No man is an island. Along the way, we find ourselves in a situation that we cannot overcome alone. Operating a business is like that; there are different tasks that need attention at the same time. 

This situation is prevalent especially at the beginnings of any business. To give you a more thorough inspection, we have searched Reddit, a social media forum site, to find out the experiences of people who have personally hired virtual assistants.

Virtual Assistant (VA) is the way to go as u/anbende, original poster, pointed out. There are daily tasks that are time-sensitive. Fortunately, the internet opens the world of sourcing talent across the globe.

1. Assess First

The adage that “a goal without a plan is just a wish” is true to any course of our life and so does in hiring VA. There are hundreds, thousands even, of potential talent that will be working side by side with you as you grow your business.

Assessment must include your NOW – the current standing of your business and needs. Do not hire for your business’s prospects. Although, it is a good practice to have a vision but do not forget your present.

As what u/traveling force pointed out, assessing your own needs comes first before checking off the qualities of virtual assistants. You may have hired a candidate with stellar qualities but without proper role appropriation, then everything is in vain

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If you still don’t know where to find your next virtual assistant, read our previous blog post: “How to Hire a Virtual Assistant?”. _________________________________________________________________________

2. Delegate: Five Tasks

Building business from the ground is an exhausting, albeit fulfilling endeavor. Micromanaging every aspect is such a norm to any startup. After all, every detail must be checked and be up to your standards, right?

NEWSFLASH: It is toxic! A business management study1 suggests that micromanagement is among the top three reasons employees resign. These are demonstrated in symptoms such as low employee morale, high staff turnover, reduction of productivity, and patient dissatisfaction that can be associated with micromanagement. Hence, delegate. 

Looking inwards can be challenging as not most of us are introspective. You can try u/Twice-Knightley’s simple approach in finding out your own needs. This is very practical because it incorporates real-life scenarios of the things you are mindful of the moment you start your day. 

It may not just be five tasks, it can go high and low depending on the demands of projects. As business evolves, so are its demands and tasks. Ask yourself: what are these top tasks you must do yourself and others that you can delegate to others? 

8 Tedious, Mundane Tasks that can be Delegated

Phone Operation. The phone operation now includes answering video calls. This is time-consuming especially if you tend to different people. 

Email Management.  Businesses receive thousands of emails every day and it would take a long time to go through ALL of them.

Calendar Management. Calendar management lets you be on top of everything and ensure you penciled in important dates. It includes reminders and appointment setting.

Event Coordination. Networking is the key to a flourishing business. There are a lot of leads to follow up on. 

Booking Travel. Networking and traveling go hand in hand. Focus on your presentation and win that client. Let others do the things in the background.

Create reports. This task includes writing and editing reports. This needs mental fortitude and critical thinking.

Research. Research brings relevance and mileage by being in the knowledge of current trends.

Personal errands. Having a VA will help you achieve a work-life balance. They can do online shopping for your family or arrange dates for any special occasion.

What is it like to delegate?

Study2 shows that delegation is both a process and a condition. The process is the act of assigning work to an employee; the condition of delegating a job is a thorough and mutual understanding between the supervisor and the employee of specific results and methods by which these results can be achieved. 

It forges trust and builds bonds between people that work for the company. 

A fresh perspective and different approaches is another advantage of delegating tasks. There will be additional creative outputs or technical matters that they know more than you.

3. Mastery matters!

Indeed it is tempting to hire a candidate with stellar credentials, but we have to stay focused on our prior goal of assigning tasks. Do not fall into the trap of good on paper, bad in practice.

User u/Sirarp has a more specific approach of succinctly describing a particular task that a VA will handle. If you are engaged in e-commerce, your future VA must have marketing acumen. Others may just need someone to handle clerical tasks, a VA who is detail-oriented is certainly up to that.

7 Fields of specialization of Virtual Assistant

  • Customer Service. They handle customer support such as phone operation and email management. They are the forefront personnel that answers queries or follows up on requests of customers. CSR, customer service representative
  • Content Creator. Write-up is their game. They write engaging stories and informative articles. This helps curate content marketing that serves as a hook to potential customers searching for a certain product or service.
  • Social Media Manager. As mentioned earlier, networking brings potential clients to the business. Nowadays, there are different platforms to advertise such as Facebook and LinkedIn. SMM specializes in maximizing leads by analyzing traffic data and 
  • Bookkeeper. They record financial transactions of business such as purchase, collection, and disbursements. They update the ledger and keep its integrity. They also prepare a Financial Statement which will then be used by the management for relevant decision making.
  • Human Resource. They aid in governing the workforce, from screening to training. They are also handling administrative paper works and oversee employees’ performance and concerns. 
  • Researcher. Relevant product searches such as trends and craze are concerns of researchers.  They can also be tasked to research technical or obscure topics.
  • Executive Assistant. They worked closely with a managing official and had direct orders from them. Their tasks are clerical and versatile to the needs of the person they are working with.

BONUS TIP: Top Four qualities to look for in virtual assistants?

  • Tech-savvy. The right VA must know rudimentary computer skills and productivity applications such as MS Word or Excel. They must also know how to navigate the Internet as online research skills are important in cross-checking facts.
  • Excellent communication skills. Competent VA must display strong verbal and written skills. It is one of their selling points in marketing their skills. They will also be dealing with customers and representing their company in the virtual world.
  • Organized and detail-oriented. Managing a business is chaotic. Having an organized mindset and workplace is a plus. Moreover, the right VA must have keen eyes checking details and errors.
  • Competent technical skills. Technical skills varied in different functional areas. These are better illustrated with the different specializations of virtual assistants.

Still undecided whether that candidate is the RIGHT virtual assistant?

Some would say that it is still better to hire for the role, not the task while others would go for hiring people with the right skills for the job. You have to weigh your preferences and what other aspects you are willing to let go of or cannot live without.

Check your progress along the way. Reassess your relationship with your VA and work on things that you both are having trouble with. Unsatisfaction arises when both do not meet in the middle. Be clear on your goals and gauge your VA performance.

Our takeaway here is that hiring a VA is a two-way street. VA is not a fix-all solution, rather dependable support to have managing multiple tasks. 

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Check out Upsource Virtual Assistant services and find out the perfect plan for your needs.

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Resources:

1. Collins SK, Collins KS. Micromanagement–a costly management style. Radiol Manage. 2002 Nov-Dec;24(6):32-5. PMID: 12510608.

2. Duehring GL. Delegation: developing the habit. Radiol Manage. 2001 Jul-Aug;23(4):16-20, 22, 24. PMID: 11499078.