In conversation with… Kirsten Smith, Coach | Trainer | Retreat Leader

Kirsten Smith

This week we spoke to Kirsten from Shine on Tribe about how coaching can help Virtual Assistants. Kirsten is an ICF Accredited life-coach and runs courses and retreats in Norfolk, UK.

How can I achieve a better work-life balance as a virtual assistant?

I hear this story a lot – you set up a business, you need to earn as much as possible, and so you book yourself out totally. Then you try to fit in some time for yourself, and it feels impossible.

The reason this never works, is this. If you put you time, family time, relaxation – etc – AFTER the work part of your life, it will always come last, and it will always get pushed off the list.

If you flip this on its head and build in the you/family/relaxation time in first, and fit work around that, not only will it actually happen, but you’ll be much happier and more productive.


What strategies do you recommend for managing stress and avoiding burnout in a remote work environment?

I think it can be much easier to manage stress and avoid burnout when you work remotely or from home. You can step away from your desk when you need to without being questioned, and you have more control over your own work and schedule.

Building breaks into your day is key to achieving this. If you’re having an incredibly busy day, working in timed, 25-minute bursts, with a 5 minute break after each one (this is called the pomodoro technique) is great for both productivity and regular breaks. Just make sure you’re taking longer breaks too!

I also advise making sure you’re not maxed out in terms of your time. If you never leave “white space” in your diary or wiggle room – it’s a recipe for burnout.

If I were setting up a VA business tomorrow, I’d be looking at my ideal earnings, and not dividing that by the working hours I have available, but by that number minus a few (say 10 per week if you work full time), to get my hourly charge rate – not forgetting to add tax and holiday time to this too. This gives you flex and wiggle room, where you might otherwise by working maximum hours to make the money you need to, creating the perfect environment for stress and burnout!

I’d also be looking at the tools and tech that you can use to organise your work effectively, saving time, stress and head space!


How can I stay motivated and focused while working independently as a virtual assistant?

For motivation and focus I recommend a number of techniques.

Understanding what motivates you is key to managing motivation – if you’re motivated by money, you probably need to focus on your earnings level and multiple product offerings. If you’re motivated by relationships, make sure you are getting some time co-working or working at client sites.

To stay focussed, I find time blocking, pomodoro, and good health habits are my secret weapons.


Do you have tips for setting and achieving realistic goals in my virtual assistant career?

I love to set and achieve goals – it’s kind of my superpower! To set realistic goals, my advice is to work backwards. Where do you want to be in 10, 5, 3, 1 years from now?

In 1 year, what does life look like? What action do you need to take today, tomorrow, next week – to make that a reality?

The big goal might seem scary, tiny steps each day to achieve it are much more manageable.


What self-care practices do you suggest to maintain overall well-being while working remotely?

While I think it’s important to select self-care that really works for you, some examples would be:

• Daily walks or exercise
• Meditation and breathwork
• Cold water therapy
• Journalling
• Regular breaks from your desk and stretching

Do you have strategies for overcoming challenges and setbacks in my virtual assistant business?

Life and business in general are full of setbacks! My advice is to cultivate resilience with self-care practices, self-reflection, and positive self-talk.

Understanding your overall purpose and business and personal goals also gives you a real sense of direction, which makes it much easier to bounce back when inevitable setbacks happen.


What resources or tools do you recommend for continuous personal and professional development in the virtual assistant industry?

Connecting with other VAs and sharing ideas.
Software specific training and upskilling on a regular basis.
Saving time by using VA specific tools like Kirmada to organise your work.

Want to be more productive, work easier and make more revenue? Try Kirmada for free and wonder how you ever worked without it!