Welcome to April. 

It means you’ve made it through the first three months of the year. It also means it’s time to review your first quarter. 

How has it gone for you? 

As an Assistant, you are not just providing administrative support to your clients. You are running a business. 

You wear many different hats and are usually juggling a number of different roles. 

Every quarter you want to make time to review how you’re doing. You could assess performance, role by role. You could use the following as an example. 

How was your first quaterFor each role, give yourself a score out of 10. 

CEO – First Quarter Review 

You are the boss of your business. 

Responsible for the vision, the mission and the strategy for growth. 

How would you rate yourself out of 10 for the quarter since 1st January? Consider these areas before you settle on a score. 

Did you follow your strategy? Did you have a strategy? 

Do you have a clear vision for the year? 

Have you worked and operated in line with your core values and principles? If not, what caused the misalignment? Have you set out your core values? 

How did you and your business perform overall between January and March? Was it as expected? Better? Worse? 

Director of Marketing – First Quarter Review 

What activity did you do to promote your services? 

If you used any offline marketing, how did that go? How did you feel about your social media and other online marketing efforts? 

Were you doing something every week? Was your messaging consistent? What kind of engagement have you been getting? 

How many enquiries have you had? How many new sign ups to your newsletter or mailing list? 

Time to give yourself a score out of 10. 

Director of Sales – First Quarter Review 

How was your marketing activity converted into sales? 

Did you bring in new clients? Did you retain the services of existing clients? 

Without sales, there is no business. 

How would you rate your first quarter of 2021? 

Director of Customer Service – First Quarter Review 

Generating leads and enquiries. Turning those into sales. That is what many businesses focus on.  

But it doesn’t end there.  

You also have to deliver for your clients and customers. 

How well did you serve them? Did you use an onboarding process? Did you meet deadlines? Did you offer good guidance or advice? Did you get great feedback? 

Head of Creativity and Problem Solving 

As an Assistant, you may find you are often having to show initiative, suggest ideas and come up with solutions to problems. 

How creative were you in this past quarter? How strong were your problem-solving skills? 

If your score was less than you’d like (because you did not know how an application in Microsoft Office or 365 could tackle a task or overcome a challenge) it may be time to brush up on your skills

How did you do? 

Director of Finance – First Quarter Review 

In business, money talks. 

You want to be able to maximise your income and keep your expenditure low. That’s the route to greater profits and more freedom for you. 

So, how were the finances in the first quarter? 

Were the three months good, bad, indifferent or very good? Did you make more than expected? Were you reliant on one or two regular clients? Did you make a good return for each hour that you worked? 

How does the cash flow look now?  

Give yourself a number for the financials. 

Director of HR – First Quarter Review 

If you work on your own, congratulations! 

You made ‘Employee of the Month’ three months in a row (again). 

Joking aside, how did you treat yourself during the past quarter? Give a thought to: 

  • Health and Safety
  • Personal health and wellbeing 
  • Working hours 
  • Processes 
  • Policies 
  • Equality 
  • Recruitment and Retention 

If you felt stressed doing some tasks (because you were unsure how to do them or knew it would take much longer than it should) it is worth giving thought to upgrading your skills to make everything more relaxed next time. 

Are you, yourself, using an Assistant? If so, how has that gone for you both? 

Plenty to think about. On reflection, what’s the score on the door? 

Head of IT – First Quarter Review 

A superhero assistant needs to have the right tools for the trade. 

Was your computer up to the task – and is it looking solid for the year ahead? Did you have the software, tools or applications you needed to make each job a cinch? 

If not, it suggests some of that income you’re getting needs to be set aside to invest in some better, time-saving technology. And if you need to get to grips with the likes of Microsoft Office apps or the rising star that is Microsoft Teams, there are plenty of online courses to help you with that. My complete box set of training, for example, is called The Hub

Head of Learning and Development – First Quarter Review 

The world is changing – and changing fast. 

That’s probably a cliché now but it feels true, doesn’t’ it? Events around the globe have had a massive impact on the economy, high street retailers, the hospitality sector and the take-up of technology. 

You only have to look at the growth in remote or hybrid working – and the use of Zoom and Microsoft Teams – to understand how rapidly things can move.  

Are you up to date with your skills and training? If not, it’s a good time to explore online courses that can boost your productivity and business power. 

What’s your L&D score for your first quarter? 

