Where your business is, is just as important as where your mind is at.
Your mindset and your expectations around your Virtual Assistant and their role in your business are, I would argue, the most important part of preparing to hire someone to join your team.
You see, no matter how prepared your business might be for a Virtual Assistant it won’t matter if YOU are not prepared.
Here’s how you can prepare yourself mentally for your first hire:
Have Clear well-defined goals:
Your virtual assistant is there to help you reach your goals but he can only do this if you know what your goals are.
Where do you want to take your business? The question that I ask all my clients is: Where do you want to be in 6-months?
If you don’t know the answer then maybe you need to take a day off (I know it’s hard) and focus on where you’d like to take your business next.
Get clear on what you’d like to Delegate
Don’t waste your VA’s and your own time. Have a clear idea of what you need them to do for you and what your priorities are.
Not sure what to delegate? Then ask yourself these questions:
- What is something that is a total time-suck in my day?
- What is something I need to do but don’t enjoy doing?
- Where could I benefit from someone with the right expertise?
Trust in your VA
Trust is important in any relationship and your Virtual Assistant is no exception.
For some of you, this will be the hardest thing to do, and that’s okay, but it’s also the most important one! Your VA can only do a good job if you let them and this means trusting in their skills and letting go.
This is the really hard part, but it’s also the most important one! If you micro-manage your virtual assistant and second guess every decision they make then you’ll get nowhere. You’ll feel more stressed than ever before and your virtual assistant will take twice as long to get anything done.
So remember: Trust in your VA!
These three mindset shifts will get you ready to hire your first Virtual Assistant. And if you’re wondering what else you need to have in place before you start then click here and get my free guide: Before you hire a Virtual Assistant Do this!
The most common question I get asked is: Should I hire a Virtual Assistant? The answer is probably yes, especially if you’re feeling tired and frazzled, but the question isn’t whether you should hire someone to help you in your business, the real question is: Is your business ready for it?
As entrepreneurs, we all wear several hats, but before we can start passing some of those hats along to others we need to make sure our business is ready for it.
Here’s what you need to have in place in your business before you hire your virtual assistant:
These guidelines will be a valuable asset to your business, especially when you start delegating. They consist of your brand colours and logo but also your standards of communication and your brand voice.
When it’s time to pass tasks along to a VA you’ll be thankful to have these on paper as they’ll make it easier for your Virtual Assistant to create content and communicate in your brand’s voice.
Is your business making you money on a consistent basis? Having a consistent income is the basis of any successful business and will allow you to build a relationship with your Virtual Assistant.
It takes time to build a relationship between you and your VA, and it takes time to connect with your brand, being able to pay your VA every month will allow you to compound the benefits of having a virtual assistant as you get to know each other and your VA gets to know your brand.
This is probably the hardest one for most of my clients: creating systems.
Systems are checklists and processes that help you run your business. Everything from client intake to publishing a blog. You probably do most of this instinctively, but having a checklist of how you do these things will not only make it faster for you to do them but also make it easier for you to delegate these tasks in the future.
Now if you don’t have all three of these steps in place, don’t freak out, you can still hire that help you’ve been craving, but try to have at least two of these in place. A VA can help you set up systems and maybe even write down what you know your brand is, but it will be hard to create a good relationship with your VA if you don’t have at least some of this in place.
Is your business ready for a Virtual Assistant? Want to know what’s next? Get my Free Guide Before You Hire a Virtual do This! Click here to get your copy!
28. I turned 28 only 2 days ago, 28 little years on this earth with plenty of tripping and detours. I’ve learned so much already, and there is so much more I still have to learn!
Here are 28 things I’ve learned along the way:
1 – You’ll only know if you like it once you try it (this works for jobs, food and people 😂)
2 – No one will ever understand you completely, don’t take it personally, and hang on to the people that get some of who you are!
3 – Nothing is as scary or hard as you think it is. Not travelling or starting your own business.
4 – Just because it’s hard doesn’t mean it’s not worth it. The best things in life are hard to do.
5 – Planning is overrated, how can you get started right now?
6 – You can change your mind. On your future, your dreams and your goals, whenever you need too.
7 – life is supposed to be fun! If you’re not enjoying life change something!
8 – Keep it simple. Especially when cooking, and use the oven, it’s your friend.
9 – Comfortable shoes are always the best option. The heels are not worth the pain.
10 – Hot chocolate makes everything better. If you ever feel like the world is ending, have some hot chocolate.
11 – Most things won’t kill you. Remember that next time you’re afraid to try something new.
