Category Archives: Virtual Assistance

How To Spend Less Time on Social Media

(2 minute read)

An online business presence is an essential component of your marketing strategy regardless of your industry. Social Media is an important piece of your online presence.

With 3 billion internet users and more than 2 billion of them engaged with some form of social media it just makes sense to have your social platforms in place and working for your business, generating brand awareness through engagement.

Social Media Sharing

(See this great article from Duct Tape Marketing on creating a strong online presence.)

But let’s face it – Social Media takes time. For business owners it takes up valuable time you could be spending on higher priority tasks. Social Media involves an initial and ongoing learning curve and there is value in being engaged in your strategy and following your plan as it happens.

The secret is that you don’t have to do it ALL yourself. Have your Virtual Assistant take care of it. They don’t have to be an expert at Social Media – are you? Probably not. However, you can delegate all your social media scheduling and posting to your VA, taking an hour or two off your hands. (See my  Services Page and my post on How a Virtual Assistant can Save (Make) You Money).

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What about engagement? Do you want to be personally involved with your public? Your VA can check your accounts regularly for feedback and either respond to comments on your behalf or forward them to you in one easy report so you can deal with them all at once.

Haven’t built your social presence yet? Not sure what platforms to use? Talk to your VA about this. Many VA’s have more experience with social media than you might realize and may have a separate Social Media Marketing service they can wrap into your own service package. If the scope of what you would like implemented falls outside of their skill set they can let you know and quite possibly refer you to someone that can provide the services you need.

A Virtual Assistant can also source information on anything you might be interested in pursuing such as Facebook Ads, LinkedIn Company Pages, creating Live Video content, new platform features etc. to see if it’s right for your business and how to approach it.

Social Media Marketing can require an extensive knowledge base – it’s not just about tweeting event notices or product offers and running the odd Facebook Ad – but if you’re a small business that needs to get an online presence established and/or you need help with maintaining your presence to free up some of your time, a Virtual Assistant can fill that gap for you, keep your presence relevant and consistent without getting complicated.

A Virtual Assistant Gives You Back Your TimeIf you’re frustrated with spending time on Social Media tasks and need someone to take control, organize your presence and keep it consistent, reach out and get some help. For a couple of hours a week (the time is specified by you and your budget) by delegating these tasks to your VA, you can rest easy knowing your business is:


  • accurately and consistently represented through your social media channels;
  • directing customers back to your website;
  • improving your online presence; and
  • Ultimately adding to your revenue.

That’s why we’re in business in the first place isn’t it?

If you need help with your Social Media or are overwhelmed with online administrative tasks, or are simply curious about what a Virtual Assistant (aka Online Business Service Provider) can do for your business please contact me for a free consultation.


Here are a couple of resources with great information to help you:

Duct Tape Marketing: Creating a Strong Online Marketing Success

Social Media Examiner – excellent resource for anything and everything social media.

Hootsuite: How to Create a Social Media Marketing Plan in 6 Easy Steps

Social Media Examiner’s Top 10 Social Media Blogs for 2017  (Agora Pulse, Buffer Social etc.)

Fast Company – 10 Surprising Social Media Statistics that will Make you Rethink your Social Media Strategy



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How To Disconnect from a Connection on LinkedIn

This may be old news to a lot of you, but it’s recently come to my attention via a contact in my network being sent email marketing as ‘messages’ only because they are connected through LinkedIn. This of course is illegal (CAN SPAM) and really, it’s also just inappropriate for the LinkedIn platform and unprofessional.

So, I myself had this happen to me in the past couple of months, from the same person and just haven’t really had time to look into it further. But today, I took the time to Google the solution and thought I’d share it with you.

Here’s how to disconnect from a connection:

  1. Go to their profile.
  2. Click the … to the right of their profile picture name;
  3. The dropdown menu will give you both an option to Disconnect and also to UnFollow if necessary.

That’s it.

Whether you want to let the person know why you’re disconnecting is of course up to you – it would be helpful to them but be warned, they may not take it that way. My connection that had this experience, informed the individual that their behaviour was inappropriate but was then targeted with angry messages from this person after the fact. So in this case being helpful could backfire on you.

I hope this helps anyone that has run into this situation. Have a wonderful day!

Questions for your potential Virtual Assistant

To me, the most important aspect of working with a client is our relationship. Clear communication is vital to this partnership, so much more so than when you are in a conventional office setting, because it’s so very easy to convey the wrong tone via an email message. It is also very easy to let accountability to each other fade away, because we do not see each other face to face every day.

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This communication begins when you meet with your Virtual Assistant for the very first time. It is important to have your questions ready and also to realize that your Virtual Assistant will have questions for you. Remember, a VA is in most cases, a business owner and is looking for their ideal client as much as you are looking for your ideal Virtual Assistant. This is a factor that is valuable to you and your business as it reflects the quality of your Virtual Assistant’s services.

