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This should have been a six-month check-in, but time got away from me!
As of May 23rd, it has been ten months since I started the Horkey Handbook 30 Days or Less to Virtual Assistant Success* course. In those ten months, I started my own business, stepped down from my assistant manager role, moved stores, and went part-time in retail. I have five regular clients and several people who come to me for project work each month. It is amazing!
I’ve also learned a lot in these past ten months, so I thought I would share some of it with you today.
It’s important to track your time.
I hate tracking my time. It makes me feel like I’m punching a clock again which is something I really want to get away from. And I thought doing more client packages was the way to get away from that, but you have to be so careful. You can end up working way more hours than what you originally allotted for. So even if you’re on a package keep track of your time so that you know if you’re making what you need to make. And if you’re not then you need to make adjustments.
Paying my first set of quarterly taxes really opened my eyes to how important it is that I make each hour what I need to make. Currently, I charge $25 an hour. If I create a monthly retainer estimating that it will take me 10 hours to do the work for my client and charge $250, but it actually takes 15 hours then I’m only making $16 an hour. When you take out taxes, that’s more like $10 an hour. I can’t do that! (By the way, the added hours to my original time is often due to added tasks from the clients.)
You really have to take care of yourself
There have been many times during the first months of my business where I went two or three weeks without a day off. It was rough! I was on the road to burn out. So I made myself make time for fun. I told my husband we were going on a date, invited my sister to a pedicure day, went out to lunch with my best friend. And what a difference it made! It rejuvenated me.
Also, I took an actual non-working vacation! It was so needed.
So I’m learning to make time to rest, make time for fun, and make time to read. When you’re building a business it’s so easy to let those things go, but I want my business to be successful and that won’t happen if I burn out.
Also, I had to learn to not feel guilty if I took a day off. It was strange to even feel that way, but there it was. I had to remind myself that everyone needs a day off and that is ok.When building your #VA business it's important to make time for rest and make time for fun! Click To Tweet
Stick to your scheduled work hours
This was hard to learn. I had no boundaries for myself. I had official office hours that I gave my clients, but I rarely stuck to them. Often I worked on the weekend or one to two hours over my set end time. Sometimes it was necessary to meet deadlines, but often it was more my own doing and not knowing when to quit.
This isn’t healthy.
But I’m doing better.
Having an extra day off from my day job helps as I don’t feel so pressured like I won’t have enough time to get it all done. Some of that pressure came from not properly tracking my time like I mentioned above, but some of it was self-imposed.
So I’m being more consistent in keeping my quitting time for the day. I’m also doing a couple things to help me “turn off” at that time.
I’ve started putting on real pants for work. Yep, I was one of those people working in sweats all the time. Having to still dress up for work when you work from home never made sense to me. I’m just as productive in sweats. (I may or may not have attended client Zoom calls in sweats and a professional shirt. You know you’ve done it too! )
But I’ve learned that I need something to send a signal to my brain that the work day is over. And when I switch from more constricting pants to sweats I feel like “ok I’m done now.” Another signal I’m using is putting my laptop up so that I’m not tempted to grab it and keep working.
What about you? Do you run your own business? What are some struggles you faced in finding the balance between work and life? Do you have any work/life balance tips to share? Let me know in the comments!