12 – College is important but not because of what you learn. What’s most important is what you can create in those year and the friends you make. Don’t focus on the grades!
13 – Breakfast is sooo important! I skipped it for years but you won’t believe the energy starting the day on a full stomach gives you.
14 – Enjoy the weather as it is. We complain so much about it being too hot or cold but there’s beauty in both! Sunny days on the beach or winter days by the fireplace.
15 – You don’t need much to be happy. Your loved ones, food on the table and a home. That’s it.
16 – When a kitten decides to sleep on your lap, say thank you and don’t move!
17 – Most of your colds can be cured with rest and a hot tea. But you need to rest, turn off the computer and rest!
18 – There’s beauty everywhere. No matter where you park your car there is beauty there, you just have to look for it.
19 – Wherever you go, there you are. You can’t run away from who you are, so learn to love yourself.
20 – Love is about supporting each other in your dreams. And letting them know that you believe in them.
21 – You can always do more work every day, but that doesn’t mean you should. Remember to have fun.
22 – For most things, there is no right way. There’s the way everyone is doing it but that doesn’t mean you can’t do it your way.
23 – Protect your dreams. The whole world doesn’t need to know your dream, keep it safe.
24 – If someone says it’s impossible there’s probably someone else doing it.
25 – Cherish the people around you, they won’t always be there. And remember them with care when they’re gone.
26 – Be yourself. There is someone who’s looking for someone just like you!
27 – You don’t need many friends. You need good friends no matter where in the world they are.
28 – You only live once and this life is to short for you not to live it to the fullest.
Happy 2018 everyone!
How was your Christmas? No, really, tell me I want to know!
Christmas this year was quite different for me. Since we’re travelling I spent Christmas day with my hubby and our two cats. We went to the nearby town for a short walk and then returned home to enjoy a good book and relax.
I usually have two books that I’m reading. One fiction book that I read before going to sleep and one non-fiction that I’ll read throughout the day in little junks whenever I have a chance.
With the Christmas feel still in the air I’ll be reading a bit more these next few days so I thought I’d share with you what’s currently on my reading list and ask you: What are you reading this Christmas season?
Non-fiction: Tools of Titans by Tim Ferris
This is a massive book! And there’re so many good nuggets throughout the book. There’s also a lot that doesn’t fit me or my lifestyle, but that’s okay. The beauty of this book is that you can pick and choose what to apply in your life.
If you’re going to dive into this bible there’re two things I’d advice you to do:
- Take notes! Whether you’re reading a digital or physical version, underline what resonated with you, bookmark particularly useful chapters and make sure to write down your takeaways.
- Take action! If there’s a particular habit or framework that you’d like to implement into your life, don’t wait! Take action on it right away and implement what you’re learning!
I’ve been enjoying this book a lot and have already implemented several habits from it, it’s the kind of book I’ll probably return to several times. Once I’m done with this I’ll probably dive into Tim’s new book Tribe of Mentors.
Fiction: Orix & Crex by Margaret Atwood
Margaret Atwood is one of my favourite writers of all times! Here distopias are so powerfully written and envelop you in worlds that although far from hours feel possible and real. Margaret calls her work Speculative fiction, a kind of fiction that bases itself on current realities and technologies. That’s exactly what makes her books so powerful, the knowledge that the necessary blocks for her worlds exist in our world.
If you’ve never read any of her books start with the Handmaid’s Tale. I guarantee it will send a shiver down your spine that you won’t soon forget!
These are the books that I’m currently cosying up on the couch with. What are you reading? What’s a book that you think I need to read?
I’m always looking for new books to add to my evergrowing collection!
I’ve used multiple CRM over the course of running my business. Some did the only email, others managed your client list but not much more. But none of them worked well for me until I found Dubsado. Dubsado merges all the best features of several CRM’s into a beautiful easy to use interface! And you know I love me a great interface!
But Dubsado is more than a pretty face. It’s a powerful tool for you to run your business, here’s what it can do:
Send and Sign Contracts
Create beautiful contracts with ease and have your clients sign electronically. No more printing or scanning required. If you’ve ever had a client take a month to sign your contract because the printer was broken then this will change your life. I’ve sent out contracts and had them sent back to me within the hour! Wouldn’t that be amazing?
Send Invoices and Get Paid
Dubsado connects to all major payment processors making it easy for your clients to pay you directly from the invoice. You can connect with: Paypal, and Stripe or Square, and the best part? Dubsado doesn’t take any of your money! All you pay is the standard commission for the payment processors, and that’s it!
