Category Archives: Uncategorized

My chosen charity – Mitrofanoff Support

I have decided to support a registered charity that is very close to my heart, called Mitrofanoff Support. Mitrofanoff is the name of a medical procedure designed in 1976 by French Professor Paul Mitrofanoff. The surgery is performed if patients are unable to empty their bladders in the usual manner due to a birth defect (such as spina bifida) or due to cancer where the bladder has had to be removed.

The operation process forms a channel between the bladder and the wall of the abdomen to allow intermittent self-catheterisation 4-6 times a day (this is where a catheter is inserted into the tummy button where the channel has been formed, or via a stoma site on the side of the tummy, to empty the bladder).

The mitrofanoff procedure

                      The mitrofanoff procedure

For a patient the mitrofanoff enables them to maintain dignity and means that there is no need to have an indwelling catheter or wear a stoma bag.

Mitrofanoff Support was founded in early 2010 by Kyla Rogers and was the first support group for the procedure globally. Kyla herself had the operation in 1998 and wanted to provide peer-to-peer support to others.

On 2nd February 2012 the charity became Registered in England and Wales (number 1145382) and provides much needed emotional support, reassurance, information and networking to its members. Mitrofanoff Support’s Board Members, Trustees, Advocates and Volunteers donate their time and skills to oversee the aims and objectives of the Charity. The charity also works with healthcare professionals and hospital trusts to help improve the education from a patient perspective.

I support the charity with their marketing and social media strategy and am very proud to be part of their team. We are always looking for businesses to support us as their charity of the year so if you can help please email marketing@mitrofanoffsupport.org.uk or if you’d like to make a one off or long term donation to help sustain the work of the charity then they’d be immensely grateful.

Read more about Mitrofanoff Support

 

YouTube will help market your business

7 YouTube tips for small businesses

YouTube Background

YouTube now has one billion users with 4 billion video views per day!  Everything seems to be moving towards creating great video content and this includes in the business industry. With these figures, small businesses should be looking at including YouTube in their marketing strategy to help promote their business and build relationships with their target audience. Video is a great way of showing the face behind ‘the brand’ and your personality, after all it’s you that makes your business unique!

My tips below will help get you started:

  1.  Personalise your account with your branding
    Setting up an account is easy and once you have done this make sure you personalise your Channel so that the description and cover picture match the branding across the rest of your social media.  Canva.com is a great tool to create graphics for this and already has a template to work with.
  2. Engage
    Engage with other users, look for other small business channels in your local area or within your industry to subscribe to and interact with.

    Make sure your cover details match the rest of your branding

    Make sure your cover details match the rest of your branding

  3. Make it easy for people to find you
    When naming your video think how someone might search for that topic in Google and try to include this in the title.
  4. Describe your video clearly
    Fill out the description box for each video so that it’s clear what the subject is and use tags so that your content can be found easily.
  5. Evaluate
    I always talk about how important it is to find out if your marketing is working.  YouTube has an insights tab for each video so that you can see how people found your video as well as how many views it received.

    Promote your channel in your newsletter and across other social media platforms.

    Promote your channel in your newsletter and across other social media platforms.

  6. Content ideas
    If you’re stuck for ideas on content then here are a few ideas: try giving tips and advice, show how to do or make something, upload a video testimonial from one of your clients, showcase your product or service, interview a team member or industry leader.
  7. Promote, promote!
    Don’t forget to promote your Channel across your other social media platforms and in your e-marketing.

My YouTube Channel has lots of free marketing and business advice so pop over and subscribe.

7 tips to make your presentation perfect!

A presentation is a great way to promote your business and gain authority in your industry.  You could speak at a local networking event or an industry seminar for example.  I’ve given hundreds of presentations over the years with audiences ranging from 10 to over 200 but I still get nervous beforehand.  For some people public speaking can be extremely nerve racking so my advice below will help give you a confidence boost and make that presentation perfect!

