Running a small business means wearing many hats. New business owners often don’t have the capital to hire employees immediately, which leaves them to handle everything from balancing the books to mopping the break room floor. As your business grows, you may find you spend so much time on menial tasks that it takes away from money-generating activities. When that happens, hiring a virtual assistant to help out can give you the freedom to shift your focus on the most important tasks while someone else handles other duties.
What Can Virtual Assistants Do?
A virtual assistant is an assistant who doesn’t work with you in person. Instead, they assist and communicate with you online or over the phone. A virtual assistant can complete a wide range of administrative assistant tasks as well as those that may require a bit more skill. Some services a virtual assistant may provide include:
- Answering phone calls and emails
- Setting appointments
- Coordinating remote employee schedules
- Managing your calendar
- Handling customer service
- Uploading blog posts
- Updating your social media accounts
You can also hire a virtual assistant who has the skillset to complete web development tasks, research, and even write articles.
Running a blog to complement your small business can increase traffic to your website, position you as an industry expert, and help drive sales. But researching and writing blog posts can take a large chunk of time. You want your blog posts to offer value while offering accurate information, so quality is important.
Instead of taking time away from other tasks, consider having your virtual assistant come up with topics for blog posts with a little guidance from you. You might provide a list of keywords, for example, and let your assistant fill in the rest. If you use keyword tools, your virtual assistant can do this part for you too. If you don’t want to do the actual writing, consider passing that on to your virtual assistant, or you can hire a freelance writer to complete that part of the task. You can also have your assistant find photos and promote your blog posts.
Social Media Accounts
A lot of freelancers and small business owners open social media accounts, but they just don’t have the time post content on a regular basis. Your social media accounts give you a vital connection to your potential customers, so keeping them active and relevant can make a big difference in your business. If you feel like you can’t keep up, consider hiring a virtual assistant to keep your accounts current and full of useful, engaging content. To set your virtual assistant on the right track, consider creating a social media content calendar covering what you want to post on a daily or weekly basis. A virtual assistant can find interesting articles and relevant quotes online and source images to post in your social media accounts. To keep your followers engaged, you might also task a virtual assistant with responding to questions and comments customers post on your profiles.
Email and Calendar Management
If you’re overworked, you might forget to check your email and update your calendar. You can give a virtual assistant access to your email account to reply to messages and alert you of important ones as they come in. If your job involves setting appointments, you can use your smart device to send basic details about appointments you make in the field to your virtual assistant to update your calendar. You can also set up a daily call with your virtual assistant to remind you about upcoming appointments.
Note Taking and Transcription
Having a virtual assistant listen in on meetings and take notes for you can free up your time and let you focus on the meeting rather than scribbling notes. Your assistant can also transcribe voicemails, podcasts, and video and audio recordings, which gives you more time for other things on your plate. You can easily refer to those transcripts at your convenience.
Administrative Tasks That Drain Your Time
Administrative tasks are an important part of running your business. However, these aren’t the kind of activities that grow your business. You grow your business by bringing in new customers and selling them on your products and services. If you’re spending the majority of every work day on paperwork and other administrative tasks, that leaves precious little time to go out and solicit new business. Try to spend at least 50% of your time working on core competencies, meaning the things that make your business money. If the time you’re spending on money-making activities is far less because you’re constantly bogged down in an administrative task, it may be time to hire an administrative assistant to take on the workload.
Tasks You Don’t Understand
Being a successful business owner doesn’t mean knowing everything about all aspects of your business. The best CEOs in the world aren’t jack-of-all-trades, they just know how to delegate tasks well. As your business grows, tasks invariably arise that might be outside your realm of expertise. For example, you probably recognize the necessity of marketing your business on Facebook and Instagram, but what if social media isn’t your strong suit? A good assistant can take this load off your shoulders, allowing you to focus on the things you’re good at rather than pouring all your time into acquiring a working knowledge of social media marketing. Sometimes you may need to hire a more specialized person to handle parts of the job. For example, if you don’t feel comfortable crunching the numbers, you can hire a bookkeeper or accountant to do the work to ensure your books are accurate. Looking at your strengths and recognizing which tasks take you a long time or fall outside your comfort zone helps you figure out where to outsource the workload, whether it’s to a virtual assistant, freelancer, or specialized professional.
You can be the best in the world at your business, but you need to pull in customers to make money. If sales isn’t your strength, consider hiring an assistant to place in charge of sales and marketing. With a sales representative, you have the option of hiring a full-time employee and paying a salary or finding an independent contractor and paying strictly on commission. Hiring an assistant to put in charge of sales lets you focus on what you’re good at without the stress of trying to find new customers.
Working smarter by using an assistant and finding tech tools that streamline your processes can help increase your bottom line. The QuickBooks Self-Employed app helps freelancers, contractors, and sole proprietors track and manage their businesses on the go. Download the app today.