Monthly Archives: July 2016

Fitness and Success: Part One

The older I become, the more I realize the importance of being physically fit and the more I’m intrigued by it’s correlation with success. As I continue my journey towards ‘having it all’ I slowly become aware of what I can and can’t do due to lack of physical fitness. A few years ago, I was determined to get physically fit and with the dedication of getting up in the mornings, eating healthy and drinking plenty of water I’ve gained so much energy and motivation to work towards greater success with my business.

My ambition is fueled by the fact that I feel so good I could move a mountain. Do I still have a day now and then where I have less energy? Of course, I’m human. But in order for me to run two successful businesses, raise three children, maintain a marriage and a busy lifestyle – exercise and a healthy diet are a MUST! Can I do more in terms of fitness?  I can and that has been my goal for this year. I try to sneak in a few more squats while brushing my teeth, do a few more pushups and crunches in the evening during commercial breaks, and get up and move from my desk every so often. That one can be difficult because I love my job and I don’t get up from my desk as often as I should. I really need to get a fitness ball to sit on.

Fitness has become a huge industry and everyone should be jumping on the bandwagon as we all benefit from our own physical fitness as well as from each other’s. When my virtual assistants are physically fit they work better, which in turns helps my business. You see the point.

So how can being fit help you become more successful?

Mental Benefit

Exercise increases blood flow, thereby delivering more oxygen to the brain and improving cognitive ability.

By starting out the day with a brisk run or a stop at the gym, you can show up for work with a sharp mind, ready to start the day. Workout time also gives professionals time to think through their projects, possibly coming up with a great idea that will make the next campaign a hit.

General Mindset

Maintaining fitness goals and working toward achieving career dreams are similar concepts. So many people start the year with great intentions of being physically fit but their desire and motivation fizzle by March. There are also many entrepreneurs out there with great intentions who could have successful businesses if they keep the momentum going but often give up when the going gets tough.

However, I’m sure you know plenty of entrepreneurs and successful business professionals who aren’t the most physically fit people in the world. Long hours and stress can lead to skipping the gym and dining on junk food. The difference is that if these entrepreneurs had a motive to set work aside each day to go to the gym and eat healthy, they’d likely attack their health goals with the same vigor that they use in their day-to-day business dealings.

Less Illness

Physically fit people tend to miss less days due to sickness and are present in their jobs to get stuff done! Physical fitness builds immunity and reduces many major health risks, which means less absenteeism. I’ve read that physically fit people also make more money and stay in the workforce longer than their less active counterparts.

Chronic absenteeism due to illness can severely hamper a person’s earnings over the course of a lifetime. Not only will a person’s pay be docked once his sick time allowance is spent, bosses often look unfavorably upon those who are frequently out of work. Management needs to know it can rely on an employee and those who prove that reliability are usually first in line for promotions and raises.

For anyone who needs additional motivation to continue going to the gym and eating healthier, the long-term financial benefits may help. If a professional puts the same dedication into meeting his health goals as he does his business goals, he’ll benefit by being more productive and having greater cognitive function, which will also help him perform better at work.

So start your fitness goals today! Get up and move a bit, take the stairs instead of the elevator, park away from a building so you have to walk farther and do some form of exercise while you’re watching the tube. Every little bit counts!

Danae Branson owns Elite Scheduling Services, LLC and is the Co-Founder of Elite Virtual Assistants. If you are interested in any of the services please check out or give us a call at 515.309.2838.

A portion of this post was originally posted by Stephanie Farris on January 2015.

Top 5 Promotional Trends of 2016

  1. Cheap is out – Quality is in. Companies are starting to spend a bit more on high-end items that offer value to their prospects. Everyone can give a cheap item but a high quality nice item – people fight over those. Adult coloring books, Bluetooth speakers, bags & coolers, mobile phone accessories and fitness trackers are all the rage!  fitness tracker
  2. Eco-Friendly products are hot! As everyone is becoming more and more environmentally conscious so is their need to have eco-friendly items. Recycled items like notebooks, bamboo pens and biodegradable cotton tote bags will be more popular than ever as companies strive to make a positive impact on their customers—and on the environment. eco notebook
  3. It’s all in the packaging. As companies continue to find ways to stand out against the competition clever packaging is a unique way to offer a quality promo item in packaging that allows you to incorporate your brand. For example – The JuiceBox is a 4400m/ah lithium ion power bank that works with all mobile devices. It has ample capacity to give your mobile devices one and a half full charges! The JuiceBox is sleek in size so it could easily fit in your pocket, purse, or backpack. The packaging for this model is like nothing else out there, it is literally a JuiceBox. Look like a creative genius with this unique and very useful item. juicebox bank
  4. Tech accessories galore. New tech accessories are popping up everywhere and the more popular they become the more affordable they are to businesses. Bluetooth speakers, power banks, chargers and even selfie sticks are hot! selfie stick
  5. Everyday marketing strategies. Companies are incorporating promo items into their lead generation, sales cycles and recruitment strategies to great success. Instead of giving out the same $1 or $2 item to everyone at your vendor shows and conferences create a tiered promo product strategy.

