The year that was 2018
A new year has started, for many, it represents a fresh start, a chance to pursue new opportunities or it may even mean time to finally get training for that big race you’ve always wanted to do. As the saying goes “new year, new beginnings”, and boy are new beginnings exciting! My question however is, have you taken a moment to take a step back in order to reflect on the year that was? To appreciate your successes and be thankful for the obstacles that taught you some great lessons?
Looking back in order to move forward
The minute the clock struck 12h00, on the 31st December 2018, my brain went into automatic mode planning and thinking up all the things I want to get done in this year and I was full of adrenaline, ready to take on 2019. I kept saying to my myself – “This is going to be “my” year”, which considering I am expecting my first child in a couple of months, is already making this
year AMAZING for me. I quickly saw however, I was not alone in saying, this was going to be my year – numerous family and friends shared the same sentiment, combined with the fact they were glad 2018 was over with. This got me thinking was 2018 that bad? I mean, it was the different challenges and life lessons that I experienced in 2018 that had fueled my ambitions
and plans for 2019. I then remembered a quote I had read not so long ago by an unknown author that says “If you want to move forward, often look back. Otherwise, you’ll forget where you came from and where you need to go” Reflecting on 2018
All of this got me thinking, and I decided to take a step back and really reflect on my life during 2018. 2018 had started off quite roughly with my fiance being hospitalized for a lengthy period of time, I was in a work environment that I did not enjoy, was in over my head with assignments due for varsity and was planning a wedding amongst other things – a true mix of highs and lows.
Giving new perspective on life
But looking at all of this carefully, these very things that had me experience a mixture of emotions both negative and positive, turned out to be the best possible things that could have happened to me in 2018. Why? Well, On the 14th April 2018, the most beautiful and magical day of my life thus far surrounded by the people that mean the world me, I married my best friend. My now husband who thankfully is back to full health, learned to take a step back every now and then, now lives by the motto YOLO – you only live once, something that rubbed off on me. His new outlook on things gave me the courage to make the changes I wanted to make in my career, I always wanted to be an entrepreneur but was always too scared to take the risk, in
June, I took that risk and even though it’s been challenging, I am now my own boss, doing what I love daily. The hard work on my studies during the year last year will allow me to make my dream of graduating this year a reality. Above all, I rediscovered the power of faith & gratitude and how lucky I am to have the family and quality of friends I do in my life.
Grateful and Blessed
Personally, I am glad I reflected back on the amazing year that was 2018, I am so grateful for all the lessons and blessings I received during the year. Looking forward to 2019, I know I am going into it a stronger, happier, healthier and humbler person and for that, I say thank you to the year that was 2018.
The top 3 things to do in Gauteng, with young children!
Having 2 young girls who are as active as they are vocal about what they want, like and need (their needs are more like wants, but to them it’s a need) means that I need to ensure that there is always something fun and exciting, active and hopefully educational for them to do!
Walter Sisulu Botanical Gardens
Just this past weekend, with winter on its way, I decided that some fresh air was just the thing we all needed. Along with a great friend and her two young children we set off for the Walter Sisulu Botanical Gardens. The goal was to hike to the top of the water falls. I remember this hike, from back in the day, however on this day I was put to shame by a 4 and 6-year-old, who led the charge up the precarious 3.5 km hike to the water fall. This hike was not what I recalled, and though the struggles were real for me, not having exercised in longer than I can remember, the fun, the perseverance I saw in these young children reminded me that giving up was not an option!! This fun journey should be one that everyone should try at least once. The tranquil gardens, the educational aspect, the fresh air and the quality of time spent with my daughters was an amazing experience.
Second on our list is the National Zoological Gardens of South Africa otherwise known as the Pretoria Zoo. What can I say but WOW. Animals for Africa, huge. A great time out for the entire family! My daughters were able to spot animals all over the place! Unlike the Johannesburg Zoo which feels very run down and desolate, you will find every animal imaginable!! Even the Kangaroo! and leopards, Guerrilla’s, tigers. A fun time, also walked for hours, a gold cart may have been better, but the chance to spend that time enjoying the looks on their faces was the highlight of my day. Revisits are definitely in the cards!
For the young at heart where coordination is not a problem, we Roll eGoli! Roll skating! Not for the feint hearted as demonstrated by myself, where my butt was more on the rink than my roller skates. An immensely fun time, learning a new skill, the music is great, the friendly staff are amazing and the pizza to die for! Parties, or just a casual visit will have you revisiting the 80’s!
I’ve learnt the hard way that trying to find things that we all enjoy need not be the most exhaustive thing to do! With google only a tap away, and my daughters eager and excited faces as we head off on yet another awesome journey is worth more than words can ever tell!
And I did have an ice-cream or 2! How can I not!
How hiring a Virtual Assistant can benefit your business
Is running your business or department making you feel like you are drowning ?
Hiring a Virtual Assistant is a simple solution and will allow you time to spend on managing the important aspects and tasks within your business while outsourcing many of the mundane time-consuming tasks. The effect on your productivity will be obvious.
As an entrepreneur, business owner or executive, your time is precious and you need to be able to delegate certain tasks to your Virtual Assistant allowing you to focus on what really matters.
