September 2014 | Volume 15 Issue 9


Kathy Colaiacovo, President

Kathy Colaiacovo

This issue we are talking about Stress… and ways to overcome and manage stress so you enjoy life, enjoy business, enjoy family and friends and most importantly, enjoy YOU!

You – the one person who most often gets left out of the equation when you are a busy entrepreneur, especially when working from home. We all tend to prioritize everyone but ourselves… and this really is a mistake.

Making yourself a priority is not a bad thing, it's not saying you don't care about others – it is a statement really on how much you value yourself. It's hard to take care of others and business when YOU are not at your best. So as the kids head back to school and the seasons change this month … why not make yourself a priority item on your to-do list?

Here are a few tips to do this:

Get a Hobby.

No matter what it is, make sure it is something you enjoy and that it is an escape from the day-to-day running of your life.


This is something we all need – whether we like it or not – especially since the majority of us spend our days at a computer or sitting. And exercise is not only a main contributor to our overall mental and physical wellbeing – it helps de-stress you as well. I walk my dog two times a day and hit my local Curves 3 times a week. I also try adding in longer and faster walks with my husband a few times a week. (that one is an attempt to make date night and exercise time work together!) Anytime you can spend being active is time well spent. Even running around playing with your kids. Just Get Active!

People Contact.

Making sure you get out of your office and do things with other people (face to face) is another big de-stressor. The human contact is something we can all use, don't let your office keep you a prisoner. Make time to connect with friends, family or even attend in-person networking groups. It is best to do some of this in person – but online is another option (We have great fun at the IVAA coffee chats every week!), as long as you also make certain to get of your chair/office/house to meet people in person as well.


Whether you are a night owl or a morning person – you still need your beauty sleep to function at your best. Know when you can make the most of your sleep time – and get enough in to matter. The experts say at least 7 hours… set a goal and try to achieve that if you have been slack at sleep.

These are my top tips on how to reduce stress in our busy lives. Enjoy the other tips and articles in today's issue to help you do the same. Believe it or not, the less stressed you are the more you are able to bring into your life, and that will mean more success in life and business.

Read on for more Best Advice and Learn!

Kathy Colaiacovo,
IVAA President

Reducing Stress in your Business
By Christine Bearse

Christine Bearse

When I thought about starting my own business I underestimated the amount of stress I would encounter. Over the past few years I have been able to identify some sources of stress that could be overcome. These are some low hanging fruit that I suggest you consider if you are feeling symptoms of overwhelm during your busy day.

Keep operating expenses low, try to avoid the shiny new object syndrome. Everyday a new software solution is invented and marketed. Of course the job of those companies is to make their product sound like it is going to solve all your problems. In my early years I spent more money on software than I would like to admit. Now I'm more likely to try it before I buy it and then at the end of the trial period I decide whether I can live without it or not. Most times I find I can run my business just fine without the extra cost.

Be consistent with your marketing efforts, do not give up when you don't see instant results. Implementing social media efforts to market your business is an inexpensive method if you enjoy using it. It is also important to keep up your efforts even when it seems like your response is low at first. Remember people need to know, like and trust you before they will do business with you.

Reach out to other people in your field, develop alliances with other like-minded individuals. Running you own business alone can be scary and also tends to be difficult to keep yourself motivated once you finish all the initial activities. Reaching out for support, especially if you are a VA is actually very easy. There are several organizations on the international, national and local level to join that offer camaraderie and a place to socialize. With social media these opportunities have really exploded. It becomes easier and easier every day to find others who share your interests and skills. Speaking about your worries and fears to someone who understands can dramatically lower your stress.

Build exercise into your calendar each day. Exercise will reduce your level of stress and often inspires people to see new ideas. Feeling energized instead of sluggish makes a huge difference in how you see the world and your possibilities. If you are not already exercising and find it hard to make the time, commit to 15 minutes a day for the 1st week. Gradually increase the time or frequency of your workouts until you are at least up to 30 minutes a day. Be sure that you are doing enough exercise to raise your heart rate.

