Tag Archives: delegate

Are you paralyzed in the ‘what if’ syndrome of being a small business owner?

Are these questions constantly finding their way into your thoughts and conversations?

  • What if I can’t do everything myself?
  • What if I disappoint my clients?
  • What if I get in over my head?
  • What if I don’t make enough money to support this business?

These are all real feelings that every entrepreneur and small business owner has had at one or more points in their journey.  Without  fear, you would not be driven to overcome these “what if” senarios, however, getting paralyzed by these kinds of thoughts could easily derail your success.

To get passed these fear based thoughts, without paralysis, you have to turn the negatives into positives, the CAN’TS into CANS!

  • What can I do by myself?

This is where you should look at your daily workload realistically, and decide what tasks have to be done by you, and what can be outsourced to an assistant.  Don’t ever be afraid to delegate.  Without delegation, you will limit your power for growth and success.

  • How can I delight my clients?

What extra steps can you do to impress your clients?  Some of these can be simple, effective communication, or sending a hand written thank you note to them for trusting you with their business needs, remembering their birthdays, providing quality work with no errors, and obviously staying within their target budget.

  • What if getting in over my head is a good thing?

Having too much work will only be stressful, if you don’t have a plan in place to outsource some of your workload.  The administrative tasks that bog down your day, need to be done by someone who can focus on just those tasks and has the expertise to make you shine. Get a team in place  that can handle the areas of your business that you are not skilled in.  Your virtual team can be utilized on an as-needed basis, or, better yet, delegate weekly assignments that help take work off your plate.  Just be sure to have them in place when you need them.

  • What if I make so much money that my business is able to fully support me and my family?

This is really where you need to focus your time.  Securing the clients that will ultimately bring in the cash flow.  You started your business because it was your passion and/or your expertise.  You are the face, the voice and the driver of how successful it can become.  Staying focused on why you started your business will help you to not get paralyzed by fear of failure.

Turn the negative “what ifs” around and let them work for you.  What if staying positive and asking for help was the ultimate solution to getting your business to the point where you ultimately want it to be?  What if…?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Working with a virtual assistant is a great option for a busy entrepreneur. Working with anyone – real or virtual – is a dynamic situation where adjustments need to be made as the working relationship evolves.

We have worked with hundreds of VA and clients, and find that the key to success with any working relationship is having good communication and setting realistic goals.

Today, interacting with your virtual assistant is done using various electronic technologies. Setting up a virtual workspace for communicating with your VA is essential.

These technologies should include the following:
Email – let your VA know if you will be setting them up with a specific email address for your business, or if they will use their own email address to communicate with you. Determine a response time that is acceptable to you and your VA.
Live Chat– Skype or Facetime once a week or once a month if that will help you stay connected.
Document Sharing –Dropbox, Basecamp, and Trello are some options where you can share work and give instructions that can be accessed remotely.

Your VA’s output is greatly dependent on your initial orientation, and the systems that you have already set up, along with some training provided by you.

As your working relationship develops with your VA, you may need to be tolerant and allow for a learning curve. If you remember to communicate, give appropriate feedback, and provide the tools and the training necessary for the job, your VA should become a great asset to your team.

