. Online research
  3. Database entries
  4. Data presentations
  5. Managing email
  6. Social tasks
  7. Travel research
  8. Scheduling
  9. Chasing business
  10. Industry knowledge[5]

 

Key terminology

  • Virtual assistant: “A virtual assistant(typically abbreviated to VA, also called a virtual office assistant) is generally self-employed and provides professional administrative, technical, or creative (social) assistance to clients remotely from a home office.”[6]
  • Outsource: “To send out (work, for example) to an outside provider or manufacturer in order to cut costs.”[7]

Questions

  1. Is hiring a virtual assistant right for me as a business owner?
  • You should hire a virtual assistant if you believe that it will save you time and money, especially when you look at the long-term outcomes.
  1. Why should I hire a high-level virtual assistant?
  • High-level virtual assistants may cost more. However, they will think independently, work faster, and communicate clearly when writing and speaking. As a result, you will be less stressed and worried.
  1. What is outsourcing? What are the benefits?
  • Outsourcing occurs when a business owner delegates assignments to a virtual assistant. If a business owner hires a high-quality assistant, not just the person who offers the lowest bid, the virtual assistant can help reduce business costs and stress on the company.

end notes:

[1] See http://www.myevpllc.com/top-10-reasons-to-hire-a-high-level-virtual-assistant/.

[2] See http://www.hireyourvirtualassistant.com/blog/deciding-how-much-to-pay-a-virtual-assistant-rate-hourly-wage-salary-fees/.

[3] See http://www.dumblittleman.com/2008/12/20-places-to-find-top-notch-virtual.html.

[4] See http://www.myevpllc.com/top-10-reasons-to-hire-a-high-level-virtual-assistant/.

[5] http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/225318

[6] See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Virtual_assistant.

[7] See http://www.thefreedictionary.com/outsource.

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E n g l i s h

When I’m not cooking curry or eating desserts, I’m usually traveling. I’ve been all over the United States, from California Adventures to Disney World, from Pike’s Peak to Times Square. Last Fall semester, I explored France, Italy, Scotland, and England, enjoying art, food, music, and cultures different from my own.

While I love doing yoga in ancient ruins and being enraptured by nature, I’ve learned that reading—as cliché as this is going to seem—is another way to go on adventures by exploring how a writer expresses what it means to be human.

 

I first decided to be an English major because I had lofty goals: I wanted to be a writer and to change the world and to make people happy. Although these are still my goals, I’ve realized that there are many ways to learn and to feel that I had never before realized were possible.

Learning how to think and learning new perspectives has enabled me to stretch myself—as a scholar, as a citizen, as a friend, as a daughter, as a child of God. Our universal status of all being children of a loving and an all-powerful God does not mean that our existence here on earth is completely and totally universal.

 

Modernist writers Virginia Woolf and James Joyce show me their world of determining who you are in a broken, changing world.

The experiences of Buchi Emecheta and Ama Ata Aidoo show me their world of being African and the trials they endured.

John D. Fitzgerald, just as much as F. Scott Fitzgerald, shows me a world of what it can mean to be American, of struggling in the American West or with the American dream.

And there’s a beauty in that adventure, that universal search of what it means to be human.

Global Beauty Standards?

Original, unaltered photograph of artist.

Esther Honig, a freelance journalist based out of Kansas City, sent an unaltered photograph of herself to more than 40 Photoshop aficionados around the world. “Make me beautiful,” she said, hoping to bring to light how standards of beauty differ across various cultures.

The project, titled Before & After, originally came to Honig while she was working as a social media manager for a small startup. Her boss introduced her to Fiverr, an international freelancing website where anyone can hire freelancers from around the globe to complete almost any task imaginable. While browsing the site, Honig realized the prevalence of those offering Photoshop skills. “It immediately occurred to me that in this pool of workers, each individual likely had an aesthetic preference particular to their own culture,” Honig told BuzzFeed. Thus, the idea for Before & After was born.

Working with freelancers in over 25 countries, Honig expected that the images would differ from country to country, but was herself caught off guard by just how drastically some of the images were altered. “Seeing some jobs for the first time made me shriek… Other times images, like the one from Morocco, took my breath away because they were far more insightful than I could have expected,” Honig said.

