What can a Virtual Assistant do for you?
A Virtual Assistant, or VA, is an administrative assistant who works for you, but not in your office. She works out of her own office using her own equipment and resources. Except for batch-pricing, you are charged an hourly rate only for time actually worked.
It might be easier to list what Office Genie can not do, but here is a ridiculously long list to give you some ideas of why you would want to have a Virtual Assistant.
- Research websites, topics, products, books, people (background checks), places.
- Organize contact lists, price lists, filing systems, virtual photo albums, employee records, birthday date lists.
- Email people about events or special topics, newsletters.
- Write articles, summaries of articles, newsletters, blogs, posts, press releases, news articles, resumes.
- Mail out information packets, greeting cards, letters, brochures, appointment reminders, invitations, meeting announcements, event announcements, ads, directories.
- Product Research – find and rate products based on your criteria.
- Calendar Management – “Have your people call my people.”
- Idea Creation/Writing for Your Blog or Newsletter.
- Online Shopping – ask your VA to find you the top three books on a given subject and then choose between the three.
- Event Planning – Want to meet a big group of friends for dinner? Have your virtual assistant find a location, send out invites, answer people’s questions, and generally take care of logistics.
- Internet Marketing – Have an internet marketing campaign? Let your virtual assistant run it for you.
- Email Sorting – Have your VA read your email for you and separate out those emails that require your personal response; if it works for CEOs and heads of state, it can work for you, too.
- Managing Voicemail – The same principle as managing email.
- Making You Easier To Reach – Out on the job site or on the road a lot? Have your VA take your calls, answer questions and take messages.
- Making You Hard to Reach – Have your virtual assistant screen your calls and filter out the people who waste your time.
- Data Entry – If it’s time-consuming and repetitive, you can get excellent rates.
- Fact Checking – Great for journalists and business people alike; let your virtual assistant help you do your due diligence by checking your notes, someone else’s facts, or anything else that might be subject to mistakes, typos, or bias.
- Fact Finding – Need a specific statistic on global warming or everything there is to know about Abe Lincoln’s childhood? Put your virtual assistant to work on finding the facts.
- Record Management – Have a large data set that needs to be updated manually? Have your virtual assistant scour the internet and work the phones for those hard-to-find phone numbers, addresses, and any other data you need gathered.
- Subject Matter Briefs – If you’ve ever been scheduled for a meeting on a topic about which you know very little, a virtual assistant can be a great help. Have them find or write a short summary of the topic, major concerns and implications for you, and recent news.
- Motivation – Need somebody to keep you accountable for that goal that everyone says can’t be done? Have your virtual assistant take you to task.
- Mail – depending on where you both live, you can have your VA pick up and handle your mail, You can schedule this regularly or just when you are away.
- Take your calls – Depending on where you live in relation to your VA, you can have your calls diverted to a designated phone so she can answer them like a real-time receptionist. You can do the same with your faxes.
- Word processing – Type up and prepare notes, reports, articles, memos, letters, books and booklets (drafts or originals). In fact, anything you can do on a word processor, any VA can do for you!
- Meeting minutes – your VA can take your scruffy meeting notes and turn them into professional minutes.
- PowerPoint – Do you do meetings and presentations? Need PowerPoint? Look no further than your VA!
- Database management – Using MS Excel, your VA can organize your information. When it comes to Databases, you want a system that you can manage yourself if you have to. If you can use Access, good for you! If not, arrange with your VA to set up databases in Excel. This is simple and anyone can use it. You will want to keep client information from their business cards, their credit card information, prospects, survey information, lists of articles and to whom they have been sent… just some ideas to get you started.
- Bulk emailing
- Publishing – Brochures, newsletters, pamphlets, postcards, menus, price lists, schedules, calendars, certificates…with or without graphics or photos.
- Proofread and edit – your newsletter and other documents. There is nothing worse than receiving a newsletter from a so-called professional that is full of typos.
- Human Resources – Do you hire other staff? Not a problem. Your VA can help you remember special dates like birthdays, annual performance reviews, pay raises, manage reference checks.
In a nutshell, you can use a Virtual Assistant in the same way you would use any secretary or personal assistant. You’ll find what she can’t do is make your coffee unless you are willing to pay her travel expenses.