When I run my Business Accelerator programme I am often asked, what does a Virtual Assistant do and how can they help my business. These days there are so many moving parts in a business, emails, social media, accounting and much much more.
Often business owners can’t afford a full time admin assistant or office manager. Or maybe they simply don’t have any space for that person because they dont have a physical office.
What is a Virtual Assistant?
A virtual assistant is a contractor who assists with the running of your business. There are hundreds of tasks they can support you with including, social media, email management, telesales, appointment setting, accountancy or other tasks.
By delegating recurring tasks to a virtual assistant, it FREES the entrepreneur to work on the business rather than in it.
Your virtual assistant will work remotely often from their own home. They can be based anywhere in the world, so its good to find someone willing to work on your timezone.
Virtual Assistants have helped millions of small business owners who need flexible staff. You decide their hours and the time you want them to work, I recommend you start with part time help and work towards a full time team. If you need someone for 5 hours a week, thats fine, need them for 20 hours thats fine as well.
You will pay your Virtual Assistant an hourly rate normally but its also not uncommon to pay a fixed weekly or monthly salary.
If you hire your Virtual Assistant on an ongoing basis you will get a better price and more reliable person.
- By hiring an ongoing Virtual Assistant it allows they to learn your systems and processes. This will help your Assistant build relationships with your team and customers.
- Salaries are very affordable, especially if you hire in Asia and Eastern Europe.
Virtual Assistants work sometimes work as part of a company while others prefer to work as an independent freelancer. Using a company will mean they have a manager in place to deal with issues for you. That will cost you a little more money per hour, so its best to see which type of Virtual Assistant is best for your business.
Benefits of a Virtual Assistant
Hiring a Virtual Assistant will lead to a huge improvement in your business productivity. Most business owners spend far too long working on what I call the £10 tasks. Tasks that someone could often do way better than them for less than £10 an hour.
A Business owner must focus on high value revenue generating tasks, they can only do that when they have someone doing the £10 tasks on their behalf.
So what can tasks can a Virtual Assistant do for you.
51 Tasks a Virtual Assistant Can Do
Your Virtual Assistant can perform a variety of tasks, often they will be far better at the task than you. Tasks can range from booking appointments, social media management and dealing with customer service issues.
Thats just a few things they can do for you lets look at more tasks they can do.
Keeping on top of your calendar is an ongoing battle for any entrepreneur. Your Virtual Assistant will make this effortless for you, lets look at how they can help.
1. Schedule Calls and book appointments. Chasing clients to book appointments all the back and forth can easily take up 10-15 hours a week for a business owner. Setting your Virtual Assistant clear rules on who can book an appointment and who can will quickly reclaim also 25% of your time.
2. Confirm Appointments. Things change, its smart to reconfirm appointments to make sure they are going to happen. Your Virtual Assistant can call all your clients the day prior to check they can still attend.
3. Remind You About Appointments. Get your assistant to update you each day on every appointment you have booked. If they booked the appointment they can give you a quick rundown of what to expect.
4. Reschedule Calls & Appointments. Life happens, sometimes you can’t help but reschedule an appointment. Its faster and easier for your assistant to do this on your behalf.
5. Update everyone of Appointment changes. Your assistant will provide you and your client with details of the new appointment time.
6. Manage Your Time. When you are available to your clients at anytime, a quick call can end up taking half your day. Your Virtual Assistant can protect you from getting sucked into time consuming tasks.
7. Keep you updated. Your Virtual Assistant can create a spreadsheet and keep you updated on people who have not set up a meeting. I suggest you go through this no more than once a week and step in if required.
8. Keep your family updated on your diary. When they book travel for you, maybe for a business event etc they will update those important to you and keep them informed.
Lets face it we all get so many emails it can take up hours each day to deal with them. Your Virtual Assistant will save you hours on email management.
9. Screen emails. Prior to your Virtual Assistant starting, you must set rules for your inbox. What should they delete, respond to on your behalf or bring to your attention.
10. Manage your contacts. Anytime you deal with a prospect, maybe following a meeting or phone call your Virtual Assistant can add the person to your contacts.
