So, you have considered hiring a Virtual Assistant, otherwise known as a VA?  Maybe you’ve even hired one, and now what?

How does it all work?

Here are 6 steps to a successful partnership with a Virtual Assistant.


Most professional Virtual Assistants offer contracted services to their Clients. A contract is a necessary requirement for most, as it protects not only the interest of you as the Client but also the Virtual Assistant. Be sure to carefully read your contracts and don’t be afraid to ask questions if needed.

Documented Processes

It will be easier to delegate projects and/or tasks if you have clear processes for repetitive tasks outlined. This will reduce the margin for error by letting your VA know exactly how you carry out processes within your business. Once you and your VA are up and running together then you can hand over updating and creating procedures to them. An easy place to keep processes for everyone to access is in programs like One Note or Evernote. These programs allow you to create chapters, sections etc. and that makes it easier to keep things current.


Be crystal clear on your needs and your wants. Decide right off the bat what the best form of communication is for you both. Some VA’s prefer tasks to be added directly to project management software like Trello or Asana. Other’s preferring to receive instructions via email. You as the Client may prefer a phone call, email or even text messages. Whatever the form of communication, be sure to set out expectations.


Further to documenting your processes be sure to provide clear and detailed instructions. Although most VA’s would love to add mind reader to their resume alas it is not an ability we yet possess! If you are not sure how to communicate via writing then be sure to call your VA directly, or do a little walkthrough video. Find a way to give clear instructions in a way that is easiest for you.

Use Technology

There are so many fantastic programs out there that make working remotely and with a virtual team easy. Here are some of the most common ones out there (most of them free):

  • Last Pass – Allows users to store and share access to programs, information etc. in a safe and secure manner without sharing your usernames and passwords.
  • Asana – Project management program that allows you to set up teams, projects, delegate work, communicate, set deadlines and more.
  • T-Sheets – Allows VA’s to track their time by the minute for accurate and honest billing.
  • Screen-Cast-O-Matic – Create videos, presentations, capture your screen as you work to provide a video operation manual. So many great features!
  • One Note or Evernote – use these for online manuals, policy and procedures, store your blog topics and mark them done, create checklists and more.

Hire the Right VA for your Business/Needs

It seems like that is a no-brainer, right? What a lot of people don’t realize is that most VA’s will have a couple of niche areas that they specialize in. For instance, some are designers/creative VA’s, others might specialize in certain fields like real estate, law or medicine. Depending on what you need you may hire multiple VA’s who can work together to get your business where you want it to be!

Ready to get your business organized, free up your time and get new projects started?

Contact us today to find out how we can help get your business to the next level!

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Social Media is always changing, evolving and it can be difficult to keep up. We are often asked how and when to use hashtags. We have put together some information on do’s and don’t’s, banned hashtags to avoid and when and how to use hashtags based on each social platform.




  • Make your hashtags too long, people will not want to type them and won’t find you
  • Use banned hashtags (see below for more information on this)
  • Have more hashtags than content
  • Follow for Follow (just because someone follows you does not mean you should)
  • Use hashtags on Facebook (See below for more information on this, or download our cheat sheet)
  • Use irrelevant hashtags on Instagram your account could be flagged as a spammer.


For instance, when posting at Thanksgiving a banned hashtag we were unaware of caused it to be blocked. Who knew #happythanksgiving was the culprit, chances are it is one of the new temporarily banned hashtags much like #dogsofinstagram. Time will tell. Here is a list of just a few of many partially banned hashtags:

















I am sure you can understand that many banned hashtags are because they can or have been associated with the inappropriate content.



  • Tweets with one or more hashtags are 55% more likely to be retweeted
  • Tweets with 1 or 2 hashtags have a 21% higher engagement than those with 3 or more
  • Tweets that use more than 2 show a 17% drop in engagement



  • Facebook posts without a hashtag fare better than those with a hashtag.
  • Posts with more than 2 hashtags dropped by 70% from those with 1-2 hashtags


  • Hashtags are now allowed on Pinterest just like any other social platform
  • Pinterest recommends no more than 20 hashtags
  • Note that only 4-5 are visible in the preview.


