Podcaster Darlene Victoria Gonzalez on the Benefits of Outsourcing to a Virtual Assistant
Podcaster and solopreneur Darlene Victoria Gonzalez of A Virtual Perception Podcast and True Harmony Media is also an established virtual assistant. With a thriving virtual assistance practice to run and a popular podcast to produce Darlene turned to fellow professional virtual assistant Tahneesha Smith of A Virtual Blessing Virtual Assistant Services almost two years ago for help. Tahneesha works with Darlene an average of 1 to 2 hours each week. Darlene shared with us that as a virtual assistant herself, she understood the inherent value in outsourcing to a professional and needed no convincing when it came time to bring a virtual assistant into her business.
Why did you decide to work with a virtual assistant?
I started my own virtual assistant business in February 2008. So, I was already familiar with what a virtual assistant is and how one works. In May 2008 I began producing a podcast called A Virtual Perception. I spent my first year as a business owner learning not only how to run a business, but how to produce a podcast as well.
Then, in 2009 due to an onslaught of work in my business, I was finding myself overwhelmed and overworked. Producing my podcast was becoming more of a chore, rather than something fun and exciting. That is when I realized I needed help. After assessing my needs I determined that working with a virtual assistant, to help assist me with scheduling podcast guests, doing show research and many of the pre-production tasks, was just what I needed.
What led you to choose your current virtual assistant?
Tahneesha and I are members of a virtual assistant industry forum, Virtual Assistant Forums to be exact. Two years ago Tahneesha was the coordinator of an anniversary celebration for the forum. I was part of the team that helped plan some of the festivities and I had the pleasure of working with Tahneesha because of this.
It was about a month or so after the event that I realized I needed help with my pre-production podcast needs. Since I know virtual assistants from doing interviews for my podcast and the forum, I began mentally creating a list of virtual assistants that I thought might be able to help me with my needs. I then began to reach out to them. Tahneesha was the first person I thought of. I was very pleased when she agreed to be my podcast virtual assistant!
What types of tasks do you delegate to your virtual assistant most often and why?
The tasks that I most often delegate to Tahneesha are guest research, guest scheduling and topic research. She also helps me from time to time with some social media tasks as well.
What was the most recent project your virtual assistant completed for you and how did it go?
I recently changed direction with one of my podcast websites. I changed it from a podcast that highlights inspiring individuals to a website that features inspiring individuals through blog posts. Tahneesha has been helping me research and reach out to guests to be featured on the site.
It has gone great! I started this website a few years ago and this new direction is exactly what it needed. Tahneesha’s help has been instrumental and I can’t thank her enough.
Can you share a time when your virtual assistant saved the day?
Oh my goodness, I feel as though Tahneesha saves my day almost on a weekly basis. Any little bit that she does to help me with my shows is a lifesaver. She handles all of the things that I find to be my Achilles Heel. She somehow knows to give me a “nudge” on something if she doesn’t hear back from me within a certain timeframe. It must be her virtual assistant super power sense kicking in and she knows it’s just sitting in my inbox collecting dust! I can be a huge procrastinator. She keeps me in check!
Describe your virtual assistant in three words:
Helpful, Insightful, Kind.
What advice would you offer to someone considering working with a virtual assistant?
If you are thinking about working with a virtual assistant; the first thing I would suggest to do is assess your needs. Create a list of things you can delegate to a virtual assistant. Things that should be at the top of your list are those that you find yourself constantly pushing aside because you hate doing them.
Once you have determined your needs, do your research. Locate virtual assistants that you think you might want to work with. If you know of a virtual assistant already, that’s great too. Whether you know a virtual assistant or need to search one out: visit their website and find out more about them. Do they offer the services that you need help with? Do they seem like someone you can work with? If so, contact them and set up a time for a phone consultation. The consultation will be a time for the virtual assistant to get to know you and the services you need assistance with and it will be your opportunity to get to know the virtual assistant and tell them what you need help with. It’s not an interview, but a consultation to see if partnering makes the most sense for the both of you.
Readers, would you like to share your own experience working with a professional virtual assistant? Feel free to post your story in the comments!