The Modern Person’s Guide to Delegating Better

delegating better

A 2013 Stanford University study found that 35% of chief executives say delegating is something that they need to improve. The question is: why are we all so bad at delegating? As we explored in this post, great time management comes down to doing what you do really well and the rest? Well that’s for someone else to deal with.

If you want to delegate better and feel confident about the tasks you pass the parcel on, check out these top tips. We’ll take you through the art of delegation, from that initial hire through to setting tasks and measuring success.

1. Hire someone you trust

One of the biggest reasons we find it difficult to delegate is that we don’t believe the person taking over will do the task as well as we can. Hiring a virtual assistant or another person you feel like you can build trust with will mitigate those concerns – so that you don’t spend just as much time worrying about the task than you could have spent doing it.

Take time to find the right fit, asking specific questions and giving scenarios to see how someone might manage your tasks, before you hand them over. You may even wish to instigate a “trial period”, during which you can provide a few sample tasks that will enable you to find a working relationship that suits your requirements.

2. Give yourself an incentive

If you’ve been strapped for time, chances are you’re forgoing the things you actually want to do for the things you have to do. Rather than seeing it as a burden, see delegation as a way get back the things you’ve been missing. This could be a gym workout, or the chance to work on a personal project or new business line. The more you delegate, the more you get to work on the thing you’re excited about. Soon, you’ll begin to associate good delegation with more freedom.

3. Create a delegation wish list

Even if you know you need to delegate, when it comes to deciding what to delegate you may be stumped. Ideas might include:

  • The tasks that are repetitive and easily replicated
  • Admin tasks that don’t require specific subject expertise
  • Anything you don’t like doing (yes you heard us right – that’s the joy of delegating!)

As you’re working through tasks, cultivate the habit of making a three column list with tasks you want to keep, tasks you could outsource and tasks for immediate delegation. This will help you to split up your to do list so you know exactly how to answer when your new assistant asks “what should I do next?”.

4. Set your hire up for success

Whether you hire a virtual assistant, PA, administrator or sales buddy, part of handing over is setting them up for success. Before you hire someone, create a process for how you’d like the delegated work to be managed. Then try to block out time periods to spend with this person, as this will save you more time explaining errors later on. For example, you might try sharing your screen on Skype to walk them through a task, giving them a Google doc to refer back to, or spending time with them face-to-face.

5. Retain visibility

For most of us, delegation signals a lack of control and this is why we put the brakes on. To retain control, create a visibility system where you can see what your helpers are working on and provide constructive feedback. Some of the top delegation tools we love here at ibLE include:

  • Wunderlist – great for sharing a to do list and seeing when tasks are completed.
  • Google Sheets – ideal for a shared spreadsheet that can be edited simultaneously.
  • Asana – a full project management tool for assigning tasks and deadlines.

6. Create clear expectations

Often, the reason you’ll want to delegate is because your to do list has exceeded your capacity. Which means when it comes to sharing that to do list, some of the most important aspects become forgotten. With any task you’re delegating try to include clear guidelines. This could include a soft and firm deadline, timescales for the project, banned phrases/actions and non-negotiable aspects which must be fulfilled in order to mark the task as “complete”.

7. Provide feedback

Early on in your delegation process, provide feedback. This could be notes and comments added to a Google doc, or a monthly or weekly call to discuss improvements. Most employees or virtual assistants will relish this opportunity to see exactly what it is you’re after and will often only need to be told once before they nail it next time.

Do you need an invisibLE assistant or personal PA to take the weight off your shoulders? We specialise in finding your perfect partner who will make delegation feel like a relief. Register here today.

What Should your Startup Outsource and When?

Startup outsource

So you want to build a startup? You probably already know that the films make it look easy when in reality, it’s a juggling act in which half of the balls are daggers waiting to impale you at a moment’s notice. Okay, maybe that’s a little extreme – but the truth is, juggling is about to become your new favourite hobby. Whether you’re just launching, becoming established or are in the nice hockey stick of growth, outsourcing is your key to success.

In this guide, we take you through all of the different tasks your startup could outsource and at which point you should be thinking about making that happen.

Stage one: Launching a startup

You are: In the throws of a great idea! This is the initial bubble where you may have an idea, a minimum viable product, or even an initial launch and are beginning to achieve product market fit and/or early customers.

You could outsource:

  • Administrative duties

Think about all of the repetitive administrative duties you’re fulfilling day-to-day – could a virtual assistant or administrator help take them off your hands? This could include sending out invoices, answering calls or even writing tweets to help promote your company.

  • Bookkeeping

Even when you are just launching they’ll be elements of bookkeeping you could outsource easily. The reason it’s useful to do this now is because when it comes to raising investment, your house needs to be in order. You can hire a freelance bookkeeper for just a few hours or one day per week, keeping costs down and saving you more time in the long run.

  • Design

A crucial early stage of startup success is creating an idea that people can get on board with. Before the business is a business, great design can help others to see your vision and get behind it. Sites such as Upwork and even Twitter can be great places to find designers to build wireframes, websites and landing pages for marketing purposes.

Stage two: Establishing a startup

You are: Making a reliable source of income, or acquiring early customers and starting to raise money to help fuel your growth. This could include raising money from friends and family, angel investors, a Series A (to help establish your business model) or a Series B (to achieve serious growth).

You could outsource:

  • HR and payroll

The more people your startup hires, the more HR processes required to keep the ship steering in the right direction. From onboarding new employees to working out the distribution of employee shares and recruitment hiring processes, you may begin to struggle to do it all on your own.

