Virtual assistance

What is a virtual assistant? Virtual assistants are like godsent helpers who can take care of routine work in your business. This frees up your time to strategise, work on critical Read more



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Virtual assistance

What is a virtual assistant?

Virtual assistants are like godsent helpers who can take care of routine work in your business. This frees up your time to strategise, work on critical tasks or simply give yourself a break. Typically, you won’t have any face-to-face interaction with your virtual assistants as they are based elsewhere, working from home or in their own offices.

They work on routine tasks that are often manual, which usually follow a set of procedures and rules without any or much decision making. This is the biggest difference between a virtual assistant and a freelancer or a service provider, who are hired for their expertise and ideas.


What services do virtual assistants offer?

You can hire virtual assistants for pretty much anything nowadays. Below are the common services which a virtual assistant can provide.

  1. General Admin: Organising and replying emails, scheduling, managing reception, handling documentation, drafting presentations, and other secretarial duties
  2. Finance:  Sending invoices and doing data entries
  3. Research & Analytics: Collating data and stats, generating monthly reports and analytics
  4. Marketing: Organising newsletters and emails, scheduling social media posts and executing daily marketing plans
  5. Customer service: Managing customer calls and emails, providing customer support
  6. Project management: Scheduling, following up, reporting and general project administration
  7. Website: Updating the website’s content, testing, reporting errors or bugs


How much does a VA cost?

It depends on the service you are after, as well as the skill level and experience that the virtual assistant possess. They may charge by the hour or offer a package with a basic fee.

As a general guide, the more specialised a task is, the more expensive the rate is per hour. While overseas virtual assistants tend to be cheaper than Australian virtual assistants, there are many disadvantages for hiring someone offshore.

  • Time difference: If your task is time-sensitive, then it’s best to hire an Australian virtual assistant instead.
  • Language barrier: Overseas virtual assistants may not be as proficient in English as an Australian assistant, which makes it hard to work together.
  • Local knowledge: Foreign virtual assistants may not have the local know-how and understand trends, cultural sensitivities and the local lingo.
  • Quality of work: A cheaper foreign virtual assistant may lack the experience and education needed to handle your business tasks.


How do I choose a virtual assistant?

Currently, there is no designated or single qualification for a virtual assistant. They are usually experienced in performing the required tasks from previous employment, businesses or have graduated in the specific area.

Some virtual assistants cater to a specific target market such as home businesses and startups, or a specific industry. Consider these factors when choosing a virtual assistant:

  • Their experience and education background
  • Previous clients and industries
  • Location and time zone, if relevant to your business
  • References, if available
  • English proficiency
  • Costs
  • Personality and character. You need to hire someone you feel comfortable talking to, who you can get along with and is proactive and honest.


How do you work effectively with a virtual assistant?

1. Give proper training

Your business is unique, so you need to train your virtual assistant before handing over the tasks. You may also have some personal preferences on how you want a job done.

2. Document all procedures and rules

Ensure you have a comprehensive set of documents outlining all the details, procedures and rules. This will help your virtual assistant immensely in delivering an excellent job. Getting someone up to speed is also quicker with proper documentation.

3. Be clear on your expectations

Clarify your goals and what you expect from them. This includes KPIs, reporting and communication. Defining these items clearly will help avoid any confusion and disappointment.

4. Never let go completely

Always check in with them, get their feedback and discuss things with an open mind. You should offer support and guidance in the early days to establish a good working relationship.

5. Think long term

Always work towards building a long-term relationship with your virtual assistant. Hiring and firing frequently means you will waste money and lose productivity, which will impact your business.