  1. It seems obvious but make sure you know your subject well.  You will not only feel confident but you will look and sound confident which will enhance the overall flow of your presentation.

    Know your subject inside out so you're confident.

    Know your subject inside out so you’re confident.

  2.  Practice!  Make sure you know the order of your slides (if you’re using them) and how much time your presentation will take.  Present to a friend or colleague to get their feedback.  Don’t forget to introduce yourself and your business briefly at the start – I’ve seen many people not do this and it’s a wasted opportunity.
  3. Speak clearly.  It’s so easy to mumble and quicken your speech when you’re nervous but try to relax and take your time. A great tip is to have a glass of water and take sips between your slides, this will help you stay calm.
  4. Arrive early at the venue so you can familiarise yourself with it and the equipment you will be using.  You also need to allow for time to set up any promotional items you’re taking along.
  5. Make eye contact with your audience, refer to your slides but look at your listeners to keep them engaged.  Try not read off your slides like a robot as this is a sure way to send your audience to sleep!

    Sip water to help you stay calm

    Sip water to help you stay calm

  6. Don’t be afraid to inject some of your personality into your presentation as it’s you that makes your business unique.
  7. Have a backup plan if something goes wrong such as your laptop or the projector crashing.  Leave plenty of time for any questions and hand out your business cards at the end.

If you have any tips for making your presentations stand out I’d love to hear them.

For more marketing tips and advice you can find Lighthouse Virtual Assistant on Twitter.

Seven top tips for media interviews

Media interviews may be a daunting thought but if you’re offered one it’s a fantastic way to promote your business and raise its profile.  Interviews vary from live to pre-recorded and can be adapted for many channels such as online, TV, radio, newspaper and magazine.

After fifteen years of experience in the PR industry I’ve given a fair few interviews so I’ve listed my seven top tips to help get you through:

  1. Make sure you do your background research.  Ask the journalist that’ll be interviewing you what angle they’re going for, if you can have a rough idea of the questions they’ll ask and if they are interviewing anyone else.
  2. If you’re giving a TV interview think carefully about what you’ll wear.  Don’t wear sunglasses and a huge floppy hat that covers half your face.  You want people to focus on what you’re saying not be distracted by your latest fashion accessory! It seems obvious to say but never chew gum – believe it or not I have seen it done and it looks awful.

    Don't hide under a floppy hat or sunglasses

    Don’t hide under a floppy hat or sunglasses

  3. Try not to use jargon when you’re talking.  You might be used to the industry references you use daily but the public may not so keep it simple.
  4. Consider your body language.  You might be nervous but try not to wave your arms about when you talk, rock on your heels or spin about on a squeaky chair!  All these things will distract from what you’re saying and make you look unprofessional.
  5. Radio interviews are a little easier as you can take some notes to refer to but don’t read word for word as it won’t seem natural.  Again the nerves might kick in but try not to tap the desk or your feet as the microphones are very strong and will pick up these sounds easily.  Even though the
    Do your background research so you look and sound professional

    Do your background research so you look and sound professional

    public can’t see you still make sure you dress professionally to present the right image of your business to the employees at the radio station.

  6. A journalist can print or air anything you say so choose your words very carefully especially if the topic you are discussing is controversial.  Once your comments are out there it’s very difficult to back track especially in the digital world of today.
  7. Once you’ve completed your interview make sure you ask for a copy for your records and so you can review it and improve in the future.

Good luck if you have an interview coming up.  Feel free to let me know how it went and if you’re feeling brave share it below!

For help with interview training you can contact me on  01303 647101 or email Rachel@lighthouseva.co.uk

 

 

Free half-hour consultation

If you’ve never worked with a virtual assistant before I offer a free half-hour consultation so we can discuss how I might be able to save your business time and money.  It doesn’t matter where you are located, we can still work together due to the virtual nature of my business.

