Over the recent years, virtual assistant services have proved to be an effective solution for business owners who are facing budget constraints but would like to maintain quality in the output that their team delivers.
As opposed to hiring a team of in-house employees, virtual assistants provide businesses with services that are not limited to just one job role, and can even deliver high-level skills that businesses would have otherwise outsourced to freelancers from various freelancer sites, or hired someone else for on a full-time, in-house arrangement. What would have been a team of, say, 10 could then be reduced to only 5, without compromising quality nor the team members' stress levels, as virtual assistants are also highly trained to take on a myriad of tasks on a daily basis.
Essentially, virtual assistant services can be likened to a full-time driver - they exist so that you can finally let go of the steering wheel and let someone else do the driving for you while you work on other high-level tasks that would help you reach your destination faster.
The 3 Lists to Freedom
CEOs of startups and small to medium businesses without an assistant are often caught up in a plethora of routinary tasks that take away from the essence of the business. With a limited budget to work around with, these business owners often make the mistake of relying on themselves alone to accomplish administrative tasks on a daily basis, as well as other trivial tasks that don't seem to take up too much time - but when you gather them all together, you realize just how much time could have gone towards more important things in your business.
Chris Ducker is considered an expert on virtual business management, and is the CEO and Founder of Youpreneur.com. In one of his YouTube videos, Ducker discusses three important lists a busy entrepreneur like you should write down to ensure business success. He collectively calls these The 3 Lists to Freedom, aptly named so as these three lists could free up just enough time for you to discover new ideas that could potentially lead to exponential results for your business.
Here are the three lists Ducker believes could lead to your freedom from time constraints:
- List of things you HATE doing
- List of things you are UNABLE to do yourself
- List of things you are NOT SUPPOSED to be doing
1. List of Things You Hate Doing
The first list is pretty much straightforward. However much you love your business, which has most likely been borne out of passion, there are certain tasks that you just don't look forward to doing. This could be anything from managing your finances to routinary work such as administrative tasks. Whatever it is, this is one of the things you dread the most out of your day.
2. List of Things You are Unable to Do Yourself
The second list, on the other hand, focuses on the things that you probably would want to do yourself, but you just don't have the right skills needed to fulfill these tasks. While you may be well on your way towards leading a successful business due to your excellent business management skills, there are just some things that are out of your scope of capabilities. This could be the more specialized tasks such as content writing, graphic designing, social media management, or web development.
3. List of Things You are Not Supposed to Be Doing
Now the last list is of fundamental importance, according to Ducker, as it can shape your business model moving forward. Be honest to yourself and ask, what exactly are you not supposed to be doing? You may be the boss, but that doesn't mean that you should take charge of everything that has to be done for the company. You're only human, after all, and you need help - and that is precisely where virtual assistant services come in.
What are virtual assistant services?
Since the beginning of the digital age, more and more opportunities for remote work have sprung up as technology kept making things easier for people to communicate and accomplish tasks more effectively and efficiently wherever they are in the world.
In recent years, we have seen a rise in the virtual assistant services industry following the economic downturn that led to retrenchments and business closures for many. Aside from the fact that more people were in need of work that won't drive a hole in their pockets with the daily commute and lunch money, more business owners were looking into cost-cutting and shifting into more practical business choices. Scour through job boards online and you will often see job posts for virtual assistants, requiring various skills that may range from administration and bookkeeping, to graphic design, content writing, and social media management, among many others.
More than just helping business owners scale up their businesses with uncompromised quality of work, virtual assistants are also able to save you both time and money.
Reliable virtual assistants are deemed valuable by business experts across the world, perhaps even more than a regular in-house employee as they are dependable and professional when it comes to performing a wide range of tasks that may be either for your business or personal needs. When you find the one that fits this description, you have found a diamond in the rough. Treat your assistant right, and you and your business are bound to reach greater heights with the help of your virtual assistant by your side.
In startups and SMEs where only a limited number of employees are involved, responsibilities may pile up into a mountain-load, leaving less and less time for your team to carry on with the core operations that drive your business. While we are already a hundred percent convinced that hiring a virtual assistant could potentially help you scale up your business exponentially, perhaps the business owner in you would still be critical of the idea as you feel that it might not be a financially feasible option.
*"I knew I needed a VA when I found myself doing a lot of repetitive tasks on a daily basis. I've worked with a number of VAs over the years and I found the relationship most beneficial when I could outsource time consuming, yet simple, repetitive tasks."*
To help you gather your thoughts further, we have compiled a list of some primary responsibilities one virtual assistant can handle for you, as opposed to hiring different people for different roles.
1. Personal Assistance
Need help setting up a weekly vegan menu for your family? Your virtual assistant can prepare one that's tailor-made for you by asking you the right questions and conducting a thorough and proper research on your diet, as well as ingredient availability at your nearest grocery store, before proceeding with drafting up your menu.
