Air Guitar . Trip to Vancouver . Cooking website @ 700 . Paris Photos

This issue of the To The Letter email update contains:
1. What does air guitar have to do with how a lot of businesses operate?
2. Trip to Vancouver, July 2007
3. Cooking website hits 700 subscribers
4. Paris photos from March

What does air guitar have to do with how a lot of businesses operate?

I recently went to an air guitar competition at a local pub, a quiet Thursday night, $5 cover charge. I thought it would a highly entertaining way to pass the evening. Here's what I thought I would see: talented wanna-be rock stars, standing on the stage with a guitar, lip synching to their favourite song, guitar around their neck that they pretended to play, that probably wasn't even plugged in.

Here's what it really was. Air guitar means there's air where the guitar would be. There's no singing, there's no music being created of any kind. There's a loud heavy metal song booming from the overhead sound system, and on the stage, well, some pretty inept people who've clearly never even held a guitar before let alone know how to play one. One prime example was the guy who had both hands moving at the same time in the same way, whereas -- OK, even you know this, right? -- if you're a right-handed person you strum with your right hand and pretty much hold your left hand steady with some chords ...

So, what does this have to do with how a lot of businesses operate?

There's often a very big difference between what you think you're going to get from a company, and what you do get. And businesses often fail to put the dots very close together when they explain exactly what it is they do, and how their customer can benefit from using their services.

So, there I was, in that pub, watching more than 90% of the air guitar performers hold their imaginary guitars as if they were left-handed (which is truly statistically unusual), and I thought: "I need to remember to put the dots really close together for my clients."

Here goes:

What is it that you do, Shelley?

I am a virtual assistant. This means that I do work for you from a remote location. As most of my clients are in Vancouver, I work Vancouver hours (9 am to 3 pm Pacific). I do lots of straight typing for small businesses that don't have full-time secretaries. I do design and layout work for bigger corporations who don't have in-house design departments. I do very fascinating book layout projects, some with colour, some with indexes. My staff and I do quite a bit of audio transcription, where we type recorded interviews and return the text files by email in MS Word. I design straight-forward websites. I manage html email distribution for organizations who need to send lovely emails with colour and pictures (just like this one) to their mailing list. I type and deliver documents to you by email, by fax, in PDF format, or in paper format. I arrange for colour printing, binding, photocopying, and delivery of documents right to your office.

How do you benefit from using the services of To The Letter?

You don't have to software experts. You can focus on what you do best, and leave the document formatting to me. You do the writing, I make it look lovely. You don't have to understand how the table of contents feature works. Or how to switch all citations from endnotes to footnotes. That's what I do.

Small businesses save $$ by not having a full-time secretary in their offices. You pay me by the minute, for how long it takes me to complete your task. If it takes 24 minutes to update the images on your website, that's what you pay for. If it takes me 31 minutes to format your document for full-colour PDF distribution, I don't round up that up to 60 minutes. There is no one-hour minimum.

You know that I save all of your files here, on my computer. You don't worry about viruses in your computer, you don't worry about archiving. You can call and ask me about the newsletter you sent out in 2003. I have it.

PS/ I play guitar right-handed, like most right-handed people do. I play chords with my left hand and strum with my right.

Trip to Vancouver, July 2007

I will be in Vancouver from Friday, July 14th to Wednesday, August 1st, 2007. During this time I will be holding the annual Lobster Chowder party for clients, probably on Thursday, July 19th. I'll let you know more once I find out where the party will be ... I am currently accepting ideas for locations :)

Cooking website has over 700 subscribers

I know, it's kind of shocking! The last time I wrote to you in February, my new cooking website had 200 subscribers.

Well, as of this morning, there are 700 subscribers from all over the world, including India, Africa, Sweden, and Malaysia. is an online cooking resource that appeals to inexperienced cooks AND basic cooks who are looking for ideas, tips and tricks on how to get dinner on the table every night. I've been busy writing my weekly column (this week was about how to make homemade lemonade concentrate) ... and I've just finished my first collection of recipes, a 122-page full colour, step-by-step cookbook of easy family dinners called Successful Home Cooking ... bon appetit!

Paris photos from March trip

Lots of 6-floor buildings with metal balconies, and tiny cars (Mar/07)

Our trip to Paris in March was fabulous, we enjoyed very warm weather, took the high speed train to Belgium, and got to enjoy two Dave Matthews concerts. To see the pictures, click here.

All best wishes,

Shelley MacDonald Beaulieu, Owner/Manager
To The Letter Word Processing Inc.

Contact Information



To The Letter Word Processing Inc.
vancouver ph. 604.738.5640 | montreal ph. 514.844.0435
Toll free phone 1-877-700-5640 . E-fax 604-608-3429