My Secret Staff’s Frequently Asked Questions.
What is a Virtual Assistant?
A Virtual Assistant is an independent contractor providing secretarial and administrative support from their own home or office. A virtual assistant works as on online secretary independently via the Internet, utilising the latest technologies to provide immediate professional support to busy entrepreneurs and business managers.
Who should use a Virtual Assistant?
Any business owner wanting a professional, skilled and cost effective alternative to the traditional on site employee. Entrepreneurs and business owners who engage Virtual Assistants are one step ahead of the competition and have the time to grow their business to achieve their full potential and goals.
What can a Virtual Assistant do for me?
Simply, a virtual assistant is a personal assistant – only virtual. As long as there is a means of transferring and delivering work a virtual assistant can do the same as a traditional personal assistant. From general administration and office duties to more specialised services tailored to your business it is just a matter of finding the right one to suit your needs.
What are the benefits of Hiring a VA?
- Eliminates administrative hassles
- Makes it easier to manage your time effectively
- No employee expenses such as office spacer, superannuation or leave payments
- No need to provide office space or equipment
- You only pay for time spent on projects and services are fully tax deductible
- More time to concentrate on your clients and growing your business
Tips for working with a VA
- First and foremost, determine why you want a virtual assistant (VA). It is important to think through your goal in hiring a VA so that you can determine if it is a good fit for you. If your answer is to have more time, think about how you would use that extra time. If your answer is to get more done, think about your top priorities to make sure you are getting the “right” things done.
- Answer the question: What should I use a virtual assistant for? Combine your busy work and home schedules with the annual holiday rush, and this question seems to answer itself. However, itcan be daunting to define, exactly, what you’d have a personal assistant do for you. Here are a few ideas for both personal and work-related tasks:
- Travel Plans - Have your VA create the ideal itinerary for your next business trip or family vacation.
- Transcription - Record a business meeting or classroom lecture and have it transcribed by your VA.
- Event Planning - Have your VA research the perfect restaurant, resort or conference room and manage all the logistics for your parents anniversary, a company off site or a romantic evening out.
- Presentations - Use a VA that has PowerPoint skills to make your presentations look more polished and professional.
- Update Address/Contact List - Make a New Year’s resolution to stay in better touch with your family and important business contacts. Have your VA update your address list, contact information and even create labels and reminders in advance.
- Birthday/holiday gift buying - Never miss another birthday. Set a budget, give a few guidelines and let your VA track down the perfect gifts or online cardsfor everyone on your list.
- Market research - Identify and research local businesses you could partner with to reach new customers, or create a list of tradeshows and industry events you should attend.
- Online marketing - Research blogs and websites for potential advertising opportunities and get pricing.
The list could go on and on, but this should give you a few ideas. Now that you have the Why and the What, let’s talk about the How. There are a few easy-to-follow tips that will help you get the most out of your virtual assistant.
- Clearly define the task you want your VA to accomplish. This will help you determine the qualifications your VA should have. For example, if you want your VA to plan your upcoming office party, this requires a different skill set than if you had requested a VA for a transcription job.
See a sample VA request from below. This will help you format your project.
- Provide specific guidelines and time lines for the project. Write down exactly what you want your VA to accomplish. Then, think through the steps that you would take to accomplish the task. Write those down as well. For example, if you want your VA to update your address list, you should outline the task step-by-step:
- Step one: Review list and determine what information is missing.
- Step two: If an address is missing or labeled “old” but there is an email listed, send an email requesting an address update. An email template will be provided.
- Step three: Update the book based on email responses.
Another important element is a time line. Since most VAs work on an hourly basis, it is important for you to think about the task in terms of hours. Determine the amount of time the task should take and communicate that to the VA. For the first few projects, set multiple milestones to make sure the project is heading in the right direction.
- Remember the “Why”. Realize you have more time! You hired a VA to give yourself more time with your family and friends or to focus on growing your business or to take that weekend away. It is easy to replace “stuff to do” with more “stuff to do”. Check in to make sure you are spending your additional time as you had hoped.
What I need done:
I need the information from approximately 260 business cards transcribed into an excel spreadsheet. This will be used for mail merge and mailing list creation purposes.
What will be provided:
Business Cards will be sent to you by mail and are expected back by mail when job is complete.
Other context/requirements that providers will need to know:
The required fields to capture will be:
Name (First, Last), Company, Title, Email, Phone 1, Phone 2, Website Address 1, Address 2, City, State, Zip, Notes (Please enter any notes on card, or information that does not fit into the fields above.)
Timeframe for delivery:
Within 2 days of selection.
Start Date: 01/07/11
Milestone 1: 01/08/11 – Review spreadsheet and formatting of first 20 entries
Project Complete: 01/09/11 – Final deliverable due