Delegate, Focus, and GROW Your Business

Now the Email

If you are following along on my blogs, then last week you set up a system to pass off your scheduling to your new VA. Have you had time to implement that? Is it working? Does it need some tweaking? Are you enjoying the new freedom? Better question, are you using the freed up time to be more productive in other areas?

If you answered yes to any of those questions, then you’re probably feeling really good right about now and looking around for the next time consuming thing to pass off to your Virtual Assistant.

For me, that’s the emails. At one point, that felt like all I was doing; dealing with emails. Yes, I manage a Virtual Team of nearly 50 now. So, of course, I should have some emails. But, for example, yesterday alone, I received 166 emails, and sent 106. Those are hefty numbers, and unfortunately, not unusual for me. Does this sound like you?

Think how great it would be to open up your inbox and only have to deal with the emails only you know the answer to. But how to get there.

  1. Find an email system that allows you to have multiple people accessing the same inbox. There are many programs out there that are free, and some not so free. You can do something as simple as a gmail or yahoo account and just share the login info, or you can purchase a program like Email Center Pro and assign shared access. Either way, your VA will need to have access to your email. If you want to keep your personal email private, consider setting up a separate business account (but I bet you already have that).
  2. Organize your inbox with folders. Do you already have a file system established for your emails? Do you need your VA to create one for you? Some important folders to add to your filing system might be:
    • To Be Deleted – if you want to make the final decision on what is deleted and what is not.
    • Need Your Approval – if your VA is drafting emails that will need your approval before sending, they can respond to the initial email and then save the draft in this folder for you to review and send at that time.
    • For You to Handle / Review – for those emails that you do not want your VA handling at all or maybe you just receive emails that you wish to review prior to being deleted, but that don’t really need any action.
  3. There are many ways to organize your Inbox and it should resemble a combination of your filing cabinet and your desk. If you have a desk in your virtual world it probably has an inbox, an outbox, a pending box, and a stack of trade journals. Your file cabinet probably has a Personnel folder, and multiple project or client folders. The bottom line here is you need to do what works for you.

  4. Work with your VA to set your expectations. We are not mind readers. We work for multiple clients that each have a different set of expectations. And we all take enormous pride in our work. We want to do the absolute best job for each of our clients. But without clear expectations and guidelines, it can sometimes be a difficult road.

As with any new project or task delegated, there will be a learning curve. But the end result? Think of all the time freed up by not having to maintain and manage your schedule. Now think of how many hours a day you spend dealing with all the emails. 272 in one day! Whew! I’m exhausted! Where’s my VA?

photo credit: adria.richards
Posted on September 15th, 2010 by Rachel Braam, Office Manager

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