The first category is those who have decided they don’t need any help for now and they’ll do all the admin and behind the scenes work themselves.
The second category are thinking of employing someone in the near future.
However, both options can be problematic. If you go down the route of doing it yourself you will soon find that you are getting bogged down with endless small tasks, many of which require skills and knowledge you don’t have and preventing you from looking at the bigger picture and taking your business to the next level.
The other option - taking on one or more employees - is a risk for a relatively new business as well as being very expensive when you consider everything involved, such as National Insurance Contributions; pension contributions; maternity leave; holiday pay and sick pay. Shockingly, studies show that out of a seven hour day employees are productive for as little as 3 hours because of loo breaks, chatting, surfing the net, social media, making coffee, texting, eating and all the rest of it.
Enter the Virtual Assistant. Virtual Assistants are generally freelancers, and those living and working in the UK tend to have highly skilled backgrounds such as Executive Assistants, Marketing Managers or Senior Administrators. Experienced in working with multiple small business owners on varied projects, Virtual Assistants usually charge by the hour – and when the timer is on for you they are working solely on your tasks. Because of their wide range of experience, they can hit the ground running and are tech savvy, helping you to implement useful apps or software and optimise productivity in your business.
With a Virtual Assistant, you can cherry pick the tasks that you want done, when you want them. No need to employ someone for 20 hours per week and then find you are in a slack period and paying them to just hang about. A Virtual Assistant can change as your company changes, providing as much or as little support as you need.
From traditional skills such as typing and making appointments to events management, online marketing and PR, there is literally a Virtual Assistant for every task - some are all-rounders whilst others specialise in one area.
This is by no means an exhaustive list but without further ado here are 37 Tasks You Should Outsource To Free Up Your Time and Skyrocket Your Business!
1. Market research: a good Virtual Assistant will be able to help you with this using all sorts of tools such as Survey Monkey, Google Forms, Makemypersona, and Social Mention. If you need more experienced help, some VAs have marketing backgrounds and can provide really skilled services in this area.
2. Email Marketing: whether it’s simply a monthly newsletter or setting up complex autoresponders, email marketing is a highly sought after VA skill. Your VA can help you to find the right software, whether you want something simple and free like Mailchimp or a more complex program like Active Campaign or Infusionsoft. Don’t forget that with the new Data Protection law, GDPR, coming into effect on 25th May 2017 you must make sure that any email marketing campaigns are compliant and a good Virtual Assistant should be able to guide you on this.
3. List Building: it’s all very well deciding to start an email marketing campaign but creating a list of subscribers to send your emails to is no mean feat. You need to make sure you get people on your list who are actually interested in your products – so whether it’s creating a tempting free download (“lead magnet”) or designing a landing page your Virtual Assistant can help.
4. PR: this is one of those “corporate” jobs which can translate well to the world of small business and entrepreneurs – everyone needs PR and a Virtual Assistant with the right background can provide invaluable help as and when you need it.
5. Social Media Management: social media marketing is a must these days but whilst it may seem easy, if you are not experienced it can take months if not years to get it all working effectively. It is also one of the most time-consuming tasks in a small business owner’s day. It makes sense to get help with it or you’ll be tearing your hair out!
6. Facebook Group Admin: Facebook groups form an integral part of online marketing these days but managing them and keeping them clear of spammers can be a full-time job in itself. In just a few minutes per day a Virtual Assistant can help ease the burden.
7. Blog Writing: if you love writing, and you have the time, a blog can be a great way to market your business and will improve your chances of getting up the ranks in Google searches. But writing isn’t for everyone and it is also a time-consuming task if you are not experienced. A Virtual Assistant who can write good blog posts with carefully researched keywords is worth their weight in gold.
8. Website Management: a good website will be regularly updated with new content, new blog posts, sign-up forms for your email marketing and landing pages for your sales. WordPress websites in particular need constant attention to make sure all your plugins are up to date. Keeping an eye on all of this is the perfect job to outsource to a Virtual Assistant!
9. Sales Funnels: many Virtual Assistants have great online marketing skills and are familiar with the software used to create sales funnels such as WordPress plugins, Click Funnels and Leadpages. Some of the software is pretty complex and it helps to have someone helping you who is familiar with it.
10. Diary Management: plenty of small business owners and entrepreneurs out there need someone to carry out more traditional tasks such as making their appointments. Using Google Calendar, ICal or the Office.com calendar your VA can liaise with your clients and ensure that you know what your latest schedule is at all times.
11. Travel Management: booking cabs, hotel reservations, plane and train tickets, itinerary planning: these fiddly tasks can waste hours and hours in your day so it makes sense to outsource them. Your VA will usually have a great network of contacts in the travel industry too which means she’ll be able to find the best prices for you.
12. Events Planning: finding venues for workshops and seminars, arranging bookings and payments and promoting the event – a large proportion of events planning can be carried out on a remote basis by your Virtual Assistant. Many will also provide on-site help if you need it too.
13. Inbox Management: manning an email inbox for you and responding to emails on your behalf can be a real help and means you’ll never miss an email from a potential new client again!
14. Inbox Detox: for those who just can’t cope with the huge volume of email that we’ve all become used to these days, an inbox detox is the answer! All your VA needs to do is log into your inbox a few times a week and clear out the junk, arrange emails into easily manageable folders and create rules or filters to automate processes. Simple but effective.
