What every Virtual Assistant really wants for Christmas

What every Virtual Assistant really wants for Christmas

They say hard work pays off and I thought about what I need that can make the “pay off” so much sweeter.  As VA I realised I need a gift registry to make my life easier, and why not for Christmas.  Family and Friends, please look up and take notes!

As the holidays are getting closer, I think a bit of spoiling is always a nice way to show appreciation towards the people that are working for you.  Not that Christmas is a time for presents, but rather spending a relaxing time with family and friends.  Show love and appreciation and remember to take care of yourself and others.  And as VA, I will still log in and make sure my clients are taking care of, because during the year they showed appreciation with kind words and emails.

They say hard work pays off and I thought about what I need that can make the “pay off” so much sweeter.  As VA I realised, I need a gift registry to make my life easier, and why not for Christmas.  Family and Friend, please look up and take notes!

Everyday technology to make our life easier

Apple’s list is endless, but here are a few items I would love to have.  You can shop online if the rush of Christmas is too much for your nerves (I prefer this option).   Click here for online shopping

  • The Apple watch: You can walk, be in a shop, in the car, even at home and never miss a call or text. We know VA’s need to be ready and available all the time.
  • The Laptop MacBook: With this compact and beautiful design you will look and feel professional and your work can travel with you anywhere.
  • With the Logitech 1080P desktop camera, you can speak face to face with your client and for group online meetings, no more wondering how your clients look. Just remember, you should always look your best, test the camera and view yourself before login 🙂
  • The Blue Vet microphone for that host of podcasts so that you can make clear recordings.

My choice for the Virtual Assistant’s time to relax

As I struggle to switch off, the following 2 ways still make me take a back seat and relax:

  • Kindle for those VA’s that loves reading and the choice in books they can get right there.
  • Airpods: And when you feel overwhelmed and exhausted, put on your airpods, listen to binaural beats and iTunes, and let Apple swift you away to dreamland.

For office gift ideas

  • Please buy me a good office chair for comfortable work.
  • Desk with enough space to work on and enough file space for filing.
  • Foot stool for those long hours just for comfort.
  • Lamp that has enough light.
  • Massive dry erase board if you’re the one that likes to keep an eye on your work.
  • Coffee mug warmer, for those long hours VA’s spend in front of computer or desk and sometimes get up only for a little while.

Business gifts

Investing in your Virtual Assistant and their business is sometimes the best investment you can make, so by encouraging them you can give them the next jump in your business.

Extra paid vacation

VA’s do need time and that always helps to stimulate them for the next workload and show them your trust in them.

And then just for something to consider even if it is not for a Virtual Assistant

For the ladies:

  • Shopping gift cards because some ladies do like to shop.
  • Massage gift card, for a relaxing time of no thinking.
  • Fitbit, so that your VA knows you care about their wellbeing and health.
  • Hair gift card, ladies like looking and feeling good and it gives us a boost.

For the men

  • A fishing trip, depends on how well you know your VA.
  • Sport tickets, so that they can entertain themselves.
  • Shopping gift card, men like looking neat in an outfit.
  • Airbnb gift card, so he can take a break for a weekend.
  • Nice watch, men like looking sleek.
  • Some other gifts can be found here

As the holidays are getting closer, I think a bit of spoiling is always a nice way to show appreciation towards the people that are working for you.  Not that Christmas is a time for presents, but rather spending a relaxing time with family and friends.  Show love and appreciation and remember to take care of yourself and others.  And as VA, I will still log in and make sure my clients are taking care of, because during the year they showed appreciation with kind words and emails.

What to Expect When Working with a Virtual Assistant

What to Expect When Working with a Virtual Assistant

What to Expect When Working with a Virtual Assistant

A Virtual Assistant (VA) is a person who works remotely – she can sit in an office down the street or across the world.  Working with a VA is very different from having an employee sitting in your office.  Most Virtual Assistants work for more than one person, splitting their day up between their different clients. Virtual Assistants can assist with anything from general admin, marketing, diary management to virtually anything. The concept of working with a VA is a relatively new idea and so there are things that people are not always aware of.

