How Time Blocking Saved My Life

It’s no secret that 2016 was a big crap storm for me! I wrote about it here, cried to my therapist a.k.a assistant, and close friends, I even posted some of it on social media. The more I talked to people, the more I heard that 2016 was rough for a lot of people. By December 31, I had read more articles, memes, and emails from others saying the same thing!

They wanted to pour some gasoline, light a match and torch the dumpster that was 2016.

Here we are, nearly 6 months past the black hole that was our lives and guess what!! Life doesn’t always get easier! Sure there are peaks along the way, but regardless of the year, shit is going to happen. I’m not a negative nelly! I acknowledge when good things happen, but come on, Pollyanna! Not every day is sunshine and rainbows!

I have experienced highs and lows over the past few months. One thing I’ve come to learn is that life, as much as we want it to, is not predictable. As much as I want to control the actions of others and the outcome of situations, I am not that powerful! (Though I like to think I am!) Instead, I found that time blocking saved my life!

Here’s the deal!

We cannot, nor will ever be able to, control the actions of others. However, we can control our own actions.

Through an insane few months of travel, personal situations and life in general, there is one thing that has kept me from losing my freaking mind. Are you ready for it? It’s probably going to blow your mind! Maybe not blow your mind, so much as make you wonder why you didn’t think of it, too!

It’s called block and tackle. A term I learned from my business coach Todd Herman. In every meeting, training or call I’ve been on, he reminds me that our brains were not made to context switch.

Let’s be real for a minute. How many times have we prided ourselves on our ability to multi-task? Try every conversation you have, trying to impress someone! Something that Todd taught me is that I need to be intentional with my time. That’s where block and tackle comes into play.

If our brains were truly made to multi-task, then we’d have completed every project we start. But how many times have you started a project, only to get distracted and add it to the pile of half-finished projects? My guess is quite often.

So what does block and tackle have to do with difficult days? Simple. If something is on my calendar, I treat it as an appointment. Everything from showering to returning phone calls to reviewing my work for the day. I don’t skip it. I have made a commitment and I need to honor it.

Everything I do in my day is scheduled. I even schedule interruptions. How so? I block time in my calendar to return the unexpected phone call or put out an urgent fire. Want to hear something completely scandalous? I even turn off my notifications! *gasp* In order to succeed, I must, must, must schedule my interruptions. If that means turning off slack, so I can write an email sequence, then so be it.
Benjamin Franklin said, “Failing to plan is planning to fail”. I know that things are going to come up, so I plan for them.

Am I able to put out fires while I’m in the shower getting ready for my day? I’m gonna say a hard no on that one! Instead, I know that at a specific time in my day, I will address all of the unexpected things that will come across my desk.

Gone are the anxiety filled days, wondering when I would get to finish x, y, and z. I have a plan and during the hard days, I know that I have to keep the appointments I’ve made with myself. I close my computer at the end of the day feeling proud of myself.

I have a sense of pride knowing that I accomplished what I set out to do. Had it not been for the brilliant mind of Todd Herman, pushing me to capture this mindset, I’d still be spinning my wheels!

Do you want to plan your day using the block and tackle method? I created a sample block and tackle calendar for you. Use this free PDF as a guideline to structure your day.

While this won’t stop the difficult days, it will help you manage life through them.

Click to Download Sample  Block & Tackle Calendar

30 Things I’m Thankful For

Chances are, your Facebook feed has been flooded with the annual “Thankful Posts”. I’ve participated in years past. It was fun to sit down each day and write something I was thankful for. Though I didn’t write thankful posts each day on Facebook this year, I thought I’d take time to write 30 things I’m thankful for.

Thankfulness looks different for each of us.

Regardless of how different our lists may look, it’s important to keep thankfulness at the forefront of our minds. Now and all year long.

30-things

1. My Husband

Ya’ll! (I’ve been in the south for a while, so it’s now a permanent part of my vocabulary!) I have the most patient husband in the world. He takes care of me, believes in me and loves me. He has stood by my side for the past 15 years and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

2. My Kids

Never in a million years could I have imagined loving 4 human beings as much as I do. My girls are my heart!

