Contracting with a professional virtual assistant should be viewed as an investment in your business. VAs, business owners operating as independent contractors, work from home providing business, office, and even personal support services ranging the gamut from: product launches and virtual event planning to bookkeeping and billing. While most virtual assistants offer a fairly standard set of general administrative support services, many are also skilled at providing more technical services to their clients such as: website development and maintenance, social media marketing consulting, and more. A skilled VA can assist with virtually anything you would expect an executive assistant to do. He or she can write a press release, create and manage databases, do market research, handle project management, and initiate as well as answer business correspondence.
Because a professional virtual assistant is ready to handle the most time consuming aspects of your business you are left with more free time to work on ‘big picture’ projects and meet with clients. The best VA for you and your company is one who already possesses the skills, experience, and professionalism you need and expect. Below are five highly desirable traits of a virtual assistant:
When first communicating with the virtual assistants who have responded to your Request for Proposal (or RFP) look for evidence of professionalism. Does he or she respond and/or follow-up in a timely manner? (Hint: a true professional *always* follows up, even if it’s just to say ‘Thank you for your time.’.) Does he or she use professional language and approach the situation as you would approach your own potential clients?
Because virtual assistants are of course virtual , you will likely never meet him or her in person. This makes it even more imperative for a VA to have excellent communication skills. Articulate, direct communication is essential to the success of your working relationship. (Hint: It’s equally important for you, the client, to communicate directly with the virtual assistant.) Poor communication is the number one reason why most relationships (business or otherwise) fail, so learn from each prospective virtual assistant what their communication methods are, and how available they are relative to your own needs and expectations.
A professional virtual assistant will have all of the software, hardware, and skills that are required for your project or general business support needs. It is useful to realize that because a virtual assistant relies on technology to run their own business and provide services, they are often well-read in cutting edge software, websites, marketing methods, and other business resources.
Because 99% of the work a virtual assistant will perform must be done on a computer and/or online, excellent computer skills and the ability to effectively navigate the internet is a cornerstone of any VA’s skills. Your virtual assistant should have basic computer maintenance skills and understand how to use various software programs and online services. A virtual assistant who is also experienced enough to provide basic maintenance and updates to your website will be even more in demand. Whether your virtual assistant will handle posting entries to your company blog, answer customer service inquiries by email, or set up and administer your company Facebook page (or all three) he or she will need strong computer skills in order to do so.
A savvy virtual assistant uses his or her time wisely by prioritizing tasks and objectives in order to maximize productivity and results. Good time management (and organizational) skills are particularly important because he or she is often likely working on different projects with several clients at the same time.
Working with a professional virtual assistant is a worthwhile investment in you and your business. The virtual assistant with a high index of these five traits will be able to assist you in bringing projects to fruition and ultimately, contribute to the growth and development of your business.