Employment scams

Earlier this year I saw a freelance position for an internet researcher advertised online. I love a good research project, so I wrote and asked for more details about the role. 

Balancing act

In 2020 the world at large had their lives unexpectedly shaken up and while this was different for everyone, my own particular snow globe moment was instrumental in me addressing my work life balance and becoming a virtual assistant. To be honest, the whole traditional working thing was beginning to lose its lustre some time before 2020 – waiting for buses that didn’t show up, leaving for work in the dark and returning home in the dark, sitting in traffic jams, looking out the office window at a beautiful day (if the office actually had a window that is) and not being able to make the most of it, office politics and other silliness.

Managing emails

Do you often feel overwhelmed by emails? An inbox overflowing with old, unopened or unwanted messages can be both frustrating and stressful. While having a completely empty inbox is unrealistic, there are things we can all do to keep our inboxes organised, so here are my tops tips for keeping on top of unruly emails. 

Make do and mend: how to repurpose blog posts

Over the summer I decided to stop publishing new content on my blog for a time. For almost two years blog writing has been a big part of my strategy to promote the work I do. I have written about the services I provide as a virtual assistant, things I need to know about for my work such as copyright, GDPR and plain English and about training and development I have undertaken. Rather than writing new blog posts over the last few months, I have been repurposing blogs I had already written and sharing these on social media instead. Not sure what I mean by repurposing? Read on to learn all about it.

A history of transcription

When I first began working, I was employed as an audio typist in surveyors offices.  My working days were spent listening to audio recordings the surveyors made about the properties they visited and typing up their reports. Alongside my typewriter was a cassette machine, which played mini cassettes, headphones and underneath my desk was a foot pedal that enabled me to play tapes, rewind and fast forward these. Recently I have been reminded of this time as I have been listening to audio recordings and correcting the digital transcripts for a client and it got me thinking about the history of transcription.

Lifelong learning

Recently I had the opportunity to attend a webinar – ‘Learning at work – how being a lifelong learner can make you happy.’ The event was hosted by Laughology an ethical, training and consulting organisation built around the psychology of humour, laughter and happiness and was one of many events held to mark Learning at Work Week, an annual event which aims to put a spotlight on the importance and benefits of continual learning and development.


Think you know everything there is to know about hashtags? From the Romans to social media today, the hash sign has an interesting history. The little symbol that looks like a noughts and crosses board has a multitude of names including hash, pound, number, octothorpe, crosshatch and hex and throughout history has been used as the Latin for pound, on the telephone for connecting to computer systems and most recently on social media.

Authenticity at work

Recently I had the opportunity to attend a workshop about being authentic at work.  The workshop was run by Inclusive Recruiting, an organisation who aim to eradicate bias and inequities from the workplace and was presented by Andreena Leeanne, a lived experience speaker, self-care workshop facilitator, poet and author. This blog post was inspired by that workshop.

The trouble with junk mail

Of recent much has been written about the impact of plastic use on the environment but it is not only plastic that is a cause from concern. There is a growing waste paper mountain too which junk mail contributes to. Some days I receive more junk mail than actual mail, so recently I have been on a mission to do my little bit of good in the world and learn what I can do to receive less of this.

Tools of the trade

As a virtual assistant I am called on to use many organisational tools in my work, so for this blog post I thought I would write about some of the tools of my trade that make my work a little easier. Got some favourite ways of being organised and staying on top of things? I would love to hear from you about the tools of your trade too.

Online abuse and its impacts

Recently I had the opportunity to attend a workshop about online abuse and it impacts, which formed part of the 17th University of Chester Diversity Festival. Established in 2006, the Diversity Festival gives attendees an opportunity to investigate, question and debate issues around diversity and equality in Britain and in the world at large. Each year the festival provides a focus through which the university actively promotes, challenges and develops an understanding of equality, diversity and multiculturalism. This year the theme was ‘Rebuilding and Rethinking Equality’.

International Women’s Day

International Women’s Day (IWD) takes place on 8 March each year and is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating women’s equality.

Digital marketing student

In November I once again became a student, enrolling on a twelve week Digital Marketing boot camp with We Are Digital. I attended school before the internet revolution, learning to type on a manual computer and while I think I have kept up quite well with technological developments, I was increasing finding there was much I did not know too. And I am not the only one, millions of people are digitally excluded. 11.9 million people do not have the essential digital skills needed for day to day life in the UK, 1.9 million households in the UK lack any kind of internet access and 9 million people struggle to use the internet independently.