You get to sync Dubsado with your favourite calendar, so you never miss a task or event. You can connect with google calendar or iCal and since the goes both way you can then see all your tasks either in Dubsado or on your calendar.
This is one of my favourite features, you get to create templates for your emails so that the next time you need to remind a client of the invoice, send a contract or ask for a testimonial you have all those templates one click away!
Your Own Branding
You’ve worked so hard on your brand and it’s only fair that your invoices and proposals are branded to match. Dubsado not only allows you to brand your whole system to match your brand but you won’t find any mention of them on the contracts, emails and invoices you send to your clients. You’ll look like an absolute pro, that has all of her ducks in a row and no one will know that you’re using this awesome system!
If you’re always on the go this will be a great plus for you! Not only will you be able to send contracts and invoices from the mobile site your clients will also be able to review all the info, sign and pay for their mobile device. There’s also an app on the way, which I just can’t wait to see! (cause I just know it will be amazing!)
Send Forms and Questionnaires
Need your new leads to send you some details before booking a call? Do you have content to send to approval or design options to share? Dubsado allows you to create forms and questionnaires so that your clients can send you the info you need and give you feedback without all those messy emails and attachments.
Manage your Clients
This is where you’ll keep everything you need to know about your clients, from contact information to emails sent you’ll know exactly where you stand with each client and you’ll never have to search for that email from that one client in your inbox ever again!
These are great if you want to give your clients a place to go to view their contract and invoice information. So next time a client asks you for a copy of the contract or that one invoice you can just direct them over to your client portal.
For me, this is where Dubsado really shines! You can create a workflow that takes your client step by step from the moment they reach out to you until they’ve signed your contract and paid.You can also set it up to send thank you notes and testimonials requests to your past clients. It all gets done automatically so you can focus on other things.
Do you take your payment at a specific time or moment of your project? You’ll never have to send that out manually again! With Dubsado, you get to set up payment schedules so that whatever your schedule is all invoices are sent out automatically at the right time.
If you are in the US then you’ll love the simple system for categorizing and reviewing your invoices and income. I particularly love the little graph with projected and actual income, unfortunately, I still need to use a separate for tax purposes but this is where I check if my business is actually making money!
Ever wished you could track your time and then have an easy way to take those tracked hours and send them as an invoice to your client? Well, Dubsado does this and it’s super cool!
Last but not least the price. Dubsado costs 25$ per month or 250$ for a year. There are no packages with different access to features or premium options. That’s it one price for all the features.
Also, you get to try the full program for free for as long as you like, the only limitation is you can only have 3 clients/leads, but you still get all of your features!
Try it today here: dubsado.com
For the longest time, I’ve used the only Buffer to schedule my post on all my social media including Instagram, but lately, I’ve been using Planoly.
I had heard about Planoly for the longest time and resisted it. Mostly because I didn’t want to have one more tool in my workflow. I finally gave in to Planoly. Because I wanted a tool that allowed me to view my Instagram feed ahead of time.
Most Important thing first: Pricing
Planoly starts our free for one Instagram account. This allows you to preview your feed on the app, organize it and create hashtag groups for your posts.
There are two limits to the free plan: you can only upload photos and only up to 30 per month.
If you want unlimited uploads or to add a new profile you can upgrade to either the SOLO 7$/month plan or the DUO 15$/month plan, respectively. I’m really tempted by the Duo plan because it allows you to manage feeds at the same time but for now, I’m sticking with the free plan.
Why I love Planoly
There’re plenty of tools for posting to Instagram but here’s why I love Planoly and why you might want to at least check it out!
You can see what your feed will look like
Both on the computer and your mobile app you’ll be able to preview your feed and see exactly how your feed will look like. You can also drag and drop photos around to make your feed look just right, now and in the future.
You can create groups of hashtags
This is just brilliant! No more searching your notes for the right tags or have to hand type it. You can create different groups and add them to the post so they’re copied to together with your caption when you go to post it.
You can also…
Pre-write your captions
Upload your image, write your copy ahead of time so you won’t let that perfect caption idea slip away.
Schedule your posts
Want to post at a specific time? Schedule your posts on your calendar on the site and get a reminder on the app when it’s time to post.
You can check our Planoly for Free here! I hope you enjoy them as much as I do!
In our fast-paced world of online business, it’s easy to get swallowed by your to-dos and all your business responsabilities. One of the ways I fight this is by making a plan for my week ahead of time. This helps me not only to stay organized but also to have a sense of calm about the week ahead.
