The Complete Beginner’s Guide: How to STOP Running in Circles by Carrinna Buthelezi
There are many different services or specialties that a Virtual Assistant can offer. While most Virtual Assistant work is clerical or administrative, there are other options that a Virtual Assistant’s role may also encompass:
Social Media – being familiar with Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn offers a Virtual Assistant the opportunity to manage their clients’ social media campaigns. This can be done by posting issues relevant to my client’s business needs, or blogging on their behalf, publishing articles so that followers can learn more about what my clients’ business can do for them.
Internet Research – enjoy surfing the web and researching information? Offering services as an internet researcher can be beneficial to growing any client’s business
Database management/Creation and Reporting – want to alleviate some of the necessary but time-consuming workload that every business encounters, then this is a perfect example of how you can help any small business. By creating and managing a database and handling over weekly reports to the business owner, I enable my clients to focus on improving their business performance.
Typing (copying and/or audio) – many business owners use a small recording device to keep notes of ideas or projects. Specialising in transcribing these audio copies into notes that the owner can review and action is another way I can enable my clients’ business performance
So, when a business owner, busy executive, entrepreneur, coach, or consultant finds themselves doing the same things over and over again – then these are the first tasks they should delegate to a Virtual Assistant:
- Organising your emails. Answering, filing, flagging for those that the client needs to follow-up.
- Doing the bookwork. Data entry, invoicing, setting up automated payments, budget planning, cash flow management etc.
- Social Media. Preparing posts, images, scheduling for my client, building their fan base/followers, commenting, sharing
- Customer Communications. Creating email campaigns, newsletters, sending out customer feedback surveys and thank-you cards
- Travel arrangements. Bookings, reviewing, flights and accommodations (local and international)
- Digital Marketing. Writing and scheduling blogposts. Website updates. Researching syndication and backlink opportunities. Google local marketing.
- Researching trends, statistics, products, suppliers, target markets, PR opportunities.
By being able to offer these services to my clients, their business will grow as they delegate the details and focus on leading their organization to success.
Always remember if you can present the right first impression and then carry out the job/s needed as promised, you will then begin to build a strong a fruitful relationship which will benefit both you and your client. And have time for a bowl of chocolate ice-cream at the end of the day.
Why Multitasking is Not for Everyone
Ever tried to juggle multiple tasks in a day? Were you successful? Or did you succeed in only appearing busy, but not actually completing anything?
Multitasking is not for everyone, here’s why:
Did you know that only 2% of people can multitask? Yep, as much as we think we make great multitaskers, science proves that only 2% of us have the natural ability to do this. Those who can are known as “supertaskers”, a term invented by David Strayer, a professor of psychology at the University of Utah.
When most of us would struggle to complete tasks simultaneously, supertaskers thrive in these conditions. They perform better when given multiple tasks to do.
How do you know if you’re a supertasker?
To clearly identify whether you have multitasking abilities,
Two university students developed a test to assess this cognitive ability. This test called the Gatekeeper allows people to examine whether they are supertaskers. Funny enough, those who believe that they can multitask, are usually those who fail the test.
The test can take a while and therefore we recommend that you schedule ample time to complete it. There are 20 rounds which last for 90 seconds each. You can take a break between these rounds.
I failed the test, now what?
Failing the test only means that you’re not a supertasker, not that you can’t handle certain tasks. Since 98% of us are not multitaskers, this is nothing to worry about. What you can do is find a solution to avoid juggling too many tasks at a time.
One sure way to do this is by hiring a Virtual Assistant. Simply put, a Virtual Assistant or VA is someone who will work for you remotely, completing tasks that you’re not able to complete at any given point in time. These employees work by the hour and are paid an hourly rate. They don’t require any benefits such a pension, medical or office supplies.
They’re flexible. This means that you can call or email your VA at any time (depending on your agreement of course), to schedule, receive or discuss work.
Furthermore, VA’s are highly skilled individuals. Most of them have long-standing careers in their respective fields. They take the step into virtual work to gain a work-life balance or to take charge of their income.
What tasks can a VA do for you?
VA’s are highly educated, experienced and internet savvy. Here is a list of 40 tasks that you can outsource to them:
- Filtering Emails / Handling Spam
- Database Building / Updating Contacts or CRM
- Answering Customer Service Emails /Support Tickets / Chat Support
- Sending of Greetings Cards / Birthday Messages / Event Invitations etc.
