Which Tasks Should You Actually Outsource to a Virtual Assistant?
40 Important Projects that are Affordably Safe to Outsource to a VA—and Achieve Major Success!
The main element in helping new and developing companies get started is Virtual Assistant Services. Entrepreneurs often take on unmanageable workloads, trying to be superheroes. When just starting out there may be a need to micromanage, but as time passes, it is important to distribute some of those responsibilities.
Create these 3 lists to identify everything you can outsource
When you’re the sole proprietor of a small business, you have hundreds of tasks you have to fulfill before the day is done. As the owner of a small company, you have to fulfill a multitude of tasks before the day is done. From keeping the books, to managing social media, your daily plate is full.
Chris Ducker, a virtual CEO and publisher of ChrisDucker.com recommends that every entrepreneur should create a “3 Lists to Freedom” for immense entrepreneurial success. These three things help you delegate your time more effectively and boost productivity.
Here are the three things you should write down:
Things you hate doing.
Things you can’t do yourself.
Things you shouldn’t be doing.
A simple first step: List the day to day tasks you dislike. Anything from bookkeeping to administration.
Second, list the area of the company where you lack the experience needed, things such as social media marketing or graphic designing are examples.
Lastly, Ducker states, what will fundamentally change your company is the third step. “It’s a game-changer.” So ask yourself honestly: what shouldn’t I be doing? Remember, you’re not a superhero.
Ducker says this is essentially the road map to taking on a virtual assistant or VA.
What are Virtual Assistant Services?
And how can they help me?
Since the economic decline several years ago, Virtual assistant services have grown exponentially. The benefits of having a virtual assistant are very appealing: flexible hours, remote working, competitive pay, and more family time.
Take a look at any websites that have contract listings to see how popular VA’s have become. It’s astounding. There are thousands of job postings for VA’s and plenty of work
A VA can both scale your business and shave off hours from your workweek. VA’s reduce your work hours during the week and scale your business. SBOs benefit tremendously from hiring VA’s such as no employee-related expenses, no separate office space, and no worries concerning downtime.
You pay VA’s per contract for their services.
Business experts posit that a professional and reliable VA becomes very important to the team akin to a permanent employee and should be treated as such. When you begin to realize that you have a dependable and trustworthy VA, they become integral to the company. As valuable as a diamond.
If your core team consists of five people or less, you can become overwhelmed with tasks and responsibilities. Although some businesses deem it not to be cost-effective, the smart move would be to attain the services of a VA.
Here are the seven primary roles that you can outsource your tasks to virtual assistant services for rates as low as $3 per hour:
General Virtual Assistance
SEO & Digital Marketing
Audio & Video Editor
Understand that you may not be able to find VA’s to complete all of the above tasks. Focus on finding a VA’s who make quick decisions and have the ability to use good judgment in a specific area and move forward.
For example, attain the services of a VA experienced in writing for your content writing and digital marketing needs. If their area of expertise is in admin then hire them for your data entry, reminder services, and appointment scheduling tasks.
As you focus on the growth of your company, VAs will hone in on tasks that usually kill your time as an entrepreneur. VAs can focus or your non-core responsibilities, freeing up your time and allowing you to focus on the growth of your company.
VAs save time and are a necessity for business and life.
Responsibility: General Virtual Assistance
When measured in time and resources, administrative costs weigh heavily on small businesses. This is similar to labor costs.
Administration – emails, payrolls, invoicing, sales reports, and customer inquiries – slows down the time employees and/or the SBO is able to focus on the company's core functions. This is where the role of a VA becomes beneficial.
Hired specifically to perform general virtual office duties and non-core functions, the need for a VA will be realized almost immediately. Production will increase and the business will grow to new heights simply by completing these various jobs:
Bookkeeping and payroll duties: calculating hours, adding expenses, updating salaries, writing, and sending invoices to clients. Performing banking needs, like paying bills and transferring funds.
Receptionist duties: answering calls, leaving voicemails, checking messages, checking email, responding to customer inquiries, and managing spam.
Database building, entry, and updates, (sales, contacts, CRM, etc.) Creating a new list of email contacts, email newsletters, and promotional copy.
Creating, filing, and presenting weekly reports on sales, deliverables, hours, and tasks.
Organizing technical support tickets and participating in chat support.
Creating and sending out greeting cards, invitations, newsletters, and thank you notes. Establish follow-up emails and auto-responders and edit according to response rate.
Scheduling appointments with clients, businesses, and salespeople. Establishing, updating, and managing a calendar of important events.
