8 things to outsource to a VA

8 things to outsource to your VAHaving been speaking to my clients over the years of running my VA business, the one common thing I am hearing is ‘I thought I would have more time!’ or ‘getting stressed with running out of time’ – this runs through not only my clients but most other VAs that I know all say the same.

And if you are reading this as a business owner I would imagine you can resonate with this, and once again its ok to feel like this, what you need to do is not stress about it as it is not going to make it go away.

Time Consuming Tasks

There are so many time sucking tasks that land on our desks whilst running our businesses, to the point of not knowing where to turn. I thought today I could share with you tasks you can outsource to a VA:

Social Media Support

This is one of those tasks that you could easily spend all day and all week on, it seems to be one of those that has no end, and one that always throws up more issues and things to add to your list. You need to have a presence on social media nowadays, it’s your key marketing tool. If you outsource this to your VA, you can have them partially helping you with the small things like sourcing industry specific images, to the more in-depth tasks like scheduling, creation and comment moderation.

E-Marketing

Another big one for small business owners, we need to stay in touch with our crowd and hitting their inbox or RSS blog feeds will make all the difference. Having a VA help you with such a task can free up a stupid amount of time. Again, you can go with handing over the small tasks of scheduling the e-newsletter to go out and cleaning your list of bounce backs, to scheduling in blog posts, con-tent and image sourcing. The level of what you want to hand over is up to you, but let’s face it, even if you get your VA to send out your newsletters its freeing up valuable time.

Research

Yep that dreaded task, how much time does it take you to research things? And it is one of those easy to hand over tasks.

Invoicing 

If you are running a business and have clients you have to invoice them on a regular basis, and can be time consuming especially if you have a few tricky clients that don’t exactly play by your pay-ment terms. Having to continuously chase overdue payments is demoralising for you and sucks up that valuable time!

Events

If you hold events then you will know how much time these take, it really isn’t a 5 min job and not one you can cross off your to do list in a hurry. Having a VA assisting you on an event will free up so much of your time, from pulling in venue ideas, gift ideas, drawing up guest lists, sending out save the date emails, the list is endless on what a VA can do for you on this task.

Data Entry

Whether this is CRM data entry, or a stack of business cards from an event you of if it is specific in-formation for your business, it’s a job that will suck time like no other, and you will quickly find oth-er things that need doing before data entry, why not find a VA that can take this extremely time-consuming task off your hands.

Travel Arrangements & Diary Management

If you are a regular traveller then you’ll know what must go into your itinerary, from flights to transfers, hotels, train, hotel or venue bookings, as well as the meetings that work around the itin-erary. There are a lot of things to remember, I had to do in my employed days a lot of travel ar-rangements, I had one sales guy visiting several countries in the ASPAC region so tying them all up was tricky to say the least!

Having a VA you can delegate these tasks to them, they should have an extensive knowledge of where to go and how to find the best deals etc
Whilst you are away your diary still needs to be looked after, as you will probably have a fair amount of catch up meetings on your return, having a VA to make sure you are on track will be a godsend. You do not need to have a full time PA to hand when that could be a waste of money for you

Email Management

Sometimes our email can be a huge distraction, and in this day and age it’s hard to ignore as its eve-rywhere, laptop, tablets, smart phones, you will always know when you have an email, and you feel compelled to reply straight away. Having a good VA they will be able to tidy up your inbox, create folders, unsubscribe from lists you don’t require anymore, create templates and signatures.

These are just some of the things a decent VA can do for you as a business owner. If any of these shout out to you then please do get in touch, I would love to be able to help you in your business. I have some availability through August and I am booking into September, so do get in touch if you feel this would benefit you.  And check out my latest freebie HERE

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The power is in your hands……………Honest

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Hey everyone, in my last blog I mentioned to you above trying to find your self-discipline, how has that gone? It can be a tricky one to grab hold of and run with, because of so many distractions, I also gave you some tips on how to cope and deal with those distractions.

This month

I want to talk to you about the importance of staying in touch with your crowd, we all know we can stay in touch via Social Media, but sometimes it’s just not enough is it.  I have got into a good routine of keeping a check on my insights on my social platforms, I post at various times, some when my crowd are online and other times when they are not active, most of my crowd are online late afternoon/early evening, I do schedule posts for that time, but I do like to do things in real-time too.

