The Art of Delegating (Part I)

Okay, so delegating isn’t really an “ART”, but it is a necessity to grow your business and your bottom line. The definition of the word delegate is: “entrust (a task or responsibility) to another person, typically one who is less senior than oneself.” It also means “a person to represent others”.

According to an article from SmallBusiness.com there are 28.8 million small businesses in the US alone. 80% (23 million) of those comprise of only 1-owner with no employees while just 20% (5.8 million) have paid employees.

Did you know that half of these small businesses will fail within the first 5 years? Yes, half will make it, but half won’t.

Business today is much different than it was in the past. Social media has brought marketing to an all new level, and to keep current and effective takes a lot of time and effort, and most small business don’t have the resources for that.

Delegating isn’t easy…as a business owner its not easy to give work to others that are representing you and your company. But it’s when you step out of your comfort zone that things happen…and having more time, tools and processes are what will help your business grow and be successful.

When you delegate effectively, you’re sending the work to the person who has the right combination of skills and time to get the job done.

Whether you have employees or not, there comes a time that you need to start delegating tasks so your business can grow. It’s hard to break the “I can do it myself” mindset, and there’s a myth that people need to be busy and overwhelmed before they can hire the help they need. It’s actually the opposite…even if your business is growing slowly, as an owner and entrepreneur you need to be focusing on the higher-value activities and leave the low-value work to those who can get it done quickly and efficiently.

Let’s do the math. As we know, time is money. Let’s say you have a consulting business. If you bill $125 hour for your services, ideally you’d like to be able to bill 40 hours a week at $125/hr. But typically you can’t do that, because 5-10 of those hours each week aren’t spent consulting, they’re spent doing lower value work like researching your next market, creating a social media campaign, scheduling your social media posts, finding images for the posts…you get the point.

This type of work is working “in” your business. Let’s say you can bill 35 hours at $125, weekly you could bring in $4375.00. Now let’s say you find someone to fill your 5 hours of low level tasks at $30/hr for easy math. You’re spending $150 week, which frees you up to make an extra $625 weekly. Once you’ve paid your assistant, you’re left with an extra $475 each week or $1900 a month…could you use that extra money?

If you delegate this work to someone who is a non-employee you’re also NOT paying for:

  1. Retirement
  2. Sick Leave
  3. Vacation Time
  4. Office Equipment
  5. Supplies

We’ll continue this series in the coming weeks, but in the meantime if you’re thinking about how to get started delegating effectively, take some time to:

  1. Jot down what you do on a daily basis.
  2. Look at which of these areas are repetitive.
  3. Find others areas you can teach someone to do.

You now have a starting point….

If you’re struggling with how and what to delegate, give Laura at Elite Virtual Assistants a call. She will help you find the right areas to start delegating and give you more time to things done.

Advertisements

7 Questions To Consider When Hiring Friends & Family

Whether you’re a startup, entrepreneur or small business owner, budgets are a big deal. Many times instead of hiring the “right” help, we take the offers of  friends and family to “help” us out. Although intentions are good on both ends, this situation often leads to discontent and can even break a relationship.

The offer of free or discounted help is appealing, but keep in mind what that means: “I’ll help you when I have time, after I do what I’m paid to do.”

If you’ve been in this situation, or plan to be in this situation, below are some questions to ask yourself:

  1. Are they treating you like a regular client? Are you paying them what another clients is paying them so they set time aside to make sure your work is done? Many times help from friends and family can come at a discounted rate, which can also equal discounted services. People will do work they are being paid for before they work on what they’re either not getting paid for or getting paid less for.
  2. Are you being clear on your expectations? Just because you had a quick conversation over dinner touching on the work you need to be done, doesn’t mean you laid out expectations like you would with someone you hired.
  3. What are their qualifications? Cheap rates and no rates sound great until you’ve spent money only to realize they really don’t know what they’re doing. It always sounds nice when someone close to you offers to help, but do they know what they’re doing? Just because your aunt knows how to post a picture and comment on Facebook doesn’t mean she should run your social media campaign.
  4. What is their availability? If your sister has a full time job with 4 young kids under the age of 5 and says she’ll help at night on the weekends…just remember she didn’t say what night or weekend. People with full and busy lives can have a hard time finding time to work on what you need, no matter how much they want to help.
  5. What is your relationship with that person worth to you? If things don’t work out, the work isn’t being done or done right, are you going to be able to tell them? If you tell them, will they be able to handle it?
  6. What is your main reason for hiring them? If your main reason is that they are the most competent person you know to do the job and you’re willing to pay for that, then it’s probably a good choice. But if you hired them because they are in desperate need of work and are offering you a discounted rate, chances are the situation is not going to end well.
  7. Are you trying to save money? If this is your main reason and you’re “hoping” the work gets done, and done right, you’re probably going to be disappointed.

