In November 2008, we had recently returned to Sydney from living in Croatia for 2.5yrs and my initial priority was settling into our new home before returning to my virtual assistance business. Since starting several months earlier, I had been continuously busy with branching out my inlaw’s family business as well as a few virtual clients of my own, so I wanted to update my business and marketing plans before hitting the ground running.

However, thanks to the wonder of Twitter, Stephen Kelly of SJK Consulting Pty Ltd stumbled upon a tweet of mine that piqued his interest at the right time and the rest became history. A few discussions later I started assisting him on a daily basis and it was a really comfortable and easy partnering lasting 6 months. I appreciated the fact that Stephen was understanding and flexible allowing me to take care of my young family, and he in turn had the benefit of my support and commitment outside of office hours and on the weekends, so the arrangement suited us both.

Here Stephen talks about his experience with his first Virtual Assistant!

How did you find out about this type of virtual support?

I found information on what exactly a Virtual Assistant is and can do via Alex after meeting her on Twitter. I had briefly looked into it before, but not seriously. I actually wasn’t thinking of hiring one until I got to know Alex online, and after talking to her about it, thought it was worth giving a try.

What were the most important qualities you were looking for?

For me it was probably availability and reliability. I work many strange and unpredictable hours, and knew for something to really work the person had to be accessible during those unusual hours.

What sort of tasks did VIP Virtual Solutions do for you?

Alex provided a variety of services such as calendar, email and task management, brainstorming, invoicing of clients, proofreading, digital transcriptions and documentation preparation. I’m sure there was a lot more!

Calendering was probably the most important thing I wanted and needed ie prioritising an updated “to do“ list every day and ensuring I completed the many tasks I was juggling and their deadlines. She always put her hand up offering to take some tasks off me, which was handy as it saved me from having to think about or decide what I could or should delegate in order to be more productive.

What was the best thing for you about having a Virtual Assistant?

The flexibility and being highly accessible. I could easily contact Alex wherever I was via skype, DM (direct message via Twitter), email, phone or SMS and ask for certain or urgent information such as researching relevant topics or just double checking and/or rescheduling meetings.

For me, it was essential I could contact my assistant quickly, feel comfortable about dealing with them, be totally confident they were actually doing what is required unsupervised (as they work remotely) and lastly, but most importantly, had my best interests at heart.

Another bonus is not having to provide office space for them or computer hardware, and the service provided was totally on an “as needed“ basis which is convenient as it’s adaptable to my needs.

What is your advice to those considering working with a Virtual Assistant?

Make sure you get to know the person a bit before working together, they have relevant experience, are flexible to your needs and have a wide knowledge base. It’s essential your VA know a little bit about everything, and also keeps up with new online and industry developments.


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