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6 Frequently Asked Questions About Virtual Assistants

Are you planning of hiring virtual assistants but are hesitant because you have so many questions? Here is a short list of frequently asked questions about virtual assistants.

What is a Virtual Assistant?

A Virtual Assistant is a person who is contracted to manage a specific set of tasks or a project and works online from a remote location. He or she is technically self- employed. You can consider a Virtual Assistant a co- entrepreneur; a proprietor of a business that offers virtual assistance service.

What Tasks Can I Delegate to a Virtual Assistant?

Gone are the days that a Virtual Assistant was limited only to administrative tasks. Of course, the VA can and will still provide the usual services such as e-mail filtering, calendar management, phone handling and appointment setting. But you can find a Virtual Assistant who can fill in the roles you want in your company. Among these skills are:

  • Social media marketing
  • Content writing
  • Website Design and Management
  • Accounting
  • Transcription services

Review your business model and determine the skills you need to cover all the key areas of operation.

Why Should I Hire a Virtual Assistant?

There are many benefits to hiring a Virtual Assistant:

  • Lower cost of business
  • Increase level of productivity
  • Introduce business flexibility
  • Reduce risk of business expansion
  • Improve quality of work
  • Improve time management
  • Build strategic business partnerships
  • Reduce stress levels

Virtual assistants are alternatively referred to as telecommuters, freelancers and home- based workers.

Statistically, it is estimated that by 2020 more than 50% of workers will be home- based. In the US, many of the largest corporations are hiring virtual assistants as part of the workforce.

Are Virtual Assistants Expensive?

No. Virtual assistants as mentioned are self- employed. You do not hire them full- time unless that is the arrangement you want. Otherwise, they are not entitled to receive government and company benefits.

As entrepreneurs, they are also responsible for their own costs of business. When you contract a Virtual Assistant, you will not significantly increase your monthly operating expenses.

Comparatively speaking, the cost of hiring a regular full time employee is equivalent to 1.5 to double his or her salary.

Where Can I Find Virtual Assistants?

You have 2 sources of virtual assistants:

  • Freelancers – These are sole proprietary virtual assistants who provide their services on online jobsites such as Elance, Guru and Freelancer.
  • Agency – There are agencies which over the years have amassed a data base of virtual assistants. You can find them online through their websites or social media.

The biggest advantage agency- based virtual assistants have over freelancers is that they have a track record. You can be more assured of the proficiency and competence of agency virtual assistants.

Should I Hire a Virtual Assistant from Another Country?

Yes. The countries which have built a strong reputation for outsourced services are the Philippines and India. Many foreign companies hire virtual assistants from these countries because of their affordable rates and high quality of work.

The Philippines is known for customer service and telemarketing while India’s forte is back office and IT.

For sure you have more questions in mind about virtual assistance. We will come out with a second list of FAQs but from what you’ve read, you should be able to validate your reason to hire a Virtual Assistant.


3 Reasons You Should Hire a Virtual PA

A Virtual PA could be your answer to achieving balance between life and work. You’ve heard of the Virtual Assistant but what of the Virtual PA or Virtual Personal Assistant?

The Virtual PA essentially runs the same functions as the Virtual Assistant. The difference is that the word “Personal” implies assisting you in non- work related matters. A Virtual Assistant can also handle personal matters but a Virtual PA may have more experience and expertise in it.

Here are 3 reasons why you should hire a Virtual PA:

Helps Organize Your Day. The best way to wake up every morning is to feel reinvigorated; like you want to seize the day. However, what if every morning it felt like the day seized you?

You open your e-mail and there is an entirely new page of unopened communication. Your daughter reminds you of her 2pm recital at school. Your phone rings and it’s an associate reminding you of today’s meeting and that you should be ready with the best Power Point Presentation of your life.

The Power Point Presentation which you haven’t started on yet.

Days like these will become more frequent if you cannot keep your personal and professional tasks in order. A Virtual PA can help you put order amidst a chaotic schedule.

The Virtual PA can filter your email and initiate the necessary correspondence before you can sip your first cup of coffee. She will remind you of the recital while she is working on your Power Point Presentation.

Gets More Work Done. With a Virtual PA, you no longer have the world on your shoulders. You can delegate both work and personal matters to the Virtual PA so you can focus on activities that need you undivided attention.

