I often have entrepreneurs call me and say they are overwhelmed with the many administrative and technical tasks it takes to successfully maintain and grow a business. Many of these business people have been doing everything themselves and taking on tasks that are not in their sweet spot. They are at a point in their business where they want to concentrate on what they do best and leave the other details to a professional. This is exactly where a virtual assistant is needed!
The Entrepreneur/Virtual Assistant Relationship
If you have not worked with a virtual assistant, the first thing you should realize is that a he/she is not an employee. A VA works on a subcontractor basis and has their own business policies and procedures. She is a professional entrepreneur the same as you. The goal of a successful relationship between a business owner and virtual assistant is to be in partnership.
Your VA should be an integral part of your business planning. She needs to know your business plan and your goals. If you are a startup business, an experienced virtual assistant can join you in your brainstorming by providing valuable knowledge she has gained. Including your virtual assistant in the overall strategy for your business enables everyone to work toward the same goals.
What type of tasks can a virtual assistant handle?
If you are not sure what you need to delegate, I suggest keeping a list throughout your typical day. When you find yourself thinking, “I don’t like doing this.” Or “This is not what I started my business to do.” Make a note of what you are doing. This may be tasks such as:
o Sorting and answering emails
o Coordinating and sending out materials to affiliate partners
o Lead follow up – entering all those business cards from a conference in your database
o Social media marketing
o Search Engine Optimization
o Website updates
o Bookkeeping Tasks
o Posting blogs
The list can go on but these are the type of tasks you can delegate! With technology today, almost any task can be handled virtually!
What are the qualifications of good Virtual Assistant?
There are three primary qualities I recommend. They are education/experience, years in business and personality.
Recent industry survey reveals that 52.7% of virtual assistants learned not from formal education but from on-the-job training. Many VA’s spent years in a j-o-b, honing the skills and gaining the knowledge they needed before becoming an entrepreneur. There are now online programs and even some technical college programs training virtual assistants. A certification program I highly recommend is VA certified.
VAcertified.com is an international board that certifies virtual assistants based on qualities that matter most to the client:
· Professional experience and work history
· Education and training, both government and private
· Virtual assistance industry awareness and contributions
· Level of experience as a business owner, online or off
The next factor you should consider is how long a VA has been in business. Unfortunately in the profession, there are many who “try it out” and decide it’s not what they want to do. You don’t want to get started and invest your time building a relationship to all of a sudden have your right hand disappear! If your potential VA has been in business several years this is less likely to occur.
Personalities present the third qualifications and one you may not consider. Entrepreneurs tend to have strong personalities and these can either mesh well or be like oil and water. Since your assistant is an entrepreneur herself, your relationship with her is no exception! Ideally you will be working closely with her and need to be able to communicate and relate effectively.
Starting your dream team by hiring a professional virtual assistant can be the best step you take in growing your business. With some careful consideration and proper planning, you can be sure to find your best virtual assistant from the start!