Feb 162013

We all like to think we can do it all, that we can be Wonder Woman or Superman and achieve everything that needs to be done to succeed in business and at home.  The fact is, there are simply not enough hours in the day for business owners or entrepreneurs to achieve everything on their never ending to-do list, without neglecting something or someone. 

You may have heard of Virtual Assistants, VAs, Virtual PAs/EAs, Administration Consultants, Virtual Specialists, Virtual Business Managers. We are known as many things, but we too are business owners, and we are here to support your business to grow.  

Meet Virtually There.   Established in 2005, the services offered by Virtually There are many and varied.  We are the Productivity Solution you are looking for.  We can relieve you of your general administration tasks, and we also specialise in online Customer Relationship Management (CRMs – also known as databases) including implementation, customisation, training and ongoing support. 

We are your behind-the-scenes admin support.

We help business owners achieve their goals by giving you your time back – time to grow your business, time for yourself, for hobbies, for family…

We help you kick your goals.

We work from our own office.

We are cost effective! 

We relieve your admin workload – when you need us.

We can support your existing staff with administration overflow to prevent burnout.

Temporary or long term administration solutions, without recruitment agency costs.

Virtually There Owner, Kerryn Sonnet says “I will love your business the way you do. I am passionate about alleviating stress, offering solutions, sharing the load and I am determined to be the first person my clients think of and turn to when they are feeling pressure and need some help. I take ownership of tasks and responsibilities necessary in business, to free up business owners and staff so they can get on with growing their business.  I can be your right arm, or just a little pinkie.  Whether you need admin support on a grand scale or from time to time, the benefit of my service is you can come to me when your business needs me”.

May 092012

Woo Hoo!  It’s Friday! 

Just get through today, then maybe Friday night drinks, and then you have your weekend to unwind.  Bliss!  Just get through the day you say?

Have you ever noticed the major slack attack in the office on a Friday afternoon?   You drag your feet back to the office after lunch; and it feels like time comes to a standstill waiting for 5pm to roll around.

2.17 pm.

3.02 pm.

3.29 pm (could the afternoon get any slower?)

4pm. Hey, that’s a reasonable time to leave on a Friday.  Isn’t it?

Let’s face it; Friday afternoon is a write off!  It’s just like the day before you go on annual leave.  Your focus did not come to work with you; it’s already started its weekend.   Employers don’t get their money’s worth from everyone in the office on a Friday afternoon for one reason or another.  Come to think of it, even the boss likes to disappear on a Friday afternoon.

Think of all the other days you start work a few minutes early, or work past your knock off time, through tea breaks or lunch breaks, and you don’t think to ask for overtime, or time off in lieu.  It’s basically expected when the workload demands it, and hey, it’s a few minutes at a time.

That time really does add up.  Understandably, doing these extra minutes here and there can take its toll, and by Friday afternoon, you’ve just run out of puff!

Consider taking the following suggestion to your boss:

  1. Create a roster for your staff to alternate knocking off at lunch time on Fridays (I know a Virtual Assistant (VA) who could create this roster for you)
  2. Enlist the services of an efficient VA to ‘virtually’ fill the void on Friday afternoons (that VA I mentioned could do this too).  The VA could perform a variety of tasks for you, answering incoming calls, emails, any or all of the work that wasn’t completed through the week, updating your Facebook business page for the Saturday morning readers.

Win Win?  Let’s see!

Happy staff – they are rewarded for the extra time they are putting in.

Happy boss – the work is still getting done, your staff are thrilled to have the occasional Friday afternoon off and you have saved the company the expense of sick days and low productivity.

Happy staff + happy boss = Great moral.

How would your employer take this idea?

What about that VA?

Happy VA – She is fulfilling her desires as a business owner. Her intention is to help businesses of any size to succeed.

A Virtual Assistant does not want to ‘steal’ the jobs of office staff.   Virtually There acknowledges the stress felt by office staff (been there…).   Our solution is to offer to assist with the overflow of an increasing workload.  You are free to call on us when you need to.

So, come back and tell me what the boss thinks?

Oh, and if you want the name of that VA I was talking about, let me know at kerryn@virtuallythere.com.au

Have a great weekend!

May 082012

Firstly, what is a VA?

A VA is Virtual Assistant.  We work as independent contractors, providing professional administrative services to support businesses or individuals from a location other than your business.

Do you need help with your administration?So, how do you know if you need a VA?