Launching and maintaining cloud computing accounts (DropBox, OneDrive, Google). Converting, merging, and splitting, PDF files.
Preparing training manuals for new staff members or remote workers.
Composing documents from handwritten drafts, faxes, and dictations. Create forms or surveys for customer feedback. Proofreading documents and other office materials. Producing graphs from your spreadsheets.
Responsibility: Content Writing
One of the biggest myths around is that anyone can write content, including content marketing endeavors. Writing content, including content marketing endeavors is an art form. There is a misled belief that anyone can perform this task. It is a major reason why many content marketing projects fail. It is essential to have a writing and / marketing expert who is able to carry out a content campaign to perform these tasks. You shouldn't have a graphic designer or web developer writing blog posts, press releases, or newsletters. Experienced, professional content writers are able to write to the targeted audience. They are able to relay the message in an engaging tone and be concise as well.
11. Article and blog post creation. Generating so-called listicles (list articles) on industry-related matters. Guest posting and guest blogging. Composing press releases and newsletters and submitting to news release directories. Writing and submitting op-ed pieces to newspapers and websites.
12. Producing content marketing material, such as infographics, white papers, and ebooks. Designing brochures and creating content to put inside. Publishing extensive how-to guides and industry-related book reviews.
13. Responding to comments made on the business’s blog. Off-page optimization: commenting on other blogs, participating in forums and message boards, and responding to the public on YouTube and news websites.
14. Interviewing industry sources to write an in-depth report on the market. Interviewing previous customers to compose case studies.
Responsibility: Search Engine Optimization (SEO) & Digital Marketing
You have a website. You have a product. You have plans for the future. Wonderful! However, you also need the first two to generate attention and gain recognition to achieve future company goals.
That can be accomplished with a VA that is an expert in SEO and or digital marketing. This will prove to be invaluable to your company because the right VA can boost web traffic, sales numbers, and brand ubiquity with the right SEO and digital marketing techniques and strategies.
15. Developing, updating, and optimizing an SEO and web marketing strategy. Conducting keyword research for a website and performing a blog analysis. Starting an in-depth competitor analysis (targeted keywords, ranked content, SEMRUSH positions).
16. Setting up and creating a landing page.
17. Sitemap and webmaster submissions.
18. Beginning a link building campaign and generating a sufficient number of backlinks.
19. Monitoring weekly and monthly Google Analytics reports; observing site traffic.
20. Designing advertisements (banners, side panel graphics, etc.) and finding appropriate, high-traffic websites to place them on. Looking for a content marketing firm or publisher to post branded content. Designing logos, ebook covers, headers, icons, and other graphic elements.
21. Reach out to media outlets and influencers to garner profiles by publishers.
Responsibility: Social Media
Concerning mobile marketing, companies will increase their social marketing spending by 70 percent this year. Social media marketing is now an integral part of business growth today. With a great deal of the budget dedicated to the Social media market, wasting more time than you need on labor is unnecessary.
Getting noticed, retweeted, liked, and shared on all Social networks can be accomplished by a VA with a stellar social media acumen. Simply put: hashtagging is not the extent of their knowledge.
It is not a simple task to tweet and be liked on social media, something as an SBO you may believe. However, it is not, and spending your valuable time in an area you are not experienced in is a waste. Leave that to the VAs who will save you time and money.
22. Opening social media accounts on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and Instagram. Writing, editing, and sharing posts on social networks (a content creation strategy). Ensuring the small business has a mobile social media strategy for full optimization. Updating all social media accounts on a regular basis. Run a social media contest or challenge. Uploading photos to Flickr, Pinterest, and Instagram as part of the marketing strategy. Creating pinnable pictures for Pinterest.
23. Coming up with detailed profiles and inserting links to company websites.
24. Performing a social media audit: conduct a thorough analysis of traffic, shares, and mentions. Observing the company’s competitors on social media by looking at rankings, online visibility, and keyword prioritization.
25. Research key hashtag conversations of the day and find out if it fits in with the company’s messages and marketing objectives.
26. Engaging with the audience: responding to inquiries, sharing relevant information, thanking customers for mentions and purchases, and posting promotions.
Responsibility: Web Developing
Content management systems (CMS) have allowed starting a website a lot less difficult but it still should be left to the professionals.
The coding aspect alone is a lot more challenging to understand as web development has grown tremendously over the last decade.
