One of the biggest (if not THE biggest) challenges of being a VA is staying organized!
When you’re juggling a bunch of clients and your own business, it’s easy to start losing track of things.
Documents go missing, emails get buried in your inbox, and to-do’s go unchecked, which leads to unhappy clients and a very frazzled VA (that’s you!).
This is a cycle to be avoided at all costs! Luckily, I’ve learned plenty of tips and tricks over the years to keep things organized, and the internet is full of systems and programs to help keep your business running smoothly.
I wanted to share a few of my favorite tips and programs for organizing client tasks and making sure work gets done!
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MY FAVORITE CLIENT ORGANIZATION HACKS:
1) Create client processes
Call me a nerd, but I get excited about processes. Not only will they streamline your business and make it super efficient (which means you’re saving time, money and energy), but they’ll increase your confidence and make you look like a VA goddess (or rockstar, unicorn…whatever you want to be!)
In order to create a process, think of all the big steps it takes to complete a task.
There are four main client processes you’ll need:
- Pre-client – the steps you take to determine whether a prospective client is a good fit or not, and if so, turn them into a new client.
- Intake – (also called client onboarding) includes getting paid, signing your contract, and getting organized to start your work.
- Service – the steps you take to complete your work.
- Post-service – (also called client offboarding) includes the final steps you take to wrap up your time together, like getting feedback, asking for a testimonial, and possibly sending a thank you card or gift.
2) Use Google Drive
Most of the documents for my clients and my own business live in Google Drive.
G-drive allows you to create documents, spreadsheets, and other types of documents and share them with clients and team members.
You can create folders to organize your client processes, SOP’s, blog post drafts, email funnels, brainstorms, spreadsheets, and any other document you use for your business!
Plus, everything is autosaved, which is a really nice feature!
G-drive is free to use once you sign up for a G-mail account.
A sneak peek of my G-drive
3) Create systems
Once you’ve outlined your client processes and added them to the G-drive, it’s time to turn them into systems.
Like I mentioned above, processes are the main steps you take to complete a task. Systems are the tools that help support your processes. They’re what automate your processes and make them work efficiently.
For example, if scheduling a discovery call is a step in your pre-client process, a scheduling tool like Acuity will eliminate back and forth emails between you and your client. Acuity will help you automate your process and reduce the work you need to do to get a call scheduled.
You can create systems for everything in your business, like your marketing system and your invoicing system.
4) Project management system
Keep your client tasks organized in a project management system like Teamwork Projects, Asana, ClickUp, or Trello. You can create templates of recurring tasks that you do in your business and keep track of client project due dates, etc. Some systems will also send you reminder emails of what’s due.
5) Be mindful of your time
One of the biggest perks of being a VA is flexible hours. You get to set your own schedule and work whenever you want!
The other side of that coin is that you have to make time to do your client’s work and other business and personal to-do’s. If you’re not careful, your time can get away from you quickly!
Time blocking is a useful tool for staying focused. Block out days and times you want to allocate towards clients, but don’t forget to block out time for your own business tasks (like marketing), eating, breaks, etc.
Breaking down your time into intervals helps you stay focused too. I typically set a timer for a set amount of time, for instance, an hour, so I can completely focus on the task at hand. Then I’ll take a break for about 15 minutes. This technique keeps my mind sharp and reduces fatigue.
6) Let your clients know your work hours (AKA boundaries)
If you’re constantly stressed out because your clients are expecting work done on short notice, on weekends, or during hours when you aren’t supposed to be available, you need to work on communication!
Before you bring on any clients you need to write out your business policies. This includes the days and times you work, your turnaround time, rush fee for urgent tasks, etc. When you sign a new client, send them your contract which outlines these policies. If you have a client that likes to push your boundaries, it’s time to remind them of that. It’s your job to protect your own boundaries.
Remember, you’re the boss, so you get to decide how you’ll work and how you’ll stay organized. Trust me, organization can make all the difference between a happy, productive VA and a VA who’s stressed out and letting projects slide!
Want more client tips? Check out the Introvert VA Club!