Virtual Assistants and Coronavirus

Why Coronavirus is the ‘little ship’ moment for Virtual Assistants

As I write this post in response to the global Coronavirus pandemic, I feel lucky that the VA industry is so robust. Virtual Assistants have numerous transferable skills; we can work with any type of business, in any location, in any timezone and in any currency. Virtual Assistance is a highly agile business model that withstands turbulent times.

Although the media make it seem as if the world has gone into meltdown, not a lot has changed with many of the VAs I know. In fact, many of my trainees, as well as VAs in my VA Handbookers Facebook group, say they have just landed new clients or that current clients have increased their hours.

I have also been talking to other freelancers who say they are relieved that they work for themselves. In the words of my Accountant “I’d rather be self-employed with lots of clients than precariously working for one employer at the moment.”

One of my Facebook group Moderators said her job would have been exposed if she was still in retail and both of my previous positions (I used to work at a racecourse and before that, restaurants and bars) would have been affected.

Yup, I am very happy not to be sitting in an open-plan office right now.

In fact, there are many reasons why VAs are currently in a strong position:

  • You are already used to working remotely and you even know how to work productively from home with children.
  • You became a VA because you’re incredibly organised and have sound forward-planning abilities. You are also resourceful, love helping people and are unflappable. And if you were once an EA then you’re bulletproof.
  • You possess a plethora of valuable skills from many years of office experience as well as by undertaking multiple types of tasks for clients within a wide range of industries.
  • Employees work for one company, in one industry. If their employer is impacted, they have limited options, whereas you have multiple “bosses” (clients) and your eggs are spread across many baskets.
  • Even though you may have a specific niche, you’re likely to have clients in other industries. So if one client is impacted, the rest won’t be.
  • If you do work 100% with an affected industry you have skills that you can happily transfer to another. Your client base will then be more diversified which will protect you in the future.
  • You already market your business online (or at least you should do) so nothing changes there.
  • It’s highly unlikely your clients will go out of businesses. Some may close their offices or want fewer hours but they will move to online working. They will do everything they can to adapt and you know how to help them.
  • The world is always changing and knocks to different industries will always take place. But you have a robust, flexible business model and can adapt more readily than other types of businesses.
  • You’re a resourceful lean, mean organising machine. Seriously, you were freakin’ built for this kind of thing!

As long as the world is turning, businesses will always need a hand. Well, I guess the only time they won’t will be during a zombie apocalypse, but then I imagine we’ll all have bigger things to worry about.

As a Virtual Assistant, your job is and always has been to make sure your clients’ businesses stay as robust as possible. Here are some of the things you can do if they’re currently anxious or struggling.

Ways to help your clients

Many of your clients won’t be affected by the Coronavirus situation at all, some of them may just be a bit freaked out, and some of them might need some practical help.

This is where you come in. 

Your job now is to swoop in and help them in as many ways as you can. A possible analogy would be to liken it to Dunkirk with VAs being the ‘little ships’ sailing to the rescue.

Here are a few suggestions on how to add value to your client’s business.

Help them by sharing technology and resources

If your clients have never worked remotely before you can introduce them to some tools and methods (Asana, Trello, Drive, Loom, Slack, MS teams, Dropbox, Zoom, OneDrive, VoiP, Skype etc.) that you currently use in order to help them communicate, share files and work remotely with their clients and/or team members.

Record your processes in case you become unwell. There’s a great free online platform called Loom which I use to show my VA how to do a task, record how-to tutorials for my training courses, and to record my Facebook group videos. You simply add the Loom Chrome extension to your browser and hit record.

Make sure you stay up to date with tech developments and share any relevant ones with your clients. For example, at present, Microsoft Teams is offering a six-month free trial, LinkedIn Learning has 16 free courses on how to work remotely and Google is offering the premium version of Hangouts free of charge until July.

Help them to work remotely

You’re a pro at doing this so you’re ideally placed to offer advice on how they can be productive, manage distractions, set up their workstation, stay healthy and use their time effectively. And if you’re used to working at home with children during the school holidays, you can also suggest practical ways they can minimise disruptions.

