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4 Ways You Can Maximize the Value of Your Virtual Assistant

The role of the Virtual Assistant has grown in significance and prominence over the last 5 years. More businesses are hiring virtual assistants and integrating them in the work force. In fact, many virtual assistants have been contracted for long- term engagements that they are considered remote employees of the company.

The demand for virtual assistants has been spurred by the realization that they offer the best solution for every business. By contracting virtual assistants, you can improve your profitability because you lower cost of business without compromising quality of work.

Here are 4 ways you can use to maximize the value of your Virtual Assistant:

Assign Non- Core Functions – It is difficult to get things done if your business is disorganized.

Virtual assistants were previously hired to lend organization to a business. A business owner should not be tied down by tasks not directly related to the core enterprise.

Can you imagine missing a request for a bid proposal simply because you were focused on updating your calendar and appointments?

Identify the non- core functions of your business and delegate these tasks right away to your Virtual Assistant.

Manage Back Office Operations. Every business has its own level of support services. These are referred to as back office operations because in a real office setting, they are hardly seen on the floor.

Back office keeps your business running efficiently. It consists of different departments such as Accounting, Human Resources and Information Technology.

You can designate a Virtual Assistant to handle each of these back office functions. For example, a VA for Accounting would have the following scope of work:

  • Payroll Preparation
  • Bookkeeping
  • Accounts Management
  • Cash Management
  • Financial Statements

Outsource Specialized Skills. The virtual assistance industry has grown in response to the demand of global business. Virtual assistants are no longer limited to administrative work. You can find a VA for any skill you need for your business. These skills may include:

  • Digital Marketing
  • Translation
  • Transcription
  • SEO
  • Website Design
  • Software Development
  • Content Writing
  • Market Research

It is better to outsource specialized skills so you can be assured it will be given proper time and attention.

Get the Virtual Assistant Involved. Virtual assistants are highly experienced people. Many have had the experience of working in regular office. They know what it’s like to collaborate with other people, work with a boss and run after deadlines or quotas.

Many have also received additional training to improve their levels of competencies and proficiencies in key areas of operation. You should capitalize on these experiences and learned skills by having the Virtual Assistant more involved in the business.

When you are meeting with your Virtual Assistant, get his or her opinions or perspectives on your business. Allow the VA to share his or her analysis on certain pressing issues.

By doing this, you are discovering how your business is viewed though a different filter. Keep in mind, the Virtual Assistant has no interest in your business. Chances are his or her perspective will not be biased.

The most important thing to remember when hiring a Virtual Assistant is that he or she is not a miracle worker. The VA is human after all. You have to respect the Learning Curve and be patient. In time, your Virtual Assistant will be your company’s most valuable asset.

How to Successfully Outsource Services to a Virtual Team

Outsourcing services to a virtual team is an effective way of improving your bottom-line. Not only can you reduce operating costs but you can enhance the quality of work and deliverables.

But problems due to miscommunication, cultural and social nuances can happen and hinder the productivity of your virtual team.

Here are 5 ways on how you can successfully outsource services to your virtual team:

Identifying Your Purpose for Outsourcing Services. If you cannot identify your purpose for outsourcing services, your virtual team may not achieve its intended goals and objectives.

Why? Because purpose determines direction; it is the “why” of your business. Your purpose for outsourcing services could range from reducing costs to improving productivity to introducing business flexibility.

Purpose helps you establish the guidelines and benchmarks for your virtual team:

  • What skills should form my virtual team?
  • What programs and hardware do I need to support the virtual team?
  • What frameworks and processes do I need to run the system?
  • How much should I allocate to fund my virtual team?
  • What is a realistic ROI to validate my virtual team?

Define the Qualities and Parameters of the Virtual Team. When you have identified the services you wish to outsource, it is time to shift your focus on the details regarding the virtual team.

For example, if you plan to outsource digital marketing services you could come up with a short list of qualifications for the virtual team members:

  • Digital marketing skills needed
  • Website Development
  • SEO
  • Social media marketing
  • Content writing
  • Proficiency Levels
  • Years of Experience
  • Body of Work
  • Work Ethics
  • Testimonies
  • Due Dilligence Check
  • Character References

Define the Work Culture of the Team. It doesn’t matter if your methods have assembled what seems on paper to be the “best of the best”. If the team cannot work together, your virtual team will fail to accomplish its purpose.

