Habits can be broken!

Breaking habits

 

Happy New Year to you all

I was going to start 2018 with a blog about being kind to yourself and going easy through the month of January, but I have done that in December, and reiterated it on my Facebook page, so I thought this week I would focus on shifting those habits, you know the ones that are keeping you stuck!

We all have them, and research shows we can break habits within 28 days, so if you are thinking of putting any resolutions in place remember to be patient as behavioural and habit changes take time.

Let’s look at those things that can stop you in your tracks and keep you stuck:

Procrastination

This is a biggie and one that hits everyone at some point in the day, yes, I said day, I would be very surprised and would want to work with the person who never gets hit by this.  But instead of beating yourself up over getting hit by procrastination, embrace it and look at it with a different view, look at what you are doing that is blocking you, is the task you are doing too big for the time you have? Is the task too complicated and you just haven’t a clue on how to progress or even start it?

Once you have figured out the why, the how is so much easier, its like drilling down when you search the Internet, can’t, won’t and don’t, won’t give you the answers, you have to be more specific and it’s the same when looking at the tasks that are keeping you stuck.

Tools

You can spend an age searching for the right tools for the job, keep this simple! Pick the tools you need to get by on a day to day basis, aim for the free versions, you’ll find most free versions will be enough to get you started, to be honest, 90% of my daily tools are on the free version and have been using them for the best part of 4 years.  Trello, Canva, Dropbox, most scheduling tools have decent free versions.

Distractions

There are 100s of distractions during your working day, most invade your space without you paying any attention, email, social media, phone, visitors, chores, you name it they are there in abundance, and they may not take up tons of your time, but together they can really eat into your productivity and time.

A couple of tips to get past those distractions:

  • Check your personal social media before you sit at your desk, maybe over breakfast or your morning coffee, this eliminates the need to check it when you log on
  • Log straight onto your business page, and turn off notifications
  • Only check your email twice a day and keep the actual program closed, this avoids over checking
  • If you get notifications on your phone put your phone out of sight or even on Do Not Disturb. If you can turn the notifications off.
  • Be firm with visitors, this took a long time for me as people would see my car on my drive and POP in for a coffee and a natter as I was home, of course, I’m home, my business is home-based, but nearly 4yrs into my business and I have this one under control, that is mainly due to having my office at the end of my garden, I don’t hear my doorbell
  • Chores! Now this one I did struggle with and sometimes still do, before heading out to my office I tend to fly around my house and do a quick tidy up after my children set the clothes bomb off, but I limit that to a certain amount of time then off to work I go, it’s finding that balance to make you feel like you have done some bits but also taking your business seriously.

Changeable

The things I have mentioned are the common ones that I have heard from my clients, these are the things that suck up their time, and make them feel stuck, but these are the things they can change. The small tweaks can make the biggest differences.

This Year 

If this year is the year for you to change what you do with your time, and try to gain control of hours, and outsourcing is on your list, then do get in touch, I am so excited to be able to carry on supporting my current clients and taking on new clients, supporting them and their amazing businesses.

 

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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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Monkey Around with Memes

Monkey around with Memes

 

So memes! Most people love a good meme, and frankly, anything visual on the social networks works wonders for your reach.  But surprisingly it’s a task that can suck up so much vital time in your working day, you start with all good intentions but before you know it 2 hrs later and you are still no further forward! Yet I was able to create these easily for clients, yet my own was like pulling teeth.

I found that when I started doing these, I felt like I was bobbing up and down in a sea of quotes and images, I would spend a few hours on this task, and by the time my eyes were watering and frankly bored to death of them, I hadn’t really made a dent.  It became frustrating and an annoyance, which then made the task a less important one, and one that I did as and when a meme was required.

So, what changed? I re-visited my process (which was non-existent) and pinpointed my stumbling blocks, and believe it or not there were a few.  So I went through what frustrates me, what was the need for them, why it wasn’t working and so on.

And now I have a whole new process that seems to be working, remember like with any process, it’s a work in progress, if you need to tweak then do so, don’t wait for it to stop working again, if you find one thing isn’t working then change that one thing, instead of letting it manifest into a bigger problem.

So what did I change?

Themes

I found giving myself themes for each day of the week has given me some clarity, I use these themes to create memes and posts with ease, some days I will use them for motivation other days maybe things that can make your business work better for you. 

