Below is the transcript of my podcast all about how to work with your first virtual assistant. I thought it was a unique perspective to ask an actual VA some questions about hiring, working with and being a virtual assistant. You can listen below or read the transcript.
Kelly: Hello everybody, I’ve a special treat for you today. Back in episode 12 of my podcast, I talked about how I found my virtual assistant, a.k.a. my VA, and how I utilize her. I had promised I’d be back with more information and even bring on an expert. Well, what better expert than an actual VA. I’m happy to introduce you to my very own VA, Laura. Recently I had her on for a chat, and I’m letting you in to listen. [00:00:30] We talked about how to find a virtual assistant, how to use your VA, and how to be a good client to your VA, especially if you’re new to this game, and so much more. I hope you enjoy it. Let’s dive in.
Laura: Hey everyone, welcome to Business As Unusual. My name is Kelly Noble Mirabella, and I have a special guest today. I have my actual virtual assistant. My VA, Laura [McCaulley 00:00:55], I did it right. She’s on here because we had quite a few requests [00:01:00] back when I talked about how I utilized my VA, where I found her, and there were a lot of requests, a lot of questions that I simply cannot answer. So I thought, let’s bring the pro on, let’s bring on my virtual assistant and get her point of view of how to use a virtual assistant and that sort of thing.
Kelly: So Laura, if you want to just say hi and introduce yourself real quick, and then we’ll jump right in.
Laura: Awesome. Thank you so much, Kelly for having me on. You know Kelly and I have been working together for about two years but I’ve been a virtual assistant for a little over [00:01:30] three years now. I absolutely love what I do, wouldn’t change anything, plan on doing it for years to come. So yeah, I’m excited to just shed some light on the industry.
Kelly: Awesome. So the very first thing I want to talk to you about is something that I know is close to my heart, and as well as a lot of the people that I know you’ve worked with, is how do you best utilize a virtual assistant? How do I best utilize you, especially as someone who’s brand new to hiring a virtual assistant? And [00:02:00] I’m kind of a control freak, a lot of entrepreneurs are. We’ve kind of slowly … I mean it’s taken me two years to actually finally get to a place where I’m, just do this, because I’ve got to get it off my plate. And I still need to work on that. So how would you recommend to people who don’t have a virtual assistant right now, to get started I guess, and get comfortable.
Laura: Yeah, so basically I think that there’s so many different kinds of virtual assistants. So there’s going to be ones that are specifically keeping you [00:02:30] organized. There’s going to be ones helping you with your online marketing. There’s some that just are you know, helping you book flights. There are just so many different kinds. So really you’re looking for one that can help you with the specific task that you are looking for. So getting started with one, asking them their specific strengths and what they love to do. Because those are going to be the things that work well for you, and you guys will work well together. So finding out what their strengths are, and [00:03:00] hopefully those are kind of your weaknesses, and you guys can grow together.
Kelly: Right. Now something I talked about in another episode, on how I utilize you, or what was kind of the point where I need to hire someone. I was getting so overwhelmed with all these things that are not necessarily hard for me, they’re fairly easy, but they’re just bogging me down, right. It’s time-consuming to get all these little tasks done. And that was for me the first thing to get off my plate is kind of write down a list of, what are the things I can easily let go of. And I can’t [00:03:30] even remember the first things I think you helped me with were like scheduling a couple of my client’s social medias and editing some blogs. And then I have all these grand ideas how I want to utilize you in the future. But do you find that it’s those things that people … what are the tasks that you tend to do more yourself with new clients first?
Laura: So for me, I always love doing kind of social media, blogging and email campaigns for clients. [00:04:00] But with that said, there’s a million different things, like I said, that a virtual assistant can help you with. And kind of getting started with one, what [inaudible 00:04:10] are you not able to tackle during the day, or what do you hate to do? And that’s kind of something that you just kind of pass over to someone else, and then maybe that frees up more time for you to be focusing on the things that you love to do.
