The Right Fit…

Although finding the right Virtual Assistant isn’t easy, it’s worth the time and effort, and bringing a VA in to help could be a godsend to you and your business. When searching, be honest and if the VA isn’t the right fit, move on.

A couple of months ago I was contacted by a business owner who needed a VA to help maintain existing client relationships and assist with growing new business. The work certainly sounded interesting and if truth be told, I would have enjoyed talking to new people not to mention the regular cheque! But during our initial conversation it was clear that our styles were very different and simply didn’t mesh. We would have been quite unhappy should we have tried to work together.

Although returning to the search is time-consuming, it’s the right thing to do and I believe that my anecdote shows just how important it is to take some time and find the “right” VA for you and your business. Know where you need the VA to help in your business, know what you expect and search for that person, as it’s not “One VA fits all”.

Need some help with your business? Drop me a line and let’s see if we can find the “right fit”.

Alison

As usual, I’ve included some eye candy….meet our new neighbours!

Hiring a Virtual Assistant – Things to consider

Hiring a Virtual Assistant (VA) can be life saver for a small business owner, freeing up valuable time, and even help grow the business, but delegating possibly sensitive business information to a stranger is a tough exercise. To ensure a positive and mutually beneficial working relationship, it’s worth spending some time reviewing your business, and knowing what you need, before saying “Yes to the VA” – below are some things to consider.

1.    Do they have a positive reputation in the Marketplace?
Look into their reputation, which is easily done by utilizing searches and social media; this step will give you an idea of their skills and experience. Do they have references they can provide and work examples?

 

2.    Can you work with them?
While a VA works virtually, i.e. from their own home office, and you may have already had several phone conversations, nothing really replaces a face to face meeting, unless distance is the issue (use Skype).
During the meeting you should be able to determine if your working styles are compatible and whether you feel you can trust this person. Be clear about your expectations and specific requirements, as this will also help the VA to determine how they can best help you and your business. Also, it will allow the VA to recognise when their style is unlikely to match and will probably let you know, as they don’t want a difficult working relationship any more than you do.

 

3.    Are you looking for specialized support?
Many VA’s offer regular administrative assistance, but if you are looking for specialized support, spend the time to find a VA who best matches your requirements. If you need a custom website for example, it’s not a good idea to hire a VA who specializes in accounting to do the work; again be clear on your expectations and the job requirements. If the VA can’t answer job specific questions, maybe you should continue looking.

 

4.    Working with multiple VA’s? If you are already working with a VA but find that you need additional specialized support, ask your VA, as many have a network in place and may well know someone to suggest. Chances are that they have previously worked together on other projects and you would benefit from the level of understanding and collaboration that they have in place.

 

5.    Level of commitment you require from your VA
Just as the levels of knowledge, skill and experience of VA’s vary, so does their time availability. Check that the VA can actually commit the required time to your project. There’s no point in giving out work that has to be done during regular business hours to a part-time VA, who only has the evening and weekend to devote to projects.

 

Finding the right “fit” can take a little time on your part, but once you’ve got the right set-up in place, you’ll wonder how you ever survived before adding the VA to your team. Good luck!
As always, I’ve included some eye candy; this was taken at Allco Park in Maple Ridge, BC over the weekend.

An extra set of hands – Hire a Virtual Assistant!

Almost on a daily basis, I’m contacted by stressed business owners, struggling to manage the complexities of running a small business, trying to juggle customers, conflicting schedules, events, marketing and social media (for many a whole new business world), as well as routine administration tasks not to mention family, full of play dates, doctor’s appointments, Pro D days, birthday parties, soccer practices……!

Does this sound stressful or more importantly – “Is this You?” Relax, take a deep breath and enjoy the eye candy for a minute…..

Could you do with another set of hands – Yes, without a doubt! – but quite often the business simply can’t afford the cost of an employee; here’s a solution – hire a Virtual Assistant (VA).

A Virtual Assistant can help, whether it’s with a simple project such as creating a brochure or data mining, or on an ongoing basis, maybe to handle your Social Media or to be your Customer Service department; a VA will free up valuable time and allow you to focus on what you need to focus on. You pay only for the time spent on your project as agreed, no sick days, holidays, health benefits or tax headaches!

There are many VA’s, just look through your local classifieds; some offer regular administration assistance while others are specialized; experience, knowledge and skills are usually reflected in their hourly rates, which can vary between $15 through to $35 an hour.

