The Benefits of Working with a Virtual Assistant

People often ask me why I became a Virtual Assistant and the answer for me is simple. Being a Virtual Assistant allows me the freedom to work with industries I am passionate and knowledgeable about, without being restricted to working with one company. I get to help and support small businesses, start-ups, entrepreneurs and consultants who are running their own successful businesses, but who need a Personal Assistant to help organise their day, their systems or even their whole work/personal lives.

These people are so busy growing their business that they are getting in a bit of a muddle without always even realising it. This is where I step in and take the stress out of maintaining/implementing those all-important processes, such as CRM management, diary management, social media management inc. blogs and websites, credit control, research etc. The list is endless and can be tailored to a client’s individual needs.

The other more personal reason for setting up my own Virtual Assistant business is because I’m a mother of two and like a lot of mother’s I wanted to maximise being able to have a career and being there for my family, and it works brilliantly. I wouldn’t have it any other way now. Being able to give my all to my clients and business without the guilt of not being around for when my children get home from school is key for me. I have twenty years PA/Administration and Account Management experience and have worked mainly in the Media/PR industry, but have also worked in the Childcare sector for a few years. My main passion remains within the Media industry; however, I have developed a love for the Health and Fitness industry over the last 5 or so years.

Most people have by now heard of the term ‘Virtual Assistant’, but do they really know what it means?

A good Virtual Assistant or Virtual PA as I am known can save your business time and money. Most of us specialise in helping small businesses, start-ups and entrepreneurs in all different fields. Many of us also have a niche so either concentrate on specific industries or specific services. It’s not a one fits all. It can take some businesses a while to find the right Virtual Assistant for their needs.

Us Virtual Assistants tend to be very upfront about the services we offer and if we don’t offer one that you need we are likely to know a VA who can help. We offer you all the same benefits of an office based Personal Assistant, but without the added costs of having an employee. Another added benefit is that you only pay for the work being done. If you only need 6 hours a week then that’s all you pay for. We can be very flexible in that respect.

As a Virtual Assistant, we do not need a space in your office and we do not need a telephone or computer. We have our own office set up within our home or personal office space, so again, no need for the cost of an employee. There is also no holiday pay, pension or tax for you to worry about as an employer. We handle all that for ourselves as a freelancer.

Our presence within your company is still very much felt despite us not being physically present. This may scare some businesses as old habits die hard and some wonder how a good job can be done when you’re not actually there. Well, with the right set up process there is no need to be sceptical. A detailed meeting, whether face-to-face initially or through Skype or over the phone can eliminate any concerns about the ‘Virtual’ element of our job title. Confidentiality is a key component to any Virtual Assistant business and we are happy to sign an NDA where necessary.

We can save a business a lot of time by taking on the necessary, but somewhat tedious tasks that take up so much valuable time. We can also recommend useful software to make your life easier by simplifying some of your daily tasks e.g. a better CRM, a better diary management system, easier excel formats and templates etc.

By saving businesses more time, we can also save you money. Start-ups, small businesses and consultants especially, need to capitalise on what they have without any unnecessary costs. A Virtual Assistant will concentrate on your business while you concentrate on generating new business and maintaining the business you already have. This in turn means you can focus on making more profit.

I once heard the phrase “You have to speculate to accumulate” and I have always repeated this to myself and to others. I never tell people that I first heard this whilst watching the film ‘The Full Monty’ but nevertheless where I heard it, I believe it to be very true. The money you spend on hiring a Virtual Assistant will be worth every penny when you a) see what a difference we can make to your day-to-day working life and b) when you see the new business/customers coming in as a result.

A Virtual Assistant will charge for their services in several different ways. Some will charge an hourly rate for all tasks, some will charge a monthly retainer for what we call ‘a bucket of hours’, whilst some prefer to package up their services and sell them accordingly. There is no right or wrong way of doing this, but personally I use a mixture of all three as all client needs are different. Some clients need help on a regular ongoing basis while others may only need a Virtual Assistant for ad-hoc projects, such as events, office moves or travel etc.