A=Allocate
Allocate time to enjoy your summer.  What does that mean exactly?  It means all work and no play will make you a dull “boy” or “girl”.  Plus, everyone needs to recharge their batteries and summer is a great time to do that.  If you are thinking, “sounds great, but how could I do that, when my weekly business calendar is full?”  Start by scheduling down time on your calendar.  Just like you schedule meetings with clients, schedule time in your calendar just for YOU!  If the thought of that scares you, try and start off slowly with just an hour per week, and then move up to a couple hours per week until you can see the benefits.  What you do with that hour is up to you, but extra time in the gym, reading a book, watching a movie, or just relaxing away from the computer can be extremely beneficial to helping you recharge your spirit and your stamina, which in turn will benefit your business.
B = Basics
Getting back to basics this summer can also help your business.  Try and remember why you started your business in the first place, and how excited you were to get it off the ground.  Are your emotions today the same as they were when you made the big decision to move forward with starting your own business?  If not, try and figure out what about it is different.  Are you overwhelmed? Are you unable to do the things you need to do to make it exciting? Are you too busy with the minutia involved with running your business that every day seems like a blur?  Basic human nature is to try and do everything ourselves, but consider enlisting some help where it makes sense.  Try and think about what you can take off your plate,  and what you can realistically delegate. The goal is to get you back to that place where your excitement level outweighs the stress of running your own business.
C = Commitment
Sometimes making a commitment to yourself is harder than making one to someone else.  Isn’t summer a great time to commit to making a few changes in your life?  With longer days and more sunshine it is easy to put in longer work hours, but why not commit to using those few extra hours to reconnect with family and friends this summer.  Having positive relationships in your life will help you be more positive and energized.  It is easy to sabotage yourself if you start to feel guilty when you choose to miss out on things like family parties, dinner with friends, youth sporting events, or even grilling with the neighbors.  Commit to participating in a few if not all the summer activities you can with family and friends.  You will see that making a conscience effort to enjoy the people around you can be the best use of your time in the long run.

If you need help trying to figure out what you can delegate or who you can work with to give you a few extra hours in your day, we have a team of amazing placement specialist that would be happy to assist you. http://assistantmatch.com.

Working with a virtual team is how our company operates. The Assistant Match team consists of amazing people who work in different states throughout the country in a seamless unified fashion. We pride ourselves on the fact that distance and time zones do not inhibit our ability to provide excellent customer service to our clients, smooth communications with our virtual assistants and a team of core professionals who are compassionate and respect each other. This is the structure for our business, but will it work for you?

There are 3 things to keep in mind when you are structuring your virtual team.
1. Will you be the leader of the virtual team?  
This seems like an obvious answer, but we work with clients who prefer to hire a virtual team leader, someone in charge of all the other VA’s. The virtual team leader will be the only one who gets direction directly from you and then they will delegate the tasks and the workload to the appropriate VAs. This structure works well for the business owner who prefers one point of contact and wants to be less hands on.
2. How many VA’s do you need on your team?
This decision will require a thoughtful approach that makes both business sense and financial sense. We work with business owners who prefer to work with one VA that has multiple skills sets, while others like to work with multiple VA’s that offer specialized services. You can have a VA  who’s only job is to handle your finances, another VA can provide all your marketing efforts, you can have a VA managing a calendar and email inbox, and another concentrating on your administrative tasks. There is no right or wrong way to build a virtual team, it really comes down to what works for you and your budget.
3. How do you know if your team is structured correctly?
Usually a team is structured correctly when the workflow process is being handled to your expectations, deadlines are being met, and both you and the VA’s are happy. Communication with your team is so important to ensure they know when their work is due and what to do if they can’t meet the due dates. And don’t forget to thank your team when they do a good job, and don’t be afraid to provide constructive feedback when/if there is ever a bump in the road. Being proactive instead of reactive is what you want to strive for.

Are the stockings hung, is your shopping done, and do you have the party arrangements made? ‘Tis the season for a lot of extra to-do’s, commitments and social gatherings. Do you feel that the 8-12 productive hours of your day goes by too fast and by the end of each week, does it feels like the countdown clock is ticking faster and faster and your energy level is dropping quickly?

There are things you can do to help you stay on track.  Below are 5 examples of productivity tips, tools and delegation techniques. This is our gift to you!  Practice or use some of these examples, and you will immediately start to feel less frazzled and more in control of your day.

