5 simple tasks you can delegate to a virtual assistant

5 simple tasks you can delegate to a virtual assistant

One of the biggest issues faced by those who run their own business is a lack of time. It will often feel like there are 100s of tasks that need to be done, and only a couple of hours to do them in.

You may think that you are alone, but a virtual assistant might just be the ideal solution to help you out. As the name suggests, a virtual assistant is someone who can give you remote assistance in a number of tasks.

But what tasks can a VA help with? Here are a list of 5 simple things that you can outsource their way.

Managing your email

Do you find yourself spending far too much time reading through the emails that you receive every day? Only find a few that actually need you to action them? A virtual assistant can really help you by rifling through all the emails that you receive on a daily basis and only highlight the ones that you need to respond to.

Book appointments

Are you a type of business that has customers booking in for appointments? Why not hand over managing this diary to a virtual assistant. They can make sure that your calendar is nice and full and that you can spend time actually working with your clients rather than simply booking in an appointment.

Database building

Do you have an extensive list of customers that you need to keep track of? Why not make sure that the management of your CRM software is taken on by a VA? They can take any new details and add them into the system, as well as make sure that details are up to date too.

Manage your social media

Social media is a useful tool for promoting your business and engaging with your customers. However, its often something that you will neglect if you don’t have the time. Why not assign this task to a VA, getting them to upload posts and communicate with your followers?

Answer simple support tickets

Have you heard of a system called ZenDesk? ZenDesk transforms email enquiries into tickets. These tickets can then be allocated to particular people to answer. You could ask your VA if they are happy to take on this task and ensure that the simpler tasks to answer are given to them. Saving you enough time to be able to answer the larger questions.
By delegating some of the admin tasks that you have to do in your business you may find that you have made yourself a little bit more time. This means that you can focus on other aspects of running your business, and make sure that you achieve the success that you want!

Listen in to episode 20 of the parents in biz podcast Everything you need to know before hiring a virtual assistant with Laura Pennington 


How You Can Practice Being Confident Every Day

How You Can Practice Being Confident Every Day

Confidence is important when running a business, after all, it will be all down to you to make sure that it is a success. Not sure that you have the right confidence that you need to give it a go? Well, then let us help you.

We have put together some of the best ways that you can improve your own levels of self-confidence, best of all, they are quite simple to do on a daily basis.

Wear a bright colour

Colour can really help you to feel great about yourself. Especially yellow, which is linked to calming energy and brightening up your mood. If you are heading to an important meeting or need to secure a new client, perhaps add a touch of this sunshine hue to your outfit and you will soon be feeling ready to face the world.

Walk tall

The way that you walk and hold yourself can really project your levels of confidence. Try not to slump, and instead walk tall. This means that you will feel an instant lift to your mood, and people will see that you mean business.

Learn something new

By this we don’t mean take a home learning course, but instead just task yourself to learning something every day. There are a number of trivia apps out there that you can use to add into your knowledge. They deliver great facts in bite size portions, which means that you won’t have to take too much time out of your day to broaden your knowledge.

Look at all the things that you have achieved

Sometimes it can seem like you are no closer to your goal, especially in those earlier days of business. If you are starting to feel that you may not ever get there, then why not take a look at the things that you have ticked off your list. This will not only show how far you have come, but also give you the motivation to keep carrying on towards your other goals.

Ask for some help

If you are feeling the pressure and have had a confidence knock. Maybe it is time to ask someone for their help. It may come from a friend or a family member, no matter who it is, all you may need is someone who will be able to give you a bit of a boost and get you back on the right path.

Even if you are feeling unsure of yourself, confidence is a great way to make sure that you feel ready to face the world. It doesn’t matter how you find it, believing in what you can achieve is going to bring you ever close to your goal.

#PIB17 Update

#PIB17 Update

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Easter break update!

Making Time for Family Fun

Making Time for Family Fun

When you run your own business, chances are that you will feel that there simply isn’t any time left for anything else.

This is especially true during those early days when you will want to put everything into making sure that your dream is a success.

However, if you are trying to establish a business, alongside raising a family, life can become much more of a balancing act.