As the business owner, you should establish the culture of the team. Share with the team members your ideas on what an ideal work culture should be to generate maximum productivity. Allow the team members to share their ideas as well.

The object is to arrive at a consensus as to what constitutes a productive work culture. Then hold everyone accountable to it.

Discuss the Scope of Work. Once you have assembled your virtual team, give each member their respective key areas of responsibilities. Go over the scope of work individually then discuss with the team how these responsibilities should come together to help accomplish its purpose.

This way, you are able to communicate your expectations and clear out any misunderstanding on the required tasks.

Schedule Regular Meetings. Technology has made it possible to connect and communicate with everyone on the virtual team. It is important to stay in close communication because working through the virtual world puts constraints on collaboration.

You can schedule meetings every start and end of the week. The purpose of the regular meetings is to make sure everyone is on the same page and updated on all current developments.

There are clear challenges to working with a virtual team. But these challenges can be overcome simply by establishing clear work flows and guidelines to address potential problems before they happen.

4 Valuable Tips to Improve Working Remotely as a Virtual Assistant

Working remotely as a Virtual Assistant can be a rewarding career. You get to work anywhere you want and for the most part, you can manage your own time. But make no mistake about it, the virtual assistance industry has become more competitive.

There are more people entering the industry to meet the high demand for virtual assistants. If you want to stay ahead of the competition, you must be willing to take your business to the next level:

Build a Website. If you plan to have a career in the virtual world, it only seems right to have a virtual business address. The virtual business address is your website.

A website tells clients you are serious about establishing your career because you are investing in your business. There are many benefits to having a website for a virtual assistance business:

  • Enhances your online presence
  • Gives you a platform to highlight your expertise
  • Allows you to present client testimonies
  • Interested clients can view your portfolio of work
  • Organizes distribution of online content
  • Creates the termination point of your online marketing strategies
  • Increases accessibility especially if your website is mobile- responsive  

Set Up Your System. Even before you land your first client, you should already have a system in place that can effectively manage different projects. Typically, your system should include:

  • Project Management software – Asana, Bitrix24
  • File Sharing – DropBox, Accellion
  • Communication – Skype, Slack, Viber, Messenger

You should be very familiar with your system and have contingencies in place in case problems arise. Clients may have their own system in mind. It would be best to be familiar with other programs as well.

Invest in Infrastructure. If you are working from home, invest in the best computer and hardware your money can buy. It does not have to be the most expensive or loaded with the latest technology. But it should be able to handle different work requirements.

You may also have to spend for improvements in your home office. It must be conducive for productivity. You may have to clear out some items or buy new furniture such as an ergonomic work station and chair.

Finally, you should consider getting a second ISP. If you primary ISP experiences downtime, you could have problems meeting deadlines.

Professionalize Your Business. Just because you work from home does not mean you should become an informal organization. If you want clients to acquire your services, you must professionalize your business.

This means you must register your business as a legal entity. There are 3 types of legal entities:

  • Corporation
  • Partnership
  • Single Proprietorship

There are distinct advantages to each type of entity. But regardless of the organization you choose, registering your business will validate you as a professional and legally recognized entity that is authorized to conduct business.

It will certainly go a long way in addressing trust and reputation issues with prospective clients.

Always keep in mind that becoming a Virtual Assistant is not just having a job. You are running a business that offers virtual assistance services. Sometimes having that frame of mind is all the advantage you need to stay ahead of the competition.

Should Virtual Assistants Have a Secret Identity?

Virtual assistants are not only great in rendering administrative work. Today’s virtual assistants have more skill and ability and not just limited to typing, calendar management and appointment setting. You can hire a Virtual Assistant for any service your business needs.

A virtual assistance service that is gaining popularity is outbound marketing. This covers sales, surveys, appointment setting, after- sales service and customer support.

Some of the best talents you can find are Filipino virtual assistants. The Philippines is considered the world leader in outsourced outbound services because the quality of English is very high and Filipinos by nature are gracious and respectful.

However it appears to be standard practice for virtual assistants to modify their accent and change their names. Virtual assistants are often required by clients to copy the accent of the host country and to make their names more “foreign sounding”.

There are actually schools and in-house training programs that help Filipinos change their natural English speaking accent to that of an American, a Briton or an Australian. “Roberto” becomes “Bob” and “Leonora” becomes “Ellen”.

But are these absolutely necessary? Does becoming someone you’re not guarantee success?

