This month, we’re all about innovating and, like we talked about earlier this month, innovation simply comes down to finding better ways to do things. Today, then, we wanted to talk about making your life easier and your business more productive through the use of virtual assistants. So, sit back, pour yourself a glass of vino and get ready to delegate those 25 nagging items on your to-do list to your favorite new friend: A virtual assistant.
What is a virtual assistant?
A virtual assistant (VA) is an administrative or professional assistant who works remotely for a number of different clients. Virtual assistants are self-employed and many tailor their work and clients to their specific skillset—certain VAs may focus more on online and social media help, while others perform research-based tasks, while others focus solely on administrative tasks like calendar scheduling and phone calls, for example.
Why does it work?
Oftentimes, individuals (especially small-business owners) are in great need of some administrative or task-based help, but can’t afford to hire a full- or even part-time assistant. And, when you do hire an in-house assistant, if you’re not fully utilizing them every single minute they’re on the clock (which is often the case), you’re paying for more than you’re getting.
Because you pay a virtual assistant based on their time for individual tasks, a VA helps to alleviate the issue of affordability when it comes to getting extra help. Pay-structure and rates are different with each VA, but you’ll most likely pay per-hour or simply pay a flat-rate based on the task at hand.
Also, the fact that a virtual assistant works remotely can be beneficial to small business owners who don’t have office space for an in-house assistant. Having someone complete tasks for you without having to worry about finding a desk in your already-cramped work space is often a huge bonus for event planners who are confined to small studios or at-home offices themselves.
When should I hire one?
Yesterday. (Kidding…sort of.) You know all of those tedious tasks that have peppered (or, more accurately, blanketed) your to-do list since 2015? That’s where a virtual assistant comes in. Choose three nagging items that have been hanging over your head for a while and allow yourself to delegate them.
You can always start by sending your VA non-client-facing tasks (cleaning up your email folders, updating spreadsheets, organizing your digital files, etc.). Think about all of the non-imperative tasks you’ve been meaning to do but haven’t had the time (or energy) to complete. Things like organizing digital files from past weddings, creating email lists, submitting weddings to publications for possible publishing, etc. can all be assigned to a virtual assistant.
Then, once you’ve gauged their skill level (and your trust level), you can begin assigning your VA client-facing tasks (like scheduling meetings and responding to calls and emails while you’re away). You can even have your VA help you manage your Aisle Planner account. Ask them to organize and update your vendors tabs by fleshing out the General Contact Info and Point of Contact for each vendor. Or, have them update and manage your Templates in Aisle Planner so that you can easily pull evergreen information when populating a new wedding.
Overall, virtual assistants can be a huge asset to those in the event-planning community. So often, we rely only on ourselves to get things done, but delegating is such an important part of the process (especially if we want to hang on to our sanity).
Remember, you can always test the waters by assigning your VA simple tasks before handing off more important items. With the right VA, you’ll eventually develop a trusted relationship and solid workflow. Then, you just have to worry about what to do with all that extra time of yours (hint: sleep).
Have you ever hired a virtual assistant? Share your experience with us in the comments section below. We’d love to hear what you thought of the process.