A Virtual Personal Assistant: How can they help your business?
Some people long for a personal assistant—it conveys status, shows recognition, and provides a substantial sense of self-importance. Some will go to nearly any length to be assigned a personal assistant even if they have no practical use or need for one.
Pity the poor PA with virtually no duties—little more than a trophy to soothe the vanity or insecurities of an executive—thumbing through the want ads, looking for a job with some sort of challenge.
If only they knew about the world of the Virtual Personal Assistant (VPA)…
For those of us who are out on our own, working from our home offices while competing with the big corporations, sometimes you get so busy fulfilling your contracts that you don’t have time to scout for new business. That can be a financial disaster!
It’s the old story that we’re too busy earning a living to make any money. There is a solution—such as hiring a personal assistant—that frees you from having to deal with the minutiae of everyday office details, but it’s an expensive option. And where will they work—at your dining room table?
I won’t lie. Hiring a virtual personal assistant (VPA) requires some preparation. If you simply hire the first one you find, you can’t expect all your problems to magically go away.
If you interview to hire a new employee, would the first person in the door solve all your problems? A random virtual personal assistant can be even less suitable or effective. What is the big secret to selecting the right one? Selecting for skills!
You can substantially increase the odds if you spend a day (or a week, or a month) keeping track of every single activity and task you undertake. Don’t be hasty about eliminating tasks which you don’t believe a virtual personal assistant could handle. The talent pool is astonishingly diverse.
The only tasks you should hoard are the ones which only you can handle. These are generally the money-making tasks such as talking, video conferencing, or meeting with prospects; getting contracts finalized and signed; and applying the specific talent that people would hire you for.
Pick one of the tasks on your list and make your very best effort to describe it precisely. If you can’t describe it, no virtual personal assistant can perform it. Look at your list again and see if there are any other tasks you can parcel with that task.
Now you have the choice of either posting the job, or searching through the hundreds of available VPAs looking for someone with a suitable skill set to match. I’ll include a couple of suggestions at the end for good places to start.
Remember: someone else can post your social media material; someone else can write your blog and social media posts; someone else can create and send your solicitation e-mails (subject to your approval, of course). All of that time-wasting trivia can be assigned. That leaves you free to work on tasks that make money.
Keep taking notes
Once you are settled in with your new virtual personal assistant and have time to build your business, expect to get bogged down in a whole new selection of trivial tasks. When you get enough, hire another VPA. There is no rule that says you may only have one virtual personal assistant.
Not an expensive option
A U.S. based virtual personal assistant, depending on their skill sets of course, average around $15.00 per hour. If you only need them for couple of hours per week they are fine with that because they have lots of other jobs, and it represents a minimal cost to you. These people are entrepreneurs, just like you, staying busy by servicing lots of clients.
Improving your world… And theirs!
More importantly, it’s also a chance to do a very good deed. In many parts of the world, particularly island nations, the annual family income can be less than $1,000. Younger members of the community have attended decent schools and learned all sorts of computer skills which they offer to you online including:
- data entry;
- calendar management;
- appointment setting;
- translating from one language to another;
- mailing list development;
- managing affiliate programs;
- transcription from scanned or audio files;
- e-mail management;
- format-conversion for files;
- and the entire Microsoft™ Office Suite skill set, creating spreadsheets (and doing tedious data entry), documents, or PowerPoint presentations.
The money goes towards community infrastructure with water pumps, obtaining electricity for the village, or a cellular phone for the town so they can talk to relatives elsewhere. It might end up buying a community computer or two so they don’t have to walk to town to use a library or internet café; this allows more people to help with the work.
When have you ever been presented was such an amazing opportunity to influence the lives of so many people, so positively, at such a small cost? It almost seems incidental that you get all your work done so that you can be more productive too! Now that is what I call a win-win scenario.
Where to find your virtual personal assistant
Fiverr.com comes to mind as a great source, and as its name implies, many jobs are priced for five dollars. Another popular place isupwork.com, with a wide variety of talented individuals. At the latter, you’ll find hourly prices much closer to the national average, but there are still some bargains to be found. Lots of these people on both sites are quite experienced and maintain five-star ratings from dozens or hundreds of clients.
So whether you’re looking for someone who speaks French, German, Spanish, Italian, or just about anything else, or whether you need a North American with a good grasp of our culture, you can probably find it here. These people, whether local or from around the world, are ready to help you to streamline your operation and free your time so that you can run your business profitably.
Speaking of Virtual…
If you need an impressive virtual business address, we can provide that at Liberty Office Suites with one of our Virtual Office Packages. We can receive your mail for you, sort it, and leave it for you to read, or with your written permission, we can open it, scan it, and email it to you.
Do you need your phone answered when you’re not available? We can do that using your approved script; we can route calls to your home, your personal cell, your business cell, or to our offices (in any order you please).
And our virtual office packages can also include the use of our conference rooms and our state-of-the-art meeting rooms. It’s much better than your living room; we guarantee it! Give us a call at 973-575-6080.