A Day in the Life of a Virtual Assistant
Today is Wednesday 26th August 2015 and I have a busy day ahead. As a Virtual Assistant, every day is different; this time next week I could just have one piece of work scheduled and the rest of the day will be spent catching up with my own admin. However, I do try to space my work out evenly over the working week so that rarely happens.
Virtuoso-PA officially opens for business at 9:00 a.m. But I try to make sure that I am at my desk for 8:30. First thing in the morning I check my emails, diary and tasks and make sure I’m ready for the day.
At 9:00 a.m. with the toast crumbs dusted off my desk I’m ready to work.
I use Worktimer.co.uk to keep track of the time I spend on each of my clients’ accounts, it’s excellent and it’s free! I can add multiple clients’ and tasks, add differing hourly rates and I can then produce a detailed report to include with the client’s invoice at the end of the month. It’s the first thing I open in the morning, other than email.
9:00 a.m. This morning I have scheduled to work on a client’s brochures for his adventure holiday business. I’m using Microsoft Word to put the document together. The major work; copy typing and proof reading of the text was completed yesterday. Today is finishing off the arty bits: like placing images into the document and formatting which I thoroughly enjoy.
9:45 a.m. I manage a few clients’ social media accounts. Everything I’ve posted on their behalf was scheduled yesterday afternoon. So I take a look on Hootsuite to see if the early morning posts and tweets have generated any response. One has, so I respond to the question on my client’s behalf with a quick tweet. I also scan their feeds to see if anyone they follow has posted anything interesting that I can share. I also check my email to see if any Google Alerts I’ve set up have generated any interesting topics I can use for my own or my clients’ social media; I’ve worked with them for quite a while now, so I’ve got a good feel for the type of article or piece of news that is appropriate for them. I check and do the necessary throughout the day.
10:20 a.m. Back to the brochure and Microsoft Word for a bit.
I like to work in 45 minute increments ~ it’s not set in stone, like I have to only work on something for exactly 45 minutes! But I find, especially if I’m working on a large document or I’m bookkeeping that my concentration tends to lapse if I spend too long on one piece of work. I’m a firm believer in the saying ‘a change being as good as a rest’.
11:00 a.m. In need of a cuppa, ‘everything stops for tea’ or while I make it. I take it back up to my desk and carry on with the brochure and social media. While also checking email intermittently.
1:30 p.m. I stop the timer; its lunchtime. The brochure is also finished, so I send it back to my client for review. I don’t have to be rigid with breaks from working at my desk, but I do like to make sure I take a break away from it. Just to stretch, refresh and re-focus. Some days I even go for a walk around the river, but as today is a busy one I just have a quick cuppa and a sandwich.
1:45 p.m. I check my emails again. There’s one from an existing client of mine who has sent in a lot of quotes that need typing and sending out to his Customers this afternoon. He is a regular client and has pre-paid for a block of hours, so I find his customer account in Worktimer and set to work. It only takes 25 minutes to prepare his quotes, print them and get the envelopes ready for the post. I then quickly run out to catch this afternoons post.
Thankfully the Post Office is only a few minutes away which means only means five minutes out of the office; it’s a breath of fresh air for me though and I’m revived and raring to go for this afternoons tasks.
A lot of people shy away from using a virtual assistant as they think only of the hourly rate, but I prove to my clients’ that I can get a lot of work completed for them in an hour ~ The ‘quotes’ client purchases approximately 5 hours a month, which costs his business £90.00 (he can also claim my services back as a business expense ) In those 5 hours I prepare all of his monthly quotes, invoices, business receipts, look after his social media and sometimes chase for late payment.
2:15 p.m. I’m back at my desk and it’s bookkeeping for another client which is next on the agenda. Again, another regular client of mine. She’s a hairdresser, on her feet from 9 until 6, sometimes six days a week. I prepare her accounts for her on a weekly basis. I deal with everything she purchases for her business and all her invoices. We use Dropbox to allow for sharing of her documents. Her invoices and receipts are entered by using her accounting software Xero. We also use an app called Expensify which is so easy to use, my client can scan her business receipts into her mobile phone and then send them over to her Dropbox for me to process.
3:00 p.m. I take a telephone call, which turns out to be a marketing call (so after saying “No thank you” ten times) I eventually end the call and quickly check my emails again. There’s one from my websites contact form, asking for more information. So I email a response and attach some basic information about my business which I’ve already prepared in PDF documents. I also promise to follow up with a telephone call in a few days ~ I mark that in my electronic diary, to make sure I don’t forget.
3:10 p.m. Someone wants me to set them up on MailChimp with autoresponders and a give-away e-book. So I set about doing that for them and then test it. It’s all working well. They provided the header they want to use and the e-book, so it’s a quick job. I’ve sent the details over to my customer so they can see the layout and fonts used. If they give me the go-ahead I will be posting that across their social media platforms as of tomorrow for them.
3:50 p.m. I check Hootsuite again. I can see that I’ve gained a new follower on Twitter and one of my ‘tweets’ has received a re-tweet. I say hello to the new follower and thank you to the company who re-tweeted me. It does pay to make Social media platforms a friendly socialiable place. I also do the same for my clients.
4:00 p.m. I finish the bookkeeping and make yet another cuppa. Have you gathered yet that I do like numerous cups of tea during the day?
4:35 p.m. Time to check tomorrow’s diary to have a look at my work schedule for the day and to make sure I have all of the necessary documents. I don’t ~ so I send an email to my client reminding him that I need the images for the campaign we have scheduled to start tomorrow. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that I get them on time; so schedule to check and call him tomorrow first thing if I haven’t.
4:40 p.m. Client work nearly finished, I just have to schedule the posts and tweets for my clients’ tomorrow. They send me their schedules weekly. So that I can mention any events or meetings they’re attending. They also let me know of any upcoming promotions they’re working on so I can fashion posts for them. I have access to one client’s image folder on her Dropbox so I use them in the posts, with the others I source them and make them up ready to post using Canva.com.
5:30 p.m. My client work is over for the day so I run my daily back-up and close my office door.
Even though at the end of every day I am mentally exhausted, I do love what I do. There’s never a dull moment and it gives me great job satisfaction. The key to supporting multiple businesses is organisation, planning and time management, without those elements my work day would be a complete shambles and I’d get myself in a stressy mess.