3. Adoption

I never understood how beautiful adoption was until I experienced it for myself. They are ours and we are theirs. Forever!

4. Jesus                                                         screen-shot-2016-11-22-at-4-30-38-pm

I couldn’t get through a day without Him. I may cuss a little, but I know He loves me despite my downfalls.

5. Religious freedom

I love that we live in a country that allows us religious freedom. While we may not agree, we can agree to disagree.

6. My Clients

This may sound cliche’, but I mean this with the truest sincerity. I’m amazed by the clients I have the opportunity to serve.

7. Priority VAs

Over the past few years, I’ve had the privilege of growing my team to 50+ VAs. Each VA brings a special skill set to the table and work hard to reflect PVA in a positive light.

8. My core teamimg_7920

I don’t want to brag, but my team is better than yours! Okay, so maybe that was bragging!! All joking aside, the team that I’ve surrounded myself with are top players. I know they have my back and want the best for my business.

9. Modern medicine

Without the benefits of modern medicine, I’d be a hot mess! ‘Nuff said!

10. My home

Often times, I take this for granted. On my way to bed and as I turn off the last light in my home, I’m thankful for the love that these 4 walls hold.

11. The beach                    screen-shot-2016-11-22-at-4-36-35-pm

Life doesn’t get better than when I’m on the beach. Salty air, crashing waves and sand between my toes. I can’t get enough!

12. Business

I love being a business owner! To watch something that started as a dream blossom into a thriving business that is much bigger than I could have imagined brings on the ugly cry!

13. Books

I recently set a goal for myself to read more. I love the power of words. How they inspire me, teach me and spur me on to greatness.

14. Technology

With the help of technology, I’ve built a business, worked with some of the best business minds in the world and met some of my closest friends and confidants. Thanks, tech!

15. Sunshine

Nothing can bring a mood up better than some good old fashioned Vitamin D!

16. Kickboxing screen-shot-2016-11-22-at-4-25-58-pm

I recently rekindled my love for kickboxing. Punching that bag brings me more joy than you’ll ever know!

17. My Mentors

I never want to be the smartest person in the room. I’m thankful for people that take time to pour into my life and my business.

18. Coffee

Coffee is my love language! #truth

19. My network

Sometimes it’s just dumb luck, sometimes it’s who you know. Regardless of how the connections happen, I’ve had the privilege of meeting some of the most brilliant people on the planet.

20. This is us

All. The. Feels. If you haven’t watched This Is Us yet, it’s a must! Cancel your Tuesday night plans, DVR it, stream it… I don’t care how you do it, just watch it! You’ll love it!

21. Liplessscreen-shot-2016-11-22-at-4-21-44-pm

If laughter is the best medicine, then you NEED this game. I haven’t laughed so hard in my life!

22. Encouragers

Years ago, I didn’t believe that I needed a cheerleader. I’ve come to realize that I do need key people in my corner to encourage me. No pom-poms needed!

23. Logical thinkers

I’m a dreamer, so I need people around me that will bring my feet back to the ground and help me create a plan that makes sense.

24. Airplanes

Orville and Wilbur must have known how much I would dislike road trips. I love that I can jet from coast to coast in a matter of hours.

25. Gut checks

When in doubt, I always trust my gut. It’s never let me down!

26. Chili Cheese Fries

Have you had chili cheese fries? It’s why I have to kickbox!

27. Creativity

I love the beauty that creativity brings. Whether it’s watching my daughter perfect her photography skills or my team design a marketing plan. Every plan, every skill requires creativity.

28. Breathscreen-shot-2016-11-22-at-5-06-42-pm

I’m training myself to take time to breathe.

29. Conversations

I love getting to know people. Not just on the surface, but what is going on in their minds.

30. Cameras

My kids are only little for so long. Someday I’ll look back on the moments I’m capturing now and cherish them. If you aren’t taking a million pictures now, start today! In the years to come, you’ll thank yourself.

What are you thankful for?

Take time this week to write down 30 things you’re thankful for. At first it may seem overwhelming, but once you get started, it will be hard to stop.

You may find it therapeutic and who doesn’t need a little free therapy every now and then?!

Let’s All Be Productive

Not so long ago, I was out of state on a business trip. While I was out traveling across the country with my client, my husband was home cooking up a plan!

