IMG_7266Have you ever wondered how gift giving affects your clients? The benefits of giving business or corporate gifts are plentiful. These days, giving gifts as Entrepreneurs, REALTORS and Small Business owners to clients are no longer seen as “nice to” but rather as a business imperative. Gifts help businesses to create goodwill, strengthen relationships, enhance your company’s image and create an emotional connection and positive perception of your brand.

Here are a few dos and don’ts for gift giving for the holiday season or any time of the year. There is a distinction between promotional gifts and corporate gifts. Both are valuable marketing tools for specific purposes in business. Promotional items are typically branded items of a lower cost, used as giveaways in large quantities as an extension of advertising efforts. Corporate gifts, on the other hand, are typically higher value items which are given with the intention of showing gratitude and strengthening relationships. They increase brand loyalty and encourage recipients to interact favourably with your brand.

IMG_7273If you are giving a gift to an existing or potential client, do find out what their company’s gifting policy is first. Banks, auditing firms and multi-national companies have strict rules around gifting. Feel free to ask your client upfront if they have a “No Gifting” policy, then at least your client will know that the thought was there. They will probably give you suggestions on what are acceptable ways to show your appreciation. Don’t go overboard with lavish or intimate gifts.

Your heart might be in the right place, but a gift that is excessive or a little too personal can make your recipient feel uncomfortable. Avoid outlandish gifts like jewellery. Try to stick to gift baskets, chocolate and sweets, coffee or wine and their accessories if in doubt. Don’t guess how to spell your recipient’s name. Getting their name wrong on a gift is a no-no. Instead of having warm, fuzzy feelings, your recipient will feel embarrassed or think that you are careless. That’s the opposite of what you are going for. Finally, do have your gift professionally wrapped. Great presentation increases the excitement of receiving a gift. Professional gift-wrapping also adds to your message of how much you value your recipient.

Don’t be shy to add a personal note and a gift card too!

Donna Hartrick,
My Shopping Diva


No matter what industry you’re in, there’s a good chance that you have a big to-do-list and are constantly trying to figure out how to get more done in less time.

The truth is, we all have the same amount of hours each day. So how do ultra-successful people manage a business, keep up with personal development, family, friends and fitness, without being overwhelmed and stressed?

After researching and modelling numerous success stories, we’ve come up with the most common traits of the most productive and highly successful business people.

1. Morning Rituals

Starting your day off with a consistent morning ritual gets you into a positive state. Getting up early to work-out, go for a run, stretch, meditate, or listen to inspirational music or podcasts is the foundation for a productive day. Starting your day off by dedicating yourself to your body and mind is a winning game!

2. Get Crystal Clear

Millionaires have a crystal clear vision of their goals and values.

They rarely get sidetracked by distractions and know when to say NO to things that aren’t in alignment with their life and business goals.

Time Management

3. Break down your Big Goals 

Breaking down your big goals into small tasks daily is the secret to achieving anything you want. 

You need to know exactly why you’re working towards that goal and what the outcome will be like. Then reverse engineer your goal with an achievement date in mind.

4. Knowing the Best Kept Secret to Productivity 

Leverage your time.

Instead of getting bogged down with mundane tasks and stifling the growth of your business, a virtual assistant can help you get more accomplished by helping you with your marketing strategies, completing your day-to-day tasks, advertising campaigns, designing creative assets, and coaching you to stay on track with your big goals, while working with your office hours and schedule. It’s a win-win for any growing business!

Hiring a virtual assistant is a great way to test-drive support staff and identify people who can become key players for your business.

There is no better time than now to get started.

Reply to this email or click here to find out how we can help!

Hiring a VA lets you focus on the things that matter most—growing your business, spending time with your family, or just giving yourself a few more moments to catch your breath. We look forward to hearing from you today! Contact us here. 

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So, you have considered hiring a Virtual Assistant, otherwise known as a VA?  Maybe you’ve even hired one, and now what?

How does it all work?

Here are 6 steps to a successful partnership with a Virtual Assistant.


Most professional Virtual Assistants offer contracted services to their Clients. A contract is a necessary requirement for most, as it protects not only the interest of you as the Client but also the Virtual Assistant. Be sure to carefully read your contracts and don’t be afraid to ask questions if needed.

Documented Processes

It will be easier to delegate projects and/or tasks if you have clear processes for repetitive tasks outlined. This will reduce the margin for error by letting your VA know exactly how you carry out processes within your business. Once you and your VA are up and running together then you can hand over updating and creating procedures to them. An easy place to keep processes for everyone to access is in programs like One Note or Evernote. These programs allow you to create chapters, sections etc. and that makes it easier to keep things current.


Be crystal clear on your needs and your wants. Decide right off the bat what the best form of communication is for you both. Some VA’s prefer tasks to be added directly to project management software like Trello or Asana. Other’s preferring to receive instructions via email. You as the Client may prefer a phone call, email or even text messages. Whatever the form of communication, be sure to set out expectations.


Further to documenting your processes be sure to provide clear and detailed instructions. Although most VA’s would love to add mind reader to their resume alas it is not an ability we yet possess! If you are not sure how to communicate via writing then be sure to call your VA directly, or do a little walkthrough video. Find a way to give clear instructions in a way that is easiest for you.