Help them by providing contingency and pivoting suggestions

Depending on what your client does for a living, there are a few things you could suggest:

  • Moving to an online selling platform.
  • Setting up a Facebook group or other online forum to talk with and/or train their clients.
  • Switching to a physical delivery service.
  • Recording how they do things to ensure contingency. They can use Loom to do this then share the video with you and/or their team. This is good practice anyway.
  • Emailing their customers or clients to let them know what they are doing. Are they closing and if so, until when? Are they staying open but taking safety measures and, if so, what are they? Are they cancelling events and if so, what do attendees do about refunds or exchanges?
  • Moving an event online and holding a virtual summit.
  • Creating a standardised procedure on how they safely do something such as enter a house if they are a contractor.
  • Holding online classes, tutorials or consultancy sessions.

Look at your client’s business objectively and try to identify anything that could help them manage their customers/clients or different ways they can operate for a while. VAs work closely with their clients so you should already know their business quite well.

Help them to stay sane and not make silly mistakes

Your clients may be stressed out and tired and not have their usual ‘business head’ on. For example, their instinct may be to drop their marketing and SEO budgets but they shouldn’t because these footholds will be hard to regain afterwards. They may also be about to send out a badly-spelt email or publish an ill-advised post on social media.

Try to help them stay current and to not inadvertently damage their brand reputation or take knee-jerk actions that may impact their business later. Because this situation obviously won’t last forever.

Help them boost their reputation

Consider whether your client has a business model and budget that could allow them to provide value to others. For example, some stores are opening early for elderly shoppers, tech companies are offering pro versions of their online tools for free for a limited period, and Hilton is waiving cancellation fees.

Some businesses won’t be affected at all and will be in a much better position to assist their local community or customers. Of course, your client may not be in the position to do anything, but if they are then they may appreciate suggestions. Here are 50 ways that companies are helping and giving back.

They could also consider sending their clients/customers free tips or a worksheet with useful content. Again, these will depend on the client’s business but could include activities to entertain kids, well-being videos or downloads, recipes and challenges etc.

It’s how businesses act and react during these times that people will remember afterwards.

Help them future-proof their business

Although a pandemic situation is quite unusual, there have been many events (accidents, recessions, 9/11, natural disasters, bird flu, Brexit, foot and mouth) that have adversely affected different industries in the past.

Whilst many industries such as retail, agriculture and travel are susceptible to global changes (although if you currently sell food or soap then business is booming), it’s a risk they take with their business model and they should have contingency plans in place.

At the end of this post, you will find links to a couple of my other posts on how to conduct a SWOT analysis and how to create a business contingency plan. Use them to help your clients future-proof their business as well as your own.

You don’t want your client’s business to be damaged simply because they don’t know how to manage change and disruption. Coronavirus or not, a Virtual Assistant’s role has always been to help their clients keep their businesses strong.

What other VAs are doing to help their clients

I asked the VAs in my DIY VA course training group as well as my VA Handbookers Facebook group how they were getting on and what they were doing to help their clients pivot and adapt. The response was overwhelmingly positive and they were admirably rising to the challenge.

Here’s what they’re doing if you need practical ideas and encouragement.

Jane O said, “I took on a customer helpdesk yesterday in response to being able to do it virtually. VAs will save the world!!”

Kate M said “I’ve been helping my dance teacher set up Zoom and also supporting some of her other dance teacher friends so maybe some more clients there! So far I’m just as busy as always… a couple of my clients are HR consultants who are super busy at the moment and my coach and mediator are doing well moving online too.”

Jane V said, “I have had 3 new clients over the last 4 weeks to help set up to work remotely. They are all up and running now and happy – hopefully, this might lead to further work in the future. Some of my regulars have reduced their hours for March-May which is annoying but I am seeing it as a sign to do some reading and studying. I have 2 new client consultations booked for next week too.”

