Basically a virtual assistant, also known as a VA, is a business professional with experience in a variety of administrative and business services, which provides these services to other busy professionals virtually from somewhere other than the client’s office. The term today is interchangeable with that of virtual administrative assistant, VA, virtual admin, and cloud based virtual assistant, but they all essentially mean the same thing.
However, it should be noted that every virtual assistant and their experiences vary significantly as each specializes in their own unique skill sets. There is definitely no two alike. You may often times find VA’s specializing in a specific industry such as real estate, law, architects, medical, non profit, accountants, etc.
A virtual assistant can pretty much conduct every office function except greeting your customers face to face in person or making the coffee in the office each morning, but your VA could order your coffee at Starbuck’s for you to pickup in the drive through!
You may even find some companies using several VA’s once they get the hang of using them. One might be used for accounting and bookkeeping and another for social media marketing. That’s the joy of using VA’s, you get the expertise needed in a variety of fields, but you don’t have to hire either of them full time. The flexibility when using a VA is great for small to mid size and growing businesses.
So how does using a VA actually work?
When you work with a professional virtual assistant, they provide you with all of the legal documentation assuring you that your business information is confidential and secure, usually signing a Non Disclosure Agreement, and providing a clear working agreement covering all aspects of the work to be performed. With today’s technology such as screen sharing, remote log-in, Skype, etc., it is easier than ever to work with a VA and it’s almost a seamless transition.
VA’s also take pride in being educated on the latest and greatest technology, business tools, and techniques and are often times continually updating their educational arsenal, which for you is an added benefit knowing that you’re working with a highly skilled professional.
Here are some thoughts and idea’s on how a VA can assist you in your business.
- Scheduling a real estate showing or other appointments
- Marketing and Advertising
- Making travel arrangements
- Website and Online Marketing Maintenance
- Social Media Management
- Invoicing, Collections
- Answering incoming phone calls
- Newsletters, Reminders, Cards, Letters, etc.
- Perform outbound telemarketing calls
- Manage and update CRM systems
- Create correspondence letters, brochures, presentations, mailings
- Write policy, procedures, manuals, contracts
- Respond to emails
- Event planning
- And so much more
Why should you use a VA?
Actually, I prefer the question, why shouldn’t you use a VA? A virtual assistant will ultimately relieve you of the time consuming tasks which prevent you from being able to focus on what you do best, which is growing your business. Your time and that of your management team should be spent soliciting new business and developing relationships with prospects rather than filing papers, answering emails and drafting contracts.
A VA can also help you find leads, qualify them and basically act as an overall extension of your business. When working with a VA, traditionally it will be a long term relationship much like what you have with a banker, an accountant, a business advisor, etc. Your VA is going to know your business very well and will work along side you to showcase and present your business in a professional manner that will help you grow.
So the next time you find yourself wondering how you’re going to get all those mailings out in time, or how you’re going to find time to keep your social media updated, pick up the phone and call a VA. Trust me, you’ll be glad you did.
Tina Holtz, Miss Executive
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