    Creating a truly effective promotional product strategy takes time and resources, but it works! This is an area of marketing that many companies will be focusing on now and in the future.

    For example: anyone can take a pens or Smart Wallet from the table. But in order to receive one of your branded Bluetooth speakers, a qualified prospect will need to provide their contact information. That way you can ensure that, not only are you generating leads, but you’re only giving away your “big ticket” items to fully qualified prospects.bluetooth speaker

Danae Branson owns Elite Scheduling Services, LLC, and is the Co-Founder of Elite Virtual Assistants. If you are interested in learning more please check out or give us a call at 515.309.2838.




Who Can You Trust In the Virtual World?

Business is business and we are all deeply invested in our careers, our personal lives, and our dreams and goals. We’d love to be able to trust everyone but unfortunately that’s not always the case. Sometimes it’s hard enough to trust people that we meet face-to-face so with the growing popularity of virtual businesses how do we make sure that the people we are trusting to help us run and grow our businesses are in fact, trustworthy?

Here are some helpful tips on making sure your next partnership is with a trusted professional!

1. Look up the business and/or person online. Do they have a website? Do they have a LinkedIn profile or Facebook page? I tend to shy away from people and/or businesses that don’t have an online presence unless they come highly recommended to me from a trusted party.

2. Ask for references! People ask me for references all the time – and many of my clients come to me through word-of-mouth which is an automatic reference. See below for some of my favorite references. Once you get the references call them up and ask them about their experience working with the business or individual.

3. Interview the person you are thinking about doing business with. Be clear about your expectations and make sure that what you are wanting is something they can accommodate. Also do their goals for you align with your goals for you? Is this a person you’ll be able to communicate with and trust with your business needs? You don’t have to spend hours on the phone – typically you can tell a good fit in a short amount of time.

4. Depending on the type of service you are looking for – ask to see a portfolio of their work. You wouldn’t hire a web designer without seeing what they’ve done in the past. You wouldn’t hire a writer without reading samples of their work. Ask for examples to make sure they are doing the type of work you are expecting!

5. Read the contract! You’d be surprised how many people don’t read the contracts they sign. You want to make sure that the contract aligns with everyone’s best interests. Are you signing up for a year-long contract or is this a month-to-month thing? You don’t want any surprises!

Quick story – I’ve always had great success offering a month-to-month contract, most of my clients stay with me long-term anyway and if for some reason a client doesn’t like me – I don’t want to force them to stick with me. A client of mine came to me looking for help. He wanted to use my service and was excited I offered a month-to-month contract. He had gotten himself in a six month contract with a previous company and after two weeks when things didn’t work out he continued to spend the next 5 ½ months paying for a service that was not benefitting him! That was two years ago and the client is still with me enjoying his month-to-month contract.

It only takes a little time to do some digging on a person or business you are hoping to hire. It could save you a lot of time and energy in the future!

In case you are curious, below are a few of my favorite references.

Elite Scheduling Services – working with a scheduling assistant

“Over my 18 Years in Financial Services, I have worked with several Virtual Assistants and scheduling partners and Elite is by far the best.  My VA is extremely professional, courteous, motivated and driven.  In the last couple of years, what has impressed me the most is the fact that she is such a creative thinker.  Rather than just taking care of what I need, she consistently brings new ideas to the table and is always looking for ways to increase our collective productivity.  Elite is a great asset to any sales/marketing team.”

-Jamie Orr, RVP

Elite Virtual Assistants – working with a virtual assistant

“Laura and her team have jumped into action from the word “GO” and have done an amazing job helping me keep up with my demanding work load. Now that I have had her team on MY team, I can breathe a bit easier knowing things are getting done now, on time and done right. If I had three thumbs I would give Elite Virtual Assistants three thumbs up!”

