How a VA Got Me Through My Biggest Launch
Whenever I hear someone use the term “VA” it reminds me of that commercial, “I could’ve had a V8”. I guess I’ve always been tuned in to advertisements and commercials!
You may know that I just recently had my first big online launch for our BYO Website Online Course.
What you may not know is that I had a whole team of people helping me behind the scenes, making sure that everything went smoothly.
A key team member was Cami. Cami is a Virtual Assistant, otherwise known as a VA. I honestly couldn’t have pulled off this launch without her!
When I decided to launch my online course, I knew that there would be more moving pieces than I could count.
In all honesty, I was terrified about going live on a webinar with hundreds of people. I was scared that the tech would fail me. Or that there would be comments in the chat that I couldn’t keep up with. Or that there would be questions that I’d have to stop and answer.
I hired Cami to handle all of these “behind the scenes” tasks. This enabled me to focus solely on being present during the webinar so that I could deliver a stellar workshop to my audience.
What Exactly is a VA?
I’ve known about VA’s for awhile now, but I’ve just recently realized that not everyone is familiar with the term. If you’re a business owner, hiring a VA is a way to add staff without incurring the costs of having an employee.
A VA is a virtual assistant. Meaning that he or she usually works remotely and you communicate via phone, email or even via a live virtual meeting.
You can hire a VA for the long-term, short-term, or even just on a project by project basis, like as a “behind the scenes” assistant during a webinar.
As entrepreneurs, we’re often stretched VERY thin. And are usually juggling like a gazillion things at once.
A VA can step in and take some of those things off your plate and make your life so much easier.
I first contacted Cami back in June, when Molly was heading out for maternity leave.
We’re a small but mighty team over at MavroCreative so having my one and only employee out for several months was daunting.
I realized that there was no way that I’d be able to handle everything on my own for 4 months. So I hired Cami at VAology to step in and take care of some of the day-to-day tasks in my business.
That enabled me to continue to focus on my clients, without worrying about the other million things that we have to do as business owners.
And when I was ready for my course launch, I had already worked with Cami and knew that she would be a perfect fit to help me with the tech and also with managing questions and chat from the attendees.
In putting together this blog post, I asked Cami Williams, the owner of VAology, if she would address some of the common questions that you may have about hiring a VA.
She put together the following guideline to help you when deciding to hire a VA:
When to Know It’s Time to Hire a VA
This is a tricky one!
As small business owners, we know how challenging it can be to balance income and financial obligations with the need for extra support. It’s important to consider the financial side of things, but we always advise people to take a step away from the money perspective and look at the sacrifices and pay offs of what they’re doing.
What should I have a VA do for me?
The answer to this question is as unique as you and your business. Here’s a quick exercise to help narrow down some items that might be good to hand off to a virtual assistant.
Start making a list of all the things you do for your business every single day – don’t skip anything, no matter how big or small. Some of these things might include sorting your email inbox and responding to emails, coordinating and scheduling appointments, posting on social media, writing blog posts, updating your website, making phone calls, meeting with partners or clients, etc.
Do this for 3-5 full days or until you feel like you’ve gotten a thorough list of all the tasks that take up your time.
Next, do a brainstorm and add any tasks or projects that you would like to do or that should be done for your business, but you either don’t know how to do them or haven’t had the resources (time, energy, money) to get them started or keep them going.
When you’re finished with your list, review it and break it down down into the following categories (you can either add the letter next to each task on your list or create a new chart to organize your list with):
a) Things you really love to do. Things that make you feel motivated, inspired, and happy about your biz. These are where your highest skills lie – your talents and your “zone of genius.”
b) Things you really don’t like to do, but really need to get done for your business to run smoothly. This can also include things that fall outside of your zone of genius, but are the “obligatories and mandatories” that need to get done, regardless.
c) Easy, repetitive tasks that don’t bother you, but are super simple and basic – anyone could do them and, while business doesn’t depend on it, these things must be done to keep things moving forward.
d) Things that you do, but don’t really need to do at all – things that can be eliminated altogether.
Once you have your tasks broken down into those categories, pay special attention and review lists B and C. These are the tasks and projects you should consider outsourcing right away!
This exercise will also help you know what kind of VA you need – a marketing VA, a general VA, etc. (Yes, there are different types of VAs! You’ll want to be sure that you seek out someone that has experience, skills, and interests in areas directly related to the areas you need the most help with.)
Many of our clients begin with tasks like blog or podcast assistance, social media management, website support, and email automation, but you should hire an assistant that can relieve you of the tasks you don’t love to do or that make the most sense for you to hand off.
In other words, your goal should be to find someone that can do what they’re good at and enjoy doing so that you can spend more of your time doing what you’re good at and what you love the most.
What should I know or have in place when I’m ready to hire a VA?
We recommend “interviewing” or scheduling a consultation call with at least a few different virtual assistants before committing to one. We believe that finding a VA with a personality and vibe that fit with yours is every bit as important as finding one with the skills and talents you need and speaking with them directly is the best way to get a feel for their personality up front.
It’s helpful if you have an idea of some things you’ll want help with and what you’re looking for before you talk with a VA candidate. Look back at your task list, then make a list of skills, abilities, and personality traits you feel are important for someone to have in order to contribute to your business.
Here are a few great questions to ask a VA to better understand if they’re the right for you:
- How long have you been in business?
- What is your prior experience?
- What hours do you work? What days do you take off?
- What is the best way to reach you? OR Are you willing to communicate primarily via (insert your preferred method – email, phone, text, etc.)
- Will you be completing all of my work alone or will you have team members helping out? (Note that sometimes it’s better to have a team, rather than just person, depending on the variety of tasks you need done and the turnaround time you request.)
- What programs, apps, or tools are you familiar with. (Be sure to mention any programs or tools you use regularly.)
Be sure to end the call with a clear idea of next steps and what working together might look like.
Anything else people should know about working with a VA?
Any time you hire someone to do work for you, a contract should be created to outline services being offered, along with policies, terms, and cost involved. This is important to protect all parties involved.
Ultimately, it’s important that you, as a business owner, find a VA that really has a combination of the skills and characteristics you need to feel supported and inspired in your business. Don’t be afraid to be picky! Ask all the questions you need to ask in order to get that sense of confidence in who you’re hiring.
The next time you find yourself needing an extra set of professional hands, hiring a VA may be just what you need!
Until next time!