If you want to work with themes write down the days of the week, and pick a subject that you want to talk about for each day, so for example only, you could say Motivation Monday, Top tips Tuesday and so on, a fantastic way to find ideas is via Twitter, you will find under trending theme days. 

Imagery

Ok, so this one is quite possibly my biggest time sucker, I am slightly partial to a good business image, now for me I work alongside my branding, I had my branding done this year by the ever so talented Vicki Nicholson of Branding Therapy, once she completed it all she gave me my guidelines, which consists of my brand colours, fonts etc, I also know that my business, in general, is designed to support mums in business, so that helps me narrow my images, so based on branding, colour and ideal customer it makes that a little quicker, my problem is there are so many lovely images, and at the moment I am still only on the free stock option! 

My tips for imagery sourcing 

  • Colours, go with your branding colours, if you have not had your brand done, then go with logo colours, and what you feel makes your business stand out
  • Go for images that reflect your ideal customer
  • You don’t have to go with people in images all the time, backdrops, scenery are also very good, and could work better if you chose certain themes
  • Choose 5-10 at any one time, more than that and you are not really picking because you like them, it’s because you have gone into click overdrive!

Block time

Set yourself 30 minutes a week, I know that doesn’t sound much but It’s enough once you are all set up, now when you first start a new process you might find that you will be spending a few hours a week on this, to perfect your process it will take time.  But once it’s how you want it, try to only do 30 mins a week sourcing images and thinking of content.

Concentrate on 4 

Ok so my biggest problem when I first started doing these was working on the basis that I had to have one for each day of the month, so was sat down trying to create 30 of these things and was meant to still be in love with them when I finished, when in reality by the 15th I was sick of them.

So now, I’ve simplified it more, as an example, in October there were 5 Mondays, so at the end of September I created in Canva 5 of my Monday themed memes, transferred them to my other system Trello where I create the content and they were done, so within less than 15 mins all my Monday memes were ready for October, the following day 15 mins set aside and I done 5 Tuesday memes, and so on.  I have managed to drop the length of time now as I am into the process, but at the start, I had to set a timer, and this will be the same for you.

Schedule 

So once I have done my creating, I start to schedule my memes, I currently only schedule on Facebook, Pinterest and LinkedIn as I feel these are my most relevant platforms, I schedule direct on Facebook by use ContentCal for the rest of my scheduling (love it, it’s so visual), again because you have batched them into themes, you could on a Friday at the end of each month schedule in all Monday and Tuesday posts in one sitting, and so on.

These are some of the slight changes I have made to my meme and general posts to my social media, each of these small changes has given me back more time, and frankly, I find the whole
process less stressful, boring or monotonous.

Give is a go and let me know. Have you got any processes that save you time that you want to share with us?

Don’t forget I can help you with creating these, if you just find that this is something you desperately want to do, but no matter what process you have you just don’t have the time, then get in contact, I am happy to have a chat with you to see if I can I help you move forward from being stuck!

 

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Engaging Newsletters – what the heck to write about

Engaging Newsletters

E-Marketing is a big part of my job, I have a few clients that have outsourced their regular newsletters to me, purely because they can be time-consuming.  Sometimes writing the content isn’t the problem, it’s the editing, making it look nice, making sure it’s readable and not too heavy on the information.

Avoid your crowd feeling they are being spoken at

You can run the risk of sending out a newsletter too light on information, but equally, you can overload your audience, there is a fine line when it comes to content overload.

I have found that if you have one long page of content it feels like you are being spoken at, and you really do not want your crowd to think you are just blurting information at them for the sake of it, so make your page visually pleasing too, this gives the illusion of being easier to read and your crowd will take in more of what you are offering.

What can I put in my newsletter?


Links

These little gems can help you with growing your audience on your social media pages.  Linking back to high engagement posts or a previous blog post is a great way to drive traffic from your newsletter to your other platforms.

Offers

If you have any special offers, freebies or vouchers this is a great way of getting them in front of your crowd, these are easy to embed in your template, you can create amazing images for your freebie in Canva

Video

We are not just limited to images on your newsletter, you can add videos too, what a great way to get something important over to your crowd, whether it’s a new offer, new freebie, new class etc why not create a fab video shouting about it from the rooftops to your crowd.

I have some clients that send me copy and ask me to jazz it up, others send me the whole thing in our share folders and leave it with me to add in the links, images etc and off it goes.

Get in touch

If you are wanting to start communicating to you crowd via a regular newsletter but haven’t a clue where to start, then why not get in touch, I will be happy to go through some options with you to get started.

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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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