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     Next Issue Archives Previous Issue

    Changing Course Newsletter: Issue 92

    Date: Jun 9, 2004
    Subject: Changing Course Newsletter: Issue 92

    Changing Course Newsletter Issue 92 June 9, 2004 

    The free newsletter from Brought to you by Changing Course
    Dedicated to helping you:
    ~ Live Life on Purpose
    ~ Work at What You Love
    ~ Follow Your Own Road

    In this issue:

    1. Guest Article: Turning Your Values into Your Vocation 
    2. Featured Resource: Making Dreams Happen
    3. Work from Home as a Virtual Assistant
    4. In the Marketplace

    It is not enough to be busy, so are the ants. The question is,
    “What are we busy about?” ~ Henry David Thoreau


    Turning Your Values into Your Vocation: The Who, What, When,
    Where and Why of Forming a Non-Profit

    By Keitheley Wilkinson, M.S.W., OSW-C,
    Executive Director, Cancer House of Hope

    You want to leave this world a better place than you found it. You
    could continue to donate to your favorite non-profit. Or, if you see a
    local, national, or even international need that is not being met –
    and are passionate about turning your values into your vocation –
    you could form your own non-profit. But where do you begin?

    Starting a non-profit organization is not as difficult as you might
    think… if you know the right questions to ask. A thorough
    understanding of the why, where, what, who, and when of starting a
    non-profit organization can start you on your way.

    1. WHY

    ~ Why is it important in your community? Look at statistics in your
    region that pertain to your issue and that clarify the need for the issue
    to be addressed in ways that is not currently being addressed. How
    many people are affected by this issue? How does it impact on
    families, low-income, children, etc. Is there a need for more
    education around this issue in your community?

    ~ How does it serve local needs? (How are these needs not being
    met now?) Does anyone offer what you want to offer? If so, is there
    still a great need or a different aspect of the issue that isn’t being

    ~ Why is what you offer unique (how does it not duplicate services
    already in place)? How will your organization provide services in a
    way that is not already done (e.g., at the Cancer House of Hope the
    programs and services span the spectrum of the cancer experience,
    we are under one roof, in a home-like setting, and everything is free-
    of-charge. Most support for people with cancer and their families is
    offered in an institutional setting (hospital) and is usually limited to
    general cancer groups, breast cancer groups, or bereavement groups).

    2. WHERE

    ~ Do we find people with the know-how? People who have served
    on other non-profit boards, people who work in the field (of this
    issue) already, friends who think it is a good idea, people who have
    been personally affected by the issue, and in larger organizations
    dedicated to this issue.

    ~ Do we find the initial money? Local banks with foundations or
    with history of community giving, community businesses who
    perhaps can give gifts-in-kind (office supplies and machines, etc.),
    larger organizations that deal with this issue (although they might see
    you as competition), small fundraisers, and get stories in the paper to
    see if someone will donate a space.

    3. WHAT

    ~ Needs to be in place to begin? Tax-exempt status at both federal
    and state levels (see Publication 557, Tax-Exempt Status for Your
    Organization for a thorough review of required filings), insurance,
    incorporation of name at state and federal level, and a Board of

    4. WHO

    ~ Should be on the Board? Accountants and lawyers are always good
    on a Board, representative from bank and other large institutions
    giving money, someone who could benefit form the services, a
    person who doesn’t work but volunteers for various organizations
    (think Junior League), business leaders, an expert in the field, and
    people with money.

    ~ Should be on staff (what disciplines)? If clinical services are
    involved, the person should be licensed and carry their own
    insurance. Excellent to have, but usually not possible at the beginning
    is a Development and Marketing person (several on the Board should
    have expertise in these areas), and an Administrative Assistant.

    5. WHEN

    ~ Do we go public? It’s best to have a Board in place or at least
    incorporators whose names and reputations will lend credibility to
    the organization. Also, only contact the media when you already have
    lined up a fundraiser or lecture, etc. to which people can come, and
    written materials that can be distributed to people who are interested
    and might contact you.

    ~ Do we open? When you have the space and initial staff and can
    actually start your work.

