What Hiring a VA Did For Me – A Client Story

We spend an awful lot of time talking to you about the kind of work we do at Starfish Admin Services, and what those services can do for your business – as well a some useful tips and tricks that hopefully help you out in running of your business. But even so, we still get asked a lot about what we actually do, and what working with a VA looks like day-to-day. So we thought, instead of trying to explain it ourselves, we’d ask one of our clients to do it instead. So, let us introduce you to Charlotte, from Eleven Eight.

Charlotte is a copywriter, specialising in blogs, web copy, whitepapers and case studies. She first started working with us in January of 2020, when she was only a month away from giving birth to her first child. Her main concern was having someone to ‘man the fort’ while she took maternity leave so that she could enjoy time with her baby in peace, as well as to handle some parts of the business admin she just didn’t enjoy doing. We’ll let her tell you the rest.

Admin, and particularly the financial admin, is always one of those things I know needs doing, but I really don’t enjoy. I’m a really organised person in other areas of my life, but when it comes to finance, I really struggle, and so I keep putting it off until I end up having to take a full day just to get back on top of things. I didn’t want that added stress as a new mum, so I wanted to bring someone on board who could handle things for me, and do them properly instead of my lacklustre efforts. Jules and her team came highly recommended, and after meeting with her I felt like she understood exactly what I wanted, and she had some great ideas to help make my business more efficient.

Invoicing

The big thing I wanted help with was invoicing. Most of my clients are on retainers, so they get invoiced monthly. I needed someone to generate these invoices for me each month, send them to my clients and reconcile them within my accounting software when they were paid. I also wanted someone else to do the chasing for any invoices that were overdue, so that I could keep my relationships with clients more positive and still get paid at the same time!

Jules had me write out a spreadsheet of all the clients I wanted her to invoice, and give her the login for my accounting software. From there, she took over the whole process, setting up recurring invoices, creating an email template they get sent out with and making sure all of the information is up to date. We keep that spreadsheet going, and any time I have a new client to add I just put the information in there and the invoices just happen – it’s so much easier than doing it myself! When the invoices are due, Jules is the one doing the reminders and chasing any payments that end up late. She also sends me a list each month to let me know what the status is of all the overdue invoices, and when to expect payments in, which makes planning my cashflow a lot simpler and more accurate.

The Starfish team also helped me move over to Xero last year. The whole process was completely hands off for me past setting the account up – she handled transferring all of the data and getting things set up and running smoothly for me – and spent some time showing me how to use certain parts of the software as well. And now that we’re registering from VAT as of April, she’s helping us add that to our invoices, and will be sorting out or VAT returns as well. Honestly, I’d be panicking so much more about the extra work of VAT if I didn’t have Jules and the team in my corner!

Transcription

As a copywriter I tend to do almost all of my writing myself, but one of the more time-consuming services I offer is case studies. Not because doing the interviews or writing the case study itself take a long time, but more because typing things up does! I tend to do recorded phone interviews, which I then need to transcribe so that I can pull quotes from them, and provide my client with a record of the conversation. And this would take me HOURS to do for a 30 minute phone call. It became such a time-sink that I actually stopped promoting the service for a while! But when I mentioned this to Jules, she said that Starfish offer transcription service, so why didn’t I try that? Now all I have to do is send the audio file in an email, and a few days later I get a fully transcribed and annotated document back, ready for me to use. It’s something that’s not only saved me a lot of time, but it’s helped me reactivate one of my services and increase my profits, just because it’s taken the drag away from the process.

Client Relations

The last area the Starfish team helps me with is client relations, and honestly this is where they shine. I’ve already mentioned that they handle all the invoicing and chasing for my clients – which helps me keep on good terms with my contacts even if payments are going a little badly. But she also gives my business an extra voice. I’m just one person, and so if there is an issue it’s easy to feel intimidated into doing something you don’t want to do, especially if the client is a bigger business and they only have to deal with you. Jules makes me look like a much bigger business, and she’s the one who handles difficult conversations for me a lot of the time! It sounds bad, but as a younger woman in business with brightly coloured hair I’m not always taken seriously, and having Jules in my team means I have that extra validation for those people. She’s also a seriously impressive detective! A recent client was chronically behind in paying- always one or two invoices behind – and it turns out the accounting department had merged with another company and no one had told us, so everything was going to the wrong place and taking months to arrive in the right one! Jules tracked all of this down and sorted it out – without me knowing – and just let me know that it was dealt with at the end. Honestly, I don’t know how she does it. I’m sure as the business grows there will be more areas the Starfish team can help me with, and I can’t wait to see what that looks like!

Well, there you have it – and inside look into the kind of things we do for our clients every day. Charlotte had a very specific set of needs, and we tailored our packages to suit the areas she wanted to work in, offering support, guidance and advice to make things easier in other areas where we could as well. If you’d like some more information on our services, or to see what we could do for your business, please just get in touch with the Starfish Admin team today.