Personally Virtual Blog

19th January, 2018

The majority of people I know adore learning, and soak up new information like over-enthusiastic sponges at every given opportunity, poring over books and podcasts, signing up for obscure lectures and classes, and visiting museums with much enthusiasm to look at dusty artefacts in glass cases.  Other people claim to hate it, reminded too much of school days and reciting irrelevant facts and figures that are of little use in real life (for example, the highly useful German phrase “gemischte gesamtschule” meaning “mixed comprehensive school”).

Learning doesn’t have to be in a traditional classroom setting anymore, with full time, long term courses carried out over a number of months or years.  In today’s digital age, more and more academic institutions and professional bodies are making learning accessible on the go via distance or online learning courses, eBooks and podcasts.

If you want to learn a new skill, but feel as though you are time poor already and can’t justify dedicating a few hours a week to sit down and access written learning material, why not consider listening to educational material on a topic of your choice whilst you are carrying out another activity? Need to walk the dog? Half an hour listening to an Audible audiobook (there are over 200,000 titles available – see the website: ) could help you use your time more productively, meaning that you are learning about a new subject without having to make additional time available in your busy schedule.

Business related Podcasts are another great way to keep up to date with the latest developments in your field without having to take extra time out of your working day; listening to a podcast whilst driving, cleaning or walking can help to boost your working efficiency during periods when you might have felt that time was otherwise ‘wasted’ doing practical (read: essential) activities that you wouldn’t be able to charge a customer for!  If you need a little help finding a business related podcast, why not start by taking a look at a list of recommended podcasts compiled by Forbes – you can find it here:

Just because you don’t have a spare year available to sign up for a full-time course right now, it doesn’t mean that learning has to be put on hold.  Self-development and education – both for professional skills and personal satisfaction – can easily be shoe-horned into the tiniest of available spaces.  And the great thing is, with so much choice out there, you don’t have to learn pointless facts and useless statistics unless you really want too.

I’m just going to leave you with one more German thought for the day.

Der Krankenwagen ist kaput. The Ambulance is broken.

Happy Learning!

26th November, 2017

As you may have guessed, things are pretty busy at the North Pole at this time of year.  From November onwards, Santa’s diary is rammed with personal appearances and I’m left to single-handedly manage the day-to-day running of the toy workshop in the jolly man’s absence whilst the elves focus on the all-important toy manufacturing process and general reindeer welfare duties.

Don’t get me wrong, things have improved vastly since I started 5 years ago.  For a start, we’ve put the ‘naughty and nice’ list into a new CRM – a move away from the traditional parchment rolls (which took up loads of archive space and were a massive fire hazard).  It was a huge undertaking, but has saved us so much time and paper and really helps if we ever need to locate a child and review their gift history and property details quickly and simply (i.e. does the house have a chimney entrance or is a front door master key required? etc.).

So, what am I up to at the moment whilst Father Christmas is out of town on site visits? My primary concern is his travel and accommodation; As the reindeer are still North Pole-based and following a strict nutrition plan and exercise regime to ensure that they are in peak physical condition for December 24th, we’re having to rely on more mainstream travel methods like Rail and Uber.  Unfortunately, as you well know, these forms of transport are subject to occasional delays and cancellations, so I’ve always got Santa’s travel itinerary up on my computer with live tracking enabled so that I can keep event organisers aware of his ETA.  We’re also trialling a new app that photographs receipts for food, accommodation, etc. that Santa has put on the business credit card too, to try and get ahead of the game a little for his 2017/18 tax return.  To be honest, anything we can do now to save some time in 2018 is going to be very warmly received as we, like you, have to get to grips with GDPR early next year.  Thankfully, some of the elves have been undertaking some GDPR courses too so that we can all work together to ensure compliance.

Thankfully, I’ve got a week off from the 25th December, so I do have something to look forward to despite the long days and heavy workload.  3 of the elves and I have decided to fly to Sydney for a new year in the sunshine, which I am absolutely thrilled about! I mean, I love snow – who doesn’t? But it is SO hard to type with thermal gloves on!

Anyway, better get back to work, we’ve got another load of post due at any moment that I’ve got to scan into the CRM and respond to, such fun!

Merry Christmas everyone!

26th November, 2017

As the festive holidays approach, how is business for you? After a long and hectic year, it’s understandable that energy levels and efficient and productive working habits can wane, but if you can keep the momentum going for even just a few more days, 2018 could definitely start on a positive footing for you! Let me explain…

I have the pleasure of knowing a gentleman from a networking event who has developed an idea he refers to as ‘The Leverton Fast Start’.  This phrase calls for an individual, team or business to make December all about getting a good start to January on the basis that starting a new (or financial) year in a good way, is likely to motivate and energise you for the rest of the year. 

