Posted by: thepersistentassistant | November 20, 2010

Meet Mike P.

Immediately likeable, Mike carries himself with the ease of a Midwest native. Mike has the ability to get along with a variety of different people, always engaging and attentive. He is the product of the Chicago Catholic League schools and the University of Illinois at Chicago. When he is not working, Mike enjoys volunteering as Treasurer of the Oak Park Art league and coaching t-ball and softball, while mentoring his three children.

Mike has made financial services his career for the last 19 years. His experience has taught him to maintain excellent resources and to execute accurately.  Mike’s work shows a dedication to his clients and a desire to exceed their expectations.

Mike is available to work on-site or remotely providing solutions to business owners and individuals. He has a wide variety of clients within the internet, retail, health service, construction and restaurant industries. He understands that unique needs call for unique strategies and stays current with changes in tax and human resource laws.

Mike prides himself on his efficiency, accountability and reliability.  We love that he is easy to work with and, most importantly, gets the job done!


Accounts Payable/Receivable, Bookkeeping, Collections, Payroll Services,

Quarterly and Annual Financial Preparation,

Quickbooks Set-Up and Training

Posted by: thepersistentassistant | November 20, 2010

Effective Management

As published in the October 27, 2010 edition of The Woodstock Independent

Effective Management

Maintaining a healthy work environment is presumed to be a challenge, although the concept is not easily defined. Experience dictates that a healthy workplace refers to an organization in which people are valued, offering an environment where employees are able to function well in order to accomplish the goals of an organization.

Traditional authoritative leaders who control situations and force compliance saps motivation and creativity. Unfortunately, management like this is what drives business every day, creating hazardous organizational health, namely hostile and emotionally stifling work environments.

Managing people effectively means motivating and engaging them so that they feel valued and important. Discover how your team members differ-determine which want to be told what to do and which ones like to have a say in how things are done. Ask for input in making decisions to empower your team-they will come to you with options for solutions, not just problems. Allowing them to make free and informed choices is a good best practice, often generating increased creativity and productivity.

Expectations are managed by clearly defining roles. Let your team know you are a firm but fair, decisive manager, one that is assuming a facilitative role. Engaging and fostering broader ownership in the organization creates individual development.

Meet with your team members individually. Allow them to share with you what is working for them in their environment and what they feel they have accomplished. Praise appropriately. Free lunch, coffee made before staff arrives, a handwritten note of praise are some low-cost recognition ideas that will increase job satisfaction and engagement.
Encourage employees to have a balanced life by demonstrating your own work/life balance. Working reasonable hours, having interests outside the organization and demonstrating personal priorities different from work responsibilities will make it easier for employees to establish their own priorities.

Broadening your role in coaching and facilitating while flexing your style for individual team member needs, along with maintaining open communication, involvement in decision making, respect and recognition will create a positive work environment.

Maintaining a healthy work environment is not that difficult. Adopting a “treat others like they want to be treated” policy is effective in increasing job satisfaction, therefore lowering employee turn-over and related expenses.

It’s time to turn good common sense into common practice in the workplace.

Laura A. Witlox is the Communications Coordinator of the Crystal Lake Chamber of Commerce and Proprietress of The Persistent Assistant and can be reached at

Posted by: thepersistentassistant | October 2, 2010

Getting Organized – Electronically

As published in the September 22, 2010 edition of The Woodstock Independent

Getting Organized – Electronically

Managing an email inbox is probably one of my clients’ biggest hurdles.  It is not unheard of that there are actually some individuals operating with over 4,000 emails sitting in their inbox simply waiting to be organized or, better yet, opened. From housewives to business owners, email hoarding shows no prejudice.

We’ve all been there. “You’ve got mail,” chimes through your laptop speaker, and although the subject matter appears enticing, you decide to save this read for another time. Repetition of this habit will lead you to have several hundred-or even several thousand-messages in your inbox. Adopting a new approach to email management can aid you in keeping up with critical action items, and overall, save you time both at home and in the workplace.

Schedule an hour of uninterrupted time each day to begin the process. Send all of your calls to voicemail, lock your office door and stay focused!

Although all email systems offer options to sort and filter your mail by categories such as date, subject or sender, the best thing to do is start from the very top. As you open each one, decide what to do with that message immediately.  Ask yourself, “Does the message hold information I can resource from the internet?” If yes, delete it.  “Am I required to keep this email?”  If no, then say good-bye.

If you can’t delete it, does it require further action on your part?  Complete simple tasks that take minutes, immediately. Tasks that require more time, add to your “to-do” list.

Does the task in the email require someone else to complete it?  Hit forward, sending it on for completion and add the item to your calendar for follow-up with that individual.

Scheduling email management time requires discipline, but soon could become a productive habit for you-one that you will find value in.  Once you get through the mound of “past-due” electronic mail, set a quantity limit of how many emails can remain in your inbox, and stick to it.

These simple steps to electronic organization, will afford you many hours to be more productive in your business and all areas of your life.

And, if all else fails, find a great assistant to manage your email for you!

Laura A. Witlox is the Communications Coordinator at the Crystal Lake Chamber of Commerce and Proprietress of The Persistent Assistant and can be reached at

Posted by: thepersistentassistant | September 11, 2010

Meet Kelly P.

Kelly is a remarkably efficient, responsible, confident young woman. She thinks and communicates efficiently, often displaying a sharp sense of humor. Although fun and sociable, Kelly brings focus to any task at hand. Kelly has established a clear sense of direction and purpose in her life, in that she started her own business in providing daycare for dogs.

Kelly was raised in the northwest suburbs of Chicago, Illinois, bordering Wisconsin. She enjoys getting in touch with the outdoors by spending time outside golfing, gardening, attending Cubs games and hanging with her four-legged friends. Most recently Kelly obtained her BS in Criminal Justice. Her passion to expose the truth for deserving families will eventually lead her into a career in criminal investigations.