Use Technology

There are so many fantastic programs out there that make working remotely and with a virtual team easy. Here are some of the most common ones out there (most of them free):

  • Last Pass – Allows users to store and share access to programs, information etc. in a safe and secure manner without sharing your usernames and passwords.
  • Asana – Project management program that allows you to set up teams, projects, delegate work, communicate, set deadlines and more.
  • T-Sheets – Allows VA’s to track their time by the minute for accurate and honest billing.
  • Screen-Cast-O-Matic – Create videos, presentations, capture your screen as you work to provide a video operation manual. So many great features!
  • One Note or Evernote – use these for online manuals, policy and procedures, store your blog topics and mark them done, create checklists and more.

Hire the Right VA for your Business/Needs

It seems like that is a no-brainer, right? What a lot of people don’t realize is that most VA’s will have a couple of niche areas that they specialize in. For instance, some are designers/creative VA’s, others might specialize in certain fields like real estate, law or medicine. Depending on what you need you may hire multiple VA’s who can work together to get your business where you want it to be!

Ready to get your business organized, free up your time and get new projects started?

Contact us today to find out how we can help get your business to the next level!

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Social Media is always changing, evolving and it can be difficult to keep up. We are often asked how and when to use hashtags. We have put together some information on do’s and don’t’s, banned hashtags to avoid and when and how to use hashtags based on each social platform.




  • Make your hashtags too long, people will not want to type them and won’t find you
  • Use banned hashtags (see below for more information on this)
  • Have more hashtags than content
  • Follow for Follow (just because someone follows you does not mean you should)
  • Use hashtags on Facebook (See below for more information on this, or download our cheat sheet)
  • Use irrelevant hashtags on Instagram your account could be flagged as a spammer.


For instance, when posting at Thanksgiving a banned hashtag we were unaware of caused it to be blocked. Who knew #happythanksgiving was the culprit, chances are it is one of the new temporarily banned hashtags much like #dogsofinstagram. Time will tell. Here is a list of just a few of many partially banned hashtags:

















I am sure you can understand that many banned hashtags are because they can or have been associated with the inappropriate content.



  • Tweets with one or more hashtags are 55% more likely to be retweeted
  • Tweets with 1 or 2 hashtags have a 21% higher engagement than those with 3 or more
  • Tweets that use more than 2 show a 17% drop in engagement



  • Facebook posts without a hashtag fare better than those with a hashtag.
  • Posts with more than 2 hashtags dropped by 70% from those with 1-2 hashtags


  • Hashtags are now allowed on Pinterest just like any other social platform
  • Pinterest recommends no more than 20 hashtags
  • Note that only 4-5 are visible in the preview.


  • Google+ has no official hashtag limit, but it is suggested to use no more than 5
  • Use the explore tab to search hashtags
  • Use 3 or 4 of the hashtags you find through the explore tab and copy to your post


  • The more tags you add, the less relevant they become.
  • Don’t use more any more than you need.
  • YouTube will remove your video if you use over 15.


Free Hashtag Cheat Sheet Download

Photo by Jason Rosewell on Unsplash



Reactive behaviour is when you respond because of a situation instead of internal motivation. You wait until there is a need and then quickly move to execute or remedy the issue. Proactive behaviour is action and result oriented in nature, this means acting to plan, foresee and implement preventative or counter measures should an issue arise.  These are people who set goals, time block and typically remain cool and collected under pressure.


Living in a constant reactive state can erode your business in a multitude of ways such as business relationships, client retention, sales and more. Being in a reactive state often causes people always to wonder where their day went and why did they get so little done, deadlines missed, work was done at the last minute, deliverables slip through the cracks. You are not only letting yourself down by adding unnecessary stress to your life, but you are also most likely letting support staff, assistants, business colleagues, etc. down by causing undue stress in their lives.


Proactive people typically are goal oriented; they have it planned and broken down into manageable bites, rarely will you find them drowning and scrambling to meet deadlines. Under pressure, a proactive person will already be organized, structured and have developed a game plan. They will rely on others, ensuring they have all that is needed to meet the deadline. Proactive people are communicators; they take time to explain and to listen.

Here is a chart of traits to help simplify:

Always looking for change Afraid of change
Sets effective goals No goals, fly by the seat of their pants
Anticipates and prevents problems Always putting out fires
Constantly looking for ways to better themselves and their business Thinks they know everything
Takes action Waits to be rescued
Perseverance Victim
Achieves results Always wondering what is next

Being proactive all the time is not possible, we have all been reactive at some point. You may have a little of column A and a little of column B depending on the day. Reactivity can be based on beliefs and past experiences, these are not concrete, and you can change. The key is to find balance. Find people or systems, trains of thought, that can help to switch you from reactive to proactive slowly. Think about how much energy you are spending on stressing over remembering to do things, getting frustrated with yourself when you forget or miss deadlines.


Here is a list of ways you can get organized and streamline your business and thought process:

  1. Set Goals (Personal and Business)
  2. Break down your goals into actionable items – minimum of three per goal
  3. Time block and STICK TO IT
  4. Set boundaries such as “I am only going to go to two networking events a month,” or “I am going too only take personal appointments after hours.”
  5. Develop a marketing plan for the year, so you know what to have ready
  6. Create or write out processes that need a checklist or some way of helping you stay on track, maybe use project management software
  7. Make processes work not only for your clients but you
  8. Get an accountability partner or business coach
  9. Note your weak spots and hire someone who can support and strengthen them for you
  10. Follow through always
  11. Stop and think before you react
  12. Use a tool such as a journal to plan and train yourself and your mind. (I use the BEST SELF Journal it is fantastic!)
  13. Let go ?

Small steps, achievable actions, intentional thoughts, mindfulness, and reflection, are just some of the ways you can start moving toward a more balanced, stable and flourishing business.