The past few months have been a bit of a crazy whirlwind. Our VA Team have been working with clients launching online programs, new websites and new businesses. Lockdown has meant so many different things for different clients.
WAHM WorkSpace has been busy right through. Many clients took a break, or slowed down for the first few months of the pandemic. They’ve definitely revived their focus and drive in the last two to three months. Many people have experienced this over the last few months. Some of our clients ramped up their businesses as lockdown started. Our work levels have, thankfully, been fairly consistent throughout.
Our stress levels have fluctuated as we assisted numerous clients who went into full blown launch mode. We have been part of teams for clients who were launching in the past. We thought we were ready to take on the bulk of the Launch tasks. I don’t think we really were, however we have certainly learned a lot over the last few months. I’d love to share these lessons with you.
Communications has definitely been one of the buzz words in our business over the last few months. There have been numerous posts all over about the importance of communication for work from home. Remote work requires a certain level of over communication, but without getting intrusive. One of the most important aspects when working with a VA team is that there needs to be easily-accessible, open communication channels. A place where everyone can access and follow the conversation. We use group chats in Telegram for this. However, what happens is that conversations take place in private, and then other team members are left out of the loop.
Takeaway one: Communication needs to happen, often, in full view of the team, and be easily accessible.
The next aspect of launching and working with a VA team is that there needs to be a clear single place where task management occurs. There are so many tasks in a business, especially during a launch phase, that they can easily get lost. Experience has shown that there needs to be one person on the team whose responsibility it is, to update the task management platform when things crop up somewhere else. This way everyone involved knows that there is someone responsible for tracking and updating the tasks.
This is often a difficult one to keep track of. Things come up on a chat, and get agreed to, but then don’t get captured and they fall through cracks. Only to be brought up in a panic when the task is due or something isn’t working correctly.
It is important that there is an agreement from the whole team to regularly check and update the task management platform. There’s no point in having the software, if it’s not used regularly and kept up to date. This is a central place to keep track of progress updates. These updates can sometimes get lost in a chat app.
We use a variety of task management platforms. Our favourites are ClickUp and Asana for most of our client work.
Take away two: Have a robust task list, in a reliable task management platform, that is regularly checked by everyone on the team.
Timing and Scheduling
Launches require a lot of work. There are dozens of tasks in various areas of the business that need to be set up and completed prior to actually launching. It is vitally important to know what those tasks are and how long they’re likely to take. And then to work out the launch schedule accordingly.
We had quite a few of our clients realise they needed to change the dates of their launch part way through the planning phase. Due to a combination of the sheer volume of tasks to complete, as well as the availability of their team to complete those tasks.
We estimate that you need 6-8 weeks to prepare for launching. This includes prepping all the content for promotion, sales and course or program delivery. It is important to have your team on board for the full period of this preparation time. This helps with communication as well as task management. There is also the aspect that your team is as invested as you are in the success of your launch.
Take away three: Fail to plan and you plan to fail. Start early, track every task and have a stress less launch.
As we’ve mentioned, a launch is an epic amount of work and can be incredibly stressful. Working with a VA team to provide support to you is really important. Whether that is just one or two people, or a team of 15. If you follow the measures above they will assist in ensuring your team has buy in to your launch. Your team will be clear on your goals and they will know what’s expected of them.
The leadership of the team is equally important. Having a clear goal and vision for your launch, along with being able to communicate that to others is vitally important. You could have the best team in the world, but without them clearly knowing where they’re going, they’re still going to get nowhere in style.
The client working with a team of VAs or other service providers, must remember that the team is there to assist you with carrying out your vision and plan. Relying on team members to direct you, is bound to cause tension and frustration in any working environment. VAs are certainly able to speak about their experience and to make suggestions, but ultimately it is your business and final decisions and directions need to come from you!
Take away four: Choose a team you connect with and who complements your skills, and lead that team with clarity and purpose.
We’ve learned that there are many pitfalls when it comes to launching and working with a VA team. There have been moments of sheer joy and ones of utter frustration. We’ve learned that without clear communication channels, well thought out vision and planning, and regular team updates that a team dynamic can get frustrating for everyone involved very quickly. We learned that trying to rush the process just puts undue pressure on everyone involved.
We also learned that there is space in the online world for a team who can assist with the the online launch process from the perspective of someone who has a better understanding of the whole process – the Big Picture. Our sister company was created for exactly this purpose.
Introducing CoLAUNCH, our sister company
We are proud to introduce CoLAUNCH – Collaborative Launch Management. Working with you to ensure that the communication channels are open and working. You will have access to a comprehensive task list, and any additional tasks will be tracked and updated regularly. Working with you and your team. with a detailed schedule to ensure that your next launch goes off with a lot less stress for all involved parties. And assisting with finding, interviewing and vetting team members when needed.
CoLAUNCH will bring your vision to life with less stress and more focus. CoLAUNCH will be working closely with the WAHM VA Team, as well as other service providers.
If you’re looking for specific skills to complement your current online Launch team, please take a look at our Virtual Assistance page.