A virtual assistant is someone you can hire, usually to work remotely, to digitally manage aspects of your workday.
Hiring a virtual assistant is a great way to increase productivity by delegating smaller projects, repetitive work, and daily tasks that require ongoing attention. A virtual part-time employee (or, in some cases, a full-time virtual worker) is ideally suited for administrative tasks and procedural projects—think bookkeeping, social media, sales lead generation and even personal tasks—things that take up a lot of time, but don’t focus on building your business.
To make the most of your virtual staff, however, you need to know what tasks to delegate. To that end, here are the best tasks to outsource to your virtual assistant to free up more of your precious time.
Email can be the very best or the absolute worst thing for your productivity as an entrepreneur. Managing all your emails is one of the biggest time sucks for CEOs, founders, and other executives. From filtering out spam to getting rid of pitches, invitations, and promotions that aren’t of interest, just spending time deleting the emails you don’t need causes a huge drain on your day.
Going back and forth from checking email and completing other tasks interrupts your workflow, distracting you from the projects you ought to be prioritizing. With a virtual assistant, the majority of incoming emails can be handled by someone else. You’ll only see those that truly demand your attention, removing one of the most productivity-killing distractions from your workday.
There are times when a true emergency demands that you pick up the phone—but these instances are very rare. Whether they’re customer service inquiries or personal calls, the ringing phone is a work distraction that cuts into your workday needlessly. Have a virtual customer service assistant handle as many inquiries as possible so that you’re free to deal with only those calls that truly require your attention.
Virtual assistants can give you notifications and reminders, ensuring you never miss another meeting or conference call. With alerts from your assistant, you don’t need to check your schedule constantly to figure out what’s next on the day’s schedule.
Entering data into formatted Excel spreadsheets and creating PowerPoint presentations takes an enormous amount of time. This and similar tedious, repetitive tasks are necessary, but they don’t move the ball forward for your startup. These aren’t sets of tasks that make the most of you and your employees’ skill sets. For that reason, data management tasks are perfect to delegate to a virtual online assistant.
All you have to do is provide the notes or raw data for them to enter, and give feedback on the end result. After they make revisions, you’ll have everything you need to analyze the data, or put the finishing touches on the presentation so you make a great impression at your next meeting.
With detailed notes for your assistant, they can research any topic you need. From market research about a new region you plan on expanding into, to information on competitors, time-consuming research is a great task to hire a virtual assistant for. Once the research is in your hands, you can focus on analyzing and synthesizing the information rather than spending countless hours digging for it.
This gives you a great head start for tasks like blog posts or article writing. For example, if you’re trying to expand your brand’s influence, you might submit an article to the Huffington Post. Have a virtual assistant do the research for your article, and then you can focus on writing and submitting.
Social Media Management
As your social media accounts grow in followers, so will they grow in comments, mentions, and direct messages. Social media management, for all of that interaction, becomes a massive undertaking. Use a virtual assistant, and you won’t have to spend half of your day just nursing your company’s social media accounts.
Your assistant can also share updates about the business and other helpful or inspirational content to your followers. Social media savvy is important for any virtual assistant charged with upkeep of your accounts on various social sharing platforms.
On a similar note, search engine optimization is another great aspect of digital marketing to use an assistant for, since it can be a bit tedious but requires ongoing attention.
Aside from research for content, you can have a virtual assistant handle all aspects of your blog. Don’t have a blog yet? Create one, and update it often! Blogs are one of the most important elements of every brand’s content marketing strategy.
But all that researching, writing, and graphic design can take a ton of time. If your company isn’t at the stage where you have a full marketing department, content creation tasks should be delegated to a personal assistant. Even if you create some of the content and have your assistant do the rest, enlisting help will ensure you have a strong cadence of content, with posts coming out on a consistent schedule.
When you’re trying to build your company, hiring virtual assistant services can make the difference between having enough hours in the day and falling short. Whether it is for tasks that would usually be completed by you or by a full-time employee, a great assistant is a game-changer. You can pay your assistant an hourly rate or per-project fee—whichever you choose, project management becomes a breeze when you have the help you need.
The best assistant is one with the right skill sets for your tasks. Do you need an administrative assistant, a personal assistant, a marketing guru, or all three? Consider your priorities and make sure you outsource to someone with the right skills.
Once you do, all those administrative, marketing, and other tasks will finally be taken care of without any burden on you. That means you can knock these items off your to-do list and focus on what matters most: growing the business!