Mike O'Hagan is a semi-retired serial entrepreneur. He has 6 businesses in 3 countries. Today he runs an intensive 3 day Business learning tour in the Philippines.
We chatted with Mike about what he was looking for in a virtual assistant, and what advice he would give other VA's looking for new clients:
What inspired you to start working with a virtual assistant?
Efficiency. I needed to spend more time on tasks that made me money and less on tasks that others could do. The logical conclusion was to hire a Personal Assistant. There was no need for my Assistant to sit in an office with me – so Virtual made sense.
Tell us a little about what you have delegated and how you work together?
- Monitoring my emails – deleting rubbish, actioning those that are fairly straightforward.
- Making / organizing and confirming appointments
- Arranging meetings
- Background checks on those wanting to meet me.
- Correcting my spelling/grammar
- Reminding me
- Running odd processes around my business activities – like arranging Board meetings etc.
- Sending invoices
- Paying invoices
- Organising travel
We have our email and communication system set up so we can both see each other’s emails and messages. By watching my “sent” my Assistant can start up to date with my activities. Skype and Viber are used to directly discuss things.
How has working with a virtual assistant supported your business, and you personally?
Freeing my time up has given us substantial benefits, both financially and in terms of more personal self-time. Stress levels are greatly reduced. I also find my lack of need to focus my thoughts on relatively minor things has improved my concentration and ability to make more major decisions.
Did you experience any challenges? How did you overcome them?
I really believe we are the sum total of our mistakes. Like all “relationships” it takes time to settle and get the processes down pat – and learn each other’s habits. We use a “learn from every mistake philosophy” – so openly acknowledging mistakes is important and showing each other we have learned, helps us move on – more the wiser.
In term of specific challenges. We have learned to use the latest Communication equipment. Good internet connections, fast computers with good software, the latest smartphones and Tablets. Cloud based apps like Dropbox are a god-send to working Virtually.
What advice would you give to aspiring virtual assistants looking for new clients?
Be knowledgeable in the latest apps. Try and develop an “all round” expertise of most office processes. Perfect “Google” – your ability to quickly find out what you don’t know is a critical success factor.
If you are looking for clients get onto LinkedIn and actively push yourself into the market. Sitting quietly not telling anyone you are looking for work – will not help you get work.