I know, if you work within a Trade and run your own business you will have similar goals to most other business people. After all, you are a business person too. There will be three main things you want out of you business today. These are to: Make money – Why would you have gone into business otherwise? Serve your customers well – if you do not look after your customers you will not make any money – right? Gain a better work/life balance – Who doesn’t want to get this right? Using a Virtual Assistant can help you achieve all three of the above. At the moment, you complete a days work and you get home on an evening and take one look at the pile of paperwork you need to complete and spend you evenings or weekends dealing with it. Otherwise you take an Admin day maybe once a week to deal with your administrative tasks. I found an interesting article on the Telegraph website recently UK small businesses wasting 120 days each year on admin. A Virtual Assistant can deal with your time-consuming administrative tasks and help clear your to-do-list. On average, Tradespeople earn depending on experience, between £23,000 and £50,000 a year. Here’s an example of how using a Virtual Assistant can give you the time back to concentrate on giving your customers the best customer experience and gaining more customers, therefore making you more money. Meet Dave: Dave is an experienced electrician he works hard with the customers he has gained over time, but wants to grow his business further and gain more customers. He has worked out that he wastes about 120 days on admin, a year. For him, he works out that he could take almost an extra £20000 a year if he used someone else to complete his admin tasks. He also knows that he does not want to have to complete his admin on the evenings or weekends, as he is a true family man and wants to keep that time for them. His wife completes some of this work for him sometimes, but deep down, he knows she does not enjoy it and only does this out of love. He also realises that she is rather busy herself, what with holding down her job, dealing with their two school age children, looking after the house, so wants to give her back some quality time too. He realises that the admin he has to complete for his business holds him back from achieving his business goals as he just does not have enough hours in a day to deal with his customers, keep his family happy and all of his administrative tasks, from booking appointments, invoicing, answering emails, inputting electrical data into spreadsheets and dealing with certification and defects on NICEIC. He is thoroughly stressed by this situation. So, he joins a local Networking group where he meets a Virtual Assistant and once he gets chatting to her he learns that she does the exact work he is looking for. They arrange a meeting where she runs through with him his business goals, finds out exactly what he does, what services he offers his customers. She explains the benefits of using a Virtual Assistant over employing someone. A Virtual Assistant can deal with the time consuming administrative tasks and help to complete his to-do list, to an extremely high standard. He is safe in the knowledge his administrative tasks are in the hands of a professional. He only pays a Virtual Assistant for the time used on each task. He is not paying for someone to be present in his business during quiet times. Time-tracking software is used which tracks tasks by the minute, so he can see exactly how long was spent on each task. VA Packages come in at a fraction of the cost of an employee. No Tax, PAYE, Pensions and National Insurance to pay. He does not have to pay for holidays or sickness. No expensive equipment to buy or office overheads to pay, as all work is carried out from a fully equipped remote office. No legal responsibilities (tribunals, redundancy etc). No training or recruitment costs. He thinks all this sounds great so agrees to work with her. They agree which tasks he wants her to take on. Within weeks he is seeing the results he had been dreaming of and really doesn’t know how he ever survived without her previously. He is gaining more customers all the time. He is starting to see the financial rewards. He is no longer stressing about the level of admin he has to do, he has a happy wife and a happier home life. I have used the example of an Electrician above however I feel that this could be true of any trades. Virtual Assistants offer many different services, some might offer traditional Personal Assistant services for when you need organisational services, some might specialise in Social Media and Digital Marketing where as others might offer Website design. When looking for a Virtual Assistant you would be best to see whether they have a website and check the services they offer to see whether they would be a good fit for the services you require. If you would like to see how working with a Virtual Assistant could help you take the stress out of your administrative tasks and how Blue Orchid VA Services might be able to help you achieve your business goals, please click below to book your FREE 30 minute consultation, with absolutely no obligation to buy. You have nothing to lose. Book your FREE 30 Minute Consultation Now!!
History of a Virtual Assistant If you have ever wanted to work with a Virtual Assistant you may have wondered where they evolved from as although some Virtual Assistants can help you with just the traditional Personal Assistant tasks such as diary management and travel arrangements etc, some offer other tasks such as Website design, Blog content writing, Email newsletters etc. I became a Virtual Assistant myself as I have worked for many years in Administration and Customer Service and as the role of the Virtual Assistant is so varied alot of my skills were transferable to this role. Although it does not mention it in the following text I seem to remember maybe 15 – 20 years ago having postcards popped through the door with people offering typing services and always thinking this was something that might be of interest to me and working from home would be a dream!!!! However, it wasn’t until about 8-9 years ago when I left my 9-5 job on maternity leave that I had even heard about the exciting world of the Virtual Assistant industry. I knew that this was going to be something I could do from home around my other commitments. I was also always so passionate about great customer service and helping customers and colleagues therefore, earlier this year my dreams had been realised and I finally started my career as a self employed Virtual Assistant. The following content is a Blog by Caroline at The Society of Virtual Assistants. The content has not been changed from the original so if any of the information is incorrect I apologise. It just shows how the Virtual Assistant role began and how far we have come today. Enjoy!! The history of the Virtual Assistant… By Caroline | 28 October, 2016 | 5 virtual assistant history Just occasionally I have a very wicked sense of humour… It was tickled this week researching for an article on the VA industry – there seems to be some dispute about who invented the phrase and when that was. Author of the 