7 Surprising Places to Find Your Virtual Assistant

 

Where to find a Virtual Assistant
7 Surprising Places to Find Your Virtual Assistant

Welcome to Whose Business Is This, Anyway? Where the tasks are unending and your stress level doesn’t matter: Sound familiar?

If it also sounds like your life as an entrepreneur, until this point every little milestone of that life has probably been a celebrated victory. But the novelty is probably starting to wear off.

Related: The Virtual Assistant: A Startup’s Secret Weapon

 There’s content to be edited and updates to be made to your website. You’ve missed two meetings and can’t remember who the contacts are to reschedule them. And your inbox count looks like the GDP of a small country.

There’s a lot to be said about optimizing your own daily routine to get the most out of your days, but that can only take you so far. While you may have aspirations of a tremendously profitable quarter, it’s probably time to compose yourself and admit that you’re not going to be able to do it all alone. You can’t continue growing a business if you’re tethered to your desk.

Traditional hiring processes take far too long when you need someone immediately who can take the load off your shoulders. Ideally, you want someone who can materialize, quickly get up to speed on what’s happening, handle the workload, and disappear until needed again.

I’m referring to a VA (virtual assistant).

This is where a lot of entrepreneurs will cringe. Sure, it’s hard to give up control, and you may find it a challenge to find someone who is reliable and whom you can trust with private company intel. But those someones are out there: You just have to know where to look.

Here are seven surprising places to start your search.

1. Twitter

I am absolutely advocating that you search social media to find a stranger to trust with your business. Start talking about the need for a virtual assistant on Twitter, and you’ll be surprised just how fast VA businesses will respond and start following you. Some of the best VA companies have listening posts set up with alerts to find people just like you.

The best part is that if you’ve got a social-savvy VA, Twitter is just one more task he or she can help you with.

2. Your network

If your contact list includes other business owners, mentors, influencers, professionals or any combination thereof, then it’s time to make calls and let them know you need help. Chances are, they know someone, or can recommend a service they may have used in the past. Don’t ever forget about the power of referrals and word of mouth.

Inspired by Tim Ferriss’ The 4-Hour Workweek, New York Times bestselling author Michael Hyatt decided it was time to pick up a virtual assistant when he began to focus on his writing and saw his blog traffic (and workload) spike. He has had the same virtual assistant for years now and swears by her.

“I found that I was so much more productive that it was well worth the additional investment,” Hyatt says of his assistant. “She’s just one of my teammates — and a very valuable one at that.”

Related: How to Hire a Virtual Assistant for Startup Success

3. VANetworking

If you’ve never worked with a virtual assistant and you came up short on referrals, VANetworking is a good place to start. VAs often network and come together here as a means of finding work, as well as solutions. Not only do they provide information for clients who want to work with a virtual assistant, they also have a hiring section where you can post in search of a VA.

4. Craigslist

This one might be as surprising as Twitter. While the go-to classifieds site has its share of scammers, it’s very possible to find a top-notch virtual assistant on Craigslist. You can also look on Craigslist sites elsewhere in the world and choose your desired location, though the local aspect can be a huge benefit. Even though your assistant will be working remotely, you’ll have the advantage of setting up a face-to-face interview as if you were hiring an in-house employee.

Just make sure you do your legwork, like verifying work history and checking references.

5. Zirtual

Zirtual is a great choice for startups and entrepreneurs as the site specializes in providing dedicated virtual assistants to entrepreneurs, professionals and small teams. One of the biggest perks is that it works only with college-educated VAs who are based in the United States, so you don’t need to worry about the vetting process. Zirtual boasts that fewer than 2 percent of applicants get hired on to their service.

Pat Flynn, founder of Smart Passive Income, often shares the benefits of working with virtual assistants on his podcast. In his tutorial on delegation, he writes, “I know just how valuable my time is and where my time should be invested to give me the most return.”

