Are You A Working Parent? Read this!

We live in a world where most parents have to work full time/part-time whilst raising future pioneers of the world.

Most parents I know, wake up around 6am to get set for the day ahead. This usually involves, making breakfasts, lunches, getting the kids out of bed, dressed and dropped off at school, before heading in to work. Some are lucky enough to grab a coffee or two along the way and some may not be having their first hot drink till much later! As the one you made this morning as surely gone cold!

At work, they deal with the daily running of their business, whilst trying to keep on top of their to-do lists. The phone is ringing off the hook and emails are going unanswered. There’s only so much time in a day to do everything!

With the blink of an eye, it’s time to pick the kids up again and the feeling of exhaustion has taken over.

So, what do you do? How do you get things done and stay sane?

You might have heard that some parents and entrepreneurs now outsource their mundane tasks to a remote assistant. Someone who will get on with set tasks and give you the peace of mind you need. Simple things that take a while to do and you really could do without!

Here are some of the things I typically get asked to do by my clients:

  1. Find/contact suppliers – arrange a site visit, change delivery dates, deal with issues or queries, and so on…
  2. Arrange events such as birthday parties!
  3. Research holidays, restaurants, date nights, etc. and book them!
  4. Check your emails and make sure to remind you of the urgent ones and respond to others on your behalf.
  5. Data entry tasks.
  6. Customer support – Live chat with your customers and provide email support.
  7. Diary management
  8. Find childcare, schools, tutors, educational supplies etc.

These are just a few of the things that I help my clients with and it has made a world of difference to their lives by giving them back a couple of hours or more each day, to spend time with their family or to focus on all the bigger tasks that often get pushed to one side due to lack of time.

What tasks would you rather have someone else do for you? I’d love to hear your thoughts on this. Email me at bonita@prosper-va.com and let’s have a friendly chat!

I often get asked how I manage to run a business, raise a child, volunteer for three charities and run a household all the same time!

As much as I would like to say, magic! That would be a bit of a lie.

So, how do I do it? By using a few tools to keep myself well organised.

First, I have a mental list to remind me of the important things in my life.

  1. Family
  2. My business & my customers
  3. Volunteer work
  4. Leisure activities with friends
  5. Me time

Second, careful diary planning. My working hours are fully committed to my clients and my business, I block them out in my diary.

I wake up early in the morning or stay up late at night (depending on my daughter’s sleep!) and do all the other things I need to do. Such as planning for the day, personal emails, cleaning and so on.

I use Trello to keep on top of my tasks and projects. It’s a free tool and works very well on mobile or desktop. I can set up due dates for my tasks there as well! I also add the due dates to my calendar – just to give me extra reminders in case I miss something on Trello. That can happen (I’m only human!) when things are a bit too crazy around here.

Lastly, I have a wall planner that sits just above my computer screen. It has all the important appointments and reminders for the whole month. It’s also a fun way to be creative on a monthly basis. I like using highlighters and marker pens to make it look all pretty and funky! If you don’t already know, I am a big fan of stationery and use it to stay neat, tidy and colourful 🙂

Of course, it took me a while and a lot of dedication to put this planning system in place but I must admit, it was worth it!

I hope this post helps you! If there’s anything I can do to help you to get more organised, just drop me an email at bonita@prosper-va.com. Thanks!

When I started this venture, I didn’t think working and raising a child would be as tough as it’s been. I mean, I knew it was going to be difficult but the reality is at least a good 10 times tougher than I expected.

I suppose, watching my mum work all her life and raise four kids gave me a false sense of hope. She worked from the crack of dawn till late evening on our family business, got home from work to cook us all dinner, bathe us, and put to bed. She did this seven days a week… At least I get the bloody weekend to do my volunteer work and relax with my family. She didn’t have that luxury… Hats off to the woman for all her hard work and dedication!

The journey has been eye-opening and fun! There are so many people in the same situation as me, and that gives me so much confidence to know that I can do it! I can be a mum, business owner and support my three favourite charities all at once. You might be wondering how I do it, right? Well, the first few weeks after I started this company were a blur and took a lot of getting used to – hence, the silence on social media and blogs. I learnt that the trick was to plan ahead. Organising every single detail in my diary to my best ability.

First and foremost, I set myself daily/weekly and monthly reminders. Things that I need to do without fail. I also set myself a daily checklist to ensure I have done all the things I planned to do on the day. This is my end of the day routine at 4pm. That way, I still have an hour to do anything that I may have missed earlier in the day – this is rare, but does happen if I have an emergency or two to deal with earlier in the day.

