7 Tasks an Online Virtual Assistant Can Handle for You
I’ve been working with an online virtual assistant for almost a year now. My current virtual assistant is a whiz at getting repetitive tasks off my desk and letting me focus on the creative work my clients pay me the big bucks for. If you’ve got a growing freelance practice, a virtual assistant may be able to help you handle the work load. These tasks are all relatively easy for virtual assistants to take on, letting you focus on landing and completing projects that pay.
- Clean out your inbox. There are probably newsletters, junk mail, and piles of other emails sitting in your inbox right now, hiding all the worthwhile client emails that will actually make you money. A VA can clear out the less useful items and, if you give him some autonomy, answer the more basic emails.
- Handle the nuts and bolts of starting a new project. While you need to be hands on to actually land a project, all the back and forth necessary to get the project set up (getting approval on a contract, getting basic information, and so on) can be handed off to a virtual assistant. Depending on the size of your client’s company, you can bet that the head of the company isn’t handling details on his end.
- Send nagging emails. With some clients, having to send reminders is a fact of life. You need to send reminders about invoices, about information you need and everything else. You may just need to cut and paste an email and send it, which is not a particularly effective use of your skills.
- Schedule appointments. It seems like it can take days of back-and-forth emails to schedule an appointment sometimes. When you’re giving a virtual assistant some autonomy to handle your email inbox, hand over your schedule as well. As long as you tell your virtual assistant when not to schedule appointments, she can handle getting them set on your calendar.
- Research potential clients. It’s good practice to do some due diligence on any clients you’re considering working with. A good virtual assistant can run those Google searches that we simply skip when we get busy.
- Double check your work. After you’ve been staring at a project long enough, your eyes can start to glaze over. A virtual assistant can step in and make sure that you’ve got all the bits and pieces that the client initially asked for before you send it on.
- Repetitive parts of your work. I have one client who I need to set up blog posts for in a fairly repetitive manner (employing SEO techniques, adding graphics and so on). Rather than taking time away from my writing, it’s easy to hand these repetitive and formulaic tasks off to a virtual assistant.
At the end of the day, there are plenty of tasks you can shift off your desk to a virtual assistant’s. For most freelancers, the question isn’t what could you have a virtual assistant do, but rather how are you going to pay one. But there are ways to resolve that question quickly: it’s rare that you’ll need a full-time assistant and there are many virtual assistants based in other companies who are available for a lower rate than you might pay for a U.S.-based virtual assistant.
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