Entrepreneur, marketer and publicist Susie Campbell was experiencing a major time-suck when it came to the admin side of her business. Small tasks were taking up large chunks of her time, keeping her from the important work she needed to do for her clients. Finally, she found a solution in the form of her VA, Beth. Read Susie's story below!
What were you struggling with in your business that led you to begin working with a virtual assistant?
As a marketer and publicist, I felt that I was spending far too much time struggling with administrative work (that really isn’t what I love), instead of using my capacity to think outside of the box for my clients. I’d spend double the amount of time I should have, formatting spreadsheets, updating databases and creating basic documents and because I don’t particularly enjoy that and knew there were far more exciting things to done, I wasn’t particularly efficient with these tasks. My strength lies in creating, in connecting and building clever campaigns, not sweating over trying to PDF an excel document. I knew I had to begin outsourcing these tasks as my client list grew and more and more of my work time was being eaten up by admin jobs, instead of being spent doing what I do best.
Tell us a little bit about what you have delegated and how you work together?
My Virtual Assistant is an incredibly clever, efficient and communicative person. Because of this, I have been able to grow her role within the team and outsource numerous tasks to her that she’ll whip up and turn around in no time. Beth has offered my business the opportunity to grow rapidly because I know I can delegate the admin heavy tasks to her and she’ll work her magic for me. If she hasn’t used a certain program or software before, she is willing to learn. If we take on a new client, she learns about the business just as I do. If I’m uncertain of a particular Office 365 issue, she’ll know the answer.
Communication has been paramount in Beth and I working together – I am sure to make my brief incredibly clear, and Beth knows that if I’ve left something out or she’s got a question, she can email me at any time and she does; she is unafraid to ask. From what started out as an hour or two a week, Beth’s role has developed over time to daily correspondence, and we enjoy a healthy, respectful working relationship. Currently, Beth helps the Hullabaloo team by creating schedules and calendars, formatting spreadsheets and database entry, the creation and maintenance of campaign templates and keeping our CRM contacts up to date. I don’t know how we would function so effectively without her!
How has working with a virtual assistant supported your business, and you personally?
By freeing up so much of my time, and the time of my team, we are now able to focus wholeheartedly at the crux of what our business is about – to better support our clients with creative, collaborative marketing campaigns on a cost-conscious budget. Utilizing Beth has meant that I no longer log off my computer at the end of each day with a fuzzy head and a to-do list as long as my arm. Delegating has proven to be one of the wisest steps I have taken in growing my business – if the task at hand is outsourceable, then, as a business owner and the face of my brand, I choose to pass it over and add the allocated time to my meeting schedules, working ‘on’ my business and to communicating individually with my clients.
What differences have you noticed in your business since you began working with a virtual assistant?
The quality and speed of the work I receive is outstanding. Despite the time difference between Beth and I, her turnaround is always before deadline. This efficiency has made an amazing change in how the whole LBBM team works – we can manage a huge number of projects simultaneously and know that everything will always be of top caliber quality, and on time. Beth is an absolute star and has revolutionized how our time is spent in the office - the entire team adores her. No task is too big or too small. She is reliable, prompt and always willing to discuss a project in detail. And of course, bottom line has seen a difference – being able to outsource and free up my time to devote to business development, has allowed me to take on more clients and in turn more staff onto payroll.
What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs seeking virtual assistants?
Take your time in researching and sourcing a good VA, and then spend an equal if not more amount of time introducing them to you, your business and your clients. Your VA must become an integral part of how you run your business, and so, despite the distance between you, I’d highly recommend treating them as hospitably as you would an in-house team member. Communicate well, describe intricately, be clear with the action that you require – by taking an extra few minutes to craft your project email request, you’ll save yourself oodles of time in to-ing and fro-ing with questions and answers. And lastly, but I think most importantly, reward your VA, let them know how amazing they are and how much you appreciate their work. Small gestures like a thank you email go a long way for anyone giving their best to your business, and you’ll reap the benefit of a happy staff member ten-fold in the long run. I review their performance and pay, in the same way I do my staff on payroll.
Want to learn more about Susie and her businesses? Visit her website here.
Looking to hire your own virtual assistant? Start here!
Susie Campbell is Chief Connector of a creative marketing and PR agency, Hullabaloo (formerly Little Black Book Marketing). A former British Royal Navy Officer, Susie has taken a less than conventional career path into the world of marketing, adding breadth and depth to her experience with stints in retail, education, hospitality and project management to name a few. With an innate love of people and behaviour, it is her ability to ‘get into the head’ of consumers which allows her to instinctively understand target markets and how to sell to them in a way which delivers results. And with her 'scrooge-like' approach to finances, Susie has added a twist to her services that sees her strategies centered on cost-conscious, target-driven metrics. Connect with her on Facebook and Instagram!