How to Use Zapier to Manage Your Notifications
Small business owners and entrepreneurs tend to be technologically savvy. They understand that managing a business with the least resources as possible will help them grow as fast as possible.
If you consider yourself as a tech-savvy entrepreneur, you should use or allow your Virtual Assistant to use Zapier. The tool allows you to manage notifications and alerts without having to check your email calendar. What makes this app great is its compatibility with other 3rd party apps. You can link the tool with apps such as Google, MailChimp, Dropbox, Evernote, Social Media and even get notifications for articles and publications online.
The tool has three features:
1) Get Notified About Important Events
Wouldn’t you want to get notified when you receive an email from an important client? Or how about a reminder to attend a special event?
You’re probably currently using a calendar, your CRM and other apps to monitor notifications. Although it works, using too many apps can distract you from your work and result in missed opportunities.
Zapier helps entrepreneurs handle all their notifications in one place with their notification feature. It monitors all your critical apps and lets you know when something has changed. You can choose to receive notifications via chat, SMS, email or push notification.
2) Discover Problems Quickly
If your server goes down or any of your critical systems stop working, you may experience some downtime. Zapier can help you get notifications when you experience system outages. It can even send a notification to all your customers automatically.
3) Record Your Team’s Most Important Activities
The Zapier dashboard is perfect for businesses to:
- Monitor orders and shipping
- Monitor blog subscribers
- Monitor sales
- And much more
VA Connect helps you become more tech-savvy with tips and tricks to grow your business without growing your staff. Plus, we provide affordable Virtual Assistants to help you get stuff done. Contact us for more information.
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!
3 Incredible Ways Your Virtual Assistant Can Help Run Your Business
By now, we have all heard of Virtual Assistants, but are they just people who help us to clear our mailboxes or can they do more?
First thing to note is that Virtual Assistants should not just be limited to admin as many can do much more than that. There are Virtual Assistants who go as far as running your entire business for you so that you may focus on attracting new clients.
Furthermore, people hire Virtual Assistants for many reasons. Some would like to save on costs and others because they’re looking for a flexible employee. The benefits of hiring a Virtual Assistant can be found in this article.
Today, we will discuss three incredible ways your Virtual Assistant can help run your business:
Traditional employees are reluctant to work on weekends and even scoff at the idea. Virtual Assistants, on the other hand, work on an hourly basis depending on what works for both of you. If your business relies heavily upon sales during “off peak hours” and “off seasons”, hiring a Virtual Assistant is a good option. You can find a Virtual Assistant to work for you on the weekends, public holidays and any other days when regular employees would not be available.
Ever had an emergency at work and wished you had a fairy godmother to fix it? Get a Virtual Assistant! He/she can help you manage your workload within a short notice period if they’re available. Since Virtual Assistants work by the hour as “freelancers”, they are more committed to their work and they make sure they deliver on expectations so that you may hire them again. If you’re facing an emergency, they’re more likely to squeeze you into their schedule. Nevertheless, if one is not available you can always hire another one just as fast if you are partnered with a Virtual Assistant Agency like VA Connect.
Every business needs some kind of reporting system to get an overview of how well the business is doing. If you’re a small business owner you’re probably still doing this yourself using spreadsheets. A Virtual Assistant can alleviate you of doing reports. Virtual Assistants are highly skilled individuals as they normally train themselves in a specific niche to appeal to employers. You will find that one assistant can do multiple tasks with attention to detail.
Still not convinced that you need a Virtual Assistant? Take our quiz here.
There are many more ways that Virtual Assistants can help run your business. Here is a previous post where we listed eight tasks that you can delegate to your assistant. Also, if you’re an entrepreneur, here’s how a Virtual Assistant can help you. Finally, here’s how a Virtual Assistant saved me 15 hours per week!
If you’re convinced that you need a Virtual Assistant, contact us today!
5 Great Ways to Get Started with Your Virtual Assistant
So, you’ve just hired your first Virtual Assistant, congratulations!
Now, because you will be working together virtually, there are a few steps you must take to get your assistant up and running. Although you won’t have to worry about office space, you must spend some time setting him/her up with the right tools to do the job.
Here are five great ways to get started with your Virtual Assistant:
1. Training and Development
Due to the nature of the work (online and not in person), giving clear instructions and expectations is essential.