A few examples of how I can help your business include:

  • Manage your social media with my stress-busting packages
  • Set up a MailChimp account, design a template and write copy for your emails/newsletters
  • Set you on the right track with your marketing with my ‘Can I Pick Your Marketing Brain?’ packages
  • Look after your books on a monthly basis so you can simply hand everything to your accountant 
  • Book client appointments
  • Manage your diary
  • Write press releases for that important milestone in your business such as a book launch, event, new product, new team member
  • Organise event

    This is not an exhaustive list and more can be found on my services page.  If you’d like to discuss how I might be able to help you then please fill in your details below and I’ll be in touch to book your free consultation.

The consultation can be face-to-face if you are within 5 miles of the Dover area (or if you’re happy to come to me) or via telephone or Skype. 

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Trial Lighthouse Virtual Assistant for FREE!

Trial LVA for the day!

Trial LVA for the day!

If you’re ready to save yourself some time and money then this trial is for you!

For many people working with a virtual assistant is a completely new concept and you may be a bit unsure how a VA can assist with reducing your daily workload and helping you save time and money.  With this in mind I am currently offering two hours of my time for FREE so that you can get an idea of the benefits I can provide for your business.

I specialise in PR and marketing so perhaps you’d like a press release written to promote your business or a newsletter template set up that you can email to all your clients?  I also provide an array of admin support so could carry out some word processing, create a professional invoice or set up a database to manage your client contact details or your budget.  See my full list of services to find other areas I can help you with and if you need something that’s not mentioned please do contact me as I may still be able to help you.

Feel free to find out a bit more about me before we work together or view my LinkedIn profile.

So if you’re ready to let me reduce your workload saving you both time and money just quote ‘Trial LVA for a day’ when you contact me and we’ll get cracking!  Terms and conditions do apply and these will be emailed to you.

Offer ends 31st January 2015.

Please don’t hesitate to contact me for a free no obligation chat on 07975 864093 or email rachel@lighthouseva.co.uk

 

 

Lunch with a Hero to raise funds for Ronald McDonald House Charities

Fancy a burger with Spiderman?

Fancy a burger with Spiderman?

This Saturday 25th October, at McDonalds, West Terrace, Folkestone, Kent  between 11am-3pm some very special heroes including Spiderman, Batman and a Princess will be visiting the town!

A fun day has been organised by local resident Hollie Weeks (with the help of Amazing Heroes and Emporium Parties) to raise money for the Ronald McDonald House Charities.

Children and their families are invited to come along dressed in their favourite hero outfits and enjoy a VIP lunch with their own hero. There will also be photo opportunities, face painting and a raffle.

Ronald McDonald House Charities is actually very close to my heart as we have stayed at the London based house many times when our son was receiving treatment at a nearby hospital.  The charity funds and builds houses close to or on site of hospitals allowing parents of sick children to stay for as long as is needed so that they can be close and stay together as a family at a particularly difficult time.  It really is a home from home and the charity has amazing volunteers that run the houses but also come in and cook meals for the resident families.

Organiser of the RMHC Lunch with a Hero event, Hollie Weeks adds: “I personally visited RMHC Brighton myself last year and the fundraising and hospitality of the staff there is admirable.”

Hollie and the team’s efforts to help raise money for this great cause are to be commended and I personally know how much of a difference it will make to families.  So please go along on Saturday and help support this amazing charity, I think it’s going be great fun!

More details about the event and Ronald McDonald House Charities.

 

The Brain Tumour Charity Fun Day

The Brain Tumour Charity Poster

If you are local to Kent get yourself down to Folkestone this Saturday 12th July and support the Children’s Party Mascots Family Fun Day in aid of The Brain Tumour Charity.

The event is being held on the green at The Master Brewer Pub (Perries Mead, Folkestone, Kent, CT19 5UD) from 10am-5pm where there will be something for all the family to enjoy including bouncy castles, character mascots, princesses, face painting, children’s hair and nails, music, sponsored waxing (ouch!), candy floss, raffle, tombola and music.  You can also grab yourself a bite to eat at The Master Brewer who do lovely food (speaking from experience!)

