There’s a type of debt that I’d bet you didn’t know you had. It’s the debt you accrue from pushing tasks back into times you had reserved for other things.
My friend and colleague Melissa Smith calls this “time debt.” Melissa is the founder of The PVA, a firm that matches personal virtual assistants with entrepreneurs, executives, authors, consultants, coaches, and anyone else who needs some help. She helped me find my own virtual assistant and it’s been life changing.
In fact, I recently had Melissa and Raquel Wilson, who is the founder of the company I use and love called Peachtree Versatile Assistants, on my live-streaming show Inside Scoop. Melissa and Raquel shared their expertise on how personal virtual assistants work.
Virtual assistants are people who help you with whatever you need to delegate. I started working with my virtual assistant, Tabitha, just before my second book, Listful Living, was published. I knew things were about to get intense and I needed someone to help me with administrative tasks. She’s been with me ever since and helps me run my media-training business and keeps track of my speaking engagements, appointments, media and more!
It’s not that I couldn’t have done those spreadsheets and emails — but it didn’t HAVE to be me. However, I’m the only one who has to show up and do media for my new book! See how that works?
I’m so much more productive when I outsource certain tasks, and you can be too.
Here are some tips and strategies from Melissa and Raquel on using VAs to maximize your productivity. (For reminders when “Inside Scoop” is going live, click here and get my list-making starter kit too.)
What can a VA help with?
Virtual assistants can help with anything that’s contributing to your time debt. Melissa and Raquel shared that the three most common areas that VAs help with are operations (like website or podcast maintenance), administrative tasks, and digital marketing.
Raquel also said that virtual assistants can act as a “virtual concierge” who helps support your customers and client base.
If you think you’re ready for a virtual assistant or might be ready in the future, start keeping a list of how you spend your time. I’m a big proponent of timing yourself for productivity, and that’s exactly what you need to do here.
Take a look at that list of how you spend your time. What tasks would you like to outsource? Raquel calls this the “VA wishlist.”
How long should I work with a VA?
However long you need help! Melissa and Raquel said it’s a common misconception that when you hire a VA, you need to commit to a certain amount of time or hours. But you can hire a VA for however much time you need.
Even hiring a VA for one project can save you many, many hours. Or if you know you’ll need assistance for longer, you can find someone who wants to commit for a longer period of time.
When should I hire a VA?
Melissa and Raquel agree that you should get help before you think you need it. When I started working with Tabitha, I wasn’t struggling with too many tasks yet — but I knew I would be soon if I didn’t hire a VA.
Take a look at your schedule for the next few months. Are you embarking on a new project? Launching a book, podcast, or course? Do you have other things you’d like to make time for?
Once you identify when you’ll start needing help, you can begin to find a VA.
How can I find the right VA?
Research and word of mouth go a long way. I hired Melissa at The PVA to help me find Raquel and her team at Peachtree Versatile Assistants. A service like that will help you brainstorm what behaviors and attributes you want in a VA. Peachtree Versatile Assistants even has a 2-minute free quiz you can take to figure out what you need. Likewise, that service can help you find a VA who knows how they work best and what kind of person they’d be successful working for.
If you’re not working with a matchmaking service, you can still find a good fit. You’ll need to do the legwork of considering exactly what you’re looking for in a VA and then locate that person through your networks. The PVA actually has a whole hiring workbook available for free to help you figure this out.
Improving productivity with a VA is all about finding the right match. A seamless fit with the right VA can be instrumental in boosting your productivity.