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 &...
Let's imagine that you have a clean bill of health and have just finished your first 5k marathon after training for the last two months - Go YOU! You've lost a bit of weight along the way, and have had some very meaningful experiences with your friends and family. All this and you still feel tired, as if something is just off.
It might be time for some big changes.
When you feel chronically overwhelmed with life and just can't seem to come out of the funk despite all your genuine efforts, the answer may be change.
Start small, end big.
If the thought of making a big leap to change your lifestyle seems too scary, start small. Instead of putting your house on the market, paint a room and redecorate. See if the change is enough to improve the way you feel. If not, ask to view some local homes for sale and see if the excitement of changing addresses grows when you get a look at what's on the market.
Once you have made some small changes, work...
An apple a day may keep the doctor away, but sometimes your doctor's advice is the very thing you need to overcome fatigue and burnout. If you have been taking your self-care practice seriously but you still aren't experiencing any relief, it might be time for a physical.
In the field of psychiatry, the first thing a Psychiatrist requests that new patients do is get a physical. This is because many symptoms of mental distress can have a physical cause. It isn't wise to start treating a symptom of depression, fatigue, or burnout from a cognitive perspective if the underlying issue is a physical one.
A doctor can run blood tests to check on your organs, hormones, and other vital aspects of your health. Additional tests can be administered to eliminate possibilities of other physical issues that can manifest as fatigue.
Here are a few common culprits of low energy and fatigue:
Vitamin and mineral deficiencies - It is possible to experience fatigue due to vitamin and mineral...
Each afternoon, the fog creeps in. Not the kind you see on a mountain or next to the sea - the kind that creeps into your mind and zaps away your energy. Reaching for a latte and candy bar is one option to boost your energy, but there are better ways to re-energise and face the rest of your day.
It might seem like the best thing to help you recharge would be to take a nap. While most adults don't have the privilege of a midday nap-time, luckily a little bit of exercise can also recharge your empty batteries and get you through the afternoon slump.
There was a time in the when meditation and yoga were stereotyped only as an aspect of "alternative lifestyles," assumed to be "hippy-dippy" activities for zen-fixated people chanting "ohm" and eating restrictive diets. Outside of the cultures in which they originated, the practice of meditation or yoga was considered esoteric and slightly weird. Now, those times are over.
Meditation and yoga are so commonly practised now that you can find local yoga studios in most towns and cities and multiple meditation apps on your smartphone. What caused the perspective to shift, and what's all this hype about? Well, they work!
As with most ancient practices, there is a reason they have lasted millennia across many cultures - they are effective and they can help. Our Western culture has been late to the party, but that's ok: there's enough mindful self-care for everyone!
Meditation and yoga, though different in from and practice, complement each other in multiple ways to restore, refresh,...
Journaling is a wonderful tool for capturing thoughts, exploring gratitude, and expressing our inner feelings - but did you know it can be a valuable research tool as well? Sometimes our fatigue and sense of burnout can be so all-encompassing that we don't have the perspective we need to see the root causes. Journaling can help.
Journaling over time can expose elements of our fatigue and burnout that may go unseen day-to-day. Let's look at some ways to use journaling to spot root causes of fatigue and burnout.
Bullet journals - Bullet journals are formed from snippets of information that are easy to capture. Creating a system of symbols or short phrases that correspond with various feelings is one way to track your day.
Handwritten journals - Blank-page journals that have no set structure are perfect for expressing free-flowing thoughts and writing whatever comes to mind. Having no set structure for this process allows creative and subconscious-driven content to flow.