Communication is key

Communication in this working relationship is key, use emails, WhatsApp, voice notes or weekly meetings.  Be mindful that the Virtual Assistant is not in your office and is unable to come into your office and speak to you face to face, should the need arise.  When giving instructions to your VA, be sure to provide all the resources that might be needed for the task at hand, together with all the relevant timelines and goals that you as an employer will expect.  There should always be an open line of communication.

Work out the process

Working with a Virtual Assistant takes time to perfect.  It is suggestible that especially in the beginning, all the assignments that are given to your Virtual Assistant are reviewed and that constructive feedback is given to the VA.  This process will allow her to grow in her position and for her to ensure that over time she consistently provides what you are looking for.  Never under estimate the power of a few kind words or praise for a job well done.  It will do wonders for her self-esteem and will make your VA strive harder to ensure her work exceeds your expectations.

Stay in touch

It is the client’s responsibility to ensure that your VA knows what is expected of her.  Regular communication to make sure she is coping and on point, will eliminate unwanted surprises.  Having said this, there is no need to micromanage her.  This could lead to serious problems down the line and could very well disrupt the relationship between the client and the Virtual Assistant and blur the boundaries as to what exactly is expected of her.

Remember the human touch

Remember that your Virtual Assistant is a person, who also has feelings and emotions.  Given that that many clients have never had a face to face meeting with their VA, they forget that she too is a person.  When problems arise as they normally do, it is easy get upset and vent their frustrations at their faceless Virtual Assistant.

All in a day’s work

Having a well-balanced working relationship between client and Virtual Assistant is one of the best things a client can do for his business.  By the general day to day tasks been taken over by someone else, the client is left free to focus on growing his business without the everyday mundane tasks to contend with.

Are you ready to find out how loving yourself can make you more productive?

Are you ready to find out how loving yourself can make you more productive?

When last have you complimented yourself?

I bet you’re sitting there thinking to yourself – “What is this person on about?” Well if that is your response then I would imagine it’s been a while since you told yourself something nice, something nice about yourself.

It may sound strange, I mean I also had to think about it when the question got asked of me, but the truth is that we really should be looking at ourselves more as human beings and loving ourselves as much as we love those around us.

In this article I will discuss why it is important to love yourself, how taking care of YOU can make YOU more productive in business and in life and sharing some ideas to help you love yourself more this year.

Let’s make 2020 about you!

 

Why should you love yourself?

I think that sometimes we forget we are human beings and that we are not invincible – even though you may feel like you are. We spend so much time focusing on the work, the housework, the kids, the husband, family and so on that we leave very little room for ourselves – the one person who matters the most in the equation.

When you neglect yourself, it becomes a snowball effect, you get burnout or your mental wellbeing suffers and this then reflects in the work you produce or fail to produce. It causes stress and conflict in our relationships and eventually we start shutting down.

We are not robots and we cannot go on and on forever because we do not run on Duracell batteries. As women especially we need to sit back and take a breath and take time for ourselves.

Loving yourself is important so that you can feel like a person too. When you love yourself, you will feel more energized and more at peace with things. Loving yourself is essentially taking care of you! Taking time out for you even if it is only once a week – rather once a week than nothing at all!

And remember, when you take time out and reflect and be at one with yourself you will also become more productive.

Read on to find out how loving yourself can make you more productive.

 

How can loving myself increase productivity?

Making self-care a regular part of your routine could mean a greater increase in productivity in work and play for various reasons:

  • You will feel more relaxed and therefore more clear and focused on tasks at hand
  • You will possibly eliminate chronic pain and fatigue if you make regular massages part of your self-care routine and with that meditation and mindfulness techniques.
  • Your mental wellbeing will improve as it has being shown that when we neglect ourselves the increase in depression is exponential and this can definitely have a negative impact on your productivity levels.