  • Accounting

At this stage, you may have paying customers and a growing team. Many CEOs keep hold of “accounting” throughout the growth period but your time could be better spent elsewhere. Good accounting will actually save you money, as they’ll be able to source you better deals, streamline your taxes and find any leaky buckets where your hard-raised cash is falling through.

  • Calendar management

At this point, you could have a range of appointments with investors, potential new hires and customers. Organising everything from Skype calls, to in-person meetings and business trips is a task best outsourced to a trusted personal assistant or VA (check out ibLE for some great calendar management pros!).

Stage three: Growing a startup

You are: In the crucial stage where your startup is growing, but the next few years could make or break. 25% of startups do not reach their fifth birthday. To avoid being part of that statistic, it’s time to create an engine that allows you to focus on the growth, without being hindered by some of the tasks you’ve always done yourself.

You could outsource:

  • Marketing

In the stages of growth, a firm finger on the pulse of your industry needs someone (or a team) who can react to marketing. The great thing about the modern world is that you don’t have to hire 10 people all under your roof to achieve great marketing success. Everything from content writers to growth hackers and social media experts can be outsourced to help you get the best results, without the overheads.

  • Sales processes

While you’ll probably already have sales experts or executives working for you, it’s the sales processes that could be outsourced during the growth stage. This may be creating presentations, sending follow-up emails to potential leads or ensuring that your lead gen materials are kept up to date.

  • Full HR

For every five staff members, it’s said that you should have one human resources personnel. If your figure is lacking at this stage, it’s time to get outsourcing. Luckily, there are lots of great organisations (like ibLE!) which can help you hire an HR executive with tons of experience, who doesn’t have to be a full time member of your team.

For help outsourcing any of your administrative, marketing or people-management tasks, take a glance at ibLE. Your one-stop shop for an invisibLE assistant that can help.

How Not To Be An “Admin Person” When Your Startup Scales

Admin person startup

Most startups start out scrappy. This means there’s an “all hands on deck” attitude and the CEO usually handles everything from marketing, to sales, HR and admin. But what happens when your startup scales? Does the CEO handover those less-important tasks to focus on the big stuff, or does he or she keep hold of them?

Often, it’s the latter. Many CEOs decide not to outsource the administrative duties when their startup scales for a few key reasons:

You don’t want to be seen as “too good” for the job

Many early employees are there from day dot, which means when the startup scales, the CEO still feels on a level playing field with those he or she works alongside. Being seen to giveaway the “lesser” jobs, might make you feel like you’re saying you’re better than everyone else (even though you’re really not saying that at all).

No one can do it as well as you can

Your startup is your baby and you don’t want to hand over any job, no matter how small, to someone who doesn’t love your baby quite as much as you do. Then there’s that secret voice that tells you it’s “quicker” for you to do the jobs you’ve always done, so you carry on doing them. But the truth is, you know that your time is more valuable now and could be better spent elsewhere.

You haven’t got time

Handing over the admin duties to someone else means an injection of time, at least initially. So if you’re strapped for time, “outsourcing” the admin work could get pushed to the back of the queue.

Do any of those reasons seem familiar? Don’t worry –  we’re here to help you put an action plan in place that will ensure you don’t end up being “the admin person” when your startup scales. Use these five action points to get good at outsourcing.

1. Work out the time you could save

If you’re like most entrepreneurs, you’ll know that time is money. Do the math if you don’t believe us. Most great admin assistants only need to save you around 4 hours per week in order to cover their own costs. Now how much admin could you outsource to get back just four precious hours of time? Seems like it could be worth the outlay.

2. Plan for the future

While your startup might still be at the stage now where you can get away with doing the admin, in the future it won’t be. Not only will you become a roadblock for new employees who can’t get anything done because they’re waiting on you, but investors in your business will want to see you using your time wisely too. Invest now, get the paperwork off your desk and your future self will thank you for it.

3. Health-check your paperwork

If you’re trying to do all of the admin while, you know, running the actual business, it’s likely that it isn’t in as good health as it could be. There are people out there who specialise in making your admin work like a well-oiled machine, which will tighten up the screws elsewhere in your business. Happy admin, happy startup.

4. Build trust

By outsourcing your admin and not trying to keep a firm grip on every single element of your startup, you build trust with those working around you. They trust that you aren’t too control heavy and that when the time’s right, you’ll allow others to scale and repeat the great work you’ve been doing. You also then begin to see that others can handle admin just as well as you can, which makes you more open to outsourcing other jobs too. All you need to do is take that first leap.

5. Make outsourcing your admin easy

Whether you pass your admin over to an employee you already trust, or use an admin outsourcing service like ibLE, make outsourcing as easy as possible for yourself. Create lists of the admin tasks you’re working on and hand them over one at a time. This way you’ll loosen the reins without feeling like you’ve lost control.

Where we come in  

At ibLE we’ve helped hundreds of CEOs and entrepreneurs outsource their admin to experienced invisibLE PAs. Some of the pros that will help you to feel comfortable about outsourcing to an ibLE PA include:

  • No contract – dip in and out whenever it suits you and your business.
  • Accessible – your PA will work around your timeframe and needs.
  • Personal – our PAs will go above and beyond to learn about your startup and what makes it tick.

Ready to begin the awesome journey of outsourcing your admin? Step into the ibLE office, right this way (don’t worry, it’s a virtual one we know you’re too busy for meetings).

