How to free up time

How to free up your timeSometimes we just can’t put our fingers on where the time has gone today, it always seems a surprise that it’s time to clock off and do the other job you might have, for me its mummy duties!   

We all say the same thing ‘OMG where has today gone’ I am such a culprit of those sayings, you’ll find me saying it half way through the year too, and the same at Christmas time, sadly the time goes to the same place it does every day lol, it is no real surprise really ‘Time and Tide wait for no man’ and it’s true. 

But it’s a bit of a double edge saying, as yes the days do go fast but when you have that pig of a task that you are doing, time just d-r-a-g-s doesn’t it, it makes it even more painful, it’s bad enough that you have to do the damn task, but to make your day hell is just not acceptable.

So, what tasks are time-consuming?

  • Social media – oh my days what a total time zapper, you popped on to check your page, and then you find out that Karen’s daughter has a new hamster, or Darren has scrapped his car and is looking for a decent repair garage!!
  • Spreadsheets – yes they do still exist, they haven’t become extinct (yet) and yes they are still long winded and painful, whether its expenses or keeping track of work related performances to plain old data entry, it is still time-consuming. 
  • Newsletters – this is one of those ones that you know you should be doing, but finding the time to create your newsletter, create the address list for it to go to, then find the time each month to get a new one created and sent out, is frankly boring and time zapping, you haven’t got time for this! But your little fairy is telling you otherwise! Who needs sleep anyway!
  • Research – there is still no quick way of doing this, well unless you were researching in the 80s then yes Google has happened and has sped some things up, but basic researching is still the equivalent to teeth pulling in Edwardian times.
  • Late payment chasers – ah this is one of my favs! Doing a job and not being paid for it, luckily in my VA business this has only happened once, in my other joint business sadly this has happened too often, and the time it takes to get in touch with them and give them suitable warning that payment needs making, that could be 20-30 mins wasted. 

Have you got any of these tasks?

Do you have to do any of these during your time on your business? If so then of these can be outsourced to a virtual assistant.  As well as audio transcription, copy typing, diary management, travel arrangements, event management, data entry, database management, CRM set up, a blog set up or creation, website assistance. Then you can start considering those VAs that have specific Nichè, like those that can do your paperwork for your tax returns, those that have medical or law background, you will also find some that have design as their forte.

My tip to you is a simple one, if you have a task or 2 that is taking up far too much of your time it is possibly the right time to get that extra pair of hands in.  

I am happy to have a chat with you on where you need to look, or just happy to speak to you about the whole process.

Chat soon

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Working with me

I have written a number of blogs recently, I have gone from once a month to weekly (minus one week where I forgot to schedule), and I thought on this occasion maybe writing a blog about me and working with me might be a good thing.

So, who am I?

That’s a straight forward one really, I am Claire and I am your Remote Admin lady! I have been a VA now for over 4 years, but have been in admin support in some shape and form since I left school back in the 90s.  It was a field that I enjoyed, and it grew from there, so getting made redundant from my last employed position, which was more than just admin, I saw this as the opportunity that I needed to create a business around me and my family, and hey presto here I am.

Why do you need me?

Running a business is so rewarding, you sit back now and then and look at what you have created and feel a sense of pride and achievement, but equally, it brings you a whole heap of work you are either unsure of or don’t want to do.
And this is where I come in or in fact most VA’s, we know that employing someone full time is probably not on your radar just yet, so having someone on hand to help you with those annoying, time-consuming tasks is really handing, and with a VA you are only paying for the time they have been working for you. We do also support businesses that have staff, but you may not be in the position to employ another member,  but just require a little helping hand.

So, if a task takes me an hour, that is what I charge you. There are loads of comparison blogs out there that give you all the breakdowns of how much employing someone full time vs hiring a VA and it’s an interesting one at that.

What can I do for you?

What exactly can I do for you?  how can I enrich your business life?  simple! I free up your time so you can go do what you do best! Whether that is to make things to sell, go fix a boiler, go create and sell some classes, or if you are supporting your own clients with their pain points. I help you build your dream but removing those time-consuming, relentless or just plain boring tasks that you don’t want to do or just do not have the time to do.

