Find out how to start working with a Virtual PA, important things to consider first and the benefits to your business.
Advantages of working with a Virtual PA
If you are considering hiring a Virtual Assistant, but are not sure on if it will be valuable for your business, here are some of the key benefits:
– Simpler taxes as no need to pay employers national insurance contributions
– No more time consuming admin
– Can help during busy periods
– Can provide cover for staff absences
– Flexible working hours, you can change the hours they work for you on a weekly basis
– You can forget about sickness absence, holidays and PAYE
– No physical space or equipment is required
– Pay only for the hours that are worked
– Better attitude and work-ethic. As Virtual PAs are entrepreneurs, it is essential that they provide great service to establish continued work and recommendations.
A Virtual Assistant is similar to an office assistant or PA. The only main difference is that they are not physically present within your office and tend to work from their own fully equipped, home-based offices. Many different types of businesses consider using a Virtual Assistant, from sole traders to large multi-national organisations. Here are some common situations where our Virtual PA services would be beneficial:-
– A sole trader with a busy schedule needs to spend time out the office attending appointments. They need a Virtual PA to answer calls and book further appointments.
– A large company has a period where a few members of staff are on annual leave and maternity leave. They hire a Virtual PA to cover reception duties and some other admin tasks.
– A new-start business is struggling to market their business effectively as they do not have the relevant skills. They use a Virtual PA to collate sales contacts into an email marketing list and create a marketing email.
– A company would like to spend more time on planning and generating income. Their Virtual PA takes control of all the on-going administrative tasks, such as, invoicing, chasing up payments, updating the website and liaising with suppliers.
Some tasks virtual assistants can do
– Online research
– Composing and sending emails
– Maintaining your website
– Organising travel arrangements
– Managing your diary and sending you reminders
– Liaising with suppliers
– Creating contact information and documentation for marketing campaigns
– Poster and flyer design
– Tracking and sending invoices
Before hiring a Virtual PA, spend some time tracking the tasks that you do over a 2 week period. Keep a note of everything required for your business to operate successfully and think about which tasks you would like your new VA to carry out. Carefully consider which tasks would be best to hand over to the Virtual Assistant and what would make most business sense.
You may wish to give them tasks that you have never had the time to do, or do not possess the skills to carry out. Or perhaps you think it’s best to hand over the time-intensive administrative tasks that are stopping you on focusing on generating income.
Don’t underestimate the value in preparing before utilising Virtual PA services. From all your preparatory work, you can create a checklist of all the skills you require and tasks that you need completed. This can be used in the same way as a job description and person specification when searching for your Virtual Assistant.
Key skills to look for…
Good English language skills – This is probably obvious as your assistant may be speaking with customers, booking appointments and writing emails. Every bit of correspondence is a reflection of your business.
Proactive – Whilst your assistant will probably have a to-do list, you need a Virtual PA who is keen to learn everything about your business and can act upon new situations and information without your input. A quick thinker with a good work ethic will be of the most value.
Organisational skills – Your Virtual PA will need to keep track of all their documentation regarding your business. They need to be able to effectively organise it, which is especially important if they are working for more than one company. You may not need them to work the same hours number of hours every week. If there has been a gap in work given to your Virtual Assistant, they need to have an organised filing system for continued effective work for your business.
Adaptable – Your Virtual PA should be able to change their work style and tasks according to business needs. You may need them to spend more time on marketing one week, or perhaps you need them to learn how to use a new software system.
Reflective – Working relationships and can be greatly aided by having a reflective Virtual PA. They should be able to suggest improvements to processes, speak to you about problems they are having and ask for feedback. This is what gives a Virtual Assistant the same value as an office-based assistant but without the additional costs etc.
It’s true that most experienced Virtual Assistants will be able to manage your tasks with little or no training. However, keep in mind that there may be some tasks that are bespoke to your business. Ahead of hiring your Virtual Assistant, try and create tutorials for bespoke tasks. If you need your assistant to utilise a specific piece of software, look out for existing training documentation online or from the software supplier. Once your Virtual PA is up and running with your business, ask them to create training documentation and update it regularly. This is useful if your assistant leaves, is on holiday or you need to take on extra staff.
Working with your Virtual PA
Working with your Virtual PA can be difficult at first, especially if you have been used to doing everything on your own. Try to communicate with your assistant daily, both by phone and by email. Make sure that you are keeping them updated with any changes to your business and give them as much information as possible to work effectively. It’s often a good idea to set aside some time on a weekly basis to catch up and talk about any issues. You can set expectations of task durations from your previous experience and ask your assistant to keep a daily timesheet of the tasks they have completed.
At Small Business VA we have over 20 years experience and possess the skills to create great working relationships with all types of businesses. Please get in touch for a free consultation.