How to work with a Virtual Assistant


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virtual assistantA virtual assistant carries out the same role as a traditional administration assistant; however the person fulfilling the role no longer has to be physically present in the office (or home, if you’re a working from home type).

Employing a virtual assistant (VA) is ideal for when you need administration tasks to be carried out and don’t have the time (or patience) to do them yourself, for example responding to enquiries, updating social media or keeping on top of your website.

Administration tasks can be time-consuming and can take you away from your day-to-day business, which is where the money is made.

VAs specialise in an endless list of tasks relating to business management , such as:

  • Maintaining your website
  • Updating social network profiles
  • Responding to enquiries
  • Managing your diary
  • Sending out invoices
  • Making travel arrangements
  • Writing and sending out correspondence
  • Carrying out research
  • Filing digital folders
  • Collecting contact details
  • And much more….

You might never meet your VA face-to-face so it is important you trust in their capabilities, therefore one of the best ways to find a good VA is to go through personal recommendations or small business forums. It is important to find someone who understands your business and that you can get on with.  Be clear of what tasks you need your VA to fulfil and the budget you are looking to set, the skills and fees of VAs vary greatly.

Do some research about the recommended VAs and their past work in order to narrow your options down to a shortlist of candidates. Once you have this shortlist you can arrange Skype interviews to get to know the person better. It is fine to take this opportunity to ask for samples of work and referrals.

Once you have found your VA it is perfectly acceptable to set up a trial period of working to see how the arrangement suits you both. You might find that there is more work than you anticipated that you can pass on to the VA or alternatively you might find that this method of working does not suit you.

Now that you have your VA in place make sure you are clear about your expectations, deadlines and deliverables. Remember – you’re a client now, and you don’t want to be a terrible client, do you?

  • http://twitter.com/mailette Mailette

    Hey Rachel cool article & love that Johnny5 boot scootin pic: ) 

    Just wondering if there some typical rate ranges for a VA’s that you’ve seen?I’ve heard Rob Walling http://www.softwarebyrob.com/ talking about VA’s being a must for freelancers & start-ups too, just thinking about trusting others when you business is so close to your heart is a little tough: )

    • Rachel Soothill

      I’m glad you like the article and thank
      you for your comment. It is a very tricky question to answer as there are so
      many VAs out there, all of which are offering different services and rates,
      much like us freelancers! It also completely depends on what service you would
      require, whether you are looking for general admin assistance or something more
      involved. It is perhaps worth making some enquiries with various VA agencies to
      find out what they offer and charge so you can compare the rates.

       

      With regards to needing a VA, every
      freelancer is different and using a VA isn’t right for everyone! You need to
      weigh up how cost-effective it would be for you to have a VA and whether in the
      long run it will mean you will have more time to put into doing the money
      making work. You also need to decide whether you truly feel comfortable with
      putting your trust in someone else. I would definitely recommend doing your
      research before making any decision and perhaps think about trying out a trial
      period.

       

      I hope this helps! 

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