Step 1: Prepare

Before speaking with a Virtual Assistant prepare the following items:

  • A specific list of tasks or functions you need your VA to perform – email/calendar management, social media, CRM maintenance, blog research/posting etc.
  • Your process, tools and desired results for each task – programs, training, time requirements etc.
  • Your budget for these tasks – estimated time, hourly wage, monthly retainer, etc.
  • Your communication plan with your VA – frequency, method (Skype? Email?) etc.

All too often business owners embark on a relationship with a Virtual Assistant with the sub-conscious attitude that even thought it might take them 4 hours to do a task to completion it should only take their Virtual Assistant half that time. So be very realistic in your expectations when you format your information. (To see my post on how a Virtual Assistant saves you money by doing the same tasks you do look here).

If you have found a VA you want to approach it’s also advisable to have taken a look at their website and hopefully the links to their social media sites – especially their LInkedIn profile – before meeting with them. By doing this beforehand, you can make the initial contact more efficient by checking your tasks and questions against information from these sources leaving  more time for other things you might want to ask about such as any special interest in your particular industry or their own business experiences and direction.

Questions for Virtual Assistant

Step 2: Questions to Ask

I’ve gathered a few questions to ask your Virtual Assistant upon your initial meeting/consultation that you may find helpful. You need to think about what is important to your specific business needs but these will get you started.

For your Virtual Assistant:

  1. First, start with an introduction of yourself, your business and your business goals.
  2. Ask your Virtual Assistant about themselves and their business. Although not essential, ideally, you probably want to work with a Virtual Assistant that shares either a common business related interest even if it comes from their personal interests or current situation in life.
  3. What are your Rates/Terms? Hourly, per project, retainer etc.
  4. What experience do you have in the areas I have indicated on my task list?
  5. Which items do you not have experience in and would you be willing to learn?
  6. What are your areas of strengths and what areas are you looking to strengthen or gain experience?
  7. What are your hours of operation and preferred method and hours of communication?
  8. Do you have any questions you would like to ask me about my business?

Questions your Virtual Assistant may ask you:

The nature of a Virtual Assistant is to be able to work with a variety of different types of businesses or have specialized in a specific area of interest/expertise. Many Virtual Assistants are operating in one stage or another in the overall process of finding their niche, be it a General VA or a specific niche such as a Virtual Assistant to Life Coaches, Social Media Management or Real Estate Virtual Assistant and some Virtual Assistants only offer particular services to clients or certain services exclusive to one industry or another.

Regardless, Virtual Assistants are always looking to work within a healthy, profitable, working relationship and so they will have questions for you as well:

  1. Have you ever worked with a Virtual Assistant and what was your experience like?
  2. What skills and experience do you think the ideal Virtual Assistant should have?
  3. What is the biggest problem you are facing that you’d like your partnership with a VA to solve?
  4. What are your strengths and what areas are you looking to improve upon? Are there challenges I might face in agreeing to work with you?
  5. Specific questions regarding technology, communication methods & styles, business goals and your expectations of working with a Virtual Assistant.

I hope this post has given you some encouragement and tools towards finding and working with a Virtual Assistant. I really believe that the right fit can truly make an incredibly beneficial difference for you and your business.

If you like this post and would like to receive future posts, please subscribe to my blog. I post regularly but I promise not to clutter up your Inbox so you or your Virtual Assistant has more work to do!

If you would like to contact me regarding my Virtual Assistant Services just click here to get started!

Backyard grape crush

A Virtual Assistant for the World of Wine

It’s exciting when you can turn your passion for something into a daily habit – and no, I’m not talking about just the drinking of wine (although we should all know by now that a glass of red wine a day is actually a healthy thing!) but the regular involvement in a subject area that you love.

If you had told me ten years ago that I would be exploring and learning about the world of wine from my home office it’s quite likely I wouldn’t have believed you. But then again, maybe I would have as I am an optimistic type in general.

summer dinnerIn any case, I’ve been working in the wine industry for a year in the capacity of a Virtual Assistant and loving every minute of it. The opportunity to learn new technology and skills, meet new people and perform tasks I wouldn’t have considered before at my former in-office positions – the list of new opportunities is endless.

I’ve always been interested in all things wine, perhaps because I am fascinated by the growing to cooking (um, actually the eating and drinking!) cycle and the happiness that surrounds family and friends when they get together to enjoy great food and wine. And who isn’t captivated by travel and the countries that grow great wines – for me in particular Italy and France.

As I write this post, it is February 2016 and the days in Vancouver are a bit dull and grey, but my mind is humming along with excitement at the prospect of completing my WSET Level 2 this March and travelling with my family to Paris and Normandy this June! Two things I did not anticipate happening so soon or perhaps even this year at all!

So here’s to looking ahead to the months to come and a daily glass of what’s good for you!

Ciao and Bon Voyage!




To find out more about my services as a Virtual Assistant for Wine visit my contact page here.

Meet Your 2016 Business Goals – Getting Started with a Virtual Assistant

The WHY?

It’s now the Year 2016 and a most of us have set new business goals and (hopefully) a roadmap to making those goals happen.

