Morning Motivation – Week of September 24, 2018

Would you like some words of wisdom to start off your week on the right foot?

If you remember, last week I wrote about how to identify your innate strengths. For all the things that aren’t your strengths, here is my advice: automate the repetitive tasks. Hire a Virtual Assistant to do those things for you. If you want the information of who I use as Virtual Assistants, please let me know.

My feeling is that no matter how hard you try, it is unlikely you will ever be more than average in areas where you do not have an aptitude.

Working on developing your natural talents is self-rewarding and motivating and allow you to continually realize higher and higher levels of ability, achievement, and success. Invest your time and energy in being great at something really great. You will be happier.

What a great combination: doing what you love and having people pay you for it.

Next week, working your “Triad of Awesomeness.”

So focus on your strengths, my friends.

Carlos

Recap: Fall Home Maintenance

“A fallen leaf is nothing more than a summer’s wave goodbye.” – Unknown

Is your home ready for the winter? Many of us here at the Vargas and Vargas Insurance Agency are working through our Fall home maintenance checklists and thought that we would share some of the tasks that we are undertaking. Here are just a few examples from our longer post:

  • Trim trees and shrubs, taking care to get rid of anything that could cause a problem when weighted down with snow and ice in the coming months.
  • After the leaves fall, clean gutters and drains so that melting snow and ice can flow freely.
  • Exterior repairs should be taken care of as soon as possible, before everything is blanketed and access to these areas is harder.
  • You will soon need to use your home’s heating system, so now is the time to make sure it is working and ready for the coming temperatures. Hire a professional for a check now – they will soon be very busy!
  • Check to ensure that you have all the gear you will need for winter. Now is the time to replace that old shovel, or to upgrade the ice scraper in your vehicle.

Vargas and Vargas Insurance Agency is here to help with one more item on your Fall home maintenance checklist: making sure that your insurance policies are ready for Winter claims! Call 617-298-0655 for a free consultation and a home insurance checkup from the professionals here at Vargas and Vargas Insurance.

Morning Motivation – Week of September 17, 2018

As you know I try to start every week with some words of wisdom:

If you remember from last weeks, message, I started talking about the natural gifts that we all have. Check out last week’s message here.

First, write down a list of those things that you do that seem easy for you. These are the things that you can do that seem almost effortless. Often, the tasks that are easy for us are those where we have a special aptitude.

Second, make a list of all the activities that make you happy. These are the things that make you smile. These are the tasks you would do just for yourself, with no promise of gain, just because they are fun.

Look through the two lists to find the common activities. These are likely to be the areas of your natural aptitude and talent, and are the areas of greatest potential for you. Imagine if you could spend most of your time developing and playing at something that makes you happy and where it is easy for you? Wow!

So, my advice is not to get caught up in the old advice to work on your weaknesses. Hire someone who is good where you are weak. Delegate tasks that you don’t enjoy to others who do enjoy those things.

Want to know the best way to delegate these tasks? That’s a post for another week – stay tuned!

Carlos

Recap: Virtual Assistants

“I asked for help, which is the hardest thing in the world.” – Marcia Wallace

At Vargas and Vargas Insurance Agency, we pride ourselves in helping Massachusetts small business owners. In addition to getting them the best possible small business insurance, we want to make sure that their businesses can grow.

If you are a small business owner here in Boston, you should consider hiring a virtual assistant. Here are explanations of just a few of the benefits of having help with your business:

  • Running a business by yourself can be daunting. Getting a helping hand may propel your business to the next level.
  • What are your weaknesses when it comes to running your business? The right virtual assistant can offer strength in the places where you are weak to improve your business.
  • A virtual assistant offers benefits to your business that a traditional employee doesn’t. As a contractor, you won’t have to offer benefits (or even a place for them to work!)
  • Finding a virtual assistant is easy! There are plenty of people available to help your business from all over the world.

For more information about how hiring a virtual assistant can help your Massachusetts small business grow, read our full blog post from last week. And for the best small business insurance in Boston, call Vargas and Vargas Insurance at 617-298-0655.

Do I need umbrella insurance for a startup business?

Most startup businesses operating on a tight budget make the mistake of not prioritizing insurance. What these business owners fail to understand is that it takes a small accident or disaster to lose all that they have worked so hard to build. An umbrella insurance policy from Vargas & Vargas Insurance will help you protect your startup business against disasters in Dorchester, MA.

What is umbrella insurance?

The purpose of umbrella insurance in your startup business is to supplement underlying insurance policies such as general liability and auto insurance policies. The insurance policy provides you with an extra buffer of financial protection when you have exhausted your other existing insurance coverages. Depending on your preferences, the umbrella insurance policy can cover more than one of your other insurance policies. Your umbrella insurance policy kicks in when your existing insurance policy has been exhausted or in situations where some claims are not covered. Umbrella insurance will provide extra coverage for various risks including restitution for injuries and paying for litigation costs.

Does my startup business need umbrella insurance?

Your startup business in Dorchester, MA is definitely predisposed to a wide range of risks or mishaps. Just as the small business requires other insurance coverages, it also requires umbrella insurance. In addition, most insurance policies don’t cover every risk that your startup business is potentially facing. There are certain claims your startup faces that are not only rare but also very costly. Therefore, protecting your business’s assets with an umbrella insurance policy is very important.

Umbrella insurance can also help you save money. When you raise the limits of your individual liability policies, you will also have to increase your premiums. But with umbrella insurance, you will get the extra coverage buffer without worrying about the limits of your other individual policies. This is a rainy day coverage that you can get without breaking the bank.

Unfortunately, most people think that umbrella insurance is for big businesses or the rich in the society with a lot of assets to protect. But, even a small accident in your startup business can lead to claims worth large amounts of money, especially if the accident was serious. Protect your startup business idea today by purchasing an umbrella insurance policy from Vargas & Vargas Insurance.

 

Have You Done These Fall Home Maintenance Tasks?

Summer is waning, and the leaves will soon be falling. As Boston prepares for the first snowfall of the season, we want to make sure that our clients are getting their homes ready. Remember – an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure! In this case, that means that a little bit of maintenance work on your home could help to prevent a potential winter catastrophe.

Here are just a few of the areas of focus recommended by the Massachusetts insurance professionals at the Vargas and Vargas Insurance Agency office:

Trees and Shrubs

Fall is the perfect time to do yardwork! Now that the weather is starting to cool down, make sure that none of your home’s foliage is going to cause you problems in the winter. Primarily, this means getting rid of anything that could cause damage to your home when blanketed with heavy ice and snows. If you need help identifying potential issues, hire a professional. They will be able to tell you which trees could potentially pose a threat to your home.

Gutters and Drain Spouts

Watching the leaves change color in the Fall is one of the most beautiful phenomena that you can witness here in Massachusetts. Unfortunately, after they change color, the leaves fall off their trees and can wreak havoc in a home’s gutter.

Because of this, it is crucial that you clean out your home’s gutters sometime between when the leaves fall and when snow starts to stick. Otherwise the leaves could block the drainage of melting snow, causing runoff to puddle up and freeze – not pretty. As you rake and dispose of leaves, you should also know that now is the perfect time to aerate your lawn.

Exterior Repairs

Is there something about the exterior of your home that needs attention or repairs? Check to see what you need to do to perfect the outside of your home and take care of those tasks now, before the snow and ice make it nearly impossible to deal with.

Check for certain issues such as roof damage, or problems with the foundation. There will also be a lot of critters looking for shelter soon – make sure they don’t find a new home in your home by sealing any gaps where critters could enter. Pay special attention to the attic, since that is where many critters seek out the warm air that rises from the home. Also make sure that you remember to shut off your exterior faucets and drain and store hoses before they freeze with residual water still inside them.

Now is also a good time to fix potential issues with your driveway, sidewalks, exterior stairs, and railings. These walkways will be hard enough to navigate when covered with snow and ice, so correct any cracks or other issues that could cause a tripping hazard.

Safety Alarms

As always, we recommend checking your home’s alarms often to make sure that they are working properly. The best course of action is to replace the batteries in your smoke alarms when you change your clocks to accommodate for daylight saving time. Also check your home’s Carbon Monoxide detector – especially for homes with oil or gas-burning appliances.

Check the Heater and/or Chimney

Soon, you will be turning on your homes heating system or firing up your chimney. Before that time comes, make sure that these items are ready to be used. Hire a professional to clean the chimney if needed, and/or perform maintenance to ensure that the heat will be ready for use as soon as the weather turns.

To make sure that the heat in your home doesn’t leak, now is the perfect time to check the seals around your doors and windows. If needed, re-caulk windows and replace weather stripping so that you have a good seal to keep the warm air in your home and the cold air outside.

Purchase Winter Gear

The last thing you want is to be without something you need for the winter. Now is the perfect time to check on your wintertime supplies to make sure that you have everything you need. For example, do you need to replace your shovel? Do you have enough salt for your driveway and walkways? Is it time to finally upgrade your car’s ice scraper?

Think through all the items that you use regularly throughout the winter and make arrangements to replace items or acquire new items sooner rather than later so that you don’t get stuck without the necessary tools once the cold and snow arrive.

As always, Vargas and Vargas Insurance Agency is here for all your insurance needs this Fall! Call 617-298-0655 if you have any questions about your current policies. We can also review your Boston home insurance coverage to make sure that potential wintertime claims will be covered.

Morning Motivation – Week of September 10, 2018

As you know, I try to start every week with some words of wisdom, like these:

In school, I tried to always sign up for subjects I already had some knowledge in.

Why? Because it made me feel great. “This is going to be easy,” I’d tell myself. (If you remember from my past messages, English is my second language, and late in life I was diagnosed with Non-Verbal Learning disorder. For the full story, click here.)

But what did my counselors tell me? “You should take classes in the subjects that you are weakest in.”

While learning new subjects is a great idea, striving to develop weaknesses can work against you. Conventional wisdom says we should work on improving our weaknesses, as these are missed opportunities.

Imagine what would have happened if Albert Einstein, Chris Evert, or Luciano Pavarotti had followed that advice. All these people devoted their entire life to develop their natural strengths. As a result, they each were at the top of their fields.

Highly successful entrepreneurs, as well as top scientists, athletes, and entertainers throughout history, have achieved greatness by focusing on their areas of strength.

Everyone has a natural aptitude for something. We all have a special gift.

Most of the time we don’t recognize our own gifts. The truth is that we are all very different – you are able to do something better than I can, and I can do some things better than you.

What are your natural talents? Get help recognizing them in next week’s email.

Carlos

Recap: Driving for the Elderly

“Writing is like driving at night in the fog. You can only see as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.” – E. L. Doctorow

Everyone is getting older every day – it’s just one of the facts of life. At some point, most people will get old enough that they should reevaluate their ability to drive safety. Last week, we posted a blog detailing many of the concerns that elderly drivers (and their loved ones) should have about being on the open road, such as:

  • Gradual loss of hearing and vision with age.
  • The dangers of medications that impact the ability to drive.
  • Decreased reaction time and worsening driving habits.

For more information on the warning signs that an elderly driver will begin to show, as well as some of the gradual limitations that can be set on driving to help keep drivers safe, check out the full blog post here. There, you will also find information about how to surrender a Massachusetts driver’s license and alternate forms of transportation for elderly Bostonites who are no longer safe behind the wheel.

For those of you that are still driving, talk to Vargas and Vargas Insurance Agency about your Massachusetts auto insurance needs. Call 617-298-0655 to get a free quote and ask our knowledgeable agents all your insurance questions.

The Benefits of Having a Virtual Assistant

As a small business owner, it probably seems like your plate is always full. When you’re starting out, it’s easy to try to do everything yourself to both keep control in your own hands and to save money rather than paying others. However, doing things this way will only ensure that you are stretched too thin to make any real progress in growing your business. Instead, consider hiring a virtual assistant to help you keep the more mundane tasks of your business running smoothly while you work on tasks that will help it grow.