Kelly: Yeah, absolutely, I know for me, like as soon as I hired you, I like landed two new clients because it gave [00:04:30] me the time to like go and do the things that I needed to do. And then what happened to me is I’ll like get a new client and the on-boarding process is so intense that I find myself kind of drowning. And that’s why sometimes, Laura, you’ll notice I’ll like all of a sudden, I’ll start sending you, I need you to fill the buffer for all these people because I just have to get it off my plate so I can focus on this one thing. So that’s been really helpful to me.
Kelly: So I think another question that comes up a ton is where do you find a virtual assistant? Now in my last podcast, I talked about where I found you. I found you through a service where I used [Galina’s 00:00:05] Service, which I think is called VA Clinic, and I was able to fill out what I was looking for … ’cause like you said, there’s a VA for everything, and you can actually have multiple virtual assistants, based off of all the needs you want … and so I filled out all my needs and what I was looking for and then she narrowed it from 100 to four and we found our way to each other. Outside of the [00:00:30] VA clinic, what are some other places that someone might find someone like you?
Laura: Yeah. So I always think small business owners love and love networking with other small business owners. I think if you know someone, like yourself, someone who’s been working with a VA, ask them for a referral and how you would be able to utilize that person as well. There’s a lot of Facebook groups that you could go on like yours asking them [inaudible 00:01:00] [00:01:00] referrals, or just asking them to shoot an email because you’re looking for a virtual assistant. Of course, you can put the regular job out, but I always like to go the route of referrals just because you know what you’re getting and you can start off on a more trustworthy basis.
Kelly: Yeah, I couldn’t agree more with that. I know I referred a couple of my friends to you and I would rather either hire someone to filter or find it through a referral because that’s a tried and true person and you can … There are a lot of bad VA’s, just like there’s a lot of bad social media managers or a lot of bad realtors or whatever. It’s just so much easier to … let’s filter. Nobody’s got time to waste their time on a bad asset.
Laura: Exactly. Yup. For sure.
Kelly: Okay. The next thing I want to ask you are what are some of the tools that are your must-use use tools to keeping you organized or maybe even tools that you utilize with your clients? [00:02:00] Cause I know you introduced me to Asana, and I was like, “This is amazing! This will actually help me give you more stuff to do.” But outside of Asana, which by the way, for those of you that don’t know, I just talked about it on a recent podcast about tools, it’s a list tool, right? It creates lists and then you can do … assign tasks to people, and it integrates with your calendar and your email. It’s actually pretty awesome. But what are some other tools that you like to use that are really helpful to keep you organized, as well as you and [00:02:30] your clients connected?
Laura: Yeah. So of course, I’m all for any free product, so Asana’s awesome because you’re gonna be able to collaborate with different people and something like … if you’re looking for a larger scale like Asana, but something if you have a larger team … something like Teamwork is very beneficial. I’ve been on a lot of different teams that utilize that. That’s wonderful. Something like Google calendar, [inaudible 00:02:58] that [00:03:00] thing goes with me everywhere and it has every appointment possible on there so that I’m getting notifications to make sure I’m not missing anything. And then stuff like Dropbox … just kind of all of your basics. I never really like to go too crazy with anything, I like to keep everything very simple so that most people have heard of it or I know it’s going to be a super easy cross for those other people if they haven’t heard of it, like Asana. You were able to dive right in. So, just simple [00:03:30] across the board. Just anything Google related, I love.
Kelly: Yeah, I’m with you. I like free.
Kelly: But, it is true. You make a really valid point about make it easy, because especially when you’re first hiring a VA, from my point of view. I’m pretty tech savvy. I can pretty much jump into anything, but not everyone is. Your job is to make their job easier, right? So you don’t want to complicate them or make them do extra work just to be able to work with you. That would not be good.
Laura: [00:04:00] Exactly. Yeah. There’s always a learning process of course, with any part of business and that will even come with hiring a virtual assistant, but our job [inaudible 00:04:11] is to have that process go as smoothly as possible. You know, finding out each other’s strengths and that takes time but some of these tools can make it go a lot easier and a lot smoother.
