How to pick your perfect Virtual Assistant

How to pick your perfect Virtual Assistant

How to pick your perfect Virtual Assistant

Picking the perfect VA for you is a stressful process, as it is not the same as choosing your “in-house” Assistant. You basically, most probably won’t ever “meet” your VA.

Here are a few tips to help you through the process.

Before you can start with “advertising” the position, you need to have the following information ready – maybe write it down.

1. First things first, what do you want your VA to do?

What tasks do you need the VA to do? In this list include everything, from sending emails to bigger projects such as bookkeeping.

Also prioritise the tasks. Number these projects, what is most important to less important.

Are these tasks time sensitive? Are they ongoing or once-off projects?

2. How many hours are you looking for?

This can depend on your budget, so make sure you know what that is. Does the VA work full-time or part-time? Is he available evenings and weekends (if that’s when you work)? What time zone is the VA located in? While I have nothing against part-time VAs, I found I needed someone who was available during my full-time working hours.

What type of person should the Virtual Assistant be? This is something big to think about. Do you want the VA to be organized, should the VA be super friendly…al these things will influence your decision. If you are not sure, think about the type of work the VA will be doing for you. If the VA is going to call your clients the VA needs to be super friendly. If the VA has to do some bookkeeping, being thorough would be important.

3. What kind of experience does the Virtual Assistant need?

Experience… one of the GREAT thing about VA’s are that they usually a lot of experience. VA’s mostly have more than one client and does various things for these clients. So when thinking of experience, you need to determine how long the VA has been doing this type of work. While it’s helpful to know how long she has been a VA or an administrative assistant, it’s more important to learn how long she has done the tasks that you want her to do. She may have done them for a previous employer for many years. There’s always a bit of a learning curve as a VA learns your particular business, but you shouldn’t be paying for her to learn new skills unless they’re unique to you and your business.

4. Tech skills required

A very important thing to think about is Tech skills because you are hiring a VA – everything is Virtual. The VA you are looking for will either know the software you are working on OR be a quick learner on tech.

Once you have figured out,

What the VA will be doing

What the required skills are

How many hours the VA will be working

…you then can start searching for the perfect VA. Virtual Assistant Companies are perfect, absolutely perfect.

WHY? They have Virtual Assistant lined up for you and they usually have a full list of what their VA’s can do, what skills they currently have. SO you will have a variety to choose from, and they will speed up the process.

This is why you need to hire a Managed Virtual Assistant Agency

This is why you need to hire a Managed Virtual Assistant Agency

This is why you need to hire a Managed Virtual Assistant Agency

The key to your business success as an Entrepreneur, CEO or Founder is knowing when to outsource and when to keep things in-house.

More than likely if you run a SME or startup you are not keen on hiring beyond your office, because you think it’s going to end up being a very expensive exercise. Well, I’m here to set the record straight. You see, VA Connect happens to be Africa’s largest managed virtual assistant agency and we’re here to prove that hiring a VA from a managed virtual assistant agency is one of the best things you could ever do for your business.

We’ve been doing this for many years, which necessarily follows that we have learned many lessons and for sure earned our stripes along the way!

It’s important for you, the business owner and our client, to be safe in the knowledge that by hiring us to provide office support, that we know what we’re doing and ultimately we make life as simple and as easy as possible for you.

I want to share some of the benefits of hiring a VA from a managed virtual assistant agency.

Benefits of a Managed Virtual Assistant Agency

We come with packing punch

With many years of experience under our belts we have a great understanding of your needs, the level of expertise you require and that the Virtual Assistant you hire becomes part of your team. So it’s really important to us that we assign a well-suited VA to your account. Our team comes with great skills, knowledge and attitude to get the job done and for you to start enjoying business again.

Lower cost, less hassles

At the end of the day it works out to be more cost-effective to outsource certain functions than to hire them in-house. As a very well run managed virtual assistant agency we offer great service at really reasonable pricing, which is excellent for budgeting purposes.

Expertise and knowledge

We’ve done the legwork, bumped our heads a few times and walked away with many business lessons. Because of this we come with expertise that cannot be learned from a book. We have surrounded ourselves with exceptional people and we are blessed to have such an amazing team to work with.