Top 9 remote working places in London

If you’re a freelancer, or your office lets you work from home, who’s to say what your home “office” may look like? At ibLE we don’t see remote working places as a last resort. In fact, they’re often first choice for ensuring we can cram the work in between meetings, or to gain creative inspiration from a different cityscape, surrounded by freelancers and London’s top creatives.

So without further ado, we give you: ibLE’s guide to top remote working places in London.

1. The Office Group


Where: Multiple London locations.

Perhaps we’re biased (The Office Group’s Eccleston Square location is where the ibLE team works from) but TOG offers one of the most diverse selections of remote working places in London. As well as being able to brush shoulders with our ace team, TOG has 31 office spots across the city, from Bond Street to SoHo. Other perks include rooftop paradises in many of their buildings, a nifty member’s app where you can find and meet other companies and a drop-in service that’s only £75 per month. Grab your laptop and settle in. We can vouch firsthand for how awesome these working spaces are.

2. Thomas’s Cafe

Where:

5 Vigo Street (inside Burberry)
London
W1S 3HA

Open 8am – 8pm is Thomas’s Cafe in Burberry which sits on Vigo Street. ibLE Co Founder Emma’s “go to” when she’s in Mayfair, it’s a hidden gem for remote working and breakfast meetings when you want something a little luxe. Their quintessentially British menu serves up food you’ll recognise which means you can eat away alongside a stint of emails. At £4 for a latte it’s not the cheapest of café’s but the decor, complete with Burberry touches, more than makes up for it. Grab a front table to watch the world go by as you work, or for deep concentration, pick a cosy corner where you can hole up for the afternoon.

3. Ace Hotel London Shoreditch


Where:

100 Shoreditch High St
London
E1 6JQ

Ace Hotel is a well-known favourite with the freelance crowd, loved for its relaxed lobby and lounge area. Grab a spot on the working bench for your laptop and you’ll be treated to a gentle working hum and a power socket when you need to charge up. The lobby does get busy, so arrive early to nab a space. Best of all (aside from the good coffee) is that they allow four-legged friends inside – so everyday is bring your dog to work day when you’re working here.

4. Timberyard

Where:

TY Seven Dials
7 Upper Saint Martin’s Lane
London WC2H 9DL

Timeyard (TY) is a self-proclaimed “independent creative public workspace” which means you won’t feel guilty about settling in for a full day’s remote work. Located a three-minute walk from Leicester Square station, it’s a central spot for working amongst other creatives. Food is a simple, yet delicious affair. Think hot buttered Croque Monsieurs, soups and salads. Chased down by a cake or brownie of course, because you’d feel odd if you didn’t.

5. Charlotte Street Hotel

Where:

15 – 17 Charlotte Street
London
W1T 1RJ

London hotels are often undervalued as good remote working spaces, but Charlotte Street Hotel is one of its finests. Not only is the hotel seriously insta-worthy (check out the mint green exterior) but it has a great central location and lots of space for you to immerse yourself in a quiet afternoon of work. ibLE loves the ground-floor Oscar Bar & Restaurant which opens at 7am with a range of tea, coffees, cocktails and cuisines for you to stay fuelled. If you’re working the weekend in particular, there are always plenty of inside and outdoor tables going spare. With friendly staff as standard, this is a remote working paradise.

6. The British Library

Where:

96 Euston Rd
London
NW1 2DB

Where better to seek working inspiration than the world’s largest library? Also known as the British Library, this well-kept secret is a great remote working space. Grab a spot at Origin Coffee where the flat white is on point. Or for £80 per year you can become a member, receiving lots of perks; not limited to use of the The Members’ Room where there’s free WiFi and a great view of the King’s Library. The public library spaces do get full quickly, so turn up early if you want to grab the best working spot.

7. The Riding House Café

Where:

43-51 Great Titchfield St
Fitzrovia
London
W1W 7PQ

If you’re looking for somewhere quirky to get inspired, The Riding House Café in Fitzrovia is a great London working space. With lots of big windows, it has plenty of light to help you stay focused and plenty of seats too, which means you won’t be hurried on your way. A large breakfast, lunch and dinner menu means you can stay for all three meals if you wish, although the coffee’s pretty good on its own. The only concern regulars have is that the WiFi can become slow at peak times, so make sure you take a personal hotspot (or be dangerous and work offline) and you’ll be all set.

8. Google’s Campus

Where:

4-5 Bonhill St
London
EC2A 4BX

The Campus Cafe by Google, is a free remote working space in London, so long as you sign-up to be a member. What’s great about Campus is that it’s built for startups and entrepreneurs so there’s always an interesting conversation to hear or be had. The WiFi is free and the coffee good – no wonder so many Campus graduates are now running the world’s best startups. We’ll certainly be considering joining them on our next remote working day.

9. Queen Elizabeth II Olympic Park

Where:

Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park
London
E20 2ST

If you’re sick of being stuck inside then the Queen Elizabeth park may be the remote working space your dreams are made of. The park has WiFi throughout which means you can work outside at your leisure! Just remember your brolly (and to pack your own coffee), if you want to make the most of the al fresco working. To sign into the Park’s free WiFi, select it from the list of networks, add your name and address and you should be good to go.  

What are your favourite remote working places? Let us know @ible_it.

