Virtual assistants (VAs) have changed the way people do business. These people usually work remotely at home as freelancers or contractors doing administrative tasks. The term was first coined by life coach Thomas Leonard in 1996 while having a phone conversation with Anastacia Brice. A year later, Brice opened the first organization for VAs called AssistU, which still exists until now. Virtual assistants can slash considerable hours from your workweek. You can delegate some of the menial tasks to a VA so that you can focus on the more important operational tasks.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are now more than 4 million virtual assistants in the US alone. These VAs perform a wide range of tasks for almost every aspect of a business. As the number of virtual assistants keep on growing, they can now run the gamut of business operations making them easier to find. They can be employed to perform tasks such as making vendor or customer service calls, executive assistants for organizing your schedule, or sending out thank you cards to prospective clients. Knowing what tasks to delegate is the tricky part. Don’t know how to get started? Here are 10 tasks you can delegate to a virtual assistant.
For entrepreneurs, managing bills and other bookkeeping matters can be cumbersome. Fortunately, it is one of the easiest tasks you can delegate to a virtual assistant. It is just a matter of sharing your bookkeeping system to your VA and then let them handle task such as outstanding invoices or unpaid bills. The downside of this is that you need to hand over control over passwords and access to accounts.
Simple research tasks like searching for information on corporate websites or exploring new products is another task you can outsource to a VA. The key to success here lies on giving clear instructions and providing the VA username and passwords. It will also help the virtual assistant if they can get access to specialty search tools or paid websites.
Keeping your database current and updated is important for your business. It provides you with a list of existing and prospective clients. On your own, it can eat several hours that you can devote to running your business. This job suits virtual assistants very well. Be specific about your needs and expectations. Database entry can be a little bit tricky so you need to make sure that the virtual assistant you will outsource has experience with such kind of work.
Creating PowerPoint presentations is a time-consuming task. But it can liven up meetings especially when you are presenting data and findings. Aside from coming up with vibrant presentations, you can have a virtual assistant summarize research findings in a Word document.
Checking and responding to your emails can be a waste of time but you can save some of it by delegating the task to a virtual assistant. The VA can organize your emails for you and respond to the others that needs to be replied to. Managing emails can be done remotely but you need to provide them with assistance on how to select emails and ask them for a copy so you can check it for any error.
Writing holiday cards or thank you notes is a task that virtual assistants can handle. This is one of the most common tasks that you can delegate to a virtual assistant. Some call it the “all consuming” task for business executives. A virtual assistant can do the job perfectly.
Whether you are going to a business conference or on a vacation to a remote island, virtual assistants can handle all your travel-related matters. You can ask the VA to find you a hotel, book your airfare, plan your itinerary, and other tasks. Virtual assistants utilize a number of travel research tools and online review sites in order to find the best travel deal available. They are well-aware of different time zones and will take them into consideration when booking or researching your travel options.
There is a bevy of online scheduling tools available that virtual assistants can utilize for managing your calendar. Some of the scheduling tasks that a virtual assistant can do include checking meeting invitations, scheduling appointments, or event planning.
Scouting potential business opportunities
Sometimes you can become too busy finding ways to grow or expand your business that you are not able to explore business opportunities. This is where your virtual assistant can help you. From looking for items to sell on eBay or Amazon to other business opportunities, you can count on VAs to help you take advantage of business possibilities.
Keeping up with industry knowledge
As an executive, you may have limited time to keep yourself updated with industry news. Virtual assistants can help you on this aspect. They can research industry news for you. Armed with the information researched by your VA, you can have them update your Twitter or Facebook feed. This will help make your business appear to have timely news.
You do not have to do everything when running your business. For the small business matters, you can delegate them to a virtual assistant.