Secretarial autumn leaves 500 - New Term New Way Of Working

Secretarial autumn leaves 500 - New Term New Way Of Working


New Term New Way Of Working

(Or: why the new school year can herald a fresh start for business owners!)

Remember that “new school year” feeling? Looking forward to starting back, seeing your friends, discovering what the next year had in store?

Remember how exciting it all was?

For me, the “autumn term” has always felt like a clean slate, the chance to start afresh, like a new broom sweeping clean.

And certainly much more so than January with its post-Christmas exhaustion/hangover and New Year Resolutions destined for the scrapheap.

With the kids well into the swing of being back at school, and well established with their own new ways of working, now is the perfect time for the rest of us to do exactly the same before the crazy Christmas season gets into full swing!

Tap into that fresh start feeling, stand back and take a look at our businesses, our workloads, what we’re good at …. and less so.

Are we working as effectively as we can? Are we working as efficiently as we can? If not, why not?

Outsourcing – once a dirty word – is nothing new.

We all outsource various back office functions such as accounts, payroll, IT, VAT, SEO, and HR, needing the expertise of these professionals not only to make sure the work is done correctly but also to save us time.

And here’s a question: why should your admin be any different?

Not so long ago businesses used to pretend that all of their back office work was carried out in-house (yet no one was really fooled). But now outsourcing is seen as the sensible option, a way to reduce overheads, manage workloads, and allow small companies to bid for work and compete with their much larger rivals.

So why do many businesses resist the idea of out-sourcing?

When I started my virtual secretarial business in 2000, I came across the same three brick walls over and over again.

Fair enough.

Back then, the term “virtual secretary” or “virtual assistant” (VA) didn’t exist and many business owners couldn’t get their heads around it. In 2019, yes, it’s easier to explain and most businesses have at least heard of VAs.

But the barriers are still there and still causing concern.

Inthe shed secretarial To Do list - New Term New Way Of Working

So here are my three brick walls – and my three (oft repeated) replies:

1. “Why should I outsource? I can do it all myself.”

Can you? And, more importantly, should you?

All organisations generate a phenomenal amount of admin.

It creeps into our weekends and after-work hours, and constantly takes us away from family time and from the business of “business.”

By outsourcing, you’re reclaiming those lost hours, and freeing yourself from the day-to-day round of filing, email management, diary management, invoice chasing, form-filling … the list goes on… and on …

2. “I can’t pay anyone else to do my admin. I haven’t got the budget.”

With outsourcing, you only pay for the time you use, and you can tailor it to your exact needs.

You can decide how many hours’ assistance you will need and work out where that time will be spent most effectively. To help with cashflow, you can be invoiced on a monthly basis, at project milestones, or – for intermittent work – even three-monthly.

Virtual secretaries/assistants are themselves small businesses and so understand the financial challenges.

And if you’re on a very tight budget, talk to your VA and come up with a plan. In 2016, I was working with start-up tech company who had a budget of £100 per month. After some discussion, we decided where my time would be best spent and agreed that I would work 10 hours a month for £10p/h, with a review after three months.

Three years later, this company is one of my biggest clients, and my hourly rate has risen in accordance with the value I add to their business.)

3. “What can you – as a VA – do for me?”

Simple: give you back to your business.

Admin covers a range of tasks, ones that need to be done promptly (and done well) to ensure your business operates smoothly.

But it doesn’t on its own generate income.

Outsourcing your routine admin/secretarial work leaves you free to concentrate on the side that does make money, the bit you excel at, and the reason you set up your company in the first place.

That’s what a VA does: gives you the time and the energy get out there, chase more customers, build more widgets, help more people, and in turn, offer greater value to your own clients.

At a recent networking event, a speaker was asked why she used a VA. She said, ”I was spending seven hours a week on admin.

That’s a whole working day. I just thought, ‘what could I achieve with an extra day each week?’ After that, it was a no-brainer.”

So just as our kids are looking towards the end of a term, having learnt new skills and beginning to focus on the year ahead, why don’t we do the same?

Think of the next 12 months. Where do we want to be at the end of the next school year?

Let’s use these next couple of weeks to review what we’re good at, decide where we need help – and realign our work/life balance!

  • If you feel admin is taking up too much of your day …
  • If you’d rather spend time working on your business …
  • If you need only occasional secretarial help …
  • If it’s just a one-off or an on-going project …

… please give me a call.

Christine Todd
In the Shed Secretarial
07791 765 734

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