On one hand, you will be focused on your end business goal, and making that a reality, but on the other, you will want to be able to concentrate on and make time for your family.

But how do you do both?

We have put together some simple ways that you can make sure that you spend quality time with your family. Without it impacting too much on running your business.

Make sure you have dinner together

It may not be the most fun part of the day, but it is definitely a part of the day that you can spend together. You can talk about your day, ask questions, or simply just enjoy the quality time together, as well as a delicious meal.

Get your kids to help you with your daily tasks

Not a big fan of some of the household tasks that you have to carry out? Why not see if your kids can get involved? Need to do some gardening in the house? Give them a spade, Have some painting that needs doing? They will love getting messy with a paintbrush. If you feel that you don’t have as much time to spend with your kids as you would like, you will find ways to still spend time with them.

Try to do the school run as often as you can

One of the benefits of running your own business is that you can work the hours you need to. This isn’t always possible for some businesses of course, but if you can arrange to pick up the kids from school at least twice a week, they will look forward to those days and that little bit of extra time with you.

Schedule in a monthly day out

You can often find that you spend your time rushing around and that quality time as a family is few and far between. If this is true, then make sure your diary has one day a month that is scheduled as a family day. Go to the beach, visit the zoo or pop into a museum. Whatever you do for the day, do it with your family.

Turn your phone off

If you are planning on spending some time with your family, then make sure that you do this. Whether it is a day out with the kids or a dinner with your partner. Turn off the phone, ignore the emails and concentrate on those important people instead.

It is possible to balance running a business with spending good quality time with your family. It is simply a case of knowing when to do each one and making sure that you schedule in time for your family.


3 Things That Help You Work From Home Effectively

3 Things That Help You Work From Home Effectively

Working from home can be a great thing. It is perfect for achieving a work-life balance and cuts down on time spent commuting or travelling.

That said, working from home can also be difficult. There are plenty of distractions around to stop you from focusing on all the things that you need to get done, and you also rely solely on yourself for motivation.

So, how do you make sure that you work from home as effectively as possible? Here are 3 things that can help you to work from home.

A clearly defined working space

If you are finding it a struggle to work from home, then perhaps you need to give yourself some space to think and work. You may not be blessed with a spare room that you can work in, but chances are that you will have a spare corner that you can set up a desk for you to sit at during working hours.

It is a good idea to decorate this space a little differently to other parts of your house. Perhaps have a calendar and whiteboard on the wall by the desk, which shows you that you are at work and need to focus. You can also take advantage of the power of plants, they brighten up the space and detoxify the air around you, which will help you to feel healthy and be motivated to work.

A to-do list

You should never underestimate the power of a to-do list. Having all of the tasks written down that you need to do will give you focus on the tasks at hand. You will also have some idea of how you can plan out your day and what you need to do. Not only this, but there is nothing more satisfying than being able to tick off the tasks that you have finished, creating a visual tool to help focus on what you need to complete.

The way that you create or display your to-do list is down to you. Have it hanging on the wall, make a fancy spreadsheet or simply scribble it down in your diary. The main thing is just to have a list put together.

Still, try to communicate with the outside world

Working from home on a regular basis can feel like you are completely isolated and separate from the rest of the world. Communicating with those outside is key. If you are invited out for a coffee with friends and you can free the time then accept. Not only will it help you to keep on track with your friendships, but it will make sure that you take a good break from your work too. This break will help you to focus when you get back to your desk and also make you feel great too.

It doesn’t have to be difficult to motivate yourself when you work from home, just make sure that you follow these top tips and you are likely to find yourself getting absolutely everything done that you need to. All from the comfort of your own home.


5 Smart Ways to Improve Your Time Management Skills

5 Smart Ways to Improve Your Time Management Skills

Time management is a skill that many of us could improve on. This is especially true if you spend some of your time working from home, where you will need to make sure that you are more disciplined and focused on what you need to do.

As this isn’t something that comes naturally, we have put together 5 smart ways to improve your time management skills and make sure that you utilise all of the time that you have each and every day.

