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Top 10 Questions I get asked

Do you do bookkeeping

Can i work at your office

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How to pick the right VA

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Top 5 business book reviews

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How I became a VA

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What to do when you don’t feel good enough

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5 reasons why you DON’T need a virtual assistant

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Why everyone should find their tribe

https://www.vact.co.uk/who-is-on-your-support-train/?ck_subscriber_id=470051922

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Creating Work / Life Balance Organisation Productivity Virtual Admin Services

How to make Batch Working work for you

Most of us probably start our working day with a ‘bit of a plan’ as to what needs to be completed by the time you switch you computer off. BUT how many of us are jumping from one task to another to another. What is batch working and how could it work for you?

Multi tasking might make you feel that you’re achieving LOADS when actually you might not be giving each task your full attention. Multi-taskers reduce productivity by FORTY PERCENT across the board. (American Psychological Association) When multitasking, it takes 50% longer to accomplish a certain task, not to mention, it increases errors by 50%. The average time spent on a task before losing focus is one minute and fifteen seconds.

We have all heard that multitasking is extremely uneffective, but as entrepreneurs and business owners, it’s so easy to fall into because there are always at least 100 things we need to get done at any given time.

What is Batch Working?

Essentially, batch working is a time management system that allows you to be super productive to maximize your time. It means dividing your work into different days or hours to focus on one specific topic.

For those that run a product based business it could be as simple as splitting your day into AM and PM. It might be that in the morning you focus on orders so processing / creating / dispatching. In the afternoon you might spend some time catching up on your bookkeeping / admin/ checking your social media.

For those that run a service based business it might be that you spend a morning doing client work. You could even split this down further into an hour on Client A, 2 hours on Client B. In the afternoon, you might record a couple of YouTube videos – you’ve got to set up the lights, camera, make yourself presentable etc so you may as well record several videos in one go.

Where to start with batch working

We would suggest you start with a bit of a brain dump and write down everything you do regularly for your business. this should start to create a pattern of frequent tasks that you undertake. Examples of what to batch can include:

  • Recording Podcasts
  • Recording YouTube Videos
  • Writing blog posts
  • Creating images in Canva
  • Writing your social media content for the week ahead (rather than frantically 10 minutes before it needs to go up!
  • Bookkeeping
  • Social media scheduling
  • Taking photographs of new products

Once you have your batches of tasks that need doing, you can start to look at your diary and allocate time in which to do so. For example, we have the whole of the afternoon off to write blog posts – that doesn’t include creating the graphics etc, that’s scheduled for later in the diary. We spent 30 minutes brainstorming some post ideas and then the rest of the afternoon researching and writing.

Regularly review the process

Assess the amount of time you’re allocating to tasks although this could take you a few weeks or months to get your head around. Always over allocate time otherwise you’ll be panicking that you only have 30 minutes left for another 2 hours work.

You might find that you are scheduling social media content too far in advance and perhaps only want to do 2 weeks at a time.

Review what’s working and what’s not – then change it, and review it again in 6 months.

Increase your efficiency

Batch working will increase your efficiency in your business – by having a clear focus for the hour / AM or PM / day you’ll find that you’re more focused and will get the job in hand DONE. How often have you ended the day and wondered…’what did I do today?’ despite running around chasing your tail.

Are you ready to give batch working a go? More time will on your hands will allow to do so much more – whether that’s more on the business or just taking a well earned morning, afternoon or day off!

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Creating Work / Life Balance Motivation Virtual Admin Services

5 Achievements in 5 Years

Celebrate!!! We’re so proud to be celebrating our 5th birthday with you this month. We couldn’t let it slide by without sharing our Top 5 Achievements with you all.

Getting Started

When Emma left her corporate life after almost 15 years at the same company, she wasn’t sure where her path was going to take her. Little did she know what the next 5 years had planned.

It’s no secret that the business didn’t have a plan at the start. It was Emma, helping John with his admin needs at Boatman Financial. Little by little, we started to pick up the odd client here and there and before we realised what was happening, a business was born.  Running a business really pushes you out of your comfort zone.  Emma attended networking meetings to try and meet new people and expand the business – even managed to stand up at one of these events and tell her story.  Anyone that knows Emma knows how much she dreaded doing this!  It was through doing networking that we started to obtain new clients, thick and fast.

Our 60th Client

We’ve just signed our 60th client this month – that’s 60 businesses we’ve helped ease their workload in 5 years. Some of these clients have been for a one off project, other clients have been with us from the very start. We’ve worked with mortgage brokers to mental health therapists, candle makers to vets, doggy day care to copywriters, will writers to chefs…and everything in between!!

It really does highlight that you simply cannot do it all when you run a business.  You can’t be the CEO, the marketing team, the IT helpdesk, customer service, receptionist, administrator and the bookkeeper ALL THE TIME!!!

Working with such a wide range of businesses means that no two days are the same and we’re never sure what’s going to cross our desks each day – which makes it even more interesting.