To be sure, the images Honig has collected so far are interesting as individual images, a unique portrait of the standards of beauty in each country. However, when taken in totality, the project becomes much more striking, an interesting launching point into a global conversation about unattainable beauty standards around the world. “What I’ve learned from the project is this: Photoshop [may] allow us to achieve our unobtainable standards of beauty, but when we compare those standards on a global scale, achieving the ideal remains all the more illusive.”

Below are the photographs that Honig has collected thus far. Note: Some countries have multiple images from different artists. Honig continues her project on her website.

Argentina

Argentina

Esther Honig

Australia

Australia

Esther Honig

Bangladesh

Esther Honig

Chile

Chile

Esther Honig

Germany

Germany

Esther Honig

Greece

Greece

Esther Honig

India

Esther Honig

Indonesia

Indonesia

Esther Honig

Israel

Israel

Esther Honig

Italy

Italy

Esther Honig

Kenya

Kenya

Esther Honig

Morocco

Morocco

Esther Honig

Pakistan

Pakistan

Esther Honig

Philippines

Esther Honig

Romania

Romania

Esther Honig

Serbia

Serbia

Esther Honig

Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka

Esther Honig

U.K.

U.K.

Esther Honig

Ukraine

Ukraine

Esther Honig

USA

Esther Honig

Vietnam

Vietnam

Esther Honig

Venezuela

Venezuela

 

International Day Against FGMs

International Day Against FGMs

http://byuwsr.blogspot.com/2014/02/international-day-against-fgm.html

Define FGM:

· “The part or total removal of the external female genital organs for cultural or other non-therapeutic reasons”

What is FGM/C?

· Abbreviated form of Female Genital Mutilation
· Because the term mutilation can cause offense where this is a cultural tradition, some people prefer to call the practice FGC (the “C” stands for Cutting)

How many women are harmed?

· Between 100 to 140 million girls and grown women around the world
· Every day about 6 thousand girls are at risk of having FGMs performed on them

Why do FGMs limit the speech of girls?

· Because they are under the age of 18 years old, daughters are unable to express dissent
· There is serious physical and mental damage done to the body

When are FGMs performed?

· Usually before the girl has gone through puberty, between 4 – 8 years old
· Number of FGMs performed on infants only a few days, weeks, or months old is increasing

Why is the average age dropping?

· The practice is not used as much today as an iniation into adulthood
· Adults want to avoid governmental interference
· Adults want to avoid resistance from the girls because they form their own opinions as they grow up

What can be done?

· This is a direct violation of the first amendment
· Lawmakers must pass the Girls Protection Act of 2011
· This will make it illegal to take a girl outside of the USA to circumcise her

History: Why were FGMs performed originally?
FGMs have been performed for a long time. According to the writings of the historian Herodotus in the Fifth Century B.C.E., circumcisions, which were performed by Egyptians, Ethiopians, Phoenicians, and the Hittites, were referred to by the Ethiopians as “pharonic circumcision,” thus implying that Egyptians were the first to perform FGMs. Circumcisions, which were common among the wealthy and the powerful of Egypt, were considered an economic necessity. When men were away for a long period of time, female circumcisions ensured that children born during the men’s absence would be their own (Watson 422-3).

Cultural Influences

Cultural influences greatly impact the reason why FGCs are performed on young girls. FGCs are believed to preserve family honor and supposedly protect women from seducers and rapists (Shah, Susan, and Furcroy 4577). In many societies, “[t]he status, security and the economic prosperity of a woman may depend on whether she is married, which may well be [dependent] on whether she has been cut” (Davies and Dustin 7). If a woman is not cut, she will often not find a husband, thus diminishing her chances of being accepted in her culture and having a role in society (Davies and Dustin 7). If the vagina is considered ugly in a particular society, the FGC “makes a girl more feminine” (Davies and Dustin 8) because the parts that could resemble the male penis, such as the clitoris, is removed completely. On the other hand, according to Dr. Adeline Apeana of the History Department from Russell Sage College, FGCs were done in parts of Malaysia and Indonesia, which are mostly matrilineal areas, in order to enhance female sexuality. However, FGCs are not limited to primitive, tribal communities. They have been performed in the United States, as well, for treating conditions such as masturbation, hysteria, depression, epilepsy, lesbianism, and urinary frequency (Shah, Susan, and Furcroy 4577). Blue Cross Insurance covered the costs of three thousand FGCs until 1977 (Watson 433).