December is a challenging month for many B2B businesses as companies wind down, go off on jollies and generally lose interest in buying anything other than mince pies. In the meantime, most companies have targets to hit by the end of the year, making December a frantic month to try and sell at the same time as no one is really interested in buying! In your year plan, mentally write December off for new business conversations and instead, make your December focus all about getting meetings in for the New Year.

As you know, returning to work in January after a week or so off isn’t always an incredibly exciting and productive affair.  For a start, many of us have probably consumed our weight in mince pies, sausages wrapped in bacon and ‘Christmas tipples’, not to mention eating turkey in every conceivable form. January also isn’t traditionally associated with tropical weather that has you bursting out of bed every morning and throwing the windows open to greet the sunshine.  In fact, January can be a bit of an anti-climax, making it difficult to get back in ‘the zone’ when it comes to work.  However, if your diary is already full of meetings, it definitely is slightly easier to get back on the horse! Having definite events to focus on and plan for can help to motivate you, and help you to hit 2018 running and work coming in the door. For those who decide to temporarily put off scheduling appointments and events until after the festive season, the start to 2018 can definitely be a lot slower; clients and contacts may still be on leave until the middle of January, and you could find that your diary only starts filling up from February onwards.  That makes January a looooooooong month with potentially few new conversations.

So, if you are tempted to slow down this December, why not try and keep pushing through for a little bit longer so that you can start January ahead of the game? We’re definitely embracing the ‘Leverton Fast Start’ here at Personally Virtual, and are looking forward to leaping into January with fireworks, bells and whistles and as much excitement and momentum as we can muster – wish us luck!

26th November, 2017

Success (noun) ‘The accomplishment of an aim or purpose’ or ‘The attainment of fame, wealth, or social status’

People have very different interpretations of success.  For some, success is judged by the perfection of eyebrow make-up and the ability to look flawless in Instagram selfies.  For others, success is judged by how many lives have been positively affected by the actions of an individual.  It could relate to how much money you have made, the car you drive, or the house you live in, or it could be down to the fact that you have the time and funds available to complete personal goals (like climbing a mountain, running a marathon, or travelling the world).  Perhaps you’ve won a competition, spoken at a large event or had some of your work recognised by an industry leader… Success is a very personal and therefore subjective idea, making it hard to measure.  However, if you’re in business and looking to develop the company in 2018 (either via funding or through expansion, or in terms of your own marketing), you need to be able to quantify what you have done, and what you think is achievable in 2018 (and beyond) so that people are willing to invest their time, energy and effort in you and your business.

So how can you measure the success of your business? If you are looking for investment, potential investors are likely to want to see evidence of your financial success.  Has your revenue grown over the last few years? Have you reduced expenses in order to streamline your processes? What are your (realistic!) predictions when it comes to turnover in 2018? What impact would an extra pair of hands or funding have on this turnover? These are all figures that could be used to demonstrate the financial success of your business

Another way to quantify success is to ask ‘How many businesses have I helped?’.  If you ask for a review or testimonial from each client, and collate these on your website or on Social Media platforms (i.e. your Facebook or Google My Business page), potential new clients or collaborators are likely to share your understanding of your business as a successful one due to the notion of ‘social influence’ – where a person’s opinions and beliefs are impacted by the perceived opinions and beliefs of others.  In this case, an individual who perhaps has limited knowledge or understanding of your business is encouraged to think more positively about it due to the positive first-hand experiences expressed by others.

One of the most important things to consider when it comes to measuring success is a very personal one, and requires that you ask yourself the question: ‘How successful am I?’ As success is such a subjective issue, reviewing the criteria that you put in place when you judge a person or a business as ‘successful’ will help you to determine the characteristics and achievements that will make you feel successful, if you don’t feel it already!  Is it recognition you are looking for to help you feel successful? Why not consider applying for some industry awards, or completing some relevant courses that could help you to promote your skills and experience? If you consider success as being ‘well-known’ in your industry, perhaps it is time to start investing in increased Marketing and PR and promoting yourself as a knowledgeable and trusted industry leader?

Regardless of your turnover this year, or the number of followers you’ve got on Social Media, or how many awards you have won, the Personally Virtual Team really hope that you have had a successful 2017 and that you have an even better 2018!

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