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Virtual Administrative Professional

Virtual assistants were introduced in 2009 by Tim Ferris via his book, "The Four Hour Work Week." The idea was to outsource tasks to a contractor that are repetitive and time-consuming so the company focuses its time on other areas, contributing to growth and development while also leaving more time for work and personal life balance.

Virtual assistants support owners from a remote location, often their home office. In the current work environment, an assistant outside the office door is no longer necessary. It doesn't make sense to use your time doing tasks that can easily be delegated to someone else in order to improve efficiency. High-speed internet, apps, video, and cloud-based software make it easy to access company information from anywhere. This allows businesses the flexibility to hire someone based on projects, hourly, full-time, contract, or set hours per day or week.

There are many titles for assistants based on experience and knowledge. Generally, a Virtual Assistant is someone who can do simple, everyday tasks, such as managing email, data entry, answering phones, and filing. A Virtual Administrative Assistant has more experience and can do everything an assistant can do, however, they will also schedule appointments and travel, take minutes, create documents, and have one or more specialized areas of expertise, such as web design, social media management, writing credentials, event planning, and more. Executive assistants can do everything the previous two titles can do, including having specialized training, such as Human Resources or Public Relations, and may even travel for their company.

It is time to hire a virtual assistant when you have reached max capacity and are no longer hitting your business goals and your focus is on keeping everything running and maintained instead of expanding. It is common for owners to want to do as much as possible themselves to cut back on costs. However, this is often detrimental to their most valuable asset - time. Just because you can do it all doesn't mean you should—growth stalls when a business can no longer keep up with the administrative duties of its business department.

Common signs you should consider hiring a Virtual Administrative Professional are: sales begin to stall or decline, your life consists of mostly work, you have little time for a personal life, you can no longer keep up with sales leads, employees satisfaction has declined and the turnover rate has increased, and your bookkeeping duties are way behind. This means your focus has shifted from leading the company into the future to just trying to maintain what you have.

Virtual Administrative Professionals can help with a lot of tasks, including but not limited to scheduling meetings, managing calendars, answering phones and emails, planning travel accommodations and various events, filing expense reports, networking, preparing and maintaining templated documents, data entry, organizing emails in folders by category, confirming meetings, archiving old data and emails, customer relationship management, customer lead and research, social media management, prospecting, sales leads, email campaigns, scheduling appointments, and updating proposals, sales sheets, and presentations. Depending on pay and experience, some can do bookkeeping duties, payment processing, collections, generating reports, HR record keeping, and compliance documentation. Some companies even use their Virtual Administrative Professionals for personal tasks, like planning vacations, food delivery, scheduling fitness classes, setting medical appointments, sending gifts and ordering flowers, making online purchases, and paying personal bills.

Depending on the history and capabilities of the person you hire, a virtual assistant can be very beneficial, allowing the company to focus on growth and opportunity, while necessary administrative duties are handled in a diligent, thorough, and satisfactory manner.


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