Staying Sane On Social Media This Summer

Staying Sane On Social Media This Summer

As a self-employed business owner, taking time off can be daunting at the best of times.  You may worry that your business will grind to a halt without you at the helm, that you’ll lose the momentum you have worked so hard to build, that disaster will strike and you won’t be there to put the fire out and, on top of all that, you feel guilty for enjoying time off when you “should” be working.

I’ve had all of these worries and more and it’s taken me a good few years to truly appreciate that time off – and I mean real time away from your business with the opportunity to unplug entirely – is absolutely essential to both our wellbeing and our success in business.

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Virtual Assistant vs employee

Virtual Assistant vs employee

This is something I get asked often:

‘why would I use a VA and not hire an admin assistant?’ 

Firstly, there is no right or wrong here, it is what suits you and your business at that time and place, you may find having a VA at the start of your business suits you better, then as you grow and business becomes more fruitful you may find that you need to start employing staff to be in your office/shop, and that is fine too.

There are many stages of business, and there are solutions for every step of the way, so make sure you do your research. You will know roughly your budget and workload, so your options should be clearer to you.

So, let’s take a peep – Let’s get this straight, I am not saying one is better than the other, let’s just take a step back, 5yrs ago I was an employed member of staff, so I have been both, this is just a broad overview of VA vs Admin Assistant, I am not here to tell you one is better than another, there are pros to both as well as cons to both.

Hiring an admin assistant 

Having someone based in your office is a plus, there is a huge advantage in having someone based in your office, that presence can be a plus for you and your clients but remember there is a price tag to having a member of staff in your office.

Some of those costs are can be a hindrance to your business:

  • Equipment
  • Sick pay
  • National Insurance contributions
  • Holiday pay
  • Lost money when the member of staff may not have much work on
  • Hiring fees (if using an agency)
  • Training

But the plus side of hiring an office-based member of staff:

  • Someone based in your office for specific times
  • Hired personal has set jobs and works solely for your business

Hiring a Virtual Assistant 

When you are just starting out or do not have the budget to hire a full-time member of staff, hiring a VA is a great way to get that support without breaking the bank balance.  But by no means am I saying that a VA is only suitable for small/medium businesses or start-ups, as 2 of my biggest clients are larger businesses with 10+ employees so that just shows that you can have a VA working alongside your bank of employees.

So, here are some pros and cons to hiring a VA:

  • You only pay for the time spent on a task
  • You can pay hourly or most VAs will have monthly retainers
  • No sick pay
  • No holiday pay
  • No equipment overheads
  • No training costs
  • Most VAs have a large network of support should there be a task or problem they need to work out
  • Your VA will 9 times out of 10 be located offsite, so this may play a part in your decision
  • Your VA will most definitely have more that one client, so offsets their time between their clients

Both work well 

Depending on where you are at in your business journey will heavily depend on your choice, as I said earlier there is no right or wrong, having support with your business is key, and how you chose to do it is down to you and your plan.

Small business support 

I know a lot of small business owners do prefer to support other small businesses, they like the relationship that you can build with your VA, and that they know they are also supporting another growing business.

For me, I have clients that have an hour a month and I have clients that have 10hrs a month, I also have project-based clients as well as ad-hoc clients.

Work on a plan

Your first action should be to sit down and work out what is keeping you stuck, what tasks are keeping you away from doing what you love to do, you know that thing that earns you money, that thing that made you start your business, so if there are things keeping you away from that, then you need to be figuring out what they are.

You then need to decide which will suit you and your business better. Remember you can hire someone on a part-time basis and you can also have a VA to work on large projects. It is your business you know what is best, and both options work well.

If you feel working with a VA is a viable option for you and your business then get in touch HERE I would love to be able to support you.

 

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3 things that are stopping you from outsourcing

3 things that are stopping you from outsourcing

Hey everyone, so this week I wanted to run through the 3 biggest habits/reasons that are stopping you from moving forward on your outsourcing task.  We all know and I have spoken about in many past blogs that running your own business is amazing yet tough, but we do it as we love it, truly enjoy it.