My services are varied and you can find them here, I try to grow my list services each year, if I can, I like to stay on top of new systems and trends, I like to put myself forward for online courses to help me better serve my clients, so whilst my lists of services is vast it is always changing, if what you are struggling with isn’t on here do check with me just in case.

How does it work

This one is straight forward too, we tend to have a discovery call on a day suitable for both of us, we run through the things you are struggling with, or the things you need to outsource, once we have gone through the requirements and discussed the finer details, and we both happy to proceed, I then set up secure sharing folders where we will share any work that is needed to be carried out or work completed.

It is all about communication! If you need to call me or email me several times at the start then so be it, I am here to support you, so if you feel that you need time to get used to having someone work alongside you, helping you grow your business then that is fine. If you feel happy only out-sourcing an hour a month to start, again this is all fine, I will work with you at your pace!

I will let you know when that work is complete, and send over my invoice and timer report, and we start all over again for the next month and so on.

FAQ 

When it comes to working with a VA there are always questions, and that is fine, at the end of the day this is YOUR business, and I will be supporting you, so if you have concerns or questions please tell me.

But here are some that are asked on a regular basis:

Q: Is there a minimum amount of time I can use you for?
A: Yes, I have a minimum of an hour

Q: Are the shared folders secure?
A: I use Dropbox which is secure, it is shared with you via a link that I send you.

Q: How do we stay in contact, when we are not in the office together?
A: I am online often, you can either email, Skype, Google Hangout, Facetime, Messenger, phone call, I am pretty flexible on most forms of communications.

Q: Do you work a standard 9-5, Mon-Friday?
A: No, my hours of work are flexible, I focus on deadlines, once the work has been outsourced to me, I will work the necessary hours to complete the work and get back to you within the set deadline.  I am at my desk between the hours of 0930-1530 Mon-Fri and these are the times I am contactable. There are more details in my paperwork when we agree to move forward.

Q: Do you visit?
A: If you are local and need me to visit the office or your place of work then yes this can be arranged. If it is going to be a regular thing there will be a small additional travel cost.

Q: How will you work on my tasks as well as your other clients?
A: I have a very strict working policy and routine with all my clients, I know what they are giving me, how long those tasks will take, I schedule in my time on a weekly basis.

Q: Do you work under my business name?
A: No I will always work under my business name, but should I be making calls or chasing on your behalf I will say that I am calling on your behalf your company.

These are just some of the questions I get asked regularly, I have a few blogs that cover outsourcing, but the one I have had most communication on is ‘How to stay calm when outsourcing’ – a lot of people do go into a panic when they start working with a VA for the first time, so this was just a little guide to help.

One tip from me, if you can, outsource before you feel you really need to or get someone in place for when workload takes off! This will just eliminate some stress.

Yes, please……………. 

If this is something you have been thinking about and have decided that NOW is that time, then get in touch with me, I would love to have a chat with you, and run through those things that are causing you a headache. You can either contact me via here or email me on claireb@remotedminservices.co.uk

I hope to chat with you soon and work with you to grow your business.

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8 things to outsource to a VA

8 things to outsource to your VAHaving been speaking to my clients over the years of running my VA business, the one common thing I am hearing is ‘I thought I would have more time!’ or ‘getting stressed with running out of time’ – this runs through not only my clients but most other VAs that I know all say the same.

And if you are reading this as a business owner I would imagine you can resonate with this, and once again its ok to feel like this, what you need to do is not stress about it as it is not going to make it go away.

Time Consuming Tasks

There are so many time sucking tasks that land on our desks whilst running our businesses, to the point of not knowing where to turn. I thought today I could share with you tasks you can outsource to a VA:

Social Media Support

This is one of those tasks that you could easily spend all day and all week on, it seems to be one of those that has no end, and one that always throws up more issues and things to add to your list. You need to have a presence on social media nowadays, it’s your key marketing tool. If you outsource this to your VA, you can have them partially helping you with the small things like sourcing industry specific images, to the more in-depth tasks like scheduling, creation and comment moderation.