The answer is “No” and for the following reasons:

“Fool Me Once…” It’s very difficult to hide a foreign accent even if you’ve spent months honing your craft. And even if you do sound American, British or Australian, your fellow virtual assistants may not be as skilled or gifted.

A customer can easily find out if you are a native English speaker or not. And the consequences are great if your cover is blown. Pretending to be someone you’re not is not the best way to establish trust and credibility with the customer.

You Can’t Be Yourself – The key to making a successful sale, extending great customer service and resolving issues lies in the Virtual Assistant’s ability to establish a relationship.

It is very difficult to establish a relationship if you have to speak in a fake accent, assume a different persona and read through spiels and scripts.

The best way to succeed is to allow the VA to be herself. She has to be allowed to empathize with the customer so she can give an honest feedback.

There is nothing honest about a fake accent, a bogus identity and prepared scripts.

Outsourcing is an Accepted Practice. Outsourcing has been a go-to strategy for businesses that want to reduce cost. It is not a novel idea. In fact, the global outsourcing industry is estimated to be worth $250 Million.

Foreign companies that want to outsource and cut costs further turn to service providers in the Philippines and India; the perennial top 2 nations in global outsourcing.

So why hide it?

If a customer asks, “Are you a Filipino Agent?”

What do you think his response would be if your Filipino Virtual Assistant says, “No sir. I’m from Long Island, New York.”

It’s obvious already that the customer suspects. Do not take further risks by continuing the charade.

Companies have virtual assistants speak in foreign accents, assume fake identities and read scripts because they are afraid of making mistakes. But the more you hide the truth the greater the probability of mistakes happening.

Keep everything simple. Ditch the smoke and mirrors and be upfront and transparent with the customer.

Tenancy Application Check – Everything You Need to Know

tenancy application check

Owning property in Australia is a great investment. Demand for real estate remains high while supply continues to be tight. One way to generate income from the property is to rent or lease it out. On the part of the landlord, renting it out means entrusting the asset to someone he or she has never met before. This is the importance of conducting a tenancy application check; it helps the landlord screen prospective tenants for his or her property.

In Australia, looking for the right property is just one half of the rental process. It’s not enough that you have expressed interest in leasing the property or shown the financial capacity to do so. The landlord or property owner must conduct due diligence procedures to know which party to lease the premises to. Thus, once you’ve identified a property that interests you, the next step is to fill out a tenancy application form.

Many property owners will provide prospective tenants with their own tenancy application form. If they have a real estate agent managing the property, he or she can give you the form or direct you to a website where you can download it.

It is highly advisable to have all required documentation with you during your initial meeting with the landlord. In a tight rental market, you have to move fast. If there are 10 applicants eyeing the same property, you have to make sure you are always one step ahead of them.

Here is a checklist of documents normally requested for the tenant application check:

  • Personal details
    • Birth Certificate
    • Australian Citizenship Certificate
    • Marriage Certificate
    • Degree, Diploma or Certificate of Higher Education
    • Vehicle Registration Certificate
  • Photo identification
    • Drivers License
    • Passport – Either Australian or from another country
    • Proof of Age Card
  • Medicare Card/Health Card
  • Previous rental history
    • Address
    • Previous agent
    • Rental referees
    • Copy of last rate’s notice if you owned your previous residence
  • Rental ledger or rent accommodation receipts
    • Present payment history
    • Present copy of the front page of your lease
  • Provide selling agent details if you are selling your property
  • Utility account for your current address
    • Electricity
    • Phone bill
    • Rates notice
  • Latest bank statements
  • Employment details
    • Pay Slip – 3 consecutive pay slips
    • Employment Certification from your employer or Centrelink
    • Australian Bank or Credit Union Statement
    • ATO Tax Return – if self-employed
  • Details of any pets
    • Type
    • Number
    • Existing illness
    • Veterinarian’s health clearance
  • Emergency contact information
  • At least 2 personal references
  • Details of people who are applying for the property with you

It is very important that you are able to submit personal references. Failure to present references will seriously impact your chances of being awarded the premises. If you are able to secure references, advise them to expect a call from the landlord. Trust that the landlord will contact the names you provided.

The required documents for a student who wishes to rent property are different. If you’re a student, here are the items you have to submit as part of your tenancy application check:

  • A copy of the Acceptance Letter from the university you will be studying at.
  • If you are receiving Government or Centrelink Assistance, provide a copy of the original documentation as proof.
  • If you are receiving financial support from your parents or a guardian, you have to submit a letter from them confirming the assistance including indicative amounts and frequency of payment.

