Tips On Finding And Using A Virtual Assistant
One of the questions I recieved asked for tips on finding and using virtual assistants.
A Virtual Assistant, also referred to as a VA, is technically an administrative assistant. They handle a wide variety of tasks and work to make life and work easier for the busy professional. In most cases, VAs are contracted by small business owners and entrepreneurs.
The key difference between a virtual assistant and an administrative assistant is the fact that the VA is an independent contractor or self-employed individual, while the administrative assistant would be your employee.
When you use a VA, you do not have to worry about taxes, insurance, and a variety of other expenses as you would have to with a traditional employee. Furthermore, a VA takes responsibility for their own equipment and needs, which means further savings for you.
Before choosing a virtual assistant, you need to be clear about just what they’ll do for you, as well as your own responsibilities. Furthermore, you should know whether or not you really need a VA. Ask yourself some questions to find out:
- Are you having trouble meeting deadlines?
- Are you overwhelmed by the amount of work you have to do?
- Do you find that you need more help, but cannot hire due to lack of resources or space?
- Do you not have enough time in the day to get things done?
- Are you focusing more on administrative duties than you are income-producing activities?
- Are you spending your time doing minimum wage work?
If any of these apply, then yes, you might have a need for a virtual assistant.
What Does A Virtual Assistant Do?
A VA has many duties. They are there to help you and your business succeed. Aside from traditional administrative duties, they are also there to help you in outsourcing. When you need more help, whether it is to complete projects on time or because you lack experience in a certain area, a VA can help you find someone to get the job done.
Other duties include:
• Preparing Documents – such as correspondence, presentations, reports, statements, and so forth.
• Data entry
• New Client Services
• And much more.
As you can see, a virtual assistant can literally be the backbone of your business.
What should you look for in a virtual assistant?
Because the VA will be working closely with you, the first thing you want to look for in a VA is a personality that meshes well with your own. Here are some other things that you want to look for:
1. Experience – this is an important factor, however, just having experience as a VA or administrative assistant is not enough. You will need to look for experience in tasks that you will specifically need. The services provided will vary from one virtual assistant to the next, so be sure that they offer services that you will actually need.
2. Organized – Organization is an absolute must. You need your VA to be able to organize your projects, and quickly. You need them to know where everything stands when asked and be able to provide you with an update at the drop of a hat. This does not mean that they have to memorize everything, but having things organized will make their life, as well as your own, so much easier.
3. Training – Having someone who is a certified virtual assistant or who has taken classes specific to the title is a good idea. Of course, you can also look at experience or degrees if they exist. This goes right along with experience. When they have the right training, they will be more efficient and valuable to your business.
4. Has The Ability To Meet Deadlines – Deadlines are important to any business. If you must meet deadlines regularly, be sure to choose a virtual assistant that takes responsibility and meets any deadline that you set.
5. Communicative – You need a VA that will maintain communication with you regularly. They should report to you, by any means that you choose and keep their channels of communication open and clear during working hours.
You can start finding the right VA now. You can start your search with websites like International Virtual Assistants Association ( http://www.ivaa.org ) or sites with freelancers, like www.elance.com.