Although staying within budgets are important, making business decisions based solely on your budget isn’t always the best answer. More times than not, you’ll end up paying for someone to “help”, and then paying for someone to fix and finish that help. Hiring a professional to do certain tasks may end up being the best financial solution in the end.

Laura is the founder of Elite Virtual Assistants. If you’ve been in this situation and need some help, schedule a call with her today.

Renee P. Mosier, Certified Health Coach & Personal Trainer

Welcome to our January Spotlight Series. What better way to start the New Year than with a Certified Health Coach and Personal Trainer! Recently I heard that “becoming a better person” is the #1 New Years’ Resolution for 2017, and right behind in the #2 slot is getting healthy and in shape. With our crazy lives of working and family commitments it does make it hard to eat right and find time to exercise. If you have food allergies or intolerance’s this makes it even more difficult.

Renee P. Mosier is a certified health coach and personal trainer in the San Luis Obispo area, and works with clients both in-person and online. She enjoys helping her clients increase their energy level and confidence by adding in exercise, healthy foods, and simple behavior-change strategies. For Renee, health is more than aesthetics; it’s about helping her clients reach the quality of life they deserve.

What made you get into coaching?

A desire to help people live their best lives, by becoming the healthiest versions of themselves, on their terms.

Who is your ideal client?

My ideal client is anyone who is suffering from a food intolerance or allergy. I myself have food allergies, and understand how difficult it can be to still eat well, especially on the go. A lot more planning goes into preparing food when a person has food sensitivities, because a lot of restaurants and convenience stores do not carry allergen-friendly goods. My goal is to help make it easier for people to live a balanced life, without letting their allergies/intolerances/sensitivities get in the way.

What type of process do you use to ensure you are a good fit for a client?

In order to make sure I am a good fit for a client, we always have at least a thirty minute consult over the phone where I address any questions and concerns they may have, figure out what their expectations are, and what I expect from them.

What kind of results can your clients expect to achieve?

My clients can expect their unhealthy behaviors to change as we break down goals, by figuring out what is important to them.

Have you ever chosen to stop working with a client? If so, why?

I have not had this happen before. I imagine the only reason I would stop working with a client is if they honestly had reached the point where they no longer needed my guidance.

renee_2016_final-3-of-15

What’s your favorite part of coaching clients?

My favorite part about coaching is seeing people break barriers. Seeing them push beyond where they thought they were able to go.

What’s your favorite aspect of your business?

Helping my clients achieve their goals.

What’s your best piece of business advice?

My best piece of business advice is to stay consistent. To tackle the difficult tasks in the morning when you have the most willpower to get through them.

What is the main takeaway that you want people to know about you or your business from this interview?

I am passionate about helping people change their lives, by overcoming the limiting beliefs we’ve created for ourselves.

Inspirational Quotes that you live by:

“Health is a journey, not a destination”

“Take care of your body,  it’s the only place you have to live in”

You can reach out to Renee on her website at www.rennepmosier.com or on Instagram @ Rpm_coaching.

The Best Of 2016 at EVA

I say it often but I’ll say it again…I LOVE this time of year. Not only for the holidays themselves, but for two other reasons:

  1. Reflecting back on 2016. This year we learned and accomplished A LOT at EVA. I love going back and revisiting the good (and even the bad) experiences we’ve had, it’s what helps us move forward and grow.
  2. Looking forward to 2017. With the holidays comes a New Year…a time to learn from the mistakes we’ve made and improve, a time to try new things and a time to have a new set of goals to reach.

