What is a Virtual Assistant? – INFOGRAPHIC

The term “Virtual Assistant” is becoming more and more known by the day as businesses begin to realize the advantages of outsourcing tasks in a world where broadband Internet allows people to communicate and share files almost instantaneously from great distances. Even though this is the case, many still have no idea what it means, or they may have a preconceived notion of the term that doesn’t really fit with the VA of today. Who is a Virtual Assistant? What is a Virtual Assistant business? Is a VA simply a remote “secretary”, or are there different types of VAs? This infographic was created to give you a quick, visual overview of the answers to all of those questions.

What is a Virtual Assistant INFOGRAPHIC

Working Matter Virtual AssistantAbout the author: Patrick is a creative and technical Virtual Assistant and the owner of Working Matter VA. He has over 17 years experience in Information Technology and Information Management as well as a degree in Studio Art. He has the unique ability to leverage both his technical and analytic side with his creative and artistic side to produce the perfect balance. MS Office, WordPress, graphics, and Social Media are just a few of the things he can assist businesses with. Visit WorkingMatterVA.com to find out more about Patrick and his services.

How a Virtual Assistant Can Help You Grow your Business with Blog Management

Grow your Business with Blog ManagementWhile a blog is the best way to place your business in front of your market, it’s hard to handle at times. The main reason is you don’t directly make money with your blog and so it’s hard to focus your efforts on it when there are many other things you need to be doing to make money.

The downside to that is you must do things that don’t directly make you money in order to make money. Drawing traffic to your site and encouraging your viewers to make purchases from you is not something you can do without telling them why they need to do it and building trust with them. This is where your blog comes into play.

When you use your blog to discuss your products or services and provide valuable information regarding your business and your industry, people will want to read what you have to say. They’ll come back time and time again to see how you can help them and to see what you have going on. That’s why your blog is a valuable part of your business.

If you find you don’t have the time to manage your blog, you need to consider hiring a Virtual Assistant to help you. Blog management is a wonderful service for any business owner that knows the value of a blog, but doesn’t have the time or the knowledge to make it work.

Your Virtual Assistant can handle writing and scheduling posts for you. This will save you a ton of time and you’ll find it’ll be the best way to handle your blog. You’ll be able to give her topics to write about and then once you approve them, she can add an image and schedule them at the perfect time.

Another task your Virtual Assistant can handle for you is maintaining your blog. If you use WordPress, you’ll find there are regular updates for your blog that are important for safety and security reasons. She can handle those updates and make sure everything runs smoothly and perfectly.

When you hire a Virtual Assistant to help you indirectly make money for your business using your blog, you’ll find the money you spend paying her to help you will be well worth it. You’ll find she’ll help you increase your income and then you’ll begin to see how she can help you in other ways to grow your business.

SophieZo Virtually There For YouAbout the author: Sophie Zollmann of SophieZo Virtually There For You is a virtual assistant committed to working with online entrepreneurs to increase productivity and income. She provides assistance with blog, email, social media, and schedule management; WordPress website design and maintenance; 1ShoppingCart set up and maintenance; internet marketing; Real Estate support, proofreading and much more. Find out more at http://sophiezo.com.

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Do You Want it Done, or Do You Want it DONE RIGHT?

The Dangers of Working with a $4 an hour Virtual Assistant

The Dangers of Working with a $4 an hour Virtual Assistant

Search one of the many online article directories for the keyword ‘virtual assistant’ and you’ll be inundated by choices. Some of the articles in your search results will have been authored by professional virtual assistants who are truly partners and party to the success of their clients; sincerely invested in the businesses they support. The articles submitted by these VAs will be well-written, concise, informative, and generally presented with correct spelling and grammar. These are the articles worth reading, but they are few and far between. You’ll have to work to find the ‘good articles’ because they are sandwiched among a mudslide of poorly developed, keyword-stuffed pieces written and submitted by various virtual assistant ‘factories’ (for lack of a better word…). These offshore ‘service centers’ (and they’re almost always offshore, even if they’re backed by a U.S. based CEO or corporation, even if they’re fronted with a U.S. address and phone) don’t follow the same business model as a professional virtual assistant, and they don’t provide the same level of service, but they operate under the title ‘virtual assistant’.

The differences between professional virtual assistants and the offshore virtual service centers are vast, and it’s important to point out at least a few of the more glaring ones:

Professional virtual assistants are generally experienced as administrative experts and consultants, some specialize in fields they worked at in the brick-and-mortar business world for years or even decades. Professional virtual assistants are usually solopreneurs, or members of small firms or teams, delivering high-end services to clients whose businesses they are interested in supporting for the long term. A professional VA is going to work with you for the sole purpose of driving your success and supporting your goals. While a professional VA may be happy to schedule your appointments and handle data entry for you, they are equipped and skilled to lend so much more than that to your business. And because a professional virtual assistant is also a business owner, they are equally as committed to their own success as yours. Given that your bottom line reflects the quality of the work they do, they’re all the more motivated to deliver at 110% every time.