Denise R said, “I signed a new client last week. I’ll be helping with setting up social media profiles, writing up podcast show notes and popping them into newsletters and blog posts. I’ll also be helping with image creation for said podcasts, social media, etc.”

Lianne K said, “Up to capacity and have a client waiting… A coaching/training company is moving to digital so I’m supporting them with that. Others are continuing social media. Advising clients on how they can support their clients during this time, I.e. Coach writing some tips in relation to the virus as opposed to the normal social media posts we put out.”

Claire C said, “I have 2 discovery calls booked in this week. No clients have dropped their hours but my biggest retainer confirmed yesterday that as things stand right now, she will be keeping the hours as they are until it absolutely needs to change and we’re both brainstorming about how that would work if it needed to happen. All my other clients at the moment are ad-hoc, but nothing has changed in terms of volume of work.

With one client it’s been about rescheduling her meetings and coaching 1-2-1s, either making them virtual or pushing back until a later time and as a result, her diary is a forest of Zoom calls! We’ve also put interim measures in place for the people who would have been participating in the courses she runs and then there’s the general customer service stuff – our inboxes have been inundated. It’s crazy, but she worked remotely before this so I haven’t passed on any wisdom at all (except the Krisp app – so useful), just business as usual.”

Jasmin C said, “I’ve had a good week! Chased up a potential client. She sent over email login etc while we talked – I quickly drew up my VA Agreement and sent that over, she signed and I started managing her diary straight away – fabulous!”

Victoria T said, “I’ve seen an uptick in business owners who are coming to the realisation that this is a forced (yet much needed) pause for thought. That time is allowing clients the mental space to think more creatively and they’re realising that NOW is exactly the right time to hire help the right talent so they can hit the ground running when normality resumes.”

Rebecca M said, “I had an old client I hadn’t heard from for a while come back with ad hoc work. They are a law firm super busy giving out Covid-19 advice.”

Michelle D said, “Crazy busy with existing clients helping them react to processes. I think once the craziness calms, businesses will use the time to tick off their to-do lists so in the meantime I’m commenting on posts with helpful advice to continue my visibility in networking groups that have gone ‘virtual/online’. I had a new client sign up and two old ones who I supported ad hoc have returned with a bit of work too.

I genuinely believe that demand in our services will increase in the coming months and that the hard work invested in 1-2-1 networking in the past year will put me in a good position. In the long run, though many people are now learning to use the technology we use and will decide they like working from home so there may be some new and fierce competition in the future. We need to stand out now by saving our knowledge and building our brands.”

Rachel F said, “Hello, yes like others, I have found that I can offer my help to people in the community and word is spreading! I’ve helped my yoga teacher get her classes online with Zoom, which has resulted in her hiring me to do some Facebook admin for her and possibly to migrate her website (hence learning very quickly how to build a site in Wix!). I mentioned this to someone else and now they have just put THEIR yoga teacher in touch with me to see if I can help her as she is worried her business will go under if she has to stop classes. It feels all go!”

Heidi M said, “One client has reduced my tasks down to a minimum for now but those that have an online business are just carrying on as normal. I have been mainly helping with Zoom training, getting it set up and rescheduling appointments for people. Plus just helping clients stay calm and put practical steps in place. A lot of my time has been taken up with a couple of networking groups who are moving to online meetings and helping them sort that out for our area and get up and running quickly.​”

Ruth B said, “My local Ladies Who Latte networking group emailed cancelling tomorrow’s meet up. I contacted the group leader offering to host via Zoom. Set up the Zoom call for Thursday morning and posted details in the group.”

Jasmin C said, “I’ve had a really busy week. Changed new client’s meetings for the next month to video conferences and calls. Adding publications to client’s LinkedIn and creating spreadsheets of expenses. Fortunately, their expenses had not been done for a while so work will still come in if diary management slows right down. Large Excel job completed for another new client – def more work will follow. This is for their property renting company so hoping not too much impact from the current situation.