HR is our problem

One of the biggest blockers in any business is the HR department. That is a separate skillset, being able to manage people, recruit the right staff and keep them motivated. One of the greatest benefits of hiring a Virtual Assistant is that you don’t have any HR problems. If you work with a managed services virtual assistant agency and you’re experiencing issues with your VA, the agency will replace them. If your VA is off-sick or on annual leave it is up to the agency to find a stand-in.

Bringing it together

Do your homework when you are in the market to expand your team. Compare the cost effectiveness of keeping everything in-house vs outsourcing certain functions of your business to a virtual assistant. You may be surprised at how easy it is to on-board a VA and that minimum training is required to get them fully integrated.

Remote Work: Tips to remain relevant in the Future Economy

Remote Work: Tips to remain relevant in the Future Economy

Remote Work: Tips to remain relevant in the Future Economy

Most of us are familiar with the changes that increase has brought. So it’s no surprise that in the last decade, the number of employees working remotely has increased over 100% globally.

Jobs ranging from salesperson to receptionist can be done from just about anywhere. Other roles, like customer service representative, are often exclusively remote work nowadays.

Onsite work has its time and place.

Companies are finding new and better ways of working. These ways now can save money and even give companies access to rare talent when they use remote workers, as they now have a global pool to source from.

Remote work doesn’t just benefit companies, though. Many individuals can’t afford or don’t want to live in a large urban city, where the best opportunities are. Remote roles also allow these people to learn more skills while earning wages well above what they could get locally.

All that said, remote work isn’t simply a nice option to have or a way to make/save a few extra bucks. It’s the norm now, for both job seekers and those trying to grow a company. Which means that learning how to conduct remote work is not so much about bettering yourself or your company as it is about survival.

The future of our economy dictates that we stay relevant, if we want a part of it.

Some things to consider:

1. As a remote worker you need collaboration tools

Your survival in this area depends on two things: mastering the basics and learning the tools your company or clients use.

The basics are tools like Google Docs and Calendars, project-management software like Trello, and communication platforms like Slack.

Company- or client-specific tools are a little more varied and are industry specific, such as accounting software.

Take the time to master the basics and give yourself an idea of how collaboration tools generally function.

2. The importance of Relationships

You have to connect and sometimes it will be necessary with strangers online, whether that’s through cold email or reaching out to people via social networks like LinkedIn and Twitter – you will need to be comfortable in doing this.

You never know what doors these conversations can open. And the bigger the company, the greater the chances you won’t get to meet everyone in person.

The same rules we use in offline relationships apply: be thoughtful, ask questions, and try to add value. Just because Slack makes it easy to send a bunch of dopamine-fuelled responses in a hurry doesn’t mean that’s great behaviour to adopt. If you want to develop strong relationships online, you have to treat those conversations with as much importance as you would a face-to-face one, and know when to move the interaction to a different medium.

3. Time Management

There are news stories out there about larger companies using things like motion sensors and wearable devices to manage their employees’ whereabouts. Besides being completely creepy and possibly unethical, it also feels counterintuitive to the idea of remote work, where knowing how to manage your own time is crucial for success.

There’s no one trick here. Put parameters in place that will help manage your time.

Many companies help their remote employees with remote work through metrics, which track numbers and other Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). Some also set incremental goals for a project. Measures like these allow a company more visibility into their employees’ progress; they also help individual workers feel more on track with their work.

But at the end of the day, if you can’t get work done without having a manager looking over your shoulder, you won’t be able to find or keep a job for long.

4. You never too Old to Learn

The world is changing faster than ever before, and it’s only going to keep speeding up — especially where our work lives are concerned. If you stop learning, you’re going to fall behind. The only hope to get work in the future economy is to keep learning and embrace change.

And change….can be good for you.

The top 3 things to do in Gauteng, with young children!

The top 3 things to do in Gauteng, with young children!

The top 3 things to do in Gauteng, with young children!

Having 2 young girls who are as active as they are vocal about what they want, like and need (their needs are more like wants, but to them it’s a need) means that I need to ensure that there is always something fun and exciting, active and hopefully educational for them to do!

