live life on purpose work at what you love follow your own road
Changing Course Newsletter: Issue 92Date: 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
TODAY’S WISE WORDS
It is not enough to be busy, so are the ants. The question is,
“What are we busy about?” ~ Henry David Thoreau
1. GUEST ARTICLE
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.
~ 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).
~ 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.
~ 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
~ 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.
~ 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 http://www.CancerHouseOfHope.org
2. FEATURED RESOURCE
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//www.ChangingCourse.com/makingdreamshappen.htm
INSPIRATION TO FOLLOW YOUR BLISS
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
3. VAL’S PICKS AND PONDERINGS
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
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
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
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
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, Monster.com, MSN.com, 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
http://www.ChangingCourse.com ,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.