Singapore client is still busy, hoping that house sale still goes through early May and working at getting services cancelled, removals and house cleared. Helped set up a volunteer group to deliver essential items to local vulnerable people, been busy and have a second meeting with the local council tomorrow – my organisation, project management and safeguarding skills are well and truly proven for this and who knows where it may lead (when this is all over).”

Anna R said, “I have been firefighting most of the week, closing down a physical community group and moving it online, setting up telephone trees and whatnot, answering questions on how to set up a YouTube channel, how to capture information on a form digitally, various questions on Facebook and other channels, what video software to use, etc.”

Michelle F said “No change for me, my current clients are not affected luckily. A networking franchise has moved online for all events and adapted well. Some have moved all events online and others are agile and actually setting up new products to assist with the situation. The networking franchise I work for is utilising Zoom, as I think most of the world is now. Other than that, new websites are being developed for another client’s new brand which he is developing due to the other marketing suffering during this time, a very agile company. Things are running as normal for me currently.”

Natali W said, “Loads of consultations with worried business owners, but we’re coming out with 3 categories now:

They’re either

  1. getting their businesses in tip-top shape ready for the other side.
  2. pivoting to online and/or letting the world know. So plenty of social media management with Facebook Ads and press releases.
  3. wanting to help so publishing tips/tools and courses online. This includes video and audio editing for me.”

Gulfam P said, “No change for my current client. Since we mostly work remotely, so no worries for me. My client is in the IT industry(which is affected, as all onsite work cannot be done onsite now) but they are also moving toward working remotely. So my client can rely on me. So nothing changed for me as a VA.”

Annie P said, “Lots of planning for growth, putting in place marketing and looking at different and creative ways to still offer services. One client is expanding, others are using the time to think creatively which is great, most of mine are looking at this time to deliver differently which will hold alongside ‘normal’ when we get back there. Zoom, Trello being used as normal. Main change at the moment is to hours worked, lots of late nights and early mornings as everything is changing so quickly, keeping everything Agile!”

Sarah-Jane H said, “I’ve spent the past couple of weeks navigating travel cancellations etc for clients – for each I’ve listed what’s booked ahead and what options are available for every booking they have and just monitoring this – eg Chelsea Flower Show or flights etc.

I’ve also been helping a new client who has an in-person business navigate through the Government support system so that she can do her best to keep her employees on and also advising on how we can use this time to increase her business profile online – just to keep her mindset positive. So I’m really feeling useful and showing my clients a lot of love right now.”

Paca MS said, “Since lock-down in Spain, I’ve been pretty busy doing stuff for my clients: postponing or cancelling travel arrangements and events; re-scheduling their agendas; writing and posting information about how their services will be provided; reviewing their pre-scheduled posts on social media and newsletters, to make sure that there’s nothing that might sound wrong now; posting info about the situation in Spain for those who have clients abroad; showing some of them how to use on-line resources for video-conference, communication or back-up, etc. Busy, busy!”

Bex I said, “I’ve implemented a booking system for my plumbers and gas engineers to get their diaries full from Sept onwards. I’ve teamed up with a VA here in Bristol who also has kids so we can piggyback on each other and get our work covered with the additional childcare we’re doing.”

Amanda H said, “I’ve been doing various things for clients, one I’ve been dealing with all the postponements of courses, liaising with their clients, calling people to help assist. Also, social media for clients has become more of a thing. Have done lots of research for clients wanting to find out the best platforms to use for online presentations/meetings etc.

It’s been interesting and I’ve learnt a lot during my research! (Didn’t realise how many conference-type platforms there were – still think Zoom or Webex came out on top!) Hoping to get them all online very soon. I feel quite lucky that my clients are all still ongoing so I have more work than usual!”

Roxana G said, “I have a client who is a keynote speaker and we’re now looking at online speaking events. I signed up another client last night who isn’t that familiar with running online events, so I will be helping her do that instead of live events until the situation improves.”

Heather S said, “One of my clients is a salon and I’ve been posting updates about the status of their salon being open/closed, sending email updates, as well as posting general informational and ‘fun’ posts on their page to keep people engaged.

