When you venture into business for yourself, you don’t have the kind of support a traditional business office has like employees. Employees who can handle the day to day variety of tasks to help run the operation. For this reason, many online business owners hire Virtual assistants, also known as VA’s to assist them. In today’s post, I want to educate you on what is a Virtual Assistant and what they can do for you.
Virtual assistants are independent contractors who assist you from a remote location usually from their home office via the internet. They can be located in distant parts of the globe and often are available for a low price. You have the world’s workforce at your fingertips.
The Advantages and Disadvantages of Hiring a Virtual Assistant
The main advantage of having a virtual assistant is that you can get rid of the mundane tasks that eat away at your time. Your VA can handle items that are unpleasant or difficult for you. They can also take over certain aspects of your business when you go on vacation. Some VA services are highly skilled in areas like web design which you may not be good at yourself.
There are a few disadvantages as well. Training and managing your VA can sometimes be a job in and of itself. The technology for communicating over long distances can be temperamental and there may be language or cultural barriers to overcome. Finally, you may have to give out sensitive information about your business that requires a great deal of trust.
However, your virtual assistant can handle so many of the different routine tasks for your online business that the benefits usually outweigh any of the challenges.
Types of Tasks Your Virtual Assistant Can Do
Research and Finding Resources
A great job for your virtual assistant is to do research for you. You can assign them tasks to find specific information you need. Examples would be hiring your VA to research other bloggers in your niche to put on your blog roll, blogs that accept guest posts, or forums in your niche that let you include a link in the signature file.
There are many email tasks that your virtual assistant can take over for you. For example, they may write reminders to your clients that it’s time to pay their invoices or other routine communications. You can have them cut and paste these email messages so that all they have to do is send. You may hire a VA to clean out your email inbox or sort messages into appropriate folders.
Social Media Management
Many people with online businesses hire their virtual assistants to manage all of their daily social media tasks. They may update your social media site, set up profiles for you, find people to connect to, or research your target market using social media.
A great task for virtual assistants is getting backlinks to your site. They may submit your articles to directories, a task that eats up your precious time, or bookmark all of your content on social bookmarking sites.
Full SEO Packages
Some agencies hire out virtual assistants who are trained in all different aspects of SEO. They may offer SEO packages that include a number of the tasks mentioned above.
Finding the Right Virtual Assistant
Almost all online businesses need a virtual assistant at some point. It’s good to have a few picked out before you need them. That way, you can take the time to shop around for people that are skilled at the tasks you need done. Keep their contact info and then let them know when you need them.
In conclusion, hiring the right virtual assistant can do wonders for your business. Instead of getting bogged down with the mundane tasks, they can help get the job done while you focus on what you do best for your business!
>> Learn More About Working With a Virtual Assistant Here <<
For small and medium sized businesses that are especially at the start-up stage, the requirement for extra assistance is often vital. But the constraints on funds, space or equipments can prevent them from hiring a full time assistant.
This is where a Virtual Assistant (VA) can be a great resource.
Advantages of using a VA:
• The need for the traditional office paraphernalia like office space and equipments are eliminated, since a VA independently provides services from a remote location using his/her own equipment.
• The organization only needs to pay the VA for the time and material, if any, spent on the specific project.
• Since VAs have prior secretarial or similar experience, the need for training them is eliminated.
• Employee recruitment cost almost accounts to nothing at all.
• It cuts down overhead expenses like employee related insurances, taxes or benefits.
Hence, VAs are the best alternative that a growing small/medium scale business has as an economical and efficient alternative to hiring a full time employee.
Businesses that generally use the services of a VA:
The services of a VA can be availed by any person or business. Since a VA normally has prior administrative experience, their services are especially useful in businesses that experience regular periods of excessive pressure occurring due to paper work and other routine administrative tasks.
The businesses that generally use the services of a VA are:
- Real estate agents
- Legal professionals
- Website owners
- Affiliate marketers
- Teachers and professors
- Life coaches/business coaches
- Beauty salon owners
- Other small business owners, and so on
When would considering a VA be required?
Businesses should think of using the services of a VA if they are met with the following instances:
1. More free time is required to focus on strategic and more important goals
2. Delegation of work to existing staff would affect their productivity and their ability to meet deadlines
3. Existing staff do not have the required skill set to complete the task in question
4. There is a limitation on funds with regards to providing training, purchasing of office equipment or space
5. There is a requirement for a forwarding address when the person in question is away from work for a while
6. There is a requirement of an extra hand when the volumes of work are too large and difficult to handle on one’s own
7. There is a general need of a personal assistant
Your schedule is busy and hectic. Not only is it busy, but it is becoming even more stressful. You have fifty things to do in one day, but most of the time, these are interrupted by talking on the phone or having to take in service calls. Happy with the problem, you decide that it is time to expand.
In your expansion, you look at the option of hiring an administrative assistant. However, this takes paperwork, the need to have someone in an office space all of the time, and complicated factors, such as payroll. An alternative that seems to be more effective is a virtual assistant. By doing this, you will have the ability to get all of the administration taken care of, without having to worry about hiring an actual employee.
The ability to use a virtual assistant as an administrative assistant is as simple as making sure that there is an understanding of the vision of your business. A virtual assistant will be able to take in all of the calls that you need, answer e-mails, send faxes, and do any type of secretariat work that you did. They can also do some of the simpler tasks, such as keep track of appointments and pick up the mail so that you don’t have to worry about it. This way, you don’t have to worry about any of the administrative needs and can simply focus on offering services.
One of the important parts to keep in mind about hiring a virtual assistant as an administrative assistant is that there will be an expectation to create a partnership. This is because the virtual assistant, while working remotely, will be working continuously with you. This is an important thing to keep in mind, especially if you are looking for administrative duties that include more personal needs, such as handling reservations and appointments.
If you want to take out the small stuff for your daily schedule, then finding a virtual assistant is a good key. This will allow you and your business to take a step up without the problem of being scattered because of the lack of time. If you want someone who will offer you the best of an office without an office, a virtual assistant is the one who can put in the paperwork for you.