How to plan your social media

Blog post – How to plan your social media.

Social Media
Photo by Merakist on Unsplash

Social media is one part of a business that a lot of business owners worry about. They are concerned that they don’t know the technology, are not sure what to post or even how to create content. It really is not that hard – you just need to plan.

For me, I plan my social media one month in advance which then frees me up to work on other parts of my business.  I don’t have to stress.  I know that however my day goes, my social media will automatically be posted.
Planning is the key point to all social media platforms – whether you use Facebook, Instagram, Linkedin, or Pinterest. If you have a plan in mind that is relevant to your business and to your customers, you will reach your target audience. As long as you do not do the constant hard-sell customers will engage with your page. The general rule of thumb is to share 80% information, 20% selling (80/20 rule).

Daily Themes

Firstly, you need to work out a guideline to what you want to post – each day post something different. For instance, you could set out your themes for each day. An example might be:

Monday – Motivation
Tuesday – share an article/blog post
Wednesday – Promote your business /Share wisdom
Thursday – Biztip
Friday – Funny /Freebie

I create all my social media graphics in – this program has a free level, that you can use to great all types of graphics social media posts, reports, videos etc. There are many other apps you can use like  but canva is my favourite, as I find it easy to use.

When I create my social media posts in canva, I download them and save them in folders for each topic on my harddrive. eg create a folder for motivation and each motivational social post is then saved a number (motivation 1, motivation 2 etc). Doing this for each theme is then very useful when you start planning your social media – your social media graphics are all kept in one place and are easily found.

Once you have your basic guideline that suits your business, you can then plan your monthly social media around that.


Each month, I sit down and plan my social media – I use a social media calendar. This is one that I created myself.

Social Media Planner

Each month I write in the days of the month, record what my goal might be and then write down the posts I want to schedule.

This is a social media planner I created for myself to use, and will soon be available to purchase as a pdf downloadable file. Write the dates in from 1-30 for the month you are planning, and you are ready to go.

Looking at your guideline, you then write in what you want to post on each day.
On the Mondays of your calendar, choose a motivation graphic and write that in each Monday spot eg Motivational 3, Motivational 7, Motivation 10, Motivation 1. Do this for each day on the calendar following your guideline for each daily theme.


Once you have planned out your month’s social media, you can then start scheduling them. I schedule my Facebook posts on Facebook using the scheduler – some people will use a third-party social media scheduler apps/programs like smarterque or later.

In your scheduler, create a post for each day that you have planned – once scheduled, tick that day off on your social media calendar. This is a really effective way to know where you are up to when you cannot schedule all the posts at once.  Using this method you can see where you are up to easily and can then continue without getting confused.

For me, I like to keep my social media calendar under my keyboard until all posts are scheduled – I then file this away in a folder to use as a reference when planning in future months, as you can see what you have used before and therefore not double up by posting the same thing each month. This also allows you to reuse old content that you have not used before.

I hope that this has been very useful to you and that it helps you to get the most out of your social media. This format can also be useful for other streams of social media like Instagram.

Please note I have not received any endorsement or been paid by any of the apps or platforms that I have mentioned here in this article, and that no part of this blogpost may be copied/used without the approval of Secretarial Online.

COVID-19 How you can get your business through it

How to help get your business through the COVID-19 Pandemic

protecting your business

There has been a lot of panic recently about the COVID-19 virus and its effects not only on ourselves and our family but on our businesses as well. The economy seems to be in a state of stress and if we are all made to shut down due to the rapid spread of this virus, what can we do to protect our businesses? I believe with some careful planning we can all get through this.

By doing a Business Continuity plan you can plan for and put systems in place to help get your business through and shut down period. Here are some questions that I think you need to consider.

Business Continuity plan

  1. Is there a way or you to still function on a skeleton staff or remotely?

In your business, can you continue to operate if everything is shut down? Are you able to operate with only a skeleton staff of key personnel? For example, if you are a restaurant or café, can you continue to operate with customers only being able to do takeaway orders? If you are service-based, can you move face to face meetings to video or phone conferencing?

2. what resources do you need to function?

