Now that you have decided to drop the 9 to 5 grind and launch yourself as a virtual assistant, your ability to organize and manage your time effectively can be a matter of life and death – for your newfound career, that is.
Email management, creating Ebooks, customer support, data entry, research and more – how will you ever juggle all these without sacrificing efficiency and making sure that individual deadlines are met for each?
Now, mind you, the answer to this can be one of those things that are easier said than done, and you may find your brain drained and dried, by trying to maintain focus and beating the clock at the same time.
While you may come up with several different ways to do this, I would like to share with you 3 tips to make your virtual assisting career as efficient and smooth as possible.
Identify which of your tasks are time sensitive and has to be handed down soon, as these are the ones that require your immediate attention.
Utilizing it on your day to day tasks will make sure that your time and energy are effectively applied and will help in achieving balance on your day at the same time.
2. Avoid Multi-Tasking
Though it may seem that you get to accomplish more things, when you do them at the same time, I would say it is not advisable.
This is because often, each task requires a different skill to complete and switching your brain to perform one skill and another at the same time, may not be a good idea when you’re going for accuracy and efficiency.
Having said that, finishing one task before starting on another, will allow you to be more detail oriented, thus will lead to producing more efficient and quality results and yield more productive hours.
This may be one the biggest challenges for virtual assistants to which I am no exception, and 2 of the things that have helped me overcome disorganization is by having a list and file organization.
Create a List
Never underestimate the power of a list. Create one with a rundown of the tasks that you need to do the next day before you end each current day.
This way you will have more time to review and plan your next day workflow and make it easy to tackle and prioritize the upcoming tasks.
You can even browse on the list the next morning during a cup of coffee, and apply the quadrant method we talked about in the Prioritize tip.
Searching for documents doesn’t have to be a backbreaker, especially when you need to provide information to your clients, from files that seemed ages ago, and they’re very easy to get lost if they’re all over the place on your computer desktop.
I was able to resolve this dilemma by changing my wallpaper – yes my desktop wallpaper and you can see how it does the job on my desktop below.
I was so thrilled with the idea that I made my own. It’s not perfect but it serves its purpose.
There is quite a number of them available online when you do a Google search, or on sites such as Pinterest. You can easily find ones for free.
Most of the time, aiming for life – work balance is easier said than done, even more so when you’re working from home.
But, the formula remains the same for achieving success and fulfillment, on both aspects; life and work.
It may always seem like a day is not enough for all the things you need to do, and the roles you have to play, but with discipline, organization, and smart time management, you can actually make every working day a productive and successful climb towards your goal.
Feel free to share your productivity and time management tips.
“Your contract has ended” or “This contract has been paused”, are messages a virtual assistant dreads.
I bet the first thought upon seeing the message is “what’s next?”.
Yep, what’s next indeed.
What’s your next course of action? Do you jump back to the pail immediately and bid for other projects? do you take your time, or will you consider this as a “divine sign” to consider a career change?
Before you hang your gloves from being a virtual assistant, allow me to share some ideas that may help you turn this event around, to work to your advantage.
Learn a new skill
If you feel you’re not ready to start working again just yet, take this opportunity to re-fuel your money-making skills, by growing your knowledge on other skills and services, that freelancers like you are offering, that you have not yet possessed.
There are lots of how-to videos and articles online, that you can utilize to learn a new skill or online application, that can help you achieve a more rewarding career when you decide to get back on the VA track.
Assess your workflow
This can also be a perfect time to find ways, on how you can further improve your working habits. It can be your workflow, workplace, or organizational skills.
Small changes can make a big difference in cultivating a more effective and productive working habits, like decluttering your workplace, clearing out old messages from your email, or compiling notes and/or ideas that you have written down from your previous projects, for future reference.
Changes like this can improve focus, and make you more passionate on the tasks that you will do in the future.
Know your passion
As Aristotle said, “Pleasure in the job puts perfection in the work.”
Finding pleasure in what you do, will fuel you with the drive and focus that you need, to deliver top of the line results in completing future projects, and find fulfillment in doing it.
Also, you get to assess the kind of tasks that you enjoy doing more and devote more time learning ways on how you can tackle the tasks that you find challenging.
This provides you more time, to conquer a learning curve and a clearer vision of the future projects that will get you excited to bid on.
So you see, an ended contract doesn’t mean an ended career for a virtual assistant.
Consider it as an opportunity to look back and assess the big picture, on how else you can be better on what you do.
Once you have seen it and worked on it, you’ll know that it’s time to sit back on your workplace, start bidding and remember why you love being a virtual assistant 🙂
Don’t forget to click “Share”.
It’s never too late to be where you might have been. Take action and never wait for the right time to take the leap. No matter where you are, today is the best time to start.
The process of landing on a job as a virtual assistant, also involves some streamlining. Of course, all employers wanted to make sure that they’re hiring competent and professional people, to work on their business and tasks, and one way to do it is by conducting interviews.
These interviews can be conducted one on one or by group, wherein, aspirants are interviewed at the same time. Other employers may even submit you to an online examination, before or after the interview process.
Online interviews are now made possible by using various platforms, such as Skype, Go To Meeting and Google Hangout, to name a few. And just like any typical interviews, you may get nervous and jittery, regardless of the set up.
I mean, come on, this is kind of a make or break moment, right?
So, having said that, let me share with you proven and surefire ways, that will help you get through the interview process and hopefully nail the job you’re applying for.
Make a list of your assets and skills
Making a quick note of your skills, assets and other relevant things about you and your work as a virtual assistant, will make it easier for you to present and sell what you can bring to the table.
It can also save you the time and effort of doing the outlining mentally, while in the actual interview, as this can cause you to miss out beneficial skills, and relevant facts about the things you do and can do.
