21 Ways to Use a Virtual Assistant
Here’s a list of 21 tasks you can outsource to your Virtual Assistant:
- Scheduling appointments. Let your Virtual Assistant schedule and manage all your appointments for you. You just view your diary every morning and show up to every appointment prepared and let your VA do all the admin work.
- Managing events. Managing a corporate event can be stressful, especially if you’re inviting international delegates. What’s even more stressful is handling the queries from each delegate. Outsource this task to your VA to ensure a successful event.
- You can outsource your general reporting to a VA. Make sure you take your VA through adequate training before expecting him/her to produce accurate reports.
- You can get your VA to do basic bookkeeping tasks such as updating your journals or cash book.
- Running errands. Do you have personal errands you need to run but no time to do it? Let a VA do that for you!
- Cold calling. You’ll have to be careful with this one as not everyone is good on the phone. If you hire a VA to make cold calls, make sure he/she has sales experience.
- Blog writing. You can send a list of blog titles to your VA and have him/her write your blog posts. Regular blog posts will not only keep you connected to your audience but also get more traffic to your website through search engine traffic.
- Social media management. No time to manage your social media accounts? Let a VA handle that for you Just give him/her the posting schedule in advance so that he/she will know what to post.
- Editing and proof-reading of written content. Editing written content can be time-consuming especially for people who are not professional writers. Let a VA edit all your documents so that you may have more time for other tasks.
- Managing emails. Most entrepreneurs have a mailbox full of emails that they can’t get to. This leads to missed opportunities. Outsource this function to a VA.
- Chat support. These days customers want to hear from you within 24-hours of sending a query. If not, they go to a competitor. A VA would be a perfect match for this type of role as you can pay him/her by the hour.
- Transcription of audio/video content. If you’ve got audio and video content that you need to transform into written content, outsource it to a VA.
- SEO/web developing. Let your VA search for popular keywords in your industry so that you can add them to your blog posts/content. Also, your VA can develop your website or landing pages.
- Building databases. If you need a database to start calling for appointments, a VA can build it for you by searching the internet.
- Travel arrangements. Flying for a business meeting? Let your VA handle that for you!
- Sorting online files/documents. A virtual business may not have physical files, but the online files can get just as crowded as physical files. Have your VA sort all your documents in well-labelled folders so that you and other staff members can easily find information.
- Online research. If you need to research a specific topic, let your VA do it for you.
- Creating forms and templates. If you require templates to send emails, guide employees and onboard new employees, let your VA handle it for you.
- Creating and sending email marketing campaigns. Email marketing campaigns are successful in increasing your sales, let your VA create and send them to your clients.
- Designing visual content such as images, logos, banners and headers. Need a graphic designer but can’t afford one? Let a VA design your visual content and pay only for each completed project.
- Managing teams. You can hire a VA to manage other team members. This is great for a small business because you can have him/her work for a few hours per day and pay by the hour.
If you are currently hiring a Virtual Assistant we would love to hear more about the kinds of tasks you outsource in the comments below!
5 Great Ways to Get Started with Your Virtual Assistant
So, you’ve just hired your first Virtual Assistant, congratulations!
Now, because you will be working together virtually, there are a few steps you must take to get your assistant up and running. Although you won’t have to worry about office space, you must spend some time setting him/her up with the right tools to do the job.
Here are five great ways to get started with your Virtual Assistant:
1. Training and Development
Due to the nature of the work (online and not in person), giving clear instructions and expectations is essential.
Training material– Develop training material, how to’s and step-by-step instructions on how your Virtual Assistant should do his/her job. Remember the reason you employed a Virtual Assistant is to save you time, therefore, make sure he/she is properly trained to work independently.
Expectations document– Outline what work you expect daily. Do you require him/her to send 10 emails by 5 pm daily? Make sure it is clearly outlined in this document.
Performance measurement– Describe how and when you will measure your Virtual Assistant’s performance. Remember to tie KPI’s (Key Performance Indicators) to the expectations document. Also, make sure KPI’s are realistic. You can determine this by getting feedback from your new Virtual Assistant. Ask him/her if they agree to the KPI’s and work together to set a good way to measure performance.
Of course, your Virtual Assistant must be paid. You can set up a payment method that works best for the both of you. Consider extra charges with the method you choose. Popular payment methods are PayPal, Skrill and Payza.
3. Apps and Tools
To work effectively, your Virtual Assistant will need the following common tools:
- CRM (Customer Relationship Management) Software
- Emailing Platform
- Messaging Platform
- Accounting Software
- Meeting Platform
- Document Management System
There are certain apps that can make working virtually seemingly easy. Read our blog on five apps and tools that every virtual business should have.
