Alicia Grace Co

Entrepreneurship

Do You Have A Business Back-Up Plan?

Guest Posts, Entrepreneurship, PlanningRaakhee StrattonComment
 Do you have a business back-up plan? Learn why you NEED to create one today. No more procrastinating.

If you are self-employed and find yourself in a position where you can’t carry out your work, what will happen to your clients?

My visit to A&E

I recently became ill for the first time since becoming self-employed. It started off with mild headaches and by the end of the week, I found it difficult to look at light, my head was constantly pounding and became worse every time I moved my head. I was constantly sweating and by Friday, I added neck stiffness to the ever-growing list. I was still working throughout this but by Friday lunchtime, I sent a message to my client to say that I really wasn’t feeling well and I will be logging off. I’m not sure how I managed it but I completed all the tasks she needed me to do.
 
After calling NHS Direct, I was advised by the on-call doctor that I should immediately go to A&E. He mentioned meningitis on the phone but it didn’t register with me until I was in the taxi. The waiting time at the hospital was four hours but I was seen incredibly quickly and the nurses and doctors who looked after me were friendly, quick and efficient. I was only in the hospital for about five hours and while I was there, it got me thinking: if it turned out that I was seriously ill and needed to stay in the hospital for a few days, what would happen to my clients?

Hit by a bus plan

I had heard people mention the ‘get hit by a bus’ plan but it was something I had never thought about seriously. Before I started my business, I had always been an employee so if someone was off sick, it was the responsibility of my employer to deal with the workload. More often than not, any extra work was shared with colleagues.

Do you have a plan?

After being discharged from the hospital, I posed the question to other small business owners asking how many of them had a back-up plan; some said it was on their to-do list, some said it wasn’t something they had even considered, but only a handful said they had a plan. By raising the question, it made a lot of them think about the seriousness of what would happen to their clients and their businesses.

Another SME story

I recently arranged for a company to clean my windows and guttering. After confirming to the owner that I was happy with the quote and wanted to proceed, it took a week to receive a reply from the owner to say that he had snapped a part of his Achilles tendon and had to cancel all his work.
 
Another week passed and I was surprised to receive a call from him asking if I was happy for him to carry out the work and would be at my home within the hour. I had mentioned that I was writing this blog and he told me that he didn’t have a plan. He wasn’t in a position to lose any work and he had no-one else to carry out the work if he had allowed the hospital to put his leg in plaster. He also told me he had a heart attack a few years ago and was advised that he needed to take quite a few months off to rest, but he was back to work three weeks after being discharged from the hospital.

I have my plan. What’s yours?

Since my brief visit to hospital, I now have a note on my desk so my husband knows who to contact and I’m in the process of teaming up with another Virtual Assistant to take on my work so my clients don’t have to worry about who will carry out their work if I am unable to do it.
 
If you don’t have a back-up plan, it may be time to seriously consider your options and to put a plan in place.


About the Author: Raakhee Stratton
 Author: Raakhee Stratton

Raakhee Stratton is a Virtual PA based in Ashford, Kent and provides support to Small Businesses, Entrepreneurs and Authors. Raakhee has a real passion for helping business owners by managing their admin while they look after their customers.

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Automation: A Super Tool for Woman Entrepreneurs With Anxiety

Productivity, Time Management, Organisation, EntrepreneurshipMarissa PaneComment
 Automation is a super tool for entrepreneurs to combat anxiety with. Learn the best ways to make the most of it.

As a woman entrepreneur with anxiety, I often get asked how I’m able to do #allthethings so effortlessly. After I get a good laugh in, because let’s be honest, nothing is effortless, I usually follow-up with one small but mighty word: AUTOMATION!

The process of automating as much of my business as possible is a lifesaver, especially during those bad mental health days. If I sense that I’m going to be under a tremendous amount of stress soon or if I notice that I’ve been becoming more anxious, I can prepare for the storm that’s about to hit by simply getting as much done as possible today, as opposed to tomorrow.