Looking back over the past year we’ve posted quite a bit of information on increasing productivity, ways to improve your business, and of course, how to work with a virtual assistant. Learning how and what to delegate, how to communicate effectively and even the types of tasks you can outsource were written from our personal experiences over the years, and we hope that they answered questions or helped resolve issues you may have had in your own business.

When it comes to hiring help for your business, regardless of the size or revenue stream you generate, having the right systems in place from the beginning really does help set you up for success.

When you’re wondering what to outsource, you can read 24 Tasks You Can Outsource To A Virtual Assistant. When you’re wondering if you should hire a freelance VA or utilize an agency, you can read Freelance vs. Agency: 6 Benefits A Virtual Assistant Agency Provides.

computer image

When you’re concerned on sharing your personal information with a VA you can read Tips On Keeping Your Information Secure With A Virtual Assistant. When you don’t know how to get started or what you can delegate to a VA you can read How To Get Started Outsourcing With A Virtual Assistant.

We also offered 10 Ways To Make The Most Of Your Virtual Assistant, and for those who think they can’t afford that extra help they need, How To Afford A Virtual Assistant.

We offer this information for two reasons:

  1. It’s our business…it’s what we do and what we’re good at.
  2. We know it will help bring people and businesses to a new level.

Whether your end goal is to be more productive & efficient at work or have more of a work-life balance and time with your family…the answer is the same. Making the most of your time at work can turn a 12 hour day to an 8 hour day, so let’s make 2017 the most productive one yet.

From all of us at EVA, we wish you and your family the Happiest of Holidays, and a wonderfully successful New Year!

 

 

 

 

Alex Milaychev Coaching

We’re so excited to kick off the EVA Spotlight Series this month featuring Alex Milaychev Coaching! I had the pleasure of speaking to Alex recently and learned what a very energetic and unique coach she is, leveraging public speaking to attract and keep your client pipeline full. Read on for more information on Alex…

You know how women coaches, consultants, and gifted healers will host workshops and talks, but end up not getting enough clients? Well Alex helps them get more clients through public speaking by creating a marketing and sales strategy that feels heart-aligned and authentic.

picbadass

“I like to practice breaking rules so that I always remember that my business is only limited by the rules in my mind.”

Alex is a certified coach through iPEC. She has a Cornell engineering degree, and 23 years of performance experience that she combines to help her clients with strategy as well as stage presence. She is also a 3rd generation intuitive, which she uses to help her clients learn how to tap into and channel energy archetypes while speaking in order to be magnetic.

We asked Alex for some insight on her business:

What made you get into coaching?

A long trail of breadcrumbs that started with dissatisfaction in my software career. After realizing that I didn’t want to work in software, I dove into self discovery to figure out who I was and what made me come alive. It was a slow process of discovering my truths and commitments. I let myself follow inspirations, and through that met the many mentors that would lead me into coaching and speaking.

Who is your ideal client?

You know how women coaches, consultants, and gifted healers will host workshops and talks, but end up not getting enough clients? Well I help them create a marketing and sales strategy that feels heart-aligned so that they magnetize the right clients in a way that feels authentic. I specialize in public speaking.

alex-435

“I love rubbing mud on my face. It wasn’t until later that I realized this is an act of grounding. I’m pretty energetic, so now I know that I can go to the earth when I need to release.”

What type of process do you use to ensure you are a good fit for a client?

I have an application for a free consult, and then I have the duration of the consult to qualify if the person is a good fit. I like to get crystal clear on what they are looking for. If I’m not the person, I can almost always make a recommendation.

What kind of results can your clients expect to achieve?

They can expect to improve their conversion rates from their speeches and workshops. Often we have low conversion rates, or we don’t even track. I help my clients turn their workshop participants into consults with their ideal clients.

What’s your favorite part of coaching clients?

Knowing the difference I am making not only in their lives, but in the lives of all the people they will touch with their healing business. I am also an empath, and I love the emotional journey of working with different people. Through my clients I get to feel things I haven’t felt before, and that is pretty amazing.

What’s your favorite aspect of your business?