Virtual service centers or call centers have tens or even hundreds of employees manning phones and email – employees who may or may not have the real-world administrative or business experience you need to be able to rely on to see your business grow and flourish. The operator who answers and handles your service request today is no more invested in the success of your business than the operator who sits across from him (amid rows of other ‘virtual assistants’) and will answer your call tomorrow. And the stark reality is that the education systems in most of the countries that host these virtual service centers hardly prepare the agents working there to put together your marketing materials, execute your most important business communications and customer service interactions, or articulately draft your blog posts, much less further your business as a whole. These ‘VAs’ only fit the definition of virtual assistant in that they’re located quite some distance from you. The similarity ends there.

Offshoring your business administration tasks to one of these service centers appears, at first glance, to be much less expensive than partnering with a professional virtual assistant. Do the math and no one can argue that $4 or $7 per hour is much cheaper than the market rate $35 hourly most established, skilled virtual assistants bill at. But factor that equation a bit further and your $4 an hour ‘investment’ will very likely end up costing you much, much more in wasted time, poorly executed results, unfinished requests and projects that require ‘fixing’.

Cheap and fast is not always cheap, or fast

It can cost quite a lot to revisit a project you thought was completed on deadline, only to have to fix mistakes, track down missing information, edit misspellings, rewrite unreadable turns of phrase, and more. It will ultimately cost you more time, and more money babysitting your $4 an hour “virtual assistant” than it will to hand off a project to an established, professional VA who knows what they’re doing (and charges accordingly). It’s not just a cautionary tale – you really do get exactly what you pay for.

Think about your own business, you don’t position yourself as the cheapest option in town – and why should you? You’re a professional, you’re good at what you do, and you charge accordingly. Why would you sacrifice the level of prestige, professionalism and quality you’ve worked to build around your business by outsourcing even the most mundane business tasks to an untrained call center employee for $4 per hour?

When you’re ready to make an investment in the growth and success of your business it’s time to hire a professional virtual assistant.

21 Tips to Enhance Your Social Media Presence

21 Tips to Enhance Your Social Media PresenceParticipating on social media platforms can present many challenges from knowing when to post, what to post and how to engage. While we all know that utilizing a variety of channels is important to your marketing mix, it can become overwhelming. It is a big investment of time and energy. So many individuals or companies will create a profile, upload a few posts and then desert the community.

It takes time to build a loyal following and that is only achieved through mutual dialog and building relationships. Social media is not just a soapbox to taut your company, yourself or your achievements. The old adage, people buy from people holds steadfast.

If you were at a cocktail party, you wouldn’t rush up to someone and abruptly hand them your business card and begin to spew your elevator speech. Refrain from the same ME ME ME song on social media.

  1. Identify your social business goals
  2. Learn about metrics
  3. Understand ROI
  4. Create a social media strategy
  5. Discover tools to help you search, curate, share and measure
  6. Plan your profiles with keywords and custom images
  7. Watch
  8. Listen
  9. Set up alerts for keywords, interests, thought leaders AND competitors
  10. Review profiles and websites
  11. Get listed on directories
  12. Create your content plan with a balance of rich information to share and how you will give back to your community.
  13. Engage and build relationships
  14. Be authentic
  15. Use humor
  16. Compliment others and share their content
  17. Ask questions
  18. Post some promotional content
  19. Automate and push some relevant content leaving you time to engage
  20. Delegate curation and posting to a virtual assistant or other authority
  21. Download the 2013 Social Media Marketing Industry Report from Social Media Examiner

Convincing Statistics

Social Media Statistics

“A significant 62% of marketers are using social media for 6 hours or more and 36% for 11 or more hours weekly.”
– Social Media Examiner

“74% of all marketers say Facebook is important to their lead generation strategies.”
– HubSpot

“85% of fans of brands on Facebook recommend brands to others, compared to 60% of average users.”
– Syncaspe

“Approximately 46% of online users count on social media when making a purchase decision.”
– Nielsen

With figures like these, who wouldn’t make the time to stay involved in social media?

About the author: Suzie Kummins-Poirier, a.k.a AceConcierge, is a virtual assistant working with entrepreneurs and Suzie Kummins-Poirier, Virtual Assistantbusiness people who care to focus on their core genius by delegating the much-needed but time-consuming everyday tasks of managing business. With 30 years experience within corporate and working remotely with clients, Suzie has built a career supporting hundreds of business professionals in propelling their businesses to increased income and laser-sharp focus. Follow Suzie on Twitter, via her blog and on Facebook.

