As a business owner/entrepreneur, you should be focusing on running your business and increasing sales & revenue. But instead what happens is that you get so involved in routine administrative jobs that your duties as an entrepreneur or CEO take a backseat.
So what do you do?
Hire somebody to take care of those routine tasks so you can concentrate on things you ought to. That is not to say that those routine tasks are not your responsibility. However those jobs are such in nature that they can easily be delegated or outsourced.
You cannot delegate your role as a CEO to an assistant but you can certainly get an administrative assistant to support you in day-today tasks which take up most of your time in the day.
But a administrative assistant is an employee and choosing the right employee and then training them as per your business requirements can cost you both time and money.
Therefore we have a cost-effective solution for you.
Who are Virtual Administrative Assistants?
First things first, let us understand what we mean by Virtual Administrative Assistants.
Well…Virtual Administrative Assistants are very much like personal assistants performing similar tasks only virtually. Yes, you got that right. They work remotely from their location (possibly even from a different country) and provide their services/output through electronic means.
They communicate via email, phones, chats, Skype etc. They perform a range of personal administrative tasks like managing emails, making calls, booking appointments, processing payments, basic HR functions, CRM functions, managing accounts etc.
Yes…they cover everything. Basically anything that does not require a physical presence.
Now let’s get to the WHY of it.
Why should you hire a Virtual Administrative assistant when you can hire a personal assistant who will be present in your office and available at your beck and call?
Well…if you have enough means and requirement to fill in 40 hrs per week or even 20 hrs. per week, I’d say hire a personal assistant by all means but if you don’t have enough tasks to complete those hours then mind you, that employee will be spending down time on your money.
On the other hand, with Virtual Administrative assistants you only pay for the hours that the assistant has worked. Plus you save money by not having to provide benefits like employee benefits, office space and supply plus everything that comes with employing a person full-time.
Not just money but hiring virtual administrative assistants’ help you save your precious time too as you don’t have to worry about training etc. They are skilled individuals with expertise in performing all administrative duties quickly and effectively.
What do they do?
Now that we know what we mean by virtual administrative assistants, let us now take a look at some of the tasks they can perform:-
- Basic Customer Support – Customer support duties include managing feedback from clients, responding to queries, addressing problems etc. They sound basic in nature but these petty tasks can take up a lot of your time.
Say, you are talking about a big business deal from abroad and suddenly you get an email from an existing customer who is angry because of the delay in his order and is threatening to stop payments and hold future orders with you.
Needless to say, you will have to shift your attention to the problem at hand, enquire about delay, investigate the reasons and then think about a suitable response to give. Before you realize, your entire day is gone attending that one complaint.
Whatever happened to the very important business deal??
You get the picture, right?
- Setting Reminders – As an entrepreneur, you will have meetings to attend, calls to make, places to go to, things to do etc. A secretary cannot do those tasks for you makes it a point to remind of the important tasks pending.
That is something which an administrative virtual assistant can do too. Of course they won’t come knocking on your cabin door or call up on your intercom like personal secretaries would but they will use software, tools etc to set up reminders for you. Either way you don’t get forget important to-dos.
- Email Management – What is the first thing you do when you start work? Check your emails. And more often than not you find your inbox flooded with emails from everyone – clients, vendors, employees, external agencies etc. It can take forever to check emails, filter spam and finally get down to replying to the important ones. That’s where a virtual administrative assistant can help. They can check your emails, filter spam and even send replies on your behalf thus saving you a lot of time.
- File Management – Just like papers and hard copies of documents pile up on your table, the same can happen with your digital documents or soft copies. Organizations are promoting paperless atmospheres to save the clutter in the office spaces but the same can happen with digital files too if they are not organized properly in a folder. Of course it is easier to search for them on your computer using keywords but it can still kill time. An effective way would be to organize all digital documents or copies using DropBox, Google Drives etc. That way it does not take up storage space in your hard disk or computer and can easily be shared with anyone via emails without having to worry about attachments. Get your virtual administrative assistant to organize your digital space and have easy access to all documents.
- Scheduling Appointments – Your virtual administrative assistant can book, cancel and re-schedule appointments for you. They can then update all details like name of the person, company, address, purpose etc into a software/CRM or send you a note by email etc to keep you informed. They can also send customary emails to clients/customers to remind them about meetings, events, thank you emails etc.
- Database Management – Your Virtual administrative assistant can update and manage your database of clients etc. They would make sure the database is updated with correct information, contact detail etc so as to make it easy for you to refer to it when you need to without wasting too much time.
- Travel bookings, arrangements etc – You can use virtual administrative assistants to book your tickets, accommodation and other personal errands as well like online shopping etc.
This by no means is an exhaustive list of all tasks that a Virtual Administrative assistant can be expected to perform but this should certainly give you an idea about the kind of tasks that you can outsource to your virtual administrative assistant.
How Much to Pay to a Virtual Administrative Assistant
The charges for Virtual Administrative assistants vary greatly depending on the complexity of tasks to be performed and the experience of the VA. The pay can vary anything from USD $5 to USD $15 per hour. For a beginner you can expect to pay around USD $5 or USD $6.
Of course the pay varies from company to company. Also many companies may have different pricing policies like hourly, weekly basis, per project basis or even monthly for ongoing tasks. In the beginning it is always best to go for hourly payments so you can assess the flow of work, requirement, time taken etc and then change if you need to.
Virtual administrative assistants can be hired either through companies or as freelancers. But it is better to go through outsourcing companies as they offer greater security and superior quality of work and staff.
Virtual administrative assistants are most in demand out of all virtual assistants specifically because of nature of tasks performed. Not all business may require a financial virtual assistant to handle their accounting etc but almost all companies big and small have a wide range of administrative mundane tasks to performed on a daily basis that they will need help with.
Hiring a virtual administrative assistant is cost-effective solution to growing your business without burning yourself out.