A virtual assistant (VA) is someone to whom you can offload a number of time-consuming but necessary tasks. They work off-site, on a bespoke project-basis, which makes them a very economical, ‘on-tap’ admin resource.
Not having a VA is false economy if, as a business owner, your time is taken up doing admin. We calculated that one of our clients saved three hours a day on average by not updating Xero, formatting documents, organising events or booking their own travel arrangements. That’s 15 hours a week that could be used to actually run and develop the business. If you then work out the cost of you doing these task versus a VA, you’ll get a big surprise: it’s costing you more in loss of earnings than hiring a VA to do them. Also, a VA will be quicker and – dare we say it – better than you!
We all need to use our time wisely: constantly check our routine to make sure that we’re being productive at work. Or, spend a bit more time at home.
Where’s the Benefit of a VA?
When we assess clients as part of our process-mapping service, one of the first recommendations we make is “get a VA”. For world-leading entrepreneurs, having a personal assistant (PA) isn’t a luxury, it’s vital to their performance. They don’t control their own schedule, process their own expenses or make their own travel arrangements. In the corporate world, PAs and EAs (executive assistants) are more than admin people; they’re trusted aides. They enable senior people to do their job, safe in the knowledge that the back office arrangements are taken care of, and all is running smoothly.
That’s exactly what a WJL VA offers: trusted corporate-level executive assistance giving you the freedom to develop your business. They’re a safety net – when you’re otherwise engaged or have to take time off. Their presence is reassurance for customers, staff and suppliers. Their role gives you some distance in the business, enabling an exit strategy. Finally, a VA allows you to take a holiday. Working round the clock is bad for your health and the business.
Trained and Trustworthy VAs
We have a network of trusted VAs, trained and ready to be briefed. We’ll carefully match you to an assistant, based on the experience and skills you need. In the first instance, however, you an rely on the following as standard:
- Wide ranging knowledge of admin tasks
- Ability to use variety of effective admin-related technology
- Follow-through and thoroughness
- Reliability and trust
- Professionalism, integrity and loyalty
We know exactly what makes a top assistant which is why we also have a service that helps people set up their own VA business.
How do I Work with a VA?
We help our clients understand what they can outsource to a VA; how to brief them, work with them and monitor performance. We suggest a modest start, maybe concentrating on just two tasks you can easily jettison. Then, as our clients feel more comfortable with the arrangement, we explore other tasks that can be undertaken by a VA. Although every business is different, the tasks they can entrust to one of our VAs are likely to be included in the following:
- Managing your schedule
- Fielding your calls, taking messages and following through as appropriate
- Formatting documents, slide decks and presentations
- Data entry – such as CRM and accounts-related support
- Transcribing audio files and proof-reading documents
- Making all travel arrangements
- Organising events – the venue, catering and attendees
- Undertaking background research – from facts and figures to finding service providers
Our VAs are trained to assist with admin tasks. They are not specialist freelancers so we don’t advise our clients to give their VAs tasks they aren’t qualified to undertake. For example, marketing and communication support: if they post on social media, you must set the schedule and give them a precise content brief.
Technology plays an important part in helping us run our clients’ admin efficiently. As many of our clients are not familiar with the apps and platforms available to them, we advise them what to use, then run quick training sessions. We want them to be confident tech users so they and their VA get the maximum, real-time benefit of collaborating on tasks.
These are the kind of off-the-shelf, downloadable task-specific apps we currently use:
- Project management: Trello and Asana
- CRM: ActiveCampaign
- Accounting: Xero, QuickBooks
- Scheduling: Calendy, Google Calendar
- Document sharing: Dropbox, Google Docs
- Automated communication: Mailchimp, Buffer, Hootsuite, Surveymonkey
WJL VAs give you access to ‘corporate’ functionality so you’re free to think and behave like a CEO, and your business performs like an FT 100.