Firstly lets be clear on one point. You’ll never be able to pass off all emails to your VA and never deal with emails yourself again. No matter how much of a Tim Ferriss fan you are, it’s just not going to happen. Think about it, if you email me with a question about your business and Coaching, do you want it answered by a VA or would you like a personal answer?
What you can do is systemise and create templates for the most common questions that you’re emailed about, and delegate those. A PA/VA can be a great help in sorting emails, dealing with the run of the mill one’s, and freeing you up to deal with only those that require your personal attention.
What can you delegate? Questions that get asked regularly, invoices, payments and other accounting emails, quotes for work if you have ‘package’ options, stock ordering and supply, appointments, requests for non-personal information, the list goes on.
What should you deal with? Anything that is a one-off email, any complaints, requests for interviews, anything that requires a personal touch.
Why create templates for email? How often do you have to answer questions via email? If you’re having to rewrite the same answer to the same question each time then you need templates. Think about the questions that you’re asked. How many of them are similar enough that you can use a template or script to answer them? How much time will you save when you don’t have to reinvent the wheel and rewrite the emails every time?
So, the How. Where do you start? If you’re like 99.9% of Business Owners you already have the makings of email templates and scripts in your email client. Look through you sent emails, emails to clients, suppliers, contacts from your website etc.
Group all the questions you’ve been asked into like topics and use the emails you’ve written previously to create a standard template answer. Write the templates in word docs, and save them using the question as the file name.
Group the docs into folders based on what they refer to, such as ‘Quotes’, ‘Ordering’, Wholesalers’, etc. This makes it easy to find the doc again when you need.
Next time you receive an email asking for information, you simply go to the appropriate folder, copy and paste the template into an email. Check that it answers the question properly and send it off.
If you have a PA, VA or Admin Asst, they can more than pay for themselves by filtering your business email. They can deal with the standard emails that the templates work with, and anything that doesn’t have a template is sent off to you for answering.
What do you think? How could this work in your business? What questions are asked repeatedly?
Melinda is the founder of SuperWAHM.com and started the site to share her learnings to help other Work At Home Mums become more independent and able to spend time with their families