I’ve had my girl Steph on my team for 3 years now and honestly, I don’t know if the title “VA” (aka, virtual assistant) even does her role justice. I could also describe her as our customer support rockstar / collaboration screener extraordinaire / proofreading expert / mama bear that our team needs and loves. I wanted to highlight her and all the wonderful ways she supports and lifts up Team JK today! Plus I’m sharing the reasons why having a VA can be so invaluable to a small business — yes, EVEN in these times
3 reasons you need a VA
You might think that now’s the last time you’d consider hiring any sort of role. And while yes, things are complicated in our world and economy, it’s my belief that because of all that, you likely need helping hands more than ever before. Hear me out because I truly believe there are 3 major reasons you could benefit now more than EVER from a VA:
- It’s more important right now to get HIGH-QUALITY, helpful, thoughtful resources into the hands of your people. A VA can help keep you & your systems organized to do so efficiently.
- You need to focus on your genius spot more intentionally right now in order to churn out the best products and services. Having a VA allows you to not have to think about the small details. They can handle email, support, questions, admin tasks, and more so you can focus on moving the needle in your business… and turning more profits without getting bogged down by details.
- Plus, you can bounce ideas off of a great VA, and get direct feedback for new ventures from them. They can help you brainstorm when the going gets tough or when you want to expand your business.
Steph’s journey as VA for my business
When she first joined Team JK 3 years ago, Steph was only working with us part-time to help with the support inbox while another team member was on maternity leave. She started out with helping customers get into their courses, managing payment issues, and responding to emails. She was new to the world of online business and was just eager to work with a team of women and moms. (Well, I was on my way to becoming a mom!)
Steph was a newly single mama at the time, and later shared she could barely afford to fill up her gas tank. She just needed a job that could pay the bills while allowing her to still be there for her kids. I mean… *TEARS*. This gal has shown up as a hard worker since day 1 and I was HAPPY to bring her on and support her sweet fam, while she in turn supported mine!
She’s since become the full-time support guru and also manages my inbox now, as well (praise hands for DAYS). She screens any partnership or collaboration requests, responds to messages from supporters, delegates items to appropriate team members, and overall keeps the emails I have to respond to personally to a minimum. Have I mentioned that email can QUICKLY drain me and stress me the heck out?! This setup has changed. my. life. It frees my time to focus on the things only I can do in the business!
Steph also does sporadic and super helpful tasks here and there as needed: testing links, proofing sales pages, managing ad comments, and supporting our Facebook groups. Basically? She’s an all-star in all the ways.
How she’s made the position her own
Over the years of working together, I’ve watched Steph take responsibility in her role and totally make it her own. She’s developed systems to maximize the amount of messages that she’s able to respond to a day. Get this: we average nearly 1,800 per WEEK. (I get the nervous pit sweats just thinking about this number… BLESS you, Steph, for shielding me from that madness!) AND, that number usually shoots up during a launch.
On top of that, we try to respond to all messages in less than 24 business hours. So, by creating templates, using the “rules” feature in our shared inbox program, and following processes for filing, tagging, and responding to messages, we’re able to respond quickly and take care of our customers efficiently. She’s totally created a structure that is more manageable for everyone, and a great experience for anyone reaching out to us.
3 tips from Steph to avoid inbox overwhelm
Because she hails as the inbox queen, I figured I should quiz Steph to get the good stuff! She shared with me her 3 best tips to avoid inbox fatigue. Use these, or share them with your new VA! 😉
- Unsubscribe from all unnecessary newsletters or emails that you don’t actually read. They are just taking up space in your inbox and contributing to the overwhelm. Unroll.me is a great option for easily unsubscribing from multiple lists all at once.
- Create templates or canned-responses for any questions that you find yourself answering over and over. With a template, all you have to do is fill in a few words (i.e. the recipient’s name) to customize that particular message. It saves you from rewriting the same email every time.
- Develop a system that works for you and stick with it. By having a system to follow daily, you’ll be working smarter instead of harder. Here’s ours:
- Archive any newsletters, junk, or auto-response messages that do not require any action from you. If there are emails that you might want to look at later, create a folder to file them away in so that they aren’t cluttering your main inbox.
- Delegate emails that need to go to other people. The sooner you get them in the right hands, the sooner that person will get a response.
- Respond to the emails that can be solved with a canned response. These are easy wins for you and will make space for the messages that use more of your brain power.
- Move on to the emails that require more time to solve. These may be the ones that require troubleshooting or more lengthy responses. Steph works from oldest to newest, so that the people that have been waiting the longest to get an answer are taken care of first, with a priority on things that are time sensitive.
- Once an email has been responded to, archive it! If someone replies and needs more information or requires further action from you, it will pop back up.
Hiring to grow your business
I hope that getting to know Steph’s journey in my business and her autonomy inside her role has shown you the benefits that hiring the right people can have on business! Outsourcing is truly one of the best things you can do for your business. By delegating the things you don’t “have” to do, you have more time to do the things that only you CAN do.
If you find yourself with not enough hours in the day to do all the things, then I encourage you to move some of it off your plate. Let yourself be freed up to focus on the bigger picture (which is way more important anyway!) Let go of a little bit of control–which, yes, okay, I fully acknowledge is the hard part for most people. But then, the beauty is in watching your business skyrocket when you’re back in the driver’s seat, and a details maven like Steph is rocking everything else.