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Mastering the Art of Delegation

Mastering the Fine Art of DelegationThere will come a time in your business when you feel besieged with the day to day operations. There is simply too much for one person to achieve while remaining efficient and effective. You may find that you have numerous tasks to complete without enough time to get them all done. It is this realization, the “Ah ha” moment, that you recognize delegating these projects and tasks to an assistant would make your life, your business, much more productive.

Delegation is an advantageous productivity tool we frequently hear about – one that will certainly make a substantial transformation in your businesses in terms of amplified income and more free time for you! BUT, many are timid about beginning the process for fear of relinquishing control of parts of our business processes and procedures.

Delegation for entrepreneurs is imperative for success! When you outsource your tasks and projects, you are able to focus on more important responsibilities that only you can do to cultivate your business and generate revenue. The art of delegation is an indispensable part of establishing a growing business.

What stops people from delegating:

  • They feel they are too disorganized to illustrate what needs to be done.
  • They believe they don’t have the financial means. (It is actually more cost effective to partner with a Virtual Assistant as you only pay for project time).
  • They feel their schedules are too hectic to take the time to delegate. (If you are this busy, your time restraints will only increase without delegation).
  • They feel someone else won’t do it the same way or be as efficient (A virtual assistant is a solo-preneur like yourself: efficiency, productivity and industry expertise IS our business. We know of different tools and tips to professionally manage your projects in a proficient, resourceful manner).

Each of the above objections emphasizes the necessity to delegate. As long as you continue to clutch the tasks that obstruct you from growing your business, you will feel exasperated, overwhelmed, and unproductive.

Delegating will free up your time. It enables you to eliminate low-priority tasks while allowing you to concentrate your efforts on those business procedures that will enhance your productivity and profit margin. Your time and energy should be committed to creating new products or services, networking, consulting with clients and prospects, forming strategic alliances, expanding into new markets, business development, social media engagement and so forth. These are tasks that only YOU can do. They are your CORE GENIUS.

Partnering with a Virtual Assistant is a worthwhile, cost effective investment. You only pay for project time, there are no benefits, training, office space or equipment, vacation time pay, insurances or payroll taxes. It is a win-win situation.

Ask yourself:

  • Is delegating a logical next step to help grow my business?
  • How much time am I spending on tasks that impede my progression and waste my time?
  • What are my most pressing issues or pain points that usurp most of my time?
  • Have I been able to accomplish ALL of my daily To Do list items?
  • If I delegated tasks, how would I utilize an additional 5-8 hours per week?
  • How would I feel if I only worked on income generating tasks and released the more administrative projects to a virtual assistant?

Delegation for entrepreneurs is the perfect low cost, high impact tool to help expand and develop your business without having to increase responsibilities or sacrifice your personal time with your family. The bottom line is that delegation is sensible alternative to help you facilitate your business tasks and projects offering you the advantage of a vested partner. Your sounding board, brainstorming colleague, valued and expert assistant who revels at your successes and supports you 100%.

Learn to delegate, and you will soon see advancements in your business, exponential changes, that you only hoped could happen. A successful business requires focus, commitment and time and by outsourcing those non-income producing tasks, you can take your enterprise to the next level.

“The first rule of management is delegation. Don’t try and do everything yourself because you can’t.”
– Anthea Turner

About the author: Suzie Kummins-Poirier, a.k.a AceConcierge, is a virtual assistant working with entrepreneurs and Suzie Kummins-Poirier, Virtual Assistantbusiness people who care to focus on their core genius by delegating the much-needed but time-consuming everyday tasks of managing business. With 30 years experience within corporate and working remotely with clients, Suzie has built a career supporting hundreds of business professionals in propelling their businesses to increased income and laser-sharp focus. Follow Suzie on Twitter, via her blog and on Facebook.

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The Virtual Assistant Industry | A Network of Professionals

The Virtual Assistant Industry | A Network of ProfessionalsThe Virtual Assistant Industry is a vast network of professional entrepreneurs engaged in helping your business meet its goals for growth, increased revenue, online branding, image and exposure. We are your long term vested partners who are truly part of your team, your daily business operations and your second pair of hands and eyes to ensure everything is successfully managed to your satisfaction.

My personal network is comprised of amazing women, dedicated virtual assistants, who are so willing to help one another, answer questions, provide assistance, referrals or even brainstorm. There aren’t too many industries with such a tight group of people who don’t fear competition or sharing of information. The client/virtual assistant relationship is based upon many different factors for each individual partnership and there must be a resonance along with the skill set to make them a cohesive productive team. Speaking from experience, my clients and I all work well together – communication, feedback and accountability are key components for success. Being in business since 2002, I have been very fortunate to engage with some amazing entrepreneurs. I think I learn as much from them, as they do from me. I hope so anyway.