6. Workshops and events

Hopefully, you’re consciously aware that you’ll need help down the road and that you have time to be on the lookout. If that’s the case, then always keep the VA search in the back of your mind as you travel to industry events, workshops, and lectures. Those are great places for industry professionals to gather. If you find a VA at an event like this, you know he or she already has at least one foot inside the door of your industry.

Related: Hiring a Virtual Assistant Grew My Business, and Changed My Life

7. College campuses

A local college, or any college for that matter, can be a great place to locate a VA. Talk with career counselors or professors, or post hiring ads on campus job boards to try to locate a student studying in your industry. You may find a student chomping at the bit for a paid internship, willing to act as a virtual assistant as a means of learning the industry and gaining experience in his or her chosen career track.

*  This post first appeared on Entrepreneur.com on 17th October 2016 and is written by SUJAN PATEL

**  Header Image courtesy of Pixabay.com and edited by Virtuadmin.uk

Mentoring or Coaching for Success with Audio Transcription

Benefits of Audio Transcription for Coaching and Mentoring

Are you an experienced and knowledgeable business mentor or coach?  This article is going to be very useful to you for your clients.

Mentoring or coaching start-ups or small business owners is about sharing and helping others with less knowledge than you to achieve their aims and goals for themselves or their business, right?

You advise from your wealth of knowledge and experience and help starts-ups choose the right routes for their new business and helping them gain success.  You share your business experience and knowledge with business owners less knowledgeable than yourself to help them achieve their goals, right?  So what form of communication do you use for coaching?

The communication of your knowledge in coaching

Mentoring or coaching can take place person-to-person, via email, video or voice chat on Skype, even a video call on Facebook.  But apart from email how is your client that you are coaching going to remember what advice and information you gave them?

If that conversation is not recorded what happens when it finishes?  They could have taken notes, but they don’t always make sense after the event!  How is your client going to accurately remember what was spoken about in the valuable advice you shared in that unique call or meeting you had with them?

This is where the answer is audio transcription.  Transcription is the skill of typing what is spoken into text.  A valuable service used by many industries such as medical, insurance, journalists to mention a few.

How impressive would it be to offer your client a copy of the entire meeting or conversation in the form of a transcript for a point of future reference?  If you yourself have a lot of clients it is an ideal way to recap before your next session.

They would receive it in digital form as you would from the transcriptionist, but it allows them to print off the transcript and make notes; refer to what advice was given at certain points of the challenge in their own business and probably the reason for hiring your expert services in the first place.

It would be very impressive for any new prospects clients that you converse with via Skype, or meet with in person for them to have a copy of the entire conversation in a transcript within a few days of that call or coaching session taking place.

If mentoring, you may not know the next time that you will be called upon by your client, but having a transcript of the last time you spoke or met is beneficial to refer to for a refresher with that particular client.

This would be a great incentive for any new prospective clients too.  To offer a transcript after the event that they can build the course up and always have it for future reference.  No worry for them to take notes when you have that call, or make notes during the meeting and maybe miss some important and valuable points.

I believe that all person-to-person meetings, video chats or voice calls on Skype, a landline telephone call, offering a full transcript of what was spoken, for them to always have to refer to so that nothing is forgotten, could well tip the balance to gaining new clients.  Of course, if you understand how useful transcription could be for your business by recording calls or meetings, this should be well discussed in the preliminary conversations.

Which route to take for your transcription service?

Specialist Transcription Companies

Specialised transcription companies can give you very good rates and turnaround time but the process is very impersonal and involves a self-process of which to upload your audio onto their site and pay for your audio transcription.

That’s fine if it’s a straight forward audio to be transcribed;  audio with two people recorded, an interview for example, with very good speech clarity and low to no background noise, but what if the audio is a bit more complex than your average straightforward transcription?  What if you want to speak directly to your transcriber with questions?

The is very much a “self-process”.  You upload and pay for your audio transcription digitally via their websites.  That’s great if you experienced at using transcription services from big organisations, but what if you have never used a transcriptionist before and would like to ask some questions?

