Virtual assistants are the most sought-after subcategory of administrative support. As more companies realize the advantages of virtual assistants, they are increasingly in demand. You don’t have to sign contracts – if they fail, you can simply terminate them.
Virtual assistants today are smart, skilled, and able multitask. Virtual assistants can take over your business’ administrative functions so you can focus on what you love: selling your products or services, handling accounting reconciliations, managing staff and so forth. Virtual assistant associations exist in certain parts of the globe. There are many of them.
The International Virtual Assistants Association is one such organization. A virtual assistant is an independent worker who offers remote support for admin tasks or niche services. Remote support can be provided via the Internet using a telephone, fax machine or other means.
Other apps like Skype, MSN messaging and Google chat have provided tremendous support to clients and virtual assistants, allowing them to communicate with one another without worrying about long distance charges.
Virtual assistants are available to work a day or only during peak season depending on the needs of the business. Some have been indispensable and are now full-time virtual assistants for their employer. They have complete flexibility because they work remotely.
Virtual assistants can work independently or as part of a group. They work together to create a Manpower type organization. This group consists of temporary workers who are waiting to be assigned to clients and are classified based on their skills. They may also be eligible for fringe benefits if they work in a larger company.
1. Why outsource your administrative support tasks?
Reason #1: Organization
Virtual assistants can help you organize your business in many different ways than you might think. Entrepreneurs like yourself have more important tasks than just cleaning out their mailing lists, researching, and typing.
Reason #2: Reminders
Virtual assistants can help you “rein” yourself in, especially if your priorities are jumbled, you miss important dates, or you pay bills late.
You will need a “calendar boy” to inform you that it’s time to call a customer, talk to a supplier and order party tables for your daughter’s 10th Birthday bash.
Reason #3: Customer support
Your virtual assistant could also serve as your customer’s go-to person. Your virtual assistant can help you deal with your customers’ concerns.
Reason #4: Versatility
Your virtual assistant can do more than just office/admin tasks. They can also perform routine marketing tasks if they are a versatile worker. Your virtual assistant can also take over tasks such as sending auto-responders out to subscribers to your email course.
Reason #5: Writing Services
Do you need copywriting services for your business? Virtual assistants are able to write. This is a huge advantage for businesses that grow and have increased needs.
2. Other administrative support tasks that can be outsourced
Virtual assistants are not the only type of administrative support specialist. Other roles are equally valuable for business owners.
- Bookkeeping and accounting
- Data entry and processing
- Email response handling
- Processing of orders
- Planning for events and travel
These services can be easily outsourced to freelancers online. This can help you save time and money as well as diversify your talent pool. Full-time and part-time jobs are available. You also have the option to hire on-demand. Freelancers only need to pay for work completed successfully or documented hours. You don’t have to pay for vacation, downtime, or other benefits.
You should consider outsourcing these roles to someone who is a specialist in each of these areas. These roles can be done by one person, but not all. This can lead to errors, excessive work and poor customer service. A specialist can perform all of your tasks, increasing your quality, allowing you to spend more time on other work, preventing mistakes and diversifying your business’ talent pool.
3. What should I expect from my provider?
You must first decide which type of provider you require. This will allow you to determine the skills that they need to contribute to your business. Some outsourcers require an administrative assistant, while others may need someone to do a specific task.
You want someone who is able to do everything. You want your assistant to be able to concentrate on one task. Make sure you are clear about it.
4. Communicate often
It is possible to create a virtual office environment, where your assistant can be found outside of your office and is available for communication throughout the day.
Your provider should have certain key skills and qualities to ensure smooth outsourcing. These qualities are applicable to all types of administrative support. Referrals and profiles can help you verify their qualifications.
These are the skills and qualities:
- Technology and equipment
- Language skills
1. Technology and equipment
Before they can work with you, your provider should have access their own tools and technology. This includes internet, computer software, paper products, and computers. These business expenses are included in their hourly or fixed rate. Be careful when a provider asks for payment for their internet, hardware or software subscriptions.
2. Language skills
Administrative support tasks require communication. Many of these jobs require frequent communication between you and your provider. Some even involve customers. It is important to make sure that your provider can speak any language that is frequently used in these tasks. Fluency can be verified by asking for a sample of writing or looking at their profile online for language tests and certificates.
Before you start working with someone, ensure you know when you will need their services. It is not a good idea to start a project only to find out that your freelancer is not available when you need them. It is important to clearly define the services you require, what frequency, and when your provider will be available to meet with you, update you, or do general correspondence.
Make sure you are clear about what services you require, how often you need them, and when your freelancer will be available to meet with you.
Professionalism is essential for any position. Professionals are punctual, reliable, and aware of their role in your company. This is what they do every day, at work and out of it.
Professionals are respectful of confidentiality rights and do not share company secrets or cross borders. Asking a former employer for information about the provider’s performance and conduct can help you verify their professionalism.
When outsourcing online projects are being done for the first time, business owners often raise trust concerns. Because administrative support positions deal with customer data and financial information, these concerns can be magnified. They also require access to credit cards or other payment methods.
Although it is easy to understand why someone might distrust a freelancer that they met online, the truth is that there are the same risks when hiring employees in-house. Use confidentiality agreements and other contracts to ensure your safety and security.
You should consider retaining a virtual assistant who meets your needs on a permanent basis. This will allow you to save time by explaining your business and how you want it to run. It also allows you to provide training on any software or forms that you use regularly.
Every business needs administrative support such as event planning, data entry, accounting and data entry. These tasks can be outsourced to freelancers online to save time and money. It can also diversify your business and give you access to experts in all areas. A virtual assistant can help you increase productivity and reduce the likelihood that you forget important meetings and events.
Look for certain qualities in outsourced providers, such as professionalism, availability, language skills. You might also consider implementing contracts on your outsourced projects.