How can a Virtual Assistant help me?

How can a Virtual Assistant help me?

Help! I don’t know what support I need

Is your to do list leaving you feeling somewhat swamped? Are you wondering, “but how can a Virtual Assistant help me?” Often, the problem is even though you know you’re desperately in need of support, it doesn’t feel clear what assistance you actually require.

In this post, we want to give you a hand with figuring this out by sharing a simple process. This will help you to identify what tasks you could outsource and also uncover how much time this would free up in your diary.

 

7 ways a Virtual Assistant can increase your productivity

First of all, a Virtual Assistant can help you in more ways than you probably think. It’s often assumed that a Virtual Assistant only takes on the more traditional aspects of a personal or administrative assistant. However, whilst data entry and inbox management are core tasks you can outsource to your VA, it doesn’t stop there.

There are endless activities you can hire a Virtual Assistant to do for you. You can find out more by taking a browse through our A-Z of Virtual Assistant Services posts (part one and part two.) But to give you an idea of the breadth of support on offer at Virtually Priceless, here we outline seven roles that are commonly covered by our team of Virtual Assistants.

 

1. General administrative services

For example, you can outsource to your VA data entry, maintaining contact lists, updating records and typing up reports.

2. PA business support

A VA’s role can extend to include the responsibilities of a PA or Executive Assistant. This includes diary and inbox management, arranging meetings, taking minutes, booking travel and hotels… and anything else that helps your professional life run more efficiently.

3. PA personal and lifestyle support

To prevent personal tasks creeping into your working day, a VA can step in and take these tasks off your plate. This can be anything from organising family gifts and arranging appointments, to helping keep your home renovations on track.

4. HR and team management

Your Virtual Assistant can help you to keep on top of the mountain of employee admin involved in recruiting new staff and running a team.

5. Finance

Outsourcing basic bookkeeping, accounting, invoices and credit control to us can feel like a huge weight is lifted from your shoulders.

6. Project management

You can employ the skills of a Virtual Assistant to ensure the smooth running of a project, such as organising an event.

7. Marketing and social media

From social media to email marketing, your VA can help you to run campaigns and professionally engage with your audiences to promote what you do.

 

How can a Virtual Assistant help me?

What tasks should you outsource? How many hours of support do you need? Our five-step process will help you figure this out.

 

Step 1: Build a picture of how you spend your time

Make a list of all of the tasks you carry out on a day-to-day basis to keep your business running. This can be a simple brain-dump of everything you do. Don’t know where to start? Maybe consider the areas that take up the most of your time.

 

Step 2: Where does your time go?

Now, track the time you spend on the tasks on your list over the course of a week. For those that don’t occur on a regular basis, make an estimate. You could do this by keeping a note in your diary as you do them. Or you could complete it retrospectively at the end of each day.

 

Step 3: Categorise your tasks

Take your list of tasks and now sort them into one of four categories by asking the following questions:

      1. Could someone else do this for you? (Note: Your answer may be a straightforward “yes”, or “yes but with training.”)
      2. Is it something you dislike doing and would love to offload to someone else?
      3. Do you enjoy doing it but deep down know you shouldn’t be devoting so much of your time to it?
      4. Is it a task that only you can do?

Step 4: Now, add up how much time you could save by outsourcing

Anything that fits into categories 1-3 above is a prime task for outsourcing to a Virtual Assistant. So, next add up how much time you spend on these tasks. This gives you a good idea of how much support you might need and how much time it could free up in your diary.

 

Step 5. Now, hand over your list to a Virtual Assistant

Just imagine how productive you could be if you delegated the tasks that fall into categories 1-3 above to us? With the help of one of our VAs, you could replace all that time you’re clocking up on admin, with proactive business development work, meetings with lucrative new clients… or even gaining some quality time back with your family.

Is it time for you to hire a Virtual Assistant?

If you’re having trouble figuring out what to delegate and where to begin with outsourcing, book a free 30-minute consultation and we can have a chat about how Virtually Priceless could support your business.