These are the types of things to keep your business going for example if you are a restaurant, these could be deliveries of stock, minimal staff eg cook and waiter/front counter staff. If you are a service-based business like an accountant, it would be a laptop, internet connection, phone – home office.

3. what is the time frame your business has before things become critical?

At what point will things become critical to your business – how many days, weeks months before your business goes into the ‘red’ as you are unable to pay staff, suppliers etc.

4. How many staff are required to get you through?

Think about what the minimum staff requirement for your business to function would be. If you are a restaurant, for example, you may be able to cope with just a cook and one wait/front counter staff. If you are an accountant (or any other service-based business), it may be an admin or accounts staff to pay wages and bills to suppliers. Can you put all unnecessary staff on leave?

5. What software/apps are required for your business to function?

Think about the software and apps you use in your business. What are the critical ones you need to function? Is it an accounting software, project management software, office programs, etc. Can these be used off-site in a remote office if need be? Are there any other programs or apps that could be useful to you and your staff – like messaging apps, project management apps, etc. like Slack and Asana. You can even download apps to scan documents to email if you do not have a scanner at home.

6. Are there safety practices that you can introduce to continue operating?

These can be more stringent hand washing between each client you see.• Having hand sanitizer available for your clients/customers to use,
• limit the size of functions etc.
• Ask all clients/customers who have not been well or have been overseas to reschedule their appointments

7. Can you change face to face meetings to video or phone meetings?

We live in an amazing world of technology, and at times like this, we can fully embrace this technology to continue with our business practices. There are many apps/programs that you can use for video conferencing like Skype, zoom, and hangouts. Moving your meetings online can be really useful for businesses, including personal training, counseling, accounting businesses. It is time to get creative and think out of the box.

Now that you have all of this information, – you can start to action your plan by putting systems in place to help your business to continue function – even if it is at a much slower rate.

Other Useful links

Department of Health

Government corona virus stimulus package for small businesses

The government released a stimulus package to help keep small businesses afloat and employees in work. This includes cash flow payments, wage subsidy, increase in instant asset write-off and 50% accelerated depreciation for investments. You can find more information on

NSW Small Business Commissioner

Bank Emergency Coronavirus packages

Another useful link for those that are reliant on bank loans, the big 4 banks have coronavirus relief packages. You can get more information about this on the below link.

If we all stay calm and take precautions, we will make it through this troubling time.  Stay safe everyone, and stay positive!


Please note I have not received any endorsement or been paid by any of the apps or platforms that I have mentioned here in this article.

Photo by Ani Kolleshi on Unsplash

Outsourcing to an Australian VA – Why it is good for your Australian business

Australian Virtual Assistant

Why should you outsource to Australian VAs

I am an Australian Virtual Assistant, my passion is to help small businesses grow to be the best they can be.

When I tell people that I am a VA, I sometimes get a funny look. They either don’t know what a VA is, assume I am one of ‘them’  like the VA’s from overseas, or that I am doing this for a hobby – and it’s not a real job. This really does frustrate me, and I feel that I need to educate them as to what a real VA is.

What is a Virtual Assistant?

A virtual assistant is any person, male or female, that can do their job remotely. These Virtual Assistants are contractors, and are industry experts that come from a range of fields, including but not limited to:

• Web design
• Marketing
• HR
• Bookkeeping
• Accounting
• Admin and secretarial services
• Desktop publishers
• Life coaches
• Business mentors
• Social media marketing
• Lawyers
• Financial planners
• Mortgage Brokers

As business owners, we are constantly pressed for time and am constantly juggling all the things that need to be done to keep our business running. We also, get to the point where we think about outsourcing tasks, but worry about doing so – VA’s are only overseas right? No, we have an amazing VA industry right here in Australia.

There are many reasons to outsource certain tasks in your business – it saves you time and in the long term can save you money. But when outsourcing, have you ever considered outsourcing to someone here in Australia?
I was at a digital marketing seminar last year when the person presenting started talking about outsourcing tasks. This really got my interest and I sat up to pay attention. They made comments like ‘Just put what you want on fiver – that’s what I did, someone from overseas did it and now, as a result, I am able to employ staff here.’  and ‘it’s cheap – and you get things done that would cost more if you went to a web designer, but do be careful who use ‘.