Kelly works as a personal assistant because she enjoys supporting other individuals and is highly capable. Although she has an extensive background in office management, it is event planning that she is allowed to be the most creative. Having project coordinated for many public events and private parties, Kelly is capable of executing all details from start to finish. Due to her entrepreneurial background, she is able to assume responsibility with little supervision and operates well under pressure.

Expertise: Event Planning, Dog Daycare

Posted by: thepersistentassistant | September 3, 2010

Finding The Competitive Advantage

As published in the August 25, 2010 edition of The Woodstock Independent

All too often business owners and corporate leaders lean on buzz words in their conversations, my least favorite, “think outside of the box”. Whether this directive has been delivered from the president of a large corporation to an account executive, or is excitedly proclaimed by an eager new-hire at a sales meeting, I question its strength, considering its over usage, and invite you to explore what it truly means to you and the relationship you have in running and developing your own business.

Yet as the economic conversation continues to seep into our veins through the daily news, at the dinner table, in line at the grocery store, on the golf course, etc., business owners are challenged to maintain stability, moreover, gain the competitive advantage and have an openness to do different things and to do things differently.

Dare I say it?  Go back to basics.  Ah, yes, more buzz words, but actually some that have merit.  When’s the last time you pulled out your business plan?  Have you read your company’s mission statement – ever? Do you know what your short-term goals are, and are they realistic? Does your long-term plan offer room for a fluctuating economy? Have you researched the latest marketing avenues to promote your business? Are you aware of what your competition is doing?

Being aware of what your competition is doing has its advantages. In essence, you have already “shopped the competition” for the consumer.  It shows the consumer you are savvy and it gives you negotiating power. Is your competition consistently advertising, and if so, how?  Are they utilizing snail mail strategies, print ads, Facebook, Constant Contact, or are they simply waiting for the phone to ring and the customer to walk through the door?  In observing how your competitors approach the market, you can learn from their mistakes and avoid costly ones of your own. Keep in mind, repetitive usage of advertising avenues can either indicate success or a lack of creativity. Do they host a website that is clear, concise and easy to navigate, when you don’t?  I haven’t found one person today that doesn’t know how to “Google”. Web presence is a must. Do you carry a product or offer a service that your competition does not? Give the consumer what they want and need.

After you’ve digested enough about “the other guy” review your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats to your business. Understand your own market position and your business’ potential.

That is the competitive advantage.

Laura A. Witlox is Proprietress of The Persistent Assistant and can be reached at She will continue to explore challenging business situations and marketing strategies, as contributing columnist in ‘Minding Your Business’ in The Woodstock Independent every fourth Wednesday of the month.

Posted by: thepersistentassistant | May 1, 2010

1,001 Ways to Live in the Moment

Living an organized life has allowed me to enjoy some passions that I haven’t had the opportunity to enjoy. One of those passions would be reading.  Considering we live in the now, although fleeting, it’s important to enjoy life as it happens. After all, you can’t count on tomorrow.

I was fortunate enough to come across a new favorite, “1,001 Ways to Live in the Moment”, by Barbara Ann Kipfer. Ms. Kipfer focuses on “the value of now.”  I hope to share a few of her written words here that relate to my world, and hopefully yours.

#308 Time Skills – To get the best out of life, apply some basic time-management skills. These boil down to two key principles: finding a balance of personal priorities and responsibilities; and preserving your “own time” from unwanted distractions. Time is too precious to squander but also too precious to squeeze.

For me, this boils down to discipline, organization, and a new challenge for me, saying “no”. Living an organized life has allowed me to enjoy what I have missed for years…quality time with friends & family, “me time”, and a sense of balance.

Find a moment for yourself today!,book-info/store,books/products_id,8172/title,1001-Ways-to-Live-in-the-Moment/

Posted by: thepersistentassistant | April 21, 2010

Virtual Personal Assistant

A Virtual Assistant will help you streamline your working and personal life, save you money, save you time and make you more effective. We undertake both personal and business tasks on behalf of our clients. You will be surprised at how helpful we can be!

“I can’t say enough about how much Laura has lightened my load. As the owner of a small business, there are many daily tasks that make it difficult for me to focus on the clients in my business as well as have time to move my music career forward.  Having Laura available to take care of those extras frees me up immensely.  She has been instrumental in helping me move several projects forward by taking care of several of the details and her diligence and immediate response are exactly what I needed. She secured a venue for a concert for my students and had the deal done in less than 24 hours on budget. It made my life that week much easier!! She gets the job done. I strongly recommend the “Persistent Assistant”.  Invaluable!!

Cassandra Vohs-Demann, Owner; A Place to Shine Music

Posted by: thepersistentassistant | April 20, 2010

Event Planning

The Persistent Assistant is a wiz at event planning! From festivals to conferences and even the simplest private party – we can do it all!

We can assist in budgeting, locate a site, develop a theme, arrange for speakers & entertainment, arrange decor, tables, chairs, tents, event support and security, catering,  portable toilets, parking, signage, and cleanup.

The key to a great party is organization and communication!

Why Do People Hire Event Planners?

This question has a simple answer: Individuals often find they lack the expertise and time to plan events themselves. Independent event planners can step in and give the event the attention it deserves!

Free up your life!

” I went to a party put on by the Persistent Assistant this weekend that was fantastic. Cool space and a great vibe made for a great party. I was very impressed. When the time comes for me to throw a shin-ding I will be calling her. Great party, Laura.” – Greg Siebold

Posted by: thepersistentassistant | April 19, 2010

Personal Assistant Services

Providing personal assistants in the home, home office and small business!

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