16 Aug Skills required to be a Time Assistant (TA)
Our Time Assistants have Star quality…
Successful TA’s must have the following skills:
You will soon be working with a range of diverse clients and supporting them in completely different ways. You must have the ability to multi task and prioritize efficiently. Deadlines must be met and clients must be satisfied. You may wish to produce a schedule and implement an effective filing system to ensure that all deadlines are met promptly.
Being your own boss means flexible working hours, freedom within your business and (hopefully) a stress free environment. Nevertheless, you must consider if you are able to motivate yourself into working for the full day and thus not allowing yourself to become distracted by other things happening around you. As a small business owner, you are responsible for every aspect of your company. You must be able to motivate yourself at all times.
Relevant work experience
The role of a Time Assistant is chameleonesque. TA’s must have the capacity to do everything and anything that their clients require. You will be charging for the experience and skills developed throughout your corporate career. Your skills therefore must be honed to a high standard and the work you produce must be of an exceptional quality.
All Time Assistant’s must have a strong moral compass. Clients are trusting you with the day-to-day running of their business and as such you must demonstrate both honesty and integrity in the workplace. You must also ensure that your clients are as ethical as you to foster a productive and trustworthy relationship.
A TA’s role is extremely task oriented. You must undertake several tasks at once. These may range from answering phone calls to personal shopping. You will be the client’s ‘go-to’ for any support that they may need. The benefit of being your own boss is that you decide who to work with and what work to do. You can then seek out and choose your clients quite specifically.
It is important to care about your client’s company as if it were your own. This means fully committing to the task in hand and working to the best of your ability. Showing you care, even subtly, will provide your client the assurance that their business is in the right hands. This also fosters a somewhat friendship between the Time Assistant and the client that is vital to the success of the business relationship.
Ability to Take Initiative
It can be easy to wait for your client to approach you with work that they need doing. However, a successful TA will remind their clients of their presence and pro-actively seek out tasks that they could be doing. This ensures that your client knows you are there to support them constantly.
Clients will more often than not have a set way of doing things. You may use your imagination to find new ways of doing these things. You can save yourself and your client both time and money by being innovative and thoughtful. It is important to remain on top of technological advances because it will benefit your client tremendously and also ensure that you are always ahead of the competition.
In today’s economy, successful companies do not simply work Monday-Friday 9-5. The industry is a 24/7 operation. Because of this VA’s must be flexible and adaptable if they are to please their clients. This involves putting in the occasional late night or weekend shift to ensure your tasks are complete on time. This will evoke a mutual respect between the client and yourself that you are both willing to go above and beyond to develop the business.
Mistakes are inevitable. Try as we might we cannot avoid them. If you understand this from the beginning of your career, you will save yourself much unnecessary time and worry. The important thing to remember is that if you make a mistake, and you most certainly will! Own your mistake. Admit that you messed up, apologise for it and then try to make it right. Clients will appreciate your honesty and the attempt you make to right the wrong. Everyone makes mistakes, it is the way you deal with them that matters most.
As a TA you are undoubtedly a perfectionist and a people pleaser. You will always strive to satisfy your client’s every need and relentlessly dwell on it when you fall short. The important to think to realise is that people are all different and as such like things done in different ways. Be professional, even if you receive constructive criticism in the face of a task you have completed, and apply this information to your next endeavour. Your client will be happy and it allows you to develop and hone your skills.
You will be dealing with numerous clients and numerous tasks at any one given time. It is of the utmost importance that you do not overbook yourself, that you manage your time effectively and that you prioritize the tasks set to you. You must also be approachable to clients and working to the best of your ability. Ensure that your clients know they are important to you by communicating effectively with them both professionally and personally.
As a TA you must know the market and the expectations of the people who will be employing you. By thoroughly researching your business venture and your prospective competitors you will establish what you must do and how much you must charge to do it. Make sure that your prices are both fair and competitive with other businesses similar to your own. If tasks take you longer than necessary due to unforeseen circumstances, the client should not forfeit the bill. They should not be paying for your mistakes, laziness or external influences out with your control. A TA that is hard working, with prices that are reasonable and consistent will ensure client retention and possible recommendations.
Problem Solving Ability
Making life easier for your client is your number one priority. You are there to solve their problems. When an obstacle emerges, you must configure approximately three possible solutions to resolve it. Present these in turn to your client along with the original issue and let the client decide which alternative to implement.
It is thought that many TA-Client relationships are strictly business. However, sharing aspects of your personal life with one another can be very rewarding because it builds trust and fosters a friendship between co-workers. This is accomplished by infusing humour and light-heartedness into conversation but it is important to remain positive. You can also compliment your clients on how well they are doing. Everyone loves to be recognised for their success!
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