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Organizing Your Home Office

When you work from home, your office space is sacred as it is where all of your important documents and information are kept. With all the paperwork and office items you have on your desk, it can start to feel overwhelming. Clutter can take a toll on your health by increasing stress levels, you may not even be aware that it is happening. One way you can help to reduce this stress is by decluttering. By cleaning up your office space and truly decluttering, you can not only decrease stress, you can also increase productivity especially while working from home. If you want to live your workdays stress-free, you need to GET ORGANIZED! 

Here are a few steps to help you get started with the process:

1. Purge Paper 

If you struggle with desk organization, odds are you have too many papers and documents taking up space both in and on your desk. First things first, as time-consuming as it may be, take the time to go through every single piece of paper on your desk and throw out, shred, or file each one. A lot of times, many of us are more visual when it comes to work and documents, however, for the sake of the environment and your mental peace, you might want to consider making everything digital. There are so many great tools you can use on your desktop and smartphone that will allow you to keep all your important documents and files organized and easily accessible. If it is not absolutely essential for you to print out certain documents, don’t do it! 

2. Color Coding 

Color coding is an easy way to organize all your files and notes. To organize, separate the filing system into five color-coded categories, and label each hanging folder according to your needs. 

GREEN: Financial 

RED: Client Work 

ORANGE: Personal 

YELLOW: Insurance 

BLUE: Meetings 

3. Keep Only What You Need 

Many people like to keep special items on their desk space such as family photos, decor, and other accessories. Maybe you’re like Angela from The Office who fills her deskspace with cat figures and photos of cats. While it is a nice touch to add something personal to your desk space, you don’t need the extra clutter and it would be helpful to try and remove anything you 

don’t absolutely need. This does not mean you need to remove all your personal touches, but your desk space should be oriented around your work, this is #1 priority, and it can’t be a priority if your work gets lost in your decor.

If you spend the majority of your workday at your desk, having it look nice and tidy can really make your workdays more enjoyable. If your desk is a mess, your mind will be a mess as well. This year, prioritize setting aside at least 1-2 hours per week dedicated to organizing your space. You will slowly start to see the effects on your productivity and mental health. If you still find yourself feeling overwhelmed by online documents and work, that’s what our virtual assistants are for! Reach out today and ask about our packages. http://www.lifebydesignvs.com

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Achieve Your New Year Goals With a Virtual Assistant

We’re here! It’s officially 2022! Many people have spent a lot of time these last 2 years indoors, in pajamas, binge-watching all the shows to ever exist on every TV platform, but not busy business owners! The ones of us who have a strong vision and clear goals have been preparing for this new year! Are you ready to thrive in 2022?

 For a business to prosper, it needs to be running smoothly and efficiently. Take time during the first month of the year to make a plan for how you will be more productive and efficient in the new year. Some popular resolutions for business owners include: ‘become more organized’, ‘improve my social media marketing’, and even ‘work less so I can spend more time with my family’. How are you going to make this happen? 

Working on tedious and repetitive tasks can start to really take a toll on a business owner. What you really want to be doing is focusing on paying customers and clients; but how can you do so when all your time is spent answering emails or creating graphics for your social media pages? 

Don’t start the new year feeling overwhelmed by small, tedious tasks. Start fresh and set new goals. This is a new beginning, and you’d be amazed by how much time you could get back by hiring a virtual assistant. If your goal is to work towards your passion, by outsourcing to a virtual assistant, you are opening up hours to refocus on the things that make you passionate about your business. 

Social media is critical for all businesses. How will your consumers build a deeper connection with you and become more loyal customers if you don’t utilize social media? Through proper social media marketing, your business can reach larger audiences and grow your brand awareness. However, this can’t be done in a day. 

Having a strong social media presence requires many hours to be put in working towards building that audience and engaging with it. Luckily, there are thousands of virtual assistants who specialize in social media management. They can take care of creating graphics, engaging with audiences, video editing, post scheduling, and so much more. If one of your resolutions is to grow your audience and social media presence, don’t spend countless hours a month doing it, hand it off to your virtual assistant! 

