If you are a sole trader, freelancer, a small business or an entrepreneur, then the daily grind of completing the administration can seem like an additional chore.
You are obviously very good at what you do and want to focus on that. By freeing up your time and concentrating on the actual business rather than drowning in admin you can grow your business.
We are all familiar with the mountain of paperwork that results in running your business. How many times have you heard the phrase when are you going to stop working? Are your weekends filled with the stress of trying to complete everything you didn’t get done in the week? Missing out on what you enjoy?
Then it’s time to think again. For just a few hours per month you can start to shift your work life balance.
The advantages of hiring a Virtual Assistant include: -
However, you do need to consider what you want from your Virtual Assistant. Do you just want to hand over a pile of paperwork and let them get on with it? Is it important that they are local to you or are you happy communicating via email, Skype, instant messenger or telephone? This is dependent on the type of person you are, the type of work, and whether local geographical knowledge is important. Virtual Assistants are professional, flexible and will work with you to establish the best ways to work together. Some clients I speak to regularly, while others prefer to communicate by email.
Are they a general VA or do they work within specific sectors? Do they specialise in certain tasks or are they an all rounder?
Communication is the key to a successful relationship with your Virtual Assistant. The principle of the crystal ball doesn’t work, believe me I have been on the receiving end of that one! We all forget things sometimes, but you do need to communicate effectively like you would if they were sat in your office. No Virtual Assistant minds the occasional lapse, but repeated forgetfulness, missing catch up calls or choosing to exclude them from information may result in difficulty retaining or recruiting Virtual Assistants. So please be honest with yourself a Virtual Assistant is not for everyone.
Also check your chosen VA’s availability as well as agree timescales for delivery of your work. Many VA’s work with a number of clients. The joy of being a VA is working the hours you choose but there are horror stories of clients expecting VAs to be available 24 hours a day, regardless of time zone. I always say to my clients feel free to email me things over the weekend but I won’t see it until the Monday.
Remember, by investing time (sitting down and working out what you need from your Virtual Assistant and what both of your expectations are) at the outset, this can lead to a more successful business for you, freeing up your time long-term.
One of my clients who I started off working just 2 hours a day (and ended up working way beyond this), grew their business to such an extent that they realised that they needed someone in their office to provide full time support.
Like wearing in your favourite comfortable shoes hiring a VA and learning to work together takes time!
As September dawns are you feeling blue about the end of summer and if you are a parent or grandparent, the school holidays or do you feel rejuvenated by the thought that you can finally speak to people and concentrate on your business rather than just marking time?
For those of us who have been lucky enough to have a break away from home, we may already have settled back into our routine, or for others waiting until the world re-emerges, from the August slump.
I love spending time with my family, I am lucky enough to have family living abroad. I enjoy the thought of getting away from it all, but I tend to do a lot of thinking about what I want to do next strategically. I even took my logos on holiday to decide on my final choice and considered doing a poll of all the passengers on my flight!
I also enjoy the fact I don’t have to get up quite so early when I return to the UK, although I am always at my desk by 8.30 am!
While I’m not keen on the darker mornings and the evenings I look forward to September, as I see it as a time for renewed vigour. For me this means putting into practice what I have been learning during the quieter summer months. This year I learnt more about Social Media marketing by doing some blog rewrites for a client and another client took the opportunity to start teaching me the accountancy software Sage, for my own use. Now all I need to do is put all this into practice.
If you are feeling invigorated and want to concentrate on growing your business then contact JH Admin to assist you with your admin needs.
So you've been business networking. What do you do with the business cards you collect? Have you sorted them into an orderly fashion and filed them electronically or even better spoken to the person or people and set up a meeting?
Perhaps this is one of the jobs you save for later but time to sort them never comes because you are too busy running your business. Rather than keep them in your drawer, or a pile on your desk what do you actually want to do with them.
When you collect the cards what are you intending to do with them? Are you intending to use them for networking in the future - do you want to use their services or are you going to use them for marketing purposes?
