Although virtual assistants are becoming more popular and better-known, there is still a lot of confusion about what they can offer small businesses (or, indeed, individuals in their personal life – subscribe to our mailing list and be the first to hear about a future post on this!).
The answer is simple: if there’s something your business needs help with, and that thing doesn’t have to be done in an office, then there will be at least one (and probably many more) virtual assistant out there who can help.
At the very least, a virtual assistant can mainly help with admin tasks. But there are lots of VAs out there who specialise in specific area, or who offer niche services.
If you feel that you could use some help with your business, but aren’t sure where to start, read on for a very small selection of tasks that a virtual assistant could help with!
1. Email management
Do you ever start work day after day to find the ‘unread’ total in your inbox growing bit by bit, until it seems you have so many emails that you feel like just dropping them all straight into the trash folder? Perhaps you have a lot of emails that need responding to but that seem to eat into your day to the point that you get little else done. Or maybe you just find it difficult to decide which emails to spend your time on and which ones should be considered spammy.
A virtual assistant can really help here because, not only can they respond to messages that don’t require your specific input, but they can sort out your inbox so that you see only the messages that you need to deal with.
As long as you let your virtual assistant know your requirements (which emails mustyou receive, which ones can go straight in the bin), then you’ll be looking at a minimalist email inbox in no time!
Marketing is often a terrifying concept to many business owners. Either you don’t know where to start or you don’t feel you have the time to do what needs done. A virtual assistant specialising in marketing can help you either create a strategy or implement and improve your current marketing work.
Marketing is a huge subject, and it’s forever changing, so it’s not a surprise that many people find it so daunting. It can cover anything from creating, building and maintaining a social media presence; writing a regular blog; building and connecting with a mailing list; creating and distributing advertisements; and much more. Depending on your requirements, you may want a VA that specialises in a certain area, or you may be looking for someone to kick things off for you. Either way, please get in touch for a no-obligation chat about where to start with your marketing.
You might also be interested in reading my earlier blog on 5 Ways to Market your Small Business.
3. Data entry
Have you got a folder full of business cards that you want to digitalise? Do you have piles of reports that need organised? If you have a lot of information on paper, or if you have data on your computer that needs sorted into some kind of cohesive system, then a virtual assistant can help with that.
Data entry is often one of those things that needs to be done but doesn’t ever seem to reach the top of your priorities. And that’s understandable. There are so many tasks and people vying for our attention that putting Simone from Marketing World’s business card details onto a CRM system just sinks to the bottom of your to do list. But when you do need to get in touch with Simone, it’s going to be much easier to find her details in a database or a spreadsheet than it is to root through all the bits of paper that you’ve collected through the years!
Tasks like these are perfect for VAs because they can often be one-off jobs that you don’t want to hire a full- or part-time member of staff for. You can instead work with a virtual assistant as and when you need to.
4. Minute taking and typing up notes
If you’ve ever been lumbered with the task of minute-taking at a meeting and nervously sat there pretending you know what you’re doing, then you’re not alone! A huge number of people haven’t the faintest clue how to take minutes, so this is a perfect task to ask a virtual assistant to do! You can either hire someone locally to come to the meeting, or else take a recording and send the file to them. This is a job that can take a huge amount of time, especially if you’re not sure what you’re doing. A virtual assistant also has the advantage of having no connection to the meeting and therefore being able to write up unemotional and unbiased minutes.
Similarly, if you love to write with a pen and paper, you may find yourself with lots of sheets of notes that then need to be translated to a word processor in order to be stored for posterity or else passed onto other people. Pop your scribbles in the post and ask your virtual assistant to make them legible and accessible!
5. Booking your holiday
It may seem like a luxury to hire a virtual assistant to arrange a holiday for you, but if you’re swamped with work and aren’t in a position to pass on some of that to someone externally, then why not free up your down time instead?
Lots of people hate all the research and time that goes into booking a holiday; where do we go, how do we get there, where’s the best deal, what do we do when we arrive…? But others love this kind of organisation and would be ecstatic to be able to help you on your way to relaxation by sorting out all your holiday plans, leaving you to go ahead and enjoy them all without the stress of planning!
Depending on how much control you want to pass over, different virtual assistants will do anything from researching and sending you the best deals to arranging and booking the whole itinerary! This means you can either spend that new-found free time working some more on your business or relax and enjoy your free time doing exactly what you want.
I hope that you now have a better idea of just some of the things that a virtual assistant can help you with, either with your business or in your personal life. A list of some of my services can be found here, or feel free to get in touch to ask about anything you’ve read here or to discover if I could help you find more than 24 hours in your day.
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