What were you struggling with in your business that led you to begin working with virtual assistant?
Having to spend time on things that were essential admin but weren’t the best use of my skills. I wanted to free up my time and energy spent doing those tasks and thinking about them/remembering to do them so that I could focus on running and developing the business.
Tell us a little about what you have delegated and how you work together?
My VA now does all my invoicing. Each month I tell her what to invoice each client for and she raises the invoices. She also keeps an eye on payments and chases any late payers. She has access to my business bank account so can log in and deal with any money transfers needed to pay bills etc. She liaises with my accountant and keeps on top of all tax payments etc.
She also formats my newsletter, inserts info in some of the sections taken from other places (e.g. tweets) and drafts the intro.
She has a number of ongoing regular responsibilities (mainly the above) and I also assign her specific tasks as and when they arise, usually related to making phone calls, finding out information or processing some kind of admin.
I use a system called Flow to manage tasks with my VA and other team members. It allows us all to see all the info related to each task, along with deadlines. We can also comment on each task, upload any relevant documents etc and mark when it’s completed.
I also do a kind of informal review with my VA every year or so, where we take a bit of time out and just run through what’s going well, what’s causing any issues, what we like, what we don’t like, and what our thoughts, ideas and wants are for ourselves and the business over the coming year.
How has working with a virtual assistant supported your business, and you personally?
It’s made a huge difference. For me personally I’d say actually more important than the time it’s freed up for me is the head space it’s freed up.
– no need to lodge them in my brain somewhere or make a note in my diary or anywhere else. That gives me the brainpower and energy to focus on delivering for my clients and growing my business.
What differences have you noticed in your business since you started working with a virtual assistant?
It runs more smoothly; invoices always go out on time; between us we just get more done.
What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs seeking virtual assistants?
Do it! Find one who you trust and make sure that you ‘get’ each other. If you just don’t click move on and find someone else. Make sure you learn their strengths, weaknesses and preferences; choose the tasks you give them to play to their strengths, try to minimize assigning tasks they don’t want to do and offer lots of support if you assign a task you know they might struggle with but are willing to try.
Want to learn more about Ali Marsland and her business? Visit her website here.
Looking to hire your own virtual assistant? Start here!
The Effective English Company provides flexible support to busy communications teams, mostly in the UK public sector. Ali Marsland set up the company in 2013 and now runs it with support from a distributed team of ‘word warriors’ with expertise in writing, design, admin, print, photography and more. Based in several locations, both in the UK and overseas, the team works remotely and uses a range of technology and software to keep in touch, manage projects and stay on top of everything. Follow her on Twitter and LinkedIn.