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.
5 Questions You Need to Ask Before You Delegate work
We’ve all heard the quote that if you want anything done, you’ve got to do it yourself. While it’s true that you are more than capable of getting things done by yourself, it may not be in your best interests. Studies show that business owners spend way too much time on tasks that don’t contribute to their income. To succeed in business, you’ve got to learn to delegate these tasks so that you can focus on more important things.
When delegating tasks, it’s easy to assume that everybody is as smart as we are and so we delegate according to how we would want work to be delegated to us. What I’ve learned in my years working with other people is that delegation is not as simple as just handing over tasks. Here are five questions that you need to ask yourself.
1. When does a task need delegating?
There are certain tasks that you must absolutely delegate, and others that you shouldn’t. Apart from helping you get free time to focus on more important tasks, here are other reasons for delegating a project/task:
- You need to meet a tight deadline
- You require extra resources and skills that you don’t have
- To build skills in team members and foster continuous professional development
You should not delegate a task when:
- To avoid accountability. You should never delegate a task simply because you want nothing to do with it. Accountability remains with you because as much as you won’t be intensely involved in the fieldwork, you will still be responsible for overseeing the work. People who delegate tasks to avoid responsibility often fail at overseeing the work too. Don’t fall into this trap.
- If a client requests your work specifically. We all have those demanding clients that request a little something extra, and they’re willing to pay for it. If a client requests that you do something yourself and you agree to it, don’t delegate the task to someone else.
Make sure that you delegate tasks that are not critical to success if you’re not sure of the person doing the job. I know executives who hand over everything to their VA’s because they’ve worked with them for multiple years, but if you’re not sure of the work quality, rather do critical tasks yourself.
Delegate almost all your admin work. Answering emails or filling in forms is something someone else can do without causing too much havoc in your business.
2. Who should I delegate to?
Think about the skills you need for the job. Start by writing down a list of skills, traits and characteristics needed to complete the job successfully, then look for the suitable assistant.
If your project is running smoothly, you can look at delegating to someone with less experience, but if your project is not going well, make sure that you get an expert for the job.
3. What do I want to achieve by delegating this task?
This question is important and it ties back to question 1. Besides time-saving, you must identify the goals of delegation. The pros of delegating versus the cons of not delegating.
4. Will my assistant need any tools to complete this work?
It doesn’t help to delegate a task and not empower your virtual assistant with the right tools to complete it. First research on what tools, apps or programmes your assistant will need before you even choose the right candidate. If you don’t, you may find that the person you delegate to costs you more money because you have to purchase extra programmes.
5. How would you like the work to be delivered to you?
Of course, you must know in which format the work must be sent to you. Don’t expect your assistant to assume that you would like an update every day if you haven’t asked for it. If you don’t set the right expectations from the beginning, you run the risk of a failed project.
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!
How to Make Your Customers Feel Special
It’s a scientifically proven fact that the human nature is to want to feel important. Your customers are no different. As much as you may have other customers to attend to, each customer wants to feel like they’re your only concern.
It may sound selfish but it’s true. Think about, when you order a meal and it gets to you a little late, what do you do? You probably get frustrated and question the company’s customer service priorities. You may even head over to Hello Peter and leave a horrible comment.
In the same way, you must make each customer feel special so that you may keep them. Here are ways to do that:
- Send a thank you card. A simple thank you goes a long way. A customer will appreciate the fact that their presence makes an impact on your business. Many people are spending less due to the economic instability, but if they feel your appreciation for their business they may just come back for more.
- Send a birthday card. A customer will feel special if you send them a card on their special day. It will remind them that you’re constantly keeping track of them. You can send a card via email or post. To collect birth dates, ask for date of birth when your customers first sign up for your offering and then schedule an automated birthday card to be sent when their birthday arrives.
- Send a random message. This is an expensive way to make customers feel special. All you have to do is send a message via phone or email on any random date just to thank your customer and to ask whether they are still happy. You can even schedule these messages using a bulk messaging service.
- Buy a cup of coffee. Purchasing a cup of coffee and having it delivered to your customer is a great gesture of kindness, especially on a Monday morning. This also works well for long-distance customers that you don’t see often.
- Mention them on social media or a newsletter. You can mention a customer every month on your platforms, it will make them feel important.
That’s it! Five simple ways to make your customers feel special. Best part you can outsource this admin to VA Connect and our skilled team of Virtual Assistants. You don’t have to use all of them, look at the list and pick one or two methods that would work well for your business. For example, if your customers are in a different timezone, the coffee and mention would work well for them.
We want to know, have you used any of these methods to make your customers feel special. What other ways do you show that you care for your customers?
Think you cannot delegate certain tasks? Think again
Have you been building your business on your own, too afraid to delegate certain tasks?
Well, you’re not alone. Research shows that many executives dread relinquishing control of their work for fear of mess-ups. However, delegating tasks can only help free you of time that you can put to growing your business even further.
Delegating tasks can help you to find more time to grow your business even further. Learn to embrace it.
You may be wondering, “What type of tasks do I delegate?”
Before we get into that, here are tips to help you to delegate tasks properly:
- Search for an assistant with previous experience
- Put your assistant on probation for a short period
- Schedule training with your assistant
- Match the task to your assistant’s abilities e.g. Don’t ask someone to develop a web page if they have no experience with it
- Make sure you set clear deadlines and outcomes
Here are tasks you CAN delegate to your Virtual Assistant:
- Content creation – Writing, sourcing and editing content that will go out to customers. There are experienced Virtual Assistants who can help you with this at an affordable cost. You can create a shared content calendar so that you know what content goes out daily. Use tools such as Buffer or Hootsuite to allow your Virtual Assistant to post to your social media accounts without having to share your password.
- Event preparations and logistics – Planning, coordinating and scheduling the smooth running of events. You don’t have to do this yourself, there are capable Virtual Assistants who can do this at a per hour cost.
- Reporting – Still doing reporting yourself? Let your Virtual Assistant handle this. Train him/her on how to compile reports by using a video calling service such as Zoom.
- Graphic design – Designing your logos, marketing material, website and more. You can hire a Virtual Assistant who has these skills.
- Website and tech support – Customer support, coding and SEO optimisation. A Virtual Assistant with experience in IT can easily solve these problems.
- Audio/Video editing – Do you create videos and podcasts for your business? With a Virtual Assistant, you can create your raw content and allow him/her to edit it to your specifications. While your assistant edits, you work on building relationships with your customers.
- Engagement – How much time per day do you spend engaging online with your audience? Delegate this task to your Virtual Assistant. He/she may pose as you and respond to queries, congratulate your connections on achievements and just keep them engaged with you.
- General – Bookkeeping, appointment setting, filing and sorting are some example of general work. Your Virtual Assistant cam handle all of this for you.
Of course, finding one Virtual Assistant who can do all of this is highly impractical. That’s why it’s beneficial to partner with a Virtual Assistant agency that can spread your needs across multiple professionals. To learn more, contact us today.