What is a Virtual Assistant – That is the Question14 Minute Read
What is a Virtual Assistant Anyway?
Entrepreneurship can seem incredibly appealing to people that are on the outside looking in. You get to set your own hours, focus on your passions, and reap almost all of the profits from your brilliant business ideas, what’s not to like? A lot, as it turns out. A recent Gallup poll revealed that the average business owner works over 60-hours a week. With 62% of survey respondents indicating that the stress induced by those long hours and fluctuating revenues is a very real concern. But is a healthy work-life balance really possible in today’s ultra-competitive operating environment? Without a doubt! But to do so, you need to ask another question: what is a virtual assistant and how can I go about outsourcing administrative work?
How an Online Secretary Service Can Benefit Your Business
Over the past decade, assistants have gone from glorified secretaries to key staff members in a variety of businesses. These employees act as front-line strategists, implementing best management practices across all areas of the organization. While VAs may not offer specialist expertise in any single skill, they usually have a working knowledge of many functions including IT, Finance, Marketing, and HR. The type of multi-disciplinary support offered by these employees can prove absolutely essential to a novice business owner.
Unfortunately, qualified in-house administrative support staff will usually cost far more than most business owners are willing to pay. On average, full-time employees earn around $35,000 a year, without factoring in 401k contributions, benefits, PTO, recruitment, training, and additional infrastructure requirements.
By comparison, off-shore administrative staff can cost you as little as $4 an hour, although these freelancers are generally not up to the task of handling more complex business activities. But even if you’re outsourcing administrative work to US-based VA’s that offer top-tier functional expertise and experience you will still spend far less than you would on a similarly skilled permanent employee.
We know what you’re thinking: yes, but what is a remote worker going to be able to do on a budget, that’s as limited as mine? The answer is a lot, and here’s how.
What is a Virtual Assistant Worth?
While in-office secretaries can prove extremely valuable in a lot of situations, they can seem somewhat superfluous when business is slow and clients aren’t calling in. In these cases, you might even wonder whether they’re worth the hefty salary. After all, that money is coming out of your take-home profit.
Conversely, you’ll never find yourself asking: what is a virtual assistant doing for my business because these employees work on a needs-basis. You only need to pay them for the hours they work. That means no benefits, no bonuses, no extravagant salaries, no equipment costs, and certainly no vacation time. You get all the advantages of a qualified, full-time employee without any of the expenses, and there’s no catch!
What Online Secretary Services Bring to the Table
In practice, online secretary services can take care of just about any task you want. As long as it can be outsourced, they can do it. Here is a brief rundown of the types of services you can expect.
50% of businesses fail by their fifth year. According to research aggregator StatsBrain, the majority of these failures are due to financial incompetence. In particular, non-payment of taxes, inadequate budgeting, and a lack of bookkeeping experience. The numbers don’t lie bookkeeping is essential for keeping your business on solid footing.
A remote bookkeeper can take over your daily ledgers and accounts. By outsourcing administrative work to a reputable company you can ensure that your bills are being paid on time and that customers are making necessary payments within a reasonable period. Apart from managing accounts receivable and payable, remote bookkeepers can also compile all the necessary documentation for annual and quarterly tax filings. If you need to budget for a new capital expenditure then these remote workers can also help you understand whether your existing financial position allows for that kind of expenditure.
So if you’re thinking: what is a virtual assistant actually doing every day? The answer is they might be making sure that it remains financially stable for years to come.
2. Outsourcing Administrative Work
While answering calls and mailing invoices might seem like relatively minor tasks. These activities can take up hours of your life without contributing anything substantial to your bottom line. At the same time, neglecting these communications might well cost you some of your most important clients. By outsourcing administrative work you have the assurance that both basic and complex support activities are completed according to your expectations.
When it comes to administrative work, you never have to ask: what is a virtual assistant offering, because they’re right there providing administrative support to almost every area of your business. An online secretary service should be able to handle the following tasks with ease:
- Managing and answering emails.
- Booking client appointments.
- Initiating follow-ups with important clients and first-time customers.
- Managing your works schedule and appointments.
- Organizing your digital files.
- Answering client messages.
- Handling travel and accommodation arrangements for business trips.
- Basic data entry.
3. Digital Marketing
In the 21st century, every business needs an online presence. By outsourcing administrative work to A2ZVA, you gain access to a range of digital marketing skills that can help you establish and expand your digital brand.
SEO – 75% of Google searches never go past the first page. If you want to draw traffic to your website and boost conversions in the process, your company need to show up on the first page of a Google search. A digitally savvy remote marketer can research keywords that will help you optimize your online content, and they can even seek out online partnerships with popular companies that could let you set up a system of backlinks to further increase your chances of a top ranking.
Social Media Management – Customers expect every business to be digitally accessible, and they demand instant responses to the feedback provided through these online channels. When someone references your business with a hashtag or posts a complaint to your or Facebook page then they’re looking for immediate action. An on-the-ball VA can answer these concerns professionally, promptly and politely at all hours of the day, and keep your online reputation as pristine as possible in the process.
Website Design – Statistics suggest that you have only 7 seconds to grab an online visitor’s attention before they navigate away from your website. What is a virtual assistant supposed to do to change that? They can help you redesign your website in order to make it easy to browse, quicker to load and ultimately more attractive to look at.