Here are just a few of the benefits that you will get by adding a virtual assistant to your business:

Having a Helping Hand

Owning a small business can be overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be. Just getting one assistant to help you with your business can take a huge weight off your shoulders. If you find the right assistant, seeing them do everything that they can to improve your business could help give you the motivation to make your business as great as it can be.

When searching for an assistant, look for someone who is flexible and friendly. You may need them to turn around tasks as quickly as possible, and with a smile. You may need them to attempt a task that is a little out of their wheelhouse. Having an assistant that is a “Yes” person will be very valuable to you and your business.

Strengthen Your Weaknesses

No one person is good at everything. Your strength may be marketing, or making a great product, or something else. With strengths, though, come weaknesses. What is your weakness? Is it affecting your business? Would having a virtual employee to balance your strengths and weaknesses help you to be a better overall business?

Often, virtual assistants are hired to help with technical things, like building and maintaining a website. They can also be very useful to help with maintaining a business’s social media and other customer-facing communication. Bookkeeping and scheduling are also often outsourced to an assistant. If you could take these types of tasks off your plate, what would you spend that time doing for your business? How much more could you focus on making your business grow?

A Different Kind of Employee

Often, when businesses are small, the thought of hiring a full time (or even a part time) employee is daunting. A virtual assistant is a great way to get extra help without making a commitment to a potential local employee. Virtual assistants often have work through many businesses, so they are used to not having a long-term contract. In addition, because these workers are contractors, you don’t need to think about offering them any kinds of benefits that a traditional employee might expect. You also don’t have to worry about finding them a place to work, since they will have an office of their own to work remotely! Remember – you could have a helper just an email away. Wouldn’t that be nice?

How to Find a Virtual Assistant

Depending on the needs of your business, there are many types of places where you can locate the perfect virtual assistant. As always, it’s worth asking the people in your network if they have any recommendations. You never know if they will be able to provide you with a contact!

Otherwise, there are many websites that can aid you in your search. You will need to determine if you want a worker from the US or overseas, and the area of expertise in which you are looking. From there, you will have plenty of options. One of the best parts is that there is almost never a long-term commitment – try someone out, and if the relationship doesn’t work out you can move on without repercussions.

Leveraging Your New Virtual Assistant

When you hire a virtual assistant, don’t expect them to be 100% proficient right off the bat – they will need some guidance and training first. As a rule of thumb, take the time necessary to do a task and multiply it by 30. That is the time that should be allotted to train someone to do the task well. It may take more or less, but that number will be a good place to start. Also make sure to give your employee enough time on the job to get used to the way that you like things done. Depending on the job, this ‘grace period’ could be a few weeks to a month or more.

Want more help with your Massachusetts small business? Talk to a Vargas and Vargas Insurance representative about the best way to insure your small business. After all, just because your business is ‘small’ doesn’t mean it’s not worth protecting! Our agents can get you a quote on Boston business insurance that will fit the needs of your business without breaking the bank, so call us at 617-298-0655 today.

Morning Motivation – Week of September 3, 2018

You know that I LOVE to start my week with some positive words of wisdom:

Have you been keeping up with my ‘fear series’ of Monday emails? If you’ve missed one, catch up my clicking here.

Fear-Inducing Habit #6: You make it harder than it needs to be to take action.

If you think that you have to take action in a big, heroic and risky way to overcome your fear then that may often lead to more fear and to not taking any action at all.

What to do instead:

A more helpful way to go about things is to not go all in at once. Instead, just dip your toes in and take a small step forward. The important thing is that you do it today (or as soon as you can.)

Take that first step slowly if you like – the most important thing is that you start moving. Start building momentum forward so that you can take more small steps forward. Doing things this way will not only build momentum but also self-confidence and will help you expand your comfort zone. All of this will make it a lot easier to take a bit bigger steps later on too if you’d like to.

Have a great week!

Carlos