Creating Boundaries In Your Business

I felt compelled to write this blog post about boundaries, as I often feel as a business owner, it is really hard not only to create our boundaries but to stick to them too.

In the past year, I’ve had clients cross my boundaries many times and many times I’ve not enforced or stuck to my own boundaries.

katie colella, business mentor, va, virtual assistant, setting boundaries, female entrepreneur

I’ve had clients call me at weekends, when I’m on holiday and late at night. I’ve had clients decide that they can’t afford their due payment so they’ll have to pay it the following month. I’ve had clients decide that they don’t have to stick to my contract that we both signed. I’ve had clients call and say what they want doing is urgent, and allowing myself to leave the task in hand to go and help with their urgent ‘thing’, when I was already busy for another client. I’ve had clients send me one email, which if hasn’t been replied to within an hour, send another, or a messenger message or a WhatsApp message.

And there has been plenty more!

I think I’m too much of a people pleaser at times, and I love going above and beyond for clients, but when it’s against my own boundaries, then I’m left feeling like I’m being taken advantage of.

I can feel overwhelmed and frustrated and sometimes guilty and even resentment.

In a bid to become better at sticking to my own boundaries with clients, I’ve put together a list of things that will hopefully help the process!

I hope they help you and please share anything else that works for you!

“Healthy boundaries are not walls. They are gates and fences that allow you to enjoy the beauty of your own garden.” -Lydia H. Hall

  1. Be Crystal Clear

This sounds so obvious right! But, I honestly tell my clients as much as possible when we start working together. I send them a contract and ask them to read before signing, but you’ll be surprised at how many boundaries are crossed still.

If you don’t want to work at the weekends, or after a certain time, let your clients know. If you are taking a holiday where you don’t want to work, give them some warning, so they know you won’t be around those days.

If you don’t like answering messages via messenger, WhatsApp, IG, Twitter, emails, texts and phonecalls- let your client know. Make sure you add as much in your contract as you can, or even when you start working with a client, jump on a call and let them know what works for you and find out what works for them!

 

2. Automations

What automations could you put in place to remind clients of your working hours or how you work? Could you put an auto-responder on your FB page or email letting people know you’ll reply within 1 working day for example?

 

3. Checking your emails just once a day

So many people in business swear by just checking their emails once or twice a day can do wonders for productivity. If you relay this to your clients, then they’ll at least know that there is no chance of expecting an instant reply. This also stops you getting distracted and concentrating on one task at a time.

 

4. Take Responsibility

Act like the business owner you are and take responsibility for the decisions you make in YOUR business. If you’ve let clients get away with things once, the likelihood is, they’ll try to do it again. You need to set the boundaries that work for you and your business and not let yourself cross your own line!

Communicate and stand up for your own boundaries. (Harder than it sounds I know, I’ve been there!)

 

5. Say No

If it isn’t possible, you have the choice to say no. I know this can be tough at times, but we all have the choice. If a friend wants to call over in the middle of a workday but you simply don’t have time, you are able to say so. If a client wants you to drop it all for their urgent request when you are already working on other tasks and you really don’t have the time, then again, you can say no. Of course, I’m not suggesting you be as blunt as that, and I’d always try to offer another solution or time, but sometimes we simply can’t do it.

If a client asks for something to be done late on a Friday afternoon/evening, I’ll politely let them know that I’ll take a look Monday for them, as it’s important for me to switch off and spend time with my family.

 

6. Let your client know what you need from them

If you have payment terms that need to be stuck to, don’t let clients pass these. The payment schedule set out from the beginning should be stuck to. You are also running a business and have set your terms to suit you. If you had 5 clients that all paid late, where would that leave you?

If you need content or copy from a client by a certain time, again, they need to know this, so you can get on with your work, on schedule. If not met, this can lead to major frustrations and slow work down. So make sure your client knows throughout what is needed from them and by when.

7. Communication

Is it possible your client may have simply forgotten something? A simple reminder may be all it takes to let them know that you have a set of boundaries and so you both know where you stand. Could you give updates, so the client knows if a payment is due, if they are running short on time etc. Again, make sure you are clear in your contract from the start.

