Talk to your family………

talk with your family

Again, another random title lol but it is something I want to talk about, as let’s face it, your family have a massive influence in your business, at the end of the day I am pretty sure they are one of the top 5 reasons you started in the first place.

But do you talk to your partner? Do you bounce ideas off them? Do you ask for advice? And MORE importantly, do you NOT talk about business!?
Let’s face it we are all culprits of having a moan, or talking to your partners as soon as they take the key out the door, not least because it’s nice to see them, but also to the fact you have been in your home office all day, so adult company is always nice.

But we need to be mindful not to bombard them with our woes and worries, it’s nice to bounce those ideas off your loved ones, but equally, it is nice to SWITCH OFF, you’ll hear this a lot from me in the future.  I am all for working to grow my business but I am also a massive advocate of having that downtime, and more so lately with all the #headstogether campaign too.

#headstogether 

I know this is so off topic when it comes to business, whichever industry you are in, but it’s one that needs to be out there and spoken about, and being a business owner I worry about this too, when working from home we lock ourselves away in a bubble and sometimes forget to come out for air.

Your family are the ones supporting you, so make sure you are connecting with them and making sure if you have any problems they are aware of them.

Equally, you need to make sure you have plenty of down times too, this is such an important part of your business thriving, if you are not logging off and enjoying what is around you then it becomes a chore and no different to going and working for someone else.

 

Remember your reasons  

Now and then you need to put things in check and you need to remember why you are doing what you are doing, this works on other things too not just business related.  But sit and ask yourself what were the reasons you started your business.

 

  • Stick to your hours
  • Switch off
  • Play and talk with your family and friends
  • Enjoy downtime
  • Remember you need to make sure you talk to those around you, it’s so easy to lock yourself away
  • Enjoy your business, but also enjoy the reasons why you started

 

Your family and friends are there to support you, talk to them, be honest with them, and more importantly ENJOY what you have

 

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 some time during your week.  And check out my latest freebie HERE

11 Things to ask your Virtual Assistant

 

 

 

 

 

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Schedule in ‘Me’ Time

Remote Admin Services Blog HeaderWe all know being a business owner is great fun, you can work your life around your other commitments. But let’s face it! It’s TOUGH to.

For some reason, we seem to push ourselves to a new limit, we are so keen on getting through our to-do list and making sure that we do our very best for our business because, at the end of the day, it’s OURS, it has our name to it.

But with this approach, comes stress, and as we know stress leads to all manner of issues, from lack of sleep, bad health, short tempered, the list can be endless. So, this is a little jolt to remind you ‘ME’ is real and it does exist.

Planning is vital

You just need to be firm with yourself, and make sure when you are planning your week you block out some ‘Me’ time, may that be something on a daily basis or even weekly, it needs to be planned and put in, same way that you currently block time out for your clients, or block out your DFT Time, if you can do it for your business then you can do it for yourself.

Funny enough, if you break you can’t work if you can’t work you don’t earn money! I am not saying you have to plan in sleep, eat or water breaks, these should happen when they need to happen and trust me I need to go to bed earlier, I am such a night owl, but I do suffer in the mornings.

So, for me I am an avid Sewer, I love sewing clothes for my kids or creating special toys for them, but I wasn’t getting that much time out in my sewing room. So I now plan to do at least an hour a week, in my sewing room, either finishing a project of creating a new one.

Either way, that time needs to be put in my diary and needs to be made known that this is my time.

We are all talking about it…….

Now funny enough, as I sat here drafting this blog, thinking about how we as business owners do not look after ourselves enough, and how we seem to think we can keep on running and not wear ourselves out. The wonderful Vicky Stanton, blogged about Time Out too, she was explaining how she thought having an hour a month to herself was enough, until someone pointed out that its really less than 15 mins a week, which made me think, why do we feel it is acceptable to rob ourselves of that well deserved time out?

Do you block out time for yourself? If you don’t why not? You are a worthy candidate for such time, trust me!

Now get that diary out and start planning in some YOU time

Don’t forget you can have a chat with me about Outsourcing, this can be a valuable thing to do for your business.  Take a look at my latest Freebie HERE

Chat soon

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Getting the most out of your day

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Being a business owner is great, I love it, it is so rewarding, I work around my little family, get to do the school engagements, homework and make memories with them.

