FEBRUARY 23, 2024

Welcome to The Tilt, a twice-weekly newsletter for content entrepreneurs.

5 things to do

You can’t do it all. Well, you could, but not for long. Otherwise, you’ll feel the tremendous pressure and frustrations that arise when you have too much to do to build your content business and not enough hours in the day.

Expand your ranks with a virtual assistant. It’s the most common advice I hear from content entrepreneurs when they reveal the secret to their ongoing success. Do these five things to make it happen:

1. Know what ‘virtual assistant’ means to you: Erin Booth, a virtual assistant mentor, says entrepreneurs hire a general or specialty VA. General VAs typically offer admin services, such as managing calendars, travel, inboxes, digital organization, bookkeeping, etc. “Think of them like the admin wheels that keep your back-of-house running,” she says.

Specialty VAs offer services on top of general administration work, usually based on their education or prior work history. “It’s not uncommon to find VAs who specialize in things like brand management, social media management, copyediting, video and podcast editing, community management, and more,” Erin says.

2. Make the investment: To benefit from a VA’s services, you must have an ongoing relationship rather than making one-off assignments. Have enough money in your bank account to compensate a VA for at least three months (and replenish it to continue on the three-month-saved plan.)

According to Erin, a typical general VA rate in the US is $20 to $35 an hour, while specialty VAs can charge $40 to $75 an hour. (Note: By treating your VA as a contractor, you do not have the additional responsibilities required by taking on a permanent employee. Just make sure you don’t treat them as employees and have a contractor agreement in place.)

3. Detail what you want: Here’s an easy way to figure out what should go into the job description. Look at your to-do lists from the past few weeks or months. Which tasks do you keep pushing to the bottom? Which items never get done?

With your virtual assistant wish list, eliminate what isn’t practical or appropriate to outsource. Now, pick the top two or three services you want to hire someone to do and craft the job description/posting. It should include:

  • Overview of your company – a few sentences about your business, its purpose, etc. (Look to your about-us page so you don’t have to start from scratch.)
  • Description of position – an introductory sentence or two followed by a bulleted list of the services this person is expected to provide
  • Experience required – a bulleted list of the necessary skills to execute the role
  • Why and how to apply – explain (i.e., sell) your business environment and who would most enjoy/benefit from the position. Include the application submission process and deadline.

4. Seek and interview: Commit to marketing the VA opening to attract the best candidates. Erin outlines several other hiring options to consider:

  • Ask your network for recommendations. Having a trusted person in your network recommend a VA gives you immediate social proof of their competency.
  • Post a job listing on your social accounts.
  • Use the search bar on LinkedIn, including “virtual assistant” and the specific services to find specialized VAs.

You also can turn to online sites. Zirtual, a VA provider, published this resource of 17 VA marketplaces.

During the interview, expand your question list to understand their work process and style. Some options include:

  • What is your availability? Do you prefer synchronous or async work?
  • How do you handle challenging clients?
  • What would you do if I gave you a task you didn’t fully understand?
  • How do you handle mistakes that you make?

“Behavioral questions can help assess a VA’s problem-solving skills and how they handle challenges. Don’t be afraid to ask these tough questions,” Erin advises.

5. Onboard your new VA: With your new VA ready to get to work, take time in the beginning to work together to build a strong foundation:

  • Establish clear expectations and goals from the start.
  • Ask your VA to create standard operating processes for tasks. Having them co-create a process for how work gets done is a great way for you to start relinquishing some control and building trust.
  • Set up regular check-ins and provide feedback regularly.

“A great VA wants to become your right-hand person, your confidant, and your partner in growth. But this kind of partnership takes time and trust to build,” Erin says. “Give yourself time to learn how to be a clearer communicator and better delegator, and give your VA time to learn your work preferences and communication style.”

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5 things from the tilt

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5 things to know

  • Contract doom: Creators who sign contracts with some agencies in China to regularly livestream now find themselves having to pay tens of thousands of dollars for breach of contract if they stop. [rest of world]
    Tilt Take: Getting paid now sounds great, but read the fine print before you sign to see how it could impact your future business.
  • Cash view: YouTube updated its display of revenue earned by videos in its Studio app. You can see top-earning videos by category, including Shorts, live uploads, and videos on demand. [Social Media Today]
    Tilt Take: A helpful tool to inform your future content plans.
  • Anniversary celebration: Nielsen put YouTube at the top for linear TV and streaming viewership for the 12th month in a row. It means 8.6% of all viewing on US TV screens happens on YouTube. [Deadline]
    Tilt Take: YouTube’s powerhouse is only growing.
Tech and Tools
  • Cross this: Meta is testing a cross-posting feature that allows Facebook users to add their content to Threads at the same time. [Tech Crunch]
    Tilt Take: Surprised it’s taken this long, given Meta’s commitment to growing Threads as an X alternative.
And Finally
  • Hash crash: Instagram is testing a five-hashtag limit rather than the 30 allowed now for all users. [RouteNote Blog]
    Tilt Take: As Instagram users, we would be pleased to see fewer hashtags. Create posts that matter for viewers, not just for searchers.

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