What Is A Virtual Assistant And Why Do You Need One-3344111

Business Imagine having someone to take care of all the details of your business for you. You know, the things you never get to — or the things you’re bogged down in that keep you from doing the stuff you should be doing to grow your business. Imagine that this person is better at the administrative details than you are, and can do them faster and has resources and ways of doing things you haven’t even thought of. She can do your spreadsheets and keep your calendar and plan your speaking engagements and track your sales and order the cake for your mother-in-law’s anniversary and proofread your brochure copy and maybe even make changes to your website — or find someone else who can. Now imagine that this person can brainstorm with you, can understand your vision and help you get there. And then imagine that you don’t have this person in your office with you, throwing a kink into how you work — imagine she works in her own office, with her own equipment and her own health care plan, and you can negotiate to work with her for as much or as little as you need her (which means you don’t pay for her coffee breaks or when you can’t keep her busy). Voila! Meet the virtual assistant. Basically, a VA is an independent business owner who provides administrative (and sometimes personal, creative, and/or technical) support services virtually via phone and internet, while working in long-term relationships with a handful of clients. It’s like an executive assistant or office manager who doesn’t work in your office, sort of. For as young as this industry is (VAs first came to be in the mid to late 1990’s), there are a lot of types, branches, and offshoots already. Actually, there many opinions out there about exactly what a virtual assistant (VA) is and how they can help your business. Most official definitions focus on administrative support. There are lots of official definitions listed at VA services, VA networking, and VA directory sites, where you can also find help locating VAs. Even among these sites in the VA industry, the definition of a VA is not really consistent, but most of these organizations see VAs as being primarily administrative focused. What I found out from poking around and talking to people is that the administrative definitions are the original intent for virtual assistants and the standard by which the purists in the industry still judge themselves today. Some VAs have additional specialized skills such as copywriting, web programming, or graphic design, but that’s sort of beside the fact, a happy surprise you can have the option of purchasing additionally. But don’t expect a VA to automatically have the creative and technical skills as well as the administrative know-how — many do not. That additional expertise is a bonus. There are also some unofficial definitions, and those include anyone who offers support services virtually. Over the years, as more and more work is being done virtually, there’s been an increasing tendency for professionals who offer a range of support services to lump them all under the heading of virtual assistance. Technically, the label is correct — they are offering "assistance, virtually." The focus of these services could include web programming, bookkeeping, graphic design, tech services like specialized software assistance and programming, and other work that’s done virtually. So a bookkeeper who works virtually might call herself a virtual assistant, and a graphic designer who works virtually might call himself a virtual assistant — without offering many (or any) other administrative services. And there are definitions that fall somewhere in between. Some VAs don’t worry too much about the terminology or the original intent of the profession, and are offering a mixed bag of services that they add to pretty much as needed. They may feel that the industry is changing as technology is changing and they want to change with it, offering whatever support they feel is within their range of .petency. So they’ll offer a variety of admin services and also be able to make programming changes to your website, do your bookkeeping, and proofread your newsletter, all without making much of a distinction between the services. Whether they’re expert at any of these will be up to you to find out. Here’s where the problem .es in: It’s important for you to know what kind of VA you’re getting, and how your VA defines herself. This can make the difference between a great client/VA relationship and one that goes south pretty quickly — it’s all about expectations. If you think a VA is a VA is a VA and that they’re all alike — magical creatures who can do everything you need with grace, ease, and a tremendous amount of speed and accuracy whenever you need it, you’re surely going to be disappointed. Or you may think they’re task-oriented peeps you just bark orders at a few times a year without so much as a how-de-do. Huh uh. No. That’s not it either. They’re all different. What you think of as a VA might not be your VA’s definition of a VA. VAs are people first, just like you and me. There are things some VAs do well and things some VAs don’t do well. Some work like this and some work like that. You need to ask what they do and how they work, and know the differences between the people you’re interviewing. And then there’s the part about a VA not being your employee — you also need to understand what it means to have an "assistant" who is not your employee. This is a tough one, too. Virtual assistants are independent business owners like you are, they are not "hired" by you as an employee, and in that sense your relationship with them is very different. In the research I did for my ebook on the topic, one of the people I interviewed, Naomi Dunford of IttyBiz.., put it this way: "Do you know what I think it is? I think it’s the name of the position. When we think of an assistant, we have an automatic mental association with a dedicated assistant. It’s interesting because I think we have that belief that an assistant is something that you have, not something that you share." Think about that for a moment. It’s really easy to feel possessive about your VA. You may want to dictate her time, have her be available to you at a moment’s notice, feel paternalistic towards her, and have her be able to read your mind and anticipate your every move. You may not want her to be working with other business owners. You may not want to share her. She’s YOUR assistant, dang it. Nothing wrong with some of those things I guess, but if that’s what you’re looking for, then what you really need is an employee, not a VA. A VA is a partner. A virtual assistant, truly, is a partner — a business owner who can supply services you need, just like other partners you work with: your accountant, attorney, financial planner, or business coach or consultant. And she works with other business owners when she isn’t working with you. This is totally to your advantage: you only pay for what you need, for what you negotiate. With an employee, you’re making a .mitment to pay their entire salary and other costs associated with hiring, including benefits. Technically you pay for these costs with a VA as well, as these costs of doing business will be absorbed into her costs to you, but the point is you can negotiate to purchase part of a VA’s attention, which isn’t the case with an employee. There are advantages and disadvantages to both — you just have to know the differences. The bottom line: Partnering with a VA can reduce stress, protect cash flow, eliminate administrative hassles, be the perfect way to have someone to "watch your back," and free up your time. So you can get back to building your business, spending more time with your family, or doing whatever it was that you started your business for in the first place. About the Author: 相关的主题文章: