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An introduction to outsourced virtual personal assistants

An introduction to outsourced virtual personal assistants

The virtual assistant (VA) industry has grown significantly over recent years. Many startup companies rely on remote offices to cut costs, and businesses of all sizes expand their use of the internet for day-to-day operational activities. 

To help with tedious and repetitive tasks, firms and entrepreneurs have started to outsource personal assistants and VAs. They agree that hiring a remote personal assistant has enabled them to scale quickly, even on a tight budget.

When companies outsource a virtual personal assistant, they are able to free up time and concentrate on increasing sales and revenue. Outsourcing repetitive and time-consuming tasks to these remote workers can save time and is more cost-effective.

What is a virtual assistant?

A virtual assistant (VA) is a kind of personal assistant that works remotely and fulfills their responsibilities virtually via the internet or telephone. A VA can have various specializations, ranging from administrative services to even social media management.

Remote personal assistants can either be freelancers or full-time employees. Most companies hire VAs through trusted business process outsourcing (BPO) providers.

Most VAs have worked as administrative assistants for several years. The demand for professional assistants is predicted to boost as working from home becomes more embraced by both staff and employers.

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What is a virtual assistant
What is a virtual assistant?

2 major types of outsourced personal assistants

A virtual assistant can theoretically do something that does not require their physical presence as long as they have the appropriate experience, expertise, and equipment.

They come in various types and it’s essential to understand which one is best suited for the tasks you want to outsource.

Virtual administrative assistant

These outsourced personal assistants work similarly to your office managers. The only difference is that they work from home and are unable to communicate in person. 

Since most busy business owners cannot keep up with all of the challenges in their market, it is best to delegate the job.

They will help you organize schedules, create details and presentations, and prepare reports, allowing you to focus on your business’s core responsibilities.

Specialized virtual assistant

A specialized VA or personal assistant has a particular skill set and is best suited to managing a specific process in the company. They are usually more costly than general remote assistants because of their advanced and more specific expertise.

Real estate VAs

A real estate virtual assistant provides a variety of resources related to the real estate industry. They provide several services, including locating property information, data entry and management, and cold calling and lead generation activities.

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Virtual research assistants

A virtual research assistant can help the company with online research tasks. A virtual research assistant will churn out understandable information from the internet and deliver it to you in an easy-to-understand format.

E-commerce VAs

For all companies, an e-commerce VA is highly beneficial. The ability of e-commerce entrepreneurs has grown in tandem with the growth of industries.  

Virtual bookkeeping assistants  

They are the virtual economic assistants who assist you in achieving the company’s cash flow. Virtual bookkeeping assistants can handle the company’s books and even payroll management.

Virtual marketing assistant

A virtual marketing assistant offers clerical and project management support to a company’s marketing department. Marketing is a constantly changing sector, with new ways being developed to create and construct new markets.

Social media VA 

An outsourced personal assistant for social media is a specialist in promoting the company and its products and services on social platforms. Their tasks may include reaching out and responding to users, writing captions, and uploading content.

2 major types of outsourced personal assistants
2 major types of outsourced personal assistants

What else can virtual assistants do?

As mentioned, virtual assistants can offer a wide range of services, from digital media functions to appointment-setting and event management to personal errands. Aside from the two main VA types mentioned above, here are other tasks you can outsource to a remote personal assistant.

  • Event planning and management. Suppose you don’t have the time to organize and coordinate your activities. In that case, a remote personal assistant ensures that the event goes smoothly.
  • Schedule, meeting, and email management. Virtual assistants can help with calendar bookings, do rescheduling, and avoid double bookings and missed appointments.
  • Report writing. Outsourced personal assistants are well-suited to administrative duties, report preparation, and possibly even content development.
  • Hotel and restaurant booking. Virtual assistants will take the burden off by assisting you with scheduling appointments to make travel plans for you and your business associates or clients.
  • Basic digital marketing. Remote assistants are also skilled in online marketing, which can assist entrepreneurs and small businesses in growing their brands online.

Outsourcing a virtual personal assistant

Businesses that do not take advantage of technological advances will find themselves slipping behind more ambitious competitors. 

Most travel and hospitality companies use a virtual personal assistant to improve the high level of customer service. And now, more companies from different industries consider hiring virtual assistants to help with their daily operations.

As an entrepreneur, one of the first and most critical hires you will make is a virtual assistant. You should employ a VA if you find yourself spending most of your time on such time-consuming everyday tasks.

They can easily manage these operations, allowing you to concentrate on more critical tasks. BPO firms, such as Outsource Access, can assist you in finding skilled VAs that are fit for your brand.

Top 3 skills to look for in a virtual assistant

Outsourced personal assistants must have the relative set of skills as an admin clerk, a project manager, or an office manager. Here are the three fundamental skills you should look for in a VA:

  • Communication skills. A virtual assistant must interact and communicate effectively with your clients, both verbally and in writing.
  • Computer skills. If the client needs maintenance and support for the business website or database system, internet and computer skills may be required.
  • Skills in time management. VAs must be able to plan, set deadlines, and keep track of their time.
Outsourcing a virtual personal assistant
Outsourcing a virtual personal assistant

How to hire an outsourced personal assistant

You are recruiting a team member when you employ a virtual assistant. 

You may hire the right VA by following these four steps:

Step 1: Make a list of the qualities and skills you’re looking for

It’s essential to have a solid grasp of the qualities and skills you’re looking for in a virtual assistant. Hiring a VA is like hiring any other employee in that you have to ensure they are eligible for the position.

Instead of focusing on a person’s previous job experience, the interview process should focus on specific qualities.

Listed below are some essential yet straightforward VA qualities to consider.

  • Someone who has worked in the industry before.
  • Someone who is an expert—or at least familiar—with your industry.
  • Someone eager to learn, responsible, dependable, and can work under minimal supervision.

Step 2: Choose a communication channel and strategy

Adopting a platform and communication style that you all adhere to is one of the most important ways to keep communication open. 

In any relationship, communication is crucial, mainly when dealing with someone who does not work in your office. It’s critical to establish a system that works for you.

Step 3: Post a job listing/hire a BPO partner

Once you’ve finished writing your job description, you’ll need to post it online and begin accepting applications. Posting your job description directly on job listing sites like Upwork is one choice. 

Another choice is to use a recruiting service or directory for outsourced personal assistants. As mentioned above, more and more businesses are seeking the staffing services of outsourcing providers. This is so they can ensure the quality and accountability of every staff that they hire.

Companies can also turn to Outsource Accelerator’s directory of over 700 BPO suppliers to find trusted and established BPO partners for the best prices.

Step 4: Interview and require a trial period for the best candidate

Examine the applications received and set up interviews with the top 5-10 applicants. Choose the most eligible candidate for the job and offer them a trial period.

A trial period provides extra motivation for your VA to do an excellent job for you, understanding that it will lead to a permanent position on your team. To avoid future misunderstandings, have them sign a formal service agreement.

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About Derek Gallimore

Derek Gallimore has been in business for 20 years, outsourcing for over eight years, and has been living in Manila (the heart of global outsourcing) since 2014. Derek is the founder and CEO of Outsource Accelerator, and is regarded as a leading expert on all things outsourcing.