by Lisa Taliga
Are you working full-time, want to start your Virtual Assistant business but just don’t seem to find enough hours in the day to focus on it?
This may also apply to you if you are working part-time or have a growing family. A good chunk of your day may be swallowed up by the daily commute, the demands of your boss, cooking dinner, looking after the kids, keeping the house clean… by the time you’ve finished all that, how are you going to get focused? How are you going to find the time to start or build your business?
If you don’t have a solid strategy or plan to get to where you want to be, then somehow your days will drag into weeks, then months and you’ll still be no nearer your goal of working from home. It’s so easy to let the daily ‘noise’ of life distract us from our ultimate goals. Nodding your head vigorously?
Then read on for the following four tips to cut through the jungle and realize your dream:
1. Be disciplined Discipline is not just about doing things to start your business. It’s also about ensuring your day isn’t spent doing everything else! It means saying ‘no’ every once in a while to those tasks that are not going to bring you closer to your goal. Just think, if you spent two hours less a week on housework or got home one hour earlier a couple of days a week – that’s an extra eight hours a month you’d have to work on your project.
2. Be realistic If you’re still working your day job, schedule that from the time you get up in the morning until you get home from work. Don’t forget to include time for commuting. Then, plan out your evening accordingly. Don’t schedule a four hour task to be completed in one hour. It won’t happen. Break tasks up as much as possible into small steps and schedule them into your time. This will give you a feeling of accomplishment and you’ll get a lot more done in the long run.
3. Be specific Your daily plans and goals need to be very specific. I really want to emphasise again how important it is to break everything down into steps. It won’t do you any good to write something like, ‘work on marketing’. What does that mean? How exactly do you ‘work on marketing?’ Your plan needs to include a definite task and finishing point, such as ‘write an ad for the local newspaper’. Do you see the difference? You can ‘work on’ a project for weeks and never reach a point where you feel you’ve achieved something. By contrast, when you ‘write an ad’ you know you’re finished as soon as you’ve typed the final word.
4. Be flexible You should also be a little flexible in your scheduling. You’re going to have interruptions that you couldn’t possibly have planned for. When working from home, the chance of distraction goes up exponentially. You’ll be working on your project, only to have the toilet overflow or the kids play up. There will be things that happen that you can’t plan for. That’s why your schedule needs to include a little cushion. Sometimes, no matter how well you plan, you just won’t finish what you schedule. It happens to everyone. That’s when you simply revise your schedule for the next day to include the tasks you didn’t get done. Don’t stress about an item or two not getting done as planned. Just take it in stride and keep on moving forward. If you find yourself routinely missing your deadlines, you’ll need to reevaluate your scheduling. Are you being realistic in your planning? Probably not. Adjust accordingly.
If you keep these four tips in mind when tackling your Virtual Assistant business projects you’ll stay sane and get much more done. With a little discipline, planning and effort, you can schedule your dreams into your ‘full-time life’ much more effectively and ultimately earn a full-time income from home.
Lisa Taliga is a Virtual Assistant and author of ‘Freelance from Home! The 5 Key Steps to Your Successful Virtual Assistant Business‘ and ‘The 7 Things You Must Know Before Starting Your Successful Virtual Assistant Business’(pdf will download).