The fun day  is being hosted by local business Children’s Party Mascots who explain that the charity was chosen due to a close friend and local Folkestone girl Caroline Heywood sadly being diagnosed with a terminal brain tumour at the age of just 32.

All proceeds from the event will be donated to The Brain Tumour Charity.  If you are a local business and would like to donate any prizes for the raffle then please get in touch with Emma on 07565 215051 or via www.childrenspartymascots.com  In return your business will be promoted in any promotional literature and you will able to distribute any flyers/business cards on the event day.

Please share this information with all your friends and family so the community can pull together and help beat cancer.

More information about The Brain Tumour Charity can be found here.

After writing this blog and tweeting it I got a lovely reply (below) from The Brain Tumour Charity.  I attended the event myself and it was great to see so many turn out and support the cause.  I believe over £2,000 was raised!

A lovely response

A lovely response

 

 

A visit to the Kent 20/20 Vision Live Event

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Yesterday was a busy one here at Lighthouse Virtual Assistant as I attended the Kent 20/20 Vision Live event at the Kent County Showground in Detling.

This is a fantastic event where businesses have the opportunity to showcase their products and services whilst networking with other companies to help them prosper and grow.  This year the theme was ‘Innovate to Grow’ to recognise the key role innovation plays in a business.

There were just under 300 exhibitors at the event with speeches from Will Whitehorn, former Brand Director at Virgin Group and President of Virgin Galactic and Edward Perry, Co-Founder and CEO from the COOK chain who have reinvented the frozen ready meal market.

Workshops were also available throughout the day including Business Fire Safety from Kent Fire & Rescue and How to Become a True Social Business from Zoodikers Consulting Ltd.

If you’ve never been before it’s definitely worth it, the event is held annually and you can attend for free or pay to exhibit.  More information can be found here.

The event was extremely well organised and I know from previously exhibiting there that a lot of hard work goes into it, so congratulations to all involved.

Working with Lighthouse Virtual Assistant in seven easy steps

Lighthouse Virtual Assistant business cardsFor most people working with a virtual assistant is a new concept so for my blog this week I thought I’d run through how I work and how using my services can help your business.

A virtual assistant (VA) can come from a variety of business backgrounds with an area of expertise (mine is PR and marketing). For more details on my work background click here.

I work for charities, businesses or individuals to help reduce their daily workload and use a range of methods to achieve this including email, Skype, phone and the internet.

The advantage of working with Lighthouse Virtual Assistant is that you do not need to provide me with any office space or equipment as I work remotely from my own office and you will only pay for the work that I actually carry out. I also use an hours tracker which provides a detailed report of the hours worked and can be emailed directly to you.  My independent contractual status also means you do not have the responsibility of providing me with employee taxes, benefits or insurance.


Once you have decided that working with me is the way forward then the following steps can take place:

  1. If you know precisely which of my services you can utilise you’re more than welcome to send me an email with your requirements
  2. If you need some guidance to identify how I can help free up some of your time I am happy to have an informal chat on the phone
  3. Once we’ve established your requirements I will send you a quote summarising the work required and the cost to carry it out
  4. If you’re happy with the quote I will send you my contract along with my Terms and Conditions which must be signed by both parties
  5. Once the work is carried out to your requirements I will return it to you as agreed in the contract (email, courier, post etc.)
  6. I never take on any work that is outside my area of expertise (I have lots of contacts that may be able to help you if I can’t) or that I feel I cannot complete in the requested time-scale
  7. All new clients receive a 10% discount

If you are ready to lighten your workload by utilising Lighthouse Virtual Assistant and get back to focusing on your core business then please don’t hesitate to contact me via the website, email rachel@lighthouseva.co.uk or phone 07794 358497.