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Five Things to Consider to Effectively Use a Virtual Assistant

Like a traditional personal assistant, virtual assistants offer benefits to employers looking to manage their time successfully. Virtual assistants can do many tasks the employer or client might need to do, which saves time by allowing the employer to complete higher end tasks. Because virtual assistants are usually remote and rarely if ever met in person, there are a few things to consider when hiring a virtual assistant, and most of them are good.

 

It is difficult to get ahead.  Having a productive life usually means getting so much done in little time that that any free time is either dedicated to busy work or self-care to prepare for another busy day. The answer isn’t simply time optimization: there just isn’t enough time to be optimized. There is always another job that needs done, another task to complete, another meeting to attend. There is always something that needs to be researched, a product that needs to be purchased, or four hundred emails that need to be sifted through. Personal virtual assistants take on the jobs that bog employers down, allowing both to flourish.

 

Good Pay

 

Pretty girl in trade fair with laptop smiling

There are a few websites that exist solely to connect employers with overseas virtual assistants. The worker is typically paid less than an assistant in the US, which can cut costs. Conversely, those same assistants often don’t have mastery and fluency of a US worker. Having a high level of fluency won’t make or break the duties most virtual assistants can perform; but ease of communication and intent between an employer and their assistants will make goals more obvious and require less hand-holding.

 

There are many people who are looking for legitimate ways to find work without needing to leave the house. Some virtual assistants might be stay-at-home mothers, or caretakers. Some might not have a car to use every day to get to work, and some might live in rural areas where travel requires an overnight pack and a train ticket. There are virtual assistants who might have a nice house and have no desire to leave it. Finally, there are some that find the idea of working in the same office room every day utterly drab and would prefer to work remotely on-the-go.

 

Virtual assistants make money. Usually pay is roughly median, sometimes higher. Good pay is a great incentive for virtual assistants providing quality work. They are incentivized to provide quality work for employers, and in turn employers receive more time to devote to business-critical tasks only they can address.

 

What Can They Do?

 

Virtual assistants excel at removing the employer from the hang-ups of everyday business. Assistants can enter in routine data entry like consumer’s addresses or applications for employment. Other tasks like creating product descriptions for websites or sending out email blasts can easily be done by a virtual assistant. If the employer isn’t one for SEO or social media, the virtual assistant is typically internet practical understanding enough to run a twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and blog for the company.

 

Most virtual assistants are very familiar with computers, as this is their primary method of work. Scheduling appointments and maintaining meetings can be done in an online calendar, which a virtual assistant could manage. Remote employees can usually be contacted by phone, email, text, or instant communication products like FaceTime or Skype.

 

Most virtual assistants are fluent in English and have a mastery of communication. This can be beneficial in terms of customer services. Instead of hiring more employees who only answer calls from employees, a virtual assistant canfield the employers call and deal with customer comments and queries without interrupting the management. Most virtual assistants can multitask as well; so, answering customer questions while juggling a schedule is possible.

 

Every occasionally, a virtual assistant will prove themselves to be invaluable. These skilled employees can go beyond what traditional virtual assistants can do. These virtual assistants might be familiar with programming, in which case they can be asked to help run the website or perform some slight cosmetic web domain overhauls. Some assistants might have a background in direct-selling or marketing, so having them spearhead a campaign to get the business out there would be a reasonable ambition.

 

Virtual assistants can perform a wide variety of tasks, and one of the most appealing parts of being a remote virtual assistant is that every day is different. Every day brings new tasks and responsibilities. The only thing holding the virtual assistant back is their personal ceiling of skill and how many hours they can work. Because some assistants will not be able to do everything, setting reasonable expectations per their personal skill level is necessary.

 

What It Saves

 

Money. Paying a virtual assistant saves the employers money, plain and simple. The time taken by routine tasks like data entry and customer service call answering can be better used to connect with other professionals, focus on management, and develop new strategies. With the assistant, these other tasks are still getting done while providing the employers to freedom and flexibility to run their business, instead of taking care of menial tasks. Most business suffer from “busy work,” tasks that need to be done but require no thought to perform it. Not only is it tedious, but these tasks take up valuable time that business could better utilize.