Being a VA myself, I quickly raised my hand and asked the question – ‘why would you outsource overseas when you have Virtual Assistants or Virtual Contractors here in Australia who are experts in their field, that could do exactly the same thing, for about the same price?’ Everyone in the room turned and looked at me. I was then asked if I was one of them – I proudly said yes.

Nothing upsets me more than hearing stories of businesses outsourcing tasks overseas as it is cheap, but then complain that the task is not quite done how they like or that it had to be redone because the overseas VA did not understand the language used or the actual task. This gives the VA industry, including here in Australia, a bad reputation. I then shared with everyone the reasons why you should choose an Australian VA over an Overseas one.

These include:

  • Australian Virtual Contactors understand the Australian language.
  • Understand the Australian consumer laws.
  • Are in the same time zone and are happy to chat via phone, video conferencing not just email.
  • Are qualified industry experts – not someone learning/training to get qualified.
  • You are giving a fellow Australian a jobSuffice to say, that day myself and the fellow VA’s I was with did a lot of networking – so many local businesses where keen to know all about what we did, were we were located, and if we could help them.

At a local business network meeting, I was also last year, when I introduced myself and what I did, a fellow businessman said to me ‘oh I have a VA from overseas’. My response to him was ‘So how is that going for you?’ he was surprised but then confided in me that he found out the hard way that he had to be very specific with what needs to be done by this overseas VA, as they did not quite understand what was needed, and he had to redo that task himself. So in a nutshell, he felt he had initially wasted his money, but now he knew what they could and could not do – he was also surprised when I pointed out to him that we had many amazing Virtual Assistants here in Australia – and he was one of them. He was a web designer working remotely from a home office.

The VA industry has grown here in Australia and we now even Virtual Assistant Networks here in Australia that can help you find a Virtual Assistant for your business – I am members of a few of these amazing networks. These networks help to connect business owners with the right VA and also provide amazing support to the VAs that are members of them. Two of the best local networks in my opinion are:

Virtual Assistant Networks

Virtually Yours

The Virtually Yours Virtual Assistant Network is based in Melbourne and is run by the amazing Rosie Shilo. There are members from right across Australia in this network. You can browse the contractor listing or submit a job lead to Virtually Yours outlining what you need to have done, the experience you need the VA to have and how to contact you. The members see that job lead, and if that job lead is what they excel in, they will then email you an application for that job. You will then be able to go through and pick the VA’s that you would like to chat with and then pick the one that is the best fit for you. You even have the option to have ‘referenced checked’ contractors only respond to your job lead. Reference Checked Contractors are people that have been vetted to do the task. You can find more information about Virtually Yours here –

The VA Directory

The VA Directory is a global network but has its own Australian branch run by Kathie Thomas from A Claytons Secretary, which has members right across Australia. You can do a search on the state you are in and view the VA Directory listing to find a VA near you, or you can post a job lead for the task that you need to be done. This job lead is then emailed to the VA’s and the VA’s will then respond directly to the job lead. VA directory then goes through these job leads and the VA’s that are most suitable are then forwarded to the client to choose from. You can find more information about the Va Directory here

If you are looking for a VA to outsource some of your business tasks to, then look in Australia first – I am part of an amazing network of Vas that do everything from Social media content planning and scheduling, bookkeeping, admin and secretarial support, web design, marketing, graphic design and more. Not only will you have an industry expert that will be easily contactable, understand the language used, tasks required, etc– you will be helping a fellow Australian Small Business.

For more information on how secretarial online can help you, go to or email us at

So next time you need a VA – think local. We have some of the world’s best talent right here in our own back yard.


What to look for when choosing your 2020 Diary

This blog post was written in collaboration with Veronica Neal from Our Penrith. Veronica asked if I would write a blog post for her Our Penrith Online Business Directory Facebook Group. Being a part of this amazing group of local businesses, I happily agreed. I am a time management person, diaries and planners are my thing!

What to look for when choosing your 2020 diary.

The end of the year is fast approaching, and around this time, we generally start to think about new diaries/planners for the upcoming year. But how do you choose a diary that you will use?