  1. Do you use Gmail a lot? Then you need to see this graphic with all the keyboard shortcuts that can make like a million times easier. It comes complete with visualizations of each action, for some reference of what you’re actually accomplishing. Source:Gizmodo
  2. Delegate! The more you hand off to others, the more productive you’ll be. If someone else can do a task, if you can show someone else how to do it or if somebody on your team can show someone else how to do an activity, then don’t do it yourself. Don’t get caught in the trap of thinking you have to do things because nobody else knows how. Source: Barbara Bates, Founder and CEO of Eastwick
  3. Some tools that can help you be more productive and save you time are:
    Evernote can change your life. If you have a bad memory, and don’t want to waste time trying to remember where you have stored something, you should be using Evernote. From kids artwork to family or business identification numbers, from shopping list to your next book project. Evernote is a place for everything and everything in its place.
    Hootsuite is a way to manage your social media account all in one location with a simple to use dashboard. Schedule your posts, engage with your followers, and set up filters to keep communication flowing easily.
  4. Two Minute Rule: A tip from David Allen is that if something takes less than two minutes, do it now. By adopting this rule, you will clear a lot of things from your To Do list very quickly. It also gives you a sense of satisfaction and achievement which only fuels your productivity.
  5. The first few hours of the work day can have a significant effect on your level of productivity over the following eight—so it’s important you have a morning routine that sets you up for success. You may have to attend to projects or discussions that rolled over from the previous afternoon—but try to treat each day as a fresh start. Source: Forbes.com

Don’t get SPOOKED by the holiday rush this year! Halloween is creeping up on us and then the countdown clock begins. Plan on being proactive and get some virtual help to delegate tasks to.  Wouldn’t it be a nice treat to really enjoy the holidays, instead of being rushed and stressed out about them?

Here are 5 ways to utilize a virtual assistant right now:

  1. Get current with your book-keeping. End the year with your accounting in order. Make it a goal to enter the tax season organized and confident.
  2. Prepare you holiday cards.  A virtual assistant can order custom cards, setup client address lists, print labels or even set-up e-cards to be sent on your behalf.
  3. Do an end of the year marketing/sales push.  Give your ideas to a marketing virtual assistant and let them create an email marketing campaign, setup 1ShoppingCart, prepare creative graphics, etc…
  4. Attend Holiday networking events.  This is a great time of year to mingle and spread good cheer while reminding people who you are and what you can do for them   Have your virtual assistant research local networking events and put them on your calendar.
  5. Prepare a sale if your product/services are especially useful at the end of the year.  A virtual assistant can promote your products or sale through your social media accounts, prepare marketing materials and help you write and send out email blasts.

Be sure to plan early for some holiday help, because it will be here in a blink of an eye.

 

No matter who you are, there are only 24 hours in a day to get things accomplished.  For a small business owner, most of those hours are spent working to keep their business running, growing, and staying competitive.  It is not an easy thing to do, and a smart business owner will usually realize that they can not (and should not) try to do everything  by themselves.

When the time comes to find help and delegate some of the daily job duties to an assistant, the first thing a business owner should consider iswhat are my expectations and are they realistic”.
Here are 4 things to consider about job duty expectations when delegating work to a new  virtual assistant.

  1. It is important that you have an idea of how long it would take you to do the same task, so you can have a reasonable expectation for the VA.
  2. If the delegated task would take you an hour to do, you should expect it to take longer for a VA to do the same task (until they understand your business and processes).
  3. An unreasonable expectation on a new VA will frustrate them (and you) and cause the initial relationship to go south even before it has a chance to develop.
  4. With some patience, time and reasonable expectations a virtual assistant can become a great asset to you and your company.

The world of marketing has changed drastically over the past decade, but one thing is certain, getting your message or offer in front of your customer, potential customer, or past customer is still the basis of a strong marketing campaign. But what is the best platform to do that on? There are many choices, but the email inbox is still a very personal way to communicate with them.

Email marketing is generally subscription based, meaning the recipient has given you or your company permission to email them. This list needs to be treated like gold, because what is given can be taken away, meaning there is usually an UNSUBSCRIBE option on all the emails sent to your list. Unsubscribe is often clicked on when you are sending out too many emails that are not providing value or relevant information to your subscriber list. Can you hit a “home-run” every time you send an email out? Not likely, but if you are strategic in your email marketing campaigns an provide useful information or exclusive offers your emails subscribers should grow and not shrink.