Be careful not to write long statements,though or you may end up reading a script when you answer. Just jot down relevant skills, applications or programs that you know and the services you can offer, and you’re good to go.
Respect your interviewer’s time by going online for the interview, 10 to 15 minutes earlier than the agreed hours.
By being punctual, you send out a message that you are a professional, and that you are serious about getting the job. You also earn yourself some time to prepare, and make sure that everything you need for the interview is working efficiently, like your headset, speaker and camera, if needed.
If for some reason, you can’t meet your interviewer on the agreed hours, due to some unavoidable circumstances, send out an early notification and request for another convenient schedule for him to conduct the interview.
Most employers don’t mind tweaking their schedules and making adjustments, but I would recommend this to be a one time option.
Confidence is key
It always is. Even if you’re feeling nervous and jittery, maintain your confidence by focusing on your skills, that you believe makes you a perfect fit for the post you are going for.
By focusing on your competency, and experience, if you already gained some, you will feel confidently geared and focused in presenting yourself, and answering the questions that will be thrown at you.
My personal technique is to take a deep breath before the interview starts, and quickly look back on the relevant assignments and tasks I have worked on effectively in the past, in order to remind myself that I have the capability to deliver and that I am fit for this.
This process of reassurance, helps me conquer my nervousness and retains my confidence.
Honesty as in everything, is very important even during interviews, especially when it comes to questions about your character, skills and competency.
Interviewers and/or employers will be able to tell if you’re just saying the things you say, because you think that’s what they wanted to hear.
Make sure that you can stand by the competencies you claim you have on your CV. Better to set your clients’ expectation early on and express willingness in learning things, than mislead them and inefficiently deliver later on, when you get hired.
Be honest with your expectations as well. Being able to establish mutual trust, even at this early stage of the application process, will ensure a positive working communication and effective working relationship, when you get hired.
Express everything in a professional manner at all times. It may also do you good, if you avoid sharing personal circumstances that you may be encountering in your personal life.
I have been in an interview wherein, I was in a tight competition with another person, who has the same skills as mine, but I ended up getting the job because the other person, according to the interviewer, has divulged personal problems that she’s been going through, during the final interview.
Some employers may be okay with it, but it’s always good to deal with business, by drawing a line between your personal and professional life.
Light personal questions may be asked when you get hired, as a “getting – to know you better” phase between you and your boss, but even then, I suggest it would be better to keep personal problems at bay.
Virtual interviews actually doesn’t have that much difference with conventional one on one interviews, that companies perform to assess aspiring employees.
And so, the interview process, regardless of how it was done, is an opportunity for employers and businesses to streamline aspirants, and choose who they think would be positively beneficial for their business.
With that end goal in mind, which is to find competent people, virtual assistants should see this as the perfect time to “sell” their skills and competency, and build a positive impression, and the qualities listed above may just help you to successfully do that.
Share your interview practices and experiences in the Comments sections. I look forward to hearing your stories.
“Sooner or later, those who win are those who think they can.” – Paul Tournier
“If the career you have chosen has some unexpected inconvenience, console yourself by reflecting that no career is without them.” – Jane Fonda
“Time is the scarcest resource and unless it is managed nothing else can be managed.” – Peter Drucker
“There are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work, and learning from failure.” – Colin Powell
Just like in any typical job, virtual assistants may also find the need to temporarily and unexpectedly hang their gloves, for a variety of reasons, like a business closing down, temporary absence of assignments to work on, or just a temporary postponement of a client’s contract.
Here is where you’ll find that the old adage, “when a door closes, a window opens” proves to be true, for often, the end of one road often leads to a new adventure, a new journey. And for a virtual assistant, it means new opportunities, new skills, and believe it or not, a chance for growth.
Let me share with you some insights, on how this circumstance, can turn you into a better version of you.
Initiate self growth
Use your freshly freed up time, to upgrade yourself, on additional skills you can learn. Check out relevant job listing sites, to get an idea on what skills other freelancers offer, and try to devote some time to dig deeper and learn about it.
It can be some skill, you’ve been wanting to try your hands on, like blogging or marketing or Excel functions, anything that picks your interest.
This way, you’re not just doing some self – upgrade, but also adds up to your credentials on what you can bring to the table, for your future clients.
Grab a book and read
Remember that self – improvement article you may have bookmarked, and saved for reading, when you get the time? Or the book you may have already started, but never got the chance to finish?
Or maybe, an e-book about a program or application, you may have downloaded from Kindle, that’s been sitting on your device for quite some time now.Why not use some of your extra time, to start on it or just pick up where you left off?
Taking the time to read will not only enrich your mind with information, but will also equip you, with greater knowledge and ideas, that can lead to future and unexplored opportunities.
Self – assessment
Your objective of self – assessment, is for you to identify and maximize your strengths, and improve on the areas you think, you could still grow on.
You may have been wanting to research on methods, applications or programs, to solve the challenges have encountered, on jobs you have worked on in the past.
Are there any particular tasks that gets you excited? And in the same way, what skills do you think, you need more time and strategy, to focus and improve on?
This is the perfect time to ask yourself these questions, to identify and address your limitations, and how you can overcome them using the resources you have, at the same time, further enhance your strengths, and get them to work to your advantage.
Keep looking and explore
Start fresh and never get tired searching. Continue marketing yourself and what you can do, by sending out bids and applications, for new opportunities.
There are a lot of businesses and individuals out there, searching for the services you can provide, and technology has made it easier and more convenient for us to land on a job.
Keeping your career afloat as a virtual assistant also takes time, patience, faith and determination as with everything else.
These values along with your valuable skills, will lead you to endless opportunities, and nail your place with guaranteed success, in the now competitive world of virtual assisting.
Feel free to share you thoughts on the Comments section below.