Life of a Virtual Assistant – Balancing work and life
WHY I SET UP MY VIRTUAL ASSISTANT BUSINESS
Before setting up my Virtual Assistant business, I worked in a permanent credit control position up until early 2013. I spent 10 years, juggling my holiday entitlement, childcare and illnesses.
Having relocated to Sussex in 2013, I knew I wanted to work as a freelancer, but had no idea in which field. I knew I needed a flexible career that fitted around my family life and gave me financial stability.
So based on having no support network for childcare during the school half term and after much procrastinating as to where my next career move would be, I set up my Virtual Assistant business back in 2014 with the aim to help busy business owners grow their business by allowing them to outsource their time-consuming admin tasks to me.
What I did next
I worked in a variety of industries up until August 2016 while my PA/admin support business was getting off the ground and I was working long hours juggling the Virtual Assistant business around my permanent role. I woke up one sunny July morning and decided there and then if I wanted the business to succeed I needed to be able to concentrate on growing the business, so I typed up my resignation letter that morning and emailed it to my Manager. I have not looked back…
Importance of work/life balance
If you have children you will be able to understand how quickly they grow up. After missing out on many years with my girls I knew that I wanted to work fewer hours initially whilst still being able to financially contribute and treat them to the nice things that they grew accustomed to, like nice holidays, day trips out, cinema etc.
When you work in a 9-5 job it is easier to have a good balance – and in most circumstances you switch your PC of in the office and go home have dinner, do a workout watch TV, go out with friends etc and work stays at work!
It is very easy when you run your own business to not stick to your set core hours. Hands up who hears their phone ping with an email and instantly check their messages and end up responding – Me I know I do!!
How about when you have been busy networking (my previous blog) and by the time you have come home much of the working day has past and you have lots of work to do for your clients, how do you manage your time? I block time in my diary for each client.
Why did you set up your own business?
- Was it because you were fed up with the daily commute to work?
- Were you were fed up with office politics?
- Had you had enough of working hard for your employer and receiving no recognition for the money brought in
- Maybe you had enough of juggling long hours, holidays and children for a pittance?
- Did not like being told what to do?
My decision to improve my work/life balance
I spend a lot of time discussing the benefits of a Virtual Assistant to my clients, potential clients and new people I meet explaining why they should outsource their tasks to me and about how important a work/life balance is, that I have lost sight of the reason why I set up my business to begin with.
I set up the business to not only help busy owners with their admin, carry out their office management tasks and their credit control BUT It was to spend quality time with my family, travel the world, have that bigger house and know that I could retire when I wanted because I could afford to.
My client’s will always receive a top notch service from me and their work is always completed in the time frame set, but as the business is growing I appear to find myself maybe needing my own VA!!
Based on the above reminder to myself, I decided I am no longer going to try to cram so much into my working week, I will schedule my time better so I switch off my phone and laptop at a set time in the evening to spend it with my family. Obviously in some instances calls will need making or a project that will need to be completed in the evening.
I want to be there for my children and spend time listening to them tell me about their day or that Dojo or House point that they earn’t and not give the appropriate ‘mmm’s’ and ‘really that’s great’. Their voices are important and need to be heard.
Since making this decision my week has been so much easier and less stressful – I have blocked out time properly and still have the correct time to work on the projects that my clients have assigned to me. They get my daily attention and my girls when they come home get their mum’s attention and obviously I can not forget the husband, we have been able to spend some quality time together and watch TV again without my head in my laptop!!
So to conclude, to improve your work/life balance you need to do the following:
- Plan your day
- Set your core working hours and stick to them
- Learn to say no and reschedule appointments if it means working late into the evening
- Listen to and spend time with your children
- Spend time with your spouse
- Take a lunch break and go for a 30 minute stroll
- REMEMBER WHY YOU SET UP YOUR BUSINESS IN THE FIRST PLACE
Please let me know how you manage your time and if you would like to discuss using a Virtual Assistant for your business, please get in touch or comment below your interest.