Tip: it’s worth reviewing your business and determining where you need the most help before searching for a VA. That will allow you to find the better match for your unique requirements.

So, does the service of a VA appeal to you? What do you struggle with and what could you delegate? What would you love to get off your desk? Tell me, let’s see which piles of paper you can push over to me!

Have a peaceful evening!

Alison

What a difference 1 player makes!

What a difference a game makes, what a difference 1 player makes to the team….Vancouver Hockey fans saw that last night with the return of Daniel Sedin to the line-up; the team went from a not-quite-gelling, not quite connecting, to bringing their best effort of the series, scoring 3 goals and even facing down a penalty shot! The end result was a 3-1 win for the Canucks!

As I’m not a Sports Reporter, why am I writing about hockey in my business blog? Well, it’s quite simple – last night’s game showed us just how how much a single person can influence the team and make great things happen! 1 person can inspire a group of individuals to identify the goal, work together as a team and turn that goal into reality. If you or your team could do with another player, contact me and let’s see how we can work together and turn your goal into a reality!

 

What is a VA (Virtual Assistant)?

I bumped into an old friend over the weekend and we spent an hour catching up. When the discussion turned to what I do, I told him that I’ve started my own business offering Virtual Office Assistance and Support Services. He wasn’t sure what that meant so I explained. His question got me thinking that if he didn’t know, then chances are that others don’t either. What does Wikipedia say about a Virtual Assistant?

A virtual assistant (typically abbreviated to VA, also called a virtual office assistant)[1] is generally self-employed and provides professional administrative, technical, or creative (social) assistance to clients from a home office.[2][3] Because virtual assistants are independent contractors rather than employees, clients are not responsible for any employee-related taxes, insurance or benefits (except in the context that those indirect expenses are included in the VAs fees). Clients also avoid the logistical problem of providing extra office space, equipment or supplies. Clients pay for 100% productive work, and can work with Virtual Assistants, individually, or in multi-VA firms to meet their exact needs. Virtual Assistants usually work for other small businesses.[4] It is estimated that there are as few as 5,000-8,000 or as many as 25,000 virtual assistants worldwide; the profession is growing in centralized economies with “fly-in, fly-out” staffing practices.[5][6]

The Pushing Paper team allows a business owner to hire for just one job such as creating a brochure for a set rate or to perhaps ‘man the phones’ while their own receptionist is sick or on vacation for example; the business owner pays only for the time or project completed, no additional payroll to worry about. Business owners can “Push the Paper” over to us, freeing up their valuable time and concentrate on growing their business!

[7]

Everything’s Blooming!

I started my day with a wonderful email from Elizabeth, Daughter For A Day for whom I had created a direct mail template – she had received over 20 email responses as of Monday! Now that’s news I like to hear!

I spent the next few hours contacting potential customers and working on my website. When I realized just how stiff and tired I was, I grabbed the dog and went for a walk. The trees are now in full bloom.

Have a great evening!

Getting Started – Get Cracking

When starting your own business, there are a gazillion things that you need to do….and once I’d made the decision to start my own business – I got cracking!

I decided on a business name, designed my logo and created my corporate identity; I placed an order for my business cards which I received a day later on Thursday and they look good! (Thank you Minuteman Press in Maple Ridge for the speedy service!).

Also on Thursday I finalized the constant contact email template for my very first client, sent my very first invoice and received immediate payment!!! Thank you Elizabeth, President of Daughter for a Day – Home Care and Support for Seniors. Elizabeth and her team offer a fantastic service – take a look www.daughterforaday.ca

After all the errands and excitement, I grabbed the dog and hit the dyke for a nice long relaxing walk. This is at the bottom of the lane off 132nd, leading up to the dyke in Maple Ridge.

I plan on featuring in my blog scenes captured of Maple Ridge and area, while out on my daily walks with Sally.

Today I published my website http://pushingpaper.net/ and although it’s still a work in progress and has a ways to go, it’s a start! I’m officially open for business and looking for clients!

The weather was gorgeous today and I grabbed my camera and Sally and hit the dyke this afternoon. Below are a couple of photos from along the Alouette River, looking at Golden Ears.

Sally enjoyed herself too!

Now it’s time to watch the Canucks last game of the season – Go Canucks Go!