7 Tips for Hiring a Virtual Assistant

You’re working your little heart out, losing track of time, and starting to consider hiring a little extra help. And you begin to wonder, “Am I ready for a virtual assistant?”

The reality is if you’re starting to wonder if you’re ready for a virtual assistant you may actually be in desperate need of one.

That brings us to tip #1…

Tip #1: Hire a virtual assistant before you need one.

Hire a VA to help you scale your business, not to dig you out from being buried by it.

If you’re already buried, that’s okay. Let’s get you positioned to hire the right person, fast.

Tip #2: Know what you’re looking for.

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Why You Should Hire a Virtual Assistant

The real title of this blog post should be “The Crazy Amazing Benefits of Hiring a Real-Life Virtual Assistant Instead of Doing Everything Yourself or Relying on Technology.”

But that’s not catchy.

I hear it all the time. “With all the technology today, why should I hire a virtual assistant?”

Simple. Technology can’t replace human critical thinking, strategy, brand awareness, autonomous behavior, compassionate response, and much more – all at once.

Sure, there are plenty of ‘virtual assistants’ out there – Alexa, Echo, Siri, Google Assistant, and tools to automate your business. You can set up all your systems and hope they do exactly what you’d like them to do. But chances are you going to spend more time managing your tools than you will be working on your business and still none of those tools can apply years of administrative and business expertise to make sure you make the right decisions for your business.

Sold yet? No?

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How to Protect Your Time and Energy by Creating Boundaries

In our ever-connected world, we are being drained by our work. Access to email means your boss can find you wherever, whenever. Customers and colleagues are using social media for business at alarming rates. Throw in collaboration and communication tools like Slack, workflow managers, chat, text, *gasp* the phone… and the idea of unplugging becomes downright laughable.

On top of all this communicating, you have to get actual work done and live a life.

It’s enough to drive people absolutely mad. And I’ve seen it happen.

I’ve been there.

Years ago, I was working myself to insanity because I felt an overpowering sensation of indebtedness to my job and an unwavering commitment to an unscalable definition of good customer service. I was always on-call, responding to emails within moments of receiving them and handling tasks quickly because I didn’t want to be a bottleneck in productivity. People would politely chastise me, “It’s so late! This isn’t urgent!” But for me, it was. Good customer service meant dealing with every single task with a sense of accessibility and urgency.

But the burnout hit me hard.

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How to Color Code Your Calendar

Color coding your calendar is one of those organizational tricks that most people shrug off. Either they think it takes too much time or they won’t implement it or it is just plain frivolous.

I’m here to tell you – if you aren’t color coding your calendar, you’re missing out.

Color coding your calendar allows you to see how your time will be used at a glance. Colors can be used to distinguish between projects, clients, meeting types, activity types. You name it. You will know in a matter of seconds how your time is allocated just by looking at colors.

The system will take you a mere few moments to set up and I guarantee you’ll see the benefits immediately.

How to color code?

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Stop Multitasking and Focus

Have you ever heard someone say, “I’m a pro at multitasking!”?

Maybe you’ve said it yourself.

I have bad news. Multitaskers may not be as productive and tuned-in as they think they are. Studies have shown time and time again that not only is multitasking less efficient, but it may actually be impossible.

Don’t believe me? Here’s an interesting article on multitasking research.

Now, I’m not here to be accusatory. I’ve definitely been there. Up until a few years ago, I would have insisted that I was the queen of multitasking. And then, suddenly, I realized I wasn’t.

I had taken a job as an assistant to three executives, plus my role required project management work. My brain was constantly running in eight different directions and while I was able to keep myself organized, I found it was taking me longer and longer to get through tasks that were seemingly simple. Why was it taking me so long to book travel and get it on calendars? Expense reports were taking twice as long to get done. And I just couldn’t seem to get my project reports sent out. I was drowning.

Something had to change.

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5 Top Tips to Managing a Remote Team

In today’s work environment, odds are you have at least one team member who works remotely. Whether it is you, your boss, or a peer, remote teams face unique challenges and success relies heavily on everyone working together to build trust and be productive.

What is usually the culprit to dysfunctional remote teams? Communication.

I know. This is surprising to literally no one.

But what does this look like? What tactics work well? How do you get on the right path to success?

Here are five impactful tips to ensuring remote teams work well together.

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Get Organized with a Business Binder

One of my biggest frustrations as a business owner is the sheer amount of information I have to maintain. Even being small, I still have to keep track of business licenses, client contracts, EIN documentation, web logins… the list can go on and on.

Even with my organizational skills, I reached a breaking point.

My contracts were stored electronically, but one glitch and it could all be gone.

My business license was sitting in a folder amongst a bunch of other random documents.

I was constantly looking up my business banking information.

And oh yeah, what is my password for that software?

Enough was enough.

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Powerful Presentation Tips

Be honest… how comfortable are you with public speaking?

Very uncomfortable?

Don’t worry – you’re not alone. 74% of adults experience some form of public speaking anxiety, which makes it the most claimed fear – over spiders and death.

Seriously.

I’m guessing if you’re reading this you’re seeking ways to build your skills and therefore, your confidence as a public speaker. Which is good news because confident speakers demonstrate more passion, provide more insight, and use more inclusive language. Why? Because they aren’t distracted by their internal anxieties.

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The Good, Better, Best of Professional Development for Admins

A few years ago, I interviewed to be the executive assistant to the CEO of a biomedical company. The day had gone pretty much as you would imagine – being shuffled between conference rooms and offices meeting various team members, answering carefully planned questions, hearing all about how great the company was to work for. When the time came for me to finally meet the CEO, I was more than ready to discuss the role truly in depth. He did a sufficient job of detailing the requirements, answering my questions about him, and continuing to sell me on the corporate culture.

He proudly highlighted the on-going programs they had for employees – one being themed Friday lunches (“I dressed up as a superhero last week!”) and the on-site training seminars. This piqued my interest as he outlined how cross-training helped boost employee morale and retention. Awesome – sounded great! So I asked the natural next question.

“How do you invest in your administrative staff?”

His response was, “Why would I do that? They’re just admins.” Continue reading