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Why is collaboration so important? Collaboration is fundamental to creating a solid working relationship, it begins from the first point of contact with each of my clients.

When you choose to work with me, you’re bringing me on to streamline certain business obstacles. In order for me to successfully do that, I need to understand how I can best support you and your business. It is my job to create a plan of support that will fulfill your needs. While every client is different, it is important for me to have certain procedures set in place to maintain consistency and organization. And collaboration is the main component in each of them.

A brief outline of these procedures include:

  • Introductory call
  • Contracts/payments
  • A plan of support specifically catered to you
  • Project Management systems
  • Communication preferences
  • Determining weekly meetings
  • Weekly reports

This basic outline allows me to provide ongoing support for you and/or your team. I do not work on a task by task basis, instead, I partner with you, allowing you to focus on core operations. I want my clients to think long term. I want to be someone you can rely on in many aspects of your business without having to worry about maintaining tasks and checklists. That is why collaboration is the underlying reason my system works, it eliminates the need for that. We are in constant communication working together to achieve mutual objectives. your success is my success.

 

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Why do people tend to pay more for goods, services or support? Because of the value, they’re receiving in return. If an individual is hiring someone to work in the typical office environment they would be compensated according to their skill set and experience. So why should it be any different when hiring remotely?

In this remote industry, it can be difficult to determine what price is the right one. Knowing what you want out of your Administrative Consultant is the easy part. You want highly skilled, competent individuals to provide you and/or your team quality support. The only difference is your Administrative Consultant is not your employee and there is no resume to use as a reference. So, how do you find these individuals? There are social networks such as LinkedIn where experience is laid out in a profile and some may even have recommendations. If you ask, most Consultants don’t mind providing you with their background experience either. Websites are also a great way to get to know your Consultant. Things like support options, pricing, contact information and background experience should be included. Personally, I like to have a call with each potential client to find out if we’re a good fit. By speaking to my clients first, I’m able to learn more about them and decide if the support I provide will be beneficial. These calls usually consist of support needs, getting a little background on one another and how your consultant works on a day-to-day basis.

After you’ve finished the vetting process the next question is cost. What should an Administrative Consultant charge? When thinking of payment my advice is to consider these factors:

  • Their time is valuable– Most consultants have multiple clients, so they’re likely juggling many projects and tasks at one time.
  • Cost versus quality– I think this speaks for itself, but ultimately it’s up to you.
  • What type of support is needed?– Will you be needing daily interaction, single projects etc?
  • Skillset– Do you need support that includes an enhanced skill set such as content creation, graphic design, bookkeeping, marketing, or advanced administration skills?
  • Experience– This is a tricky one, you may feel fine working with someone who is just starting out. I’m mean, they have to start somewhere right? I would just make sure that the individual has some background experience in the type of support you’re needing. Of course, there are seasoned professionals with lots of experience, I have ten years and counting myself. So, the way I run my business may be different, it’s really about collaboration and finding someone who will bring value to you and your business.

Remember, when you decide to work with an Administrative Consultant do your research. Take the time to properly vet the individual and consider all the factors above. By doing that, I think you will have a better grasp of what makes sense for you. After all, you’re choosing to work with an Administrative Consultant because you need quality support. You’re leaving important aspects of your business in their hands. They should be compensated accordingly.

 

Finding the right tool for the job

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Are you equipped with the right tools to complete your daily duties? Ask yourself these questions:

  • Do you have several unfinished tasks?
  • Is your calendar overwhelmed?
  • Are you always racing against the clock?
  • Do you have several unanswered emails on a daily basis?

If you have answered yes to any of these questions, your toolbox may be lacking. Let me explain, we all know that every task needs a proper tool in order to complete it correctly. After all, that is what we’re aiming for right? Not just finishing the job, but completing it the best way we can, consistently. These tools will help to do just that, they will allow you to finish these tasks while staying on track, and they’re more accessible than you might think.

Delegating is one important tool that will help get your tasks finished throughout the day. If you delegate your least important tasks, you will likely get more accomplished in the long run. You can delegate things like scheduling, inbox management, transcription, research, and so much more. Finding a good team member is fundamental to the delegation process in order to be successful. If you are working with someone like me, getting you started with an outline of tasks for the week will save you much needed time.

