How many times in your working day (and the hours afterwards) have you looked at the unread count in your inbox and recoiled?
Since Timothy Ferriss unearthed the concept of a Virtual Assistant in his best-selling lifestyle guide Four Hour Work Week, Virtual Assistant services have taken off as a helping hand in the business of everyday.
Though virtual assistants are still somewhat unchartered territory in Australia, there is a growing inclination to adopt a service that can provide you with a helping hand online, at the cost of a week’s worth of takeaway coffee (based on hourly-rates). It’s a service that requires little more than an internet connection, and a desperate need for outsourcing.
It’s not quite in the same luxurious vein as a personal assistant, but for your business and productivity, the rewards can be endless.
So what can a VA do for you? Really, anything that doesn’t require of physical presence. Below are the benefits, with a couple of tips for using a VA thrown in.
- Rediscover your desk, under the paperwork. For sole proprieties and freelancers, a virtual assistant can be the extra hand to manage a workload that can otherwise seem impossible for one person.
Assigning tasks that are relatively easy for virtual assistants to take on, like admin, data entry or getting your receipts in order at tax time, will allow for time and focus to be geared at completing the projects that pay.
- Jump-start a project. Have a project sitting in the ‘don’t even know where to begin’ pile? Know you have a good idea but don’t quite have the time to kick-start it?
Having a virtual assistant will allow you the freedom to turn a little daydreaming into a reality. Outsourcing elements of the task – like research or analysing competitor markets – to a trusted assistant allows you to kick-off the project that you have been mulling over in your head for months
- Save the online shopping for yourself: Don’t waste your time trying to outsource trivial tasks that don’t really need to be done. Decide what needs to be done, and whether it will really help you move forward on a project. If it doesn’t, you don’t need to outsource it.
- Explore your options: There are countless types of Virtual Assistants who can take on your projects. But make sure you’re using them properly. Use a generalized VA to do the time consuming tasks that take a minimal level of expertise. If the task requires proficiency, hire someone with the specific skills needed.
- Outsource the mundane: Offload those tasks that take away from your time on an important project. No one enjoys transcribing the minutes of a meeting. Record a business meeting, interview or classroom lecture and have it transcribed by your VA.
- Conquer your inbox Virtual Assistants can manage your emails and highlight the important stuff. If you provide clear directions to your VA, they will be able to make sure you only see the important stuff. That means no more Spam!
- Get organised: Working with a Virtual Assistant forces you to organise your work. What exactly needs to be done? What are you trying to figure out? How best to go about it?
- Love your free time! Ultimately, hiring a VA will save you time. It will allow you to offload those tasks that are occupying your mind and really get focused on those that matter. As Ferriss put it, you can be the guy who gets to hit the beach while someone in Bangalore does your work.
Have you used a VA? Would you consider it? Let us know below.