Some of the specialist transcription companies offer a “live chat” to answer any questions or queries.  The problem is that person will not be the person transcribing your audio, they are in place to promote the company and answer your queries.  Why are they not the transcriber you ask?

Because specialist transcription companies that offer great rates and turnaround times break down your audio into five minute or so piece-meal bits for several transcriptionists to transcribe at once.

That is what enables them to offer a great turn-around-time, but not always the best price because they have higher overheads to consider than a freelance transcriptionist.

They have the transcriptionists to pay for the transcription work they have done for you.  They have very expensive websites that they have to maintain on an annual or monthly basis.  Website name registration costs; possibly office space as well to conduct the time-consuming digital delegation of audio’s to the transcriptionists they employ.

A Freelance Transcriptionist

A freelance transcriptionist will operate from home, but just because they do does not mean they are any less professional and will not produce any less quality transcript than a specialist transcription company.  Freelance transcriptionists are what professional companies are made off, but choose to offer their skills directs to those that need them.

You deal with them directly, they make the decision quickly as to whether they can or cannot transcribe your audio.  If they can and are willing to undertake the transcription for you, they will give you a quote for transcribing that audio or video.

A freelance transcriptionist with plenty of experience will not commit to an audio unless they are sure they can produce you the accurate and justified transcript for the quality of audio you give them.

Having a direct contact with your transcriber from the outset is a lot quicker than transcription companies themselves.  They have departments for this, departments for that, but at the end of the day, you want a professional, accurate reading transcript, quickly.

What if there’s background noise because the call was conducted via Skype or in a car?  Or it is a focus group meeting with a lot of cross-talking? A three-person interview; or a video where there is one clear speaker but music in the background?

These are all typical questions and more of the benefits of dealing with a freelance transcriptionist that will help you answer your questions quickly.  Specialist companies with their fancy websites want you to submit a support ticket, or even with live chat they may not be able to answer your query immediately.  This is all time consuming and not helping you get your transcript complete within a few days to get to your client as promised.

Ask Questions

Specialist companies as we have established will have a nice fancy website with all the information that you want.  Who they are, how long they have been established, where their transcribers are from, the experience they have and hopefully answer any questions you have if that is the route you are thinking of taking.  Seems a little safer, doesn’t it?  An established company with testimonials from previous happy clients; secure payment system etcetera.

If you choose the freelance transcriptionist route, there are things you can do to safeguard yourself from hiring a complete fraudster who thinks they can type and oh listening to someone speak and then type what they say, yes that’s easy I can do that! It’s not that easy so here a few tips to find a great freelance transcriptionist.

Ask questions.  Here is a brief list of the things you would want to ask your prospective transcriber:-

  • How many years have they been transcribing?
  • Are they a native English speaker?
  • Do they use professional transcribing software such as Express Scribe?
  • What is their touch-typing speed and accuracy?
  • Do they use a foot-pedal?
  • Do they use a specialist headset?
  • To prevent repetitive strain injury do they use an ergonomic keyboard?
  • What is the rate per minute or hour of audio?
  • What would be the prospective turnaround time for your audio?
  • Do they use and have an active Dropbox or Google Drive for sharing audios?
  • Is proofreading included in the price?
  • Can they add time-stamps to your transcript for you?

Asking questions of this nature will help you immediately indicate between a professional or amateur transcriptionist   If, they have never done this kind of work before, they just “think” they can type quick enough to meet the speed required to successfully complete an audio or video transcription they are wrong.  A professional will know immediately how to confidently answer your questions

If you think an experienced freelance transcriptionist will be more costly then you may well be pleasantly surprised.  They have far fewer overheads than the specialist companies that hire several transcribers to transcribe your audio piece-meal.

The freelance transcriptionist should be passionate about what they do, and this should come across when communicating with them.  They should want to deliver you the best accurate transcript possible.  They will gladly answer your questions and discuss finer details highly in the points above.  This will ensure you get the transcript that you paying for.