A Virtual PA has varied skill sets. She can manage an assortment of tasks and assure you of quality of work.

You don’t have to worry about missing payment schedules, being late for a meeting because you don’t know the short cut or not having a reservation at the hottest restaurant in town.

The Virtual PA has you covered!

Reduces Risk of Missed Opportunities. In business, sometimes you don’t have to work at creating opportunities. Sometimes it will just come to you. As the old saying goes, “If opportunity knocks, open the door.”

Or answer the e-mail which you were not able to do because you were overwhelmed by work. Or perhaps, you forgot to return the call of a prospective client because you were stressed out from all of the preparations for the family reunion.

These missed opportunities could have been career changing had you answered them. If you cannot manage your time, you will undermine the true value of your business.

A Virtual PA can get these done for you. From responding to e-mails, taking phone calls to helping you plan for the reunion; a Virtual PA will make sure you will not miss out on crucial opportunities.

The best thing about having a Virtual PA is being able to achieve life and work balance. You work hard to provide food for your loved ones but sometimes your effort takes away time spent with them which is important. A Virtual PA ensures you are able to fulfill obligations to work and family.

The Virtual PA opens up your schedule so you can realize there is more to life than just work.


Virtual Assistant or Office Assistant? 5 Reasons Why You Should Go Virtual

Entrepreneurs could find themselves at the crossroads: “Should I hire a Virtual Assistant or an office assistant?” To the uninitiated, the Virtual Assistant is the great unknown. An office assistant is a person sharing space, breathing the same air and works in close collaboration. A Virtual Assistant works in the virtual world.

Before you cast your vote, you should do a quick comparison between the 2 options. It will be clear that contracting a Virtual Assistant is the better option.

Lower Compensation Cost – Let’s get this straight. Technically, you do not hire a Virtual Assistant. You contract a VA. The word “contract” implies a working arrangement which does not follow the statuettes of regular employment.

This is because a Virtual Assistant runs his or her own business and can handle other clients. Thus, you only pay a Virtual Assistant for the hours spent on your project.

An office assistant is a full-time employee. You have to pay complete benefits on top of the salary. It is estimated that the cost of a full-time employee is equivalent to double his or her basic salary.

Greater Productivity – A Virtual Assistant will allocate 2 to 4 hours per day per client. But you can be rest assured the VA can get a lot of work done during the 2 to 4 hours.

This is because virtual assistants are paid based on productive hour. Clients often give virtual assistants very strict deadlines which have to be complied with. There are milestones that may be required to accomplish on a certain day to ensure the project is moving forward.

Because office assistants are paid a fixed salary, employees end up paying even for unproductive time. Whenever your office assistant checks her social media, takes water cooler or bathroom breaks you are paying for those costly minutes.

Avoid Legalities – What do you do if your Virtual Assistant does not deliver as expected? Simple, you just terminate the contract and hire a new one.

What if the office assistant does not pan out? Depending on your office policy, you may have to furnish proof of incompetence through data and work statistics. Was she given due process? Did you issue warnings or reprimands for poor quality of work? Did you give her enough time to improve her performance?

Otherwise, termination could get ugly and you may have to pay a large sum of money to cover unpaid benefits.

More Flexible Options – You’re planning to set up customer support services for your business. But if you extend work hours of your staff, you will incur overtime pay, night differentials and fatigue may compromise quality of work.

Your other option is to outsource services to virtual assistants from the Philippines. You don’t incur expenses outside their standard fees. Because there is a time differential involved, they could be working at daytime which allows them to maintain quality of work.

Lower Attrition Rate – There are studies that show home-based workers are generally happier than office workers.

They are less stressed because they do not have to go through the inconvenience of the daily commute and office politics. They also end up saving more money than office workers because they have fewer expenses.

When you have happier workers, you get better production and higher quality of work.

If you are uncertain of contracting a Virtual Assistant for the first time, use the services of a virtual assistance agency. These agencies have assembled a roster of highly- qualified virtual assistants and can present ready references and recommendations from clients. Best of all, if you are not happy with the service, the agency can easily replace your VA with another one.


Why It’s a Great Time to be a Virtual Assistant

If you have been thinking of becoming a Virtual Assistant, chances are you are not alone. Virtual assistance is no longer just a job. It is a profession. In fact, it is a career. Some virtual assistants are able to build their profession into a thriving, highly successful business.