So now you know what we do, you may think that you could do with some support with your business. If you have any questions about working with a Virtual Assistant, then please do not hesitate to call me on 07968 381793 or e-mail me at faye@fayepa.co.uk. Please also take a look at my Facebook page www.facebook.com/fayepaservices or my website www.fayepa.co.uk for a full list of my services.

7 Ways To Help You Stay Focused

Have you ever wondered how some people always seem to manage their time better?

Do you ever look at your colleagues and ask yourself ‘How do they manage to get everything done in a day?’

I have put together a few pointers to help you stay focused throughout your working day. None of it is rocket science if I’m honest, but we all need reminding and pointing in the right direction at times. Some of these can also be used in your personal life too.

Take regular breaks
From your PC or whatever task/project it may be that you’re doing. Taking a break enables you to regain your thoughts and focus. Working through without a break can often lead to tension headaches, fatigue and loss of concentration. This can then lead to careless and avoidable mistakes being made. For me it works best when I work for an hour and then take 15-20 mins break. This in itself improves my time management quite considerably.

Set yourself realistic tasks
It is so important to set yourself achievable tasks for each day/week/month. I have a to-do list for the week that I write on a Sunday evening. I then break it down in to 3 tasks for each day. By doing it this way I am able to manage my time for efficiently, get more done and ‘eat that frog’ by tackling the hardest task first. The feeling I get at the end of the day is great as I have achieved everything I set myself. By the end of the week I’m smiling from ear to ear when I am able to tick off a load of tasks from my to-do list. The power of 3 is a great time management tool and helps keep you focused for the week.

DO NOT multitask
I have learnt over the years, that all you men out there have got it right (big sigh)! Multitasking in not good for you and is a big mistake when running a business. It may sound impressive to say that you can multitask (ladies, we know we’ve all said it), but I hate to tell you that doing one task at a time is much better for you and your productivity. SO, always complete one task at a time. Knowing that you’ve completed a task will give you greater satisfaction than having 2 or even 3 tasks on the go with none of them finished. All that is going to do is make you feel stressed and de-motivated.

Turn off notifications
We all love our mobile phones, but they are making us more and more inefficient with all the different notifications that go off every few minutes. Turn them off. It really is that simple. They are distracting and they steal your focus. 9 times out of 10 it won’t be important or need attending to straight away. By engaging in this distraction you are not only wasting valuable time, but you are also diluting your focus on the task in hand.

Check e-mail at certain times
Set yourself certain times of the day to check your e-mail e.g. 10am, 1pm and 4pm. This will stop your mind from wondering off to thinking about the e-mail you just read and how you should respond whilst you’re completing the task you set yourself. This goes back to multitasking again and is not good remember! Allocating certain times for e-mail will enable you to give your full attention to the message and reply accordingly, instead of sending a quick response that in fact hasn’t said everything you wanted it to, has typos and isn’t in the tone that you had intended.

Set yourself goals
Your goals can be weekly and monthly and even daily if you so wish. Your monthly goals will inevitably be bigger than your weekly ones, but each goal gives you something to aim for and once you’ve reached the first one it will give you the motivation to reach the second and so on. Make sure they are realistic. Maybe start with something small and then build them as time goes by. Remember your goals will be completely different to other peoples and that’s OK. The size of your goals will also differ and that’s OK too.

NO Social Media
DO NOT log in to your social media. this is one of the worst time zappers out there. Do not fall in to the trap of thinking that it will be OK to just take a peek first thing in the morning…….this is lethal. Save social media for your break times and lunch. This is a tough one I know as most of us or in fact all of us use social media for our business, but honestly it’s the biggest time waster and you’ll kick yourself for it later when you realise that you’ve not achieved everything you needed to.

AS I said in the beginning, none of this is rocket science but I do hope this has helped you in some way and reminded you of the importance of remaining focused and capitalising on your time management.

If you would like any more tips or help with your time management and efficiency then please get in touch faye@fayepa.co.uk or visit www.fayepa.co.uk and sign up to my newsletter which is full of tips and tricks. You can also get more information and tips over on my Facebook page www.facebook.com/fayepaservices