5 Interesting things to explore when visiting Cape Town
Welcome to Cape Town my hometown. Perched between the ocean and the iconic Table Mountain, which serves as a backdrop to the “Mother City”.
Table Mountain using the Aerial Cableway
The Cableway takes you to the summit in under 5 minutes and allows you a 360 degree full view of the city and the mountain. Go early to avoid long queues and wait for a sunny day or you may get lost in the fog. Everyone gets a fair view through the open windows, as the car rotates as it travels, so very clever, and amazing views.
Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens
Situated on the eastern slopes of Table Mountain, Kirstenbosch is internationally acclaimed as one of the seven most magnificent botanical gardens in the world. The 528 hectares estate includes a cultivated garden and a nature reserve. The developed garden displays collections of southern African plants including many rare and endangered species. The Treetop Path is an amazing treetop walking path that allows you to meander through the foliage, and peer down through the canopy.
Robben Island is situated about 10km offshore from Cape Town. The name “Robben Island” was given by Dutch settlers and roughly translated means “Island of seals”. It is accessed by ferries that depart from the V&A Waterfront. Many visitors come with some understanding of the prison, but seeing Mandela’s tiny cell and viewing Table Mountain from the island will give you a far deeper perspective than any history book could ever achieve. Whether you are visiting Cape Town for the first time or you are a local wanting to explore the city’s history, a visit to Robben Island is highly recommended.
Penguins at Boulders Bay
Just around the corner from the seaside village of Simons Town is the famous colony of African Penguins. Once called Jackass Penguins for their hilarious braying call. After you have fallen in love with the penguins head to the secluded Boulders Beach and take a swim in the comparatively warm waters of the False Bay.
Swimming with penguins at Boulders Beach, is a real thrill. A small public beach is set apart from the main penguin colony that resides here, but that doesn’t stop the penguins from sitting on your beach towel or darting around your legs while you take a refreshing dip in the Ocean. A boardwalk has been built around the dunes so you can get a great close-up look at the entire colony eating, breeding, preening, swimming, and chatting away.
Right in the middle of the bustling CBD of Cape Town you will find The Company’s Garden. Started by the Dutch East India Company way back in 1652, this beautiful laid-out garden provides a cool, leafy break from the city noise. Beside its green lawns, huge trees and cooling fountains and ponds, it’s all set about with fascinating places to visit.
The Company’s Garden is home to an overwhelming amount of fauna. There are the famous squirrels, who you can purchase bags of nuts to feed. There are pigeons, Egyptian geese, herons, and rodents, and there is even an aviary where dozens of species of birds can be viewed. I love feeding the squirrels, who will scamper right up to you for a snack.
You Teach People How To Treat You
We do not have any direct control over the actions of others, and therefore cannot directly change how they treat us. What we do have control over is our own thoughts, speech and actions. That’s where our power lies and that is always where our focus should be.
Setting Healthy Personal Boundaries – It Begins with You
A boundary simply refers to a specified limit set by you of what is and what is not acceptable behaviour and treatment by another person towards you. The process of setting personal boundaries begins with you first accepting that you not only deserve to have boundaries but they are a critical element of self-care. Secondly, you must accept that you have the right to set them. Your boundaries act as filters permitting what is acceptable in your life and what is not.
Define Your Boundaries
Your BOUNDARIES are what lets people know how you want to be treated. They are your “NO’s” of life. Things you will not allow people do.
If we give our power away by allowing others to control our behaviour, make choices for us or treat us less than we deserve, we are giving away our power.
What we don’t realize is that by not saying anything and keeping how you really feel bottled up inside, you are not hurting anyone else but yourself.
When things go wrong in life, it’s common for us to look outside for a solution to the problem. But the first place you should look is inside. Remember, what you allow will continue in your life. What you don’t allow, won’t.
One of the biggest misconceptions we have about relationships is that others should know how we want to be treated. However, in order for people in a relationship to be on the same page, they need to have access to the same instruction manual.
People will get away with what you let them get away with. You teach people how to treat you by what you allow, what you stop, and what you reinforce. It’s really that simple.
It’s about knowing what is acceptable and unacceptable. It’s about knowing what we need and want and being able to communicate it effectively to others. Those you surround yourself with should be on the same page. With EVERY interaction you have with others, you are teaching them how to treat you.
When anyone in your professional life treats you in a way that upsets you, it is vital to take a breath and remember that no one you ever meet knows how you like to be treated, just as you don’t know what they expect in return. Sometimes we need to actively explain certain ways in which we want to be treated. Standing up for yourself is important, especially if you know you don’t deserve someone’s negative behaviour.
In closing, remember to treat yourself the way you’d want others to treat you. By focusing only on our self-perceived faults and flaws, we’re basically giving permission for the rest of the world to focus on them too.
Want to know what it’s like a day in the life of a Virtual Assistant? Read more here
Virtual Assistants are essential to the well-being of any organisation. Their role is important because they ensure that resources are made available, timelines are adhered to, objectives are reached, clients are kept informed and expenses are within budget.
The ideal characteristics of an effective virtual assistant include:
Good communication skills
You have to be able to answer questions from your client or his clients quickly and efficiently, making use of correct and up to date information. Staying up to date with the going ons of your client is an essential part of a VA’s day to day tasks. Also not forgetting your client’s clients. Being able to liase with them and able to answer all their questions is essential for the prosperity of any company.
No matter if your dog chewed your favourite slipper or your cup of coffee this morning was cold, you got to have a positive attitude not only when communicating to others but also whilst doing your activities and try to make it fun for yourself to do so. Also having a positive attitude when communicating with your client helps to make for a better and easier working environment.
