Back to School for Virtual Assistants – Part 1
We’re coming up on the time of year when back-to-school plans are impacting everyone, including virtual assistants. Whether you have children or not, the back-to-school push has an impact on VAs. This month we’re going to be sharing tips on how to transition back to school, including homeschooling. The Association of Virtual Assistants will also have special blog posts on preparing for those heading back to the office – your clients. Things have changed for them and that means it’s changed for you.
When schools started shutting down in masses back in the spring of 2020 the virtual assistant profession was heavily impacted. School closures impacted childcare facilities, preschools, K-12, and even college campuses. Women were some of the hardest hit by the shutdown. As this article states, women are the primary caregivers and subsequently became the primary homeschool teacher for their child(ren).
Many virtual assistants had to rearrange their schedules, cut back on their client load, and in a time when demand was never greater, many VAs could not run their businesses at all.
Back to school this year is taking on a brand new meaning and it’s the perfect time (even if you don’t have children) to take stock of your business.
Conduct a time audit on your business.
- Write down how many billable or client facing hours you worked, non-billable or client facing hours (marketing your business, team meetings, posting to social media, writing, etc.), time spent teaching and tutoring your children over the last six months. Now compare it to the last two years at the same.
- Then compare your earnings over the same time period.
- Next, do an audit of the services you are or were offering over the same time period.
Assess your findings.
- What is most eye-opening to you? Why?
- Did you find that you have earned the same amount or more even though you were working fewer hours?
- Have you noticed that 80% of your income is coming from a certain source or service?
- List everything you find valuable, shocking, a pleasant surprise, etc.
Create a new time budget.
With the kiddos back in school or childcare you might feel like you have so much more time on your hands again. Let’s be real, an hour of uninterrupted work time when you’re not being pulled in several different directions is priceless! However, much like a money budget, that time has to be allocated or it will seem like it just seems to disappear.
- Write down how much time you’ll have back in your schedule with your child(ren) back in school.
- Carefully decide how you would like to spend this time. How do you want to fill it? You don’t automatically have to fill it with client work. This could be time for you to write a book, start a podcast, or maybe do nothing at all. It doesn’t have to be filled. However, in this case, you will have to label it your sacred time in order to ensure someone else doesn’t try to take it from you.
- Write out your time goals. Just like when creating a money budget there is a line item for everything and there is also a long-term goal for retirement, vacations, vacations homes, college funds, etc. What are your long-term time goals? Getting very clear about your time, how you spend it, and what that will provide you in the long-term will help you spend your time wisely to benefit yourself.
If you don’t have children but have clients with children, this is also a good time to conduct a time assessment with them. They could have big plans to ramp up when their child(ren) go back to school and you’ll want to ensure you both are on the same page as far as time commitments with work.
Back to school time has historically been a time of year to get back into your routine. A routine that may have been interrupted with vacations, no homework, long summer days and nights, and lazy days. This year, don’t simply go back to your old routine. Assess your schedule and create a new routine that is even better than before!
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