Mastering Delegation: A Guide to Deciding What to Delegate When Hiring a Virtual Assistant

As a business owner or entrepreneur, your time is precious, and your focus is essential for driving your company’s success. Hiring a Virtual Assistant (VA) is a strategic move to reclaim your time and boost productivity, but knowing what tasks to delegate can be a challenging decision. Often we hear from prospective clients that they really need help, that they fear burnout if they carry on as they are… but they just don’t know where to start. 

Effectively delegating tasks to a Virtual Assistant requires thoughtful consideration and a clear understanding of your priorities and boundaries. In this guide, we’ll explore key strategies to help you decide what to delegate when you bring a Virtual Assistant on board.

Mastering Delegation
  • Identify Your Core Skills:

    • Start by identifying tasks that align with your core skills and areas where you really shine. These are the tasks that only you can do and contribute significantly to the growth and success of your business. Anything that falls outside these core competencies is a potential candidate for delegation.

IDEA

Think about how someone else’s core skill is admin: that’s what they excel at and are more than happy to do!

Automations
  • Assess Time-Consuming and Repetitive Tasks:

    • Take stock of your daily or weekly activities and identify tasks that are time-consuming or repetitive. These tasks may not require your unique expertise and could therefore easily be handled by a Virtual Assistant. Examples include personal admin, diary and email management, data entry, and social media post creation and scheduling. 

TOP TIP

Your Virtual Assistant may be able to implement automations to replace repetitive tasks. 

  • Consider Your Energy Levels:

      • Reflect on tasks that drain your energy and focus. Delegating these tasks to a Virtual Assistant allows you to redirect your energy toward high-impact activities that require your full attention. This not only improves your overall well-being but also enhances your efficiency in critical areas of your business.

DID YOU KNOW?

30% of entrepreneurs say they are often or constantly burned out.
64% of entrepreneurs say they are more stressed now than they were two years ago.
Only 33% of entrepreneurs take proper breaks to help alleviate burnout.
An estimated 29% of entrepreneurs experience long-term negative effects of burnout (ONS data). 

  • Prioritise Strategic and Revenue-Generating Activities:

    • Your primary focus should be on strategic and revenue-generating activities that contribute directly to the growth of your business. Delegate administrative and organisational tasks to your Virtual Assistant, freeing up your time to concentrate on business development, client relationships, and other strategic initiatives.
Delegate tasks to managing energy levels

POV

Sometimes work is ‘challenging’ because you find it boring!

  • Evaluate Learning Curve vs. Time Investment:

    • Assess tasks based on the time it would take for you to teach someone else versus the time it would save in the long run. If a task requires significant training, it might be worthwhile to delegate if it’s a recurring activity. However, tasks with a steep learning curve and minimal time savings may be best kept for yourself.

  • Examine Seasonal or Project-Based Work:

    • Virtual Assistants can be invaluable for handling seasonal or project-based work. Identify tasks that ebb and flow throughout the year or are specific to certain projects. Delegating these tasks allows you to scale your team efficiently without the need for permanent hires.

FACT

You don’t pay NI, pension contributions, sick leave etc for your contracted Virtual Assistant. 

  • Review Your Pain Points:

    • Pinpoint areas in your workflow where you frequently encounter challenges. Whether it’s managing emails, organising documents, or handling customer inquiries: delegating tasks related to these pain points can significantly streamline your operations.

POV

Think about how much money you could generate if you could free yourself up for a day… versus how much you would spend on a Virtual Assistant to take care of your to do list on that day.

An attractive young business woman looking away with colleagues working behind. Delegate.
  • Set Clear Priorities:

    • Clearly define your priorities and business objectives. Tasks that align with these priorities should be retained, while those that do not directly contribute to your goals can be considered for delegation. This ensures that your Virtual Assistant’s efforts frees up your time for your overarching business strategy.
  • Maintain Effective Communication:

    • Establish open and transparent communication channels with your Virtual Assistant. Clearly convey your expectations, preferences, and any specific guidelines related to delegated tasks. Regular check-ins and feedback sessions help refine the delegation process over time.

TOP TIP

Think about how you like to communicate (email, phone calls, WhatsApp chat) and discuss this with your Virtual Assistant, before you start working together. 

  • Start Small and Scale Up:

    • If you’re new to delegation, start with smaller, less critical tasks to build trust and confidence in your virtual assistant’s capabilities. As trust grows, gradually delegate more complex and crucial responsibilities.