E-Marketing

Another big one for small business owners, we need to stay in touch with our crowd and hitting their inbox or RSS blog feeds will make all the difference. Having a VA help you with such a task can free up a stupid amount of time. Again, you can go with handing over the small tasks of scheduling the e-newsletter to go out and cleaning your list of bounce backs, to scheduling in blog posts, con-tent and image sourcing. The level of what you want to hand over is up to you, but let’s face it, even if you get your VA to send out your newsletters its freeing up valuable time.

Research

Yep that dreaded task, how much time does it take you to research things? And it is one of those easy to hand over tasks.

Invoicing 

If you are running a business and have clients you have to invoice them on a regular basis, and can be time consuming especially if you have a few tricky clients that don’t exactly play by your pay-ment terms. Having to continuously chase overdue payments is demoralising for you and sucks up that valuable time!

Events

If you hold events then you will know how much time these take, it really isn’t a 5 min job and not one you can cross off your to do list in a hurry. Having a VA assisting you on an event will free up so much of your time, from pulling in venue ideas, gift ideas, drawing up guest lists, sending out save the date emails, the list is endless on what a VA can do for you on this task.

Data Entry

Whether this is CRM data entry, or a stack of business cards from an event you of if it is specific in-formation for your business, it’s a job that will suck time like no other, and you will quickly find oth-er things that need doing before data entry, why not find a VA that can take this extremely time-consuming task off your hands.

Travel Arrangements & Diary Management

If you are a regular traveller then you’ll know what must go into your itinerary, from flights to transfers, hotels, train, hotel or venue bookings, as well as the meetings that work around the itin-erary. There are a lot of things to remember, I had to do in my employed days a lot of travel ar-rangements, I had one sales guy visiting several countries in the ASPAC region so tying them all up was tricky to say the least!

Having a VA you can delegate these tasks to them, they should have an extensive knowledge of where to go and how to find the best deals etc
Whilst you are away your diary still needs to be looked after, as you will probably have a fair amount of catch up meetings on your return, having a VA to make sure you are on track will be a godsend. You do not need to have a full time PA to hand when that could be a waste of money for you

Email Management

Sometimes our email can be a huge distraction, and in this day and age it’s hard to ignore as its eve-rywhere, laptop, tablets, smart phones, you will always know when you have an email, and you feel compelled to reply straight away. Having a good VA they will be able to tidy up your inbox, create folders, unsubscribe from lists you don’t require anymore, create templates and signatures.

These are just some of the things a decent VA can do for you as a business owner. If any of these shout out to you then please do get in touch, I would love to be able to help you in your business. I have some availability through August and I am booking into September, so do get in touch if you feel this would benefit you.  And check out my latest freebie HERE

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Getting your biz holiday ready!

Blog Getting your biz holiday ready

This is a HOT topic, folks! 

Whether you have children or not, July and August are what we call the holiday season here in the UK, it’s the time when most of us take a break from work and enjoy time holidaying, may that be a staycation or flying off somewhere. Those that are still employed have the luxury of booking the time off and doing a quick handover to a colleague.

But those of us that run your own business knows there is so much more that goes on behind the scenes:

  • Planning when to take the time off
  • Budgeting for that time off, as we know being self-employed we need to into account for the loss of earnings as well as the cost of the holiday
  • Informing client’s, you are taking time off and making sure their work is covered
  • Making sure your social media is covered for when you are away
  • Out of office set up

And that is before you pack to go on your holiday!

The entire process can be quite daunting. If you have children then you’ll know that the school summer holidays are looming too, but let’s face it you still have to work, I know I certainly can’t take off 6 weeks, so I work around my little cherubs, but also be mindful of quality family time and making memories with them, as that is one of the soul reasons I started my business, was to be with my young family whilst they are growing up.

The trivial things that help! 

With this process, you can adapt it to suit the school holidays or your 2-week holiday.  It really is a case of getting into a habit that will make your life a little easier each day, they are not massive changes to your daily schedule, but even still workable and manageable.

