It’s been a busy summer – so many adventures, lots of fun and most importantly spending time with the people that you love, away from the pressures of daily life. Not rushing around constantly has been wonderful and I’ve taken a lot away from that alone. I am going to try and be mindful of creating that time and space on a regular basis, but that’s a whole other blog in itself, so I’ll leave that for another day!
Being away a lot of the holidays has meant that I met lots of new people, or people I hadn’t seen in a while. Inevitably talk turns to work and you discuss what you do. When I say I run my own Virtual Assistant business people tend to fall into two camps. Those that have a rather puzzled look on their face and have no idea what it is and others that say ‘I’ve heard that’s the new thing now, tell me more!’ I actually don’t mind either response, it is a fairly new ‘thing’ and I’m proud to be part of an industry that is new and certainly one which is growing hugely, and in my opinion will become the norm in a few years.
The biggest question following the puzzled face is then ‘so what do you actually do then?’ so I thought a ‘Day in the Life’ blog might be interesting for those of you that would like to know more about what a Virtual Assistant does! Obviously everyone runs their business slightly differently according to family, time, interests etc but this is what my life looks like – the good and the bad!
On a week day I drop my trio at school and head straight to the gym. That’s non-negotiable ‘me time’ that I carve out everyday. I’m home by 9am ish, I go upstairs to my office and power up the PC to start the day. I go through my emails first which will be a mix from all of my clients. I’ll assess priorities and add any actions onto my task list for the day (which I always create the previous day) I also have a basic weekly structure that I add to, which I put together every Sunday which encompasses work and family tasks.
Because I work for a variety of clients it’s important I block my time and don’t jump from task to task. I also track my time by the minute as clients only pay for the time that I spend doing their work – it’s a great discipline as it makes you very productive when you are accountable for every minute!
Works starts for Client A. I primarily do social media scheduling for this client which encompasses creating posts, thinking of themes, sourcing information, links, graphics and adding it to the scheduler. This can be quite a time consuming task which is one of the reasons it’s much better to do it in batches. I am also working on their overall social media strategy which involves working with another freelancer to create an animation. It’s a really creative project which I love and I get to collaborate with others a great deal in my role which is another fantastic thing about my role. I’m always growing and learning as I work with so many other people! Once that’s done, timer is stopped and I move onto the next piece of work.
Client B – I do a wide variety of work for this client which means it’s a very varied and interesting role. Lots of it falls under a ‘PA’ hat so I book appointments, schedule meetings and organise lots! I will always choose to call and arrange a meeting rather than email as it is quicker but also you develop a much better rapport with people and gain their trust which is key for you and your client. There are lots of projects on the go so I’ll spend time on these, creating information for social media, document generation, chasing people, creation of newsletters. We work together on a project management app which means we are both aware of what the other has done, which saves lots of emails to and fro which can get annoying and overwhelming for the client.
I might then move onto some work for my own business. Everyone that runs their own business knows that you have to wear many hats which is what makes it fun and stressful at the same time! I’ll post across my own channels and then go onto LinkedIn, FB and Twitter commenting and share posts. It’s important I keep up to date with what my local network are doing so I can see opportunities for both myself and my clients. You do have to be careful you don’t get sucked down the social media black hole though which is why I keep it to 30 mins. I combine this with lunch too which while I know probably isn’t the best habit, it’s a good multi-tasker!
I’ll go back onto my emails and see what’s come in whilst I’m working. I try not to be distracted by my inbox while I’m working and all notifications for everything are turned off!
Client C – I don’t work on a daily basis for this client, it tends to be more project based work as and when needed. They are research based so I gather all information necessary, put it into a document and then make my suggestions and recommendations. I hope this is something which my clients value and makes me stand out. I am not an automated robot which completes tasks, I actually analyse the data I have found and put that into practise/advice in the real world. I am generally a potential client of theirs so I think it’s good to see how your customers might view something.
I also batch phone calls. I like to speak to my clients as and when necessary so it’s not a time steal for them. Some it’s every day, some it’s less frequently. We use these conversations to discuss ideas and they use me as a sounding board. Being a small business owner is hard as because you don’t have anyone to bounce ideas off. I work with all of my clients in partnership – I like to generate ideas and suggestions for them and really let my creativity go. We have honest relationships and can say when we don’t think something will work – I’m not offended, lots of the time it’s personal preference.
Towards the end of the day, I’ll wrap up my emails and deal with any loose ends. I remind clients of any deadlines, priorities we need to meet and agree any new tasks/projects. I’ll update project management boards and make my task list for the following day.
I pick the children up from school and start the homework/dinner/bedtime routine which generally brings a lot of challenges! I do sometimes work evenings if I have big projects on or if I have been at a school event and haven’t worked for some of the day. I do try to avoid this though as I’m not as productive and I also think the boundaries between home and work life can become blurred. That doesn’t make my family happy, or me really, so I try and avoid it.
Every day is different (I haven’t even touched on clients D, E and F!) but I hope this gives you an insight into what a VA does! Essentially tasks a small business owner does, I can do for you but more than that, I’m part of your team, one that saves you time, keeps your organised and is very cost effective!
Let me know if you have any questions or comments.