    Whether your dream is to set up an animal shelter, help girls
    experience greater self-esteem, save local farm land, or match seniors
    with children in foster care, do your homework. Once you’re satisfied
    you’ve answered all the questions, by all means, go for it!

    Editors Note: Keitheley Wilkinson was one of the Roundtable
    Discussion Leaders at the Dreams Can’t Wait workshop where she
    spoke on how to start a non non-profit organization. Keitheley has
    had quite an interesting career path herself. Here’s the description she
    wrote about herself for the workshop:

    In my 20’s, I earned my living as a cook in New York City,
    which included a stint as the omelet chef at the Museum of Modern
    Art during the Picasso exhibit in the late 1970’s. At age 28, I
    decided I wanted a more meaningful life and embarked on a course
    for a master’s degree in social work. After graduating from UCONN
    School of Social Work, I took a job at a Veterans Administration
    Medical Center (VAMC), working as Coordinator of the Geriatric
    Evaluation Unit. Ten years and many positions later, I found
    myself in upper management with excellent benefits, a wonderful
    government salary, and convenient two-mile commute.

    Over time, though my sense of purpose had been replaced by a sense
    of paper pushing. With much encouragement from Valerie, I left
    the VAMC to become the Executive Director of the Cancer House
    of Hope, a fledgling non-profit dedicated to providing free-of-charge
    programs to people with cancer. Despite a significant pay-cut and a
    round-trip commute of 40 miles, my quality of life improved.

    Through helping others, I regained that sense of purpose and
    meaning, and in return came to truly appreciate the preciousness of
    life. It has been a gift. You can visit the Cancer House of Hope
    online at

    Save $100 on Making Dreams Happen 

    Six months from now, you could be doing work you really love...
    and enjoying the freedom, flexibility, and quality of life you deserve.
    Find out from experts Barbara Sher, Barbara Winter, and Valerie
    Young exactly how you can make it happen… starting today.

    With the new, life-changing program Making Dreams Happen, you
    don't need to have a well-defined goal. In fact, you don't even need
    to know exactly what your dream is. We'll teach you... 

    ~ A sure-fire way to banish the "I wish I could, but..." from your
    vocabulary and replace it with surprisingly productive ideas you
    probably didn't know you had in you...  

    ~ The creative secret behind making a living without a job…
    and why there's never been a better time to be your own boss.

    ~ A shockingly easy, amazingly productive technique to generate
    fascinating business ideas… and open up an incredible range of
    positive possibilities for living the life you've always dreamed of…

    Learn more at http//

    The thing always happens that you really believe in; and the belief in a
    thing makes it happen. ~ Frank Lloyd Wright

    You can’t wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club.
    ~ Jack London

    Happiness is not a destination. It is a method of life. ~ Burton Hills


    Take Charge of Your Time and Life and Enjoy Success
    Beyond Your Wildest Imaginings As a Virtual Assistant

    By Valerie Young

    How many times have you said, “I wish I had a more flexible work
    day and more control over my time… and life.” If you want to work
    from home, have great organizational skills, like managing projects of
    all sizes, genuinely enjoy helping others, and have the desire to be
    your own boss, then allow me to introduce you to the fascinating
    world of virtual assistance. 

    Virtual assistants (VAs) are essentially personal assistants but with
    two important differences. For one, VAs have made the hugely life
    and status changing shift from “working for a boss” to serving their
    own clients. The relationship is more one of partners than boss-
    employee. And two, VAs work from home. That’s because a Vas’
    client – or often multiple clients – live and work in another city, state
    or even country. 

    So what do VAs do? VAs help their clients by doing anything from
    creating PowerPoint presentations, sending out holiday cards,
    managing marketing projects, researching, proof reading, making
    travel arrangements, organizing events, and more.

    As with any new business idea the first step is to do your homework.
    When I did a Google search for “virtual assistance” I got a deluge of
    nearly two million links. That’s when I remembered an article I’d read
    a few years back in Business Week. The article talked about AssistU,
    the company that invented this in-demand profession. That was over
    three years ago. Today AssistU is widely considered to be the premier
    VA training and coaching company.

    But before I tell you more about AssistU or the intriguing world of
    virtual assistance, I want to share the inspiring story of how one
    woman took a small idea and turned it into a Big Dream… and in
    doing so has allowed hundreds of people to fulfill their dream of
    working from home doing work they really enjoy.

