Tag Archives: virtual assistants

What can Libro do for you?

What can Libro do for you?

Here’s a handy list of everything that Libro can do for you, to make your life that bit easier and make your words work better …

Libro is all about making your words work, whether the words themselves need tweaking (editing what you’ve written, proofreading and polishing before publication), or writing (from your notes or a chat with you), or changing in terms of location (localisation from US to UK English or vice versa), or changing in terms of medium (turning handwritten notes or a taped interview into a typed document).

Follow the links for more information, but here’s a summary:

Editing  – making sure your words, grammar, punctuation, sentence structure and even your plots and non-fiction books don’t contain gaping holes.  Checking marketing content (leaflets, websites … ), blog posts, letters, reports …

Proofreading – checking that what you’re about to publish in print or online looks right and works as the document you expect it to be – checking page numbering, headers and footers, website links, etc.

(and for the difference between editing and proofreading, see here)

Copy writing – writing text for your book, downloadable e-book or leaflet, brochure, website, letter, press release, advertorial, advertisement, etc. from your notes or a conversation with you.  I can add in SEO keywords to build your presence in the search engines with text that potential clients will want to read, too.  I work with web designers, too – writing content for the websites they design.

Localisation – adjusting your copy to match UK or US English standards – not just the spellings but sentence structures, word usage, etc.

Transcription – saving you hours of time typing up dictations, interviews, meetings; why not produce a transcript of your webinar or training session to offer to your clients as an added extra?

Copy typing – bundles of notes and no inclination to type them up? Scan them in, send them to me and I’ll produce a nice, tidy, grammatically correct and properly spelled document.

I also offer all of these services as an add-on for virtual assistants, meaning they can offer a wider service without having to have all the skills themselves.

Contact me via email or via my contact form.


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Outsourcing for fun and profit (2)

Welcome to the second in my two-part series about outsourcing.  In Part One we learned about the different tasks you could consider outsourcing to an outside company or individual.  Now we’re going to look at how to work out if it’s worth outsourcing.

There are three reasons why you might choose to outsource a task:

  • You’re so busy, you don’t have time to perform the task effectively, or at all
  • The task is not one of your specialities (OK: you’re not very good at it)
  • It’s more costly in terms of time and income to do the job yourself than to pay someone else to do it

Let’s look at these in turn.

You’re too busy to do the task yourself

Your company’s doing so well that you’re flooded with orders and work, you’re making those widgets till they’re coming out of your ears … but your filing system’s a mess.  Call someone in to sort out what you don’t have time to do.  You’ll profit in terms of having good systems that can be run easily, and not wasting time sorting through a mess to find a vital piece of paperwork.  Or you’re a journalist with too many deadlines and you haven’t got time to transcribe all your tapes – send them off to someone else!

You’re not very good at the task

Maybe you’re great at making widgets but you clam up on the phone when you’re making sales calls to get more clients.  Or you create beautiful websites but panic when a client asks you to write or check content for them.  Or you work with your hands, add up invoices in your head, but need to create some leaflets and are not sure of your spelling.  This is when calling in an expert in their field will help you concentrate on building your expertise – and income – in your own field, and make sure you’re representing yourself as well as you can.

It would actually cost MORE to do it yourself

Remember that method of justifying buying an expensive coat by breaking it down into cost per wear (price of coat divided by number of times you’ll wear it.  Now it costs 50p – hooray!)?  Well this works a bit like that.  Say I have a very simple tax return to do and it only takes half an hour.  Say I charge my clients £20 per hour.  Doing my tax return will cost me £10 in terms of lost potential revenue for that half hour (and I know it’s so simple that an accountant wouldn’t be able to get my tax any lower).  I doubt I’ll be able to get an accountant to do this for £10.  So it’s not worth me outsourcing it.  But if I had a big complicated business, with VAT and all sorts of deductions, and it took me 10 hours to battle through it, then that £200 in lost potential revenue (plus any tax savings I’m missing by not being an expert) could probably pay for an accountant to do it properly.  Similarly, if it’s going to take you 10 hours to type up a 1 hour interview tape that I could do for you for £45, it’s worth outsourcing to me and saving time and money.

In summary: if it’s more expensive to do it yourself, or you don’t have the time or skills to do it, consider outsourcing!

Libro offers copyediting, copy writing, proof-reading, transcription and typing services to other small businesses, individuals and corporations. Click on the links to find out more!


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Outsourcing for fun and profit

Today I’m going to talk about outsourcing.  Did you know that you can save your own time and money by outsourcing some of the everyday tasks of your business or even your work life if you’re employed by somebody else?  Maybe it’s not something you’ve thought about before, so I’m going to run through some ideas.  I’ll also tell you in another post how to tell if it’s worth outsourcing something or not.

