Small Business Owner Robert Hess on Working with a Virtual Assistant
Robert Hess, President of the Prostate Cancer Awareness Project a 501 (c)(3) non-profit charity devoted to cancer prevention has been working with professional virtual assistant Tahneesha Smith of A Virtual Blessing Virtual Assistant Services an average of eight to ten hours per week for the last two and a half months. Robert took time our of his busy schedule as a cancer prevention advocate and the owner of multiple small businesses to share his experience working with a virtual assistant:
Why did you decide to work with a virtual assistant?
The Prostate Cancer Awareness Project (PCAP) is an volunteer-based organization. At present, there are no paid staff. The organization’s activities have grown to the point where we need support for our events but we do not have sufficient cash flow to bring on full time personnel.
What led you to choose your current virtual assistant?
I contacted my colleagues to find part time assistance but I did not find any people with the appropriate qualifications. I then posted my requirements on Craigslist in Los Angeles and received 42 applications, most of which were aimed more at a 30-hour week. Almost none of the respondents had visited our organization website to find out more about the PCAP, despite the fact that I provided the website address and requested they explore it before responding.
The tone and structure of my virtual assistant’s (Tahneesha) response made her stand out from all of the other respondents.
What changes have you seen in your business since working with a virtual assistant?
My role with the PCAP is a President and Board Member. I also run two other businesses. Until now, the PCAP was taking an unusual amount of time from my other duties. With Tahneesha on board, I’m able assign the tasks and not worry about them until a periodic coordination meetings. She is saving me ‘mental time’ every day. By that I mean that I feel I can delegate a task to her and not worry about whether or not it is being done.
Do you have any systems in place to more effectively delegate tasks to your virtual assistant?
I have an internal task list that I use to track projects and I rely on her detailed activities billing. We’ve just started to talk via Skype and as we move forward I plan to create a shared folder on Dropbox where we can share documents in real time.
Describe your virtual assistant in three words:
Structure; efficiency; personality.
What advice would you offer to someone considering working with a virtual assistant?
It’s a matter of personality. One of the first documents I received described the relationship as a ‘partnership.’ I think this is a great concept for virtual support. The project and activities need to be mutually rewarding. At the end of the day, though, it’s critical that the personalities work well together. Thus far, things are working great.
Readers, would you like to share your own experience working with a professional virtual assistant? Feel free to post your story in the comments!