You should allot a certain portion of your day to email and to regular mail. For example, allot one hour in the morning and one hour in the afternoon to handling all your written communications. Unless you dedicate specific time slots to the handling of email and post, you will soon find yourself on the downward slope of decreased productivity as you constantly check and respond to email to put off whatever you should be doing.
In a nutshell, the success of your VA business is entirely and completely reliant upon you and the decisions that you make. Success is within your reach, if only you can stay focused on your goals. You must decide to reach for your goals, and then, you must have the discipline necessary to reach them.
Don’t permit your friends and extended family to put on you. Many people are under the misapprehension that if someone works from home then they are not actually working. They may believe that you are fair game for a social call during the day or that you may be able to run errands that would otherwise mean them taking time off work.
It’s really important to set the ground rules early and then stand firm. You must make certain your friends and family understand that when you are working, then you ARE working and that when your time is interrupted, you will not be earning. You are the only one who can stand up for you. Your friends and family will seldom be able to appreciate your dedication to your business, unless you make the effort to make sure that they have the same respect for your business that you do.
When you are dealing with family in the course of your workday, it is important to schedule your activities as much as possible. With small children, you must take time when you need to, but you should also work hard to make sure you dedicate a specific number of hours to your workday.
With older children, it is much easier to tell them that you will be working between the hours of x and y. Then your children, and even your friends, must understand that certain hours of your day are devoted to the activities of your business.
Remember that owning your own business is not the same as being employed in a job. Some people go to work and coast along, playing games or enjoying online social networking (Facebook and the like), some socialise over the kettle or printer, and others, most often those who are paid in a commission or tip environment, go to work to work to make money.
When you work for yourself, what you make in terms of income is directly proportional to your productivity. Therefore, wouldn’t it make sense to stay focused on getting as much done in as short of a period as possible? Go to work to work and to make money. Leave socialising for when your workday has ended.
Write regular press releases and send them to publications aimed at your target market. Even if your particular story is not run, you will be seen as the expert in your field and may be approached later.
Syndicate your articles online to article directories to attract new visitors to your web site and Ezine subscriber list.
Write articles useful to your target market then add them to your web site. You can also include them in your ezines. This showcases you as the expert in that particular field.
Give your website a revamp. Is all the information up to date? Does it show a good photograph of you? This is your virtual shop window and the first impression most potential clients will see.
Build your newsletter or Ezine subscriber list, put a sign up box on your web site, include a link to your sign up page in your Twitter updates, Facebook posts, blog posts, etc.
Set up a newsletter or Ezine to keep in touch with both clients, prospects and visitors to your website. Start by sending out simple tips that are useful to your target market.
Send your existing clients a questionnaire. Ask them what they like about your service and what they would like to see added. If they are happy clients, ask them for referrals to other potential clients.
Join at least one online networking site, which can be a strictly business site like LinkedIn or more social site (but often equally effective) such as Facebook and Twitter. Don’t forget as a ‘virtual’ worker you can work with anyone, anywhere!
Savvy entrepreneur, 24, claims she makes £10,000 a MONTH working 30 hours a week from home as a virtual assistant – and reveals how YOU can do it too
- EXCLUSIVE: Jemma Broadstock, of Derbyshire, started business in March 2019
- Was fully booked in six months and says clients are increasing during lockdown
- Jemma, 24, has paid off £4,000 debt and is saving to buy a house with money.
To read the full article in the Daily Mail click here.
Our latest time saving tip is a simple one – Limit the amount of time you spend checking email and switch off email alerts. If you are constantly checking your inbox or are responding immediately to email alerts you could be wasting hours every week, not to mention finding it very difficult to concentrate. Limit email checking to 3 to 4 times a day and stick to it. Your email will still be answered within a reasonable time but you will be able to concentrate on more involved projects without constant distractions or interruptions.
Alternatively, let your virtual assistant handle and filter your email for you. They can pick up your email on your behalf, filter out the junk and spam, answer requests for information as you instruct and only forward on to you the handful of messages you actually need to deal with yourself. How many hours would that free up each week to work on the more important things?
To find a virtual assistant to help you in your business, browse the Virtual Assistant Directory at the UK Association of Virtual Assistants.
Although one of the joys of working from home in your own business is that you can work whenever you choose, unless you set specific work times, one of two things will happen. You’ll either spend all day dipping in and out of work and end up achieving very little, or, you’ll find yourself working all the time.
Set specific hours of work and concentrate on work only during that time. Make sure your family and friends know you’re working during those times so that you are not disturbed. Also make sure that your clients know your hours of work so that they contact you when appropriate. If you have different working hours to the standard 9-5 that’s fine, just make sure your clients are aware so you are not constantly interrupted outside of your work time, or they are frustrated if they can’t get hold of you.
Consider an all in one printer, scanner and copier as it saves space. You can also get one with an integral fax machine, although you can also use an online fax services from your 0844 number provider or Efax if required.
You will also need a shredder for confidential documents and you may need a transcription pedal if you offer the service and are asked for it and potentially a binder, laminator and guillotine again only if you need them for a specific job or your own use for marketing materials.