Another thing that works well for me is planning my personal life in advance. Meals, preps, cleaning, childcare and everything else you can think of. We have one family calendar and one wall chart planner with everyone’s appointments and whereabouts. This old fashioned way of keeping tab of everyone’s movements really helps keep us stay on top of things. It also helps me organise my work diary much better. I use my work calendars and another wall planner in the office to keep that side of my life in check.

Of course, this might not work for everyone. If you are a successful entrepreneur with little time to sit down and organise your life, you might find it useful to have an assistant like me! I can do all the organising and reminding for you.

Couple of my amazing customers rely on me for their daily updates, reminders and general admin tasks. Keeping their diaries organised and helping out with anything I can, has given them back some valuable time to focus on living a more balanced life.

Drop me a message at bonita@prosper-va.com if you think you could do with some help!

A house move is never easy. After moving homes six times in the last 10 years, I know this far too well. The stress of moving jobs, paperwork, dealing with estate agents, packing, arranging removals etc. can be extremely overwhelming. Especially if you have pets and children thrown into the mix!

After getting married, my first move was to Hertfordshire and that was probably the easiest house move of them all. Just a few boxes of my prized possessions.

Every single move after that was stressful and time-consuming to say the least

Working a full-time job and liaising with suppliers, agents and what not, was utter chaos. Saying that, I learned a lot from the first two moves and was well prepared for all the others that followed.

I made lists of things I needed to do and timelines of when I needed to get them done by. Keeping things organised was vital to make sure everything went according to plan. Still, there were many times I wished I had an assistant. Someone who could research the areas I was moving into, get quotes, speak to suppliers, etc. Life would have been so much easier!

So, if you or anyone you know is planning a house move, don’t let them struggle alone when they could have me as an assistant! Forward my details to them and I would love to help! After all, I have moved enough times to know what I am doing!

Call me on 07825 267662 or email bonita@prosper-va.com

January has whizzed past already and that’s all thanks to the 12-14 hour days I have been working so far.

This month, I have promised myself to take time out every day to recuperate and realign myself. I must, must, must, remember to do Yoga every morning or evening. Or at least do 10 minutes of mindfulness exercises. Probably better to do them at night when my daughter is fast asleep! Where the chances of her wanting me are slim…

That’s it, I am adding it to my diary right now!

silhouette of man at daytime

As someone who is responsible for making the lives of others run smoothly, I think I forget that I am only one person and can only take on so much.

Which is why I am seriously considering taking on a freelancer to do some of the work. I will wait and see how the first quarter goes and if things are as busy as they have been, I will definitely be looking at taking on an extra pair of hands. I know some of my customers prefer I do certain tasks myself so I will continue to do those. Just because I absolutely enjoy doing them! 🙂

It’s a tough decision and I wish I could do it all! Sadly, that wouldn’t be very logical.

I just have to accept it when it’s time to grow my business and put new plans in motion.

person writing on white book

I have come across some amazing virtual assistants that I would really like to work with. They have the right level of patience, knowledge, versatility and drive I look for in colleagues.

It’s early days but I feel I am ready to take the next big step!

A very Happy New Year to everyone!

I hope you all enjoyed a much-deserved break over the festive period. I spent a great deal of time with my family and am already starting to miss the holidays! I guess everyone takes a few days to get used to being in the office again after Christmas.

As well as relaxing and having fun, I took some time to think about my plans for the new year.

I am glad I decided to take the leap and start my company, I get great satisfaction from being a PA/support to multiple entrepreneurs around the country and building long-lasting relationships with them. It’s amazing to watch businesses grow.

Without putting too much pressure on myself, I have set some realistic goals for myself this year. Both business, and personal ones. By the second quarter of this year, I would like to have taken on board two more customers, or one, depending on the monthly hours I have to work for them. With my current schedule and planning, I think this is pretty achievable.

apple applications apps cell phone

There is one thing I really need to work on, and that’s my social media presence. I find it quite easy to help others with their social media tasks but when it comes to working on my own, I start procrastinating. This has got to change this year! I have started using Buffer on a regular basis now and will take some time out every day to schedule my social media posts and interact with others.

On a personal note, I am going to try to do more for the three amazing charities I volunteer for. Read more books, take part in fitness activities regularly and finish writing my novel. Wish me luck!

