Tag Archives: priorities

Is your life centered around family, work, and play (FWP), not necessarily in that order?

I am pretty sure the common denominator to ensuring a balanced life is TIME.  Spending quality time with your family, putting in enough hours at work, and having some downtime to enjoy the things in life that give you pleasure and lets you recharge your mental battery.

Many of us struggle with balancing what I will call the FWP cycle.  Work is required to earn enough money to take care of our families, and a discretionary fund is needed to pay for our “play” time, so most of us put more emphasis on the work part of our lives.   I have asked many business owners (both men and women) what an ideal day would look like to them and the universal answer seems to be having more TIME. As we get older, we realize how fast TIME goes by and there is no slowing it down.

So, how do you overcome that lack of TIME to balance FWP?  As a business owner, it is important to constantly be aware of your efforts.  Are you dedicating your time wisely or are you wasting valuable time doing things that may not be generating revenue, building business relationships, or are even within your area of expertise?  Think strategically when you are worried about managing your time.  Do not waste precious time doing the things that can be outsourced.  This quote by Jack Canfield is very relevant, “When you are able to maximize your potential by focusing on your core genius, you become more productive and effective”.

ACTION ITEM: Record every single task, project or activity you do for one week, noting which line items are income producers, core genius or something that was a time waster and should have been outsourced.
Share your list in our comments and let’s talk strategy and outcomes.

Have you ever heard the quote, “you can’t reach for anything new if your hands are still full of yesterday’s junk”, by Louise Smith? Those words resonate with me because I have witnessed many business owner’s frustration when they feel like their business is moving in slow motion or even worse, that it is in gear but not moving forward.

Being involved in all aspects of your business can definitely be important to you, but trying to do everything does not always allow productivity to happen on a daily, weekly or even monthly basis. I usually ask the frustrated business owners that I meet to tell me how much time they spend on business development opportunities. The overwhelming response is very little, because they are too busy, marketing the business, doing the daily administrative tasks, handling the accounting and responding to customers. With only 24 hours in a day and hopefully 6-8 hours of sleep and a few hours of personal or family commitments there isn’t usually much time left over for developing the business which is critical to success.

So, how do you get out of the time-crunch of “having your hands full”?

Ask yourself these questions:
1. How many hours are you spending on activities that are not generating revenue?

2. What is your time worth?

Once you have answered those 2 questions it may be easy to justify hiring a virtual assistant to help you with some of the tasks that are swallowing up the hours in your day.

Some of the earliest adopters of virtual assistants were speakers and authors, business coaches, real estate professionals, and entrepreneurs just starting their businesses. Those groups of people still work with VAs, but today industry seems to matter less. Virtual assistants are very popular with entrepreneurs and small business owners across many sectors.

At Assistant Match, we have clients ranging from bestselling authors to doctors to IT companies to consulting firms to non profits. We have provided virtual assistants to manufacturing companies as well as dog walkers.

Regardless of industry, most people who work with a VA have a few things in common.

  1. They need additional help in their business but do not need a full time employee.
  2. They are comfortable with the idea that they may never meet their assistant face to face.
  3. They are more interested in results than the traditional way of structuring a work team.

It’s wonderful when someone comes to a virtual assistant fully comfortable with the 3 points above. That isn’t always the case, so don’t hesitate to have the conversation that will help flesh those out. Some clients love a VA who can help educate them on how to work together and how s/he can best be of service.

Working with a virtual assistant or a virtual team of assistants can be a win/win for both the business owner, who can outsource specific tasks and increase their own productivity, and the professional virtual assistant who has the expertise and time to do exactly what you need help with.

The options seem endless when thinking about what you can delegate to a virtual assistant. But what are the items that will help you reach your business goals the fastest?

Identify where you spend your time.

Often we are so busy being busy that we don’t really know where our days go. For a week, document where you spend your time.

Example: 1 hour returning emails about general FAQs on your product/service, 5 hours networking, 2 hours sending follow up emails and phone calls up from networking, 45 minutes entering new contacts
into database, 4 hours doing research projects, 2.5 hours writing articles, 30 minutes uploading new blog posts to wordpress, etc.

Add to the list things you’d like to accomplish.

These are items that are always on your To Do list or are looming projects that don’t get done. Maybe you don’t have time, interest, or ability to complete them. Add them to the list.

Example: start or update your blog, social media updates, reach out personally to each of your clients, create a new product to sell, upgrade your website, enter info from all the business cards you have been collecting into a database, etc.

Congratulations! You have identified the important items that must get done in your business. The next step is to determine what specifically makes most sense for you to delegate.