A good virtual assistant must be able to use spreadsheets, timesheets, Skype chats, emails, Microsoft Word & Excel or any other similar piece of software available to help track their work.
Being tech-savvy allows the virtual assistant to be able to cope, understand and utilze any tech related operations that their client may decide to implement. Constantly being able to update your knowledge is of unestimated value for any Virtual Assistant.
It is important to stay motivated yourself and also to be able to motivate your client and their employees. Staying motivated is essential for keeping everyone’s spirits up and makes for a more enjoyable working environment with less unforeseen problems sticking their heads up. Not every body can be motivated every day and by working as a team with your client can help everybody to motivate each other over time. Some days you motivate them and other days they will be able to motivate you.
“A stitch in time saves nine! Proactivity is key in project management.” – Christelle, traffic and production manager
There you have it – the skills set required to be a successful virtual assistant. In essence, if you are considering virtual assistant as a career choice, you need to be self-motivated, flexible and able to maintain a sense of humour in the face of daily challenges. You have to be able to work as a team and close with your client to make a close working bond causing you to know ahead of time what your client is thinking and in turn, your client will be able to know ahead of time what you are thinking. Doing all this on a daily basis is all in a day’s work for a virtual assistant.
My life as a Virtual Assistant. Let me show you what my typical day looks like.
Most people think being a Virtual Assistant is “easier” thank having a “office” job… but actually it is the very opposite.
Yes, you do manage your own time… but just exactly that. When you have an office job, you have a set time for doing your work, nothing else can actually interrupt, for example you cannot do your hobbies at the office, but if you are a VA you can do anything anytime…
Luckily for me I have “easy” clients, the one is only a three hour a day client (client 1) and the other is a full day (client 2)…but the full day client is situated in the UK so that already makes it flexible for me to juggle and come and go as I please.
Before I got pregnant, I went horse riding everyday and at anytime, and of course my Husband who is in construction get’s long weekends every end of the month so I can join him when he is off.
I wake up around 5:00am as my husband has to be at work at 6:00am, YAY for me, as I get an early start to get things ready for the day, do a little exercise. So my work day starts at 8:00am, where I usually attend to Client 1, checking emails, checking what is ahead for me that time. Because she has three hours, I try do 3 check-ins (which is not time specific); one in the morning, one just after lunch and the last one just before “knock off”.
For client 2, we usually checking at 17h00 SA time, just check if I have a new project, and what it is and if I have question I can still ask I will then only start on the project the next day.
So basically I can schedule my work day completely around my personal day… but I still need to manage my time correctly and ensure that I do get to my work.
In the next few months I will be able to see how I will juggle being a VA and a new mom!
I learned time management in a hard way a while ago, when my husband had a “long pay weekend” , which means he is of from Thursday up until the next Monday – we decided to go away.
We drove that Thursday afternoon, when I was also done with my work. Friday came, we slept in late, had breakfast when it was 13h00 the next moment I realised that I still had to complete a full days of work…
Luckily being a Virtual Assistant I was able to complete my work… as my clients allows me to do the work whenever during the day, as long as it gets done.
So my everyday I get to be flexible, I can start work as soon as I get up, or even as soon as I have a moment. If I have to schedule I doctors appointment I don’t have to check first or to take leave. I get to have long weekends off with my hubby and I get to complete all my VA work from anywhere.
The world of a Virtual Assistant in a nutshell.
The word virtual is for some still a very new concept, when I say virtual I mean things like the cloud, CRM applications, video calls etc. Most of us are still very much use to using a year diary to write in all appointments, arranging meetings face to face, traveling to those meetings.
Luckily most business owners has assistant to do these things for them. Business owners hire assistant because they do not have the extra time to focus on administrative tasks such as;
- Email Management
- Scheduling appointments / calendar management
- Following up with clients/customers (sending thank you and other reminder emails)
- Receptionist duties (answering occasional calls)
- File Management
- Personal errands (purchasing gifts for loved ones / family members online)
- Taking down minutes of meetings
- Creating basic reports (reports on weekly tasks, deliverables, and sales) … and so the very long list of task.
Virtual Assistant can do almost anything for you that an “in-house assistant” can do. The best part is that we can do tasks and projects from anywhere, anytime and we can do almost anything, we could even be in a different country and still be able to do the tasks/projects. Here is a list of a few tasks/projects a virtual assistant can do in my experience;
Administrative task / blogging
- Meeting Minutes
- Report Creation
- Forms Creation
- Document Template Creation
- Managing Blog ; writing, publishing etc.
- Receptionist duties
- Client Invoices
- Basic Bookkeeping (MYOB, XERO & Quickbooks)
- Personal Errands (Purchasing Gifts Online, etc.)
- Project Management & Training Tasks
- Research and public relations
- Creating briefing document
- Research on product / company rivals
- Market value reports
Scheduling, email management and correspondence – basic assistant task.
- Filtering Emails / Managing Spam
- Database Building / Updating Contacts or CRM
- Answering Customer Service Emails and Calls
- Calendar Management
- Appointment Scheduling Travel Arrangement and Planning
- Reminder Services
Organizational task / filling
- Dropbox / Google Drive Organization
- Data Entry
- Creating / Managing Spreadsheets
- Preparing PowerPoint / keynote Presentations
- PDF Conversion, Splitting and Merging
Financial / Bookkeeping
- Managing payments
- Managing accounting applications such as QuickBooks / Sage Online etc.
If you combine, what a Virtual Assistant can do and what a “in-house assistant” can do, they are a lot similar.