What are the benefits of a Virtual Assistant team?

What are the benefits of a Virtual Assistant team?

Your mountain of admin looks about as inviting as a hike to the top of Everest. Just the thought of your to-do list is giving you insomnia. In short, you’ve realised you need help. Some frantic Googling directed you to the idea of hiring a Virtual Assistant and now you’re eager to start outsourcing tasks. First, stop for a minute and give yourself a pat on the back. Recognising that you need help is an underestimated trait of a great leader in our opinion. Now for your next challenge – where do you find the best Virtual Assistant for you?

Finding and hiring a Virtual Assistant takes time and effort. As a result, by the time contracts are signed, you’ll want to feel absolutely certain you’ll receive high quality support and the exact skillset that you need.

In this post, we help you to make an important decision that will be critical to the speed and success of your search for support. Do you need a solo Virtual Assistant or the support of a Virtual Assistant company with a team behind it?

 

First, what’s the difference between a solo Virtual Assistant and a Virtual Assistant team?

There are two main types of Virtual Assistants. Firstly, you have Virtual Assistants working as a member of a Virtual Assistant company. Alternatively, some Virtual Assistants work independently as freelancers. Here, we’ll explain the difference.

 

Option 1: Solo Virtual Assistant

This involves finding a freelance professional who can offer the precise Virtual Assistant services you need. Your contract is with the individual and they work alone to complete the tasks set. You will likely seek recommendations from colleagues, or perhaps contacts on social media, or carry out a quick Google search to seek someone with the right skillset. It can be a time-consuming task to find the right person and then you need to carry out your due diligence to check they’re fully insured, ICO registered and able to provide those all-important glowing references.

Option 2: Virtual Assistant team

Virtual Assistant companies (like Virtually Priceless) have a team of experienced professionals on hand to help you. Every assistant is sourced and pre-qualified by the company to provide a high-quality pool of support for their clients. Your contract is with the company and they assign their best Virtual Assistant for the services that you need.

At Virtually Priceless, all of our VAs are fully insured, ICO registered and their backgrounds and experience are validated. Should a VA need to take time off for any reason, there are other highly experienced assistants available to pick up the reins immediately.

 

Benefits of working with a Virtual Assistant team

Working with a Virtual Assistant team definitely has its benefits. Here are a few of them…

1.You get the best Virtual Assistant with minimal effort from you

For example, at Virtually Priceless, we invite all new clients for an initial free consultation. This is an opportunity for you to tell us what you do, what support you need and any priorities you have. We use this information to allocate the right team member(s) to your business. In short, we do the recruitment and selection for you. All our team members are professional career PAs who invest heavily in their own personal development. Not only have they worked at the utmost senior levels of executive support, but they’re also experienced business owners themselves.

 

2.You get backup when you need it

When you hire a Virtual Assistant, you’re looking for support you can count on. Having access to a team means you don’t have to worry about absenteeism. If your assigned assistant is on holiday or unwell, a fellow team member can step in to provide cover. In these circumstances, any time spent on handovers (or other admin costs) are met by the company, not the client.

Appointing a Virtual Assistant company gives you access to this backup. So, even when an unexpected absence arises, the support you receive is seamless.

 

3.Additional experience when you need it (and when you don’t)

There’s a wealth of experience in the Virtually Priceless team and this offers many benefits to our clients. If your regular VA doesn’t have an answer to your query or the exact skillset to meet any of your needs, it’s likely another assistant in our team will.

For example, if your main regular requirement is diary management, we’ll select for you a lead VA with a talent for juggling time. However, if you also need an experienced minute-taker to attend your quarterly board meeting, or someone with creative recruitment ideas to support a one-off new talent drive, we can bring in ad hoc additional support when you need it.

In short, having access to a team of Virtual Assistants means you can scale up (or down) the support you receive. This flexibility allows you to get the right support for your business as it changes and grows. This could be to reduce support when you find a permanent staff member or increase it temporarily to cover an unexpected employee absence.