In March’s newsletter, I spoke about the amazing competition that I won back in October 2016, which was run by the A.M.A.Z.I.N.G Emma Holmes of Coaching Rockstars. I had seen her posts on social media and a few friends through business had shared her post too, but still, didn’t feel compelled to enter it as I felt I wasn’t lucky enough.  Then I had a Rockstar newsletter hit my inbox which went into more detail, with all the relevant links, it just spoke to me, I felt it resonated with me and the situation I was in at the time, it was that email just pushed me into entering, and how glad am I that I did! I have managed to spend time with some AWESOME, inspiring, knowledgeable women in the industry.

The power of e-marketing is huge and can have such an amazing effect on your business.  You can reach out to your crowd with a push of a button, you know it will land in their inbox when you ask it too, and it will be filled with great content, you can get your message over in more depth, as on social platforms you don’t want to flood your crowds timelines nor make it too long.  This way you can create that eye-catching content.

Winning this competition has change my business completely, and it landing in my inbox gave me that push to enter myself

I think how Emma ran her competition and made sure it landed in the right hands was amazing, she clearly knows her crowd and she knows how to make you feel that she is reading your mind. This IS something you can learn over time, but you need to start somewhere, so being in touch with your crowd regularly via a newsletter is key. You can grow your list with sign-up boxes and links to freebies, these are things I will be talking about in future blogs and newsletters.

Growing your list won’t happen over night, think back to my favourite saying “Slowly Slowly Catchy Monkey”

On the Social

Over the last few weeks on my page we have celebrated International Women’s Day, it’s a powerful day, and one that should be celebrated.

Also, I shared a video from Eric Thomas who claims there is no such thing as procrastination, he says people get it confused with something that is of no interest to you, so in turn have no desire to do the task, what do you think?

I also touched upon a subject that is close to my heart and to a few fellow Virtual Assistants, over recent weeks I have seen a few small business owners getting frustrated that people are either late paying or the next worst thing asking for a discount! As I stated on my page, I do not give discounts, I have packages that benefit my clients, I may give a discount should they recommend me, but I will not give a discount off the cuff! You can read that post HERE

Build A Door!

Why wait? I asked my followers why wait for that business to find you, sitting in your office behind the PC isn’t going to pay the bills, you have to be active looking for business, you need to get yourself out there, be bold, be bright, be seen (I’m sure that’s a tagline for crossing the road!) If opportunity isn’t knocking then build a door! What do you do? do you go networking, or have another avenue you go down to generate leads and business? share with us what you do.

Build a door, why wait

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If you have anything you need help with or want me to discuss then leave me a comment, I have a huge list of thigs that I want to share with you over time, so do let me know as I could be doing a series that could benefit you.

Don’t forget I have my freebie – What to ask your Virtual Assistant, I created this to help those that are hoping to hire a VA in the near future or maybe changing to a new one, its just a small guide to help you.

If you are struggling to stay on top of things and wondering if outsourcing is the way forward for you and your business, I am happy to have a chat with you to help you decide.  It suits some but not all.

How to connect with me

 

 

 

Find your…..Self discipline

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Dig Deep

Being a business owner comes with many hats and guises, you have to dig deep to get done what you have to get done, and even deeper when it’s something you just don’t want to do.  Have you found yourself writing list upon list of things that you have to get done on a certain day/week? I know I have and have often failed to cross much off due to daily distractions.

If you are lucky enough to be working away from home, then those distractions maybe less (I say maybe in a light tone), I know for me I work from home, and I use to have a million distractions in my working day, from my online shopping being delivered, the odd person who sees my car on the drive and pops in for a cuppa as I’m home (forgetting that my home is my office), housework, and the biggest distraction is the kids! I am fortunate enough now to have my office out in the garden, so I am away from those daily household distractions.

I now have my set working hours each day of the week, and I now have a set period of time each week that is focussed on my business, but as you know working from home you can’t help yourself but get distracted.  

This is where self-discipline comes into play, what can you do to stop yourself being distracted, how do you get that discipline into your working life?

Have a coffee and jot some notes

So grab a pen, pad and a coffee, here are some tips to help you:

* ‘Distraction Free Time’ Try and block 20mins a day, or better still 20 mins in the morning and 20 mins in the afternoon, set that time as pure DFT time, turn your phone to silent, turn off the programs you are not using, those pings and little red notification dots are hugely distracting, and one that needs to be removed from your DFT block.  It’s something about your phone and those notifications that can waste a lot of your working day.  So for this time that you block out its best to remove the temptation.

