Friday, April 12, 2013

Give your hobby the “pro” touch it deserves!

1 – A hobby that lasts

Many people have a passion for something, a favorite pastime, a hobby. When it comes to collecting and sharing, social media is becoming an important tool for any hobbyist. 

There are several options to choose from:
  • Social networks: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc.
  • Software: Photoshop, WordPress, blogs, vlogs, etc.
However, it takes time to get familiar with these platforms and programs. Let’s say your passion is cooking. In that case you most probably like to collect and share recipes. Keeping notes and pieces of paper in your grandma’s old cookbook may be charming, but it is certainly not the best way to organize your precious recipes. No one will be able to try any of your dishes if you store your recipes in a bookshelf. Sharing them online, other people can also benefit from them but there are some technical tasks to be mastered, which can be a bit time-consuming. This may seem like a lot of work to be invested and it could be the reason why many people never take their hobby to the next level.

2 – A professional touch where and when needed

A hobby should still be a hobby and not become a job. It is your passion and you should be able to enjoy it. At the same time, you need to invest some of your time to get everything organized in order to share it with likeminded people. The good news is that you can hire a specialist like Project SoKo to do this for you. Our virtual assistants at Project SoKo can take over these tasks and give your hobby a professional touch. 

Project SoKo can help you with:
  • The creation of various platforms to get your hobby organized, whether you prefer a blog, a website or brochures;
  • The maintenance of these platforms to keep your information up to date;
  • Sharing your hobby via social media according to your needs.

3 – Do it like a pro at minimal costs

A hobby should be a fun way to unwind when you are not working. Obviously you don’t want to spend a lot of money on the organizational part of it. 

Project SoKo has the ideal solution for you:
  • Our virtual assistants come at a low price;
  • The service will be adjusted to your personal needs;
  • Flexibility is one of our strongest points.
Give it a try! With our “pro” touch you might even turn your hobby into a business!

A passion for world cuisine

Sabien, 35yrs, is enjoying her career in a security company in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. But as much as she loves her job, she sometimes gets antsy to leave her busy work life and her cozy apartment behind to explore new countries and cultures. Next to travelling, her great passion is cooking and collecting recipes from every country she is visiting. 

Whenever she comes back from her adventures she usually invites her friends over to try out some delicious exotic dishes. Flooded with positive reactions, Sabien started to think that a lot more people might appreciate her carefully collected recipes. But how to share her love for food with the world?

It was during her latest cooking night that a friend introduces Sabien to Project SoKo, an international company based in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. She learns that Project SoKo can provide her with a virtual assistant to organize her recipes so she can share them with foodies everywhere. Her assistant will take care of everything, from creating her personal food blog to photoshopping her pictures and posting on Pinterest and other social networks to promote her newest entries.

Not only is she able keep her precious recipes in an organized way but Sabien can share them with likeminded people everywhere, who can interact with her and send her their most special recipes as well. After forwarding the pictures of her recent trip to her virtual assistant in order to update her blog, Sabien is happy doing what she loves – preparing another meal for her grateful friends sharing her passion for world cuisine.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Business Web Presence Support - Dynamic Project Management to take care of your online presence

Due to the increasing importance and the constant development of social media, it is essential to implement the right online marketing strategies. Building a successful image as a company and presenting yourself online in a professional way is important to attract new clients. You need to make sure you are on the right platforms and keep your presence consistent and frequent. But how to find the professional resources to create a successful online image? Is there any room for outsourcing? If so, can I afford it?

A Project Manager to build, grow and manage your online presence

To start off, it is crucial to define the goals you want to achieve and the scope of the various tasks to get there. How do you want to present yourself to potential clients? Which online communities do you need to be part of? In this dynamic, ever-evolving online world it is not easy to keep up with the latest developments in social media. What is hot today can be outdated tomorrow. 

After evaluating various platforms and selecting the most suitable online communities for your type of business, it is time to build a high quality profile and present yourself in a consistent manner. You need resources, a budget and good planning to successfully reach your target of building and maintaining a professional online presence. Who better to hire than an efficient Project Manager to take care of all these tasks?

Outsourcing Media Management

While creating and maintaining an online presence for your company is not a difficult task, it is quite time-consuming, especially if you are busy building up your own business like Sean, our Irish art graduate, getting his career started as a professional photographer. In order to free yourself for your core activities, Project SoKo can take care of certain tasks for you and create a professional Business Web Presence for you. You will present us with a clear definition of your marketing goals and your Virtual Project Assistant will implement an online media strategy tailored to your individual needs and expectations. You will maintain control throughout the whole process.

Ideas become reality

Once you have a clear idea of what you want, the Virtual Project Assistant will prepare a project plan tailored to your personal needs. The plan consists of various important components:

1. Requirements

You define your goals and provide your virtual assistant with the relevant material, ideas and instructions.

2. Resources

Your Virtual Project Assistant will select some resources according to your personal needs. You will have the final pick.

3. Budget

Based on all the information gathered he will set up a budget to cover all costs. 

