Business Planning, Virtual Assistant

Time To Grow

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!

Business Planning, Virtual Assistant

New Year, New Plans

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!

Christmas, Virtual Assistant

What Plans Do You Have For Christmas?

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!

Business Advice, Virtual Assistant

How To Know When It’s Time To Hire An Assistant

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.

 

 

Business Advice, Virtual Assistant

Is Your Business Ready For Winter?

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!