  1. Your stress levels are rising, you feel like there is more work to do and less time to do it in.
  2. Your To-Do list is never-ending.
  3. You want some help but you can’t justify the expense of another full time staff member.
  4. You need a mini you – someone you can rely on at any given time.
  5. You are a start-up business, you work from a home office, or you run a small to medium business with limited office space.
  6. You manage a large business and your existing staff are stressed, getting sick or want to take leave…but the workload continues to increase.
  7. You agree that a VA may have more experience in a number of skills and they may complete tasks faster.
  8.  You just need a little help, right now, or now and then.
  9. You realise that it is OK to ask for help, you are one person and despite your skills and tenacity, you can’t do it all.
  10.  You would like more time to achieve your goals, more time to spend with family and more YOU time.

But what would I ask a VA to do?

The list is endless.

Anything that you don’t have time to do or you don’t want to do.  Every task is important.

Soon you will establish what your VA can or can’t do.  It is all about communication.   You will also find that after establishing a good working relationship with your VA, your VA will probably do as much as they are able, to help you succeed in your business.   What they cannot do, they will either learn on the go, seek expert advice, or suggest a reliable alternative to outsource that task to.   VA’s are very good networkers and can soon find someone with the skills required.

Try this:

  1. Using a little pocket notepad that you can take everywhere, make a list of all the tasks you do for your business on a daily basis.  Write everything down on your notepad as you do it, so you won’t need to try to remember all at the same time.
  2. Now write down all of the things that you didn’t have a chance to complete.  This might have been for various reasons, no time, no interest or you are not sure how.
  3. Then, tick the tasks that you would entrust to someone else.

These are the things a VA can do for you.  Specific knowledge about your business will come in time, but Va’s can hit the ground running and there is no limit to the tasks you can assign.  Some VA’s are specialists in particular areas such as Social Media, bookkeeping, CRM’s, and others are highly skilled in a wide variety of general administrative functions.   You may even find that you need more than one VA.

A VA can offer you assistance – when you need it!

A VA doesn’t need to cost the earth.  Many offer very reasonable rates.  Perhaps you could work out what your budget could be for a VA to take on one or some of the tasks holding you back from making more sales.  Consider trialling a VA for a single task, a week or a month to establish if it frees up your time to allow you to build up your business.

A word of caution though, it has been said that you get what you pay for.   If you get yourself a dirt cheap VA, please don’t pin your hopes on high quality output.

I am also a firm advocate for supporting local business.  There are many VA’s in your country that can support your business at a reasonable price.  This also reduces communication barriers, time zone barriers, and you can discover talent in your own backyard.

Virtually There offers a wide variety of administration support services.  Feel free to contact Kerryn for a chat about how Virtually There can alleviate some of the stress in your work day.

May 082012

This article was originally on Women’s Network, however the link is now dead.

As a small business owner, you’re probably screaming out for more hours in the day. On top of running your business, there’s the marketing to think about, the payroll, the web design, the IT, the finances some of which you probably don’t have a clue about.

You might not believe in paying someone to do something you can do yourself. And if there were 40 hours in a day you’d be right. But in reality, business outsourcing really does make the world go round. If we were all fantastic at everything, the unemployment rate would be through the roof!Outsourcing parts of your business activity is an ideal way for soloists to run a business – you get to enjoy the benefits of working hard at what you love and know best, while giving business to other people who work hard at what they love and know.

It’s also one of the most cost-effective ways to run a small business, especially when you’re starting out. Not only do you get to specify the amount of work you’re paying for, you’ll save thousands by not having to hire an IT guy, marketer or office manager.

Even better, you won’t have to purchase additional office equipment or pay for training expenses and agency fees, employee-related taxes, insurance and benefits.

What can I outsource?

  1. Marketing: While marketing is an essential part of building and promoting your business you probably don’t have the time, resources, expertise, focus or funds to do it justice. Outsourcing your marketing to a specialist marketing agency or to a few expert freelancers will free up your time and save you the $70,000+ cost of hiring a marketing manager.
  2. Information technology: Rather than battling with the vagaries of software, servers, networks and security, many small businesses are outsourcing everything to an external service provider. And when you think about it, it makes a lot of sense. Instead of purchasing and managing complicated hardware and software, IT resources are accessed on demand, and you only pay for the resources you need.
  3. Payroll: Few business owners will cite payroll management as one of their favourite tasks. For small businesses, an in-house payroll manager is a money burner. Outsourcing your payroll activities almost guarantees reliability, accuracy, speed and insight, and saves you time and productivity.

You can also outsource your advertising, web design and accounting. Take a load off – you really don’t have to do everything yourself!

Source:  Women’s Network