This PA’s interview involved organising a birthday party in Ibiza

Party in Ibiza

Party-planning, travel, relationships with some of the world’s most renowned concierge departments. Sounds like a modern day blockbuster doesn’t it? The reality is so much more interesting.

Because behind some of the world’s most successful entrepreneurs, CEOs and investors, often lies an experienced personal assistant. Someone who is familiar with such an array of activities that they become the “go to” trusted person for anything from gift-sourcing to travel arrangements and appointment management.

Curious about what the personal assistant role entails? We thought we’d give you a glimpse #InsideibLE to when Co-Founder Emma Hatto tasked one of our ibLE PAs with organising her 30th birthday party in Ibiza.

Note: our ibLE PA’s name has been hidden to protect their anonymity and their clients.

How did organising Emma’s birthday party become one of your first tasks with ibLE?

It happened by accident. When Emma and I were doing catch up calls (ibLE’s Co-Founders get to know all of the ibLE PAs so they can be matched to clients effectively) she was talking about having about her birthday in Ibiza. At the time I was looking after another client and overseeing their property in Ibiza so I asked if I could help with anything because I had started to build up quite a good contact base there.

Had you organised events before?

My family started an events business and I had always wanted to do events so I was desperate to go and work there. There was only a small team and I was responsible for everything from finding the business, to pitching ideas and budgeting, to the implementation and the execution. It was a lot of high end parties, incentive trips for top achievers and various finance firms and that type of thing, but it was always at the HNW end of the market.

Did you have much experience of Ibiza already?

As I mentioned earlier, I already had a client based out there whose property I had renovated so my contact book was very up to date and very current. I’d heard a few horror stories so I learnt quite quickly with Ibiza that you want to work with the ones that are going to work the way you want to work. There are a lot that are very “mañana” (which means “tomorrow”), which is fine but when you’re only flying in for a few days for a birthday you don’t have the luxury of “oh yes, we will do that for you and organise that private event but you will have to have it in a couple of weeks time”. It doesn’t work like that as the birthday would have been and gone.  

An Instagram post capturing Emma's birthday bash

A post shared by Hannah Kehoe (@hannahkehoe) on

What kind of things were you in charge of organising for the party?

It varied, so for instance logistics is quite often an issue especially out there in terms of transporting people from A to B. So I worked with a contact that I use and we organised a minibus to ferry all of Emma’s head group around. The hardest thing was trying to find someone who would be flexible in their timings because quite often when you’re partying you don’t always want to leave when you think you’re going to want to. So that’s something that people often don’t contemplate and it’s trying to find companies that can be slightly flexible without it impacting their business at the other end. Then I was sourcing things like recommendations for restaurants, various different activities and party nights where we looked at DJs over there and the cost of hiring sound systems while also trying to get Emma the best value for money.

Did you have to be cost-conscious or was it quite an open budget?

Definitely and with anyone, just because they have got the money to spend, they still want to spend it wisely. Sometimes you need to find the balance because when you try and cost save you can end up shooting yourself in the foot because you have gone to the lowest end and you don’t get the service that you need. It’s a question of finding the middle ground and that again comes down to relationships and contacts. Obviously you don’t always get it right but 9 times out of 10 you do and this worked really well for Emma’s party.

I know a lot of clients call you “The Fixer”. Were there any problems on this occasion that you had to solve?

Once example was that Emma needed access to a club she had already bought tickets for. I had a contact there whereby we could have got her VIP treatment and a table which actually worked out more cost effective. It also meant Emma and her friends wouldn’t have to queue, they would get fast tracked, they would get VIP service and they wouldn’t have to go to the bar so the whole experience would be much better. So the next challenge was to get all the original tickets refunded and it wasn’t one person that had bought the whole lot, even the couples had bought theirs individually, so it was a question of contacting each one and making sure everyone got their refunds. It all got sorted in the end and so even paying for my time to do that was still more cost effective and they would have had a much better experience than had they gone down the general admission route with their original tickets. It would have been fine but it was more to add that edge to their evening and make it that bit more special.

Do you usually attend the parties or events you organise?

I’m always on the end of my phone. I literally have to surgically remove it from me unless I’m on a plane and there’s no reception, I’m always there on hand. Depending on the nature of what I’ve organised, or if it had been on a larger scale I would have insisted that I attend the event or the pre planning for it because the hardest thing sometimes is to try and act as a third person when you’re virtual. Quite often it’s better for the client if you’re there to deal with the situation there and then on site.

Birthday party planning in Ibiza

A post shared by Emma Hatto (@emmahatto) on

Do you always tend to have a face-to-face relationship with clients?

Initially always. I think it’s important for me especially when you’re taking on new clients and you’re doing a lot of ad hoc work it’s quite hard to develop the relationship in terms of really getting to know how they tick, what they want and what they are about so meeting them to begin with is invaluable really. I think the piece that makes you better at your job than maybe others is that initial analysis and trying to learn very quickly in a short space of time how they work. Some people love communicating on Whatsapp, others will only ever pick up the phone, some are visual, others like a spreadsheet and numbers. The more information you have the better you can be.

What was the feedback from the party in Ibiza, was Emma pleased with the result?

Emma was really, really pleased she was thrilled with the way it had all gone. I think it had gone much better than she anticipated and the biggest thing for her was the ease with which everything had come together. Because she is so busy it was something she couldn’t allocate enough time to, but in reality when it came to her birthday it is a really important part of her life so she was able to get the best of both worlds. Continuing to run her business and actually still have a piece of personal time and it not be detrimental in any way.

