8 Things You Can Delegate To A Virtual Assistant
When you take the step to work with a virtual assistant, you empower yourself to accomplish so much more. ~ Fabienne Fredrickson (Tweet this)
If you’ve been near the online sphere lately you may have heard of a virtual assistant. They are all the rage right now as business owners look for ways to outsource administrative tasks that take up much of their time.
A virtual assistant is exactly what it sounds like—an assistant who is virtual, meaning all communication takes place online. For example, my virtual assistant lives in New Jersey and I live in Miami. We communicate via email and a project management service called Basecamp. So long as we have the internet we can work in a team.
The difference lies in that a virtual assistant is a contract employee and usually juggles work for several clients. The appeal lies in that this is an affordable way to outsource a lot of tasks that you don’t have the time to worry about, but that need to get done in order for your business to run smoothly.
Virtual assistants have become so valuable in the business world that many of them even end up becoming project managers for their clients as the businesses grow and more team members are added on.
Where to find virtual assistants
While there are several ways to find team members including referrals and tapping into your community, virtual assistants have become so popular that there are full-blown job boards and matchmaking services available to business owners.
Chris Ducker, who is considered to be the resident online expert in outsourcing, has a service called Virtual Staff Finder where you can find anything from web developers to general virtual assistants based in the Philippines.
My favorite approach is to ask for a referral. It’s how I found my virtual assistant and it’s how many of my coaching clients have found theirs. Since having a virtual assistant is extremely commonplace these days, it’s easy to ask around and find a good one.
How much does a virtual assistant cost
First, this depends on where the assistants are located. A virtual assistant in the Philippines is going to be less expensive than one based in the U.S. because their cost of living isn’t as much. For this reason, many people find it appealing to hire a virtual assistant that is overseas.
As for American or European virtual assistants, it’s been my experience that they often times charge you according to how many hours you book them for. The more hours you book, the less expensive the hourly rate.
It’s important to note that because they are contract workers that you won’t be finding virtual assistants for $12.00 an hour. These people run their own companies, pay their own taxes and have bills to pay. That’s why you shouldn’t be surprised if you see virtual assistants charging $50.00 an hour. Of course, you have to keep in mind that they aren’t doing 40 hours worth of work each week. They also end up paying for themselves if you use your newfound time wisely.
What can virtual assistants help with
Virtual assistants can help with a lot depending on what their specialty is. My virtual assistant, for example, handles email communications, customer service, some email marketing, invoicing, Facebook community management and research.
Just by getting these particular tasks off my to-do list I’ve been able to increase sales, I have time for new clients and I’ve been able to work on growing my business instead of getting stuck in the business-running, itself.
Here’s a list of tasks a virtual assistant can help with.
1. Email– This alone takes up so much of a business owner’s time that it’s worth outsourcing it to someone else. Virtual assistants can organize your inbox, handle some communication, and more. They can also load communications into your email marketing software for you. One thing my virtual assistant does for me is vet client leads that come to my inbox so that I don’t have to spend time looking through a mountain of emails and can instead focus on the good leads.
2. Customer Service – A virtual assistant is also great for customer service. Customer service is a huge part of running a business because people have inquiries, requests and more. They can take up a lot of time that virtual assistants can cover for you.
3. Scheduling – Whether it’s interviews, meetings with prospects or setting up a doctor’s appointment, virtual assistants can handle your calendar so you don’t have to.
4. Social Media – Some virtual assistants have a specialty in social media, meaning they know the ins and outs of running marketing campaigns online. Social media is paramount to running a business and it’s extremely time-consuming, so you may want to consider outsourcing it.
5. Invoicing – The first thing I handed over to my virtual assistant was invoicing. While I love making money, I hated the process of writing and sending invoices. By handing it over to my virtual assistant and I no longer have to worry about it and I know my invoices are being sent out on time. Some virtual assistants also do bookkeeping.
6. Client Relationship Management – My virtual assistant is the one who loads files, organizes contacts and inputs any document notes into our client relationship management software.
7. Basic Graphic Design – Some virtual assistants have an eye for web design and can do basic things like social media graphics.
8. Research – Research is another great way that virtual assistants take a load off your plate. They can pull up articles, find people, look up spaces for events and do just about any kind of research you can think of.
This list of tasks to delegate to virtual assistants is by no means exhaustive, however it does give you a pretty good idea of what they can do. For a monster list of everything you can outsource to a virtual assistant check out this free resource from Chris Ducker.