Secretarial online diary planner


There are many things to consider when choosing a new diary, but the key is to find one that suits you – one that is easy to use (so you will use it) and easy to carry around. The things you need to think about when choosing a diary/planner are:

• purpose
• layout
• size
• digital/paper

With these in mind, my top tips for choosing a planner that will suit you are the following.

Purpose of the diary

Firstly, you need to think about what the diary/planner is going to be used for. If you are using it purely for appointments only, you may only need a smaller sized diary. This could be pocket sized, A5 sized or digital diary. But if you need to have space for multiple appointments or tasks, you may require a larger A4 diary.

My advice is to keep it simple. The easier it is to read at a glance and use – the more you will use it, and the more organized you will be.

The Layout

The most important part of choosing a diary is to work out which layout is best for you, think about why you are using it. Diaries and planners come in either ‘week to a view’ or ‘day to a page’ layout.

Day to a page – This layout is for someone who needs to plan their whole day, down to hourly or half hourly sections. The one page per day diary has hourly (or half hourly) increments down the left hand side of the page, with plenty of room for you to write appointments and events.

Week to a view – This layout is for someone that prefers to see the week at a glance, where you can scan your week quickly, and know where you need to be without constantly turning pages to see what is happening. The week to a view diary is usually set across two pages, with 3 days on one page and 4 days on the other (or vise versa). As the page is split into multiple days, there is not a lot of room to write things down – you need to be brief and or abbreviate what you record due to limited space.

Some people like a week to a view, but for me, I love the one day to a page diary. This allows me to use a whole page to write appointments, tasks, and notes. Look for a diary that is easy to use, has enough space for what you need it for.


Depending on what you need to use your diary for, there are many shapes, sizes, and styles you can choose from. Think about how much space you will need – do you need something small (pocket), medium (A6) or large (A4) sized. Your diary will need enough space to record all your appointments and events.

The pocket diary is a small diary that is good for taking down notes during conversations/meetings where you feel you shouldn’t use your phone/laptop.

A5 is usually approximately 21cm x 15cm. This type of diary will easily fit inside your bag and is great to jot down notes and information so you don’t forget them

A4 is approximately 30cm x 21cm. This type of diary is bigger and more cumbersome but, gives you plenty of room to write down appointments/events and notes. This size is my favourite and is usually found on my desk.

There are also some diaries/planners that come in binders with sections for calendar/diary entries, business cards, to-do lists, notes etc. A complete organizer – These are fantastic if you need to carry a lot of information around with you. You can purchase the new yearly ‘infill’ and replace with the previous year. These are also available in multiple sizes.

Digital or Paper?

With the evolvement of technology, digital diaries are becoming more popular, but not everyone likes to use digital. Once again, it depends on what you need to use the diary for and if it is easy to use/navigate. If you are old school, you may prefer a paper copy diary – I tend to use both.

Digital diaries are great to use as they are portable, take up no space as they are usually attached to your email, you can access on your phone or laptop/device and you can update it in real-time, and set reminders for appointments/deadlines. The downside is you need to continually go into or open the diary to see what is happening. This is something I sometimes struggle with. I like to be able to glance down and look at a paper diary.

Paper copies are great to have, they can be portable and easily accessible depending on the size you choose, you can also leave them open on a desk to see what is happening at a glance.

I prefer to use a combination of both a physical paper diary as well as a digital diary. My paper diary sits on my desk, where I can easily look at it and add information/appointments too. My digital diary is portable and easily accessible through my phone – you do need to remember to update both regularly though.

I hope this has helped you to think about why you need to use your diary/planner, and to work out what sort of diary will suit you. Sometimes you need to try out a few different styles or types of diaries over a couple of years before you find the right one.

Now it’s up to you – go out, look at what type of diaries/planners are out there, find your diary and be organized next year.

To find out more about Secretarial Online or to subscribe to our mailing list go to our website.


Time Management Tips

Howto Manage Time Effectively


Time management is something that everyone struggles with from time to time in both their home and business life. But what is time management and how to we manage time effectively?In this blog post, I will share with you some simple ways that can help you manage your time effectively, allowing you to be more productive.

What is time management?

