It kind of goes without saying that if you want to get somewhere you’ve got to have a plan. Very rarely do things work out properly on a wing and a prayer.
That was my problem when I set up my business in 1999, I didn’t really have a plan. I just did it.
It can be argued that because my business is still running nearly 21 years later, I did something right. But what you don’t know is what I’ve had to go through to keep it going. We’ll cover that on a later date.
These days I am laser focused. I set goals and work out a plan to achieve my goals.
If you’re seriously thinking about starting a virtual assistance business, or any other business for that matter, I strongly recommend you do the same.
One of my personal goals this year is to spend more time with my other half. It was brought home when he once said to me, “You don’t really live here, you’re more of a lodger”.
My relationship with Sam is especially important to me. I...
Happy Christmas to all my community and anyone else who is reading this.
Now is a great time to recharge your batteries, reflect on this years achievements and set some realistic goals (NOT New Year resolutions!) to help you on your way to where you want to be in the next 12 months.
I am soooo looking forward to 2020. It’s gonna be great!
I have LOTS and LOTS to share with anyone who is looking to set up their own virtual assistance business.
So, if you don’t want to miss out and you're not already part of my community, subscribe to my weekly email blast HERE to get free downloads, challenges, quizzes and valuable hints and tips to help you create and grow your own VA business.
For now though, I will leave you with some Christmas Cheer via the photo above of my dogs, and let you imagine what it took for us to get all 3 of them to sit together so we could take this photo! (BTW - Harry in the middle - he's 16 years old. Not bad looking for his age is...
Ask most entrepreneurs about their list of “day job” complaints and most of them will talk about fulfilment, making a difference, flexibility and maybe money. What they won’t say—even though they definitely feel it—is that working for someone else means they have to abide by that person’s rules. And not just when it comes to vacation planning and clock punching.
When you work for someone else, you are required to abide by their rules in all things.
Staff writers work the stories they are assigned—whether they’re interested in the subject or not.
Sales persons represent the product lines the company offers, regardless of other, better options.
Teachers follow an approved curriculum—never mind that students have been shown to learn better with a more updated system.
Not only that, but when you have a day job, you must conform to the company culture as well. Christmas parties may not be optional, even for a true introvert. Open...
I can’t tell you in words how wonderful and exciting it is when you get your first client, or any new client for that matter.
That’s when you say to yourself “Yes! It’s working!”
This is the moment when you feel like you’re finally getting somewhere. All the hard work and preparation you put in has come to fruition.
But that’s only the start.
Now the hard work really begins because you’ve got to be able to ‘keep’ that client.
So, ask yourself. How far would you go?
How far would you go to ensure that your clients are happy?
Now I’m not suggesting you do anything illegal or immoral. What I’m asking is, do you have clear client boundaries?
I’m going to use the example of office hours. The time you have allocated to do client work. The times stated on your service agreement clients will sign before any work begins.
Okay. Here goes…
What would you do if a client suddenly called you late one evening...
"Some’s sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago" – Warren Buffet
I admire people who have a plan. I’m naturally a kind of ‘live for the day’ person.
Don’t get me wrong. I am incredibly good at planning, especially when there’s a client and a deadline involved. I’m talking more personally. When I was younger, planning for the future never really crossed my mind.
My other half, Sam, is someone I admire very much. Not just because he buys me flowers ‘just because’ and always makes sure there’s a stash of chocolate in the fridge (my choice of poison). He has a completely different outlook to me.
He had his life planned out from a very young age. And when I mean young, I’m talking about his teens. He knew what career path he wanted to follow, went for it, kept an eye on where he was going, tried different things along the way, tweaked it when it needed tweaking and now, he’s ...
Starting a business is a bit like planning a long journey.
If you’re taking a trip somewhere, you’d work out how and when you were going to arrive, how long it would take to get there and what you’d need throughout the journey.
Setting out a similar plan for your business is the right thing to do too. It will give you the same type of results you’d get organising a trip, and enable you to focus, track and reach your goals.
This is where creating a routemap for your business right at the very beginning is really important. (It’s never too late to create one either, even if you’ve been established for a while. That’s what I did.)
Why’s this so important?
Well, just like a journey, if you don’t have a map, how do you know where you’re going? Worse still, if you don’t monitor what you’re doing, how do you know if you’re anywhere near achieving what you set out to do?
By keeping an eye on where you are in...
One of the BIG questions I often get asked is “how did you find your first clients?”
I still see this question asked in some VA forums.
For me, personally, I started by going to client’s places of work and helping them out there.
I started my practice back in 1999 when not a lot of people knew what virtual assistance was or understood how it worked.
I knew (and it still stands) that one of the key ingredients to virtual assistance is trust. I began building my client base by physically going to local businesses and working with them in their own environment.
Two things happened.
Once I had built trust with my clients, all my work came in via recommendations.
So, what would I advise to anyone starting up?
Here are my top #11 tips to building your virtual assistant client base.
There’s a lot of information on the web about starting a virtual assistance practice and it’s quite easy to get sucked into the promise of working less hours for more money and taking time off whenever you feel like it.
Realistically, when you’re getting started, you may end up working more hours and having less time on your hands than you did when you were working for someone else. And, if you don’t get your pricing right, you could end up working for less too!
That’s not to say that working less hours for more money and taking time off when you want is a pipe dream. It can become true if you get it right. But there are a lot of factors to take into consideration which I won’t go into today.
What I can tell you with hindsight is that I fell into three major traps when I started up.
Firstly, I knew how much I needed to earn to survive, but that was about it. I didn’t sit down and look at the figures properly.
Secondly, I didn’t have a...
I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about my life as a virtual assistant (VA)/online business manager recently. It all started with a conversation I had recently with a good friend who said to me, “well, you should have plenty experience to share with others who are thinking about starting up in that line of work.”
To be honest, I’d never really thought about sharing my experiences. Then I slept on it and realised I DO have a lot to share.
I’ve run my own VA practice for a very long time now. Twenty years in fact (which makes me a veteran and gave me the idea for the name The Veteran VA).
I know there are a lot of people out there that dream of being their own boss so I thought why not share the good, the bad and the ugly of what running a business is really like.
When I started looking back over the years, I now realise it’s been quite a journey!
So, if you’re thinking that you’d like to at least find out about how to become a VA, how...
Let’s take a walk down memory lane and browse through all the different topics we’ve covered over the past 29 days. Here’s a quick rundown:
1. Welcome and Why are We So Exhausted All the Time?
2. Are You Getting Enough Sleep?
3. The Importance of Down Time
4. Cutting Out Distractions Can Help
5. Ban Your Smartphone from the Bedroom
6. Stress Will Lead to Burnout; De-Stress More
7. Set a Weekly Rhythm to Avoid Burnout
8. Are You Taking Time for Daily Self-Care?
9. Habits & Routines Can Help Prevent Burnout
10. Are Mental Health and Burnout Related?
11. Take a Vacation to Reverse Burnout
12. 3 Tips for Avoiding Future Burnouts
13. Are You Eating a Healthy Diet?
14. How to Avoid the Afternoon Slump
15. Learning to Delegate Can be the Best Thing to Avoid Getting Burnt Out
16. Are Your Behavioural Patterns Causing Burnout?
17. How Overwhelm Can Cause Burnout & Fatigue
18. Is Caffeine Causing Your Fatigue?
19. Can Essential Oils Help Prevent Burnout?
20. The Art of Saying No &...