I had a blog post planned for today, I sat and wrote it all in one sitting which I normally do, shout out to all those who do multiple in one sitting. I have a desktop computer and a laptop which I use when chilling out and want to work from my bed/sofa. In fact, for a few years, I did not have an office space where I had everything set up, over time I invested in myself. This now looks like a good desk, a good chair for my back, a colour printer (no need to scream, save the trees as I only print when need be) and two monitors. If like me you have spent so long flicking from tab to tab, it is a GAME CHANGER!
Whenever I wrote blogs, I would normally transfer the info to my website straight away, but it was different this time. I can only assume that I was having a whale of a time soaking in the four-day bank holiday weekend because it has disappeared, I have looked everywhere and somehow have accidentally deleted the whole blog, all 900+ words. Well, it was about building resilience and I will probably do it again at some point.
I know that you love checking in with me on a Wednesday for useful information, but this week there is nada for you other than for me to say none of us are perfect and mistakes do happen. I should have just done it on a Google doc, I would not have lost the content BUT maybe it is a lesson for me. I thought to myself, gosh this could have been client work and I make it my duty to take good care of client information. I should show the same due care for my own work. Just know that I have made a mental note of that.
Entrepreneurs juggle so many things and these things do happen. The main thing to do is own it where you went wrong and come back stronger next time. We are all human and let’s face it, there are so many awful things happening in the world that kindness is at the top of my list and hope the same for us all. You can rage and cry for 5 minutes about what could have been and then move on.
Please do touch base with me next week as we will be back to regular programming, in fact, look at that, we have a blog post!
Until next time.
What can I tell you, no two days are the same when I am wearing my VA hat. Things can change in a blink of an eye and I think that is what I really thrive on. I work well under pressure. I usually complain for 5 minutes and then suck it up, put on my big girl’s pants and look for that solution that is waiting to be grabbed because let’s face it, there is always one.
Monday-Friday I set my alarm to go off at 5:00am. My boys are 15 and 21 so they won’t be up for another few hours thankfully. My husband will probably come home at this time, having completed his night shift. We will usually enjoy a cup of tea, and have a chat before he goes to bed.
At least 2-3 times a week, I will grab my gym clothes and head out for a class, my gym is a two-minute walk so there are no excuses. I prefer classes as I literally turn up and the instructor puts us through our paces. 45 minutes of blood, sweat and tears with no apology. I find workouts really get me lively and ready to tackle the day ahead. I spend a lot of time seated so it is important for my body, especially my back, neck, and shoulders to move around.
Once back at home, I get myself sorted to begin my working day. I quickly have a look at my emails, to see what has come in overnight. A couple of my clients are overseas, so our PM is their AM and vice versa.
I run around after my youngest as he would lose his head, if it wasn’t screwed on. I make sure everyone has everything they need, lunch money, oyster card, house keys and bags are packed ready to go.
Both boys leave home to go about their day and I exhale. I then make another cup of tea and decide whether I want to listen to music or watch a Podcast. My current favourite is ‘Diary of a CEO’. Between 8:00am – 10:00am it is purely ‘my time’ so might pop to Tesco’s to do a full shop or put on a load of washing. The joys of working from home.
This is my official start time, so I begin by checking emails on behalf of my clients. I currently manage 7 mailboxes, and all are very busy. I focus on each mailbox and feedback to each client with anything that needs to be followed up or needs immediate attention. I feedback to my clients either via email, WhatsApp or by flagging it within the same mailbox. I will answer any emails myself and sign off as myself using any of the titles my clients like me to have. My job title for my clients varies, they are:
- EA to……
- PA to……
- Team Assistant
- Team Member
The most popular one to use is ‘Personal Assistant to’, I don’t think I have ever been referred to as a VA to any of my clients. Clients really enjoy the thought of having a team and having a person acting on your behalf brings a feeling of ‘teamwork makes the dream work’.
11:00am – 13:00pm
I head to Asana which is the Project Management tool that I use for all client work. All tasks will be added here and once done; I mark them complete. It’s really helpful also to keep conversations all in one place. My clients and I can set deadlines here and track milestones of any projects that we are collaborating on. You can even add attachments etc. it is a great piece of kit Asana is.
Once I have done with Asana and have completed any tasks set (that are due) I move on to any other client work that I may have. I have weekly catch-up calls with my clients to just touch base or even have a chat in general which I love. 10-minute conversations can easily progress to 30 minutes with no one even noticing that the time has flown. In our defence, the work stuff is always covered first just so we do not miss the point of the call.
I will also have a planned discovery call with a potential new client. I have limited these to no more than two a day. Once my discovery call comes to an end, I follow up with a summary of what service I think may suit them best and what it could include. This is always tailored to suit their business.
During this time, I may have a couple of emails to move meetings around to fit another one in, set up a Zoom call for that morning/afternoon or even move a meeting to a completely new date and inform all parties, when the meeting is due to start in 30 minutes! Things happen and I understand my client’s stresses, so I make sure I keep a calm voice as us both being frantic, help nobody
13:00pm – 14:00pm
Everything stops! I put my laptop to sleep and head to the kitchen to grab some lunch. I make a point of stepping away from my desk completely as if I work through the time I have blocked out for lunch, I will work through the entire day and not notice.