4. Planning

Your Virtual Project Assistant will create a timeframe for everything to be set up. This will give you a great overview and help you to coordinate these tasks with other events like the opening of a shop or an exhibition in an art gallery.

Your Virtual Project Assistant will be there to follow-up on all processes, keep you informed and up-to-date and will be checking in with you to make sure all the work is being done according to your needs. After submitting the final results, he will take care of gathering all your feedback in order to implement everything before his final delivery. When it comes to pricing, we will keep the costs for building your online presence as low as possible taking your personal situation into account as well as the timeframe you provide us with. Our goal at Project SoKo is to keep your involvement in this process to a minimum so you can concentrate on other important tasks.

Maintain your online presence

Once you are online you want to keep publishing content so potential clients can find you easily. This sounds like a straightforward task but it also involves some planning in order to publish at the right moment and consistently throughout all your profiles. Your Virtual Project Assistant will take care of this. 

The successful management of an online presence is directly related to efficient Project Management. You want to present yourself and your company on all relevant platforms in the most professional way possible. Project SoKo is here to assist you to turn your creative ideas into reality at an affordable price.

A world-known photographer in the making

Sean H., 24yrs, is an art graduate from Dublin, Ireland. When he is not out snapping pictures, he usually plays football or meets up with his mates in their local pub annoying them with his colorful stories of travelling the world as a famous photographer. Waking up the next morning, however, his dream of making a living as an established photographer seems further away than ever. How is he going to accomplish his goal?

To become a renowned photographer Sean has to start somewhere. He needs to set up a professional online presence to show his work in order to attract new clients but he is struggling to do this next to the busy task of hunting for jobs and working on some small projects. One night before heading to the pub Sean browses the Internet and reads about Project SoKo, an international company based in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. He learns that he can hire a virtual Project Assistant to help him set up a professional portfolio.

Tailored to his personal needs and his limited budget as a recent graduate, Project SoKo presents Sean with their services. One of them being Business Web Presence Support. Sean will be able to communicate his ideas about his online marketing strategy and his personal virtual Associate will help him create and build his image as a photographer. According to Sean’s requests his assistant will set up his profile at various platforms and relevant online communities (e.g. Facebook, Flickr, etc.), where Sean can present himself and his work. He will make sure to have the relevant resources available to build Sean’s personal website and keep it updated at all times. By having all his material gathered and presented in a professional way, Sean is more likely to attract new big clients while maintaining full control over the entire process.

At one of Sean’s recent visits to his local pub he ordered a round of pints for his mates and told them about his newest career developments. Thanks to the opportunities presented to him by Project SoKo nothing will stop him now from embarking on an exciting journey in the field of professional photography. Good luck to you, Sean!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Outsourcing – how it works and why it will work for you

A company, whether it is a multinational corporation, a small to medium-sized organization or a freelancer, always has a core business it is built around. The core is its area of expertise. Outside of this area of expertise are numerous other tasks that have to be taken care of like accounting or even simple tasks like updating the agenda on a daily basis. Most companies, however, are not specifically experts in all of those tasks surrounding their core business. As a result of this, bottlenecks can occur. We are talking about time- and energy-consuming activities preventing the company from focusing on their main business area.

Smart time management

Managing time in a smart way is essential for any successful company. For a business it is important to understand all the elements of what needs to be done, how and when. As soon as this is clear, it can be easily decided what tasks need to be done in-house and what should better be delegated or outsourced. Outsourcing is a long-time investment and goes hand in hand with successful time management.

There are two different categories of tasks where it pays off in the long run to hire an expert. Firstly, there are small tasks in a company’s daily operation that do not require specific expertise. However, it takes a considerable amount of time to execute them. In Britt’s case, our translator from Denmark, these tasks comprise filling in invoices or updating her work calendar. Apart from those easy but very time-consuming tasks there are tasks that require special skills and knowledge like handling administration issues. While many companies try to take care of those tasks in-house in order to save money, they are spending a lot of time educating themselves about topics that will never generate any money. In the long run it will ultimately save the company money to hire an expert for those tasks in order to fully focus on business areas that do generate money. A virtual Project Assistant like Project SoKo can take care of tasks like these.

Let’s get technical

Every activity is the sum of various tasks and every task can be broken down into three components:
  1. The decision: what has to be done, how and when?
  2. The execution: performing the work
  3. The control: was it done properly and on time? Does it meet the quality requirements?
Britt, our Danish translator, has to take care of various tasks like:
  1. Create a full profile (website) to be reached by (potential) clients
  2. Check offers she receives (instructions, volume)
  3. Check and confirm schedules from customers
  4. Update her calendar and plan translations
  5. Translate texts
  6. QA her translation
  7. Send the translation back
  8. Create an invoice
  9. Check whether the invoice has been paid
Let’s have a look at the task of creating an invoice (no. 8) from Britt’s list of tasks as a translator. We can clearly define the different components of this task. The decision is to define what services to invoice, which invoice template to use as well as when to send the invoice and where to send it to. The execution part is to collect the data to fill in the invoicing template and the control is to cross check the data on the invoice in order to send it out.

