You have flexibility to change what your business looks like as time goes by. #vatip Gotta Tweet!
When you commit to clients, give yourself space between different projects. #vatip Gotta Tweet!
There is no cookie cutter way to start a #virtualassistant business. #vatip Gotta Tweet!
Hi, you’re listening to episode number 83. This is probably take number 10. Crazy weekend here. We’re snowed in and we’re not used to snow. We’re in North Carolina and it normally doesn’t snow. So we’re snowed in, and on top of that are dealing with some colds. I’m just going to come with a disclaimer for this particular episode and let you know if you hear any coughing in the background just, hey, pretend like you’re at our house [laughs]. I tried going in different rooms, but it’s just too echoey everywhere else but my normal spot where I record our podcast.
Now, the beauty of having your own virtual assistant business is that when you’re not feeling well, you can take time for yourself. You don’t have to have a doctor’s note and prove that you’re not feeling well. One of the things that I do is, let’s say if Monday morning comes and I still feel like I feel today, I’m going to look at my schedule and see what absolutely has to be done on that day, and only focus on those things and I’ll worry about the rest later.
If there isn’t anything, I’m just going to be so thankful that there isn’t any set thing that has to be done, and go with the flow for that day. Take the medicine I need to. Lie down when I need to. Really taking care of me so I can get 100% well, because normally I’m not sick. Obviously, I’m not around a whole lot of sick coworkers or anything like that. We don’t have any kids, so not dealing with any sick kids from school or daycare, so it’s rare that I’m not feeling 100%.
So I pushed, pushed, pushed on this particular episode because I want to make sure that this year gets started off on the right foot. That we don’t start off skipping episodes, right. That was the other key thing here, and also to take advantage of the opportunity and just share with you how you handle when you’re feeling under the weather as a virtual assistant business owner, especially if it’s you.
Maybe it’s you and a team, but you are like the project manager, so you pretty much kick things off. Maybe your team is waiting for you to do the emails and such and such. So it may be time to call on some of your team members to help. Maybe have them check the emails. Maybe have them respond. Maybe have them do some things that you normally take of. I don’t know what the picture looks like on your end.
Let’s say you’re brand new and you’re still on deciding. You’re trying to decide whether or not you want to start a virtual assistant business. This particular podcast is not to convince anyone to start a virtual assistant business. It’s to give you a behind the scenes look of what it’s like to own your virtual assistant business, and to tackle some things that aren’t always talked about.
One of the things is what is the contingency plan when you’re not feeling well?
This is something to think about, and it may not be you that’s not feeling well. It may be that you have to take care of somebody else that’s not feeling well. So what is your contingency plan on that. Let’s say you do look at your list and you look at everything that has to be done on a particular day when you’re not feeling well or someone else isn’t and they need you. If you find that you have a lot of things to do that are due like that day – for me, my max is three things a day. If there are more things due on that particular day, more than three, it’s too much for me, and I learned this by having just way too many things due all around the same time and it was too much.
Now, I like variety in doing different projects, but I don’t need different things due at the same time, like literally on the same day. That’s a mistake for me. When you’re not feeling well and that happens, that is big mistake because now you feel the pressure and the stress of having to get all this stuff done, and not being at your best and being able to think clearly and what all you need to do.
If this is you, you’re battling something right now, whether it’s an illness or something going on with the family, evaluate where your business is right then and there, like look at it. Is it too much or is it at just the right point that it allows you the freedom to be flexible in taking care of whatever it is that you need to take of. If it’s not, you still have to handle your obligations and commitment.
But once you’re back again 100%, it’s time to refine and maybe even let go of some things, or realize that when you commit to clients to give yourself some space between your different projects. Your clients know that you work with different people, so to expect a short turnaround, depending on what it is, may not be realistic at the time. You know, depending on what you provide your clients.
Anyway, I hope all that makes sense. Again, I’m not 100% myself, but if we were scheduled to talk today, this is what we would be talking about. How would you handle this? You know, what would be your contingency plan? We’re all snowed in and I’m not feeling good, which sucks because I’m thinking about all these different projects that I could do in the house. Got all these great ideas and no energy to get them done, so that’s always fun.
Recently, I had a question come up about how do you even know that you want to be a virtual assistant? Well, let me give you a few keys in knowing that this is right for you.
