Most of the Virtual Assistants I have worked with and know work from home. Setting up your home office and developing boundaries for productive days are important for VA’s and all entrepreneurs. Working from home demands a strong discipline and mindset. Paying attention to the small details can help you to better manage your time and be more successful.
My public relations and communications training company, Get in Front Communications, is 10 years old. I’ve worked from home with virtual support/assistants and I had an office suite with several employees. I’m offering you some tips to spare you from the frustration I have encountered. Lessons learned:
1- Do have a separate area (preferrably a room with a door) that’s dedicated solely to your work.
2- Do have your own computer so when you log on, “Dora the Explorer” or “Sports Illustrated” don’t pop up.
3- Do guard your time carefully. Avoid taking personal calls or visits from friends or neighbors during work hours. Also, don’t let your clients dictate your hours.
4- Do have a website and business cards that are professionally designed. Top notch marketing is critical to your success.
5- Do set your work hours and adhere to your schedule. You probably don’t have to be available 24/7. It’s called voicemail.
6- Don’t use your home address. For safety reasons and a professional touch, rent a PO Box or office address.
7- Don’t answer the phone with barking dogs, noisy children in the background and chiming clocks.
8- Don’t invite clients or prospects into your home. Meet at a local coffee shop or restaurant.
9- Don’t create professional video’s with “homey” backgrounds that may be cluttered with family pictures, toys and papers.
10- Don’t schedule repair men or personal appointments in your home while on conference calls or on a client’s watch.
11- BONUS! Don’t turn on the TV for background noise.
These tips can apply to new entrepreneurs as well as seasoned professionals. Look, after ten years, I often have to remind myself of a few of these too, especially #5. Good luck!
Susan Young works with business owners and associations who want to use publicity to increase their visibility, credibility and revenues. She’s the President of Get in Front Communications, Inc., a public relations and communications training company. Coaching is also available. Visit www.getinfrontblogging.com and www.getinfrontcommunications.com. Follow Susan on Twitter @sueyoungmedia.