Tag Archive Virtual Assistant

7 Tips for Working with a Virtual Assistant

Hiring a Virtual Assistant can save you time, increase your productivity, and be a rewarding experience.

Although, if you are not careful, managing your assistant can be a headache and take more time then doing the job yourself. It doesn’t matter if your Virtual Assistant is in Johannesburg, Cape Town or Durban. These few simple tips can help you get the best out of your relationship:

  1. Give Detailed Directions

It seems like 90% of all the problems reported about Virtual Assistants relates to this one issue. As the task giver, you must give clear detailed instructions to your assistant. Do not leave any room for your assistant to assume what you need.

The best way to give directions to your assistant is to write them down and send it to them a day or two before the work is to begin. This will give your assistant time to review the tasks and come up with any questions that they may have. After your assistant has reviewed the task sheet, set up a time to meet with your assistant either by phone or instant messenger to answer any questions they may have and to make sure that the assistant clearly understands your requests.

  1. Take the Time to Teach the Task

No matter how simple the task may seem to you, still take the time to teach your VA how to do your tasks. The best way to do this is to talk to them by phone or instant messenger, walking them step by step through the task. By doing this, you will make sure that they clearly understand what you are asking of them and that you are getting the results you anticipate.

  1. Set Up Multiple Lines of Communication

Make it as easy as possible for you and your Virtual Assistant to stay in communication with one another. Your assistant should be able to have some way to reach you 100% of the time if they have any questions or need directions. Make sure that you and your virtual assistant share each other’s phone number, email address, and Skype/Instant Message screen name. For most small business entrepreneurs, instant messenger like WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger are the ideal. Instant messenger allows you and your assistant to communicate in real time without causing any major disruption to schedule.

  1. Give Deadlines

When giving your assistant a task, make sure that you give a deadline for when you expect the work to be done. Then communicate this deadline to the assistant and make sure that it is feasible. Once you have both agreed upon the deadline, stick to it.

  1. Ask for Daily Updates on Your Task

To make sure that your assistant is getting your task done in a timely manner, request that they send you two updates every day. The first one should be an email at the start of their work, letting you know that they have started your task. The last email should be sent at the end of the workday, letting you know what they have completed and how much time they spent on the given task.

  1. Get to Know Your Virtual Assistant

Take the time to get to know your Virtual Assistant. By learning about your assistant, you will create a better work environment and help to create loyalty and trust. One of the most rewarding experiences of hiring a virtual assistant from different cities and cultures is that it helps you learn about new cultures and form lasting friendships.

  1. Consider Working with a Virtual Assistant Firm

When choosing a Virtual Assistant, it’s highly recommended that you work with a company of VAs. A reputable Virtual Assistant company like Maximus Admin Support is that the company will pre-screen its assistants before hiring them. This means that you get higher quality assistants that in fact have the credentials that they say they do.

Another reason to work with a VA Company is that if for some reason a certain assistant is not working out for you, the company can seamlessly assign someone new to the job. The last reason to work with a firm is that if your assistant is out ill or on vacation, a firm can assign another assistant temporarily to the job so that your service is not interrupted.

Virtual Assistants Just Make Good Business Sense

Virtual Assistants are fast becoming a popular industry. It is through education that this field is beginning to truly grow. Hopefully, someday soon people will be asking, “Who is your Virtual Assistant?” rather than “What is a Virtual Assistant?”

Virtual Assistants are the key to allowing small business owners to truly create a thriving. Before deciding to work with a Virtual Assistant there are six questions that need to be answered.

What is a Virtual Assistant?

First and foremost, you must understand what the term means. Simply put, a Virtual Assistant is a business owner who offers administrative support, virtually. The International Virtual Assistant Association defines a Virtual Assistant as “an independent entrepreneur providing administrative, creative and/or technical services. Utilizing advanced technological modes of communication and data delivery, a professional Virtual Assistant assists clients in his/her area of expertise from his/her own office on a contractual basis.”

Why would I want to work with a Virtual Assistant?

There are many advantages! First, there are no hidden costs. The Virtual Assistant takes care of his or her own expenses including office space, equipment, computers and software, and all wage-related expenses. A Virtual Assistant is not like other employees; instead, he/she becomes a member of your team and has a stake in the success of your company. If you don’t succeed they won’t succeed.