Benefits of a Virtual Assistant include the following :
- No need for office space – a virtual assistant works from home
- Ensuring your staff are always busy – a virtual assistant can work flexi-time based on your requirements
- Saving you money – a Virtual Assistant is less expensive than a full time employee
- Freeing up your time – a Virtual Assistant can handle all the less important tasks & admin allowing you to concentrate on the more important issues
- Reducing your workload and need to manage employees
A Virtual Assistant is simply an online employee and will allow you to take the load off and help you scale up your business to the next level.
Tips to Get More from Your Virtual Assistant
Whether you have hired your first Virtual Assistant or have had one for years, there’s still more you can do to make sure she’s functioning at her fullest potential. In this blog, we will discuss what you can do to get more out of your VA!
Train Your VA
One thing you should never let go of is training your Virtual Assistant on your processes and systems. This is even if she’s been working with you for years. Sometimes assistants have their own way of doing things which may affect their productivity. It’s important to teach her tips and tricks to get her work done quicker.
Besides your personal training, you should also enroll her for some online courses. These courses can help your VA bring a new idea to your business.
Also, request your VA to document her process. This will not only help you to identify where the productivity inefficiencies are, but it will also help you to transition to a new VA quickly when your VA is sick or when you hire a new one.
Offer Coaching Sessions
Training and coaching are two different things. When coaching, you want to focus on building up your VA’s confidence in her abilities. This will help her to do her work more efficiently.
Coaching can take the form of one-on-one sessions, courses or even advising her to listen to a motivational CD for 30 minutes daily. Include this as part of her job and soon enough you will have an excellent assistant.
Give Constructive Feedback
If no feedback is given, your VA cannot grow. Similarly, if you give destructive criticism, it won’t help either one of you.
Focus on giving constructive criticism. This is when you point out both the good and the bad, and recommend ways for improvement.
Here are tips for giving feedback:
- Make sure you give written and verbal feedback.
- Use the feedback sandwich method (Positive-Improvement-Positive) often used at Toastmasters and the corporate world. This is when you begin by laying out the positives, then you criticise, and finally, end off with another positive.
- Criticise the work, not the individual.
- Be very specific. Instead of saying; “You need to pay attention to detail”, say; “You made grammar mistakes in your recent article. I pointed them out in red. Just make sure you focus on grammar and punctuation.”
- Only criticise things that can be changed. There is no point in telling someone they need to improve their voice for example.
Show Some Appreciation
Human beings love recognition. It pushes them to work harder to get even more recognition. Recognise any hard work or improvements made by your VA by giving something of value. Gift cards, days off and verbal appreciation work well for a VA.
Throw Her in the Deep End
They say when someone is thrown into the deep end it’s either they sink or swim. Hopefully, your VA will swim when given a difficult task. Push her to take on projects that she hasn’t before. This will not only help her grow but keep her challenged in her role.
Make Room for Growth
If you want your VA to stay with you for a long time you must make room for growth in her role. Challenge her to take on more responsibility and speak to her about where you see her in the future.
That’s all the tips for teaming up and getting more from your Virtual Assistant. If you are yet to hire your first one, there are reasons to hire a VA:
- They are often highly skilled individuals who left the corporate world for work-life balance
- You can pay them per hour or per project
- There are no company costs involved
- They can work during off-peak hours and high seasonal periods
- They often give their all because they’re responsible for their own income
Ready to hire a VA? Give us a call!
How a Virtual Assistant Can Help You with Meetings
Are you preparing for a big meeting and sigh at the list of things you must do? Here’s a secret; with a Virtual Assistant, you can have stress-free meetings. In this blog post, we will discuss how a VA can help you with a meeting.
“A leader’s job is not to do the work for others, it’s to help others figure out how to do it themselves, to get things done, and to succeed beyond what they thought possible. “
Here’s how a VA can help you
It all depends on how much you want to delegate. Some entrepreneurs delegate the entire meeting preparation to a VA and others prefer to hand over only the less critical tasks.
Here’s how a VA can help you with your meetings:
Before the meeting
- Schedule the meeting
- Make travel arrangements
- Hire caterers, food etc
- Coordinate speakers
- Manage the rest of the team
- Conduct research
- Proofread documents
- Prepare presentations
- Prepare and send out meeting materials
- Communicate with attendees
- Record the meeting and take minutes
- Be your right-hand woman so you don’t miss anything
- Monitor and troubleshoot if things go wrong
- Fill out expense reports and track reimbursements
- Follow up with correspondence
- Manage tasks assigned
- Communicate with attendees and other staff members
Not only can a VA do all of this for you, but they can give ideas and support you throughout the process as well. Doesn’t this sound so much better than having to do it all yourself? And the best part? It’s all affordable!
Many assume that such assistance must come at a high price, however, VA’s are a cheaper alternative to a full-time employee.
At VA Connect, we grow your business without growing your staff. We understand that the small business owner or entrepreneur may want to grow his business but may not have the resources to do so. Therefore, we have created a suite of solutions to suit almost any business person that just needs a break!
Why should you consider us?
We’re kind of a big deal (wink). We’ve been mentioned in large publications such as Entrepreneur Magazine and Business Day TV. More importantly, we have a large array of highly skilled women who are more than happy to assist you. The feedback we receive from our clients is exceptional. Give us a call.