This monthly article gives you quick, easy-to-implement ideas on various subjects. This month’s topics have to do with taming your phone and email inbox and outsourcing your admin tasks.
Topic #1: Get Control of Your Phone
The phone may be the best money making tool in a recruiter’s tool box but it still must be used intelligently so that it doesn’t become a time sink. In terms of who has access to me via phone, I have a simple guideline — the more you pay the more access you receive. That is just economics 101.
So if a client has just paid me a $30,000 retainer, of course they have access to me. But, if a candidate is calling who I’ve never spoken to, who hasn’t submitted a resume, and who is not in my primary area of focus, that call will likely go straight to voicemail if I’m busy. You have to remember that 85% (or more) of the candidates you talk to are people you are never going to be able to place.
To tame your phone, make sure you have certain “call batches” in your schedule where all calls are going out and very few (if any) of those that are coming in are being answered. If it is an incoming phone call that is revenue related, then that is the exception to the rule. Nearly all other calls can go to voicemail to be called back after your outgoing calling batch. Your cell phone can act as your “bat phone” for clients and important candidates to reach you for deal-making issues.
Topic #2: Protect Yourself From SPAM
If you find that you are receiving a lot of spam in your primary email account, you may want to create a “throw away” email address for all signups, newsletters, online product purchases etc. This allows you to sign up for things that require an email address without ever giving away your primary address. It enables you to create a buffer zone between potential spammers and your actual business email address.
Once you have the new throw-away email address, you then forward it to your primary address. This means you still only need to check one email account. But, if the throw-away email address eventually gets overrun with spam, simply delete the account and repeat the process. It is also a good idea to create the throw-away address with a free service such as Yahoo or Google mail so that potential spammers would not even have your real domain.
Topic #3: The Virtual Assistant Revolution
There’s a trend that’s catching steam with small business owners and recruiters who want more time and freedom, and that is to start outsourcing many of the mundane tasks in their lives. “Outsourcing life” allows you to show up for work refreshed, charged, and ready to hit the phones and make money. Here are some examples of tasks that can be outsourced:
- Scheduling / appointment setting
- Restaurant reservations
- Messenger / time services
- Travel / transportation bookings
- 3rd party customer service
- Finding domestic services (roofer, landscaper, babysitter etc.)
- Scheduling future tasks & reminders
- General purchases (online, phone-in, flowers, gifts, etc.)
I conducted an experiment and I wanted to pass on some updated information regarding using virtual assistants. I wanted to see how much it would cost to hire people for various tasks in my business via Elance versus what I was actually paying my staff of contractors at the moment.
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What I found was a real shock; I was able to cut my labor costs for certain support tasks by more than 50 percent. For example, I hired a person to do transcription work for $20 per hour whereas I had been previously paying $75 per hour for the same work. I also found skilled American support staff willing to work on contract for $9 per hour.
This is amazing. What this means is that you can hire someone to do basic research and administration tasks for far less than most of us are paying. If you hire people from overseas, rates can be even lower. You may find that some of these people could grow into a senior researcher role with your firm. Also, because these are contractors, they’re a flexible workforce and can work for 5 hours one week and 20 hours the next week.
If you are not in a position to pay those rates, how about $119 per month for your own assistant? Ask Sunday has plans starting at that price, and they were named the #2 website of the year by Time magazine. The tasks they perform for you are more personal in nature, but if it helps you to be more organized and productive, it’s worth it. There has never been an easier time to outsource your time-bandits to people who are eager to help.
You’ve heard the phrase “Time is money,” but it may be more accurate to say that time is life. Your time is priceless because it can never be replaced.