- Practical Mindset Work
- A Partnership Approach
- Working with a Team
– Coming Soon! Finding your superstar VA
Recruiting a superstar VA can be a real headache. Here we share the formula for making sure you hit gold first time, sourcing a fantastic VA to help your business go supernova!
– NEW! Inside perspective: working as a VA
Our long term Virtual Assistant Sarah provides a behind the scene look on
what’s it like working as part of a location independent team and her best advice on maximising the relationship you can have with a VA.
- Family and Community
- Final Checklist
- Your Video
Working as a VA
Hi, my name is Sarah Stubbings and I am a Virtual Assistant (VA)
I started to work with Hannah and Chris in 2010. They were looking for a UK based VA.
The benefit of a VA based in your home country
- As they are from the UK a lot of the issues that come up while they are away happen there! So as well as work related tasks I can also deal with domestic or personal issues really easily. Examples of this have been from sorting out household bills discrepancies to ordering flowers from a local florist on their behalf.
- There is no language barrier. It is an awful lot easier not just being able to understand everything but to be able to read between the lines. This obviously gets easier the longer you work with a client and the more they let you behind the scenes of what is going on with their business. For location independent clients you often end up getting to know about them personally as well- the more you know the more you can anticipate what they need and help out whatever the problems that crop up.
- Different time zones can create challenges, but it is helpful that I am in the same time zone as most of their clients even if they are not! It means there is someone to keep an eye on the enquiries coming in and if there is anything urgent I can get hold of them straight away. One example is when we had an error on an automated service we provide that I was not able to fix myself and I knew would have a big impact on lots of clients if it was left. I had to call Chris’ mobile to wake him up at 4am his time- but it doesn’t happen often! Mostly I can handle things at least until they wake up! It is difficult to work with someone outside of your own time zones, so it is important to put strategies in place in order to avoid a 24 hour turn around in work. For instance, I have adjusted the hours I normally work with Hannah and Chris so I can check emails in the evening; while they are in the southern hemisphere this is the time I will tend to receive emails from them- and have a lot waiting for me when I get up in the morning too!
- I have a UK based team supporting me. If ever Hannah or Chris require extra work that I do not have the time for I can still get the work back to them quickly so they aren’t disrupted.
Working as part of a location independent team
Working as part of a location independent team is a completely unique experience. It has its difficulties, but these are few and far between. It is exciting to be involved in what LovePlayWork are going to do next and myself and my team are always reading the new blogs and looking at the updates on Facebook.
People are still wary about using VAs. However, I have never come across a problem that we cannot solve, well, maybe filing!
Luckily for us modern businesses have moved away from paperwork and are keeping virtual copies of all documents, understanding that it is safer and more efficient to store their work online or on a server. You would not believe the amount of scanning old documents we do so people can achieve this!
The benefits of using a VA
- It’s cheap! You only pay for the time spent on task and don’t have to worry about holiday and sick pay.
- You can arrange how many hours you need your VA for each month; and keep changing it! It’s a totally flexible way of working.
- We have a team of staff who are all qualified and experienced in their own niche area. Rather than hiring four different people, one for each bookkeeping, administration, PR and marketing clients can come straight to us, explain what they want and we do it all. They don’t get one person who is pretty good at everything; the work gets divided into everyone’s specialist area.
- Having a VA gives you the opportunity to go out and source or complete the work that only you can do whilst someone else looks after your essential customer service and administrative tasks. It means your business can grow much more quickly and you don’t get tied up with things that aren’t the best use of your time.
Being a new concept, once people get their head around how a VA works, it certainly is an impressive idea. One of our customers recently told us that they consider our service to be 60% cheaper than a full time employee whilst achieving the same standards in just 20 hours per week! For examples of what our clients have to say about us take a look at this – http://virtual-pa-uk.com/testimonials/
Some tips on working with a VA
Establish your workload
Do you expect your VA to be available at certain times of the day or all day every day? Or maybe you want them to work on set weekly tasks and just provide you with an update.
Whatever it is you expect you need to make this clear to your VA to ensure that you receive the service you require. If you set these expectations early you can reduce the frustration from not being able to contact someone when you need them.
It is a wise idea to discuss your task list with your VA. By giving someone a good idea of the work coming to them they will be better prepared.
Test your VA
Try different tasks in the beginning to gauge what your VA is capable of. You may have a range of tasks that require different skills. For example, responding to customer enquires requires people skills whilst data entry needs someone who is detail orientated.
Give detailed instructions
When you are giving details assume nothing and be as particular as possible. It can be difficult to learn new ways of working and until you are aware of your VAs capabilities to ‘read between the lines’ keep things simple.
Plan how you will communicate
Lay out your preferred method of communication. A good VA will work around you and your needs, you don’t want someone emailing on a time sensitive subject when Skype would be better.
Set clear deadlines
It is frustrating to not be told when your work is expected back, and on the flip side you will have no comeback on receiving a project late if you have not specified a timescale.
Give feedback promptly
When your VA does a good job, tell them! If they don’t, let them know how they can improve. Yes you are paying them to do a job but something as simple as a shout out on Twitter really can make someone’s day and make them feel appreciated.
Would you work with a VA? What are your reservations? What might be the benefit to you?
Do you have a question?
Sarah has very kindly offered to answer any questions you might
Drop her an email at [email protected] or post your query in the forum for her to answer.