Toward the middle and end of the year, we can start to feel so overwhelmed by our workloads that we begin to lose touch with more important things outside of our work life; such as family and friends. Make it your New Year’s resolution to take time for yourself. Enjoy your time away from work, take an extra day off, spend time with your loved ones, without the hassle of having to worry if work is getting done. Your virtual assistant is there to make sure that you are living stress-free while your business continues to grow and prosper. 

A virtual assistant has your business’ best interest at heart. It is our job to watch you succeed and aid in the process. You will have somebody to bounce your ideas off and provide you with support, which is indispensable when you want to achieve goals. Your virtual assistant can give you opinions and suggestions for things you may not even notice about your business. They work to make your life easier. If you haven’t hired a virtual assistant yet, what are you waiting for? Now is a perfect time. It’s a new year. Start fresh! Hire a VA! http://www.lifebydesignvs.com

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Preparing Your Business for 2022

Time flies when your business is booming. It’s that time of year again, the new year comes around and we have new goals to set for ourselves. As things slowly transition back to normal after the past two years, we need to prepare ourselves for whatever 2022 may throw at us.  How are you looking to change things in the coming year? Will you have a new vision for yourself and your business? Having a plan in place for the new year will help you review past performance and make adjustments to your business as needed. How do you plan on following through with your goals for this next year? We have gathered some tips on how you can prepare your business for the new year. 

  1. Reflect on the past year.

It’s no secret that the pandemic has probably affected all kinds of businesses in one way or another. Many have continued to work from home, others have returned to their offices, and some businesses have grown or shrunk as a result of the pandemic. Whatever the case, it is important to review the business activity in the last year to know where you can make improvements for the new year. Think about what your business has accomplished and how you can build on these in 2022. If your business is performing well in a particular area, the new year is a great time to increase that growth. What goals were you unable to reach in the last year for your business? Were they realistic? Why did they fall through?

  1. Write a Business Plan

Writing a business plan is essential when you first start a business. However, it is also very useful to have a yearly business plan to nurture your success in the new year. What direction will you be going in? Will it be the same as last year? In your business plan, you should also include budget and revenue goals for the coming year. Your goals should be business-specific, easy to measure, realistic, and relevant to your overall strategy. It is a good idea to think of 2 or 3 main business goals for the year, these could be related to financial outcomes, your customer base, or anything relevant to your overall business strategy.

  1. Consider Expansion

Plan for growth! If your business has been doing increasingly well, you may want to get ahead of the game and consider expanding your team. It is easy for a business owner to become overwhelmed once their business starts to take off. Remember, when expanding your team, the ultimate goal is to strengthen your existing team. Hire carefully and make sure you are hiring employees that fit the vision and mission of your business.

Starting a new year is an exciting time. I have been so grateful to see my business grow in the last year and I can’t wait to see what 2022 has in store for us. Our team is so excited to continue to help small business owners grow their businesses. For the solopreneur, we can help you get your time back. Are there too many tasks including employee training and development, and you simply cannot get everything done, at least not without working yourself to death? We can help! Visit us at http://www.lifebydesignvs.com

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Best Customer Service Practices for Your Business

If you’re looking to provide value, retain customers, present business value, or reduce employee turnover, you must provide exceptional customer service to your customers. It is not only the business owner’s responsibility to focus on customer service, but the responsibility of the entire team. Customer service is especially important for small businesses as you are working hard to gain new customers and keep them coming back. Have you ever walked into a retail store or a restaurant and the staff seems to be miserable and is not at all eager to cater to your needs? How likely is it that you will return to this establishment or leave them a good review? Not very likely. As business professionals, we need to ensure that all our customers receive the utmost respect and care, as they are the reason we are still in business and we would like them to continue doing business with us. Surveys actually show that customers claim that they are willing to spend more with businesses that provide a positive service interaction. We’ve gathered some tips that will help you consistently provide excellent customer service and will allow you to exceed your customers’ expectations.

