What you can do to get great work ethic
Setting boundaries and rules whilst maintaining good work ethic as a Virtual Assistant
As a Virtual Assistant we are sometimes so hungry to get that next client and maintain the best working relationships with the ones we have that we sometimes forget that the key to success is actually to set some boundaries. Setting boundaries and laying down some ground rules with your clients need not be a daunting, scary thing, in fact if anything it should be a relief to you and could even show your client a whole other side of your personality which they may love. Assertive and confident professional remote worker – THAT’S YOU!
Now although it may be a necessity to set these boundaries to avoid things like burnout and less than average work being handed over to clients, you need to be able to do it in a proper manner and without coming across as bitchy and condescending. You also want to make the rules clear from the get-go, so things like what hours you are available to one specific client, what your actual working hours are and so forth need to be discussed right in the beginning to avoid any awkwardness further down the line.
Below I will discuss a few tips for setting up rules and structure within your business which will ensure your success and success for your client.
Boundaries for you and me
Your phone – Now although you have a phone and the general idea of a phone is to take calls you do not want clients calling you all hours of the day and night and weekends expecting answers. So you need to be clear that, if you do not have a phone purely for business, that you tell your client you are available for calls between hours x and y and thereafter there will be no response to calls or messages.
Set working hours – Most VA’s have more than one client and therefore would want to have specific times scheduled in order to provide the best most focused work to each individual client. This can be tweaked according to the workload of course as sometimes one client has nothing for you to do on a specific day, but another may have a mountain of tasks which are all urgent, you can then use your discretion, but setting some sort of guideline around this with your client is very important.
Treat your business like a business – All business’s have hours where they open and then the same for when they close, you as a virtual assistant are essentially running a business and should do the same. Business’s have rules and regulations, therefore so should you. A virtual assistant is not an employee and therefore does not have to adhere to the management from a client.
Having a task list – A task list is also great as you and the client can set up the tasks together that are needed for any particular day, if the client then tries to deviate from this you can respond by saying that because the list has being drawn up in a specific way you have planned accordingly and unfortunately any extra’s would have to wait for the following day. If you are unsure of what the priority task is it is always best to communicate and find out, this is also a good way of setting the rules that priority tasks are completed first but whatever falls outside of the normal working hours will be added to the following day.
At the end of the day we all want to be able to deliver top-notch service as a VA and we want to have as many clients as possible and keep everyone happy – but happiness comes from being honest and upfront about things. You never want to find yourself a few months down the line, when you realise you cannot handle the workload, telling a client you need to set boundaries, it will probably not end very well.
Be assertive, have a clear idea of what you can and cannot do in any one day and then have that chat with those clients and you will flourish.
Happy Virtual Assistant = Happy Client
Social Media for Growing Traffic and Sales
“Opportunities are usually disguised as hard work, so most people don’t recognise them.” Ann Landers
What is Social Media?
Social media is the collective of online communications channels dedicated to community-based input, interaction, content-sharing and collaboration.
Forms of Social Media
There are many forms of social media, amongst these are: –
- Websites and applications dedicated to forums
- Social networking
- Social bookmarking
- Social curation
Typical examples of social networking platforms that may be easier for the “man on the street” to identify: –
To name but a few, find below a typical conversation prism. It is quite enticing to know how far ones reach actually goes when posting on social media.
Business Applications of Social Media
Social media, today, is a fundamental part of life online. Social Media is used to market products and services, to promote brands and most important of all to connect to individuals and business with whom you can set the stage for new business.
How do you increase social media traffic?
This is a phrase that MANY people ask! Let’s focus on the “HOW”!
The bottom line is, social media traffic happens or shall we say increases when you engage and build relationships on each and every network.
Every social media network is different, however to increase your social media engagement on these platforms, there are some hard and fast rules that one should follow.
Inspire your audience with visuals
A fundamental concept in social media engagement “first impressions last”.
