Setting boundaries and rules whilst maintaining good work ethic as a VA
Developing your boundaries is a crucial step to creating and maintaining a healthy relationship with your clients.
Boundaries come in many shapes and forms and when you consider that you are working with many different personalities who may not think the same way. It’s really important that you teach them how to treat you. If you let someone cross your boundaries, they will be taught that it’s okay. Set your boundaries, and then stick to them. You’ll run a better business, and your clients will appreciate it too!
Boundaries are key to a successful VA/Client relationship. Make sure that time, energy, and integrity are protected for everyone involved. The biggest and most rewarding client interactions come from my boundaries around communication.
Your clients will appreciate knowing the rules and respect you for setting and communicating them with confidence.
Focus on Exceptional Communication
- Timely, efficient communication should be a priority. Of course, communication with a single client should not consistently and unreasonably encroach on your personal time or negatively affect your productivity. However, being available demonstrates that your client’s project and satisfaction are important to you.
- In addition to timely and thorough communication, it’s also important to make your clients feel comfortable being open and honest with you. They should feel that their ideas and concerns will be taken seriously.
It is all about compromise
Yes it really is all about compromise especially when you are working as a virtual assistant. Concentrate on doing most of your work during working hours, be available when there is a crisis and turn your phone/ laptop off when you need a bit of YOU time!
Obviously it does not matter what boundaries we set and precautions we take, other people are not always going to follow our lead. It’s up to us to set, and keep, those boundaries, no matter how difficult it might be at the time. I would say that it’s vital to our health to do this.
Good work ethics, transparency and personal integrity are three key aspects that every virtual assistant needs. We define integrity for a virtual worker as having personal standards that will not be broken by the opinion of others.
Rules to follow
- First, do not create situations that you will later regret.
- Second, people will act as we allow them to. If you don’t say something when something isn’t right, then the person assumes it is okay.
- Third, professionally communicate when setting boundaries yet be firm.
Action steps to implement:
- Develop your ideal day.
- Set your boundaries based on your ideal day.
- Communicate those boundaries to potential and current clients
- Address any issues immediately before it gets out of hand and becomes a strain on the working relationship.
Setting healthy boundaries is good for you and your client. It teaches them how to work with you in a way that stimulates win-win situations.
Effective boundaries create positive client relationships.
Why Successful Entrepreneurs Choose Extra Help in Their Business
Nowadays, business owners are looking for supportive solutions for generating more profits. Entrepreneurs, who succeed in their business, perform two things very well:
- They proceed with business objectives strategically.
- They make utilization of the resources available and remain positive with the outcome.
As your business starts to grow, your workload starts increasing and at the end of the day, you think:
“How can I manage this pressure all on my own?”
If you analyse this situation well, you would understand that you need an alternative to hiring a full-time employee. So, what is the best option for you?
Seek help from a virtual assistant and achieve more than your expectations.
Wondering who are Virtual Assistants?
In the simplest sense of the term, virtual assistants are self-employed experts, who work for clients from a remote location. With specific skills sets, they can serve multiple clients and work on different projects. They work according to the specifications provided by the client and offer a wide range of affordable services. With their top-notch assistance, you’ll get things done easily and within the deadline.
So, Why Successful Entrepreneurs Choose Extra Help in Their Business?
VA’s push Business Growth:
You cannot work on all the tasks yourself. Having an “EXTRA HAND” on projects is essential to your business growth. COLLABORATION is a powerful tool that will take your business to the next level. Your business can flourish with strategic partnerships and shared interests.
Decreased Operational Costs:
By having a VA, you save expenses for office space, maintenance cost and additional expenses.
As a business owner, your important tasks can often get overshadowed due to your jam-packed schedule. In such circumstances, VA’s might come handy, as they can focus on several crucial tasks. VA’s can decrease your work-related stress, and help you keep everything organized. They make sure that these tasks get completed within the stipulated time frame.
Focus on The Core Operations:
As an entrepreneur, you need more time to focus on your core business functions. On the other hand, not everything requires your direct attention. You can manage it all by simply asking your VA to take care of your routine tasks. They would provide personal as well as administrative support, providing you with more time to focus on the most crucial aspects.
