Make 2016 Your Best Year Yet … Here’s How

As a New Year quickly approaches many of us take the opportunity to review 2015 and begin to set goals for 2016. Many of these plans and goals will include new ideas, increased revenue targets and streamlining what we are doing right now. Many of us will take the time to review what worked in 2015 and make it even better and also to look at what didn’t and what lessons we can learn so we don’t make the same mistakes.

dreamstimesmall_16147684The only “problem” with this annual review and our 2016 goal setting is it usually will mean more work is needed in order to achieve those goals (because let’s face it the only way to achieve a goal is through implementation). Increased revenue targets, implementing new ideas and streamlining what we are doing in order to make 2016 great are all possible, but only if we are willing to put in the extra work to bring our ideas to fruition. It is for this very reason that many of us abandon our dreams and goals long before they ever go anywhere. They stay just that, dreams and by the end of 2016 we are in the exact same place we are today (and possibly still setting the exact same goals for 2017).

Don’t be that person who in December of 2016 only recalls excuses of “someday,” “if only I had the time,” “I know there is a need for this, but I don’t have the knowledge/energy/resources to make it happen” … and regrets that they have not moved any closer to their dreams and goals!

It is possible to reach every single one of the goals you set … you just need a little help and here are 3 simple ways to do just that.

1. Hire a Virtual Assistant 
For those of you who are still trying to do it all and haven’t yet learned just how wonderful a Virtual Assistant can be for your business, this is the perfect time to start looking. Take a really good look at your goals and be honest with yourself as to how much really only you can accomplish. Sure it is important that you are the one doing certain parts of your business (especially the money-generating ones), but there are many tasks that truly don’t need your attention and input. You don’t have to do this alone … so why do you continue to try? I know some of you are caught up in excuses like:

  • I can’t afford it
  • It will take longer to explain it then just do it myself; and
  • No one can do it as well as I can

Well just stop it … you can afford it, there are ways to explain tasks quite easily and actually there are many out there than can do almost as good a job as you (if not possibly better – I know gasp!)

2. Give your Virtual Assistant even more responsibility
So maybe you have completely skipped #1 because you already have a Virtual Assistant, but there is definitely a way for you to make 2016 even better than 2015. With many of my own clients (yes I still do Virtual Assistant work too) I take this time of the year to ask my clients their goals for the upcoming year so I can let them know what extra responsibilities I am open to taking on. If you already have a Virtual Assistant and you aren’t quite ready to expand your Virtual team, maybe this is the best route for you to take.

Each year many of us create more goals and have dreams to expand our businesses, but we get so caught up in what our Virtual Assistant is doing we forget to ask them where they would like to go in the next year (or even where they have gone in this current year). Perhaps your Virtual Assistant learned a new skill this year or has had a recent change in their business that will allow them to take on a little more responsibility for you.

3. Hire another Virtual Assistant
Okay so you are saying to yourself, I already have a Virtual Assistant and my Virtual Assistant is stretched to the limit, there is absolutely no way I can add more to her plate. If this is the case then now is the perfect time to start thinking about adding another Virtual Assistant to your team. If this is the direction you are headed than I suggest start first with a conversation with your Virtual Assistant. Ask them to help you create your new Virtual Assistant model by asking them the following:

  • What tasks would you like to keep for yourself and which would you like to give away
  • Are you open to “managing” the new Virtual Assistant or would you rather me take that role
  • Do you know anyone you feel would be a good fit for our team

Don’t make the same mistake that many business owners make and simply bring a new team member on without the initial discussion with your Virtual Assistant. Let them know you value them and why you are bringing someone new onboard. The more they are a part of the process the less likely they will create friction at the new team dynamics.

So I guess you get the idea. A Virtual Assistant is a must-have if you want 2016 to be different. Not having a VA or not allowing your Virtual team to expand may hold you back from achieving those goals in 2016.

Your dreams and goals can be achieved this year and if you are ready to make them happen I currently have only two openings left in my calendar for Virtual Assistant matchmaking. If you schedule a call with me right away I still have time to help you to get a Virtual Assistant in place for the beginning of January. This is your last chance to start 2016 right with a Virtual Assistant (or another Virtual Assistant) on your team!

Here’s the link to get your Virtual Assistant search started!

Getting Back to Structure

I finally feel like I am back and I ready to take on the world (so to speak)!! After talking to a friend, I decided that it was time to start “practising what I preach”. In the last month, my business has grown so much that I find myself just working through the work again and forgetting about my business. If I keep up this pace, I am afraid that I will quickly fall into old habits so I decided it was time to do something about it. So I thought I would share with you some of the things I did to get back to structure and back to building a thriving business.

The first thing I did was to take a really close look at my goals again and to break them down as far as I could into manageable chunks. Part of doing this was reviewing my long term goals and coming up with a plan to get there. Even more importantly I decided that I needed an “incentive”!! My incentive is to reward myself with a new software program that I have been wanting to purchase. So first I set a time line and a set of goals … then I took a picture of that software program and put it on my bulletin board. Now every time I look at that picture I am reminded of the goals that I am trying to achieve and the incentive to work harder is there!!

The second thing I did was to review my schedule and rework it to what now makes sense for my business. See this was the thing I was forgetting about … I set my schedule over a year ago and a lot of what worked then was no longer working in my business now. In doing this I realized that although setting a schedule is a good first step, the fact I hadn’t been following it was a reminder that a schedule is only good if it is followed!!! My productivity has increased immensely since I have started following this schedule again.

