What is a Virtual Assistant (VA)?
A remote working, professional freelance administrator.
Who are Virtual Assistants?
A Virtual Assistant (VA) is somebody who offers their professional administrative services to businesses and individuals. As they are self-employed they appeal to small and medium sized organisations looking to expand, but reluctant, or unable, to take on additional staff. Other barriers for taking on employees include the employee-burden of taxes, insurance, pensions and office space. Another advantage is the flexibility Virtual Assistants can offer; Business owners and Executives can retain their services for a few hours each month or on an ad hoc basis for one-off projects.
You need extra help but don’t have:
- Consistent additional workload
- The budget to pay for more staff
- Physical office space for extra personnel
Virtual Assistants are highly-trained and experienced business professionals with a background in office management or high-level Executive Assistant/Personal Assistant experience. Their unique, individual skill-sets and talents are determined by their professional background. Because there has been a rise in the number of administrative professionals making the transition into freelance Virtual Assistant work, it is possible for business owners and individuals to find the right partner for their needs.
Technology has been a real driving force behind the growth of Virtual Assisting, with cloud based services, email and video calls it is possible for business tasks to be carried out anywhere with internet access.
Ultimately, Virtual Assistants help organisations and people become more productive and they facilitate growth while minimising risk. The benefits can be substantial.
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How can a Virtual Assistant help me?
Broadly speaking Virtual Assistants can help you with all aspects of your business and it is simply a question of researching your need.
- Work you are currently doing and would like to outsource
- Areas of your business you would like to expand on and develop
- Completely new areas you don’t have the expertise or knowledge to carry out yourself effectively and efficiently plus you don’t have the time to develop these new skills.
The main areas Virtual Assistants can help you are outlined below, but remember this is simply a guide and the possibilities are endless.
Areas a Virtual Assistant could help you and your business:
- Diary management
- Customer service support
- Marketing plans and implementation
- Event management
- Being organised
Keeping track of your appointments and scheduling important events will make you and business more efficient and effective. Virtual Assistants can organise your day and help you achieve more. Consequently, you’ll have time to focus on other areas of your business or home life.
Customer service support
Running a small to medium sized business means you don’t always have time to deal effectively with customer service enquiries and as a result you could be missing out on future business opportunities. Hiring a Virtual Assistant will ensure all customers who contact you feel valued and respected. This is vitally important because a satisfied customer is far more likely to recommend your business to others and remember, recommendations are the best form of free marketing!
Marketing plans and implementation
As a business owner you already know marketing is something you should be doing, although executing an effective and brand consistent plan takes time, energy and money. A Virtual Assistant can help you establish and implement an achievable strategy and above all, ensure it is affordable.
Impressing your customers with a memorable event takes meticulous planning and organising. Whether you are launching a new product, organising an away-day, hosting a seminar or planning a conference, to ensure your event runs smoothly you need someone dedicated to its planning and organisation. A Virtual Assistant will work tirelessly to find you the right venue, maintain your guest list and work alongside suppliers. While the event management is in their capable hands you can concentrate on other aspects of your business.
Being more organised
Perhaps your working life is full of post-it-notes, voice memos and calendar notifications reminding you to chase payments, answer client enquiries, update website content, paying suppliers and so on. All of this before your mid-morning coffee! Hire a Virtual Assistant and become more organised. Furthermore, you’ll soon become the outstanding business owner you’ve always aspired to be.
To recap, we have looked at who a Virtual Assistant is and the types of work they can help you with. Now we can look further into how the process of delegating and outsourcing works. If you have not outsourced work or hired employees before suddenly delegating work to a freelancer can be daunting. By following these simple steps your journey to become a more effective and successful business owner will start smoothly.
How to delegate?
Have confidence in others abilities
Once you have chosen a Virtual Assistant to work with have confidence in their abilities work to their strengths, new and exciting business opportunities are likely to arise when you establish this strong partnership. A Virtual Assistant will keep you updated on the progress of your projects but don’t be afraid to ask for updates if you need verification, this is part of healthy communication. Also, feedback from each other will improve your working relationship going forward.
Learn to let go
Most notably, the hardest aspect of delegating is letting go. As a small business owner you may believe it is impossible to find someone who cares about the operation or image of your company as much as you do. But remember, a freelance Virtual Assistants exists to help others grow and furthermore you are more likely to recommend their services to others and outsource more work to them in the future if they do an outstanding job.
Plan ahead for the tasks you wish to outsource
Deciphering which tasks to outsource is essential for both parties, you will also need to create clear boundaries of duties and responsibilities. If you are unsure but thinking ‘I just need help’ most Virtual Assistants offer a free one hour consultation, please click here to read more about ours, which will be a very useful starting point. You may need to consider which tasks require high levels of effort versus skill. Outsourcing the high-effort and high-skilled task will free up many hours of your time.
Communication is key
From the outset it is vitally important to keep communication lines open between yourself and your Virtual Assistant. In the beginning it is likely they will come across many scenarios you haven’t considered and will need your help and advice. Once they become more established and confident in the role they will be able to handle enquiries and situations with more ease because they are more knowledgeable about your working systems.
So now we’ve established how a Virtual Assistant operates, the types of work they can help you with and steps you can take to ensure the smooth running of this process. We hope this guide has given you the confidence to take the next step and contact us so together we can grow your business. Please remember we offer a free 1 hour consultation to determine your needs, click here for more information. To get in touch with Lucy-Anne Virtual Assistant please click here.
We wish you all the best on your future endeavours.
Lucy-Anne Virtual Assistant