Thanks to technology, an increasing amount of business tasks are able to be completed online, which opened up the market globally for a position aptly titled: “virtual assistant”. Virtual assistant services are springing up everywhere but what exactly do they do? Virtual assistants are personal assistants in an organization that work online and remotely instead of in your office space. However, over time, the position expanded to encompass even specialized tasks that can be done online, that don’t require having to be there in person.
Hiring a virtual assistant does not mean that you found some amazing deal where you can employ one person to handle all types of specialized tasks related to your business at a quarter of the price of a professional. First off, one person will never make the progress of a dedicated team working towards the same goal. And second, if you’re looking for someone with a specialized skill set, like video editing, it’s important to make the distinction between a professional video editor who has past experience, implements best practices and utilizes top of the line software and a virtual assistant who can stitch together footage in iMovie. The price points will, of course, be different as well which should be one indicator of the type of professionalism, complexity, and product outcome you should expect. The same goes for a web developer, graphic designer, and other roles which can technically also be done online and remotely. Having said that, you will find talented people who do have specialized skills and still market themselves as a virtual assistant but this post will focus on the role and tasks of a “General Virtual Assistant”.
Virtual Assistant Tasks
Email. One of the major time-sucks of our day, yet essential for any business operating today. Some businesses swear by an email list as an essential part of their strategy to increase sales. But how many hours a day do you spend constructing emails, replying to questions, deleting spam, and reading through newsletters before even logging in any sales that day? Outsource this task and free up a few hours in your day for the things that matter – which could include personal activities, like an hour workout at home or at the gym. Your virtual assistant could:
- Maintain your email list in applications such as ConvertKit
- Setting up your email marketing service
- Create email marketing campaigns to send out to your list
- Answer customer inquiries or troubleshooting emails
- Filtering emails by priority
- Following up on leads
An exciting milestone as a business owner is when you stop recognizing every itty bitty detail of every single client job or project you have for the simple reason of having so many projects or clients. By this point in your business, it’s probably a good idea to have a secretary or administrative assistant to help keep the office running like clockwork. But if you have a remote team, these would be excellent tasks to have a virtual assistant handle:
- Appointment scheduling
- Maintaining calendars
- Travel planning and arrangements
- Social media or Pinterest scheduling through CoSchedule or Tailwind
- Scheduling blog posts
I’m a bit of OCD when it comes to organization. It’s no secret that things run more efficiently when they’re organized. Now it’s even more imperative in this era of web applications, information, and unlimited desktop folders. All this data that we compile for reference and future use need to be arranged in a way where they’re accessible, easy to be found, and easy to read. Since there’s no need to have a physical filing cabinet when everything can be stored on a cloud, this is definitely something you can have a virtual assistant do:
- Data entry
- File management in DropBox or G Suite
- Preparing presentations
- Updating CRM or contact lists
- Uploading products and descriptions into your online store
Administration is probably how your virtual assistant will be spending most of their time. Basically a bit of task management along with the random tasks that crop up every other day or so that someone needs to get done to keep things moving. After an admin task is done, it usually moves over as an organizational or scheduling task where it lives out its life as a reference or crossed out.
- Online research
- Competitor analysis
- Moderating social media, forums, or blog comments and replies
- Video or audio transcription
- Personal errands such as sending personalized cards for thank you’s, events, and occasions
- Invoicing clients
- Project management between teams
Are you considering hiring a virtual assistant to help you in your business? First thing you need to do is make a list of all your business activities. Next, filter out the time-consuming and/or low-value ones that are ideal for outsourcing. Read THIS POST for more information on how to outsource.