  • Google+ has no official hashtag limit, but it is suggested to use no more than 5
  • Use the explore tab to search hashtags
  • Use 3 or 4 of the hashtags you find through the explore tab and copy to your post


  • The more tags you add, the less relevant they become.
  • Don’t use more any more than you need.
  • YouTube will remove your video if you use over 15.


Free Hashtag Cheat Sheet Download

Photo by Jason Rosewell on Unsplash



Reactive behaviour is when you respond because of a situation instead of internal motivation. You wait until there is a need and then quickly move to execute or remedy the issue. Proactive behaviour is action and result oriented in nature, this means acting to plan, foresee and implement preventative or counter measures should an issue arise.  These are people who set goals, time block and typically remain cool and collected under pressure.


Living in a constant reactive state can erode your business in a multitude of ways such as business relationships, client retention, sales and more. Being in a reactive state often causes people always to wonder where their day went and why did they get so little done, deadlines missed, work was done at the last minute, deliverables slip through the cracks. You are not only letting yourself down by adding unnecessary stress to your life, but you are also most likely letting support staff, assistants, business colleagues, etc. down by causing undue stress in their lives.


Proactive people typically are goal oriented; they have it planned and broken down into manageable bites, rarely will you find them drowning and scrambling to meet deadlines. Under pressure, a proactive person will already be organized, structured and have developed a game plan. They will rely on others, ensuring they have all that is needed to meet the deadline. Proactive people are communicators; they take time to explain and to listen.

Here is a chart of traits to help simplify:

Always looking for change Afraid of change
Sets effective goals No goals, fly by the seat of their pants
Anticipates and prevents problems Always putting out fires
Constantly looking for ways to better themselves and their business Thinks they know everything
Takes action Waits to be rescued
Perseverance Victim
Achieves results Always wondering what is next

Being proactive all the time is not possible, we have all been reactive at some point. You may have a little of column A and a little of column B depending on the day. Reactivity can be based on beliefs and past experiences, these are not concrete, and you can change. The key is to find balance. Find people or systems, trains of thought, that can help to switch you from reactive to proactive slowly. Think about how much energy you are spending on stressing over remembering to do things, getting frustrated with yourself when you forget or miss deadlines.


Here is a list of ways you can get organized and streamline your business and thought process:

  1. Set Goals (Personal and Business)
  2. Break down your goals into actionable items – minimum of three per goal
  3. Time block and STICK TO IT
  4. Set boundaries such as “I am only going to go to two networking events a month,” or “I am going too only take personal appointments after hours.”
  5. Develop a marketing plan for the year, so you know what to have ready
  6. Create or write out processes that need a checklist or some way of helping you stay on track, maybe use project management software
  7. Make processes work not only for your clients but you
  8. Get an accountability partner or business coach
  9. Note your weak spots and hire someone who can support and strengthen them for you
  10. Follow through always
  11. Stop and think before you react
  12. Use a tool such as a journal to plan and train yourself and your mind. (I use the BEST SELF Journal it is fantastic!)
  13. Let go ?

Small steps, achievable actions, intentional thoughts, mindfulness, and reflection, are just some of the ways you can start moving toward a more balanced, stable and flourishing business.


Does your customer experience wow? For many companies, it is a fly by the seat of your pants approach. For others, it is a very detailed, customer first, approach. Most businesses think that their customer service is adequate. In today’s market that won’t cut it, you need to stand out, be better than the rest. A good experience or a fantastic experience will help create repeat business and generate referrals.

A couple of years ago, I bought a Hyundai from a local dealership. Throughout the course of the purchase and the years to come their customer service was bar none the best from any dealership. Here are the reasons why.

  1. I was treated like I was their only customer
  2. I was called to let me know when I was due for my next service/oil change and what was involved
  3. If there was a delay of any kind I was notified right away
  4. I was consulted before any work was done and educated on what had to be done and what could wait
  5. I was offered a free ride to and from the dealership, the staff was courteous and turn around was quick
  6. I received cards frequently from the sales person I purchased through

When it came time for my mother to buy a new car who do you think I recommended? The same dealership I went to of course and the same sales person. I would recommend them to anyone looking for a Hyundai.

On the flip side, I traded in my Hyundai and purchased a Jeep (long time dream of mine). I love my vehicle but have not been contacted once since my purchase to remind me of service appointments, oil changes, nothing. So, do you think I will recommend that dealer to anyone? Do you think I will go out of my way to give them business when I need to service my Jeep? Nope.

Here is yet another example of where a customer for life could have been made.

I took my Jeep to get new tires, two kept running flat due to nails. They ordered me new tires and told me they would be in by the end of the week. End of the week came, no call, I had to call them. No answer, no reply to my message. I waited a couple more days and called back. No answer. Finally, after a week and a half and a call to the manager, I got someone on the phone and they updated me and said the end of the month. Now you can imagine how irritated I was. Will I use them again? No.

It is imperative that you always provide top notch, customer service to every client. Not just the high paying ones! Bad reviews can cost you thousands. Here are several ways to ensure your clients are getting your best:

  • Anticipate the client’s needs and remember that they are coming to you because you are the expert.
  • Make their experience as easy as possible for them.
  • Educate them in a way that empowers them as a consumer.
  • Remind them of how much your business means to them.
  • Set up systems to ensure no one falls through the cracks.
  • Train your employees and ensure that everyone is on the same page, one weak link will cost you big money.

I am sure that you have had similar experiences. Learn from others mistakes and think about what you can do to wow your next client, spoil the ones you have and generate more money through great customer experiences. If you don’t know where to start, hire someone who can help you build a bulletproof plan to creating win-win partnerships for life.



Ever since I posted my  7 Signs Your Small Business Could Use a Virtual Assistant   blog, my inbox has been flooded with questions from small business owners and solopreneurs. So what’s the number one question on their minds? Small business owners and solopreneurs are consistently asking, “how can a virtual assistant help me to increase my productivity while reducing my workload?”

The key to increasing your productivity is to delegate non-income producing activities that are taking up the majority of your time.  A virtual assistant is a wonderful resource that provides you with the support you need to increase your productivity, and profits because you are spending more time on the activities that make you money. Here are some ways to increase your productivity and reduce your work load.

3 Services and Solutions that Your Virtual Assistant* Can Take On: 

  1. Administrative – this is by far, the most popular service area that many small business owners and solopreneurs inquire about. Administrative duties are a part of every business, no matter how small or large your operation.  That said, spending too much time on administrative duties and not enough time on your income producing activities can be a recipe for disaster when it comes to your profit margins.  A virtual assistant helps to ease the burden, and reduce your workload by taking on the administrative tasks which must be completed so that your business runs smoothly.
  1. Marketing – it’s critical that your company’s marketing efforts are executed in an efficient manner and that all materials that go out are branded in your company’s signature voice and style. This extends beyond print marketing materials and is most often seen with social media marketing, website, and blog updates, to provide you with consistent brand messaging across all platforms.
  1. Consulting – is another popular service area. My Warning: Inefficient Administrative Systems May Be Hurting Your Bottom Line  post, was one of our most popular blog entries amongst our small business and solopreneurs readers.  As a consultant, a virtual assistant can assist you with auditing your existing administrative systems to identify areas of need and make suggestions to increase the efficiency.  In addition to simply making suggestions, they can train your existing administrative staff to bring them up to speed with best practices.

Achieve your goal of increasing your productivity, while reducing your workload and partner with a virtual assistant today.

*Please note that not all Virtual Assistants bear the same skill sets and it’s important that you find a suitable match to your needs.  The service areas discussed in this blog, reflect my industry experience and skillset and are in no way representative of other virtual assistants.