    How to Turn A Small Idea Into a Big Dream

    Back in the early 80's, Stacy Brice was working in her mother's travel
    agency. She soon discovered that not only was she good at organizing
    travel plans but she also enjoyed handling all the details – especially
    for her business clients. That’s when Stacy got the idea to re-invent
    herself as an Executive Travel Planner and began specializing in
    providing personalized travel planning and related services to busy
    corporate executives, physicians, and consultants.

    Stacy says it didn’t take long to realize that her clients could use more
    help than just travel planning. What they really needed was someone
    to take of all the administrative work so they could be more
    productive, generate more income, and be less stressed. Soon her
    travel clients began asking her to do additional tasks like preparing
    mailing lists, arranging meetings, laying out brochures, and creating
    seminar handouts.

    Despite the fact that she rarely (if ever) interacted with her clients
    face-to-face, Stacy could see she was having a huge impact on their
    businesses – and lives. That’s when she began to formulate an idea
    for how this same kind of remote assistance could benefit busy
    people everywhere.

    In 1992, Stacy decided the time had come to make a bold change.
    At a time when few employees worked from home, she decided to
    make the leap from full-time on-site employee to full-time home-
    based contractor. Her new role allowed Stacy to provide her
    international client base with the broader range of travel planning and
    personal assistance they so desperately needed.

    A Whole New Career Track Is Born

    A few years later Stacy received a newsletter from Coach U. It seems
    Coach U founder Thomas Leonard (who some of you know later
    went on to found Coachville), was looking for someone to run things
    for him while on sabbatical. Knowing an opportunity when she saw
    one, Stacy decided to test her concept of assisting someone from a
    distance – and who wasn’t also one of her travel planning clients.

    It was Leonard who first introduced Stacy to the term “Virtual
    Assistant.” It turned out to be a pivotal moment. Finally Stacy had a
    name for the job she’d been performing for nearly a decade! Within
    months, coaches and other professionals approached her about
    providing these same services for them.

    Stacy’s practice was a virtual laboratory. With every new client
    experience, she learned more about for example, what it took to be
    successful, what it meant to really partner with someone in this kind
    of remote relationship, what clients wanted in a virtual assistant, and
    as importantly, how to design her practice – and life – to best meet
    her own needs.

    In November of 1996, Stacy was approached by a journalist doing a
    piece about her work as a VA. When that article was published in
    The Secretary a few months later hundreds of women contacted
    Stacy, anxious to learn more about how they too could work from
    home using the skills they'd honed in the corporate world.

    That’s when Stacy realized how great the need was for a training
    program that wouldn’t just tell students how to do the work of VA,
    but would help them start and sustain dream of running their own
    small business. So she decided to sit down and design a
    comprehensive training and support program that would enable
    other aspiring self-bossers to step out of their corporate boxes and
    help them create the kind of independence and self-determination
    that she’d long enjoyed.

    In 1997, with 10 years of experience under her belt and tons of
    information gleaned from research conducted with scores of women
    who ran local office support businesses, Stacy founded AssistU.

    To have started an organization widely considered the leader in its
    profession is impressive enough. But how many people can say
    they’ve revolutionized the way people work by shattering of the
    traditional boss/assistant paradigm? Fast Company magazine was so
    impressed with what Stacy’s accomplishments as her company’s
    Chief Visionary Officer, that in 2001 they nominated her for their
    Fast 50, under the category of “Change Agents” – people who are
    determined to challenge the status quo and to make a positive
    difference for the future.

    Building a Successful Practice That Works for Your Life and Needs

    In a few short years AssistU has trained hundreds and hundreds of
    people to succeed in this growing profession. People like Dawn
    Goldberg. When her daughters were born Dawn decided to be a stay
    at home Mom. But, she says, something was missing.

    Then Dawn read Cheryl Richardson’s book “Take Time for Your
    Life.” In it Richardson talked about how VAs can help busy people
    find more time to do what they love. “When I read that,” says Dawn,
    “I decided I wanted to spend my time doing what I love!”

