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National Handwriting Day

With today’s technology and the fast pace world, there seems little need for handwriting documents.

I love it, always have. At primary school we had handwriting lessons, copying poems written in script style writing. A little while ago I took the opportunity to do some training in modern calligraphy, which I thoroughly enjoyed.

There are many times when handwriting is still needed. Here are some examples:

      • Invitations to weddings, parties and events.
      • Gift tags, to give a more personal look.
      • Table place cards.
      • Thank you letters.
      • Menus
      • Christmas Cards to business clients.


Strawberry Office offers a handwriting service either in everyday handwriting or modern calligraphy.
For more information, please send email anne@strawberryoffice.com

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Visiting the Farm Business Innovation Show 2019

Earlier this week I attended the Farm Business Innovation Show, at the National Exhibition Centre Birmingham. It was a super day, not only were there many great exhibitor stands, there was also an extensive programme of seminars. Two of the ones that I attended were Tara Punter of Tara Punter PR, and Kelly Chandler, wedding consultant. Tara talked about her five golden rules for PR, and Kelly talked about the current and future trends for arranging weddings. Both really interesting subjects and will certainly help me and my business.

Attending the show made me think about all the preparation beforehand and how much time is taken up with it.

As a virtual assistant it also made me think of how I could help rural business owners plan for this kind of event, and that turned into a list of things I could help with, for instance:

  • Booking and registering for tickets.
  • Researching travel and accommodation.
  • Booking accommodation.
  • Researching parking and arrival at the venue. Not all venues are as straight forward as the NEC!
  • Planning your schedule.
  • Booking meetings with exhibitors or visitors.
  • Assisting with last minute changes.

After the event

  • Transcribing notes from meetings.
  • Sending information.


Thank you for reading



Anne Clarkson of Strawberry Office provides flexible administrative support services to small businesses.  If you are interested in outsourcing your administrative work contact me by email at  anne@strawberryoffice.com to arrange a free Discovery Call.


How can a Virtual Assistant help me?

Back in January you may have decided upon your goals for this year, a few months, or next year.

We are now half way through the year; how are they going?  Are you achieving them as quickly as you had planned?

If not, have you considered outsourcing your routine administration to free up some of your time?

You may be thinking you can do all the work for your business yourself, but have you considered how much time you spend on your administration each week, and more importantly, what you could do in that time to achieve your goals.

When you set up your business it was probably doing something you are skilled in and enjoy.  As your business has grown you have had to undertake the business administration, sometimes learning how do things as you go along.

There may be tasks that you just don’t like doing and keep putting off.

A Virtual Assistant has the skills, knowledge and expertise to do those tasks.  They will be skilled, and up to date with the latest tools and systems.

By outsourcing your administration to a Virtual Assistant you can:

  • Be more focused
  • Be more organised
  • Increase productivity or sales
  • Have the time to spend at networking events
  • Have more time to spend with your family, doing hobbies, or just resting.

Here are examples of the tasks they could do for you:

Social Media

Setting up new accounts

Creating social media posts

Scheduling social media posts


Arranging meetings – researching and booking the venue

Preparing the documentation

Creating PowerPoint presentations

Typing up the minutes


Researching travel – accommodation, trains, flights, places to visit

Helping you to be organised by creating travel information packs


Assisting with event planning

Researching venues, suppliers and services

Distributing invitations and coordinating the responses


Producing documents – creating forms, templates, letters, reports


Transcribing webinars

Audio transcription for meetings and webinars

Copy  typing, including e-Books

Copy typing clients notes

Lifestyle Management

Booking Restaurants

Researching gifts

Diary Management

Booking appointments


Thank you for reading



Anne Clarkson of Strawberry Office provides flexible administrative support services to small businesses.  If you are interested in outsourcing your administrative work contact me by email at  anne@strawberryoffice.com to arrange a free Discovery Call.


8 Tips for Attending a Conference

Attending business or trade shows is a great way to connect with businesses, network and learn new skills.  Here are some of my tips to help you prepare for your next conference.

1  Plan ahead.   Preparing ahead is so important. as time spent preparing and planning will help to ensure you arrive in a calm, organised and timely manner. Time spent planning your travel and accommodation will also help to make sure you find the most cost-effective options.

2.  Study the agenda.   Have a plan for the day to make the most of your time. Plan which seminars you will be attending, and check who is attending.  Many conferences have social media accounts specifically for the event, which provides a great opportunity to connect with businesses prior to the event.

3.  Print your tickets.   Another option is to download to your phone.  However, don’t forget to have the image of the tickets saved in an option that does not rely on access to the internet.  As there may not be a connection at the entrance / registration area.

4.  Business cards.   Remember to take a good supply.

5.  Arrival at the Venue.   Arrive early to avoid spending time in a queue at registration, and to maximise your time at the event.

6.  Event Venue.   Familiarise yourself with the layout of the event to save time and ensure you are in the right place at the right time.

During the Conference

7. Take Notes.  Write notes on the back of business cards as a reminder when following up at a later date. Or if you prefer a digital option use a system such as Evernote to make notes, creating a notebook specifically for the conference.

After the Conference

8. Follow up.   Follow up on connections made, ideally the day after the conference whilst it is still fresh in everyone’s mind.


Thank you for reading.



Anne Clarkson of Strawberry Office provides flexible administrative support services to small businesses.  If you would like help with planning your next visit to a conference or business event, contact me by email at  anne@strawberryoffice.com to arrange a free Discovery Call to discuss how I can help you.



I’ve heard the term VA, but what is a Virtual Assistant?

Whilst attending networking events, I have noticed that not many people are familiar with the term Virtual Assistant.  Indeed, I think some may think is it some form of robot or virtual online help, perhaps built into a car.  So I thought I would write a few lines to explain.

Where did the term come from?

It is believed that the term Virtual Assistant was first used by Thomas Leonard, a coach and speaker, who founded Coach U.  He travelled throughout the US living in a Winnebago and had an assistant who helped arrange his travel.  With no physical office, and constantly travelling, he never met his assistant, Anastacia Brice, and once referred to her as his “Virtual Assistant”. He continued to use the term and encouraged other coaches to have a VA to assist with their businesses.

Who was the first VA?

Having done some research, there doesn’t seem to be a definitive answer, but two of the pioneering VAs were Anastacia Brice and Christine Durst.  Secretaries were working from home back in the 1980s, but with advances in computer technology in the 1990s it became possible to provide administrative support further afield, even to other countries, hence the term ‘Virtual’ Assistant.

Stacey Bryce went on from being a VA for Thomas Leonard to establishing the VA training business, AssistU, and Christine Durst wrote “The 2-Second Commute” book.

What does a VA do?

A Virtual Assistant is someone who is self-employed, works from their own office, providing administrative support to business owners, or busy people, in any location.
They may provide traditional PA support or specialise in a particular skill such as social media management, book keeping, or an IT system like Mailchimp or WordPress.

Support is usually provided on an hourly basis, by the project, or on an hourly retainer package, which provides great flexibility, especially for small businesses.

Thank you for reading.



The 2-second commute by Christine Durst & Michael Haaren
Become a Highly Successful, Sought After VA by Diana Ennen & Kelly Poelker