These are just a few of the techniques I have employed over the years to help me feel more in control of my business and my life. There are lots of resources available for the stressed out entrepreneur. Do your research and experiment, you are worth it!

What Are You Tolerating?
By Tracey D'Aviero

Tracey D'Aviero

I attended a Virtual Assistant conference several years ago and I listened to Mary Lou Ashton speak about tolerations. It was one of those talks that stays with you, at least it stayed with me. I refer to it all the time when I am in conversation with people who are struggling to focus and move forward in their business.

Tolerations are those things that are around you that you probably don't even consciously notice.

A toleration can be a broken step as you walk into your house, or an unfolded basket of laundry, or dishes on the counter, or an unanswered email, or a stack of filing that needs to be done.

A toleration is something that you notice, consciously or unconsciously, and it gets in the way of your train of thought.

By clearing these tolerations away, you can open up your subconscious mind wider and it can actually help you to move forward with other decisions.

Do this exercise: When you drive into your laneway, look at the things that bother you. If you can, get out a notepad and start to write them down. Walk from your laneway (or garage) into your house by your normal route. Keep writing things down that irritate you or that you notice that you want to change or fix. Continue your 'walk' through your home to your office. If you're anything like me, you probably have a full page of notes by now. ☺ Do the same exercise for each room of your house, if your list isn't too long already!

Now, take that list and stick it up on the wall beside your computer, so you can see it.

These are the things you are tolerating on a daily basis.

When you really look at the list, you can see how sometimes it's hard to maintain your focus, can't you?!

And yet, looking it over … how easy are some of them to fix and get out of your brain?

When I did this exercise the first time I couldn't believe how simple it was to just clear some of the things off that list, as a few at a time. I felt such an enormous sense of relief, and I really did have a clearer head by doing it. It was so much easier to focus on my daily work, and my planning and strategy seemed to flow more easily, just because those things I didn't realize were blocking me, were fixed.

I encourage you to give it a try.

When I am feeling stuck, I do this same exercise again and again. By making the list, it's easy to plan to do repairs to what needs fixing, or to build a new chores list for the kids so they can help with housework, or to finally pick out a can of paint to repaint that bathroom.

Or maybe your list is business-related. So maybe then you plan to implement (or finish!) that training program you just bought, or organize your client task lists or calendar, or clean up your filing.

Whatever it is for you, you can clear valuable mind space simply by identifying what it is that you are tolerating. And then you can get on with your business.

Try it out! I think you'll be surprised with how long your list is … and I know you will find great peace in cleaning up things, just one at a time!


Part of reducing stress and taking care of yourself is to invest in yourself and your business.

Learning new tips, tools and techniques is key to keeping your brain open to new possibilities, creating new services to offer your clients and providing a new outlook to accomplish your goals.

Register for our online summit before Sept 29 to be entered into the drawing for our grand prizes. Consider how much stress you can reduce by attending our live summit in May for free! Or by having your IVAA membership paid for another year!

Check out our great lineup of speakers, block out your calendar Oct 16-17 and join us to Educate, Grow, Empower!

Grace White

Grace White
Event Director


Christine Bearse has been a Virtual Assistant, technology trainer and small business mentor for over 5 years. She especially enjoys giving back to the VA industry and brainstorming with women business owners to uncover their true callings. She can be found at where she and her business partner, Hilde, run a global, multi-VA practice and her new coaching and training site at

Tracey D'Aviero is a veteran VA and Founder of Your VA Mentor. Her mission is to provide education, inspiration and motivation to Virtual Assistants to help them build and grow successful businesses. She teaches teach them business and marketing skills and strategies, and mentors them as they implement those skills. Visit to learn about upcoming VA training programs and to pick up some great free resources.

President's Message
Getting Started - Reducing Stress in your business
Working with a Virtual Assistant - What Are You Tolerating?

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