Originally Created on:
February 1st, 2011 at 9:38 PM
In my last blog post I mentioned that we have to outsource tasks that can be done cheaper and more efficiently by others. I have an assistant in my office that performs the tasks that need to be handled in person – answering my phone, faxing, scanning, managing my direct marketing campaigns, etc. Now I know some entrepreneurs who are able to outsource all of those tasks to answering services and mail houses. I choose to keep those in house. Sometimes it is just easier to hand the task to the person sitting right next to you.
Now for all the other routine tasks I am using a virtual assistant (VA). They include marketing research, data entry, and managing and growing my social media networks. You need to develop a system that will explain the process in step by step detail. I communicate with my VA by email and it works well. You can set up a Skype account if you feel it is needed.
You can find VAs online at Elance.com, Odesk.com, Craig’s List, Facebook or Twitter. My VA was already training in my software, so she was able to hit the ground running. She is located in the Philippines. VAs are available all over the world, including the United States. The more specialized the task the more you will pay.
I was very skeptical at first. Last year, I had a full time assistant who took another job. Needless to say, I was paying her more than the VA. I hired a new assistant, but she could only work part time. The tasks my old assistant used to do were backing up, so I ended up completing some of the tasks. This was a poor use of my time. So I bit the bullet, took action, and hired my first VA. Now I don’t know how I would function without her.
VAs can do anything on the web, such as research, data entry, setting up social media and video websites. If my VA didn’t do these tasks, they would never get accomplished. I use my VA for web research all the time. For example, I wanted a list of all of the films that were nominated for all of the movie awards this year. Instead of wasting time surfing the web, I emailed my VA. Within minutes, I had an email of all the movies broken down by award. She even highlighted the winners in red – nice. That allowed me to work on some other more important tasks.
You can hire local VAs too. Someone who is local but would rather work out of their home – like stay at home Moms, students, and retired people. They could come into your office once, to be trained, and then they are on their own. If set up correctly, the VA can be an independent contractor, that will not require payroll taxes. (Notice: See your C.P.A. for tax advice, I am not an accountant)
The sky is the limit as to what a VA can do for you. In addition to allowing you to concentrate on more pressing tasks, a major benefit of a VA is they will allow you to enjoy your life with your family and friends instead of being changed to your desk, and isn’t that what we all want?