What is a Virtual Assistant and What they do?
Virtual assistants can perform multiple important tasks to make your professional and personal life easier. You can find various virtual assistant companies online and choose the virtual assistant services as per your requirements. They work both, on freelancing and contractual basis. You don’t have to find dedicated space for them anywhere as they have their own home office space.
Yes, that’s right! Virtual assistants work from home and perform all the tasks for you at a much lower cost compared to the set of employees that you may have planned to hire.
Virtual assistants perform their duties as per the client’s needs and terms of the contract. Even though they work on a contractual basis, they offer flexibility with the terms of contract and deliver the virtual assistant services they have been hired for.
In the blog further, we will discuss what is a virtual assistant, what skills are required to become the best virtual assistant and what do virtual assistants do.
What is a Virtual Assistant?
A virtual assistant is an independent contractor who offers support and administrative services to other businesses while operating from a remote location. Virtual assistants were introduced in the 1990s offering the ability of working remotely with the help of various technological developments like high internet speed, document sharing, and many more.
The best virtual assistant companies offer virtual assistants who operate from a remote location but can access the shared planning documents, for example, shared calendars and more with great ease.
Virtual assistants are a great resource for online businesses and entrepreneurs who need specialized support for their businesses but don’t want to hire an additional set of employees. In fact, multiple mid-sized and small businesses use virtual assistant services to perform specialized tasks such as social media management, website design etc.
Business Skills required to Become the Best Virtual Assistant
You cannot become the best virtual assistant overnight. Even the people who have finished their higher education don’t instantly acquire the skills required to become the best virtual assistant. However, it is wonderful to know that you can gain the necessary knowledge and improve your skills as far as the disposition of becoming one is in you.
Let us explore some must-have skills for the best virtual assistants.
- Ability to Plan
- Evolved Sales Skills
- Prioritize Revenue-Generating Assignments
- Communicate More Effectively
- Stop Multitasking and Start Batching
The ability to plan well is one of the most crucial skills that you can develop on your path to become the best virtual assistant. Businesses, of course need to prepare for what is expected to come up next for them. The trick, however, is to be prepared for unpredictable situations that may arise. This is what separates a good virtual assistant from an average one.
The best virtual assistant should have the ability to reduce the client’s stress and take charge of their tasks when they have other priorities. They help the clients overcome challenges and direct them towards the opportunities that need their attention.
Providing virtual assistant services is essentially the business of sales. Virtual assistants who specialize in various fields including WordPress, social media or real estate, need to promote their services and deal with the sales aspect.
They should know how to convince prospective clients to avail virtual assistant services. Virtual assistants should ensure that their services make their client’s business better in some way.
For example, to make good sales, virtual assistants need to improve their selling skills.
Two important ingredients required to be good at sales are – be yourself and communicate your value.
There are millions of tasks on a business’ to-do list that need attention such as website organization, website optimization, product promotion on social media etc.
These activities do not directly help the firm generate revenue. A virtual personal assistant focuses on the things that are important for the growth of the business.
Communication is one of the must-have skills for any virtual assistant. You can never be good enough at communication and always need improvement in this one specific skill set.
To improve your ability to communicate, the most important thing you need to focus on is ‘listening’. Listening makes you better at meeting the needs of your client, promoting sales, conflict resolutions and many more.
It is a popular belief that it is important to learn managing multiple tasks at a time. Sooner or later, the realization dawns that multitasking brings up very little good things and almost always results in more frequent mistakes and loss of productivity.
It is not easy to give up multitasking but focusing on one thing at a time brings more committed and enhanced productivity.
Now that you have mastered the art of a singular focus, it is time to consider batching. The concept of batching says, instead of switching between multiple tasks, you should try to complete as many instances of the same assignment in one sitting.
Batching simply helps you reduce repetitive switching between different tasks. It saves time and improves concentration. In most of the cases while working with virtual assistant, batching could be an easy way to implement the business strategy.
Improve your skills, commit to personal and professional development and make yourself a better virtual assistant then you were yesterday!
What do Virtual Assistants do?
Virtual Assistants can perform all the tasks that any other employee does. Virtual assistant services include web designing, marketing, bookkeeping, social media management, and many others. Some virtual assistants specify a particular skill set, for example, a marketing virtual assistant only does PR work or marketing and a real estate virtual assistant works for realtor clients.
There are a number of things that you can outsource to virtual assistants but, let’s talk about the most common ones.
- Administrative Work
Virtual assistants can take over most of the business duties that an administrative assistant can do, such as:
- Scheduling meetings.
- Booking appointments.
- Answering phone calls.
- Booking travel arrangements.
- Basic data entry.
The only difference is that the virtual assistant works from home and doesn’t have a desk in your office.
You can always go for a virtual personal assistant to perform your personal chores such as booking travel arrangements for your vacations or weekend trips, helping you shop for your daily essentials – books, clothes, stationery, gifts, and more.
Content helps business websites drive more traffic and boost search engine optimization. Having a virtual assistant to manage this process can prove to be a great digital marketing decision for your business. If your content is updated on a regular basis, you will have more clicks, more visitors and more conversions on your website.
Content creation includes various other activities like uploading articles, editing images, performing research, etc. So, it is a good idea to outsource your blogs and content related activities to a virtual assistant.
Hiring Virtual assistants may not be a good idea for some accounting purposes, but you can hire them for the following finance related activities:
- Manage your finances.
- Make purchases.
- Maintain budgets.
- Keep a track of your expenses.
Virtual assistants can also do your taxes and save you from the last-minute rush when the tax season comes around.
Basic Accounting Knowledge
Accounting is not the favorite topic for everyone, I agree! However, sometimes we need to go with the flow and do things that we don’t really like. A virtual assistant helps you figure out the following details related to your business accounts-
- Find out which projects or clients are most profitable.
- Check which clients are reliable and which ones pay their bills late.
- Know which part of your business generates the most revenue.
- Understand how your expenses are impacting profitability.
- Determine which clients are scheduled for a revision in rates.
Each point mentioned above is important for any business. A good Virtual Assistant can help you read your balance sheet and learn how to extract the numbers that contribute to your business growth.
Social Media Management
Social media is one of the most crucial elements of your marketing strategy. Most of the businesses do not share a healthy relationship with their customers, because of a week or a non-existent social media presence. This can be changed for you if you choose to go for virtual assistant services and outsource your business social media account to a Virtual Assistant.
In this scenario, they will be, in charge of the following tasks:
- Scheduling posts.
- Creating content for your social media account.
- Analyzing reports and statistics.
- Engaging with your followers.
Managing a company’s social media presence comes with a lot of responsibilities. You should have someone experienced to manage your social media presence.
Has this happened to you? You opened your inbox and have hundreds of unread emails staring at you.
Reading and responding to all the emails can be a huge task, but it has to be done. You are bound to get in trouble if you abandon this task, repetitive as it may be.
Once you outsource your business emails to the virtual office assistants, they can help you perform the following tasks:
- Go through all the emails to clear out any spam that’s inched in.
- Handle follow-ups, answer job inquiries and general questions.
- Filter and organize your inbox.
- Carry out email marketing campaigns.
- Manage email lists.
You can keep your email channel fully functional without having to actually do anything yourself.
There are thousands of virtual assistant companies out there that help their clients become more productive by taking care of their personal and business tasks which are mundane. They can sort your emails, find new leads for your business, generate new content for your blog, and much more.
Virtual assistants can be both – humans and machines. While you are hiring a virtual assistant for your business, whether human or a machine, just look for more of a personal touch with qualified professional proficiency who can help you take your business to the top of the game.