Project Management Apps are so helpful when you’re working with a team, or several projects at once. They keep everyone on track by providing updates, allowing team members to ask questions, move due dates, add new projects, check off completed projects, etc. Some apps allow you to leave notes, or messages for the rest of the team and provide calendars to include upcoming projects.

Social Media and Content Management tools These tools help you streamline your social media posts and content. You can post to several sites at once, and even set specific dates for posting all in one place. You can create your content in advance, so there is no more worrying about posting on a daily basis, or to several individual sites.

Team messaging Apps like Slack, HipChat, Same page, or Google hangouts are great for real-time messaging. You can provide updates on existing projects, ask questions, or give team announcements. You can even private message a member of your team or group. No more waiting for an email response. You can use these apps straight from your computer, your phone, tablet or other mobile devices.

Browser Extensions This tool is my personal favorite. Depending on the browser you use, there are many options that can make simple tasks go by much faster. Like researching content: you can install an extension that will pull similar pages for you. You can use these to integrate with other services, or use them to modify, and add features to your browser. I would suggest limiting your use with these, and only install what you know will be beneficial to you. You don’t want to weigh down your browser with unused extensions.

 

 

 

 

Are you facing the dreaded Expense report again this month? Check out my 6 tips

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I’ve done several expense reports for a variety of my clients. Things that are typically included are: flights, checked bag fees, dinner/lunch meetings, hotels, rental cars, Uber, taxi’s, concert tickets, misc purchases, credit card transactions, and much more. So, with all of the receipts that are acquired during a single trip, or on a daily basis, how can one keep up with the loot?

My solution, use mobile apps! There are so many available these days it’s hard not to take advantage of their services.  These apps allow you to take a photo of your current receipt and it will automatically log that information into a single spreadsheet. Some will even match your credit card transactions, categorize receipts, track company policies & procedures, etc, etc. Saving you, or your Administrative Consultant valuable time. If you’re consistent, utilizing these apps is a great solution! However, there are some companies that do not offer these easy solutions or busy entrepreneurs that do not want to deal with using apps. That’s okay too! You know how it goes, there is a prefabricated spreadsheet that you must fill out manually, entering every receipt, category, or reason. Then you have to submit it to the correct department, attach receipts blah, blah, blah.

As a virtual Administrative Consultant, my goal is to make things easier for all of my clients. So I’ve come up with 6 simple tips to help this process go smoothly, regardless if you choose to go the app route or not.

6 tips for Managing Expense Reports with ease:

  1. Take a photo of each paper receipt you receive: Even though the apps work great for this I would still take one extra step, and email those photos to yourself, or your Administrative Consultant. (Pssst- you can even text the photo to your Admin Consultant) Just so you don’t have to worry about losing the paper receipts. It’s better to be safe than sorry, and you won’t need a scanner.
  2. Use your email to your advantage: You can easily set rules or filters to manage specific incoming emails. For example: If you receive Uber, or Google Apps receipts through email, then you can create a filter to put those emails in a specific folder. That way it keeps your newly received receipts organized, and separate from your inbox.
  3. Create a folder for each month to house all of your emailed receipts and statements: This is important. You need a place to house all of your receipts, and credit card statements. Even if you’re using an app, you need a point of reference in case of a mistake. I would keep this folder in your preferred cloud storage system, or in a secured area on your computer. Your Administrative Consultant can also do this and share the folder with you, or vice versa.
  4. Make time to compile the data: Now that you have a folder with all of your receipts and statements in one place, what’s next? Fill out the report as you go! I highly suggest this, because it will save you time in the long run. No one wants to go through a month of receipts all at once.
  5. Submit your receipts: Companies usually like receipts in one nice PDF document. But, if your photos are in a JPEG format, how does this work? Well, you have some options: you can use a program to convert these for you (sometimes for a small fee), or delegate this task to your Administrative Consultant. I usually have the task of converting these for my clients, it also allows me to double check the entered data as I go.
  6. Double, and triple check!: Before submitting your monthly expense report, just go through and check everything once again. If you’re using a spreadsheet make sure all of your formulas are correct, showing the right amounts. If using an app, check to make sure all receipts are included in the correct amounts. There is less error when using apps, but sometimes a mistake can be made.

Hope this list helps you to become more efficient and productive when managing expense reports. If you need some additional help, contact me at info@crowned.us