A tenant who is able to submit complete documents at the earliest possible time gains a tremendous advantage. Oftentimes the landlord or the agent will employ a scoring system to identify which tenancy applicant is ahead of the race. The points are based on the types of documents submitted:

30 points:

  • Passport
  • Australian Driver’s License
  • Proof of Age card
  • Pay slips – 3 consecutive months
  • Rental Ledger – Mandatory

20 points

  • Birth certificate
  • Australian Citizenship Certificate
  • ATO Tax Return
  • Medicare card
  • Council rate notice

10 points

  • Gas or electricity bill
  • Telephone bill
  • Employer/security ID card
  • College Diploma
  • Marriage certificate

The landlord will move to have these documents and the information indicated in the tenancy application form verified. It is also to the landlord’s interest to have the property leased out as soon as possible so it can start generating income.

The landlord or most likely, the agent, may hire the services of a tenancy application checking company. It is very easy to use these services. All the agent has to do is upload the tenancy application form to the website portal. In 4 hours, results of the tenancy check can be made available to the landlord.

If you have been approved and accepted as the tenant, the attention shall now shift to the tenancy agreement which outlines the conditions of the arrangement and protects the rights of both parties.

If you have been declined, do not hesitate to ask the landlord why your application was not accepted. It is possible you may have issues in the past that have not been resolved.

How Real Estate Virtual Assistants Are Boosting Agent’s Profits

how real estate virtual assistants can help

The life of a real estate agent can be quite exciting. A typical workday is packed with “things to do” from meeting clients to visiting properties to negotiating contracts. In between, there are the phone calls, MLS updates, social media feeds and presentations to prepare for. With all the things an agent has to do, it’s highly probably tasks get overlapped or overlooked. These oversights can affect the agent’s bottom-line. It may be time to get help. Here is how real estate virtual assistants are boosting agent’s profits.

Profit = Sales – Costs

The profit equation is easy enough to understand. The lower your costs for generating a unit of sales the higher becomes your profit.

What are the monthly expenses of a real estate agent?

  1. Software – $250
  2. Utilities – $150
  3. Office Supplies – $20
  4. Gas – $150
  5. Website Maintenance – $500
  6. Online Marketing – $500
  7. Print Advertising – $500

All told, a real estate agent may spend up to $2,070 per month to support his profession. Keep in mind the costs for updating licenses, payment of association dues and MLS fees have not been factored in. Collectively and when capitalized over 12 months, these fees can add $60 to monthly expenses.

For the real estate agent, these expenses are part of the job. If you want to earn big, you should be willing to invest in your business. And in real estate, commissions can be lucrative.

Selling a house worth $500,000 will yield a commission of $10,000 to $15,000. If an agent can seal a deal every 3 months, he will be in good financial shape. But what happens during lean periods?

In order to remain profitable, a business must operate at its equilibrium point. This means costs should be at a point whereby the level of productivity or output is not compromised. In order to this, the business must focus on operating efficiently.

Hiring a real estate Virtual Assistant is a proven way to achieve efficiency. When you are generating consistent output with the least resources, you will be profitable.

Here are 4 ways real estate virtual assistants are boosting agents’ profits:

1. Increase Productivity

Ask yourself this question, “How many goals do I accomplish every day?”

If your answers are:

  • One
  • Less than one if you average the goals accomplished over 5 days
  • I don’t know

Then you are not being productive. If you want to know why, take a look at your calendar and review the tasks or reminders you lined up every day. Find out how many of those tasks are administrative, supportive or require technical skills.

These tasks are non-essentials because they do not contribute directly to your sales. You should outsource these tasks to a Virtual Assistant. The VA will make sure these tasks are done on time and never overlooked.

Once you relieve yourself of these responsibilities, you will have more time to attend to the work that relates directly to your business. Your productivity will go up and you will be able to accomplish more goals every day.

2. Lower Manpower Costs

Hiring a Virtual Assistant will cost you much less than a full- time employee for the following reasons:

  • Virtual assistants are self-employed; they are responsible for their own costs of business.
  • Virtual assistants are paid only for the hours worked and are not entitled to receive benefits.
  • The work schedule of a VA is flexible.

The average hourly pay of a full-time employee ranges from $16 to $20. Assuming a 48 hour work week plus benefits, total compensation of 1 full-time employee could amount to $5,824 every month.