 

If an employer spends just four hours a day doing menial tasks for his business, he is spending 20 hours a week doing so. If he is making enough profit from his business to be paid more than what his virtual assistant is paid, he is essentially losing money by performing these tasks. Instead of spending extra to get extra services, the employers are cutting his viable profit earning time in half to save less than half his potential income.

 

A new report by the Harvard Business Review reports that 41% of daily tasks people do could be easily done by outsourced individuals and offer little to no personal incentive or enjoyment to the employee. Discretionary activities like these are easy to finish and don’t require much but take time to complete.  The Harvard Business Review has a simple solution: get rid of the junk tasks and send out the menial jobs to someone else. The study also found that even the most impressive performers and dedicated employees still utilized large amounts of time per day to menial, tedious tasks that provided no satisfaction and offered little value to the company.

 

With the way, the market has been, most companies have had to rethink their businesses. Some jobs, especially administrative ones, have been gutted. This has required most employees regardless of level to take on low-level administrative tasks like travel arrangement and skimming emails. Some companies, like Pfizer, even recognize that low-level administrative task responsibilities put such a strain on employees they offer solutions to outsource some tasks to people. These forward-thinking companies recognize that having an assistant to handle those little things really makes a difference in productivity.

 

Remember: being busy isn’t being productive. Needing to get a huge list of tasks accomplished might not actually be productive. With a huge list of things to accomplish, the employer should be focusing on the top items. All the other tasks are less important and as such should be sent to a personal assistant who can better complete those lists.

 

Why It Matters

 

Having a valuable person that can be trusted is already a hard commodity to come by in today’s market. With record turnover and allegiance to brands dwindling, having a virtual assistant is like having a confidante. There isn’t any office politics to disrupt work or cause strife. No group meeting rooms rife with gossip. There is just the employers and his trusted assistant, working together for the betterment of the business.

 

While getting, the big things done is incredibly important to success, the little things matter just as much. And while the employer might not notice when something falls through the crack, someone else might. Pretend the meeting went exceptionally, ever idea was coherent and persuasive. A week goes by and nothing is heard. That same meeting happens with a virtual assistant in on the loop. The virtual assistant writes down in their calendar to write a thank-you note for the meeting. The client gets the letter, realizes he’s dealing with someone who is good at the meeting and great with the follow up. Business succeeds.

 

There are too many tasks in any given day that require attention. And technology isn’t optimized enough to handle it. Deleting thirty notifications, seventeen invitations, and returning several dozen messages can’t be handled by a program. They require attention, and they require it within a certain frame of time. A virtual assistant can easily deal with those while the employer gets to work.

 

It’s all about productivity. It’s about fulfilling goals while not letting anything fall by the wayside. Simple messages get sent back. Tweets get tweeted. Thank you, cards, send. Anniversaries remembered. Oil changes scheduled. All these tasks take time out of the day but don’t propel a business forward. They are all important in their own way and worthy of being handled. That’s why it’s better to have another person in the corner to help deal with whatever life throws that day.

 

Most importantly, virtual assistants reduce stress. When a trusted employee can show, they can accomplish tasks and follow through, employers are happy. When that same employee can do those tasks, and go above to make the employers life easier, that is stress reduction. By having another person step in to take care of tasks when needed, the employer can have peace of mind knowing things are being done. Per the American Psychological Association, more than half of people report inability to sleep because of stress.

 

How to Start

 

There are several ways to get started with a personal assistant. Some websites connect you with people who can perform clerical tasks for you. Some websites connect you with stay-at-home moms that can answer phone calls. Some websites, like mybtlr.com connect you with professionals that can handle every aspect of your life.

 

Determine if a virtual assistant is right for you. Compare how many things you need to do with how many you get done. Are you working overtime? Are you forgetting little things? If so, it might just be cheaper to hire a virtual assistant to join in and help carry all the weight of daily tasks and mundane obligations. Even in the case where it just breaks even, you might be paying quality of life. Get your free time back. Take back your life. Hire a personal virtual assistant.