Training material– Develop training material, how to’s and step-by-step instructions on how your Virtual Assistant should do his/her job. Remember the reason you employed a Virtual Assistant is to save you time, therefore, make sure he/she is properly trained to work independently.
Expectations document– Outline what work you expect daily. Do you require him/her to send 10 emails by 5 pm daily? Make sure it is clearly outlined in this document.
Performance measurement– Describe how and when you will measure your Virtual Assistant’s performance. Remember to tie KPI’s (Key Performance Indicators) to the expectations document. Also, make sure KPI’s are realistic. You can determine this by getting feedback from your new Virtual Assistant. Ask him/her if they agree to the KPI’s and work together to set a good way to measure performance.
Of course, your Virtual Assistant must be paid. You can set up a payment method that works best for the both of you. Consider extra charges with the method you choose. Popular payment methods are PayPal, Skrill and Payza.
3. Apps and Tools
To work effectively, your Virtual Assistant will need the following common tools:
- CRM (Customer Relationship Management) Software
- Emailing Platform
- Messaging Platform
- Accounting Software
- Meeting Platform
- Document Management System
There are certain apps that can make working virtually seemingly easy. Read our blog on five apps and tools that every virtual business should have.
4. Virtual Phone System
Since you’re running a virtual business, you will need a virtual phone system that will allow your Virtual Assistant to make calls without using his/her private phone while giving you the opportunity to monitor calls.
Setting up a virtual phone system is easy. All you have to do is:
5. Shared Calendar
Finally, the best way to know what your Virtual Assistant is busy with daily is to setup a shared calendar. You can use Google Calendar which can be easily synchronized with Outlook. This calendar can be edited in real time and accessed via your PC or mobile, making it a popular alternative for small business owners.
How to become a great Entrepreneur with the help of a Virtual Assistant
What makes a great entrepreneur?
“Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much.” –Helen Keller
The great entrepreneur is one who not only knows how to connect with people but also knows how to delegate tasks that he/she can’t manage.
A friend of mine who owns a great family restaurant came up to me one day expressing how stressed out he was. He said, “I don’t know how other people do it, I just can’t find the time to do everything. On top of that, I’m really sucky at admin.”
I asked him if he ever considered hiring an assistant for his admin and he went on about how employment costs are so high. He would have to prepare desk space for this person, let alone the salary as well as benefits associated with a full-time role.
When I told him about the concept of a Virtual Assistant, he was so surprised that labour could be so affordable.
Yes, Virtual Assistants are affordable, and in some instances, they are referred to as a startup’s secret weapon.
What makes a great entrepreneur is not that they can do everything themselves, but that they can delegate administration tasks to an assistant and focus only on the income-producing tasks.
The Rise of Virtual Assistants
A virtual Assistant or VA is usually a self-employed individual or a freelancer that offers their administration, social, creative or technical expertise to assist an entrepreneur in his/her daily duties. These employees work remotely, usually from home.
Nobody knows for sure when VA’s were first established, but just like digitization, the concept evolved slowly until it became popular. It began when companies would set up call centre agents worldwide to manage time zones. Soon enough, entrepreneurs realised that hiring virtual workers has many benefits and there was no turning back.
When Should You Hire a Virtual Assistant?
If any of these are true in your life, you should hire one immediately:
- You hardly get through your to-do list
- Your mailbox leaves much to be desired
- You spend less time with family and more at work
- Admin annoys the living daylights out of you
- A flexible work environment will work for you
- You travel a lot and need someone to hold down the fort while you’re gone
- You can’t afford a full-time traditional employee
Benefits of Hiring a Virtual Assistant
People hire Virtual Assistants for many reasons:
- They are cheaper than normal labour, especially if you hire an individual who lives in a country with a weaker currency.
- You save on employee benefits as you don’t have to worry about pension, medical, tax and other related costs.
- There is no need for office space expenses as they work from their own home.
- There is a huge supply of professional Virtual Assistants and experts expect that 50% of the workforce will be virtual by 2020.
- Your productivity increases as you have more time to focus on more important tasks.
Where to Find a Virtual Assistant
There are many agencies that provide Virtual Assistants. We at VA Connect have an array of experienced Virtual Assistants as well.
To speak to us about hiring a Virtual Assistant for your business, click here.