Always start the day prioritising work

You should always start your day by looking at the tasks that you have to do. List them as those that are less important, to those that require your immediate attention and focus. Know which tasks are time critical, and that need to be completed that day, and identify the ones that can be carried forward for the next day.

This will give you a clear focus and make sure that you get the work done that you need to.

Schedule your work, home and personal tasks

Even the best of us can fall victim to procrastination from time to time. This is even truer if you work from home where you are surrounded by things that need to be done. It isn’t easy to ignore housework, but it is a good idea to try and schedule in the time that you are going to do it. Planning on making a cup of tea? Load the washing machine while the kettle boils. Need to hoover? Get it done whilst your lunch is cooking.

By making sure you know when you will get those tasks done, you won’t be tempted to wander off and do them whilst you are supposed to be working.

Focus on one thing at a time

How many times have we heard ourselves say that we are good at multitasking? We often think that being able to juggle a wide variety of things is a positive thing. But the truth is, that multitasking can often hamper the way we manage our time. Rather than trying to split our focus on a variety of different tasks, we should focus on one thing at a time. This means the task will complete much quicker and you can move onto the next thing that you need to do.

Give yourself a break

It is vital that you take breaks during your working day. Otherwise, you will find yourself burning out and losing focus on the task at hand. Whether it is a 10 minute walk, a quick listen to music or a spot of exercise, giving yourself a break is a necessary part of time management.

Don’t give yourself too much to do

Sometimes having too much to do can lead you to feel that you are overwhelmed. Being overwhelmed can mean that you simply give up on the tasks that you need to do. It is vital that you learn to say no, and give yourself realistic targets, otherwise, you could find yourself not getting done what you need to.

Managing your time effectively is a key part of having a successful working day. So, make sure that you know the basics, and you will be sure to get everything that you need done.

#PIB16 Share your journey: Rhiannon Abbott

#PIB16 Share your journey with Rhiannon Abbott

Rhiannon Abbott married mother of one shares her journey, after leaving her job in 2012, Rhiannon decided to try something truly different and signed up for a Bread Angels micro bakery course. Whilst doing the course she not only learnt about baking bread but also how to set up her own micro bakery (small-scale production) from home. Rhiannon was bitten by the baking bug, she established The Epsom Bakehouse in early 2013 and built a loyal following selling delicious fresh bread at the Epsom Farmers Market.

Today, she passes on her skills through a range of bread making courses. She teaches hands-on techniques as well as the importance of fresh bread made from simple ingredients. She started the classes because she really enjoyed teaching, Rhiannon teaches a two-day course for those considering setting up their own bread micro bakery from home – as well as bread baking, covers the basics of establishing and marketing a business from home.

Click here to listen

Links mentioned in this episode:

The Epsom Bakehouse Website

Epsom Bakehouse Twitter

Epsom Bakehouse Facebook

Epsom Bakehouse Instagram

Parents in Biz Be inspired

3 Tips on how to make the most of a working weekend

3 Tips on how to make the most of a working weekend

Weekends are highly valued by all. Just the thought of a weekend approaching is enough to drive people wild, partying or excited. After a dedicated week of work, people may still feel the urge to do something meaningful with their weekend other than idling around and letting such precious time go down the drain. Besides that, the modern world has become immensely competitive and setting time to work on weekends may in one way or another, be a stepping stone to success.

Implementing working plans on a weekend is usually a hard task, almost unachievable. However, there are a number of tips to ensure that you make your working weekend plans a reality.

1) Proper planning

Everyone knows the difficulty of implementing ideas without first planning and organising. Lack of proper and appropriate plans leads to a wasted weekend, in that one ends up doing absolutely nothing related to work. It’s important that you first acquire a diary in order to formulate a means of planning and scheduling their weekend well. You can opt to divide the weekend into various periods of time depending on the duration you intend to work.

Thereafter, you can allocate each period a task. Duration set should have strict time limits. Time limits you set should be reasonable and realistic. In addition, they should never be dishonoured. Remember that honouring your plans is equivalent to honouring one’s self and vice versa.

As a parent, your children look up to you as an example. Time limits play a huge role in helping you avoid the act of procrastination. It’s also advisable to share your plans with your family members who may, in turn, help you observe deadlines.

