How to have a good working relationship with your Virtual Assistant
Start out with an open mind
If you have never worked with a Virtual Assistant before, first think of how it can benefit you and your business working this way. Understand that the transition from having an assistant in your office to working remotely is going to be an adjustment and allow for that.
Garbled communication produces garbled results and is a huge time waster. Decide exactly what it is that you want your Virtual Assistant to do and how you will communicate it to him or her in a way that is clearly and easily understood. Schedule a way of communication that is done daily or weekly as standard and should anything else come up that needs to be dealt with, let your Virtual Assistant know through what means you would prefer communication, be it via phone, WhatsApp, email etc and inform him or her beforehand when you know that you are not going to be available for a period of time.
Learn to be a good delegator. This is sometimes a problem for a start up business that started out with one person making all the decision and doing everything themselves. Understand that you are working with another individual that possibly doesn’t see everything as you do, so may produce results in a slightly different way than you did. Take a step back and look at the result from a different perspective and you might be pleasantly surprised to see that the result is better than what you produced originally.
Goals and time management
Let you Virtual Assistant know what is going to be expected of them and what takes priority. Be realistic in what is expected of him or her within their specified work hours. Plan ahead of time and set goals for when certain tasks or projects need to be completed by and communicate this clearly. If something else comes up that needs to be done urgently, realise that there will be a delay in getting other tasks or projects done within the original planned timeframe.
Mutual Respect and Trust
If your Virtual Assistant feels that they are appreciated and respected, they will feel a sense of commitment to you and your business. Be open to hear other opinions, your idea might not always be the best idea. Show them that you value their positive input and even constructive criticism. as this will make them feel more part of the team and even more committed to the growth of your business.
Morals and Ethical Practice
If you’re wanting a professional Virtual Assistant to be dedicated and committed to your business, don’t expect him or her to stay if you are in the habit of unethical business practice. Being clear about what is and what is not acceptable in your business dealings, will remove any grey areas and you will gain your Virtual Assistant’s respect and trust as well as your customer’s. Be upfront and let your Virtual Assistant know exactly what you and your business stand for before you start your working relationship.
“Honesty is not the best policy, it’s the only policy.” Dr Myles Munroe
8 Things You Should Know About Virtual Assistants
We all know that Virtual Assistants are the saviours of entrepreneurs and small business owners, but do we really know what they’re about and what they can do?
We posed this question to 50 entrepreneurs to see whether they really understood the concept of a Virtual Assistant. Here are the results:
- 60% Think that Virtual Assistants are merely admin personnel
- 20% Feel they’re unqualified or inexperienced
- 10% Believe that Virtual Assistants cost way too much money
- 15% Feel that they cannot trust a Virtual Assistant
To dispel these myths, here are 8 things you should know about Virtual Assistants!
1. You get what you pay for
Virtual Assistants are extremely flexible. When you hire a VA, you can expect him/her to work flexible hours. You can work with your VA to decide which hours they should work and you pay them only for those hours worked.
Worried about your staff not being available during the holidays? Well, VA’s can sort that problem out for you. Hiring a seasonal assistant can help you maximise on seasonal sales.
2. Most Virtual Assistants can do much more
It’s common that business owners think that VA’s are only suitable for admin or clerical tasks – they can do so much more.
You can hire a Virtual Assistant for:
- Financial Statements
- Customer Service
- Web Design
- Content Creation
- Social Media Management
- Consulting and Strategy
- And much more
In fact, you can outsource almost any task to a VA!
3. Virtual Assistants are affordable
VA’s are much more affordable than full-time, office-based employees for two reasons:
- You pay them only for work completed
- You avoid office costs
Studies also showed that because VA’s work from home, they will charge you much less than if they had to travel to work daily.
4. They are resourceful
VA’s often wear many hats and therefore, are powered with so much knowledge, tips and tricks to get the work done. Also, the fact that they don’t rely on a Manager pushes them to find answers on their own.
5. Oftentimes Virtual Assistants have impressive CV’s
The VA demographic tends to comprise of people who have already worked a fulfilling office career and now are looking for a work-life balance. They are highly qualified individuals who just prefer the benefits of not having to physically go to an office.
