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How to Integrate Virtual Assistants into the Work Force

Companies such as United Health, Dell and IBM are integrating virtual assistants or telecommuters into their respective work forces. The strategy has been so successful that the number of virtual assistants as a percentage of the work force is estimated to increase from 37% in 2015 to 50% in 2020.

Integrating virtual assistants into the work force reduces costs, improves productivity and introduces greater business flexibility. Here are 5 steps to integrate virtual assistants into your work force:

Come Up with a Development Time Table. Every development plan should have a time- table which will detail all the activities that need to be undertaken to integrate virtual assistants into the work force.

For example, if you were planning to integrate virtual assistants after 6 months your time-table could be look like this:

Month 1:

  • Prepare guidelines for selecting and recruiting employees.
  • Prepare testing materials
  • Scope out potential sources for virtual assistants
  • Designate virtual assistance management team
  • Summarize and categorize all tasks and responsibilities

Month 2:

  • Start out with 2 shifts; 4 hours each per candidate.
  • Schedule weekly Process Improvement meetings for candidates.
  • Evaluate performance of all candidates.

Recruit Prospective Candidates for Virtual Team. The first step to recruiting talent for your virtual team is acquiring talent.

You should determine the sample size of talent you need to find the required number of virtual assistants. Usually the standard for qualifying talent is 20%. Lower the percentage so you can increase the size of the sample.

For example, if you need 5 virtual assistants for your team:

5 virtual assistants / 0.15 (Qualifying Rate) = 33.33

You will need to acquire a sample size of 33 candidates in order to find 5 qualified virtual assistants.

Conduct Weekly Evaluation of Virtual Team Members. When you are trying to build up a core group of virtual assistants, you must constantly monitor their performance. You can do this by adapting the following methodologies:

  • Create and implement benchmarks or metrics
  • Create a scoring and grading system that covers work accuracy, statistics and ethics or work attitude
  • Include a self- assessment test

The cumulative scores of the evaluation tests will provide the bases for selecting your core group of virtual assistants.

Start Out with a Pilot Test Group. It is always better to start out with a conservative approach and use a small group for pilot testing. You should expect that there will be problems in the initial stages.

Pilot testing will be like putting the virtual team inside a fish bowl. You can see how they work and evaluate how the systems are holding operation together. You can pinpoint weaknesses and flaws in the system and recommend improvements to fine tune the virtual team.

Slowly Expand VA Group. Once the benchmarks and metrics have shown healthier baseline numbers, you can start taking the next step of expanding the virtual assistance group.

The number of new virtual assistants will depend on the estimated increase in the volume of work and of course, your targeted ROI. After2 quarters, you should have a better idea on the number of virtual assistants you should contract until the end of the year.

As technology continues to evolve and provides businesses with the tools to make virtual assistance work more efficient, expect more work forces to integrate virtual assistants into the fold. It is a cost effective and highly efficient strategy that will help businesses maintain their bottom-line.

How to Find the Best Virtual Assistant for Your Business

How to Find the Best Virtual Assistant for Your Business

The virtual assistance industry has grown by leaps and bounds since the new millennium. More companies regardless of size and scale are hiring virtual assistants to help them cope with the uncertainties of business. The question is no longer “why” but “how”. Here are 6 tips to find the best Virtual Assistant for your business:

1. Ask Yourself Why You Need a Virtual Assistant

It’s one thing to “think” you need a Virtual Assistant and another to be sure you need the services of one.

Before you actively search for a Virtual Assistant, you should be convinced without a doubt the services are essential for your business.

The Virtual Assistant can take your business to the next level. But unless you are clear on why you need one, his or her services will be under-utilized.

2. Write Down the Scope of Responsibilities

Once you’ve firmed up your need for a Virtual Assistant, write down the scope of responsibilities you want him or her to do.

This will help you narrow down your search for the type of Virtual Assistant you need for your business. If you will post job openings in online job platforms, the required scope of responsibilities should be clearly stated.

3. Sign Up at Online Job Platforms

A good area to start your search is the online job platforms that have proliferated in the Internet. These online job markets give you an opportunity to find the Virtual Assistant to meet your needs.

Online job platforms act like a market place; they match clients with potential service providers. You would need a good client profile and when you post a job, the details and requirements have to be very clear.

Among the best platforms are Elance, Guru and Freelancer.

4. Use Social Media

People don’t just use social media to post the latest dessert they ate with their coffee. They also use it to look for work and other opportunities.

There are different focus groups that you can join in social networks such as Facebook and Google Plus. These will help you connect with people who can be potential candidates of agencies that offer you services.

But LinkedIn should be your go-to social network. This is a networking site for professionals. You can get great candidates for virtual assistants through LinkedIn.

5. Check VA Websites

The Internet is home to many Virtual Assistant websites. These are agencies that provide virtual assistants to businesses.

There are many advantages to going with an agency. First, they can present you with several candidates that could meet your requirement. Second, the virtual assistants on their roster have a proven track record. And third, the agency can easily replace the Virtual Assistant if he or she does not deliver as expected.

But always conduct due diligence before initiating talks with an Internet-based Virtual Assistant agency.

6. Get Referrals

Finally, ask your friends or associates for referrals. For sure, you can find a friend who has utilized the services of a Virtual Assistant. He or she can probably refer you to an individual or an agency that can provide quality virtual assistants.

Regardless of how and where you find your Virtual Assistant, always subject them to a thorough interview and testing. While these are not guarantees, it will definitely reduce the risks of finding one that is a poor fit for your business. Eventually, you will only know if you’ve found the best Virtual Assistant during the course of the working engagement.


Should You Become a Virtual Assistant

The job of a Virtual Assistant has evolved from being a second option to a full-blown professional career. A Virtual Assistant is no longer just a person tasked to perform secretarial or personal assistant services. The industry has opened its doors to more professions; people of varied skills and backgrounds are crossing over from the brick-and-mortar world to the virtual world. But should you become a Virtual Assistant?

It’s great to have a job. You have the means to pay off the bills and support your loved ones. But often times conditions exist which make it difficult to remain grateful and appreciative of having this opportunity.

Full Time Employees or FTEs have to deal with the regular commute to work which depending on where you are in the world could be a 2 hour drive on what would normally take 30 minutes on a holiday. FTEs also have to co-exist with the realities of office culture; the distractions of politics, lack of career paths and succession planning.

It’s no wonder many FTEs feel they are stuck in a rut or in a dead-end job. In this day and age of uncertainty, it is difficult for anyone to believe 100% that they have job security.

If you can’t control the direction where your career is going, you should find a career where you can control the direction. This means, be your own boss!

Becoming a Virtual Assistant is an easy way to have a small enterprise of your own. It does not require much capital, you can work from your home and you control your own time. But are these enough reasons to become a Virtual Assistant?

Here are 3 questions you should ask yourself before making a decision to become a Virtual Assistant:

1. Are You Ready for the Grind?

The first step is always the hardest. When becoming a Virtual Assistant the first step is finding your first client. And this can be very hard.

Some people go for 6 months without landing a client. It’s not because there’s no demand; there is, but the industry can be competitive. Many companies look for experienced virtual assistants. So to land your first client, you’ll have to compromise your rates.

When you do land your first client, the focus now shifts to proving your worth. You have to consistently deliver quality work on-time and according to standards. If you can do this, the client will extend you contract and give you more referrals.

2. Can You Work With Different People?

As a Virtual Assistant, you will have clients from different nationalities. Each client will have their own approach toward business and respective guidelines. You should have the ability to adjust with the demands of every client.

You may also work with a virtual team. Often a virtual team is composed of people from other nationalities as well. You should be able to collaborate and work with everyone on the team regardless of differences in culture and beliefs.

3. Are You Prepared to Make Sacrifices?

Perhaps the biggest surprise for those who decide to become virtual assistants is the belief that you control your own time. In theory, yes but you should be able to work with the schedule demanded by your client.

If the client requests you to work during his or her office hours for closer collaboration, you may have to sacrifice time from your family. Your sleep hours may change, so again you have to make adjustments in your schedule.

A career as a Virtual Assistant can be rewarding. It certainly has its advantages over being an FTE but just like any other job, you have to work hard and stay committed to giving your best.


4 Smart Time Management Tips for Virtual Assistants

Virtual assistants are widely reputed for their time management skills. But no matter how experienced or skilled your Virtual Assistant is, he or she can still be overwhelmed by tasks especially if your business is gaining traction. If you feel your Virtual Assistant has bitten off more than he or she can chew, have no fear! Here are 4 smart time management tips for virtual assistants:

1. Use Focus Blocks

Focus Blocks are clusters of time you set aside specifically for activities that require utmost concentration such as work or study.

While the ability to focus varies from individual to individual, studies have shown that on average, a person can only turn in 90 minutes of productive time per day. That’s only 1 accomplishment every day or 5 tasks every 5 day work week.

So why not create 90 minute focus blocks followed by 30 minutes of rest every work shift? If you work 8 hours or 480 minutes, using 90 minute focus blocks, you would get 4 things done every day or 20 tasks completed every 5 day work week!

2. Prepare the Day’s Schedule the Night Before

One of the reasons why people tend to procrastinate is because of guesswork. They have no idea of what they are supposed to do the second their shift starts.

Over the next 30 minutes, they will be reviewing the schedule in order to organize the tasks needed for the current work day. That’s 30 minutes of productivity down the drain.

A better approach would be to schedule the following day’s agenda the night before. When you are about to end your shift, take the final 30 minutes to review pending tasks and figure out which ones should be done the following day.

If it works out for US President Barack Obama why shouldn’t it work for you?

3. Prioritize Your Tasks

If you are overwhelmed by tasks the best way to organize them is to prioritize according to importance. A good way to prioritize tasks is to apply the principle of PROTI or Potential Return on Time Invested.

Put simply, PROTI helps you to sort out tasks by identifying which ones results in higher returns based on the amount of effort you put in.

Obviously you should prioritize the tasks which result in higher return. This way, your time is well spent. Even if you are a bit late on delivering the other tasks at least the important ones have already been secured.

4. Set Realistic Targets

One reason why the quality of deliverables suffers is because the Virtual Assistant focuses on quantity more.

Realistically, you cannot hope to accomplish more than 3 to 4 tasks per day. If you list down too many tasks, your focus would shift to accomplishing as many as possible without much consideration on quality of work.

This may ultimately backfire on you if the client does not feel the same way. You may end up re-doing most of the work and find yourself in a deeper back log.

Identify at least 3 primary tasks every day and rank them in order to priority. If you have time left over, repeat the process and pick out the next task in line.

Remember that as talented as your Virtual Assistant is, he or she is only human. There will be limits to what they can do. With these 4 smart time management tips, your Virtual Assistant will be back in track without missing a beat.


How to find the best photography content to help your agency

Numerous individuals realize that they ought to contract an expert land picture taker. However, they don’t comprehend the right strides that should be followed to choose an ideal photographic artist for the employment. Here are a couple of things that you ought to remember when you are searching for a real estate photographer to help with your home posting photographs:

Inspect what they offer. Inquire as to whether they will work with you to make extra showcasing materials.

Build up a relationship. On the off chance that your picture taker is shooting home at home and doesn’t have room schedule-wise to talk, they are more inspired by getting paid. Discover a picture taker that needs to enhance your business and will listen to your thoughts.

Take a gander at their portfolio online and ensure you like the work they have posted.

Ask them what they wear. Your picture taker is an augmentation of you and your business, and they will speak to you on the property. If the dealer is available, ensure your picture taker dresses suitably.

See whether your picture taker does anything to assist the group.

Choose also vital to you. Less expensive in advance expense with conflicting results, or somewhat more cash in advance with predictable, individual administration and at last a superior esteemed item.

One preferred standpoint to working with an expert who offers both administrations is that you may have the capacity to get a rebate by buying both choices in a packaged bundle. Converse with your expert land picture taker to get some information about the options that are accessible.

It is imperative that you utilize both photographs and recordings in your online real estate showcasing, because they can both support the real estate posting in various ways. Some potential purchasers like to view the photographs, and others like to see both the photos and the recordings. Along these lines, ensure that you are contracting an expert land picture taker who can offer both administrations.

When you contrast the expert photographs and beginner pictures, you will see an extraordinary distinction in the way the property is shown. Before you begin promoting your property, it is a smart thought to locate an expert land picture taker who can help you set up together an arrangement of excellent photographs of your home.


Four reasons why you should outsource property photography

When you have your site up and running, you have to give as much data as you can to potential purchasers. Individuals are taking a gander at homes and constructing their assessments in light of the things that you compose and the photos they see. The photos truly do as such much to make purchasers need to see the property.

1. How many buyers searched the Internet for a home?

In 2006, 80% of home purchasers searched the Internet when looking down a home. After four years, in 2010, the rate of home buyers that track the Internet when looking down a house hopped to 89%. Customers are buying and getting to be skilled with more innovation gadgets, for example, portable PCs, iPods, iPads, tablets and advanced mobile phones. These purchasers are home buyers, and they need to shop on the web.

2. Save time and stress, have an expert photographer handle the photographs.

Taking pictures requires some investment. As a broker, you need to drive to the property and go room by room snapping photographs. In any case, your work does not stop there. When you return to the workplace, you need to pull the pictures off your camera and spot them onto your PC before you can transfer them to the MLS. It is anything but difficult to get pushed when something turns out badly with your PC, and your photographs don’t download efficiently. On the off chance that you happened to take a blurry photo, you need to choose to dispose of it or do a reversal to the property to retake the shot. Else you chance to present a picture on the MLS that does not meet your standard of value, and you wind up publicizing your image in a poor way when potential customers see your posting on the web.

3. An expert real estate photographer might be your best all-around marketing teammate.

Ask your real estate photographer on the off chance that they can help in different territories of advertising so you get an ideal introduction for your posting. Inquire as to whether they can assist you in print pamphlets or fliers. Having them plan and print showcasing materials gives you a one of a kind item to speak to your posting.

4. Make professional photography part of your brand.

As a real estate agent, you may need to contend with your companions to acquire postings. Proficient photography is an awesome method for enhancing your promoting portfolio when meeting with potential merchants. If a vender needs to pick a real estate agent that utilizations proficient photography versus a real estate broker that uses a simple to use, they will probably run with the real estate broker that utilizations skilled photography.

It is vital merchants know you utilize an expert picture taker. Request that they give you leaflets that showcase their work and the exhibition of their photographs. Incorporate a handout in your promoting materials and abandon it with the purchaser so they can see the fantastic item you are going to convey if they pick you as their real estate agent.



Four tips on making real estate photos stand out

Words usually can’t do a picture justice, particularly when you are attempting to persuade impeccable outsiders to purchase your home.

Proficient photographs can be an incredible choice to bail your home emerge if you need to move your property quick, yet don’t lose hope if a photo shoot isn’t in your financial plan. You can at present convey your posting pictures up to proficient standard with these insider tips:

1. Clear the room


You’d think this would abandon saying. However, individuals and pets keep on popping up in land pics on numerous occasions. The best posting pictures concentrate on a reasonable, spotless and all around planned room — without anybody hanging out in it.

2. Go wide


Approach the outside of your home the way you would need a planned buyer to see it. This includes going wide to catch a great front shot that should be possible with a conventional camera, no extraordinary hardware required.

3. Enhance your lighting


In opposition to mainstream thinking, a blustery or cloudy day has its advantages for photos. Shading immersion is frequently superior to a sunny day with fewer highlights and shaded ranges that reduce the picture. Extending from hues of orange to purple to blue: that room light, the fluorescent shop light, the sunlit window and your blaze are wreaking devastation on your picture. Take a stab at taking numerous photos utilizing the distinctive lights or a blend of them. At that point pick the most satisfying pic when you survey them at your desktop.

4. Shoot the entire room


Essential pictures are the ones that demonstrate the whole place. Regularly, we see posting photographs that are centered on a corner or an entryway, or something that the operator probably felt was vital however that, taken outside of any relevant connection to the issue at hand, gets to be insignificant.

Take a snappy minute before you hit “send” on your last photographs and ask a trusted companion or about audit your photo shoot. We urge dealers to keep their posting pictures in equalization with an insignificant accentuation on the less critical rooms of the house.