Health Damages

Female genital mutilation/cutting is a harmful procedure performed most often for cultural reasons. As people become more informed of the detrimental impacts of FGMs, they occur less often. Sometimes this information is not available to parents because of the traditions of their past and they do not have the knowledge or access to learning about the repercussions.

Health Risks

Short Term Effects

-Intense pain
-Bleeding
-Shock
-Bacterial infection
-Tetanus
-Hemorrhage
-Septicemia

Other injuries to nearby tissues are high immediately after the procedure is performed

Long Term Effects

o Cysts
o Infertility
o Bladder Infections
o Urinary Tract Infections
o Dysemenorrhea
o Pelvic Pain
o Hemtocolpus
o Dyspareunia
o HIV can be spread when same instrument is used on several girls without sterilization in-between each procedure

Education of the Mother

As the mothers’ education increase, the number of FGMs decreases. Congress must pass legislation that will include informational meetings, commercials, pamphlets, or other forms of publication to alert people of the disturbing consequences of FGMs (Simister 247-57).

Medicalizing FGMs: Not the Answer

Making FGCs legal if performed by a medical professional would not help solve the problem but would make matters worse. Allowing minimal cutting to the genitals of any female would “still represent an infringement of bodily integrity” (Davies and Dustin 8). Suggestions of making FGCs legal if the procedure is performed under anesthesia are unacceptable because the emotional and physiological damages will continue to impact the woman throughout her life.

Sources:

Dustin, Donna, and Liz Davies. “Female Genital Cutting and Children’s Rights: Implications for Social Work Practice.” Child Care in Practice 13.1 (2007): 3-16. Academic Search Premier (EBSCO). Web. 27 Oct. 2011.

Johnson, Dan. “Breaking: Girls Protection Act Reintroduced.” Girlscampaign.com. Girls Campaign. 11 July 2011. Web. 31 Oct. 2011.

Shah, Gaurang, Luay Susan, and Jean Furcroy. “Female Circumcision: History, Medical and Psychological Complications, and Initiatives to Eradicate this Practice.” The Canadian journal of Urology, Vol.16.2 (2009): 4576-9. Academic Search Premier (EBSCO). Web. 3 Nov. 2011.
Simister, John. “Domestic Violence and Female Genital Mutilation in Kenya: Effects of Ethnicity and Education.” Journal of Family Violence 25.3 (2010): 247-57. Academic Search Premier (EBSCO). Web. 28 Oct. 2011.

Watson, Mary Ann. “Female Circumcision From Africa To The Americas: Slavery To The Present.” Social Science Journal 42.3 (2005): 421-437. Academic Search Premier (EBSCO). Web. 12 Nov. 2011.

Flags & Food

Flags & Food

NATIONAL FLAGS MADE FROM EACH COUNTRY’S TRADITIONAL FOODS

Italy

basil, pasta and tomatoes 

India 
curry chicken, rice, cheera thoran and papadum wafer

Brazil 
banana leaf, limes, pineapple and passion fruit

China 
dragon fruit and star fruit

United States 
hot dogs, ketchup and mustard

Greece 
olives and feta cheese

Japan 
tuna and rice

Lebanon 
tomatoes, pita bread and parsley

Vietnam 
rambutan, lychee and starfruit

Australia 
meat pie and sauce

South Korea 
kimbap and sauces

France 
blue cheese, brie cheese and grapes

United Kingdom 
scone, cream and jams

Turkey 
Turkish Delight

Spain 
chorizo and rice

Indonesia 
spicy curries and rice

Thailand 
sweet chilli sauce, shredded coconut and blue swimmer crab

Switzerland 
charcuteries and swiss cheese

 

Credits
Client: Sydney International Food Festival
Advertising Agency: WHYBIN\TBWA, Sydney, Australia
Executive Creative Director: Garry Horner
Creative Director: Matt Kemsley
Art Director: Miles Jeffreys
Copywriter: Tammy Keegan
Photographer: Natalie Boog
Retoucher: Nick Mueller
Food Stylist: Trish Heagerty