From Emma:

“Planning a birthday in a different country for you and 20 of your friends whilst trying to run a business is not an easy task. I honestly couldn’t have done it without my ibLE PA or if I had it would have been nowhere near as good. I find it hard to delegate these tasks because I love them and because I want everything to be perfect but my ibLE PA made it more than perfect, it was better than I could have ever expected. It really does pay to have someone doing this stuff in the background. Bring on the next big birthday!”

If you’re interested in working with an ibLE PA, you can register here.

Questions to Ask When Hiring Your Virtual Assistant

Questions to Ask When Hiring Your Virtual Assistant

Before we add a virtual or personal assistant to our books at ibLE they undertake both a personal and automated screening process. In layman’s terms, this means we give potential ibLErs a three pillar interview:

1) We interview them ourselves. After all, if we don’t know their strengths, weaknesses and desires how can we match them to the correct client?

2) We use a series of candidate testing processes and tasks that access skills like problem solving, working memory, mental agility and anything else that’s key to an awesome PA.

3) We often have them spend some time as a personal PA to Emma or Georgina, the ibLE Co-Founders, in order to really get to know what makes that person tick. Seeing how someone manages our own life or business admin is one of the easiest way to discover how they might manage someone else’s.

Of course, while this makes us experts in how and why to hire a VA, if you’re first-time hiring or looking to find the perfect VA you could probably use a bit of a cheat sheet.

Here, we take you through some of the most important questions to ask when hiring a virtual assistant.

1. Tell me about a relationship you have with a past client? Not only will this give you insight into their level of discretion but will also flag any pitfalls in their ability to retain a good relationship, even post-contract.

2. How do you prefer to communicate with clients? From Whatsapp, to email, iMessage and even Instagram, how you both communicate will be key to keeping the lines of communication clear.

3. If you were struggling with a task what would you do? This will help clarify how they face adversity and how likely you are to know about issues before they arise.

4. What are your least favourite tasks? Knowing early on, which tasks your VA may shrink from, will flag whether they are the right fit for the work you have to offer.

5. What would be your ideal tool stack? You don’t necessarily have to love all of the same tools, but if you’re both big fans of Trello or Google Docs already, this will show parity and will make the onboarding experience easier.

6. What hours do you usually work? VAs often have the freedom to set their own hours, but if you’re a night owl and your VA prefers to work 9-5, you may not be the best fit.

7. Have you ever worked with a client who didn’t give clear enough instructions? This is a good indicator of how much direction the VA will need to successfully complete tasks and will reduce the chances of either party becoming dissatisfied later down the line.

8. What signals a successful client relationship to you? A simpler version of this question is “Why did you become a VA?” but this flips it from personal choices (more time, freedom etc.) to how your potential assistant would measure professional success while working with you.

9. What are your goals for the future? This is very atypical of job interviews but is even more important when you want to invest in a relationship that will last.

10. If you needed a specific amount of information to successfully complete a task but your client was too busy to write all of it in an email what would you do? These types of situational questions are a great way to judge an assistant’s ability to communicate well and how easily they can manage upwards when working with CEOs or entrepreneurs who may be time-poor.

11. Is there anything that isn’t included in your daily or monthly rate? If you are paying a virtual assistant hourly this helps to flag any tasks that they see “outside of remit”. For example, while you might consider some basic SEO support on your website an appropriate task, some VAs may consider this a specialised task that requires additional support.

12. If we were starting from a blank canvas, what tools or processes would you suggest we could use? There is likely a stock response your potential VA could make, but this is also a great opportunity for them to discuss processes they have setup for other clients and more importantly why they suggested those processes. Ideally, you want someone who is proactive at thinking of ways to save you more time or to help your business to become more efficient.

13. Do you perform any personal tasks for your current clients? This helps you both to determine boundaries. For example, some VAs may consider dry cleaning and arranging children’s swimming lessons part-and-parcel whereas others prefer to only complete business-orientated tasks.

14. Tell me why you left your last full time role (or why you have always worked virtually if this is the case)? Many individuals prefer to work virtually and may have valid reasons for doing so, for example due to living in a remote area where there aren’t many physical job opportunities. However, the reasoning behind being a remote employee will help you to understand their motivations and considerations for being in this role.

15. Are there any times where you are completely unavailable? Finding any blindspots in your potential VA’s day will help you to plan accordingly. For example, if they are absolutely not available while doing a school run, or working for another client, you can seek an alternative or ensure you plan around those times.

If you’d like to be paired up with an ibLE PA (who is already screened and has the right skill set for you), register here.

What Millionaires Know About Time Management

time management tips

It may surprise you to learn that many entrepreneurs and startup Founders don’t have an assistant. Sure, they might acknowledge that they need “help” and the benefit that could come from having a virtual assistant onboard. But does this make them actually go out and hire one? Often, not.

Yet you only have to look at a handful of successful entrepreneurs to see that there’s a sharp divide between those who are millionaires and those who have barely made it out the doors. The secret? Outsourcing.

Why paying out leads to money in

Neil Patel is the founder of a series of startup “success stories” like Kissmetrics, Crazy Egg and Hello Bar. He also works with companies like Amazon to help grow their revenue. Neil is known as one of the most successful content writers of the past decade, a low-cost method he uses to attract users to his software products. In a Quora thread, a user asked:

“How do people like Neil Patel produce so much content in such a short time?”