* ‘Natural productive time’ everyone has it, I am not a morning person, if my children wake me too early I go green! so setting my alarm to wake before the kids to do work it’s just not in my DNA, but I am a late person, so for me my most productive time of the day is evenings, I find that knowing the kids are fed and in bed, we have had dinner, there are no further distractions (apart from The Walking Dead!), so I know that its head down and get on with my work.  This is MY natural productive time, I do however get lots done when they are at school.  But my content is normally written of an evening when my productive time is at its best.  So you need to find out when you are at your most productive! you might be that person that does love that hour before the house wakes up if so you need to incorporate it into your working day.

* Procrastination! Ok, I am going to jump outside the box on this one, and instead of saying it’s bad it’s this and it’s that, I will simply say embrace it! Shock Horror!!!!!! why embrace it, well I find that if you can pinpoint what it is that makes you procrastinate, once you have figured out why you can almost learn how to deal with it.  For an example, I hate anything accounts based, so I often find when I’m sat here having to do that type of work it takes me much longer to do it, I keep trying to put it off, in hope that the accounts fairy will come along swish her wand and hey presto it’s done or failing that tomorrow it will become more appealing, which sadly neither happens.

We all procrastinate

 

So I have now learnt to schedule it into either my DFT or do it during the evening when I’m at my peak of productivity.  Don’t shy away from those jobs that make you the world’s greatest procrastinator! We are all procrastinators, it happens to all of us at some point during our week.  If they are jobs you have to do find the best time to do them, or failing that outsource!!

Ready to outsource?

* As I happened to mention ‘Outsource’ this is something else that can benefit you and your self-discipline, if you can offload work to someone else this will free up your time to do what you are good at in your business, but you have to be disciplined to outsource, you need to figure out what is taking up too much of your time, and find someone you can outsource to like a VA, but you need to be strong and let that person do what you have given them!!!

If you are wanting to outsource but haven’t a clue where to start, then check out my free download, this gives you the top things to ask a potential Virtual Assistant, we know what it’s like when you get on the phone, those questions vanish, and when you hang up you remember! 


Be strong, stay focused and remember this is your business, run it the way you want to run it, but get the best out of your time, hopefully, some of the above tips may help.

What tips would you offer a new business owner? what have you found has worked for you? Leave a comment below you never know it may just help a newbie in their self-employment dream.

Take care

Claire

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Fresh Month…..

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We made it!!!!

Hey, everyone,  we have appeared to have slinked through into a new month of 2017, and have got past all the expectations of setting goals, resolutions and hitting that weight goal you set on the 1st January 😉 (if you have share you secret!)

End of January saw 2 things for me here at RAS Towers, firstly was my business anniversary, yay go me, and secondly, I revamped my packages.  I had a lot of interest through December and January from clients that needed help with their E-Marketing. We all know how important it is, but do we all have that spare time?

What is E-Marketing?

We hear this term thrown around everywhere, you must be on the e-marketing wagon, blah blah, which in essence is true, but sometimes as much as we think we should be doing something we hear, we may not always know what it is and how important it is.

So, basically e-marketing, in a nutshell, is getting your name/business/brand out there, but using electronic ways to do it.  Back before email, faxing and internet our marketing was done via paper versions of what we send out now, we all used to send out flyers, advertise in papers, shop windows etc, but now its done electronically, that’s the e part ;-), so now in 2017, e-marketing is your emails that you send out, your advertising on various social media platforms, your blog etc.

It is such a valuable part of your business, getting yourself out there and being seen regularly, we all know it, let’s face it, it’s been hammered into us since the day we started our businesses right! And I do stand by with the masses and agree, that it is a vital tool in your arsenal to grow the business.

But the issue most have is either the lack or knowledge or the lack of time, one or both of these things are enough to make you put that thought back on the back-burner right!


Well, this is where a Virtual Assistant (aka ME) comes in handy.  See this is our job, we have the time to create these things for you, and where we have been doing things like this for many a year, we have the knowledge too, and we need to have the knowledge so we can offer our help to you.

Why is it important?

Being in contact regularly with your crowd is so important, you can convey your message to them in one fail swoop, send them out your latest offers, freebies, event details, you name it you can send it and stay in touch.

You become a person, not just a business, you are putting your personality out there to run alongside you and your knowledge of your business, we all get those random emails once or twice from people, and let’s face it,  they are the emails that we normally just bin, but as soon as you start getting a regular email from someone, that has a great subject line, and it jam packed with great content that you want and need to know

So what’s the winning formula!

Consistency, followed by great useful content, and a mix of hints, tips, offers and a swig of personality, this is your formula, being you, sharing your knowledge with others, you need to look at the problems your crowd have and then sell them their solution that they are desperate to find. You will find over time your writing style will change and your content will become fuller as you get more confident, starting off is always hard and nerve wracking. 