On my VA business page, I am still offering ideas for how to promote your small business, asking for small businesses to share links and info about their businesses so others can support them now if they are still open or later when they reopen and sharing ways to help.

One of my clients has a sewing studio where they teach classes and they aren’t wanting to be as ‘in your face’ about not being open. I am posting memes about sewing/crafting, basic information about the classes they offer, but no class dates and other crafty related stuff to keep people engaged on the page.

I have been updating Google My Business pages and also scheduling future posts so that we are ahead of the game when ready. Those are my 2 big clients – I have a few others I do mostly ad-hoc work for because I went back to work part-time on a contract basis with my previous employer (needed health insurance and a more steady income while I grow).”

Kim S said, “One client is already 90% on Zoom for her international clients. The other client I have set up her entire business to now offer remote access to all her patients and clients. One client is an executive coach and the other is a private physio.”

Emma P said, “Now is a great time for us to be able to help clients. I’ve been helping a client set up Microsoft Teams and doing remote minute taking.”

Liana W said “I’ve helped my client get his marketing message right. And just offered lots of moral support, he knows we’re in this together and will come out the other side.”

Hopefully, these accounts will give you encouragement as well as ideas on how you can assist your own clients during this challenging period.

Marketing

This is the perfect time to show how VAs support businesses. In fact, I would go as far as to say I don’t think I’ve ever seen a better time for VAs to show the value they bring. Here are a couple of ways you can implement your online marketing message.

Have conversations

Networking is just another form of marketing and has always been about having conversations and building relationships – which can also be done online. Online business groups are actually going to be inundated with people looking for advice and solutions, and you should be there ready to provide it.

This is actually just basic marketing – you should be doing this anyway.

Listen to the conversations taking place in these spaces then advise what people need to do to work virtually and use the contingency and pivoting suggestions above to put forward any options that might be suitable for them. Even though they’re not your clients, providing value is how you build your reputation and name.

Many freelancers focus on what they can get, whereas they should be thinking about what they can offer. You don’t give away all your secrets for free, of course, but when you demonstrate your know-how and skillset, people see that you know what you’re talking about and feel confident about hiring you.

Shout about what you’re doing

Make sure you’re talking about how you are helping your clients on your social media posts and in your online comments. If you’re helping a client write an email so they can update their customers, then mention it. If you’ve just enabled a client to hold online consultations, then you should tell people because if a business owner reads your update and needs the same thing doing, they’ll want to hire the person who clearly knows how to do it.

If you’re just setting up your VA business you may be concerned about ‘taking advantage of the situation’ whereas, what you’re actually doing is helping people. If the world was on fire and someone sold fire extinguishers, then you hope they’d speak up.

Now is the time to step forward and explain how VAs can provide assistance – the clue is in the name. It’s literally what we do for a living… it’s the whole point of us.

A VAs job is to run towards the fire, not away from it.

Tips on protecting your business and sanity

One of the only downsides to being a ‘detail person’ is that VAs can be massive overthinkers. Although this is what makes them fantastic at their job, it often means they can get lost in those details and lose sight of the bigger picture.

However, Virtual Assistants are also level-headed, highly organised, great problem-solvers, fantastic planners and they love helping people. This means they are perfectly suited to ‘crisis’ situations when they focus their energy on finding solutions.

Get some perspective

It’s the media’s job to catastrophize everything. If you keep looking constantly online and refreshing the news websites every 20 minutes (yes, I can totally relate) then you will think it’s end of days. It isn’t.

Continuously looking at sensationalist clickbait headlines all day will make you worry, and that really isn’t going to help. It’s only going to make you anxious at a time when your children, family and clients need someone with a level head to maintain some perspective.

Amateurs panic, Virtual Assistants do not.

Be accountable and show up for your business

Some of the key qualities mentioned in my post on qualities needed to be a good Virtual Assistant are resourcefulness, resilience, adaptability and the ability to solve problems. Now is the time to call on them.

