August 19, 2021
We’re BACK with another Team Member interview! We’re talking with our Executive Assistant, Rachel Hannah. The pepper pots of The Heart team as she likes to call herself. She is the woman who knits everything together within our team & keeps us sane.
Whether you’re interested in being a virtual assistant OR if you’re just interested in hearing what it’s like to work for us and be on The Heart University team, you’re gonna get so much out of this episode. And a lot of tea.
From the software to use in organizing and structuring your business operations to behind-the-scenes stories of how we all met and started working together. We’re covering everything about how to get into virtual assistant work, systems and processes to save time, and how to balance motherhood and work.
Assistant to Lindsey, Evie, and The Heart University where she manages the backend of all three businesses. She is a wife to her husband TJ who is in the army, where they live in Georgia with their two elementary school-aged boys.
Rachel was a middle school teacher for seven years and loved it. Then since her husband is in the military and they found out they were moving from Georgia to Hawaii, Rachel decided she didn’t want to work 60 hours a week as a teacher looking at the beach out her window.
She had a friend who was also a teacher who had transitioned into virtual assisting and received information from her. That begun Rachels VA career. She had one client and it was fun and easy. Then they moved to Hawaii and her realtor who was Lindsey’s realtor introduced the two of them. They hung out at Bible studies and never talked professionally until Lindsey found out Rachel was a VA. She then went up to ask if she was taking on more clients and if so, would she be hers. Lindsey was leaving for Europe the next day for six weeks and wanted Rachel to start ASAP. And she did, starting with going through a thousand emails in her inbox.
Within two days Rachel had sorted Lindsey’s entire calendar of her public transportation, flights, and Airbnb’s. Everything she needed for her six-week Europe trip.
When Lindsey initially hired her she had given the vision and view of The Heart University and Rachel naturally helped with some of that. Then Evie came to visit in Oahu and met Rachel after the December Oahu workshops Evie knew she needed to hire Rachel too.
Email– One of the biggest ones. Someone to cull your emails, getting rid of all the spam, and anything that is not going to move the needle in your business. Onboarding on what emails to ‘flag’ for your client to respond to.
Calendar Management– making sure whenever there is anything that requires travel, lodging is set and rental car.
Rachel manages about 10-12 different email inboxes between Lindsey, Evie, The Heart, and all her personal ones. For The Heart, she does all of the backends of student management things. If a student is having trouble with payment, log-ins with the course, or a question. She is the one who will go in and solve all those questions.
For The Heart Shop, she works with our fulfillment center to make sure those orders are being fulfilled, any returns or exchanges needing to take place, tracking inventory, and reordering inventory.
With the backend of upcoming courses, Ally and her will go in and automate all email funnels in Active Campaign with triggers. With all of the funnels, they are the ones who are automating those right now.
Active Campaign is our email sending software. All of the people who have signed up for The Heart University is made a client in AC. Whenever we have an email we want to send we have certain tags for clients to send them certain emails.
As a VA you will handle a lot of the backend of paying the team, or any technical backend support. Invoices, contracts, any little nitty-gritty stuff that your client doesn’t need to have their eyes on you are doing.
Rachels first thing is to take pen and paper and create a dump list so then she can then go into her digital programs and input and keep track of tasks there.
For task management we use Monday.com, but Asana.com is a really good free version of that. She will take everything she dumped and put it into a calendar. Within Monday we have multiple different boards for different projects or departments. Within those boards, you can assign a task to a person, add notes, and set a due date. Then you can go in Monday and toggle through things by the due date. That helps to not lose things. It’s not only for the initial task, but you can reset that date for future follow-ups.
Slack is something we switched to for communication. When we first started it was in a group message, but was hard to keep track of work tasks and details. You can automate a Slack message to go to a Monday board and then assign it to a person and date, that way you don’t lose anything. It’s all automated and done.
Use Google suite, if we are all typing on a document, you can all be typing and editing and changing. We can all be doing different tasks but working on the same document. We use Google drive and documents for literally everything.
All three of those integrate. The fact that all three of those platforms have the communication ability makes all our team’s lives easier.
Kajabi– This is the platform that we use to host all of our courses. Within that you have to create the offer which is the buy button, we share it with Sarah our web designer, and then from there, it connects with Stripe, our payment processor. We then have to create automation of what to grant when a customer purchases a course. We can also activate or deactivate different courses for clients as well.
Zapier– Is an automation integration app. It’s like an if, then this, then that situation. When we have a course launch we can go into Zapier to read whenever Kajabi registers a sale, connect Kajabi via Slack via Zapier so then we get notified when someone purchases an item.
Rachel says first and foremost she has a great team. We give each other loads and loads of grace. The fact that we are rooted in the Lord and know that we are doing what we are called to do, we are all functioning the way that we are meant to be functioning in this business.
If you need to take a day off, make sure to get all of your work batched ahead of time. It is super easy to plan.
Have healthy work, life boundaries are really important. Having a daily schedule is important too. Rachel wakes up at a certain time every morning, gets some movement in 3-4 times a week, Jesus time, and then her boys have a morning schedule as well. She’ll come home after drop-off for school and she’ll make sure she hits all of her tasks that are deeper work. Then when she picks up her boys that’s when it gets a little trickier. Also, make sure you have a hard stop time, that is dedicated family or your time.
Know when you have the mental energy to do deep work tasks versus when you are going to be a little less focused. Rachel tries to get all of her deep work done while the boys are at school so that way if Evie or Lindsey need something she can do that poolside or at sports practice. Batching your tasks out is the easiest.
Loosely create processes for what your strengths are. If you’re great at calendar management, create a rough process of how you could alleviate that pain point for a client. It could be calendar management, email inbox management, etc. Think of the pain points a client might have, create a process to address them, and how you can take things off of their plate that isn’t moving the needle in their business. So that they can focus on advancing their business and you can focus on supporting and encouraging them.
Know that not every client VA relationship is going to be the best fit. Don’t try to force a relationship because then it won’t be beneficial for either of you.
Know your boundaries, know what your time limits are. Make sure you are intentional with your time limits and boundaries where you aren’t putting yourself into a season of overwhelm or burnout.
Best: We are friends on top of being clients. I am not just your executive assistant and I’m not just your VA. Having that relationship has helped our work relationship to be so smooth and so dynamic. If we are going through a busy season we can give each other that grace and also relax and enjoy those slow seasons together.
Worst: I think it would be easier if we were in the same time zone and it would be easier sometimes if you answered Slack messages more quickly. Responding to things a touch more quickly.
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WASSUP FRIENDS. We’re Evie + Lindsey, co-founders of this wild partayyy called The Heart University. Our goal is to empower entrepreneurs to kick freaking BUTT in their businesses, dive down into the heart of their why and how, and serve you with all possible tools you’ll need to up-level your business game and CRUSH those goals of yours.
Whether you’re coming to an in-person workshop, joining our online course, or soaking up all the strategies via this blog or our podcast, we’re STOKED you’re here + can’t wait to see you out there kicking butt.
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