As a business owner and virtual assistant, you’re going to have very busy times and some quiet times, too. But how do you handle this up and down?
That’s what we’ll address in today’s video post.
Watch the video here (transcript below):
It’s Alicia here at New VA Advice where I offer business, marketing and mindset coaching to help virtual assistants get out of overwhelm and create a business that they love. Today I’m here to answer a question from one of my coaching clients.
In your VA business, what do you do during the slow times, when everything slows down and you’re not as busy?
This particular coaching client has been very busy with client work. Now things are quiet. Her clients don’t need anything from her right now.
First, this is normal. A lot of VAs go through this. It depends on the services that you offer, the clients that you work with, and their schedules. It does happen. We get this ebb and flow. There are busy times and then there are quiet times.
What do you do during the quiet times?
It really depends on your answer to this question:
During this time, are you looking to bring in more income? Yes or no?
I’ll give you a list of things that you can do for both answers.
If you’re not focusing on income building activities
If you’re not looking to bring in more income at this time, there are things that you can do with your down time.
First, you can just relax. You are allowed to take time off in your business if it makes sense for you. I’m giving you permission to do that. It is okay to step away from it for a little and take a break. We all need that. It’s nice when you can get it.
However, if you’re looking for other things to do in order to fill your time, here are some suggestions.
You can organize and clean. There is always something to do, whether it’s in your office or on your computer. Think about your computer files and client files. You might have a physical filing cabinet. It’s a great time to clean and organize these things. Clean it all up and make it easier for yourself.
It’s the same thing with processes and systems in your business. This is a good time to see what’s working and what’s not. What can you do to make things more efficient, so that when things are busy, you don’t feel overwhelmed?
Another thing you can do during this down time is restructure your schedule. Is your current schedule working for you? Remember, we’re building a business around our lives, not the other way around. Does it make sense for you the way that you have things right now?
We’ve talked before about creating time blocks for things and moving those blocks around so that you have a bit of structure but also a bit of fluidity in your schedule. Think about the time blocks that you use in your life. You might have client work time, time to work on your business, personal time, family time and household duties time. Look at your schedule and see if it makes sense right now for you or if you want to change something around.
It’s also a good time to revisit your income and business goals. I’m a firm believer that you don’t want to just write your goals down, put them aside, and never look at them again. If you haven’t checked in on those things recently and taken a bird’s eye view of your business, now is a great time to do that. Make sure that it’s still working for you and that you have a plan in place to reach those goals.
If you feel that you need to work on your schedule, organizing things or revising your goals, then the Ultimate VA Business Planning Blueprint is what you need. I give you the processes that I use in my business. You get worksheets and checklists. This product walks you through the different things that you can do to clean, organize, change your processes, and focus on your goals.
Are you caught up in tracking income and expenses for taxes? Yes, it’s something that we can do continuously in our businesses, but some people don’t. Check in on that. Are you documenting things properly so that you don’t feel stressed at tax time? Now is a good time to start making a plan for how you can implement that into your schedule regularly so that you’re not waiting until tax time to do those things.
You can also use the down time to take some new courses. Maybe there’s something that you’ve been looking into for your business. Maybe it’s personal growth or business growth. Now might be the time to fit those things in.
Those are suggestions of things that you can do when it’s not as busy in your VA business if bringing in more income is not your main goal during this time.
Here are some suggestions if bringing in income is a main goal during this slow time.
The most important thing to have in place is a marketing plan that works for you. It will help you to fill the down times more easily than if you don’t have a marketing plan in place and you’re not working it regularly.
I’m sure you’ve heard this before, but you always want to be marketing. You always want to do something to market your business. When you have those busy times, it doesn’t mean that you have to do marketing activities that take up so much time in your schedule that you don’t have time for client work. There are things that, if you implement them during these down times, you can go into maintenance mode and fit in small pockets of time for marketing while you’re busy.
What kinds of things am I talking about?
During a slow period, make sure that your current clients know all of the services that you provide. It’s always easier to get more work from existing clients than it is to bring in new clients. Maybe you haven’t communicated with your clients to share what else you do. You can tell them, “By the way, I also offer XYZ. I’d be happy to help you with that. Let’s look at how we can work on that together.” This would be a good time to talk to your existing clients about what else they might have going on that you can support them with.
It’s also a good time to think about networking and getting in front of new people. What kinds of events can you attend in order to get in front of a new audience? This can be offline or online. It can be local networking meetings. Don’t waste your time just going to any and all of them. Make sure that they include your target market. Look for online networking events or groups that make sense for you to join where you can get in front of your target market. Show up and be helpful. It’s not a salesy thing. You want to be helpful, show that you’re there, and that you care about the type of business that they run. Show them that you want to help them run it more successfully.
Another big thing that you can do if you’re looking to bring in more income during a down time is to work on your list building strategy. List building is one of my favorite ways to bring in new clients. The best way to do it is to create some type of free offer that your target market would be interested in. They will exchange their name and email address in order to receive that free offer from you. They are also giving you permission to continue contacting them via email.
You give them the free offer, but then you keep that line of contact going. You keep connecting with them. Everyone’s schedule is different. You might write to them a couple of times a week or a couple of times a month. You’re staying top of mind because you’re keeping in touch with them. You’ve given them something valuable that will help them in their business—your free offer that they signed up for.
Then you’re going to keep checking in with them here and there to offer tips and advice. List building does work. It’s great when you have those down times and you need to fill a client spot. You can go to that list that’s made up of people already interested in what you do. You can let them know. It doesn’t have to be a negative thing. You can tell them, “I have great news for you. I have this opening. I’m looking specifically to help people with X. If this is you and you’re struggling with this in your business, this is the solution that I offer for that. I would love to work with you.”
If you need help with list building, get my Grow Your Client Base ebook. It’s all about list building for virtual assistants. It’s very specific on how you can create a free offer to attract your target market and set it up on your website. This product walks you through setup with WordPress and AWeber as your list building tool. However, you can still do these things with other tools. Maybe you have Squarespace, or you don’t have a website at all. You can still use the concepts. This product will show you how to create your free offer, get the word out there about it without spending a bunch of money on ads, and how to continue to connect with those people on your list so that you can eventually turn them into clients.
You can also think about working with clients who don’t just have one-off projects. Maybe you want to restructure your target market to work with people who do have ongoing things. This way, you’re always doing something for them. Maybe that means restructuring your services or the way that you’re pricing things. Instead of charging hourly, maybe you need to think about creating packages or ongoing monthly retainers where clients are working with you every month.
Those are some of my best suggestions for handling the down time in your business.
I’m also available via one-on-one and group coaching if you need more help. My clients get some of these products for free when they work with me. For example, if you need help with marketing, I offer a one-on-one and a group option. We can figure out a plan that makes sense specifically for you, not all VAs in general.
I hope that this was helpful. I gave you some free actionable tips. You can read this over and do something in your business today to help you with those down times.
You can take a look at the product resources that I’ve mentioned.
You can also schedule a free call with me to talk about coaching so that the two of us can figure out the best plan for you.
I’d love to hear your opinions on what you do with your down time. If you’ve tried any of these techniques, let me know.