8. Be clear about the time required

Make sure you are super clear about the amount of time some tasks can take you. As a Virtual Assistant, some clients seem to think the list of tasks I can get done in 10hours a month is huge. Now, I’m good at what I do, but I’m not a magician. If you are in an industry like mine, if you have used the hours a client has asked you to do, don’t be tempted to do more ‘as a favour’ or ‘to help out’ or ‘finish the list’.

If you are doing something unpaid for one client, it takes you away from another client who will be willing to pay for your services

katie colella, business mentor, va, virtual assistant, setting boundaries, female entrepreneur, boundaries, boundary

 

I’m sure there are plenty more and I’d love to know how you help set and stick to boundaries in your business.

Check out my mentor services here 

Book a call with me here 

Have a great day, gorgeous,

Katie xx

 

10 Tips To Lift You Up

So today is, apparently the bluest day of the year, aptly named blue Monday.

It’s my birthday tomorrow and this day fell on my actual birthday last year and it always falls pretty close, so I’ve never been a fan of this term!

What is Blue Monday?

Scientists have put together various factors to come up with this- the most depressing day of the year. It’s a mixture of over-indulging at Christmas, both in terms of health and finances, the bad weather and the feeling of a ‘come-down’ after the Christmas chaos. Many people at this time of year are struggling with debt and not knowing how they’ll manage to pay it, failing our New Years Resolutions, feeling a general lack of motivation and overall a little bit rubbish!

A friend of mine messaged today to say she was feeling particularly rubbish and had spent some time crying – now we all get down from time to time, and that’s absolutely fine. But it’s about being able to have tools in our kit to be able to deal with these little lows that get us back up again!

Among, other things, I’ve managed to help put a smile on my friends face, so thought I’d share some tips and try to help you all when you are having a blugghhhh day too!

katie colella, mentor, business mentor, business mentoring, va

Tips to overcome feeling down

  1. Smile

This has been scientifically proven, that just the act of smiling can lift our mood. It changes brain chemistry which sends good feelings and can help turn that frown upside down!

2. Have a dance

Try being down whilst having a good boogie, it’s really hard to do! Pull out your all-time favourite songs (something upbeat of course!) and feel your mood lifting!

3. Go for a walk

This works for a lot of people. Just the act of getting outside in nature can help clear your head and make us feel happier.

4. Exercise

I know loads of people that swear by exercise to help lift their moods. There is a change in chemicals in the brain to support this theory when endorphins are released.

5. Gratitude

Make a list of all the things that you have in your life that you are grateful for. Do you have a roof over your head, water, electricity, gas central heating, clothes, food etc? By making a list, it makes you put things in perspective.

6. Watch a funny film

Laughter relieves stress, helps to heal and exercises parts of our body.

7. Journal

You make think this isn’t for you, but try it. The power of mindset work is amazing. If you haven’t tried it, now is as good a time as ever to start!

Write down’ I love myself because…….’ write down 20 things

Then write down ‘I am proud of myself because….. ‘ again 20 things

Then consider writing an affirmation out 20 times such as ‘I completely believe in my ability to succeed’ or say it out loud to yourself or whilst looking in a mirror.

Or watch a happy or motivational video on Youtube- works wonders!

8. Speak to someone

As the old saying goes, a problem halved is a problem shared. Speak to your other half, a close friend, family member or someone else you trust. Often they can put a different spin on things and add a different perspective for you.

9. Get some sun

Ok, so this one isn’t always available, but if it is- absorb as much sunshine as you can get- it’s a huge mood lifter and for me something that is so important to me. It’s one of my favourite things in life and why you’ll often catch me looking at (and booking!) holidays!

10. Get help

If your mood isn’t just a funk you’re in for a day or two, but for a much longer period of time, then you may need help. This can start with looking at exercise, drinking more water, eating better foods or speaking to someone such as a doctor. Never be afraid to ask for help if you need it.

 

I hope these tips have helped a little. What do you do when you are feeling a little low?