 

4.Simple, centralised processes

Working with a team, doesn’t mean you won’t receive personalised support. At Virtually Priceless, our Director, Holly Copsey, manages the overall relationship with each client and will make sure you get the support you need. All clients are assigned a lead VA whom they work with on a daily basis. If you need to bring in the skills of another assistant, this can easily be arranged for you. When it comes to invoicing, we simply add additional support to your account – no separate invoices or extra admin is required regardless of how many team members you work with.

 

Now, let’s find the best Virtual Assistant for you

There’s not a one-size-fits-all answer to finding the best Virtual Assistant. There are some amazing solo Virtual Assistants out there and if you find your perfect fit, you’ll feel like you’ve struck gold. However, clients often come to us because the right freelance support can be difficult and time-consuming to find. In addition, people come and go from roles for all sorts of reasons. With access to an amazing and diverse team at Virtually Priceless, we can take away the time and hassle of the search and selection process and ensure continuity of support for your business.

Are you looking for help to find the best Virtual Assistant to fit your business? Why not arrange a consultation and let us guide you through finding the right support for you?

Our A to Z guide to Virtual Assistant services: Part 1

Our A to Z guide to Virtual Assistant services: Part 1

Is your daily task list stretching you beyond your limits? If so, you might be wondering, what can a Virtual Assistant do to help your business run more smoothly? In the first part of our A to Z guide to Virtual Assistant services, we introduce some of the tasks that you could outsource to give you more peace of mind (and more free time!).

 

A guide to Virtual Assistant services

 

A – Admin Tasks

These are the small repetitive tasks that you could do yourself, but is this the best use of your time? Proofreading, arranging deliveries, registering for events – how much time could you free up in your day by outsourcing recurring chores to a Virtual Assistant?

Watch the video to learn more

 

B – Bookings

From train tickets and hotels, to booking venues and hospitality for events, a Virtual Assistant can make sure you keep on top of it all to prevent any last-minute panic. We can even arrange your dentist appointments and trips to the hairdresser, so don’t be afraid to ask.

Watch the video to learn more

 

C – Client support

Hire a Virtual Assistant to help you deliver a consistent, VIP experience for your customers. Efficient onboarding procedures for new clients, prompt responses to emails and thoughtful gifts to celebrate successes. With a Virtual Assistant by your side, delivering this high level of service will no longer feel an unrealistic ambition.

Watch the video to learn more

 

D – Diary management

Calendar organisation is a core Virtual Assistant service and a superpower that we’ve honed here at Virtually Priceless. With a little help from us, diary clashes disappear and extra pockets of time in your working day emerge. All without you having to lift a finger.

Watch the video to learn more

 

E – Events

Finding a venue, catering, creating an event programme, sourcing speakers, ordering branded merchandise, managing delegates, communicating with suppliers, and keeping it all within budget – hosting an event is hard work. Not to mention the additional challenge of post-event follow-up. If you don’t have an events team at your disposal, it can help to hire a Virtual Assistant to manage it for you.

Watch the video to learn more

 

F – Finance Support

Outsourcing basic bookkeeping such as logging receipts, updating accounting software and paying invoices can be an important weight lifted from your shoulders. Especially when tax return season comes around. Many of our clients at Virtually Priceless also ask us to chase unpaid invoices on their behalf. This takes away any awkwardness of having these conversations with late-paying clients yourself.

Watch the video to learn more

 

G – Gifts

Are you hesitating with adding a birthday perk to your employee benefits package because you can’t face the admin involved? Maybe you’re always forgetting your friends’ birthdays or want to buy your clients gifts that will make you instantly memorable? Why not use your VA to help you get one-step ahead with gifting?

Watch the video to learn more

 

H – HR support

There’s a mountain of admin involved in running a team. Recruitment processes, holidays, absences, benefits – and this is merely scratching the surface of the administrative burden of being a good, conscientious employer. We can help you make sure your HR is watertight, so your team feel happy and supported at work.