Who is the expert?

Having defined each task and its component, it is to decide who is best to perform it. Britt for example, is the expert of task number 5, the actual translation of the text. She is the expert in performing decision, execution and control of this task. For other tasks like invoicing, however, Britt is not necessarily the best at performing it, e.g. she is a trained translator, not a project manager nor an administration assistant. Therefore tasks like invoicing or creating work schedules are likely to be more time-consuming and error-prone for her than for an expert in that field.

Outsourcing - the perfect solution

Delegating or outsourcing a task does not mean it is out of your hands. It means that you get time-consuming and unprofitable tasks out of your way. Even for tasks where you are not the expert you are still in charge of some of the components of it, e.g. you decide and control but the execution is not your field of expertise and will be performed by an expert. Delegation is a long-time investment. Many entrepreneurs think they have to do everything themselves to make sure it’s done right. It’s critical to learn to let go because in the long run good outsourcing choices will make you the expert of all your tasks and free you to focus on your core activities.

A - Be the expert

If you are not the best at performing a task, then you can find an expert to do it for you in order to become an expert of all your activities as a company. This is the concept of outsourcing. In Project SoKo Britt has found an expert for tasks like invoicing, gathering payment details from translators or updating work schedules. Easy but very efficient outsourcing solutions tailored to her individual needs that make sure she performs all of her tasks in the most efficient way.

B - Discuss your needs

The key to successful outsourcing is being absolutely clear about your expectations, needs and goals. The clearer the component decision is expressed, the better the execution will be and the faster the control can be done. Take the necessary time to instruct, teach and give clear feedback in order to expect the best results possible. Project SoKo allocates the execution to their Associates, who are experts in the domain, and train them according to the decision you define. As outsourcing experts with extensive experience Project SoKo will guide you and help with the professional and efficient design of the decision.

C - Save money and time

By outsourcing the above mentioned tasks you will not only notice the overall improved quality of your activity but the fact that you are saving money and time by not having to take care of the execution, which is usually the most time-consuming component of a task. The investment in a virtual Project Assistant like Project SoKo, who offers competitive rates and high levels of quality, is relatively small in comparison to the valuable and revenue-generating time you will be freeing up by outsourcing tasks that prevent you from growing as a business.

Big dreams of a translator

Britt C., 32 yrs, is a freelance translator based in Copenhagen, Denmark. She loves to walk her dog at night and spend her free time in the cozy coffee place across from her apartment. Sipping on a big Latte her thoughts often wander to the future. Although translating is her passion, she often dreams about developing a bigger business for herself, a translation agency.

Getting started as an agency, however, involves a variety of tasks. Britt will have to set up a professional profile including a website and business cards while continuing to build her client base and look for a team of qualified translators to work with. Administrative tasks like creating invoices or more technical tasks like updating Translation Memories need to be taken care of while keeping herself updated about the latest developments of the industry. As her translation projects are pouring in, she feels overwhelmed at times trying to stay on top of many different clients, schedules and deadlines lacking the time or energy to fulfill her dream and develop as an agency.

Not too long ago Britt learnt about Project SoKo, an international company based in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. After the first phone call with Project SoKo, Britt is introduced to important key factors like successful time management and outsourcing. As her virtual Project Assistant Project SoKo can provide Britt with some easy but very efficient outsourcing solutions for her small company, tailored to her individual needs. By executing time-consuming and unprofitable tasks for Britt like gathering payment details from translators or updating work schedules, she will be able to fully focus on translating and growing her own business offering high quality multilingual translation services.

The other day Britt met one of her fellow freelancers in her favorite café and gave him a valuable piece of advice: Be smart and outsource the tasks someone else can do more efficiently and in a more professional way. By working with Project SoKo, I do not have to pull all-nighters anymore trying to take care of time-consuming tasks. Eventually I will start to earn more money as an agency and I have more time on my hands to focus on my area of expertise!

Welcome to our Blog!

Project SoKo offers affordable online support in terms of administration, project management or any other tasks while you as a company are able to focus on your core business. Whether simple or complex tasks, one hour or 40 hours per week – we tailor our high quality services to your personal needs. Learn how to offload time-consuming, unprofitable tasks while maintaining control over all your business activities!
As a service-oriented company we would like to keep you updated about our innovative concepts like Smart Outsourcing, Business Web Presence Support or Easy Engineering Support. Each month you will be able to read a story connected to our services. Find out how we can also make a difference for you!
You will get to know Britt, a freelance translator based in Copenhagen, Denmark. You will learn about her big dream of expanding her business. Spending lazy weekends in her favorite little café, she is dreaming about becoming a translation agency. Smart Outsourcing will play a key role for Britt. Hiring an expert for energy-consuming tasks outside of her area of expertise is a long-time investment but it will allow Britt to manage her time in a smart and efficient way in order to focus on her core activities.
Stay tuned to take a closer look with us at the concepts of Project Soko and find out if Britt will be able to make her dreams come true with our help!