Review of your year!

Review your yearSo every year I tend to do a quick review on where I am, what I currently do for my clients, what more I can do to support them, as well as looking at where I want my business to go next year.

This week for me is my review week, I don’t tend to do it in December and I find it too much of a stress month to add another fairly big task to run with.  Not sure about you by December is filled with finding hiding places for all those parcels that have been delivered, explaining why there are several Santa’s around town, remembering to move the elf before I go to bed, school plays, pantos, Christmas dinners, social media, client work etc, so throwing in several client reviews wouldn’t be the best use of productivity in what already is a hectic time of year.

I started this week with a quick look at where my business has gone this year, and I must say this year is probably my best yet, I have continued to support my long-term clients, I have gained some truly awesome new clients who are doing amazing things in their businesses, I am so fortunate to be able to support them. I have to say business wise 2017 has rocked for me here at RAS.

So, how can I improve on my progress from this year?


Small targets! 

Like with 2017, I will be setting small realistic targets for next year, it can be so easy to add in so many HUGE and unachievable targets at the beginning of each year, which will only deflate you if you start missing those goals, so instead of giving yourself one massive target break it down into several smaller ones, a bit like your to-do list, this way your confidence in what you do will grow as you hit your goals each month.  This year I set myself 4-5 small goals a month, 1 slightly larger one for 6 months and a 1 largish goal for the end of the year, and some of the smaller monthly tasks were heading to my ultimate goal for the end of the year, so I was always seeing my progress as the months ticked on.

Be realistic 

First day back in the office refreshed and pleased you don’t have to commute hours by train to your office because you run your own business, you sit down to start jotting your goals on paper, as we all know writing them down makes you accountable (yeah righty ho!) but we still do it, we are super pumped and off we go:

2015 list

  1. Earn enough to go to Florida (deadline March!)
  2. Earn enough to only work (deadline Easter)
  3. Earn enough to book a regular spa (deadline before summer holidays I need to be prepared)
  4. Gain more clients (deadline February)

(this is a real-life goals list from a close business buddy of mine) she set it 2yrs ago, and when I asked her the other week how many she ticked off, she said none! She told me she became disheartened and deflated when the first goal was missed.

She has since redone her list, in fact we both sat down at the start of this year and made our goals together, she is a bit of an accountability buddy for me.  On her list for 2017 she had:

  1. Offer more hours to her current client base (deadline March)
  2. Take on 3 more 1-2-1 clients (deadline July)
  3. Earn £150 extra each month (ongoing)
  4. Continued from 2016 earn deposit for 2018 family holiday (deadline December)

These were just a couple of hers that she was happy for me to share with you all, you can see the clear difference between the 2 years, she told me that 2015 was negative for her due to the constant missing goals, she quickly realised they were too big and the deadlines were unrealistic. She refused to set goals in 2016!

I was talking to her over the weekend and said that this week I was doing my review, she said she would let me know how hers had gone, so yesterday we had a quick live chat, out of the 4 listed above she has completed all of them, she is going into the travel agents on Saturday and laying the deposit for her family holiday next year.  She said that her goals were more achievable and realistic deadlines, and with each one she crossed off the more confidence it had given her.

Moral of this! 

Set yourself goals, I actually think they are a healthy thing to have in your business, but don’t expect to move the moon closer to the earth, we already have more pressure on us as it is by running our business, why put more on our shoulders but adding unrealistic goals! Start small and few at a time.

Outsourcing 

Is 2018 the year for you to offload some of those tasks that are weighing you down? Don’t let it become an issue or too late and your stress levels hit the roof. If you are already working late nights and odd days over the weekend or struggling to knock things of your ever growing to do list, then maybe having a VA on hand maybe the right option for you!

Check out this blog about working with me

Let’s make sure 2018 rocks for us all, with no added pressures made by ourselves 😊

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Are you being Swept away?

Are you being Swept away?

If you were to look in your inbox now how many emails do you have that will end up straight in the bin? If you were to look on your Facebook page (don’t check unless it’s a scheduled slot lol) how many groups are you part of that you check regularly? If you are on a podcasting stream how many have you got on there that have loads of un-listened podcasts on there?

I only ask as I am terrible! I sign up for so many things, I may get caught on Facebook but a paid advertisement and think ‘I need this’ and off I go and sign up, then I start getting their newsletters and I never read them, or I join a group of the Book of Faces and before I know it I have a ton of groups with loads of little notifications, telling me I have posts to read.  It is endless. I do get swept away with some signups!

Is it just me?

Please tell me it’s not just me and my terrible ability to move past an offer! I don’t think I could cope if you don’t do the same!

There is a solution

I am part of The Productivity Princess’ monthly group, and ‘Declutter’ is the order of the month, which has been about things like our download folders (HOLY MOLY!) but previous months have been on your inbox and what can we get rid of.  As much as it was a monster task for me, I did complete it, and I felt amazing for it, my inbox is a lot less cluttered.

How do you decide?

So, this one wasn’t too much of a difficult process, to be honest, I basically went through my deleted items, and all those that were deleted without being opened was my first port of call, every one of them I unsubscribed from them, then I headed into my inbox and went through those I knew were going to be heading in the same direction and followed the same process.  Now there were a few that I know would still be of benefit to me, so I have kept them in my action folder, but will keep a close eye on it, If I don’t visit that folder in a month then I really don’t need them.

What about groups!

Ok so this one is a little trickier, see I join groups as I feel they could be beneficial to me and my business but where does it stop being beneficial and become more detrimental to business, because you are spending far too much time reading through all the groups before you can get any work done!