“Every successful entrepreneur knows that his or her achievement depends on a community of persons working together”– Paul Ryan
How To Stay Motivated
Its hardly a secret that our lives are busy, and we juggle many roles in order to fulfil commitments and get tasks done. Sure, we have days where we just don’t feel like doing anything, yet we must. It’s times like these when we need to dig a little deeper to find our motivation to realize the goals we set ourselves.
So how then do most of us manage to stay motivated? I’ll list 5 simple, yet effective ways on how to stay motivated and get what you want:
Most things we do have several good intentions behind them and at the outset of a task we may not see all the good reasons for doing the task upfront. In situations such as these, take a few moments to analyse what needs doing and soon enough you’ll see the silver lining. Most tasks are easy to do as we’ve been doing them for such a long time – everything just come naturally to us.
But what do you do when there’s a few tasks to be done and you just can’t find your mojo to complete them?
Look at things from a different angle – some good reasons to get a task done would be:
Most of us don’t do tasks for free and there’s monetary gain by way of getting paid for the work or tasks we do. Do those tasks you’re avoiding first and get them out of the way. You’ll breathe a sigh of relief when it’s done!
Don’t forget the important aspect of personal gain – you’re never too old to learn anything and you were most likely apprehensive to do the task as you weren’t too clued up regarding what it entailed. That’s fine – be willing to learn though and better yourself. Chances are you’ll feel quite proud of yourself for having accomplished something you might’ve thought you couldn’t do.
Have Some Fun
When last have you had fun? Look, having a good attitude is important when it comes to being motivated. What one person finds enjoyable – another person will loathe. Why do you think that is? Because some people have learnt how to put a fun element in doing their tasks. We can’t be serious all the time and at times its alright to let your hair down a little and have fun.
I reckon by changing our attitudes we can have fun doing just about anything. If you look for ways to have fun, you’ll find them. If needs be, ask your children to give you some fun ideas – there’s no shortage of fun where kids are concerned. Loosen up a bit mum and dad!
Change Your Approach
When presented with a task that you’re not gelling with, take a moment to look at the big picture. Avoid, if you can, making a rash decision there and then about the task and adding more stress to the situation.
Sometimes doing everything by the book isn’t the best solution, nor the most motivating one. Personally, I find bouncing ideas off another person to be helpful as they’re not as immersed in the situation as I am and see things from a different perspective. It also doesn’t mean you’re giving up or being silly by asking someone to lend an ear. Being flexible in your approach to difficult tasks will allow you to see your accomplishments and be proud of them.
You’re Making Progress
All the tasks you’re working on can easily be split into smaller bite sized chunks. The reason for splitting tasks is that it makes it easier to track your progress and to stay motivated.
Learn to recognise your progress along the way and not just track it. By this I mean, tracking progress is merely taking a note of having reached a certain stage in your process. When you recognize your progress, you take time to look at the bigger picture and realize exactly where you are and how much you have left to do.
Its human nature to always want things to happen over the short term or all at once – and even though we split tasks into bite sized chunks, we don’t feel the satisfaction until all tasks are done and complete. Your motivation can sustain you in the long term if you take small steps.
We all like to be rewarded and rewarding yourself for a job well done is a powerful way to stay motivated.
At the beginning of a task, agree on some deliverables that will justify you rewarding yourself. As soon as you achieve the agreed result, take time to reward yourself. Some tasks might entail just taking a break and relaxing for a few minutes, whereas more complex tasks require bigger rewards such as a visit to a spa for a relaxing massage or that movie you’ve been putting off watching.
The more you reward yourself, the more motivated you’ll stay about reaching new milestones and accomplishing those dreaded tasks.
“It does not matter how slowly you go, as long as you do not stop.” — Confucius
How to have a good working relationship with your Virtual Assistant
Start out with an open mind
If you have never worked with a Virtual Assistant before, first think of how it can benefit you and your business working this way. Understand that the transition from having an assistant in your office to working remotely is going to be an adjustment and allow for that.
