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.
Securely sharing Passwords with your Virtual Assistant
There will come a time to share passwords with your Virtual Assistant. Yikes, I know! We’re all very aware of security measures when it comes to this kind of thing and we certainly don’t want to make any part of our business vulnerable.
The great news is there is a fantastic tool called LastPass! This nifty little app will not only make your life easier, but also give you the reassurance you’re looking for.
With LastPass you can share login details without ever sharing the actual password. If you want to you can provide the password through LastPass, however, there is no need to do that.
Let’s take you through a brief overview on how to do this.
How to use LastPass
- Go to LastPass and download
- Create an Account
- Then go to your browser, click on the LastPass icon and select your Vault
- Select the “Share” icon next to the website that you want to share
- When you hover over the site link in your vault you will see 3 icons, select the people icon, this is to share
- Enter your Virtual Assistant’s email address and request to share
- Your Virtual Assistant will get the notification and then she’ll be able to access that website without ever having seen the Password!
This is a quick walk through on how to share a password via LastPass. LastPass will also prompt you automatically to save information for any website where you’ve entered. Your Virtual Assistant will never see your data.
You can also upgrade your LastPass account to Premium so that you can sync across all your devices. If you still feel you require further instructions LastPass conveniently offers a User Manual on their website.
The key thing to remember is that LastPass is convenient, safe and reliable. Now you can safely share passwords with your Virtual Assistant. She can get on with your tasks and you can get on with life!
4 Signs that Show You Need to Get Rid of Your Office Assistant
Entrepreneurs generally hire Office Assistants as one of their first employees. This is because as their business grows, they realise that they need someone to help with the workload. Office Assistants are a perfect choice because these employees can do it all. From running your errands to filing your documents, there is not much that’s off the charts for these dynamic workers.
Nonetheless, there are certain instances when Office Assistants are no longer relevant and one may need to end the relationship. Here are times when an Office Assistant may not be the best choice for your business:
1. You have a ‘shoestring’ budget
If you’re really struggling to get your business off the ground or you’re a startup that needs to save on costs, don’t hire an Office Assistant. Hire a Virtual Assistant instead. In so doing, you get the same or even better quality of work without having to worry about paying for office space, hardware and software to get her going. You also don’t have to worry about employee benefits such as pension funds, travel allowances and medical funds.
In addition, you only pay for the hours worked. This way, you avoid unproductive employees.
The exception to this rule would be if you really need someone at your premises to pack goods or ship certain items. In that case, an Assistant is necessary, but if you can do everything virtually, that will save your business on employee costs.
2. You need a flexible employee
Entrepreneurs are super busy, and I’m sure you are too. As expected, there may be times when you need some urgent work done and can’t call on your Office Assistant because she only works set hours.
Virtual assistants offer that flexibility. You can hire one when you need and as you need her.
3. You like your space
Introverts are known to appreciate their space, but there are also other personality types that enjoy working on their own. If you prefer your own space and the thought of sharing an office frustrates you, it is a sign that you must get rid of your Office Assistant and opt for a Virtual Assistant instead.
4. You’re making losses
Granted, an Assistant is not meant to generate sales, but their presence should lighten up your workload and give you more time to close more leads. If your Assistant has become more of a liability than an asset, it may be time to let her go.
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.
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?