With my business, a toddler and giving back to the community, 2019 is hopefully going to be the best year yet!

It’s December and Christmas is nearly here! As I type this, it’s only 4 weeks away. Not that I’m counting or anything…

What does Christmas mean to a small business? As a new small business owner myself, I wonder what others like me are up to. There are some basic things we need to prepare ourselves for. Such as planning customer Christmas presents, last-minute work requests, staff rewards (if you have any) etc. It’s not a big list, but it sure can be overwhelming if you have a lot of customers and are doing it all alone.

brown acorn near clear long stem wine glass

Apart from all the extra work, Christmas can be a reminder of how lone working is in fact, quite lonely. Back when I worked for an employer, I was super excited about getting ready for the Christmas party, I took part in decorating the office and organising the event. It was great, a chance for everyone to get together and have a jolly good time! And make some hilarious memories to remember well into the new year. Oh, I look back at those parties fondly.

As a lone worker, things are a little different. You may get a few party invites and even go to them if you’re up for it. But, it’s not the same as getting together with a bunch of colleagues and having a good knees up, is it? Maybe this time next year I will host my first Christmas party, this year though, I am going to be spending my time working hard and enjoying the company of my fellow small business owners virtually. Wait a minute. I just had an idea of hosting a Virtual Christmas Party! I’ve heard of this before but never arranged or took part in one myself!

I know a few people who’d like to take part. I better crack on see if I can arrange everything in time!

If this is something you’d like to take part in, drop me a message at bonita@prosper-va.com! Ooh, I am excited!

Like most entrepreneurs, do you find yourself spending far too much time on making a list of things to do instead of actually doing them? Are you struggling to make time for your family, friends or yourself? Then it sounds like you need an assistant. Someone who will help you free up some much needed time in your life so you can grab a coffee with a friend, play with your kids, or work on more strategic tasks. You can achieve that work-life balance you’ve been dreaming of.

Okay, we know that you need an assistant, but do you know if you need a full time personal assistant? or someone on a more ad-hoc basis, such as a virtual assistant?

Let’s start by looking at that never ending to-do list. Check what type of things you have on there and break them down in to physical and computer based tasks. Doing this will help you figure out if you need someone on site or someone remote. If you need someone to rearrange your office or make you a cup of tea, you will probably be looking at an onsite PA.

pen calendar to do checklist

If you need someone onsite, work out how much you are willing to pay them. Paying peanuts will only give you a monkey. So think hard about this before contacting recruitment agencies or advertising the job yourself. In the UK, an average PA will cost you around £21,000 per annum. A really good one will cost anything between £25,000 to £32,000, depending on the amount of work you have to offer and the experience you would like them to have. Be frank and open about your requirements, this is the number one rule to build an exceptional relationship with your assistant.

On the other hand, if you find that you’re mostly out of the office and would prefer an assistant that’s on hand as and when you need them, a virtual personal assistant would suit the bill. Work out how many hours a week or month you would need them for. If unsure, go for an hourly rate that you’re comfortable with. Depending on the flexibility of the assistant you choose, you can always increase or decrease the hours at a later stage. You won’t get this flexibility with an onsite PA. For example, one of my clients started on an hourly basis for the first few weeks. Later, they realised that they needed more work done than originally planned. We discussed the requirements and worked out they needed 10 hours of support per week. Which is when I moved them on to a retainer as it was not only cost effective for their business, it worked out better for me as well.

To sum things up, every successful business owner needs an assistant at some point in their journey.  The busier you get, the less time you will have on your hands. Try not to leave things too late, the sooner you act the better chance you have of continuing your success without a hitch.

 

 

The upcoming winter months can be a cause for concern to many business owners. When severely bad weather strikes, it leads to travel disruptions and childcare issues. This means individuals may struggle to get into the office. Whether you and your staff take the public transport or drive to work, snow laden roads can make travel quite dangerous. Individuals with children may struggle to find childcare due to school or nursery closures. If staff are unable to get to work, how will you continue to operate your business?

As a nation with unpredictable winter months, we really should be prepared for anything.

bare tree covered with snow

Which brings me to a very important question. Do you have a Winter Risk Management Plan in place? A back up plan to keep your business moving no matter what the weather is outside? If you’ve said no, it really is a good idea to have one in place. It doesn’t have to be a hundred pages long. A short and simple plan should suffice for most businesses.