What's more is that your dedicated assistant can even do the grocery shopping for you by looking up a store that delivers to your area, and ordering your grocery items for you online. Just give your assistant a list of things you need, and you can expect your grocery items to arrive exactly when you need them, freeing up just enough time for you to focus on your business or spend more time with your family during off hours.
2. Social Media Management
Having to focus on the daily operations of your business is already quite a handful, and even more so when you also have to monitor your target audience's behavior on social media and engage with them just to maintain their interest in your brand. Business owners know full well that not everyone has the luxury of time, but keeping your potential customers' interest in your brand is also essential in driving your business forward.
Having a virtual assistant focus on your social media accounts can help you achieve growth as you keep both your business operations and online presence in check. With someone to man your brand online, you will have more time to focus on enhancing your brand's operations further and have the leeway to spot flaws (if there are any) and make improvements on your products and/or services as needed.
3. SEO & Digital Marketing
More than social media, your website is also a big factor that contributes to your brand image and online presence. Your virtual assistant can work on increasing traffic to your site and pulling it up to rank higher on search engines to make your brand more visible to potential clients. Moreover, they can also draft, finalize, and implement digital marketing campaigns according to your budget to further increase your online presence, and monitor the analytics not only of the campaign, but also of your website and social media accounts on a daily basis - even sans an ongoing promotion.
4. Web Design & Web Development
Web design and web development go hand-in-hand, and usually require extensive hours of coordination with the team involved in order to produce a highly engaging website that drives traffic and generates sales for your business. With your website being a huge factor of your brand image, hiring a team of web designers and developers can be quite costly.
Lucky for you, this is one of the many things a virtual assistant can do for you - provided that they have these skills, of course. With virtual assistant services, however, you won't have to go through the excruciating process of posting on various online job sites and scouring through applications just to find the perfect assistant to do the job for you - only to find out a few discussions after that they just aren't the perfect match. Virtual assistant services already have a pool of assistants ready to meet your needs. All you have to do is inform them about a particular task you want accomplished, and they will select the best-suited virtual assistant to fulfill the task for you. Sounds easy? That's because it is!
5. Email and Calendar Management
Perhaps one of the most gruesome administrative tasks you have to manage on a daily basis is going through your email and organizing your calendar to accommodate appointments with both existing and potential clients, as well as partners, colleagues, and even personal connections. Having to sort through all that on a daily basis can be quite overwhelming, especially when you also have a multitude of other things to do that need your immediate attention.
An online personal assistant can sort your inbox for you and sift through the unimportant ones, so you'd only have to attend to the most important messages. They can create folders and categorize each message so that you won't have to go through your entire inbox just to find where that email about that particular sales transaction went, or maybe that time you ordered food from a delivery service that you liked but can't quite remember the name so you want to check the email receipt. Moreover, your virtual assistant can also answer messages in lieu of you, and unsubscribe to spam messages that you don't care to see on your inbox.
Aside from this, you'd be happy to know that setting appointments on your calendar don't have to be such a stressful thing to do - primarily because you don't have to do it yourself since your dedicated personal assistant can certainly do this task for you.
Essentially, virtual assistants save you time as they focus on things that take up too much time from you every day as an entrepreneur. On a daily basis, there are some random tasks that need to be done like doing the minutes for meetings, scouring through various online stores for a replacement for your desk, and even getting coffee from your nearby Starbucks. These simple, minute tasks when put together take up so much time and hurts your productivity, when you can very well have someone else perform these non-essentials for you.
*"It became clear when tasks from my personal life started to interfere with my ever-growing schedule. It wasn't much of a problem before - but after that line was crossed, it became a trade-off between getting all my work done or neglecting the personal errands. Thankfully, now I can delegate much of my personal life to my assistant, as well as some of those small business tasks that ate time."*
In a fast-paced and ever-changing world, businesses must find ways to keep up while maintaining solutions that are not only high-performing in terms of revenue and output, but also cost-effective as costs of employees, services, and products keep sykrocketing each day that goes by. Virtual assistant services provide you with a more feasible option to going about your daily business as you outsource work that would normally drive a deep hole in your pocket.
Having doubts about hiring a virtual personal assistant is absolutely understandable, most especially when you haven't previously hired one yet and discovered the benefits it presents. However, to give you a better view of how things are from a more personal note, most virtual assistants are stay-at-home individuals trying to make ends meet as they strive to provide for their families as breadwinners. These are the type of people who won't risk disappointing and, in effect, losing a client.
Furthermore, virtual assistant services address these exact worries as they provide you with security when it comes to the virtual assistants that they employ. With these services, you can be assured that your personal assistant won't run from the job and in the off chance that they do, your virtual assistant provider will take full responsibility and would be more than willing to replace them with someone else from their roster right away who would better suit you and your business.
Essentially, when you're a budding entrepreneur, your best bet to boost your business further without compromising your mental, physical, and financial health, would be hiring virtual assistant services to help you maximize your resources and exponentially improve both your professional and personal lives.