Summer, the time for spending time with your children and other loved ones, enjoying the glorious (and sporadic!) English weather, and taking the time to top up your tan on holiday, with a glass of Prosecco in hand.Unless you’re a business owner, that is – then you’ll more than likely fall into two distinctly separate camps. The first – those who have taken the time to get their business summer ready, now. The second – those who are always surprised when the summer holidays arrive.

Camp 1 – You’re already summer ready

If you’re in that first camp – congratulations! You’re ready to own the summer! You can sit back and relax. You may even decide to not bother reading the rest of this blog post, as you’re already ready. However, you could, of course, continue reading, to see if there’s anything else you can do, to finish off your hard work.

Camp 2 – You’ve not given summer a thought, yet

For many VAs and other business owners, summer is the time of panic and worry. Panic about how you’re going to get everything done before summer, worrying about how you’re going to cover any quiet periods created by clients going away, and stressing about how an earth you’re going to take time out to be with your family during summer, whilst also servicing the needs of your clients.

Now is the time to get summer ready

The good news is, your summer can be whatever you want it to be – if you take steps to get ready now. You can have a calm and peaceful summer, or you can spend the time juggling everything. The choice is yours.

Now, I’m guessing you’d rather get ahead of schedule, ready for the summer months! So here’s my top advice for getting summer ready.

Decide how you want your summer to look

You initially need to make a decision about how you want your summer to be. Do you have holidays booked or are you looking to work through the summer? Are you looking to cut down your hours over the school holidays or ramp up your client hours? Getting summer ready starts with you getting clear on how you want it to look for you and your VA business. You then have a clear picture and idea of what’s needed, to implement it.

Ensure you’ve got your client’s needs covered

Your paying clients are your business, so their needs have to take top priority. So what are their needs? For some VAs, this may involve having a conversation and seeing how you can best serve them. If they’re going away for the summer or have children at home during the summer holidays, they may want to take a time-out or reduce hours during this time. So have a conversation to ascertain their needs.

For those who will need work covered during the summer months, decide what options are available to you – because you do still have options. One option is to look at scheduling in work ahead of time, to cover any periods where you’re away. This will naturally be dictated, to a large extent, by the type of work your clients need you to carry out. Social media, for example is perfect for forward scheduling (check out my recommended resources for this, here). Blogging is another task that can easily be scheduled in advance, too.

A second option is to find out now, what your clients will need for the next few months, and schedule in extra time slots, to get it completed early. My only two caveats here are that you have a conversation with your client to convey your plans and to ensure you’re paid for any work you do – don’t just do all the work now and hope that your client will be happy with a nice (and unexpected) early, higher than usual, invoice ‘surprise’!

Outsource to an Associate, if you want to get summer ready

Another option available to you, is to outsource to an Associate. This essentially means you hand over your client work for a certain period of time to another VA, who looks after your client whilst you’re away. This isn’t just a solution for the summer either – having a team of Associates working with you, can help you build and grow your business further too.

Outsourcing to an Associate VA is a great way to ensure your clients are covered, whether you need a time-out or an extra pair of hands. However, it isn’t something that you can organise last minute – if you want to use an Associate VA for this summer, you need to take action now. So, if you’re looking for more information on working with an Associate VA, check out this blog post entitled ‘How to work with an Associate VA’:

We have a webinar and training guide in the VA Membership all about Working with Associates.

Cover your own business needs

Your clients needs are only one half of what needs covering over summer  – you’ll also need to ensure your own business is summer ready too.

Again, an Associate can be a perfect solution for your own business needs, especially if you need content created, blogs and articles scheduled, and websites, mailing lists or databases maintained. So do check out the resources previously mentioned, and have a think about how your own business could benefit from an Associate VA on your team.

Another way you can ensure your own business needs are covered for the summer, is to plan ahead. Look to dedicate some extra time now, to forward plan content creation, so you can create and schedule your social media content, blog posts and even run evergreen webinars, whilst you’re away from your desk.

Automating systems and processes will also ensure your business isn’t reliant on you being constantly available. If you complete a task on a regular basis, look to see if there’s a way it can be automated.

A large majority of VAs have young family, it’s often what attracted them to become VAs in the first place. The ability to work hours that suit you and your family isn’t something that has to stop, just because it’s the summer holidays.

With careful planning, some forward thinking and a few conversations, you can ensure you get the summer you want, without sacrificing your business – and without worrying whether your business (and clients) will still be around when you get back.

Having an Associate VA in your corner, is a great way to not only cover summer, but to also grow your business generally. Working with an Associate can take on many forms and be a beneficial experience for both you and the Associate. But you need to make sure you do it right, so I recommend you invest £40 on the VA Membership. It gives you all the advice you need, to ensure you find the right Associate, know how to build that working relationship, and ensure you’re both covered legally. Why not head on over and check it out – it’s the perfect time to take action, now!