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.

Read moreIn the Spotlight: Colleen Wietmarschen

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

Indie Publishing Quality Standards

I recently attended the Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA) annual conference, PubU, in Portland. IBPA serves the independent publishing community through advocacy, education, and tools for success. With over 3,100 members, IBPA is the largest publishing association in the U.S. and their annual conference has become one of my must-attend events of the year.

IBPA has long been a champion of independent publishers, both big and small. Changes in the publishing industry in recent years have created enormous opportunities, but that’s come at the cost of a deepening divide between how traditionally published and self-published authors are treated.

“Too often, IBPA has noticed a bias against self-published authors, independent publishers, and hybrid presses when it comes to choosing titles or authors for review consideration, book award contests, association memberships, and inclusion on independent bookstore shelves,” said Angela Bole, CEO of IBPA.

Read moreIndie Publishing Quality Standards

The 5 Most Debilitating Thoughts of a Self-Sabotaging Entrepreneur

We often talk about the many things that help build a successful business. At the same time you are doing the positive work to build your business you may be indulging in self-sabotage. Recognizing and eliminating your own self-sabotaging behaviors will not only make it easier to be successful in your business it is key to living a happy life in balance with your business goals.

There are lots of things entrepreneurs do to get in the way of their own success. These are five of the most debilitating:

  1. Negative mindset
  2. Lack of self-confidence
  3. Doubt
  4. Jealousy
  5. Fear of failure

Self-sabotage is when we say we want something and then go about making sure it doesn’t happen” — Alyce P. Cornyn-Selby

Has this ever happened to you? You’re thinking or wishing something would happen and then, BOOM! It happens?

Read moreThe 5 Most Debilitating Thoughts of a Self-Sabotaging Entrepreneur

Leading Opportunities for the Virtual Assistant as a Professional Author’s Assistant

Author’s assistants have been around for hundreds of years. But today being an author’s assistant has taken on new meaning and relevance with the increasing numbers of authors and the rise of self-publishing.

The self-publishing revolution made possible by Amazon.com and print on-demand (POD) technology has made it possible for writers, speakers and subject matter experts realize their dreams of being published—but they need help to do it in a professional way.

Author assistants have the privilege of knowing that they are vital to the important creative and artistic work of the literary world. Believe me, there is nothing more exciting and fulfilling than seeing a book you helped create sitting on a bookstore shelf or for sale on Amazon and available to the whole world! It is extremely satisfying to know that you were a big part of making it happen and getting it there.

Read moreLeading Opportunities for the Virtual Assistant as a Professional Author’s Assistant