What does a virtual assistant do all day? What kind of tasks pass over their desk? Does it really provide a work:life balance? Well here is my day in pictures for you…
(Obviously I couldn’t totally open my computer up for client confidentiality reasons, but hopefully this gives you some idea of what I get up to on a daily basis!)
All days must start with a cuppa. Mine starts at the office with one made by my dad at 9am. It’s a long story, but basically he’s squatting in my office and has been for the past 6 years. He does make the tea though, so he’s allowed to stay. This mug was from one of my VAs, Hazel, last Christmas – I love it, it’s my favourite!
Next we plan the day. I’m old fashioned in that I like to have it all written down on my colour coded day planner. I add in finance tasks, marketing activities, clients’ PA tasks, clients’ typing and update the list with who is available to work and when.
We check all the client’s work and make sure everything is on schedule for our deadlines.
Our printer is affectionately known as R2D2 because he’s about the same size and has the same inexplicable stubbornness!
As well as this workhorse colour laserjet printer we also have 2 x HP ink jets in the office. We’re probably a bit over-supplied, but as I often have to extract objects such as lollipops from my dad’s printer, it always pays to have a spare.
In between client jobs, I’ll be watching for work coming in via email, whilst the call team answers phone calls both for our own phone lines and for clients. Work gets outsourced depending on who is available and what they are able to do. Most of the VAs have a favourite few clients and we try to match these with the jobs.
Lunchtime and I get sent a picture of Ellie the cat, a VA-in-training – the VAs we work with all work from home and therefore can worship cats in between client work. Having said that, I banished the “mummy-shift” some time ago – our VAs without kids ended up doing early starts and late nights which seemed a bit unfair. So they either work mornings or afternoons. Lunch is invariably a tuna fish sandwich and sweetcorn – I am a creature of habit.
Afternoon: We have a pretty comprehensive marketing system for Virtually Sorted consisting of postcards, emails, phonecalls and our tracking system. (Before you decide to copy it please read here!) But it does need a bit of input upfront in order to get it all to work. We get great conversions from it, so it’s well worth the effort.
If I’m not doing marketing stuff for my business, I’ll often slot another batch of client work in here, but I’m mindful of having to be available if there’s a problem with any of the outsourced work, so my job is really as “emergency cover” rather than an actual worker.
Next: 4pm starts a sudden onslaught of typing work as most people are out in the field during the day and download their notes when they return to the office. We work to really tight turnaround times, so there’s always a rush to get everything assigned in the afternoons.
By 6pm it’s all calm once more and time for me to log off and go get some dinner.
10pm I check all the work is back in from the outsourcers, ready for us to check tomorrow morning and send back to the clients.
And then we do it all again…
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