There’s no denying, Coronavirus has really impacted everyone. For many work-from-home business owners, there’s a real juggle going on at the moment – especially as normal day-to-day routines have been impacted and work levels have changed. And as we head into July, thoughts inevitably turn to how we’re going to deal with the summer juggle normally associated with the school summer holiday period.
With everything still so up in the air, there’s a lot of confusion around. Many parents have had children home since March, as well as potentially other family members who have been furloughed. Whilst your income and workloads have fluctuated throughout the coronavirus pandemic.
And that’s before we take a moment to realise, those school holidays are just around the corner.
Your usual support networks may not be an option
I don’t need to tell you, this isn’t your usual situation. This year, it isn’t just a case of learning how to deal with the summer juggle – it’s about learning how to deal with yet another thing to juggle.
Lockdown has meant a lot of VAs have lost their support networks and are managing it all alone. Grandparents are only just being allowed to become part of our home ‘bubbles’, whilst having nannies, childminders and cleaners into our homes is still not possible.
We’re all really tired and need our support networks back in place. We need a break and that’s often what we’re holding out for, but with everything still so up in the air, we don’t even know when we can do that!
It’s a confusing, stressful time and we have no idea when it’s all going to change for the better.
It’s happening across the board
Coronavirus is impacting everyone. Jobs have been furloughed, redundancies are impacting and I’m sure it’s impacting on you, your loved ones, and your clients. Some VAs I’ve spoken to have lost clients, either due to redundancies, furloughing, lack of customers and a general need to tighten their belts. Others have been super busy; their clients either knuckling down to get serious about a sideline business or increasing their VAs hours to suit an increase in workload and clients themselves.
The key thing to remember throughout all of this is that it’s happening across the board. It’s impacting on everyone – you are not alone.
A new way of doing things is needed
If you want to get through the summer juggle, and the coronavirus pandemic, you need to reassess your working patterns. It’s time to create a new way of doing things, a way that suits the changes you’re experiencing.
And for many, that means a change in your working day. It isn’t always feasible to work your normal schedule. Kids and homeschooling need accommodating, keeping them entertained has to become a factor of your working day, and changes in your support options will play a part.
Whether that means having to share your office space, your time or your resources is something many of us have to factor into this new way of working. For some VAs, that may mean shifting the working day forwards or backwards. For others, it may mean expanding your services and pivoting what you offer your clients. And for some, it may mean a step back or a pause in everything work-related.
Be kinder to yourself
But the one thing you absolutely need to do, to cope with coronavirus and the impending summer juggle, is to be kinder to yourself. Acknowledge that things aren’t going to be the same as last year. You may need to cut back on your clients or get extra Associate help in.
There will be days when you feel like your only achievement was finding something to keep the kids entertained.
And that’s OK.
Focus on looking after yourself and your health first. You can’t give from a place of exhaustion. Watch that negative small talk and rein it back in. Berating yourself for not getting everything done today? Remind yourself that you did what you could. And if you need to shorten your working day or go from fulltime to part-time, do it.
[And if you’re looking for some activities to keep the kids entertained, check out this Pinterest board for younger kid activities, this one for learning and educational activities, and this one for teenagers, for some awesome ideas!]
Focus on what’s needed now
For many, planning is something that just isn’t going to work at the moment. Plans have changed, timescales and finances have been affected, and frustrations may be kicking in.
So instead of planning for the next quarter, plan for a month at a time. Instead of looking at how your plans had to go on hold, look at what you can do now, to keep things ticking over.
If you’re a new VA who’s just starting out, your plans to run your new business alongside your existing job may have gone out of the window. Your timelines may have been increased or decreased as a result. For existing VAs, those two years plan to bring on Associates may have been impacted. You could’ve been planning to introduce a new service or update your existing client base, but had your plans scuppered because of the pandemic.
No matter where your VA business currently is or what shape it’s in, focus on what’s needed now to make a difference. What one thing can you do today, to help? What three things can you add to your to-do list, to focus on for the next week? How can you move forward amidst the uncertainty around you?
Get the support you can during the summer juggle
At this time of year, support is something we look to have. Except for this year, the support we put in place to help us with the summer juggle may not be an option. But that doesn’t mean there’s no support available to you.
Switch your focus to what support you can get. If you focus on what tasks you need to get done each day and are a little kinder to yourself, you’ll be able to free up some of that guilt, frustration and overwhelm around your business. By focusing on what’s needed right now, you can see that a change in timetable and working hours may be needed, as you juggle work and kids. And when it comes to support, you may find it useful to switch from family members and friends to online and virtual support.
Having the support of other VAs in similar situations isn’t about having someone to complain to. It’s about having someone you can bounce ideas off and get solutions to problems you may be facing. It’s about getting extra training whilst you’re quiet, and building relationships with VAs that may become future Associates.
And that’s what the VA Membership gives you. You have access to other VAs, a community to support and inspire you, as well as training and advice to help you grow your business. The VA Membership gives you access to others that can help you overcome the current challenges and limitations you may be facing, as well as the summer juggle that’s inevitably coming.
There’s no denying, Coronavirus has really impacted everyone. For many work-from-home business owners, VAs included, it’s been a tough and weird year so far. But that doesn’t mean you should give up on your plans altogether.
By following the above tips, you’ll be able to take stock of what’s needed, to help you navigate this new path, no matter how slowly or differently your journey may look. And it will help you focus on what you need to do, to effectively steer your way through the coronavirus pandemic and the summer juggle that comes with school summer holidays.
If you’re ready to explore more of what the VA Membership can provide for you, do head over and check it out. It’s going to give you access to affordable, practical support and the expert help you need, to grow your business, even during this current pandemic and the inevitable summer juggle that’s next on the horizon!