Achieving any goal usually depends on a clear understanding of the desired outcomes, a simple roadmap to get us there and the right tools to get the job done.

The reality is though, that sometimes we find that the tools in the shed are scattered all over the place and in order to get started on our roadmap to success we need to first embark on a clean up phase. This clean up could consist of anything that has become piled up as a result of being a low priority or just plain forgotten in the past year – your email inbox, out of date contacts, a blog that is well behind, a disorganized CRM, etc. Facing this initial obstacle can be overwhelming.

As a Virtual Assistant I’ve seen firsthand at how getting a little bit of help can make the difference in reaching your business goals or not getting started at all.

Let’s look at a comparison:

How do you feel when you go to cook dinner and you walk into the kitchen only to find dishes from the previous meal/s still unwashed on the counter, the week’s mail has joined the dishes amongst avirtual assistant clears clutter growing pile of recycling bits and the cat has strewn it’s kibbles all over the floor? Ugh. It’s going to take you at least an hour or two to clean and organize things before you can even start preparing the ingredients – oh! Not only that, but also the fact that you didn’t shop for the ingredients you need yet! Another hour (at least).

Are you feeling motivated to get started on that recipe? Not likely. That unfinished bottle of 2000 Chateau Le Puy is starting to look like an excellent replacement for dinner…….

Now picture this:

It’s been a long but productive day and you are ready to cook up that delicious recipe you have been thinking about all week. You know the ingredients have been shopped for already and are in the fridge. You walk into the kitchen to find everything sparkling clean and in it’s place, your cutting board and favourite knife waiting for you on the counter.get organized with a virtual assistant

Better? Of course! Realistic? Yes!

While you were shopping for the recipe ingredients, you hired a cleaner to come in and straighten things up. They worked pretty quickly and were able to do more than you expected (by not just cleaning, but preparing the ingredients you had on hand and putting out your cutting board and knife) because she was focused not on cleaning to get to another more important task (your cooking), but only on the task of cleaning and preparing the kitchen itself.

So if you’re ready to start making your business ideas and goals for this year a reality but there’s some clutter and cleaning standing in your way that is where a Virtual Assistant can help you.

The WHAT?todo-list-297195_640

Here are a few things that a Virtual Assistant can do while you are ‘shopping for your ingredients’ so to speak:

  • Update your contact database – out with the old, in with the new!
  • Update all your online profiles – your website, LinkedIn, Social Media – so that they are fresh and consistent.
  • Check your website links and format a list for you to review for updates and changes – then get your Virtual Assistant to make the changes!
  • Organize your Email – set up new folders and filters, unsubscribe to everything you don’t want/need, pull out any unanswered emails that have fallen through the cracks and set them up in a folder so that you can quickly go through them at once instead of searching through the pile or being constantly distracted by taking care of them while trying to do your work.
  • Blog editing and research – have your Virtual Assistant proofread any blog posts you’ve drafted but haven’t had time to format or have them spend some time on researching information for your next posts.

Call a Virtual AssistantThese are just a few ways a Virtual Assistant can help you get started this year.

Don’t be afraid to collaborate. If you aren’t sure where to start, have a conversation with a Virtual Assistant and they can work with you to pull out the priorities from your to do list.



Several options are available to help you find a qualified Virtual Assistant. Check out the Virtual Assistant directories at the following organizations websites, most of which also give you the option to post an RFP for the things you need done.


Other Resources:

  1. Yvonne Weld of (and current IVAA president), Able Virtual Assistant Services,, operates a ‘matchmaker’ service for business owners looking for Virtual Assistants. Yvonne can work with you and pair you with the best VA for your business.
  2. You can search for ‘Virtual Assistant’ or post a request through LinkedIn to help you get started. You could also search LinkedIn Groups for Virtual Assistants.
  3. Try posting a request on Twitter with a link to a more complete job description or search #virtualassistant.
  4. If you have a wide range of tasks, have a need for various specialties, an instant team or you are a larger company with a lot of repetitive tasks that don’t take in-depth knowledge of your operations you might want to enlist the services of a Virtual Assistant Agency. As an independent VA I don’t have personal experience working with agencies but I have heard of positive outcomes for business owners who are able to find a reputable one. A couple I can mention are EAHelp ( ) and UAssistMe (
  5. A fabulous resource for Online Business Consultancy with built in Virtual Assistant services is Michelle Dale of Virtual Miss Friday,
  6. Lastly, here is a link to an article at Effortless Workflow that outlines some of the differences between hiring an independent Virtual Assistant or hiring through an agency:

I hope this article has helped motivate you to get started on your business plans for 2016 and encouraged you to get the assistance you might need. Every business is different and will have different tasks that need to be performed.

Having a little help getting started on those tasks can make the difference between reaching your goals and never getting started to begin with.

If you like this post and would like to receive future posts, please subscribe to my blog. I post regularly but I promise not to clutter up your Inbox so you or your Virtual Assistant has more work to do!

If you’de like to contact me regarding my Virtual Assistant Services just click here to get started!

Hour 25 Virtual Solutions