If we are to believe those memes going around about success, a key takeaway would be that all it takes are a hop and a skip from your garage to a multi-billion-dollar company. In reality, however, Steve Jobs said it best:
*"If you really look closely, most overnight successes took a long time."*
Success, therefore, is more like a long train ride than a quick turn of a page. A journey, if you will. One which will only commence when you make the first move. The first step.
“The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”
Let’s say that you already have what seem to be the necessary ingredients for a successful business—a great idea and a solid business plan—but unfortunately, you are still far from your goal. What could be missing you might ask? Well, it could very well be more about what you have on your already overflowing plate than what you still do not have.
Taking on too much and going full speed ahead could very well be the fastest way to a burnout and that’s not even the worst of it. Be honest with yourself and assess the areas in your life that you might need to let go of. But take note that letting go does not mean giving up. In this case, it would mean delegating or asking for support. With this in mind, the first step you can take towards success is reaching out for help, for assistance. Virtual assistance to be exact.
In this article, you will find out what virtual assistants are and what they do, the ten most popular ways they can change your life and the best ways to hire them. Read on and get to know these digital mavericks.
What is a virtual assistant?
An online personal assistant or more popularly known as a virtual assistant (VA) is a freelance worker who supports businesses and business owners remotely. They function like any assistant or secretary with duties varying from general administrative tasks to more specialized services that can be applied to a wide range of industries.
An online personal assistant is equipped to help CEOs and their companies in more ways than one. And with the flexibility of online assistant services, it comes as no surprise that virtual assistants are fast becoming essential team members to any type of business, anywhere in the world.
A virtual assistant, therefore, is an investment any person or company should not go without. Because when you hire an online personal assistant, you not only reap the benefits of having a full-time assistant at a much cheaper rate, but you also benefit from the value they will bring to you and your business.
So, do you think you’re ready to have a virtual assistant? Here are 10 big changes you should prepare for when you have a VA in your life:
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1. Be prepared to say goodbye to an hour or so of sifting through your emails every day.
A virtual assistant can filter your email inbox for you. By separating the urgent ones from the less pressing messages, your online personal assistant helps you focus your attention on the more important matters. What’s more, your VA can also respond and send emails on your behalf to lessen the time you spend each day on tasks such as this. With your direction and guidance, your virtual assistant can manage your correspondences for you so that you can make use of your time more efficiently.
2. Get ready to “save the date” because your calendar has you covered.
A virtual assistant can manage your calendar for you. May it be a professional or a personal one, having someone make your appointments, deal with invitations you receive, plan events in your stead, and remind you of all these, can make a significant change in your life. Saying yes to an online personal assistant means not having to worry about missing crucial business meetings or important family events. A virtual assistant can make sure that your schedule is always carefully laid out and efficiently managed.
3. Say no to remote work anxiety.
A virtual assistant can either suggest or develop the right organizational system framework that fits your company best. By setting up a virtual workplace that covers time-keeping, project management and file sharing, just to name a few, an online personal assistant can help you maintain order and structure to your workflow even in a remote setup. With this kind of framework in place, you and your managers will be able to delegate work, track performance and collaborate more effectively.
A virtual assistant who can streamline your operations, not only allows you the ease of getting more work done but also limits the occurrence of mistakes and oversights.
4. Brace yourself for the wealth of information online.
A virtual assistant can find almost anything for you online. From the best places to source products for your business, to which café serves the most delicious latte in your area, your VA can scour anything and everything for you in the digital landscape.
What’s more, a virtual assistant can also monitor the online behavior of your customer base by listening in on conversations about your brand, gathering feedback from your clients and observing your competitors. With the information gathered by your virtual assistant, you can effectively steer your company closer to your target market. As your “eyes” and “ears”, your online personal assistant can keep you abreast of the latest news and trends in your industry, as well.
5. Get ready to provide top-notch service to your customers.
Virtual assistants can function remotely from any corner of the world. And because of this, they can provide services to your company that go beyond your usual business hours. With 24/7 customer support c/o your virtual assistant, you can widen your market and energize your business to compete on a more global scale.
Aside from operating while in a different time zone, a virtual assistant can also effectively do the following for you: quickly respond to customer questions, create urgent email responses or Frequently Asked Questions, check on clients who may also be in a different time zone, and deal with complaints or requests for refunds or discounts in a timely manner. What’s more, you can trust your virtual assistant to step in for unexpected shortages of manpower, especially, during your national holidays.
6. Never again get bogged down by simple tasks that bar you from having a productive day.
A virtual assistant can manage, oversee, and accomplish undertakings that address your company’s non-essential day-to-day operations. With this, you are not only relieved of a heavy workload but are able to focus on tasks that directly build and grow your business.