Most Virtual Assistants have many years of administrative experience and can handle a variety of tasks. Many VAs work outside of traditional business hours to provide flexibility. With a Virtual Assistant on your team, you have an opportunity to grow your business rather than just maintain it. You can get back to the things you love doing; while the tasks on your ‘TO DO’ list are looked after.

What can a Virtual Assistant assist me with?

Virtual Assistants can assist you with everything from basic administrative functions (document preparation, correspondence preparation, transcriptions services, etc.) to specialized services such as Website design and maintenance, bookkeeping, ghostwriting and editing services, marketing, and event planning. Each Virtual Assistant has his or her own skill set and services. Many have established connections with other Virtual Assistants and will contract out specialized work or direct you to another Assistant.

How do I communicate with a Virtual Assistant?

The most popular methods in communication are email and telephone; however, facsimile, courier, and postal services are often used. Many who have worked with Virtual Assistants have set up post office boxes that are accessed by the Assistant to ensure all client correspondence is handled directly by the Assistant.

Is there anything a Virtual Assistant can’t do for me?

A Virtual Assistant can perform any task that an in-house assistant can …except make your morning coffee.

Why Hire A Virtual Assistant?

A Virtual Assistant (VA) is a highly skilled professional who can perform a wide range of administrative and business support roles to take the pressure off your business.

At a time when internet access and download speeds are at their greatest, Virtual Assistants operate in a virtual forum and can carry out all traditional support functions saving your business time and money.

Client communication is usually conducted over the telephone or by fax or email. Documents and data are delivered through secure File Transfer Protocol (FTP), via the internet or through traditional means. Virtual Assistants are known to multi-task and are highly adaptable to suit your business needs. So why hire one? The simple answer to that is, because “A Virtual Assistant is just a mouse click away!”

Unlimited global market. Virtual Assistants fulfill secretarial and transcription roles online and can do so from any remote location. There is no need to have a Virtual Assistant physically in your office, crucially freeing up business space for you in your office. Businesses can hire Virtual Assistants from a wide range of locations and countries. This gives you a tremendous choice of skilled personnel and huge cost savings and advantages.

Frees up your time. Virtual Assistants are highly trained, highly productive personnel who are used to large volumes of output and offer quick turnaround times. They are ideally suited to pressures of deadlines and operate at a time when your business requires it, with a view to freeing up your time to increase your productivity.

VAs are Cost effective. Virtual Assistants offer an independent service to your business as and when necessary. They are not employees, you only pay for what you want, when you need it. This is a highly cost-effective option for your business, reducing the need to employ staff or pay full-time wages or taxes.

Reduce your overheads. Virtual Assistants work from home or from their own office. Virtual Assistants do not take up office space and your business can enjoy cost savings and reductions in electricity and utility bills employees accrue. You do not need to purchase additional equipment for their use, Virtual Assistants operate from fully equipped offices, using the most up to date technology. No need to incur additional postage or courier costs to outsource your work to them – telephone, fax and internet based technology provides an immediate solution.

Minimize employee obligations. A Virtual Assistant is an independent contractor, they are not engaged in a contract of employment. A Virtual Assistant is not a company employee, there are no ancillary employee taxes or benefits to be paid, providing a cost saving to your business. As Virtual Assistants are self-employed business owners they are responsible for their own taxation liabilities.

They Provide Critical cover. By engaging a Virtual Assistant, your business has the ability to outsource important work during peak periods or to meet pressurized deadlines when the need arises. Crucially a Virtual Assistant can be engaged to provide effective support and cover for staff absenteeism. A Virtual Assistant is a reliable and viable alternative to using recruitment agencies for temporary in-house staff.

Customized business service. A Virtual Assistant can fulfill the role your business requires whether it is a short time or long continuous period of engagement, either on a regular or ad hoc basis. This degree of flexibility is essential in an ever-changing business world. So whether it is a once-off digital transcription or ongoing administrative tasks, a Virtual Assistant is the most efficient solution for your business.

The diversity of Talent. Virtual Assistants come from a panoply of disciplines across the professional, business, academic, technical and support sectors. Your business can choose a Virtual Assistant according to the skill set that the task requires, whether it is highly specialized or generic. Virtual Assistants are creative thinkers and excellent problem solvers.

Outsourcing equals productive output. A dedicated Virtual Assistant is 100 percent committed to your business project. They are self-employed personnel and so are aware of the exigencies of performing tasks to deadlines. Engaging the service of a Virtual Assistant ensures that each hour of labour provided is of optimum productivity and effort.

