What a Virtual Assistant Can Do For an Entrepreneur
On Twitter, I often see people claiming in their bios that they are a virtual assistant. As I did not really understand what that meant, I decided to write this blog. What is it they do, specifically? After all, as the owner of translation agency BudgetVertalingOnline, I am quite busy. There are just some tasks that I would not mind passing on to someone else. As it turns out, the question should be ‘what is it they do not do?’ Therefore, in this blog, I explain what a virtual assistant is, what the typical tasks are that they can do, where to find them and how to prepare for the search for a virtual assistant.
What is a virtual assistant?
According to Heather Barnett, a virtual assistant is a self-employed administrative or personal assistant who works remotely (usually at home) for various clients. When most people hear ‘virtual assistant,’ they assume it is a secretary who works from home. However, the field has exploded into a variety of skill sets that could be valuable to various professionals. It is, therefore, important to figure out what expertise you need.
30 examples of tasks that a virtual assistant can do
There is a variety of VAs and they all have different skills. Some may gear their work more toward scheduling and logistics, while others may focus on web-based services like managing email accounts, doing research or social media. I have read a few articles (Heather Barnett, Chris Ducker, and Alina Dizik) and this is a mix of all the tasks I found.
- Email Management/Filtering
- Transcribing voice memos, conference calls and more
- Running your calendar and planning your travel
- Compiling data into organized spreadsheets
- Handling forwarded phone calls when you are unavailable or out of town
- Any time-consuming or repetitive tasks
- Helping you hire other employees by doing preliminary research on candidates
- Writing and distributing standard business communications
- Preparing presentations
- Managing your social media accounts
- Coordinating with vendors
- Placing orders for new supplies
- Setting up Autoresponders (Aweber, MailChimp)
- Booking appointments with clients
- Following up with clients/customers (sending thank you and other reminder emails)
- Receptionist duties
- File Management (organizing files using Dropbox etc.)
- Database building (e.g. updating email or contact lists on your CRM)
- Personal errands
- Taking down minutes of meetings
- Creating basic reports (reports on weekly tasks, deliverables, sales)
- Liaison between you and other team members
- Managing your Blog (Basic WordPress Skills)
- Publishing posts on your Blog (content you provided)
- Filtering and replying to comments on your blog
- Answering support tickets (with the use of Zendesk)
- Blog commenting (to increase links to your site)
- Participating in discussion forums or message boards (more promotion!)
- Industry knowledge preparation
What are good places to look for a virtual assistant?
I have created a list of six websites that offer virtual assistant services to companies worldwide. For country-specific websites, just use Google.
- Twitter – All you have to do is tweet about it. Instantaneously, you will receive messages from VA businesses and others who can recommend one.
- VA Networking – This is a place where many VAs network and brainstorm together finding the most efficient and effective solution. You can submit a request for services and receive hits from many qualified members.
- AssistU – Many VAs start their career with training from AssistU certificate program. The qualified individuals connect with you once you submit a request for services on their site.
- Elance – All you need to do is register and post your project. The site offers many tools and features such as a time tracking tool and user profiles that compliment your search in locating the ultimate virtual assistant. This is a great way to stay on budget since you set the price and they bid to work for you.
- Get Friday Ace – Specialized in working for SMEs and entrepreneurs. All you need to do is pick a monthly plan and fill out the membership form.
- Guru – You can find a freelance virtual assistant to assist you with any project by browsing profiles or submitting your project.
Five ways to find, hire and use a virtual assistant
Alex Shalman lists five ways to find, hire, and use a virtual assistant. For more details, click his name.
Assess your needs
Before working with a virtual assistant, you should assess all your needs (personal and/or professional). It is important to develop a list of what needs to be done and what you are willing to delegate to your virtual assistant.
Finding a virtual assistant
Finding a VA is fairly easy, but locating a trustworthy, responsible professional is a task of its own. Options have already been listed in this blog.
Qualifying the virtual assistant
You can easily see which VAs are qualified and which VAs are not. Beware of emails with resumes attached. A virtual assistant is your business partner, not your employee and those sending a resume may still be in employee mode.
Making the selection
By now you should have 3-5 applicants that really stand out. Do not let this be a time-consuming selection process. Your goal is to save time. Contact the applicants and arrange for a complimentary consultation. This should happen by phone; you will probably never see the VA face-to-face.
Finalizing the contract
When you finally choose your savvy VA that compliments your budget and your day-to-day needs, it is time to get the ball on the roll. Contact your VA and let them know it is a go. If you need their services on a long-term basis, negotiate contract details such as billing, terms of service, and privacy.
Michael Hyatt describes his personal experience finding and using a virtual assistant in his blog My experience using a virtual assistant. This may help you if you need convincing or more tips.
What can I do for you regarding virtual assistance?
Well, I am not a virtual assistant. I am an online entrepreneur offering translation services. Translations help you strengthen your brand abroad. I am the owner of Dutch translation agency BudgetVertalingOnline, which offers affordable translations English <> Dutch. I can help you if you want to reach a bigger audience with your content. After all, if your marketing material is in a language your audience does not understand, it raises an unnecessary barrier. Want to get in touch? Send me an email (firstname.lastname@example.org), send me a Tweet (@GdenHolder) or fill out the quotation form.
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