The first impression that you portray in your post or engagement is what lasts in most people’s minds. The age old saying “Don’t judge a book by its cover”, is not always true. Visuals assist people or potential clients with making decisions.
The best visuals on social media include: –
- Vibrant colours and well-designed layouts
- High-level photography
- Visuals telling stories
- Visuals showing products or services in a new light
- Consistently on point and well-planned
ALWAYS be where your audience is!
Identify Social Media Influencers and Engage with Them
The term used is “influencer marketing”. When one engages with various social media influencers, one is creating the ideal opportunity to attract more followers, in other words, MORE traffic to your business website, platform etc.
Understand that Social Media is for SHARING, not selling!
Although, the majority of potential clients begin their journey on social media by making a purchase. Most clients do not visit social media networks with the intention of shopping.
The primary intention for social media marketing is to build relationships. People are more inclined to check out your post or share your story, news, blog etc if they feel that your post is directed at building a relationship with them.
Clients want to feel as if they are important and that their own needs are being met.
The above ideas are to name but a few. Get out there and ENGAGE with your followers make them feel as though they are your number 1 visitor!
Celebrating the Women in your Life in honour of Women’s Month
Honouring the women in our lives this August month
The dictionary describes the word “August” as consecrated respected and impressive. Words like distinguished, respected, eminent, hallowed, esteemed and honoured are also found in the synonyms. Is it not then fitting that this be the month to honour women, their achievements and the important role that they have played and continue to play in our lives.
From that very first breath, women have been playing a major role in our lives, feeding, nurturing and comforting us as infants, expanding the role as we grow older into moulding, mentoring and nourishing our minds. As little ones, our mothers are our first “turn to” mechanism, the bonded cord being tightest during that times. As we grow and develop, it stretches to allow us the space to become our own little person. Hitting the teenage years, we start to twist, turn and yank at that cord, fighting for our independence with childish abandon, yet she still holds on gently, guiding and walking the mire with us during those tempestuous years, never far away and always ready to step in when needed and all the while holding herself back as she watches us grow, mature and take our place in the world.
Women Leadership within the family
And how much of that do we really see. How much of her struggles, heartaches, frustrations, all her sacrifices, wisdom and guidance is apparent to us. She is the one that balances work, life, family, society and a myriad of other things all at the same time, like a never-ending ebb and flow twirling and rolling into itself over and over. And what do we see – we see Mom. The one who is just there. The constant figure that we don’t give a thought to having challenges or feelings. Until we truly grow up and mature. Sometimes it takes a life-altering incident that makes us take stock and really see and appreciate, and sometimes it is becoming a mother yourself that unravels the same threads and the penny drops into place that not only her, but your grandmother. her mother and so on back for generations, where the same things have been taking place, and the real appreciation of what she did for you starts to grow and you feel her strength and quiet influence deep within your being.
Women create a supportive circle
Some may say “that is not what I experienced” but if we look deep into ourselves we will find the one that gave these things to us. The one that was there even in the background silently watching and being that strength for us, waiting for her recognition with the resilience and tenacity that women hold, even though we felt it not to be so at the time.
So whether it be your birthmother, your grandmother, a substitute or a mentor that you have taken into that role, take the time to feel their strength and the love and nurturing that they have given to you. Honour their sacrifices and celebrate their joy. After all, a little piece of them lives on in you.
Why dressing for Success can create the right mindset
I’m sure almost everyone would agree that one of the big perks of working from home is that no specific dress code applies. If you feel like working in your pyjamas all day, no one is stopping you. It’s your choice, but does it have an impact on your productivity? Sorry guys and gals, but research has shown that it actually does. The author of The Golden Apple: Redefining Work-Life Balance for a Diverse Workforce says that work clothes do impact you on a business and a personal level. It is also important to set boundaries between working hours and personal time. When the official work day is over, it’s best to change out of the business attire otherwise you could feel like work never ends.
