New Process Implementation

As you know I have recently set up my own virtual assistant business and to begin with I spent a lot of time and energy researching best practice, thinking about my niche, target market etc.

I then read a great article on analysis paralysis and realised that although I wanted everything to be perfect, that I actually needed to take action and start implementing processes to ensure that I was ready to meet customer expectations, understand how to work with the clients and, at the end of the day, get paid for it!

So I sat down and brainstormed all of the processes that would need to be in place so I would be in a position to identify clients, perform tasks for them, ensure they were satisfied with the results and then be able to invoice in a timely manner. As someone who has worked in process management and continuous improvement for a number of years, I used business process management techniques to ensure that I reviewed the end-to-end pipeline, creating groups of activites that would need to be implemented.

I then created a project plan, listing all of the tasks I would need to do in order to put these processes in place and then identified how long each of these tasks would take. I tried to be realistic with the time each task would take, as I know that interruptions happen, but I also didn’t want to put slack into the project as I was eager to get started.

To  ensure I keep to the project plan, I’m using the techniques that I’ve already discussed in my previous blog on time management and the pomodora technique to remain focused on the task at hand.

An important part of this process is to proceduralise each of the activities to ensure that you don’t have to start from scratch each time and that if someone new comes in, or if someone is on holiday, that your business can continue to remain focused on its core activity, which, unless your company is in business process redesign, is NOT going to be process evaluation and writing procedures!

Process implementation and business process management are transferable skills which allow me, as a Virtual Assistant, to help small business owners and start up companies review their work flows and introduce processes and procedures for repetitive, routine tasks in order for them to become more productive and to improve through learning and updating their methodologies.

If you need any help in this area, please feel free to contact me via

Website:     https:www.jackysvirtualassistance.com
Email:          jacky@jackysvirtualassistance.com
Telephone: +44 (0)79 2005 6041

or connect through:

LinkedIn     https://fr.linkedin.com/in/jackysvirtualassistance
Twitter         https://twitter.com/bristolmidge
Facebook:   https://www.facebook.com/Jackysvirtualassistance/
Pinterest     https://fr.pinterest.com/virtuallyjacky/

 

Time Management

Time Management

Sometimes I get up in the morning and have a quick browse through LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter or the like and can get distracted by an interesting article, which leads me into another interesting article, or maybe “googling” to find out more about the subject or a good discussion on a topical piece of news… Suddenly its lunchtime and I haven’t done anything “productive”!!

As a self-employed Virtual Assistant in the process of setting up my business, this is not necessarily a good use of my time….. so, as much as possible I try to follow good time management hints and tips…. Which I thought I would share with you…. so that if you find yourself in the same boat, you can try these methods out for yourself and hopefully you will find them useful or interesting… if not both…

So the first thing you need to do is make a list.. Each day, I get up and I make a list of the priority tasks that I want to achieve that day. These tasks normally come from a longer list that I add to each time I think of something else I would like to know more about…. As a “high achiever” who wants to understand everything, this list is getting longer, the more I read one of those interesting blogs, or get into a discussion on one of the forums I belong to…. However, the list is becoming more of “nice to have” in my tool box, rather than those things I have to have, if I’m going to be successful!

I review the list to make sure it is achievable and the easiest way to do this, is to think about how much time each task will take and then add a little slack, as they always take slightly longer than you expected. Then I prioritise that list. I like to get “doing” tasks out the way in the morning and then spend the afternoon on those that need more thought, or some research into how they are going to be achieved….but this obviously is personal preference, and so you need to think about what makes you most productive.

I also use the pomodora technique to stay focused on the task, but also allow myself some breaks, otherwise I get so involved, I forget to step away from the desk for 5 minutes to take some time out to think about how the task is progressing. This may be useful for you, if you do find yourself at the end of the day, without having moved out of your office..

If you do find yourself getting distracted, or procrastinating because you’re finding something difficult or boring, then using the pomodora technique or the mindfulness method to bring yourself back into the present helps you keep focused on the task at hand.

P1070253And when you do finally finish each task, don’t forget to reward yourself… and if you do find yourself distracted (and who wouldn’t be distracted by this lovely puppy)… don’t punish yourself.. just take 5 minutes out and then refocus.

I hope you’ve enjoyed my ramblings on time management and that it hasn’t taken you away from what you really should be doing…. If it has, then consider using some or all of the above tips.