My favorite aspect of my business is 1-1 coaching.

alex-050

“When I worked in software, I’d do leaps down the hallway. Now I do spins in my kitchen because I work from home!”

What’s your best piece of business advice?

You can learn to do anything. If your business isn’t doing as well as you would like, just know that it’s not you, it’s just a problem you can learn to solve.

What are some tasks you would choose to delegate?

Finances and bookkeeping.

What is the main takeaway that you want people to know about you or your business from this interview?

If you want help getting more clients through speaking in public, visit my website! http://www.alexmilaychev.com

401944_10101046890689465_1099342919_n

 

“From an early age I started performing in front of huge audiences, so I learned how to channel energy on stage. So when I’m up there, it’s not really me that is generating that energy, it is simply a reflection of the audience. It’s like energetic aikido.

You can reach Alex through her website, visit her Facebook page or email her at alex@alexmilaychev.com.

What We’re Thankful For At EVA

Although we should express our gratitude more often than we do, the holidays are such a wonderful time of year to look at our life and think about what we’re thankful for. Some of us have experienced loss and some triumph; either way there’s always something to reflect on and make us grateful for.

I wanted to share with you some of the things our team here at EVA have found ourselves thankful for. In addition, I want to say thank you to everyone who has signed up for our newsletter and that have taken the time to read it. Whether you’re a client, someone who may at some point be a client or just curious about how we operate…thank you for being part of EVA in your own way. Happy Thanksgiving!

I am thankful for having a big, happy, healthy family, supporting & loving friends and for being able to live my dream of having a business I love and I’m passionate about. I’m thankful for the wonderful people I’ve met through EVA, and for those that have become my friends. If it wasn’t for our amazing VA’s and clients we wouldn’t have a business, and for that I am very grateful.

Laura 

I am thankful for my happy & healthy kids and husband, a thriving business and getting to work with amazing & fun people every single day!

Danae

This year and moment, I am thankful for my family, my health, and a rewarding career. I love the women I work with, and I enjoy my work-life balance to the fullest. I am grateful for living the life I have always dreamed of. Life is wonderful and I feel blessed.

Jessica

I am thankful for the wonderful opportunity to work from my home allowing me to be the parent I want to be while continuing my professional career.

Carolynn

I am so thankful for my parents, sister, my beautiful 4 year old niece and my best friend Melissa who has helped me during a difficult time…and my 2 naughty pups!

Kerrie

I am thankful for, of course, the big 3 – Family, Friends, and our Health, but I am also thankful to be surrounded by a lot of humor!  Family and friends who love to laugh, joke, tease, and share sarcasm makes this life that much more enjoyable!  

Melissa

I am thankful to have been given the opportunity to work with EVA and some wonderful clients. EVA has given me the ability to use my skills and talents to help others, while also giving me the opportunity to be there for my family. For that, I am truly grateful!

Robyn

Laura is the founder of Elite Virtual Assistants. If you’d like more information on the services they provide, visit their website or call directly at (440) 973-7005. Happy Thanksgiving!

 

How To Afford A Virtual Assistant

I’ve found a couple things to be true over the years; if I really want something I find a way to get it. When I come up with an excuse on why I can’t do something, it’s just that…an excuse.

Instead of saying, “I can’t afford a virtual assistant”, you need to change your mindset to “how can I afford a virtual assistant”? Once your mindset makes that change, you’re ready to work the help you need into your budget.

In the beginning stages of a business, money is tight. You need to allocate dollars carefully to areas that are going to bring in revenue. For some it could be a website, buying office equipment or hiring help to get things off the ground. Many of us will create a list showing our needs vs. wants. Once you put in place the things you need, you’ll eventually get to the stage that you can go after what you want. When you consider a VA as something you need to grow your business, you’ve overcome the obstacle of thinking you can’t afford it.

Hiring help tends to be at the bottom of everyone’s list. As an entrepreneur or small business owner we feel the need to do everything ourselves and do as much as we can for free… and there’s a lot of information out there for free. But free only goes so far, and then it’s time to really decide what you need to get to the next level and invest in what will get you there.