    As a former English teacher and administrative assistant at Johns
    Hopkins University, Dawn says she knew she had skills it took to add
    help other business owners. After completing her training and
    graduating from AssistU, she launched Virtual Angel. That was two
    years ago. Today Dawn enjoys a full practice working with clients she

    “Today, I have wonderful clients who appreciate me and give me the
    opportunity to truly collaborate with them on their businesses and let
    my gifts shine. I have more confidence and I truly feel and know that
    I am a strong business woman. Frequently, my clients will call me
    their ‘Angel,’ and tell me how much they appreciate me. As my
    clients’ Virtual Angel, I have helped them make their business dreams
    come true. Just as importantly, so have mine.”

    Dawn is just one of the hundreds of AssistU graduates who are now
    living a life they’d only dreamed of. As I talked with Stacy and Dawn,
    read more about AssistU and saw how their training program is
    structured, it became clear why they’ve earned the reputation as the
    industry leader.

    If you’ve been a subscriber for any time you’ll know that I’m very
    picky about what resources I’ll endorse. So let me spell out for you
    why I’ve decided to give AssistU the Changing Course Seal of
    Approval and thereby recommend this program highly and without

    Seven Reasons Why I Really Like AssistU

    1. Excellent Training

    The 20-week training program provides all of the tools VAs need to
    be successful. Students are introduced to advanced technologies,
    have the opportunity to connect with experts, receive ongoing
    support via advanced classes, resources, and are able actively to
    network with other VAs.

    The complete and intensive 20 week program is designed to add to
    your already existing skills, preparing you to work virtually. The
    AssistU instructors work closely with students to guide them through
    the creation of their virtual assistance practice and move forward into
    working with clients. Graduates leave knowing they’re well prepared
    to move forward into a new career doing work they love.

    2. High Standards

    One reason for AssistU’s phenomenal success rate is their rigorous
    quality guidelines – the highest in the industry. The fact that AssistU
    accepts less than half the people who apply to their training program
    is a good indicator that they value quality over making a fast buck.
    They want their students to succeed and so seek out students for
    whom the virtual assistance business is a good fit.

    3. You Can Train From Home… In Only an Hour a Week

    Part of the beauty of acquiring the skills needed to work virtually is
    that you get to learn from home. All you need is a telephone and the
    sincere desire to become the best VA you can be. Classes meet for
    one hour a week via telephone in either a small group or a one on
    one format.

    4. Small Classes Mean You Get Lots of Personal Attention

    AssistU only accepts 45 people into each training group. This ensures
    there are never more than six people per class. As Stacy puts it,
    “A small class size ensures you’ll have a great experience, not just an

    5. Their National Reputation Benefits Your Future Business

    As students begin to develop their own businesses, they benefit
    greatly from the national and regional media coverage enjoyed by
    AssistU, Stacy, and the virtual assistance profession in general.
    Virtual assistance has been featured on National Public Radio as well
    as in Time magazine, Business Week, Woman’s Day, Inc., Fortune
    Small Business,,, and in dozens of regional

    6. You Get On-going Support So You Never Feel Isolated

    In addition to classes, group and one-on-one coaching sessions,
    AssistU offers graduates a community of peers. Their comprehensive
    members-only area features vast resources including a proprietary,
    searchable knowledge base. The ongoing support ensures that
    working at home never has to mean working alone.

    7. It’s an Ideal Business for Stay at Home Moms or Dads

    Since VAs can work at many or as few hours as they like – and have
    a tremendous amount of flexibility and control over their schedules,
    it’s the ideal business for a stay at home parent.

    If you think you’d like to learn more about the world of virtual
    Assistance, I suggest you sign up for their free monthly telediscussion.
    The next call will take place on Thursday, July 1st at 9:00 EST.
    These one hour discussions (there’s one for people in North America
    and another for those outside of North America) are designed to
    answer any questions about this exciting new profession and whether
    it’s right for you. Click here to register or learn more

    Off the beaten path career counselor, Valerie Young, abandoned her
    corporate cubicle to become the Dreamer in Residence at ,offering free resources to help
    you discover your life mission and live it. An expert on the ImposterSyndrome,she’s presented her How to Feel as Bright and Capable as
    Everyone Seems to Think You Are program to over 30,000 people.