So, hands up all those that have fun trying to fit everything into their working day! Yep ME, I sometimes open my diary on Monday and think ‘What the heck’ and I can feel myself going into overdrive, but we need to remember we are human! We can only do what we can with the time we have.

National Stationery Week (honest)

I have found some useful hacks to get me through those hectic weeks.  See I am a tech loving gal, but I do adore my stationary, a little apt as its National Stationary week this week, (it really is a thing check it out HERE), I do love writing things down, and trust me I have written down notes, keywords for this blog that you are reading now, before I drafted it and posted it to my website. No matter how much I try to move everything to electronic, my inner child just loves going into a stationary shop and buying lush books, pens and other amazing bits and bobs for my desk.

So here are a few hacks that I use to stay in control and get the most out of my work day:

  • I plan my week on Friday before, or latest on Sunday
  • Block out any long-standing commitments, I have 2 of these in my working week, and they are blocked out on my electronic diary and my desk diary every week, so I know that Tuesday 9.30-11.00 and Thursday 9.30-11.30 each week are blocked out regardless, I know I cannot book anything in during those times. So I work my other tasks around those times. I also know that I have the school run to do so that is blocked out.
  • Highlight ‘DFT’ Distraction Free Time, this is the time when all pings, dings and notifications are banished, use this time for when you NEED to have your head down with NO distractions, so turn off your phone, don’t open certain apps and programs. Imagine you are heading into a cave lol – I wrote about it HERE in a previous blog.
  • Colour coding, for me each of my clients has a colour code, this way it’s easy to see in my diary, who is blocked in where and when, but equally my business has a colour too, and I make sure that I give myself equal time to market and promote my business, as well as my own admin/finances etc.
  • Use systems to optimise your productivity, I use Trello and Canva, both are incredible in their own right, Trello is my go to program that holds all my social media content past and future, ideas, helpful information like Hashtags, advertising rules for Facebook groups etc, and Canva helps me create amazing images and Memes in a heartbeat.
  • Find tools that will aid you in progressing your business but not suck up all your time. Social Media alone is one of the biggest time suckers out there, we have all been there, nip on for 2 mins and bang 1hr gone, so use tools like Hootsuite etc to schedule in your daily/weekly posts, I do this every Friday for my content and my clients work, that way I don’t have to worry about it each day, and I haven’t lost stupid amounts of time on social media
  • Timer, I work with a timer, not only for my client work but for me too, I have noticed that as soon as I click on that go button, my procrastination waivers a little and find I am more productive knowing my timer is going. Before I used this I would happily waste time on what I thought was useful but turns out I was unproductive to my business.
  • Visible clock, again I have mentioned this before, you need to have a visible clock in your office, you need to be aware of the time you have left on that particular day, and if a task is taking too long, then schedule it for first thing the following day, give yourself a break from it. I have noticed since having a clock in my office I am more aware of my day, crazy I know but for me, it has really worked.
  • Set an alarm, remember you are not a 24/7 business, you have to eat, sleep, relax and do things you enjoy, you need to remember those office hours, if you do not have office/working hours in place, I urge you to set some this week. And make sure you stick to it. Can you imagine being in your old employed job and your boss tells you that you never log off!!!

These are just a few small hacks I have found very useful to my business, I hope they help you if you have any of your own do share them with us.

Get in touch

If it is becoming apparent that you are struggling to stay on top of your day to day tasks, and you are finding you are having less time to do those things that pull in the money, then why not get in touch, would love to have a chat and see if I can help you. You can connect here

 

Chat soon,

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Are you a habit creature?

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Habits

We have all read those articles where they tell you ‘wake up at 5 am to become a millionaire’  or ‘drink a green smoothie to become successful’ – I think I have at least one of these articles in my inbox each week, telling me what I need to be doing to become a successful business owner.

Now I can tell you I DO NOT get up at 5 am, that to me is still the middle of the night, and I personally don’t like anything green to eat or drink so a green smoothie will never pass my lips. Ok I can tell you now I am not a millionaire nor would I say I was hugely successful (yet!).  What I can tell you, is, my business is producing a wage and I am comfortable.

pinch of salt

I personally don’t think these lists of what you should do, will benefit you in that way, I think you need to read them with a pinch of salt and to use them to perfect your routines, to make you more productive and focused.  I think it is great to read these articles and ones alike to see if anything they do could fit into your lifestyle and business routine if it doesn’t then move on.

