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!
How Your VA Can Effectively Manage Your Diary
Do you sometimes look at your diary and wonder how on earth you will get through the day? Do you struggle to get organised and to schedule meetings accordingly?
My friend and entrepreneur Donna faced the same problem. As the owner of a fast food business, she wanted to take control of all the operations, including her diary. She soon found herself stressed, exhausted and operating like a zombie. She would frequently dream of missed appointments, inaccurate scheduling and unhappy clients.
Although Donna had the right intentions, she was doing her business more harm than good. A growing business needs adequate help to keep growing. When I advised her to get a Virtual Assistant (VA), her question was,
“How can a VA manage my diary remotely?”
If you resonate with Donna, you no longer need to struggle. A VA can manage your diary remotely and do so quite effortlessly.
You’re going to have to start with using a great calendar.
What makes a great calendar tool?
Here are the elements of a great calendar tool:
- Easy to use
- Appealing interface
- Easy to share
- Available on multiple devices
- Packed with multiple features
These are the elements you want to look for when choosing which platform to use with your VA.
Which calendar tool should you use?
This is an important step because the platform you use will decide whether your VA can manage your schedule remotely or not. There are many free services available for sharing calendars:
In my view, Google Calendar is the best calendar in the market. It allows you to create multiple calendars, share your calendars and manage notifications. You can also merge it across multiple devices.
The entire suite of Google products is free to use if you have a Gmail account. You probably already have a Gmail account, but if you don’t, you can set up one easily. Remember to setup a separate account for your VA and then control the password via LastPass. This will make it easier for you to separate your own work and your VA’s work. If you’ve got one mailbox of jumbled tasks, you may be tempted to handle things your VA is supposed to handle.
What’s more? Google updates in real-time, allowing you to see live updates as well as the time and author of each update.
Beyond Google Calendar is VueMinder Pro. This tool is praised for its superior customisation and features:
- View your calendar on your desktop
- Receive reminders via sms, desktop and text-to-speech
- Create automatic backups
Its superior feature, however, is its sharing capabilities. In addition to syncing with the major calendar services such as Outlook, Google Calendar, Apple Calendar and Exchange, you can also sync your calendar with your local network. This means that you can share events with other computers automatically – a change made on one computer will automatically reflect on the other.
The benefits of having a VA manage your diary
The most obvious benefit of having a VA manage your diary is extra time for you to spend worrying about other things. Other benefits include:
- Your VA confirms every appointment the day before so that you never miss an appointment nor have a wasted trip.
- The VA handles all replies to your meeting, venue changes and other small details which alleviates your stress.
- Cancellations and reschedules are handled by your VA and automatically fed back to you and updated on your calendar.
- Your VA can take minutes of each meeting and remind you of important follow-ups after each meeting.
- He/she can also send any welcome packs, agendas and important information to each attendee without you having to do it yourself.
Having a VA manage your schedule is so much more about saving you time. It streamlines your business and improves professionalism. If your story resonates with Donna’s above, you will benefit from having a VA manage your diary more effectively with one of these calendar services.