Steph, one of the Virtual Assistants at myPA has decided that she is going to undertake a 30 day challenge. I tried to get her to do the 101 challenges in 1001 days with me but she said no. She has opted for a smaller challenge.
On day one she will have to do 50 squats, on day two 55 squats leading to 250 squats on day thirty. I am not sure, but I think she may be asking for a holiday very soon! If you want to join her, the challenge is available at Mission Fitness UK.
Whether you are a small business owner, an internet business operator, an entrepreneur or simply a very busy individual, a virtual assistant can help you perform a number of daily admin support services that need to be performed and are fundamental to ensure your business and personal life runs smoothly and effectively.
When a virtual assistant performs the countless admin support tasks that are beneficial in our modern life; they offer the small business owner the opportunity of time to concentrate on their own business and life style. In many instances the VA is able to undertake the task asked off them at a cheaper rate than a full-time in-house employee or a temp service.
Admin Services, such as invoicing, collections, and credit control are available from virtual assistants. A secretarial service does not generally provide these types of services. However, a virtual assistant performs these and the services of a secretarial service, such as audio typing and data entry. Additionally, office services such as electronic filing may also be performed.
Other office admin services that must be performed in-house are not ruled out either. While most VAs work remotely, they are often willing to work on-site for a short period of time to complete admin services such as filing or other office services. It is always advantageous to speak to your VA and see if they are happy to provide admin support in your office.
As a Virtual Assistant I am frequently asked to visit my client’s offices. Last week, one of my clients had the opportunity to reorganise their home office and wanted to use our admin support services to ensure their office ran efficiently from the start.
We were discussing how the office should be set up and what new equipment they were going to need to ensure they are able to fulfil their own admin support role. We also discussed their current internal procedures and which procedures need to be enforced, which procedures needed to be amended and tweaked and how to conjure some additional procedures to ensure the business ran smoothly.
It was an interesting discussion as we seemed to spend most to the time discussing how they should use their in trays, the importance an in tray could play in improving their own admin services, which would inevitably lead to improved customer services and communications, one of the business goals for this quarter.
Every small business and Entrepreneur has an element of providing admin service to their client’s, whether it’s keeping records of purchases, sales or financial documentation. One of the fundamental tools available to help improve the admin support role is to use an in tray. The top in tray is generally used for work that needs to be completed within a certain number of days. The middle tray is used for work in the process of being completed that the bottom tray for long term projects.
Our discussion evolved around the use to the top and middle tray. We discussed what is deemed to be important and what needs to be placed in the top tray for immediate action and what is considered to be in the process of being completed and put in the second tray. My client argued that, in theory, if you have received some form of correspondence, via the post, email or over the telephone than the task at hand is already in the process of being completed as the person sending the correspondence has already initiated the task/job; so the correspondence needs to be placed in the middle tray. The top tray would be for any correspondence that they send out and were waiting for a reply. As they sent out the correspondence the task/job is already important as they wouldn’t send out any information if it wasn’t needed or requested.
The role of a Virtual Assistant can be a tricky one, as you have to gently inform the client that just because they sent out some information it isn’t necessarily important to the recipient. Although there is some validity in my clients in tray theory, I suggested that just because someone has initiated a task, this doesn’t mean that the task needs to be completed instantly; you need to ascertain the importance of the task to the business goals.
We finally agreed on the principle that ‘the needs of the business should come first’ and if any correspondence is generate or received in the business then the importance of the correspondence would be judge by how the task/job associated with the correspondence would be beneficial to the business and those of the businesses objectives, goals and strategy.
A Virtual Assistant could work for a number of business clients at any one time, in a variety of diverse business fields. All Virtual assistants understand that their client’s time is not finite, nor is the time of a VA. Booking time for each client is one of the most important time management tools a VA utilises.
It is true to say, that small business can experience ‘feast or famine’ when it comes to the type of admin support they require from their VA. Consequently VAs will take work from additional clients to fill their time. This is when it is vitally important that you, the business owner communicates with your virtual assistant and let them know about the work load you have coming in, the amount of admin support you will be looking for in the next few weeks/months and how much of their time you will require. Be honest with your Virtual assistant and yourself; you don’t want to place yourself, or your business, in a detrimental position of having to work 15+ hours a day and put a strain on your virtual assistant. Being realistic about your expectations for your business and that of the services you require from your virtual assistant will ensure that you receive the best admin support you deserve and expect.
If you believe that a particular job will take your virtual assistant 3 weeks to complete inform them at the beginning of the task. Get their conformation about the time scales and delivery criteria.
Ensure that your virtual assistant is receptive to your time frame and be totally transparent about the work load. Don’t over promise and under deliver. At the start of the project ascertain the dead line and the importance of the project. Once you understand the importance of the project you are able to inform your virtual assistant that you will be looking for admin support for 3 weeks and book their time appropriately. Remember, if you book their time, they will be turning down other work, so you will have to pay them for the time you have booked.
If you have not sent your virtual assistant the appropriate documentation or information to start or continue with the project, be proactive and let your virtual assistant know, they could help you get the information together. Once you have the documentation ready and have sent it to your virtual assistant check with them to ensure they understand the task at hand and confirm the delivery and the time scales agreed upon.
To summarise, VAs would like to help every client as quickly as possible, but by the same token there comes a time when the VA has to say NO to clients with unrealistic expectations, don’t be one of them.
How quickly is this year going by! I can’t believe its already the end of March. All the plans I had made to make myPA move forward are finally coming to fruition. It’s so exciting to see them come to life.
I am running another Virtual Assistant training course again on the 5th July 2013. The last course went very well but I only marketed the course by word of mouth. This time I have created a leaflet that I will be sending out to any and all people.
I am still going to push VA4GB, an association for all VAs to share best practice.
The new office in Dorset is taking shape
The Act Database for managing my Social Media is now up and running and working well.
It’s nice to see an end to the planning and an start to the use of the project
I don’t get it, I love the snow. It makes me smile and want to run for my camera and become a prolific photographer. Watching me chase snowflakes is a sight to be seen. Being the first person to walk on new snow with only my footprints makes me smile. I wonder at the magic of it all.
So why, oh why, after two days does this love turn to hate? The beautiful snow turns to treacherous ice. I become paranoid about fall over and breaking an arm or a leg. I broke my writs a few years ago when I lived in a small village that had 1 bus a day. I felt so isolated and lonely, I expect that’s why I hate the ice.
I thought I would share a bit of good and bad news with you today. My office has been broken into and the thieves have walked away with two laptops. They have also damaged and very expensive keyboard and mouse. So obviously that’s the bad news, but the good news. Well… everything was backed up on a number of computers, on servers and on clients machines. The Police sent their SOCO team to take finger and footprints. A police officer was here for about 3 hours taking statements.
We have been really looked after by the Police. We have lost about 12 hours down time (2 of us unable to work for 6 hours). One of my laptops had Windows 8 installed, still trying to figure out how to use it. Talking to most people they seem to hate windows 8, so the thieves have a wonderful machine. The other lap top they stole, for some unknown reason they left the charger which means that they only have a computer for about 4 hours.
This reminds me of the last time I had something stolen. I was on the London underground and someone stole my purse. I’m not sure why they targeted me, I was a student then and looked like a student. What did they get? A 50p voucher for Tampex. I feel they have been just as successful.