Virtual Assistants: Who, What, When, Where and How
Recently, I was co-hosting a Blab live event and the topic of discussion was deciphering the mysteries of who, what, when, where and how to work with a Virtual Assistant (VA).
Although, the term VA is becoming more common today, I continually need to explain what a VA is and how they can help business owners, individuals and entrepreneurs. We discussed these topics on Blab recently.
Who: Who are Virtual Assistants (VAs)?
A Virtual Assistant is a highly skilled, independent professional that provides administrative, technical or creative services remotely.
They are independent contractors that don’t require health insurance benefits, vacations or 401K; a great alternative benefit for any business owner that needs an occasional VA but not an employee.
What: What can virtual assistants do?
A VA can offer services from general administrative and office support services such as mail correspondence, spreadsheets, calendar management, event planning, bookkeeping and concierge services, to technical support such as website maintenance, CRMs, project management applications, graphic design and marketing such as Email marketing, delivering campaigns and product launches, and social media and internet marketing, customer services, and many more. Each VA can specialize in a specific field and may only offer those services. Here are some examples of what a VA can do:
- Database Entries
- Word processing
- Answer customer inquiries on time
- Help setup your website / blog
- Create content for your blog
- Perform simple routine SEO on your website
- Manage calendar and email
- Book all travel plans, events or conferences
- Manage social media posts
- Strategizing social media for marketing
- Correspondence to potential clients by email or phone
- Invoice all your clients, and keep track of your billings and payments
- Email Marketing,
- Internet Research
- Create templates for sending out sales letters
- Maintain your CRM system
- Validate sales leads lists making sure you have the latest information
- Scan business cards into e-Card contacts
For more ideas on hiring a VA, here’s an article about 10 Things to Outsource to a Virtual Assistant, from Entrepreneur online magazine: http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/225318
When: When do you need to hire a VA?
Some small business owners cannot afford to hire an in-house employee, so a VA is a great choice. Since VAs (in the U.S.) are independent contractors, they don’t need insurance benefits, vacations, holiday pay, etc.
Most people hire VAs because they are becoming too busy to complete their own daily functions to keep the business going. They need to spend time meeting with potential clients, generating revenue, or travelling to speaking engagements.
Where: Where can you find a VA?
There are VAs all over the globe. Some VAs are sole proprietors; while others join a VA team. They can be found through reputable organizations such as the International Virtual Assistants Associations and Virtual Assistants Network. http://www.vanetworking.com
How: How to start with a VA?
I wrote a brief article about how to work with a VA. Before you hire a VA, be sure you have a list of the tasks you need completed by your VA. Do you want a VA to have a project-based term? Or do you need a VA for only 5 hours a month to write correspondence, data-entry, etc.?
“Work smarter when you hire a Virtual Assistant.”
Another “How” question that comes up is how much does a VA charge? Some VAs charge by the hour and invoice weekly or monthly. Some VA’s prices are per blocks of hours or by projects. You and your VA will have an agreed term for pricing prior to starting.
Remember, you are saving money by outsourcing your tasks to a VA, because you’re not paying any insurance benefits, buying their office equipment, cell phones or even providing an office space for them! Your relationship with your VA can be short-term, long-term, or an “as-needed” basis.
For your free 30-minute consultation by phone call (630) 882-3514. Email at firstname.lastname@example.org