So, in short, keeping your wellbeing in mind as often as possible is only going to be to the benefit of everything and everyone in your life – so do not worry about people possibly thinking you’re selfish or weak because you are stepping away from things for a while.

 

Ways you can love yourself to increase productivity

In this part of the article I will allude to various articles on how you can bring self-care into your world in order to be more productive.

You can imagine things like yoga, gym, meditation, a spa day or even just going to sit in the garden with a cup of tea (or something else if you so inclined) and listen to the birds chirping – these are all examples of self-care and self-love. Spending time with you doing something you love and enjoy!

Here is a video about why you need a self-care list and how to draw up one.

https://youtu.be/3r2c2ExZoUM

How to build strong relationships with your difficult clients

How to build strong relationships with your difficult clients

I’ve got a very useful talent – I know how to read people. It’s something I’ve discovered over the years whilst working with people in different industries and different places in the corporate hierarchy.

How does this tie in with what I promised you in my headline?  Well it’s the only thing you need to do to learn to love your difficult client.

There’s a fine line between sucking up to a client and knowing what they want, when they want it and how they want it. Here are some tips to help you read your client and make the experience of working with you the best they’ve ever had:

  1. Learn your client’s way of working. If your client rates communication at the top of their list when it comes to any project or work related issue, be a communicator. Find out the frequency they require you to check in with them and do it. Even if you don’t like it very much, you’ll get over it soon enough and it’ll become part of your daily routine. It can even be sending emails everyday. A lot of potential clients in our world are very skeptical about sending their confidential info to someone they’ve never met in person before. By showing them you can accommodate them in the way they need you to is very reassuring and will give them peace of mind.
  2. “What would your client do?” is something you should always think about when faced in a situation where you’re unsure if you’re doing the right thing. If you’ve worked with someone long enough you could already have an idea of what your client would do in certain situations and act accordingly. This will show them that you are trustworthy enough to steer the ship when they’re not around.
  3. Give 200% of yourself to win them over. I know, it sound exhausting to be the best you can be in everything all the time but giving that extra little bit of oomph will set your client at ease and he or she will become your best friend.  By doing things the way they want it done (a 10 page report instead of just a one page summary that would’ve done the trick) you earn you’re client’s trust and respect. Hopefully it’s not necessary and it’s given to you from the start, but I know from experience that sometimes you just have to shut up and show up.

In all honesty, some people are just not a right fit. If you find that this client is not worth the stress and the bending backward all the time, it might be better to let them go. There are very tactful ways to tell a client that you are not a good fit for them and that you think they will be better of with another professional to handle their needs. I hope my tips will help you persevere and improve your relationship with you client. There will still be days where you want to run and hide, just remember every cloud has a silver lining and it’s up to you to find it!

Tips for clients on how to best work with your Virtual Assistant

Tips for clients on how to best work with your Virtual Assistant

As a Virtual Assistant (VA), we receive regular training and guidance on how to work remotely and how to work with clients that we don’t see day to day, if ever. There is quite a difference in how we work as opposed to a member of staff located in your office.

The most important aspect of working virtually is communication. Good and regular communication with your employer is key to ensure a good working relationship and to manage expectations.

Whilst it is vitally important that VAs fully understand how to work in the virtual world, it is also important that their clients know how best to work with their VA. The world of Virtual Assistants is relatively new.  Many new clients who take on a VA for the very first time are not experienced in this new working relationship.

Here are some tips for clients wanting to get the most out of their Virtual Assistant.

