But the last 15 months have been extremely stressful, meaning it’s more important than ever to take a break. Work culture is changing. We see more about self-care being an important part of working life and we are starting to recognise the need to take a break from our businesses, both for personal and professional reasons. After all, if we burn out it’s not going to do our businesses any good at all.
The upshot of all this is that if we do go away we end up taking the laptop with us, checking (and responding to) emails, and not relaxing because our mind is constantly on other things.
But what if it didn’t have to be this way? What if you could take a step back from your business knowing that your clients are being looked after, the admin is being taken care of and new enquiries are being dealt with and followed up? Enter the VA.
Not so. All you need to do is a little prep work to ensure that for the rest of your working life you have stress-free holidays that involve actual relaxation. And you can do this in just 3 steps.
1. Decide what you want your VA to do
Schedule 2 hours ahead of your holiday to identify the main concerns you have about leaving your business for a couple of weeks. What needs to be done to keep things ticking over? How do you want enquiries to be responded to? What potential day-to-day issues could crop up and how would you want a VA to deal with them?
Write it all down. Once you’ve made this list you’ll be able to see easily what tasks you’ll need a VA to do and how many hours you need them for.
2. Get recommendations
You need to know you can trust the person you’re leaving to look after your business. So get recommendations from people you already trust. If you’re a small business owner the chances are you already know people who are using a VA – ask in networking groups, in Facebook groups and on LinkedIn. Then once you’ve got a few names head back on to social media to check out their profiles and connect with whoever you think would be a good fit for you.
3. Communicate effectively
Once you’ve selected a VA have a pre-holiday meeting with them to go through everything that needs doing while you’re away. This is where that list you made earlier comes in handy – share this with your VA so that they know exactly what you need doing and how you like it done. This also gives them the option to ask any questions or highlight anything you may not have thought of.
Agree how you’re going to communicate. You may not feel you can let go of the business entirely during your holiday and that’s OK, so arrange to check in with the VA once or twice a week (or daily if you feel you really need to). You could use email but this isn’t ideal as you’ll be tempted to read the rest of your inbox. Instead why not try an online method such as Trello or set up a shared OneNote file? The VA can leave an update each day and you can read it and respond in your own time.
If you need to share any login details do this via an online password manager such as Lastpass. This way your VA can have access to all the necessary accounts without needing to know all your passwords.
Don’t forget to put a debrief call in the diary for your return so you can go over everything in detail.
As long as you prepare properly there is no reason why you can’t take a break, knowing your business is in safe hands while you’re away. And you never know – you might find you like it so much you take on a VA to look after your admin on a permanent basis!
If you’re stressed out and need a real break instead of half a holiday get in touch and we can chat about how the HLVA team can help.