You can hire VA’s at $10 per hour; lower if they are from remote locations like the Philippines or India. And because their work schedule is flexible, you can just schedule them for 20 hours every week. Without benefits, total cost of hiring a real estate Virtual Assistant is $1,100 every month.

That’s a cost savings of $4,724 every month. As a matter of fact, the total compensation cost of 1 full-time employee is comparable to hiring 5 virtual assistants!

3. Streamline Overhead Costs

Other than payroll, hiring a Virtual Assistant can streamline your expenses in these areas:

  • Software – Many virtual assistants have their own software unless you have specific or proprietary programs you want them to use.
  • Utilities – Once you delegate tasks, you should spend less on utilities such as power and water. Virtual assistants are accountable for their own expenses including Internet charges.
  • Office Supplies – Hiring a VA means transitioning most of your work online. This should reduce the amount of paper and printing costs every month.
  • Gas and Transportation – One of the core strengths of a VA is organization. A VA can schedule your daily activities so that you travel less and still accomplish more.

The last 3 items are marketing-related. A real estate VA can manage these tasks for you including designing marketing collaterals. It may not save you the $1,500 entirely, but for sure you can significantly reduce this amount.

4. Increase Conversion Rates

A real estate VA can increase your conversion rates the following ways:

  • E-mail Marketing – The VA can send e-mails to generated leads and existing clients keeping them updated of property listings.
  • Referrals and Repeat Business – The VA can also focus on your existing clients and try to procure referrals or encourage repeat business.
  • Follow Up Sales Calls – Studies show sales are closed between the 5th and 12th calls. If you don’ t have time after the 2nd call, let the Virtual Assistant take over.

Real estate virtual assistants are boosting agents’ profits by helping them reduce costs while increasing the probability of generating sales. It’s a double- edged benefit that will take your real estate business to the next level.

Trend-Spotting: Outsourcing in 2017

For the last 15 years, outsourcing has been on an upward growth trajectory. The global outsourcing industry has increased in size from US$45 Billion to US$105 Billion in 2014. It is estimated that the global outsourcing industry is worth US$250 Billion.

The growth of outsourcing corresponded with increasing global uncertainty beginning the new millennium. From 9/11 to the Eurozone Crisis of 2009 to global recession in 2014, volatility ushered new demand for outsourcing services. Businesses were looking for ways to streamline costs without affecting productivity.

Now we are nearing the end of 2016 and the world has been thrown in chaos once again with changes happening everywhere.

Does this mean outsourcing will reach greater heights in 2017?

Greater Integration of Virtual Assistants

Businesses will continue to contract the services of virtual assistants in 2017. Having virtual assistants onboard your company is the most cost efficient strategy to moderate risks while expanding your business.

Virtual assistants will reduce your cost of business and improve business flexibility. By delegating non-essential work to virtual assistants, you can focus more on your core business and increase productivity. US companies are expected to increase the allocation for virtual assistants in the workforce by another 15%.

The Rise and Rise of India

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s decision to shift foreign policy away from the United States and Europe and toward China has rattled the Philippines’ outsourcing sector.

The largest beneficiary of Pres. Duterte’s foreign policy is India which will seek to reclaim the markets it had been losing to the Philippines since 2013. The Philippines stands to lose out on an estimated US$25 Billion income from export receipts in 2017 and US$48 Billion in 2020 if Duterte’s administration does not address diminishing investor confidence and the increasing outflow of capital.

In the first week of November 2016 alone, US$800 Million worth of capital outflows hit the Philippines’ equities markets.

Greater Demand for Remote Teams

More businesses will be seeking to set up remote teams. There are composed of virtual assistants that have specific skill sets.

Offsite operations have been on the uptrend for the last few years. It is an effective way to outsource services because margins can accommodate negotiation. Clients can improve profit margins while service providers can build their portfolios.

Offshoring on Hold

Donald J. Trump’s unexpected win of the US Presidency has thrown a curveball on international business relations. While Pres. Trump’s policy remains unclear, his campaign promise of “Let’s Make America Great” may put a damper on offshoring.

Many US companies offshore to China, a country by which Pres. Trump has had a contentious relationship. It may also affect US companies that initially outsourced to the Philippines with a plan to transition to offshore in the near future.

