Ready, Set … Get a Virtual Assistant

across the worldMost entrepreneurs are self-proclaimed “do it yourself-ers!” Although when they started their business they were excited about turning their passion into a business, many didn’t realize just everything that would need to be done. However because their business is their “baby” the thought of bringing someone else in on that dream and admitting you just can’t do it all yourself, isn’t always an easy idea to swallow.

Having worked with many clients now I know the top reasons people say they continue to do it all on their own …

  • No one does it as good as me
  • It’s faster to do it myself
  • I wouldn’t know what to delegate
  • I am just not a good delegator

Do these statements sound familiar?

Well you really need to stop if you truly want a successful, thriving and growing business. There is absolutely no way you can do everything on your own and achieve your dreams as you will quite simply, burnout! Believe me I have seen it happen.

So what is one to do?

The simple answer … get help!

For many the first help they get is a Virtual Assistant, someone who can assist with many of the administrative, technical and/or marketing tasks that are just not second nature to us as entrepreneurs and eat up most of our time … time we would much rather be using attracting new clients and fulfilling our existing clients needs.

So for those of you who are saying right now … “oh, oh that’s me, I need help” here are some very simple things you can start doing today to get ready for the Virtual Assistant (or other team member) you know you will need very soon.

#1 – Figure out what to delegate

First and foremost you need to have a conversation with your existing team (even if it is simply a team of one, yourself) and figure out where the “holes” are. By “holes” I mean the following:

  • What tasks do you no longer want to continue doing
  • Which tasks are eating up your time each day with little to no return
  • What skillsets are lacking in your team dynamic

Once you know this you will start to see the formation of your delegation list.

#2 – Start documenting the tasks to be delegated

Once you have the list from #1 above, now start to really flesh out that list into tasks. I suggest putting a sheet of paper next to your desk for the next two weeks and start to add tasks to the list as you do them and they fall under the different “holes” above.

#3 – Determine what parts of your delegation list can be automated

Now take that list created in #2 above and determine which of those items can be automated. Are there tasks that are easily repeatable?

There are many programs and tools that can assist in automation such as email marketing, social media posting, etc. and will mean simply entering the task once into the program and the program will rinse and repeat, saving you time and money on delegation.

#4 – Take stock of who you are and how you work

Before you can determine the person to delegate to, you need to take a good look of who you are and how you work (as well as your other team members). Take the time to answer the following questions …

  • How do you prefer to communicate (telephone, email, IM, etc.)?
  • What are your personality traits and do you work best with people with complementary or dissimilar traits?
  • What pet peeves do you have with other people?
  • Who do you work best with?
  • What is your working style?
  • What do you stand for in business (values, mission, vision, etc) and how does that relate to how you treat your clients?

#5 – Create your ideal candidate profile

Now that you know who you are, it is much easier to begin to develop an ideal candidate profile. When creating that profile look to the answers of the questions above, but also ask yourself a couple more important questions.

  • What are you willing to train on and what do you expect them to know?
  • Does location matter? (Most importantly location will matter when it comes to things such as country exchange rates, time zones, etc.)
  • What are the must haves in a candidate versus the nice to haves?
  • Do you want to work with someone who is like you or the opposite of you?

#6 – Figure out your budget

The next question you need to answer is what are you willing to pay for assistance? To learn more about how much a Virtual Assistant costs so you can determine a reasonable budget, click here and read my article “How Much Does a Virtual Assistant cost?


Once you have completed these 6 steps and you are ready to build a business that can sustain itself even in your absence, I invite you to talk with me about how we can get the right Virtual Assistant on your team! Contact me at Send Mail to yvonne@yvonneweld.com or schedule a 30 minute complimentary VA Q&A call with me!

The 4 Critical Factors to Discuss in a Successful Production Call

For those of us who began our careers in a corporate setting, many will recall having team meetings. The really successful companies were those who figured out how to do these meetings effectively enough it would encourage the team to improve the business and ultimately the bottom line.

One of the biggest factors I found from my days in Corporate was that the more they encouraged each team member to participate the more “buy-in” they would get from the individuals. It’s the same in any business; how can you expect someone (ie your Virtual Assistant) to get as excited about your success as you if you don’t bring them in and make them a part of that success.

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A Production Call Template

This is why production calls are so important to the success of your team and ultimately of your business. Perhaps the biggest reason many people don’t have these calls with their teams (even when that team is simply them and a Virtual Assistant) is they just don’t know what to cover to make it successful.