How to write a marketing strategy

Investopedia defines a marketing strategy as a business’s overall game plan for reaching prospective leads and turning them into customers. Much like a game of chess, marketing strategy is concerned with evaluation, positioning, control of key areas and setting goals. The word strategy comes from the Greek language (στρατηγία stratēgia) meaning ‘art of troop leader; office of general, command, generalship and a general plan to achieve one or more long term or overall goals under conditions of uncertainty.’ The ultimate goal of a marketing strategy is to achieve and communicate a sustainable competitive advantage over rival companies but where do you begin with writing one? Read on to find out.

Understanding the difference between marketing and branding

It is difficult to escape the words marketing and branding in the world today and it is easy to confuse them but marketing and branding are two different concepts and if you want your business to succeed, you need to understand the difference between the two. In this blog post, I will explain what marketing and branding are, how they are different and how they work alongside one another.

How to keep your website looking good

In a previous life, I worked as a web editor on a local government website, so for this blog post, I thought I would write about some of the ways you can keep your website looking good. My role involved writing, editing, proof reading and approving web pages prior to publication and educating people on web design good practice, brand maintenance and search engine optimisation. At one stage I think the website had around 900 pages, so it could be a daunting task and the team I worked with continuously reviewed the website to ensure web pages and web documents were kept up to date and monitored it in terms of usability, accessibility and compliance with government legislation.

Digitally present

On 6 August 1991, the first website was introduced to the world. It is hard to believe the world wide web is only 30 years old, as today it seems there is little we can do without it.

Getting started with social media

Social media enables people and organisations to share information, ideas, personal messages and more via the internet. It is also for any business that wants to gain exposure online, connect with existing or potential customers, build brand awareness, find new leads, generate website traffic, gain an insight into the shopping habits of customers and improve their customer service. However, there are now too many social networking sites to ever have a presence on them all, so the aim of this blog post is to help you  learn about the most widely used platforms.

Freelancing: what’s it all about

Freelancers can be found in many occupations from writers, photographers, journalists, computer programmers, language translators, website designers and graphic designers … some are even virtual assistants. This post delves into the history of freelancing, discusses the advantages of hiring a freelancer and what things you need to be aware of when hiring a freelancer.

Making digital technologies accessible to all

The Oxford English dictionary defines accessibility firstly, as how easy something is to reach, enter, use or see and secondly, as ​how easy something is to reach, enter or use for somebody with a disability. In the second instance, accessibility means people with disabilities are not excluded from using something as a result of their disability and that they can do what they need to do, in a similar amount of time, in a similar way and with a similar amount of effort as someone who does not have a disability.

All about blogging

A blog is an online journal written for both personal and business use. They may focus on a single topic or a whole range of topics and may have multiple authors or only one. The articles that appear on a blog are known as blog posts and these can be on any manner of subjects from cookery to gardening to politics.

Plainly speaking

The English language is spoken around the world from the United States to Tristan da Cunha, a remote group of volcanic islands in the south Atlantic Ocean. English is part of the Indo-European family of languages which are spoken in most of Europe and areas of European settlement and in much of south west and south Asia. The English language uses words from 350 languages and its evolution is fascinating, as shown in the short film below.

The importance of copyright

Copyright is the exclusive legal right, given to the creator of a piece of work, to print, publish, perform, film or record literary, artistic or musical material. I have chosen to write a blog post about this subject following experiences in workplaces – in particular a telephone call I received from Getty Images who had found one of their images on my organisations website and wanted paying for it and a conversation with a colleague who wanted to search Google images for an image to accompany something he would be putting online.

UK GDPR and the right to privacy

25 May 2018, the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) came into force, along with the Data Protection Act 2018, modernising the laws that protect the personal information of individuals and replacing European data protection law that was almost twenty years old.

The lost art of typewriting

Recently while reviewing a document I had written, Microsoft Word admonished me with the warning ‘only one space between words is better’. Oh no, I thought, not you too. The issue had come up in an office I worked in a few years earlier, with younger members of the team happy to inform me what I was doing wrong. The world it would seem had changed as the typewriter gave way to the computer. Type ‘one space or two after a full stop’ into a search engine and you will see the debate that is raging.

© Toni Louise Abram at Izzy Wizzy. All Rights Reserved.

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