Posts Tagged ‘Channel VA’

Twenty years ago assistants were only available to senior executives, managers & hot shots! Today, the internet allows even the most modestly funded entrepreneur & employer to hire their own assistant for practically any task of their choosing.

Q: What is a Virtual Assistant?
A: Virtual Assistants or VA’s are freelance workers that  assist executives, entrepreneurs & busy professionals by providing administrative services for a fee

Q: Where do they work from?
A: VA’s work from their own office away from their clients

Q: How do they charge?
A: Usually by the hours and it will vary from between £15-55 per hour depending on the services provided and the amount of hours used. Most VA’s will sell blocks of time to clients who use them on a regular basis and usually for a reduced hourly rate.

Some interesting figures:

74.1% of VA’s are based in the USA, followed by 9% in Canada, 8.2% in Australia & 3.3% in the UK.

Unless you get to meet your VA face to face you will probably find them via on-line networking & marketing sites so it can be hard to know who you can trust unless you have had a recommendation or referral. So here are a few things you may want to consider:

  • Look for VA’s with higher education or equivalent experience working as an executive PA with a large business or corporation or has the equivalent experience as a VA
  • They should have experience with common software such as email, Word, Excel, Publisher etc as well as many of the on-line programmes used for accounting, databases, newsletters etc
  • Ask about their ability to meet a deadline unsupervised and give them achievable ones – they are human after all and not super heroes!
  • Any VA should know their own skills and market only those. Beware of any VA who offers to do it all
  • Ask for at least one supportable positive reference.
  • Identify their credentials and experience
  • Many VA’s have a high level of education and experience in business situations. Remember, this person will be handling your personal arrangements and various work tasks so screen candidates carefully and look for someone whose background matches the work you require

Once you have found your VA you will need to spend some time with them (usually remotely) going through the tasks you want them to take on and sometimes showing them how to use any software they may not be familiar with.

  • Assign all regular tasks that divert you from your core duties. These tasks should be ones that are not crucial to the work you do & will unnecessarily eat up your time such as scheduling meetings, reservations, sending out newsletters or updating the CRM
  • Be clear about the deliverables you expect. This includes format of the file, number of files, method of delivery, due date etc. Leaving things to chance is a recipe for disaster
  • Give detailed instructions. In the early days your VA will not know your preferences. During the first few weeks/months be explicit in your communication about what you need – dates, locations etc – so there is no confusion about the process
  • Establish a process and policies. Over time begin to organise your preferences into polices. This will make it possible to send simple requests and know that it has been handled as you required
  • Define & reinforce these policies over time. The first few times your VA impresses you with their actions commend them on their work and emphasise that this is exactly what you expect in the future

Things to avoid

While the precise methods you use to develop your VA will vary, there are several mistakes that can be damaging to your working relationship. Avoid the following:

  • Do not use your VA to do tasks best performed by yourself.VA’s are there to free up your time and not to perform critical tasks on your behalf.  For example do not use VA’s to compose your blog posts – you are the expert in your field and know what you want to say. However use them to load the post to your site and give it the exposure it requires
  • Do not give your VA too much responsibility too soon. Allow them to prove themselves on increasingly bigger projects before trusting them with important documents or your credit card details!
  • Do not send instructions that could be misinterpreted. Every vague detail introduces the chance of confusion and the best instructions are those which are not ambiguous
  • Do not overreact to early mistakes. Even the most experienced VA will make mistakes in the beginning. So you should accept that your VA will occasionally make small errors
REMEMBER…DO WHAT YOU DO BEST & DELEGATE THE REST

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“Don’t keep him waiting, child! Why, his time is worth a thousand pounds a minute!” Lewis Carroll, “Through the Looking Glass”

How often do you say you have no time? You’re pushed for time, short of time, can’t find the time. Lack of time is the excuse of choice for not doing all sorts of jobs: tackling the office admin, sorting out the filing, organising your business contacts, writing another blog post … the list is endless.

Yet time is one commodity we all share equally: everybody on the planet has 60 minutes in every hour, 24 hours in every day. The difference between people who get things done and those who don’t isn’t in the amount of time they have, but how they use it. And how you use your time depends to some extent on how you value it.

Is your time worth a thousand pounds a minute? Probably not: Lewis Carroll was having a bit of a go at Victorian materialism when he picked that figure, and even today, Britain’s richest man, the Duke of Westminster, only makes £1020 a minute! My standard fee is £30 an hour, so my time is worth just 50p a minute!

Even if the value of your time is measured in pence rather than pounds, it’s a good idea to try and understand how much your time is worth and how it compares with that of other people. You may find that you’re wasting time and missing business opportunities by doing routine jobs yourself instead of paying someone else to do them. The concept isn’t easy to get your head round, so here’s a couple of examples:

A plumber charges £75 an hour and is in constant demand, yet he’ll give up three or four hours of his time every month to do the books. In four hours he’s losing £300 in potential earnings and it could cost him £120 to get this job done!

So what is your time worth? Are you making the best use of your time or wasting it doing jobs that someone else could do for less?

The above is a shortened version of a Blog written by Ruth Billheimer from My Paper Work, a Bradford based Virtual Assistant. To read the full article please click on the link below.

How much is your time worth? | My Paper Work.

Who needs a Virtual Assistant?

More and more people are becoming familiar with the term “Virtual Assistant” or “VA” but who actually needs one? The answer is simple, anyone who owns a business!

Hiring a full or part-time employee can be expensive and many small businesses cannot afford them, however this doesn’t mean they don’t need one. In today’s tough economy it is even more important to spend time on building your business and providing excellent customer service to keep the business and clients you already have. We all know there are only so many hours in the day and it is often impossible for everything to be done by one person, especially those seemingly mundane, but important, daily admin tasks. This is when delegating to a VA can be a life saver.