Sophie, one of my client's had attended various networking events and had over 60 business cards from different sources. When we met she asked me to sort them firstly into excel spreadsheets and then upload them to Insightly (her CRM - Customer Relationship Management software of choice). Once completed I uploaded them to Mailchimp (an email marketing platform), so that Sophie could tailor her marketing to the specific groups.
For a small amount Sophie was able to maximise her time and target her marketing more appropriately.
Imagine you’ve worked hard all year and you are looking forward to your 2 weeks away, with your loved ones or on your own. Will you be spending your time relaxing and enjoying your time away with your favourite drink, alcoholic or non-alcoholic or will you be worrying about whether you are missing out on business?
Mine’s a frappe with ice cream!
For peace of mind why not consider using a Virtual Assistant. Virtual Assistants can look after your business while you are away. They can answer your calls, book appointments in for your return and monitor your email account.
No time to plan your holiday some Virtual Assistants will do this for you, or maybe able to tap into other resources for you.
Imagine coming back feeling rested and refreshed ready for your return to work, knowing that everything has been dealt with and you can just pick up your work.
image courtesy of www.freeimages.co.uk
Probably something that many small businesses and freelancers dread. Having recently attended my first ever networking event as a freelancer I survived! We all know the feeling of nerves, I have previously done extensive networking but that was many years ago and in a different profession, where I was a recognised expert. That was totally different, as I knew what was expected, how to dress, who would be there and I also knew a lot of people. I have heard stories of groups, where if you don’t attend you have to find substitutes. Many meetings are held at breakfast time, so totally unachievable for many parents, especially those who have sole responsibility for their children in the mornings.
I stumbled by chance upon a local networking group, Wellingborough Business Network, at a reasonable time, within walking distance and affordable. Okay so I managed to book a place, then I needed to get some business cards in a rush (note to self never do them in a hurry – I have already noticed things I would change and will be doing so within the next few months). I looked at elevator pitches – 30 seconds to talk about myself. Public speaking isn’t my greatest strength, but after standing up and speaking to over 1000 people at an international conference I know I can do it. Who then forgot to write anything down so I had something prepared, although I had been through it all beforehand – that was me then!!
Next problem – what to wear after discussion with both my Mum & daughter I settled on leggings and a top – that was fine until my daughter took one look at me on the morning and said no. Thanks for that (I wasn’t feeling confident in the outfit, so quickly tried on my one pair of smart trousers – hideous was my thought), so I pulled out my newest jeans – much better, more me. My daughter left for school telling me it would be fine and she had confidence I would soon have some new clients.
At the appointed time (I estimated it would take me 15 minutes to walk there and it did) past some allotments which helped me to relax, down to the venue. I arrived, found the meeting room and walked in. I saw the refreshments and then met Paula Ross who was doing the registrations, who was lovely and made me feel welcome. There were already groups of men at some of the tables – dressed in suits and then there was me in my jeans. I saw a table with someone’s notebook on it and decided to sit there. At this point I was terrified and managed to carry a cup of coffee back to the table, (complete with the shakes) by which time some other ladies had arrived and joined the table. We started to chat and it put me at ease. The speaker Caroline Prout - Inspired to Change, who spoke about Train your Brain for Networking Success and guess what at about that time my nerves really kicked in - 30 seconds and guess who forgot to take her notes. A thought flashed through my mind ‘freeing you up to do what you do best’. As my turn approached my nerves increased and then it was my turn – I did it, I did stand up, nobody laughed, next time I will be more polished, I learnt a valuable lesson – I am me and I can go as me – no need to dress up, just turn up!
I am the business, I’m never going to be the noisy, confident individual but I am resilient, good at multitasking and as people get to know me they might even become a client. So onwards and upwards I have booked my place for next month.
I am a small business Virtual Assistant and run my business freeing people up to do what they do best, while loving the paperwork you hate!