The world of outscourcing is here, and going on all around us, at a regular pace. We hear of corporations ‘outsourcing‘ to less developed nations. This is good for the hosting nation as it helps in creating ‘economic activity’ but not great news for the ‘home’ nation, since jobs are not locally available. Is it possible for a business, to diversify their needed services?
Costs associated with operating a business can climb, as each ‘need’ must be addressed especially if hiring for a specific ‘skill set’. A small business owner may find him and/or herself wearing ALL the hats as manager, marketer, designer, advertiser, accountant (omg! Tax time!), trainer, next to delivering their own business service(s). They do not have huge amounts of money to spend hiring a specialized ‘team’ in a firm. Some may wonder, how can one be in business for themself with so many tasks, to tend and manage?
Are your eyes spinning around with imagining all these tasks? Well, a few business owners have learned to value and appreciate, the services that a Virtual Executive Assistant (VEA) can offer. Statistics show that a VA is a new, rising, and popular industry in the USA, new to Canada and growing in other nations too. The VEA, or Consultant, is a business owner.
A VEA understands quite well all the skills needed in operating a successful business. Can you imagine the knowledge, skills and expertise that you can tap into? and help your own business? Not every VEA is equal since education, job experience and skills will vary. Again, statistics have shown that a majority of VA’s are college and University graduates, next to being great parents.
‘A little help can go a long way’ We’ve all heard that quote before and I’m positive that you will enjoy hiring a Virtual Executive Assistant and/or Consultant. S/he will deliver benefits for your own business goals and improve your own over all time management. Take a seat and think about tasks that ‘steals time’ away from you delivering your own services. Write these time thiefs down. It could be one task or a few, write them down. Think about areas that are troublesome because you know very little about it (i.e., social media management, blogging, tweet, what?). Did you know that us humans, tend to let pride get in the way, of asking for help?
The number of tasks you have listed could now be assigned, to a VEA depending upon her/his skill set. Finding a VEA can be easily done simply with the responses, to a Job ad you post on a popular VA forum, classified ad site, or job board, online (psst! Twitter works wonders!). Remember, skills will vary therefore maybe add a specific skill heading (marketing, graphic design,etc.) to the job post.
Tasks that you need done could be those that are repetitive, or to, sort your email, manage your social media, manage your web site, provide content for your blog, event planning, flight arrangements, do a concise market industry report. These tasks can get done and delivered to you because of our fabulous internet!
Once a response, or quite a few, have arrived in your email, now is the time to review and choose who you believe may ‘fit’ your job post. You may very well find one located in your own neighborhood. I believe that hiring the services of a VEA should be close to home since they will be most familiar with your local, regional and/or national, business laws and we don’t want to be doing something illegal or cause damage to your own business ‘brand’.
I believe the majority of professional VEA’s and Consultants, will KNOW and comply with their local, regional or national business contract law. After all, a contract is a legal and binding document recognized in Court and there are Specialists that can track a person that owes monies.
A VEA/Consultant will have specialized skills and be knowledgeable in many and/or specific areas, such as the following:
Mortgage + Loans
Photo Image Editing
The professional VEA/Consultant strives to maintain and build their skills, experience and business knowledge. Offering their assistance to help your business and delivered ‘remotely’, not in your office but from their home via computer connections, is the perfect environment to showcase their abilities.
One of the most important qualities of knowing and working with a professional VEA/Consultant are his/her business CONNECTIONS! There are forums and associations for the Professional VEA/Consultant where they share and connect with each other and other business professionals. They can quickly fill a need for a business owner without you having to go forth in search of specialized help. This new industry intertwines and works effectively in the B2B relationship. Have you made friends with your friendly, neighborhood Virtual Executive Assistant/Consultant?
An agreement or contract, will be forwarded to you which should state the protection and confidentiality of your business, payment terms for hourly packages, by project, or by retainer, other services they provide, and, maybe their own promotional brochures too. A common fear about use of the internet is the release and/or discovery, of our passwords to our numerous internet accounts. A professional VEA/Consultant understands this fear and will inform you of measures they use, to protect and maintain confidentiality and your privacy.
The process of hiring a VEA/Consultant is not painful and no animals are harmed. A variety of online business tools commonly used by VEA/Consultants, are:
Google Documents, word processing, spreadsheets, easy to email or share work.
Evernote, send large files
LastPass, Password management tool
EchoSign, used for electronic signature
Hootsuite, post to various social media accounts
OpenProj, Project management tool
DropBox, cloud storage service, share documents
Freshbooks, invoicing, accounting program
Toggl, one of many time tracker tools
Aweber, bulk email program, many more
Skype, video chat
Anymeeting, video conference, webinars, or online training (ability to share your screen)
A few tools that you may want to familiarize yourself with since no VEA/Consultant, is identical. There are many, many other tools online that may be used and will operate in a similar manner and you two may already use these very tools. Do you already notice the capabilities of the professional VEA/Consultant?
A question that commonly arises about VEA/Consultants, is, why hire you? Well, we begin with full-time versus as-needed. Now, which do you think will cost less? 20 hours of a full-time EA per week or 20 hours of a ‘as-needed’ VEA/Consultant, per month? Prices will vary with VEA/Consultants and that alone, may prove a deciding factor. So, if you need help but can’t afford the full-time staff, why not consider hiring a VEA/Consultant, today?
Oh! how big is your list? VEA/Consultants are available for long term too. Imagine, only a couple hours per week at per month. 🙂 It’s a wise investment that every small business should be aware and keep in consideration. As a business owner, you should NOT have to train your VEA therefore pricing should indicate the VALUE you are requesting.
Learning in Action
I hope you found this article informative and gained some new insight. Please feel free to leave your comments and share your new found knowledge with others. Use the ‘Ask A Question’ form to make a request on a topic of your own interest. I hope you return to more information coming soon!
Article(C)2009 – current AIC| An Informal Cornr, all rights reserved. Ginsense writes articles on business skills, development, health, science, technology and society and enjoys advocating for independence, security and a better world for all of us. She is also a VEA available for Hire.