 

 

 

My Top 11 Business Tools That I Use Daily

 

We all have our favourite tools that we use daily in our business, so I thought I’d list my current most used tools for you.

katie colella socil, va, virtual assistant, business tools, female entrepreneur

  1. Canva

I love Canva.. To the extent that I don’t know how I managed before it. This is constantly open on my desktop and I use it, without fail every day.

I use it for myself and for my client work. I create simple but gorgeous graphics for use on my website, on my social media, any presentations I need to put together and any freebies that I need to create. The selection of free or low-cost images is fantastic.

Top Tip- set up the branding options for yourself and any other brands that you manage to make it much easier. All the colours, fonts and logos will then be stored for you.

Watch my Canva video- how to make simple yet stunning graphics >>>

 

  1.  Asana

I put off using management systems for quite a while. For no real reason. Then it was the Trello Vs Asana debate. Now, I use both with various clients and I still don’t have a huge preference over the other. However, I’m currently using Asana more to keep in contact with clients. It’s a great tool when you are working as part of a team on a project, so you can all see what has been done or is yet to be done. I find it helps in mapping out your goals and plans, so you can see them at a glance and break them down into more manageable chunks.

 

  1.  Leadpages

Again, for a long while, I put off using Leadpages as I thought it was unnecessary. However, now I have it, I use it all the time. I’m certainly going to get my money’s worth, so I’m always thinking of new ways to set up landing pages and making them look pretty. I also have access to a few client’s leadpages accounts and enjoy creating amazing landing pages for them. Leadpages is easy to use and offers a great selection of templates to get you started.

 

  1.  WordSwag

I adore wordswag. This is actually an app on my phone, but it’s so handy. If you love Instagram, then this is a fantastic app for you to use. If you are a fan of the odd inspirational quote or text on an image, then this really is perfect for creating a graphic in a matter of minutes. If you are ever at a situation where you don’t have your social media posts scheduled and want to create something quick- this is the one. Great backgrounds, colours and fonts, with an amazing selection of quotes to get you started if you aren’t up to thinking of one yourself.

 

  1.  Dropbox

Dropbox has been around a long time but still one of my favourites. I’ve upgraded to the business version so I have extra storage and ask clients to share all large file with me here. This saves me using space on my desktop. I also use it to store all my stock photos, fonts etc.

Katie colella social, va, virtual assistant, social media, female entrepreneur, business tools

 

  1.  Buffer

I have over the years used Hootsuite, Post Planner and Buffer, but for now Buffer is winning for me. I use this to schedule my own social media and client’s social media, so I don’t have to wing it on the go! I also use Later for client’s IG accounts.

 

  1.  Paypal

I use Paypal for client payments and for receiving payments for all digital guides etc that I sell.

I’ve been using Paypal for years with previous businesses, so it’s a tool that I trust.

I find it easy to add payment buttons or links to websites and landing pages and when I want to withdraw the money, it’s usually in my bank immediately.

 

  1. Mailchimp

MailChimp, for me is a great easy to use email marketing tool. I’m a fan of sales funnels, and this integrates with leadpages making it easy to feed any sign ups into my lists so I can send out automated email sequences, save me having to remember to email any new sign-ups manually.

 

  1.  Wave

Wave is a free accounting software. I’m pretty sure, I don’t use nearly enough of it’s tools, but I couldn’t be without it. I use this to send branded, professional looking invoices to clients, set up automated reminders, send receipts once paid and keep on top of all my incomings and outgoings. If used correctly, this will also make your accounting much easier!

 

  1. WordPress

I built my WordPress site from scratch, so what I know is self – taught. WordPress is a little marmite- people tend to love or hate it. Personally, I find it really easy to use, I love how many plugins are available and how good you can make a site look.

 

  1. Hello sign

I haven’t long actually come across Hello Sign, as it was recommended to me not long ago. But it’s a clever tool- perfect for clients digitally signing your contracts- which I’ll be using from now on!

What’s your favourite business tool that you use daily?

How To Be Productive Whilst working From Home

 This weeks blog post is a guest post from the amazing Alicia Grace

 

As creative entrepreneurs, most of us work from home, which is absolutely brilliant – yay for not having to commute! – but it can also be really dangerous for productivity. One of the biggest hazards is that there are lots of distractions, from Netflix to unexpected visitors.

va, virtual assistant, katie colella social, productivity

 

 

So, what are my top tips on being productive while working from home? Read on to find out.

