Many Hands Make Light Work – The Virtual Assistant
Hands up who wants an assistant to help them with the bill paying, basic word processing, phone answering, appointment scheduling and calendar maintenance. You can even train this assistant to go beyond administrative support to client development and marketing support. Some will even design web pages.
Does it sound a little far-fetched? Well, it is the latest service to be put at your fingertips via the computer screen. It is one more step past the installing the computer into your kitchen cabinets.
Yes you can now hire a virtual assistant; you can hire professional assistance at the click of a mouse. It sounds like the perfect solution for the busy entrepreneur (or even the busy mother!)
One of the problems with a real human personal assistant is that of making sure you have enough chores to keep them busy for the duration of their stay. Another problem is that just when you could use them – they are off for a few days. No such problem with this system!
You may have many reasons, as well as financing, that prevent you from hiring a personal assistant, even though it’s obvious you need one. 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? Meet the virtual assistant, a creative new labor force that provides practical solutions for small businesses, busy people and job growth potential for outsourcers.
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. Sounds like the perfect solution for a busy lifestyle.
This 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! If you have a small office you will not need to worry about extra furniture or loss of privacy.
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, fax, “snail mail,” or diskette.
You can take advantage of Web-based tools such as instant messengers, like ICQ, and online calendars and planners are often used as a means of communicating. Schedule changes, project reports, or customer-service alerts can be performed immediately. The virtual assistant can lend “size” to 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 of each V.A.s experience level, services provided, computer capabilities, email and URL address, and other contact information. There is also an international association of virtual assistants which has a comprehensive directory.
Once you have chosen the V.A. 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 $15.00 per hour to $35.00 per hour. Hiring a virtual assistant also gives a new excuse for forgetting things; “Oh my virtual assistant has overlooked that.” may leave a few people speechless!