Some of the administrative duties a virtual assistant can do to alleviate your work schedule are:
- office support for supervisors and managers
- fielding phone calls
- responding to inquiries via emails or the company website
- creating spreadsheets and presentation decks
- internet research
- ... and many more!
Additionally, a virtual assistant with bookkeeping skills can keep a tab on unpaid bills and outstanding invoices using your company’s bookkeeping systems. Database entries of essential information such as business cards from companies and other documents that may be of future use to the business can also be easily maintained by your online personal assistant. Likewise, preparing data presentations and summarizing research findings for you before a big presentation is a huge time-saver, not to mention, a great help to you.
7. When you feel the need for more than just assistance, look no further.
Gone are the days when virtual assistants are limited to providing “secretarial” and admin duties only. As the need for online personal assistant services grows, so does the range of services that these professionals offer.
Having a virtual assistant who is knowledgeable and skilled on specific tasks inspires you and your business to accomplish more for less than the time it usually takes for your team. What’s more, VAs who are both experienced professionals and experts in specific fields do not require further training. They may also be tapped to share their knowledge with you and your team through online seminars.
Some technical specialties that virtual assistants have are as follows: content management services, SEO, website development and design, blogging, digital marketing, software development, medical and legal transcription, translation services, market research, and many more.
8. Gear up for an online presence like no other.
As a key player in the virtual landscape, a VA can implement effective online strategies that build brands effectively. By repurposing content your company already has, an online personal assistant can infuse new life to old podcasts, blog posts and webinars into other types of content such as slide shares, infographics, and e-books.
In addition, virtual assistants can also provide content production services such as blog writing, proofreading and graphic design. And your online personal assistant can keep you informed on the hottest news and trends which can be further utilized as material for your online content.
9. Get ready to grow more with less.
An online personal assistant can grow your company without sacrificing your capital. It is common knowledge that hiring an employee creates financial, structural and emotional costs. Without overhead expenses that are usually afforded to hire domestic employees such as equipment, medical and insurance benefits and the like, having virtual assistants on your team is a wise way to develop your business.
Because online personal assistants are essentially business owners themselves, hiring them affords you with all the advantages of having manpower at a much lower cost than employing domestically. Moreover, a virtual assistant brings in more value and empowers you to scale up your business.
With an online personal assistant, you can allocate your capital in endeavors that will directly grow and develop your business such as a digital marketing campaign or upgrading your operating systems.
10. And a full life begins now.
A virtual assistant can be good for you and your business by simply taking a load off you’re already overflowing workdays. When you are swamped with both professional and social responsibilities, life easily gets overwhelming which leads to stress. And when you are stressed, you are more likely to underperform at work, have some of your relationships suffer and eventually, develop serious health problems.
With a virtual assistant, you can delegate your non-essential day-to-day responsibilities to focus on more pressing issues in your life such as expanding your business and making sure you get enough time for rest and to recharge.
An online personal assistant empowers you to get more out of your every day to achieve your much-needed work-life balance, and you can start taking that first step towards success by hiring a virtual assistant now.
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Where to find virtual assistants and how to hire them?
One of the most important investments you can make is hiring a virtual assistant. And there are two ways to go about it. Either you do it on your own or you let an agency find one for you.
If you think you are ready to take this on your own, you can start by choosing from among the numerous freelance sites available online. This would require you to make a listing on their site where applicants will respond to you directly. Be prepared though to sift through hundreds of replies to your ad.
Another thing to take note of when choosing this route is the screening process in these freelance market sites which may not be as precise as you would want it to be. With no set interview procedures or meticulous guidelines, the burden of filtering applications solely rests on you.
Hiring an agency that offers virtual assistant services is another way to go about this. Unlike freelance marketplaces, these are companies whose job is to provide you with a virtual assistant that will best fit your specific requirements. With a secure screening process in place, these recruitment firms are not only more reliable but will also be on hand should problems arise between you and your virtual assistant.
Just as there is an abundant number of freelancer sites, there are also several agencies to choose from. The key is finding the best one which has the capability and resources to connect you with the virtual assistant who fits your needs and budget.
OkayRelax, a USA-born company that offers cost-effective and efficient virtual assistant services, is one of the top agencies to partner with in finding the right virtual assistant for you.
Let OkayRelax find the online personal assistant who will best complete your team. With a controlled and strict screening process and intensive training program in place, you can be assured of the best virtual assistant services from them.
Get started on your journey to a better and more relaxed professional and personal life today with OkayRelax.