What is a Virtual Assistant and What Can They Do?

What Are Virtual Assistants and What Can They Do?

In a traditional business office, there are many employees who can handle a variety of tasks. When you work online for yourself, you don’t have this support network. This is why many online business entrepreneurs have virtual assistants, also known as VA’s.

Virtual assistants are hired help that work for you through the Internet. They can be located in distant parts of the globe and they often are because of the low price. You have the world’s workforce at your fingertips.

The Pros of Hiring a VA

The main advantage of having a virtual assistant is that you can get rid of the mundane tasks that eat away at your time. Your VA can handle items that are unpleasant or difficult for you. They can also take over certain aspects of your business when you go on vacation. Some VA services are highly skilled in areas like web design which you may not be good at yourself.

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The Downsides

There are a few disadvantages as well. Training and managing your VA can sometimes be a job in and of itself. The technology for communicating over long distances can be temperamental and there may be language or cultural barriers to overcome. Finally, you may have to give out sensitive information about your business that requires a great deal of trust.

However, your virtual assistant can handle so many of the different routine tasks for your online business that the benefits usually outweigh any of the challenges.

Research and Finding Resources

A great job for your virtual assistant is to do research for you. You can assign them tasks to find specific information you need. Examples would be hiring your VA to research other bloggers in your niche to put on your blog roll, blogs that accept guest posts, or forums in your niche that let you include a link in the signature file.

Email Management

There are many email tasks that your virtual assistant can take over for you. For example, they may write reminders to your clients that it’s time to pay or other routine communications. You can have them cut and paste these messages so that all they have to do is send. You may hire a VA to clean out your email inbox or sort messages into appropriate folders.

Social Media Management

Many people with online businesses hire their virtual assistants to manage all of their daily social media tasks. They may update your social media site, set up profiles for you, find people to connect to, or research your target market using social media.

Backlinking

A great task for virtual assistants is getting backlinks to your site. They may submit your articles to directories, a task that eats up your precious time, or bookmark all of your content on social bookmarking sites.

Full SEO Packages

Some agencies hire out virtual assistants who are trained in all different aspects of SEO. They may offer SEO packages that include a number of the tasks mentioned above.

Finding the Right Help

Almost all online businesses need a virtual assistant at some point. It’s good to have a few picked out before you need them. That way, you can take the time to shop around for people that are skilled at the tasks you need done. Keep their contact info and then let them know when you need them.

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Deanna Maio November 7, 2014 Building & Leading Your Team