11. Keep your contacts fresh. People change their email, phone and address on a regular basis. If you don’t keep your contacts up to date you might lose the relationship with the prospect.
12. Move contacts to your CRM. A CRM is vital to keeping your data organised. Your Virtual Assistant will move contacts from your inbox or social media into your CRM so you can market to them.
Your Virtual Assistant can be the barrier between you and the cold callers, so many business owners get their time sucked up by taking random calls
13. Answer your main phone line. Your Virtual Assistant should be the first person someone speaks to when they call your business. They can screen calls and make sure only important calls are put through to you. Non urgent calls can be put into your diary for a callback.
14. Transcribe voicemails. Most phone systems now are digital, they often email you when someone leaves a voicemail. Your Virtual Assistant can transcribe the voicemail saving you time listening to them.
Getting travel sorted can take up hours of your time, often we underestimate exactly how long it will take. As the business owner your time is better spent on growing your business. Your Virtual Assistant can do the following to support your travel.
15. Find the cheapest flights. Give your Virtual Assistant all the details they need, dates, times etc. Your assistant can use price comparison sites and report back to you on the best options.
16. Find the cheapest hotels. As with flights, your assistant can find the best hotels at the best prices for you. Get them to use the comparison sites and bring you a list of options.
17. Book your flights and hotels. Once you have agreed the best flights and hotels, get your Virtual Assistant to secure the booking.
18. Find transportation once you arrive. Once you arrive at your destination you will need to get from the airport to your hotel. Task your Virtual Assistant with finding the best options to get to your hotel. Is that a hire car, Uber or subway? They will research the best options for you.
19. Book your ride to the hotel. Once they have found the best option to get you safely to your hotel get them to book this prior to your arrival.
20. Arrange entertainment. While away on business you need some down time, get your assistant to book a nice restaurant, concert or show. They can get it all set up prior to your arrival.
21. Stop services you don’t need. While away you might need to stop or suspend certain services. Maybe thats food services, newspapers or cleaners. Make sure everything is in place to stop what you wont be using while away.
22. Book Taxis. Sometimes you need to get to a meeting with the hassle of taking your car. Get your Virtual Assistant book a taxi to whisk you to your destination in style.
Business development takes time, reaching out to people on Linkedin, finding prospects online is something that takes time each day. Rather than spending your time on this get your Virtual Assistant to do it for you.
23. Find email leads online. Using databases then researching the lead on Google. Your Virtual Assistant can find great prospects and clients for your business.
24. Create presentations. Your Virtual Assistant can create and draft presentations you can use in your business meetings when you pitch to prospects. If you make a custom presentation which includes the prospects logos etc it will have more impact.
25. Find leads on Linkedin. Linkedin has some great leads for any business, its not just B2B leads but also B2C. Train your assistant on who is the perfect client for your business and get them to create a list of prospects.
Now you have an assistant and your business is starting to scale you need to start managing it correctly. Maybe you provide reports to clients or you need to create reports and data for your own team.
26. Create reports. Each week get your Virtual Assistant to create key reports on your business. Mine produce reports on sales, marketing and other key areas of my business.
27. Recruitment. I worked as a recruitment consultant for 8 years, it takes a lot of time hiring staff. Your VA can be a great person to go through any applications you get and create a shortlist for you to interview. They can even set up the interviews for you saving you a ton of time.
Accounts & Bookkeeping
If you are like me the thought of dealing with your accounts fills you with fear. I am more of a creative person so I get key people in my business to manage this stuff for me. Here is how your VA can help you with your financial stuff.
28. Bookkeeping. These days using the right software can make your bookkeeping really easy. A small amount of training and your Virtual Assistant can get all your books in order.
29. Send Invoices. Often clients lose invoices, either they did not get them or they just misplaced them. Creating new invoices is time consuming and not what a business owner should be doing. Get your Virtual Assistant to create new invoices and send them to your clients as and when they need them.
30. Credit Control. A lot of clients wont pay your invoice without a little nudge from someone, get your VA to chase late payments. If clients have issues paying the assistant can escalate on your behalf. Remember the most important thing as a business owner is to get paid for work you do.