While planning is of importance in coming up with a work schedule, creating a reminder will go a long way in helping you adhere to the schedule.

2) Avoiding distractions

Distractions may include social media, catching up with friends, negative influence and focusing on other things other than what you have planned for. Most distractions make you shift energy into other things other than work. This may lead to tiredness and wastage of precious time. It’s important for you to draw a clear line between serious work and other engagements not scheduled for. It’s important to remember that success in your family life comes through work and proper organisation. In as much as your children or other family members may be distractions to work, it’s advisable that you know how to strike a balance between the two. If you plan to work a weekend try and plan in advance so you can arrange childcare. Besides that, you can opt to engage your family members in your work for an effective division of labour so that no one disrupts the other from work until it’s complete. All in all, you should set priorities and learn to say “NO” when need be.

3) Avoid overworking

Take breaks to relax, recharge the brain and meditating between your work is recommended. You can have breaks of jogging, cooking or sharing jokes with your children. Remember the saying hard work with no play makes Jack a dull boy. In addition, taking breaks between work also assists you to review your performance. Besides that, relaxing helps you anticipate getting back to work.







#PIB15 The importance of self-care when running a business

#PIB15 The importance of self-care when running a business

This episode covers the importance of self-care some of us parents need to make self-care more of a priority. Like just think for a moment when did you last do something for you!

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Resources mentioned in this episode:

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How to handle being judged in how you run your business

How to handle being judged in how you run your business

We are judged all the time no matter what. Those judgments could come from our partners, our customers, our staffs…Frankly, everyone on Earth makes judgements, even you. Who you are, what you stand for, what you did, what’s your history…everything related to you is on the radar of judgment. Somehow, judging other people make us feel better but we don’t always understand that it can have negative consequences. If you think about it, you will realise that you judge people as much as you get judged by them.

But being judged by other people is never a good feeling. It makes us angry, stress, and compromises confidence. Worst case, it can damage your mental health and destroy your career. So how could we get rid of that? Will you try to make everybody love you? Or try to overcome that judgement and live a happy life. An easy choice for some but difficult for others as it all comes down to a personal approach.

You cannot make everyone happy, that much is true. And the quantity of judgement you get will only increase exponentially as your business grow. Instead of that, make yourself happy. Live your life as it should be. Be a generous leader and set a good example for your staff. Let people understand your true personality and the jealousy and the fear of judgments will disappear in no time. People will never stop to gossip, so why should you try to swim against the current?

What is the secret to coping with it then? If you genuinely think it is unfair and it is doing damage to your business then you can talk to them. But before the talk, make it clear that your intentions are to learn and to understand not to blame someone. You have to be genuine and express that you are willing to listen. No doubt the final decision is always yours, you decide if what they think about you is worth your time or not. But make up your mind only after listening to their reasons not coming to conclusions immediately.

The best option though is to take it as a lesson and improve from what you can gather as constructive feedback. There are 2 types of judgements, malicious and constructive, the latter is actually very useful for the development of your business. Malicious feedbacks is completely unavoidable especially if you run your business through the internet, you will quickly learn that people can be nasty for absolutely no reason. Your best choice here is to ignore. However, if you feel that the judgement is actually constructive, you can take it to heart and listen to their concerns. This way, you can transform the negative energy that judgement creates into something positive fueling the growth of your business.

Another thing you should observe is that judgements always have a purpose and are always rooted in some form of negative experience the individual has towards you. This doesn’t always have to be related to the subject of judgement and could have been built up from a collection of negative experiences in the past. There are many psychological and sociological studies by universities aimed at understanding the root of our judgements, usually, it has to come down to jealousy or personal insecurity which can even be completely unrelated to your business at all!

To conclude, judgements are unavoidable, and as your business grows you will have to deal with it more and more. Do not swim against the river, but rather swim towards the current. Confronting the source of judgement may risk worsening the issue so it is always better to be the bigger person and take it constructively (or ignore if it’s malicious). You should also remember that sometimes you feel that someone is judging you but it may actually not be the case! Some people just talk like that and they may actually mean well!

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