Virtual PA Office Team

POV

Your Virtual Assistant may be quicker than you at some tasks! They won’t be distracted by peripheral matters that might be connected but not important. 

In conclusion…

Effective delegation is a skill that can transform your business by freeing up your time to focus on what matters most. By carefully assessing tasks based on these strategies, you can make informed decisions about what to delegate when hiring a virtual assistant, ultimately leading to increased productivity, efficiency, and business success.

Photos by Digital Buggu and Andrea Piacquadio.

Time-Saving Tips for Working Parents: How Batch Cooking Can Simplify Your Meal Planning

We don’t normally talk about food on this blog, but I’ll make an exception for batch cooking because it’s actually intertwined with how I work! 

As a working parent, finding time to prepare healthy and nutritious meals for my family can be a challenge. However, I find that batch cooking is an excellent solution to this problem. It involves preparing large quantities of food at once, which can then be stored and eaten over the course of several days, or frozen for the future.

In this blog post, I’ll share some of the ways that batch cooking has saved me time and made my life as a working parent much easier.

Meal Planning and Time Saving with Batch Cooking

Batch Cooking Can…

Reduce Time Spent in the Kitchen

One of the biggest advantages of batch cooking is that it reduces the amount of time I need to spend in the kitchen. Instead of having to cook a fresh meal every night, I can spend a few hours on the weekend, or one evening, preparing meals for the week ahead. This means that during the week, all I need to do is reheat the pre-cooked meals, saving me time and energy. It’s so useful when there’s an after school club and we get home later than usual, or if I need to fit in a bit of work before the kids go to bed. 

Simplify Meal Planning

Meal planning can be a daunting task for busy parents. When I’m preparing meals in bulk, I can plan out a menu and make sure that I have all the necessary ingredients on hand. This eliminates the need to make multiple trips to the supermarket or spend time figuring out what to cook each night.

Save Money

Batch cooking can also save money in the long run. When I buy ingredients in bulk, I usually get them for cheaper than if I were to buy smaller quantities. Additionally, I’m less likely to waste food when I’m cooking in large quantities, as I can portion out meals and freeze them for later use. This means that I’m not throwing away food that has gone bad, which can add up over time.

Meal Planning
Meal Planning and Time Saving with Batch Cooking

Ensure a Healthy Diet

As a parent, I want to make sure that my family is eating a healthy and balanced diet. Batch cooking allows me to control the ingredients that go into each meal and make sure that we’re getting all the nutrients we need. It’s also easier to incorporate more vegetables and whole foods into our meals when I’m cooking in bulk, as I can prepare large batches of pasta sauce, soups, stews, and casseroles that are packed with healthy ingredients.

Batch Cooking in Conclusion

In conclusion, batch cooking has been a game-changer for me as a working parent. It saves me time, simplifies meal planning, saves money, and ensures that my family is eating a healthy diet.

If you’re struggling to find time to prepare meals during the week, I highly recommend giving batch cooking a try. With a little planning and preparation, it’s an easy and effective way to make your life as a busy parent a little bit easier and it enables you to carve out more time to spend with your family or to earn more money! 

What’s your favourite recipe to batch cook? 

Lights, Camera, Action: The Best Movies About Being a Personal Assistant!

Lights, Camera, Action:
The Best Movies About Being a Personal Assistant!

Whether you’re in-house or virtual, being a Personal Assistant is not an easy job. It requires you to be organised, efficient, and to be able to handle high-pressure situations with grace. Many movies have depicted the trials and tribulations of being a Personal Assistant, highlighting the challenges and rewards of the profession. In this post, we’ll explore some of our favourite movies about being a Personal Assistant.

The Devil Wears Prada (2006)

“The Devil Wears Prada” is perhaps the most well-known movie about being a personal assistant. The film follows the story of Andy Sachs (Anne Hathaway), a recent college graduate who lands a job as the assistant to Miranda Priestly (Meryl Streep), the editor-in-chief of a top fashion magazine. Andy quickly learns that working for Miranda is no easy task and must navigate the world of high fashion while balancing her personal life.
Anne Hathaway, Meryl Streep: The Devil Wears Pravda movie

The Intern (2015)

Robert De Niro: The Intern movie
“The Intern” tells the story of Ben Whittaker (Robert De Niro), a retired executive who becomes a senior intern at an online fashion site. As the intern, Ben is assigned to work with Jules Ostin (Anne Hathaway), the company’s founder and CEO. Through his experience, Ben teaches Jules valuable lessons about leadership and work-life balance, while also gaining a new perspective on life.
 