Self discipline and how you dress does pay off
A few years back I worked half day for an elderly man who was a magazine publisher and worked from home. Every morning when I arrived at his home office, he was dressed in formal office wear. I asked him why he bothered. His answer was that if he were to dress casually, he would be more inclined to first wander around his garden and play with his dog than get to the office and before he’d realise it, most of the morning would have gone by and he’d have achieved very little. He only worked mornings, accomplishing what he had set out to do and then changed into casual wear and spent the afternoons playing golf, meeting up with other retired friends or pottering around in his garden.
I had a mentor once that set her goal to be a millionaire before she turned thirty, which she did achieve. She started out working from home in her garage. Every morning she would get dressed up in her working attire complete with heels and handbag and be in her garage office by 9am sharp.
Gaining respect and being taken seriously
What impression do you give those around you? Do you look like you take your business seriously? I experienced this first hand with family members. When you look like a frumpy mum, that is pretty much how everyone is going to treat you. Step up your game by dressing to match your business and see the difference in the attitude of those around you.
Dress up to resist multi-tasking
When working from home it is easy to get caught up in exhausting multi-tasking. When wearing your sweats it’s easy to dash from your desk to the washing machine, desk to the wash line… and so on. If you were dressed for work, you would be less inclined to do some of these things. Agreeably, there are the benefits to multi-tasking, but it can also affect your overall performance.
If dressing up every day really doesn’t appeal to you, throw in a casual day or two into your week. You are the boss after all so you get to choose. 😉
You Teach People How To Treat You
This is so true and it took me a while to realise this, many years in fact. It is important to set healthy boundaries.
Very wise words from Dr Phil : “I’m not saying that you’re responsible for another person’s behavior. This is not about blame. But I am saying that you have power over your reactions. So if there is a person in your life who isn’t treating you with the respect and consideration you deserve, you have a couple of decisions to make. Are you willing to accept accountability, and do you really want to make a change? If the answer is yes, then you should ask yourself: “What am I doing to elicit this person’s behavior or to allow it to continue?” Even if you think you aren’t doing a thing, your inaction is speaking for you.”
Learn to speak up
We should not silently resent and not speak up. I have certainly been guilty of this. If we want a different result then we should speak up and make it known if we want a different result. Yes initially it will be difficult to do this but practice makes perfect!
Speak your truth
When we are asked as to what is wrong, do not answer nothing when there is in fact plenty wrong! I have said this many times that there is nothing wrong when in actual fact I have felt most uncomfortable. We have to actually teach that person or persons how to treat us and believe me they will take their cue from there!
Personal boundaries are of importance
Teaching others to respect your personal boundaries is healthy. It does not mean controlling or punishing others but rather are guidelines as to what is acceptable in your life and what is not.
I have for many years thought that always making myself available is a way to win the love and respect of others but it certainly does not work this way.
It will of course take time to differentiate between a genuine request and some taking advantage, therefore we have to learn the difference between being firm and inflexible.
I have had to learn that I am entitled to my own thoughts, opinions and feelings.
It certainly does not come easy to set your boundaries in the workplace or on a personal level. Knowing them and actually setting them are two different things but it can be done.
Setting the above in motion will certainly enhance our self-esteem and self-worth.
Acting assertively takes practice. Know your limits. Remember too that teaching people how to treat us is a process that involves teaching them.
Love and respect yourself first
Look at how others that act with self-confidence and demand respect are treated well. Follow their example. This will not happen overnight, I know, but others will start to treat you differently. Do not allow certain behaviours from others that make you feel uncomfortable.
I love this quote by Anna Taylor :
“Love yourself enough to set boundaries. Your time and energy are precious. You get to choose how you use it. You teach people how to treat you by deciding what you will and won’t accept.”
To sum up, good advice from Morgan & Wiseheart:
- Start with yourself
- Talk about your “rules of engagement”
- Communicate your needs clearly and compassionately
- Model how you’d like to be treated
- Reinforce behaviors you like
- Pick a role model to emulate
- Have realistic expectations