Technology in the Virtual Assistant’s world by Rene Blanc
Now a days technology is improving faster than ever before. In the past, we had to communicate with each other either via a pigeon or a messenger on a horse. Today we can communicate with each other at the push of a few buttons or by tapping the screen of our cellphone a few times. It is even further made easy with apps like WhatsApp, email and Facebook.
At the beginning of the internet everything was slow to get around but as time went on it just gets faster and faster. On a normal telephone dialup connection, downloading a 20Mb file took about 2 hours, today you can download a 20Mb file on your cellphone in seconds.
You can also share more between people than just text messages. You can also send pictures of family and friends or even of projects, you can even send video clips of the cat getting scared of a cucumber or the precious moments of the birth of a child on the other side of the world or even your favourite love song.
For the Virtual Assistant, all this is great news. We can communicate with our clients over WhatsApp, email and Skype to name just a few. The secretary no longer has to sit in the same office as the client and can still do all the same work as the average secretary. Documents and spreadsheets are easily set up and sent to our clients in a matter of seconds. Video calls over Skype makes instant meetings a reality from anywhere in the world.
Through apps like WhatsApp, we can communicate with our clients and or customers communicating our clients’ wishes to them, collect outstanding debt or even sign up new potential clients/customers.
Thanks to technology we now have better control and input over every aspect of our lives. From finances to the wellbeing of friends and family through social media. Social media apps like Facebook and Twitter allow us to not only share in the love and lives of our friends and families but also allows us to promote ourselves as Virtual Assistants to people who have never heard of or never considered something called a “Virtual Assistant” and thereby increasing the amount of people making use of a Virtual Assistant.
I have only been a Virtual Assistant for a short time but I have enjoyed every second thereof and being able to help my client to expand and increase his business. Since starting with my client I have received a great recommendation from him and helped his company grow by implementing new procedures and steps to assist in collecting outstanding debt from customers.
Being a Virtual Assistant has opened my eyes to an entire new world of possibilities and is helping me to reach my full potential. I have always enjoyed helping people and doing this job has given me the ability to achieve more than I have in the past. I only wish I could have become a Virtual Assistant earlier.
My Journey with VA Connect by Melissa Nicholson
“Some people don’t change only a direction in our life; they change everything in our life.” – Christelle Salameh
I started my Virtual Assistant journey in 2014, a journey that is very scary and extremely difficult at times to take on your own. A VA entrepreneurial journey is simply not possible alone without the help of mentors and people who have been there and done that previously. Having an idea on your own is great, but a mentor can identify and see areas in you where improvements are necessary for your own personal growth.
In January 2017 I partnered with VA Connect, not knowing how this partnership would change me as a person and also affect my entrepreneurial path. Working alongside the co-founders and serial entrepreneurs, Karen Wessels and Albert van Zyl has changed and impacted my journey profoundly. Not only have I learnt and watched how they nurture and take care of their clients, but how they have made it their life’s journey to not only positively impact everyone they come into contact with, but how they strive to motivate and uplift every single person around them.
We live in a world where people are put down and broken down according to their net worth, education or their abilities and it is very seldom that you come into contact with people who stop and listen to what you have to say and diligently seek to reach down deep and pull out from the core of your being what your strengths are and encourage you on a daily basis to be all that you were meant to be, weaknesses and all!!! That is who Karen and Albert are, and the basis on what VA Connect is built on, uplifting, entrepreneurship, assisting clients to the absolute best of our ability and harnessing a person’s skills until you become the absolute best you can be.
I distinctly will never forget a VA Connect team meeting we recently had in August, Women’s month, where the sole focus of the meeting was to get every single one of us out of our comfort zones and reflect on who we are as people and how to do everything we can to be the best we can be. There is nothing more uplifting in this world than hearing that as a person, you are valuable, you matter and that you can be anything you desire to be. It’s just not something that happens often enough.
I have seen and learnt so much in the last 7 months, that I as a person no longer question my abilities and what I am capable of. I am much more confident in my work on a daily basis and absolutely believe that I can be everything that I was created to be. Thanks to VA Connect, the word “can’t” no longer exists in my vocabulary.