- Calendar Management
- Email marketing
- Appointment Scheduling
- Travel Arrangement and Planning
- Reminder Services
- Audio / Video Editor
- Content Writer
- SEO / Web Marketer
- Graphic / Web Designer / Web Developer
- Dropbox / Google Drive Organization
- Creating / Managing Spreadsheets
- Preparing PowerPoint / Keynote Presentations
- PDF Conversion, Splitting and Merging
- Transcription of Video and Audio Files
- Simple eBook Layout / Formatting
- Preparing Online Meeting Minutes
- Report Creation
- Forms Creation
- Document Template Creation
- Online Research
- Data Mining & Development / Lead Generation
- Blog Publishing Management
- Moderating Blog or Social Media Comments
- Adding Tags & Images to Blog Posts
- Receptionist Duties
- Voicemail Checking
- Invoicing Clients
- Basic Bookkeeping
- Personal Errands (Purchasing Online Gifts, Reminders, Planning Family Holidays etc.)
- Project Management Between You and Team members
- Training Employees or Delegates
- Preparation of Training Materials
- Onboarding of New Virtual Staff
- Deadline / Deliverables Tracking
- Social Media Management Tasks
- Creating Social Media Fan Pages / Groups
Besides this, a VA can do any task related to their skills and expertise.
Need a VA? Contact us!
5 Essential Ways to Getting Started As a Virtual Assistant
Being a Virtual Assistant can be a rewarding career for those who are looking for flexibility in their schedule. Due to rapid developments in technology, entrepreneurs and organizations are now searching for services online. Working as a Virtual Assistant does not only entail administration services; there are a variety of services that an Assistant can offer online.
In this article, we will discuss 5 ways to getting started as a Virtual Assistant:
1. Decide on your niche
As mentioned above, there are a variety of services that you can offer as a Virtual Assistant. Think about where your skills, strengths and passions lie. You might be tempted to want to do everything, but if you do not possess the appropriate skills to complete a project, it will affect your reputation.
If you want to be a successful Virtual Assistant, you will have to be well skilled in the services that you will offer. Take a short course or read a book to increase your knowledge.
2. Set up your workspace and invoicing system
Research on the legal requirements to becoming a Virtual Assistant in your country. You might have to register your business with the relevant authority before you can get started.
The basic equipment that you will require is a good operating laptop, headphone with microphone, webcam and a printer. You will also require a good internet connection.
For invoicing, you can determine whether you will use traditional invoices, or an online invoicing system. What works best for beginner Virtual Assistants is PayPal or WaveApps.
3. Advertise your services
Market your services using social media and free online platforms. When you market your services, it is better to include a list of tasks that you can offer. The majority of Virtual Assistants offer packages with a number of tasks per package. You can choose this method or work on a quote basis depending on the client’s requirements.
4. Partner with a Virtual Assistant company
Working for a company that already offers Virtual Assistant services can be a good option if you are just getting started. You will not have to worry about advertising and invoicing as the employer will do that for you.
Ensure that the employer knows which services you are willing to offer to their clients.
There are other more experienced Virtual Assistants available; networking with the best can assist you with better ideas to increasing your business.
You may also want to join groups, forums, and attend networking events within your area. Make yourself well known in the industry, so that you may get clients through referrals as well.
How to create a productive home office environment
I have come to learn that our environment really has a huge impact on our work productivity. I was once visiting my sister who has a six year old boy. My aim was to get my work done as per usual, but boy was I in for a big surprise! My nephew constantly disturbed my work. I ended up not getting through my to-do list that day. If you’re like me and need to get things done at home, these few tips might assist you in becoming more productive and having more control over your work environment:
The first thing you need to consider is your workspace. If you’re working from home, consider using a room that is far from the TV room or lounge area. Any noise coming through to your office will likely be a distraction.
The most frustrating thing is having slow internet connection or a slow computer. It can reduce your productivity significantly due to the waiting time. Ensure that you invest in good hardware and software to boost productivity.
3. Consider Feng Shui
Feng shui is “an ancient Chinese belief that the way your house is built or the way that you arrange objects affects your success, health, and happiness” (http://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/feng-shui)
Good feng shui means clearing clutter, having good air quality, having good lighting and using the right colors in your office. Consider adding a pot plant and rearranging your furniture in a way that best represents you.
You need to be comfortable in your own space. Put your favourite quote on the wall or a picture that keeps you motivated on your table. Keep it tidy and fresh at all times.
Don’t have your laptop in one room and your printer down the hall. This will create a lot of distraction and reduce your productivity. In one of my previous work environments we used to have the printer in the hallway next to the kitchen. We found that employees would walk down to the printer and then lose track of time making coffee and talking to other employees. A short break is beneficial, but it is easy to get side-tracked when your resources are not all in one place.
Have you ever walked down a hall then saw a sign saying ’’Silence, test in progress”? What was your reaction? If you’re like me, you immediately kept quiet and made a conscious effort to keep the noise down.
Signs work. Have a polite sign at your door to remind those living with you to be conscientious that you are working.
If you follow these 5 tips you are on your way to getting more done in your day!
If you have any story or advice on how you have made your home environment more productive, please leave a comment below.