Does the thought of taking a day or two off or going on holiday give you sleepless nights for fear of missing out on vital work calls or new leads? And when you do take a break, do you spend too much time checking work emails and social media for work purposes? Do your family members start booking activities at the hotel without you because “you’ll just be on your phone anyway”? If this sounds like you, then a virtual assistant or virtual business centre might be just what you need to really enjoy that holiday. This is often the case for freelancers and solopreneneurs who can’t always turn to someone to take over their duties.
What are my options and what can I delegate?
One such alternative is The Virtual Business Centre, which offers cover from 8am to 11pm, Mon to Fri, 9am to 6pm Sat/Sun, closing only for Easter and Christmas. It offers telephone answering, telemarketing, outsourced customer service, live chat, and marketing via text and email. Your social media quips might have to take a break. But that doest mean that you can’t set up some posts in advance and post them in through an app, such as Hootsuite or Later.
Now, with the prospect of life returning to a semblance of normality and the prospect of holidays on the horizon, freelancers and business owners want someone to take away their pressure points. They want to take time out and relax knowing their business is being taken care of by professionals.
“Business owners have always found it difficult to take time off when they run their own business – however its health benefits are well documented,” says Claire Brewerton, co-founder of The Virtual Business Centre, which has been providing remote business services for 22 years.
Have virtual business services surged during the pandemic?
The centre has grown over the past year as more companies seek to outsource their telephone answering, telemarketing, and other related admin tasks. The pandemic, lockdowns, and the resulting remote working led to a surge in clients and a recruitment drive.
“This year more than ever, taking a complete break is very important – as is a change of scenery even if it’s a ‘UK’ staycation this year. For many years we have provided holiday cover for business owners who want support for a week or so, here and there, to allow them to truly take time off.”
Top tips for taking time off
- Set boundaries and stick to them – which person can contact you when you are away and in what limited circumstances.
- Let important clients know you are away – let them know that you are taking time off and who to speak to in your absence.
- Delegate work – give tasks to team members to take some of the load from you so you do not come back to masses of work and trust them to do it.
- Prepare your team – if your team is used to you being at the helm, prepare them for managing while you are away.
- Appoint a second in command or fellow freelancer – ensure there is someone to take your place and who is the main point of contact. If you are a freelancer, such as a freelance journalist or creative, you can turn to a freelancer platform to hire a fellow freelancer to cover simple jobs, such as research, sub-editing, podcast editing, promotional videos or even social media posts, while you are away, so that you can pick up when you get back.
The summer holiday season will look different for many business owners this year. And whether you plan to head away for a week or two, or just need a break from being constantly in the home office, you probably want to know that while you are away your clients are engaged, your email inbox is managed, and your telephone calls are being answered by a confident and capable human.
If you do delegate while next on holiday, just warn your family that they may actually have to hang out with you.