SnagIt: Make Video Tutorials With a Screen Capture Tool

I have been using SnagIt for the past month or so, and now I’m having trouble imagining life without it.

SnagIt is a screen capture tool that allows you to capture images, create videos, and capture text. It came highly recommended to me from a client who uses it all the time.

Since one of the main things I love to do is teach, I’ve found this tool to be invaluable. Have you ever tried describing how to do something even remotely technical to someone?

No matter how detailed you get, it’s never the perfect teaching method because everything depends on the willingness of the person you’re teaching to read through all of your instructions and go through your steps one by one.

There are a lot of people in the world who just don’t learn very well with written instructions. Especially if you’re teaching them how to do something online, it’s really much better to show them.

Today I was trying to help a person who needed to enable IMAP on her gmail account, and even with the written instructions she was having trouble.

So, I decided to try out the video part of SnagIt. I just took a video of my computer screen as I went through the steps of enabling IMAP. I did one shoot without audio (sometimes you don’t need audio when you’re showing someone how to do something online). Then I tried another with audio and I gave verbal instructions of what I was doing on the screen.

Now, anytime a customer asks me how to enable IMAP, I’ll be able to show them how easy it is.

After I made the video, I uploaded it to YouTube so I could easily share it.

Here’s the video tutorial created with SnagIt:

SnagIt is a software that you buy one time, and then you download it on your computer. It’s available for Mac and Windows, and it currently costs about $50. They have a 30 day free trial, so you can get a feel for it before making a commitment.

I’ve only been using SnagIt for a few weeks, so I’ve only touched the tip of the iceberg with it. There are so many other things that it can do, like drawing and editing. I can’t wait to use this tool more and learn the intricacies of it.

Creating video tutorials is not only great for sharing with customers/clients who have technical questions about how to do stuff online, but it’s also a great addition to your business procedure manual. Now, you can add a video to demonstrate how to do a particular task, rather than just writing out the various steps.

Bringing Your Dog To Work Reduces Stress, Increases Productivity

Dogs in the office are natural piece-makersOne of the main reasons why I was inspired to start my Virtual Assistant practice is that I wanted to work with a dog by my side.

Previous to that, I was working in the corporate world where bringing a furry friend to work was a no-no.

Before I started my own business, I didn’t have a dog. Since I spent all day away from home, I didn’t feel like I could handle taking care of a dog.

That was what drew me to starting a home business–I could finally get a dog and keep her by my side all day!

This month I saw an encouraging article in Cesar’s Way magazine that reported that 1 in 5 businesses (including Google, Amazon, and Ben & Jerry’s) now allow employees to bring their dogs to work.

There is even National “Bring Your Dog To Work Day”, which is June 22, 2012. More than 3,000 employers have signed up to participate in that event.

What are the benefits of working with a dog at your side?

Obviously less stress–studies have shown that when you pet a dog, your blood pressure goes down. Being around dogs tends to make people relax.

According to the Cesar’s Way magazine article, studies have shown that people tend to cooperate more with each other when there is a dog in the room–isn’t that interesting? Meanwhile, Uber offered puppies for rent in major USA;s cities and the idea is a success! Dogs are natural peace makers; they take the edge off!

Another thing that I’ve noticed about working with dogs–they make you take regular breaks, which is good. If I am left to my own devices I can sit down at my desk in the morning, and the next thing I know it’s evening!

When you work with a dog by your side you will naturally get up every couple hours to take them outside, which is good for both of you.

I now have two adorable pups that are my “office assistants” (little “Paisley” is pictured above), and I know I couldn’t get as much done without them. 😉

What about you–do you bring your dog to work (even when you’re working at home)?

Great Testimonials: 5 Easy Way To Get Heartfelt Feedback From Clients & Customers

When you offer a product or service online, testimonials are crucial to winning the trust of potential customers and clients.

You may wonder, how can I get some great testimonials for my website?

Obviousy, the first thing you need to do is provide excellent services that your clients/customers are happy with. You need to have been working with them long enough that they’re qualified to speak about you and your work.

After that, it’s pretty simple. Here are a few things you can do to get a great testimonial:

1 – Any time a client or customer gives you a glowing compliment on something, ask if you can use it as a testimonial.

These are the best types of testimonials–someone decides on their own to tell you how much they appreciate you. When you get one of these, express your thanks and ask if they would mind if you used their kind comments as a testimonial.

2 – Ask your clients if they’re satisfied with your services.

I do this in the form of a 6 month check-in that I send to the client. I give a reminder of the things that the client initially told me were his top goals to be accomplished as the result of us working together, and I ask how we’re doing on those. I also ask the client if he has any new goals that have come up.

This gives the opportunity for my client to address those specific issues and give natural feedback. The response is usually testimonial-worthy.

3 – Give your client or customer a testimonial. What?!

I know, this one is weird–usually the service provider is the one who requests feedback and receives testimonials.

If you are working in a one-on-one relationship with your client/customer (if you know them well and have a lot of contact with them), then why not send your client a message telling him or her how much you enjoy working with them, how you have benefited from working with them, the things you’ve learned from them, and whatever you’ve noticed about the client or the business that makes working with them an excellent experience?

All of this is heartfelt–you’re doing this because you are truly grateful to be working with them, and you want to show your appreciation.

I’ve only done this one time–one evening when I was contemplating how much I enjoy the work I do with a particular client, I felt compelled to write and tell him. I thought, “Why should I always soak up the praise and not give it back in equal dose?”

I honestly didn’t know what to expect–I had hoped that the message would be encouraging and make him feel good. After all, when you’re a small business owner, there are few people who really know the progress that you’re making in your business, or the behind-the-scenes victories that no one from the outside would ever find out about. I really just wanted to give back some of what had been given to me and express appreciation and encouragement.

I was thrilled to see the response–I was really touched by the appreciative reply.

Is there anything better than making someone feel good about something that means a lot ot them?

It’s really priceless–whether you’re working virtually or in a traditional setting, people at all levels of the business (business owners, support people, etc), like to know that what they’re doing is making a difference, that it’s noticed and appreciated, and that each day is more than just “business as usual”.

I noticed in that heartfelt reply from my client some spontaneous comments that would be excellent as part of a testimonial. It wasn’t the goal of the encouraging note I sent, but it turned out to be a natural side effect.

4 – Create an online place where your customers/clients can gush over you.

A lot of these ideas here I’ve stumbled across by accident, including this one.

We had made a Squidoo lens providing educational info about my client’s niche. This lens (a “lens” is basically a web page) was really thorough, thoughtful, colorful and interative. We thought it was amazing–it’s one of the best I’ve ever seen.

My client sent an email to his newsletter list asking them to leave a comment on the Squidoo lens saying what they thought of it.

The result was astounding–people left comments, but not about the lens. They gushed over how they loved my client’s service, and how happy they were with the results. Suddenly that informational Squidoo lens became a main testimonial page of spontaneous comments left by happy customers!

5 – Directly ask for a testimonial.

This the least natural way to get a testimonial, but it still works. Be sure to ask specific questions that you’d like your client/customer to address. Keep the list of questions short–maybe 3 or so.

Giving Naturally Leads To Getting

Here’s one thing I’ve noticed:

The best testimonials are not the ones you ask for. They’re the ones that are given naturally, someone just telling you how pleased and impressed they are with you or your service.

So, one thing to think about is that it’s not really about trying to get a testimonial out of someone–if they’re happy with your service, then they’ll likely want to talk about it.

  1. Your job is to do excellent work, going above and beyond what is expected.
  2. Then, keep an eye out for any compliments that naturally flow your way. Thank the giver, and ask if you can use their feedback as a testimonial.
  3. Be a giver, and you’ll likely get a lot back. Give excellent work and service, give educational info or any type of info that will help your clients/customers, show your appreciation to clients and customers, and they will probably reciprocate naturally.

What about you:

How have you collected testimonials?

Do you have any special tips to add?