15 Years!



Wow that went fast!!! February 2015 marks the 15th anniversary of my being in business as Executive Stress Office Support! What began as a way for me to remain at home with my then baby daughter, and continue to contribute to the household income, has blossomed into a very busy virtual assistant (VA) practice serving clients across Australia and around the world!

We’ve survived a GFC and two recessions and we’re still going strong! It couldn’t have been done however without the support of clients who have continued to refer our services and have stuck with us throughout this time. So thank you to them, for helping us reach this milestone!

If you’re thinking of starting a VA practice, be sure to check out The Virtual Business Show – my podcast which shares business tips. Some of the earlier shows share my 5 main tips for starting a VA practice!

© Lyn Prowse-Bishop – www.execstress.com

Employees and Entrepreneurs Have Personality Differences


This article appeared in Business Insider recently – the original is a bit hard to read so I’ve copied and pasted it below with a link to the original.

Scientists Have Discovered a Personality Difference Between Entrepreneurs and Employees

Around 13% of Americans are starting or running their own companies.

Almost everyone else is an employee.

We may have found out the difference between the two types.

According to a 2013 Swiss-German study, the difference lies in disposition: While an employee is a specialist, an entrepreneur is a jack-of-all-trades.

“Entrepreneurs differ from employees in that they must be sufficiently well versed in a whole set of entrepreneurial skills,” write Uschi Backes-Gellner of the University of Zurich in Switzerland and Petra Moog of the University of Siegen in Germany.

On the other hand, they say that employees are “specialists who work for others and whose talents are combined with those of other specialists (employees) by the entrepreneurs.”

In their study, Backes-Gellner and Moog analysed survey data from 2000 German college students. Their analysis showed that people with a broader portfolio of experiences were more likely to have a “disposition toward entrepreneurship.” Qualities that predicted against entrepreneurship included a desire for job or income security, as well as, perhaps surprisingly, having an apprenticeship or internship — since those lead to specialisation.

Their study built on a decade’s worth of research.

The “jack of all trades” theory first came from Stanford University economist Edward P. Lazear, whose studies of Stanford MBAs show that students who take a broad range of classes and a wider range of jobs are more likely to become entrepreneurs. A follow-up German study replicated those results.

Backes-Gellner and Moog expanded on that finding by taking in social networks. Their research suggested that entrepreneurs don’t just have a diverse set of skills, but they also have a diverse network of relationships — friends, parents, and business contacts that they can call on when launching a business. Findings in network science show that having such a diverse social network is hugely beneficial at a creative level, too, since the more perspectives you’re exposed to, the more refined your ideas become.

So it’s a double-diversity that leads to entrepreneurship: lots of experiences, lots of contacts.

“It is the jacks-of-all-trades across a whole portfolio of individual resources and not the masters-of-one who are likely to become entrepreneurs,” Backes-Gellner and Moog write. “The mere social butterflies or the mere computer nerds are not likely to become entrepreneurs because they are both too imbalanced and thereby less likely to be successful as entrepreneurs.”

The research confirms a lot of folk wisdom about what makes founders function. None other than Steve Jobs used to say that creative people have a more diverse “bag of experiences” than everybody else. In a 1982 speech, the Apple founder told his audience that “if you’re gonna make connections which are innovative … you have to not have the same bag of experiences as everyone else does.”

(original article here)

Employee or VA?


Just a reminder: If you are setting your assistant’s rate or dictating their hours and manner of work completion, they aren’t a VA – they’re a teleworker or home-based employee.

One defining feature of a VA is that they are SELF-EMPLOYED. That means – among other things – they:

  • set their rates
  • set their hours of work
  • determine the method of work completion
  • can work for others
  • have an ABN
  • provide their own equipment and office space

- they are for all intents and purposes independent of you.

If you employ someone to assist you but ask them to get an ABN, control their work flow and work performance, dictate what you’ll pay them, or prevent them from working for others, yet ask them to invoice you for work performed, you could be breaking the law. Use the ATO’s Employee/Contractor decision tool to help you work it out. You can find it here!

For a handy definition of what a Virtual Assistant is:

“A VA is a business owner – a highly-skilled, independent professional entrepreneur who provides remote administrative, technical and/or creative business support services to clients locally, nationally or globally.”

You can also read our article on what a VA really is!

©Lyn Prowse-Bishop – www.execstress.com

CloudOn App to be Discontinued


The people at CloudOn recently notified registered users that they are discontinuing the service from 15 March, 2015 and no new accounts are currently being accepted.


The app was launched three years ago and in the intervening period has become one of the most successful productivity apps in the App store, according to the developers.

They are now joining the Dropbox team and you can read the announcement here.

Registered users are being offered an extra 1GB of Dropbox storage for free or the opportunity to upgrade to Dropbox Pro for three months for free and get 1TB of space. If you’ve previously registered with CloudOn be sure to check your inbox (or junk mail in case you missed the email) to take advantage of the offer!

Extended Warranties and Returning Goods


It’s holiday season – a time for gift giving and Boxing Day Sales! But do you know your rights when it comes to warranties or returning goods? Regular readers will recall the article I wrote on the consumer guarantee laws (see here).

Here are a couple of great videos from the team at The Checkout well worth a look to get a better understanding of your rights when it comes to returning goods and extended warranties!

Returning Goods

Extended Warranties