19 Jul Virtually Yours – Should You Be Using A Virtual Assistant?
Whether you are starting a business, in a high growth stage, or just reduced staff, it’s easy to find yourself stretched too thin. Either you are doing too many tasks, or you’re doing things you aren’t very good at – spending a ton of time getting new email up and running, or figuring out which financial software to use. Using a virtual assistant – someone who works from their home or an office in a different location – could be a great solution to ease your workload how you want, when you want.
Ways you could be using a virtual assistant:
Cloud cover. Given that we are now fully in the digital age, we’re also in the cloud. No matter what your business, you very likely have (or easily could have) parts of it online, operating on cloud-based software. This is the low-hanging fruit when it comes to using a virtual assistant. Without any effort by you, someone across the city or across the country can help manage your business online.
Booked solidly. Bookkeeping was one of the earliest services to be provided remotely. Let’s face it, most people who run a small business hate all the tedium of managing their books (unless your business, is um, bookkeeping – sorry). So even before web software, it was typical to dump your shoeboxes of receipts with your bookkeeper and come back when they had spun order out of chaos.
Rarely does bookkeeping require you to be watching over their shoulder (if it does – find another bookkeeper). These days, bookkeepers regularly access a number of accounting programs like Quickbooks Online, Xero, Freshbooks and others, without any need for in-person interaction. Whether you need someone twice a month at payroll, once a year for taxes, or once a day to actively manage your money, it’s easy to dial up or dial down these services.
Caller ID. If you run a business that usually has you away from the office and out on job sites – plumbers, electricians, pest control professionals, to name a few – it’s inconvenient to try to pick up calls. But you don’t want to lose the next job because you are still on your current one.
Enter stage right any of a huge number of services that will answer your phones, take message, even provide basic information to customers (that you give them). Not only does this leave you the ability to focus – it also is a pretty easy way to sound professional (Or, technically, hire someone to sound professional.)
But at the same time, you might be less worried about inbound call, than outbound ones. You can hire someone to do “virtual errands” – deal with tech support when email goes down, compare rates on phone service, set up appointments for you to visit office space. Sometimes running a small business risks being death by a thousand paper cuts. It isn’t the big stuff that exhausts you – it’s the little stuff, so much little stuff.
Using a virtual assistant might be invisible, but it’s not undetectable.
A good virtual assistant will leave their fingerprints everywhere, but in the best of ways. Email is suddenly working. Your next job has been magically booked and put on your calendar with name, address, and phone number added to your contacts. Ok, so it’s not a free fairy godmother, but who needs a wand when they have a keyboard and a wi-fi connection?