Watch the video to learn more

 

I – Inbox Management

Reading, reacting and responding to every message can be a significant drain on your time. It’s also easy for emails to get overlooked when they’re surrounded by unread junk and circulars. With the support of a Virtual Assistant, you can keep on top of your email and avoid inbox overwhelm.

Watch the video to learn more

 

J – Juggling tasks

Virtual Assistants thrive on juggling multiple tasks and spinning plates. Employ us as your second brain so when you’re flat-out busy with the core functions of your business, the small (but essential) admin won’t get missed. You’ll be surprised what we can do in just a few hours.

Watch the video to learn more

 

K – Knowing your business

We make it our business to know your business inside out. It’s the best way for us to work on your behalf. But it’s more than that too. By understanding how you operate now and your ambitions for the future, we can tailor our services to help you achieve your business goals.

Watch the video to learn more

 

L – LinkedIn Support

Do you need help researching ideas for posts or creating graphics to boost engagement? Maybe your inbox is overflowing with unanswered requests to connect and other personal messages? We can help you keep on top of your LinkedIn interactions to maximise the business benefits of your presence on this platform.

Watch the video to learn more

 

M – Marketing support

There’s a lot of pressure on businesses to find more ways to engage with new audiences and promote what they do. From social media and email marketing, to copywriting and content calendars, a Virtual Assistant can help you to deliver your marketing plan with fewer sleepless nights.

Watch the video to learn more

How could we help you?

Of course, there are many more tasks a Virtual Assistant could help you with. We’ll cover more in part two of this guide. However, if you have something specific in mind, let’s have a chat about how Virtually Priceless could support your business. We’re always looking for a new challenge and love supporting busy executives like you.

Virtual Assistant services: 12 tasks you can outsource to a VA

Virtual Assistant services: 12 tasks you can outsource to a VA

You’ve probably heard of Virtual Assistants (or VAs), but what’s holding you back from outsourcing your admin? A common reason for hesitation is not really understanding how a VA fits into your business. Here, I explore some of the main categories of Virtual Assistant services. I hope this helps you to see how hiring a VA could be exactly what you need to help your business to thrive.

 

So, here’s the problem

You have multiple projects ramping up, clients to meet and a fantastic new idea that you really need to put some brainpower behind. But you also have a business to run. Your calendar is a mess and your accountant is chasing you for your expenses (again). Then there is also the hotel you need to book, and you have lost count of the hours you have spent trying to navigate the chaos of your inbox. Oh, and it is your daughter’s birthday party in a couple of weeks, too.

So, what do you do? Take your foot off the gas with the projects? Accept that the new client meeting will have to slip into next month? Most likely you resign yourself to putting off those ‘growing your business tasks’ until another day so you can crack on with the mundane chores that frankly can’t get pushed down your to do list for any longer.

How long will it be before you reluctantly admit you are wearing too many hats?

 

But what’s the alternative?

Hiring additional office headcount may feel over the top. But at the same time, you can’t burden anyone else in your existing team with extra administration. What can a Virtual Assistant do to help you? Here I outline a few tasks we regularly support clients with to give you an idea of how a VA could help you to make better use of your time.

But first, what is a Virtual Assistant? A VA is a freelance personal assistant. Or the person our clients often refer to as their lifesaver, a second-brain, a virtual wing-woman (or man!), a miracle-worker and a true partner in your business. VAs offer a range of support to businesses just like yours from their home office. They perform specific tasks for as many hours as you need, giving you flexible support that provides a cost-effective solution to admin overload.

 

But what does a Virtual Assistant do exactly?

