If you are drowning in emails and missed yet another meeting because you can’t seem to get things on the calendar before they actually happen, you may want to consider hiring a virtual assistant (VA). Our partner, Belay, specializes in vetting the perfect VA for each situation.
You may have heard about VAs, but aren’t entirely sure what they do. A VA is a resource enabling busy leaders to accomplish more and grow their business because they can focus on what really matters. We have found that clients often enjoy working with both an assistant and a chief of staff, with each focusing on a different set of duties, the assistant is often more logistical and administrative and the chief of staff more strategic and project-focused.According to Theresa Summerlin, Strategic Marketing Consultant at Belay, there are a multitude of tasks that can be delegated to VAs. Some common areas include traditional administrative duties (email/calendar management, document management, organizing online files, travel planning, expense reporting, managing voicemail and follow-up calls), operations (client relations management, research, tracking deliverables), and marketing/social media (posting, editing, formatting, responding to comments, eblasts).
"Leaders are spending way too much time in their inbox...When you bring in a VA to take some of these administrative things off your plate, what we get is the feedback from the client that they’re able to multiply their efforts with increased focus."
“One of the things we encourage our leaders to do is delegate those things that we see over and over again that create a successful engagement,” says Summerlin, adding that clients often wonder why they waited so long to enlist the help of a VA. “Leaders are spending way too much time in their inbox...When you bring in a VA to take some of these administrative things off your plate, what we get is the feedback from the client that they’re able to multiply their efforts with increased focus."
The message is clear: hiring a VA will definitely create better workflow for you. But why can’t you just make that hire yourself? Aside from the obvious fact that it will be one more administrative task on your plate, Summerlin adds that it can be very deflating to spend a lot of time and energy on the hiring process, only to have the “perfect candidate” end up being a mismatch.
The matching process at Belay is very intentional, ensuring both client and VA are a good fit together. Over about a two- or three-week period, the relationship manager at Belay will develop a very in-depth discovery process with their client. Taking the time up front to understand their needs, narrowing in on both hard and soft skills, and undergoing an on-boarding period to ensure a successful match are key. “Working with somebody that’s qualified and hand-picked with a company like Belay and goes through that matching process is very, very valuable.”
The relationship manager will also continue to work with clients after the VA is in place, serving as a coach for their client in delegating to and communicating with their VA. Summerlin says that, especially with entrepreneurs who are in the habit of doing everything themselves, this coaching is vital to create a successful partnership.
Belay also sources virtual bookkeepers and webmasters. While standard VAs can handle some variations of these tasks, the virtual specialists in these areas take on the real nuts and bolts. All of the virtual assistants, bookkeepers and webmasters are US-based, have at least five years of experience, and most often have degrees, many advanced.
Perhaps you’ve been thinking you need a little help getting organized, or you have a list of tasks you would like to take off your plate, because you know they are not utilizing your time wisely. Enlisting the support of a VA, or even a virtual bookkeeper or webmaster, might be exactly the right next step to take for the success of your company.