I believe in normal ‘Sleep and Food’ – I feel eating and sleeping better does improve your productivity levels, whether this will, in turn, you into a millionaire who knows! We all know that when you was based in an office that Friday afternoon slump would kick in about an hour after you and your work colleagues got back from the pub, you know after that massive burger and chips you ate! I know from experience that massive lunch would turn me into the most UNPRODUCTIVE person ever.

Pub burger and chips = unproductive

I also feel that a healthy balance of exercise will help you towards a more productive week. Mixing that with your sleep and food, you should see a massive difference to your attention span during the week.

But none of these things I don’t feel will make you more successful nor do I think will make you a millionaire, these will help you to move forward and become the best you can be, and if that means it helps you create more business, then great, but I do wish these gurus would stop telling us these quick and sure-fire habits will fast track you to success.

You are the reason you are successful, you are the reason your clients what to work with you, not because you have a green smoothie on your desk!

To be honest, if you eat healthily, you exercise regularly, and sleep well you should see huge results in your productivity, use that to your advantage if you find you have more umpfh then use it to benefit you and the business.

So don’t be fooled with all the habits and routines that famous business owners are doing, as that works for them, remember running a business is not a one size fits all.  You need to find the routine and habit that works for you and your business.

Right I am off to munch on some random piece of food that has become fashionable

 

Chat soon folks

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The power is in your hands……………Honest

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Hey everyone, in my last blog I mentioned to you above trying to find your self-discipline, how has that gone? It can be a tricky one to grab hold of and run with, because of so many distractions, I also gave you some tips on how to cope and deal with those distractions.

This month

I want to talk to you about the importance of staying in touch with your crowd, we all know we can stay in touch via Social Media, but sometimes it’s just not enough is it.  I have got into a good routine of keeping a check on my insights on my social platforms, I post at various times, some when my crowd are online and other times when they are not active, most of my crowd are online late afternoon/early evening, I do schedule posts for that time, but I do like to do things in real-time too.

In March’s newsletter, I spoke about the amazing competition that I won back in October 2016, which was run by the A.M.A.Z.I.N.G Emma Holmes of Coaching Rockstars. I had seen her posts on social media and a few friends through business had shared her post too, but still, didn’t feel compelled to enter it as I felt I wasn’t lucky enough.  Then I had a Rockstar newsletter hit my inbox which went into more detail, with all the relevant links, it just spoke to me, I felt it resonated with me and the situation I was in at the time, it was that email just pushed me into entering, and how glad am I that I did! I have managed to spend time with some AWESOME, inspiring, knowledgeable women in the industry.

The power of e-marketing is huge and can have such an amazing effect on your business.  You can reach out to your crowd with a push of a button, you know it will land in their inbox when you ask it too, and it will be filled with great content, you can get your message over in more depth, as on social platforms you don’t want to flood your crowds timelines nor make it too long.  This way you can create that eye-catching content.

Winning this competition has change my business completely, and it landing in my inbox gave me that push to enter myself

I think how Emma ran her competition and made sure it landed in the right hands was amazing, she clearly knows her crowd and she knows how to make you feel that she is reading your mind. This IS something you can learn over time, but you need to start somewhere, so being in touch with your crowd regularly via a newsletter is key. You can grow your list with sign-up boxes and links to freebies, these are things I will be talking about in future blogs and newsletters.

Growing your list won’t happen over night, think back to my favourite saying “Slowly Slowly Catchy Monkey”

On the Social

Over the last few weeks on my page we have celebrated International Women’s Day, it’s a powerful day, and one that should be celebrated.

Also, I shared a video from Eric Thomas who claims there is no such thing as procrastination, he says people get it confused with something that is of no interest to you, so in turn have no desire to do the task, what do you think?

I also touched upon a subject that is close to my heart and to a few fellow Virtual Assistants, over recent weeks I have seen a few small business owners getting frustrated that people are either late paying or the next worst thing asking for a discount! As I stated on my page, I do not give discounts, I have packages that benefit my clients, I may give a discount should they recommend me, but I will not give a discount off the cuff! You can read that post HERE

Build A Door!

Why wait? I asked my followers why wait for that business to find you, sitting in your office behind the PC isn’t going to pay the bills, you have to be active looking for business, you need to get yourself out there, be bold, be bright, be seen (I’m sure that’s a tagline for crossing the road!) If opportunity isn’t knocking then build a door! What do you do? do you go networking, or have another avenue you go down to generate leads and business? share with us what you do.