Efficient use of time. Effective use of time management means your business can be served by a Virtual Assistant operating in a different time zone to meet your business needs. As your business day ends, a Virtual Assistant’s day can begin and this flexible time solution results in greater business efficiency and turnaround.

These are just some of the key reasons to engage a Virtual Assistant. The role of the Virtual Assistant is ever changing and ever expanding and is and will continue to play an important function in the emergence of a modern online business world.

Typical Tasks Assigned to Virtual Assistants

Anyone using a Virtual Admin Assistant for the first time, you may be wondering what tasks are typically assigned to a VAA. Look no further we have a list of tasks you can outsource to your VAA.

Here is a selection of some of the typical tasks that a Virtual Admin Assistant offer. What a VAA offers, however, will obviously reflect on skills and talents, but most good VAAs will certainly offer the following:

  • Word Processing: Today’s word processing assignments are a far different kettle of fish to how they were up to the turn of the 90s. But once the advent of the PC was introduced to our day-to-day office activities, typists’ roles have taken on a whole new meaning. No longer are they expected to produce simple documentation, they are now required to produce a wider variety of work.
  • Proofreading: Why not have your outgoing material double-checked by a proofreading expert. This is probably the best investment you are likely to make. It will ensure that your copy offers excellent communication value commensurate with a successful company.
  • Editing and Formatting: This is the process of making sure your work is as attractive and presentable as possible. Such work could be a business plan for your bank manager, an application for services from another company, or how about contract work when the wording has to be very clear and exact. Are you able to present documentation that is free of errors, typos, grammatical errors? Do your documents also look very presentable? This is the time to make sure that everything your company puts out looks as professional as possible.
  • Copy Writing: What is copywriting? Copywriting is the art of assembling words on paper in such a way that they persuade or convince the reader to act in a certain way. It should be used for sales letters, marketing documentation, and other material where the reader is persuaded to respond in a certain way.
  • Technical Writing: Technical writing is used when constructing manuals, technical specification sheets, and other forms of descriptive text pertaining to product detail, usage, and reference data. Very often, products are required to be broken down into technical specifications so that manuals can be assembled and made reader-friendly.
  • Internet Research: If you need to do research particularly desktop research the services of an experience VA come in handy. Internet research specialists with many years of experience work with small businesses to assist them when they require information that is not readily available or known about.
  • Web Page Content: If you want to get visitors to your site, and keep them there, then you have to have good, relevant content to all your pages and make sure they complement each other. You cannot just slap any old content on your web site and expect the search engines to find it. It just doesn’t happen like that anymore.
  • Small business: Basic Web Design – If your small business website does not have the information the searcher is requesting, then you are simply not going to show up in the results of his search. In other words, if your web page does not contain relevant info, then you’re are pretty much overlooked by the search engines – regardless of how good you think your keyword placement is. Having the correct keywords on your page is simply not enough anymore.
  • Bookkeeping | Accounting | Bean Counter: Ah, the very heart of any business – the bean counter – who rarely gets credit for his/her bookkeeping skills. Are you tired of being stuck with the books instead of being out there making money? You could hire a Virtual Assistant bean counter.
  • Data Entry: Data entry can take many hours of your time that could be better spent elsewhere. Why not consider a Virtual Assist to do your data entry for you? This would leave you free to concentrate on the business end of making money. Data entry can start in basic form like adding sales leads to a data base, updating your client list from recent sales, making spreadsheet entries for you, filling in online forms and many other mundane tasks. Hiring a virtual assistant you can trust to do this for you ensure you get the work done quickly and affordably.
  • Admin support: Support is when you are so busy that you need a little help with your office work that is piling up with nobody to do it – and you finally decide to outsource it to a trustworthy virtually assistant. This means that you can assign any work you wish to your Virtual Assistant and he/she will complete this work for you – wherever she happens to operate from – and when done, he/she simply sends it back to you. Most communication takes place over the Internet and generally via email and attachments.
  • Real Estate Info: VAs are also able to help real estate specialists who prefer not to take on the additional staff to take care of the extra work involved. Many realtors have plenty of business and such business attracts plenty of admin work and the endless paperwork of any type of real estate transaction. With knowledge of real estate, including short sales and bank-owned sales, VAA’s can assist real estate agents who are rushed off their feet. This may be the perfect opportunity for you.

Check out how a Virtual Assistant can help your business while saving you time and money.