Use your Virtual Assistant to also help organise your personal life, booking restaurants and reminding you of important birthdays. My assistant is more organised than me so if they can help you become more organised in your personal life thats going to take off stress in your personal life.
31. Book restaurants. Your Virtual Assistant will get to know your personal tastes overtime. A VA can book restaurants for you and let others in your party know all the details.
32. Buy stuff. Often there are purchases you really don’t need to be involved in. Your assistant can make purchases for you saying you a ton of time.
33. Send gifts. Sometimes a gift needs a little thought, your VA can look for something suitable get it organised so it arrives on time.
34. Manage your hobbies. I like to take my daughter Amelie swimming, my assistant calls the pool ahead of time and books two places for us.
35. Chase late deliveries. Have you ever wasted hours tracking missing deliveries, calling call centres trying to get stuff redelivered. Thats a total waste of your time and you must not do that as a business owner. Get your VA to track these deliveries on your behalf.
36. Manage your family calendar. A simple task, but knowing who in your family is doing what on certain dates will make life a lot easier for you to plan stuff.
37. Book Doctor appointments. Get important medical appointments booked for you. Stop wasting time dealing with receptionists when someone can do this on your behalf.
38. Pay bills. Gas, Electric and Internet can all be paid online these days. Make sure someone deals with these simple bills on your behalf.
39. Pay personal bills. For those vendors you don’t buy from regularly or who don’t have online payment options, a virtual assistant can pay the bills.
40. Source hard to find products. Looking for a special bottle of wine to impress someone? Let your VA source this for you.
As the business owner your job is to plan your companies future. The most important task for a business owner to work on is getting and keeping customers. Most other tasks can be managed by your team.
41. Take notes from webinars. Maybe you have webinars with clients or internal with your team, a VA can take notes on questions from customers or tasks that need to be done following the webinar.
42. Convert files. Have an image thats JPEG you want as PNG? Or maybe a word document you want as a PDF ask your VA to convert it for you.
43. Fill In Online Forms. A VA armed with your company data can fill in forms on your behalf.
44. Research products and services. My business uses a lot of software to manage it more effectively. My team researched each product we use to see what were the best options in the market and presented me with those.
45. Manage tasks using a project management system. Your team can manage all projects using a system built to do that, we use www.teamwork.com to manage our business more efficiently.
46. File management. These days its important to store your files in a way people can access them from wherever they are based. We use Google drive to store important documents which we share internally as well as with our clients.
47. Proofread content. When creating content its easy to miss spelling mistakes, sometimes a fresh pair of eyes might pick up on something you missed.
48. Maintain a manual. Your assistant can document all the tasks they do so other team members can pick up on those should that person leave or go on holiday.
Marketing is the most important task in your business, without marketing nobody knows you exist. A good virtual assistant can help improve your marketing and make sure it happens on autopilot.
49. Schedule social media. These days there are lots of products to help you schedule your social media. Hootsuite, Buffer and Later will allow you to schedule you posts making your social platforms run more efficiently.
50. Reply to comments. Once you start posting regularly on social media prospects will start to engage on your posts. Its important to respond to those posts and build relationships with your audience.
51. Create graphics. You will need lots of images to make your posts stand out online. A Virtual Assistant can great catchy graphics to make your posts stand out.
Your Virtual Assistant Wont Do This
You have to be realistic with your expectations of what your VA can do for you. But make sure they dont do the following.
Be rude to you. As with any employee or contractor make sure your VA is not rude to you. Any issues that arise need to be dealt with quickly.
Require IT equipment. Your VA should already own their own equipment to do the jobs you require. Unlike an employee where you will buy them a desk or laptop you are not required to do that with a VA.
Cause drama. Having been in business for over 17 years now, I have seen by far share on drama. A VA is an external worker and should not bring any drama to your business.
Next Steps to Get a Virtual Assistant
- Make a list of tasks your business needs help with. Focus on tasks that do not require someone to be an expert. Like posting on social media, responding to emails etc.
- Use a service like www.onlinejobs.ph to hire a great assistant for your business.
It does not matter if you are looking to scale a business, get more time or make more profit a virtual assistant is vital for your business. Grab my FREE guide below on everything you need to know prior to hiring an assistant.
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