2-Second Commute Chris Durst is credited with having founded the Virtual Assistant industry in her home in rural Connecticut in 1995. In 1999, with Michael Haaren, she founded the International Virtual Assistants Association – the industry’s nonprofit parent organization – and served as its first president. However back in 1992 Stacey Brice was already working as a virtual assistant when her life coaching client, Thomas Leonard, coined the phrase “virtual assistant” for her. She then went on to create AssistU, a virtual assistant training programme. History of Virtual Assistant from Virtual Assistant Inc. This one seems to be comprehensive… But it’s missed off any mention of Tawnya Sutherland and VAnetworking.com, the largest organisation of VAs worldwide! (SVA got a mention though!) It’s unfortunately a facet of an industry where we’re increasing against one another instead of collaborating – which used to be one of the unique and special things about the VA industry. Let’s keep the UK industry’s tagline of “collaboration not competition” and be open with one another… And to that end, I apologise profusely for any errors in my potted history of the UK Virtual Assistant Industry and you can add in your own little footnotes below in the comments and I’ll amend it! READ Looking for suggestions… 1999 International Association of Virtual Assistants – Set up by Jacky Workman, this paid-for membership site continues to provide advice for VAs based in the UK and around the world. 2000 Alliance of UK Virtual Assistants – formed by Di Chapman as a searchable free directory of VAs. 2004 Business quality VOIP hits the UK with the launch of VOIPfone. Answering phonecalls for clients remotely is now a reality. 2005 Scottish Virtual Assistants formed with 7 original members to promote the concept of virtual assistants in the UK by working together – Caroline Wylie, Lyndsey Gilchrist, Sally Blewett, Jackie Grant, Maria Birkmyre-McDermott, Marj Beattie, and Denise Wilson. The UK Association of Virtual Assistants – a paid for directory site run by Justine Curtis launches. 2006 Namechange to Society of Virtual Assistants, as we now had more UK members than Scottish ones. We also revamped the website to expand from just a forum to include a wordpress blog, free directory and various training events. Smartsheet lets UK virtual assistants beta test and shape their new online workspace programme. The UK’s first franchise VA business BizPro launched by Kerry Anne Orr – it went on to be sold to another VA and Kerry now specialises in setting up systems for other businesses. READ IYOTSA 2014: The role of technology for success – FREEBIE! 2007 First ever UK VA Conference in Milton Keynes, run by Carmen Macdougall of CMA Coaching (now VA Coaching and Training Company). 2008 First ever UK Virtual Assistant Survey – this was initially run by Alex Stone of Just Too Busy and is now collated by SVA each year. Over the years is has provided vital information about the industry which can be used for business plans, marketing activities and to bust myths. For example, the popular myth of a VA being a mum without childcare got shattered in 2011 when we revealed that less than 4% of VAs work like this! 2009 Formation of VA Support Group Skype chat – three new VAs (Emily Robe, Dee Uzoka and Anne-Marie Mittleman) got together to share their resources and coined the phrase “collaboration not competition” in their quest to build their businesses helping many others along the way including a chat room, a business room and a jobs available room. Global VA Week – SVA got involved with this annual event run by www.oivac.com in the USA to promote VAs worldwide. This included a Tweet campaign which members could use in their own businesses, informal coffee house meet ups, and UK only sessions in the Online International Assistants Convention. Nadine Hill publishes “The Virtual Assistant Handbook“, the first comprehensive UK virtual assistant guide. READ Press Release for Virtual Assistants 2011 BeMyVA – Launch of a paid for VA directory. VA Pro Mag – Online magazine aimed at UK…
All businesses should know by now that GDPR is almost upon us. 25th May 2018. This doesn’t just apply to multi million pound companies but also freelancers, (SME’s) Small to Medium Enterprises, large companies. It doesn’t just apply to EU countries but also countries worldwide who deal with data from citizens of the EU. Being a company who takes pride in the knowledge that we deal with our clients details using the correct procedures and ensuring the safety of our clients personal and private information having registered with the ICO (Information Commissioners Office) we have gained alot of information regarding this matter. I therefore wish to share with you their 12 steps to take now to prepare for the General Date protection Regulation (GDPR), taken from their website. Click on the link below entitled ‘My office has lots of resources’ and you will be taken to their website. This has the 12 steps you require plus a Data Protection Self Assessment Toolkit This is a quote I have received from the ICO and might help small businesses who don’t quite feel ready for this responsibility. ‘To small and micro businesses, clubs and associations who are not quite there, I say … don’t panic! As the new ICO Regulatory Action Policy, out for consultation very shortly, sets out, we pride ourselves on being a fair and proportionate regulator. That will continue under the GDPR. 25 May is not the end of anything, it is the beginning, and the important thing is to take concrete steps to implement your new responsibilities — to better protect customer data. My office has lots of resources to help you do that.’ Good Luck and all the best in getting ready to be GDPR Compliant.
Nearly everyone dreads opening their email inbox after a weekend away. It can be bad enough coming back after a lunch break. Don’t get me started on when you have been away for longer!!! What happens? ……………………………………… Email Overwhelm!!!!!! There are some organisational tips to help you reduce this, such as, unsubscribing from junk emails, prioritising your emails, using templates for responses, using folders and labels. However, all this still takes your precious time when you could be concentrating on the more important money making activities for your business. This is where you outsource your email management to a trusted Virtual Assistant. To enable your own personal Virtual Assistant to help with managing your emails you would need to give them access to your email account, don’t worry most Virtual Assistants are prepared to sign confidentiality agreements and always treat your login information with the utmost privacy. However, there are also sites such as Last Pass where you would not even have to share your actual login information including passwords with them, you would just share your emails. This will not only help you to get the work life balance right but it will help stop the dreaded email overwhelm!! If you wish to see how you could gain a better work life balance in your life and have us help you solve the dreaded email overwhelm, come and visit us. See whether any of our Services might be able to help you achieve this.