Outsource your worries to a VA and get your work done at low cost

What do you do if you have too much to do in a shorter time?
What do you do if your assistant goes on a long vocation or quit the job?
What do you do if you have more work to be done and you don’t have time to do it?
What do you do if you don’t want to do mundane and boring work?

In today’s world, you don’t need to worry more about all these.  The world is becoming smaller and flat and you have easy access to all the talented people in the world without any passport.  The Virtual Wave is heating up and join this race and be at peace.

What is a Virtual Assistant?

A Virtual Assistant (VA) is an independent entrepreneur providing administrative, creative and/or technical services.  This self-employed person handles non-core business support utilizing advanced technological modes of communication (email, fax, chat, telephone, internet, etc) and data delivery. A professional VA assists clients in his/her area of expertise from his/her own office on a contractual basis.

VAs, like many of their clients, are the CEOs of their own companies. Often, they become the long-term “growth partners” of their clients, providing administrative, technical, and creative support.

What types of services to VAs offer?

VA services are as varied as the VAs themselves — ranging from basic word processing to high-end corporate consulting. Here’s a sampling:

Academic Writing, Accounting Services, AudioVisual Production, Business Coaching, Business Plan Writing, Business Writing, Collection Services, Competitive Research, Concierge Services, Database Management, Desktop Publishing, Document OCR/Scanning, Editing/Proofreading, Entertainment Industry, Event Planning, Expertise in “Foreign” Markets, File Conversion, Fundraising, General Transcription, Gov’t. Procurement Expertise, Grant Proposals, Graphic Design, Graphic Scanning, Growth Advisory Services, HR Expertise, Insurance Broker/Agent Support, Internet Research, Interpreting, Import/Export Support, Intranet Development/Management, Legal “Secretarial,” Legal Transcription, Litigation Support, Live Phone Answering for Clients, Mailing Services, Marketing/Advertising, Market Research, Medical Transcription, Multilingual, Multimedia Presentation, Nonprofit Support Services, Office Management, Paralegal Services, Payroll Services, Phone-in Transcription, Private Investigation Support, Programming, Public Relations, Realtor Support, Resume Writing, Spreadsheets, Statements/Billing, Systems Management, Technical Writing/Editing, Translating Services, Voice Services (Greetings, Events), Voicemail for Clients, Web site Design, Word Processing

Virtual Work means stronger families (a chance for parents to spend more time with their children), a cleaner environment (reduced or eliminated commutes), and a return to community life – the wellspring of values that give us our foundation as individuals, as families, and as a society.

Why would a small business owner choose to work with a VA instead of a temp or employee?

There are several fundamental differences between VAs and temps or employees.

VAs are self-employed and understand the importance of the need for excellence in even the smallest details of the tasks they are assigned. They have a direct stake in their clients’ success.   When the clients grows, VA contribution to their success are immense. Most VAs keep good relationship and trust with the clients.

Clients can pay for time on task only. Clients can pay only for time spent on the task not beyond the task.

VAs don’t need for office equipment, computers, space, training, etc.  Since, VAs have prior working knowledge of their work, they can perform any tasks very easily.  In some cases, clients offer little training.  VAs uses their own computers and infrastructure for clients and perform the work.   It’s cost effective to clients, since they don’t need to invest on equipments for VAs.

VAs don’t attract any taxes, benefits and other employee-related costs such as retirement benefits, social security benefits, etc.

How can a Virtual Assistant help a small business owner generally?

In a nutshell, Virtual Assistants take on non-core tasks that rob you of time, energy and money, and free you to concentrate on the revenue-producing activities that you need to be doing to grow your business.

As independent contractors, Virtual Assistants are also a more cost-effective solution than employees (who generally cost 2 to 2 ½ times their annual salary, when vacation, sick leave, insurance and other benefits, physical office space and equipment, etc. are taken into account), and are paid only for time-on-task.  As business owners themselves, Virtual Assistants understand your business goals and priorities, and many quickly become the long-term growth partners of their clients.

How can a VA help the “vacationing entrepreneur”?

This will depend largely on how well the VA knows the business before the business owner leaves, but some of the basic matters s/he can handle might include:

  • Have the VA screen email and voicemail messages, interrupting your “quiet time” with only the most important messages — those you have told her specifically to keep an eye out for, or issues that appear to be urgent or escalating.
  • Monitor your company website for downtime or technical problems, and handle any issues immediately(keeping you out of the tech support que and in the pool). VA can also manage the content of company websites.
  • Customer Service – have your VA respond to customer questions, take orders, and other customer service or customer relationship matters
  • Keeping your blog, forum current – VAs can moderate forums, create blogs and do e-marketing activities.  Most of the site promotional activities can be handled by a VA very smoothly.

How to find and start working with a VA?

  • You can look at VAs at   MSVAS.com – database of Military Spouse Virtual Assistance; free RFP Service
  • IVAA.org – the International Virtual Assistants Association.  The International Virtual Assistants Association (IVAA) is a non-profit organization dedicated to the professional education and development of members of the Virtual Assistance profession, and to educating the public on the role and function of the Virtual Assistant. You ask for free RFP Service
  • Search the internet using select keywords and phrases (freelance virtual assistant, freelancer, virtual support, etc
  • You can also visit some paid freelance sites.

After interviewing and selecting your VA, move gradually into the relationship — delegating first those tasks you will worry the least about, and adding other duties as you develop a trust and rapport with your VA.

If you look at the Virtual Assistant market, most of them are professionals.  They choose to become VA due to their own personal reasons or become accidentally. Some VAs  are professional, some are taken off from work due to problems at work, some would like to have more work-life balances so that they can focus on kids, some have disability problems and can’t work in organizations.

Those who would like to take up VA as a career, first read The 2-Second Commute and identify what skills they can offer virtually, which will help clients to pay.

Christine Durst
Staffcentrix, LLC

Christine Durst –  A biography

Christine Durst is the founder of the Virtual Assistance industry (circa 1995), and CEO of Staffcentrix, LLC – the training and development company that designs and delivers virtual career training programs for the US Department of State and all of the US Armed Forces.  She is also the co-author of  bestselling career book – “The 2-Second Commute” – and Director of Research for The Rat Race Rebellion .

Recently she has featured on The Today Show, Good Morning America, CNN, ABC News, MSNBC, The Wall Street Journal and Consumer Digest.   Since starting Staffcentrix in 1999, the company has trained or mentored over 5,800 entrepreneurs (micro-entrepreneurs) in 65+ countries around the world.

Staffcentrix, LLC is a US-based training and development firm that works with corporations, government agencies (US Department of State and all branches of the US Armed Forces), colleges, and individuals to develop virtual, portable, and home-based career solutions.