For me supporting small and medium-sized businesses is super rewarding, I feel I offer one thing, yet my clients tell me I offer them so much more than the task in hand, which gives me an immense feeling of pride and accomplishment.

For one client, not only am I providing business support, but I give her a sense of security as well as having someone there to be your accountability partner, and sometimes that really does help us in business, as we can often talk ourselves out of a good idea, so thrashing out those ideas with someone kind of makes you less likely to sweep it under the carpet!

Why am I here?

If you are running a business, then you will be familiar with things like online marketing, this in itself is pretty much a full-time job, your blogs, your newsletters, your social media posts, keeping up with the latest update and trends, answering your crowd, then you have other tasks, emails, travel arrangements, meetings, diary, creating products or carrying out your services, the list can be quite extensive and daunting.

So why am I here pointing this all out to you, you run a business, you know what you have to do, but I am here to tell you, you are probably the main reason you haven’t taken that step to outsourcing!

 

Here are the 3 top reasons I hear that are stopping you from taking that leap:  

No idea where to start! I have heard of business support and VA’s but when I started looking at the world of outsourcing, it just overwhelmed me!

Firstly, don’t let it overwhelm you, you are doing this to better your business and help you move forward if this is something that is causing you stress then break it down, like with every task you do in business, small chunks are more manageable. Write down the tasks that are keeping you stuck, this is the first thing for you to do, most of my clients said they needed help mainly with their blogs and newsletters, it was something they wanted to do, but was struggling to find the time to either start up a blog and regular newsletter or had trouble keeping it up to date.

My advice is write down the tasks that you feel are keeping you away from the jobs that create your customers and income.  Then I would either connect in your local Facebook pages to see if there are any VA’s in your area, or failing that you can get in touch with a couple of VA societies that have lists of VA’s that either match you in location, price range, experience etc.  I have listed this here:

I am only a small business, its just me, I can’t justify or afford a VA!

90% of my current clients are solo entrepreneurs! I also have clients that have offices and staff, there is no wrong or right demographic to outsourcing, so don’t feel just because its only you are working from your house you cannot outsource! Secondly, most VAs cost around £20-35ph, as well as monthly retainer packages, you will find that most VA’s offer a standard of 1hour a month, and if that is what you need then that is all you need to purchase, do not feel that it is too small to ask for.  In that hour most VAs will be able to draft and or format at least one or two blog posts (how long would that take you?) most could source a couple of weeks’ worth of images for your social media, most can copy type several pages documents, most could make an indent on the powerpoint presentation that has been sat on your desk for a month! Stop justifying your desire to progress!

 

It’s my business, I know how everything works, and I should be able to cope with what my business throws at me!

Ah yes! We have those business owners that will NOT cut themselves any slack and will often be found in the dead of the night or over weekends catching up on EVERYTHING that their business throws at them.  Can I just say, yes, it is your business, yes you do know how everything works but that does not mean you have to do it all yourself! And equally yes there are a lot of things that you should be able to cope with whilst running your business, scheduling in posts, re-purposing your content, marketing your blog I don’t feel are those tasks you should be doing!

Solutions

There are so many solutions out there to help you run your business smoothly, effectively and efficiently, most VA’s are pretty flexible and work around you and your business, you need to stop putting obstacles in your way in moving forward in your business. As I mentioned most VAs can work on an hourly basis with a minimum of 1 hr, use this wisely, outsourcing is vital to your business and your sanity.

Discovery Call

If any of this resonates with you, or your business is picking up and you are finding you have fewer hours to do those tasks, then see this as an opportunity to put something in place now, before you do get into a spin that you cannot get out of, book a FREE call with me and we can run through your sticking points.

