As a Virtual Assistant, you need to set your own schedule.
One of the most important skills you will need as a virtual assistant is time management. For some virtual assistants, work can become overwhelming as they struggle with their many responsibilities.
Some assistants will work from twelve to fourteen hour days in order to get everything done. Many take on too many clients when in the early stages of building their business. Sometimes this is to compensate for not charging enough for you for their services. It’s important to manage your time so that you accomplish your goals and meet your client’s deadlines, while still providing quality work.
Becoming a virtual assistant as a profession requires organization. This doesn’t just mean organization for your clients it also means organizing your needs and wants. However, being in business for yourself means you have some control over how you will schedule your time. You need to create a schedule that balances your home and work responsibilities, and be sure you are happy with the work load you are carrying.
One of the greatest challenges for the Virtual Assistant professional is managing several clients at one time.
Each client will consider you his/her assistant and want your time and attention. You need to decide how you will manage your workload. As your business grows, you will need to have systems in place and clear understandings between you and your clients about your work schedule, the best time to reach you and how you will meet their deadlines.
Determine Your Schedule
- The first thing you want to decide is how much time you need to devote to your business. Can you afford to work part-time or do you need a full-time income? Are you married with children and home responsibilities or single? You also need to decide if you want to be a virtual assistant as your main source of income or simply to supplement your income while you have a full-time job. It is possible to start a virtual assistant business while you keeping a full-time job, however this will require some careful time management.
- Once you have determined how you will schedule your workday, make sure you communicate this clearly to your clients so that there are no unrealistic expectations of your time. Your clients should know when and how the best way to reach you is, and when they can expect their projects completed. This will also prevent unnecessary interruptions from one client while you are working on something for another. You also don’t want to be fielding business calls during your family dinner!
- If you are a working mom, make sure your kids know what time of day you will be working and have a plan for how they will occupy their time while you are busy. Older kids can take care of themselves, while very young children may have to be supervised by a relative or hired help.
Careful time-management is one of the keys to running a successful home based virtual assistant business. By staying organized and managing your time, you will take care of yourself while you keep your clients happy.
Time management is about getting results, not about being busy.
When things are overwhelming it may seem like you are in a hole and can’t dig yourself out; however, with careful time-management, you can run a successful home based business and have a life too!
Here are some tips on time management to help you stay on track when things get hectic:
- Never trust your memory! Keep a “to do” list – either on paper or electronically. Today there are many programs that can help you schedule daily tasks and even set up reminders.
- Take a look at your goals: both immediate and long-term personal and business goals. Make sure your daily tasks are inline with your goals.
- Don’t be afraid to take breaks. Time management means scheduling rest times as well. Computer work can be tedious and hard on the body and eyes. Remember too that each of us has natural cycles where we are most productive and when our bodies slow down. Get in touch with your cycles and schedule your work to take advantage of your peak productivity times.
- Learn to say “NO”. Don’t fall into the trap of trying to be everything to everyone. We all have our limits and there are only so many hours in a day.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Rally the support of your family and don’t be afraid to outsource tasks you cannot do. You can join forces with other virtual assistants when necessary and you may also need to outsource tasks you do not have time to do. Perhaps some help with house cleaning and daycare is necessary.
It’s not easy to run any business and a home based business comes with plenty of challenges; however, it is possible to run a successful business and have time for yourself too.
With some careful scheduling of your workday and time management techniques, you can keep your business and your life running smoothly.