They have amassed a large portfolio of satisfied clientele and developed associations with other good virtual assistants that starting an agency became the next logical step.

Virtual assistance could be your stepping stone to a career and an eventual enterprise. But you have to take that first step now!

The timing couldn’t be any better. Here are 6 reasons why it’s a great time to be a Virtual Assistant:

The Technology is Available to Support Virtual Assistant Work. In addition to faster computers and more advanced mobile gadgets, there are more software programs to support virtual assistance work. Programs such as Asana, SalesForce, Bitrix-24 and DropBox are effective, comprehensive and easy to learn. Then you have more communication tools such as Skype, Viber, Slack and WebEx.

Demand is High. In the United States, 37% of workforces in major companies are comprised of virtual assistants. This number is expected to increase to 50% by 2020. If large companies are benefiting from outsourcing services to virtual assistants, it will benefit small businesses as well.

The World Has Become More Mobile Dependent. 65% of online traffic now comes from mobile gadgets. In 2020, it is estimated that there will be more than 6.1 Billion smart phones operating around the world. These statistics show that consumers and businesses are transacting through the Internet more often.

Businesses will Continue to Outsource Services. Outsourcing services to virtual assistants works because of the following reasons:

  • It streamlines business costs
  • Increases productivity
  • Improves quality of work
  • Introduces flexibility to business
  • Reduces risk of business expansion

Given the turbulent global events over the last 15 years, businesses will continue to outsource services because it allows them to hedge against uncertainty.

There are Several Sources for Virtual Assistance Work. The growth of virtual assistance work has not gone unnoticed in the Internet. There are more sources of virtual assistance work today than 5 years ago. You can find virtual assistance work from the following sources:

  • Online job sites
  • Community billboards
  • Website job aggregators
  • Social media
  • Online virtual assistance agencies

The Skill Base Has Become More Diversified. Virtual assistants are no longer just limited to administrative tasks. The industry has opened up its doors to a multitude of skills such as:

  • Accounting
  • Social media marketing
  • SEO
  • Digital Marketing
  • Website Design
  • Software Application Development
  • Content Writing
  • Legal, Medical and Business Transcription
  • Market Research
  • AutoCAD

Regardless of your skill or core competency, you can readily find clients who will need your services as a Virtual Assistant.

So what are you waiting for? 2017 is just around the corner and there are opportunities for you to take. If you’ve always wanted to own a business or be your own boss, you should consider becoming a Virtual Assistant today!

find leads using a real estate virtual assistant

How To Find Unlimited Leads Using A Real Estate VA

For your real estate business to thrive you must continually find ways to increase your leads list. This is especially true in a highly competitive market where demand is outpacing supply. The good news is technology has made lead generation easier. The Internet has opened up a number of online avenues that are excellent sources of qualified leads. But lead generation takes time. The truth is you can find unlimited leads using a real estate VA.

What is a VA? The acronym stands for Virtual Assistant, a professional who works online and is contracted to manage a specific set of responsibilities. The demand for virtual assistance has grown to a point that you can find one for every industry. This is especially in real estate, where delegating tasks to a VA is crucial to building the business.

Real estate agents usually outsource non- essential tasks to virtual assistants. These tasks include e-mail filtering, appointment setting, calendar management, phone handling, preparation and review of contracts and preparing presentation materials.

But you can also outsource lead generation work to your real estate VA. It doesn’t matter whether your VA has experience in the real estate industry or not. Virtual assistants by nature are great at data mining, sourcing and generally well- organized in their conduct of work. They will take to lead generation work like fish to water!

Finding quality leads comes down to knowing where to look for them. Once you’ve identified a good source for leads, it’s up to the real estate VA to deliver them to your website.

Here are the 4 best places online to find unlimited leads:

1. Social Media

We all know how important social media is for marketing. The sheer size of the daily population of social media users at 2.34 Billion people makes it a watering hole of potentially hot leads. But how do you use social media to generate leads?

Generating leads is about finding ways to get contact information. The first step is to stay active and maintain a regular presence by strictly following a posting schedule.

Not all social media networks function or “behave” the same way. You have to design a posting schedule that best adheres to the nature or culture of the social network community.

