Virtually Everything Esle

Virtual Assistant?……Don’t mind if I do!

Having told a few people, now, what I do for a living, I do still get that blank look, like they are thinking ‘What?, so you do office work at home?’

‘You do my job, but you do it from the comfort of your own home, and you get paid?’

‘Let me get this straight, you get paid to do the work, that I have to do, at work, and you can choose when you do it, and where you do it?’

Yes, yes that is correct.

I do the invoice chasing, spreadsheet populating, email organising, social media campaigns, twitter updating, blog creation, I do it all.  I do it all and I love it.  I think people wonder why anyone would employ someone else to do the work that they are perfectly capable of doing themselves.  Well let me tell you why.

They do this for all sorts of reasons:

  • They are not always perfectly capable themselves.
  • They do not always understand Shopify/Hootesuite/Crowdfire/Instagram Marketing
  • They have suddenly got a massive order in and they need all hands-on deck.
  • They hate researching stuff.
  • They hate talking to people over the phone, (that’s a popular one)

And the most simplest of reasons,

  • They hate doing the boring stuff.

My clients do not want to continually update a data base with new products or client information. They do not want to chase those invoices they sent out two months ago that still haven’t been paid.  It’s just too awkward.  They absolutely hate going through emails and getting the information they need from them to sell their product or service.  They especially do not like social media marketing.

They just have a passion for art, or writing, or selling property and this is what they want to do, this is what they are good at and this is how they make their money.  Anything else they do is just eating into their time when they could be making even more money or generating even more leads.

Putting it in financial terms – the proprietor can earn the business on average £200 per hour when they are creating, or writing, or prospecting, or consulting.  Out of the 8 hours per day they want to work, two of those hours is spent doing admin, catching up with emails, sorting out their diary, entering product codes or ordering materials.  They may be responding to social media or sharing content and during this time they are not earning £200 per hour, when they could be.

This is where a VA comes in.  They charge between £20 and £50 per hour depending on their expertise, and they can get a lot done in an hour or two.

The time they save you could be spent earning you more money.  It’s that simple.

We are not temps, we do not have to have enough work to employ us for the whole week,  we do not necessarily need any time restrictions.  We can be employed to perform particular tasks only or for a number of hours per month on retainer.  We can be contracted to look after social media accounts, respond to comments on blogs etc and use a time tracker for every time we attend to your task, invoicing you at the end of the month. You do not need to jump through any HR hoops to hire us and we do not need to be paid sick or holiday pay.

We have a multitude of skills and if one person cannot do something they will either train themselves or refer you to another VA that can.  We are good like that.  This is a blossoming industry and we are in full bloom.

I’m not really sure what you are waiting for…

 

 

Building your Confidence VA

You all know how this feels, you rock up to the local ‘basket weaving’ workshop and they start by inflicting this evil little ritual on you.  The introducing yourselves to the group bit.  The sadists….

I would have rather stapled a ‘post it’ to my forehead than announce my name and pertinent details to the rest of the group.  I have previously managed to introduce myself as the person next to me; I have literally copied word for word what they have said, including their name, as my brain has had a strop and panicked.

As the grotesque speech of hell moved towards me I become acutely aware of my breathing, I appeared to have sucked a sponge into each lung and they were starting to fill up. When there was only one more person to go before me, my jaw locked into a bizarre grimace, my eyes were wild, looking for an escape route, hoping beyond hope that the lady the other side of me would jump in and introduce herself, absolving me of existence for just a few seconds..

It gets to my turn. ’Hi, I’m er’…. my voice sounds like a witch licking a chalkboard.  Little lights were going off in my peripheral vision.  The group were all looking at me, they were wondering how long it’s been since I dyed my hair, where I got this stupid top, how old my shoes were.  They were judging me by my ridiculous accent, that sounds far too southern to be this far north of Watford.  ‘Who do you think you are, trying to fit in with us?’  This is exactly what they were all thinking. I’m sure of it.