The Nanny Diaries (2007)

“The Nanny Diaries” follows the life of Annie Braddock (Scarlett Johansson), a recent college graduate who takes a job as a nanny for a wealthy family on the Upper East Side of New York City. Annie ends up taking on personal tasks that have nothing to do with childcare! While working for the family, Annie discovers the challenges of working for a demanding boss while also trying to balance her personal life.

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (2013)

“The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” is a movie about self-discovery and adventure. The film follows the story of Walter Mitty (Ben Stiller), a negative asset manager at Life magazine who embarks on a journey to find a missing photograph for the magazine’s final issue. Along the way, the film shows how Walter learns to take risks and embrace his true self, and also portrays his evolving relationship with his Personal Assistant Cheryl Melhoff (Kristen Wiig).

Working Girl (1988)

Working Girl” tells the story of Tess McGill (Melanie Griffith), a secretary at a Wall Street investment firm who dreams of making it big in the corporate world. When her boss is injured, Tess sees an opportunity to take on a major business deal and enlists the help of an investment banker, Jack Trainer (Harrison Ford). The movie explores the challenges and obstacles Tess faces as a woman in a male-dominated industry.
 
Melanie Griffith, Harrison Ford: Working Girl movie
In conclusion, these movies offer an insightful and entertaining look into the world of Personal Assistants. Whether you’re currently working as a Personal Assistant, or you use the services of a Personal Assistant, or maybe you’re just curious about the profession, these movies are worth watching. They showcase the highs and lows of the job, while also highlighting the importance of hard work, dedication, and perseverance.
 
  • What’s your favourite movie that features a Personal Assistant?
  • Do you identify with any of the Personal Assistant, or Executive, characters that we have mentioned?

Lessons in Entrepreneurship and Work-Life Balance taken from Kate Foster of “Workin’ Moms”

Lessons in Entrepreneurship and Work-Life Balance taken from Kate Foster of
“Workin’ Moms

We’re big fans of the hit Netflix television show “Workin’ Moms” and thought it would be fun to look at Kate Foster’s journey starting her own public relations (PR) agency, which ultimately becomes a great success. While Kate’s story is fictional, there are many valuable lessons in entrepreneurship and work-life balance we can learn from her journey as an entrepreneur.

Workin' Moms

Passion

First and foremost, Kate’s success in starting her own PR agency came from her passion and dedication to her work. She was motivated by her love for public relations and her desire to make a difference in the industry. This level of passion and dedication is essential for any entrepreneur who wants to take the leap from being an employee to starting their own business. Without this drive to succeed, the road to success can be long and arduous.

Vision

Secondly, Kate had a clear vision for her PR agency. She knew what she wanted to achieve and was willing to put in the work to make it happen. She focused on building relationships with her clients, and then her team as it grew, and delivering exceptional results. Her approach is often gutsy and she regularly goes above and beyond to get the right results (her PR work for Sloane Mitchell springs to mind). This clarity of vision and focus on delivering value to clients is critical for any business to succeed.

Networking

Another key lesson we can learn from Kate’s journey is the importance of networking. When she started out, Kate leveraged her existing relationships and made new connections to help grow her business. She attended industry events and conferences and made a concerted effort to maintain her connections and also connect with other PR professionals. Down the line, as her business developed, she hired two PR execs whom she had previously worked with: Mo Daniels and Richard Greenwood. This level of networking is crucial for any entrepreneur looking to grow their business and establish themselves in their industry.

Perseverance

Kate’s journey also highlights the importance of perseverance and resilience. She faced many professional and personal challenges and setbacks along the way, but she never gave up. She continued to push through, even when things got tough, and was ultimately rewarded with a successful business.

Work-Life Balance

Kate Foster’s story also provides insight into the importance of work-life balance, especially for working parents. Throughout the show, we see Kate struggle to balance her demanding career with her responsibilities as a mother – and even deal with the surprise of becoming a stepmother! Even though we could argue that she is a workaholic, running her own business does enable Kate to have some flexibility and she does eventually find a way to make it all work by prioritising her time and setting boundaries. 