Tasks you can outsource

The main point of outsourcing is to get someone else to do tasks which you’re either not so good at, or which actually cost more for you to do yourself than paying someone else to do them.  We’ll look at how to decide on the cost factors next time, but for now let’s look at the tasks you can outsource …

  • Accounting and bookkeeping – this is a classic.  If you have a very simple business model, like I do – no car, no additional premises, not VAT registered, sole trader, only one person working for the business – then you can get away with doing your own accounts.  But if you’ve got anything more complicated going on, it’s well worth using a bookkeeper or fully-fledged accountant to keep things under control.  A bookkeeper will be able to keep track of your profits and spending, record your receipts, etc., and an accountant can advise you on how best to minimise your tax burden.  Some companies will even set up your business for you in the first place!
  • Human resources and staffing – it can be worth using a recruitment firm to handle selecting and taking on new staff for you.  And then they can advise on any HR issues – sick pay, maternity pay, dismissals, grievances … and there are companies who will handle your payroll for you, too.
  • Sales and marketing – maybe you’re great at what you do, but you’re not so good at those sales calls and marketing techniques.  Calling in a specialist telemarketing, sales or PR and marketing expert can be well worth the money you spend on them in terms of the return you get from all those extra customers they bring in for you.
  • Telephone answering – there are many companies out there who will provide different levels of phone answering for you, from offering voice mailboxes to answering the phone as if they are working for your company themselves.  This means you can advertise a landline number and have it diverted to your mobile, or have someone answer it when you’re busy, or when you want to switch off for the evening.
  • Secretarial services – Virtual Administrators and Secretaries can provide remote or in-office solutions for you.  If you need an admin assistant but don’t need one full-time and are worried about the costs of employing people, use a VA to either come in and sort out your office systems or provide support for you offsite.
  • Transcription, copy typing, etc. – If you’re not a trained secretary or a fast touch-typist, it’s often well worth your while to use someone outside your business to do your typing.  I can get through a transcription in three times the length of a tape (i.e. it’ll take me 3 hours to type up 1 hour of transcription).  That might seem a long time – but I type fast and use special software.  Try typing a few minutes of tape and see how long it takes you … then outsource away!  I recently did some transcription work for an academic studying how students reacted to their courses, so this definitely works for the employed as well as the self-employed.  It’s the same with copy typing – paying someone else to type up those scribbled conference notes or handwritten novel will usually get it done far more quickly than you could do yourself.
  • Additional services you’d like to offer through your business – speaking from experience, I offer copy writing and proof-reading via web designers who are expert at designing websites but would prefer to concentrate on design and functionality and outsource providing or checking the content to me, and all of my services via VAs who use me to mop up overflow work and additional services they don’t offer personally.  In both these cases, the outsourcer can concentrate on doing what they do best, while offering a fuller service to their own clients.

Points to remember

A couple of points to remember here:

  • Choosing a partner – word of mouth can be vital here.  Ask other small businesses what they do and who they use.  Have a look at the company’s references – I make sure I maintain a page of up to date references from users of all parts of my service, and whoever you look at using should have something similar to show you.  Make sure they’re up to date and, if possible, have some details like names and information on the work undertaken (I keep most of my clients’ surnames off my references page but can provide some more detailed testimonials if required).
  • Confidentiality – a reputable company will always keep your business confidential anyway.  I never mind signing a confidentiality agreement if that’s what makes my client feel more secure – and it’s a question worth asking when you’re selecting someone to outsource to.
  • Contracts – always make sure you have a signed terms and conditions document so you both know what to expect from one another.  I have a standard one I use with web designers, for example, and another standard one for people who are part of a particular franchise I work with a lot.  Just makes everything plain and simple for all to see.
  • Extending the service you’re getting – if the person you’re outsourcing to doesn’t seem to offer a service you’re interested in, just ask.  They’re likely to know someone they can recommend, or they might outsource it themselves! I work with some VAs offering additional services like writing and typing – so it’s worth asking your trusted company before going off and searching again.

In Part 2, we’ll look at how to work out if it’s financially worth outsourcing …

Libro offers copyediting, copy writing, proof-reading, transcription and typing services to other small businesses, individuals and corporations.  Click on the links to find out more!


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Virtual Assistant or Website Designer? I can help!

If you’re a busy Virtual Assistant (VA) you know that there are some jobs you need to give that personal touch … but others that are more routine and can be outsourced.  If you’re designing websites, often the design and functionality is your forté and you could outsource the copy writing, either because it frees up some of your time, or because it’s not your speciality.

I provide all sorts of services, from copy writing through to copyediting, proofreading, transcription and copy typing.  Here are some ideas for projects I could help you with.

For VAs:

  • I can take routine copy typing or audio typing off your hands
  • I can pick up overflow work when you’re really busy
  • Maybe you prefer not to work weekends but have a valued customer who needs a rush job completing – I work weekends and can let you know availability very quickly
  • I can help you offer services like copy writing or copyediting/proofreading which are outside your usual skillset, allowing you to offer an all-round service to your clients

For website designers:

  • I can write new copy for your clients, based on existing websites and marketing materials or from going through a questionnaire with them
  • I can polish ideas your clients already have into coherent and useful web content
  • I can proofread the final website (including checking links)
  • I can insert keywords into the web content in a natural way to help with the SEO

I don’t need to contact your clients direct; I’m happy to work through you.  And my standard agreement means there’s no worry about me “poaching” your customers – I’m more than happy to work with you long term to satisfy your clients’ needs.  You won’t be employing me, simply outsourcing some of your work; I’ll invoice you an agreed amount per hour and you can invoice your clients whatever you want to!

Talk to me today about outsourcing some of that routine work and getting on with the things that you do best, and that differentiate you from other VAs and web designers.

Have a look at what a copyeditor and proofreader does; see references from my satisfied clients.

Contact me via email or via my contact form.


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