Time management is the process of planning and exercising control of time spent on activities, to increase effectiveness, efficiency and productivity.

What happens when we don’t manage our time well?

  • work flow is poor;
  • time is wasted;
  • We feel like we are losing control;
  • our work quality is poor;
  • which can lead to poor business reputation.

What are the benefits of managing our time?

There are many benefits of managing our time. If we manage our time well, we become more efficient, more productive and feel good about ourselves. These benefits include:

  • Having more time – Being able to manage our time effectively allows you more time to spend doing the things you want to. In our business life, this could mean more time to follow up leads and sales so you can grow your business. In our personal lives, this could be spending more time with our families, working on hobbies etc. People who manage their time well have a good work/life balance.

Getting things done – People who are good at time management are more likely to stay on top of their workload and are regularly ticking things off their to-do list.

  • Feeling less stressed – If we are able to manage our time well by creating task lists and completing these tasks, we feel less stressed and anxious.

How do we manage time effectively?

There are lots of tips out there that help with time management. Google ‘time management’ and lots of information is at the tip of your fingers. Essentially, though, the information is pretty much the same. We need to know the difference between what is urgent and what is not, and how to not waste time.  A few tips that I think are essential to developing strong time management skills are:

  • Plan/organize your day. This seems pretty simple, but lots of people do struggle with planning. Think about everything that needs to be done and write a list. Be as clear as possible, and if you can, write when this task needs to be completed.


  • Prioritise. Think about your tasks and separate them into groups of importance. For example, you could group them like this:

– Important and urgent: These are tasks that need to be done straight away.

– Important but not urgent: These are important tasks that do not need to be done immediately and can be done after the urgent tasks.

– Not urgent: These are tasks that can be done later.

Some people will also prefer to colour code each category, for example:

– Urgent – red

– Important but not urgent – yellow

– Not urgent – green

Alternatively, you could also use a numbering system, where 1 is the top priority, 2 is the next important tasks etc.

  • Delegate- If you can delegate a task to someone else, do it.  You can delegate to other staff, or even outsource these tasks to someone else. Delegating tasks will save you time, which can be better used focusing on other parts of your business – like building sales.

Some examples of tasks that can be delegated include:

-accounts work

-social media tasks

-updating/creating websites

-general admin tasks

-data entry

-ordering of stock/stock control.

  • Organise your time. Set yourself a schedule by using your diary. Write down all the deadlines of your tasks; from there it is easier to block out time in your diary and work on certain tasks. Be sure to include time for tasks that need to happen at certain times of the day/week e.g. meetings, accounts work, sales etc.

This is also helpful when scheduling time to work on specific areas of your business – Monday morning is accounts work, Wednesday you are following up sales leads etc.

  • Take breaks. Always ensure you take a break when you are busy, even if it is just 10 mins to go into the kitchen, grab a coffee etc. You will be more focused and motivated if you don’t push yourself and skip lunch.

How do we incorporate these tips into our everyday life as well as our work life?

The above suggestions can be easily used in our everyday life as well as our work life.  This might be writing a to-do list for the next day or week, using a weekly planner to plan your family’s activities and events, or even meal plan – I do, and it not only saves me time in the kitchen umming and ahhing about what to cook, it saves me money as I only purchase the groceries I need each week according to my meal plan.

My kids love it too; since implementing a meal plan years ago, and having each of my children choose a meal that they want each week, I have no more fights at the dinner table and everyone eats and enjoys their dinner!

Secretarial Online is a local Australian virtual assistant that can help you with outsourcing of admin tasks. If you would like information on how Secretarial Online can assist you check out my website


Secretarial Online


Organising File Systems

How to Organise File Systems

I love organising, especially file systems, and have re-organised file systems at every job I have had.  I have even been known to take whole shelves of books and refile them alphabetically the right way at my children’s primary school – needless to say, the librarians loved me for it.

Organising file systems can sometimes seem so complicated and overwhelming.  How do you file something? Where do you file it? What do I file it under? It really can seem all too hard – but it really isn’t.