Number one, your setup will not look like anyone else’s, so let me just say that. That’s not a key. It’s just a tip. Your setup won’t look like anyone else’s. There is no cookie cutter way to start a virtual assistant business. It’s going to look different for everyone based on your personality, your current responsibilities, your family dynamics. It’s going to be based on a number of things.
When I started my business, I was single and could work, technically, around the clock. When I started full-time, I could work around the clock. When I took on my first project, I was still working full-time. So I worked full-time and then worked on my projects Thursday through Sunday and then it started spilling over into the week and eventually I called out sick a couple of times to take care of – to finalize some projects and that’s when it got overwhelming when things started bottlenecking and all this stuff started to be due at the same time, and I was sleep deprived. Something had to go, so corporate job went bye-bye, and here we are, fast-forward eight plus years ahead.
So when I started, I was single. Then, midway through, I got married and didn’t really change a whole lot as far as the business goes because I had already cut out working around the clock and all of the time on the weekend, so it worked out perfectly. But I would imagine things would be a little different if I had children, so you have to look at what your dynamics are in your household and all that good stuff. It’ll look different for everybody.
You won’t really know if this is something you can handle until you give it a try.
If you’re even listening to this podcast, it’s obviously something that you’re interested in trying. This is why I recommend starting with Upwork because you’re not committing yourself to a full virtual assistant business. You’re committing yourself to one project, and once it’s done, it’s done. But it gives you an idea, is this something I would like to do? Then, you take another one and another one, and by the time you’ve done several, you know whether or not this is something that you do want to do.
For those of you that have been doing it a while and want to go full-time, what does it look like? What does a typical day look like?
Well, it can be lonely. It can be very quiet. But at the same time, if you thrive in that type of work environment, or imagine that you would since maybe you’ve never had that opportunity, maybe you’ve always worked in the cube, but if you feel like that, yeah, I would love some solitude and just be able to focus on my work and be comfortable at home, then it’s ideal.
But if you’re more of a social butterfly, you need people around you, you enjoy the coffee talk and, you know, hanging out at your neighbor’s cube and all that good stuff, the social aspect is not there when your own your own virtual assistant business and you’re working it full-time. The social aspect could be there, but it’s probably going to be mostly online through email. Maybe you’re doing FaceTime or video chat or whatever the case may be, but people aren’t around you like in a working environment.
You may have heard the term “laptop lifestyle,” and you know, I’m really cautious in regards to saying “laptop lifestyle” because do you really want to be glued to your computer all the time? No, nobody does, so you have to think about that as well. When you pile on so many clients, so many projects, so many things all at once, you end up being connected to your computer all the time, or maybe connected to your phone all the time depending on what the service is that you provide. For some, that may be perfect. You may love that. For others, it may not work, or it may work for a season. Like if you start out when you’re single, but then things change. You get married and you have a child, then you have to evaluate and change what things look like.
The way you start your virtual assistant business doesn’t have to be the way it is always and forever. Because it’s yours, you have flexibility in changing what it looks like as time goes by.
Maybe you start out scheduling social media content. But you decide down the road I’m tired of scheduling social media content. I want to do something else. So you switch and you do something else. You have the ability and freedom to do that, to decide how you want it to look. Don’t be afraid to jump in. Jump in with both feet. That doesn’t mean quit your job right away. But both feet means go out there, let people know this is what you provide, and go find the people that are looking for it.
You know I point directly to Upwork. Why? Because people are there looking for someone just like you. Recently, I heard a coach tell her business clients, you know, they’re in a coaching program, Upwork is the place to go to find you a quality virtual assistant. Knowing that is the case, you should be on Upwork.
Anyway, I’ve probably talked about a mix of things today. Like I told you at the beginning, I am not 100% today, but I wanted to talk to you. I didn’t want to miss our week together. I look forward to the time to get to share with you, and if I don’t record, the conversation ends up playing over and over in my head until I can finally get to record it.
Now, what I would like for you to do is ask me questions. What’s going on that you’re dealing with right now, you’ve got a question with? Now, I’ll tell you, some questions I get, I may not be able to dive deep into it because it may be considered more like a mentoring type question. But simple questions, let me know. You know where to find me.
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!