Hire a Virtual Assistant and Free Yourself Up to get Productive
It may be safe to say that the biggest reason that entrepreneurs struggle to take their business to the next level is that they are simply wearing too many hats.
The way that you spend your time will have a direct impact on the growth rate of your business. If you are spending your time on busy work rather than actual productivity, your business will suffer.
Hiring a virtual assistant, or even a team of VAs, can free you up to do what you do best; make money.
Virtual assistants fall into 2 different categories: general virtual assistants and skilled virtual assistants.
Skilled virtual assistants are graphic designers, content writers, audio and video editors, and search engine optimization specialists among others.
Skilled VAs are typically hired to handle certain projects or ongoing tasks such as the following:
- Content writing- ongoing writing or ghost writing for blogs, articles, press releases, guest blogging opportunities, newsletters, email marketing materials, website content, printed materials, e-books, reports, white papers and more.
- Audio and Video Editing- these VAs might hired on a by-project basis or ongoing depending on what you are doing in your business or business marketing.
- Graphic design- these artists can create your logo, help you define your brand, design print materials, design your website, and develop graphic design content for your website and your social media marketing efforts among other things.
General virtual assistants may have some of the above skill sets, but are likely not experts at any one thing and can help you with a myriad of tasks that I like to call “busy work”. Here is a short list of things that a general VA can assist with (though this list is by no means exhaustive).
- Email triage
- Create auto-responders and position them
- Phone reception
- Calendar management
- Digital file organization and management (Dropbox, Google Docs)
- Database management
- Research: articles, blog posts, e-books, white papers, newsletters or other marketing communications
- Travel arrangements
- Transcription (voicemail, video or audio, podcasts, and meetings)
- Reporting (project management, Analytics, deliverables, leads, sales, etc.)
- PowerPoint presentations (may require graphic design skills)
- Sourcing talent (finding writers or graphic design artists)
- Social media account creation and design (may require design skills)
- Social media management (may require writing and basic digital marketing skills)
- Blog writing and management (Requires writing and basic CMS skills)
- Blog publishing (Basic CMS skills to post content you provide)
- Blog comment filtering and replies for your own blog
- SEO targeted blog comments on 3rd party blogs (may require basic writing skills)
- Customer support
- SEO targeted participation in discussion forums or message boards (requires decent writing skills)
No matter where you’re at in the development of your organization, outsourcing the tasks that you are either not skilled to handle yourself or simply don’t have time for (if you want to stay productive), can be a major boon for your business. A few great reasons to go with outsourced work are:
- Lower overhead- labor costs and operations can be significantly reduced
- Lower infrastructure investment
- Leverage global knowledge base
- Mitigate risk
- Improve core focus- key employees and owner can focus mission-critical activities
Finding a virtual assistant is easy. There are a number of great recourses on the web like MyOutDesk, Freelanced or Zirtual but you can also ask your fellow colleagues for recommendations or even use social media find good recruits.
Finding a good virtual assistant who will work out is not so easy. Conduct a “face to face” interview, even if via Skype. Check their portfolio, give them a test assignment and, by all means, check their references.
Once you do begin working together, allow for an adjustment period and learning curve; don’t think you can just hand off assignments and expect to get the results you’re looking for without communication and cooperation throughout the process, but don’t micromanage either; just oversee- at least initially anyway. Once you have been working with someone for a while, like with any other employee, you will get to a point where you can let go and let him or her handle their tasks.
Sourcing tasks to a virtual assistant can mean the difference between taking your business to a higher ground or spinning your wheels at 20 miles an hour and getting nowhere.
Share your experience. In what ways have you sourced work to VAs and how did it work out for you? In what ways did it benefit your business?