6. Virtual Assistants are disciplined
The mere fact that they are responsible for their income forces them to practice discipline. They know that if they don’t work, or if they provide mediocre work, they will not be hired again.
7. They wear many hats
Most VA’s possess experience from working on many different projects. Hence, this gives them an upper hand over individuals who work with one employer for a long period of time. They can deal with
8. Virtual Assistants are hustlers
Have you ever heard the saying, “Hustle like a New Yorker”? Well, that’s what VA’s are like. If they can’t do something, they won’t wait for you to tell them what to do, instead, they will search the internet or find other ways to complete the work.
They also have more pride in their work because most people become VA’s due to a passion for what they do. So, if someone tells you that VA’s are lazy, expensive and untrustworthy, send them this blog!
Outsource All Your Reminder Calls to Your Virtual Assistant
Are you a busy executive or entrepreneur struggling to keep abreast of all the 1001 reminders you’re receiving on your phone, PC and other devices? As much as technology has made it simple for us to manage our businesses, it can become overwhelming as the business starts to grow. To avoid missed appointments or calls, hire a “personal” reminder in the form of a Virtual Assistant. This person will act as an assistant to give you reminders on calls you need to make, appointments you need to attend and much more.
How to setup reminders
Hiring the Virtual Assistant is easy; what one needs to work on is setting up the reminders correctly so that you’re not disturbed during important meetings or events. This will mean that your Virtual Assistant must share a calendar with you if she’s going to be reminding you about certain events.
First, decide whether you want a reminder the day before or on the day of the event. It’s wise to have a run-through of your next day’s calendar with your VA the night before and then receive reminders at least an hour before each event is supposed to take place.
Then, decide whether you want your Virtual Assistant to make the calls for you or whether you want to make them yourself. It’s wise to make sales calls yourself so that you can build a rapport with each client. With that said, not all calls should come from you. Your Virtual Assistant can easily call your clients to remind them about an upcoming meeting for example.
Other call reminders your Virtual Assistant can handle:
- Follow up calls on missing documents
- Confirmations of appointments
- Requesting certain information
- Special events such as birthdays and anniversaries
- Family events or responsibilities (yes, they can do this too)
Once you’ve agreed on how often you want to be reminded and who will be calling each client, decide on a standard form of reminder. We recommend that your Virtual Assistant first sends you an SMS one hour before the event. if you receive the message you can reply with a “yes”. Failure to reply will either let your VA know that you’re not available or that you didn’t receive the message. If you haven’t replied to a message, your Virtual Assistant will call you five minutes before the scheduled event to find out if everything is on schedule. This is when you can advise him/her to either call or email the client with an update.
Are you interested in hiring your “personal” reminder? Give us a call today!
Building A Great Email List with the Help of Your VA
Did you know that your Virtual Assistant can build an email list for you? If you require someone to help you with your lead generation by building a database of prospects to email, a VA can easily assist. Your VA stands as an important part of the lead generation process. In so doing, a VA is an extension of your sales team.
To do this, you don’t even have to have a structured way of gathering leads, your VA can put structures in place too. He/She can decide where they will source information for your database based on the target market you give him/her. You can use the database to send email campaigns and make more sales.
Here are suggested ways your VA can build your email list:
- Run a contest or giveaway. This always works to get more email addresses. Make sure that the product you are giving away is aimed at your target market. Run the competition for at least one week to maximise on email signups. Let your VA manage this competition, pick a winner and announce it. Lastly, your VA can start sending email campaigns to the list at least once a week.
- Give a free EBook. Let readers who want to receive a free eBook sign up to your email list. Your VA can create an opt-in button that prevents the download until the reader has given their email address. There are tools like Mailchimp and Aweber that can help you do this seamlessly.
- Block certain blogs. There are tools and plugins like Opt-In Panda that helps you to block other content besides EBooks. With these tools, you can block blogs, pages and much more. One great way to build an email list is to research which questions your target market wants to be answered and let your VA write a post packed with insightful responses. Make sure that the blog can only be unlocked when someone enters their email address. To bump this up a notch, search for the most popular keywords by using a tool like SemRush and write another blog related to the keyword. Block this content as well. When someone finds your blog in search engines, they will have to insert their email address to unlock the content. This will result in a self-sustaining database of leads for your business.