So, if you need tips on how to effectively work remotely without getting caught up watching cat videos or you want advice on online tools or how to manage childcare, then Google it or ask in your Facebook group. I promise there is an answer to every single question you have and every challenge you will ever encounter.

It’s your responsibility as a professional business owner to make sure your business is bulletproof so you should have a contingency plan and some savings anyway.

Stay focused

Whilst working from home won’t be a new experience, having your entire family stuck there with you may be. It’s important to let them know that you need to focus on client work so you can bring home the bacon (and pasta and toilet rolls) and how essential it is that you have a quiet place to work and uninterrupted blocks of time to do it.

Step up

Now is the time to demonstrate what a Virtual Assistant can do for small business owners. It’s time to assist your clients with remote working, share the tools you use, suggest ways to help them, add value and support their business…

Like you should already be doing.

Seriously, if you’re not already doing this stuff then I’d be a bit worried. To be brutally honest, this is just what Virtual Assistants do. This is why some VAs run agencies, have teams of associates and can pick and choose their clients, whilst others struggle.

Stay visible

Even if your clients drop their hours or put your work on hold, it’s important to stay in touch with them. Check in to see how they’re coping with working from home and share online resources. Because they will definitely remember how you behaved when this is all over.

Stay visible online as well. It’s the VAs who take part in conversations and step forward to help their clients and the small business community that will benefit. This situation will pass so don’t crawl into a hole and wait it out.

Concerns you may have

Of course, it’s natural to be worried, but I haven’t yet seen anything that could happen to your business because of the Coronavirus that couldn’t happen anyway.

Here are a few of the concerns I have seen raised in my larger Facebook group and, as you can see, none of them is unique to the present situation.

“People won’t have any money to spend” – there are always people who won’t have any money to spend. Some actually won’t and some just won’t want to spend it. You just work with the ones who do.

“How will clients pay us if they can’t pay their bills?” If your client’s industry is impacted then they may not be able to pay you on time. This is not a new occurrence and all VAs have known clients with money issues at some time or another. This is why you have a contract, clients in different industries and savings. You could also suggest they pay fortnightly instead of monthly.

“Businesses will close down” – some might and if all of your clients are in impacted industries then you will feel the result. But most VAs have clients in a variety of industries and you will certainly have the skills and experience to get other ones.

Many businesses will pivot and move online, others may need their income protection insurance or Government assistance and a few may fail. Unexpected events have impacted various different industries in the past and I can guarantee they will do so again in the future. This is just another, albeit unique, one of them.

This is why all businesses should do their utmost to futureproof themselves against every possible eventuality. Every business should have a business contingency plan for every eventuality.

It’s what good business owners do.

“What if I get sick?” – you could get sick anyway. You try not to (which is why an annual flu jab should be part of your futureproofing plan) but it’s normal for people to get sick. Even if you don’t get Covid-19, at some point you will take time off because of sickness.

“So-and-so is a freelancer and they are struggling” – it’s a really bad idea to compare your business to someone else’s or to think that because one business owner is struggling it means that you will too or that the entire VA industry is going to collapse.

Another VA trainer once said to me “VAs don’t want to spend any money”. This was not my experience and I thought to myself “well, maybe they just don’t want to spend any money with you.”

You don’t know anything about another freelancer’s business or their ability to run it. Your only job is to focus on the success of your business and your client’s business.

Actions of successful Virtual Assistants

The private training group for people on my DIY VA course, as well as the Handbookers Facebook group, is filled with successful Virtual Assistants. This is because:

  • They hold themselves accountable for the success of their business
  • They put themselves out there
  • They have a marketing strategy
  • They plan for all eventualities and aren’t flying by the seat of their pants
  • They talk about what they do to everyone they meet
  • They offer solutions and value
  • They think about what they can give and not just what they can get
  • They are resourceful and resilient and they just get on with it
  • If something doesn’t work, they try something else
  • They don’t take things personally, make excuses or think the Universe has it in for them
  • When things don’t go as planned they don’t collapse, they adapt
  • They make work for themselves by proactively investing in the success of their client’s business

Of course, running a business isn’t easy, but over years of observation, these are the things that successful Virtual Assistants think and do.