  • Have an introductory call with your VA via phone or even better Skype so that you can get to know each other ‘in person’ before you start working together. Going forward it is likely that you will communicate mainly electronically via email, WhatsApp etc. but talking initially is an ice breaker and helps both parties feel at ease with each other.
  • Discuss and decide early on what will be your main method of communication. Email is the most common means of business communication but if you prefer to use other communication tools such as Slack or WhatsApp then discuss this with your VA so that they can download any new apps or tools that they need.
  • Identify all online tools and packages that you will need your Virtual Assistant to use so that they can download anything they don’t already have and establish if any training is needed. Remember that VA’s are flexible, experienced in using a range of tools and can train themselves online if necessary. Just ensure you set out your expectations early to allow time for them to familiarise themselves with tools ahead of being immersed in the work.
  • Send your VA an outline of your expectations and a list of relevant work and responsibilities they are going to be working on.
  • Establish your VA’s daily availability and your expectations regarding availability. If you are paying for a certain number of hours of work a day, your assistant will only be able to work for this set amount of time. If you have a large project coming up and are going to need extra support, inform your VA as soon as possible and discuss their availability and the additional cost of them carrying out extra hours of work for you.
  • If your VA is based in another country, then they are likely to have different public holidays. Ask them to brief you on when they will be unavailable to work due to public holidays so that you can both plan accordingly. And also brief them when your public holidays are and what you expect to happen on those days.
  • It is a good idea to have weekly meetings with your VA so you can both stay up to date about work progress, upcoming requirements and to discuss any issues that may arise. Including your VA in team meetings via a Skype/conference call helps them feel included and part of the team which is likely to help motivation.
  • Ask you VA for a weekly email update with a summary of the week’s work and progress with any projects they are working on.
  • Communicate regularly. Check in with your VA daily if possible even if it is a cursory email or message. Keep your assistant informed of your whereabouts (holidays etc).

Remember each client/VA working relationship is different and all have different requirements. The underlying theme is that good communication is key to get the most out of your Virtual Assistant.

How a Virtual Assistant can help you prevent burnout in your business

How a Virtual Assistant can help you prevent burnout in your business

How a Virtual Assistant can help you prevent burnout in your business

We’ve heard countless times about business owners reaching burnout.  Why do you think it happens so often? It’s because they’re trying to do everything themselves.  You know the saying about if you want it done… Yeah that one.  That’s why.

Sadly in some cases it takes a burnout for them to realize that they need help.

No successful entrepreneur does it by on their own anymore.  Don’t try to break the norm, you’ll be sorry…

I know I really struggle to outsource anything.  It feels as if it’ll take me less time to do it myself than to explain to someone else, right?  Well look at it this way, if you’ve spent the time to explain it once, you won’t ever have to again and that task can be delegated with ease in future.  See it as a time investment towards your mental (and maybe physical) health.

So now I’ve got you thinking, heck that sounds like me too.  Well buddy you might be heading for a burnout as we speak.  I’m sure you’re next question is, how do I prevent burnout? The answer is easy, outsource!  Good news is that your first stop can be your only one.  Outsourcing your outsourcing to your Virtual Assistant is a great idea!  Here’s how a VA can help you:

  1. Need to design a presentation for that new client? That’ll take hours! Nope, not if you have a VA that can do it for you or outsource it to a graphic design expert.  That time can be utilized in carefully selecting leads for your business.
  2. Ughh, now there’s an entire list of leads you need to call, you hate making calls. Your VA can do it for you while you catch up on some much-needed networking with the MD of that company whose business you’ve been after for months.
  3. It’s your grandma’s birthday and, yikes! You forgot to send flowers. You’re already on the golf course and done for the day…   Your Virtual Assistant can organize it for you, just send a quick voice note and you’ll be the new favorite grandchild in no time.
  4. If I haven’t convinced you yet… Cost-wise hiring a VA just makes sense.  You don’t have to provide any infrastructure for her/him to work with, no leave days necessary, you only pay for the time spent on your tasks, no annual bonuses necessary, no year-end functions that cost you money and a VA can do pretty much anything you require.  We are experts at acquiring or outsourcing the skills you need in your business.

I think you catch my drift.  Don’t you just wish there was a little helper to sort out the nitty-gritty while you hustle to get new clients?

Well, there is! We’re called Virtual Assistants and we’re just a phone call, email or WhatsApp away.

So if you want to join the trend and prevent burnout from trying to ‘do it all’, get yourself a VA today!