Outsourcing: 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. You’ll 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 a home-based business associate offering small businesses the opportunity to outsource some of the every day mundane work that takes them time and effort. In addition, this work costs 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 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, affordable work which makes it all worthwhile to their clients. Not only are they cost-effective, they are known to be quite knowledgeable about much of the work they are asked to do.
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 temps – 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.
Advantages 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 her.
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 on 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 time, money and confidence in your employees. And it is not necessary, either. Just hire a Virtual Assistant to do some of your work for you. 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 PayPal which 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!
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 $5 to $75 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 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, 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.
Typical Tasks Assigned to Virtual Assistants
Here is a selection of some of the typical tasks that a Virtual Assistant may have to offer. What she offers, however, will obviously reflect on her skills and talents, but most good VAs 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 What is copywriting? Copywriting is the art of assembling words on paper in such a way that they tend to 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: What is 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: How to do Research: I am an Internet research specialist with many years experience working 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 web site: Basic Web Design – If your small business web site 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 her bookkeeping skills. Are you tired of being stuck at the books instead of being out making money? I could be your next Virtual Assistant bean counter.
• Data Entry: What is 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 of 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. Hire a virtual assistant that you can trust to do this for you – 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 she will complete this work for you – wherever she happens to operate from – and when done, she simply sends it back to you. Most communication takes place over the Internet and generally via email and attachments.
• Real Estate Info: We are able to help some of our Southern California real estate colleagues 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 California real estate, including short sales and bank owned (REO) sales, VA’s can assist real estate colleagues who are rushed off their feet. This may be the perfect opportunity for you.