Walter Sisulu Botanical Gardens

Just this past weekend, with winter on its way, I decided that some fresh air was just the thing we all needed. Along with a great friend and her two young children we set off for the Walter Sisulu Botanical Gardens. The goal was to hike to the top of the water falls. I remember this hike, from back in the day, however on this day I was put to shame by a 4 and 6-year-old, who led the charge up the precarious 3.5 km hike to the water fall. This hike was not what I recalled, and though the struggles were real for me, not having exercised in longer than I can remember, the fun, the perseverance I saw in these young children reminded me that giving up was not an option!! This fun journey should be one that everyone should try at least once. The tranquil gardens, the educational aspect, the fresh air and the quality of time spent with my daughters was an amazing experience.

Pretoria Zoo

Second on our list is the National Zoological Gardens of South Africa otherwise known as the Pretoria Zoo. What can I say but WOW. Animals for Africa, huge. A great time out for the entire family! My daughters were able to spot animals all over the place! Unlike the Johannesburg Zoo which feels very run down and desolate, you will find every animal imaginable!! Even the Kangaroo! and leopards, Guerrilla’s, tigers. A fun time, also walked for hours, a gold cart may have been better, but the chance to spend that time enjoying the looks on their faces was the highlight of my day. Revisits are definitely in the cards!

For the young at heart where coordination is not a problem, we Roll eGoli! Roll skating! Not for the feint hearted as demonstrated by myself, where my butt was more on the rink than my roller skates. An immensely fun time, learning a new skill, the music is great, the friendly staff are amazing and the pizza to die for! Parties, or just a casual visit will have you revisiting the 80’s!

I’ve learnt the hard way that trying to find things that we all enjoy need not be the most exhaustive thing to do! With google only a tap away, and my daughters eager and excited faces as we head off on yet another awesome journey is worth more than words can ever tell!

And I did have an ice-cream or 2! How can I not!

It’s never too late to teach an old dog new tricks by Annie, Virtual Assistant

It’s never too late to teach an old dog new tricks by Annie, Virtual Assistant

It’s never too late to teach an old dog new tricks

When my company closed down, I found that I was looking for something to do to help keep my grey matter active.  I was lucky enough to be offered the chance to be a virtual assistant.  They say when someone has been in a job for a long time you stagnate, in that you use the same skills all the time and never stretch your brain to its full capacity.  Well in the last two years, boy has my brain been stretched!

Who would have thought that I would have learnt so much?  I have gone from being an Executive PA in the shipping industry for more than 40 odd years, to now regularly researching topics that I did not even know existed before.  Throw is some computer programming and writing up business plans and synopsis’s and all of a sudden there is a serious need for upskilling oneself.

Having been exposed to new fields, I have realized that in order to do a great job for my client and to fly the VA flag high, I have needed to ensure that I keep up to date with all the new trends in specific markets.  Before I would have just looked everything up on the internet and been quite proud of my efforts, however, working as a Virtual Assistant, one does not have the luxury of running into your boss’s office with a question at any given time.

Have the right mind-set

Just the other day I was asked to prepare an online survey, my first thought was HELP!  The difficulty is that my client is a very busy man and leaves me with set tasks to do within a specific timeline.  I had to research and teach myself how to program a couple of online surveys for him, not only the survey but to get the survey to calculate specific responses and tally them thus connecting them to other screens.

If you had asked me to do this before I became a VA I would have looked at you sideways, however, now I rise to the challenge.  After completing the surveys I gave myself a pat on the back for upskilling myself, only to find that the next challenge coming hurtling towards me!  This time, my assignment was dealing with finance and brochures.  So again I needed put my big girl knickers on and upskill myself in the world of Board Meetings and Award Winning Brochures.

Up-skill yourself as a Virtual Assistant

Apart from my regular upskilling I have realized that I need to take advantage of the free courses offered online through webinars and websites such as Alison and Typeform to name a few.  They say education opens up doors and the mind.  Here’s hoping that my new found skills will lead to more opportunities. My mind is continually being stretched, and because of this I am able to offer more and I am more confident in myself and my abilities.

My new motto is “Bring It On!”