... the solution for all your virtual PA needs
... the solution for all your virtual PA needs

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Why use a virtual assistant?

 

What is a VA?  An executive assistant who works from their own office, not yours

 

Adam Fidler of Adept Executive Consulting defines the role of an Executive PA thus:

 

“I’m a neutral and independent advisor to my Executive, who enables the day-to-day management routines that enhance the effectiveness of my boss and the organisation as a whole.  I operate as a business manager in my own right – and I am an integral part of the management team.  ... I am not a business partner as I sit in the core of the business; and I am not an optional extra – my role is mandatory to the success of my Executive.”

 

The difference between an EA and a VA (virtual assistant - often known as a virtual PA) is simply geography: the EA works in your office location, whilst the VA works in his/hers.  


A VA will look after any aspect of your business you choose to delegate so that you can concentrate on what matters to you.  Using a VA for tasks which take a lot of your valuable time makes economic sense.  You will save on the cost of employing a secretary in your own office, since:

 

  • you will not have to pay when the VA is on holiday, at lunch or off sick
  • you will pay only for the work done directly for you
  • you will save the costs of office space, energy, equipment and maintenance

 

Proven benefits of working remotely

Improved focus: without chatty colleagues or distracting background noise, virtual workers can concentrate on work without interruptions.

 

Better communication: remote workers rely on a variety of tools and methods to work across teams. This means that they develop broader communication skills faster than in-office workers and build strong relationships with co-workers as they work through problems and make decisions together.

 

Less wasted time: to start with, no commuting.  People who work remotely actually put in more hours - an average of four hours per week more - than people working in an office.  When they do connect via video conferences or chat applications, they want to make the best use of that time.

 

Reduced attrition: virtual employees do not take this freedom for granted; they appreciate the ability to work from home.  Research shows that turnover amongst remote workers is greatly reduced, compared to in-office staff.

 

How do you know whether you need a VA?

You may be extremely talented, able to do all the tasks in your business - but that doesn't mean you should.  Learning to delegate is not easy but, if you're spending large amounts of time on jobs that aren't strictly part of your role, then you need a VA.

 

Delegating to a VA can help you - and therefore your business - perform better.  Outsourcing may seem daunting, but your business will reap the benefits of having each team member doing what they're best at.  It's time to check out your options and here are some questions should you ask yourself:

 

  1. What could I do with my time if someone else was doing the admin?

    No-one else has your knowledge and expertise; you could devote more time to working on and improving your business or spend it on other activities outside work.

     
  2. How do I know I could work with and trust this VA?

    Do your research: learn about the person, their skills and experience, look at testimonials and LinkedIn, Facebook, etc, then talk to them and choose someone who shares your values and who you'd feel comfortable about hiring.

     
  3. Will the VA be there when I need her and will I be tied in to a long-term contract?

    Generally the answers are 'yes' and 'no' - but ask!  Explain your needs and check the VA's availability and flexibility to support you.  Once you have both had some time to learn how the business and relationship work, you will probably find other, unanticipated ways the VA can help you.

     

If you're concerned about delegated work being done to your required standard, the answer to that (besides explaining your needs clearly) is process mapping.  Rebecca Stevens of Work Brighter explain this issue well on her website - click here to see her advice.

 

A virtual assistant can be a true business partner - as a business owner herself, she understands the issues and pressures you face and can anticipate your needs.  Then there's the benefit of the relief that comes with the knowledge that you've got reliable support which will leave you free to focus on what matters most to you.

 

Benefits

Emma Cossey, a freelancer who employs a VA, says "The time I save by hiring a VA is time I now spend working on new projects which bring in more money" and she lists the benefits as follows:

 

  • "It gave me the ability to remove the small jobs that acted as barriers to getting the big stuff done. And often, those small jobs are done much faster by a VA than they would by me. As a result, things that had been sitting on my To Do list for months (if not years) were finally getting ticked off, giving me much-needed clarity.
     
  • It gave me accountability. I work best when I know someone else is relying on me to get something done.
     
  • It gave me support and confidence to continue with new ideas. I often found that as a freelancer, after the first rush of excitement of a new idea, I’d get a bit despondent. Having [my VA] to bounce ideas off and make practical suggestions really helped and I know I launched more products and services because of her help.
     
  • The Devil is no longer in the detail. I’m really not detail-orientated. Having someone to check things over means I don’t spend hours of wasted time procrastinating."

 

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