When you know what you need to do you don’t have time to wonder about what you should be doing.
Where it all starts: The prep-work
Planning your weeks starts with having a place to plan it on. For me that place is Trello. For you, it can be a paper calendar or a different scheduling app like ToDoIst or Asana.
I wanted however to make a case for Trello. For many years I had used a mixture of paper planner, calendar and task apps and Evernote. And then I really dove into Trello. I had heard of Trello before but wasn’t sold on it. The interface looks odd and it didn’t have all the bells and whistles of the other tools.
But I decided to take another look and know I wouldn’t trade it for a second. It is now the only tool I use, I’ve abandoned paper planers, other checklist type apps and even Evernote. All my ideas, tasks and client information live in Trello. Now I can plan out my days, weeks and months without having to wonder where everything is.
The other great advantage of Trello is its flexibility. You can make it work for your particular business and workflow and there’s really no rules you have to follow in making it work.
Sunday: Get ready for the week ahead
I always plan my weeks on Sunday before, like this when Monday comes around I can focus on doing the things instead of rushing around prepping the things and doing the things at the same time.
The way I plan my week is predicated on the type of work I do but also on so generally good rules that I’ve learned along the way. So here are my two “rules” to planning my week.
First what you do every week
We all have recurring tasks we do every week, for me, that means social media and blog post scheduling both for myself and my clients, for you it might mean something completely different. Regardless of what exactly that looks like for you, these are the first tasks you need to add to your week.
Add them for each of your days and if you can set your system up to do this for you, even better!
Decide how many F*cks you can give.
This idea was first presented to me by Ash Ambirge of the Middle Finger Project. You can read the article here. The idea is this: you only have so much energy every day so as a rule of thumb you never want to schedule more things to do than those that you’ll have the energy for on each given day.
For me what this means is that when planning my week I will only ever add 12 tasks per day, not a single one more. Depending on the tasks 12 may seem like a lot or too little so here’s a rule of thumb: each task should take more than 25 minutes if you have a task that will take more than that split it into smaller steps.
So when looking ahead at your week decide what are the 12 things you’ll do on that given day?
Finally, be flexible
The reason I love digital so much is that it isn’t set in “pen”, you can change and adapt as the week progresses and you should. This means that if a task seemed important at the beginning of the week but doesn’t anymore, remove it, replace it with a different one. If a day is going particularly well and you feel like you could do a few more things you get a choice: you can do a few tasks from the next day or you can take a break and enjoy the day.
Whatever your schedule looks like remember there aren’t right or wrong ways to have a schedule. There are only the right ways for you.
What feels right for you and how can you organize your days so you can give fewer fucks?
If only I had done a backup before hitting that damn update button!
You see I’m usually pretty tech savvy but this past week my blind trust in Apple has betrayed me! It was Sunday, I was on the bed pretending to work when the little “Would you like to update to the most recent version of OS?” question showed up on my MacBook’s screen. And I thought: “Why the hell not! I have nothing better to do”. I clicked the magical update button and that’s when it all when to hell in a handbasket.
The update stalled due to missing drivers and after reformatting the disk the online update also stalled. Result: my MacBook is currently as useful as a paperweight!
If only I had backed it up… if only… So lesson one girl:
Always have a backup!
Seriously, never skip this step! Whenever you’re updating any of your computers DO A BACKUP!
Actually, this is the only lesson in this post! Hear me out:
With my computer offline I could easily have been prevented to work until we find an apple store. Not the best situation when you’re travelling. But I’m still here working and writing this blog post. Why? Because I have other tools where I can do my work.
Namely my iPad Pro, that has saved my behind! And my hubby’s computer that I can steal when I need to do something that I just can’t do on the iPad.
All these technical problems got me thinking:
What do you do when plan A doesn’t work?
Do you have a plan B for the important things in your life? What if that new dream home you’ve been waiting to buy falls through? What if your car breaks down? What if… god forbid… your computer stops working?
Having a backup isn’t only important for your computer, it’s important for your life.
In my life having a backup means:
Having a tent with us so we can camp out if no homes are available for us during our trip.
Bringing my iPad on the trip so I can still work when the inevitable tech problem happens.
Knowing that if all else fails we can: get work washing dishes or stocking shelves somewhere or even sell the car and catch a plane back home.
What’s important for you? What’s worth having a plan B for?
The actual place where I work can vary greatly depending on whether I’m traveling, at home or working from a coworking space. But no matter where I am there are certain staples of my workstation that stay the same.