You know what his answer was? Outsourcing to an assistant. Neil explains how he does the bit he’s best at (actually writing the content) and then outsources the other 90% so that he can spend more time on the writing. By doing this, he is able to publish eight blog posts a week including five guest posts. Given that this is the number one source of customers to his existing businesses (not to mention the amount of exposure he gets as a Founder and investor), it’s a pretty smart way to spend his time.

As he says,

“Your time is valuable. You should stick with creating content in the most streamlined process. I used to post to WordPress and add pictures to each of my posts myself, but that process would take me twenty to thirty minutes. By hiring someone, you’ll save time.”

This shows how even saving 20-30 minutes per task is essential to increasing productivity and more importantly, increasing the activities that make the biggest difference to profit or customer number.

The importance of time management

Social media guru and entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk knew that when it came to hiring an assistant, it was largely about better time management. When he realised he was disrespecting a lot of clients, employees and potential partners with his ad-hoc approach to meetings and punctuality, he needed someone to bring in a system that would help.

What had stopped him from getting an assistant for so long? Disbelief that he could find someone that could schedule someone who was, as he put it, “totally un-schedulable”. Despite this, Gary quickly realised what an improvement having an assistant made not only in respecting the time of others, but for his own career and life.

“I’ll tell you that now being able to follow a schedule (with the help of an assistant), and being able to work out (with the help of Mike) are two of the biggest confidence builders in me.”

Managing time doesn’t have to be about reducing the company to do list either. As many entrepreneurs and startup founders know, time management in your personal life is just as important.

“You spend money on a PA to make money, because you can focus more on your business. Having a personal PA do my life admin doesn’t mean I spend less time with my son, it just means I spend less time at work distracted by other things” explains ibLE Co-Founder Georgina on the reasons behind hiring a PA for her personal life.  

Autumn Adeigbo, entrepreneur and Founder of a women’s wear label by the same name, explains how important delegation of tasks like laundry and apartment cleaning are if they’re the tasks that drain not just your time but also your energy:

“Delegation has become an important part of my sanity both professionally and personally…it is an important aspect of leadership development and an important element in self-care.”

The value of an assistant

Something entrepreneurs are good at is working out their return on investment. Think about it like this; an entrepreneur earning £1 million in dividends or personal income per year, could hire an assistant who earns £80,000 per year. To break even, that assistant would only need to make him or her 8% more productive.

Would you be 8% more productive if you had an assistant who could take care of tasks like email management, meeting scheduling and even dry cleaning? If we think about this in terms of time, an assistant to an entrepreneur who works a 40-hour week, only need save them 3 hours a week, to be a worthwhile hire.

It also makes for an easy first hire, while you perhaps build up to a role like your first VP of sales or Head of Marketing.

“If you’re a solopreneur hiring a VA is one of the best investments you can make and one of the best ways to get into learning how to manage a team.” says Kathleen Shannon who runs the successful Being Boss franchise.

If you want to become better at time management, save time and seek more freedom to chase the bigger picture of your company, hiring a VA is a clear step in the right direction. Try a no-obligation virtual PA from ibLE today.

15 Tasks Your Virtual PA Can Help With

virtual PA task list

Outsourcing is hard right? When you do everything in your business, you often are the business. Trying to give that to someone else to manage can feel like almost too much effort.

Yet we work with hundreds of entrepreneurs who have opened up the stress valve by delegating a series of marketing, business and personal tasks to a virtual personal assistant. That sigh of relief? That’s all of the mundane, repetitive or non-essential tasks leaving their brain while they focus on the 20% that actually moves the bottom line.

You know who else could do that? You.

Take a scan down our list of tasks that your next virtual personal assistant could take off your hands and then get delegating!

Virtual assistant business tasks

 

1. Email management

Did you know that the average person is distracted every 40 seconds when working in front of a computer? If you think about your units of time, how often do you stop what you’re working on to check email? One of the huge benefits of outsourcing email management to a personal assistant is that you get an intelligent filter so the only emails you see are the ones that matter.

2. Calendar organisation

We’re firm believers that time is money and making the most of your calendar is essential. Having a personal assistant organise meetings, personal appointments and space to work will make a huge difference to how much time is available. Have you really got time to sit and plan all of your meetings in the same area, for the same day? If not, it’s time to let your virtual PA take this task off your hands.

3. Client liaison

Once you have built a level of trust with your virtual PA, client liaison is one of the areas where they can really help. Our ibLE PAs will often to speak to clients on behalf of the person they are supporting, whether this is to arrange lunch, provide a project update or just generally build the relationship. This allows you to build strong relationships and project management with clients, while still being able to work on other tasks.

4. Transcribing meetings notes or interviews

Perhaps a virtual personal assistant can’t attend all of your important calls and meetings but they can certainly transcribe them. Whether it’s action points from a board meeting that need to be assigned and organised, or a transcript from an interview with a new research subject, emailing an audio file to be transcribed is simple. Just make sure you’re telling whoever you’re recording to check they’re okay with it first!

5. Recruitment

The task of hiring new team members can be arduous and time-consuming. But when you really think about it, how many of the stages need to be managed solely by you? Creating job ads, managing applications and organising interviews can all be arranged by a virtual personal assistant, so that you only have to show up for the key moment.

Virtual assistant marketing tasks

6. Blogpost uploads

As you’ll have seen if you’ve read our insight into how millionaires make the most of their time, writing blogposts is a multi-step process. Other than the actual writing, your personal virtual assistant can take care of 90% of the other tasks. From proofreading, to editing, uploading posts to a CMS like WordPress and even sourcing images, blog management is one task to permanently remove from your list.