Having a family member that wants to help run your social media campaign is not going to deliver the same results as hiring a professional VA who does that for a living. Sure, free or discounted rates might initially look good on paper, but they’re not going to look good a year down the road for your bottom line.

Highly successful people have a secret; they don’t do everything themselves. We all have the same 24 hours in a day, so making the most of that time is what will make the difference in your business. Change your mindset from “I Can’t” to “How Can I” and you won’t believe what you’ll be able to accomplish!

Laura is the founder of Elite Virtual Assistants. If you’re ready to change your mindset, give her a call today!

10 Ways To Make The Most of Your Virtual Assistant

Hiring a virtual assistant is a great asset to many professionals. Regardless of your industry a VA is a cost effective way to bring experience to the table and only pay for the services you need without having the overhead of an employee.

But it’s not just enough to HAVE a VA; it’s knowing how to work with one that will determine your success with this type of relationship. Understanding how to get the most out of your virtual assistant is important in keeping and maintaining a long term, healthy relationship.

COMMUNICATION IS KEY. Having open communication early and often is what will lay the foundation for a good experience.

  1. Be upfront and honest about your expectations with your VA.
    1. Outline your goals.
    2. Outline what you’re hoping to accomplish.
    3. Outline how you want to accomplish them.
  2. Decide on the best form of communication. If you receive too many emails already, have another system in place for quick questions and responses. You can try:
    1. Whatsapp
    2. Facebook Messenger
    3. Twitter
    4. Text Message
  3. Have a regular weekly meeting. Be sure to set your relationship up for success. If you have a goal to accomplish, be sure you have a weekly plan in place for that to happen. You and your VA can discuss the best route to take to get there. Having a regular check-in date scheduled with clear instructions for the week will not only help you stay organized but also give your VA the direction they need to do their work as efficiently as possible. Be sure you are receiving an update on a regular basis outlining what has been done, what follow up is needed, and that all questions that have been sent to you have been answered.
  4. Encourage File Sharing. One of the biggest areas of concern when working with a VA is not being able to see progress being made in “real time”. You can set up a file sharing system with your virtual assistant to help with this. Google Drive or Dropbox are great and enable you to see where a project is without having to wait for an update.
  5. Progress Tracking. This is important in the beginning to build a healthy virtual relationship. It helps both sides understand how much time is being spent on a task or project. This not only allows you to see where the most time in spent, but can help you plan for the coming months. You can try a program called My Hours where your VA will log their time and send you a report showing what was accomplished and how much time was spent on each task or project. This helps both sides see where and how time is spent and helps you plan going forward.
  6. Don’t Take The “Try It & See Approach”. Typically someone coming in with a “we’ll give it a try and see what happens” attitude is not truly committed. When you give something a “try” you have the mindset that it probably won’t work. You need to have it set in your mind (and your budget) that you will “try” for a reasonable amount of time. Giving someone 5 hours to “see what they can do” and spending 3 of those hours training them will not produce any results. Making a 6, 9 or even 12 month mental commitment will help you get past that mindset.
  7. Make Your Virtual Assistant A Team Member. It’s easy to fall into a pattern of shuffling off the tasks you don’t want or have time to do; that’s what you hired your VA for, right? But as you’re doing that, be sure to get their input and opinions so they feel involved and part of your team. When you treat someone as an equal player it will not only boost their moral but give them the confidence to voice their opinions which could be very beneficial to you and your company.
  8. Ask Questions. If you don’t like the way something is being done or you don’t understand why a task took so long, don’t hesitate to ask. Always communicate openly with your VA and share the good and bad. Don’t wait or be shy to share your thoughts. Brushing something under the rug only leads to a giant pile of dirt, which doesn’t help anyone.
  9. Be Transparent. Although many VA’s are experienced professionals, they are human. Mistakes will be made and just like any other worker or employee you would have, they need to be communicated with regularly and expectations explained from the beginning. Concerns must be addressed immediately so the situation can be rectified as soon as possible. Since a VA isn’t sitting beside you they may not see the eye rolling you’re doing or the concern in your voice if you’re emailing them. Transparency is very important when working with someone virtually.
  10. Be Patient. It takes time to get into a routine with a virtual assistant. People looking for immediate results can be quickly disappointed. Three months is typically a good time frame to expect a flow to be in place working with a VA. Sometimes this can happen sooner (or later), but having some patience through the learning process is the key to getting your virtual relationship on the right track.

