Take 5 minutes getting to know Rachel Priestley, Yorkshire Virtual Assistant of the Year!
There are days we all could do with admin help!
To free up time so we can focus on the jobs we love, concentrate on generating more revenue, and spend more time with friends and family.
Some business owners struggle to hand over a part of their business. What would you say is the easiest admin job to delegate?
This is different for everyone, but I would suggest starting with simple tasks such as typing, document formatting, or email management. Implementing a filing system is an easy way to achieve a manageable inbox.
What tools and strategies do you use to keep on top of numerous clients workloads and the nuances of how different people like to work.
Time blocking in my diary works best for me, including time for breaks! It keeps me focused and makes sure my clients are given their guaranteed, dedicated time.
I use various methods of communication with clients. Having a clear on-boarding process is critical to establishing expectations, methods of communication, a mutual understanding of availability and response times.
If clients don’t already have a software system in place for me to use, I either work with them to put one in place. Alternatively, I use my preferred software, such as Trello and Outlook Task Management.
Last two years you have won ‘Yorkshire’s VA of the Year’. Who is the first person you call to share your exciting news with?
What is the best and worst bit about your job?
The best bits of my job is the variety and the learning. I can honestly say I have learned more in the last 2½ years of being a Virtual Assistant then I did in my whole 19 year NHS Career.
When working from home it’s inevitable that there are times when you feel isolated, so networking is really important.
On tough days what keeps you going?
Yorkshire Tea is a start! If my husband is available I can always count on him to pick me up or just listen. Sometimes it is difficult for the family to understand if it’s industry-specific. I find that there is no better place than the VA community for genuine support, understanding, and advice.
Do you have any productivity hacks?
Structure your time and stick to it and try to avoid using your diary/appointments as a task management tool. Use a dedicated task management system, especially if you work with a number of outsourced freelancers!
You have a team of specialist assistants and administrators, what qualities do you look for when finding people to work with?
Recommendations are the best source of finding a great associate, and it’s an absolute must that my associates can work within the Streamline VA Services good practice measures which include having the required insurances and ICO registration to meet data processing requirements.
How do you keep your skills up to date?
By investing in local, industry-specific networking and development opportunities, such as annual VA conferences, business development coaching and mentorship.
I have also recently been accepted as a Fellow level member of the Institute of Administrative Management (IAM). I’m looking forward to making use of their learning opportunities.
Which book/s have influenced your career?
Mark Twain famously said that if the first thing you do in the morning is to eat a live frog, you can go through the rest of the day knowing the worst is behind you.
‘Eat That Frog’ is the only business-related book I have read and the message has always stayed with me. I still tell myself to eat the frog when I have a task to do that I’ve been procrastinating over.
Other book influences, some of which are fiction, have focussed on life, family and mindfulness. Whilst, not business-related, they have had an impact on me as a person and have helped my positivity and resilience. Such as, Ant Middleton, ‘First Man In: Leading from the Front’ and Michelle Obama, ‘Becoming‘.
What do you miss about being employed and would you go back to being employed?
I miss the people, the camaraderie, and the office banter ….and the constant stream of cakes and buns in the office kitchen! I’ve heard freelancers as being referred to as ‘the unemployable’ because they could never go back and there is also a fear of failure amongst the self-employed. I have no issue with going back to employment if the opportunity and circumstance were right for me and my family.
I think the trick is to be in control of and accepting your choices and not to have a fear of failure (thank you, Ant Middleton!)
If you found it time-consuming and unpredictable finding recommendations, we are happy to help. Our aim is to provide a reliable service that makes it easy to find great Yorkshire-based freelancers to work with.