Lately I have run into a lot of people, clients, potential clients that have the same question. What is a Virtual Assistant? So let me take a stab at giving you a definition from which to work.
Think of a Virtual Assistant as the Administrative Assistant for the small business owner. In this day of the rising Small Business and Entrepreneur a Virtual Assistant becomes the business owner’s best friend. Without the overhead cost of office space, telephone/email set-up, insurance; the VA comes in and helps the business owner with all the day-to-day maintenance items that take up valuable time. These tasks can range from answering emails, to setting up appointments, to managing the details behind a sales event. All of these tasks are vital, but they cut into precious time where the business owner can be about the tasks of selling his/her product or services.
If you type Virtual Assistant into your favorite search engine you will discover a plethora of listings from private individuals to companies. You can take pretty much any route you want to finding and hiring a VA with the skills you most need. I use oDesk.com as my source for initial client contact. I like the ‘security’ it provides me and my potential clients. While I concentrate my services in the office administrative assistant services, you can find VA’s that concentrate in practically every area of service.
Things to remember when hiring a VA.
- Most VA’s are independent contractors, so treat them as a colleague not an employee.
- As you build trust with your VA, realize that you need to communicate clearly with them on what you are looking for and how they are doing. We are assistants not mind readers. ;)
- Find ways that enable you to quickly communicate with your VA. I have found that the clients that are available on Skype or Google talk tend to have a more favorable experience as we can quickly deal with issues that come up during an assignment.
- Have reasonable deadlines. Although you may get to the point you can use a VA full-time, most VA’s work with several clients. Having tight deadlines provides unnecessary stress for both of you.
- Enjoy your VA. The more fun you can have the more fun it will be.
VA’s are a great way for the small business owner and Entrepreneur to delegate out the task that are consuming their time. I borrowed with permission the tagline for my site from a business consultant. “Do what you do best, let us handle the rest.”
One last note, if you are a micromanager and like to be hands on in all tasks… this is probably not the best way for you to go.