Virtual Assistants Are the Entrepreneur’s Secret Weapon
| By Katrina Bragg |
Are you ready to take your business to the next level? Task Mania’s Katrina Bragg of Asheville shares her expert insights about what it takes to grow personally and professionally with a great Virtual Assistant!
Are you working on your business or in your business? Before you answer, consider whether or not this scenario sounds familiar:
Morning: check email, voicemail, respond to the easy ones, leave the others, check calendar and realize you have a presentation today at 5:30 at the Chamber! While you’re working on the presentation, a reminder beeps—a client is now two months behind on payment. You make a mental note. Now you have a new client meeting. Then the phone rings. A friend refers a potential client. While on the hour-long phone call, another reminder: lunch with yet another referral partner!
Afternoon: meeting with a client who has questions about your new services from your website. Wait! Your website has not been updated in months. Hmmm. Check your email again and there are several you could knock out in just a few minutes. OMG! Chamber meeting and still unfinished presentation! Grab business cards and brochures and go. You didn’t schedule drive time, so now you are sliding into the room at the last minute with not enough business cards, brochures and no professional presentation. After the meeting, an attendee wants 10 minutes to pick your brain. Not wanting to be rude, you agree right there in the meeting room. A few minutes turns into an hour.
Evening: You’ve skipped dinner and now you are too tired to eat. Your kids are getting ready for bed and you have not seen your spouse in three days. Even though it is late, you turn on the computer and see if anything needs your attention. It will only take a minute. Two hours later you lie down and try to stop your brain from thinking about tomorrow.
If you had a Virtual Assistant (VA), she could have:
o Reviewed your email regularly, responding and/or flagging important ones for your review
o Ordered business cards, brochures and other marketing materials last week
o Contacted the late-payment client at the end of last month
o Had your presentation done a week ago
o Updated your website four months ago
o Followed up after the meetings with your clients the next
Remember that attendee at your meeting who wanted to pick your brain? Well, if you utilized the services of a VA, you could have simply said, “I’ll have my assistant set things up for us.”
What is going to change if you are not willing to offload some work? What is glamorous about being exhausted and overwhelmed after a stream of 12-hour days? If you want to get your life back and grow your business to support that life, then something has to give. You can no longer continue to do everything yourself and expect to turn a profit or succeed.
Think of it this way. When you hire an individual to do social media for your business, she is a type of VA. She doesn’t have a desk at your office, but she still creates blogs, posts and discussions on your behalf. Same thing with a website or logo designer. Almost everything can be done virtually! The entire point is, start creating your virtual team.
Ready, Set, VA!
Here are my three steps in determining if you are ready for a VA:
Step 1: To-Do or Not To-Do?
Start with a pen and paper. Draw three lines down the sheet to create four columns. In each column, title as follows: “Tasks I Cannot Do” (like web design), “Tasks I Hate to Do”, “Tasks I Should not Do”, and “Tasks I love to do.” Fill in the columns with whatever comes to mind. Be honest. Now that your lists are complete, mark out the titles and change them to: Column 1 “Hire Someone Now;” Column 2, “Never Going to Happen;” Column 3 “Time Wasters;” and column 4 “Fun Things I Miss Doing.”
Now take a deep breath. Put the list where you can see it on a regular basis. Review it periodically. When you really start missing column four, you are ready for help.
Step 2: Character Counts
When hiring a VA Consider the type of person you do and do not want to work with. You are bringing a new person into your life and business, and you can choose who that is. This list is for you, so be honest. Make a list of undesirable characteristics you would rather not see in your assistant. Then, consider the opposite, positive characteristics. This step is to help you set clear intentions. We only focus on the positive. Don’t underestimate personality. For example, if you are bossy, you do not need a bossy assistant, right?
Step 3: Budget Misconceptions
If I told you my rate was $30 an hour, what would your reaction be? “What! $30 an hour for office work??!! I can do it myself for FREE!” Yes, yes you can. But consider this. Let’s assume your rate is $50/hour. The monthly newsletter takes you five hours a month 50 x 5=$250 of your time. A VA can do the same newsletter in 2 hours (2 x 30=$60). You can put this in your Time Waster column.
The cost benefits of hiring a highly qualified VA include:
o No cost of buying additional furniture and equipment to use
o You pay only for the hours your VA actually works
o No unemployment compensation, social security or income taxes
o Saves you time—a non-renewable resource—and increases your professionalism
o Keeps you and your clients moving forward with ease
Virtual Assistants offer the added insight of being a business owner. We are doers, implementers and are results-driven. VAs are highly skilled, educated and experienced. They are additional peers lending support and will suggest ways to improve your operations. Essentially, your future VA functions as a partner in the success of your business. When you are ready for work-life balance, a Virtual Assistant is the savvy entrepreneur’s secret weapon.
Katrina Bragg, owner of Task Mania is a Virtual Assistant who specializes in Administrative Support. She assists busy business owners like you with administrative, operational and business support services needed to make your day-to-day functions work like a well-oiled machine. For more info, contact Katrina Bragg @ 828-301-0429, email: Katrina@taskmania.biz or visit taskmania.biz.