Garbled communication produces garbled results and is a huge time waster. Decide exactly what it is that you want your Virtual Assistant to do and how you will communicate it to him or her in a way that is clearly and easily understood. Schedule a way of communication that is done daily or weekly as standard and should anything else come up that needs to be dealt with, let your Virtual Assistant know through what means you would prefer communication, be it via phone, WhatsApp, email etc and inform him or her beforehand when you know that you are not going to be available for a period of time.
Learn to be a good delegator. This is sometimes a problem for a start up business that started out with one person making all the decision and doing everything themselves. Understand that you are working with another individual that possibly doesn’t see everything as you do, so may produce results in a slightly different way than you did. Take a step back and look at the result from a different perspective and you might be pleasantly surprised to see that the result is better than what you produced originally.
Goals and time management
Let you Virtual Assistant know what is going to be expected of them and what takes priority. Be realistic in what is expected of him or her within their specified work hours. Plan ahead of time and set goals for when certain tasks or projects need to be completed by and communicate this clearly. If something else comes up that needs to be done urgently, realise that there will be a delay in getting other tasks or projects done within the original planned timeframe.
Mutual Respect and Trust
If your Virtual Assistant feels that they are appreciated and respected, they will feel a sense of commitment to you and your business. Be open to hear other opinions, your idea might not always be the best idea. Show them that you value their positive input and even constructive criticism. as this will make them feel more part of the team and even more committed to the growth of your business.
Morals and Ethical Practice
If you’re wanting a professional Virtual Assistant to be dedicated and committed to your business, don’t expect him or her to stay if you are in the habit of unethical business practice. Being clear about what is and what is not acceptable in your business dealings, will remove any grey areas and you will gain your Virtual Assistant’s respect and trust as well as your customer’s. Be upfront and let your Virtual Assistant know exactly what you and your business stand for before you start your working relationship.
“Honesty is not the best policy, it’s the only policy.” Dr Myles Munroe
Why clients need to be educated on how to work with a Virtual Assistant
How to work with a Virtual Assistant
Listen, we all get crazy busy at work and soon enough the To-Do list becomes longer and longer. What seemed a mundane task has turned into an admin nightmare and your desk has become a potential fire hazard that is best avoided. The deluge of emails pinging your inbox every few seconds is fast transforming you into a version of Cruella De Vil and the coffee pot is empty. Already.
Enter the Virtual Assistant. The damsel to ease your distress. Well, usually it’s a damsel – but there’s a few knights out there too.
Start At The Beginning
The online search has been conducted and contact with a VA made. Upon concluding a Skype or Zoom video chat, a good rapport seems to have been established, T&C’s have been signed and the next step is to start assigning tasks to your VA.
So, whilst all this sounds relatively easy and quite straight forward, there are a few fundamentals when deciding to work with a virtual assistant. From day one, the get-go, implement a few systems to ensure smooth operations ensue, for both you and your VA.
Communication Is Key
For this relationship to work, communication is vital – especially in the beginning. Be sure to check in daily via email, WhatsApp or on platforms such as Trello or Slack. Set aside some time to have a telephone or Skype discussion once a week. This is a great way to build your relationship and get to know your VA. In order to minimize issues and misconceptions, clients and VA‘s need to be comfortable communicating with one another.
Create Shared Documents And Records
For your VA to understand your business, create shared records using online platforms such as Dropbox or LastPass. The more you equip your VA, the better access to info she will have and it’s less likely that you will be asked for the same information multiple times. Set up project lists and tasks, highlighting what the priorities and deadlines are. As the VA completes tasks, these can be annotated and updated, indicating at which stage the tasks are at.
In most instances, the client and the VA discuss the hours to be worked at the beginning of the contract or the retainer. It makes sense to book a few hours per day and establish what times work for both parties. Take into consideration the different time zones and if you require your VA to be available at certain times. By determining working hours, it helps both of you stay focused and establishes expectations regarding contact times and setting priorities. Remember, a VA is not employed by a client in the traditional sense, thus is not an employee. Many VA’s run their own businesses and have chosen to offer their services by working remotely as this suits their needs and lifestyles.