I believe in life certain people cross your path for a reason and I am truly thankful that mine has crossed Albert and Karen’s otherwise I would not be where I am this day. I encourage every Virtual Assistant to identify mentors like this in your VA career path who will help you to do the same.
Things that have helped me make my life easier and more productive as a Virtual Assistant by Melinda Pennells
In my previous blog I discussed my journey as a Virtual Assistant. This month I want to discuss how to make your life easier and how to be more productive when working from home. As I said previously it was really daunting at first, I knew that I would have to “sort my life out” in order to be able to handle whatever was thrown my way and in turn make it a success.
I thought long and hard about what I could do, I am already by nature very “OCD”, I thrive on structure and being organised. When I feel organised I know things will get done, that is why I knew I had to bring my “OCD” into my Virtual Assistant position.
Here are some things that helped me and hopefully could help you too:
My work day rules
We have the luxury of sleeping in a little when all our friends are stuck in traffic but make sure you start work the same time every day. It is also important to set your hours of work same as if you had a desk job, if you would leave the office at 5pm then do the same when working from home.
Set up your office space so that everything you need is at hand, and make it beautiful, it really does help if your surroundings make you happy.
Take breaks, take the dogs for a quick walk, sit outside in the sun for 5 minutes. It is so unhealthy to work straight through the day, no matter who you are or what you do.
Organise, Organise, Organise!!
In this environment, it is so important to be organised and know what you want to do during your work day, it’s way too easy to get ahead of yourself and have everything crumble around you. Make lists if necessary, nothing fancy just jot it down on a piece of paper (preferably in a note book as little pieces of paper always go missing) and try your best to stick to it. Obviously, you will have days that “don’t go your way” but there is always tomorrow. And by having your list it won’t fall through the cracks because chances are you’ll forget to do it.
Communication is Key
When you are sitting alone at home working it is so easy to go into your own little bubble. So, it is vital to communicate and to do so often. If you don’t understand something that you have to do, ask the necessary questions. Some might think it’s best to keep quiet but that is definitely not an option when working like this, or in that matter any work environment. If you communicate everyone will be on the same level and you will understand what is expected of you, this makes your life easier and you will naturally be more productive. An added bonus is your work will be immaculate and your clients will love the work you are giving them.
The most important thing when working from home is making everything around you benefit you and make you happy and comfortable. If you are happy and organised you will automatically be more productive and life will be easier.
These things have really helped me on my Virtual Assistant journey and I really hope they will help you too.
How to Optimise Your Virtual Assistant Business This Spring
Spring has arrived and as we know this is traditionally the time for spring cleaning. Out with the old, in with the new, a good scrub and clean and we then have a fresh start to a new season. We get rid of all the junk that we never get to, clean in all those hard to reach spaces, repack the cupboards, we rearrange the furniture and so on. This should also apply to our Virtual Assistant business. We get so busy working on projects and daily tasks and the clutter tends to build up so quickly if we are not careful and systematic in where we store files and documents. That paperwork that keeps piling up, those little notes stuck here and there, and yes, also those computer sticky notes. Things can also get untidy when working on several different tasks at a time and often with more than one client at a time.
Now is the time to take stock. Schedule a time to clean up your desk, your computer and your home office. This will freshen and brighten up your Virtual Assistant business, make you feel more professional, organised and could be your springboard into the coming months.
Here are a few simple things you can do which can make a world of difference:
1) Take a Snap Shot
When last did you change your profile photo? This can so easily be done with your smart phone and look very professional. Keep it updated so that if you do meet your client face to face or on a Skype meeting that they recognise you because you “match” your photo. Go to all your social media sites and update your profile which really shouldn’t take long to do at all.
2) Up-skill Yourself
Have you taken any courses over the last few months or learnt a new skill? Go and add them to your LinkedIn profile. Regularly up-skilling oneself is a very appealing quality to potential clients as it shows drive, ambition and a keenness on your part to take on new challenges.
