STOP, Revise and end 2019 on a high!
I don’t know if you will agree with me but it feels like 2019 has been on fast forward mode, I cannot believe we are already in mid –July. Just a few more weeks to go and the stores will be setting up with the much-loved Christmas décor that will silently have you feeling all ‘Merry’ed out by the time the 25th December comes around. Yip, the year is going by that fast!
Having said that I’m sure you that at the beginning of the year you set some goals for yourself and you might have even added a few since then, but have you been tracking your goals? If yes – Well done! If no – that’s ok! Either way a mid-year goal check in is important. Why? For these reasons.
One of the biggest advantages of doing a mid-year goal check in is to evaluate your progress, especially with regards to work orientated goals. What have you accomplished so far? Where did you Slack off? Which goals amongst the ones you have identified are of priority to you and need more focus? Which goals have you not started on yet? What obstacles have hindered you from achieving your goals? What have you done to overcome these obstacles or make changes to your goals? Asking yourself these questions will give you a clearer picture of what you have achieved and will also give you a better understanding of what you need to do in order to finish 2019 on a high note!
Declutter your goals:
Let’s face it, the first week of January is when we are full of steam and ambition for what we want to achieve during the year, both personally and professionally and sometimes the goals we set for ourselves can be over-ambitious. Now is the time to sit and be completely honest with yourself and look what you truly can handle/do. If there some goals that you need to remove from your list, go ahead and scratch it off! After all there is always next year and it’s better to focus on two or three goals and achieve them, than have ten goals where nothing gets done.
Establish the way forward:
We often look at how far we still need to go to achieve our goals, but how often to we look at how far we have come? Doing a mid-year goal check in a great way to access and analyse how much we have actually achieved. If your not where you want to be or if you realise how you haven’t even started working on some of the goals you set out, now is a good time to put together a game plan of how you’ll change your actions/plans in order to do achieve what is important to you! Taking the step back and really determining what you want to get done, is a great way to inspire you to get back in the game, course correct and achieve more than you thought possible this year!
There is a lovely quote by Sherry Swain that says “Reflection enables us to evaluate the experience, learn from mistakes, repeat success, revise and plan” so when you sit to do your mid-year goal check in, get a notebook, start an excel spread or PowerPoint presentation whichever works for you. Physically document your goals, your progress, your to do list, set deadlines for yourself (be realistic and set mini goals that will help you in achieving the bigger goal.) after all this is what you would do when working on a work project to ensure success of a project, right? Well you as an individual and where you want to go professionally is one of the most important projects you will ever work on.
Make it a Success!
SARS Implemented Changes – 3 Reasons You Need to Rethink Submitting Your Annual Personal Income Tax Return Today
This year SARS has not only updated their e-filing platform but also made some other notable announcements. Today we’re looking at what this means for the individual taxpayer and if these changes are something to be worried about. Let’s dig in!
In June this year SARS announced that if you (that would be all personal income taxpayers) earn less than R500,000 a year there would be no need to submit a tax return. This limit was set at R350,000 previously. While this sounded like an announcement to celebrate to most, there are hidden implications that few have thought of when they started celebrating not having to submit returns to SARS anymore. Now it also needs to be said that there are conditions attached to this announcement and this was the first bit of crucial information that I saw neglected as people started sharing this announcement in great celebratory fashion on social media. I had a distinct “uh oh” moment when I saw the comments of course, with total disregards for the conditions accompanying this announcement!
3 Possible Implications
At the moment, there are five possible implications that could be highlighted as concerns. So, why would not submitting a return this year get you into hot water later or have you pulling your hair out?
#1 An unbroken record
If you have been submitting returns for the last few years, you are already in the routine of submitting your returns. So why not continue to do so? Yes, I know you hate dealing with SARS! To tell you the truth very few people find it enjoyable, do they? The thing is, up to date you’ve had an unbroken record, don’t you think it’s worth it to keep it that way? What will happen if SARS suddenly changes their minds…AGAIN? And now you have to suddenly run around, compiling docs because you slacked off with your filing… No, that’s not for me!
#2 Need a Tax Clearance Certificate?
You might need one you. Why? To borrow money! Should there ever be a need for you to borrow money of a long term nature i.e. a mortgage for a property, you will usually be requested to provide a TCC (Tax Clearance Certificate) which can only be obtained if ALL returns are submitted and up to date with no outstanding payments, penalties or interest of course.
#3 You won’t get your refund
I left the most meaningful one (to me and of course all sole proprietors like me) for last. If you have been bargaining on that refund cause you overpaid on tax you won’t receive one cent if you don’ submit that return.
I hope you found this blog informative! Remember if you have any concerns or specific queries please do contact your registered tax practitioner with your questions. Make sure you are informed. Everything isn’t as black and white as it seems. With SARS in any case!
