2018 – Thoughts and Reflections of the Past Year as a VA and Digital Nomad

If you’ve been following my blog and social media this year, you’ll know that I became a digital nomad for 3 months so I could travel with my husband and children. Was it easy? No, not always but I absolutely loved it and would do it again in a heartbeat!

Now’s a good time to sit down and reflect on the past year, what I achieved and the obstacles I overcame. I hope by doing so that you can take some inspiration from my journey to follow your dreams, whatever they may be.

From GDPR to Singapore – 2018 was a varied and busy year for me as a virtual assistant

I started the year reviewing my business and what I could offer to my clients, launching a new GDPR support service was the biggest change. After spending months worrying about the Data Protection changes and what it could mean for my own small business, I learned what was needed to meet the new requirements and could offer my knowledge and expertise to other business owners.

I also changed my rates, raising them to match my skills and experience as a virtual assistant. This was something I was nervous about, but it’s been one of the best things I’ve done for my business this year, and I haven’t regretted it for a moment. If you don’t think you’re charging enough for your services put your prices up!

By the time we hit quarter 2 I was immensely busy with running my business, preparing for GDPR and supporting my clients with the new data protection regulations too. Luckily, I have my team around me for support and would have been lost without them, certainly while travelling with the different time zones and wi-fi issues that introduced!

2018 highlighted the importance of working as a team and outsourcing

I actually made the decision to hire a VA for myself to support me while I was away, taking care of simple tasks like picking up emails, helping with clients onboarding and keeping me organised. It was a challenge to find the right person, but it was definitely worth it.

From May I had to start planning my workload while I was away travelling. I put together a list of all my current clients with their projects and the work they needed completing while I was on the road. I then went through everything and decided on the tasks that absolutely needed me to take care and the ones I could temporarily pass on to my associates.

Once I had this figured out I contacted all of my clients to let them know who would be handling their work while I was away, how they could contact my VA for general enquiries and I introduced them to their associate so they felt confident everything would be looked after to my usual high standards.

My travels started in Thailand where I learned the reality of being a digital nomad

Sarah working in Thailand, sitting in a cafe at The Treehouse on Silent BeachAfter I’d tied everything up and put what I could on hold while I was away, it was time to set off with the family and begin our travelling adventures. I was looking forward to a well earned week off to enjoy what Thailand has to offer, but I actually ended up having a WhatsApp call at the pool with my VA to plan a consultation for a new and big enquiry. The actual consult happened while I was sat outside my villa in Koh Samui!

Sarah sat at a camping table working on her laptopFrom late July until October I travelled with my family through Thailand – Bangkok, Chiang Mai and Koh Samui, Malaysia – taking in Penang and Kuala Lumpur, Australia – visiting Tasmania and Sydney, we explored New Zealand in a motorhome and ended our travels in Singapore.

Wi-fi was a challenge at times, but I was able to work around 2.5 hours a day in the morning and keep on top of my workload while being able to have a fabulous time with my family. Looking back, if we were to travel more often or for longer periods there are definitely things I would change in how I approached and managed my work, but in the main everything ran smoothly!

A return home meant it was time to get networking again

For the latter part of 2018, I’ve been attending networking events, developing some exciting new services and catching up with my clients, as well as taking on some lovely new clients too. 2018 has been an amazing year for me where I’ve really solidified my business and confirmed that I made the right choice to be a Virtual Assistant over 4 years ago.

Looking ahead to 2019

Banks’ Business Solutions will turn 5, and I am looking forward to the launch of my new services and working with lots of fabulous women in business. January will be about goal setting for me as it feels like a good month to hibernate and work on finishing off my previous goals. I’ll get to work on the new goals and having a successful 2019 in February, and I simply can’t wait!