Preparation is the key to your success in making sure you are moving the business of your dreams to a reality and as such there are four critical factors (or areas) to consider and discuss in each production call with your Virtual Assistant. I would suggest that you make an agenda based on each of these critical factors such as the template I have created (shown to the left).

Critical Factor #1 – What are we doing well? What are we not doing as well?

The first thing you need to discuss is existing and outstanding tasks. Start by first looking at each task from your previous production call and ask yourself these questions:

  • For the completed tasks …
    • What did we try new that really worked well and we could implement again in the future?
    • Is the process for this task documented? If so, does it need updating or was the process easy to follow? If not, who can create this process before we “forget” how to do it?
  • For the outstanding tasks …
    • Is anything or anyone holding up the process or are we on track to meet our deadline?
    • Do we need to bring in someone else to assist or reassign the task to someone else or are the appropriate parties still involved?
    • What changes need to be made to move this task forward again if it is “stalled”?
    • What changes need to be made to our current policies/procedures to ensure the task is completed more efficiently the next time?
    • Were our deadlines met or are our deadlines still realistic or do they need to be adjusted?

Once you have the answers to these questions you will begin to see patterns (especially after several weeks and months of doing the production calls) as to common strengths and weaknesses of your team. Changes, improvements and enhancements can be made to ensure everything is working well.

Critical Factor #2 – Time to look at the next week and what is on each of our plates and how best to finish the projects that have been started.

The process is only as good as all of the moving parts in any situation. It is critical that you are always setting realistic deadlines and not setting yourself up to fail. Many of us get excited about a new idea and want it to happen right now without any regard for timing. The other thing to remember is often this particular project is not the only thing on your plate and so you need to understand and ask each team member what is on their plate for the upcoming week. Do they have the time available to allocate to this project and/or what deadline should be set that realistically reflects their available time.

Another mistake entrepreneurs make is often referred to as “shiny object syndrome” where we have too many ideas going at any one moment. I was at a business conference a few years ago for Virtual Assistants and the speaker was telling us that as Virtual Assistants the best thing we can give our clients is to help them complete their many unfinished projects. It is best to see a project from start right through to completion so that you can start making money from that project. If you are a shiny object type person then make sure you ask your Virtual Assistant to hold you accountable to getting each project done before moving to a new project.

Critical Factor #3 – You have to make sure you have all the tools needed to complete the project in a timely manner

Nothing will stop a process more than when someone is waiting on someone else for something so they can move forward. As a Virtual Assistant I often found I was waiting for passwords, newsletter content, … the list goes on. If your Virtual Assistant (or in some cases your client) doesn’t have what they need to move forward on a project, the entire process will stall and very little progress will be made.

As my business coach told me, ‘only you can hold yourself accountable.’ In other words way too many of us look to others to hold us accountable. If you are going to tell someone on your team you will have something to them then make sure you have it to them. Don’t be the one who is constantly stopping up the process.

When it comes to this part of the production call it is important to write down, verbalize and share what those tools (passwords, resource links, etc.) and deliverables (newsletter content, website copy, etc.) are, who will be responsible to provide those and most importantly when they promise to deliver.

I can’t say it enough … don’t be the one responsible for stopping the process! Commit to getting what you say you will and when you say you will.

Critical Factor #4 – Upcoming events and promotions are an important thing to discuss as preplanning means greater success!

One of the tips I love sharing is about events and conferences. If you are planning to attend an event or conference and want to have the greatest success, share it with your Virtual Assistant. There are a few things your Virtual Assistant can do to help you have greater success at these events.

Each of us has (or should have) goals when we choose to attend an event. For most it is the same goals:

  • Education and learning
  • Meeting potential clients
  • Meeting possible joint venture partners
  • Researching potential markets

When you share your goals with your Virtual Assistant they can actually help you to achieve your goals, even if they aren’t attending the event. Get your team to do research ahead of time on attendees so you know who you MUST reach out to. Often these events have facebook groups and/or a hashtag on social media they are using. Utilizing these tools your Virtual Assistant can start to put together a “must meet” list of attendees for you. Using this list they can arrange coffee and/or lunch dates with these people even before you leave home.

Virtually a Matchmaker

Have you been considering a Virtual Assistant but don’t know where to start? Are you confused as to which tasks to outsource? As a Virtual Assistant Matchmaker I help you move your tasks from “To Do” to “Done!”