Setting boundaries and rules whilst maintaining good work ethic as a VA
Developing your boundaries is a crucial step to creating and maintaining a healthy relationship with your clients.
Boundaries come in many shapes and forms and when you consider that you are working with many different personalities who may not think the same way. It’s really important that you teach them how to treat you. If you let someone cross your boundaries, they will be taught that it’s okay. Set your boundaries, and then stick to them. You’ll run a better business, and your clients will appreciate it too!
Boundaries are key to a successful VA/Client relationship. Make sure that time, energy, and integrity are protected for everyone involved. The biggest and most rewarding client interactions come from my boundaries around communication.
Your clients will appreciate knowing the rules and respect you for setting and communicating them with confidence.
Focus on Exceptional Communication
- Timely, efficient communication should be a priority. Of course, communication with a single client should not consistently and unreasonably encroach on your personal time or negatively affect your productivity. However, being available demonstrates that your client’s project and satisfaction are important to you.
- In addition to timely and thorough communication, it’s also important to make your clients feel comfortable being open and honest with you. They should feel that their ideas and concerns will be taken seriously.
It is all about compromise
Yes it really is all about compromise especially when you are working as a virtual assistant. Concentrate on doing most of your work during working hours, be available when there is a crisis and turn your phone/ laptop off when you need a bit of YOU time!
Obviously it does not matter what boundaries we set and precautions we take, other people are not always going to follow our lead. It’s up to us to set, and keep, those boundaries, no matter how difficult it might be at the time. I would say that it’s vital to our health to do this.
Good work ethics, transparency and personal integrity are three key aspects that every virtual assistant needs. We define integrity for a virtual worker as having personal standards that will not be broken by the opinion of others.
Rules to follow
- First, do not create situations that you will later regret.
- Second, people will act as we allow them to. If you don’t say something when something isn’t right, then the person assumes it is okay.
- Third, professionally communicate when setting boundaries yet be firm.
Action steps to implement:
- Develop your ideal day.
- Set your boundaries based on your ideal day.
- Communicate those boundaries to potential and current clients
- Address any issues immediately before it gets out of hand and becomes a strain on the working relationship.
Setting healthy boundaries is good for you and your client. It teaches them how to work with you in a way that stimulates win-win situations.
Effective boundaries create positive client relationships.
4 Secrets to Growing Your Business’ Sales Exponentially This Year With The Use of Social Media
What new small business owner or entrepreneur doesn’t need MORE SALES in their business? Especially when it’s free! Social Media offers endless potential and opportunities for the young entrepreneur or established company to drive traffic to their website and increase their sales for free. In this beginner’s guide to using social media for growing your sales, we are going to take an in-depth look at what it takes to drive that potential sales through the roof using social media to target your audience. In this modern day there’s not a person that doesn’t have a mobile device which is excellent news for the business owner. Just imagine crushing those sales goals when you have the right audience at your disposal – a global audience available 24/7, 365 days of the year!
#1 Do your research
What you want is knowledge about your audience before starting any campaigns on social media. Consider and research the demographics of your target audience and use the information to determine which social media platforms to use to reach them and what type of media would be most likely to succeed.
#2 Quality content vs Quantity content
So, this is where you expect me to say, “Start a blog”, right? Wrong! If you don’t already have a blog for your website, you’re missing out on one of the most powerful FREE marketing tools to boost those sales and you might want to take a step back and first take a look at where to start when writing a blog post or how to improve your blogging. Our focus is on social media so that means you’ll need quality content to share. Take note my emphasis on quality content. Your biggest faux pax on social media is to share a whole lot of content without providing value to your audience. Don’t just post and share random stuff. Make sure what you have to say or share will either engage or entertain your audience.
A good guide is to use the 80-20 rule, which means you share 80% content that engage and entertain the audience and 20% sales content. Hard-selling is a definite NO! It adds a desperate flavour to your business that will chase away your target audience faster than you can schedule your next post.
#3 Consistency is key
Nothing is of greater value to improve your business’ online visibility than consistency. If you stuck to rule number two your content will be of value to your audience. It doesn’t matter if it’s a blog, motivational quote or short video, Facebook, Instagram or Pinterest. Your audience will be anticipating your next post. A social media calendar will enable you to plan your posts to coincide with special dates and events to maximize the effect of your content. So, what’s better than using a social media scheduling tool to make sure you free up your time while sharing quality content on a consistent basis to all the platforms and targeted audiences of your choice.
#4 Engaging with your audience
Social media is about engaging your followers. If you don’t grasp that concept first and foremost your hard work will all be for nothing. Nothing is as important as responding to your audience’s conversations, likes and shares. This is how you build trust in your brand and develop a relationship that turns a follower into a client.
Do the research, create or curate the content. Be intentional, be consistent, find your own voice and style. In a world where we are often overloaded with digital content, we need to be unique. AND we are – so use it to your advantage to outshine your competition. You’ll be amazed at the results!!
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