A plan that was going to make my day!! Curious yet?! Hang on, I’m getting there!

One of my love languages is gifts. Giving gifts, getting gifts… all of it!

My husband knows this, so while I had vacated the premises, he decided to redecorate my office. I’m not talking about a new picture or a nice scented candle. No way! He went all out. He painted, he reorganized and my favorite of all… he bought me a new desk!

Not just any old desk, he bought me a stand up desk!

use this one (1)

I’ve been eyeing the stand up desk for a while now because, let’s face it, my job is sedentary and I need to increase my circulation a whole lot more than I do.

What I discovered after a week with this desk is that not only am I standing more (obviously!), but I’m so much more productive. I’m checking off tasks, answering emails, ending world hunger….well, maybe not that last one, but you get my point! I feel like a ninja!

I began to think of all of the other ways I can increase my productivity.

You may not have access to a stand up desk, but I thought I’d share a few other productivity ideas with you.

 

Take a brain break

Let’s start with something simple. So simple if fact, we’re taking is back to the kindergarten years. Research has shown that children are more productive in school when they take what is called “brain breaks”. The good new is, this isn’t just for children!

Taking a brain break is simply taking a step back and relaxing your brain. If you go full speed for 6 hours straight, you are going to fizzle out. You won’t be nearly as productive as someone that peppers in 10 minute breaks throughout their day. It could be something as small as walking to the mailbox or refilling your coffee cup. Taking brain breaks is sure to increase your productivity.

Eat something

I don’t understand those people that say “Oh, I forgot to eat lunch”. I may forget a few things here and there, but I never forget to eat lunch!

I have recently started a new fitness program. Along with exercise, I’m also focusing on my food intake. I’m sure you’ve heard coaches say that you have to think of food as fuel. It’s so true!

When I neglect to put gas in my car and I’ve been staring at that little orange light like it’s a new accessory, you’ll find me sitting along I-70, wishing that I would have taken the extra five minutes to put fuel in my car.

This rule applies to eating. If you don’t eat, you’ll run out of steam (hopefully, not on the side of the road!) and will slow down productivity. Plus, you’ll be nicer when you aren’t #hangry!

Track your time

This one if fascinating! If you’ve never tracked your time before, I’m going to challenge you to track your time this week.

You may think that you’re the most productive person in the world, but have you stopped to look at where you’re spending your time? Grab a journal and write down everything you do for one week. You’ll be surprised how many times you end up mindlessly browsing Facebook when all you meant to was check your page insights.

Track your time for one week and let me know how many extra hours you managed to find.

Each of these ideas individually will bring you increase your productivity.

The whole gamut and “Look Out World!”.

What are your favorite productivity tools?

Somebody Testify

Last week I was on a call with a potential team member. She asked how we get new clients. It was such a great question and as I was answering her, I began to think about our clients.

We have a variety of ways that we reach new clients. There are the Facebook Ads and Opt-ins that we run, just like any other online business. However, I have to say that our number one form of recruiting new clients is by testimonials.

Nothing excites me more than when I log into my inbox and see an email from a stranger saying, “My friend hired a VA through your company and she SWEARS that I can’t live without one! Where do I sign up?!”.

This is my absolute favorite form of advertisement. Not because it’s cost effective.. Eh-hem… free, but because my clients are truly seeing the value that a Virtual Assistant brings them.

How do you maintain this word of mouth system? Here are a few ideas to help you along the way.

Listen to the Wave

Collect Testimonials.

I’ve learned through the years that we are all in this together. I’ve been working on a website update and one of the features I’d like to have is a testimonial page. Not for the “toot my own horn” benefit (although it’s nice to see!), but it allows newcomers to see the value in my team.

The hardest part is the ask. This is where some people jump ship and think to themselves “My client is too busy. I don’t even know if they’ll have time.”. Honestly, it isn’t an inconvenience for most. All it takes from you is a simple email asking your clients to write a quick testimonial. You’ll be amazed when your inbox is flooded with words about your business.

Take time to Network.

When you run a business online, it’s easy to tuck yourself away in your bat cave and only come out when the groceries are running low. I say “NO WAY”!