Here are a few things to consider when creating your plan:

  • Prepare for snow and ice removal – we don’t want anyone getting hurt because they slipped on some ice. Safety first!
  • Backup generator – if there’s a blackout, a back up generator should keep things going for a while.
  • Prepare your staff – communicate potential weather emergencies with your staff. If they know it’s going to snow heavily for the next couple of days, they can plan ahead.
  • Have emergency contacts in place – an Office or HR Manager usually make a good emergency contact to report staff absence.
  • Offer the option to work from home – if staff can access their computers remotely, that’s great! If not, at least make sure they have access to emails.
  • Create an online meeting room for your team – Skype, appear.in and Zoom are great ways to hold online meetings without breaking the bank.
  • Telephone redirection – set up a divert on your office line. Most telecom companies now offer this as an option. You should be able to contact them and set up a manual divert or do it online, depending on your provider.
  • Most importantly, have emergency support in place, such as a virtual assistant or casual workers through a recruitment agency.

Winter is coming… so be prepared!

 

  1. No more unread emails in your mailbox. A Virtual Assistant can help you sort through your emails and highlight the important ones for you to action.
  2. Carry out research, so you don’t have to spend hours in front of the computer.
  3. You’ll never forget a special occasion again! It’s your mother in law’s birthday and you completely forgot to buy her a card. Fear not, your Virtual Assistant can not just arrange birthday and anniversary cards, they can also arrange flowers and gifts!
  4. Keep your customers happy. A Virtual Assistant can contact your customers and book appointments on your behalf, arrange Christmas presents and be their first point of contact for any queries.
  5. Make you look good! It’s true, having an assistant makes you look good in front of customers and suppliers. A Virtual Assistant will deal with all your admin, so you can focus on taking your business to the next level.
  6. Give you a much-needed break. Running around doing all that you need to for your business can be exhausting. A Virtual Assistant can find your next holiday, so you can take some time to relax and unwind.
  7. Organise your files. You wouldn’t be the first person to save your files all over the place in a rush. A Virtual Assistant can help you rearrange your filing system using Google Drive or Drop Box, so you know exactly where to find that contract you’ve been looking for.
  8. Prepare your next presentation. With just a phone call, a good Virtual Assistant can put together all the information you give them into a slideshow for your next board meeting.
  9. Blogging! We know the importance of blogging and SEO. Your Virtual Assistant could take your notes and put them into a weekly blog post. Doesn’t that sound like the ultimate marketing support for your business?
  10. Transcribing your notes. Do you have audio notes that really should be written up? No problem. A Virtual Assistant can transcribe your audio or video notes into easy to read text.

 

You wouldn’t be the first person to wonder if you need a Virtual Assistant. Can someone working virtually really help you and your business?

Answer these questions and let’s work out if you could benefit from having a VA.

Do you wonder how you can generate more profits when you are neck deep in admin tasks that you ignored for all long as possible? Do you have unread emails in your mailbox that you should have replied to but didn’t get around to doing it? How is your calendar looking? Are all appointments up-to-date? Do you ask yourself how you can manage all the workload on your own?

If you answered yes, to any of those questions, you are not alone. Most entrepreneurs are in the same position as you. They have a successful business, but not enough time to do everything! This is where a VA comes in to help.

  1. Hiring a Virtual Assistant will save you time, they do all your repetitive work, so you can focus on growing your business.
  2. Virtual Assistants are cost effective, available by the hour or as and when you need them. They improve your efficiency by getting more work done in less time.
  3. Because they work remotely, you don’t have to invest in any office space or equipment.
  4. No PAYE to worry about. Virtual Assistants are self-employed, so you don’t have to worry about staff overheads.
  5. Less worry, more focus. Having a VA means there will always be someone ready to take on the tasks you’re struggling to find time for.
  6. You don’t have to spend any time or money on training new employees. VA’s work the way you instruct them to. Just like a good personal assistant would.
  7. Working with a VA means, your projects stay on schedule without having to work long hours or pay anyone overtime.
  8. Increase productivity, by outsourcing your admin tasks to someone experienced in doing them.
  9. Reduce your workload, VA’s are skilled in multiple areas and can multi task simultaneously. Giving you back some much-needed personal time to do the things you enjoy.
  10. A Virtual Assistant cares about your business, it’s what pays their bills. So, they will put every effort in to make sure you have the best service possible.