What is a Virtual Assistant and What Can They Do?
I’m sure you’ve heard the term “virtual assistant” being thrown around a lot lately in the business world. Did you know that for as little as $8 – $12 an hour, you could hire someone from another country to work for you while you sleep? Most of the virtual assistants I work with are highly educated, with one even having an MBA in Business Administration. I pay her a measly $15.00 per hour, and it’s really been a bargain.
The rise of virtual assistants has also meant a change in what it means to be a virtual assistant.
The leaders and founders of the virtual assistant industry have made distinctions between what it means to be a virtual assistant, and what it doesn’t mean. When you are explaining your business to others, you want to make sure to keep this standard in mind.
Being a virtual assistant is becoming a distinct definition of a specific home-owned business. It is expected that the standards will be upheld for a virtual assistant for all others who are working in this profession. This means that if you are a virtual assistant, you need to make sure you are meeting the expectations of those who have set the standards for the industry.
When you are explaining your business to others, you want to make sure you are using the standard definition of a virtual assistant. A virtual assistant is someone who provides a variety of services to businesses and individuals following the standard that has become formalized in the past decade. This means that a virtual assistant is someone who upholds the standards that have been set for this profession.
One of the first things that is considered when approaching the idea of a virtual assistant is the fact that they are virtual. This means that they are not working out of their home or remotely. Instead, they are considered to be a temporary worker or someone who telecommutes. One of the standards for being a virtual assistant is having the freedom to work where you want.
5 things to consider in a Virtual Assistant:
1. A virtual assistant should be able to establish a long-term, professional relationship with a business.
2. A virtual assistant should have a clear understanding of the job description and expectations.
3. A virtual assistant should be comfortable with the idea of being called a freelance worker or secretary.
4. A virtual assistant should be able to work continuously with one client.
5. A virtual assistant should be provided in order to create a substantial and long-term relationship with a business.
Unlock Your Full Potential: 5 Key Factors for Choosing the Right Virtual Assistant
1. Professionalism – Does the VA answer emails, voicemails, and other correspondence in a timely and professional manner? If this person is to work for you, it’s important that they have the right skills to not keep you or a deadline waiting. Make sure you give them a covert task to pass that shows commitment to deadlines.
2. Project Management – Juggling tasks nowadays is vital. We now tap our feet in front of the microwave so things need to get done. If a person cannot work with a few projects on the go you might want to move on. I guarantee you will only find out that they have a project management problem when you lose “the big deal”.
3. Availability. Many virtual assistants work for several clients at the same time. It is not uncommon for you as an employer to be in a queue for the VA’s services. You may slowly move down the queue as they take on new contracts from other virtual employers. Be aware that you and your project may be dropped at the time you least need it. You also need to be prepared to find and hire new VAs. Try to split your work between 2 or more VAs to combat this problem.
4. Test. Give the VA a mini-project before signing a contract. I also give a minimum of 2 tasks that cost no more than $30 -$40 to complete. I need them done correctly and to my total satisfaction before hiring this person. It’s simple to hire one of the first few people to come along, but please shortlist at least 10 and give the tasks to 2 of the 10 you shortlisted. Obviously, make sure these tasks are something you actually want done – don’t waste any money.
5. When you’re looking for a virtual assistant, one of the best ways to vet them is to get references from people who have worked with them before. This will give you an idea of what it’s like to work with the VA and whether they’re a good fit for your needs. A good VA will be someone who is committed to building a relationship with your business and providing quality service beyond the expectations of any temporary or telecommuting job. This means that they’re willing to go above and beyond what’s asked of them in their job description, and that they’re able to provide a variety of services that can help your business succeed. If you can find a VA who meets these criteria, you’ll be well on your way to building a successful working relationship.