How to tell if you need a Virtual Assistant

How to tell if you need a Virtual Assistant

So do you really need a Virtual Assistant?

First – is it possible?

Is it really possible to find help for all those pesky administrative tasks out there – in the Cloud, in the vast network of the internet? Can you really hand off those time-consuming, energy draining tasks to someone you communicate with by email, text, Skype or phone?  Can you really have a great collaborative working relationship virtually?

The answer is, of course, YES!!

The world of administrative support has changed drastically since the internet has come into not only the business offices of the world, but our homes and even our personal time.  The use of smartphones, tablets as well as laptops has really changed how we relate to others – and how we do business.

During my last few years in the Big Corporate world, I spent as much time working with my team members online as I did face to face.  I didn’t see some of my team for weeks at a time as they were traveling or working from home. Telecommuting options are available with many corporations.  Collaborating with team members in other locations is no longer considered ‘forward thinking’ – it is the norm.

As a small business owner/entrepreneur/solopreneur, you are able to have the same level of support that is available in the Big Corporate world.  And usually at a more cost effective rate than Corporate employers.

A Virtual Assistant is a business owner, a entrepreneur – just like you. She charges for her services based on the time and nature of the project.  She does the work, you pay her invoice.  You don’t have to worry about employee benefits, government deductions, cost of providing office space and tools for her, and if she is taking 2 hour lunches and 30 minute coffee breaks.  According to the Conference Board of Canada’s Benefits Benchmarking 2015 report, it costs employers an average of $8,330 per employee, per year to provide employee benefits, including mandatory government employer contributions. And you don’t have to worry about it!

If you need a couple of hours per week, or help with a one-of project, it makes no difference.  You pay for the task, and nothing more.  How’s that for a deal – just pay for what you get!

So, next – Do you need a Virtual Assistant?

There are many reasons for hiring a VA.  There are many things an experienced VA can do.  There are many ways she can take the load off your broad shoulders.

So consider the following:

☐   Your workload feels overwhelming at times.

You’re dealing with meetings, phone calls, emails, client demands, putting out fires, following up on referrals and proposals, finding new clients, networking and what have you.  Then there is the paperwork – banking, billings, emails, recording expenses, completing client reports, creating estimates, proposals, record-keeping, and who knows what.  Add to that you’re trying to manage your social media, posting on your blog, updating your website, promoting yourself and your company, and, and, and . . .

You feel like you’re juggling 16 multi-coloured balls at the same time – and you keep dropping them and you don’t know where they have rolled to!  You certainly don’t know when you will have the time to find them either.

And you wonder where’s the time for yourself, family and friends. Worst – you’re wondering why you are doing all this!

☐  You need help digging out from the administrative pile.

You know what’s on your plate, and the service platter next to it.  You’re not exactly sure what is there, but you do know that it needs to be done. You just don’t know how to get it all done, how to organize it, how to get it ‘manageable’.  There just so much to be done, and so little time (and energy) to do it. You feel exhausted just thinking about it.

You’re wishing you had a magical wand that you could wave and it have it all done – but Harry Potter is not willing to lend you his.

☐  You know you could really “move the needle” if you could focus more on what you and only you can do.

You’re great at what you do, doing more of it would make you very happy (and bring in more money).  You don’t like ‘wasting’ your time with the necessary ‘drudge’ work. You’re spending more time on the administrative stuff than on what you really want to do – build your business, make money and enjoy your life.

☐  You want to be more productive and less stressed.

Don’t we all! Doing things we enjoy creates less stress and less stressful people are more productive. There is a great sense of achievement and pride when we do things we enjoy.  If you could only get someone to do those things that you don’t like doing.

☐ You know you need help but can’t afford someone full-time.

It’s a new world – you can get people to work with you for a couple of hours, a few days, or on one project, or even one task!  The cost of paying someone to do what you don’t have the time, the expertise or the inclination to do is far more cost and time effective than trying to do it yourself. Would you rather spend 4 hours doing something you don’t like when you could hire someone who would enjoys it and will get it done in 2 hours?

You could spend that time doing what matter most to you – which, in turn, makes you more effective, and happy!

So – do you need an virtual assistant?  Can you see yourself collaborating with an experienced contractor who will clear the way for you to grow your business, to generate more income, and to spend more time living your life?

Start small – what do really need help with NOW? What is stopping you? What obstacles stand in your way?

