Virtual Assistants

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Virtual Assistants

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Paragon Outsourcing Virtual Assistants
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What Does a Virtual Assistant Do?

A virtual assistant (VA) is a person who provides support services to other businesses from a remote location. The term originated in the 1990s as the ability to work virtually, due to technology improvements like high-speed internet and document sharing, made working remotely a reality.

Virtual assistants are especially in demand by entrepreneurs and online businesses that need help but don't want to bring on staff at their location. However, many small and mid-size businesses use virtual support, especially for specific tasks, such as social media management.

What a Virtual Assistant Does

Theoretically, a VA can do anything any other support staff does, except bring the coffee (although, when home-delivery coffee is created, the VA will be able to do that too). However, virtual support duties are not limited to clerical work. Many VAs provide marketing, web design, bookkeeping, and other services.

Some virtual assistants specialize in a specific skill set. For example, a marketing or PR virtual assistant only does marketing or PR work. Other virtual assistants do a variety of duties within a specific industry. For example, a real estate virtual assistant performs many tasks, but only for realtor clients.

But what tasks would you assign to your virtual assistant? What does a virtual assistant do? If these questions are taking shape in your mind, you are in the right place.

Here is a list of the top 7 tasks you can assign to your virtual assistant.

Social Media Tasks

John Calvin Maxwell, an American author, speaker, and pastor who has written many books on leadership, said once,

“If you want to do a few small things right, do them yourself. If you want to do great things and make a big impact, learn to delegate.”

All entrepreneurs must follow this adage, especially when they spend 43% 6+ hours per week in managing their social media channels. And needless to say, this a boatload of time. You can save this it and focus more on your core business activities by hiring a virtual assistant.

Here is a list of tasks that your social media virtual assistant can do for you:

  • Creating Facebook, LinkedIn page for your business
  • Creating profiles on various social channels, such as Twitter, Tumblr, YouTube, etc.
  • Updating the latest information on your social profiles
  • Finding relevant content to share on your social channels
  • Managing, building the relevant audience on different social channels
  • Monitoring engagement on your social network
  • Measuring analytics on different social profiles

In addition to these tasks, you can assign any other social media task to your social media virtual assistant based on your needs.

Research Assistant

Before hiring a virtual assistant, my friend Mary used to spend a great deal of her time on Internet research. Mary’s virtual research assistant saves her a significant amount of time by doing the following tasks:

  • Doing research based on the instructions
  • Searching for guest blog opportunities
  • Keeping an eye on her competitors
  • Searching new business opportunities with the help of the World Wide Web
  • Searching for best practices in your business domain

If you have any other research-based task in your mind, you can discuss it with your virtual assistant. If you want your virtual assistant to use any paid search tool, you should be precise and accurate in your communication.

As rightly pointed out by Alina Dizik in her article on Entrepreneur,

“Be sure to send clear instructions, along with usernames and passwords so assistants can get access to speciality search tools or paid websites.”

Data Entry Tasks

Kevin Kruse, who writes about leadership development, shared his personal experience on Forbes,

“In interviewing hundreds of highly successful people, including billionaires, famous entrepreneurs, and elite athletes, I’ve concluded: People who actively look for things to delegate report higher levels of productivity, happiness and energy, and are less likely to feel “overworked and overwhelmed.”

The takeaway here is – delegation improves productivity. What tasks should you assign to your data entry virtual assistant?

The answer is it depends.

A data entry virtual assistant can do a wide variety of tasks for you. Paul Ryan runs a branding agency. He frequently conducts surveys on behalf of his clients.

His data entry virtual assistant completes the following tasks for him:

  • Database building and updating (sales, contacts, CRM, etc.)
  • Reviewing data for accuracy
  • Generating reports and entering data into CRM
  • Compiling data collected from online surveys and enter it into CRM

In addition to these tasks, a data entry virtual assistant can also do custom data entry tasks, based on your needs.

 

Ecommerce Tasks

Ecommerce business is booming like anything, so is growing the headache of eCommerce business owners. Product descriptions to category management, there is a long list of tasks that can snatch your peace.

A virtual eCommerce assistant can reduce your burden by doing the following tasks:

  • Writing SEO-friendly product descriptions
  • Product category management
  • Editing product images
  • Order processing
  • Handling exchange and return via phone, chat, emails
  • Conducting competitor analysis
  • Handling transaction on your website
  • Offering customer support
  • Commenting on reviews

Apart from these tasks, your virtual assistant can also do any other custom task you have on the mind.

Administrative Tasks

Ben hired a virtual assistant for administrative tasks, so did my other friend, Robin, who runs an HVAC repairing business.

Before hiring virtual administrative assistants, Robin and Ben used to be super busy. Virtual administrative assistants made their lives easier.

Following are the top tasks that you can delegate to your virtual administrative assistant:

  • Email managing/labelling
  • Booking appointments with clients
  • Following up with clients and customers
  • Calendar management
  • File management with the help of Dropbox
  • Answering support tickets
  • Writing and sending invoices to your customers
  • Producing graphs from your spreadsheets

Kevin Cruise rightly pointed out in his article,

“Even if you can do all the administrative work yourself, why should you? The one hour a day you spend running to the post office, balancing the chequebook, or booking airline tickets would be better spent calling prospects, learning, or thinking strategically.”

You can use the time you will save by delegating non-core administrative in result-oriented work that will fuel the growth of your business.

Real Estate Tasks

One of my friends, Matt, runs a real estate firm. Whenever we met, he used to complain about the shortage of time.his real estate virtual assistant made his life easier.

Last week, he returned from a European tour. And do you think his business is suffering? The answer is a big resounding ‘No’. He has more clients now.

Michael Russer, a leading speaker in the real estate industry, said in his article on REALTOR® Magazine,

“Virtual assistants can help you increase your productivity, freeing up your time to focus more on what you love to do.”

So what are the tasks that you would like to assign to your real estate virtual assistant to free up your time? Here is a list:

  • Preparing seminar material for your meeting
  • Running online ads for your business
  • Manage your social media presence
  • Setting up your appointments with the sellers/buyers of the houses
  • Finding comparable properties within the area
  • Custom competitive market analysis
  • Reviewing and proofreading documents
  • Entering data into MLS
  • Updating listing changes
  • Managing contact list and researching real estate market trends

What are you waiting for? Hire a real estate virtual assistant and delegate some non-core tasks to them.

Email & Chat Support

As rightly pointed out in an article on Inc.,

“The cost of acquiring a new customer is five times that of retaining an existing one.”

And all great businesses are built based on top-class customer services. Needless to say, it requires a huge resource to establish a customer care department. A virtual assistant can offer email and chat support for your clients.

By hiring virtual email and chat support assistants from a different time zone, you can offer 24/7 customer support economically.

In addition to these seven categorical tasks, you can hire a virtual assistant for personal tasks as well. Your virtual assistant can make travel arrangement, call a meeting on your behalf, set up appointments with your prospects and more.

Conclusion:

Gone are the days when virtual assistants used to be only assistants working at remote locations. Now, they are skilled professionals and complete a wide range of tasks. Be it social media management, Internet research, or eCommerce data entry, your virtual assistant can reduce your workload significantly.

Hire a virtual assistant and run your business. Instead, your business runs you.

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