Kelly: Okay. Great. I wanted to ask you, not only what’s your [00:04:30] ideal client? Who do you love working for, if you could just build the perfect client, and because I am your client, you don’t have to say me. It’s okay. But for real, be candid here because there are a lot of people that if they don’t know, they don’t know. Let us know those kind of things, like “I wish clients knew not to do this, or to do this, or … It would make it easier if we could just do this.” That kind of thing. So let’s dig into the idea of being a good client so that my listeners know how to be a good client, I guess, to their VA.
Laura: Yeah, definitely. In terms of me, I like kind of a variety just so that my brain is doing different things during the day and writing about different topics. But in terms of the actual what they can be doing, I guess differently, is I like to kind of just be given a bunch of tasks and just start going through them. Hopefully I do them fairly quickly. I [00:00:30] always try to for my clients, but if I’m getting an email that is seven pages long and they’re actually only wanting me to do a one hour task, those kind of things get frustrating to me just because this email’s taking me longer to read than the actual task itself.
Laura: But I honestly, I love all of my clients that I’m working with right now. But just in terms of if you have so much to say, just schedule a meeting or something like [00:01:00] that. I guess that would be a pet peeve of mine.
Kelly: Yeah, oh my gosh. I totally get that, because I’m the type of person where I just like a bullet point. I don’t have time to write a novel, so I get that completely.
Kelly: I’m like, “Can I just get the job done? Leave me alone.” I assume that something that probably drives you nuts, and maybe it doesn’t, because I do this to you all the time and I always feel bad is really last minute rush jobs. I’m probably notorious for that, because I have one client who does [00:01:30] it to me, and then I have you help me with some of those. So, is that something that you’re like, “Ah, I wish people would stop doing that to me?”
Laura: So, I know just kind of in the virtual assistant world, I chat with a lot of different virtual assistants, and they typically have an issue with that. But when they start with a client, they’ll say, “I will do things within 24 hours, or 48 hours, but you can’t expect me to do things before then.” I guess just because I don’t have children, I don’t mind doing things last minute. [00:02:00] I never mind kind of hopping on and doing those kind of things, so when you throw things at me, it’s not a big deal at all. But I do know typically for virtual assistants, they do like a few days, kind of give them a heads up on that.
Kelly: Yeah, and I understand that completely myself because I know I prefer that, because it does put a lot of stress on you. But I think that something that is important to bring up is for my listeners, I do that to Laura on every week. She knows. I have one particular client that I need her to proof stuff and it has to be pretty quick. But I also [00:02:30] think it’s important to note that if you’re gonna do that, even if your VA has been able to help you with that before, you can’t get mad if they can’t get it done as fast as you, finger snap kind of thing. You really have to be understanding that this is business and not everyone is gonna be plugged into you.
That goes for all clients. That goes for my clients. And I know that I go into that with eyes wide open that if I send you something, I’m like, “I need this today,” and you can’t get to it today, then I just find another way, and it’s not [00:03:00] a huge deal because I know that that’s kind of an unfair thing to ask.
Laura: Right, yeah.
Kelly: We still have to be nice and have a good head on our shoulders, I think, is a thing in general.
All right. So, is there any advice that you want to give, maybe even advice for someone who’s thinking about virtual assisting? Where to start?
Laura: Awesome. Yeah, great question. Like I said, I love what I do. I [00:03:30] love the flexibility of it. I love that I can take my computer and be anywhere with it. But you know, getting started can be a little bit tricky. I know for a lot of people it is. It’s kind of just getting your foot in the door and getting some experience.
So, whether that’s more just with an agency just to get some experience under your belt, or just however you’re getting it, I think just experience is key. You can’t be kind of charging an arm and a leg if you don’t actually know [00:04:00] exactly what you’re doing. So, learning those things, having someone to kind of be working with you, maybe job shadowing under someone, virtually.
And then just kind of slowly getting clients, asking people for referrals. Like you always talk about, it’s key, and then just hopefully just growing your clientele, and then hopefully you end up being full time or however hours a week you want to be.
Kelly: Awesome. Great advice. Well Laura, I want to thank you for taking your time out of your, I know, very busy day to talk to me [00:04:30] and my listeners. I really, really appreciate it.
Laura: Wonderful. Thank you so much for having me.
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