It seems that foreign policy would determine the future growth of outsourcing. Given the uncertainty of US and Philippine foreign policy, it is highly possible that new markets for outsourcing would open up for clients and service providers.

Put simply, outsourcing is too valuable strategy to pass up. It is the only business development strategy that can potentially reduce costs, increase revenues while decreasing the risk of expansion.

FSBO 101: How to Negotiate with Potential Buyers

FSBO 101: How to Negotiate with Potential Buyers

FSBO or For Sale by Owner is the process of selling your home without the representation of a licensed real estate agent. More property owners are resorting to FSBO in order to keep most of the sales proceeds intact. Also, FSBO allows more focus and attention to the sale of the property.

Many people have found success with For Sale By Owner. Initially most of your efforts will be focused on getting the contracts done and marketing your property. Hiring a Virtual Assistant can get these tasks done for you so you can focus on the real challenge at hand: negotiating with buyers.

After all the hard work in pushing your property in the market, getting calls or inquiries from interested parties is a wonderful feeling. But that is only ¼ of the work that needs to be done. The next steps involve:

  • Scheduling the property visit
  • Negotiating the price
  • Finalizing the sale

As a rule, do not close out the sale with the first buyer. You should have a number of bids submitted in order to make an educated selection.

Before meeting with any potential buyers, you must have done the following things:

Prepared the Contract of Sale

  • Conducted minor repairs and improvements
  • Had photos taken and uploaded unto an FSBO site
  • Calculated the price range for your home

Perhaps one of the biggest advantages of having a real estate agent onboard is their ability to negotiate with buyers. They are familiar with the industry and know how buyers think. But successful negotiation starts with your frame of mind.

In the words of one of the greatest minds in sales, Joe Girard, you should view negotiation from the perspective of a protagonist. Negotiation is not a zero sum game where one emerges a winner and the other a loser.

Both parties enter a negotiation with a specific interest to protect. The buyer wants to get the lowest price possible while the seller wants to extract the most money that he can for his property.

But what successful negotiation is all about is finding the middle ground where both parties attain the greatest value.

The buyer is not the antagonist; he or she is not your enemy. In fact, the buyer is here on his or her free will to help you earn from the sale of your property. In a negotiation, it is unrealistic to expect that a party will get everything he or she wants. You have to be prepared to make compromises if you want your property sold.

The great thing about FSBO is that by removing the real estate agent from the equation, you automatically improved your margin by 6% to 8%. The cost savings is because you don’t have to pay commissions and have better control over marketing expenses. You can use the 6% to 8% cost savings as a range for negotiation.

When a buyer visits your home, you have to be grateful that he or she took the time to view your property. After the buyer inspects your home, you should expect a preliminary discussion on pricing.

You should not pluck out a price in mid- air. Always do your homework and research on the average sales price on similar properties in your neighborhood. You can visit home value and FSBO sites to get ideas on the price range or have a Comparative Market Analysis (CMA) done on your area.

Price your home near the high end of the range if its features are similar to properties that sold at that price level. Then use the 6% to 8% cost savings to adjust your offer price.

In the end, choose the buyer that comes closest to your criteria in terms of price, terms and mode of payment.

Negotiating with buyers is not as difficult or nerve- wracking as some people make it out to be. For the most part, it’s all about establishing a common ground and working your way to it as 2 parties with a shared interest.

 

5 Tips on How to Improve Communication with Your Virtual Assistant

Communication is a vital component for any business to succeed especially if you hire a Virtual Assistant. You have to make sure instructions are well understood and there are no questions on the project. Otherwise, miscommunication could lead to very risky and costly mistakes. Here are 5 tips to improve communication with your Virtual Assistant.

1. Establish the Scope of Work

Miscommunication arises if there is misunderstanding. It’s one thing to verbally dictate what the scope of operations is and another to have it formalized as a formal document.

Once you’ve hired your Virtual Assistant, provide a copy of the Scope of Work. Discuss each item in detail and give the Virtual Assistant opportunities to ask questions or clarify.

2. Set Up the Best Communication Systems

When you are working in the virtual world, close collaboration can be a challenge. It’s different when you don’t share the same space as the person you are working with. You have to trust that the Virtual Assistant is clear on the project details or scope of work.

Occasionally you should check in or set a schedule during the day or the week where you can discuss the progress of work with the Virtual Assistant. If an audio-video meeting is not possible, make sure other media will be available.

As a rule always have 3 communication media accessible for the Virtual Assistant. This should be e-mail, chat support and audio-video services.