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail
Promoting Business on Facebook

Promoting Business on Facebook

Facebook businessFor some reason, Facebook has been on my mind a lot.  I keep running into info about using it to promote your business and effectively using it to attract new customers.  I even received an invitation to Facebook’s Boost Your Small Business event which was held in Richmond, BC on July 17th.

Being the curious type and with Facebook at the top of my awareness meter, I signed up and dutifully showed up.  As always I was hoping to learn something new – but then Facebook is pretty straightforward, right?  What’s new to learn?

In addition to the various Chambers of Commerce (great organizations), the various levels of government were there – including the Federal Minister of Industry and the Minister of State (Seniors).  They were full of enthusiasm for small / medium businesses, and with some impressive statistics of the value this sector brings to the Canadian economy.

But down to business – what can Facebook do for the small business owner?

Apparently a lot more than I gave it credit.  We have this tool that quite literally reaches billions of people every day, and, believe it or not, on average we check in with Facebook 17 times a day!  That’s a lot of opportunity to share your message!

The most interesting thing I learned during this morning’s event was that I can take my email list, create a CSV file and use it to target those people, and people of a similar profile through Facebook.  So rather than putting your message out to billions of people over the world, you can zero in on your target market, right where you are or where you want to be.  It is a marketing tool that used right can get you a lot of bang for your buck!  Check Custom Lists out with Facebook – facebook.com/advertising.

For a little time and a little money, a small business could increase their profile considerable on Facebook – and have its message seen by a lot of potential customers right in their own neck of the woods.

Look into it – it could be a valuable tool in your media plan.

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

New Stuff!

I love new stuffThere is soooooooo much out there!

Right now I’m working on a photo contest for FaceBook for a non-profit group.  Some really nifty programs out there to accomplish this.  We’re using ShortStack – a pretty awesome program for creating Facebook apps and building engaging social media marketing campaigns — contests, promotions, etc.  Best of all, if you are a small organization, they have a free version!  I love free!

You can check this out at www.shortstack.com  (No I’m not being paid to promote this product).  As with any product, check it out with your own specific needs in mind to determine whether or not it is suitable for you.  One size does not fit all!

Another cool program I’ve been using is Canva (www.canva.com). A really super app that let’s you create graphics for all kinds of uses.  Trying to find a graphic that fits FaceBook, Twitter or Instagram post, a postcard or business card, a poster, a presentation, letterhead, menu, or ? can be a bit daunting, not to mention time-consuming.  You have to make sure it is the right size, has the right colours, has the right font – and on it goes.  You can spend a lot of time doing it yourself, or hiring someone to do it for you.  Canva has all these templates ready to go, and all of it can be customized for your own unique look.  There are free elements available as well as fee based elements (starting at $1).  If you upload your own elements, there is no charge.  The program is very simple (and its free!).  The site has lots of help and lots of real life examples for inspiration. (I made the above graphic all by myself in under 10 minutes!)

I love learning new stuff – it is the best part of every job I ever had, and now that I’m working for myself, it is even more fun than ever. I can now learn anything that strikes my fancy.  I can’t think of any better way to stay excited about Life.

Remember when we were in school and those long, warm and sunny days were starting to appear more and more often as the end of June approached?  Remember how we longed for each day to come to an end so we would be one day closer to Summer Vacation?  Remember how we used to say that once we were out of school, we would never have to study again?  Little did we know!!   Life is all about learning and today’s world offers so very much to learn and share.  The human mind is an awesome thing and the ideas that it comes up with are equally awesome.  (Am I saying awesome too much?  I can’t think of a better word that truly means ‘awe-inspiring’).

The Photo Contest will be using both of these apps and I can’t wait to see the final results!

 

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

The Shoemaker’s Kids . . .

We albare feetl know what they say about the Shoemaker’s kids – only kids on the block without shoes!!

I’ve been providing truth to that concept!  I’ve been neglecting my own business  while I take care of other people’s needs.  Not just for my clients, but some of my volunteer work as well as taking time to help friends and family in need.

I started this Virtual Assistant business because I enjoy working and helping an idea grow.  And I love learning new things and exploring new ideas. But I  haven’t had time to pay attention to promoting my services through my website and Facebook page because – you guessed it! – I’m working on other people’s tasks!   Is that a good thing or is it a bad thing?

This, I’m sure is a common problem for everyone.  The trick is to know how to not only prioritize your tasks, but also to know when to ask for assistance.  I’ve had to reach out to friends to help me out with some of my personal tasks so I can get to the end of my To Do List.  Sure, I’m quite capable of doing it myself, but sometimes a helping hand makes all the difference in my world.

 

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail