A Virtual Assistant, sometimes called a Cyber Assistant, Virtual Office Manager, Virtual Executive Assistant or Virtual Secretary provides clients administrative support from their home office, all the services you would expect from an 'in office' secretary or assistant, plus a whole lot more. With a Virtual Assistant, you never cover payroll taxes, insurance or buy additional equipment or office space, plus most Virtual Assistants bill only for 'time on task,' saving your bottom line.Read more...
A Virtual Assistant is the perfect blend - you get an assistant who can jump right into all those tasks you've either been dreading doing or have been doing until the wee hours. What is your time worth? What is your core competency? Do you find yourself so weighed down by all the administrative tasks that you're not getting any "real" work done? Perhaps you need help with marketing? Many Virtual Assistants are specialists in a particular field such as marketing, website design, bookkeeping, transcription and the list goes on and on.Read more...
Once you find and retain a talented Virtual Assistant, they'll take over all of the mundane details that have bogged down your workday and prevented you from focusing on your core competency. They'll discuss your day to day operations, what projects are falling through the cracks and create a plan of action where you both decide what should be delegated, how long tasks should take, hours reserved each month on retainer, etc. They communicate with you via phone, fax and email and they utilize the best technology to ensure their support is seamless whether they're 10 miles or 1000 miles from your office.Each Virtual Assistant has cultivated their typical methods for this initial plan, and they've honed their skills and success for your benefit. Their success is fully dependent upon your success, so they'll be tenacious in communication, planning and follow-through.
There are several qualities you should keep in mind when choosing a Virtual Assistant. First, do they have experience? How long have they been in the industry? Do they have a solid reputation among the business community? Do they have experience in your field? Are they communicative? Do they seem to share your same business values? Are they responsive? Are they tenacious? You may not be able to ask these questions directly to your prospective Virtual Assistant, but they are questions to keep in mind as you visit their website, read their testimonials and even as you run a Google search on their business.After all, they will be representing you and your business. You should certainly ask for references from their current clients. Also, interview them about some of the work they've done for other clients. What successes have they had? What problems have they been able to solve for clients? These types of questions should give you a better idea of the working style of the VA you're interviewing.
The possibilities are limited only by your imagination. What tasks seem to take up most of your business day? You could easily hire a Virtual Assistant to manage your marketing, increase your search engine rank, answer your emails when you're on vacation, field phone calls, make appointments, handle your listings, send out postcards, write press releases, design a website, manage your books, create flyers, and much more! You're in business to do business, not be an administrator. Handing off your administrative work to a professional administrative services person enables you to focus on your core competencies. Don't "BE" an assistant, hire an assistant - otherwise, you're paying top dollar for amateur results.Anything and everything that an in-house assistant can do from your office, a Virtual Assistant can do from theirs - in probably half the time because they don't have the interruptions from the day-to-day occurrences that happen in office. Many times, your Virtual Assistant can take on your project at the end of your day and have it completed by the time you get into your office the next morning!
Your Virtual Assistant won't succeed unless you're getting solid results. Therefore, their top priority is communicating with you to ensure you're seeing the results. You should initially work with your VA to allow her to get familiar with your business and your core competencies. Your VA can then make recommendations on how to engage systems and processes that will maximize your free time and increase your bottom line. They will work closely with you to accomplish your goals and they'll provide detailed reports of their time and results.A Virtual Assistant should then update you weekly on progress and advise you on the next steps to continue progress moving forward.
As with any situation where you're handing out your hard earned dollars, prospective Virtual Assistant clients need to do their due-diligence before choosing their VA. Virtual Assistants are human, too! And like most humans, we come with our own set of baggage - personality, work style, schedules and family issues. When interviewing Virtual Assistants, be sure you've got the right chemisty going. Communication - again - is critical in ensuring you're making the right match. The biggest complaint I hear from prospects is that their other Virtual Assistant just disappeared - Poof! No call, no email and the client is left buried in work, often with no idea how to move forward. Be sure you and your Virtual Assistant cover all of the bases in your initial planning stages and make sure he/she has backup plans in order.Sometimes, you discover that your working styles just don't mesh. This can indeed happen from time to time. Differences in personalities do occur, and if that's ever the case you can certainly suggest to your Virtual Assistant that while you're confident in their abilities you''d feel more comfortable working with someone else. If necessary, your Virtual Assistant should be able to recommend another highly skilled and experienced Virtual Assistant and can even submit an RFP through one of the Virtual Assistant organizations should you feel it necessary.