Working with a Virtual Assistant Q & A

Operating your own business is a dream. You know all of the ins and outs; what is required; the nuances; your target markets; you have it down pat from sunrise to sunset. It is all second nature that you could run it in your sleep if you had to.

While there is nothing inherently wrong with this scenario, ask yourself is it productive? Is it efficient? Are you and your company operating at 100% in order to experience growth?
Working with a Virtual Assistant
I would venture a guess that your responses are probably teetering more toward the “No, not exactly” versus “We are the best and on target to triple our revenues.”

Many of my clients have been in your position, realizing they are not poised for growth and they want to move from entrepreneur to more of a small business status. As I have stated before, being able to effectively delegate represents a readiness and growth mentality. You must relinquish much of the day to day tasks in order to be able to focus on your “real” business goals. “Entrepreneur, Fire Thyself.”

“The whole transition from working in the business to working on the business means letting go of what you’re comfortable doing. You always need to be thinking big and challenging yourself.”
Mary Jo Gorman, member of the 2011 North American class of Entrepreneurial Winning Women.

There are several steps or processes to be able to arrive at this juncture and once you do, it is still a matter of understanding and learning how to work with a virtual assistant, when you have always done everything on your own.

I get that! I really do.

  • It took me a few years before I was ready to delegate
  • I had always done it
  • No one could do anything better or faster
  • Why should I write out all of my policies and procedures when it is quicker if I just manage it on the spot?

I am over that and value the freedom and ease of having a tremendous virtual assistant. I don’t need to do every single task or project. If I was so bogged down in each and every daily business operation and activity, I wouldn’t have the time to build my business, provide personalized service, work ON it rather than IN it and I wouldn’t have enough hours in the day to write a blog post. I would be a slave to the clock and the company. That is not the kind of business dream I have.

Clients have asked what should they outsource and what is the best way to work with a virtual assistant.

Outsource anything that

  • Doesn’t directly generate revenue
  • Isn’t your core genius
  • Represents administrative tasks
  • You don’t like to do
  • You don’t want to do
  • Is too tedious
  • Takes up too much time
  • Provides a low payoff

Here is an exercise that may shed some light on your time spent versus invested: for one week track every task and project that you work on.

Note the time spent. What wasn’t completed, what was overlooked, any appointments missed, activities half completed, which ones generated revenue. How many low payoff activities usurped your time?

At the end of the week, review it. What should you move off of your plate?? It should be very clear.

What every day operations are you involved in that also aren’t the best value of your time? Sure, they are necessary, but do YOU need to do them?

Working with a Virtual Assistant (Best idea ever!)

After you have chosen your vested virtual partner be ready to experience outstanding results.

  • Understand your daily processes and business operations
  • Be well aware of your core genius and high payoff activities
  • Clearly outline your goals
  • Know what you want to outsource: for example, content curation, proofing/editing/uploading of blogs, email and calendar management, social media and project management
  • Outsource one offs, projects, administrative tasks and daily business operations
  • Establish your workflow
  • Define specifics, desired outcomes, expectations and deadlines
  • Prepare documents to support the processes you use to complete tasks. You may also discover that your VA has some other efficient tools and ideas as well. Be open for discussions
  • Accountability and communications are a must for success and satisfaction
  • Provide valued, honest feedback
  • Trust the VA you have chosen – avoid the need to micromanage
  • Expect to participate in monthly strategy calls to brainstorm, share ideas and talk about your business
  • If they are to interact with your clients or vendors, create an email address for them at your domain
  • Recognize that you are part of a TEAM, investing in your partnership and business
  • Every month, review what is working and what isn’t. Consider outsourcing additional operations management or projects while you may decide to pull back others
  • Continue to foster and nurture your relationship just like you would with an in-house staff member

These suggested tips may seem a little overwhelming or daunting at first, but once you lay out the foundation or the architecture of your partnership, the coming months and years will prove to be very lucrative for you. It is worth the investment and time to set up your blueprint for success.

About the author: Suzie Kummins-Poirier, a.k.a AceConcierge, is a virtual assistant working with entrepreneurs and Suzie Kummins-Poirier, Virtual Assistantbusiness people who care to focus on their core genius by delegating the much-needed but time-consuming everyday tasks of managing business. With 30 years experience within corporate and working remotely with clients, Suzie has built a career supporting hundreds of business professionals in propelling their businesses to increased income and laser-sharp focus. Follow Suzie on Twitter, via her blog and on Facebook.

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The Virtual Assistant Information blog provides free information for small businesses, entrepreneurs, startups, executives and individuals interested in learning more about hiring and working with a virtual assistant. We’re part of Virtual Assistantville, a premium virtual assistant directory where you can find and hire a professional virtual assistant to help support your business.

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