My workstation – what it looks like:
When I think about my workstation there are 2 levels to the way I work. There’s the bare minimal, what I absolutely must have to be able to work, and then there’s my perfect setup, the way I work when I’m home or at a more stable office.
Here’s what that looks like:
The Bare Minimal
There are 3 things I absolutely must have to be able to do my work. Without these it’s just not happening!
I have a 12’’ MacBook and this is where I do all my work.
There are many great options of computers out there but here’s why I chose the MacBook:
Mac over PC because of system stability: I’ve used PC’s for years but when I started doing freelancing I knew a Mac was the way to go. As an entrepreneur you have a million things to get done. What you don’t need is to spend 5 hours reformatting, updating or cleaning your computer. I’m not willing to waste that much time so I knew I needed a Mac.
Why I didn’t go Pro: The MacBook Pro is an amazing machine, and I’ve had one before, but when it was time to get a new computer I choose a lighter, even if less powerful option. The MacBook is slightly less powerful than it’s Pro cousin but the difference in power comes with a heavy weight, quite literally! I needed a computer that could travel with me, so I ended up with the lighter version, and I don’t regret it for a second!
A Strong Internet Connection
This is a must! I have many friends that can work both online and offline, but the nature of my work means I always need internet.
I’ve become an expert at finding Café’s with great internet and I always have my data package for emergencies.
If you’re traveling I’d suggest also looking into a mobile modem. You’ll need to get a data card from the country where you are currently staying, but it’s a nice to have in case of emergencies.
Usually while I’m working I’m listening to a podcast, a youtube video or just some great music, but that’s not why headphones are a must for me. I can still work even if I’m not listening to something, but interruptions are deadly.
So whether I’m listening to something or not you’ll always find me with my headphones tucked into my ears. If nothing else they serve to tell people that I’m busy and not to willing to be interrupted.
My Perfect Setup
Get ready cause this is where it gets really weird! When I’m staying for a while in the same place and I can set up a desk either at home or at the local coworking space my setup becomes a whole other thing.
On the left I’ll have my iPad Pro with my podcasts playing. In front of me my MacBook set up on it’s Stand so that I’m not bending my back or neck to work (just writing this makes me stand up straight). And on the right a notebook and pen to be able to write down any quick notes.
What’s also never too far away is my mug with either coffee or tea and a snack to munch on while the occasional page loads.
I know it’s too many screens (my boyfriend keeps telling me so…) but the truth is that I love it! Whenever I get to use this setup I feel so much more in control of everything around me.
Your setup will probably look different from mine. It will depend not only on the tools you have but also on your specific nature. It all depends on what makes YOU work better. I’d love to see what your setup looks like!
What’s the one thing in your workstation that makes you more productive and you couldn’t live without?
Can you believe 2017 is almost over? With only 2 months left in the year, I wanted to take to look back at the year and reflect on all that I have to be grateful for and what the year ahead will hold.
What this year had to offer:
Throughout this year, while building my business I got to connect with an amazing community of women entrepreneurs. Being able to talk with, support and share victories with you amazing women has been one of the greatest gifts this year had to offer.
I also got to spend some amazing quality time with my family and friends. And this month that meant starting a trip we’ve been planning for years: a road trip across Europe.
I’ll always be grateful for all that 2017 gifted me but I can’t wait for 2018 and all that it will bring.
2018, what the year ahead will bring:
A Year of Travel
2018 will be the year of the road trip! Don’t ask me where we’ll be when we have no idea, we’re planning it one stop at a time. The goal is to see all 22 European countries and cross over 31.000km of road and you can follow along over at vagabondcats.com
Being better, kinder, more present
As I look back at the last year I see clearly the times where I could’ve been kinder and more present. Those are some of the moments when I feel I failed both myself and those around me so in the coming year that’s one of the points I’ll be improving on: Being a kinder more present person.
Reaching more people & new services
I’m actually not waiting for 2017 to do this! I’m opening up new spots to work with me as your VA, as well as new services around Web Design and Branding. If you’d like to learn more check out all the details here. I’d love to get to know you and support you in growing your business.
Community & Connection
This is where I’m the happiest and so I’m planning on building something around this in the coming year. I’m not sure what this will look like or what it will involve but it’s in the plan and I can’t wait to bring it forward into the world.
Now it’s your turn! What did you love about 2017 and what are you creating in 2018? Let me know in the comments below, I’d love to know what you are up to!