–Doug Sandler, Nice Guys on Business Podcast

 Elite Scheduling Services – working with all of our services

I have relied on Elite for several years now for schedulers and virtual assistants, Danae and her team are amazing.  So, I would commonly communicate with Danae about the issues (and successes) that I would have in my business.  I mentioned to her that my company just had the same old same old when it came to promo items and that I wanted to have some really modern and cool items logo’d for use with my advisors.  Of course Danae responded with her typical, “we can do that” attitude, so I sent over a request for a super cool promo item and she was able to get me a quote by the end of that day, amazing as usual…  I was utterly stunned when she presented me with three different versions of the item to choose from, all significantly less expensive than I imagined possible.  Needless to say, I placed an order right away.  My items arrived a couple of days earlier than promised and to my delight, they were the hit of the conference I was attending!  Every advisor came to see me to get theirs!  Even some of my vendor brethren came by asking if I had an extra one they could have…lol.  One of the best wins I have had in my career for sure.  Nowadays, if I am on Amazon looking at things and I come across an item that would be a great promo item, I just forward it to Danae and her team and they source it and get me a couple of quotes right away!  It’s like having my very own promo item department.  Thanks Danae!!  You are the best!

-Awesome Mike Baker, SVP – Midwest


Danae Branson owns Elite Scheduling Services, and is the Co-Founder of Elite Virtual Assistants.






5 Tips to Making Social Media Work for You!

You don’t have to be super savvy with social media to use it for your business. A lot of business owners use social media these days to help sell their goods and services. Some have great success using social media and other do not. Most people think it’s because the people having success are super smart with hit comes with working with social media but that is not necessarily the case. No matter how much you know about social media you can start getting clients by following the 5 simple steps below!

1. Determine what social media platform your target market is using. It makes zero sense spending time on Twitter when your target market doesn’t use twitter. When it comes to social media we want to work smarter, not harder so target the social medium your target market is using. Don’t know what type of social media your target marketing is using? Here are some good indicators to help you decide which social media platforms to use in your marketing.

Facebook – 72% of adult internet users Facebook. Facebook is so widely used if your target market is anyone – male or female, ages 18-65+ they use Facebook. If your target market is a consumer, Facebook will be great for your business!
LinkedIn – 28% of adult internet users. Primarily used by people with a college education in higher paying jobs. If your business targets professional business people then LinkedIn is a great way to network with your target market.
Twitter – 23% of adult internet users. Popular among those under 50 with a college education.
Instagram – 28% of adult internet users. Most notably between the ages of 18-29 and women.
Pinterest – 31% of adult internet users. Mostly women under the age of 50.
Do further research if you need but now you know what social media platforms people are using.

2. It’s best to do a really good job using only one or two types of social media than to use them all poorly. Focus on one or two social media platforms and post consistently. It takes some time but eventually you’ll see the return. I have two companies – Elite Scheduling Services gets a lot of business from LinkedIn whereas Elite Virtual Assistants gets quite a bit of business from Twitter. These companies have two distinctly different target markets and since we’ve pin pointed where most of our clients are coming from we focus on spending most of our time on those social media platforms.

3. Schedule posts. You get busy, we all get busy and I get it. The first thing we do when we get busy is we forget to post on social media. And this is what happens – You spend several weeks posting on social media, you get a lot of business, you spend time on that business and forget to post, suddenly you realize business is slow so you start posting on social media again. In order to streamline your marketing and create a steady flow of business you need to consistently post. Put the posts in a calendar, schedule them on the social media you use, use a social media platform to keep track of all social media scheduled posts or hire someone to take care of your marketing and social media for you.

4. Make it fun! People love social media because it’s fun, it’s conversational and it’s a great way to find stuff out! If people do business with you – because you are you – then be yourself on social media. Post things you find fun, interesting, educational and exciting!

5. Keep content flowing with a brainstorming session. Some people don’t have trouble scheduling posts consistently, they have trouble coming up with content. Schedule some time for research and brainstorming. What topics are hot among your target market? What do you enjoy writing about? If all else fails, hire someone to provide the content for you. Keep a file on everything you’ve posted – just like magazines recycle their material you can too. I’m sure if I look back I wrote a post on social media last year or the year before. If it’s something that’s still relevant – you can always repost. A few weeks ago I looked back to 2014 and found my most popular post, edited it a bit and reposted. It’s works you just have to be consistent!