The last and final thing I did was to start using “to do” lists again. I quickly realized that without a good to do list, things were “falling through the cracks” and not getting done. Even more importantly, I took the time to prioritize my list and got back to my system of color coding the work … yellow highlighted items must be accomplished today, blue items come immediately after the yellow items are attended to and the pink items are things that I would like to do, but timing is not crucial. Then I assigned a number to each item within the color coding so I would know in what order they would be completed.

Just getting back to this structure has made me feel so much better about not only my business, but also about myself. I am ready to take my business to the next level and to truly set some goals to make this happen. Without having these three things in place, I truly believe that this would not be possible!!

And the Lightbulb Goes Off!!!!

So after Sally’s comment I went and read her post and it was like a light bulb went off. There right in front of me was the reason for my funk. I had met all my goals!! This explains the reason I have been so bored. I am truly the type of person that sets out to “prove” something and that I had!! I had started a Virtual Assistant business, written a book (actually 2) and been recognized by my peers. When I thought about it I realized I had been thinking now what.

So this is the reason I haven’t been able to finish writing a book … I already did that!!

This is the reason I haven’t been able to find excitement in my VA business … it is already a successful business!!

So today when I re-write my goals I am going to think about things I haven’t accomplished yet, things that will make me excited again and then I am going to go after them with gusto. The biggest thing I am going to do though … I am going to remember that goal setting is a continuous thing … we need to read them, review them and revise them as we grow and achieve the goals we set for ourselves!!

I admit it … I’ve been in a funk!!

First I blamed it on the stress of trying to sell my house, then I blamed it on the children being home for the summer and finally I blamed it on being too busy, but finally I realized that no matter the reason it was time to pull up my socks and “smarten up”.

Yesterday at my BNI meeting our President said something that really made me stop and think. “You have to feel your way into a new way of acting not act your way into a new way of feeling”. In other words instead of acting as if everything is great, it is time to change the way you feel about things and other things will fall into place … so that’s just what I did.

I took some time to think about why I was feeling the way I was and decided it was time to stop “feeling sorry for myself” and start remembering that I am a successful business woman for a reason. I can put on whatever show I want to, but unless I start feeling better about myself and about what I am doing people will eventually see through the “veil” I have created.

So once I came to this realization I realized it was time to “brush off my goals”, re-write my schedule, and start working on all those ideas in my head instead of just leaving them there. So watch out world because I have a new attitude!!

Co-Authors Nominated for Prestigious Virtual Assistant Awards

London, Ontario, Canada – The Virtual Assistant industry is gearing up for the 3rd annual Online Virtual Assistant Convention (OIVAC), which will be held from May 15, 2008 through to May 17, 2008. The highlight of the event will be the International Virtual Assistants Day (IVAD) celebration on Friday, May 16, when the announcement of the winners of the prestigious Janet Jordan Achievement Award and the Thomas Leonard International Virtual Assistant of Distinction will occur.

Co-Authors of the book “Managing Your Thriving Business for Success”, Sally Kuhlman and Yvonne Weld, have each been recognized by their industry as nominees of these awards. Kuhlman for the Thomas Leonard International Virtual Assistant of Distinction and Weld for the Janet Jordan Achievement Award.

The OIVAC website states that the Thomas Leonard International Virtual Assistant of Distinction is to “honor a Virtual Assistant who has been in business for at least 5 years and who has contributed to the industry in such a way that it has provided a positive impact on many others and helped them to build a successful business.” The OIVAC website also states that the Janet Jordan Award is to “honor a newcomer Virtual Assistant who has been in business for less than 5 years and has reached a milestone in their short career in the industry. This milestone needs to be an accomplishment that has helped to boost their new business to an overwhelming success.”

These nominations that prove that Weld and Kuhlman truly know what they are talking about and they also give their book credibility. Many books on the market today are filled with repetitive materials that are unsubstantiated. In other words, not too many authors “practice what they preach”. The fact that these authors have been nominated for these awards goes to show that they are truly running successful businesses and are being recognized by the industry as leaders and role models.

“My goal in writing the book was to share with business owners the elements of my business that have attributed to my success such as goal setting, boundary setting and good time management”, Weld stated. “Many business owners struggle to determine why their business isn’t working without first looking at themselves and the management style they bring to their business.”

Kuhlman believes “most people can be taught good management skills and, by utilizing those skills, run a successful and thriving business.” “We don’t want others to make the same mistakes we have and wanted to provide a resource that would give entrepreneurs the tools they needed to run a successful business.” Both Kuhlman and Weld have learned their management skills through trial and error and life experience.

About Yvonne Weld
Yvonne Weld is the owner of Canadian based ABLE Virtual Assistant Services which opened in April 2004. Yvonne brings knowledge from a number of resources including personal experience (8 years in her previous employment as an Office Manager), education (graduate of several courses at the Small Business Centre, London, Ontario) and her love for information through reading and internet research. For more information visit the Web site at www.ableva.com.

About Sally Kuhlman
Sally Kuhlman is the owner of Virtual Simplicity located in the San Francisco Bay Area. She has been providing virtual support to entrepreneurs since 2002. For over 15 years she has been professionally engaged in business management and administrative work. Sally has a bachelor’s degree in Social Ecology specializing in Psychology and Human Behavior. For more information visit the Web site at www.virtualsimplicity.net.

About Managing Your Thriving Business for Success
For more information about Managing Your Thriving Business for Success and how to start organizing your time better, visit the Web site at www.thrivingbusinessmanual.com/managing.

About OIVAC
The 3rd annual OIVAC is to be held from May 15-17, 2008 and will include several training teleseminars and workshops as well as an opportunity to network with Virtual Assistants from around the world. For more information visit the Web site at www.oivac.org.