So having someone like me taking the stresses and burdens of creating this template that screams YOU, will help you a lot, all you will have to do is create the content.

Do you have a list that you have grown?  do you want a list to send out to? how do you grow a list or even start? these are the questions I can help you with, I had sent out some ideas on my monthly newsletter, which you can sign up to HERE – but also over the next few weeks I will be talking about this on my Facebook page, come and say hi here

If this is something you really need help with then, please come and have a chat with me, I would love to help you.

Love

Claire

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Keeping Track of your work time

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So in my last blog we spoke about logging off, and that we not only owe it to ourselves but to our nearest and dearest, we need that time to relax and let our bodies and brains relax.  We forget that our loved ones have to put up with us being snippy, tired and stressed.

I had set you a goal last time, I suggested that you were to sit down and work out your opening/working hours and stick to them, so did you? how did it work out for you? fill me in and let me know if putting in place those set hours has made a difference.  I would go as far as to say I bet you have been slightly more productive, I know that sounds weird, but it’s true, if you have a finish time in sight then you work towards that goal, and lets face it at the end of the day life and work are all based on goals, and your clocking off time in business is no different, its a goal.

So keeping track of work time is the subject of today’s blog, I don’t know about you, but in my employed days we didn’t have a timer per say, but we had targets that had to be met by certain deadlines, we would have weekly catch-up meetings, during those meetings we had tasks that were assigned to us, once they were finished, we were all circulated the minutes with our new or ongoing tasks on there,  how we chose to keep track of them was a personal choice, some would enter them into their email calendar system, some would use the team project management tool, it was what worked for you.

This stands true for you now, you need to find a system that is going to work for you and your business, what you may have used in days gone by, might not work for you today.  But you need to keep track of your work time and the tasks you are doing during the day.  If you don’t keep track this is when the working over your hours and late nights start to creep back in, and this is what we are trying to avoid.

Logging Off!

For me at the moment, I have an inbuilt clock that tells me that I need to be out of my home office no later than 2.55pm to get to school on time to start collecting the children, and would be a BIG NO NO in my children’s eyes should they be left at the school door.

But, I also use a few tools to help me stay focused and on track with time, we all need a toolkit in business, don’t we!

Asana

I use this a fair amount to keep track of client projects that I am doing, and is great as my clients can add things too, this is fab for keeping track on your progress and time spent on projects.

Trello

So this is similar to Asana, but this is for my own personal progress and work projects, this is my system for keeping track of what I am doing, what I want to do, what I need to do, it is incredibly easy to use, and user-friendly.  I use Trello for most of my content ideas.

Email calendar

I use this daily for those things that aren’t necessarily a project but could be a call, webinar, or an appointment that needs keeping, and let’s face it your clocking off time is really an appointment, isn’t it.  So why not put your end time on the calendar so it goes off at the end of your working day. Better still set 2 reminders, 1 to go off 10 mins before you finish to overview what you have achieved and what needs to be done tomorrow, and the other to say home time 🙂

These are the 3 biggies I use daily in conjunction with each other as well as my screaming internal clock at 2.55PM ‘SCHOOL RUN, SCHOOL RUN’ that helps me stay on track.  Here are a list of other things and tips that may help you in the quest for time keeping and time management:

  • Bullet Journal (paper planner fab and very addictive)
  • Mind Mapping (empty out your mind with all your ideas, as they can slow you down)
  • Use one calendar and sync with all devices
  • Turn off all distractions, yes including Facebook, it may be your main lead generator, but it is also your biggest time waster (trust me!)
  • Set a visible clock, sounds daft but it will work, it’s too easy to ignore that one in the bottom right of your screen
  • Set 30 minutes aside every morning to plan your day and set out your time planner, this will help you stay on track, and don’t forget to pencil in distraction time, lets face it we all get distracted, but at least if we account for it, it’s not eating into our productive time.

 

Nothing is set it stone here, I am only trying to offer some solutions to the problem, maybe one thing might work, maybe more will work, who knows, until you give something a go you just won’t know, will you? One size does not fit all when it comes to business.

Remember, if you are still struggling and you need help or advice, or should you wish to outsource, or discuss outsourcing, then I am always here for a chat, I do offer free 30 min phone consults.  If you want to chat here’s how:

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How to get in contact

So let me know if you try any of these, would love to hear your comments.

Take care, have a fab week, don’t forget to have a summary of the week before you log off tonight and plan from next week.

Love

Claire x