My introvert story so far…
On Wednesday, after 4 hours of back to back video calls (which were all amazing I must add) I sat in the sofa and Mischka looked at me, put her paw on my hand, and she understood my exhaustion. Now, I love that this situation has allowed us all to have so many more conversations, interactions, and utilise technologies that bring many of us together. However, as a self-confessed introvert, it can be incredibly draining having calls each day taking up 2 to 3 hours in total.
Now, I don’t know about you, but my usual working life is often an introvert’s dream! I have probably 1 or 2 20 minute calls on a Monday where clients are checking up on projects and sharing new ideas, and I carry out sales calls for one of my other clients which, on a busy day, 2 people answer, so this amount of calls, particularly on video, got a bit overwhelming last week.
My top tips for introverts doing conference calls
- Don’t ever do the calls back to back. I cannot stress enough how important it is to have a real break between calls. If your break is following up with an email, completing a design task, getting a cup of tea or coffee, or simply standing up and doing jumping jacks, I recommend you do it. No one is going to loose their business because you asked to do a call 20 minutes later than they asked.
- Plan your day as much as you can. If you’re having a similar experience as me, many of your clients are picking up the phone to just call you. That’s great, that shows they trust you and want to speak with you. However, if you have loads of other planned calls, let them know how long you have (with a break time for before the next call) so they know there’s a limit on the time you can speak for. You can perhaps let clients know your availability for calls, which could be an excellent solution to this. It’s then a first come first answered situation.
- Check in with yourself. How are you doing? Is today an exhausting day or have you the energy to give to more calls coming your way? If you’re getting to the peak of your giving levels, let clients know you’re now in head down work and can’t answer calls for an hour. They won’t loose their minds, they get it and probably will be grateful you’re prioritising work.
- Embrace the 40 minute limit! I was getting frustrated by the Zoom limit on calls, but it’s actually a fantastic way to prevent over talking. It keeps everyone on the call limited to important conversations, and can keep me alert and invested. Embrace that limit, I find any more than an hour and I start to falter.
Whatever you feel like right now, it’s OK. We need to take care of ourselves so we can take care of our clients and loved ones. However you re-energise, whether it be playing a game, reading a book, listening to the birds in your garden, or cuddling your dog – give yourself a chance to recharge your battery so you can go out and charge other’s.
Good luck fellow introverts, you got this.
As a business owner, you may have been recommended to create a Facebook page. You go into it with all guns blazing, and then business tasks get in the way, and you may not feel quite as inspired as you were at the beginning.
As a customer, coming to a page which hasn’t been updated for a few months feels like the business may no longer be trading, or that it is sporadic. This is not what you want to make people feel! So, if you are feeling uninspired, or just unsure of what to post, we wanted to create some ideas for you, that may be a little “out of the box”.
- Create images with quotes which inspire or motivate you (we highly recommend Canva). Pictures say a thousand words, and ones with quotes in them say even more. You can then share why this quote is one you feel inspired by, and why you chose to share it. Bonus idea – share a question to ask for others to share their favourite quotes in their comments – this will build engagement and may give you some new quotes to use in future posts!
- Share your week ahead. This is a really easy way to showcase what you do in your business, without sharing a sales post. Consider sharing events you are attending, people you are working with, or tasks you are carrying out in preparation for services you provide. This is an excellent idea for those of us who provide services and find it difficult to showcase how we help others.
- Share a testimonial or case study. These work really well in images as well, so you can input some recent kind words from a client in an image, and then share in the post how you helped the person who shared those thoughts.
- Recommend other businesses. This can be an excellent way to build relationships with your collaborative partners. You can share why you use them, how they help your clients, or simply just to boost a contact’s business page. Remember to link to their page by @ mentioning them.
- Share blogs and videos from others. This can be of blogs you have read recently, videos you recommend watching, or ones that are in relation to the services you provide. TEDtalks are excellent for coaches, for example!
As a bonus idea, you can use your Facebook page to share your personal and business life – images and posts that show what you are getting up to tend to get the highest reach and engagement, and you can do these direct from your mobile device, so you can instantly share an image of you walking the dog, or getting a coffee from your local coffee shop before a meeting with a client.