Your VA will have the skills necessary to produce a website that will have the following traits:
Quick loading times
Business and contact information
A good navigation system
A high ranking on search engines
It may be easier said than done but sometimes it can be a lot harder to achieve these aims.
27. Planning, designing, and developing WordPress websites (if there is no business website). Installing, customizing, and updating WP plug-ins and themes. Providing technical support through coding on WP webpages. Maintaining the integrity of the website as well as functionality, security, and troubleshooting. Installing and supporting payment gateway and ticketing systems. Doing regular backups to prevent data loss.
29. Creating online forms for content submission, customer feedback, or inquiries.
30. Knowing how to start affiliate marketing and launching one for the company.
31. Setting up, monitoring, and managing other affiliates and respective links.
Responsibility: Audio & Video Editing
Even though platforms such as Microsoft and YouTube have made audio and video editing less difficult, this is only applicable to very simplistic audio and video editing projects. You need more advanced software, equipment, and editing to amplify the quality of a podcast of a YouTube video.
The businesses VA will be well versed in all of the above, especially the editing aspect. VAs can even use lower level equipment to make your webinars and podcasts look amazing, separating your content from your competitors.
32. Basic video editing: splicing intros and outros and inputting graphics and music. Editing audio files by removing background noise and improving volume levels. Trimming footage segments and producing rough and final cuts. General knowledge regarding audio and video equipment (cameras and mics). Recording, editing, and setting up podcasts and inserting them onto a webpage. Creating and editing rudimentary graphic design tasks on Photoshop and other image editing software. Uploading files to YouTube, DailyMotion, and Vimeo.
What if you just need some things done around the office? Maybe meeting minutes need to be taken or office supplies need to be purchased. Eventually, you will come to realize that your time is being used to complete tasks that take away from your company’s core functions. It also takes away time and resources that will help your business grow.
Here is what Alec Bowers of Abraxas Solutions told the Huffington Post:
“It became clear when tasks from my personal life started to interfere with my ever-growing schedule. It wasn’t as much of a problem before – but after that line was crossed, it became a trade-off between getting all my work done or neglecting the personal errands.
Thankfully, now I can delegate much of my personal life to my assistant, as well as some of those small business tasks that ate time.”
Your VA will accomplish these general tasks while saving you money on higher labor costs.
33. Writing down minutes from meetings transcribing voicemail, video or audio, podcasts, and meeting recordings. Researching important data, statistics, and facts for meetings, presentations, or blogs. Performing generic errands for the office, including buying items online, arranging locations for office parties, and hiring a cleaning service.
34. Recruiting for potential team members and contractors or freelancers. Placing ads career websites, reviewing resumes, and contacting the right candidates. Interviewing job applicants and speaking with references.
35. Training on-site employees, virtual staff members, or freelancers.Turning raw data into a detailed report and slideshow. Developing and delivering slideshow presentations.
36. Searching for hotels, booking airfares, and mapping out trip itineraries for business. Sending a gift card or thank you note to your clients on holidays and anniversaries. Putting together welcome and goodbye packages for both clients and staff.
37. Monitor and report on the latest industry developments and trends to brief SBO. Managing projects: staying in touch with subcontractors, emailing reports, using online calendars, and calling team leaders informing them of deadlines. Searching for and contacting industry experts or guests to participate in podcasts and webinars.
38. Collecting documents for tax season. Speaking with customer service representatives for tech support, banking issues, etc. Running an internal office or challenge so employees can receive bonuses. Taking care of customer refunds. Producing customer care scripts for customer service requests.
39. Create a business-wide project management system online. Providing suggestions and recommendations when the company is not meeting monthly, quarterly and annual goals.
40. Conducting background, credit, and criminal checks on staffers.
Boosting profits, minimizing costs, and becoming lean and mean are the focus of businesses today. The cost of hiring inhouse employees is rising – payrolls, benefits, taxes, and insurance – attaining the services of virtual assistants to perform those tasks have become more of a necessity than ever before.
Being hesitant to outsource and use VAs is an understandable concern. Maybe you feel they won’t be dependable or will not complete the projects assigned at the cost agreed to. Maybe they will subcontract the workout. Definitely reasonable concerns.
However, according to a recent survey conducted by VA Networking that illustrated what the typical VA is like: married with children, college-educated, working full-time (31 to 40 hours per week), maintain one to seven clients, a majority don’t subcontract and have a very low turnover rate.
This type of professional won’t risk losing clients with shoddy work and deceptive practices.
If you’re looking to grow your business at an effective cost then a VA is your solution.