Know your product/service:

In order to sell your product or service, you need to be familiar with and have an expansive knowledge of it. If a customer comes to you with a concern or doubt, you must be able to discuss features and give valid insight into the product or service. It’s your job to upsell and provide value to your customer. As a business owner, it is important to keep in mind that you have the ability to offer a solution to a given problem. Make it your goal to know the ins and outs of your product or service so that your customer chooses your business instead of your competitors. However, avoid making any false promises or guarantees. We want to make sure we are always being genuine and truthful with our customers. 

Be Present and Attentive:

This is arguably the most essential part of customer service. In this day and age, we live in a very fast-paced environment. That being said, when a customer is left waiting for a response or doesn’t receive attention in a timely manner, it is unlikely that you will be their preferred choice in business. Whether it is in person or online, you must remain attentive to your customers at all times. Taking hours to respond via phone, email or social media might lead to the customer looking for other options. We want our customers to know that we value their time and preference. That being said, place focus not only on responding quickly but also on resolving any issues they may have in a timely manner. 

Keep a Positive Attitude:

The golden rule applies to customer service. Treat your customers the way you would like to be treated, with respect. Your attitude is everything and we never want to come across as rude or dismissive to our customers. It is inevitable that we will come across difficult or sassy customers. However, we cannot allow this to affect how we treat our customers. When a customer is perceiving our attitude in person, it is important that we keep a positive tone of voice, proper body language, and an inviting facial expression. This is much more difficult to present when communicating online with a customer. Consequently, we must go the extra mile when handling customers online. Always use positive language and focus on what you CAN do for the customer as opposed to what we CANNOT do for them. Make sure to always thank your customer for doing business with you. 

It is no secret that customer service should be a top priority for you and your team. Consider monitoring the communication styles of your employees to make sure all your customers are being treated equally and fairly. Listen to the feedback you receive from customers and adjust your customer service communication styles accordingly. Direct communication with customers can sometimes be difficult if the customer isn’t cooperative or understanding. Remain patient and trust in your ability to be the solution to their problems.

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It’s a Good Year for Better Time Management

Happy New Year! Here’s to an amazing and productive 2021!

How do we accomplish that in our business? We manage our time well.

Time management is a key skill in becoming/being successful and it includes setting aside the perfect amount of time for each and every task being thrown at you. Here are some tips to better manage your time, which will result in higher productivity in 2021. 

  1. Set Goals 
    1. A fundamental part of time management is not only setting goals for everything you need to complete, but also prioritizing them. One way would be to rank your goals by importance so you have a better idea of what you need to do first, second, third, etc.
  2. Set A Time Frame For Each Task 
    1. Try to estimate the amount of time you will be spending on each and every task so you know when and where to fit in those tasks. It’s very important to have enough time to complete each one, leaving wiggle room in case it takes longer than expected. I can’t tell you how many times I have underestimated the amount of time a task will take me and I had already waited till the last minute to complete it- that doesn’t result in a good outcome. 
  3. Reward Yourself
    1. No matter how big or small your personal reward is, you should have one. It not only gives you greater motivation to complete the task in a timely manner but also gives you something to enjoy and promotes self care. 
  4. Take Out Unnecessary Tasks
    1. Cleaning up your to-do can have a huge impact on not just your stress levels but also your productivity. Having a bunch of unnecessary and just straight up time consuming tasks on your list will only slow you down. 
  5. Give Yourself A Break 
    1. Taking breaks are known to increase productivity as long as you stick to your set break time. Think of it as a recharging period to re-center and boost motivation. Examples include working for maybe 3 hours then giving yourself a 20 minute rest. 
    2. Delegate. Give tasks that you don’t want to work on to an assistant. Hiring a virtual assistant is one way to get rid of those extra tasks and free up more of your time for the things you want to do.

Productivity and time management are serious factors when it comes to not only your mental health surrounding the areas of stress, but also important factors to putting out quality work- no matter your area of expertise. 

Here at Life by Design our team values time management and quality work. We focus on the busy work while you continue to run the business of your passion. If you want to learn more, schedule your free consultation here.