There’s been a bit of an adjustment period with going full-time and taking on extra editing and virtual assisting clients. For years, I worked a full-time job and then came home to manage multiple workflows, social media, and editing for my clients. I had my system set up when I was only doing this job as a side-hustle…so when I switched to working this as my only job, I had to really re-think my workflows and it’s still something I’m working on perfecting! Especially as I’m close to filling up my roster for 2019!
So, with 10 clients (and my own workflow to manage)–how do I keep it all straight and schedule out my workflow to get everything done for everyone?! AND in a timely manner!! Well, I manage it all with a few things: daily to-do lists, monthly calendars, Trello, and specific turnaround times!
Here are my MUST-have business tools + strategies to manage several clients:
Trello: Trello is my #1 life savor when it comes to running my business. And the BEST part is that it’s 100% FREE!! There are amazing resources out there to learn how to use Trello (like this blog post from one of my clients) and even pre-made Trello boards that you can COPY and PASTE into your own Trello account.! Trello allows you to add different “lists” and each list has “cards” you can add (I have a card for each item on my to-do list) and each card can have multiple checklists within it!
Not only do I have my own business board for my own to-do’s, but I also have a board I share with each of my clients. This is where they build out their workflow and assign me tasks that I complete each week. Click here to get Trello for FREE!
Monthly Desktop Calendar: This monthly calendar has been a life-saver, and is my general overview. I’ve started using colored circle stickers (a color for each client!) as a way to signify that they have a wedding that weekend and I use another sticker on the date I will either receive their catalog to edit OR the day in which my part of the VA workflow will start. That way I know I how many wedding blog posts to prep that week for clients, that I should be receiving three wedding catalogs, etc. It’s a great way for me to get a pulse on what is happening in my business in the next few weeks in just a glance.
Start Planner: This planner is on my desk and is literally my right-hand man!! On every Sunday (or Monday morning!), I go through and schedule each day by the half hour time slot, from 8:30 to 5. I try to start my day a little later (and then take a shorter lunch) because I am much more productive after a little coffee. The more I work with a business as their VA, the easier it becomes to anticipate their workflows and successfully schedule out these work windows. Learning their schedules (and having clients who send me assignments on a consistent basis because they incorporate outsourcing into their weekly workflow) TRULY makes this process so much easier!!
With each new client I get, there is a little uncertainty and a bit of a learning curve as they adjust to prepping and assigning tasks that are in their workflow. It takes a few weeks for them to get used to assigning tasks to me on a consistent basis each week! So during the first few weeks of working with a new client, turnaround times are generally a little slower for that client due to the fact that they take a little longer since I’m just learning the ropes of how they do it and due to the time I take to discuss workflows/checklists with that client to really optimize their workflow so it will make the outsourcing process even smoother going forward! With that being said, that means I generally leave a few extra hours blocked off each week as a buffer–because I know the process will take a little longer and I’d rather have extra free time that I can use for other tasks in case I get ahead of schedule, rather than assume those start-up tasks will take half the time and then I run out of time for the things I absolutely HAVE to get done.
Due Dates: When working with new clients, I ALWAYS have them list a due date on every task they send my way, which helps me establish those patterns within their workflow! I also have clients put due dates on tasks that are not as time-sensitive–if it is something that needs updated but it doesn’t need to be finished until the end of the month–which allows me to prioritize the tasks that they need completed ASAP vs. what just needs taken care of in the next couple weeks.
Anyway, I hope this was so helpful to those of you who are running your own business and managing multiple clients on a daily basis! Do you have any questions on managing multiple workflows for several clients? I’d be happy to help!