Helloooooooo summer!!!! Okay, okay… summer officially begins June 20 but we are gearing up for a special month. This is your Virtual Assistant Summer School session. This is where we will be getting back to the basics of the life of a Virtual Assistant, why people use people like us, what value we add, how we do what we do, and more.
If you are a new VA, an aspiring VA, a seasoned VA, or maybe considering hiring a VA, this month is for all of you! So, welcome to our little summer starter and refresher course: Virtual Assistant 101.
We often get asked, “Why would anyone hire a VA?” The real question should be “Why wouldn’t you hire a VA?” The best place to start is to explain what a Virtual Assistant does and what value we can add to a person or a business.
A VA can do lots of things, but here are the top 10 tasks we perform on the daily.
Most of us VA’s are schedule junkies. We love all things plan, organize, date, and time. You will find a collection of pretty calendars on our desks or an array of tech tools on our phones and computers. We color code, sticky note, list, and notify our days (and others’) into perfect order.
Because there are so many calendar tools available online, the most basic thing we can do for our clients is manage their calendars; from meetings to dance lessons, we can do it all…and we do. We make sure our clients aren’t overbooked and their priorities are first and foremost.
2. Managing Email
I have friends who have thousands of unopened and un-dealt-with emails in their inboxes. I also have many clients who come to me in the same predicament. It is really hard to get a handle on daily tasks with an inbox that looks like a teenager’s closet floor. A clean and tidy inbox is a mini-vacation for the brain. A Virtual Assistant can and should be able to handle organizing and responding to emails for their clients. Of course, how to handle a client’s inbox requires clear communication on their goals and priorities.
3. Social Tasks
A Virtual Assistant isn’t exclusive to big or small businesses, but can be of serious value to anyone by handling social tasks. These include, but aren’t limited to, writing and/or mailing birthday cards, helping manage big moves, and keeping track of social obligations. To do this successfully, a Virtual Assistant must be able to adapt to the various “voices” of their clients and understand their sensitivities and cultural influences.
4. Online Research
Need help finding the best Father’s Day gift for a basketball-loving CPA? A Virtual Assistant can do that. Need to locate the best grocery delivery service in your area? A Virtual Assistant can do that? What to upgrade your business's phone system? A Virtual Assistant can help you find the best one for your needs. A VA can help research other companies, keep track of what the competition is doing, vet future employees, and discover new products.
5. Database Entry
Not many people can handle database entry; it’s simple but tedious and takes attention to detail without getting bored and “zoning out.” People, for the most part, hate data entry. However, for a Virtual Assistant, data entry is often our bread and butter. And many of us actually enjoy it! Our desire for order, rhyme, and reason are feed by completing organized lines of information in data entry. There is no shame in this game.
Keeping tabs on bills, unpaid invoices, and other bookkeeping tasks are easily handled by a talented Virtual Assistant. However, as with many other tasks passed to a VA, this one definitely requires some letting go by the client. But, in order for a client to do this, the VA must be completely trustworthy and the VA must be willing to provide all the necessary information for a background check to be performed.
7. Travel Research
We love traveling over here at Team CMVA and travel research is one of our favorite tasks. We can look up the best State Parks road trips, the coolest family friendly, all-inclusive resort in Hawaii, and find the loveliest Bed & Breakfast in France. And we can figure out how to get to your destination the fastest and cheapest. We do all the research so our clients don’t have to!
8. Industry Knowledge Research
The research continues by looking up the latest in any given industry. If our client is a pediatric dentist, we will use the internet to research the latest tools in pediatric dentistry and list resources for email updates, social media posts, twitter feeds, and more.
9. Social Media Management
Speaking of Twitter feeds…not only can we do the industry research, we can also manage social media accounts that send out the information to current and future business for our clients. Did Jennifer Aniston just tell Cosmo in an interview that her favorite indulgence is Almond Croissants? Well, she didn’t, but if she did we would use this information for a new Twitter and Facebook post for our bakery client who, of course, would make the best Almond Croissant in town.
10. Data Presentations
A good Virtual Assistant will have a strong knowledge of PowerPoint or other presentation programs and be able to accurately and efficiently assimilate the information from a word document, email, etc. into a clear and concise presentation.
A Virtual Assistant is certainly not limited to this list, but mastering these basics is the best place for a new VA to start. And it’s the foundation of a successful VA business in the future. As a VA, what is your favorite thing you do for your clients? As a business owner or entrepreneur, where could you most use a VA’s help?