When you offer an opt-in box on your website for a visitor to be added to your email list, you need to have a welcome email setup in an auto-responder through your emailing marketing or e-commerce service. Some popular services are Constant Contact, MailChimp, Aweber, 1ShoppingCart, Infusionsoft and Shopify. Marketers have a huge opportunity with welcome emails. According to Skyline Technologies, welcome emails have an average open rate of 50-60%. With a high open rate you can see the importance of the welcome email to new subscribers.

According to Hubspot, a typical welcome email content should include:
• A link to confirm the subscriber did indeed subscribe to the email list
• A message of thanks for subscribing to the email list
• A request to mark you as a safe sender, or save you to their address book
• Some information about what content future emails will contain
• Your privacy policy to ensure their information will be used properly

The welcome email is also a great time to introduce your subscribers to your blog, with a direct link and description, ask them to join you on social media, again with easy links to your accounts, and give them the opportunity to contact you directly about your product or services.

After the initial welcome letter, be sure to have your email marketing plan in place so that your subscribers continue to receive your emails on a regular schedule. Managing your email marketing can be a lot of work, but you can’t ignore a list of people who have asked to receive updates from you. If you can’t handle it yourself, find someone who can help you with managing it. Don’t let your subscriber pot of gold turn into dust!

It’s not always a good feeling to know that your business needs help with digital marketing.  It can cause a lot of different emotions — hopefulness, excitement, dread, or even anxiety, but you know that doing nothing is no longer an option.

A website is not just a business card anymore. Everything you put on your website, along with your social media channels and digital activity, educates your visitors and contributes to your public image.  So making sure this part of your business is managed is important.

Unfortunately, writing and publishing takes time and not everyone is a born writer or social media enthusiast.

Here are a few suggestion to help you.

  1. Outsource the Work:
    There are many virtual marketing assistants that can do an excellent job either ghost writing for you, or taking content already created and repurposing it for online use.  They are also usually skilled in researching topics, or your competitors.  A lot of these virtual assistants have held traditional marketing positions, but have branched out into the digital marketing profession, so they often offer a broad range of marketing skills that can be utilized.
  2. Invite Client Contributions:
    Why not ask your clients to write for you occasionally? Ask clients for marketing tips, advice on how they built their company, leadership tips, etc. They’ll get a plug on your website and social channels, and you’ll get expert resources for your website.

If you plan to write your own website content, good for you!  But you can’t forget that web content needs to be linked on social media and then social engagement, commenting and moderation are vital in keeping your digital presence attractive to the search engines. The content writing is just the first step to having success with your digital marketing.

Making the decision that you need help in your business is easy, however taking the next step to delegate the work out to another person is not as easy.  We tend to think we can do it all, but the reality is we can’t, and we really shouldn’t try to do everything required to run a successful business.

Hiring a virtual assistant to take some of the burden off your plate usually turns out to be the best decision you can make for yourself and your business.  But how do you find someone that will fit your needs, the culture of your business and relate to your personality?

The easiest way to do this is to start making lists that include the following information.

List #1 : business operations that you would like to delegate.
List #2 : business operations that you hate to do.
Is it book-keeping, marketing, online research, scheduling appointments, etc…?
List # 3 : professional skills that you want a virtual assistant to have.

List # 4 : your personality traits and what kind of personality you think you would work well with.
Do you want to work with a creative mind, an analytical mind, someone who is not afraid to share their thoughts with you, or someone who will just take direction and do the job?

Once you have your lists completed, the best thing to do is to work with a professional placement company who can review your needs and discuss exactly what your objectives are for hiring a virtual assistant.  You will want to be matched with professional VA’s who have been pre-screened for you. Someone that you know will be equipped to accomplish your goals and will be an asset to your organization.

Working with the right virtual assistant or virtual team can give you the time to devote your full attention to your business growth and development.  Investing the time to build the right virtual team will help you scale your company to the next level.

What helped you choose your virtual assistant?