So, how do you set up/organise a filing system? First of all, you need to develop a system that is right for your business. There is no single correct way to do this. Each business is different, and therefore the filing system categories/topics they use may vary to other businesses. some file alphabetically, some by month, it all depends on what is right for your business.

Are you starting a filing system from scratch, or just reorganising a system that is not working for you? Maybe you are just needing to maintain the system that you already have. In today’s society, we are slowly moving away from ‘paper files’ but we still need to have them. In this article I will share with you ways to do both hard copy paper filing and electronic filing.


What do you need?

You need to consider how much space you have in your office to work with.  Will you be filing in a file cabinet or on a shelf? If filing on a shelf, you will need a cupboard to store your files, as well as folders to store your paperwork in.  If you are using a filing cabinet, you will need a filing cabinet to a size that suits you, manila files and hanging suspension files to put your manila files in.

These are some ways that I use that can help you with organising and maintaining your file system.

Creating a new filing system

  • Use subject categories. Think about what you need to file, do these items fall into categories/topics? These topics can be administration, accounting, clients etc. Set up a file for each category or topic. This file could be either a lever-arch folder on a shelf, or a manila folder in a file cabinet. Each business will likely have different categories or topics, but essentially, the file systems will be similar.

  • Use subject sub headings

    Do any of the major categories, have sub categories? For instance, if you are filing accounting paperwork, does this paperwork fall into accounts payable or receivable? Does it also relate to a specific supplier or client?

Creating an Accounting file with the category/topic of Accounts Payable, then a sub category of the supplier, may work for you. You may also file accounts payable in monthly files rather than supplier. If you were creating a file on your clients, for example, you would create a ‘client’ file with individual files for each of your clients within that file or filing cabinet.

  • Colour code your system.

    This is an easy and effective way to organise your files and can be done by using coloured files. Think about what sort of files you have – maybe you could have all client files one colour, and accounting files another. If you don’t have coloured files, you could use a coloured sticker on the top of the file next to the file name. This makes the files easy to identify.  I have used this system in previous jobs and it really does make it easier.

  • Label all files.

    Each file needs to be clearly labelled and belong in a particular place in your office. When labelling your files, put your label along the top of your file (if using a manila file), or on the spine of the lever-arch folder you are using.  If you are using a label maker or computer to print your labels, make sure you are consistent and use the same font and style. If you are writing by hand, write neatly and clearly – this will make your files easier to recognise and find.

  • Sort files alphabetically.

    It sounds obvious but filing alphabetically is the most effective way to file documents. When files are stored alphabetically, they are more organised, and you can generally find them quicker. Each file that is stored alphabetically then may have sub categories/topics within that file. Always ensure you file your individual piece of paper/document in the relevant sub categories/topic within the file it belongs in.

  • Ensure you have enough space.

    Paper/hard copy files grow quite quickly due to the amount of paperwork we need to store. When setting up your filing system, always ensure you have plenty of space. This might mean a separate file cabinet or cupboard for Client files, another for Accounting. Do what works for your business and the space you have available. Be mindful though that files here in Australia need to be kept for certain periods of time; most are 5-7 years for standard financial records. You therefore might need to go through your files yearly and ‘exit’ or ‘archive’ files that are not in use anymore and store them away for the required length of time. This is called archiving:

  • Financial documents need to be kept for up to 7 years
  • Client files need to be kept for up to 7 years
  • Files that a not financial or client based may only need to be kept for around 2 years

*please check with your regulatory body to see how long you need to keep your files.

How to maintain your filing system

  • Use a ‘file tray’. When you have actioned or finished with paperwork and you don’t have time to file it away immediately, place it in one central location. This will ensure that the paperwork is not lost and kept ready for you to place into the relevant file.

  • Set aside some time each day/week for you to file. If you schedule or plan to file at a certain time each day or week, this will become routine for you and you will more likely to do it regularly. This may be as simple as scheduling 30 mins each day during the ‘quiet’ time in the office, for example, after lunch or the last hour of the day. You can then focus on what you need to do and quickly do it. The more you stick to this schedule, the more consistent you will become, and you will find that you don’t have lots to file each day.

  • Make sure that others understand the file system. This was my biggest pet peeve when working in an office with lots of staff that shared the filing system. I would spend hours sorting and reorganising client files for ease of reference, and there was always one person who would just open a file draw and shove a file back in anywhere it would fit – this led to files being lost and caused lots of unnecessary stress. When you have set your file system up, go over how and why things are filed at a staff meeting to ensure all staff members understand and comply.

  • Have lockable file cabinets. All documents related to your business may have confidential information on them; this information could be client details, bank details etc. It is important to make sure that all your filing systems are lockable and are locked every day at business end.

  • Regularly review/archive your files. At least once a year, go through your files and remove all files that are no longer current. These files should still be kept but moved out of the main ‘everyday’ filing system to allow space for new and current files. All non-current files need to be stored in boxes that are clearly labelled and easy to access if you need them again, either in a storage room onsite, or off site. For example, you may have a client come back after a few years. You can then pull back their old file and have access to the work you did for them previously.


  • Create folders. Organising a system to file electronically is essentially the same as paper files, only you set it up on your laptop/computer. Think about what folders/categories you need and then create these folders on your laptop. Just like paper files, these categories will sometimes have sub categories relevant to the business you have.

Ensure you create your folders in the ‘file explorer’ or ‘file manager’ section of your laptop and save all relevant documents in their appropriate folder. Try not to get into the habit of saving everything to the desktop. This can look quite messy and unorganised and make things hard to find.

  • Password protect all laptops/computers. Just like normal hard copy filing cabinets need to be locked, all computers (and sometimes individual folders) need to be password protected and have the relevant virus protection. This has recently become a huge issue in the media, as some larger organisations have had their computer systems hacked. Another important thing to do is to make sure all staff log off and shut down their computer at the end of each day.

  • Regularly archive your files. As with hard copy files, you should go through your files and remove all files that are no longer current at least once a year. These files can be moved into a separate ‘archive’ folder on your device or on a separate portable hard drive. Once again, these files should be easily accessible if needed.

  • Back up your computer system. Unfortunately, sometimes things go wrong with computer systems. Therefore, backing up your system every night or at least once per week at the minimum is required. If something does go wrong, you may have only lost one day’s work, not everything that has been done electronically by your business.

If you need assistance with setting up your filing system, or just need some advice on how you should do it, please contact me for more information at

Please note that this blog post is the property of Secretarial Online, and cannot be used without the authority of Secretarial Online.


5 Top Tips to help your small business

5 Top Tips to help your small business


With taking the brave steps to be my own boss earlier this year, I am relatively new to running a business. To say it is easy, is really stretching the truth – its damn hard work.  I have faced lots of challenges over the past few months and I wouldn’t say it has gotten easier, I have just gotten a little bit better at dealing with it.

But through hard work and determination, I am edging closer each day to my goal of running a successful business.

These are 5 things that I have had to learn the hard way, hopefully by sharing with you all, they will help you to be successful in your small business.

My top 5 business tips are:

  • Have your contact details easy to find.  How can you obtain new business if your prospective clients cannot find you? Whether it be on your website, or social media platforms like facebook and Linked in, make sure that your phone number, website and email are easy to see.  If a prospective client easily finds your details, they will be more inclined to reach out to you.


  • Include an “About Me” section on your website and social media. A photo and a story about you will help prospective clients to understand who you are. this will  make them see you as a real person, not just someone unknown behind a screen. Having a photo and info about you helps to build a connection, even trust… clients know you are real and feel better about contacting you.


  • Network – put your self out there! Tell everyone and anyone all about your new business. Join local small business groups in your area where you can meet face to face with other like mined individuals. This is where you can share knowledge and advice. And yes it is ok to network with your competitors! Fostering these relationships can benefit you both, especially when you or they have a deadline and need assistance.  Online social media groups are great too – you can get a lot of support from online groups and forums.


  • Be organised. Set aside time each week to assess your job load. Schedule time to do accounts, social media posts, website updates, make sales calls etc. If you plan your week, you are more likely to meet every deadline without running around in a mad panic.  Its hard when there is so much to do, but when you break it down and schedule some time to do these each week, things will run much smoothly.