Awards

We’ve stepped forward in the industry and are pleased to say we’ve picked up the following accolades along the way:

  • 2018 – Short listed for VA of the Year, South West region in the VA Awards
  • 2018 – National recognition in the #smallbiz100 awards
  • 2019 – Short listed for VA of the Year, South West region in the VA Awards
  • 2019 – Shortlisted as Female Entrepreneur of the Year in the South West awards
  • 2019 – Finalist in the national VA of the Year awards for PA Life
  • 2020 – Finalist for VA of the Year, South West region in the VA Awards
  • 2020 – National recognition in the #iAlso awards

Again, this leads us onto…

Going to the House of Lords – not once…but TWICE!

Emma…going to the House of Lords?! Who’d have thought it?! It was an honour to attend the Small Business Saturday afternoon tea in 2018 and the F:entrepreneur iAlso breakfast in 2020. The ability to meet 198 other women and men in business from across the UK and discuss the highs and lows of self employment. To have a member of Parliament there to listen to questions about support for us when times are difficult (particularly in recent Covid times) and take these back to the government was incredible.

Our First Associate

It wasn’t until 2020 that we decided to take the plunge and bring our associate, Catherine on board. After doing some market research, we realised that not only were people struggling to keep up with their admin, it was also their bookkeeping that was getting left behind. Emma and Catherine have known each other for a couple of years in the VA world so it seemed like a natural fit. Catherine comes with a wealth of experience gained through years working in an Accounts Office and more recently as a School Bursar.  She will be able to help you keep on top of your finances; processing invoices, paying suppliers, reconciliation, VAT/CIS submissions using QuickBooks, Xero or FreeAgent.

Catherine is on hand for our bookkeeping clients and to assist Emma when demand for work increases. In time, Catherine will have her own bank of clients to look after.

 

Writing all of that down really does make you think back and feel proud of what’s been achieved.  Has it always been easy?  No.  Has it been worth it – hell yeah!!

Here’s to the next 5 years!!!!

 

 

 

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Creating Work / Life Balance Organisation Productivity Virtual Admin Services

Using a Virtual Assistant – a case study with Reshma Field

If you’re thinking of hiring a Virtual Assistant but are still unsure whether it’s right for your business we’ve written a case study to help better explain.

Reshma Field runs two very different businesses but remains super passionate about both of them.  A former partner at a law firm in Kent plus the head of department advising on Wills, Inheritance Tax, Powers of Attorney and Probate administration she now runs Swindon Will Writing.  In complete contrast, Reshma also runs Ishbel’s Wardrobe, a personal stylist business.

These two businesses couldn’t be more worlds apart but they are equally as busy.

Reshma Field, Ishbels Wardrobe

On top of these two businesses, Reshma is also a busy Mum of two amazing young ladies, has a husband who spends most of the week in London and is a cat and dog mum. Juggling work, family and ‘life’ is tough!

Emma met Reshma a few years ago on the networking scene and got on straight away.

It was in 2018 that Reshma was having some technical issues with her computer and needed to get some draft Wills over to a client urgently so she contacted Emma for help with getting the documents over to the client. It was last minute and late in the day but Reshma was impressed by Emma’s advice, her calmness and the ‘get it done’ attitude.

In 2019, Emma and Reshma’s paths’ crossed again when Emma took advantage of Reshma’s Colour & Style session and then went on a personal shopping trip.  It was during this trip that Reshma and Emma discussed work life balance and how on earth Reshma managed to get everything done whilst remaining professional and business like.  It was clear to both of them that running two businesses on her own was impacting her work life balance and she needed to find a solution.

Reshma needed someone she could trust with the sensitive nature of the Will Writing business whilst also having a bit of creative flair with work for the personal styling business.  After agreeing to meet for a coffee outside of the personal shopping day, it became clear that a virtual assistant was the way to go.

Emma with Reshma Field of Swindon Will Writing & Ishbels Wardrobe and Hadi Brooks of Rays Ice Cream

Needless to say, the work that was passed over to Emma came thick and fast but with no more typing up of meeting minutes, this meant Reshma had more time to get out and see more clients.  Therefor earning more money to cover the outsourcing costs.  The summer of 2020 did not let up in workload for Reshma – you might even go as far as saying there’s nothing like a pandemic to make people stop and think about their future and getting their Wills in place.

In Reshma’s own words…

I can’t imagine life without Emma now!  Taking the plunge to outsource my admin and social media scheduling has freed me up so much.  Emma is worth her weight in gold plus a lot more.  She is meticulous, prompt and so incredibly helpful. My businesses are thriving and I’m getting so much more done and seeing so many more clients because I have the time!  Every small business owner needs Emma in their lives.  Once you see for yourself how great she is, you’ll wonder why you didn’t contact her earlier!

To have an informal chat with me about how Boatman Admin Services might support you and your business, email us at emma@boatmandadmin.co.uk to arrange a free 30 minute consultation.

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