There is no such thing as work and life balance. #vatip Gotta Tweet!
Life is unpredictable and work can be unpredictable at times as well. #vatip Gotta Tweet!
There is a thing called harmony where things work together nicely. #vatip Gotta Tweet!
Hi, you’re listening to and watching The Business of Being a Virtual Assistant. I’m your host, Tiffany Parson, and today I’m answering a listener or viewer question from my virtual assistant survey that went out a couple of weeks ago asking some general questions about where you are in your virtual assistant business.
This question is an important one. I thought maybe someone else also had this question as well, so why not talk about it on the podcast. Now, I’ll tell you right away my answer is not perfect. I can’t fully relate, but I will do my best and then we’ll go from there.
Okay, here’s the question, and I am looking at my notes to make sure I say it exactly right. I’ve been getting tongue tied trying to say it all very quickly without looking at my notes.
“How do you balance work and life as a full-time employee, working mom, and aspiring entrepreneur?”
Now, I don’t know the name of the listener or viewer that sent me that question, but I want to help. The first part of the question is, “How do you balance work and life?” Well, here is the answer to that:
There is no such thing as work and life balance.
How is that possible that there is no balance? People are always talking about work/life balance, dah, dah, dah, dah, dah. Well, you can’t really put any set hours like, oh, I’m just going to work this and life is just going to be like this. Why? Because life is unpredictable. Life is up and down, up and down. It’s unpredictable. Depending on what kind of work you have, at times, it may be unpredictable as well, so the scale will never quite be balanced. Plus, we have other things going on.
Life is way more complex than just one flat thing called life. There are different things that spin off into life – our family, our spouse, our hobbies, our activities in the community. All those different things contribute to life, so there’s different things added on to life that make it way more complicated than maybe just the one thing with working full-time. There’s no balance in that. Forget about work/life balance.
But there is a thing called harmony where we get the things to all work together nicely, and at times it may not be in harmony and that’s okay. Why? Because there are things that are out of our control and may not be in perfect harmony.
Now, this lady, the lady that asked me a question, she’s wanting to know how to balance working full-time, being a working mom, and an aspiring entrepreneur. Now, one of the things that I have no answer for is how you balance aspiring to start your own business, working full-time with being a working mom. I don’t know. I’m not a mom, so I have no idea how that works and won’t even attempt to answer that question.
This is where it’s important to know that it will vary for everybody what that looks like.
For you moms out there, it’s also going to depend on how old your children are and what’s going on in their life and all that good stuff will determine that. One mom to another mom may not even be able to give a perfect answer either because it’s going to depend on your children, their age, the dynamics of the family and all that good stuff.
What I can let you know is this. Look at what’s going on in your life with the working full-time, being a working mom, and aspiring entrepreneur. As far as your business goes, be realistic about what you can do right now with what’s going on while you’re working full-time and being a mom. Be realistic in your time.
For me, I have probably way too much time on my hands, so I’ve got plenty of time to fill in doing all kinds of stuff, which makes it easy for me to overbook, overwork, or be the total flipside and be too comfortable, too relaxed, and lazy at times if I’m not monitoring all that because of all the time that I do have.
You want to look at what’s going on in your schedule right now and be realistic with yourself. If now is not a good time to start your business, be honest about that. I could easily say, “Oh, do it, you know, in your off time or while your child is asleep.” But I cannot give you that advice because I don’t know your life. You have to look at life and figure out where could I start this business?
Now, recognize this. It may require, if you’re willing, sacrifice of some sleep because if you’re getting up early, you have to be ready for work, you have to get your child ready, whatever the case may be, whatever it may look like. Your pockets of free time, you may just have an hour here or two hours there. I don’t know.
Look at your pockets of free time and be realistic about getting started with your virtual assistant business.
Now, the great part about this, if the minimum that you have is two to five hours a week of free time, meaning you could totally be focused in your computer for two to five hours uninterrupted. What does that look like? You have to know how many clients can I take if all I have two to five hours a week? This may mean that you have a lot of one-off projects to get your feet wet and decide is this the right thing? Is this the right service that I want to provide? Pick something that may not have as tight of a deadline because you know how many hours you can commit, so be very realistic about this.
If you’re someone else and you have more pockets of free time – I mean time outside of work, family, and other commitments as pockets of free time. Sometimes we have to create those pockets if you want to start a business. True entrepreneurs will figure out what those pockets are. It might be small today, but that doesn’t mean that’s how it’s going to look six months from now, a year or two years from now. That may change.
Take this time now to sort of build your foundation, figure out what I’m strong at, and take your time and not look at someone else and think like, oh, they have all this time to do this and that, or they have all these resources.