Virtual Assistant services typically fall under the following categories:

  1. Inbox administration
  2. Diary management
  3. Personal errands
  4. Social media and digital marketing tasks
  5. Event support
  6. General business support (from document creation to accounts upkeep)

 

A (non-exhaustive) list of the benefits you’ll get from Virtual Assistant services

  1. A tidy inbox. Ask your VA to create rules, filters and categories to organise your emails, and keep on top of your junk and unsubscribes.
  2. Hands-off calendar control. Offload the burden of scheduling appointments, dealing with calendar clashes, safeguarding your prep time and ensuring all logistics are covered.
  3. Keep on top of personal priorities. Make diary decisions with the clarity of a calendar populated with birthdays, anniversaries, school term dates, family commitments and public holidays.
  4. Meticulously managed databases. For example, a VA can transfer your contacts into your CRM system, track down missing details, and capture the data from business cards (before they’re lost in the depths of your filing tray.)
  5. Travel conundrums solved for you. Task a VA with researching travel options, and booking your flights, hotels, trains, taxis, etc. With a detailed itinerary, getting from A to B suddenly seems so much easier.
  6. Making time for personal appointments. Your VA can make restaurant bookings, book event tickets, even schedule your dentist, doctor and hairdresser appointments.
  7. Bringing order to your finances. Release hours of your time by employing a VA to create, send and chase up your invoices, log your expenses and organise that pile of crumpled up receipts.
  8. Backed by research. Appoint a VA to explore holiday ideas, develop a shortlist of venues for an event, and maybe seek out some new content angles for speeches, blogs and newsletters.
  9. More time for thoughtful touches and courtesy. With your VA on hand, you’ll find you’re more able to execute your good intentions. For example, sending prompt thank you notes and surprising loved ones and employees with thoughtful gifts.
  10. Never lose a file again. A VA can meticulously organise your virtual filing system in One Drive, Google Drive or Dropbox.
  11. Stay alert on social media. When you’re too busy to scroll through your feeds, your VA can respond to messages and monitor conversations on your behalf.
  12. Add final polish to your documents and materials. Employ the proofreading prowess of your VA to make sure your content goes out free from errors and perfectly presented.

 

Summary: Do I need a Virtual Assistant?

Maybe the burden of routine admin is dragging down your productivity. Or are you tired of always reaching the end of the day with the same old tasks still lingering untouched? You may be stressed out, overwhelmed and feeling like you’re constantly under achieving. Perhaps you’ve realised that you can’t take that next step in elevating your business without some brain-space freed up? There are lots of reasons for hiring VA. The best way to find out more is to ask us how we can help provide invaluable support for your business.

 

UK VA Awards at The PA Show 2019

UK VA Awards at The PA Show 2019

The PA Show / UK Best Newcomer 2019 Runner-up

 Last week I was fortunate to attend The PA Show at London’s Olympia where I was a finalist In the UK Best Newcomer 2019 Award category of The UK VA Awards, hosted by BeMyVA. 

It wasn’t my year to win the top prize (that honour went to the fabulous Sarah Szekir-Papasavva of Apt VA), but I was still thrilled to receive a runner-up award alongside the other fantastic finalists – Helen Martin & Susan Williams of Aggrandise VA and Meg Small of Auxilia Business Support.

The other awards presented included:
UK Outstanding VA of the Year – Joanne Manville of Joanne Manville Virtual Assistance
VA Star – Jo Howlett (awarded posthumously)

VA Voice Awards:
Most Popular Tool – Canva
Most Popular Social Media Platform – LinkedIn
Most Popular Accounting Software – Xero
Most Popular Book – How to be a VA by Catherine Gladwyn
Best Trainer – Amanda Johnson of VACT
In addition to The PA Show, International Confex and the Event Production Show were also taking place at Olympia so it was great to visit such a wide array of interesting stands and meet lots of new business contacts, particularly the lovely Susan Holme from Face for Business who I’ve been chatting with for a while via social media.

Aside from the awards, the session I enjoyed the most was the final panel discussion of the day, with industry experts Joanne Munro ofThe VA Handbook, Amanda Johnson of VACT, Caroline Wylie of The Society of Virtual Assistants and Gwen Backhouse of Curlew Secretarial Solutions. They gave some fantastic advice and I came away with lots of food for thought about future plans for my business.