3) Clean up your computer inside and out
Do you know that your computer is contaminated with more germs than your toilet? That is gross isn’t it? Not a pleasant thought, but nevertheless true. Find out from your computer dealer what is recommended to clean your computer and give it some well deserved TLC.
Get rid of the clutter in your inbox. This is a sore point for me. Ever had that sinking feeling of inbox overwhelm? You’ve just got too many emails and not enough time? There are some of those emails and newsletter that you just never get to but just keep on piling up. You are most likely never going to get to them and instead of having to constantly be deleting them, just be done, stop wasting time and click UNSUBSCRIBE. Yes you can! It’s not against the law and you are not going to hurt someone’s feelings. Guaranteed they do it too. Sometimes you are going to have to say no thanks. Relevant emails, deal with and place in a specified folder. If a particular email is in a thread, keep the latest and delete the rest. Ultimately, work out what system works the best and most effectively for you and stick to it. That way you will avoid confusion and overwhelm in those times when the pressure is on.
4) Clear and Clean Your Desk
This can really make you feel great. Get everything off of your desk and give it a good clean and polish. Now you can start over by placing everything where you like them and perhaps add a new plant or desk organiser that catches your eye. Get some new stationery. Clean out those drawers and throw out that old stapler if it keeps on getting jammed. You spend many hours at that desk, so spoil and indulge yourself a little. You deserve it too.
5) The Freedom of a Mobile Office
Spring brings warmer weather, so why not take your office outside or perhaps visit that very enticing looking new coffee shop up the road? You don’t have to be stuck working in one place all of the time. Remember, variety is the spice of life.
Why choosing a Virtual Assistant over In-house support will make you money
I believe one of the biggest reasons why many entrepreneurs struggle with their businesses, are because they have too many smaller tasks to do and they do not get the opportunity to focus on the bigger tasks.
Of course hiring an Assistant is also not that easy. An In-house Employee costs you more than their salary. You have to train them more frequently, pay for their insurance, UIF, etc. You need to pay them for a full day, even if the work took only 3 hours, you need to pay for office space and office equipment. You also need to ensure that the person has reliable transport, you do not want to hear every now and then the bus broke, or her/his car broke down, etc. You need to spend more time with interviewing as this person needs to match your personality, as you will be spending a lot of time with them in the office.
The good news is that hiring a Virtual Assistant you do not need any of those above and you save loads of money.
VA Connect for example has two options:
- Retainer package
- Per Hour package (this is a great option if you want to test us out before committing)
Both of these packages can fit each individual entrepreneur’s requirements and what will actually work for your organization.
(For more details on VA Connect pricing visit our website; https://vaconnect.co.za/pricing/)
18 Tasks in which a Virtual Assistant can assist… 18 Reasons why to hire a VA
- Calendar Management
- Database Building / Updating Contacts or CRM
- Appointment Scheduling
- Travel Arrangement and Planning
- Managing Emails / Customer service
- Data Entry (Inc. creating of spreadsheet etc.)
- Taking care of ALL paperwork
- Basic tax services
- Assist with Recruitment
- Transcribe Audio
- Update database such as CRM
- Managing website (Inc. website orders, queries)
- Bookkeeping (Inc. invoicing, receiving and managing payments)
- Writing – blog post, newsletter, marketing emails, articles
- Public relations
- Research (Inc. competitors, products, potential customers, etc.)
- Prepare financial and business reports
- Human resource task (Resolve complaints, give warnings, creating employee contracts)
I have only mentioned a few things that a VA can do for you. A Virtual Assistant can do almost do everything an In-house Employee can do. Except maybe;
- Literally “run” errands, but we can arrange for errands to be done
- Meet with employees or clients personally, however, we can do it virtually via Skype, Zoom, or Google Hangouts.
I cannot think of anything else that a VA cannot do. We might not be able be there in person, but that does not mean we are not there. New technology, which continues to develop, allows anyone to do most things remotely via computer and cellphone.
You do not need to be “tech-smart” to hire a Virtual Assistant; all you need is a computer or a phone to delicate the tasks to your VA and let them do the rest.
So why should you not hire a Virtual Assistant?