Being Present

Being Present

 

I don’t know about you, but like a lot of people who enjoy being busy, I have trouble keeping still and being “present” in the moment. which can then lead to feelings of anxiety and stress, trying to complete one task, whilst thinking about how and when I’m going to have time to do all those other things in my To-Do list.

So setting up as a VA, I am being really mindful that I need to ensure that I don’t get in the cycle of being busy doing things, rather than taking a step back and prioritising those things that help me reach my goals.

I love researching different topics, reading and reaching out to people through social media, but with all the data now available through so many different platforms I sometimes find myself putting off the task in hand as I delve deeper and deeper into a subject.

As a VA I need to know how much I need to know…. If that makes sense!

Image thanks to blog.strategiccoach.com

If you end up knowing everything about a subject, but the client only needed a brief overview, then you might have enjoyed gathering the information, but it’s added no additional value to the task….. and as you continue to become busier it can spiral out of control and you can find yourself becoming less productive, more stressed and less able to provide a good service for your clients.

So as a VA, you need to make sure you don’t procrastinate, but at the same time realise that if you keep doing, without taking the time to be “present” in the moment, that it could lead to stress and anxiety, which then results in lower productivity as your brain struggles to store all the different thoughts

Take a breath, focus on where you are, what you are doing and be aware. Starting at your toes, think about whether they are cold, hot, tingling, move to your ankles, legs, torso… is there any stress within your body? Bring attention to your fingers, hands, arms, to your shoulders and to your neck, breath through any tightness within your body. Each day, take 5 minutes to do this and every time you find yourself drifting, come back to your breath and continue. I promise you will start to feel much more in the present.. start feeling more relaxed and understand where you hold your tensions, so you can start to work on

Next time…. Time management techniques to help combat procrastination

 

Why use a Virtual Assistant?

Why use a Virtual Assistant?

So what is a Virtual Assistant (VA)?

Virtual Assistant (Noun); Someone who is self-employed, does a variety of tasks, usually from home, providing their own equipment and workspace. You employ them as and when you need them and usually pay either an hourly rate or a set price for a piece of work. Work is done and submitted online; all you need to do is provide a contract and payment for services rendered.

Why would you need a VA?

While the VA role evolved from secretarial and general administrative services, they now provide a variety of services such as research, scheduling and logistics, data entry, bookkeeping, social media, internet marketing, web development and programming, web SEO, and much more.

Basically anything that you don’t want to do, aren’t very good at, or you just haven’t got time for, there will be a VA out there that enjoys doing those tasks and is good at doing them. If you are at a stage where there is more work than you can effectively handle, the logical answer may be to hire a VA.

It can reduce stress. If you have certain tasks which need to be done but you don’t really enjoy doing them it can be quite stressful, but different people like different tasks, so you can probably find a who enjoys the types of work that you dislike.

You can expect VA’s to have the skills, training, competence, office space, and equipment to handle the tasks you ask them to do and you only pay only for the time you use.

There are VA’s who can create and maintain websites, create videos, podcasts, landing pages, auto responders, or draft and post articles to improve your SEO ranking. They can write newsletters for you, transcribe voice recordings from MP3 files and even help you do online market research into the area of business you are interested in. Then of course there are those who need basic secretarial services like email drafting, phone answering, data entry, and filing.

If you charge more per hour for your services than you pay your VA then you make money without having to do routine or time-consuming tasks and with the ease with which most tasks can now be completed online, away from the office, the question is why wouldn’t you need a VA?

Why I became a VA

Why I became a VA

 

I moved to France at the beginning of 2016, to a quiet village in the countryside and while I gained a more peaceful lifestyle I missed the hustle and bustle of the office. I had a think about what my core skills were and quickly realised that it was the challenge and feeling of accomplishment that I missed, but actually I loved the fact that the 9:5 now didn’t dictate my working day.

I’ve never really been able to sit still for more than a minute, so I needed something to keep me occupied and to provide me with the same sense of achievement that my previous role had given me…..

….and thats when I decided to become a VA. I could decide my own working hours (within reason) and concentrate on those tasks that I enjoy.

So why would anyone use a VA? Well, small businesses, or entrepeneurs may not need a full time PA but may not have enough time in the day for all the admin, they may not enjoy some tasks and love the fact that they can transfer them as and when they come up or when they have special projects that need some ad-hoc support.

So what are the advantages for you?

  • Can help during busy times
  • Flexible working hours
  • No physical space or equipment is required
  • Pay only for the hours that are worked

… and as a self employed VA I know I  need to continue to  provide great service, day in, day out, to establish continued work and recommendations….

So why wait any longer. Feel free to contact me to discuss