In the northern hemisphere, we are fast approaching Spring. The days are light for longer and usually feel warmer and brighter. Spring is typically a time of the year when people experience a change in mood and outlook.
They can see the light and feel more of the sun on their face. They can feel winter has receded, and observe animals and nature creating new life. They can sense that a new season is underway. It’s no different in the business world. There always seems to be an uplift in energy and activity around this time.
That is good news for the smarter-working VA who is ready to be more organised and spring into action.
Do you have everything in place?
Here are some things you can do to approach Spring with more confidence and calm.
Clear the Clutter
When it’s Spring you always hear the words spring clean. And it’s a good starting point for getting organised and ready to serve clients, current and new. Take a look at your home and office. What needs a tidy? What are you storing or keeping that you no longer need? Clearing the clutter is said to be a therapeutic process. It’s also a way to make a little bit of extra money, from selling your unwanted things, or to support a local charity by donating items. There is something freeing, liberating and re-energising about a good old-fashioned clear out. It also creates a stronger feeling of space for you.
Create Your Best Workspace
To do your best work, you want to be organised and comfortable – especially if you spend a lot of time at your computer screen. If you’ve been using your kitchen or dining room table as your ‘workstation’, is it time to consider getting a small desk or a more comfortable chair? If you’re in a study or spare room, is it time to invest in a better desk, a standing desk, or a more ergonomically designed chair, mouse or keyboard? If your working area tends to be a little bit on the dark side, could a new lamp (with lighting close to natural daylight) help ease that eyestrain?
And if investment now is not possible, at least review your workspace and make a plan for how you would like it to be in the next 3, 6 or 12 months.
As a VA, your time is precious. Being efficient and productive is the key to not only serving clients well but also making a go of this as a business. A diary, calendar and notebook can help you be organised with your every week. But maybe it’s time to look at what online tools, apps and platforms can do for you. There is quite a range from which to choose, so work out what you want the technology to do before investing. Do you need a timer to clock how long you spend on specific tasks – and allocate that to specific clients or projects?
Do you need something simple to keep track of your tasks or ‘to-do list’? Or do you require a more powerful project management tool to help you juggle all the different pieces of the puzzle?
Contracts and Paperwork
It is an easy thing to forget that when you are serving as a VA, you are also running a business. That’s true whether you’re freelance, self-employed or don’t yet have a formal company set up. As a VA, you’ll still need to be able to send proposals, have contract agreements, and something that sets out your terms and conditions of business. You may find it useful to make use of companies – like the one I recommend, KoffeeKlatch – who provide all kinds of policy and legal document templates. Just adapt them to your specific requirements.
Document Templates and Brand Styles
If you are working with different clients, they will have different ways of doing things and unique brands. This is where Microsoft Office comes into its own. It allows you to produce template documents and create Brand Style sets in Word.
It will save you so much time if you have these already set up, for whenever the client calls.
Practical Microsoft Office and 365 ‘Know How’
Spring is also a great time to review the gaps in your practical skills using Microsoft Office and 365 – and do something about it. Why waste valuable time searching how to do a task – and how do it in the most efficient way – every time you’re given some work? When you know how to do it, you’ll know for good. This means you can focus on doing a better job for your client. The more you impress them, the more likely they’ll keep you and keep sending projects your way. And the more productive you are, the more new clients you can take on (and the more you can charge).
❓ Do you need to work on your Word?
❓ Would you like Excel tasks to be easier?
❓ Could you do with polishing up your PowerPoint
❓ Have you cottoned on yet to the fact you WILL almost certainly need to know how to work with Microsoft Teams?
If you’re finding yourself saying ‘Yes’ to quite a few of the questions above, you might want to consider Tomorrow’s VA Hub. It’s my complete box set of online courses and represents the best savings.
No more wasted hours searching endless YouTube videos to find what you want. You can have it all in one place, access it from wherever you are in the world, 24-7.
The Hub, which has been dubbed ‘The Full Monty’, saves you money on buying the courses separately – and every new course I create gets added to your collection for free. So, the value increases even more over time.
Get that Website and Marketing organised
Spring is also a good time to review how you are working and promoting yourself.
❓ Do you have a plan for finding new clients?
❓ Do you have your marketing in place?
❓ Which social media channels (if any) are you going to use – and how will you use them?
❓ Is your website up to date? Does it successfully reflect and represent you and your VA brand?
❓ Are you reviewing, adjusting and adapting your marketing activity?
Spring into WOW!
Business is not just about sales and marketing. It’s also about customer service.
❓ How could you deliver more ‘Wow!’ to your clients?
❓ How could you improve your communications with them?
❓ How could you add more value to them?
❓ What could you do to have them singing your praises to everyone they meet or chat to?
❓ How can you turn a 7 into an 8, an 8 into a 9 or even take a 9 to a 10/10?
Get that Spring thinking cap on.
It’s All Down to You
These are just some of the things you could be looking at for your business as Spring approaches. There will be other things you think of – around processes, systems, onboarding and follow-up, for example – so simply choose what’s right for you. This is your moment.
Other businesses and assistants are probably going to be thinking the same thing. It’s time to spring into action.
Get reflecting. Get reviewing. Get going.
Get organised. Get systemised. Get automated.
Get your space. Get your light. Get comfy.
It could be your busiest year yet ahead. It’s time to be ready for when it all happens.