So what is a day in the life of a Virtual Assistant like?
Whenever I introduce myself at a networking or other “do”, I can pretty much guarantee one of two responses. “What’s a VA?” will generally be the first, followed by, “You work from home? ..so working on the sofa in your PJ’s then?”. I am always happy to explain that a VA supports time-poor business owners with their admin., social media and office management tasks, thereby giving them back time and space to concentrate on their core business function, and the second? Well, I often wish that were the case!
As I work 80% of the time “virtually”, I do rely on keeping in touch with clients via video call. Imagine me answering the call, dressed in my pyjamas, curlers in and fluffy slippers on…(Okay, I don’t actually own any fluffy slippers and I don’t use curlers…but you get the picture, right?!)
So what does a day in the life of a virtual assistant look like? In one word, varied. Here is a typical working day for me …
6.30am I bound out of bed, pull open the curtains and greet the friendly sparrow who serenades me every morning. Not quite. In reality, I get out of bed and greet my son, who will be monosyllabic at this time of the morning. I spend the next half an hour or so on the usual household chores, wave my son and husband off to work and then make myself look presentable for the day ahead. At this stage, I am already partially in work mode, mentally running through what I have planned for the day. As I head to my office, I am grateful for the 30-second commute, instead of the hour-long I used to do.
7.45am My official hours are 8.00am until 6.00pm, but I am generally at my desk before then and opening my email to see what the new day brings. Because I work with some international clients , they are often at work whilst I sleep and vice-versa. Consequently, I never quite know what is going to turn up in my inbox. Today, there is an email from a client, asking me to research a new project she has in mind. I make a note to follow that up later, taking into account that the client wants the work by the end of the week. No problem!
9.15am After reading and responding to emails, scheduling a couple of appointments and dealing with an enquiry regarding a networking event, I’m off out of the office. I have an appointment with a long-standing client to take some minutes of a Board Meeting. I enjoy this time out, as I get to meet lots of different people and experience again the whole “corporate” atmosphere.
1.00pm I am back. Kettle on and having a quick check of emails again to check nothing else urgent has come my way. I will usually grab a quick lunch, but on days like today, I might eat this at my desk. Although this morning has been spent out at a client’s office, I will spend most of the rest of the week working from home, but it is the variety in our day which I think makes most VAs love their work.
1.15pm It’s social media time… and I love it! I could be writing a blog post, planning content or dealing with an issue a client is experiencing with a Facebook ad. I deal with just about every social media platform on the planet! Today, I am checking recent posts for one client and responding to any comments on their page. Someone has expressed an interest in one of their services, so I send a quick response back to the potential customer, so they know their comments have been actioned and send an email to my client, advising of the potential lead.
After this, I need to research and curate some posts to be scheduled for another client. They work in a niche area, so creating posts can take a little longer than normal, but I soon get the schedule sorted. I will spend less time on social media today, because of my morning out, but normally, I spend a fair proportion of my time scheduling posts, preparing reports from Analytics or creating graphics. Without scheduling tools, like Buffer, Hootsuite and Later, I would be lost. They turn what could be really arduous and time-consuming into a much easier process.
A quick break
3.30pm After a quick break for a cuppa and a chat with my dogs, I get on with the research that my client needs by the end of the week. I realise that I need some further clarification, so email her, gently reminding her of the deadline and making a note on my Trello planning board to follow up. I love Trello as a project management tool. It is free, easy to use and can be used for a multitude of things. I even use it as a content calendar for some clients social media.
I think I can speak for VAs in general, when I say we love our online tools (especially the free ones!) They make the day a lot more productive.
4.30pm Time for some routine admin of my own. I check my diary for tomorrow and ensure that I am fully prepared for an upcoming networking meeting. I realise I don’t have enough flyers printed, so I print some more and leave them to fold later. (A day in the life of a virtual assistant can be so glamorous!)
5.10pm I make a start on typing the minutes of the meeting this morning. As I have worked with the company for some time, I know the format pretty well and they don’t take too long. I do a final check and then send the first draft to my client, making a note to chase him in a couple of days if I have not received them back.
6.25pm It’s the end of the day, so I do a final tidy of my inbox and make sure I am fully prepared for whatever tomorrow brings.
So, what is a day in the life of a Virtual Assistant like? Hectic, unpredictable but I wouldn’t have it any other way!