using-virtual-assistants

This article was contributed by Sean Drayton, Founder and Managing Director of Top SEO Pages.

With the fast paced lifestyle we all live in these days who would not want an extra hand with tasks such as bill paying, basic word processing, phone answering, appointment scheduling and calendar maintenance. Virtual Assistants are now becoming an ever increasing asset to businesses and entrepreneurs. You can even train your assistants to go beyond administrative support activities to client development and marketing support activities. Some will even design web pages, manage your social media marketing, etc.

Does it sound a little far-fetched? Well, it is the latest service to be put at your fingertips via the computer screen. Yes, you can now hire a virtual assistant or even hire a professional assistance at the click of a mouse button. It sounds like the perfect solution for the busy entrepreneur (or even the busy mother!) and it actually is the perfect solution.

You may have many reasons, as well as financing constraints that prevent you from hiring a personal assistant, even though it’s obvious you need one. Consider this, wouldn’t it be great if you had an assistant that was always ready to work for you, but only when you needed him or her? This new labour force can work for your business 24/7, even while you sleep, now that alone provides practical solutions for small businesses and busy people who are time constrained.

Think of it as like hiring a temp from the employment agency. The virtual assistant is self-employed, bills only for the hours worked or by tasks completed, and is dependent on referrals and steady work flow from existing clients.

Add to that the fact that your assistant is cheap to keep, no coffee expenses and no vacation pay or sick leave! The virtual assistant is already computer-trained so there will be no need to train them on the mere basics! If you have a small office you will not need to worry about extra furniture, loss of privacy, taxes, insurances, etc.

Your work place can still be your private domain, but the workload will be easier. There is no need for you and the virtual assistant to even live in the same city. Work assignments are communicated through e-mail, phone, messaging platforms (ie: Skype), etc.

As mentioned above, you can take advantage of Web-based tools such as instant messengers, like Skype and Facebook as a means of communicating. Other Web-tools you can utilise to manage your virtual assistant work force includes managing: schedule changes, project reports, or customer-service alerts, payroll and can all be performed immediately online. A virtual assistant work force will also create a presence of “size” for your company, which will impress potential clients.

There are several effective ways to find a virtual assistant. Simply enter “virtual assistant” into Google search engine. Another solution is to search the directory at Staffcentrix.

Staffcentrix is a resource/support company for virtual assistants. You can manually check the pool of virtual assistants, or use the free referral service to search the database for those who most closely match your needs.

In the directory, you can learn about each VA’s experience levels, education achievements, services provided, computer capabilities, email and phone contact details and numerous other contact information. There is also an international association of virtual assistants which has a comprehensive directory of included individuals available to assist you with your personal or business needs..

Once you have chosen the VA who most closely matches your needs, set up contact via email. Most virtual assistants will expect to have to prove themselves by completing small projects of an hour or two. Any more than that and they should be paid for their time.

You can set up payment arrangements by time or task. The charge could be anything from $10.00 per hour to $35.00 per hour. Hiring a virtual assistant is well worth the time and effort as it helps to reduce your workload and stress levels, allowing you to focus your time on working on your business and not in your business. Fit Small Business has a comparison guide showcasing who they believe offers the best virtual assistant service which you can read here.

About the Author

Sean Drayton is a Perth SEO Expert and the Founder and Managing Director of Top SEO Pages (http://topseopages.com.au). Sean has an extensive career in the IT industry spanning over 20 years and numerous qualifications to accompany that experience. Combining his IT experience along with his entrepreneurial business services, his company is well positioned to help businesses grow their online presence.