Tag Archives: Virtual Assistance

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.

Hour 25 Virtual Solutions

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!

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.

 

The WHERE?

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.

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Other Resources:

  1. Yvonne Weld of (and current IVAA president), Able Virtual Assistant Services, http://www.yvonneweld.com/, 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 (http://eahelp.com/ ) and UAssistMe (https://uassistme.co/).
  5. A fabulous resource for Online Business Consultancy with built in Virtual Assistant services is Michelle Dale of Virtual Miss Friday, http://www.virtualmissfriday.com/.
  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: http://effortlessworkflow.com/virtual-assistant-agency-or-independent-va-which-is-better/.

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!

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How A Virtual Assistant Can Save (Make!) You Money

Virtual Assistant can helpFor many business owners the time comes when they need to get help – either in the form of a Graphic Designer, Accountant, Marketing Consultant or a Lawyer – there will always be a need for skills outside of your own to keep your business profitable, manageable and growing.

These needs will vary depending on the nature of each business, but there is one common need that all businesses have and that is the performance of all of the administrative tasks that keep the bigger picture running smoothly: filing, email and data management, invoice processing, social media, blog research, etc. (see my Services page for a more complete list).

Most business owners start out doing these tasks themselves, only to find as their business grows so do the amount of administrative tasks!

Suddenly, your business is at the point where the administrative load is taking too much of your time and you have less and less time to devote to growing your business. Except you are in a position where hiring a full time administrative professional at a full time salary is out of the question – but what can you do? Perhaps it’s time to consider a Virtual Assistant (VA).

The Single Biggest Advantage to Hiring a Virtual Assistant

As a Virtual Assistant (and therefore business owner myself), I believe the single biggest advantage in hiring a VA is paying only for the time you need and being able to tailor this time specifically to the tasks you would like performed in order to effectively decrease your workload.

How Can a Virtual Assistant Save Me Money?

But how am I saving money if I’m paying my Virtual Assistant to do these tasks for me?Hour 25 Virtual Solutions Saves you Money

Simple math! Your billable hours are probably at a higher rate than your Virtual Assistant. By delegating tasks to your VA, you are saving yourself time, which in turn saves you money – the difference between your billable rate and your VA’s.

But it doesn’t end there! This is where the value of your time comes in: the time you save delegating tasks to your Virtual Assistant can be spent creating new business (in whatever form that is – products, networking, etc.).

Or, as frequently is the case in life and entrepreneurship, maybe you really need to put some balance back into your personal life in the form of quality time – for your health, relationships or education.

Remember always, before hiring your VA you will definitely need to prepare:

  • A specific list of tasks that your VA can do for you
  • Your budget for these tasks
  • Your process, tools and desired results for each task
  • Your communication plan with your VA

These are very important to a successful working relationship with your Virtual Assistant and most VA’s will ask you for this information upon your initial consultation. Your Virtual Assistant also should be able to help you organize and prioritize your task list and possibly recommend more efficient ways to perform them.

Partner with Hour 25 Virtual SolutionsAs a Virtual Assistant and business owner I recognize that I need to place value on my time and so should you. A Virtual Assistant is a Partner in your success. I’m invested in seeing your business flourish and grow because that success is a reflection of my own.

And, to be honest, I’m an ‘admin geek’ as well, but that’s a store for another day.

Here’s to making the most of your time!

If you wish to contact me with questions or regarding my Virtual Assistant services please send me a note through my Contact page here.

 

 

Hour 25 Virtual Solutions

Welcome to my Blog!

 

Hello and welcome to Hour 25 Virtual Solutions Blog!

After spending significant time working on my client’s blog’s I’ve decided it’s time to start my own and what better timing than the beginning of a New Year?

My goal is to keep things simple, providing easy ‘how-to’s’ and information and generally have fun exploring new things in the virtual assistant world.

Stay tuned for my next entry!