Decide to blow that popsicle stand of yours and see some faces.

Take baby steps. Start out with an online mastermind group or an entrepreneur support group that you found online. Whatever it is, put your face out there. You have a lot to offer to the world, but no one will know it if you keep it locked away.

Build Relationships.

This is my absolute favorite part of business! The relationship piece.

I’ve been in business for quite some time now and I can’t begin to tell you how many wonderful people I’ve met along the way. I’ve believed in some of them so much that I’ve purchased their products or joined one of their courses, just so I could learn from them.

There are times when a client that offers a program that is the complete opposite of my interests. However, I’m still interested in THEM.

Each client is a person and they are an expert in their field. Whether that field is something I’ve heard of or not. I want to know how it’s going with them, so I check in. I find out from their VA how the launch went. I’ve had instances where a client won an award or was featured on a National Television Show. This is my time to send a congratulatory note. Why? Because I truly care.

When you show your clients that you have a vested interest in them as a human being, not just another client on the list, it will speak volumes!

 

Commitment Issues

When I started my business a few years ago, I knew that I was in it for the long haul.

My goal for Priority VA is to create a team that doesn’t run at the first sign of difficulty.

Needless to say, I’m an advocate of say what you mean and mean what you say.
It shouldn’t come as a surprise to me that not everyone shares this value.

I understand there are times when you have a difficult situation but if I’ve learned one thing over times, it’s that through difficult situations, I come out the other side refined and experienced.

In my journey, I’ve met countless people that said they just weren’t successful either working with or serving as a Virtual Assistant. This always peaks my interest! Not only do I like to learn from my own experiences, but I also enjoy hearing about the experiences of others. There is a common theme with my conversations…. commitment issues.

Commitmentissues

Commit to commit.

Whether you’re a Virtual Assistant with a new client or an entrepreneur ready to bring on a VA, make the decision to commit. When I’m placing clients, I let everyone know that they should be patient in the first 90 days. You’re figuring out each other’s work style, personalities and where each of you shine. Don’t run when a challenge arises. Stick it out. Work together as a team. It might just be the catalyst you need to see things differently and grow your business. You’ll look back in a year and be grateful that you stayed with your VA!

Commit to communicate.

I know that I talk about communication a lot, but I can’t begin to tell you the importance of good, open lines of communication.

When you don’t communicate, you don’t stay on the same page. Sure you’re working, but are you both working toward the same goal? Scheduling a weekly call and sticking to it will keep you on the same page and moving in the same direction. Working from separate pages can lead to frustration. Frustration that you’ve done hours of work, only to learn that it isn’t needed. Or frustration that you have to push back a launch date because you didn’t relay the ideas in your head to your team.

If you’re a VA, always end your weekly call with “What can I do for you?”. This will give your client the opportunity to give you any final thoughts as you work on your weekly goals.

If you’re a Client, don’t hesitate to share your ideas. Our job as VAs is to find a way for your ideas to come to life! Nothing is too big, too small or too crazy. We’ll give you feedback and find a way to make it happen.

Commit to delegate.

This one is hard!

As an entrepreneur myself, I understand the discipline it take to hand over tasks. As difficult as it may be, I also began to love the extra freedom. Freedom to get a little more creative with my business. Freedom to take lunch to my kids at school. Freedom to shut everything down for a few days and know that everything is taken care of by my team.

Fellow business owner, do yourself a favor and delegate to your VA. I’m in the trenches of Virtual Assistant support along with running my own business. As a VA, there is nothing more satisfying than knowing that your client trusts you with their business. We are ready, willing and able!

Commit to commit. Commit to communication. Commit to delegation.

You’ll be amazed at what you can accomplish together when you’re working together on the same page!

Time is of the Essence

“I wish there were more hours in the day!!”

You’ve heard that sentence spouted out more times than you can count. Sometimes it comes from a colleague, other times it’s from your own mouth.
We all have times where we wish there were more hours in the day, but guess what…. We all have the same 24 hours. If I had a genie in a bottle, that would be my #1 wish!

Since this magical genie is nowhere to be found, I have to decide to be intentional with my time. It isn’t easy. There are a lot of days when I’m working 14 hours and barely step out of my office for food. So, please hear me when I say that I am preachin’ the the choir here!

