As a business owner, you're subject to stress. Everyone and everything seems to be pulling you in different directions. Somehow, you have to define boundaries for work-life while you describe your me-time. Often, it may seem that nobody else understands. Worst of all, when something needs to get done, you're expected to be the one to do it.
Entrepreneurs and business owners have a deep sense of duty and take on a lot of challenges. It sometimes feels everyone would instead dump every problem on you than figure things out for themselves. If you're committed to your goals, you probably feel obliged to take on as much as you can. As a result, you'll very likely end up overwhelmed. It doesn't take long before you feel like collapsing from exhaustion.
If you can relate, then you should know that you're not alone. There isn't much support out there for business owners. Without the right assistance, it's easy to get buried under a pile of unwanted tasks.
The harsh truth is you can't do it all on your own, and it's not your fault! You're only human. If it seems your business is robbing you of time and happiness, it may be time to bring in a new team member. Before you reply with the standard response, "I can't afford to hire someone," read on:
Why is a Virtual Assistant important?
A Virtual Assistant has one main goal: to make your life easier. Your assistant can do the heavy lifting that drains your energy and keeps you from working in your strengths. As a team member, they can be your faithful sidekick. You get to focus on the big picture without your blood getting sucked out by details.
You end up feeling more energetic. This boost will improve both your business and personal life. Imagine what your life would be like if you could shave out several extra hours of mind-numbing or frustrating work every week.
On the other hand, without a Virtual Assistant, you can be easily overwhelmed. You may feel even more stress knowing there are many things still undone. That's a sure recipe for disaster. After all, you need optimum conditions to produce your best work.
What exactly is a Virtual Assistant?
A Virtual Assistant (or VA), is someone who gets work done for you remotely. A VA is not physically present at your location, which allows you to be more flexible. A Virtual Assistant takes care of various things that could slow you down and make you less flexible.
You may hire a VA for a particular task, such as bookkeeping or managing your email. You could also have a more general relationship, with tasks getting done as they come up in your life. In most cases, your VA is a convenient admin/personal assistant.
If you want more personal freedom while getting more done, take a look at the following five ways hiring a VA could be your best step forward.
Get your social media campaigns up-to-date
Social media is an essential element of today's business. You can use it to attract new customers and to keep existing ones happy. Your reputation depends on the perception you create online.
There is a catch, though. With so many online outlets, it's impossible to keep up with everything. Just working on social media alone could take the better part of your day. So, you're faced with a decision about how to proceed. A common choice is to neglect it and deal with any consequences.
You could also have a trained Virtual Assistant take care of social marketing for you. Your VA should already be up-to-date with current social media trends. That will save you the time you'd spend going through the learning curve. Your assistant will probably get you more exciting results than what you'd get doing it all by yourself.
You can ask your VA to search for all your existing social media mentions. They can then answer and solve any challenges to your reputation. Them helping in maintain online relationships with your existing customers. Don't underestimate the importance of starting an online dialogue with your target market. Today's consumers rely on reviews and opinions when making purchase decisions.
As a smart business owner, you may hesitate to get involved with the many social platforms. It takes considerable time to do a social media "clean up." That's why it is a smart decision to delegate that part of online marketing. With the help of your VA, you could have your social accounts in "good standing," without having to lift a finger.
Your VA can also use social channels to attract new business for you as well. They can also manage the technical aspects. For instance, your assistant can upload video content to sites such as YouTube.
Creating content is another thing your VA could do for you. These include blog posts, social statuses, and email marketing written on your behalf. In other words, your "social media machine" can keep working for you while you sleep.
Critical project research - done for you!
Serious projects must go through due diligence. Even though it's easy to look up information, it takes a long time to put it together. Wading through piles of information stops you from focusing on more critical work. Plus, it can feel mundane and boring. Research is often put aside for those reasons.
Your Virtual Assistant can give your project a solid foundation with thorough research.
Give your Virtual Assistant as much information as possible. Let them know how you want to use the research.
Is your final product an ad campaign or, perhaps, a prominent white paper? Be specific when it comes to how you want the results presented to you. Are you looking for a summary? Or do you just wish to a neatly organized file that you can refine yourself? Whatever the case is, your VA is capable of doing all the background work for you.
