My Virtual Assistant (VA) and Tips
After two months of research, I’ve selected TimeEtc as my law firm, and my personal, virtual assistant. I’m joining Google, Skype, Facebook and the Marriott in trusting TimeEtc to help my firm with completing “everyday” tasks including administration, organization, writing, marketing, social media, researching, selling, and so much more.
Full disclosure, I do have a business relationship with TimeEtc. But here’s the deal, the only reason I have this relationship is because I’m impressed with the quality of service and trust this company to take exceptional care of my firm’s valued clients and other essential needs.
You might find it interesting to know that the TimeEtc 10-step VA selection process was designed by Sir Richard Branson’s former Executive Assistant. It’s so tough that only a fraction of those who apply make it through (something like 1 out of every 500). If the awe-inspiring people and companies posted at the TimeEtc website trust the service, I believe you can too.
To learn more about TimeEtc or to try the service for free, I invite you to learn more or get started by clicking here!
Virtual Assistant Tips
Set Things Up: Take a couple of minutes and set things up. TimeEtc allows me to select a general VA for most of my tasks or, select various specialist. All my options are available in the easy to use drop-down VA selection lists.
How Will You Communicate? Determine how you will be creating and assigning tasks. Will you be using the website, app, email, text, DM on social, phone call, Slack, or another method. Depending on my particular VA, TimeEtc allows me to do all of the above. To keep things organized, I’m primarily using the built-in system found on the web and in the app.
Calendar: Give your VA access to your Google calendar.
Say Hello: Reach out to your VA and ask him or her to schedule a 5-minute call you so you can get to know each other. Ask your VA what tasks he/she prefers and what they’d like to avoid. For this reason, I have three different VAs that I’m currently using. It all falls under the same monthly subscription, so you don’t get charged for using more than one VA. One of my VA’s enjoys creating written content. Another specializes in admin, appointments, and scheduling, and the third likes to focus on data entry and research.
Email: Add your VA to your email. Let’s say my VA’s email address is “email@example.com.” What I did was set up my VA with the email address “firstname.lastname@example.org” and then forwarded the new email address to the VA’s address. Now when he/she emails a client or works on tasks, they can use this email that uses my law firm domain. Of course, this is optional, but I think it looks more professional.
Phone Calls: Determine if your VA accepts incoming phone calls. If so, provide your front office, or virtual answering service (my firm uses and highly recommends Ruby Receptionists), with your VA’s name and number. When people call your office and ask to speak to “Sally” (your VA), your service will be able to handle and route the call as usual. Unless they ask, the incoming caller probably won’t even know Sally is a VA. Note that we instruct all of our VAs to be honest and transparent. If asked, they simply let the caller know they’re our VA and part of our highly trained team.
Task Description: Be specific with your task. At the top of my Word doc, which I then copy and paste into the system, I have the following:
Task: Task Name
Time Allowed: X minutes or X hours.
Time Completed: “ASAP” or “24 hours” (or whatever is your time frame).
Conflict Check: This is a legal matter. Please confirm that you have not performed any work or had any communications with any of the persons or companies listed below in the task description.
Details: All details here. Usually, I’ll be as specific as possible. I include website links, case and client name, and numbers. The more information to help the VA complete the task while also coming across informed and part of your team, the better.
If applicable, I’ll also attach related documents (the TimeEtc system allows me to do this easily). In all of my task requests, I finish with something like, “also, please see our contact and firm information attached for your convenience.”
In the contact and firm information document, we include all the information our VA will need to answer questions and come across as an informed member of our team. All firm partner, lawyers, and other key staff names, numbers, addresses, and website links are listed. We also include a simple two-sentence response to the question, “What kind of cases does the firm handle?” Like your front office team physically located in your office, over time, your VA will know the answers to these questions just like the back of his or her hand.
We’re balancing the use of our VAs with traditional work being done physically in the office. Over time, we’ll be delegating more and more work to our VAs allowing our team to focus more on the physical interaction with clients, potential clients, and third parties. The scheduling, busy work, other personal needs (I just had my VA find and schedule three top-rated companies to come out to the house and give me an estimate to resurface our backyard spa) will be assigned to our VAs.
So far, I’m very impressed with TimeEtc and recommend the service without any hesitation whatsoever. Some of the business-oriented tasks we’re assigning out are billable and eventually will be reimbursed when the case is settled, or a verdict is reached.
Click here if you’d like to join me and start using TimeEtc, or, if you’d just like to learn more about the service and free trial 😉