I was in a meeting with one of our clients the other day and her Executive Virtual Assistant asked, “How is your Monday? Is it crazy being back from vacation?”
Because that’s what we have learned to expect and accept as CEOs, right? There’s no way we can possibly step away from our business without everything going to sh*t.
In response, she put her hands up and said, “NO.”
Cue the pause of surprised silence from every single person in that meeting, including the client herself. The dream that every business owner has- to take a vacation and come back to everything working FOR YOU in every way possible.
The next words out of her mouth were, “I just didn’t think this could ever happen.”
Just like so many CEOs, she never believed that she would have the freedom and the time to go on a vacation with her family and feel more relaxed coming back than when she left. Because every time before that, she felt that taking a step away from work wasn’t worth it. Every experience before had told her that time spent away with her loved ones was a sacrifice she had to make even though it was always 10x more stressful when she got back to her desk.
Her quality of life changed when she hired Prestridge and Co. to support her with managing her inboxes, answering her customer support questions, and supporting her clients inside of her private facebook groups (just to name a few).
Check out what she had to say here!
The ways that we support CEOs to take back their time looks different for everyone, but there are a few key pillars that sustain each business owner’s time-boundaries, and freedom no matter what kind of business you own.
1.) Having Systems and Operations in Place
The reason we start all of our clients off with a systems set-up is because it is the foundation for running a smooth operation that you can grow. The systems you maintain and build off are what an EVA (Executive Virtual Assistant) will work through so that everything is kept organized. This standard of operations is exactly why our clients can do what they want to do without worrying about leaving their business in someone else’s hands. It is clear what each team-members’ scope is, communication expectations are kept, and nothing falls through the cracks.
We have honed our systems offering down to a tee. What this looks like is setting up a standard process for every little part of your business. This may be your lead tracking, lead processing, client onboarding, client offboarding, marketing, email management, or scheduling, etc. When you hire support for these processes, then it is transparent where all the moving parts should be, and lets you (the CEO) be as hands-off the administration as you want to be.
2.) Email Management
As mentioned before, one of the biggest parts of our EVA’s daily tasks is email management. When the client we previously mentioned had come back from her vacation, it was a Friday. She spent more time with her family that Saturday, and some time to herself on Sunday. All the while reciting, “Don’t look, don’t look, don’t look” because she didn’t want to ruin her weekend sorting through an inbox of astronomical numbers.
As Monday morning rolled around, all signed in and at her desk, there was barely anything she had to check. (What?!) Because her Virtual Assistant had filed what was not urgent, flagged what needed to be read and responded to, and already responded to the emails she could.
All the while, our client was purposefully not checking her inbox on the weekend because she wanted to ‘keep her relaxed feeling’ from vacation, she found it didn’t have to go away because things were under control.
3.) Client Communication and Support
What’s the worst thing you can think of happening while you are OOO? A client is desperately needing you and you are not there.
This is where support is the game-changer. Not only do we provide support for you with your daily back-end operations, but we set-up expectations and protocol so that when your EVA needs to be client-facing, they will know exactly how to handle any situation. We will write out your boundaries for how your EVA communicates and handles a client’s needs. From there, we outline your expectations for being “in the loop” on all client communication your EVA does.
The EVAs at Prestridge & Co. go through an extensive training process that’s been honed by working with dozens of small businesses. (If you would like to meet the team, click here!) They’ve learned to think like you would and be your second brain. It’s no secret that this is probably the scariest part of getting support- letting someone else be your ears, eyes, and mouth for your business. However, this is how you take back control of your time and your ability to chill the heck out and take a vacation.
In addition, there are several ways to keep yourself a step away from your business without feeling like you are in the dark. It probably is best that you silence all of your notifications that would usually go off for a normal work day. When I’m away, I always keep my SOS slack channel notifications on so that my team can reach me with an emergency question. As well as that, I always keep my Voxer notifications on because this is a quick and easy way for anyone to come to me with immediate problems, without having to go into my email or slack where I know I am going to get sucked into my “work world”. (Still working on this to be honest!)
Is it too late to take the summer vacation of your dreams? This isn’t about that, really. It’s about your stress levels as a CEO being the lowest they have ever been. It’s about being able to take your kids to school everyday, being able to go to their soccer games, and knowing that you can get away with your loved ones or go on a self-care retreat.
You can have the time and the freedom to do things that bring you joy without compromising your level of sanity and stress as a CEO with huge dreams.
Helping CEOs thrive is our mission. And when you’re matched with someone on our team, they’ll focus on providing you with comprehensive support that is focused on building a long-term relationship with you and your business. They’ll make an effort to get to know your clients and the existing team. With a long-term focus, this will ultimately allow them to identify ways for you to streamline your business for growth and expansion, and help you recover from overwhelm and burnout from being a solopreneur.
This is what we want for you! If you know that you need support for the coming months of holidays, family time, vacations, or if you are just feeling burnt-out on doing this all by yourself, let’s talk about how Prestridge and Co. can bring you to a new level of thriving, not just surviving.