We hope you have found these ideas a boost to help you get started in creating posts for your business page on Facebook, we’d love to hear some ways you are using your Facebook page in the comments below, and if you have any questions at all, do share them too!
I keep hearing, every year, how people will be following New Year’s resolutions, and then potentially failing at them. I wanted to have a post where we all, as business owners, can share one thing we would love to achieve in 2018 that would make our business lives better, easier, more inspired, or just happier.
So I shall start!
One thing that will make my business life better in 2018 is to have time to learn new things. I love being able to help others with their businesses, and I love that most of my day is taken helping my clients, however, how do I stay ahead of the game, if I don’t give myself time to learn new skillsets?
So I will be signing up to a few new courses every few months, to help me learn new skills. Starting with SEO, and then signing up to a fantastic new tool called Tomorrow’s VA, aimed at helping VAs become more productive. I know the owner very well, and have had the privilege to be a part of the beginning process of it launching. It will share tips and tricks to saving time whilst using Microsoft tools, such as Excel, Word, PowerPoint and Outlook. I already have utilised some fantastic tips from the free downloads, and can’t wait to learn new ways to be even more efficient!
So, over to you – what will you be resolving to do in 2018 to help you within your business? I’d love to hear it!
PS, if like me you are rubbish at setting goals, I will be on this free webinar by Elaine Sullivan on 28th January.
Oh yes, the holiday, an enemy for some entrepreneurs, but one that is essential to have when running a business to help your mind and body take some much needed R&R.
How can you prepare for a holiday, to make sure your stress levels aren’t sky-high while away, that you need a holiday to make up for the stress of a holiday?
Here are my tips as a virtual assistant, that I have learned for myself or from clients I help. I hope you find them useful, and perhaps share some of your preparation with us too, in the comments!
- It’s all about the notifications! Let your clients know that you will be away, and how they can contact you in case of an emergency. What I have found is, when I share this emergency contact information, most clients really don’t need it, and never use it, but having it is a good way to put them (and yourself!) at ease.
- Add an extra day onto the arrival date, so you have enough time to go through your inbox, and to recover from the jet lag. If you are having a long-haul flight, this is an essential, so you can recuperate and have some rest after the flight. Even if you aren’t flying anywhere, you will need some time to unpack, get everything in order, and clear out your inbox (especially if you don’t have someone like a VA managing it for you while you are away). Give yourself this extra time, I promise you it will be truly helpful to your sanity.
- Do not find a hotel with Wi-Fi, unless it’s a working holiday. You will just get tempted to check your emails and continue to work, making it…surprise…not a blooming holiday! All too often do I have clients ask me to manage their email inbox, and I spot them replying and checking in – why ask someone to care for your emails for you, when you are going to cheekily check them yourself? It also means that those who are with you will potentially get a little miffed, if you are spending a few hours each day replying to messages!
- Turn off your phone, even if it’s only for the excursions. Take that time to be truly free from notifications and disruptions, so you can enjoy your holiday. If your only means of photographing the holiday are your phone, turn it onto Do Not Disturb, so you don’t get any calls or interruptions while you take in the sites, and enjoy the time with your friends and/or family.
- Take a notebook with you, for ideas that pop into your mind. I often find my best ideas for my business are during my downtime, so I personally take a notebook with me for when I have these ideas, so I don’t forget them. If you are similar to me in that respect, why not take a special “holiday ideas” notepad with you. It’s a great reason to go to your favourite stationary store and treat yourself! (Am I the only one who loves stationary shops?!)
BONUS TIP – actually take some holidays. Coming from someone who has had a few years without a holiday, prior to realising the necessity for time off, I can attest to how helpful they are for productivity and inspiration. We can get stuck in our own day-to-day lives as entrepreneurs, and it can make us feel low, and demotivated. Start with a long weekend away, to see how that feels, then you can upgrade to a few days off in the week.
How do you prepare for a holiday? I’d love to hear!
I know, you are a business owner and you believe it’s so much more darn easy to do all of the tasks yourself.
I’ve been there too, I’ve sat in your shoes, when there are clients mounting up, and you would love to say yes to them, but a niggling monkey on your shoulder is telling you you may just not have the time to help. As a business owner, you may even believe you have to do all of the tasks yourself, as it feels like you’re meant to take on all of them to showcase that you’re even more awesome as an entrepreneur. (more…)