With Cam Petty and special guest Tara Titsworth
Life is too short to be overwhelmed with our work schedule. We totally understand how that can be tricky though when you have 20 different meetings scheduled for the week, a running task list, and an email thread that never stops growing. How do you manage it? Do you hire help? What does doing so look like? In this episode, we invited Tara Titsworth to the conversation to share crucial tips on how to deal with your oh-so-busy schedule, and how hiring help can help.
While your task list may seem to never stop growing, first we want to ask, does it even exist? By that we mean, get that running list out of your head! Have it exist somewhere in a physical form. Whether it’s on a google doc or written with some good ole pen and paper being able to see it instead of trying to think through it will free some space in your mind. Writing it down will also be helpful for ensuring you don’t miss any projects or due dates.
Tara recommends taking that list and filling your week with everything you have to do! This is called time blocking. If you know you have a 30-minute meeting at 9 a.m. Consider blocking it off from 9 – 9:45 a.m. You want to be sure to give yourself some wiggle room between tasks so that your day’s tasks are more achievable than stressful.
Allowing flexibility in your schedule is also great for those of you who are more hesitant about time blocking. As an INFP (with Preception being my clearest preference), I’ll be the first to agree that I don’t want to feel held hostage by a structured schedule. But with the flexibility in time blocking, I find myself able to accomplish more in my working hours than if I just winged it.
If you feel like it’s worth trying out, here is an example from Tara herself on what her time-blocking sheet looks like!
Even though time blocking can be a helpful tactic for saving yourself some stress and accomplishing tasks, it still may not be enough. But with what’s leftover at the end of each day, it might not be enough to make sense of hiring a team member. *enters the virtual assistant (VA)*
Hiring a VA may be the answer to some of your day-to-day task issues. Need help managing your calendar, book-keeping, or social media? VAs can do that for you! Additionally, you could even hire VAs with specialties in the areas where you could use assistance. For example, you could hire a general admin VA to assist with your emails and scheduling and also hire a social media VA to run your Instagram account.
If you are interested in offering services as a VA, Tara recommends only having up to 5 services to offer to your clients. Being able to build your skillset and becoming an expert in your areas of service will assist in marketing yourself.
First things first, where do you find one? We recommend asking around! Ask people in your network if they know of anyone who does this type of work or if they know anyone who has a VA. Another beneficial place to try is within your industry social networking channels, like Facebook groups.
Be clear with what you’re looking for and what you need from your VA from the beginning. If you are posting a job, write out all of your expectations and any non-negotiables for the potential candidates. For example: if you need your VA to be in a specific timezone, that should be listed from the beginning. This helps you not only find a candidate that matches the criteria you’ve set up but hopefully helps you save time by only looking over candidates who match your exact needs and preferences.
As we all know, even though they should, not everyone pays attention to job postings and instead applies for positions regardless of what the posting may say. We like to get a little more specific on our team and Tara agrees. Consider including in your posting that the candidate applying needs to email their résumé and cover letter in addition to their online application (even if they upload it in the application). To take it even further, you could suggest that the candidate needs to write a specific subject line (ex: last name, first name – application documents). Again, doing this can only save you time and help you look at candidates who pay attention to details and know exactly what you’re looking for in a VA.
From Tara’s experience, it can be expected to pay around $25 per hour for your VA. When specialties come into play, such as web design, the hourly rate can be higher. Something else to consider is the person’s experience and how their qualifications could impact their rate. VAs are also responsible for taking their own taxes out of their paycheck.
With that information being shared in this episode if you’re looking to hire a VA you need to know your budget. Knowing how much you can afford may help you in determining the number of VA’s you hire, the amount they work each week, and what tasks you decide to delegate to them. Once you have your budget and hours per week decided upon for your VA, be sure to add that to any job postings.
Screen them like you would any employee. Look over any additional documents or links they may provide, especially if they have their own website. Ask for their social media handles in the application process and review those in comparison to your company/brand standards. There are certain things it is very illegal to discriminate against candidates for, though. Feel free to click here to view more information for discrimination law help in Texas.
Allow them to share any of their related previous experience. We want to stress a point here too… even if they are new to being a VA, they may still have months or even years of doing related work. If you are looking over a candidate’s application for a general admin VA that served as an executive assistant for 5 years, that is 5 years of related experience even though they weren’t a VA. Similarly, if they have experience doing web design and you’re looking for a web design VA, consider that as related experience. With the specialties, you may still want to discuss their assisting skills or preferred communication styles/learning methods to ensure the relationship will go smoothly.
Ask their rates up front as well to ensure you and the candidate are on the same page from the beginning. Do them a favor and try asking for a rate range too instead of a specific number.
Lastly, see if there is anything from your posting that stuck out to them. Ask them why they would be excited to work for you or your company. From there you can narrow down your searches to 3-5 candidates that you can jump on a 30-minute call with and see how the conversation flows.
Here at Render, we love the enneagram (try finding your number here). We ask about it in our initial application and we continue to discuss it throughout the interview process. Not putting any person in a “box” we enjoy knowing how a person’s number would fit into our team. There are tons of other options out there you could check out if the enneagram is not your thing. Popular assessments include Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, the Clifton 5 Strengths assessment, or the 16 Personalities.
Knowing your team is important and personality assessments are a great place to start. Learning their personality can assist you in growing your business by looking for people who may be different than you, who challenge you, and who will align with your company goals.
[4:00] When feeling overwhelmed, write out a list of everything you do in your business
[9:30] Efficiency and Automation are Queen
[14:35] Intentionally communicating with your clients instead of just mass emailing
[15:45] Timeblock just like you would budgeting
[18:30] Your schedule can still be flexible even with time blocking your day
[30:59] How to go about hiring a VA
Where can you find Tara?
Next week we will drop an episode about how to handle requests for trade and sponsored events.
Erasable pens we talked about in the episode: shorturl.at/juBES
Rachel Hollis Planner we talked about: shorturl.at/oxNVY
TJ White | Content Manager
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