Planning For The Unplanned In Your Virtual Assistant Business
For those that follow my blog, you probably noticed that I have been "Missing in Action" for over a week! Well my life went into a temporary "tail spin" early last week as I needed to fly back to Canada to attend to an urgent matter. Needless to say, all my priorities and important business activities were shelved for the week!
Have you ever had one of those weeks, where you had a full plate of work priorities, tasks and deadlines only to have them to swept by the wayside as a result of an emergency or sickness?
Well, after this week, I realized that I have never really given a lot of thought to "Planning for the Unplanned". As a Solopreneur, I have built my business around "me" and so when emergencies happen, work tends to not get done as I have not put in place the proper contingency plans!
So, the million dollar question . How can you truly plan for those "unforseen events" in your life so that your virtual business stays on track?
Well, after processing this one a bit . here are a few principles or ideas to consider when "Planning for the Unplanned":
1. Find a "Delegation Buddy".
For those of you that own a Virtual Assistance practice, it is good to align yourself with another virtual business owner who offers some similar services as yourself so that you can "scratch each other s back" when those unplanned events surface in your lives. Yes, you might lose some earnings during that time, but the important thing is to continue to maintain a high quality service for your clients.
A "Delegation Buddy" might also come in handy during those fast-growth times in your business when your client base and projects are growing like crazy.
2. Define your Weekly Priorities.
A few weeks ago, we hosted an event with Freshbooks CEO, Mike McDerment titled, "Virtual Nirvana - How To Remain Inspired and Productive When You Work Alone". In this webinar, Mike talked about the principle of laying out your weekly priorities on Sunday Evening before the week gets going. You want to clearly define what work activities are most important and MUST get done this week. I usually like to break my work tasks up into "Must Do" and "May Do" lists. The May Do would be great to get to, but not imperative that they get done that week.
Let s say an emergency hits you on Monday (as it did with me last week) By knowing those priorities that must get done, this helps you to know the minimum that you need to accomplish or possibly delegate to someone else. Of course, there will be times where this is not possible and you need to be honest with your clients that that the project deadlines just have to be pushed back temporarily.
3. Prep your "Emergency Email".
Now, this might come across a bit "anal-retentive", but you might want to go as far as prepping a "generic email" that basically says an "Urgent Matter" has arisen and that you will be out of the office for a specified period of time. Believe me, when a crisis or urgent matter hits you, it is hard to think and it is nice to have an email template in place to you can just copy and paste to your clients. Something to think about
At the end of the day, emergencies and urgent matters will happen in your life, so you want to be prepared and ask yourself: "How would I keep my business moving in the right direction if I suddenly needed to step away for a week or so?"
These are things we just don t think about until unforseen circumstances surface in our life.
Food for thought .