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Everything You Need to Know about Working with a Virtual Assistant

Hiring a virtual assistant (VA) is like having the world’s workforce at your disposal – quite literally. You can hire from people from around the world to offload your myriad requirements and choose from a wide variety of skill sets, price range, experience, etc. Easy enough? Well, as easy as it sounds, you need some experience with the process to make it a smooth ride – right from how to hire a virtual assistant, to training him/her on your requirements, and getting the desired output, while keeping your information safe all through.  Here’s a crisp guide to help you with everything you need to know about virtual assistant services – one of the fastest growing online industry globally.

What are virtual assistants?

A start-up’s secret weapon. An entrepreneur’s life saviour. A manager’s cost-cutting tool. There’s no dearth of labels to describe a VA.  Essentially, a virtual assistant is everything you already know about an assistant – with the only difference being that a VA is a remote person who handles all your tasks that don’t have to be done in person.

Why hire a virtual assistant?

Ever wondered how successful people around the world manage to make money, travel the world, attend events, helm large scale business operations, and still manage to cut the perfectly happy picture at all times? The answer may well lie in hiring a virtual assistant that lets them strike the perfect work-life balance. If you are one of those who feel that all you need is a little more time to make more money, get more happiness, and make your life more valuable – its solid reason to hire a virtual assistant. Not just a little, you will free up a lot more time to do the things that really matter to you in life.

What are the tasks you can delegate to a virtual assistant?

Depending on their skill sets, there are many different types of VAs. The most commonly delegated task to a VA are internet research, travel management, social media management, email inbox management and document management. Generally, your VA can handle your administrative tasks such as book keeping, email scheduling, data entry and management, etc., anything your personal assistant could do such as your schedule management, travel reservations, event planning, etc., your personal tasks such as sending invites, flowers and gifts, researching top restaurants for you, you name it! As you see the possibilities of outsourcing your business / personal tasks are limitless. There are Specialized Virtual Assistants who you can interview and hire exclusively for tasks that require skillsets such as say web development, content writing, audio and video specialists, SEO/SEM experts, and a lore more. Personal virtual assistants handle a wide variety of personal tasks to offload your busy schedule and hep you focus on what you are best at.

How to hire the right VA?

This is the most important piece of the puzzle, for hiring the right VA will set you on a winning path straightaway. It starts with determining your own readiness to hire a virtual assistant, time and tools at hand to train the VA, and the effort you make to do background checks, verify reviews and recommendations, etc.

How to effectively utilize virtual assistant services?

Once you have hired a VA, the next important step is to effectively delegate tasks to him/her so you get the maximum bang for your buck. Clear communication, setting realistic and mutually agreed upon goals, and timely feedback and review go a long way in ensuring optimal productivity from a VA.

What are the merits and demerits of hiring a virtual assistant?

Much like everything else, hiring a VA can have an upside and a downside too. Here’s how.

Advantages

  • Cost-cutting: You pay a VA only for the work you get done or the number of hours you hire them for, unlike a full time employee (FTE) whom you need to pay salary, allowances, etc even when the pace of work is slow. Moreover, since a VA works remotely, you are saved from incurring the cost of seating space, electricity, work equipments, etc.
  • 24×7 assistance: Unlike FTEs, VAs are available at your service 24×7 and that’s a big advantage when you are running back-to-back meetings, growing a business, or are neck-deep in research, planning your next big move. Who doesn’t like waking up to completed projects, managed emails, and a sorted workplace?
  • Work-life balance: Whether you opt for a personal virtual assistant or a professional one, you free up tons of your most valuable resource – time. Time that you can spend with loved ones, that you can use to pamper and rejuvenate your energies, and time that you can use to make more money so you can continue being successful without slogging your days away.

Disadvantages

Previously the virtual assistant services industry struggled to overcome initial challenges such with regards to different time zones, clients’ communication preferences, maintaining security and privacy of clients’ information, etc. but the current scenario is much advanced. Most of these challenges have now become just myths associated with virtual assistance and nothing more. Technology advancements have played a major role in fine-tuning this industry to become truly global, futuristic, and poised for rapid growth.

Now that you have a crisp guide to all the basic information you need to outsource your professional and personal life, here’s some help on how to find the perfect virtual assistant for your needs. Get started today!