I know you have several virtual assistants working right now (and have had many over the years) and I’m curious as to what you do with them. Do you give them easy work, or do they really get in there and do harder tasks? And how much of the business are you personally involved in?
Great question, Lauren.
I am very much involved in the business even now, but most of my personal work is with clients or making (probably way too many) products. Every year I try and get out of doing things I don’t want to do a little more, partially because it’s good business, mostly because as an INFJ, there are a lot of things about work that I want to avoid.
Right now I use a number of VAs for different tasks, but 90% of it is handled by Rachael, my newest VA from Time Etc. (aff link), and Kris, who’s basically a VA who was eventually promoted to de facto office manager. So really, I mostly tell Kris what I want the other VAs to do, or I tell Kris what I want done, and she talks to the other VAs. (Again, mostly Rachael – the other VAs are more specialized and do occasional tech stuff.)
So, you asked what my VAs do.
Here’s what falls into Kris and Rachael’s wheelhouse most days.
1. Asking for testimonials.
Kris does this, primarily, but is about to begin training Rachael on the process. I have a few testimonial / feedback templates that we’ve worked up, and the two of them get those out to customers. Kris is currently working on stepping that up this year to get more testimonials into our hands and onto our sales pages.
2. Customer / Client service.
Kris used to do this before we got Rachael, and now she’s in charge of almost all of it. Customer service includes handling issues with logins or downloads, coordinating client deliverables (like copywriting or feedback on launch materials), questions about products, and anything related to live classes I might be running.
3. Making appointments.
Kris does this sometimes, but I prefer to give these to Rachael because it’s really one of her strengths. (If you have Plug & Play VA, I think I mentioned “testing” Rachael by having her find a waxer close to my AirBnB and making me an appointment. She was amazing. If I need an appointment, or a reservation, or someone to call an office and ask questions for me, she’s my girl. I absolutely hate talking to strangers on the phone, so she’s a lifesaver.
4. Scheduling clients.
Most of my scheduling is automated by Acuity Scheduling (aff link), but I have a handful of long-term clients who sometimes need to do things manually. (Half of the time it’s because they’re in a wildly different time zone than my regular hours, the other half is because something comes up for them – or me – and we need to reschedule at a time that’s not open on the calendar.) Rachael & Kris coordinate these delightful little surprises.
5. Managing other VAs.
This one is Kris. About a year ago, she was getting a bit burned out and I told her, “Kris, I’m going to get you a Kris.” That’s when I started looking for a new VA who was highly experienced in the arenas Kris was spending most of her time in. She resisted at first, control freak that she was, but eventually let go the reins, and Rachael has made her life easier. Now Kris, for the most part, manages Rachael and the other very-part-time VAs, and works on special projects I cook up.
6. Research and comparison.
This is another area Rachael is very good at, for which I’m grateful. If I need pricing or availability for things like flights, hotels, restaurants, etc., that’s her. For more tech/business stuff, I use Kris, since she’s more of a geek. I’m no stranger to analysis paralysis, so having them do research and recommendations for me means that I can do more things I enjoy, like using Instagram to make cats give business advice. (Follow me!)
7. Creating graphics.
Kris is about to start training Rachael on this, but I’ve been using VAs for graphic work for a long time. I like messing with graphics, so this one was hard to let go of, but I get pretty wrangy trying to find the perfect cat or put the perfect filter on or make something look just right. I become the worst version of myself, a perfectionist, a tyrant. But I give it to
someone anyone else, and when they show me what they’ve done I’m all, “That looks cool, yo.” Sometimes you just have to take yourself out of the process.
8. Managing email.
I cannot be involved in my own inbox. It is a death spiral, the moment I see it. Rachael is a fantastic customer service specialist, and knows exactly what to say to everyone, so I don’t have to. Whatever she can’t process on her own, she sends to Kris, who brings it to me. I generally don’t ever “see” the emails that I answer – Kris just gives me the details and I dictate a response to her. Again, inboxes are like Kryptonite to me. So they do a lot of that. Which is cool, because when I used to try and do it, my average email response time was closing in on never. Now emails get answered all. the. time.
9. Riding my ass with reminders.
Accountability! I’m usually busy enough that I can’t get to a lot of things that are semi-timely, so I tell Kris and Rachel to remind me of things. They’re like the human version of a snooze button. I constantly tell them things like “If I don’t get back to you on this by Wednesday, harass me.”
10. Setting up social media.
Rachael is in charge of uploading and scheduling all of my social media stuff. Kris is in charge of getting all my Instagram quips, Facebook posts, pictures and the like over to Rachael, and she schedules her scheduling magic so I don’t have to be on any platform any longer than strictly necessary, because the only thing I hate more than social media is social media.
Thanks for the great question, Lauren. This was fun.
Now I’m going to send this to Kris so she can get it into WordPress. (I guess that’s #11?)
Things you can do next!