In South Africa the practice of ‘Load shedding’ is when Eskom (South Africa’s largest utilities supplier) interrupts the electricity supply to certain areas as a last resort action to balance electricity supply and demand. This occurs due to a lack of electricity available to meet the demand.
Load shedding is now part of our daily lives and it’s affecting us whether we’re at home or work. It therefore makes sense to be prepared so that the situation causes us the least amount of frustration and loss of production.
Load shedding quick tips:
- Work in the cloud so that all your work is backed up automatically and not lost if you suddenly lose power.
- Unplug devices when the power is out to avoid damage from potential surges when power is restored.
- If you work from home check if the neighboring suburbs will have power so you can go work at one of the cafes. Most cafes have free wifi
- Charge electronic devices (cell phones, laptops and tablets) this may look like a no-brainer but very few people actually plan for load shedding. So, make sure you have charged all your devices before the scheduled load shedding.
- If you rely on a cordless phone, which would obviously be rendered inoperable during a power outage, keep your cell phone handy.
- Save your work regularly either manually or by setting up auto-save options in your software. If the power goes out unexpectedly, you won’t lose your work.
3 things that can minimise the impact of load shedding
Get a generator
You ideally need a generator to cope with load shedding and minimise the impact it has on your business. Having a generator on standby means that even if the power goes off for a few hours, your business can keep running. Decide which appliances you want to run when the electricity goes out. To determine the size of the generator you need you’ll have to calculate the total wattage required.
Know the schedule, don’t get caught in the dark
The first step is to know when your area is scheduled for load shedding. Having the latest load shedding schedules for your area gives you a better idea of when load shedding is likely to affect your business. I’ve found this app to be very useful and reliable. (Timetable)
There are various devices available to protect your electrical equipment from surges when the supply voltage fluctuates.
Unfortunately, it looks like load shedding is here to stay, at least for the next few years. This means that you will be affected to some degree. Whether it causes your business to succumb or not is up to you. Losing power doesn’t necessarily mean losing productivity.
Securely sharing Passwords with your Virtual Assistant
There will come a time to share passwords with your Virtual Assistant. Yikes, I know! We’re all very aware of security measures when it comes to this kind of thing and we certainly don’t want to make any part of our business vulnerable.
The great news is there is a fantastic tool called LastPass! This nifty little app will not only make your life easier, but also give you the reassurance you’re looking for.
With LastPass you can share login details without ever sharing the actual password. If you want to you can provide the password through LastPass, however, there is no need to do that.
Let’s take you through a brief overview on how to do this.
How to use LastPass
- Go to LastPass and download
- Create an Account
- Then go to your browser, click on the LastPass icon and select your Vault
- Select the “Share” icon next to the website that you want to share
- When you hover over the site link in your vault you will see 3 icons, select the people icon, this is to share
- Enter your Virtual Assistant’s email address and request to share
- Your Virtual Assistant will get the notification and then she’ll be able to access that website without ever having seen the Password!
This is a quick walk through on how to share a password via LastPass. LastPass will also prompt you automatically to save information for any website where you’ve entered. Your Virtual Assistant will never see your data.
You can also upgrade your LastPass account to Premium so that you can sync across all your devices. If you still feel you require further instructions LastPass conveniently offers a User Manual on their website.
The key thing to remember is that LastPass is convenient, safe and reliable. Now you can safely share passwords with your Virtual Assistant. She can get on with your tasks and you can get on with life!
What to Outsource to a Virtual Assistant
One very important question you should be asking yourself as an aspiring or fully-fledged entrepreneur, is, how do I free up more time in my day?
By now you should be outsourcing all the little tasks that take up too much of your time and don’t have a direct impact on your bottom line. These menial tasks needs to happen, we know this. However, isn’t your energy and time as a busy entrepreneur better focused on developing marketing & sales strategies, on scaling your business and developing different verticals?
I want to highlight some essential tasks in this post that you can confidently hand over to your Virtual Assistant right now:
Task 1 : Data Sorting
This could be something as basic as capturing business cards onto a spreadsheet or a bit more involved like collating your emailing list with different categories.
Task 2 : Online Research
Perhaps you want a list of the best and most influential business books of all time. Or, you want to purchase an existing business and would like your Virtual Assistant to do market research on the feasibility of this business before you make an offer to purchase.
Task 3 : Proofreading
You could be churning out ebooks that it’s coming out of your ears as part of your marketing strategy. Get your VA to proofread these ebooks, looking for spelling and grammatical errors, checking that the document is formatted. She can even add your branding to the ebook.
Task 4 : Online Community Manager
You can hand over this task seamlessly to your VA. She will be responsible for updating your website content, managing all your social media accounts, writing content and giving you feedback in weekly reports.
Task 5 : Admin Support
This covers a broad spectrum from managing your diary to typing up voice notes, writing reports and presentations, and everything in between.
Remember, at the end of the day, you want your right hand person to make your life easier, create more freedom in your working schedule and a Virtual Assistant is the perfect person for this!
How Outsourcing Tasks can save you both Time & Money
As a business professional or entrepreneur you have “formed” the habit of taking on too much – I know, I’ve been there. This kind of behaviour leads to exhaustion, feeling overworked, and quite frankly, ends up being unsustainable and you become less productive.
How do we remedy this? By learning how to delegate of course! Just imagine if you could delegate tasks to a team of amazing people, who will get the job done, on time and you can take that time to build your business and expand your product or service line.
Naturally if you’re a startup you’re watching the pennies, so you’ll probably looking at growing the business without spending too much. A great way to overcome this is to outsource certain duties to a contractor, in this case a Virtual Assistant.
The best way to start is to write down your own wishlist, of where you think you can do with extra help and what doesn’t really require your direct attention or input. These are ideal tasks to outsource. If there are tasks in-house that your permanent staff feels could be handed over, make a list of those too and determine what skills are required to get the job done.
How does this save you money? By outsourcing these tasks you end up making your in-house team more efficient, more focussed and more driven. Now they can focus on tasks that are truly suited to their skill sets and they can work within their genius.
You can outsource tasks like:
- Social Media Management
- Data coordination
- Internet Research
- Website Design and Development
- Content Creation
When you have reached the point where you are ready to outsource, sit down with your team and draft a plan of how and where the Virtual Assistant can assist, draw up timelines and define your expectations. Design feedback loops for the potential Virtual Assistant to follow and work out a workflow.
Once you have interviewed and assigned your Virtual Assistant, given them some basic training and how-to’s, expect to see positive results – in your bottom line and in your day!