Workin' Moms work-life balance

She makes a conscious effort to try to be present for her family whenever she can – and to make time for the important moments in their lives, even if it means sacrificing some work opportunities – we often see her racing from one appointment to another!

Kate begins to delegate more, which she initially finds hard – for example in season 6 she initially rejects Rosie’s closing speech for the PR event for the book about multi-level marketing scam companies, but eventually allows her to give her own speech. It can be hard to relinquish control but it is an essential part of business growth.  

Support

Kate also recognises the value of support systems and enlists the help of her husband, other family members and sometimes her best friend, Anne Carlson, to manage her responsibilities at home. By delegating tasks and sharing the workload, she is able to create a more manageable work-life balance. The childcare is not always to Kate’s liking, with issues with a nanny giving her son the wrong milk and then her own mother not liking the dog… but somehow she muddles through! This serves as a reminder to all entrepreneurs and working parents that finding a balance between work and family is essential for overall wellbeing and success. It requires intentional effort and prioritisation, but with the right support and mindset, it is possible to achieve a healthy work-life balance (albeit not always perfect…).

Workin' Moms success

In conclusion, Kate Foster’s journey in starting her own PR agency on “Workin’ Moms” provides valuable lessons for anyone who wants to start their own business and we can’t wait to see how this evolves for her during season 7. So far, we can see that by being passionate and dedicated to your work, having a clear vision and focus on delivering value to clients, networking, persevering through challenges, achieving work-life balance and being willing to learn and adapt, you too can achieve success as an entrepreneur.

Are you a fan of the hit series Workin’ Moms? What are your main takeaways? Does Kate’s business journey inspire you?

Virtual Assistants Can Help You Plan Your Wedding

Too Busy to Plan Your Wedding? Get a Virtual Personal Assistant to Help You Out

Wedding season is fast approaching! And if you’re managing your own wedding organisation alongside a hectic job or family life, have you considered hiring a Virtual Personal Assistant to assist you in your wedding planning? 

Virtual Personal Assistants come in handy for planning and managing events like weddings. Think of the amount of time that you have already spent, or are planning to spend researching the best venues, striking deals with numerous vendors and contacting caterers. 

Wedding couple make a heart with hands

Below, we’ve compiled some reasons why you should consider hiring a Virtual Personal Assistant to plan your wedding.

A VA can help with…

Research

This is one of the greatest benefits of having a Virtual Assistant handle your wedding planning, especially if you have a full-time job or business to run. Research can be conducted on a wide range of topics, including the best reception and dinner locations, wedding venues, accommodation options, travel agencies, event décor and entertainers… to mention a few. 

Researching is a task that can take a lot of time, which you might not have, particularly if you have a demanding job.  

A VA can…

Bring Greater Peace of Mind

Using a Virtual Personal Assistant relieves you of some of the tasks that can become tiresome in the wedding planning process, and this will leave you with time to do other, more enjoyable tasks! Your Virtual Personal Assistant can be working on the tasks that you don’t want to do in the background and report back to you once they are completed. 

Wedding Banquet

A VA can…

Save You Money and Time

Hiring a Virtual Personal Assistant to assist with admin and organisational tasks will help you to cut costs as they will shop around for the best deals and keep your wedding planning budget in mind when they are conducting their research. They will follow your guidelines, without being distracted by other factors that might add to your wedding budget. 

Furthermore, if you have a job or business that takes up a lot of your time, then by outsourcing your wedding planning you will not be using up your own revenue generating time. 

And finally, with a YES Virtual Personal Assistant, you do not need to hand over the planning of your entire wedding, you can simply use our services for as little as 1 hour if you wish! 

A VA is…

Organised by Trade! 

One of the best things about hiring a Virtual Personal Assistant is the professionalism and efficiency that they bring to your wedding planning process… and, who wouldn’t want that for their big day? 

From keeping track of payments and bookings, to collating travel arrangements for family members, they can also assist with the table plan and the schedule for the day itself. 

A VA can…

Manage Your Diary

Your dedicated Virtual Personal Assistant can handle your calendar perfectly, reminding you of site visits, tastings, suit and dress fittings and rehearsals. In essence, having a virtual assistant to assist with your wedding planning will mean that you can remain a step ahead and you won’t miss a single detail! 

Wedding Party & Bride

There you have it!

Hire a Virtual Personal Assistant and your wedding planning process and the wedding itself will leave you with memories to cherish for years.

Images by Pexels and Tú Anh from Pixabay
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