- Run a referral program. Your VA can manage your company referral program. For each customer that successfully signs with you, request at least three referrals. If the three referrals are legitimate, the customer can get a discount. This will help you to collect email addresses of people who may be interested in what you offer.
- Try Google ADS. You can create an AD for Google using specific keywords or catch phrases that you know your target market will search for. Link this AD to your landing page that gives a bit of explanation of what you do and then requests an email address. Your VA will then be tasked to collect all email addresses that come through from the landing page. He/She must thereafter send email campaigns to these email addresses.
- Go the traditional route. In the past, businesses would contact random people from the yellow pages. You can still do this today, just a little bit differently. If you’re a B2B business, you can search for your target market online. For example, if your target market is insurance companies in Johannesburg, a simple Google search for ‘insurance companies Johannesburg’ will give you thousands of hits. Your VA can go to each website, collect email addresses and send emails to those people.
You can also automate the entire email sending procedure. This means that each time someone gives you their email address via any of the processes 1-5 above, a tool automatically starts sending email campaigns at certain times. Our Virtual Assistants are well skilled in this. Contact us today if you want us to help you.
Effective Ways to Increase Your Social Media Reach Organically
We all know or have seen the effects of a good social media reach. Some of our favourite Facebook pages get thousands of likes, followers and tons of engagement daily. But, why is it that even though you seem to be doing the right things, you’re still not increasing your social media reach like these other pages?
This is a million-dollar question that everyone who has created a social media page wants to know. How can a business or an individual grow their social media reach without paying for it?
Increase your reach organically
Sometimes businesses prefer to grow their social media reach organically. They will not pay for advertisements and would rather gather likes slowly and organically.
This option is beneficial for small businesses who find that paying for social media marketing is too expensive.
You can grow your social media reach organically using these methods:
Simply creating a social media account and posting content is not enough, you’ve got to make sure that your page is optimised for search engines. When Google crawls your social media pages, they are looking for relevant information such as name, description, the number of likes, and the number of people talking about your page. This information will help them to list and rank your page with the right keywords.
Failing to add the right information will land your business at the bottom of search engine results. Funny enough, this is a mistake that the biggest brands are doing. A simple search for “Vehicles on Facebook” for example, brings up small business results and none of the big car brands. This is because these small businesses have learned how to optimise their Facebook pages.
Here’s how you can also optimise your Facebook page:
- Add an important keyword in your profile name. for example, if you’re in the car business, add “cars” in your profile name.
- Complete your bio. This will help
- Complete the key
- Request reviews from customers. Request at least five reviews from your best customers. This will make your page stand out from the crowd in search results.
- Add hashtags to your post. Many people search certain keywords in the Facebook search bar. If you search “cars” for example, all the posts with this keyword will pop up. If you want to be on top of search results, make sure that you add a few keywords in the description box of each post. Be wary of overdoing hashtags. Two to three hashtags per post are enough.
- Optimise your audience. In the picture below is a screenshot of what a Facebook page’s settings look like. If you go three lines down you can edit your page’s visibility. Make sure that you’ve selected “allow preferred audience selection…”. This will help you to reach the right people.
The trick to getting your Twitter page noticed is to use hashtags in your posts, especially hashtags that are trending. Word of caution – Don’t use popular hashtags in your Twitter bio or name as it will direct people away from your page. You can use a hashtag in your bio or name only if your company dominates it or if it isn’t so popular.
Another way to optimise Twitter is to use automatic greeting messages when people follow you. Tools such as Crowdfire allow you to do this. Here’s an example of a Crowdfire automatic message:
Thank you for following me, I see that we have the same interests. I am a professional Social Media Manager that helps people boost their social media presence. Don’t hesitate to ask me if you have any question. My links are xxx…
Finally, add your Twitter handle in the publicise portion of your blog post editor. When readers share your blog to Twitter, it will mention your Twitter handle. This will get more people to follow your Twitter account. If you’re not sure how to do this, this blog explains it in detail.
With Instagram, adding hashtags to your profile name works perfectly. I have done this myself and found that my follow rate has increased by 20%. Another tip is to have a simple Instagram handle. Handles with many digits or funny characters are difficult to remember and find.