Drinks with The VA Handbookers

To top off a great day, I joined a group of fabulous VAs at a drinks event hosted by Joanne Munro of The VA Handbook at a pub around the corner from the venue. Networking with other VAs is something I always thoroughly enjoy, and this was no exception. With a group of 20 or so attendees, ranging from those still considering whether the VA path is the one for them and those who have been in business for years, we had some really interesting discussions and I connected with some lovely ladies whose journeys I look forward to following.

Drinks with VIP VA

Not one to turn down an invitation to drinks and networking with awesome VAs, I had also joined the lovely Charlotte Wibberley and some of my fellow VIP VA members the previous evening. Again, the chance to meet other VAs and talk face-to-face was invaluable and I really do encourage anyone who gets the chance to attend one of these events to do so.  As my grandmother used to tell me frequently, remember, it’s not what you know but whom!

So, after a fun 24 hours in London (and more than a few glasses of prosecco…) I’m already looking forward to next year’s event which will take place at ExCel early in 2020.

If you have any questions about working with a Virtual PA, or about my award at The VA Conference, please do get in touch.

A day in the life of a Virtual Assistant

A day in the life of a Virtual Assistant

Since I started my Virtual Assistant business a couple of months ago, I’ve been asked by friends and family members about what it is I actually do for my clients, and how I manage my time. So, here’s some insight into a typical day at VP HQ and the types of tasks I complete…

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A day in the life 

 

7.00am
A quick check of my inbox to see if anything urgent has come in overnight. All looks well so emails can wait until I start my day as planned at 9.00am. Time to get the little ones fed and dressed before they head off to nursery

 

9.00am
Spend 15 mins catching up with emails that have arrived overnight. Those from clients requiring focused time are scheduled for later in the day or week, based on their contents.

 

9.15am
The first batch of client work for this morning is researching flight and hotel options for an overseas meeting taking place next month. Once this information is forwarded on to my client, my focus switches to chasing responses to a series of meetings I’ve been working on and liaising with multiple PAs to finalise arrangements. An hour and a half flies by before I hit stop on the time tracker.

 

10.45am
Time for a quick cuppa and scan of my social media accounts, responding to anyone who’s been kind enough to comment on my posts, and sharing any interesting content.

 

11.00am
I’ve put thirty minutes of prep aside for a call with a prospective client scheduled for later today. A quick check of their website and social media accounts gives me a good idea of what their business (and they) are about, and I jot down some points to discuss on the call.

 

11.30am
A 20-minute call with one of my lovely clients who would like help arranging a series of birthday celebrations in three months’ time. Following the call, I spend a few minutes allocating the research tasks to my diary and send the client a quick email summarising our discussion and confirming what I will be working on and relevant deadlines.

 

12.00pm
I can’t avoid the dogs’ glares any longer so time to stretch their legs (and mine) with a brisk walk around the park. Enough time to make a quick bite to eat and see to a few personal emails before getting on with my next task.

 

1.00pm
I’m working on a data clean-up project for a client who’s in the process of transitioning to a CRM (customer relationship management) system. I’m approaching it in bitesize chunks to ensure I stay focused and my work accurate.

 

3.45pm
After almost 3 hours of screen time it’s time for a quick break and to prepare for my prospective client call. We’ve opted to use Zoom so we can chat face-to-face, so I make sure I’m online and ready to go a few minutes ahead of schedule.

 

4.00pm
The prospective client meeting goes well and after 40 minutes of talking things through, I have a thorough understanding of what support the client is looking for and where I can add value. Sounds as though there will be a nice mix of work including diary management, assistance with travel planning, social media scheduling and the opportunity to get involved in running some events – all right up my street so fingers crossed they sign! Once I’ve typed up and sent the notes from our call I have another quick check of social media and then log off.

 

5.15pm

One more quick stroll for the dogs before nursery pick up and the chaos of life with a 10-month-old and four-year-old resumes…

 

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If you’re thinking of hiring a Virtual Assistant for these types of tasks please do get in touch to see how I could help you.