E014 Planning For PTO as a Pinterest VA
We don’t typically think about planning for the unexpected in our businesses (because we’re not expecting it!), but it’s vital in order to keep things running when you can’t work. Meg found herself suddenly needing to take unexpected time off because of some health issues, which taught her a lot about preparing her freelance business for a leave of absence. Learn more about it on her website!
We learned so much valuable information on this episode, and it doesn’t just apply to independent contractors. It applies to every business! If your business can’t run without you, even for a day, start now to implement these tips so you can keep things running smoothly no matter what life throws your way.
For more tips, especially for Pinterest VAs, check out Episode 6: How to Manage Multiple Pinterest Accounts with Google Profiles. This game-changing hack will help you streamline your workflow and stay organized!
On today’s episode, Annette and guest host Meg Bateman of MegBateman.com talk about something most VAs and other independent contractors don’t think about much—how to plan for expected (or unexpected!) personal time off. And stick around for today’s peculiar pin—cooking chicken in milk.
Independent contractors don’t get paid unless they work. If you need to take time off, the only way to keep getting paid is to keep the workflow going. Work ahead at least a week, but two is even better. This doesn’t just give you a cushion for necessary time off, it will also reduce your stress!
Have a Backup Person
This might be a virtual assistant (or even a spouse), but someone needs to be able to take over for you when you’re “out of the office.” It’s also smart to consider a backup for your backup in case they also need to take some time off at the same time as you!
If you don’t have a backup person, consider your professional network. Instead of seeing them as your competition, approach a trusted colleague with a win-win collaboration. If you can cover for each other in the event of a vacation, surgery, or family emergency, your business will have an extra layer of protection without adding an additional team member.
“People aren’t always your competitors, sometimes they’re your network to save you in difficult situations.” -Meg Bateman (16:48)
How to Prepare
Keep all your information in one place with the capability to share access. Evernote, Google Docs, and Google Keep are all great options.
Keep written instructions for your backup person in case of an emergency and you aren’t able to explain anything to them. (If nothing else, someone needs to have access to client accounts to inform them of the extreme situation.)
Keep a Dossier of Your Business
It’s good business practice to keep all information about running your business in a secure place. Be sure to include:
What happens on a daily basis
Process and workflow
Systems for client communication (Slack, email, etc.)—who communicates how
Login credentials (LastPass is a good option to securely store info)
Keep a file for each client with a profile and specific instructions just for them (what to pin, what not to pin, posting frequency, etc.)
List of subcontractors/VAs, what they do, and how they’re paid
Current projects (with details)
List of regular bills and upcoming bills (like estimated taxes)
Client Communication is KEY
If you have to take PTO, a quick check-in email is helpful so they understand that service will continue uninterrupted, when you’ll back, etc.
“That’s how you keep your clients, by good communication.” -27:38
Returning to Work
Going back to work can be harder than preparing for leave. When you’re back in the office, you may need some “recovery time.” Whether your leave is vacation or medical, it may take you a while to get back into the swing of work, so take this into account when you’re working to get ahead.
“If you’re running a good business you’re focused on your clients and your business’s well-being, but you don’t often think about it when you’re not there.” -Meg Bateman (34:45)
It may take some time to implement all these action steps, but the results will be well worth the effort. Not only will your business run smoothly in case of planned or unplanned time off, but your stress load will decrease significantly knowing you’re prepared!
Huge thanks to Meg for this incredibly helpful information! If you know someone who could benefit from this information, please share the podcast or this blog post.