How do I manage the School holidays and my Virtual Assistant business?
So it’s that time of year again here in the UK. The school summer holidays are upon us. For those of us with children and running a business from home this can be a challenging time of year.
The balance of home life and running a small business can require some careful plate spinning. So here are our top five tips for ensuring those plates don’t get dropped:
This is key, ensure you’ve planned ahead. Nothing will get your stress levels rising like unexpected workloads. Set realistic times that you will be able to dedicate to your business. If your child(ren) are late sleepers make a plan to work those early hours. If your child(ren) are of an age that prefer to be up before the birds then maybe you need to plan some time in the evening.
The key to any successful working relationship. Be honest with your clients, in the corporate world it’s called ’setting stakeholder expectations’. Make sure your client is aware from the outset of your plans around school holidays. If you offer a reduced service or will be outsourcing, make sure that conversation has happened early.
This is key to making the most of the reduced hours you are going to have at this time. Trello is a great tool for this, create a summer holidays board, within it create six lists: Client Tasks, Business Tasks, High, Medium, Low, Done. Start in the Client & Business Tasks add all the tasks you can think of that relate to what you need/want to get done for both your clients and your own business. Now take the time to rank them into High, Medium and Low priorities. This will help keep you focused and go some way to avoiding procrastination. In the limited hours that you have, take on tasks that are in the High category and move them to Done as you complete them, if you are being super efficient then move on to the Medium priorities and so on.
There are so many great tool these days that can help increase our efficiencies. Tools such as Buffer and Hootsuite can be set up to populate your social profiles, in times when you aren’t available to do this personally. Services such as Zapier and IFTTT are a fantastic way to reduce your time spent on repetitive tasks, such as populating your CRM or updating a Google Calendar.
Finally the big one. Practice what we preach. Outsource to other Virtual Assistants, this is the perfect opportunity to venture out into the world of Associates. Don’t jump in feet first, I often relate the early stages of hiring an associate to the early stages of courting. Take it slowly, ensure you are a good match for each other, communicate well, and build the trust. Start by outsourcing small tasks and in time as the trust builds you can pass on more of your workload.
You also need to ensure you take a break. Time to recoup, relax and re-energise yourself will not only benefit you but your business and family too. Take advantage of the Virtual Assistant networks that are out there at this time. Communicate with other Virtual Assistants during the school holidays because you’re not alone in this.