4. Virtual Phone System
Since you’re running a virtual business, you will need a virtual phone system that will allow your Virtual Assistant to make calls without using his/her private phone while giving you the opportunity to monitor calls.
Setting up a virtual phone system is easy. All you have to do is:
5. Shared Calendar
Finally, the best way to know what your Virtual Assistant is busy with daily is to setup a shared calendar. You can use Google Calendar which can be easily synchronized with Outlook. This calendar can be edited in real time and accessed via your PC or mobile, making it a popular alternative for small business owners.
Does my business need the support of a Virtual Assistant?
This is a question I’m sure all business owners have asked themselves at one time or another.
Even as a business executive or life coach, by introducing a Virtual Assistant to your business life, you can reap the benefits. How do I know this? Well, thanks to the constant positive feedback from my customers they make sure I understand how invaluable I’ve been in helping them run a successful business.
So now you need to ask yourself again, does my business need a Virtual Assistant?
Some important areas I can recommend looking at where a Virtual Assistant can be beneficial, are the following:
Bookkeeping: Keeping on top of your business bills and any bookkeeping matters can be one of the easiest things to assign to your Virtual Assistant. In this way your Virtual Assistant can follow up on outstanding invoices or unpaid bills.
Online research: You can easily outsource this time-consuming task to your Virtual Assistant. Typical requests usually include sourcing information on businesses, exploring new products or vetting new potential employees. Be sure to send your VA clear instructions and where appropriate user names & passwords for paid websites.
Database entries: Whether you’ve collected piles of business cards at different conferences or updated information for existing contacts, keeping databases up to date is a suitable task for a Virtual Assistant. Your VA can either create a client database for you or update your existing program.
PowerPoint Presentations: Summarizing research findings or turning raw data into a PowerPoint Presentation is a great time-saver to assign to your VA when prepping for meetings.
Email Management: To free up time in your day, your Virtual Assistant can filter your most important emails and respond to the rest on your behalf. This is done remotely, however, guidance needs to be given on how to pick out key emails. You can also ask your VA to copy the response to you before she sends it out.
Social tasks: These would include writing birthday cards or sending out thank you notes. A good Virtual Assistant can take care of this.
Scheduling: Your Virtual Assistant can manage your calendar for you, handling meeting invitations, scheduling appointments with clients and assisting in planning events.
The tasks that you can outsource to your VA are unlimited. The above is just a short list as examples thereof.
To determine where or how a VA can help you in running your business successfully, take a look at what part of your business you are struggling with and determine whether it would be beneficial to hire a VA to take care of it. Perhaps it’s the day to day planning, or marketing, or bookkeeping you require help with. Whatever you define your business needs to be, just know that there is a Virtual Assistant who can help you.
What are you favourite apps for being productive?
It wouldn’t be generalising at all to say that everyone wants to be more productive and therefore have more time on their hands.
You can Google articles on productivity and you’ll be astounded as to the vast number of hints and tips you’ll pick up.
At our small start up we’re integrating apps that help us become more productive all the time. We’ve put together our favourite list of productivity apps that truly help us in achieving our daily goals.
We know life can be hectic, so take 5 minutes to enjoy your cup of tea and go through our list of productivity apps. Some you’ll be very familiar with, others may be completely new to you and hopefully you’ll give us a high 5 for introducing them to you!
We absolutely love this app! It’s an instant messaging platform slash dropbox slash feedback portal all rolled into one. You can invite clients to certain channels to update them on projects and it’s a great platform to stay connected especially if you work with remote teams. As you’ve probably gathered we cannot live without this one.
Evernote is superb to keep all your notes organised and in one place. You can add comments to notes, share them with others, scan in all your slips to share with your accountant, keep your photos in a safe place, the list goes on. Plus, you can download it on your phone. Yay!
This app helps you with work life balance. You can organise your day with reminders, to-do lists, notes, schedule events and so much more. In fact this app has won awards! Integrate your calendar with Any.do and you’ll find that you can do life your way.
This app may not have a direct impact on your productivity per se, however, it is super to keep your passwords in a virtual vault. And if you’re anything like us, we have so many different sign-ins it helps keep everything organised and safe. If you are signing up new team members or need to give clients a client log-in, LastPass will send the log-in details without ever revealing the password to the recipient. Genius!
Dropbox has been around for a while and I believe will remain a firm favourite for a long time to come. Gaining quick access to essential documents from anywhere, sharing files with your teams and providing clients with certain data is so easy through this app. Use on your PC or phone, it’s quick and easy to download and install.
Hopefully you are already using some if not all of these apps to make your day more productive. Please share with us your list of favourite productivity apps!