For larger projects, you need to communicate often, especially in the early stages. You don't want your VA to go off-track due to lack of guidance. A simple note requesting an update at regular intervals will give you all you need to know. Remember, feedback is essential for your VA to complete your research tasks.
You must remain patient during this process. It takes time to hit the perfect spot. You want to allow your VA to tune into your needs. As you progress together, they will develop an instinct for the kind of information you find useful.
You deserve a personal gatekeeper
Your Virtual Assistant can be your gatekeeper. This is crucial if you find it hard to carve out time because your phone keeps ringing. It's often expected that you're readily available, even if it takes you away from your priorities.
Redirecting your phone line is an easy way to restrict access to your time and energy. Your VA will intercept your calls, freeing you up from distraction. They will then connect people or take messages according to your instructions. You could even choose to have the line redirected during specific times of the day/week.
Setting up such a system can cut off a good chunk of stress from your life. You can cut off the clutter without burning bridges and work with peace of mind, knowing that you'll be notified in case of an emergency. You will also be able to answer your missed calls in one go after you've finished your most crucial work.
More importantly, you get to ignore callers who don't contribute in any way. You will end up more relaxed, you will get more done, and you will have extra time for yourself!
Your VA can help keep your schedule
In today's global market, business hours don't follow any standards. Time zone variations can be the biggest hassle when it comes to arranging a meeting. It's hard enough finding a free spot in your schedule. It's even harder finding one that is convenient for the other party.
Your Virtual Assistant is the best person to handle scheduling and arranging meetings. They can keep your schedule in a calendar application of your choice. Whenever you need to arrange an appointment, give your VA the details. They will figure out the best time for you.
You can also ask your VA to get meeting confirmations. This will help keep tabs on your time. You will not waste your energy if your other party is not likely to show up.
If you wish, your VA will follow up for you after your meetings, as well. You may ask them to take minutes of your online meetings, using a conferencing facility such as Zoom <<add an affiliate link for Zoom.us>> or Skype. Sending neatly organized notes is one way to boost your reputation among your business associates.
Besides handling appointments, you can ask for help with blocking out chunks of time. All your VA needs is a list of all your current and upcoming projects. You can easily dictate that over the phone or video conference. Once your tasks have been noted, your assistant can group them. This will make it easier to complete your projects.
With time, you may end up handing over your whole schedule to your VA. Imagine how much better you will feel without the hassle of organizing your calendar. You need to be free to work on your core business mission. Let your VA deal with the minutiae.
Don't lose sleep over your expense accounts
Keeping track of expenses is one of the hardest parts of doing business. However, day-to-day activities may prevent you from staying on top of your spending. With time, a lack of financial insight is likely to put your business at risk of failure. Once again, your Virtual Assistant comes to your rescue.
Your VA can set up systems to automate this process. With your help, your assistant will connect relevant financial accounts. Depending on your needs, you will receive regular reports about your financial state. Your VA's work doesn't stop there.
Since every business is different, you may have a particular way of organizing your transactions. As part of their routine, your VA will place each sale/expense in the right category. That way, you'll find it much easier to create financial statements. You'll appreciate it when it's time to submit your tax returns!
Tracking your spending will show you areas where you could be bleeding cash. Your VA can watch out for whenever expenses go above a set limit.
For areas where you spend the most, ask your VA to search for cheaper deals. You can get a comparison of everything, ranging from flights to your living room furniture. If you're comfortable, you can even have your bookings done on your behalf. You may be pleasantly surprised by the savings your assistant finds for you.
As you can see, with the help of your Virtual Assistant, you could get rid of a lot of pain and frustration. You also get to enjoy more time with your friends and loved ones. Delegating tedious work can reduce your stress levels. This, in turn, will improve your health and well-being. You will be more productive than if you had to work on your own.
The list above represents a fraction of the kind of work you can get done for you. Most Virtual Assistants are very keen to understand their client's requirements. So, don't be discouraged if what you want hasn't been listed here.
What would you like to have taken off your hands? Which tasks are keeping you from being as productive as you want to be? What would you do with the time and energy your Virtual Assistant can free up for you?
All you need is to enlist the help of a qualified and motivated VA. Once you've found your perfect Virtual Assistant, you will wonder how you got by without one (or two) all this time!