7. Social media monitoring

Social media has become a common marketing strategy for most brands and it’s thought that 65 million local businesses have a Facebook page, and 5 million an Instagram profile. You know who else is often good at social? Virtual PAs. Whether it’s scheduling and uploading your posts, monitoring comments or reminding you when you’re about to lose momentum, outsourcing some of your early social media tasks could save a huge amount of time.

8. Market research

In the early days of a business, market research and prospecting potential clients is an essential yet often time-consuming role. VAs often have experience is discretely tracking down potential clients and can even connect with them on social media on your behalf.

9. Email marketing

Isn’t email marketing the thing that just always falls by the wayside when things get busy? Personal assistants are able to manage your email calendar, ensuring that the right communications go out to the right people at the right time. Whether it’s onboarding email trails, monthly newsletters or automated responses, why not hand them over to someone who has the time?

10. Graphic design

Not all personal assistants will have design skills, but many will be able to use a tool such as Canva or Picmonkey to create social media items and promotional graphics. Many design tools now offer templates for more complex items like email campaigns and infographics, so this could be one marketing task you no longer have to struggle to complete.

Virtual assistant personal tasks

11. Healthcare

Do you regularly miss doctor’s appointments? Forget to have your annual dentist visit? Personal assistants are well versed at keeping you on track with all of your healthcare needs, from regular appointments to vaccinations and ensuring your prescriptions are ready when you need them.

12. Appointment management

Often it can seem like we need a whole day each week just to deal with life admin and our personal appointments. A personal assistant can manage your personal calendar alongside your business one, coordinating appointments in each. In our experience, they’ll also crosscheck with other family members and shared calendars so that double booking becomes a faux-pas of the past.

13. Gift sourcing

Christmas, birthdays, Easter, Mother’s day – the list of holidays only grows each year. Often you’ll be the best person to think up the perfect gift idea, but those hours trawling the internet searching for what’s in your mind’s eye? That’s best done by someone else. Corporate gifts too, can become the job of a virtual assistant to help research and arrange.

14. Research

Wish you could find a new hot yoga class? Or a hip new restaurant to impress friends with? These eclectic experiences often lie at the bottom of an internet rabbit hole, one which could take hours to navigate. To free you up to concentrate on the business tasks at hand, a virtual assistant can help research almost anything on your to do list.

15. Travel planning

Not only are virtual personal assistants great at organising travel, locating the best flights and planning logistics for your family, but they’re often well-travelled themselves. This means extra tips on where to eat, or which car service to book that will ensure you have a hassle-free travel experience. So that when it’s time to relax, you actually do.

 

Are you planning on outsourcing some (or all!) of the above tasks to a trusted personal assistant? For help finding the right one, learn more about our pay-as-you-go virtual PAs.

Need a personal assistant for a day? Here’s how.

personal assistant for a day

How many people have you hired to help you simply survive in your business? To stop you from being swallowed during a busy period or under a day that just won’t quit?

Truth is, when it’s ALL-SYSTEMS-GO, it can seem easier to hire bodies on seats than it is to find other ways.

And there are many.

Pay-as-you-go PAs, people you can hire for a few minutes, or an hour, who have just as much experience as someone you could spend months recruiting. Who take over tasks as easily as if they’ve always known you and your business.

This is what life looks like for some of the most successful CEOs, Founders and Hedge Fund Managers. Why? Because they’ve found themselves a one-day only PA.

What is a pay-as-you-go PA?

Here’s an example of a classic PA situation and why you get someone amazing, even when you’re only hiring for a day:

Sarah is a 35 y/o Mum of two. She used to work as a PA for Deutsche Bank earning £55K per year with bonus, but after her second son was born, she wanted to be at home more. Swapping her commute for a chunk of salary seemed like a fair deal. Now Sarah works from home, doing around six hours a day helping COOs of technology companies to get stuff done. It’s fast-paced enough that it keeps Sarah interested but she can do it from home and be finished in time for nursery pick ups.

Sarah isn’t the only type of pay-as-you-go PA either. Some go out to events, travel and do everyday errands like dry-cleaning and shopping. Whether deskbound or out-of-office proud, their only similarity is that they’re sh*t-hot at getting stuff done, fast.

If you think about it, we’re already using this model in a ton of other business scenarios. Rather than hiring an office, you take an area in a coworking space. Instead of filling a filing cabinet, you put everything on Dropbox.

In almost every other business sense, you only pay for what you need. But when it comes to people, we’re stuck paying for every minute that’s spent commuting, making a cup of tea or taking time off. It doesn’t work for anyone: when PAs are chained to their desks they can’t get on with the other things they want to do or that life throws at them. When Founders are forced into hiring weekly contractors they only need for a day, they’re wasting money.

Which leads us on to:

Can you hire a personal assistant for a day?

The answer is yes. Many sites, including ibLE let you hire personal assistants for small time periods. With ibLE, we bill in five-minute increments to be exact. There’s a surprising amount our PAs can get done in that time and it just seems fairer that you only pay for what you use.

This type of hire also works if you need a personal assistant for a specific trip, event or business activity. Maybe you just need someone to field emails for a day while you’re otherwise engaged, or to help with time-management for appointments at a tradeshow.

