As you work to realize your dreams for a successful virtual assistant business, you’ve probably learnt firsthand that there will be highs and there will be lows. That’s just the nature of business for virtual assistants. However, it is important to have the right systems in place to enable the highs and minimize the lows. Here are 4 steps to ensure less stress in your virtual assistant business and to help minimize those lows.
Automation is definitely one of the best ways to combat stress in any business, and it’s no different for those providing virtual assistant services. In your daily life, you might be able to find instances where an automated process makes your life easier. In business, here are some examples of automated systems:
- Email autoresponders make it simpler for you to communicate with your audience. You can send emails to potential leads without ever having to lift a finger. An automated email system does all that for you.
- Calendar/scheduling apps allow you to automate your scheduling. No longer do you have to complicate your life with back and forth emails trying to figure out the best time to set appointments with clients. Just set up a digital calendar, and your potential clients can fill it in themselves, based on the availability you set. They can do it on their own time, and from anywhere.
- Set scheduled social media posts beforehand so that you don’t have to spend minutes per day logging in and out to send posts.
Automation saves you time.
Better yet, automation helps ensure quality and consistency.
Imagine if 10 persons sign up for your newsletter. You send a “thank you” to 8 of them and forget to send it to the other 2. Or, you schedule someone for a time that has already been booked by someone else.
With an automated system in place, you don’t have to worry about slip-ups like that. It reduces the room for error because you won’t be doing everything manually. Plus, if an automated system takes over those common tasks, that gives you more time to focus on the bigger picture. Why should you have to sit and send every basic email — every thank you, every welcome, every upsell! That is valuable time you could spend focusing on those more important emails that need to be sent.
You could also use a scheduling app to help you get your message out there on social media. I love to use Planoly to schedule my Instagram posts. My assistant and I plan what we want to share…content, images, templates. Then we set them up in Planoly and schedule when they will be posted.
These are some reasons why automation tools exist. It is a fantastic approach to keep things running smoothly with minimal stress.
2. Document everything
If your intention is to grow your virtual assistant business, that means one day, you won’t be the only one doing these daily tasks. Even if you already have a team, there is the possibility that there might be more one day.
That is why it is important to document your processes, procedures, guidelines, etc. If you don’t have your processes for the daily tasks properly documented, you might not be able to offer effective training to incoming staff. Or, if you need to assign tasks to other people on your team, how will you enable an effective and smooth transition of duties?
Even if you have the best memory, there is no guarantee that you will remember everything, especially if you are starting to take a more hands-off approach by hiring someone else to do it. Plus, even if these processes are known by your staff, there is no guarantee that you will have them forever. If all the instructions for completing a task exist only in your head, put them on paper for the sake of business continuity. Document everything you can — from how you manage your email to how you engage new clients.
Documentation also allows for consistency in the delivery of tasks because everyone on your team will have steps to follow to complete a specific task. It is definitely one way to limit stress in your business when unexpected things happen. If a staff member leaves or someone forgets how to do something, you don’t have to panic. Paper saves the day!
3. Invest in more efficient systems
You might be happy doing things one way, but sometimes there is a better way. Yes, it’s understandable that you might be afraid of change. You might be one of those people who is “stuck in your ways.” But sometimes a little change brings positive outcomes.
Think about this. How can you change things up a bit to make your business more efficient and still keep the heart of your business — the personality and brand that has been the key to your success so far? Something that doesn’t take you away from your goals and priorities.
Get an upgrade
Have you considered upgrading your tools? If the tools you are now using no longer allow for the best efficiency, maybe you should consider an upgrade or change.
For instance, if you are still using pen and paper to-do lists, maybe it’s time to consider backing that up with a digital to-do list. You don’t have to throw your pen and paper away — maybe that’s your personality. But at least, having a digital backup offers you more options for that to-do list that can make your life much easier and less stressful.
Or maybe there is a better option to the autoresponder tool you’ve loved using all these years. Maybe there is an option that has all the features that have supported your brand, but also more than can help you do better.
Why don’t you take a look at your business and those daily tasks? Think about where or how you can become more efficient by applying a new way of doing the same things better. How can you maximize your time? How can you shorten a process without losing quality?
A little change can be a good way to reduce stress in your business. You will be removing the things that limit you by changing them and making processes more efficient. Be careful though. Don’t go overboard with change as that can lead to another problem.
4. Stay in your own lane
There is being afraid of change, but there is also another type of extreme. Being too keen on change!
In business, you can be easily overwhelmed by the ‘more’. There is always more that could be done. More blogs to post, more services to offer, more clients to get!
It’s so easy to be drawn in by the shiny object syndrome. This is when you are constantly tempted to buy and to get and to see and to do. There is always that tool that you must have, that process that you must try, that course that you must do, that subscription that you must try.
This syndrome can prevent you from achieving the success you’ve been working towards by shifting your focus away from what truly matters. And losing focus can lead to many kinds of disasters in business.
Imagine a promising startup that is just beginning to gain a following suddenly shifting focus. Staying on track could have led to great success, but instead, they’ve jumped into something that seems enticing but is completely different.
The greatest stress comes when your business fails. Avoid that by following these principles to help you stay focused:
Set clear goals
You’ve probably heard this a million times, but that’s because it is a very important element of serious business. Yes, set clear goals.
If you want clarity and focus to avoid the disastrous shiny object syndrome, start by defining your goals for your business. Here are some questions you can start asking yourself:
- Where do you want to go? Where do you want to be?
- What do you want to accomplish? What do you want to have?
- How do you want to accomplish it?
You will always have a struggle with focus if your goals aren’t clear and known — if these questions aren’t answered. Every shiny thing will pull you in and away from what you really want or need.
Commit to a plan
If you’ve decided to do something, commit to it. Don’t start it, then leave it for the next big thing.
Things take time. That tool you’ve decided to try might not yield the results you are looking for until a while. Rather than throwing it away and picking up something new, commit to seeing it through for as long as it is sensible.
To give something the best shot of success, stay committed. If a plan, a tool, a strategy, etc., needs to change that’s okay. We’ve discussed how change can lead to good things. But ensure that whatever changes you make are aligned with the goals you’ve set. Stay on track!
Take yourself away from the irresistible distractions:
- Unsubscribe from the mailing lists that continuously taunt you with the latest and the greatest.
- Stop following the social media accounts that try to pull you.
- Don’t click on that ad.
Instead, keep focused on the things that are relevant to those goals you’ve set. It’s easy to identify the things that are not, so remove them from your radar.
So there you have it. Ways to enable a stress-free business if you’re a virtual assistant or if you are operating any other kind of business. Starting a virtual assistant business in the Caribbean or any kind of business anywhere is not an easy thing. What are some other strategies that help you to enjoy less stress in your business?