 

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My last for 2017

My last for 2017

Well, we have made it to the last working week of 2017! And what a hectic one it was, I had visions of taking it easy this week, kicking back, doing a spot of office house cleaning, tidying up my downloads folder, clearing my inbox, scheduling in posts for the festive period, tieing up loose ends…………How many did it get done! Well as I sit and write this now, precisely none haha

 

I find myself in a bit of a reflecting mood as I pen my last blog of the year, I must say this year has probably been my best year since starting Remote Admin Services back in January 2014, a lot has changed in those few years.  I am rounding this year off totally different to how 2016 was finishing, this year I am finishing with a stack of work, and more happy clients than ever before.

 

What happened?

I think it is important to be flexible with your business, and not keep yourself stuck, we as people evolve and change this is the same with our businesses, we need to embrace how our business changes and go with the flow, so for me when I first started out I was Remote Admin Services, this year saw a change to my brand, it was given a massive overhaul by the ever so talented and gorgeous Vicki Nicholson of Branding Therapy, we gave my brand the personal touch and tweaked my name to Remote Admin Services with Claire, this gave it a more personal touch. Vicki is the lady you should speak to if you are looking on refreshing your brand, she even has amazing programmes that guide you to building a better brand, check it out HERE

I had the social media genius that is Beckie Coupe of Infinity with Beckie Coupe run through my social media, giving me every hint, tip, trick and advice she could. Beckie is the go-to lady when it comes to anything social media, she really knows a lot and has the ability to stop you from running around in a frenzy every time Facebook changes something.  Beckie also has the best monthly email services, its called The Social Media Accelerator, this is an email sent to you once a month with so many content ideas to see you through the month.

Then I had the super productive Sarah Cornforth of The Productivity Princess run through some of my processes to see where I could tweak my personal business time, I found that I was super productive with my client work, but my business was suffering, but Sarah helped me put that right. Sarah also has a fab monthly club that helps you move from stuck to productive, Her Zen Productivity club is fab and worth checking out.

Then there is what I can only describe as the female version of the Tasmanian devil, the little whirlwind of ‘getting sh!t done’ the one that knows what to say at the right time, the one that just knows what you are thinking and gives you the self-belief that you really can do this and that you really are awesome, or if that doesn’t work a swift kick up the backside! she really is the cream of the crop Emma Holmes of Rebels and Rockstars, she really has been the catalyst to my year being the success that it has been, I have several times contacted Emma having a wobble and she has put me right. I would love to set you a challenge to find someone as open, passionate, genuine, to the point, empathetic and knowledgeable as Emma. She is by far my biggest reason for doing so well this year.

I have also found massive support this year in my VA groups, I have found a great foundation of support and gives me ideas for further changes and tweaks to my business.  This is what I mean about being open and willing to give your business a helping had to evolve and change.

 

Upcoming in 2018

I don’t like to plan much before the year is out, and to be honest, I don’t plan much in January full stop, I find it a busy month and one that a lot of people struggle with, so adding goals and must do’s to an already depressing month doesn’t sit well with me.

So, it is a case of sit and watch this space, I know that I will be kicking as much backside as I have done this year if not more, I will continue to grow my confidence, my services and my client base, and more importantly enjoy what I do.

 

Log off and kick back

As I mentioned in my last blog Take having a break seriously you need this break, you need to step away from your business even if it is just for a few days, you need to unplug and recharge your batteries, we have all been working like lunatics this year, burnout isn’t an option, so make sure you take time off.  As much as we all love what we do, it can soon become a chore!

 

At the start of this blog, I had said I hadn’t done half the things I was planning to do this week, even schedule in posts for the festive season, and you know what! I may just go a little rogue not schedule and just play it by ear, I would normally have things planned in for this time of year, but I think this year, I will see what mood I am in on a particular day and post something relevant! Let’s see how that one works out, if it doesn’t work I will be crying to Beckie 🙂

 

So, for now, I want to thank you all for reading and engaging with me this year, it has been a full on year, I would like to wish all of you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, I hope 2018 brings you health, wealth and happiness.

 

All my love xx

 

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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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