So what type of business can benefit from the services of a Virtual Assistant? Small business owners, entrepreneurs, consultants, coaches and trainers, therapists, photographers, artists, journalists…the list is practically endless. There are so many small business owners who are overwhelmed with the amount of work they need to do to run their own business and need the help of an assistant.
Many business owners are unfamiliar with virtual administrative professionals and the services available. Some may feel that cannot afford one and continue to struggle with everything themselves, some may outsource to a variety of professionals rather than utilise the knowledge and expertise of one VA.

Why Hire a Virtual Assistant?

VA’s are your online, personal assistants who perform a variety of workloads including clerical, administrative and creative tasks such as:
• Schedule appointments
• Coordinate with clients, partners and other employees
• Screen and make calls
• Monitor emails
• Prepare reports and documents
• Update accounts and expenses
• Update blogs & websites
• Update client databases
• Create and send newsletters

VA’s are flexible with the length of service they provide as hours and requirements will differ from client to client and some VA’s will just specialise in specific jobs such as handling emails or incoming sales enquiries.

While a full or part-time employee is paid regardless of the amount of work given to them a VA is paid only when their services are needed. This means less expense to you because you are only paying for the time used to complete your work and not for any down time or coffee breaks!

Today’s technology and the speed that the internet gives us in the delivery and exchange of information means that communication today is as effective as face to face interactions. The internet continuously reaches new horizons and the world is becoming a smaller place which means that employment is not hindered by space and distance.

So why hire a VA? Because today’s technology means you can!

Channel Virtual Assistance

…when you need to cut your costs but not your service!

We are frequently being told by the government and economists that we are coming out of the recession and there’s an increase in economic activity. It will be interesting to see how the latest VAT increase is going to affect things as we are all anxious about our costs and everyone’s aim is to get back on track by cost cutting. One effective way is to sub-contract or outsource work to a third-party.

Outsourcing and contracting out is making its mark in the business world as more of us make the decision to delegate work outside our own companies. There are numerous reasons to sub-contract work: cost savings, focus on your core business objectives and more leisure time are just a few. Using the services of a Virtual Assistant is the best method to outsource your work load or projects.  Many of you will think that using a VA  is an extra cost to the business, but this is not the case. There are many ways in which a VA earns more for your business than the cost of hiring them, so when you need to cut costs, but not your service – a Virtual Assistant is the answer.

When you hire a VA there is no long-term commitment, so you can, not only reduce your payroll, you can also ensure that your work is completed within budget and as efficiently as by a full-time employee.

VA’s have a network of professionals and associates to help them so when you engage a VA you have access to this entire team, their expertise and knowledge. A full-time employee would not necessarily have this network behind them. You don’t need to hire a full or part-time individual to act as an office secretary because a VA can do this for you remotely. You don’t have to pay for office space, equipment, maintenance; salaries etc. as Virtual Assistants work from their own office and use their own equipment.

Cost wise, it makes sense to outsource your projects and business admin as this is the best way to cut down on costs without cutting down on your service, and you can focus growing your business.
Benefits to hiring a Virtual Assistant

• You do not need to provide office space or equipment
• Gives you the time to focus on your strengths and core business objectives
• As VA’s are not employees, you will not have to deal with taxes or benefits
• VA’s are committed to your success so that you continue to use their services
• You do not need to pay for any training
• You will be more productive and accomplish more
• Routine tasks can be outsourced and left in capable hands

A great thing about VA’s is that they are able to help you get your business running smoothly, whether you are a small, large or a growing business. They will be able to take some of the burdens off your shoulders and allow you to focus on what you do best.

It’s all about cost-effective delegation, so do what you do best and delegate the rest!

Caroline Brett, Channel VA

“Virtual assistants are independent contractors who (from a remote location, usually their home or office) support multiple clients in a variety of industries by providing administrative, creative, and technical services.” International Virtual Assistants Association

Virtual Assistants or VA’s have been around since the early 1990’s and despite being a growing industry I am still surprised to find that it is still relatively unknown. When asked what I do I reply “A Virtual Assistant or VA”. I either get “Wow, that’s great” or more often than not a completely blank look along with a prod in the arm and “you don’t look very virtual to me”!

So now I tend to give the reply “I provide administrative services and support to companies, entrepreneurs and busy professionals” which seems to sum it up in. People are often unaware of the technology which makes it possible for VA’s to do their jobs and not be positioned in someone else’s office. I am constantly amazed by what’s out there, free and subscription based, which makes my work life as a VA easier and possible.

So, Virtual Assistants or VA’s are professional people who support businesses with the administration, clerical, technical, marketing, creative and day-to-day operations. VA’s are independent contractors, not employees and do the same work as office based staff, not in your office but their own. They only charge for the time spent on your work so you’re not paying for office space & equipment, tax & NIC, coffee breaks, holidays and time off when ill!

At the end of the day, there must be plenty of jobs that you would like to move off your desk to that of an assistant. Some businesses do not need a full-time assistant, so the answer is using the services of a Virtual Assistant. Think about the daily, weekly or monthly tasks which you either dislike doing, haven’t got the time to do or just don’t know how to do. If you work out how much time you spend on these tasks you’ll see that your time is best utilised concentrating on the core aspects of your business. Think about the time you spend doing some of the following: database management, bookkeeping, blogging, social media marketing, website updates, marketing support, handling emails, arranging appointments, research and much more

It’s all about cost-effective delegation, so do what you do best and delegate the rest!

Caroline