14:00pm – 16:00pm
These are the last hours of my working day (officially) so I will spend time doing more client work. I work best in the morning so will do all those tasks that require lots of concentration and attention to detail in the morning. In the afternoons I will usually do things like updating databases, organising meetings on behalf of my clients, sending out Agreements, collating receipts etc.
Before closing for the day, I will look at my to-do list and see how I got on. Things change all the time, so occasionally not everything will get done and that is no problem at all. I am very good at prioritising my workload, so nobody gets left behind.
I will then write a list for the next day and include anything that did not get done the previous day. This really helps because it means that I don’t waste any time getting started when I sit down in the morning. My brain is not fuzzy, and I can get straight to work. This trick has never failed me yet.
Although my official working hours are finished, you might find me watching Emmerdale whilst designing a flyer or uploading a video to YouTube for a client. For my overseas clients, I keep an eye on my inbox just in case anything comes up. My overseas clients know I am in the UK so will usually send me emails/tasks to do with no quick response required.
So that’s it, as they say, variety is the spice of life right?
I often say to myself, where would my children be without me, they look at me as though I am superwoman and some days I really feel that I am. Walking tall, chest puffed out. Dad is on hand but mum, there is something about mum, she knows everything. Truth be told and we have all been there, here are some days when I just want 2 minutes to myself and other times (more often than not) where I am falling over backwards to please them.
We owe so much to the women in our lives whichever role that they play, mother, auntie, sister, cousin etc. Today marks International Women’s day and it is a day of celebration for the accomplishments, the determination and the doors which are being kicked down.
Today marks International Women’s Day and it is a day of celebration. We are celebrating the incredible women that juggle it all, and usually juggling it all with a smile on their faces.
I love offering the services that I provide and supporting great women in leadership roles. I could not imagine doing anything else.
I admire many women, including:
- Rosa Parks, the American activist
- Oprah Winfrey, Media Mogul
- Michelle Obama, Former First Lady of USA
- Brené Brown, Author and Public speaker
- Malal Yousafzai, Young Activist
- Nadene Martin, the author of this blog (yep, that’s right!)
These women should be celebrated daily as they have all inspired so many of us, to reach for the stars and be unapologetic about being a woman.
How will you be celebrating today? I have organized an e-coffee date with some girlfriends over Zoom, we are going to share some good news stories and things we are most proud of. There will be no apologies here, did somebody say big up yourself sis?
Although things are changing, there is still a long way to go for many across the globe. In various countries, women are seen as not equal and it is really about creating a level playing field for everyone regardless of your gender.
Taken from the International Women’s Day website ‘Imagine a gender-equal world. A world free of bias, stereotypes and discrimination. A world that’s diverse, equitable, and inclusive. A world where difference is valued and celebrated. Together we can forge women’s equality. Collectively we can all #BreakTheBias.
Celebrate women’s achievements. Raise awareness against bias. Take action for equality.
My favourite quote is from Michelle Obama, it goes:
Here’s to Strong Women
May We Be Them
May We Know Them
May We Raise Them
This resonates so much with me. I admire each one of my clients in very different ways and you can tell I do, I am one of their biggest cheerleaders when good things happen. My client base is full of hardworking, creative female leaders who put their heart and soul into growing their businesses.
For the next 24 hours, I am offering 15% off my 10-hour package to women in business. Book in your slot today.
Gosh, what a year, I cannot even begin to think about 2022 as it feels like a massive gust of wind came along and swept the year away. It feels weird to even be writing one last blog post that will close 2021.
I have been thinking about how I have spent my year and I have done so much despite the pandemic. There are so many others within the VA industry doing what you do out there and that should not make you feel inferior to anyone, so focus on yourself and go at your own pace. I joined so many groups on Facebook and followed profiles on Instagram wanting to drown myself in knowledge and truth be told, I overdid it. Everyone is going to do things differently and that’s OK. Nobody is me at the end of the day, my clients work with me because I am awesome (obvs) and have the skills that they require. We often find ourselves selling our services when people ‘buy’ from people, shine bright like the diamond that you are!
Throughout the year, I understood that to move forward within the business I had to really drill down on what I love doing as opposed to what would bring in the most money. If you don’t love what you do, why are you doing it? I refined my packages, added new services, removed some services, said no to various work that did not bring me joy and it felt so good within my heart.
I am 110% confident in all the packages I offer, my rates and the value that I bring to my client base. Having the right skill set to support overwhelmed business owners is such a great feeling. Knowing that I have contributed to their growth and sharing the same vision in even a tiny way, makes all the difference.
Small business owners usually take on Virtual Assistants as soon as the workload increases or the overwhelm is too much, you do not have to wait until the eleventh hour to grab yourself some support. Since the pandemic struck, we have (Virtual Assistants that is) been in popular demand, this has continued throughout, and I love that we are no longer seen as an unnecessary expense. As I tell all my clients, see us as an investment for your business and believe me we really are. Each VA will bring something different; some are traditional like looking after your day-to-day affairs, and others may be techier whereby they can take care of websites, podcasts etc. Whatever your needs are, there is someone out there for you.
If you have been thinking about it for a while, or are ready to take the leap then feel free to book a discovery call with me to discuss your needs. If you are unsure, we can brainstorm together, two heads are always better than one.
See you on the other side!