I mumble something about sponges and then wait for the dreaded red flush. The wave of introduction passes now but I have no idea what anyone else has said as my face filled with blood. My cheeks were so hot they were having a mirage effect before my eyes and I could not hear a thing, thanks to the blood beating itself against my eardrums like a frantic Britpop tambourine. I’m not even sure how I coped with the rest of the session after this horrific beginning, why did everyone else look so calm? why am I the only one that got myself into this kind of state? It’s the worst situation ever!

This is what I endured every time I had to go through the ‘introduction debacle’.  I felt like I needed to apologise for my own existence when faced with complete strangers.  It was like I wasn’t really allowed to be there, I just got there by accident.  I was only allowed to exist because no one had figured out that I was a fraudulent human being yet. What an absolute load of rubbish.

I remember the day I decided that I didn’t have to worry about any of this anymore; it took me a while to get there.  I came across a quote from a young actress, Gabourey Sidibe. ‘One day I decided I was beautiful, and so I carried out my life as if I was a beautiful girl.  I’d wear colours that I really like, I’d wear makeup that makes me feel pretty, and it really helps.  It doesn’t have anything to do with how the world perceives you.  What matters is what you see.’

Now, as inspirational as this was, it was not the fact that I needed to be a beautiful girl to feel confident. It was the idea that I got to decide what I was, it was my choice to be confident. I didn’t realise that I had had a choice all this time. I didn’t realise that a confident person was just someone that decided to act in a confident manner; they are in effect faking it as much as the rest of us and they were not getting found out either.  None of us were getting found out. We were all choosing our various ways of interacting with the world and none of us were getting dobbed in.  There was nothing to find out. No mystery, no magic formula, no secret mantra. It really was that easy, really.

When I chose to set up on my own as VA, I worried so much about what people would think of me doing this than actually how I was going to do it.  I thought I had to grow a pair and suck it up.  In fact, I just had to decide to be confident.  It was that simple.  Whenever I felt a bit unsure I would ask myself, what would a confident person do in this situation? and I did it. I smiled a lot, but I didn’t unpack my trumpet and blow it all the time, I just quietly and carefully stopped apologising for being there.  I reckon that is something we can all do.

 

Minutes

Meetings, from their formal apologies to their little tick box tasks, their management speak bingo to their frantic scribblings towards the end.  Fantastically misspelt names, complete abandonment of the agenda and all known formalities un-adhered to.  Your average office meeting will race along while 80% of the attendees eat the sandwiches and stay quiet, and 20% of the workforce do all the talking and, by default, get given all the tasks.

The minute taker will then, somehow, re-allocate them to who they think it should be or who they think the initials were in their notes and you end up with the facilities management conducting the next ‘Introduction to Lean Philosophy’ talk, quite successfully I might add, while the Director of Finance fixes the boiler, thinking he must have misunderstood something quite fundamental about his position.

Minutes of meetings are the aged stalwarts of bygone enterprises, banging on the gates of the internet shouting about ‘apologies’ and ‘any other business’.

There will always need to be a record of meetings that take place and that record will always need to be taken by a human being, lest the scathing wit of the ‘executive assistants’ gets taken seriously from a computer transcript, and the HR department gets renamed the ‘HAG RAVEN’ department in the next department restructuring.

We are still doing minutes the same way that we always did. Exactly the same. Yes, we invite everyone through email and, yes, we can send out little tick lists and questionnaires but there still must be a person taking notes or recording the meeting in order that that same person types it all up later, and that is the bit no-one wants to do.

Well except me. I do want to do the minutes, I want to minute my little head off. I am a very happy minute taker, I have a handle on the protocol and I am very happy to type them up and send out an agenda for the following meeting. I am friendly and presentable. I am very professional and my attention to detail is impeccable. I promise I will never allocate tasks off my own back or restructure the HR department.

I charge £30 an hour, min of one hour then to the nearest 15 mins, I will usually charge double the length of the meeting so a two hour meeting will be charged at four hrs to include the typing up and distribution of the minutes and any other admin stuff that needs doing like obtaining email addresses etc to send them to.
I am based in Loughborough but am happy to travel, subject to travel costs etc.
Drop me a bell if you need my assistance, or email me at claire.noden@nodenva.com