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!
Stop Doing Social Media Yourself and Grow Your Business
More than 460 small business owners, CEO’s and proprietors were asked how much time they spend managing their social media account. Here are the results:
- 63% spend 1-5 hours online
- The rest spend more than five hours
- Some spend as much as 21 hours a week or more
21 hours a week! That’s over half of a normal work-week. It’s no wonder that the number one gift every entrepreneur, small business owner or CEO asks for is more time. There’s got to be another way.
The amount of time spent on social media can be recovered if you outsource it to a Virtual Assistant. Outsourcing this task is not only beneficial but mandatory for anyone who is serious about growing their business.
How to work with a Virtual Assistant to manage your social media
Businesses have good intentions when creating their social media pages, but often these pages lack direction in content and structure. They’re not using a content posting schedule and therefore cannot measure the true benefits of their efforts.
A Virtual Assistant can help you to develop a content posting schedule for all your social media accounts. This schedule can include posting times, content that she will post, engagement received after posting and more. No longer do you have to wonder what the true effect of your posts are as she will manage that for you.
“Remember that building an audience takes time.”
I am always bewildered by entrepreneurs who expect their social media accounts to grow overnight. Building a social media presence takes time, and hiring a short-term freelancer on Fiverr will not work. Purchasing likes on the web will not help either. All you will get is a bunch of ghost followers who don’t engage with your content. You’ve got to build your audience organically.
Before you hand over your social media accounts to a Virtual Assistant, make sure you outline the best practices. Best practices include:
- How often you want posts to go live
- If she should respond to comments
- The topics that should be frequently explored
- The topics that are off limits
- How often you should get draft posts sent to you for review
- Which automated tool you will use to publish posts (Hootsuite, Buffer or the internal scheduling tool)
Other ways to use a Virtual Assistant to manage your social media
A Virtual Assistant is also useful to engage with your audience’s comments and queries. Often, people leave ‘angry’ comments on social media due to its public nature and therefore impact, so you’ve got to keep on top of that to diffuse situations. Your Virtual Assistant can schedule to receive email notifications for comments, direct messages and tags. She can then follow those notifications to respond to them. Not everyone is aware of customer service etiquette, so have a template ready for the following situations:
- General query
Here’s a typical response to a complaint:
We sincerely apologise for the bad service you have experienced. Please give us your details in a direct message and we will contact you to solve this issue. Alternatively, you can email email@example.com and we will solve this issue with a matter of urgency. Kind Regards. Admin
These templates will ensure that your Virtual Assistant will not get involved in an argument on any of your social media accounts.
When it comes to finding out who’s talking about your company, a Virtual Assistant can do this too. She can use Tweetdeck, Google Alerts or Mention.net to do this easily.
Finally, it is advised to use a password sharing tool such as LastPass to share social media passwords securely with your Virtual Assistant.