Here’s a posting schedule your real estate VA should follow:

Network Weekday Weekend
Twitter 14x; 12am to 10pm 7x; 3am to 9pm
Facebook 2x; 10am and 3pm 2x; 10am to 3pm
Google Plus 2x; 9am and 7pm None
LinkedIn 1 per day; 8am None
Pinterest 1 new pin, 1 group pin; 2am to 4am, 8pm to 11pm 1 new pin, 1 group pin; 2am to 4am, 8pm to 11pm

The schedule is based on the best time to post before activity starts to peak in each social network.

Make sure you share or post usable and relevant content. If you plan to blog, optimize your content by integrating popular keywords. Great content has been proven to effectively drive traffic to your website.

2. Get Found on Google Maps

Once your Virtual Assistant has leads going to your website, the next step is to make sure your agency or place of work can be found.

It is important to be found on Google Maps because 82% of Internet users rely on their mobile phones to rely as a GPS to find a location. Google Maps is the search app most preferred by mobile users.

The real estate virtual assistant will create a complete profile with the accurate details of your address and contact information and have it distributed to as many online channels as possible.

3. Maximize the Power of Twitter to Acquire Markets

Twitter is one of the best networks to acquire markets. The 140 character limit will push you to send out messages in volumes which will increase your level of activity.

One of the best ways to use Twitter for lead generation is by engaging people with interests in real estate. All the VA has to do is search for tweets that are related to real estate. Ask a service such as IFTTT (If This Then That) to e-mail your VA whenever someone posts relevant content in Twitter.

Your VA should be prepared with a few standard responses that they can deliver for you. If the response elicits a reaction, chances are the user will visit your Twitter page. From there a decision could be made to visit your website. This is why having a complete and interesting Twitter profile is important.

4. Use E-Mail to Get Online Reviews

Online reviews are powerful drivers of sales because they enhance your credibility, expertise and trustworthiness to your audience. Yet, many real estate agents forget to ask clients to provide them with a review of their experience.

All your real estate VA has to do is send out customized e-mails to your clients asking them for a courtesy of a review and thanking them for their business.

From there it becomes a matter of consistent follow ups. Virtual assistants know how to follow up requests from clients without imposing.

These are 4 effective strategies that your real estate VA can do to find unlimited leads. It requires time, focus and consistency. But the returns on time invested will create a consistent stream of qualified leads for your real estate business.

rental applications

The Ultimate Guide To Rental Applications

Renting property in Australia isn’t as easy as finding the place you like and putting down the necessary payments. You still have to be qualified as a tenant by the landlord or Property Manager. In a tight market, your chances of being awarded exclusive possession of the premises will come down to your rental application. This ultimate guide to rental applications will show you everything you need to do to land the rental agreement.

Inspect the Property

As they say, the first attraction is always visual. But don’t get carried away if a rental property looks like a million dollars. Take the time to inspect its interiors. Assess if there are repairs and improvements that need to be undertaken. It would be highly advisable to bring a professional with the experience of evaluating homes.

You can ask an architect, interior designer, general contractor, construction foreman or an engineer to conduct a thorough home inspection. They should come up with a list of repairs and estimated cost. Discuss the improvements with the landlord and see if he or she is willing to negotiate on its repairs.

7 Tips on Winning the Rental Application

Once you’ve found a place that meets your needs, it’s time to shift gears and focus on getting the approval of the landlord.

1. Be On Time

Property inspections are scheduled ahead of time by the Property Manager or the real estate agent. Always be punctual. It will create a good impression on the landlord. Tardiness is never appreciated.

You should assume the property will attract a lot of interest. There could be a long line of prospective tenants waiting to meet with the landlord.

If you show up late, someone may have already submitted the requirements and paid the advances. Other parties may have created a strong impression on the landlord and you may be left out of consideration.

2. Dress Appropriately

Part of creating a good impression is dressing appropriately. A landlord can formulate conclusions about a prospective tenant from the way he or she dresses up.

If you are neatly attired and well- groomed, it will reflect on your personality. But if you show up shabbily dressed and unkempt in appearance, the landlord may think that is how you will be when it comes to his or her property.

3. Act in a Professional Manner

When you meet the landlord or the agent, extend your hand; give a sincere smile and a firm handshake. Reiterate your interest and intent to lease the property. Tell them how you feel about it without going overboard with the hyperbole.

If your inspection has identified areas of concern, bring it up in a respectful manner. Once you’ve shared your observations, shift from talker to listener. Allow the landlord to articulate his or her answers. If the explanation is unclear or not according to your satisfaction, seek clarification without imposing on the landlord.

4. Disclose Important Information

For sure the Property Manager will conduct due diligence on all prospective tenants. This includes background checks on your credit history, experience with previous landlords and employment status among others. These procedures can be quite thorough but easy to avail of especially with the prevalence of online tenancy application checking services.

If you believe the Property Manager’s investigation will uncover an unfavorable episode in your history, do not take any chances and disclose this right away.

Will it put off the Property Manager? Maybe, but the repercussions would not be as bad if the Property Manager discovered it himself. Disclosing the information in advance will also give you the opportunity to explain the prevailing circumstances much better.

5. Give Referrals.

Perhaps the most powerful tool you will have in your arsenal is a list of referrals. The landlord or the Property Manager would prefer candidates who can provide a list of people to contact and verify your character.

Good referrals include your former landlord, credit or loan officer, contractors, suppliers and work associates. Ask their permission and advise them to expect a call from the landlord or manager of the property you want to lease.

6. Submit Requirements On Time

Fulfilling the requirements of a rental application can be tedious. Here is a list of documents that you may be asked to submit:

  • Proof of ID; Driver’s License or Passport
  • Proof of employment; pay slips, Certification of Employment
  • Tax Returns
  • Rental Ledger
  • Pet References
  • Reference Letters

Make sure these documents are all updated and readily available. For pay slips, submit the 3 most recent ones.

7. Follow Up on the Status of Your Application

If you haven’t heard from the landlord, feel free to follow up on the status of your rental application. Be prepared for the worst but don’t take it too harshly. If your application was denied, get information from the landlord on why it wasn’t accepted.

Finding the right rental property is like finding the right job. You have to show the landlord, you are the best qualified tenant to rent the property. It all starts and ends with your rental application. Submit one that will win the trust of the landlord and it will place you ahead of everyone else.


The Hybrid Workplace: Integrating Virtual Assistants into the Work Force

It used to be that virtual assistants were contracted by executives who needed administrative support and personal assistance services.

It used to be that virtual assistants were the cost-cutting option by small business owners who wanted to expand operations but were constrained by tight capital.

How times have changed over the last 5 years.

Today’s virtual assistants have enjoined the workplace of even the largest corporations in the world. Despite Yahoo! CEO Marissa Meyer’s failed telecommuter experiment, more companies have continued to integrate virtual assistants into the workplace.

The popularity of virtual assistants has spawned alternative terms such as telecommuters, freelancers and home-based workers. Essentially the meaning is the same; people contracted to perform tasks online from remote locations.

According to a 2015 study by Gallup, in the United States 37% of Americans have done home based work. This corresponds with the survey that many American companies have allocated 30% to 45% of their workforce for telecommuters or virtual assistants.

In the United Kingdom as early as 2011, 59% of companies surveyed reported that they were offering telecommuting work.

It is estimated that by 2020, more than 50% of workforces will be composed of virtual assistants or telecommuters.

Why are companies integrating virtual assistants into the office work force? Apparently there are several good reasons why it’s advantageous to have virtual assistance within a brick- and- mortar setting:

Reduce Cost of Operations – Hiring virtual assistants will lower the monthly cost of operations of a company through the following ways:

  • Lower cost of benefits; virtual assistants are not full-time employees and are not entitled to benefits.
  • No significant increase in costs of operations; virtual assistants are responsible for their own costs of business.

Increase Work Productivity – Research has shown that virtual assistants are more productive than office employees. Virtual assistants put in 24 more days of work versus office workers.

Office workers have been shown to average only 90 minutes of productive time per day.

A Virtual Assistant usually allocates 4 hours per client. On the average, a Virtual Assistant can complete 1 task every 90 minutes for a productivity rate of 75% versus 18% for the office worker.

Lower Attrition Rate – A study showed that home-based workers are generally happier and more productive. In another study, home-based workers were shown to be 13.5% more productive than office workers.

Happier workers are less stressed out and able to focus better on work. There are fewer distractions and concerns to worry about. Thus, companies that integrated virtual assistants into their workforce have lower levels of attrition.

Availability of Contingencies – Another advantage of integrating virtual assistants into the work place is that it gives companies contingencies in the event of unforeseen circumstances.

An example would be inclement weather in the form of snow storms, intermittent rains or flooding. It may be difficult for some employees to report for work. Having virtual assistants onboard will assure you there will be no work interruption.

Integrating virtual assistants into the workforce will continue into the near future. As long as business remains volatile and unpredictable, integrating virtual assistants will hedge companies against economically turbulent periods.

2 Big Reasons Why You Should Sell Your Own Home

2 Big Reasons Why You Should Sell Your Own Home

Conventional wisdom states that if you plan to sell your own home you should hire a real estate agent. After all, transacting in real estate is a complicated process. Agents have the experience, training and expertise to help you sell your home in the property market at the price you want.

But a revolution in the real estate market has been taking shape the last few years. More property owners have taken to selling their own home without the help of a licensed real estate agent.

The process of selling a home privately without the representation of a real estate agent is called FSBO or For Sale By Owner. It has been gaining popularity in Australia where prices of real estate property have been on a steady climb since the year 2000.

Why are more people going the way of FSBO?

There are 2 big reasons why FSBO may be the best approach to selling your own home.

Improve the Net Return on Your Property

When you hire a real estate agent, there is a price you pay for capitalizing on his or her experience, expertise, knowledge and connections. The price is in the form of commissions which range between 2% to 3% depending on the location of the property and the level of demand.

By going FSBO and removing the agent from the transaction, you automatically improve the net return on your property by 2% to 3%.

But there are also other expenses to account for when you hire the services of a real estate agent. These are the out- of- pocket expenses for marketing and promoting your property.

Without a real estate agent, you have better control over the expenses related to the sale of your property. All told, you would save up to 6% to 8% in expenses by going the FSBO route.

What can you do with the 6% to 8% cost savings?

  • It will give you better room for price negotiation
  • You can use it to contract the services of a Virtual Assistant who is a cheaper option than a real estate agent.

A Virtual Assistant can do the following tasks for you:

  • Prepare all the required contracts
  • Open an account for your home in a reputable For Sale By Owner website
  • Manage your social media
  • Attend to all inquiries
  • Schedule property visits
  • Prepare marketing collateral

You only pay a Virtual Assistant for productive hours worked which means you can easily stay within your budget and still get more work done.

Improve Probability of a Quicker Sale

A real estate agent will ask you to sign an Exclusivity Agreement. This ensures the agent that only he or she has the full and complete authorization to sell your property.

The agreement is onerous because while your property is beholden to the agent the agent will never be beholden to you.

Real estate agents also manage other properties in their list. They will not devote 100% of their time trying to sell your property. This is also a business and agents observe PROTI or Potential Return on Time Invested.

Translation: Agents may put more time and effort selling a property that offers higher or immediate returns. Good luck if your property is located in Tasmania and the agent has properties lined up in Sydney!

As a rule, if your property remains in the market for 4 months, its perceived value starts to drop.

By adopting FSBO, you can devote 100% more time to selling your own property. With the help of your Virtual Assistant, you can probably sell your home within 4 months.

Selling your own home may seem like a daunting task. But really, is there anything a real estate agent does that you can’t do yourself? The most time consuming part of the process is pushing your property in the market and the Virtual Assistant can get that done more efficiently.

If you want a higher return on your property in the fastest possible time, FSBO is the way to go.


3 Reasons Why Entrepreneurs Should Partner With Their Virtual Assistant

3 Reasons Why Entrepreneurs Should Partner With Their Virtual Assistant

Entrepreneurs are popularly referred to as risk-takers. They are willing to take risks in order to turn dreams into reality. This is why the typical profile of an entrepreneur is a driven, passionate and dedicated person who will stop at nothing to turn the business into a success. And sometimes that can be a problem. Your best solution is to hire a Virtual Assistant.

As talented and motivated as you are, the fact of the matter is you cannot do everything on your own. And even if you are a person of 100 skills or more, you should not even attempt to manage all the details of the business. For all of technology’s power, it cannot change the value of time.

You will only have 24 hours in a day and of these, you are awake for only 16 to 18 hours. In order to become successful, you must make efficient and productive use of your time. By trying to do everything yourself, you accomplish little.

A Virtual Assistant can help you manage your schedule better so you can have more productive time. It has been widely documented that a Virtual Assistant has many benefits:

  • Reduce costs
  • Improve productivity
  • Introduce flexibility
  • Reduce risks of expansion
  • Relieve stress

These are all potential benefits that you can reap when working with a Virtual Assistant. The key is to maximize the relationship with your Virtual Assistant by approaching the engagement more as a partnership than a Client – Services Provider relationship:

1. Because One is Greater than Two.

In a partnership, both parties have a shared interest. In a Client – Services Provider relationship, there are 2 distinct interests. When you embrace a partnership these 2 interests become 1. There is a shared interest because if one party fails to deliver, the other’s interests are compromised.

2. Capitalize on the Virtual Assistant’s Experience.

For your Virtual Assistant to become a partner, you have to get him or her involved in the project. You should treat the Virtual Assistant as an equal partner. Therefore, ask him or her for advice or consultation on key matters that falls under his or her competence. Virtual assistants are highly experienced. They have undergone training and have worked in variety of industries. Their inputs can help your business grow and move forward.

3. Develop a Stronger Relationship.

By encouraging your Virtual Assistant to get more involved in the business you develop a stronger relationship. Many entrepreneurs are not only financially invested in the business but also emotionally invested. It is not easy for them to relinquish some control to another person especially someone whom he or she interacts only through the virtual world. It is a big step which could lead to better productivity and higher quality of work.

Building strategic partnerships is nothing new when it comes to outsourcing services. More and more businesses are transitioning to a partnership model as success is long term and sustainable. All relationships take time and throughout the process you will go through some rough patches. But with shared interests, you will come out better and wiser.


What Tasks Should You Outsource to Your Virtual Assistant

If you want your business to be successful, you have to increase productivity. Trying to do everything by yourself will not get it done. You have to delegate some of the responsibilities so you can focus on activities that need your undivided attention. This is the reason why more businesses are hiring virtual assistants. But what tasks should you outsource to your Virtual Assistant?

1. Organizational Tasks

This is the primary function of virtual assistance. A business needs to organize its activities in order to perform more efficiently.

Otherwise, you could end up missing important meetings, submission dates, payments and appointments which could translate to foregone revenues or impact your business negatively. Efficient organization also leads to better time management.

Organizational tasks include:

  • E-mail filtering
  • Calendar management
  • Appointment setting
  • Follow ups
  • Phone handling
  • CRM updates

2. Support Services

Every business needs people to oversee key functions in their organization in order to keep operations running smoothly. There are the support services which are often referred to as back office work.

Here are support services you may want to outsource:

  • Customer service – If you are in retail, efficient customer service can help you retain customers.
  • Accounting – You can keep track of payroll, receivables, payables, inventory management and have financial reports ready when you need them.
  • IT – Computers, networks and websites must regularly be audited as these have a huge impact on business productivity.

3. Marketing and Promotion

Marketing and promotion play an important function in conceptualizing strategies to have your business gain traction. There are studies to be made, strategies to be designed and implemented. Marketing and promotion requires experience, time and constant management.

Among the tasks you need to outsource would be:

  • Digital marketing
  • Social media marketing
  • SEO
  • E-mail marketing
  • Lead generation

4. Technical Work

Entrepreneurs are talented individuals but the fact remains that they do not know everything. Even if they do most of the tasks that need to be done in a business, chances are they only have working knowledge at best.

There are technical works that have to be done and implemented for a business to maintain its growth progress. An entrepreneur may know how to do these things but they will detract his or her time from functions that deserve more attention.

Depending on the nature of your business, technical work could include the following:

  • Website design and management
  • Software development
  • Graphics design
  • Business transcription
  • Market research
  • Content marketing
  • Translation services

5. Sales

Every business relies on an effective sales team to generate revenues. Sales are the life-blood of an organization. They are the front-line people whose focus must only be on pushing your products or services.

Many businesses outsource sales to virtual assistants or freelancers because of the flexible compensation structure. You can have a strictly commission or performance based system or a hybrid which combines fixed payment and a commission.

The flexibility of the payment structure allows you to hire as many sales people as you want. This is why telemarketing has remained popular all these years.  

These are just a few suggestions on the tasks you should outsource to your Virtual Assistant. There could be others; the general idea is to outsource tasks that will allow you to improve productivity without compromising your cost parameters.