Build A Rapport
This may seem an obvious point, but building a rapport is super important! To make a real connection, show genuine interest and be your true self. This is a two-way communication channel and allows both the client and the VA to personalize their actions and create a sense of connection. Working remotely with a VA requires an extra dose of patience as you will be outlining and explaining tasks without the benefit of body language and non-verbal cues.
Don’t Type At Me Like That!
Never, in human history, have we been as connected as we are right now. Lack of email and social media etiquette is unequivocally one of the major contributions to miscommunication and getting our hackles up. Email and messaging tone is conveyed through word choice, syntax, punctuation, letter case, sentence length, opening, closing, and other graphic indicators like emoticons and emojis. Just because you write in a certain way doesn’t mean it’s received the same way. If you are not sure about the tone of an email you are sending, have someone else read it and give you feedback before you send it. If no one else is available for a tone check, park the email in your draft folder and come back and re-read it a couple of hours later before sending it. Most importantly, know when to pick up the phone or schedule a face-to-face chat discuss an issue.
Remember… This is a process and given time, you’ll be pleased you took the plunge and hired a Virtual Assistant to declutter and organise your business and your life.
Do Right. Do Your Best. Treat Others As You Want To Be Treated.
4 Secrets to Growing Your Business’ Sales Exponentially This Year With The Use of Social Media
What new small business owner or entrepreneur doesn’t need MORE SALES in their business? Especially when it’s free! Social Media offers endless potential and opportunities for the young entrepreneur or established company to drive traffic to their website and increase their sales for free. In this beginner’s guide to using social media for growing your sales, we are going to take an in-depth look at what it takes to drive that potential sales through the roof using social media to target your audience. In this modern day there’s not a person that doesn’t have a mobile device which is excellent news for the business owner. Just imagine crushing those sales goals when you have the right audience at your disposal – a global audience available 24/7, 365 days of the year!
#1 Do your research
What you want is knowledge about your audience before starting any campaigns on social media. Consider and research the demographics of your target audience and use the information to determine which social media platforms to use to reach them and what type of media would be most likely to succeed.
#2 Quality content vs Quantity content
So, this is where you expect me to say, “Start a blog”, right? Wrong! If you don’t already have a blog for your website, you’re missing out on one of the most powerful FREE marketing tools to boost those sales and you might want to take a step back and first take a look at where to start when writing a blog post or how to improve your blogging. Our focus is on social media so that means you’ll need quality content to share. Take note my emphasis on quality content. Your biggest faux pax on social media is to share a whole lot of content without providing value to your audience. Don’t just post and share random stuff. Make sure what you have to say or share will either engage or entertain your audience.
A good guide is to use the 80-20 rule, which means you share 80% content that engage and entertain the audience and 20% sales content. Hard-selling is a definite NO! It adds a desperate flavour to your business that will chase away your target audience faster than you can schedule your next post.
#3 Consistency is key
Nothing is of greater value to improve your business’ online visibility than consistency. If you stuck to rule number two your content will be of value to your audience. It doesn’t matter if it’s a blog, motivational quote or short video, Facebook, Instagram or Pinterest. Your audience will be anticipating your next post. A social media calendar will enable you to plan your posts to coincide with special dates and events to maximize the effect of your content. So, what’s better than using a social media scheduling tool to make sure you free up your time while sharing quality content on a consistent basis to all the platforms and targeted audiences of your choice.
#4 Engaging with your audience
Social media is about engaging your followers. If you don’t grasp that concept first and foremost your hard work will all be for nothing. Nothing is as important as responding to your audience’s conversations, likes and shares. This is how you build trust in your brand and develop a relationship that turns a follower into a client.
Do the research, create or curate the content. Be intentional, be consistent, find your own voice and style. In a world where we are often overloaded with digital content, we need to be unique. AND we are – so use it to your advantage to outshine your competition. You’ll be amazed at the results!!