Choosing to delegate is not always an easy step because you feel you are giving up control, but when you partner with an established virtual entrepreneur, you are choosing someone who is in business for themselves and know what it takes to succeed. The 365/24/7 mentality of a driven business owner will have a greater impact on your success, than an offshore call center who has one off task managers. Give careful consideration to your long term needs, your goals and what you expect from your delegatee. Established virtual assistants go above and beyond the request. We are always “on” in terms of your business. A task manager does that one task and nothing more. You may be asking about price and cost effectiveness. Just remember the old adage, “You get what you pay for.” Value, effort, dedication and commitment are priceless.
Tips to help you find a virtual assistant

Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn are just three of the online platforms to help you find the perfect virtual assistant for you and your company. Due diligence is very important and shouldn’t be a shortcut to save time because in the long run, it will cost you.

  • Ask questions about their business, history, why and when they got started
  • Review their website/blogs
  • Request writing and portfolio samples
  • Follow and engage with them on social media
  • Watch their writing style and shared content
  • Are their emails professionally written?
  • What software and tools do they use, both online and off?
  • Do they respond to your email inquiries in a timely manner?
  • How do you perceive their online brand image?
  • What are their greatest proficiencies?
  • What are their hours and availability?
  • Do they have off hours to meet your needs?
  • Schedule a call or two
  • Did you feel a connection on the call?
  • Were they engaging?
  • Were all of your questions answered to your satisfaction?
  • Did you get a feeling of authenticity?
  • What are their strengths/weaknesses?

What attributes helped you choose your virtual assistant?

About the author: Suzie Kummins-Poirier, a.k.a AceConcierge, is a virtual assistant working with entrepreneurs and Suzie Kummins-Poirier, Virtual Assistantbusiness people who care to focus on their core genius by delegating the much-needed but time-consuming everyday tasks of managing business. With 30 years experience within corporate and working remotely with clients, Suzie has built a career supporting hundreds of business professionals in propelling their businesses to increased income and laser-sharp focus. Follow Suzie on Twitter, via her blog and on Facebook.

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Team Up With a Virtual Assistant

Team Up With a Virtual AssistantBuilding a business can turn into an tiresome chore if you are not careful. The more business you accomplish, the more administrative tasks you have; the more time you spend on administrative tasks, the less time you have to generate new business.

That’s where a virtual assistant can help. Virtual assistants can work for one business owner or more than one, performing a wide variety of business-related tasks that will save time and money, all while working from their own office.

The virtual assistant takes the role of the temp and elevates it to the status of Partnership. Because the virtual assistant is self-employed, and is dependent on referrals and steady work flow from existing clients, they can be the perfect solution for a busy entrepreneur.

Virtual assistants offer several advantages over a paid employee, with all the benefits of outsourcing. They save the business owner employee tax and benefits problems while demonstrating the loyalty and steadiness of a company employee.

As more and more businesses move their marketing and communications to the Internet, virtual assistants become the obvious solution to staffing problems. They can specialize in a variety of business related support such as real estate transaction coordination, calendar management, paralegal support and data entry. It all depends on what the business owner needs.

Below is a short list of just some of the tasks that can be delegated to a virtual assistant:

* Schedule appointments
* Maintain client database
* Research online job postings for prospective employees
* Create Listings flyers, relocation packets and email marketing
* Online Marketing management such as blogging and social media
* Graphic design for logos, branding and other advertising options
* Monthly newsletter
* Bookkeeping and payroll management
* Create marketing material for open house
* PowerPoint presentations for speaking engagements
* Travel arrangements
* Event planning and management
* Website design and upkeep
* Press releases
* Write and/or submit E-zine articles

Other advantages include not having to provide office space, worry about the assistant being late/leaving early, or calling in to say that the babysitter is sick. The virtual assistant can be flexible with their schedule, making it feasible to work with several clients at a time, but offering undivided attention to each.

How much does a virtual Assistant cost?

Many business owners choose to pay a on a monthly basis for a package of services customized for their needs .

Another option involves single project rates that are based on an hourly fee anywhere from $15 to $40 dollars an hour.
The more specialized the task, for example, Graphic Design or Website Creation, the higher the charge.

As the world turns more to the internet, wireless communication and social media to conduct business, utilizing the skills of a virtual assistant become more appealing and cost effective.

About the author: Lisa Kolb and her team of Augusta Virtual Assistants are passionate about supporting you in utilizing your time and resources more effectively by providing the assistance you need, when you need it. This allows you to focus on what’s important, growing your business. We provide work that is performed efficiently and with an eye for detail as well as your bottom line. Our key objective is Customer Satisfaction. Your business needs and sensitive information will be handled professionally and confidentiality is guaranteed.

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