Feeling overwhelmed with all you haven’t gotten done yet? Who hasn’t wished they could clone themselves? There is a limit to what any one person can accomplish alone. At some point, if you want to grow your business you must delegate some of your work to someone else. That is where Virtual Assistants come in.
What is a Virtual Assistant (VA)?
A virtual assistant, VA, or virtual office assistant, is someone to whom you can outsource some of your regular tasks. Some VAs with deeper skill sets may also be known as administrative assistants.
Regardless of what you call them, using a VA is the easiest way to ensure regular tasks get accomplished while freeing you up to focus on running your business and generating sales.
Use a VA so you can run your business instead of working in it.
Any business can hire a VA capable of completing routine work. Some are independent freelancers who work from home. Finding one could be a challenge. An easier method is to work through an agency such as www.247virtualassistant.com. Agencies can more easily match people with the skill sets you need.
Decide What to Delegate
Before you hire your VA, first put some thought into what you do that could be delegated. Tasks that are repetitive are a good place to start. Here are some examples of work commonly delegated to a VA:
- entering data into a spreadsheet
- writing or editing content
- compiling monthly statistics
- ecommerce sites often hire someone else to add new inventory and upload product images
- managing blogs or social media accounts
- answering questions and resolving customer issues
- managing email promotions
Make a list of everything you do each month. Think about what you must do yourself and what you can train someone else to do for you.
The best way to avoid conflict is to be very clear in what you want done. Providing detailed written directions can really help your new VA understand what you want.
Oral directions are easily misunderstood or too vague to allow your VA to accomplish the given task. Writing down what you want in a sequential manner will make the tasks more clear in your own mind as well as your VAs.
Be clear in what you expect. If you need a particular report done by 5:00 p.m. in your time zone, ensure your VA knows what time it is where you are. Put these deadlines where your VA can find them.
We use Trello to manage projects. Trello is a virtual bulletin board. You create lists and cards which you and your VA can drag and drop. Documents, images, and videos can be added to each card. By using Trello you reduce the potential for miscommunication.
Trello can provide a good way to document what tasks you want done. We have clients add a card for each task. All details related to that task are added to the card including target dates. Both you and your VA will be able to see at a glance what work is in progress and what has been completed.
Staying in Touch
Provide in writing the best methods to contact you including optimum methods, days and times. Be sure to provide more than one method to reach you, ideally prioritized by what will work best.
If you always let your phone go to voicemail, be sure to tell your VA they must leave a message. If you strictly observe a Sabbath, be sure to let them know what day and times you will be unavailable.
Add their email address to your contact manager (CRM) to make sure their emails do not end up in spam. Get in the habit of acknowledging emails immediately so there is no question that the other party did receive each email. Even though a sender is whitelisted by being added to a CRM, emails can still be deleted by the ISP on either end.
Consider using Skype as a way to interact. Many freelancers leave Skype open all the time. We don’t chit-chat or interrupt each others’ work, but we do pass along opportunities and answer questions for each other. While Google Talk or Facebook chat could be used the same way, they tend to create more interruptions.
Using VAs to Increase Income
By hiring VAs to perform routine must-do tasks you free yourself up to make more sales calls and plan your business strategy. Far too many business owners are so bogged down in running their business they don’t have any time to focus on growing it. By focusing on sales you can earn more than enough money to pay for your VAs.
Have you hired any VAs? Do you work as a VA?
Feel free to share your experience and ask questions in the comments.