“A man is rich in proportion to the number of things he can afford to let alone.” – Henry David Thoreau
We are currently living in an understaffed world because of the hiring crisis, and there is just too much for us to do, not enough time to do it, and not enough manpower to get it all done. To some of you, the concept of a Virtual Assistant (VA) might still seem foreign, unattainable, and more like fantasy, and I get it. It’s hard to believe that there is a person out there who you can actually afford to hire to help you tackle your giant task list while you literally sleep; it sounds like a magical story.
However, I’m here to reassure you that outsourcing to a VA is a reality that is possible for you!
We have multiple members within the Child Care Success Academy, including myself, who have successfully hired a VA and were able to get things crossed off their lists and gain time freedom. My hope is that after you read this blog, you are finally convinced to go out and hire a VA of your own, you’ll learn from some of the mistakes that I made when I first hired mine, and gain ideas to make this incredible reality even more streamlined for yourself. Hiring a VA is a key step to obtaining full automation and eventually gaining more FREEDOM in your business and life, two things that as child care business owners we are all striving to attain.
Believe it or not, one of the first mistakes I made when I hired my VA was that I GROSSLY underestimated her extreme productivity. Even though I had heard others share their experiences with their VA’s and this was a common realization, I still really didn’t put much thought into this feedback. For a while, I was literally up all night with her organizing tasks for her to complete because she was so quick to complete a task and ask for more. I would even wake up early just to put together new tasks for her to complete and I still wasn’t giving her enough.
Besides getting through that learning curve at the beginning, there are also a few other tips and tricks that I have learned through having a VA that I think you will find helpful if you are considering hiring one.
Top Preparation Tips to Tackle BEFORE You Hire a VA:
- Decide what your ideal assistant personality will look like because, in my opinion, you must like this person because they THRIVE on feedback.
- Read the book Your World Class Assistant by Michael Hyatt.
- Do your research on what company you will hire your VA from. There are full-service companies out there, and there are also websites that are similar to Indeed where you will choose someone on your own.
- Figure out what items can be delegated. Look at the tasks that are in the lower quadrants of your unique brilliance to consider delegating first.
- Figure out what you can take off your directors’ plates that are in their lower unique brilliance quadrants.
- Put all the information that they might need in one convenient place that is easily accessible. Create a a Google Spreadsheet for your VA to keep track of their tasks (include task name, priority level, due date, who to report to, and any notes or information that is needed to complete it), social media sites to manage/monitor, vendors, and any personal/company information that they might need to complete tasks such as paying bills and booking flights.
- Sign up for Dashlane or another password app ahead of time.
- Figure out what video app you will use to make training videos. I record mine with Zoom, upload them to YouTube, and then add them to my ops manual for future training.
- Eliminate fluff before you delegate stuff. Never streamline something that can be eliminated, and never delegate something that can be automated.
- Make a list of time-consuming and well-defined tasks to delegate. Plan the process for how to define the tasks.
- Look at your to-do list and see what to-dos have been on there the longest and see if you can delegate any of those to a VA right away.
- Each time you find yourself getting derailed with a different task, think, could a VA do this?
- Write down the tasks that causes you and your directors the most pain and boredom and determine if you can hand those off to your VA or not.
Top Tips For What to Do AFTER You Hire Your Assistant:
Get to know him or her and give them the full on-boarding experience of your company. As I said, you will be working with this person quite a bit.
- Start SLOW at first. This was another one of my mistakes. My assistant and I were both very eager, too eager, to get started. As a result, there were several mistakes, redos, and things that could have been avoided, mostly on my part.
- Plan and have your task lists and spreadsheets ready to go. I created a shared Google Drive for my assistant and I to work on tasks together.
- Give them plenty of feedback! They work hard, fast, and efficiently and they want to serve you. Let them shine and remember to tell them how much you appreciate them.
Deciding what tasks to actually delegate to your VA is where most people get stuck and discouraged. But let me tell you, taking the time to figure it out and hire a VA has made me a better wife, mom, and boss! She keeps me on my toes and makes me feel so accomplished by helping keep me on track.
Curious as to what I delegated to her? In the first two weeks of hiring my VA, here are the tasks that she completed for me:
- Cleaned out, unsubscribed, and organized my 14,000 emails, and continues to maintain my inbox.
- Re-did all of my e-packets.
- Created my before and after school informational packet to send to the school districts.
- Created all my lntellikids CRM templates.
- Combined forms on JotForm, manages the enrollment forms, and uploads the packets to Procare.
- Entered new staff into BambooHR and sent their packets to licensing.
- Updated our staff training logs.
- Converted all four of our parent and staff handbooks to digital with a clickable table of contents.
- Converted our staff orientation workbook into daily digital forms and added them as tasks in BambooHR.
- Contracted vendors for summer camp field trips.
- Booked my lake house for the 4th of July.
Here is a list organized by category of what you can delegate to a VA:
- Online purchases
- Book travel
- Schedule date night
- Plan events
- Order groceries
- Send thank you cards or gifts
- Email reminders
- Schedule appointments
- Calendar maintenance
- Website maintenance
- Social media posts
- Monitor and respond to social media
- Respond to a chat or inquiries
- Content editing
- Content creation
- Event Fliers
- Create marketing materials
- Mail marketing materials
- Email drip campaigns
- CRM templates
- Market research
- Social media marketing campaigns
- Fine tune or redo SOP’s
- Manage online enrollment forms
- Procare data entry
- BambooHR data entry
- Manage staff training sheets and send out reminders
- Manage lntelliKid systems and assign tasks to directors
- Expense reports
- Purchase reports
- Reimbursement forms
- Manage supply lists
- Document creation
- Document editing
- Scheduling interviews and meetings
- Post job openings
- Update biogs
- Send out staff and parent surveys and make a spreadsheet with the data
- Follow up on late payments
- Data reporting into spreadsheets
- Organize payroll reports
- Organize cloud folders such as Google Drive or Dropbox
- Plan school events
- Predictive enrollment
- Set up forms and checklists
- Employee file data
- Personality tests
- Track team attendance and promptness
- Issue attendance warning letters
- Maintenance of KPI spreadsheets
- Make quizzes for handbooks
- CRM business rule management
- Special projects and project management
- Org chart creation
- Respond to social media messages and input data in CRM
- Enter bills into QuickBooks
- Enter employee data into payroll QuickBooks reports
As a final note, remember that to operate at the highest level in our field, you must have clarity to carry forth your vision, create a plan of action, and delegate the tasks needed to make it happen. Keep your standards high and figure out what is needed to close the gap between your goals and your productivity, then crush it!