Recently I was featured in my local newspaper! To learn more about my business, keep reading and then let’s chat!

Londoner article

3 Steps to Getting Started with Your Virtual Assistant

First and foremost congratulations! One of the best things you have done for your business is hire a Virtual Assistant (and if you haven’t yet then these steps should be filed in an important place for when you do take the leap in your business). If you are like most, hiring your VA was just the first step and you are left thinking “now what?” So let’s get you started!
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Step #1 – Get it in Writing
Without a doubt protecting yourself is as important with your Virtual Assistant as with any other business relationship you enter. If your Virtual Assistant hasn’t already provided you with a document outlining his/her expectations for your relationship, be sure to ask. This will ensure there are no surprises in the future. For most this document is a simple agreement, but for some it can be a formal contract. Ensure that both parties have signed the document and agree to all of the conditions. You will want this agreement to outline the following critical success factors:
  • Pricing – this should not only include the actual price, but also pricing policies such as how time will be calculated, when billing will be done and how, and what guidelines are in place for price changes.
  • Responsibilities of Each Party – this should outline exactly what each party needs to “bring to the table.” For example who is responsible for final proofs? Does the Virtual Assistant need anything from the client to get started or proceed with a task? Outlining this in advance is important so nothing is overlooked.
  • Working hours – What hours will the Virtual Assistant be available? This is especially important for those working across time zones and you need to be aware of what time zone the working hours are being “quoted” in. Working hours should also outline what holidays the VA will be taking, including both statutory and personal holidays.
  • Communication – How will you communicate (telephone, email, skype, etc.), How often and how quickly will communications be returned? It is important that all of these factors be clearly outlined.
  • Standards – What will the average turnaround time be? What constitutes a rush job and are there extra fees for this? Some VAs charge a premium if a project is expected returned quicker than their usual turnaround time and it will be important for you to know this in advance.
  • Termination – how can either party terminate the contract? Just in case things don’t work out it will be important to know your “escape” clause!
Some like to also add in Non-Compete and Confidentiality clauses and if you are working on a project that this is important for you be sure to get it in writing. If you truly want to ensure your rights are protected consider having the agreement/contract written or reviewed by a lawyer.

Step #2 – Establish Tasks
As with any new relationship the biggest mistake we make is jumping in with both feet. I always suggest starting out small and as your relationship strengthens and you are ready to go longer term then add more tasks.
A great analogy my business coach once used was, it’s like dating. Way too many of us go for the gusto right away and get “married” immediately. Then when it doesn’t work out it is messy! Instead try a “blind date” this is the equivalent of a small project. If that works then go on a second date until you are ready to take the relationship to a more permanent commitment.

Step #3 – Sharing Files and Documents
Inevitably you will need to share documents and passwords with your Virtual Assistant so that he/she can do their job properly. This is a scary thought for a lot of people, especially before trust is really built. Here are my best tips for sharing with your Virtual Assistant.
  • Document sharing – use an online tool such as Dropbox or Google Docs. Make sure you maintain control of the Dropbox folder or the Google Doc ownership. This way if you sever the relationship you can simply stop sharing the files with your Virtual Assistant. Of course this will not stop your Virtual Assistant from keeping copies of your files, however what it will do is give you access to any files he/she creates on your behalf without worrying the VA will disappear taking your documents with them.
  • Passwords – without a doubt I would suggest using a password management tool such as passpack, lastpass or roboform, to name a few. These programs can allow you to share the usernames and passwords, but it can keep them hidden for your safety. Another good tool to use if you are having your VA do your social media is hootsuite. This way you only have to share a hootsuite login and not your personal passwords for your social media platforms.

Following these steps will definitely give you and your Virtual Assistant the best chance for success, but one last word of advice … open the lines of communication with your Virtual Assistant sooner rather than later. Ask them which of the three steps listed here they already have in place. After all there is no sense in recreating the wheel!


About the Author:

Yvonne WeldYvonne Weld is a Virtual Assistant matchmaker and she helps entrepreneurs find their ideal Virtual Assistant so they can have more time to focus on making more money in their business.

If you are having difficulties getting started with your Virtual Assistant or have questions simply about Virtual Assistants in general, schedule a free VA Q&A where I can help you navigate the Virtual Assistant world!  https://www.timetrade.com/book/66TR1

 

Good luck!