The Benefits of Using a Virtual Assistant

Whether you run a small business or Fortune 500 company, using a Virtual Assistant will save you time and money over and over again.

You get the benefits of a full-time employee who understands your needs – without the overhead of health insurance, office space, equipment, payroll taxes and all the other expenses of taking on another employee.

One Virtual Assistant can often do the jobs of several different employees thus eliminating the need for additional full-time staffing. And you only pay when you use your Virtual Assistant. You can even pay your VA a small retainer to ensure she will be available whenever you want him/her.

Outsourcing to a Virtual Assistant

Outsourcing not only frees up your time to concentrate on the income-generating part of your business, but you get your work done far quicker and perhaps with better quality, too.

You never have to worry about staff showing up on time each morning. No worries about coffee breaks, lunch breaks, vacation days, vacation pay, sick days, employee arguments, etc.

Have you ever suspected your employees are surfing the Internet while they should be working? You can be reasonably sure they are doing just that. This loses you and your business time, money and confidence in your employees. And it is not necessary, either. Hiring a Virtual Assistant to do some of your work will save you all the heartache and headache. You will find it far more convenient, cost-effective and time-saving.

Why not start to enjoy the freedom of running your own business without the administrative worries and hassles. It will cost you far less than you may think.

How Do Virtual Assistants Get Paid?

The payment method is usually Direct Pank Transfer after invoice, and for the tech savvy, PayPal is probably the safest and certainly the fastest way of transferring money in today’s world.

Simply log in to your PayPal account, select Send Money and send the amount you wish to the VA’s PayPal account. It’s that easy!

No HR Admin or Management

A Virtual Assistant is a business entrepreneur who is paid as an independent contractor. They work remotely and use technology to deliver services globally. No payroll taxes, no health insurance, no office overhead whatsoever for you to worry about. The fee depends on the job assignment and the VA’s level of expertise.

Virtual Assistants can charge anywhere from R90 to R750 per hour depending on the complexity of the assignment. However, there are certain countries where Virtual Assistants are the proverbial dime-a-dozen, and you have to beware of this as it might reflect in the quality of your work – bad English, bad grammar (or none at all), spelling errors, typos and so much more. Therefore it is worth taking a little more time and choosing your VA wisely, rather than go for the cheaper option. Most times this is a false economy.

Web designers or computer technicians, for instance, obviously charge more than administrative assistants. You are not only paying them for their time and effort, but you are also paying for their knowledge and skill.

If you wish to have a Virtual Assistant available to you on a regular basis, then you may reserve a certain amount of time with your VA each month depending on your needs. This time can be negotiated in advance.

What to Look for in a Virtual Assistant?

In today’s tough economy, most businesses are running lean. With the advent of downsizing, cutting hours, and managing a profitable company, there’s still lots of work to be done.

So many companies are hiring Virtual Assistants. Your virtual assistant will be handling all your assignments by email or phone, so be sure to interview your assistant to make sure you truly understand what it is you expect to be done for your and for what price. Here’s a synopsis of how VAs work and what you should look for in your business association.

What is a Virtual Assistant?

A Virtual Assistant is an off-site business associate offering small businesses the opportunity to outsource some of the everyday mundane work that takes them time and effort. In addition, this work costs many companies money both in staffing costs and time expended.

A Virtual Assistant (VA) is generally located in a remote location – anywhere in the world – and works for his/her clients on a day-to-day basis taking care of any work they assign to her.

VAs are normally known for their cost-effective and good quality. The affordability of their work makes it all worthwhile to their clients. Not only are they cost-effective, but they are also known to be quite knowledgeable about much of the work they are asked to do.

Value for money Assistance

A Virtual Assistant often knows a little about lots of various topics through previous research done for similar titles. In any case, Virtual Assistants are generally specialists in the art of online investigation, probing and in-depth searching for anything their clients wish to know about or have documented.

Virtual Assistants are not tempting – they are self-employed entrepreneurs who can handle almost all of your marketing and secretarial needs. A perfect way to keep your office overhead under control.

An ongoing association with a Virtual Assistant provides you with someone who has a working knowledge and understanding of your company and its goals. It’s the most cost-effective way to maintain valuable assistance while watching your expenses stay at a minimum.

They are as concerned with your business success as you are – as their success depends on you. You can expect a high level of commitment as most follow strict work guidelines and ethics promising you the best in service and protecting your interests at all times. Confidentiality is assured.