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
Where to start in writing a blog post? This is how
They say writing blogs are important in the success of your marketing. I get that… BUT I have not done this a lot. I wrote lots of stories as a kid, but since I grew up my imagination and creativity…went in hiding.
I have not been challenged in years to write, so I myself had to go back and learn. As I was doing my research I decided to write about it as I go and share it with you.
I hope this will help you 🙂
This is what I normally do to write a blog.
- Coffee is my breath, my “haaa”, it takes me to that place of ease. So I will make myself a warm cup of coffee, clear out my desk and sit back, close my eyes and think of the topic ahead or a topic.
- Once I am clear about the topic I will start with research, making sure I know what I am writing about.
- Get some images for the blog and some for inspiration.
- Craft your headline that is preferably both informative and will capture your readers attention.
- Type away! Just let it “flow”, remembering this is only a draft, it does not need to be perfect. Not even close.
7 other tips to help you write a blog
#1 Own your first paragraph and the title
Having good compelling titles and introductions will make your readers want to read more. It wil inspire them. Wishpond contributor James Scherer says, “recent studies show that while 80% of people will read headline copy, only 20% will read the rest. This is the hidden importance of great titles, and why getting them right is so vital to a successful blog.”
#2 Be the expert not the bragger
Build a trusting relationship with your audience, make it seem that you are a expert in this, not just bragging about it.
#3 Focus on a specific audience
When drafting your blog, think and focus on a certain audience. They say that good blogs are targeted to a particular audience.
#4 Be informative
Don’t just tell a boring story, tell your audience something that they can learn while they read your blog. Educate your reader.
Most great blogs will follow basic SEO (search engine optimization) rules, using relevant keywords and anchor text. Using SEO practices will make your blog more relevant to your targeted audience.
(Moz has some free tools which can help you with that)
#6 End your blog with a trigger
So this blog you are writing, you write it for a reason – mostly this reason is to connect with the readers.
Try ending a blog with something that moves or motivates the reader to action. In this case it would be to motivate readers to write a great blog.
#7 Be consistent
You will need to be consistent in writing, you will need to write blogs on a regular basis. This is especially important to grow your audience.
If your audience sees you writing a blog every week, you will get more and more website crawls which will improve your SEO.
In other words, blogging successfully takes a lot of work. But that doesn’t mean blogging has to be difficult.
Being a woman is a superpower. Let’s celebrate this!
“Think like a queen. A queen is not afraid to fall. Failure is another stepping stone to GREATNESS – Oprah Winfrey.”
To all the queens in my life, and to the queens of this world! Do you know why we are celebrating women’s month? I didn’t….
So we “have” Women’s Month as a tribute to the more than 20 000 women who marched the Union Building on 9 August 1956 in protest against the extension of Pass Laws to women.”
I know the Women’s in my life weren’t part of that, probably not yours either. However, Women needs to be honoured, we need to celebrate womanhood!
“Being a woman is a superpower”
To my granny – being selfless, and giving up what she wanted.
My Grandmother would have turned 95 a few days ago, can you imagine what their lives have been like? In her young days? What has she gone through? She had 5 other siblings, she was very young when her mother passed. She had to eventually start working when she was 13 years old to help care for the family. She mostly did needlework for the wealthy peoples’ towels, blankets and clothes with her initials. I have yet not met someone else, who is so kind and selfless. She always gave and never wanted anything in return.
“The world needs strong women. Women who will lift & build others. Who will love & be loved. Women who live lavely, both tender a fierce. Women of indomitable will.”
To my mom,
To the woman who loves me unconditionally, who always puts us before herself. To my mother who can take the place of all others, but whose place no one else can take. She is patient, she is selfless.
She is the strongest woman I know, having to put our wants and needs before herself. Having courage when we were scared, even if she was scared she never showed. Teaching us that even if we don’t know what is next, to step forward with grit anchored in grace. My mom is my superhero, being able to juggle life, a job, a husband, three children, a household. Not too long ago, she had to start doing all of these alone, and here she stands still strong and fierce.
To all the other woman in my life, my sisters, my mother in law’s, my work colleagues and clients. For being strong, for fighting for what you want in life, for fighting your rights as a woman. To never being afraid.
This month, I will be celebrating all the woman in my life. For us still facing the hurdles of being a woman and being under-appreciated. Celebrating the strength and courage our ancestors passed on to us. We are forged through all the challenges in life, however, we move through these challenges with our heads held high. We are mom’s, we are wives, we have careers, we are cooks, we are maids, we are sisters, daughters. With these multitudes of roles we have in life, we are independent, strong, confident, loving and kind.
“When life gives us a challenge we wink at it and say bring it on.”
This month, we celebrate “womanhood”. In any age, a woman is to be loved, to be admired, to be loved and honoured for all we are and all we do.
This Female Entrepreneur Inspired me the most. This is why.
Where it all started
I remember watching this female entrepreneur back in the day when I had DSTV and was prepared to pay the exorbitant subscription fee for the drivel bestowed upon us. This lady featured in a doccie entitled ‘The Secret Millionaire’ and from the moment the opening credits began, I just knew this was one tough, go getter woman. I was most pleased to watch her in action on another BBC show ‘Dragons Den’ a few years later.
The female entrepreneur I am referring to is none other than the interminable Ms Hilary Devey. So intrigued was I, I purchased her biography ‘Bold as Brass, My Story’.
The life of Hilary Devey
Ms Devey certainly didn’t start life with the proverbial silver spoon in her mouth. In fact, she didn’t even have a plastic one. She was born into a regular English family and her folks earned their living working in and managing pubs in her home town of Bolton in the UK. There were times when her folks were successful in what they were doing and at other times, not so much. Her folks faced bankruptcy on several occasions and thus moved around the UK extensively in search of employment opportunities. None of this stopped the young Hilary in her pursuit of success though. These obstacles toughened her up and she vowed at the age of seven she would never sit on a cold floor again. Ever.
Ms Devey was a bright child at school and had a flair for the numbers game from an early age. Having to pull her weight at the various pubs her folks managed and lived in, she quickly became adept at pulling pints and learnt how to haggle. These traits would put her in good stead later in life. Upon completing school aged sixteen, Hilary served for a short while in the Women’s Royal Air Force, in air traffic control and the supply accounts department. Her accounting skills were honed, and the lessons learnt in the WRAF ensured she would never be blindsided in business.
How she become an inspiration
Fast forward to 1996 when Pall-Ex, a palletized freight network was launched. Ms Devey chose a testosterone dominated industry to make her mark. And mark it she did! Pall-Ex has annual revenues of £59.947 million. The splendours of success had their foibles though and there were many sacrifices made. According to Ms Devey’s biography, the hardest work she’s ever done is pull her son from the grips of heroin addiction. Marriage has also not been her forté as she is twice divorced and suffered a stroke that almost killed her.
Ms Devey is tough as nails and one of a kind. She is famous for her straight-talking but genuinely warm force of nature. Ultimately though, she is a survivor and her story, told with complete honesty, is as inspirational as the woman herself.
Good on you Hils!
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.