No one is perfect and we won’t get it 100% right all the time, but I’m willing to give it a try.

Are you?
There are several theories and more self help books that you could ever want on this topic. While I agree that we need to read different opinions, I also think that we can tend to over complicate this issue of time management.

If you struggle with time management, try these three pieces of advice.

Time isof the Essence

1. Set Boundaries

In Henry Cloud’s book, Boundaries, he says:

 “Boundaries define us. They define what is me and what is not me. A boundary shows me where I end and someone else begins, leading me to a sense of ownership. Knowing what I am to own and take responsibility for gives me freedom. ”

I love that! It’s so important to set boundaries, whether personal or professional. Often times, we think of boundaries as being these negative rules. We feel as though we’re being harsh with those around us when we set boundaries, while on the contrary, they are there to give us freedom. Freedom to say “No” when it isn’t right and “Yes” to times when it is right.

We often times take on tasks that aren’t a priority for us (or our client), because we feel like we should. Just because you can do it, doesn’t mean you should do it.  This is so hard for me, but I know it’s important to how I manage my time.

2. Be Intentional

Once you’ve set your boundaries, be intentional. If you decide that the hours between 8:00am and 4:00pm are designated for work, then do just that.

Work your tail off! Be intentional with your time. Build that website, write those blogs, check off your lists and know that with every swoosh of the check mark you are being intentional with your time. Not only are you checking off your to-do list, but you’re ending the day feeling accomplished.

3. Get rid of the guilt

Retraining ourselves to set boundaries isn’t easy. Not for those that we work for and with, but for ourselves. I feel completely guilt ridden when I think I should be working. Let’s make a pact! Let’s choose to ditch the guilt and enjoy our time. After a long day of (intentional) work and I’m playing at the pool with my kids, the last thing I want to think about is email. Do I? Yes, because that’s how I’m wired. I know that my clients are happy that I get to hang out with kids after a hard day of work, in fact they encourage it, so it’s a battle within myself. We’re all just a work in progress, but we’ll get there!

As I said, there are a lot theories on time management and I’m sure many of them are good, but if you’re looking to start small, then start here.

Set boundaries.
Be Intentional.
Ditch the Guilt.

 

Why Taking Time Off Can Be Good For Your Business

I’m sitting on a patio in Ft. Lauderdale Florida watching ocean waves gently roll ashore. It’s 9:00am, and the grandparents are down with the girls at the beach, so I could sleep in. It’s been a glorious few days, off grid and relaxing. Writing this post is the first time I’ve turned on my computer in days. (Shocking, I know!)

Balcony-Inspiration

I don’t do this often enough. This trip has taught me why I should, and I want to share my revelations  with you.

We all know the famous “Work From Wherever” slogan, and while I agree that this is a novel concept, (that makes me want to move to a coast as soon as possible), it’s not quite feasible for all of us. My husband and I have been dreaming about that day for years now, and while still elusive, I know that we will get there one day.

The moniker has had most of us making drastic changes in our businesses to get to that point, we’ll hire the cheapest help we can, to save on expenses, or we’ll take shortcuts to make sales so that we can keep the revenue coming in while saving for the adventure we’ll take one day.

I believe this thinking is flawed. Here’s why:

Taking time off allows you to decompress.

One of the healthiest things I’ve done this trip is NOT think about work. Taking Slack notifications off my phone, turning off Facebook and email reminders for these last few days has been refreshing. I chose to scroll Facebook a few times rather than respond to the endless notifications of being tagged in posts from people needing things. I’ve been able to be fully present with my family and not worry about what’s happening, or not, in my business.

When you’re an entrepreneur, it’s hard to “turn off” work. But taking time off has allowed me to decompress from what can feel like endless stress of being “needed”. We’re all entitled to that, and should schedule time frequently for such off grid extraction from our daily lives.

New Ideas are born when we’re not trying to do a million things at once.

Ever have a brilliant idea in the shower, or in my case, 70ft under water?

