If you've ever thought about working with a virtual assistant, but weren't sure how it would work, you'll want to read this interview with Pat Ahern, director of traffic generation at Junto. Pat walked us through exactly how he created processes and templates with his virtual assistants that are saving him hours during his workday! Read on...
What were you struggling with in your business that led you to begin working with a virtual assistant?
Having worked at a combined 7 agencies before starting Junto, my business partner and I found ourselves taking on time-intensive and highly-repetitive tasks far too frequently. In the agency world, where the average billable rate varies from $75-$200 per hour, these small tasks were costing clients thousands of dollars.
We repeatedly saw opportunities to significantly cut costs for clients by building out detailed processes for tasks that are highly repetitive and require a large time commitment, and handing off many of these tasks to virtual assistants.
Tell us a little bit about what you have delegated and how you work together?
The primary tasks that we have delegated are contact research (i.e finding the name and email address of authors and relevant prospects) and directory submissions for our own business and many of our clients.
After deciding on a task that can be handed off to a virtual assistant over time, we outline every step of that task, and research a pool of virtual assistants that we believe will be qualified to take on this task. We then test them by hiring them for a small, one-off project designed to measure critical thinking, attention to detail, and overall quality of work.
We then take the top 1-2 applicants and contract them for their first project, providing them with all relevant processes and taking the time to coach them through the process until they feel comfortable enough to fully manage the process on their own.
How has working with a virtual assistant supported your business, and you personally?
Working with virtual assistants have enabled Junto to significantly improve our efficiency and drastically lowered the cost of providing high-value services that typically require a large number of hours.
What differences have you noticed in your business since you began working with a virtual assistant?
I’ve found myself spending far less time on menial tasks that have traditionally taken up countless hours of my day. Hiring VA's has enabled me to focus on the high-value items that are most pressing, as well as devoting more time to our internal marketing efforts.
What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs seeking virtual assistants?
Identify and templatize repetitive processes. The first time through, it will take ten times as long to templatize any process, but will save you countless hours down the road.
We try to dedicate half of the day every Friday to review and build out new processes that will be more efficient and easier to understand, which forces us to sit down and regularly assess any bottlenecks in the process to make everything that we do more effective.
Want to learn more about Pat and his businesses? Visit his website here.
Looking to hire your own virtual assistant? Start here!
Pat Ahern is the director of traffic generation at Junto, a hyper-efficient traffic generation and web development service that works with the world’s top vetted freelancers to provide marketing services for a fraction of the cost of most agencies. Outside of work, Pat loves rock climbing, travel, craft beer, and helping small businesses to grow. For more on Junto, check them out on Facebook and Twitter.