Ahhhh the life of the Virtual Assistant Professional. Not unlike the positions I held over the years in corporate, small and medium sized businesses. Only in the early years of my career was I Secretary or Administrative Assistant to one or two people. Most often I was the Department Secretary or Administrative Assistant to all of the office staff. Many bosses with many duties and projects and everyone with timelines and deadlines.
Working with my many clients, at times, creates scheduling conflicts and my need to be flexible and adept at juggling many projects/tasks at once and this was one of those weeks. As well, clients needs may change, and suddenly I am providing more services or different services in the middle of a project. And that was the case this week as well. Thank goodness for Outlook which is my present contact management system and my scheduler. But since my client list is growing and there are many quotes requested and projects coming up, I will be forced to purchase a more robust CRM system. I think I have found it.
Lichen Software headed by David McQueen, offers 3 software packages at a very reasonable price to handle all my needs. He met with me last month to demonstrate the many facets of his system and it will streamline a lot of my information in one place. His software is not web-based. You buy the software once and it resides on your computer but has the ability to be shared with co-workers or clients.
His website is: http://www.lichen-software.com/dbase_microbiz_desc.html and provides a side-by-side comparison of features for the 3 software packages he provides.
Whatever position you hold in a Business usually requires many skills, experience, tasks and responsibilities. I believe that to be successful in effective management of your job, you must be flexible and organized. And the tools to help you are a good CRM system and scheduler.
I keep records on everything – quotes, contracts, projects, client’s documents and emails and I even take notes when I have consultations with my clients. In fact, after consultations, I transfer those notes to Word documents to include in the client’s files as well as keep a history on client activities within spreadsheets. I also prepare a Notes tab in Outlook (presently) with all my activities, appointments and to do’s at the beginning of each week. That way, nothing gets forgotten or overlooked. Changes in clients’ needs may require shuffling the tasks around during the week, but I always know what I have planned for each day and am up-to-date on my deadlines.
And I have a very defined “filing system”. There is a client folder for all emails in Outlook Express, a client folder in My Documents and a file folder in my file cabinet for each client as well holding contracts, hard copy emails, timesheets and invoices. Efficiency is very important in any job and having all pertinent information in one place for easy reference makes sense. Disorganization is a huge time waster. Having all your records and paperwork in one place is also very beneficial when you get an urgent email or phone call from a client. Sends a message that you are on task, in control and efficient.
Next week is Christmas! Where did the time go….. Seemed like Thanksgiving was just a short time ago. And the New Year looms ahead. I am excited about what this New Year will bring! I wish one and all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy, Healthy and Wealthy New Year!
Diane L. Coville