Some will operate through professional freelance websites: People Per Hour; Fivesquid; Guru; just to mention a few that I have or are currently available on for work on as Virtuadmin.

Cost

According to Transcriptionwave.com, their pricing starts at just $0.99 per audio minute.  At the time of writing and doing a direct exchange rate from United States Dollar to the United Kingdom British Pound (Sterling) that would be 68p per audio minute.

Another transcription company www.gmrtranscription.com (not a freelance transcriptionist) that I researched, their rates for a clear quality audio  general transcription audio for a 3-4 week turn around was $1.25 for up to a two-person audio and $1.50 per recorded audio minute for multiple speakers with the same turn around time.

Rates for a freelance transcriptionist can vary vastly depending on how valuable the transcriptionist thinks their individual skill is worth,  Their turn around times may vary also, so it is worth asking questions.

When I Googled "average freelance transcription rates UK" I found www.uktranscription.com a UK based transcription service.  Again, this is not for a freelance transcriptionist but it gives you a good idea of what the specialists companies are charging for their transcription services.  This is their pricing guide below.

RATES & PRICING

Each batch is quoted individually. Rates may vary between orders. Please upload your audio for a quick quote within one hour.

The table below provides approximate estimates only. Surcharges are applicable for quality issues, enhanced security options, complex requirements and faster turnaround times.

Turnaround Time Rate / Min (Simple) Rate / Min (Difficult) * Volume Limit (Mins)
2 Weeks £1.00 £1.25 15000
1 Week £1.10 £1.35 5000
3 Days £1.20 £1.45 1500
2 Days £1.30 £1.60 1000
1 Day £1.50 £1.80 500
Same Day £1.80 £2.00 150

* Estimated rate for 'difficult' audio, distortion, complex formatting, focus group, or multiple speaker ID. Files are assessed individually, and rates vary between orders.

** All rates are exclusive of VAT, payable at 20%. (Overseas customers may be exempt.)

So, for a two-week turn around on your clear audio that was recorded with your client would take 2 weeks to deliver back to you for you to forward to your client.  Not really what you want or need for your client when you are offering them an accurate transcript included in your fee to assist them with enhancing their skills.

As a guide to our rates at Virtuadmin Transcription Service, I am very fair on my pricing.  You get a low cost, a much quicker turnaround time but that does not deter from giving professional service and an accurate transcript.  I give you great value for the years’ experience that I have.

For transcription as myself offering my transcribing skills and experience as Virtuadmin, my rates start at just 50p per audio minute for a single person audio that is of very good audio and speech quality.  For a two-person interview or recorded audio that has two people, it is 60p per audio minute and for a three-person audio it would be 75p per audio minute.

Difficult quality audio I will consider, the professional software Express Scribe Professional from www.nch.com can very often clear up background noise and interference so enable me to transcribe the audio more accurately.

The cost then gets a bit more expensive the more speakers there are; the amount of cross-talking that is in the audio if more than two speakers because this slows the transcriptionist down.  A lot more replay is required to be able to transcribe accurately all of what is spoken by each participant to that audio.  A single speaker or two-person audio that is of clear clarity enables a flow of typing.  The mores speakers, or the poorer the audio quality, more time is required for the transcriptionist to produce an accurate transcript for you.

Adding timestamps, poor audio quality, background noise, cross talking, one person being clearer than the other are all aspects that are more time-consuming for the transcriptionist to type.  You should bear this in mind when asking for your audio to be transcribed into text.

At Virtuadmin I do use a foot pedal for transcription; professional transcribing software (Express Scribe); an ergonomic keyboard to prevent repetitive strain injury (needed after over 30 years of typing!) and a professional headset.

I have many years transcribing in an office setting before transcribing digitally recorded audio from home.  Passionate about what I do, I would really like to assist you with your recorded audio to assist you and your clients get the best out of your advice in your mentoring or coaching sessions.