Wake up early

Just because you don’t need to commute to work doesn’t mean that you should wake up 10 minutes before. Studies show that your brain takes a full two hours to wake up. Be sure to wake up at a decent time each morning (a bit earlier than noon please).

 

You don’t have to jump right into work the moment you wake up, unless you really want to. Instead, use the time to prepare a healthy breakfast, get your blood pumping with a workout, or even catch up on the news. Your brain has been asleep for the best part of eight hours, and it needs some time to warm up (and caffeine!).

Create a solid routine

One of the good things about working in an office is that you have quite a set routine. When you start working from home, however, that’s all suddenly thrown up in the air.

 

That’s why you have to take control of your day and set your routine straight. Plan out the times when you want to work, what you’re going to focus on during those periods (email? brainstorming), and what time you’re going to take lunch.

 

Having a routine in place means that you’ll be able to resist temptations to do things you really shouldn’t be doing throughout the workday, so this is a really important step.

Set working hours

When you’re working from home, it’s so easy for your personal life to spill into work, but the opposite is also true. Set working hours for yourself, and check out of work outside of those hours.

 

This is something that I’m working on myself. Especially when you’re working on your own hustle, it can feel like you’re connected to work 24/7, and that’s why it’s even more important to set boundaries.

Remember to shower!

Not having to see people (who actually care if you smell) every week day is no excuse to let your personal hygiene slip. Dressing up for work, whether at home or in an office, is important psychologically because it sends a signal to your brain that you’re serious.

va, virtual assistant, social media, katie colella social, productivity

Create a specific workspace

Make sure that this is separate from your places of relaxation, like your bedroom. Set up a desk somewhere with good lighting where you can concentrate on your work. If you don’t have space in your home, get creative, and think about whether you can get out and go to a public library or coffee shop around the corner. The goal is to have a specific space where work is your main focus, and distractions are kept down to a minimum.

Use a different browser for work

This is a method I devised several years ago. Using a different browser can completely shift your mindset – similar to having a separate workspace. Make sure that you don’t use social media on this browser, and that you don’t have personal bookmarks or links here.

 

I like using Google Chrome, where I can sign in with different accounts, and always have one window logged into my personal account, and another for work.

Plan out what you’re going to do

The thing about working in an office is that you always have someone reminding you about what you have to do, whether it’s sending you an email, or adding something to your calendar. When you’re on your own though, that’s all up to you. Write down your schedule and your tasks the day before so that you always know what you have on your plate.

 

  1. My Productive Life Kit has everything that you need to organise your workday!

Alicia is the founder of Alicia Grace Co, where she designs printable planners that enable women to achieve their goals with productivity, planning, and time management tools. She has a Law degree from the University of Cambridge and enjoys engaging with goal-getters, especially creative entrepreneurs. In her free time, she is either digging into a good book, food hunting, or snuggling with her very fluffy puppy.

Links

Website: http://aliciagraceco.com

 

Instagram: http://instagram.com/aliciagraceco

Facebook: http://facebook.com/aliciagraceco

Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/aliciagraceco

This is how you can save time and stress in your business

I’ve sat down a few times to write this post but never seem to get past a few lines; it is something I really wanted to share with you all though so I kept at it. Ladies, I know how it feels to be struggling to juggle your business with your personal life and I have found the solution.

In the past, I had tried to do it all but over the past 15 years as an entrepreneur, I have developed strategies that I am ready to share with you today. I realised where exhausted business owners were going wrong, they weren’t spending enough time ON their business and were instead stuck IN it. As a result of applying these strategies myself, my business has been super charged and I’ve become a more balanced person, I feel the happiest I’ve ever been.

If you haven’t got the time to read the entire blog post (I know you ladies are busy), you can get your hands on my free guide today and learn right now how to spend more time ON your business, creating a more balanced and profitable life- click below.

katie colella social, social media, virtual assistant, va

I had always wanted to work for myself. I’m very ambitious and wanted more than an ‘average’ life. It came as no surprise to my family that at 18 I bought a sandwich bar. I was barely an adult and yet I was already a business owner.

