LD Staff Writer
Who could use a little extra help these days?
The short answer: everyone.
Businesses of all kinds are choosing less conventional means of staffing. They’re turning to remote workers that can be located anywhere in the world. Work is assigned to members of the team through a variety of means, like email, chat, or phone correspondence.
Virtual assistance gives anyone and everyone the ability to seek out the help they need, without the headache of having to sit down and interview a number of individuals. When they find the perfect candidate, they will have to worry about employment taxes, insurance, or benefits. The idea of bringing a new person onboard, after all, isn’t to create more work for yourself – it’s to cut down your own workload, saving both time and money.
So, the advantage to hiring a virtual assistant, as opposed to a physical employee, is pretty clear – but what can people really do with a virtual assistant?
• Lawyer – For a small practice, time can be stretched pretty thin over a number of clients and their legal needs. Motions need to be filed, contracts drafted and approved, hours need to be billed and collected, the website needs to be kept up to date, travel needs to be arranged…
For some of these items, you really do need a qualified individual, and some virtual assistants may have these professional abilities, with experience as a paralegal or legal secretary. For many of these tasks, though, just about anyone an excellent work ethic and eye for detail can get the job done.
A Virtual Assistant worth their weight will be able to help with web maintenance, bill collection, or travel arrangements. Some are excellent communications professionals who know how to provide impeccable customer service, scheduling, and so on (these same principles apply to doctors and accounting professionals).
• Real Estate Professional – Real estate professionals are busier than ever these days… Houses are popping up for sale left and right, and the market is starting to come back. Many people are ready to own their first home, or are getting ready to relocate. For a busy office, so much time can go in to putting up ads, filling MLS sheets, and scheduling appointments with homeowners and potential buyers.
For all of these sorts of projects, a virtual assistant can be an excellent way to take some of the responsibility off of the already stretched staff, and make time for the things that the agents really need to do themselves, that require their physical presence – staging homes, showing properties, and making sales.
• Marketing Consultant – Businesses are becoming more conscious of the difference marketing consultancy can make. A professional marketing consultant can take a small business to the next level with their experience and expertise. With so many people catching on to this trend, marketing professionals need the extra help!
A professional marketer may task a virtual assistant to brainstorm some new branding for a client, create mock-ups for a website, to develop a keyword strategy, or to draft original and in-depth content. For these sorts of projects, a marketing consultant needs to be sure to work with a very capable VA.
Simpler tasks can be effectively outsourced as well, like implementing an SEO strategy, managing an AdWords account, performing market research, booking travel and conference arrangements, filling and packaging an RFP… There are a number of ways virtual assistance and help marketing firms (or individual consultants) can get out from under the work that bogs them down.
• Franchise Owner/Entrepreneur – Whatever business you are in, the hope is that your business will grow and expand. As you grow, you’ll need team of dedicated individuals that are there to help you achieve your goals. You can either find people to work for you in house, or seek remote workers. Each approach has its benefits, but remote teams (like a virtual assistance company) are often more cost effective for smaller, growth-stage business.
Instead of hiring full-time employees, which comes with overhead, payroll taxes, etc., remote workers are available as needed – but don’t cost you money when they aren’t working for your business. Whatever type of team you choose (or a mixture of options), training and documentation are key. If you have processes in order, new employees (or freelancers, VAs, etc.) can hit the ground running, and help with nearly any aspect of growing your business.
• Mother/Father/College Student – Yes, a virtual assistant is usually best suited to help busy professionals. However, a good VA is agile, and focused on one primary goal: putting more time into your hands.
If you need more time for the things that matter most, whether that’s leisure, time to be with loved ones, focusing on personal and professional development, etc., a virtual assistant can help with scheduling, calendar management, email filing, travel arrangements, research, shopping, vendor arrangements, software training – pretty much anything and everything that doesn’t require their physical presence.
A good VA can take someone completely overwhelmed, spread too thin, and essentially change the way they live their lives. It’s not the most common use of virtual assistance, but it’s certainly an option!
Take stock of the responsibilities on your list. Draw two lines down a piece of paper and create three columns. One column is what you can DEFINITELY delegate to a capable individual, the second is what you can MAYBE delegate once your hire proves their worth, and the third is what you need to do YOURSELF.
Spend some time learning more about virtual assistance and how to choose the right provider for you. How important is it to you that this person speaks English? What sort of qualities do you want your assistant to possess? Would you prefer to work with one individual or with a company full of capable people, with a leader at the helm corresponding with you every step of the way?
Determine your needs, and you’ll be able to offload much of the work that holds you back!
Want to learn more?
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