Sometimes it’s hard to take the plunge into sharing the workload. You’re used to having a full day – perhaps a full day and a full night of work – and letting someone take over some of the details is a bit nerve-wracking at first. Coupled with that is the fear that you’ll arrange for a virtual assistant and then not have enough work for the assistant to even complete.
Hiring a virtual assistant is a great way to free up more of your time for high level projects and planning. The virtual assistant can help with potentially hundreds of tasks, and arranging help from someone locally or someone in another country can be a very cost effective way to grow your business as well.
Thinking about adding a virtual assistant to your team? Here are some great ways he or she can help out.
Top Tasks to Outsource to Your Virtual Assistant
- Arrange Deadlines – Put your virtual assistant in charge of collecting completed projects and managing timetables. Set up schedules for freelancers and other employees and then have your assistant report in on any missing projects or assignments as deadlines come and go.
- Assess Customer Satisfaction – To check the satisfaction of your previous clients, have your VA send out a satisfaction survey to gather responses and data. The VA can gather up the data, summarize itn and send you the completed responses.
- Benchmark the Industry – Your virtual assistant can check out the competition, dig for keywords that the competitor is working on, and scope out the linking strategy that is supporting their efforts. All of these can be compiled in a spreadsheet that you can use for your own benchmarking efforts.
- Check References – If you’re thinking of hiring new employees, your virtual assistant can be a great asset in vetting resumes and checking on references. Research likely candidates and then your VA can send along summaries of what social media turns up as well as more standard measures.
- Collect Paperwork – Every freelancer you work with and every client you take on needs a contract to virtually sign. This is a great job for a VA to handle. Simply send over contact details and the assistant can update the file, send it over, and file it away when it is returned to you.
- Compile Email Lists – Websites that compile email addresses need to be monitored, cleaned up, and sorted. Your virtual assistant can do a great job sifting through the information, and logging it into databases for quick mass emails and search functions.
- Convert Database Information – If you’re looking for ways to convert information and change from one database program to another, your virtual assistant is a great asset to you as you convert files and check them for errors in the new program.
- Cope with Invoices – Have your assistant put details into invoices for you after logging hours in a cloud-based system or spreadsheet. The assistant can then follow up on late invoices, log payments and virtually file away the paid receipts.
- Create Contact Lists – All of the business cards, emails and newsletter contacts that you acquire throughout the week or month can be compiled into a database set up by your virtual assistant. Simply mail copies of the cards or forward emails and the VA can keep your contacts updated.
- Design Profit and Loss Statements – The money you spend should be less than the money you’re making. But the only way you’ll know for sure is if someone keeps track of both income and expenses. Your assistant can keep track of these numbers and send you updates on a weekly or monthly basis.
- Develop Graphics – A virtual assistant is a great person to organize information you’ve gathered into slides for a PowerPoint or similar presentation. Send graphs and data and your VA can create the necessary graphics and arrange them on the appropriate slides.
- Fact Checking – Your virtual assistant can assist you when finding the correct and updated facts for your content and materials. Simply highlight questions in the text and your VA can find the correct data and update the document for you directly.
- Find Clients – Your virtual assistant can do market research for you to find where large groups of your client market tend to gravitate online. She can find the right forums or social media accounts to reach the demographic you’re seeking.
- Handle Business Mail – Rather than having business mail sent to your office, have business mail sent to a post office box near your assistant. This way, while you’re traveling your VA can get the mail, sort through it, and alert you to any serious issues that need your immediate attention. She can scan and send over important correspondence as well.
- Locate Promotional Opportunities – There are countless forums and websites dedicated to questions and answers. Send your virtual assistant out to scan through as many of these mediums as possible on your behalf. He simply sends you the links and you can answer the question like the expert you are without wasting any time in finding the perfect opportunities.
- Manage Vendors – If you’re throwing a special event, you don’t need to call on vendors – have your virtual assistant organize music, food and entertainment. The assistant can do all of the scouting, send the plans to you for approval, and handle all organization up through the event.
- Monitor Your Social Media Networks – You may not want your virtual assistant to post on your personally branded social accounts, be he can certainly monitor your account to approve or block certain messages, responses and comments. An assistant can also call your attention rapidly to any controversial or hot topic posts that appear on your accounts.
- Offer Preliminary Research – When preparing a grant, a project bid or a research-based article or site content, your assistant can gather the necessary data and prepare the data into bullet points, categories or groupings that support your efforts and fit the needs of the individual project.
- Orders Supplies – Your virtual assistant can research new materials, look into price comparisons for raw goods or simply keep up with the swag your company is offering. Need new pencils with your logo? Your virtual assistant has already taken care of it.
- Pay Bills – Your VA can manage your bills so that the lights stay on in the office. Set up a bill payment account where the VA can arrange for bill payments, but not send them without authorization. Your assistant can easily set up the bills so that all you have to do is review, click and send.
- Post Professional Updates – Have your virtual assistant glean out small sections of big articles you’ve written or dig through and find tidbits that are excellent sound bites for social media. Have them cleaned up and posted for constant brand building.
- Publish a Newsletter – Your virtual assistant is a great person to collect the various items that are needed for a newsletter. Send over completed articles from writers, have your assistant write a few of her own and then add all of the material to a completed template and forward.
- Put Out Fires – At your event, either real or virtual, your virtual assistant can help to put out any fires that occur. She might be on the phone to fix the server issues, remotely contact the bakery who still hasn’t delivered the cake or check the RSVP list for final headcounts the day of the luncheon.
- Receive Returned Marketing Materials – Create postcards, fliers and brochures for your company, perhaps offering a free item or service. Have the forms returned to your virtual assistant and then the assistant can compile the data from the forms and send off the promised item as well.
- Research Project Opportunities – Tracking openings and calls for bids can be tricky, but your virtual assistant can do exactly that for you. Once she finds possibilities, she can send them over to you so that you can decide which to pursue and which to ignore.
- Scheduling Posts – If you schedule posts ahead of time for a blog or website, have writers save the posts as drafts and then the virtual assistant can do a quick bit of editing and schedule them to post directly. She can also alert you if any of your freelancers have missed a deadline.
- Seeks Out Guest Post Opportunities – Writing guest posts can be a great marketing opportunity, but you’ll have to find blogs that will accept your material. Your assistant can skim through the search results for active guest posting opportunities and even submit your posts directly through a special monitored account.
- Solicit Responses – After a particular event, the assistant can gather responses through online surveys sent to attendees. He can then accumulate the responses and send the gathered information to you.
- Sort Emails – All of the email that comes to a general email account goes across the virtual assistant’s virtual desk. She sorts through the mail to delete spam and junk and to file away messages for record keeping. She can also forward on all of the important messages that you personally should respond to.
- Travel Reservations – If you travel for business (or for pleasure) your virtual assistant can monitor flight prices and work to get you great prices for the accommodations that you need. You can also rely on your virtual assistant to arrange rental cars, book hotel rooms, and handle any special requests.
- Update Marketing Budgets – There is a lot of money that changes hands through advertisements and PPC marketing efforts. Your VA can help track that spending, compile it into a single report and update it regularly as you work through various campaigns.
How do you use a virtual assistant in your business?
Share your tips below in the comments!
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