Taking steps to make the most of your virtual assistant will help set your relationship up for success. Have a plan, put it in place, and watch your business grow!

Laura is the founder of Elite Virtual Assistants. If you’re ready to put a plan in place to work with a virtual assistant, give her a call today.

Gift Giving Ideas For Your Business

The holidays can be great and at the same time stressful. It’s a time of year that we give that extra thank you to those who have helped us in our business and personal lives, that we may have been too busy to stop and thank throughout the year. It doesn’t matter how big or small the gift is…it’s the time that someone took to express their gratitude that matters. Even the smallest budget can afford to send out a nice card.

Whether your budget allows you to send a card or a gift basket, now is the time to start thinking about getting everything together to avoid the frazzled, final-hour rush. If you already have a virtual assistant that you’re working with, the entire process can be outsourced. Once you offer some guidance on your budget and gift ideas you have in mind, you can turn this daunting task over and they can help you:

  1. Research gift ideas.
  2. Order your gifts.
  3. Hand-write cards for that personal touch.

GIFT IDEAS

Depending on how well you know your clients, below are some unique ideas if you have a smaller group of clientele:

Charitable Organizations

Do you have a client that’s involved in a particular charity, organization or foundation? Make a donation in their name or yours; the charity can send a letter on your behalf noting the contribution.

Gift Certificates

Have a client that’s an avid golfer? Purchase a gift certificate to their favorite local course, or one they’ve talked about wanting to visit. Do they love the Theater? Purchase a gift certificate to a local playhouse.

Wine or Beer Lover

Give them a membership that ships a different variety of wine or beer every month (this may not be available in all States). You can try The Original Craft Beer Club or Wine Of The Month Club. A gift certificate to a local brew house or winery where they can make their own beer or wine is also a unique idea…these are increasingly popular and can be found all over the country.

The Health Nut

Try out a subscription service to a healthy alternative to snacking. Graze is a popular site that offers 100’s of items you can choose from to be boxed and sent to your clients home or business.

Share What You Love

Do you use a service or have a subscription that you love and want to share? Whether you’re a music lover and offer a year subscription to Spotify or you love healthy cooking and use a service like HelloFresh, these are both unique ideas to give to that special client.

Promotional Products

If you have a larger client base you’re looking to send to, you can consider a useful promotional item. Some people think promo items are cheap or that they are a one-size-fits-all solution. In reality promo items can be that little extra you pair with something else for that special touch. You can also find an item that you think most people will find useful and purchase a higher-end version.

If you’re looking at putting together gift baskets, why not include a promo item that goes along with your theme? If it’s a useful, quality item it will get used and be appreciated. With the holidays fast approaching we wanted to share with you some of the hottest holiday gifts for clients we’ve found.

Chocolate – Everyone loves chocolate, your clients will appreciate you for it and your logo will be there to remind them who sent it.

Notepads – Stay in front of your clients with note pads, sticky notes and flags.

Stainless Steel Tumblers— Everyone loves a hot beverage. You can stay in front of clients all day with a tumbler, and they can be paired with gourmet hot chocolate packets, coffee pods or tea bags.

Wine Carrier – You can pair a nice wine carrier with your logo along with a bottle of wine or even sparkling apple cider. 

Mugs– Everyone loves a good mug and especially a good looking one. Just like the tumblers, these can also be paired with gourmet hot chocolate packets, coffee pods or even a gourmet instant soup.

The options are endless when you’re looking at promotional gift ideas. Whether you decide to be unique in your gift giving, offer promotional items or simply send a card, the thought that goes behind what you’re sending means more than the actual gift itself.

Taking care of your holiday gift giving needs is a great task to outsource that will have a positive impact on your business and personal life. 

Laura is the founder of Elite Virtual Assistants and also works with Elite Now Promotions. If you need help getting your holiday gift list and ideas together or need someone to help execute a plan for you, give her a call today at (440) 973-7005. She can also help you find the right promotional product for your business for the holiday season!