  • You don’t have to tell your crowd you are away, but make sure you give your clients plenty of notice that you going to be away from and when
  • Schedule in your social media, the insightful Beckie Coupe of Infinity Digital has this great blog post to get your social media holiday ready. There are some helpful tips on there to get that part of your business covered.
  • If you are going away are you planning on checking in? if not then you need to be making sure you set your Out of Office responder on your email system.
  • Outsource! If you do not want to leave your business unattended whilst you are away, then start now looking for a Virtual Assistant who can cover whilst you are on holiday, you can give them a variety of tasks, or you can hand everything over, it depends on what you require, you may just want them to respond to your crowd on social media, or you may find your emails are the thing that you need covering.  But start looking now for a VA.
  • If you are not going away but have children and their school holiday to contend with then check out my top tips in this BLOG  on how to survive the school holidays 😊

Start Now!

You may not be going away until August, but if you start planning now and getting those things in place now, then it will be one less stress when you come to logging off.If you are struggling to stay on top of things, why not have a chat with me, I am happy to discuss outsourcing and how I can help you gain back sometime during your week.  And check out my latest freebie HERE

Hope to chat with you soon

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Surviving the school holidays!

Surviving the school holidaysIf you are a parent then you know the school holidays are coming around FAST, those that have children and run a business know that this can be one of the most stressful times of the year!

We are aware that our families are probably one of the reasons why we started our businesses, but equally, we know that if we don’t work then we don’t get paid, which that is a concept that some children just don’t understand!
They see mum or dad at home which to them equals family fun time!

So, what do you do? I hear you sigh 

Last year was probably my most successful summer holidays with my children, I removed the pressure from my shoulders and reminded myself why I am doing my business and that my children are small for such a short period of time.


I follow a lady called Claire Mitchell of The Girls Mean Business, and last year she published a book dedicated to surviving the school holiday. Not all of it was relevant to me, and necessarily be helpful to me in my business or with my children, so I had to adapt and learn as I went through the 6 weeks, and I can honestly say, that come September when my children went back to school, I didn’t feel as frazzled as previous years.

What did I do so differently?

Most of my clients are family orientated, so I could let them know that I was still available during the school holidays, but made some changes:

  • I spoke with my children and set a rota, so for an example,  Monday AM I was working, clearing any weekend enquiries, and schedule in my social media for the week. Then Monday PM I would take them out to a park or something fun, this would happen throughout the week. It gave them something to look forward to and I got to tick a few things off my list.
  • My reply time changed from within an hour to the same day response. If I had a message come in just as I went out with the children it gave me some breathing space knowing I could still have fun and reply when I got back to the office.
  • Soft Play! This was a great one for us, it gave my children that time to run off steam and have fun, and I could sit there with a coffee and laptop and work, that was a great compromise, and will be doing that again this year.
  • Park trips, this one was quite useful for me, as it meant I could get away from my laptop yet still get some work done, I found I was able to sit and write or come up with topics for my posts and blogs etc
  • Logging on when they went to bed, this one goes against most of my ethics really, I tend to have one late night a week, but I did allow myself to log on once or twice a week in the evening to clear things and get back to people should they have messaged me. But again, I was strict!

These were just a few of the slight changes I made last year, it was all about compromising with the children, and myself, I also learnt how to manage my expectations on what I can and what I wanted to get done, luckily my children are at that age now where when they see me in my office ‘mummy is working’.

I plan to do the same this year, we will sit down and work out a rota for time with the family and time for work, this will be put in place a week or so before they pack up from school, giving them time to get used to the rota.

Work-life balance is hard to achieve but you can do it, you need to compromise with yourself and cut yourself some slack too. This is your dream, you have been building your business for some time don’t let school holiday break you.

Remember, you can outsource too, there is no shame in having a VA on hand to help you out either regularly or through holidays, this option does give you that peace of mind and free up some time, it’s one less ball to have to juggle.

If you are struggling to stay on top of things, why not have a chat with me, I am happy to discuss outsourcing and how I can help you gain back sometime during your week.  And check out my latest freebie HERE

11 Things to ask your Virtual Assistant

 

 

 

 

 

Hope to chat with you soon

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