The time I’m taking away from my business this week, allows creativity to flow. I’ve been feeling pretty stagnant lately, where I didn’t feel very creative in my business. Working in the 90 Day Year Model, has allowed me to make some amazing strides in our business. I’ve broken the habit of making the same mistakes over and over. I’ve LEARNED from my PAST PERFORMANCE that I need down time in order to get new ideas, and have made changes in my 90 Day Goals to always include down time. I’ve traveled a TON the past couple of months, but it has been mostly for work. As a result, I’ve just been doing the same thing without introducing many new ideas the last few weeks.

The ocean is my happy place, where I can relax, and think. Case in point – I was snorkeling with my family last evening and thought of a new business idea. Not because I was actively thinking about work, but because I was observing my environment (in this case, fish) and thought about their behaviors and how they relate to human behavior.. And BOOM! a new idea flashed into my head and I just giggled through my snorkel at the timing of it all. When we’re able to structure our business and time to not be overwhelmed, our brains are able to process information more fully, which in this case allowed creative ideas to flourish and not get squeezed out by a massive to do list.

The 90 Day Year taught me that the endless amount of goals we could be working on could actually be detrimental to the growth of our business. So, focusing on goals in a different framework, we can stop busting our booties to produce results using a broken model, and actually start accomplish things we want to in our business. Like taking more family trips, creating new revenue streams, or hiring new key players to join our team.

Block and Tackle works for down time, too.

My friend Todd teaches the Block and Tackle method. Because of his training, (which you can find here in his FREE video series on the topic), I’ve been able to structure my work days to focus only on certain activities (Block) and get achieve my goals faster, and with more excellence than before (Tackle). He teaches all about how to do this in the 90 Day Year which he breaks down in the third of his video series, out today.

Applied to down time, the framework looks like this:

Saturday – Travel Day

Sunday – Dive planning, Snorkel Trip and relaxing Beach Day

Monday – Grandparent Day, relationship building and game day

Tuesday – Open No plans to allow for free flow activity

Wednesday  – Adventure Day, Diving and Parasailing
Thursday – Tourist Day; local activities centered around the culture of the area, Fancy Dinner

Friday – Adventure Day, Diving all day

Saturday – Travel Day

Do you see what we did there? We blocked our activities so there aren’t endless switches, from wet bathing suits to dry clothes. We’re not going from diving to dinner parties. We’re keeping our “goals” in chunks, (block) so we’re more likely to have success in achieving them (tackle).
We even allowed for an “open” day, not structured or scheduled so we can do random fun things that pop up (distractions) and not feel overwhelmed that we couldn’t fit them in (or take the call from the client that was not on our schedule previously).

The frameworks I’ve learned and implemented in my business have got me to where I am right now – on the beach, whipping up a blog post, and then offline to spend time with my family. I honestly don’t think I would have gotten here without implementing some important changes in my business.

I wouldn’t have known how to fix what was broken, without Todd. I thought everyone was working and living like I was while trying to build a business. I felt so broken, like I was doing something “wrong” because I was working SO dang hard, but not seeing the results I knew were possible. I had no idea that it wasn’t ME that was broken. It was the SYSTEM I was working in. Changes to that system resulted in changes in my thinking, and in my execution. And now, I have a business that is thriving, a marriage that is in sync and a family that is healing from all my “frantic hustle” that led to lots of frustration.

All because I changed the model.

And you can, too. Check out this video (which is my FAVORITE in the series) and learn how YOU can implement a new framework and implement a new way of looking at an old problem…and perhaps you too will be “off grid” as much as you’d like, with a business that still works while you don’t. You can do this. Todd can show you how.

I’m off to play games with the grandparents. Have a great week!

 

The Value of Membership Sites

If you have been in the market for or have recently purchased access to a new program, it’s likely that you were given access to a membership site. Membership sites have become more and more common in our digital age of online training.

Although they are more common, they can still be a little intimidating when it comes to setting one up for yourself. There is the content, graphics, videos and all of the bells and whistles that you have to think about. It can cause anxiety long before you’ve even purchased your domain name.

If you’ve been mulling over the idea, but still don’t know where to start, I’ve listed out a few options for you when it comes to setting up your own membership site.

The valueof membership

 

Coaching

This one is the most obvious. If you’re a coach, then you will have a membership site, no doubt.

The question lies in what are the features that you want to offer to your customers. How many modules would you like to create? Will you feature videos or just text? The possibilities are endless! I personally love video training. Give me a guidebook and a video and I’m happy as a clam.

Training

Do you have a large team that you manage? Setting up a designated member’s area for your team will allow you to streamline your training. Have you ever attempted to onboard a team member and had something go wrong? Perhaps a step was missed and you were certain that you told them how to do “x, y and z”, only to wake up at 2:00am in a sweat because you really did forget? It’s happened to the best of us! Creating a member’s area where you keep all of your training modules, while continually adding value to your team members will be a valuable asset. Everyone will be on the same page and your clients will see a seamless transition each time you add a new team member.

Forums

Perhaps you aren’t ready to dive into the members area pool with both feet. That’s okay! A simple way to ease into this realm of virtual training is to set up a forum. Simply add your clients, team members, mom and dad, whoever will join you and begin the discussion. Some clients send out their products via ebook or PDF, but still want to provide support for Q&A in one location. This would be a great solution for you.

Regardless of which level you’d like to provide your tribe, you don’t have to do it alone.

If this has been on your to-do list, but haven’t had the time, fill out this form.

We have a team of VAs that are trained to offer high level service, including the setup of a member’s area. By providing places like a member’s area, you are telling your audience that you want to give them the best support and experience possible.

 

Staying On Track In A Fast Paced World

Life can tend to get a little crazy sometimes.

Building your business, raising a family, managing your home and fulfilling your countless responsibilities. Every one of those things on their own are wonderful!

There was a time in my life when I worked for two very high profile clients, started my business all while adopting our fourth daughter. Crazy? Maybe, but needless to say, I had to have a system or else I was going have a disaster on my hands.

One of the most intricate parts of this job is keeping myself and my clients on track.

How did I do it, you ask? Well, let me tell you…

Staying on Track

1. Everything Gets a Color

I live and die by my google calendar. Whether you’re managing one calendar or 15 calendars, it’s important to label each one. We have a several calendars for different projects and each one is color coded.

For Example:

  • Personal: Purple
  • General: Blue
  • Meetings: Light Blue
  • Podcasts: Green
  • Live Events: Orange

It may seem complicated, but once you get the hang of it, you’ll be able to look at a glance and know where you need to be and when (and, if the appointment requires makeup!). If you’re managing this for your client, they’ll love the efficiency!

2. Always Stay One Step Ahead

One of the most loved traits of a VA is always staying one step ahead. This will help you avoid disasters ahead and will make your client feel valued. It isn’t hard, it’s just a matter of being proactive.

  • How can you do that? Start by confirming every appointment the week prior.
  • Check the calendar details. Make sure that you have Skype IDs for everyone involved in the call. If they’re using a different platform, make sure that you have the correct link and pertinent information that will be needed for the call.
  • Is it an interview? Get the interview questions ahead of time and put them in the calendar. It’s a one stop shop for links and topics. Your client doesn’t need to spend time shuffling through their inbox trying to figure out where in the world their call is taking place and what they’re talking about. They’ll feel calm, cool and collected by the start of the call.

3. Get In-Sync

It’s more than just a band in the 90s. You’ll say “Bye-Bye-Bye” to calendar questions when you sync your calendar with your clients and team members. In doing so, everyone will stay on the same page. I don’t know what we did before calendar sharing, but it has been a lifesaver for me!

Often times, we get so caught up in the more complicated side of the VA business that we forget the simple things (like showing up on time).  By following these steps, your client will arrive on time and prepared.

If you’re looking for more options to stay on track, I have a couple of extra resources for you.

I’m in LOVE with the offline feature that Google Calendar offers. It’s perfect for days when you’re stuck in a blizzard without power. True story…. I’ll save that for another day!

Want to pop your to-do list into your calendar? No problem! This handy little article gives great advice on this feature and several more that might be up your alley.

How to you keep your clients organized?

 

 

The Glamorous Life of a VA

There is a stereotype that comes along with working from home. Anytime I go to my kids school or run into an old friend at the grocery store, I can read the look on people’s faces…

“What do you do all day?”