I may have over thought this one a little too much, but I found that I revisited my ideal crowd and looked at the groups to see how well they matched, when I was last active in the group, was I imputing any value into the group, depending on those factors was the outcome as to whether I removed the group or not, this has been a fab exercise for me, as I have found there are a lot of groups I joined at the start of my business that really does not suit where I am now.  I have my VA groups that I am part of and will never leave them, they are my support line, my soundboards and fellow chit chatters when the days are tough, I also have a few business groups that to me are vital and worth their weight in gold so won’t leave them. So don’t remove yourself for the sake of it, but be honest with yourself as to whether they are actually a benefit to you anymore.

Don’t be the bull!

Don’t run through your inbox or anywhere that you are part of groups, and being that bull in a china shop clicking delete, unsubscribe to everything, that is not what I’m saying, just be honest with yourself, if you are not reading something regularly or visiting that group then maybe now isn’t the right time to be part of that group or mailing list, nothing is permanent, if you really miss that group or weekly email you can always re-subscribe cant you!

Go on give it a go

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What’s on your investment list

What's on your investment list

Yep Investment List!

If you are anything like me your life is probably built on lists, shopping, kids, business, bucket, you name it everything goes onto one, whether we follow it and tick things off is another thing (there is a list on my fridge, paint kitchen, new shower screen, paint hallway! This has been there since the beginning of the year!)

But my investment list I take incredibly seriously, because I am so passionate about what I do for work, and have the thirst to better myself for my clients, this list is so important to me.

For me, this isn’t solely about money, this can be things that are free but beneficial (yes that does exist!)

When I started my Virtual Assistant business I knew I had the knowledge of being a PA/Admin support as I had been working in that field since I left school, but what knowledge I had on running a business I could have written on the back of a stamp, so I spent equal time working and growing my business with researching how to run a successful virtual/online business, and before I knew it I found a list of things that I wanted to invest my time and money in to make my business thrive.

So what was on this investment list of mine?

1. Training – this is no different from my corporate days, except I pick and choose the training I want and what is going to benefit my business and help me move forward. Being an online/virtual business there are a wealth of programs/systems out there and always new fancy ones being released regularly. So, it is a case of staying on top of new systems and keep my knowledge levels replenished.  Also doing research to see if any new systems that come out could benefit my clients in their business.

2. Software – this ranges from upgrades to new software, we always need to be up to date with our software, and making sure the one we are using now is still the right one for your business, if not sourcing a new piece of software to fit in your business now.

3. Hardware – when I started I had an old laptop and that was it, but over time I have upgraded my hardware to suit my business, I have a new laptop better running system, separate keyboard, bigger screen, this all makes my working day run more smoothly and easier for me to work throughout the day, but have added to my arsenal of hardware, printers, office phone, equipment for recording videos.

4. Support network – this is one that does NOT need to cost you any money at all, every social media platform has groups of small businesses, there are even business groups for specific
industries, I am in a few dedicated to Virtual Assistants, but am in a few that are for small businesses, and some that are dedicated to either women in business or mums in business, bizarrely not just for support but those categories are my ideal clients too.

5. Dedicated space – when I first started out I was working out of my kitchen, then a small area in my bedroom, but it became obvious in the early days of running my business that I could benefit from that space, as a VA I don’t really need a dedicated space as everything is predominantly online, but I felt I needed that place where I was undisturbed, not just from people but household chores that were staring me in the face all the time, I was lucky to have a Summerhouse at the end of my garden that we could convert, and that is now my office or ‘The Cabin’ as its affectionately known as.

What’s on my list going forward:

My list is always evolving like my business, so my list changes over a course of time, what may be on my list now, may not be there if I decide a different direction.

1. Audio equipment, even though I do video’s I want to move into podcasting and webinar support, so on my list for future investments is a new external microphone, podcasting/webinar software and a better camera.

2. Courses – I can’t get enough of information, there are a few courses that have a monthly cost that I want to start being part of probably from the new year.

3. Accreditation – As a VA I want to be seen as the professional that I am, so I am working towards and getting the things in place to become fully accredited with VIPVA association, this is more something for me and my peace of mind, gives me that little bit of security and back up from an association.

4. Accountant! Yep, I want to be able to outsource my accounts, now don’t get me wrong my accounts aren’t huge at the moment, but it’s a job I dislike, so being a person that people
outsource too I see those benefits of not having a job you procrastinate over sitting in your trays!  I would like to outsource my accounts, I would like to start as I mean to go on with my accounts, as my business grows it would be nice to have that person working with me on my accounts and making sure all is in place and correct. Yes even a VA outsources.

So what is on your investment list? I certainly cannot tell you what you should have yours, as everyone’s list is going to be different. You may have all the equipment you need to run a successful business, but may not have that support network around you, so that could go on there. As I said it’s not necessarily all about monetary investment, it about making your business work with you and becoming fruitful in all ways.

Your list isn’t set in stone either if you have things that were on your list they can be tweaked, our businesses change on a regular basis, mine has changed a lot over the years, even though the function is the same, other aspects have changed.

Don’t keep yourself trap, adapt to your business. Sit down and create your very own investment list, you do not need to put deadlines on them, sometimes they are helpful, but not always necessary. For an example, I want to be fully accredited by the start of the new tax year 2018, so this gives me plenty of time to get all those bits in place.

You may want to put a Virtual Assistant on your list for when you get super busy 🙂

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