Most PAs are so experienced that they can jump in with little guidance. Truth be told, they just want to get on and get the job done. Pleasantries are great but they’re not for those working to five-minute time clocks and our PAs are nothing if not time conscious.

Is it worth hiring a PA for a day?

That niggly feeling you’ve got? The one that whispers “this seems too good to be true?” It’s the biggest barrier to getting from overworked and overwhelmed to into control. It’s time to trust the system.

Every mentor you’ll ever have, every entrepreneur success-story you’ll read, they’re all talking about the benefit of having a good PA. And yes, when you hire a PA for a day there’s an element of risk. You don’t know how good they are or what they’re going to be able to get done. If they mess up, the day’s over and there’s no second chance.

But what if they don’t? What if you’re free to just turn up at the conference. Without worrying if your suit’s clean or if you’ve got the right meeting appointment times?

Those tasks you’re thinking about getting someone to do? They seem overwhelming to you right now because you have a million and one other things to think about. But they aren’t overwhelming to an experienced, conscientious PA. To them, those tasks are a breeze.

It’s an investment in yourself, but also in your business. The more small tasks you can delegate, the more headway you can make into the actual journey.

Think of it like this: you can’t drive the train if you’re tending the drinks cart, cleaning the toilets and filling up the petrol. They’re all essential parts to getting the train there and in good shape, but they aren’t a one-person job. So let other people (i.e., your personal assistant) do the bits you can’t do while you’re looking out the front window.

Sure you might only need them for a day, or half a day. But the amount of headspace it’ll clear (and over time it WILL add up), the more headway you’ll be able to make.

Until the journey isn’t only faster, it’s more enjoyable too.

Looking to hire a PA for a day? We ready and waiting to get you matched to a PA who can start now. Sign-up at ible-it.com.

3 Reasons your Startup Needs a Virtual Assistant

startup personal assistant

Most startup founders and CEOs start out without an assistant. If money’s tight, why hire someone to do what you can already do yourself right? It’s a great point. But what happens when you’re further down the rabbit hole and you’re still doing those admin tasks? There’s a ton of value in admin done right, but wasted value in a CEO or COO doing it. Here, we look at three compelling cases for making your next hire a virtual assistant.

1. You’ll get to prioritise performance

Just because you can do your own admin, doesn’t necessarily mean you should. If your ability to make money was based solely on how much you could make in an hour, would you make more doing admin or doing something else? A Founder or CEO’s most valuable asset is their time and if it’s being used badly, you’re losing leverage. Just because you’ve always done the booking of train tickets and organisation of HR, doesn’t mean you should. Pay to prioritise performance. If that means hiring a virtual PA who can take over an hour or two of admin per day, then that’s an investment you’ll get back in your own time.

Take Neil Patel as an example. Neil is arguably the most successful content writer of all time. When someone on Quora asked how he manages to get such a volume of good content out, do you know what he said?

“I’ve found that it’s quicker to write a post in Google docs or Microsoft Word and have someone else correct it, post it to WordPress, and even add pictures.

Your time is valuable. You should stick with creating content in the most streamlined process. I used to post to WordPress and add pictures to each of my posts myself, but that process would take me twenty to thirty minutes. By hiring someone, you’ll save time.”

In other words, he pays someone else to do the admin so he can prioritise the bit he’s best at: writing the content.

2. You’ll get a professional

When you think of having a virtual assistant who do you picture? Someone young? An “offshore” employee working on a different timezone? Let us give you an idea of the type of virtual assistants we have (and use) at ibLE.

Most are between the ages of 30 and 50, often female, with a family. Their background will be working as a PA in the city, supporting entrepreneurs and UHNWI at some of the world’s leading companies. They would have earned around £60K in the city. You know what this really means? That they’re incredibly qualified to do your admin and take specific tasks off of your hands. Coming from challenging environments, where they were at the top of their game, means you aren’t getting someone young, junior or inexperienced. And that’s what makes all of the difference.

When you have someone professional managing your day-to-day activities, you can go and explore your limits, safe in the knowledge that everything else is under control.

Your virtual assistant doesn’t have to be capped by current norms. They’re a professional and often an expert in their field, just like you.

3. You’ll avoid burning out

Career burnout is commonplace in startups. It looks like this: you begin to find distaste in your everyday work. You get frustrated over the smallest fissures. You can even experience physical manifestations like an inability to eat or sleep.

It may be a common phenomenon but it doesn’t have to be. How can you avoid burnout? By delegating. Which starts with your virtual assistant.

No time for a holiday? Delegate the tasks that are keeping you busy.

Aaron Levie, Co Founder and CEO of Box, sums this up nicely:

“I am constantly tracking the things I’m doing that I don’t think I am good at. I try to delegate those things as frequently as possible, and get better people to solve those problems.”

Other Founders says it’s about getting out of the bubble in order to see the bigger picture. The more support you have in your company, the more you can get out of it.

If you aren’t sure what tasks a virtual assistant could take on, here are a few to get you started:

  • Presentation creation
  • Proofreading
  • Form-filling
  • Research
  • Social media marketing
  • Call fielding
  • Interviews

….the list goes on!

The other great thing about a virtual assistant is that they aren’t limited by traditional “office” hours. If you need support across the weekend, they can help. If you need something late or early, often they set their own hours and can be there to support you around their other commitments.

When it comes to taking a weight off of your shoulders and avoiding burnout, a virtual assistant is the fastest way there.

Ready to try a virtual PA for your business? Get started here.