3 Tips to Avoid Overwhelm When You’re Booked Out as a VA

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The truth is that being booked out will happen for you at some point, no matter where you are in your virtual assistant journey.

Just in case you’re wondering – “booked out” means you have hit your monthly limit for taking on any more clients or working more hours.

But whether you’re just starting as a VA or you’ve been doing it for years, if you’re not prepared to take on multiple clients, you’re going to be overwhelmed.

Now, if you’re not booked out just yet – have patience, my friend. Enjoy this slow season you’re in because as soon as you put yourself out there – the clients will come.

The problem is when you get lost in the excitement of being fully booked and signing on new clients, only to realize later that it’s incredibly overwhelming because you are not prepared to handle all the work.

So, for the sake of your sanity and well-being, here are 3 tips to help you prepare ahead of time.

virtual assistant fills in calendar

1. Have a System in Place

My first and best tip that I can give you before you’re booked out with clients is to make sure you have systems in place. The key is to prepare before the workload picks up. 

Consider tools like:

  • Project management systems (Asana) – where you or your client can delegate tasks
  • Automated payment systems (Honeybook) – automatically send invoices & contracts
  • Client communication (Slack) – instant messaging for business

The more familiar you are with each system, the easier it will be for you to manage and delegate tasks to clients, subcontractors, and new hires.

An example of a project management system we use for my team is Asana. I’ve mentioned this in previous blogs because it is such a great program to use in your business. My team and I can create tasks, make to-do lists, assign deadlines, and distribute to other people on the team.

I also recommend creating workflows for tasks that are repetitive and relatively similar. This can mean creating contract templates or email templates that you send out consistently.

Templates allow you to fill in sections as needed instead of starting from scratch every time, which can be a complete energy drainer.

Systems like Honeybook enable you to manage projects, book clients, send invoices and get paid all in one place. (Use code “vai” for a discount!)

virtual assistant on phone with client

2. Set Boundaries

Setting boundaries as a new virtual assistant or business owner is extremely difficult. Throw in COVID-19 (with most people already working from home) and you’re asking yourself, “What is this ‘boundaries’ you speak of?”

This is because the work from home life is SO much different than going to an office every day, doing the work, then going home. 

When you work from home, it can be hard to distinguish between your personal space and your workspace. Especially if your bed has been your new desk as of late. Guilty!

But setting your boundaries is more than just the physical line between your work life and personal life. You have to set boundaries with your clients.

A common problem I see among newer virtual assistants is working for free.

There’s a HUGE difference between doing a non-paid internship and signing a contract with specific hours your client has agreed to pay you for and going BEYOND the work scope.

When you go over the allotted time you and your client have agreed upon, you’re putting more pressure on yourself to perform, and if you’re balancing multiple clients at the same time, you’re going to become overwhelmed.

And while some clients will appreciate you helping out by working an extra hour or two, some will test you and see what they can get away with. 

Don’t give clients the opportunity to take advantage of you. Make sure your contract specifies exactly what you will be doing for your clients and be clear on:

  • Your hours of operation
  • What days you’re off
  • How long it will take you to respond to their messages
  • Etc.

I include an onboarding packet for my students to use and customize in 90 Day VA for this very reason. Communication is key when you work remotely, people! 

Remember – you are NOT an employee anymore. You make the rules. If you’re going over on hours each week, communicate that to your client. They will work with you. Some clients are more than happy to pay you that extra hour or two!

I have an entire podcast episode dedicated to setting your boundaries because it is SO IMPORTANT FOR YOU TO DO. You can check it out here

virtual assistant working in canva

3. Outsource Your Work

VA’s hiring other VA’s to help them with their workload is an actual thing. 

Outsourcing should be super exciting because it means you’re upleveling in your business.

You’re growing! 

One of the best things about outsourcing is that it doesn’t even have to be a long-term thing. You don’t need to invest in a full-time subcontractor or intern. You can simply outsource a month or two of work to help you get caught up on specific tasks and that’s it! 

People are always looking for extra work, so take the pressure off yourself to complete every single thing. Outsource the tasks that take up the most time or you don’t like doing and, instead, focus on something else. 

The best part is that you already know how the outsourcing process works because your clients outsource their work to you. You know what to expect, how to communicate, and how to delegate tasks. 

The initial process of looking for your own virtual assistant will take some work, but you will thank yourself later for finding the extra help.

If you’re outsourcing client work, you don’t technically need to let them know UNLESS you’re dealing with work where maybe you had to fill out a Non-Disclosure Agreement or it’s their personal information.

When I worked as a VA, I liked to give my clients a heads up if I was going on vacation and would have a subcontractor or VA takeover during my time off.

virtual assistant at work

Not every client is the right fit for you, and that’s okay! Go with your gut and pay attention to any red flags. No work is worth sacrificing your happiness and well-being. I don’t care how much a client is paying you. You are valuable, and so is your time. 

Realize that your “ideal client” exists. If something in you is screaming that this client is not for you, then you’re probably right. Saying “no” to a client can sometimes be the best thing you can do for yourself. 

You don’t need to go all-in right away by hiring every client that shows interest in your services. Patience is key here. Don’t settle for just anyone because you’re trying to reach your monthly financial goal.

It’s an exciting thing to keep taking on multiple clients but make sure you have your systems in place before you do, and your boundaries are set. 

If you’d like to learn more about becoming a virtual assistant, you can check out my FREE class for more information!

3 tips to avoid overwhelm when you're booked out as a va

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