Afterwards

Whilst it may not seem like it right now, challenging times are what make you and your business stronger. This is where you get to see how good your marketing and planning skills are as well as identify any weaknesses in your client base and business model. When this is over, you should take some time to reflect and review what happened.

Review your skillset 

For example, if any of your clients needed to move to an online platform and you didn’t know how to set one up then you’ve either identified a gap in your skillset (which can be plugged), or gaps in your client’s business contingency plan – and fixing this will make both of you stronger.

Review your clients

This period will give you a good insight into the types of clients you’re working with. For example, if any of your clients acted like dicks or temporarily ghosted you, they are not people you should be confident about working with afterwards.

It’s how people act when they’re under stress, that shows us who they really are. 

Also, if all of your clients were impacted because they were in the same industry, then you will definitely want to diversify your client base going forward. Niches are great, but they should always be in addition to regular admin services.

Basically, you need to make sure that none of this experience is wasted and that it helps make you a bulletproof business owner.

Conclusion

Whilst I know that many of you may, quite understandably, be concerned about the health and well-being of your family and business and some of you may be unsure whether you should even be going freelance at the moment, I firmly believe Virtual Assistants have a big role in helping businesses navigate the waters during this unsettling period.

We are the world’s sorters.

We are resourceful, we have a wealth of information in our heads, we know about tools, platforms and apps that others have never heard of, we are privy to a multitude of business models, our skills can be applied to any business and our natural organisational abilities mean we were literally BORN for these kinds of situations.

Actions and resources

  • If you haven’t already, pick up the phone and call your clients to discuss the current situation and what their plans are. I’ve talked to my VA about what happens if I’m sick, she’s sick or if we’re both sick at the same time. She knows how I’m doing financially and whether she has to worry about being paid. Take notes and come back to them with ways you can help them pivot if need be.
  • Read the blog post I wrote after the 2016 referendum result on why there has never been a better time to be a Virtual Assistant and find out why freelancers always do well in times of economic uncertainty.
  • Complete these disaster-recovery exercises and future-proof your business by creating a personal business contingency plan. Then help your clients create their own plan.
  • Read my post on 30 services you can offer then review your services to see if there are any you’ve missed.
  • You may have to go out and find more clients, so sign up to my free mini-marketing course if you need to brush up.
  • Stop refreshing your news feeds every half an hour (yes, I know you do it!) because reading sensationalist headline after headline will stress you out. Go and do something productive instead.
  • Here is a list of UK government help currently available to small businesses, gig workers and the self-employed.
  • Go into your online business groups and add value by answering questions on remote working and ways to collaborate remotely. Share your knowledge and offer to help.
  • You can find both paid and free training courses and downloads here if you’re looking to enhance your skillset and I have lots of useful tech resources here.
  • If you want to set up your own Virtual Assistant business then check out my online DIV VA course. You get lifetime access and I help you through the entire process.

Okay, it’s time to set sail, little ship. Your moment has come and you are needed.

3 Comments

Gazelle dela Pena

“Okay, it’s time to set sail, little ship. Your moment has come and you are needed.” Wooow! Thanks for this. Your article is so inspiring, it helped boost my confidence and reassured me that I’m in the right path. I’m a VA for almost a year now and I enjoy it a lot because it allows me to be home with my family while earning money. I’m from the Philippines and we’re now having a lockdown. A lot of people are out of work. I’m thankful that I still get to work every day. We VAs rock!

Reply
Claire White

Brilliant article Jo! I’m a multi-VA,15 years in and have weathered many storms in my own little ship. It’s sometimes easy to forget just how skilled we all are and your words have inspired me to shape up and kick on. I remember when you very first came onto the scene all those years ago and have watched you blossom. Huge well done, and thank you! 😁

Reply
Joanne Munro

I am very pleased I have inspired you – I meant every word of it too. I mean, our job is to assist people – it’s what we do for a living. It’s our actual job title! If we can’t help clients now then what are we doing?

Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.