Do not compare yourself to somebody else and what they are able to do.
Only look at what you have in front of you, what you’re able to do. The minute we start looking at someone else is the minute we are failing ourselves because there is no way we can match life for life with someone else. Look at what is going on with you and really figure out what those pockets are and just be honest with yourself.
If you can do ten hours a week, you can do ten hours a week, and I’m not talking about ten hours committed to a client. I mean, ten hours committed to building your business because that will take time sending out proposals, looking through, or maybe you are doing some things on social media to get yourself out there. Whatever the marketing plans that you have for yourself right now, or maybe it’s a combination of those things.
Work within your limits and be very smart about it. If you know you’re limited, only that strict two to five hours, then you be very focused in those two to five hours and what you’re looking for as far as clients and stick to that time. Those of you with the limited schedule, it may be more beneficial for you because now you’ve got automatic office hours because of that strict schedule.
Those of you who are like myself, maybe it’s just you and your spouse. My husband and I, we don’t have any children right now. We don’t have any pets. It’s just us. [Laughs.] So I have to be really strict on setting set business hours, set times that I’m available to answer emails, set times I’m available to answer calls, different things like that. That’s why I am so strict as far as my phone, when it rings, when I answer and all the good stuff to really make sure that I have boundaries in place because it could easily get out of hand, and it did.
When I first started my business, I wasn’t married. It was just me and I had all the time in the world. I was working full-time, but I figured, you know, oh, I could sleep any other time. You know when people say, “Oh, you can sleep when you die.” Now, that’s not a good policy to have. I learned the hard way that is not a good policy to have, so it’s important to set those boundaries in place.
If you’ve got that limited schedule, it automatically puts the boundaries in place for you.
Now, if you missed out on the survey, I’m just going to give you a quick idea of what those questions were that I asked. I’ve got my computer here and I am going to reduce this. I am going to post the link in the description of this video and also in the show notes, so that you depending on whether you’re watching or listening, you can participate as well because I’d like to hear from you and know where you are.
The most important thing is knowing what your category is of service. What makes you the most money right now? So I asked that question about what your category is for your VA business. Also, what areas of interest you would like to learn.
There are three categories that I focus on that I figure almost every service falls under one of these three categories: administrative, creative, and technical. There are a million services that fall under each one, but those are the basic categories that we have for the services that we provide as virtual assistant business owners.
Then, I want to know what systems you’re currently working in with your clients. Don’t worry, if you haven’t started yet, there’s a place where you can answer, “Haven’t started.” Right now, based on those of you who have answered the survey, it’s half and half as to those who have started their business and those who have not.
The other thing I want to know is what is it that you find most challenging right now in your virtual assistant business? What is challenging you? I’ll tell you for me it’s the summer and right this very moment what is the most challenging is not having summer fever and really just wanting to play. The way I get myself focused it’s like, okay, I have to do this. So I get it done and it’s done and then I can play and have fun.
All right, and then the last question, which is question number five, and that is how I got today’s question for the podcast. “If you could ask me one question related to your virtual assistant business, what would that be?” If you could just take out – that would probably take you three quick minutes at the most to answer that survey, and again, I’ll put that in the description of this video as well as in the show notes.
I’d love to hear from you. Feel free to post any of your comments about the podcast in the comments below if you’re watching from YouTube, or over on my Facebook page if you are listening to today’s podcast. I’m getting lots of great feedback from you. You are the ones that are pushing me to continue and to share with you guys about what is going on.
I’ll give you a little secret. I record the podcast episodes on Sundays when I am the most relaxed and just thinking about the week and what it’s going to look like. I jump in here and record the podcast for you.
I spend a good bit of time in the house and I’m working on changing that. I’m having to, you know, take vitamins so I can get my vitamin D and all that good stuff. But I’m working on being outside the house more. That is one of the hazards of working from home is, especially if you start liking it, or you’re like me, you’re an introvert, start being in the house more and more. But with the summer, it’s like, oh, I want to get out. I want to play.
Anyway, I’ve done enough rambling at the end of this episode. I hope this helps you today. Don’t focus, necessarily, on trying to get work and life to balance out. It will not happen. But you can have a happy harmony between all of the things that you have going on specific to you and not anyone else.
Thanks so much for listening. You have a wonderful and a fabulous day.
Thanks so much for tuning in. If you like what you heard, stay tuned. We’ll be back. Tell me what’s going on with you. Come on over the Facebook page: facebook.com/tiffanyparsonbiz, or if you prefer a little shorter message, come on over to Twitter: @tiffanydparson.
See you next time!