3. Ask For Feedback

You could have a Virtual Assistant who tends to be on the quiet side. He or she may not request for clarification on your instructions even if these were not properly understood.

At worst, the Virtual Assistant may continue to work based on his or her understanding of the instructions. This may cost you more time and money.

The best approach would be to request feedback from the Virtual Assistant. Ask the Virtual Assistant to relay the instructions back to you in sequence. While the Virtual Assistant is taking you through the process, you should point out any misunderstanding.

Feedback is like role-playing or role- reversal. But it is an effective way of ensuring the instructions are clear.

4. Follow Up with a Written Summary

After you meet with your Virtual Assistant, ask him or her to send you a written summary of the meeting. This is like the “minutes of the meeting”.

It is another way of securing feedback only this time it is in written format. Review the minutes and call the attention of the Virtual Assistant for any mistakes in the summary.

5. Get to Know Your Virtual Assistant

Probably the most effective way of minimizing the incidence of miscommunication is get to know your Virtual Assistant better.

This is especially true if your Virtual Assistant is from a remote location such as the Philippines and India; 2 of the leading countries for outsourced services, but where social and cultural nuances may lead to frequent miscommunication.

It will take more than one informal discussion to have a deeper grasp of the language and culture. Thus, the more often you engage the Virtual Assistant in an informal setting the better your understanding of how he or she thinks and behaves.

A Virtual Assistant will make your work easier and less stressful. You can definitely become more productive. The key is to make sure there is clear understanding between you and the Virtual Assistant on the things that have to be done.

 

How a Virtual Assistant can Manage Your Life

If you’re an entrepreneur who works 14 hours a day, did you know a Virtual Assistant can help you manage not just your business but your life?

First off, if you are working more than 8 hours a day are you:

  • Productive?
  • Accomplishing goals consistently?
  • Attending to all areas of your business?
  • More tired than usual?
  • Getting enough exercise?
  • Spending time with your family?

Most of all, are you happy or miserable?

If you answered “Yes” to at least half of these questions, you need a Virtual Assistant!

How can a Virtual Assistant manage your life?

The first thing you need to do is to make an accounting of your current schedule and how you would want it to be.

An example would be as follows:

Current Schedule:

Total Hours in a Day – 24 hours

Less:

  1. Work – 14 hours
  2. Travel Time – 2 hours
  3. Family – 2 hours
  4. Errands – 2 hours
  5. Sleep – 4 hours

Balance – 0 Hours

In this example, if you have 14 hour work days, you only have 2 hours for family and 4 hours of sleep. You have no time for exercise or anything else.

4 hours of sleep isn’t even healthy. You need at least 7 hours.

So why do people work for more than 8 hours?

  • Tight budget; cannot afford extra help
  • Lack of time management skills
  • Fear of relinquishing control
  • Lack of faith in the ability of others to render good work
  • Belief that quantity work leads to quality work
  • Belief the hard work should be quantified

Hiring a Virtual Assistant is your best option for the following reasons:

Save Up on Costs – You only pay a Virtual Assistant for productive time spent on your business. Second, you don’t pay benefits to virtual assistants because they are only contracted and not full-time employees. Third, virtual assistants are responsible for their own costs of business.

Great Time Management Skills – Virtual assistants are known for their ability to manage time. They can help you schedule your meetings and appointments and keep you abreast of approaching deadlines.

Highly Talented – Virtual assistants are highly talented; many have undergone additional training or certification in specific skills. You can be assured of quality work.

Well Experienced – Many virtual assistants did not start out as virtual assistants. They crossed over from the office world to the virtual world. This means they know what it’s like to work for someone and meet deadlines. In time, you should be able to trust your VA well enough that you can delegate some of your responsibilities to her.

If you had a Virtual Assistant, your daily schedule may fit in to what you want to do:

Total Hours in a Day – 24 hours

Less:

  1. Work – 4 hours
  2. Travel Time – 2 hours
  3. Family – 7 hours
  4. Exercise – 2 hours
  5. Errands – 2 hours
  6. Sleep – 7 hours

Balance – 0 Hours

Can you do quality work in 4 hours? Tim Ferris did it. So did others who hired virtual assistants such as Michael Hyatt.

Now you can spend more time with your family! What can you do with 7 hours? The possibilities are endless!

All of this will be possible if you hire a Virtual Assistant. You will be able to achieve life and work balance.