Plan to Take a Week Off

take time offIt’s the last day of the year and you’ve been thinking about your goals for the new year. Here’s the last of my suggested goals for your virtual assistant business in the coming year.

Plan to take a week off at the end of the year to plan your business goals for the new year.

We do this every year and have for many years. We actually take two weeks. We shut down the business. We let all our clients know about 60 days in advance so there are no surprises. They get us any work we need to get done well in advance. They know that after the first of the new year, we’ll be back and raring to go!

In fact I’m off right now. I wrote this and other blog posts and scheduled them to go out during my time off so you could have some information on setting goals for your business this coming year. Now’s a great time to slow down from client work and take time to work in your own business. Most of your clients are probably taking time off now as well.

If you aren’t yet doing this, plan next year to take at least a week off at the end of the year to plan for your business goals for the following year.

Speaking of a new year, what would you like me to write about next in the new year?

VA Interview: Rosalind Harris, Instant Assistant Virtual Office Support

Rosalind Harris

Rosalind and I have been connected online through virtual assistant forums for some time. Thank you Rosalind for your interview here!

When did you start your business? January, 2007

Why did you choose to become a Virtual Assistant? I love being an Executive Assistant and helping busy professionals manage and organize their day.  Being a virtual assistant allows flexibility in choosing the type of work performed and selectively choosing the businesses and people I work with.

What advice would you give new and aspiring VAs? Do lots of research, ask questions, have a plan, look into programs that provide assistance and training for individuals who wish to start a business (i.e. chamber of commerce, Small Business Administration) network a lot, really think about where and how you spend money, be patient, stay true to your values, run an ethical business. Have confidence in the value that you provide clients.  It’s important when questioned about your rates. Avoid working on projects or with clients that are incompatible with your work style or business goals. The beauty of being in business for yourself is that you are no longer an employee and get to decide who your ideal client is. In the beginning, we all take on projects that we don’t like just to get our name out and hopefully generate additional business.  Once your business begins to grow, consider sub-contracting projects that you don’t enjoy or don’t know how to do.  Sub-contracting allows you to build relationships with other virtual assistants with various skill sets while expanding the types of services you can offer clients. A word of caution about sub-contracting.  Make sure the individual is reliable, trustworthy, and can perform the tasks needed.  Your reputation and that of your company depends on it. Make sure your clients know how much you appreciate them and their business.

Don’t get consumed with the idea of doing everything perfectly.  Mistakes are a part of learning how to run a successful business. Do what feels right for you. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t consider or implement ideas suggested by coaches or business contacts.  Just don’t get caught up in doing what everyone else thinks you should be doing, or gauging your success by comparing yourself to others. It’s counterproductive and will undermine your confidence.

Lastly, HAVE FUN! Don’t get so bogged down in the projects and details associated with running a business that you forget to enjoy the experience. Running a business is one of the hardest things you will ever do, but will also be one of the most rewarding. You will meet interesting people and have experiences that you could never have imagined.

What resources have helped you in your business? Forums, blogs, coaching, books? All of the resources mentioned have been helpful.  The most helpful was taking a four-month entrepreneurial training program offered by a local Chamber of Commerce, as well as graduating from an online Virtual Assistant training program.  Many of the clients I have today are a result of direct referrals from connections made through the Entrepreneurial Assistance Program, by joining a Chamber of Commerce & networking with other virtual assistants.

Share something about yourself. Have been married to my high school sweetheart for over 25 years. Love reading, smooth jazz, crime shows, the Food Network, HGTV & a good glass of wine & trips to Maine. Hate snakes and bees, (don’t tell “Fear Factor”!)

Additional comments you’d like to share. Be willing to help and mentor other virtual assistants. If you belong to a VA forum and have the time, volunteer to serve on a committee, provide training, or write articles on a subject you know a great deal about. Don’t become a VA for the money.  That will come, but it will take time and much relationship building. Get involved in your community without the expectation of getting anything in return. By giving to others, you are helping yourself although it may not be immediately apparent.


I had the pleasure of attending one of the teleseminars offered by Sue and Joel.  The topic was the “Client/VA Relationship.”  At the end of the seminar, I had an idea for my next e-newsletter and learned some helpful client appreciation tips, one of the most valuable having to do with how to conduct client satisfaction surveys and the benefits of having the survey completed by a third party. Sue and Joel cover topics on issues that all VAs struggle with at some point. If you haven’t attended one of their teleseminars, I encourage you to do so.

Rosalind’s Contact Information:

Rosalind Harris, CPS/CAP, Chief Detail Officer
Business Name: Instant Assistant Virtual Office Support

Take 15 Minutes Twice a Day to Become More Productive

We live in a very fast-paced world and often find ourselves so busy each day just doing what needs to be done that we feel overwhelmed. There never seems to be any time to work on our businesses, to market to new clients, to come up with and implement new ideas.

I recommend you schedule 15 minutes twice a day to focus on you, your business and goals. You will find the benefits to be tremendous. The ideal times would be first thing in the morning and last thing at night. When you first get up, take 15 minutes to write down your thoughts and outline your goals for the day. I often find that I wake up in the middle of the night with ideas. So I keep a pad and pen next to my bed and jot these things down. Then in the morning I can use that as a basis for writing for the day. Keeping an ongoing journal of your thoughts and ideas is a great way to make sure you don’t forget any of them. You can always go back to them at a later date.

Take a second 15 minutes the last thing at night to write down your accomplishments. This will help you relax and focus on the positive things that happened throughout your day. You will find you sleep much better, wake more refreshed and think more clearly.

Use these two 15 minute periods to relax, take a deep breath, and then let it all out. Then focus on something specific you want to accomplish or that you did accomplish that day. You will find that you become more productive by taking 15 minutes twice a day to focus on your business goals.

What do you do to stay focused each day?