  •  Set Boundaries – I don’t know about you, but I have found myself checking emails whilst in bed late at night, or even on weekends, scared I might miss something. Well its ok not to check those emails outside your normal business hours, so when your in bed at 10pm and your phone buzzes, leave it – the email will be there in the morning. You don’t work 24/7 so when your business is closed, switch off – enjoy the down time with your family.

With these 5 small pieces of advice, your business will hopefully run smoother, be more productive and your client base will grow.  And remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day – it will happen with hard work, determination and a great attitude.

Stay tuned for an updates on how my business in is travelling.

Rachel, Secretarial Online.

Virtual Assistant – Why do I need one?

Are you struggling to keep up with your office admin?

At some stage, all businesses get to the point where they feel that they are “treading water” to stay afloat.  We ignore it, go into denial mode or even try to blame others –  we bury our heads in the sand.

We don’t want to think about why this has happened, maybe we are afraid to look deeper into the causes and make the changes necessary to make your business better.But sooner or later, we come to the realisation that we need to be responsible and accountable of our business and, despite the discomfort, know we need help.

Outsourcing to a Virtual Assistant (VA) can help take that pressure off and motivate you to get back in control of your business. You only pay for the hours that you use your VA- this could be as little as a few hours per week, what ever works best for your business needs.

VAs do many roles from reception and administration, through to media/marketing, accounts and much more.With some of these tasks delegated to your VA, you will then freed up to concentrate on growing your business through areas like marketing, sales, meetings etc.

VAs independent contractors, that have many years of experience, skills and knowledge – a valuable resource. Not all VA’s are off shore, there are many in here in Australia, like Secretarial Online, who not only understand the Australian language, but know how to relate to the Australian people.

Secretarial Online is proud to be an your local Penrith Virtual Assistant that provides administration support to businesses that need assistance in outsourcing their admin tasks.

If you need assistance with your admin, Secretarial Online can help.  Email me today on to organise a free initial consultation.

Rachel – Secretarial Online

Virtual Assistant – What Can they do for me?

Many businesses struggle with day to day admin tasks.  They get snowed down doing everyday tasks like answering phones, booking  appointments, attending to emails, typing quotes etc, This leaves them little or no time to make calls, managing social media accounts and websites etc . They then don’t have the time to do the important tasks, like generating sales, attending meetings, and grow their business.
But outsourcing to a virtual assistant can help. But how can they help? what can they do for me? Outsourcing these tasks to a VA takes the pressure off and allows you to concentrate on growing your business.

So, what sort of tasks can you delegate to a VA?

There are many tasks that can be delegated to a VA, I guess it just depends on what your business requires.  These tasks include:
  • reception/answering the phone. You can divert your phone to the VA and have them answer the phone for you, and email messages to you. This is especially useful when you are attending meetings, traveling or working offsite.


  • General Typing, document creation and formatting. A VA can type letters, minutes, create spreadsheets, presentations and reports, even do data entry, saving you valuable time.


  • Booking appointments/calendar management.  Your VA can schedule appointments and manage your calendar, ensuring that you are organised. This is very helpful to some businesses due to workload and amount of travel that staff may need to do.


  • Email Management. Your VA can sort through and manage an email account that receives a large number of emails daily. They can organise the emails into folders and to make it easier for you to follow up.


  • Manage Social media accounts. Our social media accounts are something that all businesses need, but managing them takes a lot of time. Whether it is to plan and schedule updates to facebook, linkedin, or instagram, planning, typing and sharing things online to give a great social media presence is time consuming.


  • Bookkeeping and accounts. This is the most common outsourced task.  From basic accounts and invoicing to uploading of receipts, reconciling of accounts and payroll.  Bookkeepers are a great asset to small businesses.


  • Website creation and management. Just like social media management, websites also take up a lot of time. Some VAs specialise in creating and managing websites.
The benefits of outsourcing to a VA is that they are contractors, and you only pay for the hours a VA works for you,  ie. if you just need assistance for 5 hours per week, you only pay for that 5 hours.  The amount of hours you wish to hire a VA is entirely up to you. Some businesses prefer to hire a VA for a certain amount of hours per week and enter into an agreement for that, others just hire for adhoc projects.
Contact us today to see how Secretarial Online can help you at