Conclusion

As a very experienced transcriptionist, it is not easy to gain the skills and experience I have.  It is the same for you as a coach or mentor.  You want to help others succeed and I want to help you do that by providing you with an additional asset to for your clients.

Transcripts are so valuable in their entity.  The information that they contain will always be in that written format.  Notes taken by you and your client will never reflect what has been spoken as accurately as a transcript from the recorded audio or video.

To offer a full comprehensive coaching or mentoring relationship transcription is just an additional resource to assist you and your clients.  Your clients have a record of what was discussed and they have this to refer to at any point in time; digitally on a computer screen or print it off to read as a text document.

They have that information to hand, they can undertake more accurately, instead of trying to remember what you advised, or trying to figure out the notes that they took.  The expert advice that you have given them enables your client to achieve their goals and aims when they agreed to their coaching or mentoring with you in the first place!

Audio or Video Transcription is undoubtedly a valuable service to coaches and mentors.  It will be the most accurate way of retaining the information that resulted in your conversation.  It’s there to refer to for the next time you have a meeting if you have several clients this would be especially helpful.

In itself, audio transcription is a valuable service.  So many industries use this service; insurance; law courts; medical dictations; journalists; students.  Webinar and podcasts are also required transcribed.

So, why not get into the 21st century and start getting your coaching or mentoring calls transcribed.  Join all the other industries that have been using transcription even before the digital age.  Technology has come a long way and with the many different ways of recording audio these days, getting it transcribed should be the only next step to take to offer this as an incentive to your prospective clients.  A benefit to your existing clients, they would always have a copy of your expert advice and information given in each session that you had.  An accurate account of what was discussed is surely far better than notes? How have your survived without transcription?!

Contact Me / Hire Me

Are you interested in hiring me to transcribe your audio or video for you?  I freelance my transcription skills on www.peopleperhour.com and www.fivesquid.com.  These are two very reputable companies among many out there that offer professional freelance digital services.

To hire me on www.fivesquid.com the link is: http://bit.ly/1J3gxgE

To hire me on www.peopleperhour.com the link is: http://bit.ly/2ea88NK

My profiles on both of these established freelance websites have positive feedback from happy satisfied clients that are a testament to my skills and experience.  Any questions please do not hesitate to email me at cyberspaceayuda@gmail.com.  For more testimonials about my skills and experience please visit www.virtuadmin.uk/testimonials.  This hasn’t been updated for some time but it does testify to my excellent skills and experience as a transcriptionist.

References

Header images: www.ficde.org

Edited with text by www.virtuadmin.uk

 

5 Advantages of Outsourcing Transcription Services by Carey Suante

How businesses can benefit from outsourcing audio transcription

To outsource or not to outsource transcription services?

Many companies and individuals including law firms and real estate firms, construction firms, entrepreneurs, speakers, coaches, are choosing to outsource transcription services because they understand and realize the advantages of outsourcing.

Services like audio transcription requires huge investments if you want them in-house.  Transcription is also a niche skill set.  There are not that many people with the required skills and competence for transcription.  When you consider the wages, benefits and overhead of a dedicated transcription department  in-house it is very expensive for any company.  This is why many companies are choosing to outsource their transcription needs.

The digitalization of the recording equipment such as smartphones with voice recognition, secure online connections and a skilled freelance labour pool has made the outsourcing of transcription an attractive option for real estate firms, professional firms and law firms and other who record important meetings, telephone calls, interviews and the like.

Let’s take a look at the advantages of outsourcing transcription services to your organization.

At first glance, it would seem that opting to outsource transcription services would add cost to running your practice or decrease your company efficiencies. Not true. Advantages of outsourcing transcription services to a third party outweighs any perceived disadvantages.

