In this episode, we get to hear from Katie J about her journey of leaving her 9-5 to pursue a career as a virtual assistant (aka VA). Not only do we get the perspective of Katie and how she helps businesses through her work as a virtual assistant. She specializes in admin, support, podcasts, management, and web design. Through her strategic planning, organizing, managing, and creating, she has helped businesses save time and scale their business over the last two years. I’ve been looking forward to sharing this conversation because so many people have had to take their business virtual and ask for more support. Katie is the woman to guide us through becoming a virtual assistant or identifying where we can use one in our own businesses.
Often we find ourselves with a vision for something, without knowing how to get there and what tools we may need. With this same idea in Katie’s mind at the beginning of her journey, she shared that, “after getting super burnt out on my nine to five corporate job, I knew I needed something that worked for me and allowed me to do more of what I enjoyed, both personally and professionally”.
Through leaving her corporate job, to joining her now-boyfriend on his journey as a professional athlete, Katie shared, “I still needed something that’s going to allow me to be independent. I still needed a job, essentially. And I kept telling him, I just want to help people. I just want to help people”. She continued on by sharing that she came across “How to Become a Virtual Assistant” on Pinterest, and her vision started to align with the tools in front of her. In her own words, she shared, “I knew this was exactly in alignment with how I could and would help people. I saw skills that I had and I knew I could offer out, offer ones that I knew I was capable and interested in learning”.
Katie then identified was she loved to do and could offer which was “being on the back end of a business and managing the finer details and ultimately allowing my clients to step into their purpose and enjoy their business and experience more growth.”
She made such an excellent point that we all have our zone of genius, and when we allow someone else to step in and do the tasks that are not within that zone, we are able to take our business to the next level. Bringing someone on in such a trusted space is not easy, but after hiring a virtual assistant and seeing the impact in my own business, I am an advocate for delegating tasks outside of our zones!
THE BEST TASKS TO DELEGATE
From one entrepreneur to another, it is easier to do something ourselves, than to ask someone for help. With everything that has gone on recently, we have had to transition more virtual. To help ease the transition and identify where a virtual assistant could make the biggest impact on our businesses, I asked Katie what the best tasks to delegate are, to promote scaling our businesses.
Katie shared from the business owner’s perspective, the best tasks to delegate are the ones you can pass off, “the ones that you don’t love to do, or the ones that you don’t know how to do”. Continuing she shared, “on the virtual assistant’s side of things, I also don’t want to be able to say I do everything under the sun. The tasks will start out as kind of general admin or doing something that they know how to do, they know how to offer and that they’re capable of.” After the initial onboarding and familiarization period, Katie shared that “you can then grow and reach style.”
From her own experience, the “opportunities for virtual assistants are endless. Virtual support is such a broad and all-encompassing term.” A virtual assistant “can offer financial support, bookkeeping, social media management is super popular design skills, email, inbox management, customer and community support, podcasts, management, and support.”
Katie’s Tip to a Virtual Assistant: “Podcast management, as well as course launches, are a couple of services that I think will be super valuable and grow immensely within the next couple of years or so. I believe that you can leverage or learn just about any skill. Take it to the virtual or online space and create success with it.”
Katie touched on the most valuable part from a business owner’s perspective, “the hardest part is, being able to say, okay, I’m going to take a step back. I’m going to allow somebody else to do this”. Through my experience of launching this podcast, I learned that it is worth me buying back my time so that I can focus on other things, instead of trying to learn how to do everything myself. By enabling others around me who have mastered how to edit and publish podcasts, I have been able to be super creative and intentional in that space. Then, I just get to drop it in a Google Box and trust that it’s going to get uploaded and be done correctly.
By engaging in this practice of stepping back, “you build the best relationships, and can have the best virtual assistant and client relationship by just being honest and communicative”. I then asked Katie how to set clear expectations during the onboarding process that encourages an open line of communication.
SETTING CLEAR EXPECTATIONS DURING ONBOARDING
Katie spoke directly to the legal side of setting clear expectations by sharing that “contracts are a great way to start”. Coming soon to the shop we have a virtual assistant agreement that will help shape and solidify the expectations that you as a business owner or virtual assistant will begin your relationship on.
Continuing on, Katie spoke directly about the different forms of communication that can be used between a business owner and a virtual assistant. She shared that the intention and priority are to make both parties feel comfortable. If the client prefers text communication and only text communication, then that is okay, but a boundary is set in place, to prevent being on the phone 24/7. Katie shared that the same principle is applied to email communication as well.
I love the concept of a virtual assistant because they really become your right-hand man and are inside your business. For my virtual assistant and I, we have a weekly phone call where we tackle all of the things at the beginning of the week then provide updates through email communication. On the occasion where I have an idea that pops up, I drop her a quick text, but in this, we have already set the expectation that she may not provide an immediate response if she is not working on my tasks.
The lesson here is that depending on the project, depending on the person, depending on the business, the entrepreneur really, first of all, needs to get really intentional about what they want.
What I did was I went through what I do in a week that needs to get done, including what I can only have someone I trust to take care of. Once I identified these tasks, I reached out and established communication with my virtual assistant to see if those tasks could be completed. Because the first person you reach out to may not be the perfect person. They may have specific systems. This is a good lesson to have those conversations early. It’s like dating.
At the end of the day, everyone needs to remember that virtual assistants are extremely valuable and are such an asset to a business owner because they get it. A virtual assistant is wearing all of the same hats and can assist the business owner in tasks that will increase the impact and reach of the business.
If you are interested in becoming or hiring a virtual assistant or offering their skills, there is endless space in the online world that will always need virtual assistance. Katie is an incredible resource to answer any questions about steps to take, courses, coaches, and programs..