Although I had often outsourced the occasional one-off task, I was actually doing everything myself and only started regularly working with a VA after I broke down in tears after spending most of the week dealing with a host of support emails instead of getting any real work done. That was the moment I knew it was time to get some help.
Another catalyst was when I attended an event in London where the speaker talked about £10 tasks, £100 tasks and £1,000 tasks. He said business owners who want to go to the next level should outsource all their £10 tasks so they can focus solely on the bigger ones.
In a nutshell, £1000 tasks are huge things like connecting with business partners, strategy and creating courses, £100 tasks are (for me) things like marketing and providing value to my audience by creating different kinds of content, and £10 tasks are everything else.
Things that need to be done but not necessarily by me.
I realised that even though I know that’s the point of hiring a VA, I wasn’t taking my own advice and was trying to do everything myself! I then decided that I needed someone to take on my £10 tasks straight away.
Below I’ll outline the tasks I give my VA as well as how I ended up hiring her, because there are some great lessons to be learned in the way that came about.
Regular tasks I give my VA
Replying to support emails
I often get messages from people who have various support issues. They may have lost their login details to my courses website, they can’t find a download, or they’re missing an email from one of my free email sequences.
Replying to each message meant my focus was constantly being interrupted while I was trying to complete other tasks. It was after an extremely stressful week of not getting anything meaningful done, that I decided this was the most important thing I needed help with.
Now people can email email@example.com, my VA imports this account into her own email provider and can assist anyone needing technical support.
Managing my LinkedIn connection requests
My VA also goes through my connection requests and accepts or refuses people based on specific criteria I have given her. However, I always reply to personal LinkedIn messages myself and she does not open or read these.
Acting as a sounding board
When I have an idea for a new project (especially when it’s something to do with my Facebook groups), I’ll usually run it past her and ask for her feedback. This has turned out to be a fantastic strategy because she always provides ideas I hadn’t thought about.
In fact, acting as a sounding board is one of her key skills.
This is because she has a unique understanding of my business, is aware of all the resources at my disposal, and has a completely different mindset than I do.
Supporting my three Facebook groups
I have three Facebook groups to manage (The open VA Handbookers group, a secret group for trainees of my DIY VA course, and the paid All Stars membership group) and these constantly have all sorts of things going on such as live Q&As, training lessons, interviews, challenges, habit-building sessions and a plethora of other fun things.
As you can imagine, this can get logistically quite complicated!
In order to ensure all the content goes out and I don’t lose my mind in the process, I share my content calendar (as well as a Google calendar) with my VA which outlines everything that needs to happen in each group throughout the entire year.
She undertakes and/or assists with:
- Ensuring all content (unique posts and challenges) is scheduled… at the right time.
- Ensuring any evergreen content in MeetEdgar is scheduled and correct.
- Nudging me if I’ve forgotten to write, edit or schedule posts.
- Writing and scheduling regular weekly/monthly posts so I can tailor them later.
- Adding any challenges and training to the Units section – the All Stars have regular challenges and the other groups have a few throughout the year.
- Assisting with the twice-yearly Lurker Week and ensuring all copy gets recorded for later editing and use.
- Making sure the Rock Stars monthly Facebook Live Q&A event is scheduled and the group is reminded of the session.
- Checking stats for the VA Handbookers monthly Top Contributors post.
- Approving new members.
- Making sure the posts for a multitude of other events such as sales, challenges and national holidays etc are written, scheduled and saved for later.
Although my VA assists with ideas and scheduling, I always write everything myself and she never posts in any of the groups as me.
Assisting with my All Stars membership group
My VA also helps with the quarterly launch and ongoing maintenance of my membership group. This is no mean feat and includes assisting with the lead up and launch emails, onboarding and orienteering new members, helping with forgotten passwords and failed payments, scheduling live interviews and Q&A sessions, adding info to the monthly roundup emails… and a ton of other random bitty things.
I seriously couldn’t manage all of these moving parts without her.
Ad hoc tasks I give my VA
- Proofreading and editing newsletters, blog posts and sales pages
- Online research
- Adding followers to Twitter lists
- Tidying up and adding tags in ConvertKit
- Setting up written and recorded VA interviews
- A million other things that might come up
As you can see, not many of these tasks are complicated or time-specific, they’re just time consuming things that have to be done accurately – just not always by me!
Having this support means I’m freed up to create new courses, talk to members of my Facebook groups, write newsletters and blog posts, create new things, reply to personal messages received on social media and email, analyse and tweak my marketing strategy and social media, and generally focus on moving my business forward.
There are a lot of spinning plates in my business and my VA makes sure I don’t drop any!
So who is my VA?
My Virtual Assistant is the phenomenally awesome Victoria Tretis from My VA Rocks. Victoria used to be an executive PA so she is exceptionally good at accurately following detailed instructions, clarifying tasks if necessary and managing multiple clients. She also thinks for me…
There are two different types of VA.
One simply completes tasks they are given and the other prefers to be more involved in their client’s business and helps them manage it by ensuring they’re on top of their tasks. I was personally (by choice) the first type of VA, but as a client I very much need the second type.
To be honest I’d be completely lost without Victoria because she is such an integral and valuable part of my business. I know she’d be embarrassed to hear this because she’s so self-effacing, but the support she provides not only saves me time, but my sanity as well.
My VA actually does rock!
How I chose Victoria to be my VA
Victoria started off as one of my Facebook moderators. I currently have five moderators who were chosen because they stood out as being regular contributors who consistently provided good advice to other members of the group.
It therefore seemed logical when I needed someone to do other tasks to ask Victoria simply because she already knew so much about my business and I knew more about how she worked and that she came across professionally.
So Victoria ended up being my VA simply because she freely provided support, information and advice without expecting anything in return.
So hopefully, not only have I given you more of an insight into the types of tasks I outsource myself, you’ll see that the person I ended up hiring was already known to me. I saw that she knew her stuff, that she communicated professionally, that her admin and spelling skills were fantastic (VAs are administrators above all else – that’s literally their job!) and that she was a great problem solver.
In fact my only concern was that she would be too busy to take me on!
Victoria didn’t know she would end up being a moderator, then the head moderator and then my VA when she started freely providing advice to other members in my group, but it was simply by providing value and solving problems for others (without expecting anything in return) that got her noticed in the first place.
As a freelancer, your success solely depends on being able to solve problems for other people, so the question that should be forefront in your mind at all times is “how can I solve this person’s problem?”.
Now I’m not saying that freely giving advice and providing value to other people will always result in work, but since the beginning of time, people have always hired people who they know can solve their problems.