5 advantages of outsourcing transcription services for your business:

1. You only pay for what you need, when you need it: Your transcription volume and requirement will fluctuate. Most companies will not need large volumes of transcription carried out on a regular basis.  This leads to transcription volume peaks and troughs. This fluctuating nature of your transcription requirement means it’s difficult to ascertain how many in-house transcriptionists you need to transcribe.  Keeping the least number of transcriptionists will mean they don’t cope in times of peak and keep enough transcriptionists to cope when your transcription volume peaks means your transcriptionists will be underused when the volume falls. So having an in-house transcription department is a bad idea.

Advantage of Outsourcing: You literally only pay for what you need as most transcription services only charge by the minute or by the line rather than the hour, and they are flexible in terms of capacity.

2. Outsourcing transcription saves money: The cost savings in outsourcing transcription instead of employing full-time transcriptionists in-house is significant. In the US a full-time secretary earns approximately $34,000 per year. Therefore, monthly expense on one full-time secretary is $2833 and this is excluding expenses on space, furniture, computer, electricity, Healthcare, insurance on this employee.  Also consider this transcriptionist will take time off for annual leave and illness, and you could be looking at savings of more than 30% of the expense by using an outsourced provider.

Advantage of Outsourcing: An outsourced transcription provider provides expertise and a specialised skill at a fraction of the cost you would need if paying for an in-house transcriptionist.

3. Access to experienced staff: Transcription is not an easy job. It requires focus and attention to detail as well as a keen ear. Using less experienced staff can result in inaccuracies and delivery delays.  Transcription expertise is a rare skill too.

Advantage of Outsourcing: Transcription companies are specialized service professionals. They are experts in transcribing audio to text. By using professionals you gain access to their skills and knowledge to give you a quality outcome. By using an outsourced transcription service, you’ll tap into a huge bank of experience for a small percentage of what you would otherwise have to pay.

4. Flexibility: Success in the your industry requires managing rapidly changing environments.  Transcription providers give you the flexibility to meet these rapidly changing conditions. The challenges for businesses include varying transcription volume, different turnaround times for different projects and cases, adding new services and departments, contraction, report format changes, etc.  These are a few of the curve balls a flexible transcription vendor can help your practice navigate.

5. Outsourcing transcription frees up time for your staff to develop other skills: Transcription is a specialized skill. Not every secretary or admin person can transcribe with accuracy and expertise. Most employees have skills that are better suited to other activities.

Advantage of Outsourcing: Outsourcing transcription means your personnel is used more efficiently and productively with minimal investment. This increases productivity and saves costs.

These are 5 advantages of outsourcing transcription that can help your business be more productive, profitable, efficient and competitive. We haven’t touched on the advantages of outsourcing transcription in terms of customisation, automation, universal access and standardisation, workflow process and branding for your business.

[This post first appeared on www.transcriptionpro.net on May 26th 2015]

*Virtuadmin would love to assist with your transcription needs.  See testimonials from very happy clients who have outsourced their transcription and typing to me.  If you would like a quote on your audio or video for transcription there is a contact form in the “contact me” section.  Have you outsourced your transcription before? If not, it’s very easy and simple, just send me a message and we can take it from there.

 

Is public media ready for machine transcription? (A Socratic dialogue) — Medium

A conversation between American Public Media’s Andy Kruse and Pop Up Archive’s Peter Karman.

This is a very interesting read about the discussion of manual transcription versus automatic speech recognition.  It starts with the question of whether transcripts are needed to be added to your audio in the first place and moves on to discuss how a document produced by ASR rather than hire a professional transcriptionist or transcription company and get an accurate transcript is surely better because of the cost saving?

If SEO is to be a consideration and reason for adding a transcript then a document that is not accurate in spelling of its content is pretty useless to search engine bots where words can so easily be misspelt by SEO bots.

As a professional typist and transcriber with over 20 years experience putting recorded speech into text I will always argue the case for manual digital transcription because a professional transcription service does not need to cost the earth to get a professional transcript and for the value of the transcript and its different uses surely it’s the best investment?

If you have a minute please take a minute to read the article and please do comment on your thoughts about the value of transcripts and are they necessary?

