A VA is typically a freelancer or contractor who works from their home office and helps complete administrative and executive support tasks for senior level managers. Every day, there are thousands of listings for virtual assistant positions on online job websites such as odesk.com and elance.com.
Virtual assistants can help managers and entrepreneurs with everything from customer service calls to coordinating with vendors and sending out thank you emails to new clients. It is very important that the boss trusts their virtual assistant, just like they would a permanent employee. Virtual assistants are team members who just happen to work remotely. Interested in getting started? Here are the ten best ways you can work with a virtual assistant
This is one of the simplest tasks to assign to a virtual assistant. Bookkeeping includes following up on bills and invoices and ensuring all other bookkeeping matters are accomplished. A small business can share their system for bookkeeping with the virtual assistant and they can then take over tasks such as unpaid bills or outstanding invoices.
Another task, which is easily transferred to a virtual assistant, is online research. According to virtual assistant industry experts, the most common tasks handed off to a virtual assistant are researching information on corporate websites, vetting potential employees or business contacts, and exploring new products. It is important to always provide clear instructions and communicate well with the virtual assistant. This helps ensure the task is accomplished correctly and on time. Always include any user names and passwords the virtual assistant might need to access search tools or websites.
Another good task to hand over to a virtual assistant is database entries. The assistant can input information from business cards collected at a conference or update contact information on current clients. When you are interviewing a virtual assistant, be clear about your expectations and the duties to be performed. This ensures the virtual assistant understands what is expected and perform the necessary duties.
Virtual assistants who are versed in PowerPoint and Word can be a lifesaver when you need to create a data presentation. The assistant can save the manager a great deal of time by preparing the presentation or report ahead of time so the manager has time to review it.
Manage your emails
This is one of the best tasks you could hand over to a virtual assistant. Managers can really get bogged down in their email, which costs them time. A virtual assistant can filter your email and forward along only what is important for you to see. It is very easy for a virtual assistant to do this type of email management remotely. The manager must provide clear guidance on what is important for them to see and what the assistant can handle for them. It is a good idea to ask the assistant to copy the manager on anything they send out themselves.
Research travel information
Researching travel information and then booking lodging, arranging for air travel, and creating itineraries is something most virtual assistants can support on. This can be done for both business and pleasure trips. Virtual assistants can certainly take advantage of the many online travel research tools and review sites as they deal with travel arrangements.
One of the primary duties of a virtual assistant is often scheduling the manager’s day. This can be one of the most important tasks that you hire a VA to support you on. This type of work can include scheduling appointments, answering meeting invitations and planning events.
Keep you up to date
Virtual assistants can help busy managers keep up with industry news and trends by reviewing the latest news and providing a summary to the manager. Many senior managers use these news items to send out on Twitter or post on LinkedIn. They can also provide interesting commentary for conversations with potential and current clients. Having this type of information at their fingertips helps these senior managers appear engaged and on top of the latest happening within their industry.
I hope this gives you more of an idea of what a VA does and what a VA can support you on.
Food for thought?