I’m sure you’re wondering how to do that or you think my ‘strategy’ is common sense. Read on to learn some of the many ways you can automate your business.

Trust me when I say that you will regret not automating these things sooner the next time you’re falling into a depressive rut...

Top ways you can automate your business

  • Schedule your social media posts ahead of time (!!)
  • Plan out your entire to-do list for the week on Sunday
  • Set up IFTTT to post a native photo to Twitter instead of just a link when you post to Instagram
  • Set up IFTTT to post your Instagram photos to a specific Pinterest board
  • Schedule a plethora of pins to go out each day via Tailwind
  • Write your email sequences BEFORE the day you want to send them out and schedule them to go out automatically (!!!)
  • Turn on an auto-response to your Facebook Page messages that redirects inquiries to your email
  • Schedule your blog posts ahead of time (!!)
  • Use your email marketing system to automatically send freebies to your subscribers
  • Use your email marketing system to tag or separate your subscribers based on their interests
  • Install Grammarly into your web browser to avoid silly grammar mistakes
  • Link your scheduling software to your Google Calendar so you never miss an appointment AND you’ll avoid becoming double booked when all your systems are aligned.

Shall I go on?

Basically, automation is the bomb diggity and I actually had to pause and think really hard about all the things I have automated because I’m so used to the systems running that I truly forgot about the many ways I use it!

Automation is the ultimate goal-crusher

Now, I know I said that these automation strategies are a tremendous help to entrepreneurs with anxiety, but these strategies can still be a lifesaver if you don't have anxiety.

Perhaps you’re a busy momma who is trying to tackle a side biz while raising a toddler and slaying it at her corporate office. Or maybe you’re a dog daddy and all you want when 5pm hits is to cuddle up next to Rex and binge-watch your favorite Netflix show.



It doesn’t matter what situation you’re in - automation will save you time, energy, and money!

Yes, it saves you money too! Most of the automation services out there are free, so why pay a VA to do the nitty gritty work when you can set up a month’s worth of social media posts in an hour, simply hit PUBLISH, and watch the magic happen?

Now that you’ve got all these ideas buzzing around your head, I’m sure you’re looking for an action item. Where do you start? What do you do? Ahhhhh!

Below is the step-by-step plan to start automating your Twitter posts:

  1. Create a Hootsuite account (It’s free, yo!)
  2. Link your Twitter account to your Hootsuite account
  3. Add a “Scheduled” Stream
  4. Add a “My Tweets” Stream
  5. Compose your first tweet in the text box on the top of the screen
  6. Click the calendar icon under the text box
  7. Choose your desired date and time
  8. Click Schedule CONGRATS! YOU’VE SCHEDULED YOUR FIRST SOCIAL MEDIA POST!

It may seem like the tiniest step ever, but once you start blocking off time to schedule days, weeks, or months of content, you start to see the amazing time-saving effects automation has on your business.

I recommend scheduling some time out of your day to brainstorm social media posts. Think about overarching content ideas - not word-for-word posts. Then, once you’ve compiled your ideas head over to Hootsuite and let those ideas inspire dozens of tweets!

If you want even more bang for your buck, reposition those ideas into Instagram captions and start scheduling your Instagram posts as well. It can all be done in Hootsuite, so utilize your time wisely and do all you can while in that platform!

I can’t wait to hear what part of your business you began to automate, today! Yes, I said today! Start implementing these ideas now and report back with your results!


About the Author
 About the author: Marissa Pane

Marissa Pane is a life coach for entrepreneurial women with anxiety who are ready to implement smart marketing strategies into their business so they can gain the freedom to take care of themselves again while their business continues to thrive. Her passion for mental health began in 2012 when she started her recovery from anorexia, major depression, and generalized anxiety disorder. You can find more about Marissa and her mission on SPIESFitToFight.com and inside her Facebook community, Decaf Doers: A Collective of Ambitious Women With Anxiety.

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