Prioritize what to delegate first… What do you HATE to do?

Identify the things you really dislike doing. Delegating these items will ensure they will be complete in a timely manner, you won’t feel guilty about putting them off, and you won’t feel frustrated when you have to do them.

Example: These items are different for everyone. Common tasks we have heard are bookkeeping, writing, research, event coordination, database management, following up on late invoices

What is possible for someone else do?

Mark the items that YOU do not need to do. Usually 80% of your list falls into this category. You are not committing to delegating these items, but you are identifying things that could be given to someone else. Remember, just because you are used to doing something yourself does not mean you are the only person who can do it.

Example: scheduling your appointments, research projects, placing phone calls on your behalf, sending follow up emails, project management, client communication, bookkeeping

Find recurring items that are time sucks

What responsibilities that take up a lot of your time? These are essential details but they keep you from spending time on the most important parts of your business. They are things that must be done daily, weekly, monthly, or quarterly.

Example: posting blog articles, sending emails, research projects, scheduling appointments, formatting documents, data entry, replying to email inquiries, updating spreadsheets

Identify things that will let you generate income the fastest.

What needs to be done in order to increase income the fastest and most consistently for you? Identify these areas and focus on them! You can either have a virtual assistant take on the responsibilities or you can delegate the timesucking duties you have been doing that have kept you from the income producing activities.

Example: product development, customer service, follow up on leads, sending invoices, set up online store, marketing help

Start small but strategically.

By this point you have identified many items that can be delegated to someone. Prioritize this list and come up with the few duties that you will ask a virtual assistant to do first. Start with just a few items so you can provide feedback and be sure things are going smoothly. Select the responsibilities that will make the biggest impact for you – the ones that will help you increase income, give you the most time back in your day, or help you regain balance and sanity.

Happy Delegating!

Do you perform any of these when you could be doing revenue producing activities instead?
These are some of the things most commonly delegated to a virtual assistant.

Organization and Maintenance

  • Schedule appointments and manage calendars
  • Enter/scan business card information into contacts database
  • Data entry
  • Create and manage online storage/collaboration space
  • Scan documents for electronic filing
  • Create and manage spreadsheets
  • Set up and manage databases
  • Create forms
  • Format documents
  • Organize email folders
  • Track expenses
  • Track inventory
  • Update rosters
  • Organize receipts
  • Set up and sync online calendars
  • Maintain process and procedure manuals
  • Conduct online research projects
  • Bookkeeping

Coordination

  • Project coordination and management
  • Meeting/event planning and logistics
  • Trade show coordination
  • Coordination of printing and ordering materials
  • Coordination of speaking engagement details
  • Schedule appointments
  • Handle complaints or billing disputes

Marketing and Growth

  • Create email marketing template
  • Create autoresponders
  • Website updates
  • Create and distribute e-newsletters or print newsletters
  • Create and distribute press releases
  • Create and revise PowerPoint presentations
  • Compile charts and graphs for reports
  • Online article publishing
  • Create or revise marketing materials
  • Create and manage social media accounts (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, etc.)
  • Update blog
  • Identify other blogs on which to comment
  • Proofread, edit and write articles
  • Implement online marketing plans
  • Identify potential partners, events, speaking engagements, etc.

Customer Service and Relationship Building

  • Draft/send email or print correspondence
  • Address, hand-write, and send cards (holiday, birthday, thank you)
  • Place phone calls on your behalf
  • Send gifts
  • Create and send email newsletters
  • Address all incoming requests and questions for the company
  • Request and provide information to customers and partners
  • Conduct client satisfaction surveys
  • Connect with people via social media accounts

Sales Assistance

  • Send materials to sales prospects
  • Schedule appointments and follow up calls
  • Enter contacts and record meeting notes in CRM
  • Format, send, and track proposals
  • Format, send, and track contracts
  • Research leads and competitors
  • Call companies to identify the appropriate contact
  • Create, send, and track invoices
  • Process payments
  • Coordinate shipping logistics for products

Personal Assistance

  • Travel research and reservations
  • Online research
  • Shop/reserve products online
  • Research products and services
  • Make dinner reservations
  • Purchase gifts and cards
  • Online grocery shopping
  • Coordinate carpool duties

To be as productive as possible, identify items you are currently doing that are not the best use of your time, and delegate them to the appropriate people.

To find the right virtual assistant to help you with some of the items above, contact Assistant Match at info@assistantmatch.com or 800-403-5506, or start the process online at assistantmatch.com.