Source: Is public media ready for machine transcription? (A Socratic dialogue) — Medium

How to Grow Your Business With Virtual Assistants

Image credit: Shutterstock
How to Grow Your Business With Virtual Assistants (Infographic) by FELIX TARCOMNICU

Once an entrepreneur has successfully navigated the first few months of his or her startup phase, the focus typically shifts to a larger but more exciting challenge: “How do I grow my business?”

In various ways, business development represents another kind of startup phase, but this time with different goals, objectives and risks. An entrepreneur will not have the financial capacity to take on big risks at this stage and must therefore be more strategic and purposeful in his or her approach. The best option? Integrate virtual assistants into the plan to provide several advantages.

1. Realign your budget.

The number one reason people hire virtual assistants is to reduce their cost of business. Compared to a regular or full-time employee, a virtual assistant costs less because the business owner does not pay benefits.

Also, a virtual assistant, as a sole proprietor of his or own business, covers those expenses. Thus, you don’t have to allocate funds for additional Internet bandwidth, power and rent. It’s estimated that hiring virtual assistants can save you as much as 40 percent in business expenses.

These savings can then be re-aligned or re-channeled to other aspects of your business, such as a digital marketing campaign, or an upgrade to your operating systems.

2. Scale your business.

If your financials show that your volume of business has been steadily and constantly increasing, but turnaround time for deliverables has markedly slowed down, it may be time to scale up your business.

Scaling requires additional man- and woman-power to accommodate the increasing volume of work. At this point, the last thing you’ll want to do is to impede your momentum due to poor service or inventory shortfalls. So, you’ll be adding more people, but, due to wide cost differentials, full-time employees will likely be out of the question.

Virtual assistants, however, will not only keep your incremental costs lower but keep your business flexible. How?

  • Virtual assistants do not have set work schedules; you can assign them to shifts that require greater attention.
  • You spend less time training because virtual assistants already have the experience and competency level to get the job done.
  • Since virtual assistants are on a contractual basis, they can be easily terminated and replaced.

When scaling up your business, working with a virtual assistance agency is your best option because its personnel have been selected for their experience and reviews from past and current clients. They can easily replace your current virtual assistant if that engagement does not yield productive results.

Related: Do These 3 Things Before Hiring a Virtual Assistant

3. Organize your business.

A glaring weakness of most entrepreneurs is their lack of organizational skill. That’s not necessarily a shortcoming; it’s just that with so much work to do, the need to organize often takes a backseat to more essential tasks. Yet, organization encourages greater productivity.

Fortunately, what may be your weakness in organization is a virtual assistant’s strength, especially if he or she has the experience to help you find the best frameworks for a system that will organize your business. If you are not tech-savvy, a virtual assistant can set up a virtual workplace where everything from project management and file-sharing, to time-keeping and communication can be accomplished.

A virtual workplace in short makes it easier to delegate work, track performance and collaborate frequently with your virtual team. You can get more work done and minimize the risks of mistakes and oversights.

4. Delegate non-essential tasks.

The next good reason for hiring virtual assistants is to free you, the entrepreneur, from nonessential tasks.  These  include:

  • Phone call coverage
  • Email filtering
  • Calendar management
  • Appointment setting
  • CRM updates
  • Social media management
  • Payroll preparation
  • Bookkeeping

While you probably have the skills to do all or most of these tasks, you will definitely not have the time. And even if you do, your available time is better spent on functions that require your core competency or are directly related to generating revenues for your business.

5. Capitalize on specialization.

Virtual assistants are no longer limited to personal assistant “secretarial” services. Over the years, as the need to streamline costs has grown, and the Internet has increased its significance in the global business environment, the virtual assistance industry has likewise undergone a transformation. Specifically, the industry opened its doors to more specialized and technical skills to accommodate demand across a wide spectrum of services. You can now find virtual assistants for the following specialized skills:

  • Website design and development
  • SEO
  • Content management services
  • Digital marketing
  • Blogging
  • Software development
  • Medical, legal and audio Transcription
  • Translation services
  • Inventory management
  • Data protection and security
  • Market research

This is just a short-list featuring 11 currently in-demand services. But it shows the many possibilities for building a team of virtual assistants to cover different areas of your business.