Build a door, why wait

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If you have anything you need help with or want me to discuss then leave me a comment, I have a huge list of thigs that I want to share with you over time, so do let me know as I could be doing a series that could benefit you.

Don’t forget I have my freebie – What to ask your Virtual Assistant, I created this to help those that are hoping to hire a VA in the near future or maybe changing to a new one, its just a small guide to help you.

If you are struggling to stay on top of things and wondering if outsourcing is the way forward for you and your business, I am happy to have a chat with you to help you decide.  It suits some but not all.

How to connect with me

 

 

 

Find your…..Self discipline

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Dig Deep

Being a business owner comes with many hats and guises, you have to dig deep to get done what you have to get done, and even deeper when it’s something you just don’t want to do.  Have you found yourself writing list upon list of things that you have to get done on a certain day/week? I know I have and have often failed to cross much off due to daily distractions.

If you are lucky enough to be working away from home, then those distractions maybe less (I say maybe in a light tone), I know for me I work from home, and I use to have a million distractions in my working day, from my online shopping being delivered, the odd person who sees my car on the drive and pops in for a cuppa as I’m home (forgetting that my home is my office), housework, and the biggest distraction is the kids! I am fortunate enough now to have my office out in the garden, so I am away from those daily household distractions.

I now have my set working hours each day of the week, and I now have a set period of time each week that is focussed on my business, but as you know working from home you can’t help yourself but get distracted.  

This is where self-discipline comes into play, what can you do to stop yourself being distracted, how do you get that discipline into your working life?

Have a coffee and jot some notes

So grab a pen, pad and a coffee, here are some tips to help you:

* ‘Distraction Free Time’ Try and block 20mins a day, or better still 20 mins in the morning and 20 mins in the afternoon, set that time as pure DFT time, turn your phone to silent, turn off the programs you are not using, those pings and little red notification dots are hugely distracting, and one that needs to be removed from your DFT block.  It’s something about your phone and those notifications that can waste a lot of your working day.  So for this time that you block out its best to remove the temptation.

* ‘Natural productive time’ everyone has it, I am not a morning person, if my children wake me too early I go green! so setting my alarm to wake before the kids to do work it’s just not in my DNA, but I am a late person, so for me my most productive time of the day is evenings, I find that knowing the kids are fed and in bed, we have had dinner, there are no further distractions (apart from The Walking Dead!), so I know that its head down and get on with my work.  This is MY natural productive time, I do however get lots done when they are at school.  But my content is normally written of an evening when my productive time is at its best.  So you need to find out when you are at your most productive! you might be that person that does love that hour before the house wakes up if so you need to incorporate it into your working day.

* Procrastination! Ok, I am going to jump outside the box on this one, and instead of saying it’s bad it’s this and it’s that, I will simply say embrace it! Shock Horror!!!!!! why embrace it, well I find that if you can pinpoint what it is that makes you procrastinate, once you have figured out why you can almost learn how to deal with it.  For an example, I hate anything accounts based, so I often find when I’m sat here having to do that type of work it takes me much longer to do it, I keep trying to put it off, in hope that the accounts fairy will come along swish her wand and hey presto it’s done or failing that tomorrow it will become more appealing, which sadly neither happens.

We all procrastinate

 

So I have now learnt to schedule it into either my DFT or do it during the evening when I’m at my peak of productivity.  Don’t shy away from those jobs that make you the world’s greatest procrastinator! We are all procrastinators, it happens to all of us at some point during our week.  If they are jobs you have to do find the best time to do them, or failing that outsource!!

Ready to outsource?

* As I happened to mention ‘Outsource’ this is something else that can benefit you and your self-discipline, if you can offload work to someone else this will free up your time to do what you are good at in your business, but you have to be disciplined to outsource, you need to figure out what is taking up too much of your time, and find someone you can outsource to like a VA, but you need to be strong and let that person do what you have given them!!!

If you are wanting to outsource but haven’t a clue where to start, then check out my free download, this gives you the top things to ask a potential Virtual Assistant, we know what it’s like when you get on the phone, those questions vanish, and when you hang up you remember! 


Be strong, stay focused and remember this is your business, run it the way you want to run it, but get the best out of your time, hopefully, some of the above tips may help.