Owning your own business is liberating but parts of the journey are tough. I tried to do everything myself, I didn’t want to let go of control and I was afraid to delegate in case other people got it all wrong but I was burning myself out.

I remember wishing that there was a better way and that I had more time. I lost loads of weight, I wasn’t eating properly, I was stressed, unfocused and bitterly unhappy. My business started to suffer and I felt a complete failure.  

A few years later my husband and I decided that we would start a guesthouse. We had an offer accepted and by now, I was also 4 months pregnant. Life went from busy to hopelessly hectic; we were both working, I was pregnant and we had a whole house renovation and a business to build from scratch. The idyllic dream we had of running a guesthouse alongside our growing family, became a nightmare.

This experience may have been hard but looking back it was a gift. I learnt so much along the way and juggling life as a business owner with children was just the beginning. Just like in my last business though, I longed to be able to do more of the things I loved to do in the business but I felt trapped by the mundane.

5 years later, it all became too much and we sold up and I moved into an online eCommerce business. I still had to work crazy hours as I was building my new business from scratch but I was determined to make a success out of it. Business was booming, so much so, I had to move to larger units three times in two years. The lessons I had learnt in previous businesses were paying off but one thing I couldn’t let go of; control!  

I worked loads of hours and literally ate, breathed and slept my business. I struggled to let anyone in. It was my baby; my business and I wanted to do it all. Deep down, I knew that in order to grow, I needed help but I found it so hard to hand over.

I had slipped into the familiar routine of working too much IN my business, rather than ON my business, and trying to do it all myself! I was desperately trying to create to that work/life balance but failing miserably.

In the spring of 2016, I had an incredible epiphany when I realised what I was doing wrong; I had been so focused on doing everything in my business that I had forgotten to enjoy the bits I loved doing.

Being an entrepreneur is a unique experience and one that requires a significant amount of self-motivation. Wealth had always been main my motivator and although growth will always be important to me, I suddenly realised that I wasn’t giving myself or my business the real opportunity to expand because I had been constantly close to burn out. Yes, I may have made progress but without the ability to stay motivated, in the face of exhaustion, I had been setting myself up to fail.

I decided to sell the business. It was a scary when I felt hugely out of my comfort zone but also a huge opportunity for reflection after such a hectic 4 years. Once I got over the shock, I felt proud to consider how I had started this business from scratch and built it up to a multiple 6 figure business.

After 15 years as an entrepreneur I had learnt one very important lesson; taking care of myself was paramount to the success of my business and my well-being. If I could go back to my 18-year-old self I would tell her to take a breath but I can’t do that.

So instead, I am focused finally on doing what I love! I have built the entire of my new business around what gives me joy and if there is an aspect of running the business I don’t like I outsource it. Letting go of complete control has given me incredible freedom and enabled me to focus on what I love. This has allowed my business to actually grow and at an even faster rate than before.

After everything I have learnt I am now passionate about helping other women in business in that same position I used to be. I want to support those suffering from that same overwhelm that I remember so well. I want to help these women work ON their business instead of IN it.

This is where the growth is. This is where the happiness is.

katie colella social, social media, virtual assistant, va

 

A 25 hour day

I know, it’s the dream right?! When you are a fierce female entrepreneur there never seem to be
enough hours in the day, the amount of times in the past I have wished for just one more hour! I used to think that if I had this hour, everything would be OK, I would get everything done and the world would be at peace.
Of course, I was wrong. Time was never the problem.