Director of Fun and Freedom – First Quarter Review 

This may not be a formal role (it might even fall under the wings of HR) but it is something every business owner and self-employed Assistant should consider. 

The whole point of going out on your own is to have something that is more meaningful, fulfilling and rewarding than being in a job.  

There should be some fun in the mix. And you are probably hoping your business, however busy at times, will also lead to more freedom in how you live your life. 

Dare to give yourself a score on that front? 

Review and Plan 

Now you’ve carried out your review of the first quarter you’ll have a clearer picture of how things are going. 

If you are scoring 9s and 10s across the board, you have everything under control. Ratings of 7 or 8 mean you’re doing many things well and also have some areas for improvement. Six or less in any category and there’s a gap that requires closing. 

See what needs to change and then make a plan for making it happen. You can see how that plan goes in quarter two and beyond. 

Step by step you will improve your business and your business opportunities. 

It’s what superhero assistants do. 

Fantastic and informative training and great to see all of the exciting functions with Microsoft Teams.
Laura Rigby – The Apprenticeship College
Shelley was really clear in her teaching and went at a pace that was helpful to us. We covered all we needed to know to get us started, as a small team, using MS Teams. She was also very helpful in the run up to the session, with check in calls and ensuring our platform was set up correctly. I would highly recommend Shelley to anyone wanting to learn to navigate their way around MS Teams.
Leigh Dowling – Innuous

Microsoft Teams One to One Training Session

Shelley was approachable, easy to work with, and agile with answering questions to apply the session to my specific needs

Melissa Marshall – Present Your Science

A course on Outlook had been on the top of my list when Shelley asked VA’s what they wanted to learn.

It was a real case of ‘so that’s how you do it’ or ‘I never knew that’. I have to say that I learnt so many great tips it has definitely improved the way I work in Outlook and my inbox is looking colourful and organised and I can’t wait to share this knowledge with my clients.

Jacqueline Leake – JLeake VA Services – Outlook

A great course with lots of examples and step by step instructions. I can now confidently create infographics and as a bonus, I learnt a lot of new PowerPoint functionality that will enhance all my PowerPoint work and save me so much time.

Jessica Bailey – Integral Resource

I really like Shelley’s courses. She has a clear and easy to follow teaching style. In ‘How to Create Fillable Forms’ I’ve learned about the functions of the Developer ribbon which will mean I’ll be able to create a bespoke Returns Form for a client who has an online shop

Freya Henderson – Virtual Office Orkney

Shelley was really clear in her teaching and went at a pace that was helpful to us. We covered all we needed to know to get us started, as a small team, using MS Teams. She was also very helpful in the run up to the session, with check in calls and ensuring our platform was set up correctly. I would highly recommend Shelley to anyone wanting to learn to navigate their way around MS Teams.

Sarah Clements – Inuous

Absolutely superb course, easy to follow and to refer back whilst putting it all into practice! I was unaware of the extent you can customise a presentation and it’s just made me want to know more – what’s next Shelley?

Denise Williams

I thought I had a pretty good grasp of Outlook until I did this course! In her videos, Shelley is clear and concise, and the language she uses is straightforward and jargon-free. Each module is broken down into manageable chunks, which helps keep your attention and means the course is easy to fit in around other commitments. I’ve created email templates and implemented rules that are already saving me time, and as all the other things I’ve learnt start to become second nature, the positive impact on my efficiency is fast becoming clear. This course has been incredibly beneficial and I would highly recommend it to anyone looking to strengthen their skills and boost productivity.

Pip Doleman VA

I thought I knew Powerpoint really well, but I wanted to specifically learn how to use Powerpoint to create better infographics, easily and quickly. Shelley explains everything in a very logical and clear way, so I understood everything the first time I heard it. The most useful thing I learnt was that Powerpoint can do so much more than I thought it could. By also using the short cuts that Shelley showed me I am much quicker than I have ever been and I thought I was already quick!

Susan Marot

Shelley Fishel of Tomorrow’s VA has a wealth of experience in Microsoft Office. I met her in person 2 years ago at the PA Show in London. I also saw her in action in a fab workshop and knew she was the whizz that everyone had told me she was. I have since bought a lifetime access to her HUB and all the courses in there are a MUST if you are a VA on a mission. The courses will give you confidence in all the Office 365 components and will catapult you to dizzy heights

Alex Hughes