15. Online Research: here are some examples of things I’ve been asked to research for my clients: best electricity deals; practice management software; cheapest credit card service provider; most appropriate CRM program; task management software; email subject lines...the list goes on…
16. Sales Calls: I admit this is my number one pet hate. And I am no good at them. But there are plenty of Virtual Assistants who are absolutely brilliant at sales calls. And let’s face it, sales are what you need!
17. CRM: AKA Customer Relationship Management. Whether it’s managing a CRM program to make sure you stay on top of your leads, or actually communicating with the customers, even small businesses need CRM. There is a whole host of free CRM software out there which would benefit small business owners – for example Hubspot and Capsule. A Virtual Assistant can help you find the right one for you, set it up for you and run it too.
18. PowerPoint Presentations: creating effective PowerPoints is time consuming, and many people aren’t aware of all the features - such as animation – which can take a presentation up a notch. Why spend hours trying to get your head round it all when a competent Virtual Assistant can do it for you in less than half the time?
19. Proof Reading: it takes a keen eye to spot small errors but with the proliferation of websites, blogs and all the rest of it, if you can find a Virtual Assistant who provides accurate and reliable proof reading services you’re onto a winner.
20. Copy Writing: well-written marketing materials are absolutely essential and if you don’t communicate the right message they will not be effective. There are Virtual Assistants who specialise in this area and can help you on an ad-hoc basis when you need it.
21. Simple Graphic Design: now I’m not saying that your Virtual Assistant is a replacement for a graphic designer. However, there are a myriad little design jobs that need to be done in a small business, particularly when it comes to images for social media. If your VA is creative, he or she can help you with all this at the fraction of the cost.
22. Video and Audio File Editing: with more and more online entrepreneurs using YouTube and creating podcasts, if you need help tweaking your video and audio files then the right Virtual Assistant can do this for you too, instead of you spending frustrating hours trying to find the right software – let alone get it to work!
23. Transcribing: once you’ve got your videos on YouTube, or your Podcasts on ITunes, having them transcribed is a great way to get extra mileage from them. You can have subtitles added, or get them typed up to adapt for a blog post. Repurposing in this way means you can get more material from your videos or podcasts, thus saving you time AND money.
24. Copy Typing: one of those extremely boring tasks which is DEFINITELY best left to a professional!
25. Setting up Webinars: webinars are a great marketing tool and a good VA can help you to find the right software and show you how to use it. After your webinar, they can download the recording and get it sent out to the attendees and they can even co-host the webinar for you.
26. Expenses Management: I can’t remember a small business I have worked with whose owner doesn’t have a big pile of screwed up expenses receipts somewhere in their office. Your VA can help you to sort them out.
27. Bookkeeping: one of the most important but most frequently overlooked aspects of running a business is staying on top of the books. If you don’t know what’s going on financially in your business in REAL TIME then how can you make decisions or plan your budget? An experienced bookkeeping VA can set up an online system which syncs with your bank account so that you always have the most up to date information and can produce meaningful reports at the touch of a button.
28. Invoicing: so many business owners get behind with their invoicing. It’s often a simple job, only taking a couple of hours a month but they’ll keep putting it off – which can adversely affect cash flow. Outsource it to a VA to put your mind at rest!
29. Credit Control: another task that entrepreneurs hate: chasing late payers. It can be a bit cringe-making, can’t it? Having someone else do it for you is much more professional and usually gets far better results, with the added bonus of saving you the embarrassment.
30. Spreadsheets: need an all-singing, all-dancing spreadsheet template that carries out complex calculations? Outsource it to a specialist VA and it will save you hours and hours of angst.
31. Fund Raising and Grant Applications: with the rise of the social entrepreneur comes a demand for fund raising skills, and there are plenty of VAs who specialise in this area.
32. Project Management: managing a project and the team working on it takes a great deal of effort in terms of co-ordination and effective communication. Some Virtual Assistants specifically work in this area and are skilled at working with Virtual teams.
33. Effective Time Management & Systems: many businesses suffer due to poor time management and lack of efficient systems. With a bit of organisation and by putting the right tools in place a VA can help them to become more productive and therefore more profitable.
34. Gift Shopping: many entrepreneurs either don’t have the time to shop, or simply don’t know what the heck to buy. Everything’s online these days – get a VA to help out!
35. Card Writing: it may seem laughably simple but again, there are those who don’t have the time to write and send cards and can never remember a birthday so if this is you, just get a VA to do it!
36. Order Processing: managing customer orders including preparing quotes, ordering in stock and arranging deliveries is a valuable service you could easily outsource on a remote basis.
37. Customer Services: you’ll soon find out that following up on potential clients or answering their queries can be very difficult to keep on top of, but a VA can make sure everything is dealt with quickly and efficiently either by email or by phone.
Phew! The list is endless really but I must finish the blog post somewhere!
With a VA for practically every task, outsourcing is the sensible way for small business owners to run their businesses efficiently and cost effectively.
Book a discovery call today at https://10to8.com/book/pmjnhe-free/ to find out if working with a Virtual Assistant is for you.
The Office HQ
Photo by: Pixabay