Einstein said it himself, it is all relative. The problem wasn’t that I didn’t have enough time but that I wasn’t using it properly. Understanding this was the first step, then came the hardest part; finding the time or organise my time!
This pattern was going to repeat forever unless I took action and stopped using time as an excuse. The action I took when I set up my new business is outlined in my free guide and it is written with love, with you in mind, so you can put into practice today what took me years to learn.

katie colella social, social media, virtual assistant, va

 

The Secret to Doing It All

When you own your own business, it’s easy to fall into the trap of trying to do it all. This is especially difficult if you are also trying to take care of your family and your home at the same time. Trying to be all things to all people just leaves you with an unavoidable feeling of failure.
Trying to do it all myself was a mistake that forced me to rock bottom, on my way back up I
discovered the secret to doing it all was actually letting go of the constant need to control and micro-manage everything.
You will have areas of your life and business that you are amazing at and you love and in equal
measure, there will be things you don’t! Take this opportunity to reflect on what makes you feel alive and reminds you that you are contributing to the world, this what you should be focusing on and in my guide I will tell you what to do with the rest!

katie colella social, social media, virtual assistant, va

 

Find Balance Today

Women of the world seem to spend their entire life looking for this elusive ‘balance,’ but what does it actually mean? When my life was unbalanced I felt as if I was being pulled in different directions and never seemed to do fulfil any of my many roles properly. An unbalanced life is exhausting, physically and mentally and inevitably leads to burn out. To live a balanced life means that you feel in control, calm, grounded, inspired and motivated.
I know what it feels like to be unbalanced, I’ve been there and got the t-shirt but when I set up my new business I knew that to find balance in life you had to create it. I couldn’t leave it to chance or to anyone else. It had to be a conscious decision and involved the implementation of specific strategies, applied with consistency. To be in control I had to take control and you too can do this today.

 

ready, katie colella social, va, virtual assistant, save time, save stress, work on your business

 

Want to get results in your business too?

As a result of finding my way in my business, I feel happier, more balanced and I’m enjoying time for me and with my family more than ever. I have more time and less stress- finally after all these years on my own business journey.
I want to help other women who are feeling stressed, overwhelmed and close to burnout. If you never have enough hours in your day and try to do it all, take a look at my free guide.

katie colella social, social media, virtual assistant, va

 

What could you do with an extra 10 hrs a week?

Possibly the most used phrases ever, 

“I don’t have time’,

‘ I’m too busy’

‘I didn’t get chance’

‘In a minute’

The list goes on, but let’s face it, most of us are rushed off our feet, trying to fit as much into our busy schedules as we can. We run businesses, manage our houses, look after children, constantly juggling a million and one things.

10 glorious hours a week

Have you ever stopped and thought what 10 hours a week would mean to you. 2 hours a day extra in your life. What would you do? What could you do? 40 glorious hours a month Mon-Fri for your business.

Would this free you up to contact more clients and receive more work?

Would this give you back the time that you so desperately crave? 

Would you spend it with your family? 

Would you use it to do that training course you’ve been putting off? 

There are so many ways that you could grow YOU and your business if you allowed yourself 10 extra hours a week.

Yes! I’d love an extra 10hours/week

Tell me how!

But, how would that work I hear you ask? I still have so many things I need to do, if I took 10 hours for the things I really want to do, then how would I fit it all in?

This is the reason I’ve introduced my VIP Package. It’s a package just for you, the lady who knows what they want and how they’d use those 10 extra hours a week. The lady that knows her worth and value and knows that in order to grow they need another pair of hands. This could be to do the tasks you don’t enjoy or the tasks that you aren’t great at, or it could be the tasks that simply take too long. I give you extra time and help take some of the stress away from you too.

katie colella social, vip package, va, virtual assistant,

How can I help?

Would you love somebody to schedule all your social media for you? Or someone to help with your FB group? Someone to send regular emails to your clients or customers? Someone to reply to comments and messages on your social media channels, someone to upload those blog posts, someone to speak to your clients on your behalf. Whatever it is, that you’d like to not have to do, get in touch and let’s see if I can help.

 

The VIP package is for the lady who wants that little bit more- the 1:1 service, the instant messenger access and the knowledge that I’ll never work with more than 3 VIP clients at any time.

I need to be a VIP client!

Do you have a top service, package or product? Would you love to be able to sell more of those? How many extra sales do you think you could make with an extra 2 hours a day? 

 

I have the experience of having owned numerous businesses, so I understand the pressures that are on us, especially those we put on ourselves!

katie colella social, va, virtual assistant, social media assistant

If you value YOUR WORTH and would love to have me there to help you and your business grow, get in touch now and we’ll arrange a Skype or Zoom chat to see how I can help you!

I want to be a VIP!