In the Spotlight: Candy Zulkosky

We like to occasionally feature some of the people who have completed the Professional Author and Speaker Training and Certification Programs. This week we’re shining the InstructionSmith spotlight on Candy Zulkosky.

Candy lives at the beach, on an island along the coast of North Carolina which is especially interesting considering she spent the first 30 or so years of her life living in the same small town tucked away in the mountains of Pennsylvania.

She ran away to sea for five years and taught computer classes to cruise ship passengers on the love boat! She lived for months at a time onboard Princess Cruise ships—and got paid to sail around the world. She notes this was arguably the best time of her life.

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What’s Your Style?

If you are writing a book, it is always a good idea to keep a running list of terms you use in a way that may be outside the dictionary norm.

If you are writing fiction you can keep a running list of the way you spell names of people, towns, streets, etc. That way you will always spell them the same way and maintain consistency. That becomes especially important if you are writing about a fictional world. (Can you imagine J.K. Rowling trying to keep track of all the details of Hogwarts as she was writing Harry Potter if she hadn’t kept notes?)

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In the Spotlight: Jennifer Holstad

Over the next few weeks we are going to be featuring some of the people who have completed the Professional Author and Speaker Training and Certification Programs.

This week we’re shining the InstructionSmith spotlight on Jennifer Holstad.

Jennifer has been married for 28-1/2 years, has a 23-year-old son, and a Golden Retriever named Autumn. She is an elementary school spelling bee champion and loves doing jigsaw puzzles, Sudoku, spending time with family and friends, playing board games, watching movies, reading, and watching stock car races.

Jennifer has been in business for 22 years and has been blessed to have such wonderful clients (authors, speakers, and business owners).

Jennifer is a graduate of both the Professional Author Assistant and Speaker Assistant courses, completing PAA in August 2010 and PSA in April 2013. Before taking these courses, she had already been in business for 15+ years and had already done some work with authors and speakers. She also has an AA degree in Computer Information Systems.

We asked her what interested her most about the courses. She shared with us that she knew there was more to be learned about helping authors and speakers. She was also attracted to the flexibility of being able to work through the material and complete the courses at her own pace and in a timeframe that best fit her schedule. What appeals to her still today is having lifetime access to the material and resources as well as support if she ever has any questions.

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In the Spotlight: Colleen Wietmarschen

Over the next few weeks, we are going to be featuring some of the people who have completed the Professional Author and Speaker Training and Certification Programs.

This week we’re shining the InstructionSmith spotlight on Colleen Wietmarschen.

Colleen was the first recipient of the Jan B. King Memorial Scholarship in 2015. The 2017 Scholarship is currently open for application. We have provided more information about the scholarship award program below.

Colleen is married to Steve, her husband of 33 years and has one son, Peter. Peter is the light of her life and now a partner in her business. She enjoys walking and doing Hydrofit water aerobics. In May she walked her second half marathon and completed a sprint triathlon when she turned 50.

Before starting her own business, 21 years ago, Colleen worked for attorneys where attention to detail was a necessity. She lists editing and proofreading among her passions, which came in handy when she owned a medical transcription company.

After being awarded the Jan B. King Memorial Scholarship, Colleen completed the Professional Author Assistant Course in October 2015.

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Working with Authors and Speakers – Rewarding and Profitable

I often talk to Virtual Assistants who are struggling to find clients. When starting a business one of the most pressing concerns is generating revenue. In an effort to fill their practice they try to be all things to all people. In many cases, after years of experience in administrative roles in the corporate world, they have many skills and experience that can be valuable to many different kinds of clients. Casting a wide net will surely yield the best results in finding clients – right? Actually, the answer is no.

When I first started my business as a Virtual Assistant I developed a list of things that I could do to help busy entrepreneurs. With over 25 years in a variety of different industries, the list was VERY long. I even created a brochure that listed them all! But what I found was that it only confused potential clients about how they might use my services. There is an old adage in the marketing world that says, “A confused mind says no.” I found that to be true and a disappointingly small percentage of the people I spoke to about using my services actually became clients.

I did manage to establish some ongoing client relationships and my business was underway. I pitched my services to many people in networking and in replying to requests for proposals through several VA groups. My rates were not very high (after all, I was desperate for clients) and when I spoke to potential clients I always felt like I had to compete on price. I found myself struggling to make a real profit in my business.

Read moreWorking with Authors and Speakers – Rewarding and Profitable