It’s Christmas time, and your life is crazy right? If you’re anything like me, tending your business, clients and the family juggle, it will feel like you only recently began the year with your ‘January’ 2014 plan.
Now you are putting the Christmas tree up, organizing Christmas events for your clients, running your kids around to their end of year stuff, and all those December birthday parties. So busy and intense, it’s all we can do to get to that quiet January.
So how do you cope and prioritise?
What do you do with the possible drop in income through most of January?
How do you organise your business for the hectic Christmas time and quiet month of January.
We have interviewed a few of our top notch Virtual Professionals, so let’s go on a walk to see what they have to say about how they do and have coped with this time of the year.
Our famous Guru Rosie Shilo – Virtually Yours
Now remember Rosie is about to add another addition to her family, so she really has to watch her time and space over this little while so what do you have to say Rosie?
“Use this time for planning! – A strong planned start to the year can invigorate you and give new direction. Assess how you’ve gone, where you want to be, and what those gaps are.
If possible, consider offering Christmas maintenance types jobs that can be scheduled by the client BEFORE they finish up for the festive season. Remind them that they can still have a business presence because YOU can do that for them.
Try to put some money aside throughout the year to tide you over during quiet periods. They will happen! If you plan well, you can use those quiet periods to do your own admin and planning, or even to take a break yourself! *gasp!* :)”
Kerryn Sonnet from Virtually There
Business Manager of Virtually There and well-known CRM guru specialising in Zoho, Kerryn established her business in 2005 and is one of our highly regarded Virtual Professionals. Kerryn recently presented at the AAVIP November Conference and has offered some strategic and helpful ideas
1. Schedule large projects for the holiday period to keep you busy when you are normally quiet
2. Make contact with clients to let them know any time you plan on taking off, and when you are available to assist them work on their business for the next year
3. Ensure all your invoices are sent for November by Nov 30 – likewise for any invoices generated in December, invoice by Dec 31.
4. Send a courtesy reminder email the day before an invoice is due.
5. Send a follow up email if payment has not been received
6. Make your payment terms clear on every invoice and on all reminder emails
Robbie Hutchins from Miracle Worker
Robbie is a solutions specialist and has had over 20 years of experience in administrative roles. Robbie is also an up and coming author having published 2 books already and I believe there is more to come. Robbie shared these great nuggets with us.
Christmas is traditionally a time associated with taking a well-earned break and many businesses all but shut down from Christmas Eve until at least the second or third week of January. For many VIPs an enforced shutdown is less than appealing. Fortunately if you are not in a position to cease working over the holidays a little pre-planning can ensure you are kept busy (and paid) until things return to normal after the Silly Season.
Start with your existing clients:
- Your existing clients should always come first. Early in December work out when you will and won’t be working through the Christmas/New Year period and send an email to each of your clients alerting them of your availability and requesting they advise you of their planned leave or closure periods.
- Compile the information on a single calendar as you receive it so you can see at a glance what timeframes you will need to fill with work to keep you busy. Are there any projects that had been put off due to higher priorities during the year that you could suggest you work on while the client is away?
- Do you have an idea that you’ve been meaning to suggest to them for a process that could be done differently or improved upon or documented that would save them time and money in the long run? Now is the time to make the suggestion and find out if they’d like you to work on it during their break.
- Alternately, be prepared to offer any services you provide that may assist them in providing better service to their clients while they are away.
- Can you field their telephone calls, or maintain their website and social media posts or respond to comments, monitor their email and manage their calendar?
Think outside the square:
- If there aren’t any tasks you can do for your existing clients then you may need to expand your reach.
- Those who are working during the holiday period are always very busy and with so many on leave it can be difficult to find good help.
- If you are prepared to assist and appropriately skilled there is generally a lot of work to be had if you know where to look.
- It’s a good idea to register with various freelance job sites, ensuring your profile is both complete and accurate.
- Network via social media channels and your personal network to let people know you’re available if they hear of anyone looking for your particular skillset.
- Think about the individual skills you have and consider who might need your assistance; then give them a call and ask if they have a need.
- If you are polite and courteous the worst that can happen is they will say “no”. They might suggest someone else you could contact. Or they might say, “Yes, please”.
What if you have spare time on your hands?
- If you do find you can’t fill your time then don’t let the time go to waste.
- Make sure your own office is in order.
- Catch up on your own administrative backlog.
- Plan for the year ahead.
- Do some webinars to hone your skills.
- Prepare your social media schedule for the next few months and write your next few blog posts in advance.
- Make sure all your tax paperwork is in order for the first half of the financial year.
Before you know it 2015 will be in full swing.
Put your best foot forward, and watch how well you can get through this season and prepare for 2015.
AAVIP Board members would like to wish you
- A productive time for your business
- Fun with your family.
- Many expensive gifts.
- Peace and prosperity for 2015.
Judy Small, Memberships Officer