Will You Hire a Virtual Assistant in 2014?

Virtually everywhere!

They are virtually everywhere, accessible and have industry experience.

Do I have your attention?

Virtual assistants or outsourcing is the latest craze which has hit our social media platforms and search engines; even your next door neighbour could be one of them.

What is a VA you ask?

Two words come to mind…..life saver! Or another one of my favourites… support.

In fact, VAs are multi-skilled, reliable, working for themselves entrepreneurs, time conscious and task driven professionals; their prime objective is to get the task done.

They are virtually everywhere, online on their laptops, at home or at a coffee shop organising your inbox, creating templates, updating your website, prompting you, organising you, booking your flights and most important, supporting you to get things done.

VAs have industry experience have who worked in all facets of business support, they are specialist which can be outsourced for project work or have decided that they are in need of a job, so they decide to use their skills they once used or didn’t know they had and commence taking over the world!

VAs are information gatherers who are in need of keeping up with the latest information and changing technology. These attributes are what makes them employable and in demand.

Why do you need one?

We live in an ever changing competitive world. Do you feel as if you can’t keep up? Or that you are spending too much time doing things on your own to save money?

This is no longer practical for you or the running of a profitable business. You need to think outside the square to make things happen, efficiently that is.

How much do they cost?

Monthly, ongoing, or as I like to call it “one offs” are at your disposal.

For an efficient use of your investment, opt out from paying by the hour, alternatively, pay for the task. Your VA should have a set “price list or list of services” to provide and discuss with you.

The amazing thing about all this is that you can tailor a membership which suits the services you will require or may require throughout the month. Monitor your outgoings, and plan for what is in need of delegating, you will surprise yourself how efficient your business has become.

You still don’t know whether you are being quoted fairly, well, this is where you many need to do your due diligence and make a couple of comparisons.

My advice to you is not to think of it as shopping for the best price, focus on the output/quality, reliability and flexibility that there are no probation periods. Enlist on a VA for a month, testimonials on their business webpage and social media platforms which demonstrate samples of their work are a good indication of their skills and connections.

How do I find a VA?

Google Virtual Assistant or Outsource and you will be spoilt with choice. Be strategic:

  • No time, enlist the services of one of many Virtual Assistant and Outsourcing groups, 121 Temps, AVAA – Australian Virtual Assistants Association, Elance and oDesk who will shortlist potential connections for you to Skype with and choose. Essentially it is up to you, choose one or all three until you decide who you wish to continue with…it is that simple
  • LinkedIn is one of my favourite places to see it all in one place, not only are you reviewing the VA’s profile, but you are looking at their professional history, projects and endorsements. Don’t hesitate to inbox the individual who has endorsed the VA you are considering; remember they have already spent the time and money on their services.
  • Twitter, now there is a power search engine. Here is a tip, in your search field enter *Virtual Assistant* all the results with the word containing Virtual Assistant will be returned.

Many of my contacts and clients which I have been fortunate enough to assist have enlisted on a VA, whether it is on a need to need basis or on an ongoing arrangement. The advantage of connecting with a VA is if the connection does not work, there is always another VA which may be more suitable.

What do they do?

Perhaps you are wondering what a VA does? Instead I will be letting you know what a VA can’t do!

Phone calls

Listening to your voicemail and returning phone calls can be time consuming, particularly if your day is filled with meetings and travel.

Solution: Why don’t you divert your phone to your VA, calls will be answered, appointments will be made on your behalf; and your caller will feel looked after. The simplicity behind this is that between meetings or at the end of your day, you will be able to touch base with your VA to action urgent matters.

Emails

With your VA on board, you can discuss how to best manage your inbox/sent items and attachments.
Solution: Implementing automated filters and colour coding can assist you by identifying what is an urgent email, which emails can be reviewed at a later time, and most important, which emails you can now delegate to your VA to action to get things moving.

Calendar

Your calendar needs to be updated with both business and personal matters.
Solution: Colour coding, uploading attachments to your appointments, and perhaps touching base with your VA once a week to discuss your priorities, is all you need.

Update social media platforms

Too many platforms to visit, post, update or tweet?
Solution: Discuss and set a social media strategy (schedule) which works best for your business. Your VA will then ensure things are actioned, articles are sourced, research is done, analytics are reviewed.

Structure, brand and uniformity

Does your business use documents to communicate with clients, agencies, government entities or councils, it is time to structure, brand and use templates.
Solution: Let the expert’s action this, concentrate on the content and voilà……you have consistency, your logo is being used effectively and you can find that awesome template you need to use for next time.

Design your newsletter

You have a great idea to issue your first newsletter; however, time is of the essence.
Solution: Your VA will be able to identify whether a graphic designer is required. Both your VA and graphic designer can design and collaborate to present you with options. You can concentrate on the content. Your job is to review and approve!

Relocating offices or going virtual

Along with running your day to day operations now comes the challenge of running your business and also relocating.
Solution: Brainstorm your ideas with your VA, discuss budget constraints and identify how to keep the running of your business with minimal disruption. Let your VA do the research; provide you with quotes and options. You are there to make the final decision!

Create e-Christmas cards

The silly season is here! It is time to set your goals and strategize for next year. Don’t forget to be humble and send your client or Mum a nice festive message.
Solution: Don’t get too involved with the design; your recipients will be more grateful you considered sending them an e-card. Your role is to provide your contacts list and perhaps personalise the message. Your VA is there to provide you with at least three design options to choose from and press SEND!

Are you still hesitating?

Do a little exercise for me…
Write a list of your goals and align them in a form of an action list, on the third column add who the responsible person is, if this is you, you may need to re-think and consider how you are going to make these goals happen.

Embrace the capabilities of a VA, it will save you time and allow you to focus on the most important goals you ever wrote……business growth, structure and implementation.

Do your research; if you don’t have time to do this, I urge that you put time aside. This will be the most valuable time you have ever spent on your business.

Tell me how you went; I would love to hear your experiences.

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