Michael Hyatt wrote The Virtual Assistant Solution. He uses my primary sponsor (eaHELP) as a solution to his demanding schedule and work. I interviewed eaHELP to ask them about it.
1) How did Michael Hyatt become such a big fan of eaHELP? Why did he write the eBook?
We’ve been fortunate to partner with Michael Hyatt since nearly the start of our business. He brought his assistant, Tricia, on board in early 2011 and has since added several of our eaHELP virtual assistants to his team. Michael, with his extensive background in corporate leadership, understands that good leaders absolutely must delegate some of their workload to others if they’re going to achieve their goals. And for a solo entrepreneur like Michael, a virtual executive assistant was a perfect fit.
When he launched his own speaking and writing business, he reached out to eaHELP and we’ve both benefitted from that relationship ever since.
(See post on “Behind the Scenes” with Michael’s first VEA Tricia to learn more about how he got started and what his assistants do for him –http://michaelhyatt.com/
2) What are the things/tasks that most Pastors / Church Leaders don’t realize they can do … w/ a virtual assistant?
Probably the biggest things that most leaders, from any industry, don’t realize they can do is offload their email to a virtual executive assistant. So many leaders have the “in box zero” goal, but with the volume of communication they receive and the speed at which they receive it that’s nearly impossible. Having someone else look at your in box and help you triage those messages frees up so much valuable time, and that’s often where our clients have their assistants start. Working together, the client and VEA can develop standard responses to the most common email questions and clients can point their VEA to the resources they need to help find answers for other frequent requests. This frees leaders up to handle only those emails that require their unique input and expertise.
Another area where leaders can really benefit is in scheduling and calendar management. How many emails do you get a day that read something like, “Are you free for coffee on Thursday? Can you make the meeting on Sunday night?” Having a VEA screen those emails for you, and be able to manage your calendar to send the answers to those people, means you’ve got all that time back in your work day. Plus, your VEA can act as your scheduling gatekeeper and protect the blocks of time you need to accomplish your goals. If you know you’ll need three hours next week to finish a presentation, having your VEA handle your calendar means you’ll keep those three hours uninterrupted – and you don’t have to be the “bad guy” who said “no” to all those requests.
3) How’s business at eaHELP?
Things at eaHELP are really growing. We saw growth that definitely exceeded our projections in 2013, and we don’t see that slowing down in 2014. We’re really picking up traction in the industry, and leaders in all industries are seeing the value that can come from expanding their workforce virtually. We’re serving leaders from large corporations, and we’re serving entrepreneurs who are starting up their very first businesses. We’re serving pastors planting a new church, and we’re serving mega-church pastors and their staff members. And we’re doing it all successfully. We see only growth in this industry as more and more leaders look for affordable ways to add quality workers to their teams, and as qualified workers (like the EAs we hire) look for more flexible ways to move their careers forward.
4) What are the key things/reasons you have observed about leaders who are not good at delegating?
Many leaders we talk with tell us they don’t have time to delegate – and they’re right, they don’t. That’s because they waited too long to look for help with everything on their plates. Those leaders absolutely have to carve out time in their schedules to take a hard look at all the things they’re doing and figure out which ones are really adding value to their work. Anything else is fair game for delegating to a virtual assistant. Once the leaders have determined what tasks they can delegate, we can look for assistants that have the skills to match that list. When we bring our assistants to clients and explain their experiences and knowledge, we hear time and again, “She sounds perfect…” By working the client through the responsibilities they need to delegate, and then finding the EA who’s perfectly suited to take those over, we’ve built up the client’s confidence in the process and helped loosen their grip on all those tasks they were sure they didn’t have the time to delegate.
5) What are the biggest challenges when bringing on a virtual assistant for the first time?
The biggest challenge, and the one we spend the most time working through with our clients, is creating a “job description” of sorts for their assistants. Lots of leaders know they need help, and they know that something has to be moved off their plates if they want to move their businesses forward, but they have trouble really nailing down what that is and what it will look like. We work with leaders to outline what responsibilities they could transition to their EA, and we’re able to bring our experiences from serving hundreds of leaders to the table to help give those leaders ideas. That way, before the engagement with the EA even starts, the leader knows exactly what kind of help he or she needs, and we can find the EA who has the right mix of skills and experiences to hit the ground running and start making an immediate difference for that leader.
We also emphasize with leaders how important it is to keep the lines of communication open between them and their EA. When you work virtually, communication becomes more important – not less. At the beginning of the engagement, especially, leaders need to be regularly meeting with their EA either by phone or web conference. As the engagement progresses, the EA and client can find the ways that work best to communicate – email, text, phone, whatever – but always need keep the communication going.
6) What differentiates eaHELP from the competition?
We take the matching process between our clients and assistants really seriously. I don’t think you’re going to find another virtual assistant company that asks both clients and assistants to take personality tests to make sure they’re a good fit in terms of their working styles. Many other companies are all about outsourcing your tasks, and distributing them to a pool of assistants who may not know anything at all about your business or industry. We’re about providing you with an assistant who will become part of your team and your day-to-day interactions, and anticipate your needs before you even recognize them. You’ll get an assistant who’s uniquely suited to your business and what you need to get done, and who works and thinks like you do. And we do all the matching work for you, and provide you with an assistant who will start adding value to your business from day 1.