6. Build a strategic partnership.

A common misconception of people not familiar with virtual assistants is that these are merely “hired guns”: Once they have completed the assignment, they will leave you for the next one. But that is far from the truth. Keep in mind, for instance, that virtual assistants own their own businesses. Like you, they too want to grow their enterprise Therefore it’s in their best interest to consistently perform above and beyond expectations in order to maintain your account.

Shared interest equals a strategic partnership. When working with your virtual assistant, bring him or her inside your process. Indoctrinate your assistant in your culture, open up the virtual floor and allow him or her the opportunity to share ideas. Collaboration is a powerful tool that will take your business to the next level. When both parties are motivated to attain a common goal, spectacular results may occur.

A virtual assistant, then, is not just a person contracted to complete a project from a remote location using the Internet. Properly utilized, a virtual assistant can become your “secret weapon” in building your business, by being one side of your double-edged sword. A virtual assistant is an asset guaranteed to lower your business costs significantly without compromising your productivity. In fact, your assistant will increase productivity exponentially.

For more on virtual assistants, check out their infographic from OutsourceWorkers.com.au.

Things to know about Virtual Assistants

 

 

Outsource Project: Freelancer vs Outsourcing Service Provider

outsource vs freelanceThe concept of project outsourcing has gained a tremendous amount of popularity in the recent years. Every business owner of today trusts on outsourcing his/her projects. There are some business owners who prefer to offer their outsource project to the Outsourcing Service Provider while others choose to hire a freelance artist. In my article I would like to make you aware about some of the pros and cons of both outsourcing techniques viz. a freelance artist and an Outsourcing Service Provider.

Well, outsourcing has actually been of immense help to all those business firms which need to undertake a large number of tasks within a limited amount of time. The owners of such business firms find it easy to complete their projects by assigning the important part of work to either a freelance artist or an outsourcing service provider. If you hire an Outsourcing Service Provider, you can actually complete multiple number of projects within a short span of time because you get a chance to hire a group of professionals who are there to undertake all the important programming part involved in your projects. By hiring an Outsourcing Service Provider, you are actually free from the hurdles of paying an individual programmer on a monthly pay basis. By hiring an Outsourcing Service Provider, you can easily free your human resources department which can then work on other important aspects related to the progress of your company. Apart from these advantages there are also some cons related to offering the outsource project to an Outsourcing Service Provider. One of the major disadvantages is that you cannot communicate with all those programmers who are basically working on your project. This can lead to problems that arise due to half-understood projects.

Talking about the concept of hiring a freelance programmer, I would like to mention that by hiring an individual freelance programmer you can actually be sure about the efficient completion of your project because you get a chance to be in continuous interaction with the freelance programmer who is working on your project. By choosing the best freelance programmer you can also add extra efficiency to your project because the programmer would put in all his/her best programming skills into your project which can make it all the more proper. Since a freelance programmer works from his/her home, you can expect the completion of your work well on time as he/she is able to work according to his/her convenience. You can easily find the freelance programmers who possess excellent programming skills and are willing to work on low prices. Apart from these advantages attached with the hiring of a freelance programmer, there are also some disadvantages attached with the same. One of the major disadvantages of hiring a freelance programmer is the unreliability. If a freelance programmer gets a lot of work during one month, then he/she prefers to take a might take a break from work as per his choice and convenience.

A freelance programmer might also lack a good amount of dedication towards the task assigned to him/her. Since a freelance programmer is free from any sort of pressure from the boss/firm owner he/she might be negligent in his/her work. An outsource project can allow you to grow your business at a faster pace. You can either choose to hire freelance artist or an Outsourcing Service Provider which can help you achieve your goals within a very short span of time.