Now for those of us in the biz, we know what a Virtual Assistant is capable of. We work hard and get stuff done. Not just a little stuff, but serious (insert colorful expletive here) STUFF! We don’t mess around!

However, some people think that working from home includes sleeping in, taking a nap, lounging around in my pajamas and/ or watching every afternoon talk show. Want to know a little secret? I DREAM of a nap! If I had time to watch Ellen every day, I totally would!

I don’t take offense to it. It’s an honest (sometimes unspoken) question and I welcome the intrigue.

It is truly a blessing to work from my home, but it isn’t the cakewalk that some people tend to think it is.

Here is a little peak into……

The Glamorous Life of a VA

*Caution: This feels a little like a “Dear Diary” moment!*

5:00am: My day starts. I’m a morning person, so by 5:00am I’m up, dressed and taking my cup of coffee to my office. I recently bought a Keurig and am secretly thinking of bringing it up to my bedroom with bottles of water so I can work from bed like Winston Churchill. I like to get a couple hours of work done before it’s time to get my kids ready for school.

7:00am: Time to get the littles up and at ‘em. No need to go into detail here. I have 4 daughters, so just imagine the drama and you’ll send me sympathy cards. I love them, but OH.MY. WORD. girls are a bit dramatic!

8:00am: Kids are dropped off and I’m back in the office. I have 4 hours of back to back interviews starting at 8:40, so it’s time to catch up on my email. Today I was offered a chance to speak at a large event. WHAT? I can’t believe I get to live this life!

8:10am: Email my team about the event. We need slides, content and I need a new outfit! 😉

8:35am: One of my Clients emailed asking for advice on a project he’s working on. I’m a servant at heart, so I do my best to make sure that my clients are taken care of.

8:40am: Let the interview marathon begin! I love meeting with people all over the country. This time is peppered with emails, texts and slack messages.

12:30pm: I have a quick window to eat a quick bite of lunch. I need to check with my client to help him out with his tech problems. Lead Pages, I love/hate you.

12:45pm: I was able to hop on a call to sort out the glitch issues. Client is all set.

1:15pm: I have another hour and a half of meetings coming up soon. This time, I’m meeting with potential clients. I don’t complain ONE OUNCE about the meetings that I have, I could talk to people all day. Today it seems as though I am! 🙂

4:00pm: Kids are home from school and I have 1 meeting left.

4:25pm: So, my meeting has ended. Time to work on a few things for my client. I have to edit her blog post, follow up on content creation and I have about 2 hours of work left. All I need to do is wrap this up and I can transition from Trivinia the VA to Mom. Now, I’m a good Mom. I take care of my kids and do a lot for them. They are my heart. I say all of that gushy stuff so that you won’t judge me for what I’m about to tell you…. After my meeting ended at 4:25, I needed a little more time to concentrate, so it was time to get a little creative. I turned on talk radio so that my kids still heard voices coming from my office. Some may judge me, but I felt like it was a brilliant move! PLUS…. It worked! Remember – don’t judge me. It’s not nice.

6:30pm: It’s time to wrap it up for now. I have a little to catch up on, but for now, my kids need to eat. We’re a normal family. Both parents work. It’s what we do and we make it work. Some days are harder than others, but I love every minute of it!

9:00pm: Kids are in bed. Remember the speaking engagement? It’s time to perfect the slides and I’ve got to seriously practice, this ain’t no sissy crowd, this is a big deal. I’m nervous, I won’t lie. I’m working through content and slides that my team helped me with while I swam in meetings today.

11:15pm: Time for bed.  The work is never done, but that’s with any career. There is always something to be done, but I have to take care of myself and get some rest. My new “rule” of bedtime at 10:00pm got totally blown on this day… but I’ll start again tomorrow and do the best I can. ‘Night!

I didn’t document my day just to say “Woe is me” or “Look at me and what I can do”.

I wrote all of this to remind you (and myself) that our work isn’t just “busy work”. The meetings, the tasks for your clients, everything you do matters. It makes a difference.

If you’re a client, know that Priority VA takes your business seriously. We look out for your best interest. We truly appreciate each of our clients. It’s an honor to play a small role in making your dreams a reality!

Tell us…. How do you manage your day?