What tips would you offer a new business owner? what have you found has worked for you? Leave a comment below you never know it may just help a newbie in their self-employment dream.

Take care

Claire

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Logging Off…….You can do it honest!

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I don’t know about you, but when it gets to a certain time of day I seem to struggle to log off, ever since launching my business and I became a small business owner, I constantly feel compelled to stay logged on and producing more work, more Facebook posts, more tweets, more memes, just more in general.

But when is enough really enough? As I have mentioned in previous blogs, I had to get strict with myself purely for my own sanity.  There I was constantly telling you all to free up some time and have quality time with your loved ones or even do your hobby, and there I was still logged on churning out work.

So, when I felt slightly burnt out Mr RAS put his foot down and reminded me that  I started this business to firstly to fit around our small family, followed on by helping fellow business owners take control of their time, and help them with their tasks, and he was right, burning myself out wasn’t helping anyone, least of all myself, as I was creating a monster that was going to implode one day.

So, I sat there and redrew my plans for the business and for the family, and not surprising my family came up first, which I think I would have been surprised if they hadn’t.  But I had a massive shake up, I set myself proper working hours, and a dedicated late night for online networking and that’s it!

This has been in full swing now for a few months, things have gotten a little easier now both of my children are in full-time school, so a lot of client work is getting done during my office hours and not when the children have gone to bed, don’t get me wrong, if one of my clients comes to me in a real bother and urgently needed help, then of course I will try my hardest to help them out of that hole they are in.

You owe it to yourself, and your growing business to be firm with your expectation,  I bet when you was employed in the corporate world, come 5.30pm you was out that door queuing to get out of the car park, so why are you still sat there at 8-9pm at night working! And I bet you have even taken your laptop to the family room to work, to make it feel like you’re still part of the family! And then you wonder why your body feels like you have gone 10 rounds with Tyson!

Now is the time for tough love!

Top 5 tips on getting our time back

  1. Sit down and set realistic working hours, I have set mine as 9.30-3.00 then 6-6.30 (finishing off any rogue tasks) and one late night on a Tuesday for online networking.
  2. Plan your week, this needs to be done on one of 3 days, either Friday afternoon before you log off for the weekend and finalise the week you have had, or Sunday afternoon fresh from the weekend, fresh eyes, fresh mind or first thing Monday morning before you check anything else and get waylaid by any other tasks.  Personally, I prefer Friday afternoon or Sunday afternoon, there are fewer chances of me getting distracted.
  3. Schedule, there are loads of free tools out there for you to use in order to schedule your posts/tweets etc, I personally use the free version of Hootsuite – with this I can schedule in my post for Facebook (I have my business page linked to it) I can also schedule my tweets, I have my Google+  and LinkedIn accounts connected to my Hootsuite. I recommend to try and schedule in around 2 posts a day on Facebook, and one on other platforms, Twitter is different as it’s so fast paced so it depends on how visible you are on it depends on how many you need to be tweeting, you need a consistent stream on all your platforms, I believe Instagram and Pinterest have their own scheduling tools built in,  Whilst on that note, Facebook do have their own scheduling tool built in which is brilliant, so if you only use Facebook then that will be perfect.
  4. If something isn’t working, then take a 10 min break, go grab a bite to eat or a cuppa, don’t sit there stressing and letting it consume you, if it’s a task that seems to be beating you, then ask a friend or see if you can find an accountability buddy that you can bounce off, fresh eyes can sometimes help a fuzzy situation, just because you work at home for yourself, it doesn’t mean you have to be isolated and alone!
  5. Lastly, if things are just getting out of hand, and no matter what you are doing, you can’t get on top of your workload, then maybe it is time for you to look at outsourcing. Now this word often generates fear and anxiety amongst business owners, I can pretty much bet my shoes that you have a friend that has used someone in the past for outsourcing and it turned into an absolute nightmare.  This doesn’t have to be the case, if you do your research, connect with people and join some relevant business groups, you will soon grab some tips on how to find someone suitable, or you could connect with me and I can either help you with your issues, or give you some guidance on finding someone that you wish to work with.

Try and put these in practice, you owe it to yourself, your mind body and soul as well as your family to get a grip with your workload and working hours.

Give them a go and let me know how you get on, change needs to happen, if it doesn’t you will just run yourself into utter exhaustion.

Love

Claire x

 

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